God loves the middle. He placed “the tree of life…in the midst” of the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:9). He told the ancient Levites to put their city “in the middle” of their tribal land (Numbers 35:5). The Israelites considered Yahweh God as the center of their capital city: “God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved…” (Psalms 46:5). No wonder the cross on which Jesus died was the middle cross, between two thieves (Mark 15:27); there God positioned Christ to be mightily raised from the dead. LORD, I make You the center of my life that You can do Your best work from the middle of my situation.
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).
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.
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.
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.”
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.
August 12, 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.
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!
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.
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!
NOTE — Message for this Sunday, August 6, 2017, at Church For All: The Heavy Weight Lifter (Matthew 11:28-30; Hebrews 12:1-2; 1 Peter 5:6-7).
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.
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”!