Wednesday, February 22, 2012

An Ordinary Guy

By Anne Cetas

John performed no sign, but all the things that John spoke about [Jesus] were true. —John 10:41
Bible in a Year:
Deuteronomy 20-22

Steve was just an ordinary guy. He quietly served in a church I attended years ago. He helped prepare communion, shoveled the church sidewalks in the winter, and mowed the lawn in the summer. He spent time with teenage boys who had no fathers in the home. I often heard him telling people at church in his quiet way how good the Lord was to him. During prayer meeting he didn’t talk much about himself but would ask us to pray for those he was telling about Jesus’ forgiveness and love.

A verse in John 10 about John the Baptist makes me think of Steve. People said of him: “John performed no sign, but all the things that John spoke about this Man [Jesus] were true” (v.41). John didn’t perform miracles as Jesus did. He didn’t talk about himself but came to “bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe” (1:7). He said of Jesus, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (1:29). My friend Steve bore witness of that Light as well.

Our aim, as followers of Jesus, is to do the same—to “bear witness of the Light.” We’re just ordinary people, serving God in our little corner of the world. With our quiet deeds and words, let’s point others to the Light!
Just what do Christians look like? What sets their lives apart? They’re ordinary people Who love God from the heart. —D. De Haan
Christians are ordinary people who are committed to the extraordinary person of Christ.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


By Cindy Hess Kasper

Read: Proverbs 6:6-11
How long will you slumber, O sluggard? —Proverbs 6:9
Bible in a year:
Deuteronomy 17-19

While studying the book of Proverbs in my small-group Bible study, our leader suggested that we change the description of a lazy person from a sluggard to a slacker (6:6,9). Ah, now he was speaking my lingo. I immediately started thinking of all the people I consider to be slackers.

Like the men and women who fail to teach and discipline their children. Or that guy who refuses to help around the house. Or those teenagers who neglect their studies and play Internet games day and night.

If we’re honest, we’re all susceptible to this. What about being a “prayer slacker” (1 Thess. 5:17-18), or a “Bible-reading slacker” (Ps. 119:103; 2 Tim. 3:16-17), or a “non-exercising-of-our-spiritual-gift slacker” (Rom. 12:4-8), or a “non-witnessing slacker”? (Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 1:8).

If we are not doing what we know God wants us to do, we are certainly spiritual slackers. In fact, when we refuse to obey God, we are sinning.

Listen to these challenging and convicting words from the book of James: “It is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it” (4:17 NLT). Let’s not be spiritual slackers.

When we know what God wants us to do,
But then we refuse to obey,
We’re ignoring the voice of the Lord,
And sinfully choosing our way. —Sper

We may make excuses for not obeying God,
but He still calls it disobedience.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

More, More, More

By Jennifer Benson Schuldt

Read: Philippians 4:10-20
I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content. —Philippians 4:11
Bible in a year:
Numbers 34-36

Now that my daughter is learning to talk, she has adopted a favorite word: more. She will say “more” and point to toast with jam. She held out her palm and said “More!” when my husband gave her some coins for her piggy bank. She even exclaimed, “More Daddy!” one morning after her father left for work.

Like my little one, many of us look around and call for “more.” Unfortunately, enough is never enough. We need the power of Christ to break the cycle so that we can say with Paul, “I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content” (Phil. 4:11).

The phrase “I have learned” tells me that Paul did not meet every situation with a smile. Learning contentment required practice. His testimony included ups and downs ranging from snake bites to soul-saving; false accusations to founding churches. Yet he claimed that Jesus was the answer to soul-level satisfaction. He said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (v.13). Jesus had given him the spiritual muscle to endure lean times and to avoid the pitfalls of abundance.

If you find yourself angling for “more, more, more,” remember that contentment comes when you have “more” of Christ.

Fret not for want of earthly things;
They’ll never satisfy.
The secret of contentment is
To let the Lord supply. —D. De Haan

True contentment is not dependent on anything in this world.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Wings Like A Dove

By David H. Roper

Read: Psalm 55:4-22
Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest. —Psalm 55:6
Bible in a year:
Numbers 28-30

David sighed, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest” (Ps. 55:6). As for me, I’d build a cabin in the Sawtooths, or take a permanent post in a fire-lookout tower. When life weighs on me, I too yearn to fly away and be at rest.

David wrote freely about his circumstances: Violence, oppression, and strife surrounded him on all sides, stirred up by the disloyalty of an old friend (55:8-14). Fear and terror, pain and trembling, anxiety and restlessness overwhelmed him (vv.4-5). Is it any wonder he longed to fly away?

But escape was impossible. He could not evade his lot. He could only give his circumstances to God: “As for me, I will call upon God, and the Lord shall save me. Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice” (vv.16-17).

Whatever our circumstances—a burdensome ministry, a difficult marriage, joblessness, or a deep loneliness—we can give them to God. He has lifted the burden of our sins; will He not lift the weight of our sorrows? We have trusted Him with our eternal souls; can we not entrust our present circumstances to Him? “Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you” (55:22).

Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will be singing as the days go by. —Oatman

Because God cares about us, we can leave our cares with Him.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Just Because He’s Good

By Anne Cetas

Read: Psalm 100
Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! —Psalm 136:1
Bible in a year:
Numbers 11-14

Joel and Lauren decided to move from Washington State back home to Michigan. Wanting to make one last special memory, they bought coffee from their favorite cafe and then stopped at their favorite bookstore. There they picked up two bumper stickers with a favorite motto of the town they were saying goodbye to: “It’s an Edmonds kind of day.”

After 2 weeks and a 3,000-mile drive, they entered Michigan. Hungry and wanting to celebrate their arrival, they stopped and asked about where to find a restaurant. Although they had to backtrack a few miles, they found a quaint little cafe. Emma, their waitress, excited to learn they were from her home state of Washington, asked, “What city?” “Edmonds,” they replied. “That’s where I’m from!” she said. Wanting to share the joy, Joel got their extra bumper sticker from the car and handed it to her. Amazingly, the sticker was from her mother’s store! It had gone from her mom’s hands to theirs, across 3,000 miles, to her hands.

Mere coincidence? Or were these experiences good gifts orchestrated by a good God who loves to encourage His children? Proverbs tells us, “A man’s steps are directed by the Lord” (20:24 NIV). In response, let’s “bless His name. For the Lord is good” (Ps. 100:4-5).

Bestowed with benefits daily,
Sent from the Father above;
Mercies and blessings abounding,
Gifts of His marvelous love. —Anon.

Every good gift comes from the Father.