Friday, February 26, 2021


“Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”  (Philippians 2:1-4 NIV)

We are prevented from making an Eden out of earth only because we love ourselves more than we love our neighbors. What is in our hearts is reflected in our behavior. Thus we try to accumulate more things than others while they accumulate more things than we; each becomes envious of the other. Greed and resentment develop, cause the petty village quarrels and the devastating world wars. Our own selfishness is “enemy number one.” 

-- Frank Laubach


Thursday, February 25, 2021


"And so we know and rely on the love God has for us." (1 John 4:16, NIV)

When it comes right down to it, this is the bottom line, the bedrock foundation for our faith, and the explanation of the peace we have about the present and the future. Knowing and relying on God's love for us is our duty and our joy in all circumstances, and it's the best and only answer to any situation we run up against. It allows us to look beyond the circumstances to see (or simply trust in) God's hand working in our lives...

Know God's love. Rely on it. That's all He asks us to do.

-- Laura Hepker, Christianity Online


Wednesday, February 24, 2021


“Jesus answered them and said, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.’”  (John 6:26-27)

There’s no end to the stuff that can be conceived. We go into debt to buy more and more of it. So why do we still feel empty? Your garage, your basement, and your storage unit may all be packed, and still you feel empty. It’s a little like eating a big meal. You feel full at first, but it’s not going to last. You’ll always need the next meal, the next purchase, the next jolt of brief fullness.

We’re trying to fill the cavity of the soul with things that won’t fit. Mother Teresa once said, “The spiritual poverty of the Western world is much greater than the physical poverty of our people in Calcutta. You in the West have millions of people who suffer such terrible loneliness and emptiness… These people are not hungry in the physical sense, but they are in another way. They know they need something more than money, yet they don’t know what it is. What they are missing really is a living relationship with God.” (from “Life in the Spirit: Reflections, Meditations, Prayers”) 

-- Kyle Idleman in “The End of Me: Where Real Life in the Upside-Down Ways of Jesus Begins”


Tuesday, February 23, 2021


“But in your hearts revere Christ as LORD. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,…”  (1 Peter 3:15 NIV)

The Bible says in 1 Peter 3:15 that all Christians should be prepared to explain why they believe what they believe -- and to do so… with gentleness and respect.

In a world where the media often trumpets claims by skeptics, best-selling books hawk atheism, and many university professors seem bent on destroying the beliefs of young Christians, it’s increasingly important for all of us to be able to articulate the reason why our faith makes sense.  

-- Lee Strobel, in the Foreword to “On Guard: Defending Your Faith with Reason and Precision” by William Lane Craig


Monday, February 22, 2021


“Those who accepted Peter’s message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” (Acts 2:41-42)

People by the thousands became Christians because they saw Simon Peter's commitment to the church.  Peter was devoted to the church, and with good reason.  There is no institution in the world that serves people better than the church does.  There is no institution in the world that helps families more than the church does.  There is no institution in the world that redeems lives like the church.  There is no institution in the world that teaches love like the church.  There is no institution in the world that lifts God up and inspires righteousness like the church does.  There is no institution in the world that cultivates goodness like the church does.

But even more than that, the church has Jesus Christ!  The world is starving to death for Jesus Christ, and we have Him.  We are here to share Jesus Christ with a needy world, and everything we do is for that purpose… so that we can share the love of Christ; so that we can tell people about Him.

--  James W. Moore in “When You're a Christian, the Whole World is from Missouri"


Friday, February 19, 2021


“Jesus said to His disciples, ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing… Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.’”  (Luke 12:22,23,27 NRSV)

As we go through life, each of us is taking a notebook of memories, whether we put our notes on paper, or only on the pages of our mind. As we write, it is important that we note down some little things each day for that time when those notes may be our highest joy. So note the day the lilacs bloomed, the day your little son picked a dandelion for you, the day the bluebirds found the house you made for them. In this age of bigness, the big things will crush us if we forget the words of Christ who said to consider the lilies of the field, and do not worry.

-- Unknown, from a church bulletin


Thursday, February 18, 2021


Lent is the 40-day period leading up to Easter, beginning with Ash Wednesday, culminating with our celebration of the Greatest Day, the day death died and hope triumphed, our Resurrection Sunday.

Lent is a path walked by countless Christians for centuries, to prepare themselves for the joys of Easter. It is a season of reflection, confession, and anticipation, as we enter the sufferings of Christ.

But Lent seems like a lot of work! Is it really necessary? Why can’t I just celebrate the resurrection? Why take this longer, more arduous path when I know that, either way, Easter is coming?...

We can try to celebrate the resurrection without feeling the weight of the cross. We can try to rejoice in our forgiveness without reflecting on our brokenness and sin. We can try to delight in the hope of life without carrying the burden of suffering. You can absolutely celebrate Easter without Lent. But, you will rob yourself of a greater joy.

For it is in the arduous path of Lent that we get to stand in the presence of our Resurrected King. Not merely from a distance, as if we were a bunch of selfie-stick-carrying, religious tourists, but up close and personal. Through our increased engagement with the disciplines, such as Bible reading, prayer, reflection, solitude, confession, fasting, worship, community, etc., we get to experience our God not just from far off, but all around us. And the work will be worth it. 

-- Nathan Miller


Wednesday, February 17, 2021


“Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Jesus a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?’”  (John 8:3-5 NKJV)

I can’t imagine how the adulterous woman felt when she was about to be stoned. All eyes were glued on her, accusing her; and the crowd was playing judge, jury, and executioner. She must have felt alone and hated. She didn’t need accusers; she needed help and forgiveness.

Jesus told the crowd, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8:7b NIV) All eyes shifted to Jesus when He spoke up. Jesus reminded the people that they too were sinners. Thank God for Jesus, who saved her, forgave her, and offered her a second chance. When we fail, we can be glad that Jesus is ready to do the same for us.

Sometimes we follow the crowd and judge others because we don’t want to be associated with the person who did wrong. Instead, we should take a cue from Jesus and offer people mercy, kindness, and encouragement to change their lives for the better. Isn’t that what we want when we fail? 

-- Tim Carroll in “Devozine” magazine, May/June 2009


Tuesday, February 16, 2021


The story is told of Monica, the mother of St. Augustine.  This fourth-century woman had a son who was so perverse that almost anyone else's child would have been considered to be no problem at all in comparison.  But through Augustine's difficult years of rebellion, Monica never stopped praying for her son and she lived for the time when he might give his life over to God.

One day, Augustine announced to his mother that he was leaving his home in the city of Hippo to live in Rome.  He wanted to go to the big city where the action was, and he let it be known that Hippo was no place for a lover of nightlife, like himself.  When she heard the news, Monica's heart broke.  She was sure that by going away to Rome her son would be lost to her and to God forever.  She begged Augustine not to do this and, in an act of desperation, pleaded with him to go and sit with her in the church while she prayed about it.  He yielded to his mother's request that he go to church with her, but while Monica was on her knees in prayer, Augustine sneaked off to the harbor and boarded a ship sailing for Rome.  When Monica discovered what had happened, she was deeply hurt, but she never despaired; she just kept on hoping and praying.

While in Rome, Augustine quite miraculously came to Christ through the witness of St. Ambrose.  Under Ambrose, he was nurtured into Christian discipleship, and when it was learned that the city of Hippo needed a new bishop to lead their church, Ambrose recommended the once wayward son of that town for the office.

Can you imagine the surprise and joyful amazement of Monica the day she went down to the dock with others from her church to meet their new pastor?  None other than her own Augustine walked down the gangplank!  The mother who never gave up on her son had been rewarded.  Monica's story is a reminder to mothers everywhere that where there's life, there's hope.  It may be that, even when the life of your loved one is ended, there is still hope. 

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


Monday, February 15, 2021


“Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and His love is brought to full expression through us.”  (1 John 4:11-12 NLT Life Application Study Bible)

A conduit is a channel or tube through which water or electricity can be conveyed from one point to another.   God’s love has [filled our lives] so we can be a conduit of God’s love to others.

An empty piece of conduit is not worth much.  Its value is realized when it is used to convey something of greater value from one point to another. The value is in what is conveyed within the conduit…

Christians are connected to the source of love -- God.  That same love is to flow through our bodies as conduit so God can love people through you and me.  Someone may say, “I cannot love that person.”  It is not up to you to love that person.  Your job is to be a conduit through which God can love that person through you.

People need to see the mighty love of God flowing from you to them -- See it in your compassion… See it in your unselfishness… See it in your forgiveness… See it in your deeds.  

-- Adapted from Al Hughes


Friday, February 12, 2021


Love takes time… It also takes energy and trust and choice. Whether the love is between parent and child, husband and wife, or childhood friends, love takes all these things.... love takes time, love takes energy, love takes trust. Love takes the choice to love.

So, this Valentine's Day, think about real love, in all its forms. As Paul says [in 1 Corinthians 13], "it bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things." It takes time, energy, trust and choice.

-- Copyright Eric Folkerth 2001. All Rights Reserved. (Used with Permission) 


Thursday, February 11, 2021


During a beautiful spring day, a young woman decided to eat her lunch in the park. On the nearest bench sat an old beggar who clutched an empty paper bag. His clothes were unkempt and he looked as if he had not eaten in days. So, the young woman sat next to him and offered him half of her sandwich.

With this act of kindness the beggar was transformed into a clean-shaven, well-dressed man. The empty bag he once held was now filled with three loaves of bread. “I am no beggar, but an angel, here to reward your act of kindness with a gift,” he said. “I have three loaves of bread and you may have one. But choose wisely. A bite from one will give you unlimited success, to eat from another is key to never-ending wealth, and a taste from the third will ensure undying love.”

The young woman thought for a moment. With success, she would always have a good job, but with wealth she would never have to worry about money or a career. Then she thought about her parents, grandparents, and friends, and how much they meant to her. “I will take the bread of love,” the young woman answered.

The angel handed the young woman the bread. After she took a bite of it, he handed her the remaining loaves and said, “You have chosen wisely. The bread of love bestows endless wealth and countless success upon those who possess it. Go in the peace of Christ and share your gifts with the world.” 

-- Author Unknown 


Wednesday, February 10, 2021


“[God] gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’”  (James 4:6 NLT) 

[God] supplies perfectly measured grace to meet [our needs]. For daily needs there is daily grace; for sudden needs, sudden grace; for overwhelming need, overwhelming grace. God's grace is given wonderfully, but not wastefully; freely but not foolishly; bountifully but not blindly.

-- John Blanchard in “Truth for Life: A Devotional Commentary on the Epistle of James”


Tuesday, February 9, 2021


“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our LORD and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever! Amen.”  (2 Peter 3:18 NIV)

When I speak of a person growing in grace, I mean simply this -- that his sense of sin is becoming deeper, his faith stronger, his hope brighter, his love more extensive, and his spiritual-mindedness more marked.   He feels more of the power of godliness in his heart.  He manifests more of it in his life.  He goes on from strength to strength, from faith to faith, and from grace to grace.

-- Bishop J. C. Ryle (1816-1900)


Monday, February 8, 2021


The grace of our loving heavenly Father has filled our lives, giving us a solid hope.  Now we have the privilege of sharing that grace to those around us.  As grace-filled men and women relate to each other, they communicate in tangible ways the value placed on each other's lives. We share in the abundance we have been given. And we bear witness that our lives are significant to another person.

We live in a throwaway culture. Sadly many people move through numerous throwaway relationships.  The beauty of someone who prizes and protects relationships is obvious.  Our challenge is to be daily renewed and refreshed in our Lord's grace and His provision, and then pass it on to others.

-- Adapted from Dr. Norm Wakefield & Jody Brolsma in “Men Are from Israel, Women Are from Moab”


Friday, February 5, 2021


“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”  (Hebrews 4:14-16 NKJV)

God has provided prayer as the means of communicating directly with Him. Christ, the High Priest and Mediator, has made it possible for all Christians to come “boldly to the throne of grace.” Prayer may take many forms of expression, some of which are adoration and praise, thanksgiving, confession, and supplication. Each of these enables you to draw closer to God. Because you have the potential of two-way communication with God, be careful not to neglect your time with Him. Regular times alone with God for the purpose of fellowship are vitally necessary. 

-- From “Growing Strong in God’s Family”


Thursday, February 4, 2021


“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.”  (Psalm 23:1-3 NKJV)

It is impossible for a believer, no matter what his experience, to keep right with God if he will not take the trouble to spend time with God… Spend plenty of time with God; let other things go, but don’t neglect Him. 

-- Oswald Chambers


Wednesday, February 3, 2021


I love growing older. But I don’t want to grow old. Growing older is a process. Growing old is a conclusion. Growing older means that you’re going somewhere, and that in God’s kindness and in your cooperating with God you are taking more of life’s conquests every day. Growing old means that you’ve reached somewhere and that’s it. Older is a journey. Old is a destination. Mind you, I believe in a destination, but my idea of a destination for life is heaven. I want everything prior to heaven to be part of my preparation for that destination. If I settle for old as my destination, I will rob myself of some of the best years of preparation for the big exit, the grand eternal journey. 

-- J. Ellsworth Kalas in “I Love Growing Older, But I'll Never Grow Old”


Tuesday, February 2, 2021


“Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.”  (Colossians 4:2 NLT)

Prayer is the creator as well as the channel of devotion. The spirit of devotion is the spirit of prayer.  Prayer and devotion are united as soul and body are united, as life and the heart are united.  There is no real prayer without devotion, no devotion without prayer. 

-- E. M. Bounds in “Power through Prayer”


Monday, February 1, 2021


All to Jesus, I surrender
All to Thee I freely give
I will ever love and trust You
In Your presence daily live
All to Jesus, I surrender
Lord, I give myself to Thee
Fill me with Your love and power
Let Your blessing fall on me
All to Jesus I surrender
Now I feel the sacred flame
O the joy of full salvation
Glory, glory, to Your name
I surrender all, I surrender all
All to Thee, my blessed Savior
I surrender all!
-- Robin Mark