Friday, July 31, 2015


"Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you."  (Colossians 3:13 NIV)

The law of Christ, which it is our duty to fulfill, is the bearing of the cross.  Thus the call to follow Christ always means a call to share the work of forgiving [others] their sins.  Forgiveness is the Christlike suffering which it is the Christian's duty to bear.

-- Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945)


Tuesday, July 28, 2015


The cross is the symbol of Jesus’ most radical expression of submission and servanthood. At the center of Good Friday was Jesus’ “obedience unto death -- even on a cross” (Philippians 2:8). This cross-shaped attitude is a pattern for us to implement and imitate. By opening ourselves to the shaping power of the indwelling Christ, we grow into the likeness of Christ. Serving is one of the most important disciplines because we act our way into Christ-likeness.

-- Dr. Maxie Dunnam


Monday, July 27, 2015


Words, words, words. Our society is full of words: on billboards, on television screens, in newspapers and books. Words whispered, shouted, and sung. Words that move, dance, and change in size and color. Words that say, “Taste me, smell me, eat me, drink me, sleep with me,” but most of all, “buy me.” With so many words around us, we quickly say: “Well, they’re just words.” Thus, words have lost much of their power.

Still, the word has the power to create. When God speaks, God creates. When God says, “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3), light is. God speaks light. For God, speaking and creating are the same. It is this creative power of the word we need to reclaim. What we say is very important. When we say, “I love you,” and say it from the heart, we can give another person new life, new hope, new courage. When we say, “I hate you,” we can destroy another person. Let’s watch our words.

-- Henri Nouwen


Friday, July 24, 2015


How then [are we] to have our faith increased? Only by thinking of all that Jesus is and all He is for us… He Himself as revealed in the Word to be subject of our thoughts. Not a striving to have faith, but a looking off to the Faithful One seems all we need; resting in the Loved One entirely, for time and for eternity.

-- John McCarthy, as quoted in Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret by Dr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor


Thursday, July 23, 2015


"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable -- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy -- think about such things."  (Philippians 4:8)

Most of us, unfortunately,... say things like: "He made me so mad." "You really get to me." "Her remark embarrassed me terribly." "The weather really depresses me."... We are content to blame others, circumstances, and bad luck... [But] we can rise above the dust of daily battle that chokes and blinds so many of us; and this is precisely what is asked of us in the process of growth as a person.

-- John Powell, quoted by Gary Smalley in Making Love Last Forever


Wednesday, July 22, 2015


"According to God's grace that was given to me, I have laid a foundation as a skilled master builder, and another builds on it. But each one must be careful how he builds on it. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ."  (1 Corinthians 3:10-11)

I believe that a carpenter, the Nazarene carpenter with the Galilean accent and calloused hands, was not merely a man, but He was God.  That's the foundation upon which You must build.  It's the foundation that says my sins have been taken care of, my life has a purpose, and death holds no power over me because I believe in the death conqueror.

-- Max Lucado


Tuesday, July 21, 2015


While extremely sensitive as to the slightest approach to slander, you must also guard against an extreme into which some people fall who, in their desire to speak evil of no one, actually uphold and speak well of vice.  If you have to do with one who is unquestionably a slanderer, do not excuse him by calling him frank and free-spoken; do not call one who is notoriously vain, liberal and elegant; do not call dangerous levities mere simplicity; do not screen disobedience under the name of zeal; or arrogance, of frankness; or evil intimacy, of friendship.  No, my friends, we must never, in our wish to shun slander, foster or flatter vice in others: but we must call evil evil, and sin sin, and so doing we shall serve God's glory.

-- François de Sales in Introduction to the Devout Life


Monday, July 20, 2015


The neglect of the spiritual cannot be laid directly at the door of advertising.  It may be better laid at the door of the church [that] has failed to preach the God of the Bible, heaven and hell, repentance, faith, and eternal life.  It can be argued that a society only gets the advertising it deserves.  Yet the power to commend certain patterns of spending behavior to millions with regularity is an open invitation to orchestrate the covetousness, envy, lust, and desire to dominate, which lie in the heart of sinful man.

-- Raymond Johnston in "The Power of the Media" in The Changing World


Friday, July 17, 2015


"Don't act out of selfish ambition or be conceited. Instead, humbly think of others as being better than yourselves. Don't be concerned only about your own interests, but also be concerned about the interests of others."  (Philippians 2:3-4)

Maturity begins to grow when you can sense your concern for others outweighing your concern for yourself.

-- John McNaughton


Thursday, July 16, 2015


I am often asked by [my college] students if I will perform their wedding ceremonies…

There are those who say, "We are the ones getting married.  We should have the kind of ceremony that is meaningful to us."  I always respond by saying that such a perspective shows far too limited an understanding of what weddings are all about.  While it is true that the couple in the front of the church is being married, it should be understood that, if the ceremony is properly constructed, those in the pews may go through a symbolic process of being remarried at the same time.  When we attend weddings in which we hear repeated the same words that we ourselves uttered when we were married, we experience a sense of marital renewal.

Whenever I hear a young man saying the same words that I myself said almost forty years ago, I seem to go through that same ceremony of commitment once again.  When he says, "I, John, take thee, Mary, to be my lawful wedded wife; and I do promise and covenant, before God and these witnesses, to be thy loving and faithful husband ... ," I can hear myself saying, "I, Tony, take thee, Peggy, to be my lawful wedded wife; and I do promise and covenant ... "  It all comes back to me in the ritual.  The past is renewed.  I feel again what I felt on my wedding day.  I sense the commitment I made on that day, and my marriage is renewed.

-- Tony Campolo in Following Jesus Without Embarrassing God


Wednesday, July 15, 2015


"Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice." (Ephesians 4:31)

A Trojan Horse sits just outside the gate of your heart.  Its mane is bitterness.  It is a monument to every attack you have endured from your fellow human beings.  It is a gift left by the people who have wronged you.  It is a monument to the pain, the sorrow, and the devastation they have caused you.  It represents the debt they will owe you until the day they are brought to justice.  It is rightfully yours.

But to accept the gift is to invite ruin into your life.  You see, there is more to the horse than meets the eye.  The feeling of justification it brings is the deceptive artistry of a master craftsman.  Though decorated with the promise of vindication, it is only a lure.  The celebration is short-lived.  Once inside the walls of your heart, it releases its agents of destruction. Its plot quietly unfolds from the inside out.  To become a person of character, you must learn to recognize the Trojan Horse of bitterness.  And more important, you must never bring it inside.

-- Andy Stanley in Like a Rock


Tuesday, July 14, 2015


"All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip His people to do every good work." (2 Timothy 3:16-17 NLT)

The Bible is a book of faith, and a book of doctrine, and a book of morals, and a book of special revelation from God.

-- Daniel Webster, in a speech at the dedication of the Bunker Hill monument in 1843


Monday, July 13, 2015


"Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts. By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made."  (Genesis 2:1-3)

When we live without listening to the timing of things, when we live and work in twenty-four-hour shifts without rest – we are on war time, mobilized for battle. Yes, we are strong and capable people, we can work without stopping, faster and faster, electric lights making artificial day so the whole machine can labor without ceasing. But remember: No living thing lives like this. There are greater rhythms, seasons and hormonal cycles and sunsets and moonrises and great movements of seas and stars. We are part of the creation story, subject to all its laws and rhythms.

-- Wayne Muller in Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives


Friday, July 10, 2015


Engaging our creativity, whether by coloring, cooking, making business deals, or sculpting a work of art, enables us to be more ourselves than at any other time in our daily routines. In losing ourselves in a creative act, we find our true self as well as a pathway to experience the presence of God. In the creative act, whatever the medium, we mirror God's creativity.

-- Karla Kincannon in Alive Now Magazine, published by The Upper Room, Nashville, TN.   Used with permission.


Thursday, July 9, 2015


The thirst for God is universal because we have been created with a longing for the Creator. This desire to know and be known by the One who made us and loves us is often ignored, denied, and finally buried under a multitude of pursuits and interests. But then some event in life invites or forces us to pause, and the desire for God comes rushing back to our awareness. And once again we know that real life is impossible without the companionship of the One who first gave us the gift of life and who sustains us even now. 


-- Rueben P. Job in A Guide to Prayer for All Who Seek God


Wednesday, July 8, 2015


In any crisis of life, we get to choose our pain. We can either choose the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. Let me illustrate.

A married couple comes to see me because their marriage is in the dumps. Communication is low. Fighting is high. Individual needs are not being met. Though not a trained therapist, I have the experience of being married to the same woman for twenty-nine years and more than twenty-five years as a pastor.

After each spouse shares his or her perspective on what’s wrong with the relationship and how they got to this place in their marriage, I always ask, “What are you willing to do to fix this relationship?” Typically, this question catches them off guard, yet it is fundamental to any healing and restoration.

I then tell them that they get to choose their pain. They can choose the pain of discipline by seeing a counselor, joining a small group, attending a marriage conference. Or they can choose the pain of regret -- getting a divorce, sharing custody of the children, losing half their stuff! They choose: pain or regret?

[King] David messes up big time by misusing his power as king and getting another man’s wife pregnant. (2 Samuel 11) He could choose the pain of discipline and ‘fess up. It would have been ugly, but resolution might have come. … Instead, he chooses more regret. He sets a plan to have the unassuming and innocent husband of Bathsheba killed. His choice multiplies the injustice and pain.

What will you choose today -- the pain of discipline or the pain of regret? Both hurt. Only one heals.

-- Jorge Acevedo in The Upper Room Disciplines 2012: A Book of Daily Devotions. © 2011 by Upper Room Books. All rights reserved. Used by permission.


Monday, July 6, 2015


"The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple."  (Psalm 19:7 NIV)

There are times when it can be so tempting to 'bend' the rules in certain cases, especially if we don't think we'll get caught. But when we resist the temptation and follow God's laws for living, we'll invariably see that God has just spared us from needless grief.

-- Matt Donnelly,


Friday, July 3, 2015


The real fire within the builders of America was faith - faith in a Provident God whose hand supported and guided them: faith in themselves as the children of in their country and its principles that proclaim man's right to freedom and justice.

-- Dwight David Eisenhower, Abilene Homecoming, June 4, 1952


Thursday, July 2, 2015


"For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:23 NLT)

Here's the key to the life God intends for us: not that we work as servants with salvation as our wage, but that we live in relationship with God as children to a Father who has already said, "I accept you! I accept you! You are accepted!"

Have you accepted God's acceptance of you?

-- Adam Hamilton in Revival: Faith as Wesley Lived It


Wednesday, July 1, 2015


One spring our family was driving from Fort Lauderdale to Tampa, Florida. As far as the eye could see, orange trees were loaded with fruit. When we stopped for breakfast, I ordered orange juice with my eggs. "I'm sorry," the waitress said. "I can't bring you orange juice. Our machine is broken." At first I was dumbfounded. We were surrounded by millions of oranges, and I knew they had oranges in the kitchen - orange slices garnished our plates. What was the problem? No juice? Hardly. We were surrounded by thousands of gallons of juice. The problem was they had become dependent on a machine to get it.

Christians are sometimes like that. They may be surrounded by Bibles in their homes, but if something should happen to the Sunday morning preaching service, they would have no nourishment for their souls. The problem is not a lack of spiritual food but that many Christians haven't grown enough to know how to get it for themselves.

-- Leroy Eims in The Lost Art of Disciple Making