[Jesus said], "I have not found such great faith, not even in
Israel!" - Luke 7:9
An explanation we often hear for "unanswered" prayers is
that we don't have enough faith. But Jesus said in Luke 17:6 that
if we have faith the size of a mustard seed, we can command a
mulberry tree to be uprooted and planted in the sea and it will
obey us. In other words, the effectiveness of our prayers depends
not on how much faith we have but on whether we even have faith.
Luke tells of a Roman centurion with "great faith" (7:9).
His faith was expressed first as an appeal to Jesus to heal his
dying servant. Then it was expressed as an acknowledgment that
Jesus could heal his servant anytime, The centurion did not ask
Jesus to do things his way.
Faith has been described as "trusting God's heart and
trusting God's power." Some prayers that seem to go unanswered
are simply instances in which God has lovingly overruled our
wishes. He knows that what we have asked for is not best. Or it
may be that our timing is not His timing, or He has some far
greater purpose in mind. Let us remember, even Jesus prayed to
His heavenly Father, "Nevertheless not My will, but Yours" (Luke
Do we have the centurion's great faith - a faith that trusts
God to do His work, in His way? - C. P. Hia
Unanswered prayers are answered still, As part of God's great
master plan; They help to carry out His will, To demonstrate
God's love for man. D. De Haan
GOD'S ANSWERS ARE WISER THAN OUR PRAYERS.
HOW TO BECOME RICH
Take heed abd beware of covetousness, for one's life
does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.
- Luke 12:15
I find it interesting that Jesus taught more about money
than anything else. And He wasn't trying to ratchet up the
treasury. As far as we know, He never even asked for an offering.
The reason He taught extensively on the subject is that nothing
clogs our spiritual arteries more quickly than money - either
working to have a lot of it or wishing that we had.
Think of the man who brazenly asked Jesus, "Teacher, tell my
brother to divide the inheritance with me" (Luke 12:13). Amazing!
He had an opportunity to "go deep" with Jesus, but instead he
wanted deep pockets.
Jesus responded with a stunning, counterintuitive statement:
"Beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the
abundance of the things he possesses" (v.15). He then went on to
tell the parable of a rich man who was wildly successful from a
worldly standpoint - having so many crops that he had to keep
building bigger barns--but who, in God's eyes, was actually a
"fool." Not because he was rich, but because he was not rich
You'll hear a lot of advice about how to become rich. But
only Jesus tells it to us straight. It's not about the money.
It's about the richness of our relationship with Him and the joy
of turning our greed into generosity. - Joe Stowell
The riches of this world are vain, They vanish in a day; But
sweet the treasures of God's love, They never pass away. - Bosch
LEARNING HOW TO BE RICH TOWARDS GOD YIELDS ETERNAL DIVIDENDS.
Your Word I have hidden in my heart,
that I might not sin against you. - Psalm 119:1
Our family had just arrived at the lake cottage we had
rented for a week of much-anticipated vacation when my wife
discovered the unmistakable evidence of spiders and mice in the
house. It wasn't that we had never encountered such things, but
that we had expected the cottage to be cleaned and prepared for
our stay there. Instead, the counters, cabinets, and beds were
littered with the residue of infestation, requiring much
cleaning before we settled in. It wasn't a bad house; it had just
been left untended.
We might be guilty of dealing with our hearts the way that
cottage was managed. Our "untended places" can become breeding
grounds for infestations of wrong thinking, poor attitudes, or
sinful behavior - creating problems that require significant
attention to correct. The wise path is to recognize our need to
tend our hearts by staying in God's Word and embracing its
In Psalm 119:11, King David recognized the danger of not
building our lives on the Scriptures. He said, "Your Word I have
hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You."
With a focus on the Word, we can build strong spiritual
lives that will help us avoid the dangers that inevitably grow in
untended places. - Bill Crowder
Give me, O Lord, a strong desire, To look within Your Word each
day; Help me to hide it in my heart, Lest from its truth my feet
would stray. - Branon
TO GROW SPIRITUALLY STRONG, READ THE WORD.
Whoever desires to become great among you,
let him be your servant. - Matthew 20:26
An intriguing article in "Michigan Saturday" magazine called
attention to "nursing's dirty little secret" - the incivility and
verbal abuse that occurs among some nurses. This peer-level
bullying (also known as lateral violence) takes the form of
back-stabbing, innuendo, infighting, sabotage, verbal affronts,
failure to respect privacy, and others.
Not only is lateral violence occurwhoever desires ring among
nurses, it's a growing problem in a host of other work
environments. This bullying includes an imbalance of power, an
intent to harm, and the threat of further aggression.
Of course, this would never occur in the church - or would
it? Think about the personal interaction in deacon and elder
boards, church office staffs, Bible-study groups, and youth
ministries. Are they ever marked by the kinds of behavior that
harm, denigrate, or intimidate others? And what about in our
When the disciples were jockeying for position in the coming
kingdom, Jesus rebuked them and said, "Whoever desires to become
great among you, let him be your servant" (Matt.20:26). With that
attitude in all our relationships, bullying will never be found
among us. - Dave Egner
Lord, may we have a servant's heart, In all we say and do, By
placing others' needs above, What we want to pursue. - Sper
ONLY THE ONE WHO SERVES IS QUALIFIED TO LEAD.
LEAVING A LEGACY
You shall teach them diligently to your children...
when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way.
- Deuteronomy 6:7
Recently my grandson Alex accompanied me as I ran errands.
Unexpectedly he asked, "So, Grandpa, how did you receive Christ
as your Savior?" Touched, I told him about my childhood
conversion. Alex was still interested, so I described how his
great-grandfather had come to faith. This included a brief
overview of how he survived World War II, his initial resistance
to the gospel, and how his life changed after becoming a
Later I was reminded of our conversation when I read a Bible
passage that spoke of faith being passed down through the
generations. In Deuteronomy, Moses instructed the Israelites to
take to heart God's truths and share them with the next
generation as a way of life: "These words which I command you
today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to
your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house,
when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise
Biblical parenting is not a guarantee of having godly
offspring. But when we see spiritual interest in the next
generation, we can cultivate vital conversations about God's
Word. This can be one of a parent's, or grandparent's, greatest
legacies. - Dennis Fisher
God gives us children for a time, To train them in His way, To
love them and to teach them how, To follow and obey. - Sper
THE RICHEST LEGACY A PARENT CAN LEAVE A CHILD IS A GODLY EXAMPLE.
I am reminded by this little daily devotion about the fact that
my parents decided to send me to a Church of England school. I
was 6 years old, and was handed a Bible to keep in my desk at
school. At that young age we simply started to read through
Genesis. The first half-hour of the school day was spent in the
Bible and talking about God. Of course at that young age there
was no "dectrinal" theology being taught us, just a reading of
the stories of Genesis, and in time the other books like Exodus.
My parents did not talk much, well really nothing about God or
the Bible, in the home. Yet the Lord put it in their heart to
send me to a "religious" grade school. And it gave me a
foundation in the Bible that was something I now look upon as
"special." By so doing, I also wanted to attend "Sunday school"
where no "doctrinal" theology per se was taught. From all this I
also just read my Bible at home, especially a "red letter" New
Testament I was given by an adult, who could see I loved to read
the Bible. I remember as a teenager, reading the red lettered
words of Christ in the Gospels and book of Revelation, each
night, before falling to sleep. It was a foundation I really had
no idea of, for what large purpose in my life, the Lord was
preparing me for. It was God that walked with me, taught me many
things in those young years of my life, but He used my parents to
put me on the path to reading His word, by sending me to that
What things were gain to me, these I have
counted loss for Christ. - Philippians 3:7
It has been said that "one person's junk is another's
treasure." When David Dudley tried to help his parents clear
their house of "unnecessary items" before moving to a smaller
home, he found it very difficult. He was often angered by his
parents' refusal to part with things they had not used for
decades. Finally, David's father helped him understand that
these even worn-out, useless items were tied to close friends and
important events. Clearing the clutter felt like throwing away
their very lives.
A spiritual parallel to our reluctance to let go of the
clutter in our homes may be our inability to clear our hearts of
the attitudes that weigh us down.
For many years, Saul of Tarsus clung to the "righteousness"
he had earned by obeying God's law. His pedigree and performance
were prized possessions until he encountered Jesus in a blinding
moment on the Damascus Road (Acts 9:1-8). Face to face with the
risen Savior, he let go of his cherished self-effort and later
wrote, "But what things were gain to me, these I have counted
loss for Christ" (Phil. 3:7).
When the Holy Spirit urges us to release our grip on any
attitude that keeps us from following Christ, we find true
freedom in letting go. - David McCasland
Speak to us, Lord, till shamed by Thy great giving, Our hands
unclasp to set our treasures free; Our wills, our love, our dear
ones, our possessions, All gladly yielded, gracious Lord, to
Thee. - Anon.
THROUGH CHRIST WE HAVE THE FREEDOM TO LET GO.
THE THINKING CHRISTIAN
2 Corinthians 10:1-11
Casting down arguments and ... bringing every
thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.
- 2 Corinthians 10:5
David McCullough's biography of John Adams, one of America's
founding fathers and early presidents, describes him as "both a
devout Christian and an independent thinker, and he saw no
conflict in that." I am struck by that statement, for it carries
a note of surprise, suggesting that Christians are somehow naive
or unenlightened, and that the idea of a "thinking Christian" is
a contradiction. Nothing could be further from the truth. One of
the great benefits of salvation is that it causes the believer's
mind to be guarded by the peace of God (Phil.4:7), which can
foster clear thinking, discernment, and wisdom.
Paul described this in his second letter to Corinth when he
wrote that in Christ we are equipped for "casting down arguments
and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of
God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of
Christ" (2 Cor.10:5).
To sift through an argument wisely, to embrace the clarity
of the knowledge of God, and to align our thinking with the mind
of Christ are valuable skills when living in a world lacking in
discernment. These skills enable us to use our minds to represent
Christ. Every Christian should be a thinking Christian. Are you?
- Bill Crowder
If you grasp the message of God's Word, If you've learned to
think things through, Then you can defend the Christian faith,
With wise words both clear and true. - Branon
FAITH WAS NEVER INTENDED AS A SUBSTITUTE FOR INTELLIGENCE.
The words of Bill Crowder are very true. But when push comes to
pull, when the rubber hits the road, many who can utter Bill
Crowder's words, and agree with them, I have discovered, are not
so "thinking" a Christian as they would agree they should be.
Most will stumble when confronted with the wrong teachings of
"Christianity" or the wrong pagan Festivals Christianity has come
to adopt. Sadly, many, most, will stop thinking, when presented
with the truth of God's word, as opposed to the traditions of a
false Christianity. At the tender age of 19 - the last year of
being a teenager - I was brought to have to "think" about all the
Christianity I had grown up with, and that thinking and study and
search, led me to the shocking reality, that most of Christianity
had departed from the "faith once delivered to the saints."
If you are truly reading your Bible from cover to cover; if you
are studying from this Website; you will also be thinking to
"prove all things, and to hold fast to that which is good" as the
apostle Paul admonished his readers.