WHAT’S IN YOUR NAME?
Arthur Rubinstein was one of the world’s most celebrated pianists. He often wondered what the critics and his audience would say if someone else appeared at a concert to play in his place.
One night, with an assumed name and made-up to look different in a disguise, he performed a concert before a large audience. After the concert, the critics agreed, “The gentleman who played this evening wasn’t in the class with the great Rubinstein.”
We are reminded in Proverbs that “A good name is more desirable than great riches, and to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.”
God has called each of us to fill a unique role in His world. We are “one of a kind.”
He has given each of us unique gifts and talents that He expects us to develop and refine. As we work with what He has given us, we develop a reputation for our accomplishments – whatever they may be. We become known to others not only by what we do but how well we do it. Our reputation, our “name,” is a result of what we do with what God has given us. We dare not waste His gifts foolishly on meaningless things.
Prayer: Help us, Father, to “work hard” to “earn” a good name, and bring great honor to You. Give us a desire to become all we can become through You! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: Proverbs 22:1 A good name is more desirable than great riches, and to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.
WHAT WOULD HE THINK?
A mother lectured her daughter about the importance of keeping family secrets private. One day she got in trouble in school, and the principal called her mother to tell her about the trouble her daughter was in.
After scolding the girl, she said, “Now you must go to your room and ask God to forgive you.”
Later, when the family sat down for dinner, she asked, “Sara, did you ask God to forgive you?”
“No, Mom, I didn’t,” said Sara. “I knew that you wouldn’t want Him to know about our family scandals!”
Sara had no doubt that everything she did and everything she said – whether good or bad – was seen or heard by God.
It was true for Job. It is true for us. Nothing that we have done or will ever do will escape His notice because nothing can be hidden from Him. As Job was speaking of the life he lived in the presence of God, he was able to say, “I have not committed any sin in my heart against God or my neighbor.” How many of us can repeat those words?
Prayer: Help us to realize, Lord, that we cannot hide anything from You. May we realize the importance of the way we live and strive to be like Your Son. In His Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today:Job 31:3-4 Isn’t it calamity for the wicked and misfortune for those who do evil? Doesn’t he see everything I do and every step I take?
WARM WORDS AND A SINCERE SMILE
Years ago at a missionary conference in London, a gracious man with an inviting smile noticed a young boy standing alone looking puzzled. Softly he asked, “Would you like to be a missionary?”
“Oh yes,” he answered, “yes, I would!” he replied quickly.
And he did. He became one of the world’s most famous missionaries as well as an explorer in Africa. Years later, David Livingstone said, “It was that smile, that gentle question, and expression of kindness that led me to become a missionary.”
It is easy to overlook those who appear to be unimportant or seem to have no significance. They stand alone and lonely. Unwanted. We often consider them the “least in the Kingdom of God” – assuming that they have little worth in serving the Lord.
Jesus picked men to be His disciples who were considered “common, ordinary men.” But those “common, ordinary men” preached sermons, wrote books, established the Church, grew the Kingdom and changed the world because someone said, “I need you!”
Prayer: Father, open our eyes to those around us who we may invite to work with us to reach the lost. We can all do more for You by inviting others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: Matthew 28:19Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
THE POTENTIAL OF PRAISE
He had a burning desire to be a writer even though everything seemed to be against him. As a young man in London, he was only able to attend school for four years. His father was jailed for bad debts, and he had no one to help him.
Finally, he got a job pasting labels on bottles. The owner of the business was kind enough to allow him to sleep in the warehouse where he worked. Every spare moment he had was invested in writing stories. For several years every editor rejected every story he ever wrote. But he refused to give up. He kept writing and submitting his stories.
Finally, one day, one editor wrote him and said that one of his stories had been accepted for publication. He went on in his letter and complimented him for his work. A word of praise and the publication of one story were all that he needed. He continued to write and, after many years, perfected his passion. Today, libraries and book stores around the world contain many books written by Charles Dickens.
A word of encouragement goes a long way. And a word of encouragement is all that most of us need to “keep on keeping on.” Be an “encourager” to someone today!
Prayer: Lord, keep our eyes open and our minds alert to find and help any in need of encouragement. Help us to be an “encourager” that changes lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: Hebrews 10:24 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.
“IF ONLY” PEOPLE
A psychiatrist was deeply troubled by the sadness of one of his dear friends. Curiously he asked, “What’s troubling you?”
After some time he responded, “I’ve been reviewing the ‘If only’s’ of my life. I’ve made so many mistakes.”
Wanting to help he said, “Let’s go to my office. I have some recordings I want you to hear.”
Sitting quietly he played a tape containing the stories of three very depressed patients. After a moment he asked, “Did you notice that each one kept repeating, ‘if only?” The “if only’s” bring about a sense of hopelessness and helplessness, depression and discouragement. All of us must learn to say, “Next time I’ll do things differently. I’ll seek God’s will and ask for His wisdom and guidance before I make a decision.”
James said, “If you need wisdom – if you want to know what God wants you to do – ask Him and He will gladly tell you!” Wisdom in the Bible means “practical insight or guidance” that will lead the Christian to right living and eliminate the “if only’s” of life.
Prayer: Father, may we look to You for guidance before we make decisions or plans or try to solve problems. May we seek Your guidance at all times. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: James 1:5 If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.
THE BEST ADVICE EVER
Derek Jeter, formerly a New York Yankee, is acknowledged by some to be one of the greatest shortstops who ever played baseball. One day a reporter asked him, “What’s the best advice your father ever gave you?”
Came the quick reply, “Don’t let anyone ever outwork you!”
It was hard, relentless work over many years that led Jeter to the pinnacle of his profession. And, it is the same hard work that kept him there and served as a model that many seek to follow. His efforts have rewarded him lavishly and brought him friends, fame, and fortune.
There are some of us, however, who work just as hard but get relatively little recognition. No one sees us and no one knows how hard we try. We may even wonder if what we do really matters to anyone. We ask: “Does what I do make a difference?”
Yes, it does – at least to God. One day He will reward us personally in front of everyone in heaven for the good we have done for others in His Name.
Prayer: Help us, Father, to realize that You will reward each one of us for all that we have ever done. Give us a desire to develop every gift we have! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: Ephesians 6:7-8 Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will reward each one of us for the good we do, whether we are slaves or free.
SUCCESS AT WHAT PRICE?
A reporter was interviewing a farmer who was known for growing the best corn in his area. He was intrigued by the fact that the farmer was also known for sharing his seed corn freely with his neighbors. He was the opposite of being selfish.
“Why do you share your best seed corn with your neighbors?” asked the reporter.
After a moment’s thought, he replied, “The wind picks up the pollen from the ripening corn and swirls it from field to field. If my neighbors grow inferior corn, cross-pollination would degrade mine. If I am to grow good corn, I must help my neighbors do the same.”
Jesus said, “Give and it will be given unto you!” He was teaching us that if we want more, we must give more. That is God’s plan and it is His promise. Whatever we share with others, whether it is our time, our talents, or our treasures, will always be returned to us with “interest added.” There will be more time in our day, more opportunities to enjoy life, our talents will continue to grow, and our value to the Lord will increase as well.
Prayer: Help us, Lord, to give generously to others in the gracious way that You give to us. May we understand that everything belongs to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: Luke 6:38 Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full – pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.
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.
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.
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.