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The Word For Life.

If we meet and you forget me, you have lost nothing:
but if you meet JESUS CHRIST and forget Him,
you have lost everything.

The Last Call
Posted:May 28, 2018 1:39 am
Last Updated:May 28, 2018 1:40 am
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Read: 2 Samuel 1:17–27

Bible in a Year: 2 Chronicles 4–6; John 10:24–42

How the mighty have fallen! 2 Samuel 1:27

After serving his country for two decades as a helicopter pilot, James returned home to serve his community as a teacher. But he missed helicopters, so he took a job flying medical evacuations for a local hospital. He flew until late in his life.

Now it was time to say goodbye to him. As friends, family, and uniformed co-workers stood vigil at the cemetery, a colleague called in one last mission over the radio. Soon the distinctive sound of rotors beating the air could be heard. A helicopter circled over the memorial garden, hovered briefly to pay its respects, then headed back to the hospital. Not even the military personnel who were present could hold back the tears.

We honor the Creator when we honor the memory of His servants.
When King Saul and his son Jonathan were killed in battle, David wrote an elegy for the ages called “the lament of the bow” (2 Samuel 1:18. “A gazelle lies slain on your heights,” he sang. “How the mighty have fallen!” (v. 19). Jonathan was David’s closest friend and brother-in-arms. And although David and Saul had been enemies, David honored them both. “Weep for Saul,” he wrote. “I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother” (vv. 24, 26).

Even the best goodbyes are oh-so-difficult. But for those who trust in the Lord, the memory is much more sweet than bitter, for it is never forever. How good it is when we can honor those who have served others!

Lord, we thank You for those who serve their communities as First Responders. We humbly ask You for their safety.

We honor the Creator when we honor the memory of those who honored Him.
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Nobody Likes Me
Posted:May 26, 2018 5:48 am
Last Updated:May 28, 2018 2:54 am
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Read: Psalm 142

Bible in a Year: 1 Chronicles 28–29; John 9:24–41

No one is concerned for me. I have no refuge; no one cares for my life. Psalm 142:4

As a child, when I felt lonely, rejected, or sorry for myself, my mother would sometimes attempt to cheer me up by singing a popular ditty: “Nobody likes me, everybody hates me. I think I’ll go eat worms.” After a smile came from my downcast face, she’d help me see the many special relationships and reasons for gratitude I truly did have.

When I read that David felt no one cared for him, that ditty rings in my ears. Yet David’s pain wasn’t at all exaggerated. Where I had feelings of loneliness typical for my age, David actually had good reason to feel abandoned. He wrote these words in the dark depths of a cave where he hid from Saul, who pursued him with murderous plans (1 Samuel 22:1; 24:3–10). David had been anointed as Israel’s future king (16:13), had spent years in Saul’s service, but now he lived “on the move,” always fearing for his life. In the midst of the loneliness David felt, he cried out to God as his “refuge” and “portion in the land of the living” (Psalm 142:5).

God is our friend in seasons of loneliness.
Like David, we can cry out to God when we feel alone, giving voice to our feelings in the safety of His love. God never minimizes our loneliness. He wants to be our companion in the dark caves of our lives. Even when we think no one cares for our life, God cares!

Lord, You are my friend when I feel alone. Thank You for being with me in the dark caves of life.

God is our friend in seasons of loneliness.
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Accidental wisdom
Posted:May 25, 2018 4:13 am
Last Updated:May 26, 2018 5:48 am
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Read: Philippians 4: 4-9

The Bible in one year: 1 Chronicles 25-27; John 9: 1-23

... all that is true, all that is honest, all that is just, all that is pure, all that is lovely, [...] think about this (v. 8.

A few years ago, a woman told me about a time when she had found her teenage son watching the news about a violent incident. Instinctively, he took the remote control and changed the channel. "You do not need to see those things," she said a little angrily. After an argument, he told him that he needed to fill his mind with "all that is true, all that is honest, all that is just" (Philippians 4: 8. After dinner, she and her husband were watching the news when, suddenly, her five-year-old daughter came running and turned off the television. "You do not need to see those things," he said in his best "mom" voice. Think of those things in the Bible! "

As adults, we can absorb and process the news better than our children. However, the daughter of that couple was, at the same time, comical and wise when he repeated the instructions of his mother. Even mature adults can be affected by constantly seeing the darkest side of life. Meditating on the kind of things Paul enumerates in Philippians 4: 8 is a powerful antidote to the grief that sometimes settles in us as we see the condition of this world.

Taking care of what fills our mind is an excellent way to honor God and protect our hearts.

Lord, open my eyes to the beautiful today and teach me to meditate on you.
What we let into our mind shapes the state of our soul.
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Tossing and Turning
Posted:May 24, 2018 2:05 am
Last Updated:May 24, 2018 6:43 am
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Read: Psalm 4

Bible in a Year: 1 Chronicles 22–24; John 8:28–59

In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety. Psalm 4:8

What keeps you awake at night? Lately I’ve been losing sleep, tossing and turning on my bed, trying to work out a solution to an issue. Eventually I begin fretting about not getting enough rest to handle the challenges of the next day!

Sound familiar? Troubled relationships, an uncertain future, whatever it is—we all give in to worry at one point or another.

We can entrust our cares to a wholly trustworthy God.
King David was clearly in distress when he penned Psalm 4. People were ruining his reputation with groundless accusations (v. 2). And some were questioning his competency to rule (v. 6). David probably felt angry for being treated so unfairly. Surely he could have spent nights stewing about it. Yet we read these remarkable words: “In peace I will lie down and sleep” (v. 8.

Charles Spurgeon explains verse 8 beautifully: “In thus lying down, . . . [David] resigned himself into the hands of another; he did so completely, for in the absence of all care, he slept; there was here a perfect trust.” What inspired this trust? From the start, David was confident that God would answer his prayers (v. 3). And he was sure that since God had chosen to love him, He would lovingly meet his needs.

May God help us to rest in His power and presence when worries threaten. In His sovereign and loving arms, we can “lie down and sleep.”

Dear Father, thank You for hearing me when I call. I surrender my worries to You and rest in Your power and presence.

We can entrust our cares to a wholly trustworthy God.
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The Babushka Lady
Posted:May 23, 2018 2:23 am
Last Updated:May 23, 2018 11:27 am
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Read: Acts 2:22–36

Bible in a Year: 1 Chronicles 19–21; John 8:1–27

Let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah. Acts 2:36

The “Babushka Lady” is one of the mysteries surrounding the 1963 assassination of US President John F. Kennedy. Captured on film recording the events with a movie camera, she has proven to be elusive. This mystery woman, wearing an overcoat and scarf (resembling a Russian babushka), has never been identified and her film has never been seen. For decades, historians and scholars have speculated that fear has prevented the “Babushka Lady” from telling her story of that dark November day.

No speculation is needed to understand why Jesus’s disciples hid. They cowered in fear because of the authorities who had killed their Master (John 20:19)—reluctant to come forward and declare their experience. But then Jesus rose from the grave. The Holy Spirit soon arrived and you couldn’t keep those once-timid followers of Christ quiet! On the day of Pentecost, a Spirit-empowered Simon Peter declared, “Let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah” (Acts 2:36).

Lord, please give me the strength and boldness to talk to others about You.
The opportunity to boldly speak in Jesus’s name is not limited to those with daring personalities or career ministry training. It is the indwelling Spirit who enables us to tell the good news of Jesus. By His strength, we can experience the courage to share our Savior with others.

Lord, please give me the strength and boldness to talk to others about You.

Speak of the matchless love of Christ to those who need to hear.
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Up a Tree
Posted:May 22, 2018 1:38 am
Last Updated:May 22, 2018 3:36 pm
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Read: Jonah 2:1–10

Bible in a Year: 1 Chronicles 16–18; John 7:28–53

In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me. Jonah 2:2

My mother discovered my kitten Velvet atop the kitchen counter, devouring homemade bread. With a huff of frustration, she scooted her out the door. Hours later, we searched our yard for the missing cat without success. A faint meow whistled on the wind, and I looked up to the peak of a poplar tree where a black smudge tilted a branch.

In her haste to flee my mother’s frustration over her behavior, Velvet chose a more precarious predicament. Is it possible that we sometimes do something similar—running from our errors and putting ourselves in danger? And even then God comes to our rescue.

Oh the heights--and in the depths--God goes to in rescuing us with His redeeming love!
The prophet Jonah fled in disobedience from God’s call to preach to Nineveh, and was swallowed up by a great fish. “From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God. He said: ‘In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me’ ” (Jonah 2:1–2). God heard Jonah’s plea and, “commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land” (v. 10). Then God gave Jonah another chance (3:1).

After exhausting our efforts to woo Velvet down, we summoned the local fire department. With the longest ladder fully extended, a kind man climbed high, plucked my kitten from her perch, and returned to place her safely in my arms.

Oh the heights—and the depths—God goes to in rescuing us from our disobedience with His redeeming love!

Dear God, how we need Your rescue today!

Jesus’s death on the cross rescued us from our sins.
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A prayer of forgiveness
Posted:May 21, 2018 3:21 am
Last Updated:May 21, 2018 8:24 am
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Read: Luke 6: 27-36

The Bible in one year: 1 Chronicles 13-15; John 7: 1-27

... Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you; bless those who curse you, and pray for those who slander you (verses 27-28.

In 1960, Ruby Bridges, six years old, was the first African-American girl to enter a public elementary school of white students in the southern United States. Every day, for months, the federal police escorted her to a crowd of angry parents who insulted and threatened her. Once inside, already safe, she sat alone in a classroom with Barbara Henry, the only teacher willing to teach her.

The prominent psychologist Robert Coles met with Ruby for several months to help her cope with the fear and stress she experienced. He was amazed at the child's prayer every time he went to school and returned home: "God, please forgive them because they do not know what they are doing" (see Luke 23:34).

The words of Jesus from the cross, in the most agonizing hour of his life, demonstrated the radical response he taught his followers: "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you; bless those who curse you, and pray for those who slander you. Be ye therefore merciful, even as your Father is merciful "(Luke 6: 27-28, 36).

This admirable approach is only possible if we consider the powerful love that Jesus has given us; Love stronger than deeper hatred.

Lord, help me today to forgive those who hurt me, as you forgave me.
Bless those who curse you and pray for those who mistreat you.
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EVEN IF
Posted:May 19, 2018 4:55 am
Last Updated:May 20, 2018 4:19 pm
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Read: Daniel 3:8–18 | Bible in a Year: 1 Chronicles 7–9; John 6:22–44

The God we serve is able to deliver us from [the fire] . . . . But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods. Daniel 3:17–18

Sometimes life deals us a tremendous blow. Other times the miraculous happens.

Three young men, captives in Babylon, stood in front of the fearsome king of that land and boldly proclaimed that under no circumstances would they worship the giant image of gold towering above them. Together they declared: “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know . . . we will not . . . worship the image” (Daniel 3:17–18.

God is able to give us strength and hope for each day--no matter the circumstance.
These three men—Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego—were hurled into the fiery furnace; and God miraculously delivered them so that not a hair of their head was singed and their clothing was smoke-free (vv. 19–27). They had been prepared to die but their trust in God was unwavering—“even if” He had not saved them.

God desires that we cling to Him—even if our loved one isn’t healed, even if we lose our job, even if we are persecuted. Sometimes God rescues us from danger in this life, and sometimes He doesn’t. But the truth we can hold firmly is this: “The God we serve is able,” loves us, and is with us in every fiery trial, every even if.

Dear Lord, we love You! Please give us unwavering faith—and strength and hope for each day—no matter the circumstance.

God is able.
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Overflowing
Posted:May 18, 2018 1:18 am
Last Updated:May 19, 2018 6:02 am
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Read: Romans 15:4–13

Bible in a Year: 1 Chronicles 4–6; John 6:1–21

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him.
Romans 15:13

“No! No! No! NO!” I screamed. It didn’t help. Not one bit. My brilliant solution for our plugged problem—flushing again—accomplished exactly the opposite of what I’d intended. I knew I had made a mistake the second I pushed the lever down. And I stood helplessly as water overflowed.

How many times have our kids tried to pour milk and misjudged the process, with white liquid flowing everywhere. Or maybe we failed to remember that a two-liter bottle of soda just rolled around in the trunk . . . with explosively startling results.

The Father gave us the Spirit to make us like the Son.
No, spills are almost never a good thing. But there might be one exception. The apostle Paul uses that image of overflowing to describe a people so full of God’s Spirit that what naturally spills out of them is hope (Romans 15:13). I love that picture of being filled to the brim with joy, peace, and faith because of His powerful presence in our lives. So much so, in fact, that we can’t help but exude and express winsome confidence in our heavenly Father. That might be during the beautiful, sunny seasons of our lives. Or when the proverbial cup of our lives gets jostled. Either way, what sloshes out over the top is life-giving hope to those around us who are “drenched” by it.

Lord, spills happen in life. But when they do, help us to be so full of Your Spirit that what pours out of us is the kind of hope that others can’t help but notice and be blessed by.

The Father gave us the Spirit to make us like the Son.
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Praising God’s Goodness
Posted:May 17, 2018 2:01 am
Last Updated:May 19, 2018 6:03 am
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Read: Psalm 136:1-15

Bible in a Year: 1 Chronicles 1–3; John 5:25–47

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever. Psalm 136:1

Someone in our Bible-study group suggested, “Let’s write our own psalms!” Initially, some protested that they didn’t have the flair for writing, but after some encouragement everyone wrote a moving poetic song narrating how God had been working in their lives. Out of trials, protection, provision, and even pain and tears came enduring messages that gave our psalms fascinating themes. Like Psalm 136, each psalm revealed the truth that God’s love endures forever.

We all have a story to tell about God’s love—whether we write or sing or tell it. For some, our experiences may be dramatic or intense—like the writer of Psalm 136 who recounted how God delivered His people from captivity and conquered His enemies (vv. 10–15). Others may simply describe God’s marvelous creation: “who by his understanding made the heavens . . . spread out the earth upon the waters . . . made the great lights— . . . the sun to govern the day . . . the moon and stars to govern the night” (vv. 5–9).

Lord, thank You for the world You made and for the blessings on my life.
Remembering who God is and what He has done brings out praise and thanksgiving that glorifies Him. We can then “[speak] to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:19) about the goodness of the Lord whose love endures forever! Turn your experience of God’s love into a praise song of your own and enjoy an overflow of His never-ending goodness.

Lord, thank You for the world You made and for the blessings on my life. Fill my heart with gratitude and put words in my mouth to acknowledge and appreciate You.

For all eternity, God’s love endures forever.
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