Thursday, August 30, 2012


The sum of the whole matter is this, that our civilization cannot survive materially unless it is redeemed spiritually.  It can be saved only by becoming permeated with the Spirit of Christ and being made free and happy by the practices which spring out of that Spirit.  Only thus can discontent be driven out and all the shadows lifted from the road ahead. 

 -- Woodrow Wilson

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


"With all my heart I want Your blessings.
Be merciful as You promised.
I pondered the direction of my life,
and I turned to follow Your laws.
I will hurry, without delay,
to obey Your commands."  (Psalm 119:58-60 NLT)

Freedom does not mean the absence of constraints or moral absolutes. Suppose a skydiver at 10,000 feet announces to the rest of the group, "I'm not using a parachute this time. I want freedom."

The fact is that the skydiver is constrained by a greater law -- the law of gravity. When the skydiver chooses the "constraint" of the parachute, she is free to enjoy the exhilaration.

God's laws operate the same way: they restrain, but they are absolutely necessary to enjoy the exhilaration of real freedom. 

-- Colin Campbell


Tuesday, August 28, 2012


"For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many." (Mark 10:45 NIV)

Most people want to serve God, but only in an advisory capacity.  

-- Unknown


Monday, August 27, 2012


I have a small collection of baseball cards. The card that is worth the most is called "Future Stars" and is valued at $100. There are three players on this card. The first is Jeff Schneider. Schneider played 1 year of professional baseball, pitched in 11 games, and gave up 13 earned runs in those 11 games. The second player is Bobby Bonner, who played 4 years of baseball but only appeared in 61 games, with 8 runs batted in, and 0 home runs. The third "Future Star" played 21 years for the Baltimore Orioles and appeared in 3,001 games. He came to bat 11,551 times, collected 3,184 hits and 431 home runs, and batted in 1,695 runs. His name is Cal Ripken, Jr.

Now imagine if you met Bobby Bonner, and he shook your hand and boasted, "Did you know that my baseball card is worth over $100?" You would laugh because you know the worth of the card has nothing to do with him.

That's how it is when we come to Christ and point to our good works, our statistics, and ask, "Is this good enough?" If you want to hold up your stats to God, you don't have a chance. But when you put your faith in Christ, His statistics become yours, and your "baseball card" becomes worth a lot because of someone else's stats.

Bobby Bonner and Jeff Schneider's baseball card is worth $100, not because of their statistics, but because of what someone else has done. 

-- Shaun Brown


Friday, August 24, 2012


Clichés are a problem. Take this one, for instance: "There is no such thing as a free lunch." This sentiment is heard frequently, particularly at election time when politicians promise the earth without elaborating the cost. But it is not true that nobody gets a free lunch. Clearly some fortunate people do. But it is also true that somebody somewhere picks up the tab. In the interest of accuracy, we should really say, "While some people get a free lunch, somebody has paid for it."…

"How does a person get right with God?" A commonly heard answer to this is, "By doing enough good to outweigh the bad he's done." Should we then respond, "But the Bible says, 'The free gift of God is eternal life'" (Romans 6:23), the answer will not infrequently be, "There's no such thing as a free lunch!" Many people unfortunately base their theology on this cliché.

…To us -- salvation is free. But is there such a thing as free salvation? Certainly, provided we understand that Someone has paid the price. Christ did that. "When He was hung on the cross, He took upon Himself the curse for our wrongdoing" (Galatians 3:13). So we enjoy the benefits of salvation freely, by faith (3:14). Some people enjoy a free lunch because someone else paid. And heaven will be full of people who enjoy a free salvation because Jesus paid! And what a price.

-- Stuart Briscoe in Daily Study Bible for Men


Thursday, August 23, 2012


Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don't see many of "the brightest and the best" among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn't it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these "nobodies" to expose the hollow pretensions of the "somebodies"? That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God. Everything that we have -- right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start -- comes from God by way of Jesus Christ. That's why we have the saying, "If you're going to blow a horn, blow a trumpet for God."

-- 1 Corinthians 1: 26-31 The Message (MSG)


Wednesday, August 22, 2012


"But when the right time came, God sent His Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent Him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that He could adopt us as His very own children. And because we are His children, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, "Abba, Father'." (Galatians 4:4-6)

It wasn't until I was a parent that I began to realize God's desire to be intimate with His children.  Spiritually I was born into God's family, just as my children were physically born into our family.  But it is not enough just to bear children; a loving parent has a great desire to have a vital relationship, a bond of intimacy with his or her child.  In a small way, I understand God's desire to be lovingly involved with and close to us, just as I love and want to be near my children.

God is well acquainted with our way; He has laid His hand upon us.  His thoughts toward us are precious.  He is our Shepherd, who asks us to "seek His face."  He is our Savior, whose desire for intimacy is ultimately manifest in the Cross.  He is our loving Father, who has adopted us so that He can be intimate with us.  God does long to be with His children. 

-- Cynthia Heald in Intimacy with God


Tuesday, August 21, 2012


"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1

Sometimes faith seems like a denial of reality, but that's because we're holding on to a reality that is more real than the reality we can perceive with our five senses. 

-- Mark Batterson in The Circle Maker


Monday, August 20, 2012


Anything God has ever done, He can do now. Anything God has ever done anywhere, He can do here. Anything God has ever done for anyone, He can do for you. 

-- A. W. Tozer (1897-1963)


Friday, August 10, 2012


I'm learning the importance of rest. If always on the go, I'm exhausted. I need some quiet time. My physical health depends upon it. My emotional health depends on slowing down. To deal with the stress of life, I need a time of calm. My spiritual life depends on it. I can't make it on my own but depend on my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ.

-- J. David Muyskens in Sacred Breath: Forty Days of Centering Prayer, Copyright 2010. Used with permission of Upper Room Books


Thursday, August 9, 2012


The key to revival is unity of purpose. The Apostle Paul said, "Follow me as I follow Christ." 
-- Unknown


Wednesday, August 8, 2012


 A voice says, "Cry out!"
       Then I said, "What shall I cry out?"
"Say all people are like the grass,
       and all their glory is like the flowers of the field.
 The grass dies and the flowers fall
       when the breath of the Lord blows on them.
       Surely the people are like grass.
 The grass dies and the flowers fall,
       but the word of our God will live forever."

-- Isaiah 40:6-8 (NCV)

You have been born again, and this new life did not come from something that dies, but from something that cannot die. You were born again through God's living message that continues forever. The Scripture says,
"All people are like the grass,
       and all their glory is like the flowers of the field.
The grass dies and the flowers fall,
but the word of the Lord will live forever."
And this is the word that was preached to you.

-- 1 Peter 1:23-25 (NCV)

We can stand on the promise of Isaiah, echoed by Peter: "The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the Word of the Lord stands forever."

-- submitted by a subscriber in Wisconsin


Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Maybe I say this because I’m a preacher, but one of the things I hate about death is the silence. When there are no more words and the labored breathing gradually ebbs away into nothing, and in the darkened room all is silent, that’s what I hate. The conversation that so consumed a life, that give-and-take between God and one of God’s children, is ended. Silence.

Now, with the last breath and in the dark stillness, deadly silence, the next word is up to God. “And God said, ‘Let there be light….’” Christians are those who fully expect that the God who was so determined to talk with us in life shall also speak to us in death. Our last day in this life shall be like the first day of Creation. Evening, changed to morning; our end, by the grace of God, fresh beginning, sunrise:

“The spirit of the LORD speaks through me, His word is upon my tongue…. like the light of morning, like the sun rising on a cloudless morning, gleaming from the rain on grassy land.” (2 Samuel 23:2,4)

Thanks be to God! 

-- Bishop William H. Willimon


Monday, August 6, 2012


Sixteen-year-old Olympic gymnast Gabrielle Douglas says her faith helped her manage the pressures of competing on a world stage to win gold. “Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things He does for me.” These are the first words 16-year-old gymnast Gabrielle Douglas tweeted after she won the all-around gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics... On the stadium floor, Douglas also told a reporter that “The glory goes up to Him, and the blessings fall down on me.” 

-- Christine A. Scheller, from an article on


Friday, August 3, 2012


“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now He is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility He endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.”  (Hebrews 12:1-3 NLT)

The word is hupomone, which does not mean the [patient endurance] which sits down and accepts things but the [patient endurance] which masters them.  It is not some romantic thing, which lends us wings to fly over the difficulties and the hard places.  It is the determination, unhurrying and yet undelaying, which goes steadily on and refuses to be deflected.  Obstacles do not daunt it and discouragements do not take its hope away.  It is the steadfast endurance which carries on until in the end it gets there. 

-- William Barclay in The Letter to the Hebrews


Thursday, August 2, 2012


"I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified."  (1 Corinthians 9:17 NLT)

Part of discipline is doing things by the rules. The Christian needs to have a concern for any significant break in the discipline which would take them out of the opportunity to serve Christ and His Body for even a short period of time.

One of the most classic cases in the Olympics of disqualification occurred in the 1908 marathon. Having run through the streets, until finally he staggered into the stadium, falling four times as he made the oval around the stadium, he was finally helped across the finish line by some well-meaning members of his team. He was disqualified as the winner because he had been helped. He had won the race, but the rules had been broken.

There are people in the Christian life who think that the ends justify any means you use. Do anything as long as you get results. The Olympics are telling us that the means are as important as the ends. That disqualification ought to be a concern, and the training and discipline of the Christian life ought always to be part of our experience. 

– George O. Wood in a sermon titled “The Christian Olympian”


Wednesday, August 1, 2012


It is hard to draw from the Olympics an analogy of what Christ has done for us. His actions on the cross, done on our behalf, won the prize of eternal life for us, when we couldn't do it on our own. I couldn't imagine anything in the Olympics to parallel that -- that is until I turned on the Today Show one morning during the 1996 Summer Olympics. I could not believe my ears. A U.S. swimmer had just won an Olympic medal, in fact it was the first medal won by the United States in the 1996 Summer Games. But instead of keeping it for herself, she gave it to a close friend, Marcie, a fellow swimmer who was dealing with cancer. The medalist was quoted as saying, "It just made me realize how precious life is. She's fighting for her life. She's really a hero to me. Swimming's great, but it's not the only thing." You see, the swimmer won the medal for someone who, because of cancer, could not win it for herself. And guess what the Olympic medal swimmer's name was... Angel!

Well, we are like that friend who has cancer. Because of sin we cannot, by our selves, win the gold -- the prize of eternal life. Sin has weighted us down. Sin has broken our spirit. But we have a friend, not an "angel," but the very Son of God, who paid the price and won the prize, and has now given it to us. Like Angel's friend Marcie, we must accept that prize to make it ours. Marcie couldn't earn it. We cannot earn our salvation. It is a free gift from God waiting for our acceptance. 

-- Rev. David T. Wilkinson in a sermon entitled "On Your Marks, Get Set, Gold!"