Tuesday, February 28, 2017


"I mean that I want us to help each other with the faith we have. Your faith will help me, and my faith will help you."  (Romans 1:12 NCV)

In authentic Christian fellowship people should experience a mutual dependency. This mutuality is the art of giving and receiving; it's depending on each other. The Bible says, "The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part" (1 Corinthians 12:25 MSG).

Mutuality is the heart of fellowship: building reciprocal relationships, sharing responsibilities, and helping each other. All of us are more consistent in our faith when others walk with us and encourage us.

The Bible commands mutual accountability, mutual encouragement, mutual serving, and mutual honoring. Over fifty times in the New Testament we're commanded to do different tasks for "one another" and "each other." The Bible says, "Make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification" (Romans 14:19 NIV).

You are not responsible for everyone in the body of Christ, but you are responsible to them. God expects you do whatever you can to help them.

-- Rick Warren in "The Purpose Driven Connection Daily Devotional"


Monday, February 27, 2017


God speaks to us through His Word. The first step in reading the Bible is to ask God to help you understand it. "But the Helper will teach you everything and will cause you to remember all that I told you. This Helper is the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in My name" (John 14:26).

Before reading the Bible, pray. Don't go to Scripture looking for your own idea; go searching for God's. Read the Bible prayerfully. Also, read it carefully. Jesus told us, "Search, and you will find" (Matthew 7:7). God commends those who "chew on Scripture day and night" (Psalm 1:2 MSG). The Bible is not a newspaper to be skimmed but rather a mine to be quarried. "Search for it like silver, and hunt for it like hidden treasure. Then you will understand respect for the Lord, and you will find that you know God" (Proverbs 2:4-5).

-- Max Lucado in Just Like Jesus


Friday, February 24, 2017


“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

Often we want to know God’s will too soon. We want things mapped out in advance so we can plan with certainty. God wants us to keep our eyes on Him, our hand in His, and our heart’s content to say, “I know not what the future holds, but I know who holds the future.” He may show us His will at the last minute, but He never shows us too late to work out what’s best for us and for people we relate to. He’s the all-wise Creator and Lord who never makes a mistake.

-- Warren and Ruth Myers in Discovering God’s Will


Thursday, February 23, 2017


“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” But how can they call on Him to save them unless they believe in Him? And how can they believe in Him if they have never heard about Him? And how can they hear about Him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!”  But not everyone welcomes the Good News, for Isaiah the prophet said, “Lord, who has believed our message?” So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ.  (Romans 10:13-17 NLT)

Telling the good news about Jesus is the unique business of the church. The YMCA has excellent camping and recreation programs. There are many effective social service agencies in our communities. Multitudes of clubs and organizations welcome our people's participation and involvement. We can offer those around us only one thing that these organizations do not already offer -- JESUS CHRIST. We must be careful not to water down the message with a vague theism.

-- Michael Slaughter in Beyond Playing Church


Wednesday, February 22, 2017


Just as water is ever seeking the lowest depths in order to fulfill them, so is Jehovah ever seeking out [our] need in order to satisfy it. Where there is need, there is God. Where there is sorrow, misery, unhappiness, suffering, confusion, folly, oppression, there is the I AM, yearning to turn [our] sorrow into bliss whenever [we] will let Him. It is not, therefore, the hungry seeking for bread, but the Bread seeking the hungry; not the sad seeking for joy, but rather Joy seeking the sad; not emptiness seeking fullness, but rather Fullness seeking emptiness. And it is not merely that God supplies our need, but He Himself becomes the fulfillment of our need.

-- Roy and Revell Hession in We Would See Jesus


Tuesday, February 21, 2017


“If any of you lacks wisdom let him ask of God, who gives to all generously.”  (James 1:5 NASB)

Periodically, we find ourselves at a loss to know what to do or how to respond. It’s then we ask for help, and God delivers more than intelligence and ideas and good old common sense. He dips into His well of wisdom and allows us to drink from His bucket, whose refreshment provides abilities and insights that are of another world. Perhaps it might best be stated as having a small portion of the “mind of Christ.”

-- Charles Swindoll in Bedside Blessings


Monday, February 20, 2017


“The tribes of Reuben and Gad owned vast numbers of livestock. So when they saw that the lands of Jazer and Gilead were ideally suited for their flocks and herds, they came to Moses, Eleazar the priest, and the other leaders of the community. They said,… ‘The Lord has conquered this whole area for the community of Israel, and it is ideally suited for all our livestock. If we have found favor with you, please let us have this land as our property instead of giving us land across the Jordan River.’”  (Numbers 32:1-5 NLT)

Do you ever approach God as if He were a giant search engine? You tell Him what you want and expect instant results. What if God doesn't give you what you're really looking for? That's OK. There are lots of other "search engines" out there: parents, friends, the mall.

But God isn't the big search engine in the sky. And if He has something in mind for you, He won't substitute it for something that's second best -- even if it's something you really want or think you need.

-- Tracy Carbaugh in Soul Journey, Summer 2003


Friday, February 17, 2017


"And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.”  (Deuteronomy 6:6 ESV)

Notice that it doesn’t say ‘on your minds’ because there is a difference. I think there is a difference between head knowledge and heart knowledge, and that distance between the head and the heart, about 12 inches, is a long distance to travel. It is information up here [in the head] but it is transformation down here [in the heart]. So, what the writer of Deuteronomy is saying is, this can’t just be in your head, it has to get into your heart.

-- Mark Batterson, from a talk entitled “Parenting 101”


Thursday, February 16, 2017


"Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near."  (Matthew 3:2 NLT)

The Greek word for repentance is metanoia -- literally, to think differently or to change one’s mind. But it means something deeper than this in the Gospels. It means to have a change of mind that leads to a change of heart and a change of values that ultimately leads to a changed life.

-- Adam Hamilton in The Way: Walking in the Footsteps of Jesus


Wednesday, February 15, 2017


“For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God's glorious standard.” (Romans 3:23 NLT)

The word for sin in the Greek New Testament is hamartia. It means to miss the mark or to stray from a path. In English, the word sin carries a lot of baggage -- meanings that may or may not have been intended in the Bible. But in Greek the meaning is much simpler, and virtually all of us, religious or not, can see how it relates to our lives. Implied in the idea of straying from the path or missing the mark is that there is a path or mark -- an ideal that we are meant to live by. I haven’t met anyone who disagrees with this concept. All honest and thoughtful people will recognize that at times they stray from this path. In fact, the biblical story is largely about humanity’s straying from the path, beginning when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, and God’s call for the human race to get back on the path -- to repent.

-- Adam Hamilton in The Way: Walking in the Footsteps of Jesus


Tuesday, February 14, 2017


God's love is amazing! First John 4:16 says God is love. And verse 18 says, "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear..." (NKJV). God's love can remove fear from your life. It's a medicine that can heal every wound in your soul: a broken heart, the pain of rejection or abandonment or any other hurt you've experienced.

-- Joyce Meyer, from an article entitled “The Truth About God’s Love”


Monday, February 13, 2017


“This book records the words that Moses spoke to all the people of Israel while they were in the wilderness east of the Jordan River… Normally it takes only eleven days to travel from Mount Sinai… But forty years after the Israelites left Mount Sinai… Moses gave these speeches to the Israelites...”  (Deuteronomy 1:1-3a NLT)

The Israelites spent 40 years on a journey that should have lasted 11 days. It wasn’t distance that stood between them and the Promised Land. It was the condition of their hearts… God sentenced them to wilderness wanderings because they rejected His love, rebelled against His authority, ignored His commands for right living, and willfully broke their end of the agreement… In short, they disobeyed God.

We often make life’s journey more difficult than necessary by disobedience. Accept God’s love, read and follow His commands in the Bible, and make a promise to stick with God whatever your situation. You will find that your life will be less complicated and more rewarding.

-- from The Life Application Study Bible


Friday, February 10, 2017


“Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”  (Romans 12:2 NLT)

Spiritual formation is the process by which God forms us into the persons we are meant to be -- Christ-like persons. Being re-shaped according to the pattern of Jesus' mind, heart, and work is the gracious labor of the Holy Spirit, moving within us personally and among us as Christian community. This transforming work takes us into ourselves and carries us out toward others in an endless, mutually reinforcing spiral of growth.

-- Marjorie Thompson, Companions in Christ Spiritual Director


Thursday, February 9, 2017


Christ… demonstrates God's initiative: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son" (John 3:16). Christ's coming into the world was an act of the creator God. God took the initiative to come to us when we could not make our way to God…

Every prayer you pray, every thought you think of God -- even the deepest yearnings of your being for fulfillment and final satisfaction -- are but responses to the Spirit of God who has initiated your hunger for the relationship.

-- Ben Campbell Johnson in Calming the Restless Spirit


Wednesday, February 8, 2017


“Rejoice always, pray continually,…”  (1 Thessalonians 5:16-17 NIV)

[Continually] does not mean that we are to neglect the ordinary duties of life; what it  means is that the soul which has come into intimate contact with God in the silence of the prayer-chamber is never out of conscious touch with the Father, that the heart is always going out to Him in loving communion, and that the moment the mind is released from the task upon which it is engaged it returns as naturally to God as the bird does to the nest. What a beautiful concept of prayer we get if we regard it in this light, if we view it as a constant fellowship, an unbroken audience with the King. Prayer then loses every vestige of dread which it may once have possessed; we regard it no longer as a duty which must be performed, but rather a privilege which is to be enjoyed, a rare delight that is always revealing some new beauty.

-- E. M. Bounds


Tuesday, February 7, 2017


“Lord, You have given us Your laws and told us to obey them faithfully. How I hope that I shall be faithful in keeping Your instructions! If I pay attention to all Your commands, then I will not be put to shame.”  (Psalm 119:4-6 GNT)

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,  ChristianityToday.com


Monday, February 6, 2017


“May the Lord bless you and protect you.
May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.
May the Lord show you His favor and give you His peace.”  (Numbers 6:24-26 NLT)

A blessing was one way of asking God’s divine favor to rest upon others. The ancient blessing in these verses helps us understand what a blessing was supposed to do. Its five parts conveyed hope that God would (1) bless and protect them; (2) smile on them (be pleased); (3) be gracious (merciful and compassionate); (4) show His favor toward them (give His approval); (5) give peace. When you ask God to bless others yourself, you are asking Him to do these five things. The blessing you offer will not only help the one receiving it, it will also demonstrate love, encourage others, and provide a model of caring for others.

-- from The Life Application Study Bible


Friday, February 3, 2017


“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)

In 1830, George Wilson was tried by the U.S. court in Philadelphia for robbery and murder and was sentenced to hang. Andrew Jackson, President of the United States, granted him a presidential pardon. But Wilson refused the pardon, insisting it was not a pardon unless he accepted it. The question was brought before the U.S. Supreme Court, and Chief Justice John Marshall wrote the following decision: “A pardon is a paper, the value of which depends upon its acceptance by the person implicated. It’s hardly to be supposed that one under sentence of death would refuse a pardon, but if refused, it is no pardon. George Wilson must hang.” What was the outcome? George Wilson was hanged.

Jesus Christ is God’s only provision for our sin. Through Him alone we can know God intimately, be fully pardoned for our sin, experience His unconditional love, and have eternal life. We simply must accept the free gift.

-- adapted from Remember the Rowboats by Jim and Barbara Grunseth


Thursday, February 2, 2017


“When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them.  The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.”  (Leviticus 19:33-34 NIV)

How do you feel when you encounter foreigners, especially those who don’t speak your language? Are you impatient? Do you think or act as if they should go back to where they came from? Are you tempted to take advantage of them? God says to treat foreigners as you would treat fellow countrymen, to love them as you love yourself. In reality, we are all foreigners in this world because it is only our temporary home. View strangers, newcomers and foreigners as opportunities to demonstrate God’s love.

-- from The Life Application Study Bible


Wednesday, February 1, 2017


“Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in Him, ‘If you continue in My word, you are truly My disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.’”  (John 8:31-32 NRSV)

A disciple [of Jesus Christ] is one who has found light in a blind and darkened world, spiritual food and drink in a hungry and thirsty world, meaning in a confusing and seemingly meaningless world, direction and community in a lost and lonely world.

-- Richard and Julia Wilke in DISCIPLE: Becoming Disciples Through Bible Study