Friday, April 29, 2016


It's engrained in our culture that we're supposed to take care of business on our own, without seeking assistance. Maybe that's why one of the most beloved of all Bible verses isn't actually in the Bible. Yes, it's this chestnut: "God helps those who help themselves." Just about everyone knows that one. People quote it, they love it, they try to live it, but it never crosses their minds that it can't be found in the Scripture.

Maybe God forgot to put it in? I don't think so. A better explanation is that God actually helps those who can't help themselves. God helps those who stop in the midst of crisis and ask someone to assist them. When we're helpless and we know it, we're open to receive the transforming help He wants to give us. When we come to the end of ourselves, we find Him there waiting to give us what we have been so desperate for all along.

-- Kyle Idleman in The End of Me


Thursday, April 28, 2016


My life is in your hands, God.  Use me to point someone toward You today -- I promise to cooperate in any way I can.  If you want me to say a word for You today, I'll do that.  If you want me to keep quiet but demonstrate love and servanthood, by Your Spirit's power I will.  I'm fully available to You today, so guide me by Your Spirit.

-- Bill Hybels in Just Walk Across the Room


Wednesday, April 27, 2016


"And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith."  (Hebrews 12:1b-2a NIV)

A father wanted to give his daughter something to do and there was a picture of the world on a sheet of paper. He tore it into smaller pieces and told her to see if she could put the pieces back together correctly, kind of like she would work a puzzle. The little girl agreed. Five minutes later, she showed her father the pieces put back together perfectly. He was amazed. When he asked her how she had done the task so quickly, she said, “Oh, on the back was a picture of Jesus and I figured if I got Him right, the world would fall into place.” Our worlds are in chaos because we aren’t focused on Jesus.

-- Tony Evans


Monday, April 25, 2016


If you were pressed to find one image that encapsulates Christianity, most people would probably think of the cross. The cross is central to almost every church sanctuary in America, and we have adopted it as the center of our faith.

And yet, while the cross is certainly a central theme in the story of how God saves us, it is one aspect of a greater story.

Yes, Jesus died for our sins. But even more than that, He lived -- that we might live with Him. And Christ’s resurrection is the inaugural event of the new creation. Paul even goes so far as to say in 1 Corinthians 15:17, “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.”

So if the resurrection is the real crux of our faith, what does it mean to live in light of the resurrection?

In his book Surprised by Hope, N.T. Wright notes, “The point of the resurrection ... is that the present bodily life is not valueless just because it will die ... What you do with your body in the present matters because God has a great future in store for it. What you do in the present -- by painting, preaching, singing, sewing, praying, teaching, building hospitals, digging wells, campaigning for justice, writing poems, caring for the needy, loving your neighbor as yourself -- will last into God's future.”

In other words, the resurrection changes everything. The Kingdom of God is here and yet it is coming. God has chosen His resurrection people to be change agents in their culture; to proclaim this coming Kingdom through how they live, relate and work.

-- Chris Johnson, from an article in entitled "How the Resurrection Changes Everything"


Friday, April 22, 2016


"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."  (Genesis 1:1)

The universe is full of beautiful and amazing sights. From the galaxies revealed by the Hubble Space Telescope to amazing forms of microscopic life, from the beauty of the prairies at sunset to the majesty of snow-covered mountains, from the magnificence of lions and elephants to the soft gentleness of a puppy dog -- the world as we know it is a good creation.

One of the strongest philosophical arguments for the existence of God is called the argument of design -- that such an amazing universe with all its complexity, beauty, and intricacy must have been planned by a supreme being.

-- U.M. Bishop Scott J. Jones in The Wesleyan Way: A Faith That Matters


Thursday, April 21, 2016


You'll know something becomes meaningful when it goes from your head to your heart to your hands.

-- Bruce Bickel and Stan Jantz in God Is in the Small Stuff


Wednesday, April 20, 2016


I once heard a wise priest say, in a meditation on gratitude, that we should be especially grateful for whatever breaks our hearts. Reflecting on God's promise to write "upon" our hearts rather than "within" them, he suggested that our own hearts are so hard that all God can do is write upon the surface (Jeremiah 31:33). It is only when our hearts break, that they break open: then the word of God can enter deeply, like a seed in a harrowed field.

-- Deborah Smith Douglas, from "Wounded and Healed" in WEAVINGS: A Journal of the Christian Spiritual Life, March/April 2000, published by The Upper Room, Nashville, TN.   Used with permission.


Tuesday, April 19, 2016


Our limited acts of love reveal to us [God's] unlimited love.  Our small gestures of care reveal His boundless care.  Our fearful and hesitant words reveal His fearless and guiding Word.  It is indeed through our broken, vulnerable, mortal ways of being that the healing power of the eternal God becomes visible to us.  Therefore, we are called each day to present to our Lord the whole of our lives.

-- Henri Nouwen in A Cry for Mercy


Monday, April 18, 2016


The image you hold of God can affect your desire to answer the call of God in your life. For example, if you feel God is to be feared, you are unlikely to enthusiastically seek a way to use the gifts God has bestowed on you. You will be too concerned about putting a foot wrong.

If you see God as an angry God, you may be so worried about making a mistake that you cannot focus on gaining a clearer vision of life’s calling.

If, on the other hand, you see God as compassionate, you will have the freedom to explore various pathways toward clarifying that calling. Knowing God is compassionate encourages you to understand that God is patient with growing things. God is patient with you.

-- Ann Siddall and Gary Stuckey in Tending the Seed: Nurture Your God-Given Potential, © 2005. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books.


Thursday, April 14, 2016


The presence of Christ with the Christian has numerous benefits.  Christ is like the Good Shepherd, guiding us through life, and He is sovereign over everything.  This realization gives us a deep peace.  It is most significant that when Christ met His disciples after He rose from the dead, He often gave them greetings of peace (Luke 24:36; John 20:19, 21,26).  This peace touches every area of life that could trouble us.  We are freed from a troubled conscience that could bother us with guilt feelings over the past.  We have courage to face the challenges of the present because Jesus, who is sovereign over all things, is with us.  We are not anxious about the future.  So the peace of Christ touches our attitude to the past, the present, and the future.  It is a peace completely different from the peace the world gives (John 14:27), for it is not dependent on circumstances, but on Him, and He is "the same yesterday and today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8).

-- Ajith Fernando in The Christian's Attitude Toward World Religions


Wednesday, April 13, 2016


"Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, 'Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, a costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed.'"  (Isaiah 28:16)

Wikipedia defines CORNERSTONE as: The cornerstone (or foundation stone) concept is derived from the first stone set in the construction of a masonry foundation, important since all other stones will be set in reference to this stone, thus determining the position of the entire structure.

Christ should forever be our CORNERSTONE...Everything else in our lives should be set in reference to Him, thus determining our every move, decision, and focus in life.

Christ alone, our Cornerstone!

-- Source unknown


Tuesday, April 12, 2016


"I have come that they may have life, and may have it in all its fullness." (John 10:10b REB)

When Jesus was pointing people to faith, He unapologetically told them that the life He offered was the best kind of life any human being could ever experience. In the gospel of Matthew, He compared it to a pearl of great price, which He said would be worth giving up everything to attain. "If you want life in all its fullness," He said, "if you want high-definition, surround-sound, heart-pounding action, there's only one place you're going to find it. A life like that is fully yielded to the God of the universe!"

I hope we'll renew our commitment to exhibiting this level of confidence and passion when talking about our faith.

-- Bill Hybels in Just Walk Across the Room


Monday, April 11, 2016


"You now have sorrow," Jesus has told [His disciples], "but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you."  (John 16:22)

Never on this earth has there been a time when we haven't needed hope -- but hope is critical when the ones we love the most are about to leave us.  I believe that is why Jesus picked this time to fill His disciples with hope . . .

All of us have felt the emotional pain of saying good-bye to somebody we love.  Perhaps we've lost a job.  Or we've seen the breakup of a home, perhaps even our own.  And the questions in all of our hearts are, "Where do I go?  What do I do?  Where can I find hope?"  We feel as if we have been abandoned at the corner of Hopelessness and Despair.

The good news is that we who know God through His Son, Jesus Christ, don't have to be left at such a desperate corner.  There is an answer, and His name is Jesus.  That's not trite.  It's not merely theological.  It's not just church talk.

It's true.

-- David Jeremiah in Jesus' Final Warning


Wednesday, April 6, 2016


"Enter His gates with thanksgiving;
    go into His courts with praise.
    Give thanks to Him and praise His name.
For the Lord is good.
    His unfailing love continues forever,
    and His faithfulness continues to each generation."  (Psalm 100:4-5 NLT)

Our lives may be full of change and turmoil. Sometimes we need to stop and take in the big picture, to look back at where we have been, to view the great span of our history with this Shepherd who will not abandon the sheep. [In Psalm 100] the psalmist says God is good. Instead of entering God’s courts in fear of judgment, we may enter singing about God’s faithfulness and find ourselves welcomed home as beloved children, sisters and brothers of Jesus Christ.

-- Erica L. Schemper in The Upper Room Disciplines 2014: A Book of Daily Devotions. Copyright © 2013 by Upper Room Books. All rights reserved. Used with permission.


Tuesday, April 5, 2016


Saints are people who are faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ… A faithful Christian life exhibits ongoing and active faith.  Faith is tested by the tough stuff in life -- when the chips are down and the heat is turned up.  I read about an elderly woman, badly crippled by arthritis, who was asked. "Do you suffer much?"  She pointed to her hand and responded, "Yes, but there is no nail here.  He had the nails, I have the peace."  She then pointed to her head saying, "There are no thorns here.  He had the thorns, I have the peace."  Finally, she touched her side and declared, "There is no spear here.  He had the spear, I have the peace."  This faithful woman was a modern-day saint.  She understood the incredible gift of grace given to her by God, and she was filled with "God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand" (Philippians 4:7, NLT).

-- Lenya Heitzig and Penny Pierce Rose in Pathway to God's Treasure: Ephesians


Monday, April 4, 2016


"See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared."  (Exodus 23:20 NIV)

The One who sets the course of this road, and whose entry into it defines the way forward, is the same who walks beside us, flesh of our flesh, God with us. Therefore, we can trust without reservation a journey whose future turns we cannot see.

-- John S. Mogabgab, from "Editor's Introduction" of WEAVINGS JOURNAL, Nov/Dec 2001. © 2001 published by The Upper Room, Nashville, TN.   Used with permission.


Friday, April 1, 2016


"I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life." (1 John 5:13)

We believe in assurance. Why? First of all, because the New Testament affirms it. The sheep within the sheepfold know their shepherd. (John 10:5,14). The Holy Spirit guides the faithful (John 16:13). And He assures them that they belong to God. This is the witness of the Spirit (Romans 8:16).

We believe in assurance also because Christian experience confirms it… And as life goes on, we know, with an ever-deepening sense of assurance, that God is with us. Just as children increasingly know that they belong to their earthly parents, so Christians know they belong to God. Now and then they may have doubts. But the continuing state of their souls is that of an unfaltering assurance.

We know that God forgives us. We know that God is with us in our daily work. We know that when we are tempted God helps us to gain the victory. We know that God confirms us as we enter into community struggles for truth and justice. We know that we never walk alone through the valley of the shadow of death. When we look back across the winding road of life, we know that God has seen us through. And we know that the promise of heaven is sure. 'Blessed Assurance' is not merely the title of a hymn; it is a state of the soul. [The feeling] may come and go, but it is real and God has promised it.

-- Bishop Mack Stokes in Major United Methodist Beliefs,  published by Abingdon  Press, Nashville, TN.   Used with permission.