Three Valuable Gifts from Heaven – August 28, 2017
Writing or receiving a good letter has become one of the valuable victims of the electronic age of email, texting, tweets, selfies and selfish posts. How refreshing to read Apostle Paul’s end-of-life letter in which he greets his spiritual son Timothy with “Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord” (2 Timothy 1:2)! Chuck Swindoll remarks: “Grace is God’s gift to the worthless; mercy is God’s ministry to the helpless; peace is God’s love to the restless.” Let’s pray God’s grace, mercy, and peace over every crushed heart, especially the disaster-stricken people of Texas, Sierra Leone, and other troubled spots of our world.
Racism and The Theory of Evolution – August 25, 2017
Real belief in the concept of one human race is not compatible with the Theory of Evolution, which invented the idea of “different races”, whereby some ethnic groups have evolved higher and are more advanced than others. Evolution carries the seed of racism that yields the fruit of racial discrimination. By contrast, we Creationists can speak of “one human race” with a straight face. We can honestly ask, “Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us?” (Malachi 2:10), and our answer, based on the biblical God of creation, is a resounding “Yes! We all have one Father; one God has indeed created us!”
Becoming a Good Manager of Failure or Success – August 24, 2017
“Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but evaluate yourself with an honest scale” (Romans 12:3, paraphrase). On the achievement curve our outcomes can lead to one of two extremes. We can suffer a broken heart when we fail; this is discouragement. Or we can develop a big head when we succeed; this is pride. Grantland Rice said, “Failure isn’t so bad if it doesn’t attack the heart. Success is all right if it doesn’t go to the head.” Humility is the balanced response: see failure as an experience to learn and grow from; treat success as a blessing to be appreciative and thankful for.
Words of Death or Words of Life – August 23, 2017
“Good morning” with a smile can brighten the outlook of someone’s day, but one negative comment can derail it. The Bible says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21). We can speak words that bash, blast, bleep, belittle and beat up — words of death. Or we can speak words that bless, boost and build up — words of life. “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them” (Ephesians 4:29). LORD, guide me to speak (or write) life over myself and into others today.
Lesson from Watching the Big Eclipse – August 22, 2017
After all the hype and hoopla about the 2017 Great American Eclipse of the Century, the reality is just how brief the whole thing really was. For the few areas that saw a total eclipse, the complete blackout of the sun by the moon lasted less than 3 minutes. The experience was even less satisfying for us who saw a partial eclipse. Most of us were left asking, “That’s it?” But isn’t that the problem with much of the pleasures of this life? They are so momentary, and they leave their chasers wanting more. Seconds after the big eclipse people were already yearning for the one that’s coming in 2024. That’s why true believers in Jesus Christ “…do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are TEMPORARY, but the things which are not seen are ETERNAL” (2 Corinthians 4:18).
Eclipse of Sun or Moon: The Creator’s Show in the Sky – August 21, 2017
The solar eclipse of 2017 is one way the creation of God puts on a show not only to entertain humans but to also teach us about the wonderful intelligence, power and glory of our Creator. We read in Psalms 19:1, “The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display His handiwork” (Psalms 19:1). God predates astronomers in forecasting celestial phenomena like a solar eclipse or a lunar eclipse. Joel 3:15 reads, “The sun and moon will grow dark, and the stars will no longer shine” (Joel 3:15). Enjoy the show and adore the Producer.
The Ultimate Melting Pot…Yet to Come – August 19-20, 2017
In many ways America has progressed as “a melting pot” of humankind’s primary colors of blacks, browns and whites. But even after two terms of the nation’s first black president, America is asking, “Are we there yet?” Sadly, the obvious answer is, “No, not yet!” Thankfully, God has plans to forever unite blacks, browns and whites as one human race. Apostle John saw “a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands” (Revelation 7:9). That’s Heaven’s United Nations standing as one human race, worshiping the Creator and Savior! Do it, LORD!!
Judgement Day and Treatment of People – August 18, 2017
God has authorized Jesus Christ to be the Judge of the human race (John 5:22; Acts 27:31). By what standard do you think Christ will evaluate people on Judgment Day? How we treat people, but not based on how we treat “important people.” The Lord’s yardstick is, “…inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me” (Matthew 25:40). Pastor John Gray said, “Nothing reveals character more than how you treat people you don’t think you need.” LORD, teach me how to treat little people like VIPs; may serving “the least of these” be a highlight of my day.
What It Means to Bless God – August 17, 2017
The pathway of blessing between God and man is a two-way street: People who are blessed by God are to bless God in return. When GOD BLESSES US, He empowers us to succeed, or He abundantly supplies us with resources. When WE BLESS GOD, we honor Him with lavish thanksgiving, praise and worship. In 1 Chronicles 29:20, David told the people, “Now bless the LORD your God. So all the assembly blessed the LORD…and bowed their heads and prostrated themselves before the LORD…” LORD, You have blessed me over and over; prompt me to bless You more and more.
How My Life Changed in Junior High School – August 16, 2017
Knowing the true God through faith in Jesus Christ is always a life-changing experience. “…if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). At age 18 I turned from sin and trusted in Jesus Christ for new life. God gave me peace, joy, love for all people, and the power to live right. Someone asked George Beverly Shea, “How much do you know about God?” Mr. Shea replied, “I don’t know much, but what I do know has changed my life.”
The Problem with Godless Education – August 15, 2017
God the Creator set up the first classroom in the Garden of Eden when He instructed His student Adam to identify the various species of animals (Genesis 2:19-20a). Unless our education system includes the God factor, we are releasing half-educated graduates who lack the spiritual and moral skill to put knowledge only to good uses. “If we bring up a generation that lacks the wisdom that God can give, they can turn into educated savages and fools” (Billy Graham).
The Real Source of America’s Constitution – August 14, 2017
The founders of America used the Bible as their inspirational guide to write the constitution and set up a government for a free nation. For example, the three branches of government are derived from three functions of God as stated in Isaiah 33:22, “For the LORD is our Judge (judiciary branch), The LORD is our Lawgiver (legislature), The LORD is our King (executive)…” Yet America has officially divorced the very book that birthed it. LORD, may more Americans remember their biblical roots and live by Your Book if this free republic is to continue for long.
Ignorance of Need – August 12-13, 2017
“No man is more pathetic than he who is in great need and is not aware of it,” wrote Billy Graham. That was the problem with the lukewarm Laodicean Church that Jesus Christ rebuked: “Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:17 NKJV). LORD, I am nothing, I have nothing, and I can do nothing without You; I need You…all the time.
Work: Endure It or Enjoy It – August 11, 2017
“Nothing is better for a man than that…his soul should enjoy good in his labor. This also, I saw, was from the hand of God” (King Solomon in Ecclesiastes 2:24). If you are a worker, you do one of five basic lines of work: make something, fix something, clean something, serve someone, or perform a skill. It is possible to do two or more of these. What’s your line of work, and what’s your attitude about your work? LORD, today, let me not ENDURE my work; let me ENJOY my work as a gift from Your hand!
God’s Law and Christ’s Obedience – August 10, 2017
“…by one man’s (Adam’s) disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s (Jesus’) obedience many will be made righteous” (Romans 5:19 NKJV). People try to obey God’s law in order to earn His blessing or escape His punishment. Sometimes they succeed but only for a season; then they find themselves breaking God’s law again. God, by His grace, solves the problem of seasonal obedience by making the obedience of Christ our escape from God’s wrath and our access to His blessing. Thank You, Jesus! I trust in Your perfect obedience which makes me forever righteous; God is pleased with me.
Emotional Seeds of Health and Wellness – August 9, 2017
Positive emotions can be seeds of better health and quality of life. “Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; do not fret— it only causes harm” (Psalms 37:8 NKJV). Billy Graham said, “Many diseases of both body and mind are self-inflicted. For example, ulcers are often caused by worry and anxiety. Heart attacks are caused many times by overexertion. Unjustified worry, fear, prejudice, hatred, and envy can contribute to mental stress, which could lead to mental illness.” LORD, I choose to feel good for good health and a good day.
Disappointment: How to Handle It – August 8, 2017
You have been disappointed and will be disappointed. So, how do you handle disappointment? In 1 Chronicles 17, God shut down David’s plan to build a temple, but instead of getting upset or angry, David responded by being humbly thankful. He prayed, “Who am I, O Yahweh God? And what is my family, that You have brought me this far” (1 Chronicles 17:16)? Try responding like that the next time your plan fails, when things don’t go your way. Then wait on God and watch Him turn your disappointment into a brighter future built on His promise.
No-Shame Suffering – August 7, 2017
“It is no shame to suffer for being a Christian” (1 Peter 4:16). As a child you may have suffered for the choices and actions of others. As you grew up you began to suffer for your own, mistakes, bad choices and actions. You may even suffer for saying and doing the right thing. Perhaps most painful is suffering for who you are, suffering for being someone, not for doing something. When you suffer for your identity, you have no reason to feel ashamed, especially if it is for BEING a follower of Jesus. LORD, encourage Christians who are persecuted solely because they are believers in Christ.
What is an Idol? What is Idolatry? – August 5-6, 2017
The first two of God’s Top Ten forbid idol worship: “You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image…” (Exodus 20:3-4 NKJV). Literally, an idol is the image of a god, goddess, angel, saint, or guru. Figuratively, an idol is any idea, anything, anyone that competes for the place, time, attention or loyalty that God deserves. Any religion that keeps people from worshiping the true God through Christ is idolatry. LORD, l will let no idol of religion, mindset, habit, busyness, convenience, pleasure, or entertainment hijack my commitment and service to You!
Idols Die Hard – August 4, 2017
Some of the most dramatic scenes in the Bible are where people found, rounded up and destroyed idols: Moses grinding the golden calf to dust (Exodus 32:1-21), Gideon tearing down a statute of Baal (Judges 6:22-32), Josiah going on a rampage against all idols, idol worshipers and their places of worship (2 Kings 23:1-20), and new Christians in Ephesus burning their occultic books (Acts 19:11-20). LORD Jesus, let me be so fired up for You that I burn up every idol in my life that comes between You and me.
When Need Becomes Greed – August 3, 2017
Esau’s need for food turned into greed for Jacob’s stew, and he traded his birthright for one meal (Genesis 25:29-34). Esau failed to see that by selling his birthright he also forfeited the blessing that would empower him to exercise his privilege as the firstborn (Genesis 27:30-38). When NEED becomes GREED, we: (1) are blinded to the consequences of our decision for short term gain; (2) wastefully overpay for momentary pleasure; (3) live with regret, as we’re unable to undo the damage (Hebrews 12:16-17). LORD, help me to control myself before I lose my “birthright” and “blessing” over one “bowl of soup”!
How to Satisfy the Soul – August 2, 2017
Often when the body thirsts we give it artificial drinks instead of water, the natural desire of the body. Similarly, when the soul thirsts, we may give it liquor, drug, sex, sports, entertainment or some other form of fleeting pleasure. But these substitutes will never satisfy the soul for long. What the soul hungers for is worship of our Maker, meditation on His words, hearing His voice, feeling His touch. “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God” (Psalms 42:2 NKJV)? Feed your soul living water, God’s presence; you will be filled and deeply satisfied!
Four Things Not to Worry About – August 1, 2017
Jesus tells us “…do not worry about your life…” (Luke 12:22). There are four things the Bible encourages us not to worry about: food, fashion, future, fears. For the first three, see Matthew 6:25-34. On the 4th one, say with David, “I will fear no evil, for You are with me”; “…the LORD… delivered me from all my fears” (Psalms 23:4; 34:4). LORD Jesus, I fully trust in You; I refuse to worry anymore about anything!
Within Faith Reach – July 31, 2017
“Faith is not a distant view, but a warm embrace of Christ”, said John Calvin. Faith bridges the gap between Earth and Heaven and pulls us up to be so close to God that we can talk with Him and walk with Him as we go through life. “For we walk by faith, not by sight” (II Corinthians 5:7). Thank You, LORD, for letting me draw near to You by faith; let me walk ever close to You.
Seeing the Unseen – July 29-30, 2017
“Most of the time we gaze at life and glance at God,” says author Levi Lusko. But to get an eternal view on every situation, Lusko advises that we “glaze at God, and glance at this life.” That’s how Apostle Paul, who suffered repeatedly as a Christian, viewed his troubles: “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18). Focus on the eternal and gain God’s perspective on whatever you’re going through.
Keys to Spiritual Renewal – July 28, 2017
It doesn’t matter how saved, sanctified or spiritual we are, there will be dry and dull seasons in our walk with the Lord. In 2 Kings 23, Josiah’s example shows us what to do when we have strayed from God, dried up, or we just need a spiritual jump start. (1) REVIEW the Covenant — reflect on God’s word and how He redeemed you; verses 1-3. (2) REMOVE all idols — thinking, habits, and things that compete with God’s time and place in your life; verses 4-20,24. (3) RENEW worship from the heart — worship that centers on God’s presence, adores who God is, and celebrates what He has done; verses 21-23,25.
Incarnation: How God Came Near – July 27, 2017
As a boy, Clark Cothern played beside his mother’s desk at the college. He noticed nervous students entering the ‘President’s Office’. Clark felt terror whenever he saw the college president in his 3-piece suit and shiny shoes. One day as Clark played with his toy car, the door swung opened, President Robert Sutherland walked out, got on his knees and asked Clark, “May I have a turn?” The pair played cars like two kids. “Call me Dr. Bob,” the president told Clark; that experience changed the boy. Similarly, God humbled Himself to “play” with us, letting us know that He is “not a distant and terrifying being but a loving Father full of grace and truth” (John 1:14; Doctrine 101 devotion). That’s incarnation – God took on a human body AKA Jesus Christ.
Effective Treatment for Stealing – July 26, 2017
The Bible cure to stealing is work, not jail time. “Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need” (Ephesians 4:28). When society jails a thief, we all lose more by paying to feed and house the thief, who remains unproductive behinds bars, while the result is the same as theft: taking what others work for. In ancient Israel, a thief was made to work and pay back what he stole, plus interest (Exodus 22:1-4). That’s restitution, not incarceration.
Healing is Divine…Every Time – July 25, 2017
Regardless of how healing occurs, God is always the Healer (Exodus 15:26). God heals by miracle and/or by medicine. Yahweh added 15 years to King Hezekiah’s life by healing him from terminal illness, using miracle and medicine in the form of a poultice of figs (2 Kings 20:1-7). Apostle Paul operated in miraculous healings, but he had Luke the doctor on his mission team (Colossians 4:14), and Paul prescribed grape wine for Timothy’s frequent stomach ailments (1 Timothy 5:23). Yet the LORD prefers to keep us in health through nutrition, making healthy food our best medicine.
What Do You Mean by Fear God? – July 24, 2017
“The fear of the Lord” is used 27 times, and “fear God” is found 17 times in the Bible. Never once does it mean to ‘be scared of God’ or ‘scared by God’. Based on context, the phrase means: reverence or high respect for God that leads us to live godly (Ps. 34:11); divine dread that freezes or paralyzes the enemy of God’s people (2 Chron. 14:14); worship of the true God that forbids syncretism, a mix of religious beliefs and practices (2 Kings 17:5-12); revelation or the revealed truth of God that brings heavenly wisdom, as in “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom” (Ps. 111:10; Prov. 9:10).
Don’t Share Truth Unless You Show Grace – July 22-23, 2017
Jesus Christ showed grace so He could share truth for God’s glory. The Bible says, “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His GLORY, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of GRACE and TRUTH” (John 1:14). The highway to the glory of God is paved with two lanes: grace & truth. Grace points the way, and truth delivers the message of saving faith in Christ. With grace we build a bridge before we can share God’s truth with those impacted by our gracious words and actions. Believers who lack grace may preach, criticize or yell at sinners, but their grace-less behavior forfeits the right to share God’s truth for God’s glory in any meaningful, acceptable way.
Apply the Blood of Jesus through Prayer – July 21, 2017
The blood of Jesus shed on the cross is far superior in every way to any other blood sacrifice. If “the blood of bulls and goats…sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ…cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Hebrews 9:13-14). Let’s apply the power of His superior blood through prayer: I plead the blood of Jesus over my life for cleansing, over my body for health & healing, over my family for protection & provision. I plead the blood of Jesus over my community for spiritual renewal, over my church for God’s glory & deeper worship, over my children for hearts that honor God and love Jesus. I plead the blood of Jesus!
Unleash the Power of Jesus’ Blood – July 20, 2017
“There is wonder-working power in the precious blood of the Lamb!” Those lyrics are based on Revelation 12:11: “And they overcame (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb…” (Revelation 12:11). About 4,000 years earlier, the lamb’s blood over the doorposts of Israelite households shielded them from untimely deaths that ravaged Egyptian homes (Exodus 12:13). Apply the supernatural power of Jesus’ blood by praying: “I plead the blood over my life…, over my body…, over my family…, over my city…, over my church…, over my children…, over this situation…” There is no limit to what the blood can cover or conquer.
Dreams, One of Heaven’s Channels to You – July 19, 2017
“In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls upon men… then (God) opens the ears of men, and seals their instruction” (Job 33:15-16). Never overlook your dreams as God’s channels of communication. Just one God-given dream can transform you and those you connect with. Joseph’s dreams took him from slavery through prison to the palace, where he saved multitudes from starvation (Genesis 37, 39-50). Before you sleep, prayerfully tune into Heaven’s frequency; God may be broadcasting directly into your spirit. Get ready to receive and live out the Father’s dream for your life.
Relationship Craves Forgiveness – July 18, 2017
Be “kind to one another… forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32). There is no perfect relationship because there are no perfect people. In your relationship, compensate for human imperfection by being ready to FORGIVE and to BE FORGIVEN. You will be offended; kindly extend forgiveness. And you will offend; humbly ask for forgiveness, the power that revives, the river that supplies, the spine that sustains every long-term relationship.
The Double-Edge Nature of Relationship – July 17, 2017
Relationshiphurts, and relationship heals. During a mission trip, Paul was so offended by Mark’s desertion that he and Barnabas parted ways over Mark’s behavior (Acts 15:36-40). But years later, Paul instructed Timothy, “Get Mark and bring him…because he is useful to me…” (2 Tim. 4:11). Our deepest wounds are inflicted within relationship, but total healing from those wounds must come through relationship. LORD, deliver from the isolation trap; teach me NOT to withdraw from everyone, especially when I’ve been hurt by people.
Glory, Not Halo – July 15-16, 2017
Apostle John was one of the inner circle of friends who physically saw Jesus Christ up close and personal. Did he see a halo (a circle of light) around Jesus’ head? No! Here’s what grabbed John’s attention every time he looked at Jesus: “…we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). Jesus beamed with God’s “glory”, a royal shine and beauty, which made Jesus attractive even to career sinners, who badly needed to hear about God’s “grace and truth”. LORD, let me normally shine with your glory so I can readily share Your grace and truth!
Those Stubborn Male-Female Differences – July 14, 2017
Our sophisticated culture may deny or fight it all we want, but men and women are different, and remain very much so. Example: talking. Women tend to talk about what bothers them; a woman knows how to process her struggles externally. Men, on the other hand, process their issues internally. The more something bothers a man, the less he talks about it. And if something really gets to him, he may stop talking altogether, and crawl into his cave. Why are men so different from women? Genesis 1:27, “So God created human beings… He created them male and female.” Thank You, my Creator, for making me…ME!
Boy in Man – July 13, 2017
When God spoke to Prophet Samuel about the BOY David, He said, “I have found…a MAN after My own heart” (Acts 13:22). Then after David became the manly king that God saw in him decades earlier, he behaved like a childish boy when he craved and got sex with his own soldier’s wife (2 Sam 11). T.D. Jakes observes, “There’s a king in every kid, and there’s a kid in every king.” Apostle Paul tapped into God’s power to tame the reckless kid in him: “When I became a man, I put away childish things” (1 Cor 13:11). Oh LORD, empower me to control the kid in me!
Hope, the Oxygen of Life – July 12, 2017
Hope is the faith-based expectation that tomorrow will be better than today. The late Emil Brunner once said, “What oxygen is for the lungs, such is hope for the meaning of human life.” As a living organism is dependent on a supply of oxygen, so a person depends on a supply of hope to stay alive. When facing a bad situation, as long as you cling on to hope, you will live to see another day, because, “HOPE does not disappoint” (Romans 5:5).
To Live Well, Think Well – July 11, 2017
According to the Bible, the engine that runs your life is your spirit, your heart, your mind. Robert Browning said, “Thought is the soul of the act,” and Emerson said, “Thought is the seat of action. The ancestor of every action is thought.” No wonder the Bible counsels, “Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts” (Proverbs 4:23 Good News Bible). Good thinking is the mother of good living.
God Has Time for You – July 10, 2017
Rewind history for over 2000 years and picture Jesus Christ tortured, bleeding, nailed to a rugged cross where He hangs and gasps for every last ounce of breath. Just in that moment, another crucified man, a criminal, speaks feebly to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom” (Luke 23:42). Graciously, despite His own pain and suffering, Jesus takes time to give that man the most encouraging words of his life, “…today, you will be with Me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43). Does the Great King of the universe have time for you? You bet! Just as Jesus had time for that dying sinner! Do you have time for Jesus today? Will you call on Him today?
The Power of Godly Music – July 8, 2017
Music is one of God’s best gifts not only to express our passion but to restore mental health and emotional balance. David used music therapy to remedy King Saul’s depression. “…David would take a harp and play it with his hand. Then Saul would become refreshed and well, and the distressing spirit would depart from him” (1 Samuel 16:23). Johann Sebastian Bach said, “The sole object of all music should be the glory of God and pleasant recreation.” Will you add godly music to your day by singing or playing recorded music?
Passport to Heaven – July 7, 2017
No one is too good for Hell, and no one is too bad for Heaven. No one can out-sin the grace of God, but no one will become a Heaven-bound child of God by default, by chance or by luck. To escape Hell and enter Heaven, everyone must intentionally make a conscious decision to receive Jesus Christ, the only one who can issue anyone the official passport to Heaven. We must believe Jesus when He said, “I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). Have you gotten your passport to Heaven?
Expecting God – July 6, 2017
Jacob was running for his life when he said, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it” (Genesis 28:16). We often miss God because we expect Him to come this way and do something one way, but He does it another way, and He usually works in the dark, behind the scene, even while we are sleeping. To save yourself the frustration of wrong expectation, prayerfully ask God do His thing, then step aside, go to sleep, and let Him do what He wants, when He wants, and how He wants. That’s what it means for you to be you and for God to be God.
The Best Place to Find God – July 5, 2017
Where and how can we really know that God exists? Nature reveals God as Creator (Psalms 19:1; Romans 1:20), but it doesn’t tell us about the heart of the Creator. Conscience reveals God as Moral Law Giver (Proverbs 20:27; Romans 2:15), but it only gives bits and pieces about God. Only one source shows us a full picture of God — the will, love, and grace of God: it’s the Bible, the Word of God (John 5:39; 2 Timothy 3:15). Have you searched its pages today to see and hear God more clearly?
Free At Last to Last – July 4, 2017
The most miserable slave is one who has a memory of freedom, the one who remembers a time when he used to be free. “Therefore, stand firm in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1). If you’ve tasted the freedom of Jesus, never let anyone or anything make you a slave again. Happy July 4th, America, and Happy Independence Day to you, my friend!
The Power of Freedom May Enslave – July 3, 2017
Every normal person is a free moral agent, granted by the Creator the freedom to choose, the greatest power in the universe. Using one’s freedom to commit sin is slavery, the worst abuse of freedom, which offends God and exploits others. Jesus said, “…whoever commits sin is a slave of sin'” (John 8:34). Freedom in its purest form is the power to do what’s right by God. Slaves of righteousness are the freest people on earth; they have been set free from sin’s prison and given the power to live godly (Romans 6:18). Are you among the truly free?
Make God’s Kingdom Your Life – July 1, 2017
The Lord’s Prayer, which is Jesus’ blueprint for how we should pray, ends with “For Yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory” (Matthew 6:13). As seen in The Lord’s Prayer, everything in life
— relationship with God & others, worship, prayer, provision, protection — everything should be about God’s kingdom. In that same chapter, Jesus commands us, “Seek FIRST the KINGDOM…” (verse 33). Said the legendary David Livingstone, “I will place no value on anything I have or may possess except in relation to the kingdom of Christ.” How will you honor YOUR KING today?
Worship, A Divine Romance – June 30, 2017
Worship is connecting with God in order to commune with Him. Worship is all about intimacy with the Almighty, the spiritual equivalent of that thrilling encounter between male and female, as new life is conceived and later born. As divine romance, worship was birthed in the Garden of Eden when the Creator formed, touched, kissed and breathed life into Adam (Genesis 2:7). The true worshiper gladly opens the heart’s door when the Lord knocks, proposing a romantic dinner in the spirit (Revelation 3:20).
A Day’s Gift – June 29, 2017
There are no ordinary days. Every day is a special gift, wrapped and delivered by God, and should be greeted with “This is the day that the LORD has made” (Psalms 118:24). Thank You heavenly Father for letting me see a new day in the land of the living. I have never seen this day before and will never see it again. As You have given me this gift of time, I dedicate it to You. Grant me the wisdom, power and discipline to make the most of the day, to bring You glory and advance Your kingdom on Earth, in Jesus’ name. Amen!
Pruning: The Key to More Fruit – June 28, 2017
If you were a flower plant in a garden, the last thing you’d want is prunning by the gardener. Chopping off branches “hurts” the tree, but it is necessary. In John 15:2 Jesus says, “…every branch that bears fruit He prunes that it might bear more fruit”. Billy Graham said, “A harnessed horse contributes much more to life than a wild donkey… Energy out of control is dangerous; energy under control is powerful… Science takes a Niagara River with its violent turbulence and transforms it into electrical energy to illuminate a million homes and to turn the productive wheels of industry.” God tames, prunes and redirects your life to light up the world and bless many lives.
Reward for God Chasers – June 27, 2017
When it comes to seeking God, there are 4 groups of people. There are those who never seek God, those who rarely seek God, those who occasionally seek God, and those who diligently seek God. The diligent seekers are most blessed, because God rewards people who by faith “diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). This reward of faith may be some kind of blessing, but more than that it is God Himself. He said, “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13). The presence of God is the highest trophy of your faith. God is His own reward.
God’s Will is God’s Wall – June 26, 2017
The WILL of God is the invisible WALL of protection around God’s children to keep them within the boundaries of God’s good purpose and best plans for their lives. To be in the will of God is to be protected; to be outside God’s will is to be exposed to the devil’s schemes, which doom the soul concerning eternal matters. “For it is better, if it is the WILL of GOD, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil” (I Peter 3:17).
A Get-Out-Bed Prayer – June 24, 2017
We can’t even sleep or wake up without the breath of life flowing to us from the Living God, “for in Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). If you’ve enjoyed a restful night’s sleep and made it to dawn, pray thus from a grateful heart, as daylight greets you: I am alive, I am awake, I am alert. By Your mercy You’ve spared me, by Your grace You’ve saved me, by Your power You’ve sustained me. Good morning, Father! Thank You, Jesus!
Daily Bread for the Whole Person – June 23, 2017
In The Lord’s Prayer, Jesus teaches us to petition our heavenly Father for our physical “daily bread” (Matthew 6:11). We should also ask the Lord to supply us spiritual daily bread. Today and every day you and I need the mercy, power and wisdom of the Father; the faith, grace, truth and glory of Jesus Christ; and the guidance, fruit and comfort of the Holy Spirit. With such provisions on any given day we shall never run dry and can’t be counted out.
The God of Your Journeys – June 22, 2017
Robert Morgan cites the story of Solomon Ginsburg, a Messianic Jew, who decided to preach the Gospel in America in the 1900s. Arriving in Lisbon, England, he read weather warnings about storms that would make it dangerous to sail the Bay of Biscay. Solomon was advised to delay his trip for a week. He meditated on Deuteronomy 2:7, “The LORD your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He has watched over your journey.” He felt God assuring him of divine protection, so he boarded a ship to London and from there he made a smooth voyage to the USA. Later he found out, if he had delayed his trip “he would have arrived in London just in time to have boarded the Titanic.” Praise the God of your journeys!
Mystery of the Tw0-Way In – June 21, 2017
A personal relationship with Jesus Christ is expressed by the mystery of the two-way IN. Christ is IN you; that gives you “the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27); you are His mobile address of Heaven on Earth. You are IN Christ; that makes Him your presence and advocate in Heaven (1 John 2:1). The Christ IN you changes you and comforts you. The Christ you are IN carries you when times are tough and you can’t walk on your own.
Strongest at My Weakest – June 20, 2017
“The stronger you are, the more aware you are of your weakness,” Pastor James MacDonald said. After Moses died, God encouraged Joshua to “Be strong” (Josh. 1:9). Paul counsels believers to “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” (Eph. 6:10). When God tells you to be strong, He is saying, “Be aware of your weakness and receive My strength.” In your moment of weakness, say with Paul, “When I am weak, then I am strong, because His strength is made complete in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9,10).
Revenge in Reverse – June 19, 2017
In 2 Samuel 9, King David showed unexpected covenant kindness to Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s son who was lame in both feet. Instead of executing Mephibosheth as was expected, David not only spared him, but restored to him Saul’s real estate, then brought him to dine at his royal banquet table for the rest of his life. Likewise, Jesus has graciously rescued us from eternal death (hell – which we duly deserve), restored to us the dominion that our parents (Adam & Eve) lost, and brought us into His kingdom to enjoy His goodness throughout eternity. Let’s show similar grace to someone today.
The Father of Good Fathers – June 17, 2017
The best of all good fathers is our heavenly Father. He is “merciful and gracious… as a father…Yahweh is compassionate towards those who revere Him” (Psalms 103:8,13). Perhaps Jo Ann Heidbreder had a good father to whom she dedicated this poem: “A dad is a mender of toys, A leader of boys. He’s a changer of fuses, A healer of bruises. He’s a mover of couches, A soother of ouches. He’s a pounder of nails, A teller of tales. He’s a dryer of dishes, A fulfiller of wishes. Bless him, O Lord.”
The Blessing of Believing – June 16, 2017
“Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe,” Augustine wrote. Everyone who believes that God exists and relates to Him based on that faith, God will reward (Hebrews 11:6). Thus, when Thomas got excited after seeing the risen Christ, Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen Me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing Me” (John 20:29). You can start getting happy when you start believing.
Laying Down the Sword and Blowing the Trumpet – June 15, 2017
After the death of King Saul there was a day-long hand to hand battle between Saul’s forces, led by Abner, and David’s fighters, led by Joab. The body count totalled 20 dead on David’s side and 360 funerals on Saul’s side. That’s when Abner asked, “Shall the sword devour forever?” And Joab blew a trumpet to stop the bloodbath (2 Samuel 2:28). Let’s pray that a real leader will blow the whistle on political blood sport and stop the bleeding caused by partisan rancor that resorts to violence. Our families and our country need fewer loud-mouth trouble makers and more peacemakers. Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God” (Matthew 5:9).
Happiness is Found in the Center of God’s Will – June 14, 2017
The golden key to a meaningful life is living in the center of God’s will, and the wisest people in the world are those who know the will of God. Billy Graham wrote, “To know the will of God is the highest of all wisdom… You can be miserable with much, if you are out of His will; but you can have peace in your heart with little, if you are in the will of God… You can have agony in good health, out of His will; but you can be happy in the midst of suffering, if you are in God’s will.” How can you know and live God’s will? “…do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2).
Facing Obstacles with Little – June 13, 2017
“Do not fear opposition even when it seems stronger or better supported,” a minister advised. “Be confident that God can use what you have at hand to overcome any obstacles you face.” David faced the enormous obstacle named Goliath with a cane, 5 stones in his pouch, a sling, and a heart full of trust in God. After Goliath threatened to tear up David and feed his flesh to the birds and beast, David replied, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the LORD…” (I Samuel 17:45).
Heaven is for the Fearless – June 12, 2017
“Everybody talks about Heaven ain’t going there” – the lyrics of a chorus we sang at Ricks Institute in Liberia. But for those who have anchored their souls to Jesus Christ, the Way to Heaven (John 14:6), the heavenly country is their ultimate destination. Jesus called Heaven “My Father’s house”, “a place” with “many mansions” (John 14:2). Once you’re certain that Heaven is real and that it’s your eternal home based on your faith in Jesus, you lose all fear of death. “He whose head is in Heaven need not fear to put his feet into the grave,” wrote Matthew Henry.
Sunday Fever and How to Cure It – June 9, 2017
Have you heard of Sunday Fever? Billy Graham calls it Sunday-itis: “It attacks the victim shortly before breakfast on Sunday morning. It is accompanied by a feeling of weakness and lethargy. Sometimes the victim has a slight headache which is aggravated by the ringing of the church bells in the community. But the disease is of short duration, usually disappearing about noon, when the victim is able to eat a full dinner and play golf in the afternoon.” King David prescribed the cure for Sunday Fever: “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go into the house of the LORD'” (Psalms 122:1).
Two Sides to Life – June 8, 2017
“All the masterpieces of art contain both light and shadow”, Billy Graham observes. “A happy life is one filled not only with sunshine, but one which uses both light and shadow to produce beauty. The greatest musicians…are those who know how to bring song out of sadness.” Our hard times make our happy times more enjoyable. Therefore, “…when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy” (James 1:2 NLT).
How to Be Content, Regardless – June 7, 2017
A big secret to contentment is knowing how to talk yourself out of what you want. Billy Graham cites E. Stanley Jones who tells about a poor man that hosted an overnight guest. As the host showed the guest “his humble bedroom in the hayloft, he said, ‘If there is anything you want, let us know, and we’ll come and show you how to get along without it.'” Writing from a prison cell, Apostle Paul testified, “I have learned to be content with whatever condition I am in” (Philippians 4:11).
A Simple Character Test that Most People Flunk – June 6, 2017
Do you feel good when people praise someone who does something better than you? King Saul became jealous when he heard women sing, “Saul has killed his THOUSANDS and David his TEN THOUSANDS” (1 Samuel 18:7). Saul became a bitter, miserable man, and he never recovered till the day of his death, while he watched David be blessed by God over and over. How do you avoid the spirit of Saul? Make yourself happy when you hear or see good things happen to and for someone else (Isaiah 66:10; Romans 12:15). Remember, God loves your neighbor just as much as He loves you.
Despite the Darkness, God’s Light Shines Through – June 5, 2017
Jesus Christ came “To give light to those who sit in darkness…” (Luke 1:79). Terroristic attacks, excutions and mass killings in London and elsewhere bear witness to the thickening darkness that blankets our world. Yet despite the moral sickness of the human heart (Jeremiah 17:9), most people actually do good rather than evil. That is a testament to the power of God’s light still shining in our dark world, preventing the night from completely taking over. Indeed, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it” (John 1:5).
Two Ways to Be Rich: How Rich are You? – June 3, 2017
“There are two ways of being rich—have a lot, or want very little,” writes Billy Graham. “Many people make themselves miserable by wanting more than they can ever have. They suffer from ‘thing-itis,’ the insatiable desire for more, better, and newer things.” Jesus teaches us, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own” (Luke 12:15). LORD, let me be satisfied and content whether I have little or much.
The Special Benefit of Dual Citizenship – June 2, 2017
Close to 40 countries, including USA, Canada, UK, Israel, Egypt, Ghana, Sierra Leone and South Africa, allow dual citizenship, a privilege that frees you to heartily contribute to the development of two countries – your native land and your adopted country. Though Christians live on Earth, the Bible says “our citizenship is in Heaven” (Philippians 3:20). Warren Wiersbe said, “Christians have a dual citizenship—on earth and in heaven—and our citizenship in heaven ought to make us better people here on earth.”
The Best Free Stuff – June 1, 2017
“The best things in life are free,” writes Billy Graham. “The air we breathe… The water which flows crystal clear from the mountain stream is free… Love is free, faith is free, hope is free.” And salvation, which cost Jesus Christ everything plus His life, is totally free to us. The Bible says the saved ones have been “justified FREELY by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24). This greatest FREE gift is ours if we heartily say, “LORD Jesus, I repent, I turn from my sin, and I receive You as my Savior.” It is then that the highest blessings begin to freely flow from Heaven to us.