Tuesday, May 31, 2011


The important thing is to pray. How important? Only this: There are some things God will do if we ask Him. We carelessly say, "Well, whatever happens is God's will. If God wants me to have this, I will get it. If it was meant to be, it will be." That is only partially true. The words of Jesus, "If you ask, I will do," carry the obvious implication that if we do not ask, Jesus will not have because you do not ask" (James 4:2).

For example, I discovered a surprising fact about the healing miracles recorded in the Gospels. Jesus rarely took the initiative in those miracles. Ordinarily, Jesus did not heal people until they ask Him to. Sometimes they almost had to chase Him down. Bartimaeus cried so long and so loud before Jesus stopped to listen that the crowd told that blind beggar to shut up (Mark 10:46-52). Jesus ignored, then "insulted" the Syrophoenician woman before healing her daughter (Matthew 15:21-28). Jairus took the initiative and came to Jesus on behalf of his daughter. The woman with the issue of blood touched Jesus for healing before He ever noticed her.

"And whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son" (John 14:13).

-- Ronald Dunn in Don't Just Stand There, Pray Something


Friday, May 27, 2011


Before we utter a word, the Spirit puts in our heart desire to communicate with the Source of our being. God has given us life and love. In prayer we gratefully receive these gifts. …

In the second dimension of prayer we respond. In distress we call out for help and in gratitude offer our thanksgiving. Receiving divine love, we return our praise. We confess our sin and make petition. …

The third dimension of prayer is intimate communion. The love and grace of the Holy One draws us into the embrace of pure love. … God desires to give the gift of contemplation.

-- J. David Muyskens in Forty Days to a Closer Walk with God, © 2006, Published by Upper Room Books. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.


Thursday, May 26, 2011


Having a medal or being on the Olympic team, or getting some prize money, there's a bigger purpose and plan for me to be on this planet -- to glorify God.

-- Barb Lindquist, US triathlete


Wednesday, May 25, 2011


I do not seek, O Lord, to penetrate Thy depths. I by no means think my intellect equal to them: but I long to understand in some degree Thy truth, which my heart believes and loves. For I do not seek to understand that I may believe; but I believe that I may understand.

-- Saint Anselm


Tuesday, May 24, 2011


The truth is that so long as we hold both sides of the proposition together they contain nothing inconsistent with orthodoxy, but as soon as one is divorced from the other, it is bound to prove a stumbling-block. "Only those who believe obey" is what we say to that part of a believer's soul which obeys, and "only those who obey believe" is what we say to that part of the soul of the obedient which believes. If the first half of the proposition stands alone, the believer is exposed to the danger of cheap grace, which is another word for damnation. If the second half stands alone, the believer is exposed to the danger of salvation through works, which is also another word for damnation.

-- Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945) in The Cost of Discipleship


Monday, May 23, 2011


“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Matthew 24:36)
We must never speak to simple, excitable people about "the Day" without emphasizing again and again the utter impossibility of prediction. We must try to show them that that impossibility is an essential part of the doctrine. If you do not believe our Lord's words, why do you believe in His return at all? And if you do believe them, must you not put away from you, utterly and forever, any hope of dating that return?

-- C. S. Lewis (1898-1963) in The World's Last Night


Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Learned [people] and great scholars have devoted great effort and prolonged study to the Holy Scriptures... employing the gifts which God gives to every person who has the use of reason. This knowledge is good... but it does not bring with it any spiritual experience of God, for these graces are granted only to those who have a great love for Him. This fountain of love issues from our Lord alone, and no stranger may approach it. But knowledge of this kind is common to good and bad alike, since it can be acquired without love, ... and men of a worldly life are sometimes more knowledgeable than many true Christians although they do not possess this love. St. Paul describes this kind of knowledge: "If I had full knowledge of all things and knew all secrets, but had no love, I should be nothing." Some people who possess this knowledge become proud and misuse it in order to increase their personal reputation, worldly rank, honors and riches, when they should use it humbly to the praise of God and for the benefit of their fellow Christians in true charity. St. Paul says of this kind of knowledge: "Knowledge by itself stirs the heart with pride, but united to love it turns to edification." By itself this knowledge is like water, tasteless and cold. But if those who have it will offer it humbly to our Lord and ask for His grace, He will turn the water into wine with His blessing.
-- Walter Hilton in The Scale of Perfection


Monday, May 16, 2011


In the nineteenth century, mail delivery in parts of the western United States was done by riders on horseback. This service was called the Pony Express. They went to great lengths to reduce the weight their horses had to carry and thereby increase the speed of the mail delivery. They streamlined the saddles, enlisted teenagers of small stature as carriers, and disallowed rifles - all to cut every ounce of weight possible.
Yet each rider carried a Bible, even though the Bible and a rifle were not much different in weight. Apparently, the personnel of Pony Express believed the Bible was more valuable than a rifle. Even though they knew excess baggage was detrimental, they realized the importance of having the Bible with them.

As we make the Christian journey, we may find baggage filling our life. But allotting room for God's Word during our journey is essential. If we make no room for the Scripture in our day, we are carrying too much.

God's Word is not a weight but an asset on our journey.

-- Kenny A. Noble, from The Upper Room Daily E-mail Devotional, from a subscriber in Wisconsin


Friday, May 13, 2011


"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." (Joshua 1:9)

No fear haunts more than the fear of the unknown. Whether it be facing a new job or relocating our home or the dread we feel before surgery or awaiting results of medical tests, it stalks our path all our days. …

The life of the Christian is always uncertain. There are no guarantees. Paul tells the Ephesian elders at a time of change in his life, "And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there" (Acts 20:22). Going and Not Knowing seems to be the paradigm of the life of faith. But in the unknown places, God is there before you.

-- Richard L. Morgan in I Never Found That Rocking Chair


Thursday, May 12, 2011


The task is not, in essence, the securing of uniformity, or cooperation, or Church reunion, or any of the external forms, through which nevertheless the unity may be manifested. Within the wide bounds of the Christian Church there is abundant scope for the multiplicity of races, languages, and social conditions; room also for separate organizations with different traditions of faith and order, and much diversity of operation. But there is no room for strife or hostility, for pride or self-assertion, for exclusiveness or unkind judgments, nor for that kind of independence which leads men to ignore their fellowship with the great company of believers, the communion of saints. These things are contrary to the revealed will of God, and should be made at once to cease. As these disappear, the outward manifestation of unity will come in such ways as the Spirit of God shall guide.

-- G. T. Manley in Christian Unity


Wednesday, May 11, 2011


The Greeks had two words for designating time. One was chronos, clock time, the time measured by hours and days. The other was kairos, unique moments in time when something significant happens. Most of us judge our lives in terms of chronos, the moment defined by clock and calendars. We seldom take time to find time. But, each of us can remember kairos, the holy moments when something special happened to us.

-- Richard L. Morgan in I Never Found That Rocking Chair


Tuesday, May 10, 2011


The Conob Indians of northern Guatemala... describe love as "my soul dies." Love is such that, without experiencing the joy of union with the object of our love, there is a real sense in which "the soul dies." A man who loves God according to the Conob idiom would say "my soul dies for God." This not only describes the powerful emotion felt by the one who loves, but it should imply a related truth -- namely, that in true love there is no room for self. The man who loves God must die to self. True love is, of all emotions, the most unselfish, for it does not look out for self but for others. False love seeks to possess; true love seeks to be possessed. False love leads to cancerous jealousy; true love leads to a life-giving ministry.

-- Eugene A. Nida in God's Word in Man's Language


Monday, May 9, 2011


It has been said that agapao refers to "the love of God" and phileo is only "the love of [human beings]." But this distinction is only a very small part of the difference, and as such is in itself incorrect. Both of these words may convey intense emotion or may be relatively weak in their meanings. These words do not indicate degree of love, but kinds of love. Agapao refers to love which arises from a keen sense of the value and worth in the object of our love, and phileo describes the emotional attachment which results from intimate and prolonged association. That is why in the Scriptures we are never commanded to "love" with the word phileo. Even when husbands and wives are instructed to love one another, the word agapao is used, for it is impossible to command that kind of love which can arise only from intimate association. On the other hand, the saints are admonished to appreciate profoundly the worth and value in others, and agapao is used to convey this meaning. All Christians are not necessarily to have sentimental attachments for one another (phileo). This would be impossible, for our circle of intimate friends is limited by the nature of our lives. But we can all be commanded to appreciate intensely the worth of others.

-- Eugene A. Nida in God's Word in Man's Language


Friday, May 6, 2011


Creator God,

We thank You for our mothers to whom You have entrusted the care of every precious human life from its very beginning in the womb.

You have given to woman the capacity of participating with You in the creation of new life. Grant that every woman may come to understand the full meaning of that blessing, which gives her an unlimited capacity for selfless love for every child she may be privileged to bear, and for all Your children.

Watch over every mother who is with child, strengthen her faith in Your protection, care and love for her and for her unborn baby. Give her courage in times of fear or pain, understanding in times of uncertainty and doubt, and hope in times of trouble. Grant her joy in the birth of her child.

To mothers You have given the great privilege and responsibility of being a child's first teacher and spiritual guide. Grant that all mothers may worthily foster the faith of their children, following the example of Mary, Elizabeth, and other faith-filled women who follow Christ. Help mothers to grow daily in knowledge and understanding of Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and grant them the wisdom to impart this knowledge faithfully to their children, and to all who depend upon them.

Assist all "spiritual mothers", those who, though they may have no children of their own, nevertheless selflessly care for the children of others -- of every age and state in life. Grant that they may know the joy of fulfilling this motherly calling of women, whether in teaching, nursing, ministry, or in other work which recognizes and fosters the true dignity of every human being created in Your image and likeness.

We beseech You to send Your Holy Spirit, the Comforter, to all mothers who sorrow for children that have died, are ill or estranged from their families, or who are in trouble or danger of any kind. Help grieving mothers to rely on Your tender mercy and loving care for all Your children.

We ask Your blessing on all those to whom You have entrusted motherhood. May Your Holy Spirit constantly inspire and strengthen them. May they ever follow the example of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and imitate her fidelity, her humility, and her self-giving love. May all mothers receive Your Grace abundantly in this earthly life, and may they look forward to eternal joy in Your presence in the life to come.

We ask this through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. AMEN.

-- Author Unknown


Thursday, May 5, 2011


Dear Heavenly Father, in Jesus' name I lift up our country's leaders to You. I ask You to guide them in the way You would have them go. I pray that You would surround our leaders with wise counsel -- men and women of integrity who place Your agenda and the good of this nation above their own and whose motives are for that which is right. I pray that You would give our leaders discernment, understanding and knowledge so that our nation may know stability internally and abroad. I give thanks for the many men and women who have accepted the call to serve this great country. I pray that they might act according to Your Word and I thank You for working in and through their leadership so that we might lead peaceable lives in godliness and honesty. Amen.

-- For more about the National Day of Prayer visit http://nationaldayofprayer.org/


Wednesday, May 4, 2011


As Charles Spurgeon used to put it: "The truth is like a lion. Whoever heard of defending a lion? Just turn it loose and it will defend itself." This is the way the Word of God is. If we begin to proclaim it, it will defend itself.

-- Unknown


Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Always be looking for ways to encourage and refresh others. Proverbs 11:25 has so much wisdom. Here's how it reads in the New International Version: "He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed." As you refresh others, you relieve your own pain. You may be going through a painful time right now or trying to get over a tremendous loss. If so, try "refreshing or watering" another person's life, and as you encourage that person, you will find that your own pain is lessened.

-- Barbara Johnson in So, Stick a Geranium in Your Hat and Be Happy!


Monday, May 2, 2011


NOTE: Just to clarify a story in the news, it was Rev. David Wilkerson (described below) who died this past week, not Rev. David Wilkinson (a United Methodist and founder of this SOUND BITES Ministry).

Evangelist David Wilkerson, who wrote the popular book "The Cross and the Switchblade" and founded New York's Times Square Church, died in a traffic accident Wednesday (April 27, 2011). Wilkerson, 79, died after his car slammed into a tractor-trailer on a highway about 95 miles southeast of Dallas, according to The Associated Press. His wife, Gwen, was also injured but is expected to recover.

Wilkerson was known most for his outreach to street gangs, which he started after viewing a photo in Life magazine of New York City teens charged with murder. He founded Teen Challenge, a ministry to young gang members and drug addicts, in New York in 1959. In 1963, he co-authored his best-selling story, which Christianity Today magazine listed in 2006 in the No. 32 spot on its "Top 50 Books That Have Shaped Evangelicals."

Wilkerson posted a blog the day of his death. The post was called "When All Means Fail."


To those going through the valley and shadow of death, hear this word: Weeping will last through some dark, awful nights, and in that darkness you will soon hear the Father whisper, "I am with you." Beloved, God has never failed to act but in goodness and love. When all means fail -- His love prevails. Hold fast to your faith. Stand fast in His Word. There is no other hope in this world.

-- Rev. David Wilkerson