Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Pain Machine

READ: Acts 24:16; Ephesians 4:31-32

I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men. —Acts 24:16

Dr. Paul Brand, who served as a medical missionary in India, told about lepers who had terrible deformities because their nerve endings could not feel pain. It didn’t hurt when they stepped in a fire or cut their finger with a knife, so they left their wounds untended. This led to infection and deformity.

Dr. Brand constructed a machine that would beep when it came in contact with fire or sharp objects. It signaled the warnings of injury in the absence of pain. Soon machines were attached to the patients’ fingers and feet. That worked well until they wanted to play basketball. They took the machines off, and often became injured again without knowing it.

Like physical pain to our bodies, our conscience alerts us to spiritual harm. But habitual and unrepentant sin can numb the conscience (1 Tim. 4:1-3). To keep a clear conscience, we need to respond to the pain of appropriate guilt by confession (1 John 1:9), repentance (Acts 26:20), and restitution to others (Luke 19:8). Paul could say with confidence, “I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men” (Acts 24:16). Like him, we should not grow numb to God’s painful reminder of sin but allow it to produce in us godly character. —Dennis Fisher

My conscience must be well-informed
From God’s own sacred Word,
For conscience may be much deformed
When standards pure are spurned. —Fraser

A clear conscience is a soft pillow.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


READ: Psalm 23
He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. —Psalm 23:2

About this cover Our office is a busy place where things sometimes feel like they are moving at breakneck speed. This often involves meeting after meeting, hallway conferences, and an avalanche of e-mail.

In the midst of this extreme busyness, I sometimes feel the need to escape, to decompress. My response? To create a quiet place. On those days when I have no lunch meeting, I retreat to the quiet of my car. I grab some lunch and sit in my car, where I can read, listen to music, think, pray—and be refreshed.

I think this is the essence of what the shepherd-psalmist points to in Psalm 23:2. He sees the Good Shepherd bringing him to “still waters”—that is, waters to rest by. It pictures a quiet place, a retreat from the pressures of life, where you can rest in the presence of the Shepherd of your heart and be strengthened for what lies ahead. Even Jesus withdrew to a solitary place to pray and commune with His Father (Mark 1:35).

We all need retreats in our lives, not only because of the overwhelming nature of life, but because of our dependence on the resources of the Master. In our fast-paced days, it is essential to find a place of solitude, “a place of quiet rest, near to the heart of God.” Where’s yours? —Bill Crowder

There is a place of quiet rest,
Near to the heart of God,
A place where sin cannot molest,
Near to the heart of God. —McAfee

When we draw near to God our minds are refreshed and our strength is renewed!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Bold Persistence

Bold Persistence
READ: Matthew 15:21-28
Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” —Matthew 15:28

In 1953, a fledgling business called Rocket Chemical Company and its staff of three set out to create a line of rust-prevention solvents and degreasers for use in the aerospace industry. It took them 40 attempts to perfect their formula.

The original secret formula for WD-40—which stands for Water Displacement, 40th attempt—is still in use today. What a story of persistence!

The gospel of Matthew records another story of bold persistence. A Canaanite woman had a daughter who was possessed by a demon. She had no hope for her daughter—until she heard that Jesus was in the region.

This desperate woman came to Jesus with her need because she believed He could help her. She cried out to Him even though everything and everybody seemed to be against her—race, religious background, gender, the disciples, Satan, and seemingly even Jesus (Matt. 15:22-27). Despite all of these obstacles, she did not give up. With bold persistence, she pushed her way through the dark corridors of difficulty, desperate need, and rejection. The result? Jesus commended her for her faith and healed her daughter (v.28).

We too are invited to approach Jesus with bold persistence. As we keep asking, seeking, and knocking, we will find grace and mercy in our time of need. —Marvin Williams

Something happens when we pray,
Take our place and therein stay,
Wrestle on till break of day;
Ever let us pray. —Anon.

Persistence in prayer pleases God.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Just For Show

Just For Show

READ: Matthew 23:1-12
All their works they do to be seen by men. —Matthew 23:5

An increasing number of antique leather-bound books are being purchased for their covers and not their content. Interior designers buy them by the linear yard and use them to create a warm, old-world atmosphere in the homes of affluent clients.

Of prime importance is whether they match a room’s decor. One wealthy businessman purchased 13,000 antique books he will never read just to create a library look in his renovated home. Those books are just for show.

Focusing on outward appearances can be a pleasing way to decorate a house, but it’s a dangerous way to live. Jesus reprimanded many religious leaders of His day because they did not practice what they preached. They were addicted to receiving praise and feeling self-important. Instead of opening the kingdom of heaven to people, they shut the door in their faces. Jesus said of them, “All their works they do to be seen by men” (Matt. 23:5).

The Lord calls us to be people of inner substance, not just outward appearance. We are to demonstrate the reality of His presence in us by an attitude of humility. “He who is greatest among you shall be your servant” ( v.11).

In living for Jesus, our content is far more important than our cover. We are here for more than show. —David C. McCasland

Let my will be lost in God’s will,
Ask no question; seek no place;
Render humblest duties gladly,
Showing forth His truth and grace. —Anon.

If God controls you on the inside, you’ll be genuine on the outside.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Lord’s Baseball Game, The

Lord’s Baseball Game

Bob and the Lord stood together, watching a baseball game. The Lord’s team was playing Satan’s team. The Lord’s team was at bat, the score was tied zero to zero, and it was the bottom of the 9th inning with two outs. Bob and the Lord continued to watch as the batter, Love, stepped up to the plate. Love swung at the first pitch and hit a single, because Love never fails.

The next batter was named Faith, who also got a single because Faith works with Love. The next batter up was named Godly wisdom. Satan wound up and threw the first pitch; Godly Wisdom looked it over and let it pass, because Godly Wisdom does not swing at Satan’s pitches. Ball one. Three more pitches and Godly Wisdom walked, because Godly wisdom never swings at Satan’s throws. The bases were loaded. The Lord then turned to Bob and told him He was now going to bring in His star player. Up to the plate stepped Grace. Bob made a face… Grace certainly didn’t look like much to him! Apparently Satan’s whole team agreed: they all relaxed and laughed a little when they saw Grace. Thinking he had won the game, Satan wound up and fired his first pitch. To all but one’s amazement, Grace hit the ball harder than anyone had ever seen. But Satan was not worried; his center fielder, the Prince of the air, let very few get by. He went up for the ball, but it went right through his glove, hit him on the head and sent him crashing to the ground; then it continued over the fence for a home run! And so the Lord’s team won.

The Lord then asked Bob if he knew why Love, Faith, and Godly Wisdom could get on base but could not win the game by themselves. Bob, looking a bit sheepish, admitted that he didn’t know. The Lord explained, “If your love, faith and wisdom could win the game, you would think you could win it by yourself. Love, faith and wisdom will get you on base, but only My grace can get you home. My grace is the one thing Satan cannot stop.”

by: Author Unknown, Source Unknown

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Waggle Dance

The Waggle Dance
READ: John 4:27-36
Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. —John 4:29

How do bees lead one another to nectar? Scientists say it’s all about the “waggle” dance. The theory was regarded with skepticism when it was first proposed by Nobel Prize-winning zoologist Karl von Frisch in the 1960s. But now, researchers in the United Kingdom have used tiny radar responders attached to worker bees to support von Frisch’s theory. They’ve confirmed that the bee orients its body toward the food source and uses the intensity of its waggle dance to signal the distance to other bees.

The woman who met Jesus at Jacob’s well also found a way to lead the rest of her community to what she had found—living water (John 4:10). They were drawn to discover why this woman with five ex-husbands and a current live-in was saying, “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did” ( v.29).

As the crowd was on its way, the One who on other occasions had called Himself “the bread of life” (6:48) was telling His disciples that His food was found in doing the will of God (4:32,34).

Jesus is living water and food for our soul. Joining Him to do the will of God and finish the work He has given us to do is the ultimate source of nourishment. — Mart De Haan

Keep your witness bright and clear,
So the world may see and hear
God’s salvation far and near,
That others too may know Him. —Hess

When you have found food for your soul lead others to the Source.

Friday, January 25, 2008



A young man who had been raised as an atheist was training to be an Olympic diver. The only religious influence in his life came from his outspoken Christian friend. The young diver never really paid much attention to his friend’s sermons, but he heard them often.

One night the diver went to the indoor pool at the college he attended. The lights were all off, but as the pool had big skylights and the moon was bright, there was plenty of light to practice by.
The young man climbed up to the highest diving board and as he turned his back to the pool on the edge of the board and extended his arms out, he saw his shadow on the wall. The shadow of his body was in the shape of a cross.

Instead of diving, he knelt down and asked God to come into his life. As the young man stood, a maintenance man walked in and turned the lights on. The pool had been drained for repairs.

Sunday, January 13, 2008



A man was sleeping at night in his cabin when suddenly his room filled with light and the Savior appeared. The LORD told the man he had work for HIM to do, and showed him a large rock in front of his cabin. The LORD explained that the man was to push against the rock with all his might.

This the man did, day after day. For many years he toiled from sun up to sun down, his shoulders set squarely against the cold, massive surface of the unmoving rock, pushing with all his might. Each night the man returned to his cabin sore and worn out, feeling that his whole day had been spent in vain.

Seeing that the man was showing signs of discouragement, Satan decided to enter the picture by placing thoughts into the man’s mind such as: “You have been pushing against that rock for a long time, and it hasn’t budged. Why kill yourself over this? You are never going to move it.”

Thus giving the man the impression that the task was impossible and that he was a failure, these thoughts discouraged and disheartened the man even more. “Why kill myself over this?” he thought. “I’ll just put in my time, giving just the minimum effort and that will be good enough.”

And that he planned to do until one day he decided to make it a matter of prayer and take his troubled thoughts to the GOD. “LORD,” he said, “I have labored long and hard in your service, putting all my strength to do that which you have asked. Yet, after all this time, I have not even budged that rock by half a millimeter. What is wrong? Why am I failing?”

To this the LORD responded compassionately, “My friend, when I asked you to serve me and you accepted, I told you that your task was to push against the rock with all your strength, which you have done. Never once did I mention to you that I expected you to move it. Your task was to push. And now you come to me, with your strength spent, thinking that you have failed. But, is that really so? Look at yourself. Your arms are strong and muscled, your back sinewed and brown, your hands are callused from constant pressure, and your legs have become massive and hard. Through opposition you have grown much and your abilities now surpass that which you used to have. Yet you haven’t moved the rock. But your calling was to be obedient and to push and
to exercise your faith and trust in My wisdom. This you have done.”

“I, my friend, will move the rock,” says the LORD.

At times when we hear a word from GOD, we tend to use our own intellect to decipher what He wants, when actually what GOD wants is just simple obedience and faith in HIM…

“By all means, exercise the faith that moves mountains; but it is still GOD who moves the mountain.”