THE WAY TO SUCCESS
Read: Joshua 1:1-9
This book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you
shall meditate in it ... Then you will have good success. _
During the Chinese New Year it is customary for "hongbaos"
(small red envelopes containing money) to be given away. When
parents give hongbaos to their children, it is also to
wish them prosperity and success. Knowing that this sincere wish
is insufficient, however, they also remind their children to
study hard. Chinese people generally believe that a good
education is the key to one's success in life.
In Joshua l, God told Joshua that his ways could prosper as
he assumed Moses' leadership role. But he and the people needed
to display courage in the face of stiff opposition as they
entered the Promised Land (v.6). God promised to give them
success if they heeded His "Book of the Law" (v.8).
Believers today also need to live according to God's Word if
we are to enjoy success in our spiritual walk. The Bible contains
not only the do's and don'ts for living but also records the life
experiences of those who pleased or displeased God.
We, like Joshua, have God's promise that He will be with us
always (v.9; Matt.28:20). That should give us strength to face
the challenges and difficulties that inevitably arise as we seek
to please Him. - Albert Lee
Be strong! It matters not how deep entrenched the wrong, How hard
the battle goes, the day how long; Faint not - fight on! Tomorrow
comes the song. - Babcock
WHEN FACING A CRISIS, TRUST GOD AND MOVE FORWARD
DEAD OR ALIVE
Read: John 2:1-8
They went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. - Luke
Long lines of visitors from all over the world wait
patiently day after day to visit Lenin's Tomb and view his
embalmed body. Although he died in 1924, the corpse of that
Communist leader has seemingly suffered no decomposition. It
looks deceptively lifelike. And its appearance is indeed
deceptive. Skilful artists monitor the preserved corpse,
artificially coloring its face and using wax to fill in any lines
or the smallest spot of decay.
People also regularly visit Jerusalem to see the place where
Jesus died and was buried. But there's a striking contrast -
there is no body of the crucified Christ anywhere. Oh, there is
one rock-hewn tomb, where according to tradition the
nail-scarred, spear driven, thorn-crowned corpse of Christ was
laid. But resurrected by the power of God His Father, the Savior
left His graveclothes behind when He emerged from the tomb, like
a butterfly abandoning its cocoon.
Jesus is alive and you can know His presence today. Because
of His atoning death and the empty tomb, you can have eternal
life (1 Cor.15:20-22). You need only to admit that you are a
sinner and want His salvation. He'll give you new life now, and
one day you'll see Him and be with Him forever (1 Peter 1:3-5). -
Grave, where is thy victory now? See the light upon His brow.!
Empty - see, the stony bed, Christ is risen from the dead! -
CHRIST'S EMPTY TOMB GUARANTEES OUR FULL SALVATION.
THE BLAME GAME
Read: Genesis 3:1-13
The man said, "The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me
of the fruit, and I ate." - Genesis 3:12
A city employee in Lodi, California, is suing the city for
damages - after he backed a dump track into his own parked car.
The 51-year-old man argues that because the "city's vehicle
damaged my private vehicle," the city awes him $3,600, As
ridiculous as this sounds, blaming others has been a basic human
trait since the beginning. When Adam and Eve ate from the
forbidden one, their eyes were opened and they lost their
innocence. God asked the man a simple, yet penetrating question:
"Where are you" (Gen. 3:9). In the past, Adam had intimate
fellowship with God, but now he responded in fear and hid
God's follow-up question was more convicting than the first:
"Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you
should not eat?" (v.1). Then the blame game started: "The woman
whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate"
(v.12). The man blamed God and the woman for his sin. The woman
blamed the serpent rather than herself. Ever since that day in
the Garden of Eden, we tend to blame others rather than ourselves
far our sinful choices.
When we sin, we should take responsibility. Let's pray like
David: "I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not
hidden" (Ps.32:5). - Marvin Williams
Lord, help me not excuse my sin, And blame another person; For if
I don't admit my wrong, My sin will only worsen. - Sper
THE FIRST STEPS IN REPENTING FROM SIN IS TO ADMIT THAT YOU ARE TO
HAPPINESS AND HOLINESS
Read: 1 Peter 1:13-21
Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one
will see the Lord. - Hebrews 12:14
At Harvard University, you can take a course in happiness.
This popular class helps students discover, as the professor
states. "How to get happy."
That's not a bad idea. In fact, the Bible even suggests on
several occasions the importance of being happy or joyful.
Solomon tells us that God grants happiness to us as a privilege
(Eccl.3:12; 7:14: 11:9).
Sometimes, though, we take the search for earthly happiness
too far. We see it as the most important pursuit, and even
believe that our happiness is God's highest goal for us. That's
when our thinking gets confused.
God's Word tells us that true happiness comes by keeping
God's law (Ps.1:1-2; Pros.16:20; 29:18). God demands holiness and
has called us to live a holy life - one that exemplifies His
moral character (1 Thess.4:7; 2 Peter 3:11). In Peter's first
letter we read, "As He who called you is holy, you also be holy
in all your conduct, because it is written, `Be holy, for I am
holy'" (1 Peter 1:15-16).
When we face decisions about the way we should act or how we
should live, we must keep in mind that God's command is not "Be
happy," but "Be holy." True joy will come from a holy, God -
honoring life. - Dave Branon
In all I think and say and do, I long, O God, to honor You;
But may my highest motive be, To love the Christ who died far me.
- D. De Haan
THERE IS NO TRUE HAPPINESS APART FROM HOLINESS AND NO HOLINESS
APART FROM CHRIST.
DIAL 9 FOR WORSHIP
Read: Psalm 9:1-14
I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart. - Psalm 9:1
You're in the dentist's office and it's taking longer than
expected. You're late for another appointment, so you ask to use
the phone. You dial the number twice and nothing happens. "How do
I dial out?" you ask in frustration. "I'm sorry," says the recep-
tionist, "you need to dial 9 first."
You've come to church to worship God. You're singing. You're
praying along with the pastor and following the Bible passages as
they are read. But nothing's happening inside. You want to
worship the Lord, but you're just going through the motions. What
can you do?
Here's a suggestion: Dial 9. Open your Bible to Psalm 9 and
follow David's prompts as he expresses his heartfelt praise to
* Open your heart (v.1). Let praise roll forth!
* Review all the things He has done for you (v.l).
* Rejoice! Be glad! Sing! (v.2)
* Acknowledge that He defends you (vv.3-5).
* Go to Him for refuge (v.9).
* Talk about what He's done for you (v.11).
* Receive His mercy and rejoice in His salvation (w.13-14).
Try following David's example. You'll reconnect with God in
you worship and praise. - David Egner
You alone are worthy, Lord, To be worshipped and adored, We to
You our tribute bring, As our hearts rejoice and sing. - Hess
AT THE HEART OF WORSHIP IS WORSHIP FROM THE HEART
Read: 2 Timothy 3:1-9
Having a form of godliness but denying its power, and from such
turn away! - 2 Timothy 3:5
A British company has developed a product called "Spray-On
Mud" so city dwellers can give their expensive 4x4 vehicles the
appearance of having been off-road for a day of hunting or
fishing without ever leaving town. The mud is even filtered to
remove stones and debris that might scratch the paint. According
to the company, sales are going well.
There is something within each of us that values how we look
on the outside more than who we are on the inside. It causes some
people to pad their resumes or embellish their memoirs. But it
has no place in our lives as followers of Jesus.
Paul warned Timothy about people in the church who had a
form of godliness but denied its power. "They will maintain a
facade of 'religion,' but their conduct will deny its validity.
You must keep clear of people like this" (2 Tim.3:5, PHILLIPS).
The inward reality of Christ is what counts, because it will
produce the outward signs of faith.
Paul's authority to instruct the church about spiritual
authenticity came through his suffering, not by "spraying on
mud." "I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus," said the
God calls us to authentic living today. - David McCasland
We fuss over form and we put on a face, All the while showing Gad
disrespect, Not seeing how pride is eclipsing God's grace, that
the light of christ's life should reflect - Gustafson
IF YOU ARE TRUE TO GOD, YOU WON'T BE FALSE TO OTHERS.
Read: Luke 11:5013
Everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him
who knocks it will be opened. - Luke 11:10
We prayed. Quietly sometimes. Aloud other times. For more
than 17 years we prayed. We prayed for our daughter Melissa's
health and direction, for her salvation, and often for her
protection. Just as we prayed for our other children, we asked
God to have His hand of care on her.
As Melissa rolled into her teenage years, we prayed even
more that He would keep her from harm - that He would keep His
eyes on her as she and her friends began to drive. We prayed,
"God, please protect Melissa."
So what happened? Didn't God understand how much it would
hurt so many people to lose such a beautiful young woman with so
much potential for service to Him and others? Didn't God see the
other car coming on that warm spring night'?
We prayed. But Melissa was killed.
Now what? Do we stop praying? Do we give up on God? DO we
try to make it alone? Absolutely not! Prayer is even more vital
to us now. God - our inexplicable sovereign Lord - is still in
control. His commands to pray still stand. His desire to hear
from us is still alive. Faith is not demanding what we want; it
is trusting God's goodness in spite of life's tragedies.
We grieve. We pray. We keep on praying. - Dave Branon
I question not God's means or ways, Or how He uses time or days,
To answer every call or prayer - know He will, somehow,
somewhere. - Whitney
GOD MAY DENY OUR REQUEST BUT WILL NEVER DISAPPOINT OUR TRUST.