Read: Luke 14:16-26
If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother,
wife and children ... he cannot be My disciple. - Luke 14:26
Some forest workers fight fires. Others battle fast-growing
plants. A "Mercury News" article reported that teams of
volunteers are working hard to remove invasive plants from the
redwood forests of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Workers point out
that many of the non-native species they are fighting are sold in
garden stores. The German ivy plant, for example, has become a
serious problem in California. This fast-growing exotic house
plant competes with the native species, smothering and shading
everything in its path. It can completely cover and destroy a
Thinking about these home-grown invaders can help us
understand something even more crucial than saving trees. Jesus
warned us that anything that competes with Him for our hearts can
choke our spiritual lives. He said that even the natural love of
family can be dangerous and keep us from following Him (Luke
14:16-26). Our Lord demands our undivided love and loyalty.
Once we value Christ above everything else, we will learn to
love our family with a deeper and healthier love. But until our
ultimate loyalty is determined, home-grown affection will do to
our hearts what fire or German ivy will do in a forest. Don't let
anything compete with Christ. - Mart De Haan
To follow Christ we must let go Of all that we hold dear, And
once we have denied ourselves, Our gains become more clear. -
THE MORE WE LOVE CHRIST, THE MORE WE'LL LOVE OTHERS.
"THAT AIN'T IT!"
Read: Isaiah 55:6-9
His eyes are on the ways of man, and He sees all his steps. - Job
Visiting Alaska for the first time, I was excited that we
were staying at the Mt.McKinley Lodge. As we were checking in, I
caught a glimpse of a mass of rock through a large picture
window, and I hurried out to the deck facing the mountain.
"Wow," I murmured softly as I took in the view.
A man standing a few feet away said, "Uh, ... that ain't it!"
As I discovered that day, visitors to Alaska often miss
seeing all of "The Great One:" Standing at 20,320 feet, the
mountain is so tall that most of it is hidden on cloudy days. I
was seeing only a part of the whole.
Often we're satisfied with our limited view of life. But
Jeremiah 29:11 reminds us, "I know the thoughts that I think
toward you," says the Loin; "thoughts of peace and not of evil,
to give you a future and a hope." With God's omniscient,
panoramic view, He sees the people He wants us to help, the
things He wants us to accomplish, the character, traits He wants
to develop in us.
Proverbs 16:9 says, "A man's heart plans his way, but the
Lord directs his steps:" Our view of life is restricted by our
humanness, but we can trust ourselves to the One who has an
unlimited view! - Cindy Hess Kasper
There's so much now I cannot see, My eyesight's far too dim, But
come what may, I'll simply trust. And leave it all to Him. -
WE SEE IN PART; GOD SEES THE WHOLE.
MORE THAN WE IMAGINE
Read: 1 John 2:28-3:3
We are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we
shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like
Him. - 1 John 3:2
For decades, astronomical artists have painted scenes of the
universe based on a combination of scientific information and
their own imaginations. But photographs from robotic space probes
and the Hubble Space Telescope have redefined these artists' view
of reality. In a Los Angeles Times article, space artist Don
Dixon said the first pictures of Jupiter's moons Io and Europa
"turned out to be much more exotic than anybody imagined." Dixon
now considers 70 percent of his space paintings to be "dated
concepts" because reality has become more awesome than
While the Bible tells us what Jesus said and did, it doesn't
describe how He looked. Our mental picture of Him has likely been
influenced by art and illustrations in Sunday school materials.
But one day, our image of Christ will be forever changed when we
meet Him face to face. "Beloved, now we are children of God; and
it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that
when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Hun
as He is" (1 John 3:2). That hope will produce in us a pursuit of
purity (v.3). 1
Not only will we see our Lord as He is, but we will also
be like Him. What an astonishing reality that will be - more than
we ever imagined! - David McCasland
When Christ returns, we'll see His face,
And be transformed by His goad grace; Hope will become reality,
Much more than we could ever see. - Sper
ALL THAT WE LONG TO BECOME WILL FIND FULFILMENT IN OUR FIRST LOOK
(You can know why you were created. The awesome reality is
covered in the study "A Christian's Destiny" on this Website -
Read: Psalm 32
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I
will guide you with My eye. - Psalm 32:8
Flying into a storm is a dangerous experience. The
temptation is to fly by your instincts, or, as aviators say, "by
the seat of your pants:" But as any pilot will tell you, that's a
prescription for disaster. If you rely on your feelings and
instincts, you become disoriented, thinking the plane is going up
when it's actually going down. Thankfully, the instrument panel
is set to magnetic north and can be trusted every time. Letting
your instruments guide you, even when it feels like they're
wrong, helps ensure safety in the storm.
We all face storms that threaten to confuse and disorient
us. It may be a call from the doctor's office, a friend who has
betrayed you, or a shattered dream. Those are the times to be
especially careful. When you are blinded by life's
disappointments, don't trust your instincts. Flying by the seat
of your pants in the storms of life can lead to despair,
confusion, and vengeful responses that make matters worse. God
wants to guide you, and His Word is packed with wisdom and
insights for living. His "Word is a lamp to my feet and a light
to my path" (Ps.119:105). Where He leads is always right!
Go to your Bible, and trust God to guide you. He promises, "I
will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go" (Ps.
32:8). - Joe Stowell
The God who governs galaxies And makes the thunder roar, Gently
guides my little craft With safety to the shore. - Berg
THE CLOSER WE WALK WITH GOD, THE CLEARER WE SEE HIS GUIDANCE.
Read: Daniel 3:8-20
Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in
lowliness of mind let each esteem the other better than himself.
- Philippians 2:3
Orlando, Florida, is home to several large theme parks that
draw thousands of vacationing families each year. But last year,
a health magazine labelled Orlando as the "Angriest City in
America." They based that title on things like violent assaults,
road rage, and the percentage of men who had high blood pressure.
King Nebuchadnezzar, "in rage and fury" commanded that Shadrach,
Meshach, and AbedNego be brought before him because they would
not worship the gold image he had set up (Dan. 3:13). When he
didn't get his way, he was "full of fury, and the expression on
his face changed" toward the three men (v.19).
All of us struggle with anger. But anger is not always
wrong. "Be angry, and do not sin" (Eph.4:26). We should get angry
when we see injustice in our world. But most often out anger,
like Nebuchadnezzar's, comes from a far less noble place - our
own self-interest and pride. If our temper gets the best of us,
we can lose control of what we say and do. Paul challenged us,
"Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in
lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself"
When we begin to put others first, we may find we've taken a
first step toward managing our anger. - Cindy Hess Kasper
Spirit of God, please change my heart, And give me a new desire,
I want to be a man of peace, Not controlled by anger's fire. -
K. De Haan
WHEN A PERSON'S TEMPER GET THE BEST OF HIM, IF OFTEN REVEALS THE
WORST OF HIM.
Read: James 1:19-27
Be doers of the Word, and not hearers only. - James 1:22
When Megan was in third grade, she kept coming home from
school without her winter gloves. It drove her mom crazy because
she had to keep buying new ones, which the family couldn't
afford. One day Mom got angry and said, "Megan, you've got to be
more responsible. This can't go on!"
Megan began to cry. Through her tears she told her mom that
as long as she kept getting new gloves, she could give hers away
to kids who didn't have any.
Now at age 18, Megan's hobbies include volunteering in the
community and mentoring inner-city kids. Referring to her desire
to help people, she said that it "felt like that was the kind of
thing I was supposed to be doing:"
As Christians, we too are to have a heart of giving. James
tells us to listen to the Word and do what it says (1:22-23). But
he doesn't step with just telling us to obey. He gives us
specific instructions about what we must do. Then he gives us a
practical way we can give of ourselves: "Visit orphans and widows
in their trouble" (v.27).
Ask God for a heart like Megan's. Out of love for God obey
what He tells you to do. It's what we're "supposed to be doing:"
- Anne Cetas
Give as 'twas given to you in your need, Love as the Master loved
you; Be to the helpless a helper indeed, Unto your mission be
true. - Wilson
YOU CAN GIVE WITHOUT LOVING, BUT YOU CAN'T LOVE WITHOUT GIVING.
Read: 2 Timothy 2:22-26
In humility (correct) those who are in opposition. - 2 Timothy
Pachyderm pedicures are not a luxury, they're a necessity.
According to an article in The Kansas City Star, if elephants in
captivity don't get regular foot care, they are prone to
infections that can be fatal. But clipping the toenails of an
animal that can weigh as much as 6 tons can be risky business. So
one man had an idea. He developed an "elephant flipper" that
allows keepers to restrain an elephant and safely turn it on its
side. The device stands 12 feet high, weighs more than 15 tons,
and costs $100,000. Several zoos have purchased this helpful
Caring for people can also be risky. Paul described what it
takes to help those who, in perilous times, have wandered from
the path of truth. He offers no ingenious device for helping
those who are a danger to themselves and others (2 Tim.2:23,25).
Instead, he reminds us that when it comes to caring for the minds
and hearts of others, we can't rely on human ingenuity and
muscle. What we really need is the wisdom of God. Without being
quarrelsome or arrogant, the Lord's servant must use gentleness
and patience (v.24).
A blend of truth and grace in the presence of danger is more
than self-protection. It illustrates for others the heart of the
One we are urging them to embrace. - Mart De Haan
Speak truly and each word of thine Shall be a fruitful seed; Live
truly, and thy life shall be A great and noble creed - Bonar
USE CAUTION AND GRACE WHEN STRAIGHTENING OUT SOMEONE WHO HAS