Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What I Read Today - Wednesday September 30, 2009

From OUR DAILY BREAD

The Measure Of Love


READ: John 15:9-17

Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. —John 15:13On October 2, 1954, First Lieutenant James O. Conway was taking off from Boston Logan Airport, flying a plane that carried a load of munitions. When his plane became airborne, he suddenly lost power over Boston’s bay. In an instant, Conway faced a brutal choice—eject from the plane and save his own life, or crash the plane into the bay causing his own death.
If he ejected, however, the plane would crash into an East Boston neighborhood filled with homes and families. Amazingly, Conway chose to crash the plane into the bay—giving his life for the lives of others.
In John 15:13, Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” The willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice to protect others shows a heart that cares more about the needs of others than the needs of one’s self. Someone once said that “the measure of love is what one is willing to give up for it.” God the Father loved so much that He gave up His Son. Christ loved so much that He gave up His life—even taking our sins on Himself and dying in our place.
The measure of God’s love for you is great. Have you accepted His love personally? — Bill Crowder

When Jesus gave His life for me,
Enduring all the agony
Upon the cross of Calvary,
He showed the love of God. —Sper

Nothing speaks more clearly of God’s love than the cross of Christ

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

More of What I Read Today - Tuesday September 29, 2009

From: Our Daily Bread

September 29, 2009


Struggling To Kneel

READ: Colossians 4:1-12

Always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. —Col. 4:12Just before John Ashcroft was being sworn in as a US senator, he met with family and friends for prayer. As they gathered around him, he saw his dad trying to get up from the couch where he sat. Since his father was in frail health, Ashcroft told him, “That’s okay, Dad. You don’t have to stand up to pray for me.” His father replied, “I’m not struggling to stand up. I’m struggling to kneel.”
His father’s effort reminds me of the exertion it sometimes takes to intercede for a fellow believer. In Colossians, Paul refers to Epaphras as a bondservant who is “always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God” (Col. 4:12). “Laboring fervently” is the translation of a Greek word from which we get our word agony. It was used of wrestlers who in the Greek gymnastic games strained to overcome an opponent.
Epaphras interceded for other believers to become mature in their walk with the Savior. Asking God to overcome obstacles to spiritual growth in the lives of others requires our concentration and discipline. Are we willing to labor “fervently” in prayer to ask God to meet the needs of our loved ones? — Dennis Fisher

There’s a holy, high vocation

Needing workers everywhere;
’Tis the highest form of service,
’Tis the ministry of prayer. —Woodworth

Intercessory prayer is life’s real work.

What I Read Today - Tuesday September 29, 2009

http://www.beenthinking.org/2009/09/28/a-big-fish-story/

From : Been Thinking About Blog
RBC Ministries

Posted by Mart De Haan


September 28th, 2009

Today is Yom Kippur on the Jewish calendar. This no-work day of synagogue services, prayer, and fasting is the most solemn holy day in Judaism’s annual cycle of holy/holidays. Today observant Jewish people will recite a long prayer of confession as they lightly tap their chest in a spiritual and physical act of contrition.
Toward the end of the day, something happens, according to Jewish custom, that might sound surprising. A big fish story is read in synagogues. After fasting, confessing their sins, and reflecting on the words of Moses and Isaiah, they listen once again to the account of a catch and release that is so amazing no one would believe it if it wasn’t in the Bible.
Of all the readings that could have been chosen for the highest holy day of the year, someone started the tradition of reading Jonah. But why? Why do Jewish people read about the reluctant prophet who ran from God, was caught by a big fish, and then was miraculously released to complete a dangerous mission of rescue?
Rabbis have different explanations for reading Jonah on the holiday commonly called the Day of Atonement. One teacher of Israel says the story of Jonah is more about repentance than it is about the fish. Some explain that Jonah is evidence that no one can escape the presence of God, even while trying to run from the Almighty. Others believe Jonah is read on Yom Kippur with the hope that listeners would learn from Jonah’s mistakes. One rabbi says, “God cares for everyone. Jonah cares only for himself. God wins.”
Each of these explanations makes a good point. But the last one intrigues me the most. The story of Jonah is, after all, about a stubbornly self-centered man who was glad to receive God’s mercy when he thought he was dying in the stomach of a great fish (2:9). But he wanted nothing to do with a God who could be “gracious and merciful” to the enemies of his nation (4:2).
Seems to me that his is a subject that we all have to deal with whether we are talking about those we regard as national or personal enemies.
God was not asking Jonah to “forgive” the people of Nineveh to get rid of Jonah’s feelings of hostility toward a people who had done so much harm to Israel. The LORD was asking Jonah to share heaven’s/His heart for a people who had no place in Jonah’s heart.
Some might hear this and conclude, “Maybe, Jonah really does make a contribution not only to the traditional liturgy of Yom Kippur but to us as well. If God could forgive a repentant people as evil as the Ninevites, maybe he really could/or has already forgiven us for the sins we’ve confessed but haven’t been able to forget.
That would be true (and a wonderful source of reassurance– if our change of heart is real).
But it also might miss the bigger point of the story of Jonah– that God might really love the people we have no use for…

Don’t know about you. But I need to think about this a bit more… today… and maybe tomorrow too…

And isn’t it amazing that Nineveh was located across the river from what is now Mosul, Iraq…

Monday, September 28, 2009

More of What I Read Today - Monday - September 28, 2009

Quests

by Charles R. Swindoll

Colossians 1

"My first direct view of Titanic lasted less than two minutes, but the stark sight of her immense black hull towering above the ocean floor will remain forever ingrained in my memory. My lifelong dream was to find this great ship, and during the past thirteen years the quest for her had dominated my life. Now, finally, the quest was over. "

So wrote Robert Ballard after discovering the ghostly hulk of the R.M.S. Titanic in her lonely berth more than two miles deep in the North Atlantic. For nearly three-quarters of a century, since early April 1912, the great ship had been celebrated in legend, along with the 1,522 souls who had disappeared with her beneath the icy waters hundreds of miles off the coast of Newfoundland.

On several occasions, the explorer used the same word to describe his lifelong dream: "quest." It means a pursuit, a search, or, as Webster colorfully adds, "a chivalrous enterprise in medieval romance usually involving an adventurous journey."

What is your "quest"? Do you have a "lifelong dream"? Anything "dominating your life" enough to hold your attention for thirteen or more years?

Without a quest, life is quickly reduced to bleak black and wimpy white, a diet too bland to get anybody out of bed in the morning. A quest fuels our fire. It refuses to let us drift downstream, gathering debris. It keeps our mind in gear, makes us press on.

God is forever on a quest, too. Ever thought about that? In fact, His adventurous journey is woven throughout the fabric of the New Testament.

One thread is in Romans 8:29, where He mentions that He is conforming us to His Son's image: "For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son."  Another is in Philippians 1:6, where we're told that He began His "good work" in us and He isn't about to stop. Elsewhere He even calls us His "workmanship" (Eph. 2:10). Peter's second letter goes so far as to list some of the things included in this quest: "faith . . . moral excellence . . . knowledge . . . self-control . . . perseverance . . . godliness . . . brotherly kindness . . . love" (2 Pet. 1:5-7).

Character qualities in His children---that's His quest. And He won't quit until He completes His checklist.
When will that be? When we rest in peace . . . and not one day sooner. Thanks, Lord.

If you think you've arrived, then you probably haven't even started.

Excerpted from Day by Day with Charles Swindoll, Copyright © 2000 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.

What I read today. - Monday September 28, 2009

Beware Of Jumping To Conclusions

READ: Joshua 22:10-34
Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry, for anger rests in the bosom of fools. —Ecclesiastes 7:9

The e-mail contained nothing but Bible verses, and it came from someone I didn’t know very well at a time when there was disagreement among members of a church committee I was on. I assumed that the verses were aimed at me in an accusing way, and I was angry that someone who didn’t know all the issues involved would use Scripture to attack me.

Before I could retaliate, my husband, Jay, suggested I give her the benefit of the doubt instead of assuming the worst. “Perhaps there’s an innocent explanation,” he said. I couldn’t imagine what it would be, but I followed his advice and called. “Thank you so much for calling,” she said. “My computer has a virus and it spewed out e-mails using pieces of our Sunday school lesson to random people in my address book.” Gulp. I’m thankful that God used Jay to keep me from creating a problem where none existed.

By jumping to a conclusion that was logical but untrue, I came dangerously close to unnecessary conflict. The Israelites did the same thing. They were ready to go to war because they wrongly assumed that the altar built by their brothers was a sign of rebellion against God (Josh. 22:9-34). To avoid making wrong judgments, we must be careful to get the facts right. — Julie Ackerman Link

When you’re forming your opinions,
Do it carefully—go slow;
Hasty judgments oft are followed
By regretting—that I know. —Anon.

To avoid an embarrassing fall, don’t jump to a wrong conclusion.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

What I read today - Saturday September 26, 2009

Love Believes All Things
READ: 1 Corinthians 13
[Love] believes all things, hopes all things. —1 Corinthians 13:7It was 40 years ago or more that I observed a friend of mine showing great affection for someone I considered unworthy of love. I thought my friend was being taken in, and I was afraid he would be disillusioned and saddened in the end.

When I expressed my concern, he replied, “When I stand before my Lord, I hope He’ll say of me that I’ve loved too many, rather than too few.” I’ve never forgotten his words.

Paul insists that “[love] believes all things” (1 Cor. 13:7). Love “believes” in people. It can see the potential in them. It believes that God can take the most unattractive and unworthy individual and turn that person into a masterpiece of beauty and grace. If love errs, it must err in the way of trustfulness and hopefulness.

Certainly, we must be aware of danger when we see it coming, and become “as wise as serpents” (Matt. 10:16). Tough love may be the best response to irresponsible and foolish people, but we can be too guarded, too wary and distrustful.

It doesn’t do us any real harm to be hoodwinked and defrauded (Matt. 5:38-48). It’s better to believe in someone and have your heart broken than to have no heart at all. British poet Alfred Tennyson wrote, “ ’Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” I agree. — David H. Roper

Lord, help us to believe in people
And all that in them You can do,
So we can say we’ve loved too many,
Rather than too few. —Sper

Love looks beyond what people are to what they can become.

Friday, September 25, 2009

What I read today - Friday September 25, 2009

September 25, 2009
The Teacher As A Midwife
READ: Galatians 4:12-20
My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you. —Galatians 4:19The mother of the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates was a midwife. So Socrates grew up observing that she assisted women in bringing new life into the world. This experience later influenced his teaching method. Socrates said, “My art of midwifery is in general like theirs; the only difference is that my patients are men, not women, and my concern is not with the body but with the soul that is in travail of birth.”

Instead of just passing information on to his students, Socrates used the sometimes painful process of asking probing questions to help them arrive at their own conclusions. Teaching them to think seemed at times like the travail of childbirth.

Paul expressed a similar idea in discipling believers in the faith when he said, “My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you” (Gal. 4:19). Paul was concerned that each believer grow to spiritual maturity in Christlikeness (Eph. 4:13).

Becoming like Christ is a lifelong experience; therefore, we need patience with others and ourselves. All of us will have challenges and disappointments along the way. But if we put our trust in Him, we’ll grow spiritually and have character qualities that will radiate new life. — Dennis Fisher

Lord, help us see how much we need each other
As we walk along the Christian way;
In fellowship with sister and with brother,
You will keep us growing day by day. —Hess

Conversion is the miracle of a moment; maturing takes a lifetime.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

What I read today - September 24, 2009

September 24, 2009
Contentment
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READ: Matthew 6:24-34
No one can serve two masters. —Matthew 6:24A gripping photograph of an old woman sitting in a pile of garbage made me ponder. She was smiling as she ate a packet of food she had foraged from the garbage dump. It took so little for the woman to be satisfied.

There is much talk about a struggling economy and the cost of living going higher. And many are getting increasingly anxious about their livelihood. Is it possible to heed our Lord Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 6:25, “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on”?

Our Lord was not saying that we don’t need to work, that we don’t need to eat, or that we shouldn’t bother about how we dress. He was warning against those things becoming so important that we become slaves of money instead of trusting Him. “No one can serve two masters,” He said (v.24).

Seeking first “the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (v.33) is recognizing that no matter how much effort we expend to make a better life for ourselves and our families, ultimately it is the Lord who takes care of our needs. And since God is our heavenly Father, we will have enough. — C. P. Hia

Hidden in the hollow of His blessed hand,
Never foe can follow, never traitor stand;
Not a surge of worry, not a shade of care,
Not a blast of hurry touch the spirit there. —Havergal

Money serves us well if we receive it as God’s provision.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Truckers Chapel

I had the pleasure of meeting Pastor Joe a few years ago at the truck show in Dallas. He and his wife have a great ministry and are very nice people doing God's work. This video ran on CNN a few days ago.