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Our Lord Jesus Christ loves you.
278000 Posts in 26524 Topics by 3790 Members
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Soldier4Christ
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« Reply #2955 on: April 25, 2009, 09:59:18 AM »

 "Out Of The Shuffle"

I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. Psalm 34:1

At some point during the month, most of us sit down to pay some bills.

Now, I could be wrong, but most of us have noticed that sometimes what is supposed to be paid out doesn't always equal that which has come in. In short, income is less than outgo.

That was the way it was for a man who received a sharp letter from one of his creditors demanding payment. He wrote back to the company and said, "Dear Sirs: Every month I take all my bills and put them on the table. I shuffle them and pay off the top six in the pile. If I receive any more letters with the same tone as the last one you sent, next month you'll be out of the shuffle entirely."

Great idea, but I doubt if it worked.

Incredibly, many folks use the same philosophy when it comes to their souls. They take a look at all the things they want to do and the things they want to have and keep those items at the top of their pile.

Then, if God indicates He would like to be part of their lives, they throw a tirade and let Him know that if He keeps it up, they're going to take Him out of the shuffle altogether.

Bad idea, and I'm sure it won't work.

We have a Lord who gave His Son to save us. Even more than that, every day our God watches over us and keeps us from unseen dangers and unanticipated problems.

It is both right and reasonable that thanking Him should always be at the top of the shuffle. The Psalmist made it clear: At all times, he will bless the Lord and His praise will always be in his mouth.

That's a fellow who knew God needed to be at the top.
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Joh 9:4  I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
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« Reply #2956 on: April 26, 2009, 09:13:25 AM »

 "What Do You See "

Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:8

The teacher held up a blank sheet of paper and asked, "What do you see?"

All the hands in her class went up. One reasonably bright child said, "I see a piece of paper." So far, so good. Then the teacher took a pencil and made a tiny dot in the center of the sheet of paper. Holding it up again she asked, "And what do you see now?" Without waiting to be called on, the same student, completely confident of giving the right answer, yelled out, "I see a dot!"

"Really?" asked the teacher. Then she explained. "Imagine the blank piece of paper is a person. Now imagine this small dot is his biggest sin. When you looked at the paper with the dot on it, what did you see? You said, 'I see a dot.' That one dot overshadowed all the white still left on the paper. Is that what you do when you look at people? Do you only see their faults?"

I don't know if the kids picked up on that lesson. I know I did.

You see, there are times when that is exactly what I do.

I've met some truly excellent people in this life, but all I sometimes have seen were their faults. Those faults made me lose track of the person.

That's sad for them; it's sadder for me.

As I read through Scripture, I've noticed the Lord doesn't do that.

No, He doesn't ignore our "dots," that is, our sins. How could He? There were so many sinful dots on our souls the paper itself was black. Even so, the Father sent His Son into this world to erase those sins and make our souls white as, well, white as paper. God saw our sins, but He didn't let those sins overshadow His love for us.

He sees us clearly, and because of what Jesus has done for us with His life, death, and resurrection, the Father now sees us as forgiven, clean, white, and free from sin.

It's a different point of view -- one that all of us would do well to embrace when we look at others.
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Joh 9:4  I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
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« Reply #2957 on: April 28, 2009, 11:35:05 AM »

 "Law In The Heart"

For when Gentiles, who do not have the Law, by nature do what the Law requires . . . They show that the work of the Law is written on their hearts . . . . Romans 2:14a, 15a

Although my beard has turned gray, I can still, on good days, remember back to when I was young. Sometimes I can even recall some of the mayhem and mischief I caused. Yup, there were moments I was a regular rapscallion.

Most of you have had those days, too, didn't you?

Last week, Adar Hassan told the BBC her son had been a little dickens. She said her boy, Abde, is only 16 years old; that he is innocent, that he is a minor, and that he isn't accountable for anything.

She has asked President Obama to let him go.

In case you missed the name, it was Abde. Abde, with an infected hand, was being treated on a Navy warship when snipers shot Abde's friends -- the three pirates who were holding hostage U.S. sea captain, Richard Phillips.

Now, I can understand a bit of tomfoolery, and I don't get bent out of shape when a young person gets involved with some monkey business. But the boy was a pirate. He boarded a ship that wasn't his; he kidnapped people at gunpoint; he wanted a ransom. Maybe he was a young pirate, a novice pirate, but he was still a pirate.

It makes a person wonder when will humanity stop making excuses? Adam excuses himself by blaming Eve; Eve excused herself by blaming the snake. Pass the buck, pass the blame, pass the responsibility.

Well, the Lord doesn't buy our excuses or the feigned innocent look on our faces. Scripture is clear: even if you don't have a Bible, you still have the Lord's Law in your heart. With the wages of sin being death, we were all doomed and damned.

Seeing our helpless state and wishing to save us, the Lord sent His Son to live His life, to give His life as the penalty price, which alone would win our forgiveness and assure our salvation.

Now, all who are brought to faith in Jesus, who confess their sins, find themselves forgiven and pardoned not by a president, but by their just Judge in heaven.
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Joh 9:4  I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
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« Reply #2958 on: April 29, 2009, 08:16:00 AM »

 "Non-Interchangeable Parts"


And God spoke all these words, saying, "I am the Lord your God, . . . You shall have no other gods before Me." Exodus 20:1-2a, 3a

Surveys are getting on my nerves.

Now, LifeWay Research has announced the results of a survey of folks who don't go to church. Of those surveyed, 72 percent say, "God, (that is) a higher or supreme being, actually exists." The same percentage says the church is "full of hypocrites." Also 44 percent of those surveyed said, "Christians get on my nerves."

It gets worse.

Only 52 percent of the people interviewed believe "Jesus died and came back to life" and 61 percent maintain the God of Scripture is "no different from the gods or spiritual beings depicted by world religions such as Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc."

When I read that survey, a question kept cropping up in my mind: Where do these folks get their information? Does anybody out there know any knowledgeable adherent of any of these faiths who maintains that religions are interchangeable and our deities have only cosmetic differences?

I've never run into a Muslim who said, "Yup, Allah and the Triune God are the same. The only difference between Christianity and Islam are the names we call our gods. In truth, when you get right down to it, we all basically believe the same thing."

Similarly, the God of the Bible isn't bamboozled by this foolishness. In the First Commandment, God told His freed people "You shall have no other gods before Me." Jesus agreed when He said, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind" (Matthew 22:37).

Notice Jesus didn't say to love A God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind" (emphasis mine).

Truly, there is only one God of grace. There is only one Name, which forgives our sins. There is only one Mediator between us and the Father. There is only one Savior who willingly gave His life and rose, so that we might be saved -- only one.

Tragically, the world is forgetting that unique, blood-bought salvation. This means we, the Savior's representatives, need to do some reminding,
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Joh 9:4  I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
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« Reply #2959 on: April 30, 2009, 09:06:28 AM »

 "Murphy Is Alive And Well"

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Psalm 46:1-3

You know, Murphy, don't you? Murphy is the fellow whose laws seem all too true. Murphy's the guy who said, "If something can go wrong, it will."

Last Good Friday, I think Murphy was hanging out in Philadelphia.

I believe that because of what happened in that grand old city. Last week, the Associated Press carried a story about how, on Good Friday, the cable network was broadcasting a special Holy Week worship service from the Vatican. At precisely 2 a.m., the national Emergency Alert System kicked in.

Some of you may be asking, "So what's the big deal?" To you, I say, "Don't forget Murphy."
Here's what happened. People were watching the Vatican's Good Friday service and then the Emergency Alert System switched them to a different channel. The audience ended up watching a 30-second ad for Girls Gone Wild. If you don't know about Girls Gone Wild, that's okay. All you need to remember is this: Girls Gone Wild isn't the Vatican.

You see anything that can go wrong, often does. Most readers of this Daily Devotion can remember a time Murphy paid them a visit. Sometimes, so many things seem to go wrong we think Murphy might never leave. As a minister, I can remember the colorful language of a trucker's CB radio breaking in on a Sunday sermon -- and the radio technician who forgot to switch off his microphone while our church was broadcasting. He told our congregation, in detail, of his exploits at a party the night before.

All of us have those days, months, and years when it seems anything that can go wrong, will. If that's true for you, please remember we have a God who is a "very present help" in times of trouble.

He who sent His Son to pay the price for our ransom, who died so we might live forgiven and forever, He has promised to be with us. That's why the Psalmist could say we will not fear, even if the mountains are moved and the sea roars its worst. To the Psalmist's inspired writings we might add this: we will not fear even when Murphy comes calling.

God is our refuge and our strength. He is a cause to rejoice.
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« Reply #2960 on: May 01, 2009, 12:49:03 PM »

 "Who Lives Forever?"

The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. 1 John 2:17

The king of an Eastern country commanded his counselors to submit a proposition that must be appropriate at any time and in every situation. After thinking and discussing the matter with each other carefully, they submitted the following statement: "And this will also pass away."

Peter gave the same advice to Christians of his day and thereafter. His words are a rousing reminder: "Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives" (2 Peter 3:11).

Indeed, everything will pass away -- the happiest times as well as the saddest times -- the imperial palaces as well as the poorest apartments. As the apostle John asserted, "The world and its desires pass away . . . ." We are living in a world full of greed and corruption. What we try to gain -- such as money, high position, and reputation -- will all pass away. We can have our possessions placed along with us in the grave, but there, too, they will pass away.

What, then, will remain? If everything will be destroyed, how should we conduct our lives? How do we do the "will of God"?

Of our own accord, doing the will of God is impossible. It is only through God-given faith in Christ's perfect sacrifice on the cross on our behalf, that our lives are redeemed for eternity. Then, in service to God, "who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all . . . . (Romans 8:32a), we live our lives through obedience to His Word, proclaiming the good news that salvation -- life forever -- is God's free gift to all people.
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« Reply #2961 on: May 03, 2009, 10:04:06 AM »

 "Little Decisions"

Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance. Proverbs 1:5

Little decisions can have some far reaching consequences.

That's what happened years ago when there was an epidemic of Malaria in Borneo. Health officers sprayed the area with DDT to kill the mosquitoes. The mosquitoes did die, but the insecticide partially paralyzed flies who became easy pray for insect-eating lizards.

When the lizards ate the insecticide-laden flies, they too became sick and slowed down. Because the lizards were moving slower, they were eaten by the cats, which soon died.

With no cats, the rat population flourished and a plague threatened the people. Things eventually got so bad they actually had to parachute cats into Borneo.

The little decision to spray for mosquitoes had some far reaching consequences.

Each day, each of us makes a multitude of little decisions. Like a stone thrown into a pond, the ripples of our choices can extend far further than we might think possible.

Naturally, as Christians, we want to minimize the bad and maximize the good. To that end, I would like to make a suggestion. I encourage you to spend some time thinking through your decisions, even the small ones, before you make them. As you do, be sure to spend some time with the Lord in prayer. Ask Him for His guidance, search the Scriptures for His direction.

If we do that, I'm pretty sure our lives and those around us will be filled with a little more gladness and a lot less regret.
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« Reply #2962 on: May 03, 2009, 10:04:50 AM »

 "Caged Bird"

And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. 1 Thessalonians 5:14

Living in St. Louis, we have the opportunity every spring and fall to watch migrating birds travel the Mississippi flyway.

I'm not a student of birds, but I once had the opportunity to visit with such an expert. He told me if you were to capture and cage a bird whose flock is migrating, it would keep trying to travel. But, after the migrating season has passed, you can open up the cage, and the bird will be apathetic to making the trip.

He summed it up by saying, "The tug on the bird's heart to travel is gone."

I've known a lot of people who are just like those birds.

At first, they want to do what's right and good. Then, due to all kinds of interfering circumstances, they get sidetracked. If those circumstances keep up long enough, eventually the tug on that person's heart to do what's right is gone. These poor souls end up as pitiful as any caged bird.

You and I can't always prevent such things from happening, but we can try to help everybody we meet see the Savior. He did as His Father asked and because He did, we are saved.

Now, because of the grace we have received in Jesus, the Holy Spirit encourages us to live the life that God wishes. By encouraging and reflecting the love we have received from the Savior, we can set an example and encourage others to be part of God's flock and to fly as God intends.
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