Wednesday, November 27, 2019


"And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow Him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness."  (Colossians. 2:6-7)

Thanksgiving has always been for me a time to be thankful for all the blessings in my life. But how do we live Thanksgiving? I found the answer to that question in an article written by Wilferd A. Peterson called, “The Art of Thanksgiving”. In this article he talks about acts of thanksliving. To quote from this piece, Mr Peterson writes: "The art of thanksgiving is thanksliving. It is gratitude in action. It is applying Albert Schweitzer's philosophy: 'In gratitude for your own good fortune you must render in return some sacrifice of your life for the other life."

It is thanking God for the gift of life by living it triumphantly. It is thanking God for your talents and abilities by accepting them as obligations to be invested for the common good. It is thanking God for all that men and women have done for you by doing things for others. It is thanking God for opportunities by accepting them as a challenge to achievement. It is thanking God for happiness by striving to make others happy. It is thanking God for beauty by helping to make the world more beautiful. It is thanking God for inspiration by trying to be an inspiration to others. It is thanking God for health and strength by the care and reverence you show your body. It is thanking God for the creative ideas that enrich life by adding your own creative contributions to human progress. It is thanking God for each new day by living it to the fullest. It is thanking God by giving hands, arms, legs, and voice to your thankful spirit. It is adding to your prayers of thanksgiving, acts of thanksliving.

Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful to God for all we have, but thanksliving is a way of life that if implemented could improve the quality of life not only for you and me, but for others. Do you live in a thanks giving way?

-- Adapted from an article entitled “Thanksgiving or Thanksliving” by Catherine Pulsifer


Tuesday, November 26, 2019


“Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God.”  (2 Corinthians 3:5 NKJV)

“Thank You, Lord. You are my sufficiency this moment, this hour, this day. I‘m counting on Your life in me -- Your love and patience, Your gentleness and guidance and power -- to meet my needs and overflow to others.”

When we praise with thanksgiving, we deepen our experience of Christ in us as our Source. He constantly fills us and replenishes our resources as we give ourselves in loving service to other people.

C. S. Lewis wrote that a car [built with an internal combustion engine] is made to run on gas, and it won’t run properly on anything else. Likewise, God made us to run on Himself. He is the fuel our spirits were designed to feed on. So it’s no use trying to find inner release and power and fulfillment apart from God. There is no such thing. And God has given us His life and power through our inner union with Christ Jesus our Lord.

When we turn our attention to Christ, focusing on Him and His sufficiency, how can we help but praise and thank Him for He is our life?

-- Ruth Myers in “31 Days of Praise”


Monday, November 25, 2019


“Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs. Know that the LORD is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the LORD is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.”  (Psalm 100:1-5 NIV)

The blessings of God are new every morning, but do not take them for granted. Always be careful to give God praise and thanksgiving for the work that He has done in your life and in our world. And when you do, be specific. Remember what God has done and thank Him.

-- Author Unknown


Friday, November 22, 2019


“This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.”  (1 Corinthians 2:13 NIV)

Presbyterian minister Fred Rogers, creator and host of television's "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood," once gave an address describing the time he was a student at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and attended a different church each Sunday in order to hear a variety of preachers.

One Sunday he was treated to "the most poorly crafted sermon I had ever heard." But when he turned to the friend who had accompanied him, he found her in tears.

"It was exactly what I needed to hear," she told Rogers.

"That's when I realized," he told the audience, "that the space between someone doing the best he or she can and someone in need is holy ground. The Holy Spirit had transformed that feeble sermon for her -- and as it turned out, for me too."

-- Victor Parachin in “Christian Reader”, Sept/Oct 1999


Thursday, November 21, 2019


“Oh that men would praise the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare His works with rejoicing.”  (Psalm 107:21-22)

It has been said that talk is cheap. We thank the Lord and we say “Lord, we're so thankful, we're so grateful for all that you've done for us.” Well, do you know what we need to do? We need to turn Thanksgiving into Thanks-living. That is, to offer to God the sacrifices of thanksgiving.

Now, if we're thankful it really ought to show in our lives. And by the way, I don't believe that there's any other sin quite like the sin of ingratitude… The poet Milton, the blind poet, said that a person with an ungrateful spirit only has one vice, he said because all of the rest of his vices are virtues compared to ingratitude. Every other sin is a virtue compared to the sin of ingratitude.

How terrible not to be grateful to God, and yet in America all around we can find those who are grumbly hateful rather than humbly grateful. Well, how can we translate our Thanksgiving today into Thanks-living? We're to offer to God what the Bible calls the "sacrifices of thanksgiving."

-- Adrian Rogers in “Love Worth Finding”


Wednesday, November 20, 2019


 Hope in the Cross

“We know that in everything God works for good with those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose.”  (Romans 8:28 RSV)

Hope is a necessity for real living, but especially in a wounded [or broken] moment. As Christians, we can have the hope and expectation that life will be good again. It may not be the same, but it can be good again. Hope is belief in possibility. It is not unrealistic optimism that everything will work out and things will be like they were before. It is confidence and faith that however things turnout, God will be with us, will see us through, and will bring healing.

Hope comes out of resurrection faith, the faith that no matter how bad things get, God is in the midst working with us for good. That’s what Paul was saying in Romans: “In everything God works for good…”

Hold on to your hope!

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


Tuesday, November 19, 2019


“Blessed are the peacemakers: they shall be recognized as children of God.”  (Matthew 5:9)

There is a quaint story from the desert tradition about two monks who lived in the same cell. Their life was very peaceful, but one day, to be like other people, they decided to have a quarrel. What to quarrel about was the question.

One monk said, “I will take this brick, place it between us, and we can quarrel over who owns the brick.” The other monk agreed. It sounded like a good plan. So they sat on the ground facing each other, the brick in the middle.

The first monk said, “This is my brick.” The second monk replied, “No, I believe the brick belongs to me.” Whereupon the first monk retorted briskly, “It is not yours. It is mine!” The second monk replied, “Very well, if it is really yours, take it.”

This ended their attempt at quarreling. The moral of this story is that persons who have forsaken all to follow Christ are not grasping or quarrelsome.

This incident provides us with insight which many Christians in the first four centuries of the church believed crucial for a correct understanding of the Gospel.

-- Jerry Mercy in “Cry Joy!”


Monday, November 18, 2019


“How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? Look on me and answer, LORD my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death, and my enemy will say, ‘I have overcome him,’ and my foes will rejoice when I fall. But I trust in Your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in Your salvation.”  (Psalm 13:2-5 NIV)

Every time a believer struggles with sorrow or loneliness or ill health or pain and chooses to trust and serve God anyhow, a bell rings out across heaven and the angels give a great shout. Why? Because one more pilgrim has shown again that he or she understands that Jesus is worth it all. God is faithful.

-- Philip Yancey in “Disappointment with God”


Friday, November 15, 2019


Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.”  (Matthew 5:43-45a NIV)

In “The Grace of Giving,” Stephen Olford tells of a Baptist pastor during the American Revolution, Peter Miller, who lived in Ephrata, Pennsylvania, and enjoyed the friendship of George Washington.

In Ephrata also lived Michael Wittman, and evil-minded sort who did all he could to oppose and humiliate the pastor.

One day Michael Wittman was arrested for treason and sentenced to die. Peter Miller traveled 70 miles on foot to Philadelphia to plead for the life of the traitor.

"No, Peter," General Washington said, "I cannot grant you the life of your friend."

"My friend," exclaimed the old preacher, "he's the bitterest enemy I have."

"What?" exclaimed Washington. "You've walked seventy miles to save the life of an enemy? That puts the matter in a completely different light. I'll grant your pardon."

And that's exactly what Washington did. Peter Miller took Michael Wittman back home to Ephrata -- no longer an enemy, but a friend.

-- Craig Brian Larson, “Leadership Journal”


Thursday, November 14, 2019


“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God -- not the result of works, so that no one may boast.”  (Ephesians 2:8-9 NRSV)

We lament that many of our churches are no longer growing. Part of it is demographics, since many of our churches are located in rural areas where populations are in decline. Part of it is a lack of vitality in our music, preaching, and small groups. But I’m convinced that a big part of it is that we’ve lost our passion to do whatever it takes to reach those who don’t yet know Christ. That passion drove [John] Wesley and our forbearers to preach on the hilltops, at market crosses, in the cemeteries, and wherever they could get a hearing, in order to share the good news of God’s grace and love for all people.

Wesley preached in city squares, on hills beside coal mines, in jails and fields. He sought out those who were nonreligious and nominally religious, and he invited them to receive God’s grace and salvation through Jesus Christ, free to all.

-- Adam Hamilton in “Revival: Faith as Wesley Lived It”


Wednesday, November 13, 2019


The determination to minister in love to anyone who enters our workday world produces an unexpected by-product. Throughout the New Testament, we find a principle of gain and loss, of life and death. “In seeking the glory of God and the good for our fellow-creatures,” as Jonathon Edwards put it, “you take the surest way to have God seek your interests, and promote your welfare.”

“I tell you the truth,” Jesus said, “unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” (John 12:24-25)

The caring soul can’t lose. Make your priority other people’s and you’ll add a foot to your spiritual stature. Learn to feel the throb of another’s heart and your own will beat stronger. Lose your life in the lives of the needy for Jesus’ sake and you’ll find it. Leave your self-interests and personal preoccupations behind and see what wonderful things God has in store for you.

-- Steve & Lois Rabey, General Editors, in “Side by Side: Disciple-Making for a New Century”


Tuesday, November 12, 2019


"You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised."  (Hebrews 10:36)

Perseverance does not mean “perfect.” It means that we keep going. We do not quit when we find that we are not yet mature and that there is a long journey still before us.

For perseverance is not resignation, putting up with things the way they are, staying in the same old rut year after year after year, or being a doormat for people to wipe their feet on. Endurance is not a desperate hanging on but a traveling from strength to strength. There is nothing fatigued or humdrum in Isaiah, nothing-flatfooted in Jesus, nothing jejune in Paul. Perseverance is triumphant and alive.

-- Eugene H. Peterson in “A Long Obedience in the Same Direction”


Monday, November 11, 2019


“From the rising of the sun to its setting
the name of the LORD is to be praised.”  (Psalm 113:3 NRSV)

Praising God has not come naturally to me.  Studying praise in the Scriptures has challenged me to increase my praise life and to be more aware of the Creator and His creation.  I remember a particular time in my life when I was deeply moved to write a psalm of praise to God.  I was on an airplane that had been circling the Denver airport for at least half an hour.  Tired and frustrated, I kept staring at the thick cloud cover responsible for our delay.  As the plane turned, I was startled to see the most beautiful oranges, yellows, and pinks brilliantly scrolled across the sky.  Tears sprang to my eyes as for the first time I witnessed a sunset over the mountains from thirty thousand feet up in the sky.  I was so deeply moved by this bold reminder from God that I wrote the following response of praise:
            Etched into the sunset,
            The signature of God.
            In radiant script
            He signs
            “I am.”

-- Cynthia Heald in “Intimacy with God”


Friday, November 8, 2019


“God has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to His people, who live in the light. For He has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of His dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.”  (Colossians 1:12b-14 NLT)

[The Apostle Paul] does not view salvation as simply a transaction between the individual and God. A person prior to his experience with Christ belongs to a community, however much his actions incline him (or his immediate circle’s) self-interest. And it is a new community that his reconciliation with God in Christ brings him, however much he experiences that event as an individual affair.

So this freedom granted by God not only transfers men and women out of a broken relationship with God, and a defective solidarity with others, into a new community with both, but also inclines them to live the kind of life that will extend and deepen that new community itself.

The gospel is not purely a personal matter. It has a social dimension. It is a communal affair.

-- Robert Banks in “Paul’s Idea of Community”


Thursday, November 7, 2019


“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."  (Hebrews 11:1 ESV)

To have faith is to have a firm persuasion, a conviction based on hearing. It is used in the New Testament always of faith in God or in Christ, or things spiritual (Vine’s Expository Dictionary). Theologian John Stott defines faith as “a reasoning trust, a trust which reckons thoughtfully and confidently upon the trustworthiness of God.”

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


Wednesday, November 6, 2019


"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son,…” (John 3:16a NIV)

Love is costly. To forgive in love costs us our sense of justice. To serve in love costs us time. To share in love costs us money. Every act of love costs us in some way, just as it cost God to love us. But we are to live a life of love just as Christ loves us and gave Himself for us at great cost to Himself.

“Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:1-2 NIV)

-- Jerry Bridges


Tuesday, November 5, 2019


“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.” (Colossians 3:1–4 ESV)

All too often we live shallow, earthbound lives that are preoccupied with the temporal. We're caught up in the trivial pursuit of the here and now. In the midst of our hectic schedules, we give too little thought to eternal things above... We must be more heavenly minded if we are to be any earthly good.

-- Steven J. Lawson in “Heaven Help Us!”


Monday, November 4, 2019


Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to Myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:1-3)

These verses have been shared at funerals over and over again. And rightfully so, because they assure us that death is not the end. Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us and He is coming back to take us to be with Him…

Jesus is busy preparing a place for us in heaven. When we prepare something for someone, it means that we are getting ready for them. For example, if we prepare a meal for our family, we are expecting our family to get together to share the meal…

So, if Jesus is busy preparing a place for us, that means that He is expecting us to be in heaven one day so He can share the glories of heaven with us.

-- Mike DuBose in a sermon entitled “A Prepared Place”


Friday, November 1, 2019


“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,...”  (Hebrews 12:1 NIV)

Geddes MacGregor in “The Rhythm of God” tells of a priest who, when asked, “How many people were at the early celebration of the Eucharist last Wednesday morning?” replied, “There were three old ladies, the janitor, several thousand archangels, a large number of seraphim, and several million of the triumphant saints of God.” Such a 'cloud of witnesses' answers a deep human urge to be part of something larger, to not stand alone, to give our little lives meaning. One drop of water, left alone, evaporates quickly. But one drop of water in the immense sea endures.

-- Kathy Coffey in “God in the Moment: Making Every Day a Prayer”