A LITTLE WORTH PURSUING
Read: 2 Kings 4:8-17
Look now, I know that this is a holy man of God. - 2 Kings 4:9
It's not uncommon to hear a speaker introduced with the
glowing phrase, "He's truly a man of God." I often wonder how
to respond when someone is described in such lofty terms. I worry
that we might be putting that person on too high a pedestal,
perhaps setting him up for a dangerous fall. What really is a man
or a woman of God?
In Bible times it was not all that unusual for a prophet of
God to receive that title. In fact, it is used 73 times in God's
Word to describe people such as Moses (Deuteronomy 33:1), Elijah
(2 Kings 1:11), and even the Angel of the Lord (Judges 13:8). It
was a title given to a representative of the Almighty.
There's another meaning for the title that is a challenge
for us to aspire to. In 2 Kings 4, we are told that a Shunammite
woman had been observing the prophet Elisha. She remarked to her
husband, "Look now, I know that this is a holy man of God." Her
reference to him as "holy" may indicate that she noticed he was
not only a man of God but also a godly man.
In I Peter 1:13-16, the apostle called for us to be holy, as
a reflection of God's holiness. We may never hold an honorable
title as God's spokesperson, but we are to be holy. That's a
title worth pursuing. - Dave Branon
More like the Master I would ever be,
More of His meekness, more humility;
More zeal to labor, more courage to be true,
More consecration for work He bids me do. - Gabriel
EVERY CHILD OF GOD SHOULD HAVE A GROWING LIKENESS TO THE SON OF
THE WORLD WITHOUT
Read: Matthew 23:13-23
You ... have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice
and mercy and faith. - Matthew 23:23
Personal faith in Christ comes with social obligations. If
we believe He reigns as Lord over history as well as Lord over
our individual lives, we dare not focus solely on the "world
within" and forget the "world without." Restricting His
sovereignty in our personal struggles demeans Him. What do we
imply about the Savior when we seek God's will about moving to
another city or marrying someone, but never seek His mind on the
plight of the homeless, the rights of the unborn, or racial
Cultivating the inner life, vital as that is, without
struggling with social issues is too limited and soft. We must
think about how Christ wants us to respond to the difficult
situations in our community and the world at large.
On the other hand, to emphasize social concern without
stressing devotion to the Lord resembles dancing on one foot. If
we are deeply committed to a cause but not deeply committed to
Christ, we may trade away the power of God for the power of
The ungodly refuse to acknowledge Christ's lordship in their
decisions. But what excuse can we as Christians offer for
forgetting that His rule over "the world within" also extends to
"the world without"? - Haddon Robinson
If I can right a human wrong, If f can help to make one strong,
If I can cheer with smile or song, Lord, show me how. - Kleiser
ONE MEASURE OF OUR LIKENESS TO CHRIST IS OUR SENSITIVITY TO THE
SUFFERING OF OTHERS.
GIVING GREED A BAD NAME
Read: Proverbs 1:10-19
So are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain. It takes away
the life of its owners. - Proverbs 1:9
When ace relief pitcher Dennis Eckersley signed a 2-year
contract with the Oakland A's in 1992, the press took notice. As
a free agent, Eckersley could have joined other teams for a lot
more money. But the A's had given him his first chance in
baseball - and his second chance after struggling with
alcoholism. Loyalty took precedence over getting top dollar.
Commenting on Eckersley's decision, an ABC sportscaster
summed it up this way: "Loyalty? Obligation? Those are the kinds
of words that give greed a bad name."
Greed is an insatiable longing for more and more. It can
motivate a person to build an enormous empire, often at the
expense of others. It entices the rich to get richer and to pay
no heed to the poor who are getting poorer.
Jesus doesn't condemn wealth or the making of profit, but He
always calls us to make His interests in this world our primary
interest. The word greed is not found often in Scripture, but the
Bible warms about the danger of living only to accumulate more of
this world's goods.
When we see God meeting our needs, the gratitude and faith
that grows in our hearts will help us make choices that give
greed a bad name. - Dennis De Haan
NEED vs. GREED
What's the difference between a need and a want? According to
Matthew 6, what needs has God promised to meet? What needs has He
GREEDY PEOPLE ALWAYS LOSE MORE THAN THEY GAIN.
I REMEMBER GRANDPA
Read: Mark 10:13-16
He took them up in His arms ... and blessed them. - Mark 10:16
Five-year-old Bree climbed up onto Grandpa Dick Bandy's lap.
She snuggled close to him and whispered, "I remember what you
told me, Grandpa" Her words brought warm assurance to Dick's
Here is why. As a grandfather, Dick had decided to be a good
influence for Christ to his grandchildren. He didn't preach at
them or badger them, but he simply talked to them about the Lord.
He and Bree had been talking one day, and she told him she was
memorizing some verses. So he helped her to see how the verses
she was learning applied to her personally.
He asked her to recite John 3:16, one of the verses she had
memorized. He told her to substitute her name for the words the
"world" and "whoever." Then he told her why - because God loved
her and Christ died for her. After listening intently and doing
what he suggested, she went on her way.
Now it was a few. months later, and that's why Dick was so happy
that she remembered. She knew that Jesus loved her.
You don't have to be a grandparent to tell a child about the
Lord. Nor do you have to be a theologian. Just be willing to take
a child into your arms and give him or her the best blessing of
all - the message of God's love. - Dave Egner
Have you tried to teach the children? Do you daily do your part?
Little ones too need the Savior, And they're close to Jesus'
heart. - Taylor
GOD HAS A GREAT CONCERN FOR LITTLE CHILDREN.
SILENCING THE CRITICS
Read: Nehemiah 2:11-20
The God of heaven Himself will prosper us; therefore we ... will
arise and build. - Nehemiah 2:20
When the Israelites started to rebuild the walls of
Jerusalem, they were mocked by their enemies. But their leader
Nehemiah and his helpers, convinced that the Lord was with them,
completed the project in spite of the opposition.
In more recent times, the builders of the Panama Canal faced
enormous obstacles of geography, climate, and disease. Most of
the construction was supervised by Colonel George Washington
Goethals. He had to endure severe criticism from many back home
who predicted that he would never complete the "impossible task."
But the great engineer was resolute and pressed steadily forward
in his work without responding to those who opposed him. "Aren't
you going to answer your critics?" a subordinate inquired. "In
time," Goethals replied. "How?" the man asked. The colonel smiled
and said, "With the canal!" And his answer came on August 15,
1914, when the canal opened to traffic for the first time.
If we tried to respond to all who criticize us as we follow
the Lord, nothing worthwhile would be accomplished. But if we are
confident we are doing God's will, we can press on with the work.
Completing the task is often the best way to silence the critics.
- Richard De Haan
It matters not what others say in ridicule or fun; I want to live
that I may hear Him say to me, "Well done!" - Beers
GOD JUDGES US BY WHAT WE DO, NOT BY WHAT OTHERS SAY.
Read: 1 Corinthians 15:1-11
I am ... not worthy to be called an apostle ... But by the grace
of God I am what I am. - 1 Corinthians 15:9-10
I know regret. You probably do too. We all have times when
we wish we could erase the sins and failures indelibly impressed
on our minds. The fearful power of regret moved on ex-GI in 1974
to send a note to the US government that read, "I'm sending $10
for blankets I stole in World War II. My mind could not rest.
Sorry I'm late. I want to be ready to meet God." His money was
placed in a "Conscience Fund" began in 1811, which (receives an
average of $45,000 each year and has taken in a total of more
Yes, regret is a powerful emotion. The people who sent this
money probably found great relief from their gnawing feelings of
guilt. But this action by itself cannot bring peace with God.
Only as we personally put our trust in Christ as our Savior do we
experience God's complete forgiveness of all our sin.
Years after the apostle Paul became a child of God, he still
regretted that he had persecuted Christians (1 Timothy 1:12 15).
He couldn't undo the past, and he didn't try. Instead, he devoted
himself to do God's will. The Lord still used him in a mighty
way. This assures us that past mistakes needn't ruin our lives -
even when we can't do anything to undo them. What a wonderful
salvation we have! - Herb Vander Lag
The vain regrets of yesterday have vanished through God's
pardoning grace; The guilty fear has passed away, And joy has
come to take its place. - Achley
CHRIST REMOVES OUR GUILTY PAST AND GIVES US A GLORIOUS FUTURE.
WHO NEEDS TO PRAY?
Read: Luke 18:1-8
(Jesus) spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray
and not lose heart. - Luke 18:1
A professor who teaches Christianity in a graduate school
was participating in a group discussion on a serious matter. When
someone suggested that they ask God for guidance, the professor
protested; "Pray! Who needs to pray? We're men. We can solve our
Even some people who claim to be Christians have that kind
of self-sufficient attitude. They think because they have brains,
experience, and technology, prayer isn't necessary. How wrong
Henry Stanley (1841-1904), the famous African explorer,
wrote, "On all my expeditions, prayer made me stronger, morally
and mentally, than any of my non-praying companions. It did not
blind my eyes, or dull my mind, or close my ears; but on the
contrary, it gave me confidence. It did more; it gave me joy and
pride in my work, and lifted me hopefully over the 1,500 miles of
forest tracks, eager to face the day's perils."
Jesus prayed. And He told us to pray always "and not lose
heart" (Luke 18:1). Without prayerful dependence on God, we lack
what it takes to do His will day after day. Prayer enables us to
draw on our Father's limitless resources of grace. Who needs to
pray? We all do. - Vernon Grounds
I need Thee, O I need Thee, Every hour I need Thee! O bless me
now, my Savior - I come to Thee! - Hawks
NOTHING IS TOO GREAT OR TOO SMALL TO BRING TO GOD.