IS THAT YOU, NEIGHBOR?
And who is my neighbor? - Luke 10:29
English yachtsman sailing in the Caribbean, 4,000 miles from
home, lost his mast in a storm. He had been adrift for 2 days,
and was taking water in 20-foot waves, when his desperate SOS was
picked up. According to Ananova news service, 90 minutes later he
was rescued by the captain of a 116,000-ton superliner. Only when
he was pulled out of the water did the rescued sailor discover
that the captain who had responded to his call for help was a
neighbor from his Hampshire village of Warsash.
The rescued man later asked. "What are the chances of being
rescued in the middle of nowhere by your neighbor?"
Jesus saw neighbors in unlikely places. When an expert in
Jewish law asked Him to define the neighbor we are to love, Jesus
drew a big circle. He told the story of a merciful Samaritan to
show that a neighbor is the friend, stranger, or enemy who needs
the help we can give (Luke 10).
To distinguish ourselves as Jesus' people, we need to show
kindness even to those who wish us harm (Luke 6:32-34). Only then
will we reflect the heart of the One who, while we were still His
enemies, paid the ultimate price to come to our rescue. - Mart De
How many lives shall I touch today? How many neighbors will pass
my way? I can bless so many and help so much, If I meet each one
with a Christlike touch. - Jones
OUR LOVE FOR CHRIST IS ONLY AS REAL AS OUR LOVE FOR OUR NEIGHBOR.
CHOOSING THE HARD THINGS
2 Corinthians 4:5-18
We are hard pressed on every side, yet not
crushed; we are perplexed, but not in
despair. - 2 Corinthians 4:8
On September 12, 1962, President John F. Kennedy delivered a
speech at Rice University in Houston, Texas, about the difficult
challenges facing the nation. He also shared his passion for the
United States to place a man on the moon.
In balancing the needs of his people with the desire to
conquer space, Kennedy said, "We choose to go to the moon in this
decade. We choose to go to the moon and do the other things,
not because they are easy but because they are hard." The nation
Seven years later, Neil Armstrong took a "giant leap for
mankind" in July of 1969, by walking on the moon. Today's world
is filled with energysaving devices that make life easier, but
there is something to be said for embracing life's challenges.
The apostle Paul found serving Christ hard, but he didn't see it
as a cause for discouragement. He continued to focus on Christ,
and wrote, "We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed;
we are perplexed, but not in despair" (2 Cor.4:8). Paul knew that
"He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with
Jesus, and will present us with you" (v.14). The goal was worth
By the grace of God, may we commit to serving Jesus not just
when it's easy, but when it's hard. - Bill Crowder
JESUS GAVE HIS ALL TO SAVE US - ARE WE GIVING OUR ALL TO SERVE
Psalm 23:1-3; Mark 6:30-32
Be still, and know that I am God. - Psalm 46:10
My friend Mary told me that she had always valued the time
she spent fishing with her dad. Not being a fishing aficionado
myself, I was curious about what she found so enjoyable. "I just
like being with my dad," she said. "So you just fish and talk?" I
asked her. "Oh, no, we don't really talk," she said. "We just
fish." It wasn't the conversation - it was the company.
Did you ever think about how much time we spend talking? In
what we like to call our "quiet time" with God, we usually fill
in any silence with our prayers. But do we ever practice just
God said, "Be still, and know that I am God" (Ps.46:10).
When Jesus noticed that the disciples were so busy that they
didn't even have time to eat, He told them, "Come aside by
yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while" (Mark 6:31).
When we leave the distractions of life behind, we can more easily
rest and refocus on God.
Are you allowing quiet moments alone with God to be a part
of your life? Do you desire for Him to restore your soul? (Ps.
23:1-3). Let Him teach you how to "be still." And listen when
Jesus invites you: "Come aside with Me and rest a while." - Cindy
The quiet times we spend with God, In solitude and prayer, Will
strengthen and restore our souls, And help us sense His care. -
QUIET TIMES WITH GOD STORE UP POWER FOR FUTURE EMERGENCIES.
You shall love your neighbor as yourself. - Matthew 22:39
In the movie "Fever Pitch," Ben Wrightman is crazy about the
Boston Red Sox baseball team. He rarely misses a game during the
spring and summer months.
One winter Ben falls in love with a young woman named
Lindsey and wins her heart. Then spring rolls around, and she
finds out that he's a different person during baseball season. He
has no time for her unless she goes to the games with him.
When Lindsey ends her relationship with Ben because of his
fanaticism, he talks with a young friend, who says, "You love the
Sox. But tell me, have they ever loved you back?" Those words
cause Ben to analyze his priorities and to give more time to the
woman he loves, who loves him back.
We pour our lives into hobbies, pleasures, activities, work
- many good things. But two things should always be thought about
when making our choices. Jesus said. "You shall love the LORD
your God with all your heart .... You shall love your neighbor as
yourself" (Matt 22:37,39).
When it seems our life is getting out of balance, the
question, "Has that hobby or activity or thing ever loved me
back?" may help to keep us in check. Loving God and loving people
are what really count. - Anne Cetas
Follow with reverent steps the great example,
Of Him whose holy work was doing good: So shall the wide earth
seem our Father's temple, Each loving life a psalm of gratitude,
WE SHOW OUR LOVE FOR GOD WHEN WE SHARE HIS LOVE WITH OTHERS.
RUNNING A MARATHON
I press towards the goal for the prize of the upward call of God
in Christ Jesus. - Pilippians 3:14
The "Comrades Marathon," which began in 1921, is the oldest
ultra-marathon. Covering 90 km (56 miles), it is held annually in
South Africa. Bruce Fordyce completely dominated this marathon in
the 1980s, winning it nine times between 1981 and 1990. His 1986
record of 5 hours 24 minutes Philippians 3:12-21 and 7 seconds
stood for 21 years before it was finally broken in 2007. It's
amazing to me that he has continued to run in this race every
In a sense, we as Christians are all in a marathon. It takes
endurance to run and finish the race of life. When the apostle
Paul wrote his letter to the Philippians, he spoke of how he was
"reaching forward to those things which are ahead" (3:13) and
pressing on "toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of
God in Christ Jesus" (v.14).
Our Lord Jesus has set an example of how to run life's
marathon. The Bible tells us that Jesus "for the joy that was set
before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat
down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Heb.12:2). Despite
"hostility from sinners," He completed His race (v.3).
The secret to finishing well is to look forward to the joy
that awaits us after life's race - eternal life with Him. - C. P
I ran to meet Him when I heard His call,
The Savior's arms were open to receive;
And I'm still running since I gave my all,
Inviting others also to believe. - H ess
THE CHRISTIAN'S RACE IS NOT A COMPETITIVE EVENT BUT AN ENDURANCE
PATIENCE IN PRISON
[God] Himself has said, "I will never leave you noe forsake you."
- Hebrews 13:5
Have you ever noticed that other people's forgetfulness can
try your patience? As a college professor, I find my patience
stretched when a student forgets to do an assignment that's
clearly spelled out in the syllabus.
In the Old Testament story of Joseph, we see a far worse
example of forgetfulness - and we can only imagine how he
struggled to be patient as a result.
While in prison, Joseph interpreted a dream of the king's
butler, which led to the man's release. Joseph told him,
"Remember me when it is well with you, and please show kindness
to me; make mention of me to Pharaoh, and get me out of this
house" (Gen.40:14). It would seem that after Joseph had
helped the butler gain freedom, remembering him would have been
high on his "to do" list. But it was 2 years before the butler
spoke to Pharaoh about Joseph (41:9). Finally, Joseph was freed.
Imagine the impatience Joseph felt as he waited each day in that
dungeon (40:15) - perhaps thinking his only chance at freedom had
passed. Yet Joseph had a resource: He had God's presence (39:21),
as do we (Heb.13:5). When you're feeling impatient, lean on the
God who is always with you. He'll turn your impatience into
patient trust. - Dave Branon
Tune your anxious heart to patience, Walk by faith where sight is
dim; Loving God, be calm and trustful, And leave everything to
Him. - Chambers
PATIENCE MEANS AWAITING GOD'S TIME WITHOUT DOUBTING GOD'S LOVE.
I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to
me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel.
- Philippians 1:12
On a map in the back of my Bible, each of Paul's missionary
journeys is shown by a colored line with arrows indicating his
direction of travel. On the first three, the arrows lead away
from his place of departure and back to a point of return. On the
fourth journey, however, Paul was traveling as a prisoner, bound
for trial before Caesar, and the arrows point only one direction,
ending in Rome.
We might be tempted to call this an unfortunate time in
Paul's life, were not for his view that God was leading and using
him just as much on this journey as He did on the previous three.
He wrote: "I want you to know, brethren, that the things which
happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of
the gospel, so that it has become evident to the whole palace
guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ; and
most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my
chains, are much more bold to speak the Word without fear" (Phil.
Even when our journey in life is marked by confinement and
limitations, we can be sure that the Lord will encourage others
through us as we speak His Word and trust in Him. - David
The journeys that we take in life, Though unexpected they may be,
If we commit to follow Christ, His work through us the world will
see. - Sper
FOR THE CHRISTIAN, WHAT LOOKS LIKE A DETOUR MAY ACTUALLY BE A NEW
ROAD TO BLESSING.
Oh, indeed I can look back on my life and see a number of times
that I was unsure, even confused some, as to what was happening
in my life, for things happened that I never would have chosen,
never thought I'd be in that situation, certainly never planned
that circumstance, as a young man in my teens, planning and
dreaming to reach for my dreams. Through some of my life years, I
did wonder why they went as they did. It was only after getting
back to realizing God was in charge, then looking back on certain
events, that I came to the knowledge that it all happened, so
that I might teach and preach the GOSPEL to individuals and to
the world (now via the Internet and this Website) in a way that
gives me lessons of life, so I can be more effective ... for I
have walked the road that many others have walked. I can relate
to their trials, tests, troubles, and how life can throw us a
curve ball out of the blue. But we still bat on, knowing in just
sticking in, we eventually will make it around the bases of life
and into the Kingdom of God.