April 2010

God’s Grace Is Enough

Story of the day: God’s Grace Is Enough

Lillie Baltrip is a good bus driver. In fact, according to thee Fort Worth Star-Telegram of June 17, 1988, the Houston school district nominated her for a safe-driving award. Her colleagues even trusted her to drive a busload of them to an awards ceremony for safe drivers. Unfortunately, on the way to the ceremony, Lillie turned a corner too sharply and flipped the bus over, sending herself and sixteen others to the hospital for minor emergency treatment.

Did Lillie, accident free for the whole year, get her award anyway? No. Award committees rarely operate on the principle of grace. How fortunate we are that even when we don’t maintain a spotless life-record, our final reward depends on God’s grace, not on our performance! [Larson, Craig B. 750 Engaging Illustrations. Grand Rapids: Baker Books. 1998. pg.215.]

Quote of the day: Author Unknown

“The source of the Christian’s strength lies in God’s grace, not in exertions of will-power, or in efforts of discipline, or any other self-effort.”

Bible verse of the day: James 4:6 (NIV)

“But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

Your grace is so sufficient for me and my life. Thank You that everything I do is based upon the Grace that you provide and not the works that I do. I pray that my life is humbled before You each day and that the things that I do bring honor and Glory to Your name. I love You and I am thankful for this day!

In Jesus Name I pray,

Amen

February 2010

It’s all in our attitude

Story of the day: It’s all in our attitude

There’s a story about a man and his wife who were on a long trip stopped at a full-service gas station. After the station attendant had washed their car’s windshield, the man in the car said to the station attendant, “It’s still dirty. Wash it again.”

So the station attendant complied. After washing it again, the man in the car angrily said, “It’s still dirty. Don’t you know how to wash a windshield?”

Just then the man’s wife reached over, removed her husband’s glasses from his face, and cleaned them with a tissue. Then he put them back on and behold–the windshield was clean!

Our attitude has a great deal to do with how we look at things. The whole world can seem pretty bleak if we have a negative attitude. Yet how bright the world can appear if we have a joyful attitude of hope. [Green, M. 2005. The Expositor’s Illustration File and Index. Baker Books Publishing.]

Quote of the day: Chuck Swindoll

“I believe the single most significant decision I can make on a day-to-day basis is my choice of attitude.”

Bible verse of the day: Philippians 2:5 (NKJV)

“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,”

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

I humble myself before You and pray that my attitude reflects the joy that You have placed within my life. I know that everyday will bring its challenges, and as they come, I pray to make the right choices in how to handle things, and that the things that I do bring You honor, glory, and praise. I love You Father and I am thankful for this day!

In Jesus Name I pray,

Amen

August 2009

Which road do we take?

Story of the day:  Which road do we take?

There are many roads in life that we come across.  Deciding which to take can sometimes be a challenge.  So when we come to a fork in our life, which road do we take?  Vernon Grounds wrote in Grooves of Grace this exact situation.  He writes:

A man was traveling in Canada one springtime when frost and melting snow made it nearly impossible to drive farther.  He came to a crossroads and saw a sign that said, “Take care which rut you choose.  You will be in it for the next 25 miles.”  That’s a wise warning for all of us–and not just when we’re driving in rough road conditions.

Whenever we come to a crossroads in life, what choice do we make?  In other words, in what direction will we travel and what habits–which ruts of routine–will we establish?

A habit is a pattern of behavior that we follow consistently.  We need to decide prayerfully what habits we will practice.  Will our habits be mere ruts of routine?  Or will they become “grooves of grace?”

Good health habits are important, but spiritual disciplines are far more important.  Are we choosing to develop consistent habits of prayer, Bible reading, and kindness?

A habit is just a rut of routine.  But good spiritual discipline can transform our ruts into grooves of grace.

Quote of the day:  Hess

“In the beginning we make our habits; in the end our habits make us.”

Bible verse of the day: 1 Corinthians 9:27 (NIV)

“No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

Forks in the road come at all different times of our lives.  I seek to always be prayed up so that with Your Guidance, I may choose the right road.  I pray that I continue to develop all the great attributes that lead to Spiritual discipline so that my life may mirror You in it.  I thank You for this blessed day!

In Jesus Name I pray,

Amen

July 2009

God loves us now!

Story of the day:  God loves us now!

In his book Enjoying God, Lloyd Ogilvie writes:

My formative years ingrained the quid pro quo into my attitude toward myself:  do and you’ll receive; perform and you’ll be loved.  When I got good grades, achieved, and was a success, I felt acceptance from my parents.  My dad taught me to fish and hunt and worked hard to provide for us, but I rarely heard him say, “Lloyd, I love you.”  He tried to show it in actions, and sometimes I caught a twinkle of affirmation in his eyes.  But I still felt empty.

When I became a Christian, I immediately became so involved in discipleship activities that I did not experience the profound healing of the grace I talked about theoretically….

I’ll never forget as long as I live the first time I really experienced healing grace.  I was a postgraduate student at the University of Edinburgh.  Because of financial pressures I had to accordion my studies into a shorter than usual period.  Carrying a double load of classes was very demanding, and I was exhausted by the constant feeling of never quite measuring up.  No matter how good my grads were, I thought they could be better.  Sadly, I was not living the very truths I was studying.  Although I could have told you that the Greek words for grace and joy are charis and chara, I was not experiencing them.

My beloved professor, Dr. James Steward, that slightly built dynamo of a saint, saw into my soul with x-ray vision.  One day in the corridor of New College he stopped me.  He looked me in the eye intensely.  Then he smiled warmly, took my coat lapels in his hands, drew me down to a few inches from his face, and said, “Dear boy, you are loved now!”

Quote of the day:  Craig Larson

“God loves us now, not when we get better.  God loves us now, as we are.”

Bible verse of the day:  1 John 4:9

“In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.”

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank You for loving me as I am.  It has been Your Love that has stirred my soul and opened my heart to a world that is in need.  Father, I pray for those that may feel as Lloyd does, loved only when they accomplish things.  I pray that they stop what they are doing right now and see how You love them just as they are and right now.  Father, may they feel Your unwavering Love fill their souls.  I ask that my heart continues to grow for people and that it is filled with the love that You continue to give each and every day.  Let me see others through the heart of Your eyes leading me compassionately and guiding me down Your Gracious path.  I thank You for this day!

In Jesus Name I pray,

Amen

April 2009

By Grace

Story of the day:  By Grace

Ron Rand writes in For Fathers Who Aren’t in Heaven:

         Michael usually take his family out each week to see a movie or sports event.  When they come home, they make a fire in the fireplace and pop popcorn. 

        During one of these evenings, little Billy made a real pest of himself in the car on the drive home, so he was punished by being sent to sit in his bedroom while the rest of the family had popcorn.  After the family had the fire going and the popcorn ready, Michael went back to Billy’s room and said, “You go out with the others.  I’ll stay here and take your punishment.”

     Through Michael’s action, the entire family experienced a vivid example of what Jesus did for everyone.”

Quote of the day: Benjamin Warfield

“Grace is free sovereign favor to the ill-deserving.”

Bible verse of the day:  Ephesians 2:8 (NKJV)

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,”

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank You for Your Grace.  The story above is a great example of how much love a father has for his child and to take what the child did that was wrong and pay the penalty for what he/she did.  He didn’t have to do it, but he did because he loved his son so much.  That speaks volumes to me, because that is exactly what You did for me.   The Love that You have for me and others is a measure of how great You are and how much You want a relationship with us.  I am so grateful for all that You have done and continue to do in my life.  I continue to grow in You daily and blossom as You move in my life.  I love You and thank You!

In Jesus Name I pray,

Amen

April 2009

How do we love the unlovable?

Story of the day:  How do we love the unlovable?

     It is easy to love those we like.  As a matter of fact, it hardly takes any work at all to be kind to those that we have befriended.  But, how do we open our hearts and love the unlovable?  There is a story in the Bible about a wee little man named Zacchaeus.  He was a very rich tax collector who became very wealthy by overcharging the people in his town.  Needless to say. Zacchaeus wasn’t liked by many, in fact Herb Vander Lugt wrote in Loving the Unlovable, “Zacchaeus was easy to dislike.  Yet, to the dismay of the crowd, Jesus honored him by going to his house and eating with him.  Jesus saw Zacchaeus as a sinner with an empty hole that only He could fill, and through His kindness Zacchaeus was transformed.”  Jesus saw in Zacchaeus what He saw in each of us, sin that needed His Love, Grace, and Mercy. 

    I encourage you today, to ask God to see others through His eyes, love them the way that He loves you, for “The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” (1 Timothy 1:5 NIV)     

Quote of the day:  Author Unknown

“True compassion will put love into action.”

Bible verse of the day:  John 15:12 (NKJV)

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

I pray to have my heart and soul opened by Your Love.  Father, may I see others through Your eyes and always have a compassionate heart ready and willing to serve.    I thank You for this blessed day!

In Jesus Name I pray,

Amen

October 2008

Confession

Story of the day:  Confession

     In The Essential Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson, the cartoon character Calvin says to his tiger friend, Hobbes, “I feel bad that I called Susie names and hurt her feelings.  I’m sorry I did it.”

     “Maybe you should apologize to her,” Hobbes suggests.

     Calvin ponders this for a moment and replies, “I keep hoping there’s a less obvious solution.”

     When we want to restore our relationship with God, we need to remember that he has a liking for the obvious solution.

Quote of the day:  C. FitsSimons Allison

“We need not “sin that grace may abound.” We are sinners and need only to confess that grace may abound.”

Bible verse of the day:  1 John 1:9

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

You sent Your Son to live and die in this world for me, and because of this, You know what it means to be human.  You can relate to the times when I am sad, hurt, worried, or fearful.  Most of all, You forgive me when I confess to You in times of weakness.  Father, I place my trust in You for every aspect of my life and with Your Word and the love of Your Son in my heart, may I continue to live Your Will for my life.

In Jesus Name I pray,

Amen

October 2008

Released from bondage of perfectionism

Story of the day:  Released from bondage of perfectionism

     “God expects more failure from us than we do from ourselves because God knows who we are.  We are not the righteous person who occasionally sins, we are the sinful person who occasionally–by God’s grace–gets it right.  When we start from this perspective we are released from the bondage of perfectionism and are able to forgive ourselves once and for all.  We are to take our cue from him.  We may be disappointed with ourselves but God is not.  We may feel like condemning ourselves, but God does not.

     Forgiving ourselves for our failures is a big task.  We expect so much.  Jesus’ disciples failed Him–but in every case the whole story had not yet been told.  There were many successes ahead for them–just as there are for you.  Lighten up on yourself.  God has called you to Himself.  You are loved by Him.  How can you belittle what God so loves?”  James Bryan Smith and Nick Harrison

Quote of the day:  James Long

“One reason God created time was so there would be a place to bury the failures of the past.”

Bible verse of the day:  Romans 8:2

“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.”

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father:

Thank You for releasing me from the bondage of perfectionism.  Thank You that the righteous requirement might be fulfilled in me who does not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.  Thank You for the times that I don’t always get it right, and yet You still love me no matter what.  When I fall, You are quick to pick me up.  It’s just like a mother or father of a child who has fallen down, and You are still there encouraging me and showing me the way so that I might not fall again.  Thank You for loving me so much and creating me that I may share You with the world.  I thank You for this day!

In Jesus Name I pray,

Amen

July 2008

Every child of God has equal access

Story of the day:  Every child of God has equal access.

     We often see preferential treatment in high class eating facilities, hotels, and designated areas that if people are willing to pay top dollar for can get the “priority” treatment. 

     Richard De Haan writes in Equal Access, Pastor Stuart Silvester told me of a conversation he had with an acquaintance who frequently flew his small private plane in and out of Toronto International Airport.  He asked the pilot if he ever encountered problems taking off and landing a small craft at an airport that was dominated by so many large jets.  His friend responded, “My plane may be small, but I have the same rights, the same privileges, and the same access to the airport as anyone else–even the jumbo jets!”

     Pastor Silvester than made this spiritual application:  “It’s the same with prayer, with the believer’s approach to the throne of grace.  No matter who we are or how small we are in comparison with others or how low our situation in life, we take a back seat to on one.  On one is given priority treatment.”

     In a world that offers preferential treatment, it’s encouraging to know that every child of God has equal access to the Father in Heaven.  The psalmist said, “The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth” (Psalm 145:18).

     With the assurance, we can “come boldly to the throne of grace” in prayer, knowing that our loving God will never turn us away.”

Quote of the day:  Author Unknown

“Prayer is an open line to Heaven.”

Bible verse of the day:  Hebrews 4:16

“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank You that I can come boldly to Your throne and You will never turn me away.  Just as the writer today wrote, it is encouraging to know that I have just as equal access as anyone else and when I call upon You in truth, You are always near.  I thank You for this day and as we finalize the things here in Dayton, I pray that the trip tomorrow goes smoothly, and for safe travel.  I thank You for this day!

In Jesus Name I pray,

Amen

May 2008

Spiritual Battle

                                                                                                     

Story of the day:  Spiritual Battle

In the past few weeks, I have come across a lot of people who have been experiencing some troubled times in their lives.  And although our troubles could probably not come close to what a man in the Bible named Job experienced, those tough times can be hard to cope with and often lead us to question why sometimes.  The following story puts theses times into perspective and left me encouraged so I thought I would share it with you all.  The short story is entitled Job’s Birthday and was written by Julie Ackerman.

“Death, divorce, and disease could be called the three D’s of misery.  They slice through life like a tsunami of sorrow, raising doubts and destroying dreams.

Recently, a friend and I agreed that the previous year was one that we both would just as soon forget.  Each of us had suffered one of the three.

Our conversation brought Job to mind.  In a short period of time, he lost his children, his health, his wealth, and his wife’s respect.  Job’s distress was so great that he pleaded, “May the day perish on which I was born” (Job 3:3).  Job wanted God to erase not just a year, but all memory of his existence!  He had enjoyed years of success and respect.  Now, he questioned the purpose of living (3:20).

Job wanted to die and be forgotten, but instead God made sure his name and story would be remembered forever.  Rather than give Job what he asked for, God gave future generations what they would need—an inside look at the spiritual battle between God and Satan.  The result is a God inspired document about suffering that has comforted countless people.

When what we fear actually happens, we know, thanks to Job, that God can use it for good.”

Quote of the day:  Our Daily Bread

“Our highest good may come from our deepest suffering.”

Bible verse of the day:  Job 42:2

“I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.”

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank You for such a blessed weekend.  Father, I pray for those that may be experiencing rough times in their life today.  I pray that during these times that they call out to You and that You will turn their situation around and use it for good.  Father, there have been times in my life where I have called out to You and have wondered why, but because of Your faithfulness and the truth that was revealed to me, You stood by me through my suffering and I grew stronger because of it.  Because of Your Grace and Mercy, I know that when troubled times come, that You will be my Rock.  I thank You for this day and the promise of tomorrow!

In Jesus Name I pray,

Amen