Monday, March 31, 2014


Matthew 6:16-18        When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father , who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

            Fasting is not a “no” to the goodness of food or the generosity of God in providing it. Rather, it is a way of saying, from time to time, that having more of the Giver surpasses having the gift. If a husband and wife resolve to give up sexual relations for a season to deal earnestly with a problem keeping tham at odds, this is not a condemnation of sex but an exaltation of love. Food is good. But God is better. Normally we meet God in his good gifts and turn every enjoyment into worship with thanksgiving. But from time to time we need to test ourselves to see if we have begun to love his gifts in place of God.

            This is the essence of Christian fasting: We ache and yearn – and fast – to know more and more of all that God is for us in Jesus. But only because he has already laid hold of us and is drawing us ever forward and upward into “all the fullness of God.”

  A Hunger For God, By John Piper, pg. 43, 48.

Sunday, March 30, 2014


Isaiah 40: 28-31         The Lord is the everlasting God…He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak…those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Who more than today’s busy mother needs to “run, and not grow weary”, to “walk and not be faint”? For the Christian wife and mother this is essential. Prayer and the reading of God’s Word are her lifeline to strength and wisdom for the hours ahead. In this way she can have the assurance of His presence by her side and feel strengthened spiritually to meet the problems of the day.

Something will have to give if opportunity is to be found for his quiet time with God. Nothing should be allowed to interfere with it. There will be days when you will have to fight to preserve it. But what is any more important? The entire family will benefit from your inner strength and you can impart to them something form the loving source. Can you remember a day, however smooth the sailing, when you did not need a measure of strength, courage, wisdom or guidance? You will find it right there in God’s Word.

Bread From My Oven, By Marjorie Parker, pg. 61.

Saturday, March 29, 2014


2 Corinthians 12:7-10            There was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My trace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

            In his book, Songs in the Night, Dr. Milton addresses the fact of thorns in our lives. Christians are not exempt from attack by Satan. Such attacks come in our spirit, from the words of people or from the ruling authorities in the world who target us directly. No matter the source, we can be sure that as followers of Christ we will be targets for those who oppose the truth. Jesus reminded the first disciples, and us, saying: “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.”(John 15:18)

            Thorns are common to God’s people. Christians in every era of history have experienced them. Thorns are a gift of God to you. They are given to counter our human weakness to exalt ourselves and not Christ. Thorns may be a direct satanic attack against you. The source of thorns can be Satan himself, remember Job. Thorns can produce a sense of God’s abandonment. They create a crisis of faith and a distrust of God himself.
Thorns produce prayer that leads to the voice of Jesus in your life. God’s intention is to remind us of our humanity and his divinity. Thorns lead to a new understanding of God’s grace in your life. What is experienced from these thorns are nothing in comparison to what Christ suffered for our own sins. Thorns lead to a new contentment in your life over the other hardships you may face. They force us to put many things in our life into their true and proper perspective. In the end, thorns can lead to victory, by way of our persevering faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

            As we contemplate the thorns in our daily life, may we find comfort and encouragement in knowing that in God’s hand such pain is used to lead us into a new life and a greater trust in Jesus.

Songs in the Night by Dr. Michael Milton.

Friday, March 28, 2014


Psalm 90:14-15          Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, for as many years as we have seen trouble.
The trials and sufferings in life seem sometimes far, far away. Wars, revolutions, severe droughts that create deadly famines, earthquakes and other natural or human disasters are prevalent world-wide. With the world shrinking because of the speeds of travel and communications, troubles “over-there” are coming closer to home. The effects of such disasters are having greater impacts here in America than ever before. With the growing number of immigrant families, more of the news from overseas is creating crisis in the lives of more Americans. Today we are seeing and hearing of greater incidents of Christians being targeted with violence, negative journalism and hateful speech. These forms of persecution and suffering are causing many Christians to question their faith and witness. Is being a Christian worth this trouble?

Jesus and the early church suffered tremendously from persecution. The secular leaders were elevated to the level of deity and their images of stone were glorified. The people were to worship them, obey their edicts and contribute to their ongoing reigns. Christians of that day refused to compromise their beliefs and their works of mercy. In return, the culture of their day had them executed or excommunicated from society.

American Christians have been spared much of this type of persecution. The threats we experience come in more behind the scene and subtle ways. Decades of removing Christian teachings from our civic places and practices has brought no direct persecution. Yet, it has eroded the moral and ethical foundations of society. We shy away from Christian beliefs or practices that would draw unwanted attention or that are found offensive to others. If attach verbally or physically will we change our thinking or discontinue our actions. If we don’t fit into the public dialogue will we compromise the truth in order to have a place at the table?

May God grant us a fresh understanding for a Theology of Suffering that will enable us to stand with Christ in this lost and dying world.

Thursday, March 27, 2014


Romans 8:26-27         The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express… the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.

Sometimes we think of prayer as a way to get my will done. No. Prayer is a means of getting His will done. And let’s not forget: getting his will done is precisely the best thing that can ever happen to us! It isn’t best for me to get my will done. What will bring me the very highest, greatest, most supreme joy is to get his will done.

            The story is told of a wealthy woman whose small boy was a brat, very spoiled. A teenage girl was caring for the little guy one afternoon, while the mother was busy in another part of the house.
A wasp flew into the room and the boy saw its brilliant colors. He began calling, “I want it! I want it!” The mother, not knowing what he meant, called from the other room, “Let the boy have what he wants. Let him have it!” The baby-sitter complied. She let him have it.

            Soon the wealthy mother heard a loud, anguished scream. She called out, “What’s the matter?” The girl simply answered, “He got what he wanted.”

            Often God doesn’t give us what we want. But he always gives us what is best for us. Perhaps we ask God for something that obviously is not good for us. We ask him for something ridiculous and then we tack on the pious phrase, “if it be your will”. Remember, prayer is not getting my will done, but rather getting God’s will done.

Pocket Prayers, By Robert C. Savage, pg. 46.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


1 Corinthians 9:24-25            Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

Y.A. Tittle, the great quarterback who played for the San Francisco Forty-Niners and later for the New York Giants, learned early in his high school years the importance of getting every winning edge he could get in order to play good football. His high school coach wanted a winning team, and this meant one thing – the need for self-control in all things.

Later in his career, during a crucial game against the Detroit Lions, San Francisco was behind, 17-14. With only a few minutes left, Y.A. faked two passes and ran the ball for the winning touchdown. Without self-control such a last-minute victory would not have been possible.

 When you watch a quarterback, you think of self-control. When the pressure is on, everything depends upon the quarterback because he is the one who calls the plays and controls the game. If you want to be a successful athlete, you need to have control over all your emotions. Self-control is what gives us life’s winning edge. The question is: Am I going to control life, or is it going to control me?

May God help us not to be too busy to take advantage of spare hours in which to develop our physical, mental and spiritual abilities for His glory.


Meditations for Servicemen, By William E. Parsons, Jr., pgs. 29-30.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


Proverbs 17:27-28     A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered. Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue.  

President Calvin Coolidge, the thirtieth president of the United States, was a reserved man who spoke very little. A reporter attempted to interview him, and the conversation went as follows:

Reporter: Do you wish to say anything about the war threat in Europe?

Coolidge: No.

Reporter: About the strike in the clothing factories?

Coolidge: No.

Reporter: About the League of Nations?

Coolidge: No.

Reporter: About the farm production problem?

Coolidge: No.

As the reporter began to leave the room, Coolidge unexpectedly called him back and said, “Don’t quote me.”

Never let yourself feel pressured into saying something you don’t want to say, or into saying something when you don’t feel like talking. Silence is not a “lack” of communication. It is a form of communication, and it can be a very effective one at that. Never pass up a chance to keep your mouth shut.

God’s Little Devotional Book.  pg. 202-203.

Monday, March 24, 2014


2 Peter 3:16    [Paul] writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.
            As we study the Bible many questions come to mind. A careful reading of Scripture sometimes causes us to think that there are contradictions between authors or verses. Think about these questions.

Is it Faith or Works that saves us?
Yes. Paul says that we are saved by faith alone in Ephesians 2:8-9. James says of saving faith that it is not without good works. Our faith is an active response to the needs of others, James 2:17-18.

Is God a God of Revelation or of Mystery?
Yes. In Colossians 1:26:27 we read that Paul’s ministry to us is to present “the word of God in its fullness – the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. To them [the saints, us] God has chosen to make known…the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

Should I fall headlong into grace or work out my salvation with fear and trembling?
Yes. Paul asks “Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin.” (Romans 6:1-2) Yet being dead to sin, Paul says we are to “continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling” in Philippians 2:12.

Rest assured that there are no contradictions in Scripture. What may seem to be the case is often times the author’s answer to a specific question or issue from a different perspective.

Sunday, March 23, 2014


2 Corinthians 11:14       And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.

Satan confuses man by camouflaging his desires with those of God. He relies on our traditional beliefs and thinking to sneak “new insights” into our biblical understandings. Satan has better ways to accomplish God’s work. Satan painlessly and gently molds us into believing his lies. We begin to serve God more efficiently by doing things our way. After all, the scientific and academic advancements of the past fifty years are a gift from God to be used to help others.

We begin to believe that we are the only ones that can provide for others. Treating the ministry as a business, we see clients as consumers. We offer a wide variety of services tailored to their earthly needs. We have redefined God’s call in order to serve our social agendas and feed our stature among other groups. Our agenda is the godly way to relieve the pain and suffering of mankind. Our works are able to help others achieve salvation and blessing.

Such is the way Satan works to twist and distort our perception of God’s call to ministry. Satan has subtly turned us against the God that we had set out to serve. He has kindled within us a pride in our own accomplishments, a pride that excludes God. The subtle abuse of traditional beliefs is used by Satan to confuse and trick man into following a line of belief opposed to God’s will for us and for our ministry.

Saturday, March 22, 2014


Genesis 37:4-5    When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father loved Joseph more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him. Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more.  

            Joseph’s story is a life of personal tragedy and Godly fulfillment. Joseph was a dreamer adored by his father. The brothers were jealous of how their youngest brother was doted upon by their father. Joseph’s unique ability to interpret dreams made his brothers more jealous and hateful.

                        Hold on tight to your dream, Hold on tight to your dream.
                        When you see your ship go sailing,
                        When you feel your heart is breaking,
Hold on tight to your dream.
The brothers’ hatred culminated with their selling young Joseph to slave traders. The traders in turn sold him to an official of Pharaoh. They hid this by leading their father to believe that Joseph had been killed by wild animals. The family mourned the death 17 year old Joseph.
It’s a long time to be gone, Time just rolls on and on.
                        When you need a shoulder to cry on,
When you get so sick of trying,
                        Just hold tight to your dream.

Joseph was a slave, a prisoner and an official in Pharaoh’s court by age 30. Then came 7 years of abundance and 7 years of famine. Joseph’s leadership in the years of abundance provided for the Egyptians during the years of famine. The abundance was enough for surrounding nations to come and received food, even his unsuspecting brothers.

Hold on tight to your dream, Hold on tight to your dream.
When you see the shadows falling,
When you hear the cold winds calling
Hold on tight to your dream.         (Lyrics to Hold On Tight by ELO)

The story of Joseph is a story of life fulfillment through tragic circumstances. God’s gracious plan for Joseph’s life won in the end, enabling him to forgive his brothers: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Good News, indeed. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


Genesis 11:4               Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.

Once I remember walking with a prosperous publisher, who made a remark which I had often heard before; it is, indeed, almost a motto of the modern world. Yet I had heard it once too often, and I saw suddenly that there was nothing in it. The publisher said of somebody, “That man will get by; he believes in himself.”

I said to him, “Shall I tell you where the men are who believe most in themselves? I know of men who believe in themselves more colossally than Napoleon or Caesar. I know what flames the fixed star of certainty and success. I can guide you to the thrones of the Supermen. The men who really believe in themselves are all in lunatic asylums.”

He said mildly that there were a good many men after all who believed in themselves and who were not in lunatic asylums. “Yes, there are,” I retorted, “and you of all men ought to know them. That drunken poet from whom you would not take a dreary tragedy, he believed in himself. That elderly minister with an epic from whom you were hiding in a back room, he believed in himself. If you consulted your business experience instead of your ugly individualistic philosophy, you would know that believing in himself is one of the commonest signs of a scoundrel. Actors who can’t act believe in themselves and debtors who won’t pay.”

Orthodoxy by G. K. Chesterton,  pgs.22-23.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


John 2:24-25  But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men. He did not need any testimony about mankind, for he knew what was in each person.
 A passage may cause us to think of how it impacts us personally or how we are to live out the principles we learn. Some questions are easy to answer. Others raise further questions in our minds. It may appear that even Jesus was deliberately contradictory in his answers to questions. He wasn’t because he knew the answer the questioner needed to hear.

Is God beyond all things or is he as close as a voice to us?
Yes. Job writes that “the Almighty is beyond our reach” (37:23) and Paul adds “and his paths beyond tracing out.”(Romans 11:33) Jesus says of his followers, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”(John 10:27)

Is the kingdom of God now or not yet?
Yes. Jesus tells the disciples to tell the people they healed that “The Kingdom of God is near you.”(Luke 10:9) To the Pharisees who asked him when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus says “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.”(Luke 17:21)  In John 18:36 he says to Pilate after his arrest that “my kingdom is not of this world.”

Is following Jesus an act of simple faith or an adventure of unimaginable complexity?
Yes to both questions. Jesus says “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”(Matthew 17:20)

Monday, March 17, 2014


Psalm 5:1-3    Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my sighing. Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray. In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.

May the strength of God pilot us.
May the power of God preserve us.
May the wisdom of God instruct us.
May the hand of God protect us.
May the way of God direct us.
May the shield of God defend us.
May the host of God guard us
– Against the snares of the evil ones,
– Against temptations of the world.

May Christ be with us!
May Christ be before us!
May Christ be in us,
Christ be over all!

May thy salvation, Lord,
Always be ours,
This day, O Lord, and evermore.

 Saint Patrick

The Macmillan Book of Earliest Christian Prayers, By R. Forrester Church & Terrence J. Mulry, pg. 113.

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