Wednesday, July 31, 2013


[Jesus prayed] "And this is eternal life, that they know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (John17:3)

It seems to me, as time goes on, that the only thing that is worth seeking for is to know and to be known by Christ -- a privilege open alone to the childlike, who, with receptivity, guilelessness, and humility, move Godward.

-- Charles H. Brent


Tuesday, July 30, 2013


I recently attended the president's Easter prayer breakfast at the White House, along with a couple hundred religious leaders from across the country.  Before breakfast, a seventy-six-year-old African-American preacher who served alongside Martin Luther King Jr. in the civil rights movement said a prayer.  I could barely hear his words, but his faith was loud and clear.  He prayed with such a familiarity with the Father that it was convicting.  It's like his words were deep-fried in the faithfulness of God.  After he said amen, I turned to my pastor-friends… and said, "I feel like I've never prayed before."  I felt like he knew God in a way that I didn't, and it challenged me to get closer to God.  I wonder if that's how the disciples felt when they asked Jesus to teach them to pray.  His prayers were so qualitatively different that they felt like they had never prayed before.

-- Mark Batterson in The Circle Maker


Monday, July 29, 2013


In Les Miserables Jean Valjean had stolen silver from the Bishop and the local authorities had caught him red-handed. On his own merits, there was nothing Valjean could do to rectify the situation. He didn’t have the money to pay for it. He was guilty. But then something amazing happened. The Bishop tells the officers that the silver was a gift. He reminds Valjean that the ex-convict had even forgotten to take two silver candlesticks with him. The sacrifice for Valjean was not made by himself but by the Bishop. He let him go.

Once the officers leave, it would be completely reasonable for the Bishop to say, “Ok, I got you off the hook. Now give me my stuff back.” But he doesn’t. He gives it to Valjean but with the expectation that he use those stolen items to restart his life as an honest man.

This is a life-changing event for Valjean. And it’s a great metaphor for grace. Merely canceling the debt of the condemned man would have been mercy. But the bishop rewards him. That is grace…

"But remember this, my brother
See in this some higher plan
You must use this precious silver
To become an honest man
By the witness of the martyrs
By the Passion and the Blood
God has raised you out of darkness
I have bought your soul for God!" 

-- Josh Benner


Friday, July 26, 2013


He that cannot forgive others breaks the bridge over which he himself must pass if he would ever reach heaven; for every one has need to be forgiven. 

-- George Herbert, quoted by N. T. Wright in The Lord and His Prayer


Thursday, July 25, 2013


Something happens when life changes suddenly [in a time of tragedy or loss]. Life looks different than it used to. Values change; conversations change; perspectives shift. We use our time differently.

People become much more precious to us than possessions. Ordinary moments become charged with significance and with the energy of eternity.

Prayer weaves its way into this tapestry, creating moments of reflection and gratitude. Prayer becomes a spiritual Velcro to which other things stick. What seems to be loss on one level gets transformed into gain on another level.

Prayer enables us to see every moment as a gift and as an occasion to cherish.

-- Steve Harper in Talking in the Dark: Praying When Life Doesn’t Make Sense


Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Now here's the good news:  If you do pray, all bets are off.  You can live with holy anticipation because you never know how or when or where God is going to answer, but I promise you this:  He will answer.  And His answers are not limited by your requests.  We pray out of our ignorance, but God answers out of His omniscience.  We pray out of our impotence, but God answers out of His omnipotence.  God has the ability to answer the prayers we should have prayed but lacked the knowledge or ability to even ask.

-- Mark Batterson in The Circle Maker


Tuesday, July 23, 2013


"Live as children of light…"  (Ephesians 5:8b)

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, "Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?" Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

-- Marianne Williamson in A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of a Course in Miracles


Monday, July 22, 2013


"Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.  Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, 'Who is the Lord?'  Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God."  (Proverbs 30:8b-9)

No amount of wealth will ever satisfy a person's basic needs for security and significance, which can only be met by God.

-- Ron Blue


Friday, July 19, 2013


"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." (Galatians 5:1 NIV)

The Bible teaches that you destroy your freedom by sin; the world teaches that you gain it in that way. There is not much possibility of understanding between the two.

-- Flannery O'Connor, adapted


Thursday, July 18, 2013


There once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence.  The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence....

Finally the day came when the boy didn't lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper. The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone.

The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said, "You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won't matter how many times you say I'm sorry, the wound is still there." A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one.

-- Unknown


Wednesday, July 17, 2013


"The right word at the right time is like a custom-made piece of jewelry,…" (Proverbs 25:11 MSG)

Kind words are like jewels that live in the heart and soul and remain as blessed memories years after they have been spoken. 

-- Marvea Johnson


Tuesday, July 16, 2013


It is absolutely imperative at the outset that you come to terms with this simple yet life-changing truth:  God is for you.  If you don't believe that, then you'll pray small timid prayers; if you do believe it, then you'll pray big audacious prayers.  And one way or another, your small timid prayers or big audacious prayers will change the trajectory of your life and turn you into two totally different people.  Prayers are prophecies.  They are the best predictors of your spiritual future.  Who you become is determined by how you pray.  Ultimately, the transcript of your prayer becomes the script of your life.

-- Mark Batterson in The Circle Maker


Monday, July 15, 2013


As Christians, we symbolize the belief that Jesus is the Son of God. Perhaps for some that belief is hidden or almost forgotten. And yet, for many, that belief is vibrant and fruitful. Whatever the condition of our belief, may God daily show us Jesus, and Him only. May we constantly see our redemption and then in turn proclaim it. How great and sweet is the name of Jesus!

-- Max Lucado


Wednesday, July 3, 2013


"Yes, it is through Christ we all have the right to the Father in one Spirit."  (Ephesians 2:18)

Father, it's with earnestness that we come to You, asking You to open our hearts and let the drafts of heaven come inside.  Thank You for the great blessing You've given us in allowing us to come to You in prayer and stand in Your presence.  Holy is Your name that you would allow us to have such a privilege.

-- Max Lucado


Tuesday, July 2, 2013


“But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.” (I Samuel 30:6)

How essential that we learn to do the same.  Support systems don’t always support.  Friends aren’t always friendly.  Pastors can wander off base and churches get out of touch.  When no one can help, we have to do what David does here.  He turns to God.

-- Max Lucado in Facing Your Giants


Monday, July 1, 2013


You sum up the whole of New Testament teaching in a single phrase, if you speak of it as a revelation of the Fatherhood of the holy Creator. In the same way, you sum up the whole of New Testament religion if you describe it as the knowledge of God as one's holy Father.

If you want to judge how well a person understands Christianity, find out how much he makes of the thought of being God's child, and having God as his Father. If this is not the thought that prompts and controls his worship and prayers and his whole outlook on life, it means that he does not understand Christianity very well at all.

-- J. I. Packer in Knowing God