Friday, June 28, 2013


"God is our refuge and strength,
always ready to help in times of trouble.
So we will not fear when earthquakes come
and the mountains crumble into the sea.
Let the oceans roar and foam.
Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge!" (Psalm 46:1-3)

An idol is anything you turn to for help when God told you to turn to Him for help. 

-- Henry Blackaby


Thursday, June 27, 2013


We live in tentative times, but the words of God's story carry weight.  The Bible says that the Word of God is alive, active, sharper than a two-edged sword, and profitable to teach truth, rebuke sin, correct errant ways, and train people up in righteousness.  So while we face craziness on every level imaginable, we rest in the knowledge that God has provided a path to peace.  All people can be rock-solid sure of His presence for all of eternity instead of trembling at the thought of facing a dreadful afterlife.

In heaven's reality, a perfect environment exists, full of rich relationship, beauty, joy, peace, and rest.  Just imagine it!  There will be no worry about recession, no fear of terrorism, no distress over disease, no confusion, and no chaos.  Just perfection -- pure, unadulterated perfection. 

-- Bill Hybels in Just Walk Across the Room


Wednesday, June 26, 2013


The Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart: (1 Samuel 16:7)

Those words were written for the haggatons of society, for misfits and outcasts.  God uses them all.

Moses ran from justice, but God used him. Jonah ran from God, but God used him.

Rahab ran a brothel, Samson ran to the wrong woman, Jacob ran in circles, Elijah ran into the mountains, Sarah ran out of hope, Lot ran with the wrong crowd, but God used them all.

And David?  God saw a teenage boy serving him in the backwoods of Bethlehem, at the intersection of boredom and anonymity, and through the voice of a brother, God called, “David!  Come in.  Someone wants to see you.”  Human eyes saw a gangly teenager enter the house, smelling like sheep and looking like he needed a bath.  Yet, “the Lord said, ‘Arise, anoint him; for this is the one!’”  (1 Samuel 16:12)

God saw what no one else saw: a God-seeking heart.  David, for all his foibles, sought God like a lark seeks sunrise.  He took after God’s heart, because he stayed after God’s heart.  In the end, that is all God wanted or needed…wants or needs.  Others measure your waist size or wallet.  Not God.  He examines hearts.  When He finds one set on Him, He calls it and claims it.

-- Max Lucado in Facing Your Giants


Tuesday, June 25, 2013


Many people will walk in and out of your life,
But only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.
To handle yourself, use your head;
To handle others, use your heart.
-- Eleanor Roosevelt

Monday, June 24, 2013


More than anything else, God our Father manifests His presence in special ways when two or three are gathered together (Matt. 18:20). When the family gathers, the Father is always present and active. He speaks to the family. He gives gifts in the family. He gives direction to the family. He gives His power to the family. Apart from God’s family a Christian will never be pleasing to the Father. When Christians are joined with the family, the Father is free to pour out His blessing into our lives, even as He continually does to all that are related to Him.

-- Henry Blackaby and Melvin D. Blackaby in Experiencing God Together: God's Plan to Touch Your World


Friday, June 21, 2013


We have taught our people to use prayer too much as a means of comfort -- not in the original and heroic sense of uplifting, inspiring, strengthening, but in the more modern and baser sense of soothing sorrow, dulling pain, and drying tears -- the comfort of the cushion, not the comfort of the Cross. 

-- G. A. Studdert Kennedy (1883-1929)


Thursday, June 20, 2013


It is through dying to concern for self that we are born to new life with God and others; in such dying and rebirth, we find that life is lent to be spent; and in such spending of what we are lent, we find there is an infinite supply.

-- Glenn Olds


Wednesday, June 19, 2013


In community we catch the contagious quality of faith and hope.  Gathering stokes the flames of each member of the group.  We encourage one another.  (Encourage literally means to put courage into, to give heart!)  We become more in Christ because of the influence of friends.  We talk one another into things.  We take bolder action that we might otherwise avoid.  We follow Christ more eagerly. 

-- Robert Schnase in Five Practices of Fruitful Living


Tuesday, June 18, 2013


"Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also." (John 14:1-3 NJKV)

One of the greatest obstacles facing us on the road to spiritual formation is our lack of appreciation for our infinite worth in the eyes of God. No matter what faults and failings may hamper us on our way home to our Father’s house, God loves and forgives and welcomes us.

-- Entering the New Testament Participant’s Workbook, part of the "Meeting God in Scripture Series". Copyright © 2008 by Upper Room Books. All rights reserved. Used by permission.


Monday, June 17, 2013


Whatever our traps, our inner prisons, our hopelessness, our gray, rigid lifestyles, our resigned, mediocre expectations, God longs to free us.  God longs for us to rise with fully spread, powerful wings, no longer helpless, cringing children, but renewed and bold, close to God's heart.

The summer I was twenty-one, I was leaving home for my first job two thousand miles away, in a western state where we had no friends.  I think back to my mother and how she must have felt as she helped me choose my suitcases and buy my ticket.  I think, with awed gratitude, how she did NOT offer to drive me there and to help me get settled.  I remember her expression when she learned there was no doctor or railroad or airport nearer than fifty miles from where I was to be located.  I saw her expression, but I also saw how she refrained from protest.  "Spread your beautiful wings, darling," were her releasing words as I boarded the train.

I have carried those empowering words of release in my heart ever since, especially when facing new adventure and feeling timidity and old habit holding me down.  It is God's voice.

-- Flora Slosson Wuellner in Prayer, Fear, and Our Powers, published by The Upper Room, Nashville, TN.   Used with permission.


Friday, June 14, 2013


"Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man [Jesus Christ] came not to be served but to serve others and to give His life as a ransom for many." (Matthew 20:26b-28 NLT) 

My primary role [as a husband and father] is not to be "the boss" and just look good but to be a servant leader who enables and enhances my family to be their best.

-- Tim Hansel


Friday, June 7, 2013


The Christian life is a gift of God, an expression of God's grace in Christ, the result of an undeserved and unmerited offering of love toward us.  Every step of the journey toward Christ is preceded by, made possible by, and sustained by the perfecting grace of God.

However, becoming the person that God desires us to become is also the fruit of a persistent and deeply personal quest, an active desire to love God, to allow God's love to lead us.  The fruitful life is cultivated by placing ourselves in the most advantageous places to see, receive, learn, and understand the love that has been offered in Christ. 

-- Robert Schnase in Five Practices of Fruitful Living


Thursday, June 6, 2013


Consider Zacchaeus.  Luke 19.2 says that Zacchaeus was a wealthy tax collector living for money.  He was a self-proclaimed money monger, but after he had dinner with Jesus Christ, everything changed.  On the other side of that meal, Zacchaeus declared that he would pay back every dollar, every cent, that he had stolen and extorted from people, and that he would give half of his net worth to the poor.  Do you have a hunch regarding the tale he told in future conversations when someone said, "So, Zacchaeus, what's up with your God thing?"

I can just hear Zacchaeus now:  "I'll tell you what happened -- it was unbelievable!  I fell into a pattern where my whole life was wrapped up in money.  The grip of greed was so strong that I couldn't break free.  It distorted every relationship I had.  But then I met Jesus.  And you know what?  Jesus set me free from the tyranny of greed.  He taught me how to care -- really care -- about people, particularly the poor.  That's what Jesus did for me -- He unhooked me from unhealthy habits and got me pointed in a new direction."

You know the questions I'm going to ask.  How many times do you think Zacchaeus told that particular before-and-after story?  Yes, hundreds of times.  And in my estimation, sharing our stories of Christ's impact in our lives doesn't have to be any more complicated that this.

-- Bill Hybels in Just Walk Across the Room


Wednesday, June 5, 2013


Intimacy connotes familiarity and closeness.  It involves our deepest nature, and it is marked by a warm friendship developed through long association.  In order for us to become intimate with another, we must find in him or her a true confidant -- one in whom we can safely confide our secrets.

What are the characteristics of such a true friend?  Most of us look for someone we respect as wise and just; one we can trust implicitly; one we feel safe and secure with; one who will respond to us, help us in the right way, and be available whenever we want to share.  True confidants are rare, and fortunate are those who have one.

There is One who meets these criteria perfectly: the Keeper of souls who never sleeps, who calls us into fellowship -- "Call to Me, and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know" (Jeremiah 33:3).  The marvelous affirmation of the psalmists is that the Creator of the vast universe is also our intimate Confidant. 

-- Cynthia Heald in Intimacy with God


Tuesday, June 4, 2013


Only God knows your full potential, and He is guiding you toward that best version of yourself all the time.  He has many tools and is never in a hurry.  That can be frustrating for us, but even in our frustration, God is at work to produce patience in us.  He never gets discouraged by how long it takes, and He delights every time you grow.  Only God can see the “best version of you,” and He is more concerned with you reaching your full potential than you are.

"For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." (Ephesians 2:10)

You are not your handiwork; your life is not your project.  Your life is God’s project.  God thought you up, and He knows what you were intended to be.  He has many good works for you to do, but they are not the kind of “to do” lists we give spouses or employees.  They are sign-posts to your true self.

Your “spiritual life” is not limited to certain devotional activities that you engage in.  It is receiving power from the Spirit of God to become the person God had in mind when He created you -- His handiwork.

-- John Ortberg in The Me I Want to Be


Monday, June 3, 2013


Martyrs teach us many things, and chief among them is the immense worth of our faith and at the same time the worthlessness of much that pretends to have value…

We are cajoled into bowing down every day before the altar of television, in the corridors of the shopping mall, in the intricacies of our minds, in the thousand little decisions we make hourly.  And it is our noble privilege to join the ranks of the martyrs and resolutely declare, "We will not serve your gods and we will not worship the statue you have set up" -- no matter what the cost.

-- James C. Howell in Servants, Misfits, and Martyrs