Friday, June 29, 2018


“Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD.”  (Psalm 27:14 NLT)

The things that matter most take time, effort, patience, sacrifice, discipline, and deep commitment. Too much, too soon, too easily… is the perfect formula for frustration, heartache, and mediocrity. When we GET too easily and REACH too quickly, we tend to APPRECIATE too lightly. To be sure, some things you can get immediately by pushing buttons or paying money down or by pulling out a plastic card. But great things, the real values, do not come that way; they have to be grown and cultivated. You can get a sports car or a [smart] TV with a quick down payment, but character, morality, integrity, maturity, spiritual strength -- these you have to wait for, work for, want intensely, commit to, and cultivate and grow slowly but surely.

-- James W. Moore and Bob J. Moore in “Lord, Give Me Patience!... And Give It to Me Right Now!”


Thursday, June 28, 2018


I have made it a weekly practice, on a long walk on the hill behind my home, to present to God my anger against people who have wronged me.  I recount all my reasons for feeling unfairly treated or misunderstood, forcing myself to open up deep feelings to God (does God not know them anyway?).  I can testify that the outpouring itself has a therapeutic effect.  Usually I come away feeling as if I have just released a huge burden.  The unfairness no longer sticks like a thorn inside me, as it once did; I have expressed it aloud to someone -- to God.  Sometimes I find that in the process of expression, I grow in compassion.  God's Spirit speaks to me of my own selfishness, my judgmental spirit, my own flaws that others have treated with grace and forgiveness, my pitifully limited viewpoint.

-- Philip Yancey in “The Bible Jesus Read”


Wednesday, June 27, 2018


“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father -- Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.”  (1 John 2:1 NIV)

It is instructive that while the devil is called the Tempter, he is also called the Accuser. As soon as he gets someone to give in to temptation, he will switch hats and try to convince us that because we have yielded to temptation, we are beyond redemption.

The Spirit [The Advocate] is just the opposite, always seeking to “deliver us from evil.” When we do give in, the flow of the Spirit moves us toward forgiveness, redemption, and healing.

-- John Ortberg in “The Me I Want to Be”


Tuesday, June 26, 2018


“But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.”  (Revelation 2:4 NRSV)

There is only one way to love God, that is not to take one step without Him and to follow with a brave heart wherever He leads.

-- Francois Fenelon


Monday, June 25, 2018


“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.”  (Romans 3:23 NLT)

Without question, grace is at the core of the Christian faith. The word ‘grace’ is one of the most profound words in the New Testament. It is full of meaning and message. Interestingly, the New Testament does not define grace, but rather simply points to Jesus as the embodiment and demonstration of God’s grace in our world. The Gospel of John proclaims; “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14 RSV) One preacher called grace the shorthand word for the whole gospel. It captures the essence of God’s attitude and relationship with us.

The word translated ‘grace’ in the Greek is ‘charis’, from which we get the word ‘charity’, but it literally means ‘favor.’ Grace is the unmerited, unearned, and underserved favor of God. The gospel message is that God gives His grace through Jesus Christ to persons of every age, time, and station, who have done nothing to deserve it. It is a gift and can only be accepted.

-- James W. Moore and Bob J. Moore in “Lord, Give Me Patience!... And Give It to Me Right Now!”


Friday, June 22, 2018


"This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time," declares the LORD. "I will put My law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be My people.”  (Jeremiah 31:33 NIV)

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. 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 in “Wounded and Healed”


Thursday, June 21, 2018


“I love those who love Me, and those who seek Me diligently will find Me.”  (Proverbs 3:18 NKJV)

An ancient proverb says, “Weave in faith and God will find the thread.”

When we look at the tapestry of our lives from this side of eternity, it often appears to be nothing more than unconnected, colorful threads. Yet from God’s side, you are weaving a portrait of your life. Place your life in God’s hands, and the Master Weaver will disentangle all those loose strands and make sense of your dropped stitches. Today, ask Him to take over the fabrication of your life.

-- from “God’s Little Book of Proverbs: Timeless Wisdom for Daily Living”


Wednesday, June 20, 2018


“Let the sea resound, and everything in it,
    the world, and all who live in it.
Let the rivers clap their hands,
    let the mountains sing together for joy;
let them sing before the Lord,
    for He comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
    and the peoples with equity.”  (Psalm 98:7-9 NIV)

Those who talk of reading the Bible "as literature" sometimes mean, I think, reading it without attending to the main thing it is about; like reading Burke with no interest in politics, or reading the Aeneid with no interest in Rome...   But there is a saner sense in which the Bible -- since it is, after all, literature -- cannot properly be read except as literature, and the different parts of it as the different sorts of literature they are.  Most emphatically, the Psalms must be read as poems -- as lyrics, with all the licenses and all the formalities, the hyperboles, the emotional rather than logical connections, which are proper to lyric poetry...  Otherwise we shall miss what is in them and think we see what is not.

-- C. S. Lewis in “Reflections on the Psalms


Tuesday, June 19, 2018


“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.”  (Acts 3:19 NIV)

Ask yourself if what you're doing today is getting you closer to God or further away; closer to where you want to be tomorrow or further away.

-- Unknown


Monday, June 18, 2018


“I love the Lord because He hears my voice and my supplications. Because He has inclined His ear to me, therefore I shall call upon Him as long as I live.”  (Psalm 116:1-2)

Inclining the ear is a sign of disposition, even of personal feeling and regard. When we do not care for those who make requests of us, how short and sharp we are with them! When we have personal regard for them, how patiently we listen! We bend down to attend to them! How we incline our ear! The psalmist read personal interest and affection in that inclining of the Divine ear; and it was precisely fitting that he should respond to love with love.

-- R. Tuck in “The Pulpit Commentary”


Friday, June 15, 2018


“Then Jesus said, ‘I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.’”  (Matthew 18:3 NLT)

Andrew Giles wrote a poignant poem about a father and son praying together one night. First, the little boy confesses some little something that he had done that he felt was wrong, and then the little boy asked God to forgive him and to make him good and strong and wise like his daddy. Then the little boy dozed off into a peaceful sleep.

Touched and inspired by the beautiful faith of his son, the father then falls on his knees by the little boy’s bed and prays, “O God, make me a child like my child here -- pure, guileless, trusting Thee with faith sincere.”

-- James W. Moore and Bob J. Moore in “Lord, Give Me Patience… and Give it to Me Right Now!”


Thursday, June 14, 2018


“I will sing praise to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.”  (Psalm 104:33)

Don’t underestimate the value of praise. There is something about expressing your appreciation to God in words, song, and meditation that solidifies your faith. The Book of Psalms is the Bible’s hymnal of praise. The more you praise God for being who He is -- a loving God who judges righteously -- the more you act upon your belief of what He is -- eternal love.

-- Josh McDowell in “Evidence of Joy”


Wednesday, June 13, 2018


Grace is God’s empowering love, love that changes us, gives us new direction, motivates us, sustains us, helps us, strengthens us. We do need the power of God’s love in our lives, don’t we?

It is one thing to know that we need to change; it is another to have the power to change. God’s grace is that power. John writes in his Gospel: “To all who received Him, who believed in His name, He gave the power to become children of God.” (John 1:12)…

God’s love is life changing! God’s love has the power to change us and to enable us to discover life in all its abundance. God’s love is empowering love, empowering us to change and empowering us to stand against the storms of life.

-- James W. Moore and Bob J. Moore in “Lord, Give Me Patience… and Give it to Me Right Now!”


Tuesday, June 12, 2018

It may seem that there are many followers of Jesus, but if they were honestly to define the relationship they have with Him I am not sure it would be accurate to describe them as followers. It seems to me that there is a more suitable word to describe them. They are not followers of Jesus. They are fans of Jesus.

Here is the most basic definition of fan in the dictionary: “An enthusiastic admirer.”…

I think Jesus has a lot of fans these days. Fans who cheer for Him when things are going well, but who walk away when it’s a difficult season. Fans who sit safely in the stands cheering, but they know nothing of the sacrifice and pain of the field. Fans of Jesus who know all about Him, but they don’t know Him.

But Jesus was never interested in having fans. When He defines what kind of relationship He wants, “Enthusiastic Admirer” isn’t an option. My concern is that many of our churches in America have gone from being sanctuaries to becoming stadiums. And every week all the fans come to the stadium where they cheer for Jesus but have no interest in truly following Him. The biggest threat to the church today is fans who call themselves Christians but aren’t actually interested in following Christ. They want to be close enough to Jesus to get all the benefits, but not too close that it requires anything from them.

-- Kyle Idleman in “Not a Fan”


Monday, June 11, 2018


“Then Jesus said to them all: ‘Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow Me.’”  (Luke 9:23 NIV)

The world says love yourself, grab all you can, follow your heart. Jesus says deny yourself, grab your cross and follow Me.

-- Francis Chan


Friday, June 8, 2018


“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”  (Isaiah 26:3 ESV)

There is no ongoing peace apart from keeping our mind stayed on Jesus.

…There are times when we feel an absence of peace. A subtle franticness sets in and we become uneasy, uncertain, unproductive. We lose our sense of centeredness; sometimes a cloud of depression will hover over us. Sometimes this gloom and absence of peace is short-lived. Sometimes it’s for a day, a week, [a season.]

The time is determined by how long it takes us to realize we have taken our eyes off Jesus. Our minds are not stayed on Christ. When we discover what priority has replaced Christ as the priority in our lives, then through prayer and commitment, we recover peace.

This is the way to cultivate the certainty of God’s presence, and thus receive the byproduct of peace -- keeping our minds stayed on Jesus.

-- Maxie Dunnam and Kimberly Dunnam Reisman in “The Workbook on Virtues & the Fruit of the Spirit”


Thursday, June 7, 2018


“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!”  (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 ESV)

Picture two travelers in the desert. One is dying of thirst. The other has a huge jug of water, but he’s exhausted from carrying it. Eventually, one dies of thirst, then the other of fatigue.

All right, it’s a gloomy ending. Let’s try it another way. The thirsty man says, “”Hey, why not give me a drink and I’ll help you carry your jug?” That’s all it would take for both to survive.

Many in our society are like the first two travelers. We guard our independence. We strive to be self-sufficient. We don’t want to need each other. But if we’re going to survive in these changing times, we must leave rugged individualism behind. We’re not meant to go it alone. We can help one another. Each of us has resources to offer.

-- David Mains, Marian Oliver, Randy Peterson in “Survival Skills for Changing Times”


Wednesday, June 6, 2018


“Respect and obey the LORD! This is the beginning of knowledge. Only a fool rejects wisdom and good advice.”  (Proverbs 1:7 CEV)

“A green twig is hard to break,” many of us have heard as we were growing up. When you remain flexible and pliable in the hands of God, He can mold and shape you into your ultimate best. And if you continue to remain teachable, you will never grow old. Just as you did when you were a child, you will stand in wonder and awe at the mysteries of God’s great universe.

-- from “God’s Little Book of Proverbs: Timeless Wisdom for Daily Living”


Tuesday, June 5, 2018


God has a purpose for your life on earth, but it doesn’t end here. His plan involves far more than the few decades you will spend on this planet. It’s more than “the opportunity of a lifetime”; God offers you an opportunity beyond your lifetime. The Bible says, “[God’s] plans endure forever, His purposes last eternally.” (Psalm 33:11 TEV)

The only time most people think about eternity is at funerals, and then it’s often shallow, sentimental thinking, based on [a lack of information.] You may think it’s morbid to think about death, but actually it’s unhealthy to live in denial of death and not consider what is inevitable. “Death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart.” (Ecclesiastes 7:2b NIV) Only a fool would go through life unprepared for what we all know will eventually happen. You need to think more about eternity, not less.

-- Rick Warren in “What on Earth Am I Here for?”


Sunday, June 3, 2018


You have been commissioned by God to paint His portrait for all to see. Your assignment (should you choose to accept Him) is to reveal in your life God who cannot be seen and to awaken in others the desire to know Him personally.

The canvas is your life. You design what goes on it with your body, mind, and soul; with what you do and refrain from doing; with what you say and refrain from saying; with how you deal with your successes and failures; with your love and compassion.

Choose your colors and brush strokes carefully. Do not rush. It will take a lifetime to paint the portrait because it requires such faithful dedication. In order to succeed in doing justice to the Subject, it is necessary to gaze at the Model often, until God's image is reflected in your life for all to see.

Like Christ, you are "the image of the invisible God." (Colossians 3:15) You are the portrait of God -- a work in progress.

-- Rev. David T. Wilkinson