Friday, December 31, 2010

Rearview Mirror Reflections

By Joe Stowell

Read: Psalm 111
For You, Lord, have made me glad . . . ; I will triumph in the works of Your hands. —Psalm 92:4
Bible in a year:
Malachi 1-4; Revelation 22

I’ve always thought that you can see the hand of God best in the rearview mirror. Looking back, it’s easier to understand why He placed us in the home that He did; why He brought certain people and circumstances into and out of our lives; why He permitted difficulties and pain; why He took us to different places and put us in various jobs and careers.

In my own life, I get a lot of clarity (though not perfect clarity—that’s heaven’s joy!) about the wise and loving ways of God as I reflect on the ways He has managed my journey by “the works of [His] hands” (Ps. 92:4). With the psalmist, it makes me glad and strikes a note of joy in my heart to see how often God has assisted, directed, and managed the outcomes so faithfully (Ps. 111).

Looking ahead, though, is not always so clear. Have you ever had that lost feeling when the road ahead seems twisted, foggy, and scary? Before you move into next year, stop and look in the rearview mirror of the year gone by, and joyfully realize that God meant it when He said, “‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we may boldly say: ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear’ ” (Heb. 13:5-6).

With the promise of God’s presence and help in mind, you can move ahead into 2011 with utmost confidence.

Shall not He who led me safely
Through the footsteps of this day
Lead with equal understanding
All along my future way? —Adams

God’s guidance in the past gives courage for the future.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Life Is Like Riding A Bicycle

By Dennis Fisher

Read: Hebrews 11:32-40
All these . . . obtained a good testimony through faith. —Hebrews 11:39
Bible in a year:
Zechariah 13-14; Revelation 21

In a letter to his son Eduard, Albert Einstein gave this advice: “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.” The great physicist’s advice is wise and practical.

This wise counsel can apply to the Christian life. Many believers by faith keep moving ahead through painful and trying circumstances. But when they experience a personal moral failure, they lose their balance and fall. Their regret and feeling of unworthiness of God’s forgiveness may then keep them down and they no longer move ahead in their spiritual life.

The Bible gives us many examples of those who have experienced serious personal failure. Abraham lied to Pharaoh about his wife, Sarah (Gen. 12:11-17). Jacob deceived his father to acquire Esau’s blessing (Gen. 27:18-29). Moses disobeyed God by striking the rock instead of speaking to it (Num. 20:7-12). Despite their failures, we are told: “all these . . . obtained a good testimony through faith” (Heb. 11:39).

These biblical characters are lifted up as examples because after they fell, they turned back to God and began to follow Him again. Have you lost your spiritual balance through a sinful choice, which is keeping you down? Repent and follow the God of second chances once again.

I’ve strayed, O Lord, and turned aside,
I’ve disobeyed Your voice;
But now contrite of heart I turn
And make Your will my choice. —D. De Haan

Our God is a God of second chances.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Common Standards

By Julie Ackerman Link

Read: Deuteronomy 4:1-10
What great nation is there that has such statutes and righteous judgments? —Deuteronomy 4:8
Bible in a year:
Zechariah 9-12; Revelation 20

In the frenzied early days of the Internet, Web developers were making up their own rules. The result was confusion. Among the problems was that what looked good on one computer was unreadable on another. This caused developers to refer to the Internet as the wild, wild Web, an allusion to the days of the wild, wild West in the US when law and order were pretty much nonexistent. To bring order out of chaos, Web developers started calling for others to agree on common standards.

Their plea reminds us of why it was important for the Israelites to have laws to live by when they left Egypt (Deut. 4:1). Without them, there would be anarchy. With them, however, they would have a system that was so superior that it would demonstrate to other nations the greatness of their God (v.8).

Today, to bring order out of the chaos of our sinful, selfish world, believers submit to the law of Christ (Gal. 6:2), who Himself is the fulfillment of the law (Matt. 5:17). When we submit to the standard established by Christ and love others as God loves us, we will live in peace with one another and thus provide a witness to the world of how great God is.

Let us go forth, as called of God,
Redeemed by Jesus’ precious blood;
His love to show, His life to live,
His message speak, His mercy give. —Whittle

The world will know by our love for God and others
that He is great

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Year In Review

By David C. McCasland

Read: Psalm 77:1-14
I will remember the works of the Lord; surely I will remember Your wonders of old. —Psalm 77:11
Bible in a year:
Zechariah 5-8; Revelation 19

During the last week of December, newscasters often look back at the significant events of the past year—the triumphs and failures of prominent people, natural disasters, economic challenges, and the deaths of celebrities and leaders. The most surprising events usually receive top billing.

If you reviewed the past year of your life, what would appear on the list? Has an unexpected event caused you to question God or to more deeply experience His goodness?

Psalm 77 chronicles the lament of a person in distress who felt as if God no longer cared (vv.7-9). “Has His mercy ceased forever? Has His promise failed forevermore?” (v.8). Yet, even in anguish, the psalmist said, “I will remember the works of the Lord; surely I will remember Your wonders of old” (v.11). The result was a renewal of trust and hope: “You are the God who does wonders; You have declared Your strength among the peoples” (v.14).

As you think back over this past year, why not write down the significant events in your life. Don’t be afraid to include your difficulties and disappointments, but remember to consider all the ways God has been with you.

During every difficulty, we can always find the faithfulness of God.

When we look back and contemplate
What we’ve been through this year,
We’ll praise You, Lord, for all You’ve done—
Your faithfulness is clear. —Sper

Difficulties in our lives give us the opportunity
to experience the faithfulness of God.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The True Owner

By Cindy Hess Kasper

Read: Psalm 95:1-7
All things were created through Him and for Him. —Colossians 1:16
Bible in a year:
Zechariah 1-4; Revelation 18

Did you hear about the church that didn’t have enough room for parking? Fortunately, it was located right next to a store that was closed on Sundays, so a church member asked the store owner if they could overflow into his parking lot. “No problem,” he said. “You can use it 51 weeks out of the year. On the 52nd week, though, it will be chained off.” The man was grateful, but asked curiously, “What happens that week?” The store owner smiled, “Nothing. I just want you to remember that it’s not your parking lot.”

It’s easy to take for granted all the material and spiritual blessings that God has given us. That’s why we need to stop and remember that Scripture says the true owner of all we possess is God: “All that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and You are exalted as head over all” (1 Chron. 29:11). Even our bodies do not belong to us: “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit . . . and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price” (1 Cor. 6:19-20).

As 1 Timothy 6:17 reminds us: “God . . . gives us richly all things to enjoy.” We are so abundantly blessed with good things! Let’s never take our Father for granted, but use wisely and gratefully all that He has given us.

As we all enjoy God’s blessing,
Oh, may we not forget
Our Lord, from whom all good gifts come—
In Him our needs are met. —Fitzhugh

God gives blessing to us so we can give glory to Him.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The True Owner

By Cindy Hess Kasper

Read: Psalm 95:1-7
All things were created through Him and for Him. —Colossians 1:16
Bible in a year:
Zechariah 1-4; Revelation 18

Did you hear about the church that didn’t have enough room for parking? Fortunately, it was located right next to a store that was closed on Sundays, so a church member asked the store owner if they could overflow into his parking lot. “No problem,” he said. “You can use it 51 weeks out of the year. On the 52nd week, though, it will be chained off.” The man was grateful, but asked curiously, “What happens that week?” The store owner smiled, “Nothing. I just want you to remember that it’s not your parking lot.”

It’s easy to take for granted all the material and spiritual blessings that God has given us. That’s why we need to stop and remember that Scripture says the true owner of all we possess is God: “All that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and You are exalted as head over all” (1 Chron. 29:11). Even our bodies do not belong to us: “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit . . . and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price” (1 Cor. 6:19-20).

As 1 Timothy 6:17 reminds us: “God . . . gives us richly all things to enjoy.” We are so abundantly blessed with good things! Let’s never take our Father for granted, but use wisely and gratefully all that He has given us.

As we all enjoy God’s blessing,
Oh, may we not forget
Our Lord, from whom all good gifts come—
In Him our needs are met. —Fitzhugh

God gives blessing to us so we can give glory to Him.

Saturday, December 25, 2010


By David C. McCasland

Read: Matthew 1:18-25
Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife. —Matthew 1:24
Bible in a year:
Zephaniah 1-3; Revelation 16

The Christmas story, recorded in Matthew and Luke, has become so familiar that I wonder if we grasp the reality of what actually happened: An angel told a young virgin that she would conceive a child by the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:26-38). The angel then told her fiancé to marry her and name the baby Jesus, “for He will save His people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21). Shepherds saw angels in the sky and were told of a Savior’s birth in Bethlehem (Luke 2:11). Wise men traveled hundreds of miles to worship the One who, they said, “has been born King of the Jews” (Matt. 2:2). Amazing!

Equally astonishing is that Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, and the wise men did exactly as they had been told. Mary yielded herself to God; Joseph took her home as his wife; the shepherds went to Bethlehem to find the baby in a manger; and the wise men followed the star. With no idea of the outcome, they all took the next step by faith in the Lord. Amazing!

How is it with us this Christmas? Will we trust God and follow His leading even when we face uncertainty and overwhelming circumstances?

When you and I obey the Lord, the outcome is truly amazing!

To follow the leading of God,
To step out in faith and obey,
Is always the path we should take
Whenever we can’t see the way. —Sper

Faith never knows where it is being led,
but it loves and knows the One who is leading. —Chambers

Friday, December 24, 2010

Peace On Earth?

By Joe Stowell

Read: Luke 2:8-14
Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. —John 14:27
Bible in a year:
Habakkuk 1-3; Revelation 15

I wouldn’t want to pick a fight with a sky full of angels, but I must admit that I’ve always wondered about the promise of peace the angelic host made to the shepherds in the fields outside Bethlehem. For the last 2,000 years, peace on our planet has been at best a rare commodity. Wars continue to ravage innocent lives, domestic violence is a growing calamity, divorce rates soar, churches split, and peace in our restless and wayward hearts seems to be an elusive dream.

Where is the promised peace? Actually, on reflection, we can see that Jesus brought all that is needed for peace in our world. He taught the principles of peace, calling for people to love their neighbors as they love themselves. And as He was leaving this planet, He promised, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you” (John 14:27). He told us to turn the other cheek, go the extra mile, forgive offenses, reject greed, tolerate each other’s weaknesses, live to serve and love one another as He has loved us.

It seems that in large part, peace is up to us. Paul verifies that in Romans 12:18, “As much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” This Christmas, let’s make peace our gift to the world in which we live as we reflect the Prince of Peace.

We know at times there will be strife;
On this we must agree—
When conflict drops into our lives,
We’ll solve it peacefully. —Fasick

When we experience peace with God,
we can share His peace with others.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas—God’s Cure

By C. P. Hia

Read: John 1:10-18
Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. —John 1:17
Bible in a year:
Nahum 1-3; Revelation 14

If your physician called you and in a serious voice said, “Please come in as soon as you can. I have something to discuss with you,” you would know he has bad news! Your first response might be, “No, I don’t want to know.” But you go because it is only when you know the diagnosis that you can learn the cure.

God, our Great Physician, also has some bad news—about man’s spiritual condition. When against His expressed warning Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, God told Adam that all mankind would die spiritually and physically. That’s the bad news.

But He also gave the solution. He promised a Savior (Gen. 3:15). The apostle John tells us, “Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17). But how does that help? Jesus came that first Christmas to bring God’s grace, something that none of us deserve because like Adam we have all sinned. But Jesus also came to reverse what sin brought. He came to be the truth (John 14:6) that would bring us back to God. He came to “save His people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21).

Listen to what the Great Physician has to say in the Bible about your spiritual condition. Then accept the cure He has provided—the gift of salvation through Christ.

Life is uncertain,
Death is sure;
Sin the cause,
Christ the cure. —Anon.

Spiritual blindness can be cured only by the Great Physician.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Parallel Universes

By Philip Yancey

Read: Luke 2:1-7
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men! —Luke 2:14
Bible in a year:
Micah 4-5; Revelation 12

Every so often I catch myself wondering about the whole grand scheme of faith. I stand in an airport, for example, watching important-looking people in business suits, briefcases clutched to their sides, as they pause at an espresso bar before scurrying off to another concourse. Do any of them ever think about God? I wonder.

Christians share an odd belief in parallel universes. One universe consists of glass and steel and wool clothes and leather briefcases and the smell of freshly ground coffee. The other consists of angels and spiritual forces and somewhere-out-there places called heaven and hell. We palpably inhabit the material world; it takes faith to consider oneself a citizen of the other, invisible world.

Christmas turns the tables and hints at the struggle involved when the Lord of both worlds descends to live by the rules of the one. In Bethlehem, the two worlds came together, realigned. What Jesus went on to accomplish on planet Earth made it possible for God someday to resolve all disharmonies in both worlds. No wonder a choir of angels broke out in spontaneous song, disturbing not only a few shepherds but the entire universe (Luke 2:13-14).

Once from the realms of infinite glory,
Down to the depths of our ruin and loss,
Jesus came, seeking—O Love’s sweet story—
Came to the manger, the shame, and the cross. —Strickland

The key word of Christmas is “Immanuel”— God with us!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Significant Surrender

By Joe Stowell

Read: Luke 1:26-38
Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time. —1 Peter 5:6
Bible in a year:
Micah 1-3; Revelation 11

Throughout history, Mary the mother of Jesus has been held in high esteem. And rightly so! She was singled out by God to deliver the long-awaited Messiah.

But before we get lost in the significance of her life, let’s take a look at what it meant for her to surrender to the assignment. Living in a small backwater Galilean village where everyone knew everyone else’s business, she would have to live with the perceived shame of her premarital pregnancy. Explaining to her mother the visits of the angel and the Holy Spirit probably didn’t calm things down. To say nothing of the devastating interruption that her pregnancy would bring to her plans to marry Joseph. And while we are thinking about Joseph, what would she tell him? Would he believe her?

In light of these personal ramifications, her response to the angel who told her the news about her role as Jesus’ mother is amazing: “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38 ESV). Her words remind us that a life of significance is most often preceded by a heart eager to surrender to God’s will regardless of the cost.

What significant experience does God have in store for you? It starts with surrender to Him.

What shall I give You, Master?
You have redeemed my soul;
My gift is small but it is my all—
Surrendered to Your control. —Grimes

Surrender to God precedes His significant work in your life.

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Sunday, December 19, 2010


By Bill Crowder

Read: Romans 5:12-21
If by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive . . . the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. —Romans 5:17
Bible in a year:
Jonah 1-4; Revelation 10

Newgrange is a 5,000-year-old burial passage tomb in Ireland. Built by the members of a farming community in Ireland’s Boyne Valley, this magnificent structure covers more than an acre of land. It was a place where people went to struggle with the issue of death. It is best known for the beam of sunlight that moves through the chamber for 17 minutes each day from December 19 to 23 during the winter solstice, the shortest days of the year. Some say it serves as a powerful symbol of the victory of life over death.

Ever since death entered the human experience in Genesis 3, it has been life’s one great inevitability, and many people’s chief fear. It need not be so, however. The apostle Paul wrote, “For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:17).

From that moment in the Garden of Eden with the sin of our first parents, sin and death reigned. Yet we need not fear death or its consequences. Because of Christ, we can have confident hope—His victory of life over death has given us eternal life.

Have you received Him?

Thanks be to God for victory,
The grave no terror knows;
Since Christ from death has risen,
He’s conquered all our foes. —Spittal

Christ’s empty tomb guarantees our victory over death.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Jesus At The Center

By Dennis Fisher

Read: Zechariah 12:10-14
Then they will look on Me whom they pierced. —Zechariah 12:10
Bible in a year:
Obadiah; Revelation 9

Have you heard of the “Christocentric Principle” of biblical understanding? Simply put, it means that everything we know about God, angels, Satan, human hopes, and the whole universe is best understood when viewed in relationship to Jesus Christ. He is at the center.

Recently, I discovered that one of the less familiar Old Testament books, Zechariah, is one of the most Christocentric. This book is a good example because it speaks of Christ’s humanity (6:12), His humility (9:9), His betrayal (11:12), His deity (12:8), His crucifixion (12:10), His return (14:4), and His future reign (14:8-21).

One especially meaningful passage is Zechariah 12:10, which says, “Then they will look on Me whom they pierced.” The piercing refers to Israel’s historic rejection of Jesus as Messiah— resulting in His crucifixion. But this verse also predicts a future generation of Jews who will accept Him as their Messiah. At the second coming of Jesus, a remnant of Israel will recognize the crucified One and turn to Him in faith.

This marvelous book should encourage us to look for more Christ-centered truths—both in other parts of the Bible and in all of life. Keep Jesus in the middle of everything. Live a Christocentric life.

Some have read God’s holy Book
But failed to see its glory;
That’s because they didn’t know
It’s really Jesus’ story. —Branon

Jesus Christ is the Key that unlocks the Word of God.

Friday, December 17, 2010

God’s Love Through Me

By David C. McCasland

Read: 1 Corinthians 13
Love never fails. —1 Corinthians 13:8
Bible in a year:
Amos 7-9; Revelation 8

During a devotional session at a conference, our leader asked us to read aloud 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, and substitute the word “Jesus” for “love.” It seemed so natural to say, “Jesus suffers long and is kind; Jesus does not envy; Jesus does not parade Himself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek His own . . . . Jesus never fails.”

Then our leader said, “Read the passage aloud and say your name instead of Jesus.” We laughed nervously at the suggestion. “I want you to begin now,” the leader said. Quietly, haltingly I said the words that felt so untrue: “David does not seek his own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. David never fails.”

The exercise caused me to ask, “How am I hindering God from expressing His love through me?” Do I think that other expressions of faith are more important? Paul declared that from God’s perspective, eloquent speech, deep spiritual understanding, lavish generosity, and self-sacrifice are worthless when not accompanied by love (vv.1-3).

God longs to express His great heart of love for others through us. Will we allow Him to do it?

To love our neighbors as ourselves
Is not an easy thing to do;
So Lord, please show us how to love
As we attempt to follow You. —Sper

Living like Christ is loving like God.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Great Miracle

By Marvin Williams

Read: Isaiah 6:1-8
He touched my mouth with it, and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged.” —Isaiah 6:7
Bible in a year:
Amos 4-6; Revelation 7

Leonard Ravenhill (1907–1994), a British evangelist, once said, “The greatest miracle God can do today is take an unholy man out of an unholy world, make that man holy, then put him back into that unholy world and keep him holy in it.” This seems to be what God did to Isaiah when He called him to speak to His people.

Around the time of the death of Uzziah, one of Judah’s more successful kings, Isaiah had a vision of God. The prophet saw Him as the true King of the universe, sitting on a lofty throne. In the vision, Isaiah saw seraphim worshiping God with a hymn that praised His holiness, majesty, and glory.

Isaiah’s vision of God led to a true vision of himself as unholy and broken before God. “Woe is me, for I am undone!” Isaiah said (6:5). This recognition of sin led him to a need for and the reception of God’s cleansing grace (v.7). Newly cleansed, Isaiah was commissioned to spread God’s message (v.9). The Lord sent Isaiah into an unholy world, not only to live a holy life but also to tell an unholy people about a holy God.

The Lord wants to show Himself to us, thus giving us a truer vision of ourselves, a deeper need for His grace, and a greater commitment to live and speak for Him. What a miracle!

Upon my life shed forth Thy grace,
Till others seek Thy loving face;
Oh, may no thing be seen in me
To cause a soul to stray from Thee! —Roberts

Amid the darkness of sin, the light of God’s grace shines brightest.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Submission Problem

By Anne Cetas

Read: James 4:1-10
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. —James 4:10
Bible in a year:
Amos 1-3; Revelation 6

During a talk-show interview, a celebrity confessed that she spent thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours each year on her hair and its styling. She recognized that it had become an addiction and admitted that her problem was “submission to the hair.”

The word submission means “an act of yielding to the authority or control of another.” Because of her desire to look and feel beautiful, this celebrity was allowing her hair to be in control of her life.

This woman’s story could lead us to wonder about our own hearts’ desires and what we’re submitting to. Do we at times want something so badly that we submit to doing anything to get it? Are we submitting to admiration? Possessions? Self? Food? Money? Pleasure?

In his epistle to the Romans, Paul said, “to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves” (6:16). When our desires “war” within us (James 4:1), we are to submit ourselves to God as “slaves of God” (Rom. 6:22).

Humbling ourselves before the Lord (James 4:10) and asking Him to show us our heart will help us to recognize our own submission problems.

Lord, help us to submit to You,
To follow and obey;
And give us strength to fight the urge
To do things our own way. —Sper

True freedom is not in choosing our own way,
but in submitting to God’s way.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Where’s Johnny’s Cap?

By David H. Roper

Read: Psalm 42
I will hope continually, and will praise You yet more and more. —Psalm 71:14
Bible in a year:
Joel 1-3; Revelation 5

A story is told about a family that went on a picnic by a lake. At one point, their 5-year-old son waded into the lake, stepped into deep water, and sank out of sight. None of the adults in the family knew how to swim, so they ran up and down the shore in panic while the child bobbed up and down and screamed for help. Just then, a man happened by who sized up the situation, leaped into the lake, and rescued the boy. He climbed out on the bank with the child, who was frightened but unharmed, only to hear the mother ask with irritation, “Where’s Johnny’s cap?”

So often we focus on small disappointments that cause us to grumble and complain rather than focusing on the wonderful things God has brought into our lives, not the least of which is His everlasting love and eternal salvation. When we complain about the small dissatisfactions of life, we’re asking, in effect, “Where’s Johnny’s cap?”

Paul wrote, “In everything give thanks” (1 Thess. 5:18). We may not be thankful for everything that comes our way, but we can give thanks in everything. It may be difficult to be grateful when we lose our job or our health fails, but we can be thankful for the good that God has brought to us in this life and grateful for the life to come.

As endless as God’s blessings are,
So should my praises be
For all His daily goodnesses
That flow unceasingly! —Adams

Instead of being preoccupied with our problems,
let’s praise the Lord for His blessings.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Source Of Impact

By Bill Crowder

Read: Acts 4:1-13
When they saw the boldness of Peter and John . . . they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus. —Acts 4:13
Bible in a year:
Hosea 12-14; Revelation 4

The Nobel Prize is awarded annually to people in a variety of fields who have made an extraordinary impact. Leaders in economics, physics, literature, medicine, and peace are recognized for their contributions. When a person is acknowledged with a Nobel Prize, it is the ultimate affirmation of years of training, effort, education, and sacrifice in pursuit of excellence—investments that are the source of their impact.

We might wish to make a significant impact spiritually in our world, but we wonder, What is the source of spiritual and ministry influence? If we want to make an extraordinary impact for Jesus Christ, what must we invest in?

Christ’s first followers were impacted from spending time with Jesus. Israel’s religious leaders recognized this. Acts 4:13 tells us, “When [the leaders] saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.”

Training and education are valuable in the service of the Savior, but nothing can replace time spent in His presence. He is the source of whatever spiritual impact we might have on our world. How much time have you been spending with Jesus—your source of impact?

In the secret of His presence
How my soul delights to hide!
Oh, how precious are the lessons
Which I learn at Jesus’ side! —Goreh

To master this life, spend time with the Master.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Zebras and Wildebeests

By Julie Ackerman Link

Read: 1 Corinthians 12:14-26
There should be no schism in the body, but . . . the members should have the same care for one another. —1 Corinthians 12:25
Bible in a year:
Hosea 9-11; Revelation 3

After our plane landed on the gravel airstrip, Jay and I climbed out and entered the world of Masai Mara in Kenya. A Masai tribesman named Sammy met us and loaded our baggage into a Land Rover. Then we headed toward the camp where we would spend the next 2 days.

Stopping so we could watch the zebras and wildebeests migrating from Masai Mara to Serengeti, Sammy explained that the two massive herds travel together because the zebras have good eyesight but a poor sense of smell, and the wildebeests have bad eyesight but a good sense of smell. By traveling together, both are less vulnerable to predators. This was our first lesson from God’s revelation in creation, which Kenya has in abundance.

Just as God makes animals with different strengths and weaknesses, He makes people the same way. God made us to be dependent not only on Him but also on one another. The apostle Paul elaborated on this idea in his letter to the church in Corinth. As members of the body of Christ, we all have different gifts and abilities (1 Cor. 12:12-31).

The church is healthy only when we work together, look out for each other, and use our strengths to benefit one another.

Help us, Lord, to work together
With the gifts that You bestow;
Give us unity of purpose
As we serve You here below. —Sper

We can go a lot further together than we can alone.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Praying For The Opposition

By Dennis Fisher

Read: John 19:1-5
Love your enemies . . . and pray for those who . . . persecute you. —Matthew 5:44
Bible in a year:
Hosea 5-8; Revelation 2

When I was a freshman in Bible college, I began to be bolder about speaking up for the Lord. Not surprisingly, my new habit created friction with some. Attending a social event with my former high school friends bore this out. One young woman to whom I had witnessed earlier laughed at my concern about where she would spend eternity. Ed, a friend who knew of my faith, said jokingly, “Three cheers for the old rugged cross!” I felt put down and rejected.

But later that evening I was filled with an unexplainable love. Recalling our Lord’s command to “Love your enemies . . . and pray for those who . . . persecute you” (Matt. 5:44), I prayed for Ed who had mocked the cross of Christ. With my eyes filled with tears, I asked the Lord to save him.

About a year later, I got a letter from Ed saying he wanted to get together. When we finally met, he shared how he had wept over his own sinfulness and had invited Jesus Christ to be his Savior and Lord. Later, to my surprise I heard that Ed had become a missionary to Brazil. The lesson I learned from that experience is that prayer is the best response to spiritual opposition. What critic of your faith might need your prayers today?

Lord, help us not respond in kind
To those who hate and turn from You;
Instead, help us to love and pray
That someday they’ll accept what’s true. —Sper

People may mock our message
but they are helpless against our prayers.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Tough And Tender

By Dave Branon

Read: Psalm 37:30-40
Mark the blameless man, and observe the upright; for the future of that man is peace. But the transgressors shall be destroyed. —Psalm 37:37-38
Bible in a year:
Hosea 1-4; Revelation 1

“Any fool can start a quarrel” (Prov. 20:3). “The name of the wicked will rot” (10:7). “He who hates correction is stupid” (12:1).

Is it right for God’s Word to call people fools, wicked, and stupid? Isn’t God all about love and kindness?

Indeed, God is love. God is kindness. He created a world with great possibilities for joy and contentment.

Yet God reminds us that in His love He does not overlook the foolishness of our hearts and actions. Those verses from Proverbs can remind us that while God is love, He has great expectations for us. Life is tougher than it needs to be for those who bring self-imposed trouble upon themselves.

Each negative word in those proverbs has a counterpart—an alternative that gives God’s preferred way to live. A fool quarrels, but the honorable man avoids strife (20:3). The name of the wicked rots, but the memory of the righteous is blessed (10:7). The stupid reject correction, but those who love instruction also love knowledge (12:1).

There’s always a choice in this life. Live God’s way and enjoy His smile of approval—or live as a fool and find destruction. That’s the tough and tender truth about living in God’s world. Which do you choose?

Deceptions, twists, and outright lies
Define the words of fools;
But those who follow God’s Word show
A life where wisdom rules. —Sper

Only a fool fools with sin

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Recipe For Success

By Jennifer Benson Schuldt

Read: Joshua 1:1-9
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night . . . . Then you will have good success. —Joshua 1:8
Bible in a year:
Daniel 11-12; Jude

Wrinkled noses and puckered lips—sometimes this is my family’s reaction to my cooking, especially when I’m trying something new in the kitchen. Recently, I had a breakthrough with a unique version of macaroni and cheese. I jotted down the ingredients and tucked the recipe away for future reference. Without that set of instructions, I knew the next batch would be a flop.

Without God’s instructions, Joshua would have failed at leading the Israelites into the Promised Land. The first step was to “be strong and of good courage” (Josh. 1:6). Next, he was to continually meditate on the Book of the Law, and finally, he was to do everything it said. As long as Joshua followed the directions, God promised him “good success” (v.8).

God’s “recipe for success” can work for us too, but His idea of success has little to do with money, popularity, or even good health. In the original Hebrew, “then you will have good success” means “then you will act wisely.” Just as God called Joshua to walk in wisdom, He wants us to “walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise” (Eph. 5:15).

As we take courage in the Lord, feast on His Word, and obey Him, we have a recipe for godly success that’s better than anything we could cook up on our own.

You will surely find at the journey’s end,
Whatever the world may afford,
That things fade away, and success is seen
In the life that has served the Lord. —Anon.

Obedience to God’s Word is the recipe for spiritual success.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Living Low

By Marvin Williams

Read: 2 Chronicles 26:3-19
When he was strong his heart was lifted up, to his destruction. —2 Chronicles 26:16
Bible in a year:
Daniel 8-10; 3 John

Dwight L. Moody said, “When a man thinks he has got a good deal of strength, and is self-confident, you may look for his downfall. It may be years before it comes to light, but it is already commenced.” This was true of King Uzziah.

Everything seemed to be going so well in his life. He was obedient, submitted to spiritual mentorship, and sought God’s guidance during most of his reign. As long as he asked God for help, God gave him great success—evidenced by his many accomplishments (2 Chron. 26:3-15).

Uzziah’s life was one of great power and human success until he became blinded by it. His pride was evidenced in several ways: he challenged God’s holiness by trespassing the temple and presuming upon a position he would never be able to have (v.16); he viewed God’s power as good but not absolutely necessary for his leadership (vv.5,16); he refused godly correction and counsel (vv.18-19); he bypassed his opportunity to repent; and he ignored, instead of feared, the consequences of his sin (vv.18-19).

When God gives us success in any area of our lives, let’s not forget the Source of our success. May we choose humility, for God gives grace to the humble.

Is thy heart right with God,
Washed in the crimson flood,
Cleansed and made holy, humble and lowly,
Right in the sight of God? —Hoffman

God lifts us high when we choose to live low.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Little Things

By Anne Cetas

Read: 2 Corinthians 1:3-7
The Father of mercies and God of all comfort . . . comforts us in all our tribulation. —2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Bible in a year:
Daniel 5-7; 2 John

A medical school program in New York gives students who are training for geriatric medicine a unique opportunity. They experience life as nursing home residents for 10 days. They learn some of the struggles of maneuvering a wheelchair and being raised out of bed with a lift, as well as reaching the shower bar from a seated position. One student learned how little things counted for a lot—like lowering nameplates on doors so that patients can find their rooms more easily, or putting the TV remote in a reachable location.

Although the students still can’t fully relate, they will be better able to serve the elderly in their future work.

Sometimes God gives us the opportunity to use the lessons we’ve learned and the comfort He’s given us during difficult times to help others in special ways. Paul indicated this when he wrote: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble” (2 Cor. 1:3-4).

Are you using the lessons you’ve learned in your trials to touch the lives of others? Remember—even little things can mean a lot.

The comfort God has given us
He wants us now to share
With others who are suffering
So they will sense His care. —Sper

God doesn’t comfort us to make us comfortable;
He comforts us to make us comforters.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Change Of Direction

By Bill Crowder

Read: 1 Thessalonians 1
They themselves declare . . . how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God. —1 Thessalonians 1:9
Bible in a year:
Daniel 3-4; 1 John 5

The United States Secret Service was founded in 1865. Their mission? To deal with counterfeiters in an attempt to protect the dollar and, as a result, America’s national economy. This targeted group of law enforcement officers, however, experienced a change of direction in 1902. They became best known for protecting the President of the United States, although their charge still embodies a variety of tasks.

That change of direction in the Secret Service duties is nothing compared to the completely altered lives of the believers at Thessalonica. They had a spiritual transformation that turned their lives around, which was noticed by people far and wide. Paul wrote, “You turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God” (1 Thess. 1:9). And “you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe. . . . Your faith toward God has gone out” (vv.7-8). The change of direction they displayed was dramatic, to say the least— abandoning the worship of idols to embrace relationship with the true and living God. And people noticed the difference in their lives.

I wonder—do people recognize such a profound change in our hearts and lives?

If you are going in the wrong direction,
Or if you have no goal in view,
Let Christ transform you, have control,
Then honor Him in all you do. —Hess

Coming to Christ is not merely informational; it’s transformational.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Preparation And Expectation

By David C. McCasland

Read: Luke 2:8-12; 21:25-28
An angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them. —Luke 2:9
Bible in a year:
Daniel 1-2; 1 John 4

When our children were young, we observed Advent (the time beginning on the fourth Sunday before Christmas through Christmas Eve) by making a wreath and lighting candles each night after supper. We sang a carol and read a short Bible passage about the birth of Christ. This was a special time of preparing our hearts to celebrate Christmas.

But Advent is more than that. When Christians first started practicing it in the fourth century, they viewed it not only as preparation for celebrating Jesus’ birth but also as a time of looking forward to His second coming. They found hope and cheer in the sure promise of His return.

The gospel of Luke describes “the glory of the Lord” that shone around the shepherds when the angel announced the Savior’s birth (2:9). Luke also records Jesus’ promise that He will return “with power and great glory” (21:27). These two events frame the purpose for which the Son of God came into the world.

In Latin advent means “a coming.” The weeks before Christmas can be a wonderful season of repentance and expectation as we celebrate our Lord’s first advent in Bethlehem and anticipate His second advent when He returns in glory. Christ has come! Christ is coming again!

The first time Jesus came to earth,
Humble was His story;
But He has promised to return
With power and great glory. —Sper

Christ has come! Christ is coming again!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Inspiration To Perspiration

By Julie Ackerman Link

Read: Titus 3:1-8
Be doers of the Word, and not hearers only. —James 1:22
Bible in a year:
Ezekiel 47-48; 1 John 3

My grandfathers were both gardeners and so are many of my friends. I love visiting beautiful gardens—they inspire me. They make me want to create something equally beautiful in my own yard. But I have trouble moving from the inspiration to the perspiration part of gardening. My great ideas don’t become reality because I don’t spend the time and energy to make them happen.

This can be true in our spiritual lives as well. We can listen to the testimonies of other people and marvel at the work God is doing in their lives. We can hear uplifting music and great preaching and feel inspired to follow God more diligently. But soon after we walk out of church, we have trouble finding the time or making the effort to follow through.

James described such Christians as being like those who look in a mirror, see themselves, but do nothing to fix what is wrong (James 1:23-24). They hear the Word, but it doesn’t lead to action. James says we need to do—not just hear.

When we move from the inspiration of simply “hearing” about the good being done by others to the perspiration of actually “doing” good works ourselves, the implanted Word of God (1:21) will bloom into a beautiful garden of spiritual fruit.

I’d rather see a Christian
Than to hear one merely talk;
I’d rather see his actions
And behold his daily walk. —Herrell

Life works best when we do.

Friday, December 3, 2010

God’s Signature

By Cindy Hess Kasper

Read: Genesis 1:27-31
God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. —Genesis 1:31
Bible in a year:
Ezekiel 45-46; 1 John 2

Displayed on the wall of my friends’ lake house is a collection of pictures. Each one of the photos is of a sunset, taken from their deck during various seasons. While each is strikingly beautiful—no two are identical. When I look at them, it reminds me of what another friend once called a sunset—“God’s beautiful signature at the end of a day.”

God writes His signature on each sunset and on each of His unique children as well. I never grow tired of discovering how every person I meet is so delightfully different. God is infinitely creative, and the variety in our personalities, senses of humor, abilities, and preferences in music and sports are all handcrafted by Him.

In the body of Christ, we see how a diversity of spiritual gifts still have a common bond and can work together for God’s purposes to bring Him glory. In 1 Corinthians 12:4-6, we read, “There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.”

God’s signature that is so evident in nature is also present in His people. Let’s celebrate the differences that make each of His children unique.

In Jesus Christ we all are equal,
For God’s Spirit makes us one;
As we give each other honor,
We give glory to His Son. —Fitzhugh

The signature of God is seen on His creation

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Times Of Refreshing

By Dennis Fisher

Read: Acts 3:17-26
Repent . . . , so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord. —Acts 3:19
Bible in a year:
Ezekiel 42-44; 1 John 1

What do you find most refreshing? A cold drink on a hot day? An afternoon nap? Listening to praise and worship music?

The biblical theme of refreshing has a variety of physical and spiritual meanings. In Scripture we read of refreshment by resting on the Sabbath (Ex. 23:12), with cool water after physical activity (Judg. 15:18-19), by soothing music (1 Sam. 16:23), and with encouraging fellowship (2 Tim. 1:16).

The apostle Peter describes a time of spiritual refreshment that took place on the Day of Pentecost. He exhorted his listeners to repent and respond to the gospel “that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19). The apostle’s statement was especially meaningful to the Jewish audience with its reference to the millennium when Messiah would rule. But the good news of spiritual life would also be extended to the Gentiles (Acts 10).

Even now as believers we can experience a time of refreshing by quieting our hearts in a devotional time of prayer and Bible reading. When we spend time alone with the Lord, we can experience His peace and joy which renew us in spirit. Aren’t you thankful for these daily times of spiritual refreshment?

A Prayer: Lord, I need my spirit refreshed and
renewed today. Speak to me through Your Word that I
might hear Your heart, and help me to share my heart
with You in prayer. Amen.

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

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Crutch?

By Dave Branon

Read: 2 Corinthians 4:8-15
We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed. —2 Corinthians 4:8
Bible in a year:
Ezekiel 40-41; 2 Peter 3

Have you ever heard skeptics say that the Christian faith is nothing more than a crutch—that the only reason people claim to trust Jesus is that they are weaklings who have to make up “religion” to get by?

Apparently those skeptics haven’t heard about the doctor in one Far Eastern country who spent 2 ½ years in jail being “reeducated” because he professed faith in Christ. Then, after his release, he was arrested again—this time for his efforts at his church.

And perhaps those skeptics haven’t heard about Paul. After trusting Christ, he was arrested, flogged, mocked, and shipwrecked (2 Cor. 11:16-29).

These believers were not looking for a crutch. No, they had something deep and essential in their hearts. They had a personal relationship with God—a relationship born of faith in the work of Jesus on the cross. As a result, they became children of the King—eager to sacrifice everything for the privilege of proclaiming Him. They were not limping along looking for something to hold them up.

A crutch? Hardly. Faith in Christ is not about safety and caution. It’s about believing Jesus and trusting Him no matter what. It’s about taking up a daily cross (Luke 9:23) and living for the Savior.

“Take up your cross,” the Savior said,
“If you would My disciple be;
Take up your cross with willing heart
And humbly follow after Me.” —Everest

Because Jesus bore the cross for us,
we willingly take it up for Him.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Would Or Did?

By Bill Crowder

Read: 1 Corinthians 15:1-11
Christ died for our sins . . . , was buried, and . . . rose again the third day according to the Scriptures. —1 Corinthians 15:3-4
Bible in a year:
Ezekiel 37-39; 2 Peter 2

Not many years ago, we watched as the “WWJD” craze swept through the Christian community. The bracelet-emblazoned theme “What Would Jesus Do?” was a valuable reminder to many people that we should consider the heart and mind of Jesus when making choices. As we seek to live in a way that honors the Savior, it is appropriate to measure our attitudes and decisions against the example our Lord set for us.

Recently, however, I was in a church where I saw a slightly different message. This church’s sign read, “WDJD—What Did Jesus Do?” That is indeed the more important question, because our salvation depends on it. Paramount among the remarkable deeds of the Son of God are the events described in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.”

What did Jesus do? He took the suffering and guilt for our wrongdoing and paid our penalty. He died and conquered death so we could live. And the fact is, we will never be able to fully consider what Jesus would do until we have embraced what He did do for us on the cross.

To follow Christ in all we do
Can be a worthy goal
If first we’ve put our trust in Him
To save our sinful soul. —Sper

We are saved not by what we do
but by trusting what Christ has done.

Monday, November 29, 2010

What Is In Your Hand?

By Dennis Fisher

Read: Exodus 4:1-5
So the Lord said to [Moses], “What is that in your hand?” —Exodus 4:2
Bible in a year:
Ezekiel 35-36; 2 Peter 1

If you have a tendency to despair over lost opportunities or if you worry about the future, ask yourself this question: “What is right in front of me?” In other words, what circumstances and relationships are currently available to you? This question can get your focus off a past regret or a scary future and back to what God can do in your life.

It’s similar to the question God asked Moses at the burning bush. Moses was troubled. Aware of his own weaknesses, he expressed fear about the Lord’s call for him to lead Israel out of bondage. So God simply asked Moses, “What is that in your hand?” (Ex. 4:2). The Lord shifted Moses’ attention away from his anxiety about the future and suggested he notice what was right in front of him—a shepherd’s rod. God showed Moses that He could use this ordinary staff to perform miracles as a sign for unbelieving people. As Moses’ trust in God grew, so did the magnitude of miracles God worked through His servant.

Do you think about past failures too much? Do you have fearful thoughts about the future? Recall God’s question: “What is that in your hand?” What current circumstances and relationships can God use for your benefit and His glory? Entrust them—and your life—to Him.

Onward and upward your course plan today,
Seeking new heights as you walk Jesus’ way;
Heed not past failures, but strive for the prize,
Aiming for goals fit for His holy eyes. —Brandt

You can’t change the past,
but you’ll ruin the present by worrying about the future.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Collector’s Heaven

By Joe Stowell

Read: Matthew 6:19-21
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth . . . but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven. —Matthew 6:19-20
Bible in a year:
Ezekiel 33-34; 1 Peter 5

People love to collect things—from baseball cards to stamps to coins. And while collecting can be a fun hobby, it is sobering to think that once we leave this earth, everything we own becomes part of someone else’s collection. What value would it be to have collected much on earth but little or nothing for eternity?

Jesus had something to say about this. Speaking to His disciples, He said: “Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matt. 6:20).

Eternal treasures never lose their worth. They can never be spoiled or stolen. And just think—we can actually stockpile them! How? Through acts of service. Through leading others to Jesus. By being compassionate to those in need. By living according to the will and ways of Jesus. In the gospel of Mark, we read that the Lord tested the rich young ruler’s heart when He asked him to sell all that he had, give it to the poor, and follow Him. The ruler’s response revealed what he really valued (10:21-22).

It’s easy to become enamored with earthside stuff, but when you make the choice to follow Jesus, He’ll show you the joy of collecting eternal treasures. Nothing on earth can compare!

The treasures of earth do not last,
But God has prepared us a place
Where someday with Him we will dwell,
Enjoying the riches of grace. —Branon

Hold tightly to what is eternal and loosely to what is temporal.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Ernie’s Farewell

By Dave Branon

Read: 2 Corinthians 5:6-8; Philippians 1:21-23
Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. —2 Corinthians 6:2
Bible in a year:
Ezekiel 30-32; 1 Peter 4

On September 30, 2009, columnist Mitch Albom sat on stage at the Fox Theater in Detroit, Michigan, to interview Ernie Harwell, one of the most beloved men in American sports. Harwell spent more than 50 years as a radio play-by-play announcer, mostly for the Detroit Tigers baseball team. His kindness, humility, and warmth as a broadcaster left an indelible impression on all who met him.

When Albom interviewed him, Ernie was 91 years old and had just announced that he had incurable cancer. But as Ernie talked, he wasn’t about to let people feel sorry for him. Instead, he wanted to talk about the night in 1961 when he trusted Jesus Christ as Savior. And, during one of the final times this Hall of Fame announcer would be able to speak publicly, he concluded, “I don’t know how many days I’ve got left . . . [but] I can really know . . . whose arms I’m going to end up in, and what a great, great thing heaven is going to be.”

Ernie was anticipating something special! He knew that God had a glorious eternal home prepared for him (John 14:2-3; Phil. 1:21-23), so he could look death in the face and praise God. Is that your confidence? Do you know that His arms are waiting to welcome you home? At the end, that’s really all that matters.

Lord, when I take my final breath
And see You face to face in death,
Then shall my heart forever sing
The heavenly praises of my King. —Raniville

For the Christian, death means heaven, happiness, and Him

Friday, November 26, 2010

Advanced School

By Philip Yancey

Read: Psalm 27
The Lord is the strength of my life. —Psalm 27:1
Bible in a year:
Ezekiel 27-29; 1 Peter 3

We tend to compartmentalize our lives. We fill our days with activities such as work, errands, chores, caring for children. And then we try to carve out time for “spiritual” activities such as church, small groups, personal devotions.

I don’t see that separation in the Psalms. Somehow David and the other poets managed to make God the gravitational center of their lives so that everything was related to God. To them, worship was the central activity in life, not something to get through so other activities could be resumed. The process of letting God in on every detail of life is one we need.

For me, the Psalms have become a step in the process of recognizing God’s true place at the center. The psalmists have an urgency, a desire, and a hunger for God that makes my own look anemic by contrast. They panted for God with their tongues hanging out, as an exhausted deer pants for water (42:1-2). They lay awake at night dreaming of “the beauty of the Lord” (27:4). They would rather spend one day in God’s presence than a thousand years elsewhere (84:10).

It was “the advanced school of faith” that these poets were enrolled in. Maybe as we read the Psalms, some of it will rub off on us.

One life to live for Christ my Lord,
One life to do my part,
One life in which to give my all
With fervency of heart. —Brandt

To have a heart for God, give your heart totally to God.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

We Thank The Lord

By David C. McCasland

Read: Proverbs 3:1-12
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. —Proverbs 3:5
Bible in a year:
Ezekiel 24-26; 1 Peter 2

Anna Anderson’s husband died early in their marriage, leaving her with three young daughters and a difficult future. Although trained in Virginia as a teacher, she lacked full credentials to work in the Philadelphia schools, so she took in laundry, did ironing, and later scrubbed floors at a large department store. As African-Americans, they often experienced racial prejudice and discrimination. When doors of opportunity closed, Anna believed that if they would trust the Lord with all their heart and acknowledge Him in all their ways, He would direct their paths (Prov. 3:5-6). She taught her daughters to depend on God, follow Him, and always be thankful.

When her firstborn, Marian, rose to become an internationally acclaimed classical singer, Anna continued to pray for her, and always gave God credit for her success. Reporters, who asked Anna how she felt after attending Marian’s concerts at Carnegie Hall and her 1955 debut with the Metropolitan Opera, heard her say, “We thank the Lord.” Her reply was not a cliché, but sincere gratefulness to God.

Rather than lament what she lacked, Anna Anderson expressed gratitude for what she had and used it for God’s glory. Today, we can follow her example with faith, confidence, and a heartfelt, “We thank the Lord.”

When we consider all God’s gifts
And all that we possess,
A grumbling mood of discontent
Gives way to thankfulness. —Sper

Gratitude is a mark of godliness.

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