Read: Judges 16:6-20
He did not know that the Lord had departed from him. - Judges
Barney had always been proud of his thick, wavy hair. But
then he began to lose it. Finally just one lone hair remained on
top of his shiny dome. One morning Barney awoke, looked at his
pillow, and was shocked to see that last hair lying there. Jump-
ing out of bed, he ran downstairs crying "Martha, Martha, I'm
That reminds me of the Christian who begins dabbling in the
things of the world. He gets deeper and deeper in sin, slowly
sliding away from the Lord without even knowing what is
happening. It is not until he has had some startling experience -
perhaps due to God's discipline - that he sees his true
condition. When suddenly brought under the powerful searchlight
of the Word of God, the deceived one is shocked to realize how
subtly and deceitfully Satan has stripped away his spiritual
power and discernment.
TV, movie, and home video habits reveal how far some people
have slipped. Suggestive words and immoral themes, once
considered offensive, are tolerated as acceptable entertainment.
To avoid the kind of shock that Barney experienced, it's
important we examine ourselves daily. Say, are you going bald
spiritually? - Richard De Haan
O Lord, help us to recognize When we begin to compromise, And
give us strength to follow through With what we know is right and
true. - Sper
MOST OFTEN, FALLING INTO SIN IS NOT A BLOWOUT BUT A SLOW LEAK.
STAYING IN TUNE
Read: 1 John 1:1-2:2
Years ago, a radio station received letter from a shepherd
who lived on an isolated ranch in the western part of the United
States. Never before had the station received such an unusual
request. It read, "Will you please strike 'A' on the piano in
your studio? I am far from a piano, and the only comfort I have
is my fiddle. Just now it is out of tune. Will you strike 'A' so
that I can get it in time again?"
That is a picture of us when our lives get out of tune with
the Savior. The strings of moral conviction, once finely attuned
to God's Word, became loose through compromise or neglect. Only
the memory of joyous fellowship with God and others remains. It
happens to all of us. And it usually starts with the discord of
selfish attitudes and negative thinking. Secret sins rarely
distort the tone of outward respectability, but sooner or later
an off-key word or deed betrays that something is wrong inside.
Daily we need to make sure we are in harmony with God. The
Spirit through the Word gives us the sure note to which we can
tune our lives. When we are off key, confession retunes us. When
there is something we must do, obedience keeps us in tune. And
when we feel discouraged and alone, praise helps lift our
spirits. - Dennis DE Haan
You cannot hide your sin from God, He knows what's in your heart,
Confession is the quickest way To make a brand-new start. - Sper
WHEN THE HEART IS IN TUNE WITH CHRIST, THE DISCORDS OF LIFE
I'M NOT MY OWN MASTER
Read: Revelation 1:12-18
I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive
forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death. -
A"manual for killing" - that's how one critic describes
Derek Humphry's book "Final Exit," which gives instructions on
how to commit suicide. Early in his discussion of self-murder,
Humphry says, "If you consider God the master of you fate, then
read no further."
That statement raises the decisive questions: Who ultimately
controls life and death? Do we hold the title deeds to our own
person, or does Gad? Who decided when we were to be born? Do we
have the right, because of pain or old age or unhappiness, to end
a life we did not create? Do we, because of our faith in the Lord
of life and death, refuse to talk about fate? Do we share David's
trustful confidence, "My times are in Your hand" (Psalm 31:15)?
Do I affirm with grieving Job even in the face of tragic loss,
"The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name
of the Lord" (Job 1:21)?
Meanwhile, our faith does not relieve us of responsibility
for our daily tasks and duties. Instead, it strengthens us to
know that God is working in us both "to will and to do for His
good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13). We can therefore gladly commit
the awesome decisions about life and death into His sovereign
hands. - Vernon Grounds
Thy will I choose; I give to Thee All of the life Thou gavest me;
Thy will I choose, no life I ask Except to do Thy given task. -
OURS IS NOT TO CHOOSE HOW LONG WE CAN LIVE BUT TO LIVE OUR LIFE
AS WELL AS WE CAN.
BECOMING WHAT WE ARE
Read: Philippians 3:1-11
The Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord us,
there is liberty. - 2 Corinthians 3:17
At a British university, a group of students had raised the
question, "What do you want to be?" Different answers were given
- a champion athlete, an influential politician, a noted scholar.
Shyly, yet definitely, one student said something that caused
thoughtful silence: "You may laugh at me, but I want to be a
saint" Imagine - a saint! Whatever his concept of sainthood, many
in our secular society would view that ambition as very
eccentric. Yet if we are Christians, that ought to be the top
priority goal of our life. To be a saint is simply to be like
Jesus. Paul declared that the overarching purpose of God the
Father is to make us like His Son (Romans 8:29). That's the
essence of sainthood.
Of course, every believer is guaranteed perfect conformity
to Christ in the world to come. But God does not want us to wait
passively until we enter eternity for that supernatural
transformation (I John 3:2). We are to be cooperating now with
the Holy Spirit to grow more and more into Christlike sainthood
"in this world" (4:17).
We're already saints (Philippians 1:1) by faith in Christ.
But we face the daily challenge of becoming what we are -
authentic saints in every area of our lives. - Vernon Grounds
More like the Master I would live and grow More of His love to
others I would show; More self-denial, like His in Galilee, More
like the Master I long to ever be. - Gabriel
TO BE A SAINT IS TO BE LIKE CHRIST.
WHO SAYS WHAT'S RIGHT?
Read: Romans 2:1-16
Gentiles, who do not have the law ... show the work of the law
written in their hearts. - Romans 2:14-15
People who reject absolute standards of right and wrong are
often inconsistent. When they think they are being treated
unfairly, they appeal to a standard of justice that they expect
everyone to adhere to.
A philosophy professor began each new term by asking his
class, "Do you believe it can be shown that there are absolute
values like justice?" The free-thinking students all argued that
everything is relative and no single law can be applied
universally. Before the end of the semester, the professor
devoted one class period to debate the issue. At the end, he
concluded, "Regardless of what you think, I want you to know that
absolute values can be demonstrated. And if you don't accept what
I say, I'll flunk you!" One angry student got up and insisted,
"That's not fair!" "You've just proved my point," replied the
professor. "You've appealed to a higher standard of fairness."
God's moral standards are in the Bible, and He has given us
a conscience to tell us right from wrong (Romans 2;1415). Every
time we use the words good and bad, we imply a standard by which
we make such judgments. Biblical values are not outdated. They
are good for any age because they originate with an eternal,
unchanging God. - Dennis De Haan
God has not left us in the dark About what's wrong or right, For
through His works and in His Word His Spirit gives us light. - D.
ONLY GOD HAS THE RIGHT TO SAY WHAT'S WRONG.
A CORRECTABLE MINE
Read: Proverbs 9:7-12
Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you; rebuke a wise man,
and he will love you. - Proverbs 9:8
If your attitude toward being corrected is "Nobody's going
to tell me I'm sinning," you probably fit the description of the
"scoffer" in Proverbs 9:8. Anyone who tries to correct you will
risk being hated by you. On the other hand, if you accept the
correction of someone who rebukes you, you are "wise," according
to Proverbs 9:8, and you will love that person.
By nature, we don't like to be told we have done wrong. I
have had to resist feelings of anger and wounded pride on more
than one occasion when someone pointed out to me that I was in
the wrong. (You may have had a similar experience.) But later I
was glad I held those reactions in check and listened because
what was said actually helped me.
Proverbs 9:12 says, "if you are wise, you are wise for
yourself, and if you scoff, you will bear it alone." During the
years I was a pastor, I saw many confirmations of that truth as I
lovingly and truthfully confronted people with their sin
(Galatians 6:1). The wise who received correction reaped personal
blessing. But those who scoffed tended to harvest personal pain
Lord, I want to be a wise person. Give me a correctable mind. -
Herb Vander Lugt
He is a friend who tells the truth Yet tempers it with love; And
he who takes the truth to heart Gains wisdom from above. - D. De
ONE PROOF OF YOUR LOVE IS HOW YOU HANDLE REPROOF.
JUST DO IT
Read: James 1:19-27
Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
- James 1:22
John Wesley said it well. Thousands have echoed it since.
"Me problem of problems is getting Christianity into the life."
What is it that makes putting the Christian faith into practice
so difficult? Maybe it's because we assume that it's enough
simply to know God's truth in our heads.
Most of us have heard more sermons than we can count. We may
even take elaborate notes on what we hear. We tune in to several
religious broadcasts on the radio, and we watch a few more on
television. We read the Bible and read "Our Daily Bread"
regularly. We feel good about what we know, and we are quick to
debate anyone who disagrees with our understanding of Scripture.
What else is left? The answer is as simple as it is obvious:
Just do it!
At the end of his initial consultation with a client, the
famous psychoanalyst Alfred Adler would ask a perceptive
question: "And what would you do if you were cured?" The patient
would give an answer. Adler would listen, then get up, open the
door, and reply, "Well, then go and do it!"
How do you get God's truth into your fife? The answer is as
obvious as it is ignored. In God's strength, and in loving
obedience to Him, just do it! - Haddon Robinson
Help us, O Lord, to heed Your Word, Its precepts to obey;
And may we fight the tendency To go in our own way.. - Sper
WE MASTER THE SCRIPTURES ONLY WHEN THE SCRIPTURES MASTER US.