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Devotional for 11-22-2019

SHARE AND SUCCEED

Disheartened by the lack of opportunities for work in Cuba, a refugee made his way to America. He submitted one application after another only to have it rejected because he could not speak English.

Finally, in desperation he tried once again at a Pizza Hut, but with little hope. He was rejected and felt defeated. Then, while eating a piece of their pizza, he noticed a sign that announced their need for a dishwasher. Expecting nothing in return, he went into the kitchen and began to wash dishes. The owners were so pleased with his work that they offered him a permanent job, and he began a successful career with the company. Years later he became an owner, and one day sold his Pizza Hut franchises for $125 million.

Education and talent are no guarantee of success. Paul writes, “Do what is good” and do not “get discouraged and give up for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time.” We must always be sensitive to the needs of others and have a willingness to help anyone in need. Sharing another’s burden and meeting the needs of others always honors God. What we do for others will not go unnoticed by Him.

Prayer: Father, open our eyes to see and ears to hear the needs of others. When others need our help, may we reach out and respond with Your love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Galatians 6:9-10 So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith. 

Devotional for 11-21-2019

RIGHT IS RIGHT

The games were played, the gifts opened, the food was eaten. Turning to his uncle, Billy said, “Thank you for my birthday present.”

“Oh, it was nothing,” he said pleasantly.

“Mom and I agree with you,” he replied, “but she said I should thank you anyway.”

An attitude of gratitude is very important. A mind that is alert to and aware of the gifts and kind acts of others is an invaluable asset to anyone. And a heart that is quick to express a word of “thanks” for any expression of thoughtfulness is deeply appreciated by others. Everyone wants to know that they are appreciated for what they do for others!

Too often as we make our way through life we focus on our worries and woes rather than God’s blessings that come to us through others. We seem to harbor problems and losses deep within us and tend to lose sight of God’s gracious and generous gifts.

Although it is normal and natural to bring our needs and necessities to God, we must never lose sight of our obligation to express our gratitude to Him for everything that we have – big or little. If we truly love and worship Him, our lives will be one continuous celebration of thanksgiving. What can you thank Him for right now?

Prayer: Father, we ask that You will open our eyes to all of the gifts that You constantly lavish upon us. Make us aware of all that You constantly do for us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: 1 Thessalonians 5:18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 

Devotional for 11-20-2019

RECOGNIZING REALITY

For several weeks a radiologist had suffered from a painful stomach ache. Noting his discomfort, his associate suggested that he have a series of x-rays to rule out any problems.

He agreed to this plan and was assigned a number by the clinic. The next day he was examining a nameless but numbered x-ray. He did not realize that it was his. Suddenly he cried out, “Contact this person immediately. He has inoperable cancer.”

Unfortunately, many of us have feelings of discomfort. We are “dis-eased” and troubled, anxious and afraid. We hear sermons, read Scripture and even pray but get no satisfaction or relief. Only more anxiety. We wonder what is going on.

Peter wrote to encourage us to keep our “conscience clear.” When we experience moments or days of “dis-ease,” it may be God’s spirit reaching out to warn us. When we feel no relief or peace or quiet or joy or satisfaction, no doubt He is saying – “Take an x-ray of your heart and you will discover the problem. Look carefully for the sin that is causing your pain.” If we examine our lives carefully, God will reveal the cause of our “dis-ease.”

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for all the warning signs You give us to let us know when we need to repent. May we be sensitive to the work of Your Spirit. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: 1 Peter 3:16 But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. 

Devotional for 11-19-2019

PAST, PRESENT OR FUTURE?

A formal banquet for important individuals was scheduled in Washington. General Jimmy Doolittle decided to invite Charles Lindbergh, the famous pilot, to join the celebration. He wanted to recognize him for his outstanding accomplishments.

After a moment’s thought, Lindbergh said to Doolittle, “It seems to me that life is full of so many worthwhile opportunities that I do not want to spend a lot of time celebrating the past.”

Paul wisely said to his friends, “I choose to focus all my energies on one thing: I will forget the past…and look forward to serving You until the end of my race when I receive my prize: heaven!” Paul never looked at his past, only his future in Christ!

Too often we look at what we have done or where we have been and neglect to realize where we, as Christians, are going. We all have betrayed, disappointed and abandoned our Savior at one time or another. However, we must let go of the past. God has forgiven us, so we must stay focused on our relationship with Him today and do what we can do to serve Him faithfully and lovingly until He greets us in heaven.

Prayer: Help me, Savior, to realize that the past is gone and that the life I live now is to please You. Free us from our past and help us to live in the NOW! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Philippians 3:13-14 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. 

Devotional for 11-18-2019

NOW OR NEVER!

In 1874 Elisha Gray did something that no one else had ever done. He unveiled a machine that transmitted musical notes over a telegraph wire. The audience was fascinated with the sounds. Proudly he said, “If music, why not words?”

Immediately the New York Times predicted a “Talking Machine,” and people expressed a great interest in wanting one.

Gray did nothing with his “machine” for two months. One day he decided to go to the patent office with a drawing. After presenting it to one of the officials, he learned that Alexander Graham Bell had presented an identical sketch two hours earlier.

Gray did not fail. He hesitated. His loss was tremendous and cost him much.

Salvation is God’s free gift to everyone who accepts Christ. But like Gray, many put off making a decision to become a Christian until it is too late. Everyone wants to believe there will always be another tomorrow because there was a yesterday. Not true!

Prayer: We pray, Father, for those who need to accept Christ as Savior today! May they realize that “now is the day of salvation” and accept Your offer. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: 2 Corinthians 6:1-2 As God’s partners, we beg you not to accept this marvelous gift of God’s kindness and then ignore it. For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.” Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation. 

Devotional for 11-17-2019

NO MISTAKE

He had been playing football in a nasty, soggy, muddy field. Tired and covered with fresh mud, little James returned home for dinner. His mother horrified with his appearance and wanting to shame him said, “Who’s this? I don’t know of anyone who lives here who could ever get so dirty and come to the table to eat!”

“It’s me, Mom,” he shouted. “It’s your son James who’s underneath all this dirt.”

Jesus once told the story of a son who went to his father and said, “Dad, I want whatever you have that has been set aside for my inheritance. I’m leaving home today.”

But things did not work out the way the son thought they would. He wasted his inheritance on things that were pleasing but had no eternal value. So, one day he “came to himself!” In this famous story, Jesus described the foolishness of “passing fancies” in comparison to the gift He has to offer: a life worth living through the grace of God.

He was met by his Dad who was filled with joy and compassion, waiting for this day – the day he would realize what his father had to offer him. He wrapped his son in his arms and held him tightly, told him that he was loved and welcomed, and “all is forgiven.”

What a picture of Jesus: eyes searching, ears listening, arms open, heart-pounding, and waiting and wanting to offer everyone complete forgiveness for every sin.

Prayer: Thank You, Jesus, for providing a love that exceeds our sinfulness, grace and mercy for anyone, and the opportunity to begin a life with You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Luke 15:11-32 We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found. 

Devotional for 9-16-2019

ME, MY MOP, AND THE DOCTOR

Early one morning Jim Belasco, a noted writer, went to the Methodist Hospital in Houston, to interview the world-famous heart surgeon, Dr. Michael DeBakey. As he made his way toward the operating room, he met a custodian with a smile as large as life and singing happily with all his heart as he mopped the floor.

Curious to see such enthusiasm at such an early hour, the writer asked, “Why are you so happy?”

Came the quick reply, “Me and the Doc are going to save some lives today.”

We all form partnerships for many different reasons. There are occasions when partnerships are formed for leisure activities or social events, and other times for work or special projects. But imagine a partnership that included a mop and a scalpel, a doctor and a janitor. Unbelievable! But that is what Paul had in mind when he said, “We work together as partners who belong to (and bring glory to) God!” Who’s your partner?

Prayer: Father, May all our “partnerships” be formed with the simple purpose of pleasing You. May we join with others and work to honor You! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: 1 Corinthians 3:9 For we are both God’s workers. And you are God’s field. You are God’s building. 

Devotional for 11-15-2019

LOST AND FOUND

An explorer became lost in a dangerous part of an African jungle. His compass was of no use to him because he did not know where he was or which direction to travel. He became desperate and was filled with fear when a native appeared and offered to take him to his camp.

Hesitatingly, with no options, but hopeful, he asked, “Do you know the way?”

Confidently the native replied, “I am the way.”

People all around us are lost, seeking directions, and “looking for the way” for their lives. The world has many maps and GPS systems, but they offer no final destination that provides salvation, peace, and security. They are searching and seeking desperately, trying anything and everything, to discover a way out of their fear and hopelessness.

They need to hear the words of Jesus, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” In Him we have the directions we need for our life here and the life to come.

Prayer: Father, thank You for being “the Way” – our Savior and Guide. Help us to lead others to You, so they will know the Way, the Truth, and have life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: John 14:6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” 

Devotional for 11-14-2019

KEEP ALERT!

Years ago LSU and Indiana were playing in the NCAA Regional finals. LSU was leading Indiana by eight points going into the last few minutes of the game.

Suddenly, LSU began playing a different type of game. They were trying to use the clock to their advantage. But it did not work out the way they planned. As they took their eyes off of the ball and watched the clock, Indiana stayed focused on the ball – not the clock – and won the game.

In the last hours of the life of Jesus, He asked three of His disciples to “stay awake and watch” as He prayed. But they fell asleep. When He returned and found them sleeping, He did not scold them. Instead, He warned them to “keep alert and pray!”

Temptations come to the Christian, as the disciples of Jesus – when least expected. Jesus wisely warned and advised His disciples to combine praying with alertness or they would not see temptation taking advantage of them. Nothing’s changed.

Prayer: Lord, please help us to be aware and alert to the subtlety of any and every temptation. May we always realize the power of Satan. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Matthew 26:41 Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak! 

Devotional for 11-13-2019

IT’S WHAT’S INSIDE THAT COUNTS

Paganini, one of the world’s most famous violinists, walked onto the stage before a large crowd. Just before he began playing, he looked at the violin he was holding and realized that it was not his. He was horrified, but it was too late for him to do anything about the violin. IT was time to begin!

After the concert, the critics and audience said it was the best concert of his entire career.

When questioned about using a violin that belonged to another person, he said, “Today I learned the most important lesson of my life. I once believed that the music was in the violin. Today I learned that it was in me.”

God has given each of us different abilities and gifts. They vary in name and number but not in value. They may be obvious to others or they may be seen only by Him. Our gifts come from God. What we do with them is our gift back to Him. We must realize that His gifts are within us and only come to life when we respond to the opportunities He gives us to develop them and serve Him – whatever they are and wherever we may be.

Prayer: Empower us, Lord to develop the gifts and abilities You have given us to serve others and bring honor and glory to You. May we be who we can be. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Romans 12:6 In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. 

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