Monday, October 31, 2016



Hebrews 11:1, 6                    
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek Him.

Christian success is being a faithful Christian. The object of our faith is not ourselves but God’s Son, Jesus Christ. Knowing Him as our Savior and Lord is the start of faithful living. We are enabled by the Holy Spirit to share our lives with other people. He will provide us with opportunities to share our belief and faith in Christ. Knowing God’s Son in a  personal way makes sharing him with others more enjoyable and natural. Sharing Him with others is Christian fellowship. From this point we are able to be successful. Lives and hearts centered on His will is success. Scripture teaches about Christian success and calls it faithfulness.

Focusing on God’s truth is the start of our developing successful lives. Learning how to be faithful directs us in successful ways. Christ is the starting point for any successful faith. Enjoying Him results in a personal contentment in life. It allows us to rely on God as the provider of our every need. His past record of faithful provision makes our faith a comforting reality. We can be certain of His promises for the future as well. We can be sure that faith in Him will make us successful.

Sunday, October 30, 2016



Matthew 5:14, 16                  
You are the light of the world… let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Live in a way that won’t blaspheme the name of God. On the one hand, don’t care about human reputation. On the other hand, don’t give reason for others to speak poorly of you. But be moderate on both issues. For Christ left us here to be lights. We are here to teach others and be like leaven in dough. We should go about as angels among people, as adults among children, as spiritual people among those who are natural. In this way they can profit as we become seeds bearing copious gruit. There is no need to speak if we shine through our lives. There is no need for teachers if we only demonstrate through our works. There would be no unbelievers if we were the Christians we should be. Everyone would convert to godliness if we generally kept the commandments of Christ, suffered through insults, allowed others to take advantage of us, blessed when we were cursed and did good when treated poorly. For example, Paul was only one man, yet how many followed him? If we were all like him, how many worlds could we have following us?

By Chrysostom

Day by Day with the Early Church Fathers. By Christopher Hudson, Alan Sharrer, & Lindsay Vanker,  pg. 135.

Saturday, October 29, 2016



John 8:31-32              
To the Jews who believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Let us suppose you are the head of an institution. In sending a representative out, you tell him that you will acknowledge whatever he does according to his best judgment and that people listening to him will be considered as listening to you. Surely you will require him to report to you daily lest he make a mistake. But the Lord makes us representatives of himself, fully authorized to act on his behalf. What confidence He has in us! Can we trust any less when our Lord displays such trust in His delegated authority?

People will perhaps argue, “What if the authority is wrong?” The answer is, If God dares to entrust His authority to men, then we can dare to obey. Whether the one in authority is right or wrong does not concern us, since he has to be responsible directly to God. The obedient needs only to obey; the Lord will not hold us responsible for any mistaken obedience, rather will He hold the delegated authority responsible for his erroneous act. Insubordination, however, is rebellion, and for this the one under authority must answer to God.

Spiritual Authority. By Watchman Nee,  pgs. 70-71.

Friday, October 28, 2016



Luke 10:36-37            
Jesus asked: “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robber?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise”.

The Parable of the Good Samaritan teaches us to give of ourselves and our possessions. The Samaritan places himself in God’s service to another human in need. Service can be in desolate and dangerous locations or it could be in your neighborhood or workplace. The Samaritan responds when others of more worldly or pious beliefs are not willing to respond. He not only gives of himself but also his possessions. He provides for others out of the bounty that God has given him. His spiritual maturity allowed him to stop and address the need of others. His material blessings were sufficient to meet the need of another. Enough was given to the innkeeper to allow the injured man to stay there for two months. At the end of the parable Jesus says to us “go and do likewise.”

The Parable of the Lost Sheep reflects the sacrifice of time given to find the lost. Our availability should not be limited or place. The needs of the lost sheep were great enough for the Shepherd to leave the entire flock to find the lost sheep. By faith he leaves the flock to search, knowing God would oversee the flock’s welfare. The fellowship of others has been set aside to find the one who is lost. It may take much in the way of strength and possessions to find the lost, but it is our duty.

Thursday, October 27, 2016



Romans 8:28               
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

When believers suffer for Christ, they are not getting a taste of their future. We are not on a road that leads to destruction, but on one that leads to dignity. The hardships along our way are means by which God brings us to glory.

Think of it this way. God calls us to troubles as surgeons invite us to their operating tables. Their knives inflict terrible pain. No sane person enjoys the ordeal of surgery. To deny the anguish is to lie. Nonetheless, we voluntarily submit to the knife. Why? We allow them to cut because the pain will bring about better health in the future.

Paul tells us here that the same thing is true of God. He tells us to submit to the knife of suffering for Christ for the good it will bring to us. God is working all of our troubles into something wonderful for us. We can submit to his call because he promises to work the pain for our good.

This perspective on the plan of God causes us to breathe a sigh of relief. We can all remember times when we have seen God bring good out of bad.

Designed For Dignity. By Richard L. Pratt, Jr.,  pgs. 192-193.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016



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.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016



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.

Monday, October 24, 2016



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.

Sunday, October 23, 2016



Daniel 3:16-18          
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king… “We do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know… that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

Nebuchadnezzar II excelled at grandiose expressions of anger, beauty, and pride. He was the unquestionable King of the Babylonian Empire. He had destroyed the majestic temple and nation of Israel. He built the wondrous Hanging Gardens of Babylon and set up a nine-story image of gold to his god, Nabu. He commanded that everyone worship Nabu. When three Hebrew young men from Judah refused to bow down to the statue as ordered, the King became enraged and his authority was tested. He ordered them thrown into a furnace of fire. He sat to watch the execution of those who dared disobey him. But when the Lord Jehovah intervened to miraculously save the boys, the King quickly made a public profession of praise to the God of the young men who were delivered from the flames.

At first glance, it might sound like Nebuchadnezzar was convinced by the overwhelming evidence and converted from devotion to Nabu to Jehovah. But think about him. What other choice did he have? The entire kingdom saw what happened. How else could he save face? Had he tried to make an excuse for Nabu, he would appear weak to his people. He could be dethroned along with Nabu, replaced by Jehovah and these three young men. He did acknowledge God. However, his change of allegiance was motivated by circumstances, his fear of man and the threat of losing all that he had worked so hard to achieve in his world. He wanted to be sure he was on the winning side of life.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego reveal a true allegiance and trust in God. Our devotion to Jesus Christ should mirror theirs. Despite the risks, the consequences and the jeers from the world around us, we are to hold on to the God we serve. Christ is our evidence that our God is able to save us from eternal death and all the temptations the world can send our way. 

Saturday, October 22, 2016



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.

Friday, October 21, 2016



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.

Thursday, October 20, 2016



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.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016



Mark 13:5-9              
Watch out that no one deceives you…When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains. You must be on your guard.

            A man that walks down a street without knowing he missed being hit by a falling tree by just inches is not thankful. Unless someone turns him around and shows him what almost happened to him, he will keep walking down the street. But the man made aware of the closeness of such a near death experience is greatly thankful. He is aware of the magnitude of the events surrounding his near death and his life.

            A gracious and merciful love is the sole agent that can destroy the sin of calloused and hardened hearts. God is love. God alone is the destroyer of sinful hearts. He alone can change what was once at odds with truth and return it to the fountain of all truth. A man who has been the greatest of sinners understands how much he has received in God’s turning his heart from sin. He is able to understand forgiveness in the fullest sense of the word.

Unless God changes our hearts, we will never know how close we are to destruction until it is too late. Unless the grace of God, a grace man cannot fully understand, connects our minds to our hearts in a way that touches our souls, we are doomed.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016



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.

Monday, October 17, 2016



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.

Sunday, October 16, 2016



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)

Saturday, October 15, 2016



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.

Friday, October 14, 2016



What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?

Without belief in a world to come then all that is found in this world is to be grasped. If nothing exists beyond this life then we can live selfishly now for tomorrow it may all be gone.

Christians know differently. They know that an eternity awaits all people; an eternity of peace or an eternity of suffering. God has offered an eternity of peace with Him. It is an offer that is received by faith in Jesus Christ. Confessing the truth that Jesus is Lord and believing that he has paid the price for our sins frees us to live with the assurance that eternal peace with God is our eternal destiny.

            Despite the ugliness of our sinful past we have been forgiven. Not because of any effort or good work we have done but out of the gracious good pleasure of God. When this truth is made known to a person, they begin to see the true freedom God offers.

Godly freedom changes their world. They no longer need to be selfish. God has shared with them the greatest of all treasures. They no longer have to be hateful. God has shown them true love. They don’t have to be resentful of others. God has shown mercy towards them by giving them something which they did not deserve. God has freed them from their sins in order that they may live in fellowship to Him and conformity to His will. They can live in true fellowship with others.

Jesus’ death on the cross of Calvary and resurrection to new life accomplishes what we could never do, satisfy God’s price for our sins. His victory is freely shared with us and restores our relationship to God. This brings a new life, a new person and a new way to view our world and the people around us.

Thursday, October 13, 2016



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.


Wednesday, October 12, 2016



Deuteronomy 4:29-31            
If from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul. When you are in distress…you will return to the Lord your God and obey him. For the Lord your God is a merciful God.

People run around in life chasing many different mirages. Some chase pleasure, others wealth and some fame. This chasing in our lives boils down to four things. We all seek: to be known, to be seen, to be heard and to be fulfilled.

No one wants to live apart from others. We have heard it said between lovers that they have found their “soul mate”, someone who knows my heart, my thoughts. They have found someone who knows them. Other people seek to be noticed by peers. They want to impress other people and to be evident to everyone when they walk into a room. They want to be seen. The person with a new insight or revelation in their heart wants to be heard. They seek to be found relevant by other people or groups. They want to be heard. Lastly, people want to find meaning in their lives. They want their daily employment or volunteer service time to have meaning which brings delight to their hearts. They seek to find fulfillment.

The search is universal. All people, in all times and in all places seek these elements of life. St. Augustine (354-430 AD) wrote of man’s universal search for God:

Man, a little piece of your creation, desires to praise you, a human being ‘bearing his mortality with him’, carrying with him the witness of his sin and the witness that you ‘resist the proud’. Nevertheless, to praise you is the desire of man, a little piece of your creation. You stir man to take pleasure in praising you, because you have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.

Confessions by St. Augustine,  pg.3

Tuesday, October 11, 2016



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.

Monday, October 10, 2016



Proverbs 19:20-21     
Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise. Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. 


            “No” is not a four-letter word. It is perfectly good to say no, yet not everyone would agree. When my children were growing up they would complain that I always said no to their requests. Of course that wasn’t true, sometimes I said, “ask your mother” and even on occasion, “yes you may”. When I did say no, it was for their benefit. I was trying to teach,  protect, or redirect their behavior or thinking. They didn’t always understand and as they got older they even challenged my answer. Eventually they learned to live with my decision.

            Although the men and women who come to our mission are adults, many have a history of making bad choices. They come to us seeking to get closer to God and to find direction and guidance in their lives. Often times our staff must say no to their requests. That’s because we recognize that what they are wanting could cause them harm or lead them back down the road they just left.

            Answering no isn’t being mean-spirited; rather we want to encourage our clients to move in a Christ-centered direction. The passage above reminds us all that much of what happens in our lives is the result of our decisions in light of what God wants for us. When we say yes and God is trying to tell us no, he makes trouble in our life or causes things to not work out as we had planned. God’s “no” comes to us despite our own “yes”.

            May our clients and those of us who lead them learn to accept God’s ever-present guidance in how we live and how best to make our decisions. Sometimes “no” is the best answer we could hear.

Sunday, October 9, 2016



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. 

Saturday, October 8, 2016



Mark 5:12-13              
The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.” He gave them permission, and the evil spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.

This passage is about a man possessed by demons. Not at a subject that we like to talk about, yet an issue that was of such importance that it is the Bible. Here is someone who has physical strength enough to keep other people from restricting him with chains. He was isolated from other people. He lived among the graves of the dead. His waking mind was haunted day and night. He wandered about talking to himself and screaming out to others. People avoided him. His self-hatred expressed itself in cutting at his own flesh with sharp stones. The pain within was nothing compared to the pain of cut skin. Everyone, including Jesus, knew this man was not acting within his own powers and abilities. This man was possessed by a legion of demons whose purpose was to torment and destroy.

We have all seen such people possessed by legions of demons. Today Satan and his minions use alcohol, “crack”, heroin, mental illness, and deformity to enslave, torment and destroy people the world over. Like the neighbors in this story, people find themselves without sufficient resources to cure these problem people. They give up on them, preferring that they just disappear. And they do; remaining hidden in the woods, in the dark alleys and among the tombstones of our community.

The power of Jesus Christ extends into the darkest corners of human life. Not even a legion of demons can oppose him. They in fact understand the power and the authority that Jesus commands. With a spoken word, Jesus dispels their power and with one direct order sends them flying down the embankment. The demons demonstrated their understanding of who Jesus was. The formally demon-possessed man knew what happened and by whose power he was freed. He knew the power of Jesus and the reality of flying pigs.

When Pigs Fly by Chaplain Paul Haulk.

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