Monday, August 29, 2016


“But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some brethren to the rulers of the city, crying out, ‘These who have turned the world upside down have come here too.’”  (Acts 17:6)

The men who followed Jesus were unique in their generation. They turned the world upside down because their hearts had been turned right side up. The world has never been the same.

– Billy Graham


Friday, August 26, 2016


“In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and His children shall have a place of refuge.”  (Proverbs 14:26)

“The remarkable thing about fearing God,” said Oswald Chambers, “is that when you fear God, you fear nothing else, whereas if you do not fear God, you fear everything else.” In other words, when you give God the reverence, honor, and awe that He deserves as your First Love, then all of a sudden you realize that nobody -- and no circumstances -- can ultimately harm you. “The Lord is my light and my salvation -- whom shall I fear?” asked King David. (Psalm 27:1) You’re reminded that God is in control and that your eternity is secure…

On the other hand, if you allow God to slip from preeminence in your life, you will find yourself afraid of every uncertain circumstance. Everything beyond your control will generate anxiety and fret within you. “When I set God at the center of my life I realize vast freedoms and surprising spontaneities,“ said Eugene Peterson. “When I center life in my own will, my freedom diminishes markedly. I live constricted and anxious.”

-- Leslie Strobel in Surviving a Spiritual Mismatch in Marriage


Thursday, August 25, 2016


People would rather debate protein versus carbs, French cooking versus vegetarian, lifting weights versus cardio. Just spend more carbs than you take in. It’s not rocket science.

People love to debate individual stocks versus mutual funds versus real estate. Just save more than you spend. It’s not rocket science.

People would rather debate doctrine or beliefs or tradition or interpretation than actually do what Jesus said.

It’s not rocket science. Just go do it. Practice loving a difficult person or try forgiving someone. Give away some money. Tell someone thank you. Encourage a friend. Bless an enemy. Say, “I’m sorry.” Worship God.

-- John Ortberg in The Me I Want To Be 


Wednesday, August 24, 2016


Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.”  (John 4:23 NIV)

Whenever God’s people gather and worship Him, God promises He will make His presence known in their midst. On the other hand, where God's people consistently neglect true spiritual worship, His manifest presence is rarely experienced.

-- Ralph Mahoney


Tuesday, August 23, 2016


“Now the Lord said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’”  (Genesis 12:1-3)

The God who takes the initiative and speaks to Abraham also enters into covenant with him.  Not a business deal where two people sign a contract nor a handshake over a fair exchange, a covenant is more profound than either of the above.

A Bible covenant unites people to God and to one another.

-- Joe E. Pennel, Jr. in "The Upper Room Disciplines 2000"


Monday, August 22, 2016


“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”  (Joshua 1:9 ESV)

Criticism challenges it -- adventure arouses it -- danger incites it -- threats quicken it.  COURAGE -- another word for inner strength, presence of mind against odds, determination to hang in there, to venture, to persevere, to withstand hardship.

-- Charles Swindoll in Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life


Friday, August 19, 2016


“I will stand at my watchpost,
and station myself on the rampart;
I will keep watch to see what He will say to me,
and what He will answer concerning my complaint.
Then the LORD answered me and said:
‘Write the vision;
make it plain on tablets,
so that a runner may read it.
For there is a vision for the appointed time;
it speaks of the end, and does not lie.
If it seems to tarry, wait for it;
it will surely come, it will not delay.’”  (Habakkuk 2:1-3)

The writer Anthony Padovano once observed that "we wait for everything that is really worth having . . . we even wait for God."  Waiting in the Biblical tradition is not passive or forgetful, but active, eager, yearning, and engaged.  Habakkuk determines to wait on God for the Resolution of his crisis; God, in turn, bids him, "If it seems to tarry, wait."  What are you waiting for most fervently for yourself? For your loved ones?  Your church?  Your community?  The world?  Name these things before God in prayer, claiming God's promises.

-- Paul L. Escamilla in Spiritual Formation Bible -- NIV


Thursday, August 18, 2016


“You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”  (Psalm 139:13-14)

Those are some of the most poetic and prophetic words in the Bible. They may be some of the oldest, too. While most scholars attribute Psalm 139 to David, one rabbinic tradition says it goes all the way back to Adam. If that is true, these are some of the oldest and truest words in the history of humankind.

Every moment of every day, we experience the miraculous on both a microscopic and macroscopic scale. Miracles are happening all around us all the time. But the greatest miracle is the one you see in the mirror. There never has been and never will be anyone like you. Of course, that isn’t a testament to you. It’s a testament to the God who created you.

-- Mark Batterson in The Grave Robber


Wednesday, August 17, 2016


A road well begun is the battle half won.  The important thing is to make a beginning and get under way.  There is nothing more harmful for your soul than to hold back and not get moving.

-- Soren Kierkegaard


Tuesday, August 16, 2016


John Milton wrote in his epic poem Paradise Lost, “The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.”

Setting your mind is like setting a thermostat.  It is creating a target for the climate.  Once you set a thermostat, the heating and air-conditioning will have to adjust in relation to the weather.  It is a constant process, but the goal is for the system to create a life-giving climate.  So too it is with our minds.  Many people try to tell themselves to stop thinking negative thoughts -- which immediately brings to mind the very thoughts they are supposed to stop thinking.

Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things.” (Colossians 3:2)

“Those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.” (Romans 8:5)

-- John Ortberg in The Me I Want To Be


Friday, August 5, 2016


“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”  (Galatians 2:20)

I turn my life and will over to God.  I seek to obey the best I can.  You lose a life, but you gain a life -- a life much better than the one you lost.  In the end, it turns out that nothing you lost was really worth keeping anyway.

-- John Ortberg in The Me I Want To Be


Thursday, August 4, 2016


Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with Me in paradise.”  (Luke 23:43 NIV)

Now why did Jesus do that? What in the world did He have to gain by promising this desperado a place of honor at the banquet table? What in the world could this chiseling quisling ever offer in return?... Nothing!

That’s the point. Listen closely. Jesus’ love does not depend upon what we do for Him. Not at all. In the eyes of the King, you have value simply because you are. You don’t have to look nice or perform well. Your value is inborn… Period.

Think about that for just a minute. You are valuable just because you exist. Not because of what you do or what you have done, but simply because you are. Remember that. Remember that the next time you are left bobbing in the wake of someone’s steamboat of ambition. Remember that the next time some trickster tries to hang a bargain-basement price tag on your self-worth. The next time someone tries to pass you off as a cheap buy, just think about the way Jesus honors you… and smile.

– Max Lucado in His Passion: Christ’s Journey to the Resurrection


Wednesday, August 3, 2016


“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God... The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”  (John 1:1,14 NIV)

The Son is the Spoken Word, the living expression of all that God has ever sought to communicate about Himself.

-- The Bible Reader’s Companion


Tuesday, August 2, 2016


We are free to feed our minds from every good source, but there is no source like the Bible.  It is a written revelation of who God is and of what God’s purposes are for humanity.  No book comes close to it in influence or significance.  Eugene Peterson writes, “Christians feed on Scripture.  Holy Scripture nurtures the holy community as food nurtures the human body.  Christians don’t simply learn or study or use Scripture; we assimilate it, take it into our lives in such a way that it gets metabolized into acts of love.”

-- John Ortberg in The Me I Want To Be


Monday, August 1, 2016


From the very beginning [of Methodism], from the time that four young men united together, each of them was homo unius libri -- a man of one book. God taught them all to make His "Word a lantern unto their feet, and a light in all their paths." They had one, and only one rule of judgment with regard to all their tempers, words, and actions, namely, the oracles of God. They were one and all determined to be Bible-Christians. They were continually reproached for this very thing; some terming them in derision Bible bigots; others, Bible-moths -- feeding, they said, upon the Bible as moths do upon cloth. And indeed unto this day it is their constant endeavor to think and speak as the oracles of God.

-- John Wesley, in his sermon On God's Vineyard, 1787