Saturday, September 19, 2020

From Farm To Fame

Grover Cleveland Alexander is recognized as one of the greatest baseball pitchers of all time. His record of ninety shutouts still stands, and his 373 recorded victories has been achieved by only one other pitcher. In 1938 he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

From his earliest days on the farm, his only desire was to play baseball and be a pitcher. Not many know that he began his career by throwing apples and stones at fence posts between chores to sharpen his throwing skills.

One day he bought a few baseballs and nailed an old catcher’s mitt to the chicken coop. He would spend every available moment throwing baseballs at the mitt and finally became successful at hitting the mitt nine times out of ten. 

During his pitching career, reporters showered heaps of praise on him as his record grew and fame spread. But none of them were ever aware of the many hours he practiced with no one watching or helping him develop the skills that would eventually bring him world recognition.

Fame never comes unless one is willing to pay the price it requires. Hard work is God’s plan for all of us. Those who work diligently are the recipients of many benefits in their own lives and the lives of others. God blesses those who develop the skills He gives them.

Prayer:  Help us, Lord, to take the gifts You give us with great humility and work with all of our might to develop them. Only then will we bring honor and glory to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. Then people who are not believers will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others. 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

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Friday, September 18, 2020

The Limits Of Prayer

Young Eddie was saying grace before the family had dinner in a local restaurant. Heads bowed and hands united around the table when he said, “Lord, thank You for the food that is coming. And, Lord, I’ll really thank You a lot more if Mom would get us some ice cream!”

 A woman sitting at the next table said, “Shame on that child. Kids just don’t know how to pray anymore. Asking God for ice cream is a disgrace.”

Someone sitting in a booth overheard the woman and said, “Asking God for ice cream is a great prayer. Ice cream is good for the soul.”

 When the ice cream was served, young Eddie took his bowl to the woman and said, “Here, ma’am. This is for you. Sometimes ice cream is good for the soul.”

Paul said, “Pray about everything!” Nothing is beyond everything - not even ice cream. As believers, we need not worry about anything because we have a loving Heavenly Father Who knows about and cares for our every need and want. Each of them individually! 

 Here’s a great reminder from Peter: “Give all your worries and wants to God, for He cares for you.” If only we would accept the reality of God’s power and His unlimited concern for us, our prayers would be vastly different and even include “ice cream” sometimes.

Prayer:  Help us, Father, to look to You as a Father Who cares for everything about us. May we take You at Your word and pray and trust You completely. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today:  Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. 1 Peter 5:7

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Thursday, September 17, 2020

Master Model

Melissa wanted to be a school teacher from her earliest memories. So, it was a dream come true when she enrolled in college and began to prepare for a life of teaching. She wanted to be the best teacher any pupil ever had. 

She decided to write Thomas Carlyle, a world-famous historian, and ask his advice. She wrote, “Tell me, sir, what is the secret of successful teaching?” 

His reply was simple, “Be what you would have your pupils to be. All else is unblessed mockery!”

What a reminder for Christians. Though our words are important, our life – the way we act - is a much stronger lesson about who Christ is and what He can do. Our lives are often much more potent than anything we can ever say. Said Paul to Timothy, “Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.” 

Timothy was a young pastor and under much scrutiny. Paul knew the pressure that he faced and wanted him to be an example to his church in everything that he said or did. Wisely, Paul advised him that only those disciples who lived lives imitating the life of Jesus would be worthy examples and effective teachers of the Good News. 

And, if we read Paul’s words carefully, we will notice that every aspect of our lives is listed: speech, behavior, love, faith, as well as pure thinking, and living.

Prayer:  We often forget, Lord, that we are always Your model for the world to see. May our faith be strong, our thoughts pure, and our lives modeled after Your Son. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity. 1 Timothy 4:12

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Wednesday, September 16, 2020

The Miracle Worker

Twelve ministers boarded a flight in Miami for New York. Shortly after takeoff, the plane encountered a terrible unexpected storm. The people onboard became frightened as the aircraft bounced and shifted with the currents.

One of the clergymen called to a flight attendant and said, “Tell the Captain that everything will be okay because twelve ministers from Miami are onboard.” 

Politely excusing herself, she phoned the Captain with the news. A moment later, she returned to the minister and said, “The Captain asked that I tell you that he was honored to have all of you on board the flight. But he also asked that I tell you that he would rather have four dependable jet engines.”

Jesus, our Savior, was a miracle worker. He specialized in accomplishing supernatural things for God through ordinary people and ordinary things. What He did then He can do now. Neither He nor his power has changed. What was then, is today, and will be forever.  

When He fed the five thousand, He used the lunch of a small boy to feed the hungry crowd. He took that small insignificant gift and accomplished one of His greatest miracles. The lesson in that miracle for us? No one is ever too young and no gift too small for God to accept, bless, and use to accomplish great things that will honor Him.

Prayer:  Father, may we realize that it is not the size of our gift that mattes, but our willingness to allow You to do great things through us. Give us willing hearts. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today:  When the people saw him do this miraculous sign, they exclaimed, “Surely, he is the Prophet we have been expecting!” John 6:1-14

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Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Turning Deaf Ears

Roger was sent home from school with a note from his teacher. “Mrs. Arnold,” the note read, “your son was involved in an incident in the cafeteria today. He and two other students took the food from another student’s tray and would not allow him to eat. He has been assigned a week of detention starting tomorrow.”

After reading the note to Roger, Mrs. Arnold said, “Son, why did you do such a thing?”

After a moment’s thought, he replied, “Mom, the other guys asked me to help them, and I thought it would be fun!”

“Shame on you, Roger,” said his mother. “When you are asked to do things that are wrong, you should turn a deaf ear.” 

“But Mom,” he protested, “I can’t do that. I don’t have a deaf ear.”

It is difficult to go through one day without being tempted by Satan to disobey God. He’s always there presenting one opportunity after another to get us to turn from the Lord and accept his invitation to break God’s laws and harm ourselves and others. However, being tempted is not a problem. Giving in to the temptation to disobey God’s commandments is.

Perhaps we can describe temptation as Satan peeking into the keyhole of our heart, trying to find a “weak spot.” He then enters without any warning or notice and will only leave when asked. We must be alert and aware of his subtle skills to lead us astray.

Prayer:  Alert us, Lord, to the subtleties of Satan when he begins to tempt us to follow him and turn from You. May we fill our hearts with Your truths and stay strong. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. Ephesians 4:25-31  

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