Friday, January 29, 2010


"The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold." (Psalm 18:2)

That person is perfect in faith who can come to God in the utter dearth of his/her feelings and desires, without a glow or an aspiration, with the weight of low thoughts, failures, neglects, and wondering forgetfulness, and say to God, "You are my refuge."

-- George MacDonald, adapted


Thursday, January 28, 2010


"But to all who received Him, who believed in His name, He gave power to become children of God…" (John 1:12 NRSV)

Upon salvation we "become children of God." He alters our lineage, redefines our spiritual parenthood, and, in doing so, secures our salvation. To accomplish this mission, He seals us with His Spirit. "Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit" (Ephesians 1:13). A soul sealed by God is safe…

God vacuum-seals us with His strongest force: His Spirit. He sheathes His children in a suit of spiritual armor, encircles us with angels, and indwells us Himself. The queen of England should enjoy such security.

Christ paid too high a price to leave us unguarded. "Remember, He has identified you as His own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption" (Ephesians 4:30 NLT).

What a difference this assurance makes.

-- Max Lucado in 3:16 The Numbers of Hope


Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Lord, I just want to say THANK YOU, because this morning I woke up and knew where my children were. Because this morning my home was still standing; because this morning I am not crying because my husband, my child, my brother or sister needs to be buried out from underneath a pile of concrete; because this morning I was able to drink a glass of water; because this morning I was able to turn on the light; because this morning I was able to take a shower; because this morning I was not planning a funeral; but most of all I thank You this morning because I still have life and a voice to cry out for the people of Haiti.

Lord, I cry out to You, the One who makes the impossible, possible; the One who turns darkness into light. I cry out that You give those mothers strength; that You give them peace that surpasses all understanding; that You may open the streets so that help can come; that You may provide doctors, nurses, food, water, and all that they need in a blink of an eye. For all those that have lost family members, give them peace, give them hope, give them courage to continue to go on! Protect the children and shield them with Your power. I pray all this in the name of Jesus!!!

-- Source Unknown


Tuesday, January 26, 2010


"Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord their God,
who made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them;
who keeps faith forever;
who executes justice for the oppressed;
who gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets the prisoners free;
the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the strangers;
He upholds the orphan and the widow,
but the way of the wicked He brings to ruin." (Psalm 146:5-9)

So many of the Psalms focus on the majesty of God, on God's power and might. But here, the Psalmist praises God's care for the poor, God's justice on behalf of the oppressed. The God celebrated here is not removed from human suffering. This God is intimately connected with the people God made. This is the God who feeds the hungry and sets free the imprisoned. This God, the God who created the expanses of the heavens and the depths of the sea, cares for the hurting and the lost. This is the God in whose image we are made.

Merciful God, You are Lord of the universe and yet You care for the poorest among us. You see those who are hurting. You bring hope to those who lost hope long ago. Because of our connecting to one another, when one of us suffers, we all suffer. Help us restore humanity by caring for those who are in pain. Give us eyes to see. Make us people of justice.

-- Carla Barnhill in The Green Bible Devotional


Monday, January 25, 2010


NOTE: Today's quote was submitted by the author, a SOUND BITES subscriber. You may also wish to read an article called "On Shaky Theological Ground" written by Robin Russell, the Managing Editor of the United Methodist Reporter. It can be viewed by clicking


Many Christians speculate as to why God allowed this earthquake to strike Haiti, even some on TV. They say, "God is punishing them. They deserve it." God says in Job about their speculations, "Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?" (Job 38:1) As the world listens, we must make sure that we have a proper attitude in receiving and representing God's will to the hurting people of Haiti and the world. What is a proper attitude in approaching God after such a display of His awesome power? I am mindful of Esther's contrite attitude toward her king, "If it pleases the king and if I have found favor before him and the matter seems proper to the king and I am pleasing in his sight..." (Esther 8:5) And what if our actions towards the people of Haiti, including our brothers and sisters in Christ, would be as Mordecai's, "he sought the welfare of his people and spoke peace to all his people." (Esther 10:3b)

May we speak words of peace and seek for the welfare of all in Haiti, beginning with earnest prayer that God will send many shod with the gospel of our LORD Jesus Christ so that a new Haiti will emerge from this catastrophe, born again into God's family. "The scripture says, 'No one who believes in Him will be put to shame.' For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on Him. For, 'Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.' But how are they to call on One in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in One of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim Him? And how are they to proclaim Him unless they are sent? As it is written, 'How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!'… So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the Word of Christ." (Romans 10:11-17)

-- Paula McCarvel


Friday, January 22, 2010


"Who is like the wise man?
And who knows the interpretation of a thing?
Wisdom makes one’s face shine,
and the hardness of one’s countenance is changed." (Ecclesiastes 8:1)

And what does wisdom look like? Well, for starters (and only for starters) it is reasonable, flexible, forgiving, peaceful, caring, given to friendly visits, small acts of courtesy, and kind words. It doesn't look sagacious or pious. It is humble, transparent, simple, gentle, gracious to the core. Wisdom, as Solomon would say, softens our face (Ecclesiastes 8:1).

-- David Roper in Growing Slowly Wise


Thursday, January 21, 2010


The single most important factor in your ability to witness for Christ is your own personal faith. A genuine faith is often shared successfully even when the sharing seems awkward. Transparent Christian faith is so powerful in its appeal that it is self-commending.

A second vital factor in faith sharing is a passionate and deep caring for others. Unless you genuinely care about whether or not your friend is brought closer to Christ, you probably will not be motivated to give your witness. That passion emerges out of your relationship with God and with your friend.

-- Harold K. Bates in Witness for Christ


Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Loss creates a barren present, as if one were sailing on a vast sea of nothingness. Those who suffer loss live suspended between a past for which they long and a future for which they hope. They want to return to the harbor of the familiar past and recover what was lost…. Or they want to sail on and discover a meaningful future that promises to bring them life again…. Instead, they find themselves living in a barren present that is empty of meaning.

-- Gerald L. Sittser in A Grace Disguised


Tuesday, January 19, 2010


It is an old saying that points to wasted effort. To "spit into the wind" is not only silly but you get it right back in your face if the wind is blowing hard enough! Many times we spend energy in vain attempting to accomplish something that simply cannot be accomplished outside the hand and support of Almighty God. We like to think we are the master and engineer of our own fate when God Himself is the one and only Master Architect of our soul. Oh yes, we can play around a bit with our body and mind, and seem to take the helm over the "things" of our life, but in reality only God is in control.

-- Pastor Gary Stone


Monday, January 18, 2010


"Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in Him and you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining. Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble." (1 John 2:8-10 NIV)

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

-- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Friday, January 15, 2010


The creation is quite like a spacious and splendid house, provided and filled with the most exquisite and the most abundant furnishings. Everything in it tells us of God.

– John Calvin (1509-65) in Institutes 1:14, as quoted in The Green Bible


Thursday, January 14, 2010


"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son…" (John 3:16a)

The main thing is a personal relationship with God through His one and only Son, Jesus Christ. The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.

-- Unknown


Wednesday, January 13, 2010


This is our Lord's will, ... that our prayer and our trust be, alike, large. For if we do not trust as much as we pray, we fail in full worship to our Lord in our prayer; and also we hinder and hurt ourselves. The reason is that we do not know truly that our Lord is the ground from which our prayer springs; nor do we know that it is given us by His grace and His love. If we knew this, it would make us trust to have of our Lord's gifts all that we desire. For I am sure that no [one] asks for mercy and grace with sincerity, without mercy and grace being given to [them] first.

-- Julian of Norwich in Revelations of Divine Love


Tuesday, January 12, 2010


"The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad;
the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus;
it shall blossom abundantly
and rejoice with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the LORD,
the majesty of our God." (Isaiah 35:1-2 ESV)

You will never find Jesus so precious as when the world is one vast howling wilderness. Then He is like a rose blooming in the midst of the desolation, a rock rising above the storm.

-- Robert Murray M'Cheyne


Monday, January 11, 2010


"To the LORD your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it." (Deuteronomy 10:14 NIV)

I cannot conceive how a man could look up into the heavens and say there is no God.

-- U.S. President Abraham Lincoln


Friday, January 8, 2010


No Bible verse better expresses God's nature than John 3:16. (We ought to submit it to Webster's.) Every word in the passage explains the second one. "For God so loved the world…"

Jesus assumes what Scripture declares: God is.

For proof, venture away from the city lights on a clear night and look up at the sky… Our universe is God's preeminent missionary. "The heavens declare the glory of God" (Psalm 19:1). A house implies a builder; a painting suggests a painter. Don't stars suggest a star maker? Doesn't creation imply a creator? "The heavens declare His righteousness" (Psalm 97:6 NKJV). Look above you.

If God can make a billion galaxies, can't He make good out of our bad and sense out of our faltering lives? Of course He can. He is God.

-- Max Lucado in 3:16 The Numbers of Hope


Thursday, January 7, 2010


The God of love and liberation remembers who we are and who we can be. This Divine Artist sees beneath the surface of our worst behavior the depths and heights of our actions, the light and shadow of our motivations, and the length and breadth of our capacity for compassion and love…

On this day, if you and I will only listen to this amazing God, we will discover God's great care for us. We are the flock of God's own keeping. We are the creation of God's own hand. Come quietly into God's presence. Envision the natural world through which we journey. Offer to God your own unique echo of the music of the seas and the weather; join in the celebration of the birds and the fields. Raise your sights to the stars and the galaxies. Just beneath the surface of our daily routine runs the living water of an everlasting spring. Strike it in faith. Drink deeply. Draw strength for today.

-- Diane Luton Blum in The Upper Room Disciplines 2002, published by The Upper Room, Nashville, TN. Used with permission.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Infant baptism... has been a witness for the Son of Man and the universality of His Kingdom, like no other. It has taught parents that to bring children into the world is not a horrible crime. It has led them to see Christ and His redemption of humanity through all the mists of our teachings and our qualifications. It has explained the nature of His Kingdom to the hearts even of the poorest. Christ has preached at the fonts, when we have been darkening counsel in the pulpits.

-- F. D. Maurice (1805-1872) in The Kingdom of Heaven

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


The greatest need for you and me is a regular encounter in our experience with the God of grace revealed in Jesus Christ. It is in the experience of this grace -- the unmerited, unearned, undeserved love of a self-sacrificing God -- that we come to a new life in Christ. The old song declared, "You're nobody till somebody loves you." Well, SOMEBODY loved us and does love us. That SOMEBODY is God.

-- H. Eddie Fox in Grace-Esteem


Monday, January 4, 2010


Though Christ a thousand times
In Bethlehem be born,
If he's not born in thee
Thy soul is still forlorn.

The cross on Golgotha
Will never save thy soul;
The cross in thy own heart
Alone can make thee whole.

-- Unknown, from the 3rd Century