Friday, October 30, 2020

Rules And Records

Greg was having a difficult time doing his homework, knowing that his favorite sports program was on TV. “Mom,” he asked, “can I just this once watch TV before I do my homework?” 

“You know the rules,” came her quick reply. “No TV until your homework is finished!” 

“But, Mom,” he protested, “rules are made to be broken.” 

“No,” she said, “records are made to be broken!” 

“OK, Mom,” he said, “then what’s the record for the most rules ever broken?”  

Paul spoke of a rule he honored and respected to achieve a record he wanted to set for God. “I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ Jesus saved me for and wants me to be.” After his conversion, he lived his life for one purpose: to use all of his energies, all of his gifts, and all of his time to become who God wanted him to be and fulfill the purpose that God had planned for Him! 

As Christ’s disciples, we must never allow anything or anyone to cause us to take our eyes off of the goal that God has for each of us: to be and become all that He has saved us for. Paul lived his life as though he were in training to compete in and win an athletic contest. He allowed nothing to interfere with his “training.” If something was harmful or distracting in his life, he would turn from it and not allow anything to distract him from his goal. 

Prayer:  Father, empower us with Your Holy Spirit to live to achieve the goal You have set for each of us. May we be committed to being who You want us to be. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Scripture For Today:  I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ Jesus saved me for and wants me to be. Philippians 3:12 

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Thursday, October 29, 2020

Giving And Receiving

It was well past midnight. There were few travelers, and the weather was nearly unbearable with driving rains and freezing temperatures. A woman stood beside her broken-down car, trying to flag down someone going into the city. 

Finally, a motorist stopped and invited the woman, who was soaking wet and trembling with chills, into his car. He took her to a taxi stand, and as she hurriedly exited from his car, she took time to ask him to write down his name and address. 

A week later, he received a giant TV and stereo with a note that read: “Thank you for assisting me. Because of your kindness, I was able to make it to my dying husband’s bedside just before he passed away. God bless you. Mrs. Nat King Cole.” 

Nearly a thousand years before Jesus was born, Solomon wrote, “Give generously, for your gifts will return to you later.” In his wisdom, he summarized an essential fact of life for all of us: Life involves risk and opportunity and has no guarantees. 

However, Solomon encouraged us to seize the moment to do good for others. He certainly did not support a stingy, self-centered lifestyle. Even though we do not know what may happen tomorrow, he would urge us to share with others whatever we have “at the moment,” and learn to trust in God for tomorrow.  

We show our love for and trust in God when we give to others. 

Prayer:  Help us, Lord, to realize we have so much we do not deserve. May our hearts be as open to meet the needs of others as much as Your heart is open to us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Scripture For Today: Give generously, for your gifts will return to you later. Ecclesiastes 11:1

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Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Theories And Realities

A mother recently said, “Before I had children I read every book I could on how to raise them. I must have developed at least a hundred theories on how I should bring them up and train them. Now, after raising seven children, I have only two: Love them even when they least deserve love, and hold them accountable for everything they do - even when it hurts.” 

That sounds like advice that would come from God - not only about how we are to raise our children, but how He “raises” His children. 

Everyone needs love - especially the type of love that has its source in God. His love is a love that is undeserved, fair, just, essential, and life-giving. It is a love that may require a self-sacrificial act for the good of anyone who God brings into our lives - whether a family member, friend, or someone who enters our life for a brief moment. It is a way of acting “with grace and mercy” toward another person rather than a feeling that may be fleeting and short-lived. 

But there is also a need for accountability - being responsible, first to God and then to others to share His love. Although God has given each of us the freedom of choice, we are also responsible to Him for each and every choice we make. Whatever we do and wherever we do it, we are accountable to Him to show His love. When we are born again, we are changed from the inside out, and obligated to live His love, show His grace and demonstrate His mercy. 

Prayer:  Your Word, Lord, clearly states that others will know that we are Your disciples if we show them Your love. Help each of us to accept and fulfill this obligation. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Scripture For Today: If you love each other, all men will know you are My followers. John 13:35 

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Tuesday, October 27, 2020

The "R's" And The "A's"

We all know of the significance of the “Three R’s” - Reading, ‘Riting and ‘Rithmatic. They are the foundation for lifelong learning. 

But there is also the importance of the “Three A’s” for lifelong success. They are “Ability, Attitude, and Ambition.” Without recognizing their importance and value, people can “stay stuck” and live mediocre and unproductive lives. 

“Ability” comes from the gifts that God has given to each of us. It includes the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual potential that He implants in the hearts of those who surrender their lives to Him. It can be seen in the skills and talents He gives to each of us. But, they are not gifts to lie dormant. We are obligated to develop them and use them in service to Him. 

“Ambition” is the desire to apply the “abilities” that God gives us. It can be seen in the lives of those who are eager to serve and honor Him in their daily activities. Those who truly love Him will always be actively involved in looking for new and different ways to use their “abilities” for Him. 

“Attitude” is our disposition toward life. It has to do with how we see God’s world, what is going on around us, and what we can do about it. Some look around and say, “I can and will do something about ‘this or that’ with the ‘abilities’ He has given me. I am going to serve Him daily!” Others say, “It’s beyond me. Why try?” Which are you? The choice is yours. 

Prayer:  Help each of us, Father, to accept life’s opportunities, and with them, the obligation to be faithful to You with all the gifts You have given us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Scripture For Today:  The man who receives much will have to give much. If much is given to a man to take care of, men will expect to get more from him. Luke 12:48

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Monday, October 26, 2020

Not Impossible For God!

Mr. Williams always took great care to encourage his students. Each day he would challenge them to do and be their best. 

One Monday morning he decided to begin the week asking each student to share their goals in life. 

“Matt,” he asked the sad looking student in the front row, “what do you want to be when you grow up?”  

“Possible,” came the forlorn reply.  

“What do you mean, ‘possible’, Matt?” he wondered. 

“Well,” he said in a hopeless voice, “my Dad’s always saying to me, ‘Son, you are impossible.’ So, someday I want to know what it’s like to be possible, I guess.” 

Jesus on many occasions dispelled the “myth of the impossible.” On one occasion He said, “Nothing will be impossible for you.” On another, He promised, “With men this is impossible, but not with God. All things are possible.” One another occasion He said, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.” 

Paul said, “I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need.” And he did! He was a warrior who became the ultimate witness. He was the one who approved the stoning of Stephen, yet he became one of God’s most famous saints. He was the one who demonstrated to us that freedom comes from surrender – by exchanging our pursuits for God’s and our plans to the plan that God has for us. He is the one who first proclaimed that forgiveness and eternal life are available to anyone who believes! 

Prayer:  Help us, Heavenly Father, to look beyond what we are to what we can become if we make ourselves available to Your transforming power. Help us to “do it!” In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Scripture For Today: I can do all things because Christ gives me the strength. Philippians 4:13 

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