Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Godly Influence

The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother, Simon, and tell him, we have found the Messiah (which means the Christ).  John 1:41

   Isn't it amazing how twelve ordinary men with no formal educational training or particular speaking skills could change the world through their godly influence?

   Andrew, little spoken of in the gospels, used his influence to introduce his brother, Simon, to the Messiah.  It was the same Andrew who brought the little lad with five loaves and two small fish to Jesus.  Andrew's influence paved the way for the ultimate preaching of Peter on the day of Pentecost when 3,000 believed and were baptized.

   Little do we realize the effect we have on those around us.  Think about the tremendous potential for changing the course of world history through the influence of a godly believer.

   Are you prepared to be an influence for good?  Others are watching!  What will they hear coming from your lips?  What will they see as they watch your actions?  Will your influence be that of an Andrew, a Philip, a Simon Peter, or a modern Christian writer?

Thought for the Day: God is looking for godly people to mold today's society.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Uplifted Hands

Then Solomon stood with his hands lifted toward heaven before the altar of the Lord in front of the entire community of Israel.  (1 Kings 8:22 NLT)

   For many years I felt inhibited and uptight when I saw people with uplifted hands during worship and praise time.  I confess that more than once i acted judgmentally toward the participants.  But my attitude slowly changed as the Holy Spirit broke through my legalistic tendencies and showed me God's grace.

   As I continued to study God's word, I came to the realization that uplifted hands during times of dedication, worship, and praise was a common practice in the lives of Old Testament saints.

   King David understood that to worship God is to seek an intimate encounter with Him.  What better way to show that intimacy than to lift his hands heavenward as if reaching out for God.  David said, I will honor you as long as I live lifting up my hands to you in prayer. (Psalm 63:4 NLT)

   Lifting our hands signifies complete surrender -- recognizing God's sovereignty over us.  We also reach out with uplifted hands to implore another person to help, to make supplication, and to offer a blessing to God.

   Are you willing to extend your hand to God and say, "You're all I need today."

Thought for the Day: Uplifted hands express our inner being to God.


Friday, September 16, 2011

The Finish Line

But my life is worth nothing unless I use it for doing the work assigned to me by the Lord Jesus -- the work of telling others the good news about God's wonderful kindness and love. (Acts 20:24 NLT)

   It takes determination, dedication, and commitment to run a marathon.  The runner has one goal in mind -- the finish line.  In a hundred yard dash, one quick glance back at an opponent can mean the difference between first and fourth place.  This is why coaches and trainers emphasize over and over -- keep your eye on the tape at the finish line.  Only one person can win the gold medal -- the victor.

   The key to success in winning the race of life is commitment.  What is your level of commitment?  Are you prepared for a marathon?  If you have not already done so, begin your training by committing each day to the Lord. Ask Jesus to give you the desire and abilities to follow in his steps.  Make a commitment to be a winner.

Thought for the Day: God's finish line ends at heaven's pearly gates.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

God Delights in You

For the Lord your God is living among you.  He is a mighty savior.  He will take delight in you with gladness.  With his love, he will calm all your fears.  He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.  (Zephaniah 3:17 NLT). 

   For many years I was led to believe that my performance merited the love and approval of God.  It wasn't until I read the book He Loves Me by Wayne Jacobson that I realized there wasn't anything good I could do to cause God to love me more, or anything bad that would make him love me less.  God loves me not because of who I am or what I do, but rather because of who he is and what he has done.

   God loves you and me with an everlasting, unconditional agape love.  It can't be earned.  No amount of money can buy it.  It won't be found in any store.  It can't be ordered online or through a catalog.  Sacrifices and offerings won't obtain it.  Being good won't get it.  Serving God night and day doesn't meet the criteria.  It is freely given by the grace of God. (Ephesians 2:8,9)

   How do you receive such matchless love?  By simply coming to Jesus with your sin and inviting him to come   into your heart by faith.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Our Security Blanket

The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. (2 Samuel 22:1 NLT)

   How many of you remember Linus van Pelt who appeared in the comic strip Peanuts?  Linus was pictures carrying his "security blanket" and sucking his thumb.  Lucy and Snoopy tried different tricks to rid Linus of his security blanket, but all of them failed.

   As adults, we too cling to our security blankets involving relationships;, job titles, status symbols, country club memberships, fancy houses, and expensive cars.  Whatever our security blankets we depend upon, the truth is that none of these things offer permanent security.  They can be broken, stolen, lost, or ruined, and subject to failure.

   Our security blanket rests solely upon our relationship with Jesus Christ who is our Savior and our God.
How about you?  Have you claimed Jesus Christ as your security blanket?  Do you turn to him in time of distress and need?

Thought for the Day: Jesus is the "rock" that I want to stand on.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Hitting the "Mute" Button

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

   Life is jam-packed with busyness.  People rushing out of subways, trains, street cars, and buses to get somewhere ahead of everyone else is maddening.  The rush hour traffic in large cities like New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Miami is enough to try any man's patience.

   Everyone seems to have their plates so full of activities and busyness that they don't have time to relax in the Lord.  Allowing ourselves to get caught up in the speed and noise driven culture hinders our desire to spend time with the Lord.  What can we do to offset this busyness and enjoy our relationship with God?

   Instead of frantically changing lanes or rushing from the subway to the office, get in the slow lane and whisper a prayer to the Lord.  Better yet when you are watching television push the "mute" button and close your eyes for a bit of respite from all the noise and clamor.

Thought for the Day: God rested on the seventh day to provide an example for us.  

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Beware of Woodpeckers

These people are grumblers and complainers, doing whatever evil they feel like.  (Jude 1:16a)

   Woodpeckers can be pesky little creatures.  The holes in the Noah"s ark picture remind me of the children of Israel pecking away at Moses in the wilderness.  Time after time Moses heard the Israelites complain, "Why did you make us leave Egypt and bring us to this terrible place?  (Numbers 20:4 NLT).  

   How can you and I avoid being classified as woodpeckers?  First, practice the principles laid down by the Apostle Paul in Colossians 3:12-13 where he instructed them to show tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience."  Second, let your speech be gracious and non-judgmental.  Third, don't listen to critics and resist being one.  Fourth, exercise restraint and don't allow yourself to become a woodpecker.

   Surely Noah must have been thinking, this woodpecker has got to go.   

Friday, September 2, 2011

Cling to the Rock

No one is holy like the LORD!  There is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God. 1 Samuel 2:2

   Tormented!  Mocked and ridiculed!  These were just a few of the unkind, sarcastic remarks that Hannah had to endure from the lips of her husband's other wife, Peninnah.  Peninnah felt no sympathy and gave no slack in her persistent harassment of Hannah.

   Hannah poured out her heart to God and prayed for a son.  She promised to dedicate him to God and He answered her prayer.  Her son Samuel became a judge and prophet in Israel.

   As a child, I knew what it meant to be shunned, made fun of, harassed by bigger kids, and left out of games and activities.  It wasn't until ten years later that I came to know Jesus as my personal Savior.  How thankful I am that God never gives up in his pursuit of sinners.

   Are you lonely, depressed, fearful, uncertain -- take it all to Jesus.  Like Hannah, pour out your heart to God.  He will listen and answer according to his will.

Thought for the Day: God is waiting for you to call upon him.