A HILL TOO HIGH
Read: Exodus 16:1-5
Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its
own things. - Matthew 6:34
My wife and I like to rollerblade. Near the end of one of
our favorite routes is a long hill. When we first started taking
this route, I tried to encourage Sue by saying, "Are you ready
for the hill?" just before pushing our way to the top. But one
day she said, "Could you please not say that? You make it sound
like a huge mountain, and that - discourages me."
It was better for Sue to face the hill thinking only about
one "step," or one rollerblade push, at a time instead of an
entire steep hill to conquer.
Life can be like that. If we peer too far ahead of today,
the challenges may feel like a Mt.Everest climb. They can appear
impossible to handle if we think we have to be "ready for the
The Bible reminds us that today is all we need to tackle. We
don't need to worry about tomorrow's tasks (Matt.6:34). Imagine
Moses thinking, "I've got to feed all these people for who knows
how long. How can I get that much food?" God took care of that
mountain with manna - but only enough for one day at a time (Ex.
Every hill in life is too high if we think we must climb it
all at once. But no hill is insurmountable if we take it one step
forward at a time-with God's help. - Dave Branon
He whose heart is kind beyond all measure, Gives unto each day
what He deems best, Lovingly, its part of pain and pleasure,
Mingling toil with peace and rest. - Berg
GOD IS THERE TO GIVE US STRENGTH FOR EVERY HILL WE HAVE TO CLIMB.
LOOKS CAN BE DECEIVING
Read: Matthew 15:1-11
These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with
their lips, but their heart is far from Me. - Matthew 15:8
On June 22, 2002, a 33-year-old pitching star for the St.
Louis Cardinals was found dead in his Chicago hotel room. He was
young, physically active, and appeared to be in good health.
However, the autopsy revealed that he had a 90-percent blockage
in two of three coronary arteries, an enlarged heart, and a blood
clot in one of the arteries. His appearance misled many to think
that he was physically healthy.
Jesus said that appearances can deceive people into thinking
that they are spiritually healthy. After the Pharisees accused
Him and His followers of breaking religious traditions by not
washing their hands before they ate, Jesus said that the
Pharisees had laid aside commands of God for man-made, religious
traditions. He reminded them that kingdom righteousness was not
an outside-in job but an inside-out, transforming work of God.
Jesus said that they looked impressive spiritually, but their
hearts were diseased and distant: "[They] honor Me with their
lips, but their heart is far from Me" (Matt.15:8). Their talk
never matched their walk, thus producing the illegitimate child
Spiritual health is not determined by how we look, but by
how we live. Let's ask God to search us, know our hearts, test
us, and lead us in His way (Ps.139:23-24). - Marvin Williams
Search me, O God, and know my heart today; Try me, O Savior, know
my thoughts, I pray, See if there be some wicked way in me;
Cleanse me from every sin and set me free. - Orr
AS WE TALK THE WALK, LET'S MAKE SURE WE WALK THE TALK.
DO SOMETHING WITH NOTHING
Read: Ephesians 5:15-21
Walk circumspectly, not as fools but as the wise, redeeming the
time, because the days are evil. - Ephesians 5:15-16
A newspaper ad showed three people waiting for a city bus.
Two of them were bored and listless, while the third was happily
playing a game on a small electronic device. "Do something with
your nothing," the ad said. "That nothing time. The time in
between everything else you have to do." The idea was to sell the
portable player so people could use all those segments of wasted
I suspect that many of us already constructively use those
small increments of waiting time to read a book, memorize a
verse, or pray for a friend. It's our longer waiting periods
filled with uncertainty and indecision that may leave us anxious
Paul challenged the Christians in Ephesus to "walk
circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time,
because the days are evil" (Eph.5:15 16). The Greek scholar
Kenneth Wuest suggests that this refers to time in its
"strategic, opportune seasons" and means "making a wise and
sacred use of every opportunity for doing good."
During those seasons when we wonder, "How did I get here and
when can I leave?" it's best to look for our God-given
opportunities instead of focusing on the obstacles. That's the
way to do something with our nothing. - David McCasland
Wait and, in waiting, listen for His leading; Be strong, thy
strength for every day is stored. Go forth in faith, and let
thine heart take courage; There is no disappointment with the
Lord. - Anon.
WHEN YOU FIND TIME ON YOUR HANDS, PUT THEM TOGETHER AND PRAY.
Read: Lamentations 1:12-16; 3:19-23
Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, because His
compassions fail not. - Lamentations 3:22
In the 18th century, silhouettes (shadow profiles traced and
cut from black paper) were a popular alternative to costly
portraits. The word took its name from the French controller
general of finance, Etienne de Silhouette. During the Seven Years
War against England, he tried to raise revenues by heavily taxing
the wealthy. Victims of his high taxes complained and used the
word silhouette to refer to their wealth being reduced to a mere
shadow of what it once was.
With the destruction of Jerusalem, Jeremiah lamented over
the shadow of what once was a great city and center of worship
now devastated by war. "Is it nothing to you, all you who pass
by? Behold and see if there is any sorrow like my sorrow" (Lam.
But Jeremiah did not remain in despair. He recognized God's
sovereignty in suffering. Later in this book of sorrow, the
prophet reflected: "I have hope. Through the LORD'S mercies we
are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new
every morning" (3:21-23).
Has sorrow or suffering made your life feel like a dark
silhouette of what it once was? Remember, God's mercies are new
every morning. He is compassionately working in your life for His
glory and your blessing. - Dennis Fisher
Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies, But His smile
quickly drives it away; Not a doubt nor a fear, not a sigh nor a
tear, Can abide while we trust and obey. - Sammis
TO SEE BEYOND EARTH'S SHADOW, LOOK TO CHRIST THE LIGHT.
Read: 1 John 2:12-17
The world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does
the will of God abides forever. - 1 John 2:17
Pornography, once a secretive backdoor industry, is now out
in the open. The easy access and anonymity of the Internet have
turned it into a multibillion-dollar-a-year "business." But it
leaves a trail of broken families, ineffective Christian leaders,
and men who have lost the respect of their loved ones.
The apostle John was known for his great love for Christ and
His church. In 1 John 2:12-17, he warned fathers and young men
against these three lusts:
* The lust of the flesh - the insatiable appetite to indulge in
pleasures that inflame the flesh but never satisfy.
* The lust of the eyes - wandering eyes that continually want
more riches and possessions but always remain covetous.
* The pride of life - the vain mind that thirsts for man's
applause. But the glory evaporates quickly.
Pornography damages users and victims alike. It feeds
lustful desires in ways that can never satisfy. True satisfaction
is found only when we give our affections to eternal things - to
a right relationship with our heavenly Father and with those He
has created in His image.
"The world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does
the will of God abides forever" (v.17). - Albert Lee
FOR FURTHER STUDY Many Christian men struggle with the
temptations of pornography. Find help by reading "When A Man's
Eye Wanders" at www.discoveryseries.org/cb991
INNER PEACE SPRINGS OUT OF INNER PURITY.
Read: Hebrews 12:1-11
Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily besets
us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.
- Hebrews 12:1
Have you ever heard of shark "tonic"? It isn't a serum that
prevents shark attacks or a medicine given to sharks. The actual
term is "tonic immobility," described as "a natural state of
paralysis that animals enter. . . . Sharks can be placed in a
tonic immobility state by turning them upside down. The shark
remains in this state of paralysis for an average of 15 minutes
before it recovers."
Imagine, a dangerous shark can be made vulnerable simply by
turning it upside down. The state of tonic immobility makes the
shark incapable of movement.
Sin is like that. Our ability to honor our Lord, for which
we are created in Christ, can be put into "tonic immobility" by
the power and consequences of sin. To that end, the writer of
Hebrews wants us to be proactive. He wrote, "Therefore we also,
since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us
lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us,
and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us"
If we are to run the race of the Christian life effectively,
we must deal with sin before it immobilizes us. We need to lay
aside the sin that hinders us from pleasing Him - starting today.
- Bill Crowder
Start early today to run in the race, That Christians are told
they can win; First wait on the Lord for the strength, He will
give, Then lay aside every known sin. - Branon
WE MUST FACE UP TO OUR SINS BEFORE WE CAN PUT THEM BEHIND US.
THE RIPENING SELF
Read: 1 Peter 5:5-11
May the God of all grace ... after you have suffered a while,
perfect, establish, syrengthen, and settle you. - 1 Peter 5:10
In his early years of ministry, the English preacher Charles
Simeon (1759-1836) was a harsh and selfassertive man. One day he
was visiting a friend and fellow pastor in a nearby village. When
he left to go home, his friend's daughters complained to their
father about Simeon's manner. So he took the girls to the .
backyard and said, "Pick me one of those peaches." It was early
summer, and the peaches were green. The girls asked why he wanted
green, unripe fruit. He replied, "Well, my dears, it is Green
now, and we must wait; but a little more sun, and a few more
showers, and the peach will be ripe and sweet. So it is with Mr.
Simeon, in due time, did change. The warmth of God's love
and the "showers" of misunderstanding and disappointment were the
means by which he became a gentle, humble man.
The God of all grace works in all His children, humbling the
proud and exalting the humble, to make them ripe and sweet. Our
task is to take hold of God's grace to endure our afflictions
with patience, without growing weary.
In time, He will "perfect, establish, strengthen, and
settle" us (1 Peter 5:10). We must "wait on the Loin" and "be of
good courage" (Ps. 27:14). - David Roper
Our fruitfulness and growth in Christ, Won't happen instantly,
But meditating on God's Word, Will bring maturity. - Sper
SALVATION IS THE MIRACLE OF A MOMENT; GROWTH IS THE LABOR OF A
To be continued