Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hurry Up and Wait

Wait patiently for the Lord.  Be brave and courageous.  Yes, wait patiently for the Lord. (Psalm 27:14)

   One thing I learned during my enlistment in the U.S. Navy is the truth behind the off repeated statement -- hurry up and wait.  We'd line up and march a quick step down to the mess hall only to have to wait what seemed like forever to eat.  Upon graduation we had to stand at attention on the parade ground for an hour waiting for our review.

   Waiting is tough, especially when it comes to the big issues like waiting in an emergency room, waiting to hear the outcome of a job interview, or waiting for an answer to an urgent prayer.

   God doesn't always answer our prayers when we think he should or in the way we desire, but he always answers.  Our part is to trust him when the answer is delayed.

   Have you been praying about an important issue and found God silent?  How did you respond?  Did you do like David, "I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry."  (Psalm 40:1 NLT).  

Monday, August 29, 2011

Modeling Kindness

Since God chose you to be the holy people whom he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  (Colossians 3:12 NLT)

   Jesus was our perfect model of kindness.  All through his earthly ministry (as he spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well, healed the woman with the issue of blood, raised Jarius' daughter, and defended the adulterous woman) God was expressing his grace through these deliberate acts of kindness shown by Jesus.

   My mother was a lady who loved to show kindness.  I still remember her taking food to sick neighbors and feeding the hungry who came to our door.  It seemed every stray animal knew a morsel was waiting for them on our back porch.  No one was ever turned away.  We kids learned from watching our mother's example how God blesses those who are willing to give a helping hand to others in need.

   One of the special gifts given to believers by the Holy Spirit is the gift of "helps."  We are never too young or too old to share Jesus' kindness to those around us.  

Thought for the Day: Jesus modeled kindness so that we might go our and duplicate his actions.

Friday, August 26, 2011

God Came Down

I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians.  (Exodus 3:8)

   During my morning Bible reading I came across the incident of Moses and the burning bush in Exodus, Chapter 3.  God was aware of the plight of the Israelites so he told Moses that he was coming down to deliver them from bondage.

    Thousands of years later, people were still in bondage and once again God came down in the form of a babe in a Bethlehem manger to deliver them from the bondage of sin.  I was struck by the faithfulness of God in remembering his people and by his willingness to provide deliverance.  I see no worthiness in my life that would prompt him to demonstrate such love and grace.

   Let us come to the Lord with thanksgiving and praise for his eternal love and grace.

Thought for the Day: God is still coming down today to rescue us from the dregs of sin.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

God's Vineyard

Jesus said, "I am the true vine, and my father is the gardener."  (John 15:1)

   We are part of God's vineyard.  When we hurt, he embraces us with his love.  No matter how wounded, distraught, or broken we may be, he has grace enough to fix our problems.  He forgives our failures and strengthens our resolve.  He patiently teaches us his ways.  He fills our cup to overflowing with goodness and mercy.  He never slumbers or sleeps.  When we grow faint, he gives us strength.  When we stumble and fall, he lifts us up.  When we disappoint him, he understands.  When we seek his guidance, he sends his Holy Spirit as our guide.  When working for the kingdom, he hedges us about with his protection.  Nothing takes place in our lives that he doesn't allow.

   Isn't he a gardener we can trust?

Thought for the Day: The gardener makes a vineyard productive.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Friends Forever

Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.  (John 15:13)

   How would you define a friend?  A friend is someone who loves me unconditionally in spite of my many faults and seeks to draw me closer to God.

   The paralyzed man in Mark 2 was a fortunate man indeed.  He had four such friends who looked after his every need 24/7.  They were men of great faith.  They made a commitment to take the man to see Jesus.  In the process they tore open a hole in a man's roof to lower the crippled man in front of Jesus.  Jesus publicly recognized their faith and healed the man.  He said, "Take up your mat and go home."

   Wow!  Do you have any friends like that?  I know one such friend who said to me, "I will never leave you or forsake you."  His name is Jesus.  I can count on Jesus to come to my aid when a need arises.  His phone line is never out of order or too busy to hear my call.  I have never gotten a busy signal when I dialed.  He never puts me on hold.  I can even understand him when he speaks to me.  He speaks my heart language.

   Do you know Jesus as your personal Savior?  Is he your friend too?  All it take to make him your friend is repentance and faith.  Once that is accomplished you can dial his phone number anytime day or night.

   Have you dialed him lately?  If not, here is his phone number.  ISA 65:24.  Why not give him a ring right now?

Thought for the Day: Jesus wants to be your friend -- will you let him come into your life today?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Following Your Star

I, Jesus sent my angel to give you this message for the churches.  I am both the source of David and the heir to his throne.  I am the bright morning star.  (Revelation 22:16 NLT)

   Everyone follows some kind of star.  Your star may be the glitter and glamor of Hollywood, or perhaps a career in the business world, sports arena, medical field, radio, television, or some other dream vocation.  It is perfectly normal for all of us to have worthy aspirations.  The question is: What constitutes worthy?  

   The shepherds considered it worthy to leave their flocks and go see the newborn baby in Bethlehem.  The wise men followed a star to lay gifts at the feet of the King of the Jews.  The Apostle Paul thought it worthy to endure chains and death to reach the Roman empire with the gospel.

   What star are you following?  What worthy cause re you striving for?  The most valuable and worthy gift you can give to Jesus is --- YOU!  This is his aspiration and dream -- to love you and have you love him in return.  Why not hitch your life to THE STAR?

Thought for the Day: God's day star is shining just as brightly as in the beginning of time.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Follow the Leader

Then Jesus said to his disciples, If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.  (Matthew 16:24)

   When I was a young boy, the neighborhood kids enjoyed playing the game of follow-the-leader.  Different ones took turns being the leader, and we walked, crawled, and climbed over all kinds of obstacles.  It took a lot of effort to keep up with the leader and duplicate his movements.

   You will find a lot of follow-the-leader stories in the Bible.  God uses people as leaders, but other devices are used as well.  A pillar of fire by night and a cloud by day led the people of Israel in the wilderness.  Balaam's donkey led him on a merry chase.  A fiery furnace led Nebuchadnezzar to acknowledge God.  A star led the wise men to the newborn baby Jesus.  Greed led Judas to betray his Savior, while fer led Peter to deny the Lord.

   One thing stands out in all these follow-the-leader examples.  God was in control.  He is the master leaders and directs events to fulfill his own will and purpose.

    Are you a leader or a follower?  God can use you in either role.  Begin with small venture and watch God multiply your outreach.  God to him for direction and counsel.  Seek his will,  Remember: "You can't walk on the water if you don't get out of the boat."

Thought for the Day: Jesus is the perfect leader to follow.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Letting our Light Shine

In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly father.  (Matthew 5:16)

   The Olympic torch is a symbol of freedom and is carried around the world before the games begin.  It originates in Athens and circumvents the globe to reach the stadium where the games take place.

   Similarly, the Christian is expected to let the light of the Gospel shine for all to see.  How easy it is to allow the flame and passion for service to be extinguished.  Financial worries, job related and family stress, overemphasis of personal hobbies -- all can dim our flame.  To keep the flame brightly shinning we need daily inspiration from the word of God.

   I still love to sing the children's chorus -- This little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine, let it shine,m let it shine.  Letting our light shine so all the world can see is the best way to bring glory to our Heavenly Father.

Thought for the Day: God's light is pure and penetrating.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Damaged Goods

But Peter said, Man, I don't know what you are talking about."  And as soon as he said these words, the rooster crowed.  At that moment the Lord turned and looked at Peter.  Then Peter remembered that the Lord had said, Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning , you will deny me three times.  And Peter left the courtyard, crying bitterly. (Luke 22:60-61 NLT)

   Peter blew it.  What he least expected to happen had happened.  He denied his master and Lord.  Now his life was in a shambles.  He ran out of the courtyard devastated and defeated.  What use would his life be now to the Lord?  He was damaged goods.  Would he be cast aside, forgotten, and thrown into the trash heap of uselessness?

   After the resurrection, the Lord sought out Peter personally to offer forgiveness and restoration.  At a breakfast gathering with the disciples Jesus turned to Peter and said, Simon son of John, do you love me more than these/" "Yes, Lord," Peter replied, "you know I love you."  "Then feed my lambs,"  Jesus told him.  (John 21:15)  Why did this conversation take place between the Lord and Peter?  I believe the Lord wanted to assure Peter that he was not damaged goods.  In effect, Jesus was saying to Peter, your failure has not changed anything between us.  You're still part of my family.

   You and I may be considered damaged goods before the world and in our own eyes, but not to the Lord.  Just as he did with Peter, he says to you and me, Feed my lambs.

Thought for the Day: God stands ready to restore and forgive all who come to him in humble repentance and faith.



Saturday, August 13, 2011

A Firm Foundation

For no one can lay any other foundation than the one we already have -- Jesus Christ.  (1 Cor. 3:11)

  The apostles were diligent in establishing a firm foundation for the New Testament church.  They knew the chief cornerstone had to be Jesus Christ or else the foundation would collapse.  Peter quoting from Isaiah 28:16 said, "Behold, I lay in Zion a choice stone, a precious corner stone, and he who believes in him will not be disappointed."

   This reminds me of a past building project.  At age fifty-one, my wife and I built our first house.  We dug footings deep into the Missouri subsoil.  After concrete walls supported with steel rods were poured, we added six inches of rock before pouring the basement floor.  In Missouri, a firm foundation is needed to prevent slippage and sliding when heavy rains turn the clay into liquid mud.

   The same holds true in the Christian life.  If my life is not securely grounded in the Word of God, the temptations of life, the attacks of the evil one, and the pressures of a worldly culture will cause me to fall.  This is why I need to spend time daily in the Bible and prayer.  

Do you have a solid foundation?  Have you made Jesus Christ your chief cornerstone?  Make Jesus the object of your devotion today and every day.

Thought for the Day: A sure foundation stabilizes a man's soul.


Friday, August 12, 2011

Overcoming Fear

So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.  (Matthew 10:31 NASV)

   Outside our living room window are two Hummingbird feeders.  During the spring and summer four or five Hummingbirds come to the feeders.  They are fascinating creatures to watch.  I noticed one in particular that seemed to be a bully.  He would dart at the others, and they would dash away in fear.  He would sit in the branches of a nearby tree, and as soon as the others appeared he would chase them away.

   This reminded me of my early childhood days.  In my neighborhood there were some boys who ran together in a group.  One of the larger boys was what I would describe as the bully of the group.  They made my life miserable.  I feared what they might do to me so I ran away and hid.

   Since then I have learned to trust the Lord for my protection.  When I get into fearful situations, I turn to the words of David in Psalm 27:1, "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the defense of my life; whom shall I dread?"  Why should I be afraid when I have Jesus as Savior and Lord of my life?

   God is your protector.  He is willing and able to fight your battles for you.  All you have to do is take every burden and every fear and give it to the Lord.  Peter said, "Cast all your care upon him, for he careth for you."  1 Peter 5:7). 

Thought for the Day: Trusting in the Lord casts out fear.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Love for Special Needs Kids

But Jesus said, Let the children come to me.  Don't stop them!  For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.  And he put his hands on their heads and blessed them before he left.  (Matthew 19:14-15)

  Nineteen years ago my grandson was born.  Everything seemed fine at first.  It wasn't long before my daughter sensed something amiss.  Jonathan couldn't grasp things like normal children.  He couldn't chew food in the normal way.  Worst of all he wasn't talking.  Numerous tests were taken, and a genetic defect discovered.  It was unlikely he would grow normally like other children.  

  What a shock to his parents when they realized that they'd never hear him say "daddy" or "mommy."  How would he be treated by children his age?  Educational officials wanted to label him as retarded.  He was rejected by the local school district and had to attend a special school miles from home.

  Jesus has a special love for children with special needs.  He invited children to come to him.  The invitation included the handicapped, the rejected, the lonely, the crippled, the blind, and especially the outcasts.  He touched the eyes of the blind and they could see.  He lifted up the lame and they walked.  Think of the power of a godly touch.

   You can give someone a godly touch today.  Make a list of people in need and send an encouraging note or  dial their phone number and reach out to them with a godly touch.

Thought for the Day: God is busy touching the lives of those with special needs.  

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


His sons-in-law thought he was ridiculing them.  (Genesis 19:14)

   Facing tragedy is one of the greatest challenges any human being has to endure.  Some people respond favorably and rise above the tragedy, while others succumb and fall into bitter resentment.  When Jesus died his disciples cowered behind closed doors.  The two men on the Emmaus road walked home confused.  Peter wept.  Judas hanged himself.  Thomas doubted.  The disciples walked with Jesus for three years, ate and slept with him nightly, and had the advantage of personal instruction from the master.  Still they faltered in their faith.  It wasn't until after the Day of Pentecost that they understood all that Jesus had told them.

   Have you ever had to face the loss of a father?  My father passed into eternity at the young age of forty-nine.  I remember being devastated, confused, fearful of the future.  Perhaps you have faced a similar situation just as tragic.  How can you deal with a fatherless situation?  I know from experience that without a personal relationship with Jesus Christ it would be most difficult if not impossible to achieve the assurance and security that is needed.  Jesus is the one person who is able to take you in his arms and provide the comfort and love so sorely missed.  Won't you turn to him?

Thought for the Day: Walk every day with your family as though it were your last.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Fall Foliage

Yet God has made everything beautiful in its own time.  He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God's work from beginning to end.  (Eccl. 3:11 NLT)

   This verse indicates that God has placed his eternal beauty within us, and it is our responsibility to let others see that beauty in our appearance and actions.  I am assured in Philippians 1:6 that God will complete his work in us through Jesus Christ.

   The writer of James advises, "If you are wise and understand God's ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom." (James 3:13 NLT)

   Just as the fall foliage reveals the beauty of God's creative work in nature, so also should my life show forth the inward beauty of God's grace through Jesus Christ the Lord.

Thought for the Day: God has planted within us a greater beauty that nature -- his Son Jesus Christ.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Faith Choices

But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will for me and my family, we will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:15 NLT)

   You are running for your life when you suddenly come to a crossroads!  Decision time -- which path will you choose?  You can't follow both.  One offers a clear way, while the other appears to have twists and turns.  Will you take the easy way, or the one that appears twisted?

   Saul faced a faith choice on his way to Damascus.  A blinding light struck him down, and a voice said, "Saul, Saul!  Why are you persecuting me?"  "Who are you, Lord?"  The voice replied, "I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting."  Wow!  Paul was faced with a life changing decision.

   You and I face similar daily decisions.  We may be tempted to call in sick at work or to make an excuse for missing the weekly prayer meeting.  To worship God with a pure conscience we must strive to make "faith choices."

Make a list of various tasks facing you today.  Now, decide what kind of faith choices you can make to accomplish them.

Thought for the Day: Faith choices should take into consideration what God wants you to do.  

Friday, August 5, 2011

Failure is Inevitable

For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust.  (Psalm 103:14 NLT)

   Failure is commonplace in the Scriptures. Who has not read of the failure of our forefathers Adam and Eve, Abraham, Lot, Noah, Moses, Saul, David, Solomon and a host of others?  Failure is inevitable!  We all fail at one time or another.  No one is left out.

   How does God look upon failure?  Did he discard David when he sinned with Bathsheba?  Was Moses rejected when he disobeyed and struck the rock?  Were the disciples set aside when they failed to watch and pray?  Was Thomas banned when he doubted?  Where would we be today if the Lord had not restored Peter, or forgiven Saul for his persecution and murdering of Christians?

   We all fail, but that failure can be turned  into victory by trusting Christ to forgive the sin and establish our relationship with him.  The most important thing to remember is God understands and forgives.

Thought for the Day: Failure in eyes of God is merely a stepping stone to a successful future.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Living Water

Jesus replied, If you only knew the gift God has for you and who I am, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.  (John 4:10 NLT)

   Food and water are the two basic needs of life.  Man can exist for many days without food, but only a short time without water.

   A number of humanitarian organizations are working worldwide to provide clean water systems for people in desperate need.  In many locations, the same water is used for sanitarian purposes, washing clothes, bathing and drinking.  Clean water projects teach the people how to take the undrinkable water and make it drinkable.

   Life giving water is also needed to establish a relationship with God.  Jesus offered this life saving water to a woman at the well outside Sychar.  After some debate, the Samaritan woman accepted the life saving water that Jesus offered and went into town to bear witness of her new found faith.

   Souls are longing for thirst quenching water.  You and I have in our hands that life giving water -- the word of God.  We can either hoard it for ourselves, or we can share it with others.  Will you be willing to hand out a cup of that everlasting water to someone you meet today?  

Thought for the Day: God has provided through Jesus Christ the water that can purify the soul and make it clean.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Enduring the Shame

Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame.  (Hebrews 2:2)

   The bystanders gaped as Jesus faced the shame of sin.  Not his mind you, but yours and mine.  The shame of the cross must have been a humiliating experience.  His mother before him looking on his nakedness made it even worse.  They hung him between two thieves, and a murderer was set free on his account.  What a shameful experience!

   How was Jesus able to disregard such disgrace?  The answer to this question may be the source God wants to use to help you assuage your fears.  The only way we can endure our shame is to focus where Jesus focused:  "because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame"  (Hebrews 12:2).  Jesus focused on the prize set before him.  You and I are the prizes that Jesus died for.  He purchased our redemption; therefore, all who believe in him are legally his.

   As redemptive prizes we can now sing, "Now I belong to Jesus and Jesus belongs to me."  What a heavenly chorale those words make!  Why not sing it along with me as the day unfolds?

Thoughts for the Day: Shame is the consequence for yielding to temptation.



Tuesday, August 2, 2011

God, do you love me?

I have loved you even as the Father has loved me.  Remain in my love.  (John 15:9)

   Have you even questioned God's love?  Maybe you have lost a loved one, a close friend, at wife or husband, and your heart cries out, "God, where is your love?"  or "Where were you when I needed you?"

   We all ask those questions from time to time.  Be assured that God is not taken by surprise when those types of feelings are expressed.  He is used to the "why" questions.  Job asked them over and over for thirty chapters, and then in chapters 38 to 41 God answers Job.  Job is forced to "put his hand over his mouth in silence."

   Everyone needs the assurance that God loves them.  If you are tempted to ask, "Do you love me?" remember that God's love never fails. (1 Cor. 13:8)

Thought for the Day: There is never a single instant when God doesn't love us.

Monday, August 1, 2011


But Martha was distracted with much serving.  (Luke 10:40)

   We see an interesting contrast between the two sisters, Mary and Martha, during Jesus' visit to their home.  Mary's focus was upon the person of the Lord while Martha was scurrying about preparing a meal.   When Martha complained to Jesus about Mary's lack of help Jesus said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are concerned with doing, but Mary has chosen the more important task of being." (Luke 10:41-42).  

   We face daily choices involving devotion or service.  Spending time with the Lord enhances my relationship with Him and allows time to pause and listen.  Just as Martha needed to learn to focus upon Jesus, so believers today need to learn that service is an extension of devotion to Christ.

Thought for the Day: Worship involves body, soul, and mind focusing solely ;upon God as Savior.