Thursday, March 31, 2011

Valid Entry - Our Daily Bread - Thursday 3/31/2011

On a teaching trip outside the US, my wife and I were denied entry into our country of destination because of visa problems. Although we were under the assumption our visas had been correctly issued by the country we planned to visit, they were deemed invalid. Despite the efforts of several government officials, nothing could be done. We weren’t allowed in. We were placed on the next flight back to the States. No amount of intervention could change the fact that we did not have the proper validation for entrance.

That experience with my visa was inconvenient, but it can’t begin to compare with the ultimate entry rejection. I’m speaking of those who will stand before God without valid entry into heaven. What if they were to present the record of their religious efforts and good deeds? That would not be enough. What if they were to call character references? That wouldn’t work. Only one thing can give anyone entry into heaven. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).

Christ alone, through His death and resurrection, paid the price for our sins. And only He can give us valid entry into the presence of the Father. Have you put your faith in Jesus? Make sure you have a valid entry into heaven.

There aren’t many ways into heaven;
The Bible says there’s only one;
Good works won’t gain anyone entrance;
It’s only through faith in God’s Son. —Sper
Only through Christ can we enter the Father’s presence.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Gold-Medal Effort 3/28/2011 - Our Daily Bread

What an awesome word on today - Stay Blessed

At the 2009 Kansas high school state track championship, an unusual thing happened. The team that won the girls 3,200-meter relay was disqualified. But what happened next was even more unusual. The team that was awarded the state championship by default turned right around and gave their medals to the team that had been disqualified.
The first school, St. Mary’s Colgan, lost first place because judges ruled that a runner had stepped out of her lane as she handed off the baton. That meant the second team, Maranatha Academy, moved up to first. After receiving their medals, the girls from Maranatha saw the downtrodden looks on the faces of the St. Mary’s girls, so they gave them their individual medals.
Why did they do this? As Maranatha’s coach Bernie Zarda put it: “Our theme for the year was to run not for our glory, but for God’s glory.” As a result of the girls’ action, their story was told throughout Kansas, and God’s name was lifted up.
When we set aside our own interests and accomplishments to recognize that it’s better to care for the interests of others (Phil. 2:4), we see God’s name glorified. Acting with grace and kindness toward others is one of the best ways to point people to God.

Love is not blind but looks
Abroad through others’ eyes,
And asks not, “Must I give?”
But, “May I sacrifice?” —Ziegler
When we love God, we will serve people

Proverbs 18:21 The tongue has the power of life and death,and those who love it will eat its fruit.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Failures Anonymous

It’s my duty to grill the burgers, brats, steaks, or whatever else my wife has on the menu. And while I’m not the greatest chef when it comes to outdoor cooking, I love the unforgettable aroma of grilling over a charcoal fire. So the mention of a “fire of coals” in John 21:9 catches my attention. And I find myself wondering why John would include this detail in the story about Jesus calling a failing Peter back to serve and follow Him.

In verses 1-3, it’s apparent that Peter had reopened his fishing business. Just a few days before, Peter was warming his hands over a charcoal fire when he denied Jesus to save his own skin (John 18:17-18 ESV). So why not go back to fishing?

While Peter and his cohorts were casting nets, Jesus built a fire on the beach. Coincidence? I doubt it! And as Peter approached Jesus, I wonder if the pungent aroma of the burning charcoal brought back memories of that other fire where he had failed Christ. Yet Jesus in His mercy took the initiative to call Peter back into His service.
Think of it: Jesus is willing to forgive our failures and call us into His service. After all, if only perfect people qualified to serve Him, He wouldn’t have anyone to choose from!

Although we are imperfect,
The Lord can use us still,
If we confess our sins to Him
And seek to do His will. —Sper
Being imperfect doesn’t disqualify us from serving God;
it just emphasizes our dependence on His mercy.

Proverbs 18:21 The tongue has the power of life and death,and those who love it will eat its fruit.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Gracias! - 3-23-2011 - Our Daily Word

When I visited Mexico, I wished I knew how to speak Spanish. I could say gracias (thank you), muy bien (very good), and hola (hello). But that was about it. I grew tired of just saying gracias to everyone who talked with me or did something for me.But we should never grow tired of giving words of thanks to God. David knew the importance of saying thanks. After he became king over Israel and had a tent constructed to house the ark of the covenant (where God’s presence dwelt), he appointed some of the Levites “to commemorate, to thank, and to praise the Lord” (1 Chron. 16:4). Many people remained there to offer sacrifices and give thanks to God daily (vv.37-38).

David also committed to Asaph and his associates a song of thanks (1 Chron. 16:8-36). His psalm gave thanks for what the Lord had done: “His deeds among the peoples” (v.8), “His wondrous works” (v.9), “His wonders, and the judgments of His mouth” (v.12), and His “salvation” (v.35). David’s song also gave praise for who the Lord was: good, merciful, and holy

Like David, we should never grow tired of saying gracias to God for who He is and for all He’s done for us. Take time today to offer your sacrifice of praise to Him.

Praise, my soul, the King of heaven,
To His feet thy tribute bring;
Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven,
Evermore His praises sing. —Lyte
The heart filled with praise brings pleasure to God.

Proverbs 18:21 The tongue has the power of life and death,and those who love it will eat its fruit.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Becoming A Go-To Person ( Our Daily Bread) 3-17-2011

“Would you pray for my sister?” the burly worker asked awkwardly. I eyed him suspiciously.

Months earlier, muggy August heat intensified emotions in the pre-strike atmosphere of the assembly plant where I was working that summer. Managers drove production at a frenzied pace and union members resisted. During breaks, we were coached by union officials on slowing down our output. My faith and idealism got me in the doghouse because I didn’t think God would accept anything but my best effort. I naively tried to explain.
My co-workers’ response was harassment, and this burly worker asking for prayer had been the ringleader. An undesirable task? I got the assignment. Off-color jokes had me as the star.

So now I greeted this prayer request with suspicion. “Why me?” His answer jarred me: “Because she’s got cancer,” he said gruffly, “and I need someone God will hear.” The bitter rancor between us eased as I prayed for his sister.

Like the centurion in Luke 7, people in the storms of life don’t waste time or mince words. They go directly to the people whose faith they’ve tagged as real. We need to be those people. Do our lives mark us as a go-to person in touch with God?

We give to others what they need
No greater help and care
Than when we intercede for them
And bear them up in prayer. —D. De Haan
Even the hardest of souls might ask for help
when someone they love is at risk.

Proverbs 18:21 The tongue has the power of life and death,and those who love it will eat its fruit.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

God’s Answers - 3/16/11 ( Our Daily Bread)

Daniel poured out his heart to God (Dan. 9:2). He had read Jeremiah and rediscovered God’s promise that Israel’s captivity in Babylon would last 70 years. So, in an effort to represent his people before God, Daniel fasted and prayed. He pleaded with God not to delay in rescuing His people (v.19).
When we pray, there are things we can know and other things we cannot. For instance, we have the assurance that God will hear our prayer if we know Him as our heavenly Father through faith in Jesus, and we know that His answer will come according to His will. But we don’t know when the answer will come or what it will be.

For Daniel, the answer to his prayer came in miraculous fashion, and it came immediately. While he was praying, the angel Gabriel arrived to provide the answer. But the nature of the answer was as surprising as the quick reply. While Daniel asked God about “70 years,” the answer was about a prophetic “70 weeks of years.” Daniel asked God for an answer about the here and now, but God’s answer had to do with events thousands of years into the future.

Focused as we are with our immediate situation, we may be shocked by God’s answer. Yet we can know that the answer will be for His glory.

I know not by what methods rare,
But this I know—God answers prayer;
I leave my prayers with Him alone,
Whose will is wiser than my own. —Hickok
God’s answers to our prayers may exceed our expectations.

Proverbs 18:21 The tongue has the power of life and death,and those who love it will eat its fruit.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Overflow - Our Daily Word - 3/11/11

Joyful shouts filtered into our house from outside and I wanted to know what was so wonderful out there. I peeked through the curtains and watched two young boys splashing in a thick stream of water that gushed from a fire hydrant.
Read: Psalm 103:1-10
Forget not all His benefits. —Psalm 103:2
Bible in a year: Deuteronomy 14-16; Mark 12:28-44

The overflow reminded me of how God pours out blessings on His children, and how important it is to recognize that “the Lord . . . daily loads us with benefits” (Ps. 68:19).
Although I know He has furnished countless good things for me, when the car blows a gasket, when the flu infects my family, and when relationships threaten to unravel, dissatisfaction threatens my view of God’s blessings—they seem more like infrequent drips from a faucet rather than a flood of water from a hydrant!
Maybe that’s why in Psalm 103 David reminds us to “forget not all His benefits” (v.2). And then, to help us, he lists a torrent of blessings for believers. He reminds us that God forgives all our iniquities, heals all our diseases, redeems our lives from destruction, crowns us with lovingkindness, and satisfies our mouths with good things (vv.3-5).

Today, let’s take time to acknowledge God’s abundance instead of overlooking the overflow of His blessings.

We’re loaded with benefits daily,
Sent down from the Father above;
His mercies and blessings abounding
Are gifts of His marvelous love. —Anon.
Adding up your blessings will multiply your joy.

Proverbs 18:21 The tongue has the power of life and death,and those who love it will eat its fruit.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Now this is funny - From the Mouths of Babies..

OK, this is funny I don't care what anybody says.

Children Writing About the Ocean...
- This is a picture of an octopus. It has eight testicles.

(Kelly,age 6)
- Oysters' balls are called pearls.

(Jerry, age 6)
- If you are surrounded by ocean, you are an island. If you don't
have ocean all round you, you are incontinent.

(age 7)
- Sharks are ugly and mean, and have big teeth, just like Emily
Richardson She's not my friend any more.

(Kylie, age 6)
- A dolphin breaths through an asshole on the top of its head..

(Billy, age 8)
- My uncle goes out in his boat with 2 other men and a woman and pots
and comes back with crabs.

(Millie, age 6)
- When ships had sails, they used to use the trade winds to cross the
ocean. Sometimes when the wind didn't blow the sailors would whistle to
make the wind come. My brother said they would have been better off
eating beans.

(William, age 7)
- Some fish are dangerous. Jellyfish can sting. Electric eels can
give you a shock. They have to live in caves under the sea where I
think they have to plug themselves in to chargers.

(Christopher, age 7)
- When you go swimming in the ocean, it is very cold, and it makes
my willy small. (Kevin, age 6)

- On vacation my Mom went water skiing. She fell off when she was
going very fast. She says she won't do it again because water fired
right up her big fat ass..

(Julie, age 7)
- The ocean is made up of water and fish. Why the fish don't drown

I don't know. (Bobby, age 6)
- My dad was a sailor on the ocean He knows all about the ocean.
What he doesn't know is why he quit being a sailor and married my mom.

(James, age 7)
If you didn't chuckle at one of these, you need to find your sense
of humor.
Proverbs 18:21 The tongue has the power of life and death,and those who love it will eat its fruit.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Small Things - Our Daily Bread 3/8/2011

Skeptical about the usefulness of a small lunch, Andrew said to Jesus, “What are [these five loaves and two fish] among so many?” (John 6:9). Yet the little lunch in the hands of Jesus turned out to be a huge blessing. So, before you think that you don’t have much to offer Jesus, consider this:
Edward Kimball, a Sunday school teacher in Boston, decided to visit a young man in his class to be sure he was a Christian. That day he led that man, Dwight L. Moody, to the Lord.
Moody, the Billy Graham of the 19th century, had a major impact on Wilbur Chapman. Chapman, a prominent evangelist, recruited Billy Sunday to join in his evangelistic campaigns. In turn, Sunday launched a national ministry that had great results in cities like Charlotte, North Carolina. An organization that started as a result of Sunday’s revival invited evangelist Mordecai Ham to Charlotte. In one of those meetings, Billy Graham received Christ as his Savior and later became the most prominent evangelist of our time.
When you think you don’t have much to offer, remember Sunday school teacher Edward Kimball, who spent a Saturday afternoon reaching out to someone in his class. God has a special way of using routine faithfulness in the “small things” to accomplish great things!

What may seem insignificant,
Mundane, routine, or small
Is often used by God to show
His power over all. —Sper
God uses small things to accomplish great things for His glory.

Proverbs 18:21 The tongue has the power of life and death,and those who love it will eat its fruit.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Anticipation 3*4*2011 - Our Daily Word

At the beginning of March, my friend began a countdown. Marked on the calendar in her office were the 20 days left until the first day of spring. One morning when I saw her, she volunteered, “Only 12 more days!” A few days later, “Only 6!” Her enthusiasm started to rub off on me, and I began to keep track as well. “Just 2 more days, Jerrie!” “I know!” she beamed.As believers, we have something to look forward to that is even more exciting than the anticipation of budding flowers and lots of sunshine after a long winter. God has made many promises in His Word, and each one has been or will be fulfilled. But the certainty that Christ will return is one of the greatest promises of all. “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. . . . Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air,” and we’ll be with Him forever (1 Thess. 4:16-17).

Although no one can know the exact day, we have God’s promise that Jesus will come back (Acts 1:7-11). As we celebrate the spring and coming Easter season, let’s encourage each other in anticipation of that day!

He is coming! Oh, the rapture
To behold His lovely face,
And to tell Him how I love Him,
Who has saved me by His grace. —Dimmock
Christ is coming—perhaps today!

Proverbs 18:21 The tongue has the power of life and death,and those who love it will eat its fruit.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Who And How - 3-3-2011 Our Daily Bread

Whenever I read the Gospels, I identify with the disciples. Like me, they seemed slow to catch on. Jesus kept saying things like “Don’t you understand it yet?” and “Are you still so dull?” (see Mark 7:18). Finally, however, Peter “got it,” at least one part of it. When Jesus asked, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Christ” (8:29).

Peter was right about the “who”—Jesus—but he was still wrong about the “how.” When Jesus predicted His death, Peter rebuked Him for it. Jesus, in turn, rebuked Peter: “Get behind Me, Satan! For you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men” (v.33).

Peter was still thinking in human ways of establishing kingdoms. One ruler would overthrow another and set up a new government. He was expecting Jesus to do the same. But Christ’s kingdom was going to come in a new way—through service and the sacrifice of His life.

The method God uses today hasn’t changed. Whereas Satan’s voice tempts us to gain power, the voice of Jesus tells us that the meek will inherit the earth (Matt. 5:5). To gain citizens for God’s kingdom, we must follow the example of Jesus, who set aside selfish ambitions, served others, and called people to repent of their sin.

We say we love humanity,
But can we really claim
A readiness to sacrifice
For them in Jesus’ name? —Sper
A Christian is an ambassador who speaks for the King of kings.

Proverbs 18:21 The tongue has the power of life and death,and those who love it will eat its fruit.