TRYING TO FIND ME
A telephone salesman called a home and a small child answered the phone just above a whisper. “Hello,” he said.
“Is your mother in?” asked the salesman.
“Yes,” he said in a hushed voice. “But she’s busy.”
“Well,” the salesman continued, “is your father home?”
“Yes,” came the quiet reply. “But he’s busy too.”
Wondering what was going on the salesman asked, “Well, what are they doing?”
“Looking for me,” whispered the child. “I broke my mom’s favorite vase and I’m hiding.”
Hiding is the natural thing to do when we’ve done something we think is wrong. It has a long heritage going back to the Garden of Eden when Adam said to God, “I heard you, so I hid.” Facing the Lord is not pleasant even though we know that He loves us and will willingly forgive us if we ask.
Often, when we are guilty of being disobedient or knowingly commit a sin, we fear to approach Him. But that is the time we need Him the most. We need to remember that He does not want to hurt us but to heal us. He is anxious to forgive us, restore our relationship with Him, and grant us His pardon and peace. “If we confess, He is faithful and just to forgive.” But, we must ask!
Prayer: We know, Heavenly Father, that we do what is unacceptable to You when we sin. May we be swift to confess and repent and forsake what we know is wrong. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: 1 John 1:9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.
In the game of baseball, victory is determined by runs. It is not determined by strikes or strike-outs, hits, double plays, triple plays or the number of innings a game may go. It is only determined by runs.
The player who hits the ball into left field for a single and even stretches it into a double and slides safely into second is not rewarded with “half-a-run.” It is not part of the final score.
How true of life. How true of everything we do. It is not how well we start, how well we continue for a while, but whether or not we finish what we started.
Paul had a co-worker named Demas. How long he was involved with Paul or whether or not he had any particular skills in church planting is not known. What is known is that he deserted Paul because he loved the things of “this life.” He allowed his desire for worldly things and pleasures to surpass his desire for the things of the Lord.
There are two ways we might view the world. One is the way God intended it to be and the way it will be when He returns in His glory. The other way we might look at the world is as Demas did – as it is now with its evil attractions and sinful pleasures.
All of us have the same choices as Demas and Paul: to live for the things of this world or the world to come. Life is a choice. Choose wisely.
Prayer: Create within us, Lord, the desire to seek first the Kingdom of God and a life of righteousness. May we honor You in all we do and forsake the world. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: 2 Timothy 4:10 Demas has deserted me because he loves the things of this life and has gone to Thessalonica.
A DISCOURAGING DAY
It began with a toaster that didn’t work. Then the washing machine stopped in the middle of a large load of soiled clothes and dirty water. The garbage disposal quit, and the sink backed up. Deciding to take a walk outside to get the mail, Bev looked up at the clouds and shook her head.
Opening the one letter she found in the mailbox, she was overwhelmed when she discovered a bill that she could not pay. Her husband hadn’t worked for two months. He was laid-off when work slowed down at the factory.
Walking back into the house she picked up her young toddler, placed him on her lap, hugged him tightly, and began to cry. Suddenly he struggled in her arms and when he got loose and without saying a word, took the pacifier from his mouth and placed it in hers.
He felt her pain and reached out, giving her all that he had.
If a child can feel our sorrow, how much more our Heavenly Father? Whatever concerns us concerned Him first. Certainly, then, our problems become His priorities.
That is why Jesus said, “You can ask for anything in My name, and I will do it.” Need a toaster or washer, a plumber or a job? God is bigger than any of them. No wonder, then, that Jesus said: “ask for anything.” We limit God when we put limits on our requests.
Prayer: We ask, Lord, that You will increase our faith to exceed the size of our problems. May we take You at Your Word – in faith, believing in Your promises. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: John 14:13-14 You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!
A battered, old truck was rambling down a country road and approached a sharp right turn. Unfortunately, the driver applied the brakes but nothing happened. It missed the turn and ended up in a field.
Fortunately, the driver climbed out of the cab uninjured. Dusting himself off, he said to the crowd that gathered around him, “I reckon I should’ve bought brake fluid before I needed it!”
Procrastination presents problems. One of the problems for procrastinators is that what they tend to put off leads to crises, like the truck driver ending up in a field. Fortunately, he ended up with no injury to himself.
One unfortunate result of procrastinating is that it can result in irreversible consequences. This is true of those who face death thinking there will always be time to make things right with God. This is certainly one of Satan’s greatest accomplishments: convincing the lost to believe that “there will be time tomorrow. And if not tomorrow, the next day. Perhaps next week.” Not wise!
Satan takes great pleasure when he gets us to focus on tomorrow instead of today. He rejoices when we have “spiritual intentions” that we “reserve” for “tomorrow.” Those “intentions” also include our promises to read His Word, pray, attend church and witness. He who hesitates loses everything!
Prayer: We pray, Father, for those who have delayed accepting You as Savior. May Your Spirit work in their hearts and, also please help all of us to turn our intentions into actions. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: Zechariah 1:4 Don’t be like your ancestors who would not listen or pay attention when the earlier prophets said to them, ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Turn from your evil ways, and stop all your evil practices.’
Have you ever eaten a Twinkie? Those moist cakes filled with creamy vanilla? Do you know how they got to the grocer’s shelf?
Jimmy Dewar is the creator of the delicious little treats. He never planned on baking Twinkies. The idea for them came to him out of frustration.
He began by making strawberry shortcakes but ran into a problem. At the end of the season, he had pans but no strawberries. He then decided to create a banana filling which was well received in the stores. But he ran into another problem.
One year there was a shortage of bananas, and he was forced to try something else. He thought and worked and experimented and came up with the idea of a vanilla filling. It was and still is a delicious treat and enjoyed by many every day. Besides, the creamy vanilla filling has no season.
That’s the way God works in our lives. When he closes one door, He willingly opens another if we are faithful, work diligently, and look to Him for guidance. Unfortunately, many Christians look upon difficult days as a reason to become despondent and discouraged and not dependent upon God for His answers to their problems.
God’s Word declares, “I have opened a door for you that no one can shut.” Trust Him. He wants you to succeed. Only you can shut the door He opens for you.
Prayer: Open our eyes, Lord, to see the opportunities that You set before us. May we look to You each day with excitement for the challenges You will bring us! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: Revelation 3:8 “I know all the things you do, and I have opened a door for you that no one can close. You have little strength, yet you obeyed my word and did not deny me.”
THE VALUE OF HARD TIMES
My mother was a most wonderful Christian, always teaching her children by example. She taught Sunday school, child evangelism classes, ladies Bible study groups, and weekly prayer services for missionaries. Each Thursday was set aside as a day of fasting and prayer.
I remember overhearing her prayer on one occasion. She was praying for her children: “Oh God,” she cried, “don’t ever let my children have an easy life. Let them experience sorrow and suffering, pain and problems, otherwise, they will not need to depend on you.”
That prayer shaped all of us children. It has given us a heart for the broken-in-heart. As a result of her prayers, when we see the tears of others we want to dry their eyes because we can understand their pain. When others go through a time of grief, we can identify with them because we’ve been there. When others are in need, it motivates us to help them because we have been without. When we see the unsaved, we are encouraged to pray: Lord what can I do to win them to Christ.
We must also remember that Jesus went through these very same experiences. He was beaten and spit upon, abandoned and betrayed, went through hours of excruciating pain – even death itself. Now, in heaven, He remembers these feelings and through His ever sufficient grace will give us hope, help, and healing. He’s been where we are and therefore understands our needs.
Prayer: We are grateful, Father, that You know, through experience, what we go through in our hours of pain and suffering. Thank You for knowing and understanding us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: Matthew 9:36-38 He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.”
THE GENERAL’S LAST REQUEST
As General Grant lay dying, his heart was troubled, and he desired to make things right with God. Turning to someone nearby he asked for a minister to come to visit him.
“General,” said the minister, “‘The Son of man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.’ If you’ll sincerely call upon Him from your heart, you’ll receive mercy from Him and abundant pardon.”
The minister then fell to his knees and prayed for the general, and General Grant received Jesus as His Savior. At that moment, he was wonderfully converted.
Thrilled, the minister said, “God’s Kingdom has received a great acquisition in your conversion, General.”
General Grant, thinking for a moment responded, “God doesn’t need great men, but great men need God.”
On the cross of Christ, God leveled the playing field. No one stands above the crowd. Each time we are reminded of the death of Jesus, we must also remind ourselves that the “Son of man has come to seek and to save those who are lost.”
No one is saved as a result of a great heritage or popularity contest. Our background or previous lifestyle does not matter. God saves us by “His special favor when we believe…in Him…because salvation is a gift from God.” But, we must accept His gift to be saved!
Prayer: We thank You, Lord, for making it possible for everyone, everywhere and anywhere, to have equal access to Your grace and salvation. Thank You for loving us! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: Ephesians 2:8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.
DOWN, BUT NOT OUT!
Packy East began his professional career as a lightweight boxer. He ended his career as one of the world’s best-known ambassadors. What started in a ring ended on a stage.
Packy entered the ring in Cleveland, Ohio one evening for a boxing match he intended to win. It was not to be. At the end of the second round, he was knocked down and carried to his dressing room.
But that setback did not hinder him. It actually helped him and changed his life and career. He eventually became a comedian, traveled the world entertaining large audiences and was very generous with his time to visit American troops wherever they were stationed. He was not known as “Packy the Performer.” He changed his name and was known as Bob Hope, the comedian.
It’s not being knocked down that destroys us – it’s staying down. When we are down, it is time to look up and to look out! We need to look up to God to see what He has in store for us and then look out into His world to see where He would have us serve Him.
Jesus said that “everything is possible if a person believes.” He did not mean that anything was possible with “positive thinking.” He did want us to know, however, that nothing is impossible for God to do in our lives if it is in keeping with His will for us.
Prayer: Help us, Father, to be open and alert to what is going on around us and discover what You would have us to do to serve and honor You. May we do Your will! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: Mark 9:23 “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.”
WHOSE SIDE ARE YOU ON?
During one of the civil wars in Italy, a regimental leader was having a difficult time recruiting soldiers to fight. To solve his problem, he was going from city to city looking for people to join him. Many responded and brought their swords and guns to do battle.
One old lady was so moved as she saw the response that she wanted to join in the battle. So, she grabbed her broom, put it over her shoulder and began to march with the men.
Many laughed at her and one person mocked her from the crowd, “What are you doing, old lady? What good are you?”
“Not much,” came her answer, “but at least everyone will know whose side I’m on.”
Every day we are confronted with choices that reflect our allegiances to Christ. Often they are subtle and do not require much effort and get little attention from others. Sometimes the call to obedience may result in revolutionary changes and completely upset life-long plans and dreams. Surely there have been times when all He asked was to “be still and know that I am God.”
The call varies but our response to be faithful to Him is always optional. We either turn toward Him and do as He asks us to do or turn away from Him and follow our selfish ambitions. Opportunities to serve are optional, but to refuse to accept them puts our salvation in question.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we are always available when You call us to serve You. We pray that when You call we will answer and say, Here I am, Lord, willing to follow. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: John 14:14-15 Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it! If you love me, obey my commandments.
AM I DOING MY BEST?
John Baker was an unlikely candidate to become a respected track star. He was not very well built, much shorter than other members of the track team and appeared to be uncoordinated. But something happened.
During his junior year in high school, the coaches wanted his best friend to join the track team. He refused. When John learned of this he said, “Let me join and maybe he’ll come with me.” They agreed to John’s suggestion and both boys began running track together.
At the first cross country track event, most eyes were focused on the state champion, Lloyd Goff. When the race began, he quickly took the lead. But as the racers approached the finish line, one runner was far in front of the others. The coach turned to his assistant and said, “Here comes Goff.” Taking his binoculars he looked and said, “Wow! It’s not Goff – it’s Baker.”
After the race, the coach asked Baker how he was able to win the race. “I focused on the runner in front of me and said, ‘Am I doing my best?’ And when I passed him, I said that about the next one in front of me until I passed every one of them and won the race!”
All of us who profess to be Christians need to ask ourselves the same question: “Am I doing my best?” and then add, “for Christ?”
Prayer: You have given us so much, Father, that we do not realize all that we can do to serve You or ask what more can I do for You. May we ask: Can I do more Lord? In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: Philippians 4:13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.