ALL TOGETHER – NOW – SMILE!
It was her first day at work, and the manager was carefully going over the responsibilities of being his secretary with her. After thoroughly explaining her tasks, he said, “Now I’d like to tell you a few things about myself so you will know what kind of person I am.”
He then began telling her about his college career – how he excelled in academics and athletics. He then started to talk about his accomplishments with the company, how he received one promotion after another and was rewarded with raises and bonuses. He spent a great amount of time bragging about himself.
Finally, in her frustration, she asked, “Tell me, sir, have you ever had a group photo taken of yourself?”
Many worry about being properly recognized for their position and status. We want others to know what we can do and how well we can do it – whether they are interested in us or not. We want others to look to us and stand in awe of our accomplishments.
However, Peter warns us to remember that it is God’s recognition that matters most. Human praise is one thing but God’s approval is really all that counts. In His own time, God will bless our efforts and honor our work. We must also remember that His recognition may not come in this lifetime. But, if we are faithful to Him and give Him the glory, He will surely reward us in heaven. And, that’s what matters most!
Prayer: Lord, whatever we do in life is because of Your gifts and grace. Our talents and skills, abilities and strength come to us to give back to You in serving others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: 1 Peter 5:6 So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor.
“ONE WHO SHINES WHEN IT’S DARK”
Mitch was afraid of being in the dark at night when the lights of his room were turned off. His father wanted to help him solve this problem of fear that gripped him when he was in the darkness. After thinking about it, he decided that if Mitch had a picture of the Lord in his room, he would not be afraid.
One Saturday morning he took Mitch to the Christian bookstore to purchase a picture of Jesus. They stood in front of the pictures of Jesus and looked at each one. None seemed to please him. Finally, in desperation, Mitch’s Dad asked, “We’ve looked at all of these pictures, Son, and you don’t want any of them. What kind of a picture of Jesus do you want?”
Looking at his Dad, Mitch smiled and said, “I want a Jesus that shines in the dark.”
That’s what we all need, isn’t it? We need a Savior Who will shine His light on our paths when they are uncertain, we need Him to illuminate the roads we have not traveled before, and we need His brightness to turn our darkest hours into the glory of the rising sun.
Jesus brings the presence, the protection, and the power of God into our lives. He is the Light of the world and from His light comes the Truth that all mankind seeks and needs. Without Him, we live in the darkness of doubt and despair. With Him, we live in the fullness of God’s love, mercy, grace, salvation, and hope.
Prayer: Lord, we need You to shine brightly as we face a world of darkness that is filled with temptation, trouble, tragedy, and tears. Be the lamp for our path and the light for our journey. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: John 8:12 Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”
According to Greek legend, Achilles was the greatest warrior who ever lived. In Homer’s Iliad, he was the hero of the Trojan Wars. When he was a baby, his mother wanted him to be invulnerable to injury. So, early in his, life she took him to the River Styx, believing that it had miraculous powers, held him by his heels, and dipped him in the water. Only his heels were not covered by the water.
Eventually, he became a greatly respected and feared warrior! Unfortunately, he was killed in battle by an arrow that pierced his heel – the only spot that was not covered by the water from the River Styx. It is from this legend that we talk of “our Achilles heel.”
Although it is only a legend, it teaches us a significant fact: Our surrender to Christ must be complete – it must include all of us: our hearts, minds, and bodies. Paul advises us that we are not “to let any part of our body become a tool of wickedness to be used for sinning…instead…let your whole body be as a tool to do what is right for the glory of God.”
Surrender is often difficult for some of us for fear that we will fail our Lord. Does this come from the idea that we think we are responsible for the victory over sin? We are not! It is God working in us and through us and for us that gives us victory over sin through Christ. Whatever we do not surrender to God is our “Achilles heel” and will be targeted by Satan and bring about our death.
Prayer: Help us, Father, to remember that the battle and the victory are in Your hands. We know that if we surrender our “all” to You we will survive the attacks of Satan. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: Romans 6:12-14 Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.
FAILING IS NOT FATAL
For years Thomas Edison tried to perfect a long-lasting storage battery. During this time he conducted thousands of experiments that were unsuccessful. One day one of his employees came to him and said, “Isn’t it a shame that you have wasted all of this time? All of the tremendous labor and time that you have spent on this project has not achieved any results that are worthwhile or will work.”
“I’ve got plenty of results,” said Edison. “You see, I’ve discovered several thousand results that won’t work!”
To his credit, Edison was able to look at what he was doing as a way of learning and solving problems. When he failed, he did not look at it as final. He looked at it as a stepping stone to success. How fortunate is that person who can see beyond the moment of defeat to the joy of victory! Failing at something does not make you or mean that you are a failure!
Often we fail to see God at work in what we are doing. We look for the approval of others believing that our rewards come from them. Scripture reminds us, however, to define success in terms of being faithful to God and what He has called us to do. God rewards us for what we accomplish in His name as well as being faithful to Him, for doing what He calls us to do even when we fail in the eyes of the world.
Struggling through difficult days and trying times proves that our trust is in God and that we look to Him for our rewards. “Fear not, I will strengthen and help you.”
Prayer: It’s natural, Lord, to want the approval of those around us. Often we think that they are the final authority. Remind us that they are not and that we labor for You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. Isaiah 41:10
ROOM FULL OF LONELY
It seemed as though the night would never end. Little Luke tossed and turned trying to get comfortable and fall asleep. Finally, he gave up and came wandering out of his bedroom with his favorite blanket and teddy bear.
His father heard his footsteps and went upstairs. Picking him up he asked, “What’s the matter? Why can’t you sleep?”
“It’s my room,” he replied.
“Your room? What’s wrong with your room?” asked his Dad.
“It’s full of lonely,” said Luke.
It is a well-known fact that loneliness is one of the biggest problems in society today. Though we are surrounded by family and friends, loneliness grips the hearts and minds of countless millions. Medications and endless activities do not seem to fill the vacuum.
God has promised in His Word that “He will never leave us nor forsake us.” If that’s true, then why do so many feel lonely?
Could it be that we have left God and He wants us to return to Him? Has He created those feelings of loneliness to get us to realize we have abandoned Him? Have we become so involved with so many “things” that we have crowded Him out of our days? Must He use the darkness of a lonely night to get our attention to return to Him? I promise He’ll do what it takes!
Prayer: We ask You, Father, to do whatever it takes to draw us so close to You that we will feel Your presence and power wherever we are, night or day. Come close, now! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: Hebrews 13:6 So we can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?”
GOD AND THE CAFETERIA
After church one Sunday, the head usher decided to take his family to the local cafeteria to eat. After they went through the line and selected their food, they sat at a table near a window. Little Margie unfolded her napkin, folded her hands, bowed her head and waited for the prayer of thanksgiving. After a moment or two, she opened her eyes to see what the others were doing. To her surprise, her father had started to eat.
“Mom,” she whispered quietly, “Dad has started to eat and we haven’t thanked Jesus for the food. What’s going on?”
“Hush,” said her father. “People don’t give thanks in a place like this.”
“Why?” asked Margie. “Doesn’t God go to cafeterias?”
Our thankfulness should not fluctuate with where we are or what is going on in our lives. Though our circumstances change and feelings fluctuate, we must never forget that God is in all things doing what is in our best interest. Remember: He is always at work in our lives shaping us into the person He wants us to be.
When life’s trials turn to triumphs, we can rejoice with Paul and say, “Thanks be to God who gave us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!” He always protects us and provides for us and is worthy of our thanks. And remember, what may be a tragedy today will be a triumph tomorrow. So, in everything, give thanks.
Prayer: We often forget, Father, that You love us with an everlasting love and that You are with us even though others forget us. May our gratitude equal Your blessings! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: 1 Corinthians 15:57 But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.
I CAN’T HANDLE MUCH MORE!
Walter had recently been elected chairman of the deacons in his church. His pastor thought it would be beneficial to the church if the congregation knew him.
After introducing him, Rev. Simpson asked him to make a few remarks. He thought for a moment and then began by saying, “I am so grateful for the way God has blessed me. My business has grown tremendously in the last few years. It has provided me with enough money to purchase a new home with a lovely swimming pool. And I am planning on taking my family to Europe this summer. I am so blessed I can’t handle much more. I don’t know what more God could give me!”
“I do,” replied an older and much wiser deacon sitting in the front row. “A good dose of humility.”
Often when sharing God’s blessings, people speak with arrogance rather than appreciation or sound greedy rather than grateful. We must always be mindful of God’s mercy and without His loving kindness realize that we would be no one or have no-things. What we have, we have because of His grace – beginning with our salvation.
Every breath, every heartbeat, every thought, every step, every taste, every aroma we smell, every sound we hear, every arm we lift, every object we grasp, or sight we see is a gift from God. Whatever we have, we have because of His grace. Have you given Him enough thanks today?
Prayer: Lord, we only fool ourselves when we think we have earned what we have. Help us to be mindful that without You, we are no one and would have no-things. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: Micah 6:8 No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.
“WHY DIDN’T YOU ASK ME?”
Henry Ford was always the center of attention. It seemed that people could never get enough information about him or what he was doing. On one occasion he purchased a very large insurance policy. It made the headlines in a Detroit newspaper.
One of his friends, an insurance salesman, read the article and called Mr. Ford. “Why,” he asked, “didn’t you purchase the policy from me?”
“Because,” came the answer, “you didn’t ask me.”
All of us have the same needs. No doubt that God “wired us” with the same needs so we can understand one another so we would know how to help each other. We are quick to help others when we know that they have physical or emotional needs because our needs are similar to ours. It comes naturally. But the greatest need that each of us has is a spiritual need: To know Jesus Christ as Savior and enthrone Him as Lord. We must always consider this basic need.
It’s difficult for most individuals to ask for help. However, when they do, it is a good place to begin to build a relationship so that we can eventually ask life’s most important question: Do you know Jesus Christ as your Savior? If we ask, God will open the door for us to witness His love.
Prayer: Help us, Father, to be aware of the needs of others and in Your name help them when we can. But let us never forget their most important need: salvation. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: Luke 14:15-24 Hearing this, a man sitting at the table with Jesus exclaimed, “What a blessing it will be to attend a banquet in the Kingdom of God!”
WILLPOWER OR WILTPOWER?
Little Debbie looked at her mom with sadness in her eyes. “Please, Mom, may I have one more cookie?”
“Sweetheart,” replied her mom, “you’ve already had ‘one more’ three times.”
“I know, Mom,” she whined, “but they are so good. Just one more? Please?”
“All right,” agreed her mom, “one more and that’s all!”
“Thanks, Mom!” exclaimed Little Debbie. “You sure don’t have much willpower. You gave in without even thinking.”
Giving in to temptation is easy if we do not call on the Lord when we face the slippery slopes of life. The easy way out, however, is rarely the best way out. When we give in without counting the cost involved in taking the “easy way” we are usually giving up something of value.
Paul reminds us that we all face the same type of temptations. In fact, he says, “they – your temptations - are no different from what others experience.” Why is it, then, that some Christians have better “survival rates” than others?
It’s because of two word: focus and depend. If we focus and depend on ourselves for the strength to overcome the “evil one,” we will surely lose the battle. But if we look to and call upon the Lord, the battle becomes His and victory is assured. Stay focused and depend on Him!
Prayer: Lord, when we are tempted, may we focus our minds on Your Word, open our hearts to Your Spirit, and depend completely on Your strength for our survival. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: 1 Corinthians 10:13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.
TODAY IS NOT TOMORROW
Abraham Lincoln spent years as a circuit-riding lawyer. On one of his trips, he and a friend were faced with crossing the dangerous Fox River. While traveling through a small village he decided to ask a minister about the best place to cross it.
“Well,” said the minister, “it’s always pretty bad. And I am familiar with all its dangers. But I have one fixed rule that I never change: I never cross it until I reach it.”
Planning for tomorrow is time well spent. But worrying about what might happen tomorrow is a foolish use of our time. When we worry, we close our eyes and ears and cannot see or hear our Heavenly Father at work in our lives. So what do we do?
First, we must release the problem to the Lord in prayer. We must hand the problem to Him as a quarterback hands off the football to a running back. The football can only get to its final destination when it is let go. So, in prayer, we must “let go and let God!”
Second, we must fix our thoughts on the power of God to solve the problem that came from God. We must allow His Spirit to guide us and give us His insight to solve His problem.
Third, we must activate our faith and believe that God will lead us to the solution that He has for us – not necessarily the solution we want. To combat worry and anxiety we must take God’s promises at face value. If we are willing to let Him do “His thing” He will in His time.
Prayer: Help us, Father, to believe that You will solve our problems and take away our anxieties when we look to You in faith believing. Help us see Your will in our lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: Matthew 6:33-34 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”