BEWARE OF OPEN DOORS
Read: Philippians 1:8-11
Folly is joy to him who is destitute of discernment, but a man of
understanding walks uprightly. - Proverbs 15:21
Sometimes Christians follow an "open door" policy. When a
door of opportunity opens, they assume that it's God's will to go
Bestselling author Terri Blackstock knows this is untrue.
She never openly rebelled against God, but she found herself far
away from Him after walking through open doors of opportunity. "I
had allowed myself to believe that God was blessing my career ...
because He had opened all the doors," she wrote in "Soul
Restoration." Although she got what she wanted - a successful
career writing romance novels for Harlequin and Silhouette,
she lost what she needed: a close relationship with God.
When she finally admitted that her career was keeping her
from God, she turned her back on success and renewed her
commitment to the Lord. Since then, her writing career has been
revitalized, and she has became an award-winning author of
Just because the Lord doesn't stop us from something doesn't
mean He wants us to continue. To discern which opportunities to
pursue, we need to "approve the things that are excellent" and to
he "filled with the fruits of righteousness ... to the glory and
praise oŁ God" (Phil.1:10-11). - Julie Ackerman Link
THE BEST WAY TO KNOW GOD'S WILL IS TO SAY "I WILL" TO GOD.
Read: Matthew 5:21-26
Leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be
reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. -
Jesse Jacobs has created an apology hotline that makes it
possible to apologize without actually talking to the person
you've wronged. People who are unable or unwilling to unburden
their conscience in person call the hotline and leave a message
on an answering machine. Each week, 30 to 50 calls are logged, as
people apologize for things from adultery to embezzlement. "The
hotline offers participants a chance to alleviate their guilt
and, to some degree, to own up to their misdeeds," said Jacobs.
The apology hotline may seem to offer some relief from
guilt, but this is not how Jesus instructed His followers to
handle conflict. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told us to
deal with conflict by taking the initiative and going to the
offended brother to apologize for the offense (see also Matt.
18). In fact, Jesus taught that the problem of human estrangement
is so serious that we should even interrupt our worship to go on
a personal mission of reconciliation (Matt.5:24). The Master
encouraged His followers to be reconciled with one another
eagerly, aggressively, quickly, and personally (v.25).
Are any of your relationships broken or estranged because of
something you said or did? Take the initiative. Go now and do all
you can to be reconciled. - Marvin Williams
God cannot prosper those who try To cover sin and wrong deny; But
all who humbly will confess, The Savior with His love will bless.
- D. De Haan
AT THE HEART OF ALL CONFLICT IS A SELFISH HEART.
Read: Collossians 3:15-17
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly ... in psalms and
hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to
the Lord. - Colossians 3:16
John W. Peterson, the beloved songwriter, was a master at
using Scripture in his songs. When I was a teenager in the church
choir, we performed his cantata "Jesus Is Coming" and sang these
words taken from 2 Timothy 3, verse 1: "In the last days perilous
times shall come. Men shall be lovers of themselves." Then he
wrote of the grim signs that we would recognize in the last days
(vv.2-7). The steady rhythm of his music helps me remember that
list even today.
While some of us have trouble memorizing verses from God's
Word, something in our brain helps us to remember words in songs.
If we analyze some of our favorite Christian songs and choruses,
we find that they have been derived from Scripture. Thus, we can
use the memory boost of music to hide away God-breathed words in
our hearts (2 Tim.3:16). Songs such as "Open the Eyes of My
Heart" (Isa.6:9-10; Eph.1:18) or favorites like "Thy Word Have I
Hid in My Heart" (Ps.119:11,105) are taken from the Bible. With
these words hidden in our memory, a song of praise comes quickly
to our lips.
No matter what kind of voice you have, when you sing the
words of Scripture back to God, it is sweet music to His ears. -
Cindy Hess Kasper
You are the chosen of the Lord, To sing His highest praise, And
through the melody of song, To show His wondrous ways. - Anon.
HYMNS ARE THE INCENSE OF A WORSHIPING SOUL PRAISING GOD!
CONNECTING WITH GOD
Read: Psalm 63:1-8
Because Your loving-kindness is better than life, my lips shall
praise You. - Psalm 63:3
In his book "Objects of His Affection," Scotty Smith shares
his journey of learning to personally experience the passionate
love of God. As a young boy, he lost his mother suddenly in a car
accident. Because of this, he closed off his wounded heart to
others -including God. Several years later he received Jesus as
his Savior and began to learn the truths of Christianity. Yet his
relationship with the Lord in those days was, as he described,
"side by side rather than face to face. Importent but not
Do you ever feel that way? You talk to the Lord a little
bit, read His words in the Bible, but don't sense a passionate
connection with Him like that expressed by the psalmist David in
Psalm 63. Scotty suggests ways to overcome the obstacles to
intimacy, from which we may glean these two ideas.
Open up to the Lord about the pain of your losses and admit
your failures. "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you"
(James 4:8; see also 1 John 1:9).
Ponder and believe the Scriptures:
about God's character and His longing for you. "Your
lovingkindness is better than life" (Pa.63:3; see also Ps.139 and
Being close in a relationship takes time and effort - even
when it's with the Lord. - Anne Cetas
I must put my relationship With You, O Lord, I pray, Above what
may distract me from Time spent with You each day. - Sper
GOD PURSUES US IN OUR RESTLESSNESS, RECEIVES US IN OUR
SINFULNESS, HOLDS US IN OUR BROKENNESS - Scotty Smith
WHAT ON EARTH ARE YOU DOING?
Read: 1 Cor.10:31-11:1
Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all
to the glory of God. - 1 Corinthians 10:31
What on earth are you doing? You may have heard that phrase
when your mom told you to clean your room and found you playing
with your toys instead, or maybe your teacher caught you passing
notes in class.
But if God were to ask you this question, how would you
respond? Paul tells us that as followers of Jesus we have been
put on this earth to bring glory to God in everything we do. So
what should that look like? God's glory is the manifestation of
all that He is in His unsurpassed, stunning perfection. It is His
amazing love, His wide mercy, His deep grace. His glory is seen
in His truth, justice, wisdom, and power. To glorify Him means
that we have the high privilege of showing Him off in a world
that is totally unaware of what He is really like. Acts of mercy
to the undeserving, grace to the needy, forgiveness to an
offender, living wisely according to His will - all give glorious
visibility to the character and quality of our God. There are a
lot of misconceptions floating around about God. It's our job to
let others see what He is really like. And, when they like what
they see, let's be sure to let them know who taught us to live
like that. It's not a good idea to steal God's glory! - Joe
MAY OUR LIVES BE A "SHOW AND TELL" FOR GOD'S GLORY.
DESIGNED BY GOD
Read: Romans 12:3-8
We have many members in one body, but all the members do not have
the same function. - Romans 12:4
Bison are made in such a way that their natural inclination
is to look down; the design of their necks makes it difficult for
them to look up. In contrast, giraffes are designed in a way that
makes looking up easy; the way their necks were made makes it
difficult for them to look down. Two creatures created by the
same God but with distinctively different body parts and
purposes. Giraffes eat leaves from branches above. Bison eat
grass from the field below. God provides food for both, and
neither has to become like the other to eat.
As we observe the animals and people around us, we're
reminded that God made each of us unique for a purpose. One
person's natural tendency is to look up and see the "big
picture," while another looks down and focuses on details. Both
are important. One is not better than the other. God gave us
individual talents and spiritual gifts so that we can work
together as a body.
Human beings are the crowning jewel of creation, and we
shine the brightest not when we see our own likeness reflected in
others but when each of us performs the unique functions that God
designed for us to do. "Having then gifts differing according to
the grace that is given to us, let us use them - (Rom.122:6). -
Julie Ackerman Link
By God's wise designing We are wonderfully made, Every part
essential, And in perfect balance laid. - Anon
THERE ARE NO UNIMPORTANT MEMBERS IN THE BODY OF CHRIST.
Read: Genesis 12:1-9
By faith Abraham obyed when he was called to go. - Hebrews 11:8
My grandfather grew up on the North American frontier and
raised his family on a dairy farm. To pass the time, he often
sang songs while he worked. "Shenandoah" was one of his
O Shenandoah, I long to hear you, Away, you rolling river,
O Shenandoah, I long to hear you, Away, I'm bound away, 'Cross
the wide Missouri.
That song reflects the love the pioneer songwriter had for
the Shenandoah River. Yet he felt compelled to leave its beauty
and go west. His love for the familiar rooted him, but the pull
of something better won his heart.
When Abraham was called out of Ur to follow God to the
Promised Land, he had to leave everything that was familiar to
him (Gen.12:1). Despite the idolatry of that pagan city, Abraham
had probably grown attached to the comfort of his home, the
variety of the food, and the fellowship of his friends. But
Abraham left the familiar to follow God's leading: "By faith
Abraham obeyed when he was called to go" (Heb.11:8).
When we experience God's call to another place, it may mean
leaving behind the people and the things we love. But when we're
obedient to God, He will provide something even more futfilling
at our new destination. - Dennis Fisher
Fulfillment on life's journey comes, When we in faith obey The
leading of our loving God, He'll not lead us astray. - Sper
YOU DON'T NEED TO SEE THE WAY IF YOU FOLLOW THE ONE WHO IS THE