Tuesday, November 24, 2020

GIVING THANKS

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18  NIV)

Our joys, prayers, and thankfulness should not fluctuate with our circumstances or feelings. Obeying these three commands -- be joyful, keep on praying, and be thankful -- often goes against our natural inclinations. When we make a conscious decision to do what God says, however, we will begin to see people [and circumstances] in a new perspective. When we do God’s will, we will find it easier to be joyful and thankful.

Paul was not teaching that we should thank God for everything that happens to us, but in everything. Evil does not come from God, so we should not thank Him for it. But when evil strikes, we can still be thankful for God’s presence and for the good that He will accomplish through the distress.

-- From the “Life Application Study Bible”


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Monday, November 23, 2020

BOUGHT WITH A PRICE

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”  (Galatians 2:20)

"Do you not know that your body is a Temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body."  (1 Corinthians 6:19,20)

My life has been paid for by Jesus Christ. My life belongs to Him. Therefore, I can't do what "I" want to do, I must do what "He" wants me to do. 

-- Ron Brown, Assistant Coach, University of Nebraska, in Sports Spectrum


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Friday, November 20, 2020

HUNGERING FOR GOD’S WORD

Jesus said, "It is written: 'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"  (Matthew 4:4 NIV)

George Mueller, the man of great faith in nineteenth-century England, shared his reason for spiritual power: “The first thing to be concerned about was not how much I might serve the Lord, but how I might get my soul into a happy state, and how my inner man might be nourished… I began therefore to meditate on the New Testament from the beginning, early in the morning. The first thing I did, after having asked in a few words the Lord’s blessing upon His precious Word, was to begin to meditate on the Word of God, searching out of it, not for the sake of public ministry of the Word, not for the sake of preaching on what I had meditated upon, but for obtaining for my own soul.”

You don’t get food for your soul by osmosis! You can hear others talk of it; but until you regularly take in the delicious Word of God, you’re undernourished. 

-- Ray & Anne Ortlund in “Renewal: An Influencer Discussion Guide”


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Thursday, November 19, 2020

SEEING SIN FOR WHAT IT IS

“We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind.”  (Isaiah 64:6 NLT)

According to a radio report, a middle school in Oregon faced a unique problem. A number of girls began to use lipstick and put it on in the school bathroom. After they put on their lipstick, they pressed their lips to the mirrors leaving dozens of little lip prints.

Finally the principal decided something had to be done. She called the girls to the bathroom and met them there with the custodian. She explained lip prints caused a major problem for the custodian, who had to clean the mirrors every day. To demonstrate how difficult it was, she asked the custodian to clean one of the mirrors. He took out a long-handled brush, dipped it into the toilet, and scrubbed the mirror. Since then there have been no lip prints on the mirrors.

When tempted to sin, if we could only see the real filth we’d be kissing, we wouldn’t be attracted to it. 

-- Brett Kays, cited in “Perfect Illustrations for Every Topic and Occasion”


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Wednesday, November 18, 2020

FIRST THINGS FIRST

Jesus said, “So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”  (Matthew 6:31-33 NIV)

Jesus is saying that more will happen, more will get done, when we put Him first in our lives. When we keep order in our daily lives, then we keep our priorities clear. Order communicates priority. As Christians, we can be really busy doing a lot of good stuff for the wrong reasons. We slip into a mind-set of doing more so that we can feel like we’re closer to God or better Christians. But if we’re not spending one-on-one, intimate time with God each day and then acting  out of the overflow of that relationship rather than the other way around, then we have lost sight of why we’re doing all that we’re doing. One thing must come first and lead to the other. The order can’t be flipped. Whatever we put first place becomes the organizing principle for the other parts of our life. 

-- Chris Hodges in “The Daniel Dilemma: How to Stand Firm and Love Well in a Culture of Compromise”


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