Friday, July 29, 2011


   Sheol and Abaddon are never satisfied, nor are the yes of man ever satisfied.  (Philippians 4:10-20)

   Have you ever noticed while driving in the country how cows and horses stretch their necks to get the grass just beyond their reach?  What is wrong with the clover or rye that is out in the middle of the field?  Nothing!  They are just following the old adage that "the grass is greener on the other side of the fence."  Mankind is just as guilty of following this old adage as the animals.  If we see a neighbor with a Cadillac, we want a Mercedes Benz.  If they have a three bedroom house, we want one with four bedrooms.  Man is never completely satisfied with his lot in life.

   It is my observation that the same practice applies in the spiritual realm.  I remember years ago when we received a pin for perfect attendance in Sunday school.  We tended to measure our level of spirituality by the number of pins we could collect.  In church circles today we have a tendency to measure spiritual growth by the number on our membership roll.  If a neighboring church has a large choir and shiny robes we want a larger and fancier choir.  Why do we think God is impressed with bigness?  God never asked us to become large or fancy.  He is more interested in humility than pride.

   How can man ever be satisfied?  There's only one way and that's through faith in the finished work of God's son, Jesus Christ.  That's why he came to pay the price for our redemption.

Thought for the Day: God is satisfied with his Son, Jesus Christ -- we should be too.  



Thursday, July 28, 2011

Moving Frenzy

In the days when the judges ruled in Israel, a man from Bethlehem in Judah left the country because of a severe famine.  He took his wife and two sons and went to live in the country of Moab.  (Ruth 1:1 NLT)

   Pack up, we're moving!  Eighteen times in the last fifty-nine years my wife has heard those words.  Each time decisions had to be made.  What do we pack?  What do we leave behind?  Moving is always a frenzy and is just as difficult today as it was in the days of Ruth and Naomi.

   Naomi along with her husband, Elimelech and their two sons left Bethlehem in Judah because of a famine and moved to Moab.  What a difficult decision to leave your place of birth, and move to a foreign land where they worshiped gods of wood and stone.

   When you move, something must be sacrificed and left behind.  What must you abandon in order to worship the one true God?  False beliefs, and practices of the past?  A relationship that doesn't honor God? Possessions that are weighing you down?  Leaving your comfort zone?  Many other things could be mentioned.

   Worshiping God requires sacrifice.  God honored Ruth's commitment and gave her a place in the lineage of Jesus.  (Matthew 1:5)

Thought for the Day: Consider what God is calling you to leave behind today.  Like Ruth, follow your heart and obey God.  

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Dirty Hands

Aaron and his sons will wash their hands and feet before they go in the tabernacle to appear before the Lord and before they approach the altar to burn offerings to the Lord.  (Exodus 30:19)

      I heard my mother say, "Robert go wash your hands before you come to the table."  Does this ring a bell with any of you?

     I have heard friends say to me, "I can't go to church with you until I clean up my life."  What a feeble excuse! Once a person I was witnessing to said, "God can't save me because I've been too bad and done too many sinful things."  Such individuals don't realize they are prime candidates for the grace of God.  If truth be told, you can't do anything to clean up your act.  God never excepts human efforts for salvation.  We must come to God first, acknowledge out utter helplessness, and allow him to do the cleansing. (Titus 3:5)

   What thought pattern, habit, or activity is causing you to feel you are too dirty to enter God's presence?  Using a pencil make a list of several habits, thoughts, or actions that you know will no meet God's approval.  Ask God for his forgiveness for each one and erase them from your list.  God cleanses through the precious blood of his son, Jesus Christ.

Thought for the Day: God's ability to cleanse is always available to meet your needs.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Developing a Plan

We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.  (Proverbs 16:9)

   A future date to remember.  A savings goal,  A vacation trip.  A reservation request.  A sightseeing guide.  A brochure.  An anniversary celebration.  A walk on the beach.

    What similarities exist between all these fragment statements?  Answer: They represent a need for a plan.  Everyone needs to develop plans.

   We need a household plan.  I don't know where I'd be without a monthly budget.  I save a lot of time and money by following a designated plan.

   Businesses need to develop short and long range plans.  Calculations for future growth must be followed by plans for meeting the goal.  Inventory increases and additional machinery must be carefully calculated.  The need for a greater labor force and cash flow must be foreseen.  Most business will not survive without careful planning.

   Planning is vital in the work of the ministry.  Churches develop annual budgets based upon past performances and projected future growth.  The need for additional parking or people space must be taken into consideration.

   God is a super planner.  In eternity past, he devised a plan to rescue fallen humanity.  He sent his son to earth as a babe in a manger to execute his plan.  Man's redemption was purchased by sacrificing his perfect son on the cross of Calvary.  My advice is -- be a planner, but let God determine your steps.

Thought for the Day: God's plan of redemption can be followed from Genesis to Revelation.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Desirable to God

And hearing this, Jesus said to them, "It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."  (Mark 2:17 NASV)

   When I was a young boy, we had several wren bird houses.  I loved to watch the little birds make their nest in the springtime.  The song birds would sing and chirp a lovely tune.  I threw out bread crumbs and seeds for them.  I hated it when the big old blackbirds and starlings came to steal their food.  I yelled and chased them away, but they'd always come back.

   This incident reminds me of the people who followed Jesus.  Not all of them were interested in his message.  In fact, the larger percentage only wanted a free meal or healing.  Not once did Jesus turn anyone away.

   These passages teach me that I should consider all people as desirable to God.  No one should be left out.  No one ignored.  No person too poor or too rich.  He is willing and able to save to the uttermost all who come to him by faith.  Including you!

Thought for the Day: The undesirable become desirable when they meet Jesus Christ.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Standing your Ground

But Moses told the people, "Don't be afraid.  Just stand where you are and watch the Lord rescue you...the Lord himself will fight for you.  You won't have to lift a finger in your defense.  Exo. 14:13-14

   A growling dog with teeth barred is charging.  What should you do?  Your mind says, stand still, but your emotions tell you to get away.  Standing your ground in the face of threatening circumstances may be the hardest thing you're ever called upon to do.

   The children of Israel faced such a situation when they came to the Red Sea.  The ground was shaking with the rumble of the many Egyptian chariots closing in upon them.  They turned in terror to Moses and he said, "Do not fear!  Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord..."  I'm sure they thought, Are you serious, Moses?  We're about to be overtaken and you want us to stand here and do nothing.

   What would you have thought?  How would you have responded?  The growling dog is getting closer.  Can't wait much longer.  It is now or never.

   When you face threatening situations are you willing to stand still and trust the Lord?  When the pay check doesn't come.  When you child is sick.  When you are misunderstand and falsely accused.  When life isn't fair do you reach out by faith and trust the Lord to come to your defense?

   The Psalmist said, "But you, O Lord, are a shield to me, my glory, and the one who lifts my head high."  (Psalm 3:3)  Stand fast and trust the one who is already fighting for you.

Thought for the Day: God is the best offensive and defensive player on the team of life.  

Friday, July 22, 2011

What is your Legacy?

And I heard a voice from heaven saying, "Write this down: Blessed are those who die in the Lord from now on.  Yes, says the Spirit, they are blessed indeed, for they will rest from their hard work; for their good deeds follow them!"  (Revelation 14:13 NLT)

   I glanced over at Emma sitting in her special chair, seeing her ready smile, listening to her quick wit and thought, now there's an example of a life lived fully for the Lord.

   At age 99, Emma spends each Tuesday at Child Evangelism's discipleship center grading Bible correspondence lessons from children around the world.  If you are downcast, discouraged, or feeling blue, talk to Emma.  She has a radiant smile and lively spirit that will make your frown disappear.  Her humorous stories (at 99 she has plenty) will keep you in stitches with laughter.  Emma's presence brings a much needed radiance into our world of sadness and gloom.  I have no doubt that her good deeds will follow her from here to eternity.

   Old Testament believers like Abraham, Moses, David, Elijah, and Daniel left us legacies of faith and obedience.  Their labors for Jehovah still inspire people today to give their lives in service to the King of Kings.

   The testimony that you live today will follow you even after you leave this earthly life.  Will it inspire others, or will it cause those who hear it to turn away from following the Savior?  We have only one life to live -- live it in obedience to the Lord and "your good deeds will follow you even after death."  (Revelation 14:13)

Thought for the Day: Good deeds of kindness are an extension of the love of God.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Deadly Weapon

I said, "I will guard my ways that I may not sin with my tongue; I will guard my mouth as with a muzzle..."  Psalm 39:1 NASV

   One of the most potent members of the human body is the tongue.  James warns us by saying, "But no one can tame the tongue.  It is an uncontrollable evil, full of deadly poison." (James 3:8 NLT).

   We use bits to control horses and tiny rudders to turn ships, but we can't seem to muzzle the tongue.  The tongue can ruin a person's reputation, destroy family relationships, break up marriages, and turn away friends.  If left alone, it will eventually destroy the body to which it belongs.

   A good general rule for all of us to follow is to think carefully before speaking.  We should preview our words before saying them.  Are they caustic or gentle?  Will they build up or tear down?  We need to develop the art of listening, and offer encouraging words to the person in need.

Thought for the Day: God created the tongue to bring glory to His name.


Saturday, July 2, 2011

A Dead Dog Like Me

Mephibosheth fell to the ground before the King.  "Should the king show such kindness to a dead dog like me?"  He exclaimed.  (2 Samuel 9:8)

   The term dead dog is an expression of deep self-abasement.  Goliath asks David, "Am I a Dog? (1 Samuel 17:43) and David describes himself as a "dead dog." (1 Samuel 24:14)  By doing so he is suggesting that King Saul needn't pay so much attention to him.

   A disobedient son, an adulterous wife, a rebellious people group.  God's mercy extends to all types of people.  No person is so good that he doesn't need mercy, and no one is so bad that God's mercy can't reach him.

   God shows his mercy to you by seeking you out and drawing you into his arms of love.  He provides for you, his child.  Are you prepared to extend mercy to someone within your sphere of influence today?  Is there someone whom you can reach with the love of Christ?   Perhaps someone who wronged you needs forgiveness.  Search your heart, find that someone who needs a good does of God's mercy -- and extend it to them.

Thought for the Day: God's mercy is available to all who seek him, and even to those who aren't seeking him.


Friday, July 1, 2011

Dancing with the Stars

I will rebuild you, my virgin Israel.  You will again be happy and dance merrily with tambourines.  They will come home and sing songs of joy on the heights of Jerusalem.  The young women will dance for joy, and the men -- old and young -- will join in the celebration.  I, the Lord, have spoken!  (Jer. 31:4,l1,13)

   Israel shall return!  Once again dancing and singing will be heard in the land.  No ballroom dancing here.  This dancing is a spiritual celebration -- peace is come to Jerusalem.

   Jesus' death and resurrection guarantees the believer's future destiny in heaven where sickness, death, tears, and sorrow will be vanquished.  In that day he will present us to his Father perfect and complete.

   Whatever your plight today, stay focused on Jesus and gain God's eternal perspective.  Join in the celebration and get ready to dance with the stars.

Thought for the Day: God enjoys music, singing, and dancing.  He has his own heavenly choir.