Friday, October 30, 2015


The Apostle Paul reminds us that joy is at the center of the Christian's life. We are Easter people. Christ has defeated death. God has vanquished Satan. Easter has conquered Good Friday. That means we are people of joy. That is how Saint Paul, writing from a Roman prison, a difficult circumstance that would cause most people to lose hope, writes to the Christians in the church in Philippi, "REJOICE in the Lord always. I shall say it again: REJOICE!" (Philippians 4:4) Roman prisons were dark, dank places of death. Most prisoners died there. Yet, Paul found joy in his imprisonment.

In fact, in a letter from prison to the Philippians, rather than writing of his suffering and worries, Paul mentions his "joy in Christ" more than twelve times in just four chapters. That is worth hearing: Even in the most difficult times in your life, you can rely upon the deep, abiding joy that comes from Jesus Christ. The world and your circumstances may press in and seek to crush you, but a relationship with Jesus will grow a joy in you that cannot be squelched.

-- Allen R. Hunt in Nine Words


Thursday, October 29, 2015


I have seen the marks of the cross upon Him, and by His grace the marks of the cross have been put upon me and I am no longer my own; I am bought with a price, redeemed by His precious blood. Yes, I have seen Him - not in the outward physical sense only, but in the inward sense of a deep spiritual reality. I have had a clear view of Jesus and my life will never be the same again.

-- Alan Redpath


Wednesday, October 28, 2015


"So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!"  (2 Corinthians 5:17 NRSV)

I do not at all understand the mystery of grace – only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.

-- Anne Lamott


Tuesday, October 27, 2015


"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;  and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."  (Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV)

Fretting springs from a determination to get our own way.  Our Lord never worried and He was never anxious because He was not 'out' to realize His own ideas; He was 'out' to realize God's ideas … Deliberately tell God that you will not fret about that thing.  All our fret and worry is caused by calculating without God.

-- Oswald Chambers


Monday, October 26, 2015


One of the blessings of living in daily fellowship with God is developing a settled heart. You realize your salvation is accomplished and complete. You recognize how many things are beyond your control. And you begin to understand that trusting Him is a lot more effective than fretting and losing sleep. He takes care of you either way. So why waste the nervous energy?

Inner peace is not a formula. It's not treating God like a good-luck charm. It's about spending time reading His Word. Praying when you could be listening to sports radio. Talking to Him instead of talking to yourself. Relationship, not ritual. Try it consistently for a month, and you'll look back a few weeks from now amazed at the amount of perspective and security He's given you. You'll be more like a [person] who has "no fear of bad news," whose "heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord" (Psalm 112:7).

-- Joe Gibbs in his blog Game Plan for Life: Two-Minute Drills, 12/10/12


Friday, October 23, 2015


To Johann Sebastian Bach, the distinction between sacred and secular was a false dichotomy. All things were created by God and for God, no exceptions. Every note of music. Every color on the palette. Every flavor that tingles the taste buds.

Arnold Summerfield, the German physicist and pianist, observed that a single hydrogen atom, which emits one hundred frequencies, is more musical than a grand piano, which only emits eighty-eight frequencies.

Every single atom is a unique expression of God's creative genius. And that means every atom is a unique expression of worship.

According to composer Leonard Bernstein, the best translation of Genesis 1:3 and several other verses in Genesis 1 is not "and God said." He believed a better translation is "and God sang." The Almighty sang every atom into existence, and every atom echoes that original melody sung in three-part harmony by the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

-- Mark Batterson in All In


Thursday, October 22, 2015


God can give us discerning hearts to recognize the fear in our anger, the muffled hope in our cynicism, and the wounds we carry as weapons. God can help us see ourselves as He sees us, and love ourselves and others with His gracious love.

-- adapted from Alive Now Magazine, published by The Upper Room, Nashville, TN.   Used with permission.


Wednesday, October 21, 2015


"You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in Your bottle. You have recorded each one in Your book." (Psalm 56:8 NLT)

None of the tears that you ever cried in your life were wasted or in vain. Everything you wept over honored those moments in life as valuable and important and those feelings of sadness were sacred to your Soul.

-- Dr. Jeff Mullan


Tuesday, October 20, 2015


Jesus did not give easy answers. His prodding questions and original answers were designed to wake up the minds of both His followers and His adversaries, to stretch the boundaries of their consciousness. On more than one occasion, He had cause to say, "You have missed the point again" (Matthew 22:29).

-- from "Jesus, His Life & Teachings" Daily Calendar


Monday, October 19, 2015


In 1939, a coast guard vessel was cruising the Canadian Arctic when the men spotted a polar bear stranded on an ice floe. It was quite a novelty for the seamen, who threw the bear salami, peanut butter, and chocolate bars. Then they ran out of the food. Unfortunately, the polar bear hadn't run out of appetite, so he proceeded to board their vessel. The men on ship were terrified and opened the fire hoses on the bear. The polar bear loved it and raised his paws in the air to get the water under his armpits. We don't know how they did it, but eventually they forced the polar bear to return to his ice pad -- but not before teaching these seamen a horrifying lesson about feeding polar bears.

Some people make the same mistake with sin that these sailors nearly made with the polar bear. They begin feeding it -- a little at a time without thinking through the consequences. "It says something about our times," writes Willard D. Ferrell, "that we rarely use the word SINFUL except to describe a really good dessert."

-- King Duncan in Collected Sermons


Friday, October 16, 2015


Offering God's love multiplies the fruitful life.  By offering Christ, we complete God's grace, the grace we received when we invited God into our lives and made room for Him in our hearts.  The receptivity that opened our hearts to God opens doors to others.  Our lives become a doorway through which people enter into spiritual life.  God with us becomes God through us.  As we invite and encourage others into the life of Christ and stimulate their spiritual exploration, we perceive God working through us.  We become "ambassadors for Christ, since God is making His appeal through us" (2 Corinthians 5:20).  Grace becomes tangible through invitations.

-- Robert Schnase in Five Practices of Fruitful Living


Thursday, October 15, 2015


I cannot continuously say 'No' to this or 'No' to that, unless there is something ten times more attractive to choose. Saying 'No' to my lust, my greed, my needs, and the world's powers takes an enormous amount of energy. The only hope is to find something so obviously real and attractive that I can devote all my energies to saying 'Yes.' ... One such thing I can say 'Yes' to is when I come in touch with the fact that I am loved. Once I have found that in my total brokenness I am still loved, I become free from the compulsion of doing successful things.

-- Henri Nouwen, in an interview in Leadership Journal


Wednesday, October 14, 2015


As we seek to become more and more economically independent, as we become more and more secure, we remove ourselves from our need to be "helped." We separate ourselves from the possibility of community and miss the opportunity to experience the richness of loving relationships. Henri Nouwen once wrote, "…every time I am willing to break out of my false need for self-sufficiency and dare to ask for help, a new community emerges -- a fellowship of the weak -- strong in the trust that together we can be a people of hope for a broken world."

-- Unknown


Tuesday, October 13, 2015


"For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known."  (1 Corinthians 13:12)

Today I am one day nearer home than before. One day nearer the dawning when the fog will lift, mysteries clear, and all question marks straighten up into exclamation points!

-- Vance Havner


Monday, October 12, 2015


When the heart is well-ordered, we are not only increasingly free from sin, but also increasingly free from the desire to sin. If the heart were truly well-ordered, we would love people so much we would not want to deceive or manipulate or envy them. We would be transformed from the inside out.

Imagine what the world would be like if it were filled with people who had well-ordered hearts. Television programs such as Miami Vice would be replaced by Miami Virtue. Tabloids sold at grocery stores would be filled with stories about acts of lavish generosity and spontaneous sacrifice committed by noncelebrities we have never heard of. Television talk shows would feature [morality and not immorality.]

We would sleep at night the untroubled sleep of innocence -- no staring at the ceiling at two o'clock in the morning because of regrets. We would have no need for "do-overs" or mulligans.

-- John Ortberg in The Life You've Always Wanted


Friday, October 9, 2015


"For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure."  (Philippians 2:13)

The guidance of the Spirit is generally by gentle suggestions or drawings, and not in violent pushes; and it requires great childlikeness of heart to be faithful to it.  The secret of being made willing lies in a definite giving up of our will.  As soon as we put our will on to God's side, He immediately takes possession of it and begins to work in us to will and to do of His good pleasure.

-- Hannah Whitall Smith in Christian's Secret of the Holy Life


Thursday, October 8, 2015


"See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!"  (1 John 3:1a NIV)

No wound is so trivial that the love of God is not concerned with it. No pain is so deep, so long-standing, that the love of God cannot reach it.

Every shock, every bleeding wound, every anger and grief is not only encompassed by that love but is also held and transformed by that love. The fact that it is in what we call the "past" makes no difference to the power of God's love. All times are open and present to that unsleeping, all-embracing [love of God].

-- Flora Slosson Wuellner in Prayer, Stress, and Our Inner Wounds  (Nashville, Tenn.: Upper Room Books, 2001)


Wednesday, October 7, 2015


[A protective father's instinct…] That is the heavenly Father's deepest impulse toward us. You are the apple of His eye. And anyone who messes with you messes with Him. His protective instincts are most poignantly seen at the cross -- the place where unconditional love and omnipotent power form the amalgam called amazing grace. That's where the Creator stepped between every fallen sinner and the fallen angel, Satan. That's where the Advocate took His stand against the Accuser of the brethren. The Sinless Son of God took the fall for us.

The cross is God's way of saying, "You are worth dying for."

When that life-changing truth penetrates into the deepest place in your heart, it transforms how you think, feel, and live.

-- Mark Batterson in All In


Tuesday, October 6, 2015


"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God -- not the result of works, so that no one may boast."  (Ephesians 2:8-9 NRSV)

A headline in the Grand Rapids Press read, "Conversion to Hindu Faith Is Tortuous."  The article stated that a German businessman had completed his conversion to the Hindu faith by piercing himself through the cheeks with a ¼-inch-thick steel rod and pulling a chariot for two miles by ropes attached to his back and chest by steel hooks.  Other converts had walked through long pits of fire, donned shoes with soles made of nails, or hung in the air spread-eagle from hooks embedded in their backs.

Aren't you glad that conversion to Christianity is not accomplished by self-inflicted torture?  In contrast, Jesus Christ was afflicted with one of the cruelest forms of torture ancient Rome could devise so that He could freely give you the gift of salvation.  Jesus paid the price for your conversion so that you could not and would not have to do a thing to earn it.  The only requirement is for you to receive the greatest gift God gave.

-- Lenya Heitzig and Penny Pierce Rose in Pathway to God's Treasure: Ephesians


Monday, October 5, 2015


"You shall not…"  (Exodus 20:1-17)

To say of an act done, "My conscience is quite clear", sounds smug and satisfactory. It does not by any means follow that the speaker's conscience ought to be clear.  It may simply show that [it] is sadly unenlightened.

-- Bishop G. E. Reindorp


Friday, October 2, 2015


"Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective."  (James 5:16 NIV)

In confession the break-through to community takes place… If a Christian is in the fellowship of confession with a brother, he will never be alone again, anywhere.

-- Dietrich Bonhoeffer in Life Together


Thursday, October 1, 2015


South African pastor Trevor Hudson identifies compassionate caring as the distinguishing mark of faithful discipleship: “Compassionate caring creatively balances the inward-outward dynamic so characteristic of Jesus’ life, saves us from falling prey to the latest fad in the spiritual supermarket, and catapults our lives into a deeper engagement with the brokenness of our world.” Hudson goes on to claim that making a pilgrimage with those who suffer is one practical way to cultivate the “grace-soaked” gift of compassion in our lives.

-- Don C. Richter in Mission Trips That Matter: Embodied Faith for the Sake of the World