Tuesday, July 31, 2018


“So wherever you go into the world, tell everyone the Good News.”  (Mark 16:15)

Things change, old problems fade, and new problems take their place, but life goes on; and you and I have but one life to live and a job to do for God before it ends.  I can't do much about changing the world, but that doesn't keep me awake at night.  Even the people in authority can't do much about changing the world.  But I can do something about bringing God's presence into the world in which He has put me, and that's what servant-ministry is all about…

-- Warren Wiersbe in “On Being a Servant of God”


Monday, July 30, 2018


“For the Word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”  (Hebrews 4:12 NIV)

We must allow the Word of God to confront us, to disturb our security, to undermine our complacency and to overthrow our patterns of thought and behavior.

-- John Stott in “Authentic Christianity”


Friday, July 27, 2018


“Give us this day our daily bread.”  (Matthew 6:11)

Truth is, I think, if God just gave us our daily bread, many of us would be angry. “That's all you're going to give me? You're just going to give me enough to sustain me for today? What about tomorrow or next year or 10, 20, 30 years from now? I want to know that I'm set up.” And yet Jesus says just pray for your daily provisions.

-- Francis Chan


Thursday, July 26, 2018


"I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”  (Galatians 2:20)

A faithful person sees life from the perspective of trust, not fear. Bedrock faith allows me to believe that, despite the chaos of the present moment, God does reign; that regardless of how worthless I may feel, I truly matter to a God of love; that no pain lasts forever and no evil triumphs in the end. Faith sees even the darkest deed of all history, the death of God's Son, as a necessary prelude to the brightest.

-- Philip Yancey in “Reaching for the Invisible God Study Guide”


Wednesday, July 25, 2018


Jesus said, "If you hold to My teaching, you are really My disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."  (John 8:31b-32 NIV)

It is comparatively easy to be faithful if we do not care to be contemporary, and easy also to be contemporary if we do not bother to be faithful. It is the search for a combination of truth and relevance which is exacting.

-- John R. W. Stott in “Christian Mission in the Modern World”


Tuesday, July 24, 2018


Jesus said, “As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Now remain in My love.  If you keep My commands, you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commands and remain in His love. I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”  (John 15:9-12 NIV)

So many of us live our lives as if the secret purpose is to somehow get everything done. We stay up late, get up early, avoid having fun, and keep our loved ones waiting… I find that if I remind myself (frequently) that the purpose of life isn’t to get it all done but to enjoy each step along the way and live a life filled with love, it’s far easier for me to control my obsession with completing my list of things to do.

-- Richard Carlson, PH.D. , as quoted in “Finding Joy”


Monday, July 23, 2018


“So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!”  (2 Corinthians 5:17 NRSV)

Faith is unlearning the senseless worries and misguided beliefs that keep us captive. It is far more complex than simply modifying behavior. Faith is rewiring the human brain. We are literally upgrading our minds by downloading the mind of Christ.

-- Mark Batterson in “In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day: How to Survive and Thrive When Opportunity Roars”


Friday, July 20, 2018


“The world and all that is in it belongs to the Lord; the earth and all who live on it are His.”  (Psalm 24:1 TEV)

Life on earth is a trust. This is [one of the] metaphors for life we find in the Bible. Our time, energy, intelligence, opportunities, relationships, and resources are all gifts that God has entrusted to our care and management. We are stewards, or managers, of whatever God gives us. This concept of stewardship begins with the recognition that God is the owner of everything and everyone on earth.

We never really own anything during our brief stay on earth. God just loans it to us while we’re here. It was God’s property before you arrived, and God will loan it to someone else after you die. You just get to enjoy it for a while.

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


Wednesday, July 18, 2018


“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”  (Hebrews 13:8 NIV)

There’s a delightful story told about Lloyd Douglas, author of “The Robe.” He enjoyed visiting a little, old, violin teacher in a shabby, small, walk-up room he proudly called his studio.

Douglas liked to drop in on him because he had the kind of lovely wisdom about life that refreshed him. One morning, Douglas stopped by to see the old man. “Well, what’s the good news today?” he asked. Putting down his violin, he stepped  over to a tuning fork suspended from a silk cord. He struck it with a smart blow with a padded mallet. That, my friend, is ‘A.’ It was ‘A’ all day yesterday. It will be ‘A’ all day tomorrow, next week, and for a thousand years.”

That story tunes our minds to the ‘A’ of true joy. Like Christ, who is its only source, joy is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. It is artesian, never changes, and is consistent irrespective of people or circumstances. At the same time, joy is not a quality we can find by searching or earn by effort. It comes from something -- really Someone else.

--  Lloyd J. Ogilvie in “If God Cares, Why Do I Still Have Problems?”


Tuesday, July 17, 2018


Jesus said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.”  (John 13:34-35 NIV).

In a contagious world, we learn to keep our distance. If we get too close to those who are suffering, we might get infected by their pain. It may not be convenient or comfortable. But only when you get close enough to catch their hurt will they be close enough to catch your love.

-- John Ortberg in “Love Beyond Reason: Moving God's Love from Your Head to Your Heart”


Monday, July 16, 2018


“Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Me.’”  (Matthew 16:24 NIV)

Reality is hard, it’s messy, it takes us unawares, and it happens to be precisely where we live. The point of this pilgrim path is to be a disciple, a follower of Jesus, right in the middle of routine stuff -- good, bad, and ugly.

Jesus didn’t promise to make anything easy, but He does promise to be our faithful companion along the way.

-- Derek Maul in “The Unmaking of a Part-Time Christian”


Friday, July 13, 2018


“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,…”  (Philippians 2:3-5 NRSV)

Thoughtfulness is the beginning of great sanctity.  If you learn this art of being thoughtful, you will become more and more Christ-like, for His heart was meek and He always thought of others.  Our vocation, to be beautiful, must be full of thought for others.

-- Mother Teresa of Calcutta (1910-1997)


Thursday, July 12, 2018


“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”  (Ecclesiates 3:1 NIV)

Sometimes I wonder if I’ve become so busy scheduling every moment of my life for success that I miss the one thing I long for most: time to live.

Time to walk hand in hand with my wife -- regardless of unfinished tasks. Time to lie on my back and watch the clouds form and re-form into monsters and angels and things that exist only in the minds of dreamers. Time to talk to the people I love. Time to write about the stirrings of my heart. Time to visit with those people across the street I’ve never met. Time to pray -- not during scheduled prayer time, but simply because I’m overcome with gratitude, weariness, or joy. Time to simply talk with God.

-- Ken Davis in “Lighten Up!”


Wednesday, July 11, 2018


“Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with My victorious right hand.”  (Isaiah 41:10 NRSV)

We have a tough, problem-confronting, problem-solving God. He does not retreat from either the problems we have brought on ourselves or the problems life has dished out. And He wants to make us much tougher people. He wants to give us a new perspective on our problems, exercise our prayer muscles, and strengthen the fiber of our souls. Instead of wringing our hands in consternation or running away in panic, He wants to make us people He can use.

…He wants to transform our approach to problems. He wants us to think of ourselves as being men and women of valor because of His might at work in us. And He assures us that His abiding presence is available to help us tackle every problem with His strength and direction -- confident that problems are not a sign of His absence.

…We all have problems. That’s life. But we also have a Lord who not only helps us grow through our problems, but gives us the power to triumph over them.

-- Lloyd J. Ogilvie in “If God Cares, Why Do I Still Have Problems?”


Tuesday, July 10, 2018


Loving God, Mysterious Wind-like Spirit,
blow strongly if You will
and surround with joy all those people whom I dislike.
Be gracious to those whose giftedness I envy.
Bless with wealth and success
those already annoyingly more successful than myself.
They deserve my encouragement, never my scorn.
I pray especially for all those
who do not particularly reverence me,
or may, in fact, dislike me and shun my company.
Give me eyes to see beauty and winsomeness
where I have not seen it before,
and give us all the self confidence to believe
that we would have no enemies at all
if we were known as You, Holy Wisdom, know us.

-- William Cleary, as quoted in “When in Doubt, Sing” by Jane Redmont


Monday, July 9, 2018


“Be very careful, then, how you live -- not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the LORD's will is.” (Ephesians 5:15-17 NIV)

I find that those who are waiting for the great revelation from on high before they attempt to do anything for God seldom accomplish much for the kingdom.  On the other hand, people who are into redeeming the time (Ephesians 5:16) by getting on with whatever good for God they can do in the present end up being persons whom we see great evidence of God's guiding hand.

-- Tony Campolo in “Following Jesus Without Embarrassing God”


Thursday, July 5, 2018


“Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.” (Proverbs 22:6 NLT)

It was my generation, and the generation that preceded me, that forgot.  The younger generation is not primarily to be blamed.  Those who are struggling today, those who are far away and doing that which is completely contrary to the Christian conscience, are not first to be blamed.  It is my generation, and the generation that preceded me, who turned away.  Today we are left, not only with a religion and a church without meaning, but... with a culture without meaning.

-- Francis Schaeffer in “Death in the City”


Tuesday, July 3, 2018


“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.  (John 8:36 NIV)

In the midst of our hectic schedules, we need to come before God in prayer.  What was supposed to give us more time seems to take more time to run.  What was supposed to free us up seems to imprison us.  And there are times when the only stability in the world is the Cross of Christ.  So to that Cross we turn, praying that God would give us the courage to do only what needs to be done in His eyes, through His power.

-- adapted from Max Lucado


Monday, July 2, 2018


“Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through Him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses.”  (Acts 13:38-39 NIV)

Become like Christ, since Christ has become like us… He has become inferior to make us superior; He has become poor to enrich us by His poverty; He has taken the condition of slave to procure freedom for us; He has come on earth to bring us to heaven; He has been tempted to see us triumph; He has been dishonored to cover us with glory; He has died to save us; He has ascended to heaven to draw us to Himself; we who lie prostrate because of falling into sin.

-- Gregory of Nazianzus from the “Sermon I: On Easter” in “The Paschal Mystery”