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Showing posts from September, 2013

How Could Such an Evil Thing Happen?

By:  D. N. Matthews
Just how low can a society sink when the people reject God’s truth and try to live by their own standards? The book of Judges leads us through a dark period in Israel’s history. (Read Judges 20:1-14) When Joshua and the elder generation died, the Israelites had no appointed leader to rule over them. Just as Joshua had feared, the people let themselves be influenced by the Canaanites they had allowed to remain in the land. The Israelites intermarried with the pagan people around them and worshiped their gods, breaking the covenant vows they had sworn to uphold. The last two chapters of Judges especially show the disastrous results of each person doing whatever seems right to them.
A Levite traveling to his home in Ephraim stopped for the night in Gibeah, accepting hospitality from an old man. That night some of the local men surrounded the house and demanded that the Levite come out and have sex with them. When they refused to leave, the Levite gave them his concubine…

Responding with the Unlovely

By:  T. Meeuwsen
As a parent I want my children to be gentle and generous of spirit in their evaluation of others. It’s easy to be critical of people who are unlovely or annoying; it’s inadvertent and spontaneous for us to compare ourselves to people whom we encounter, read about, or even see in the media. This activity leaves us feeling either superior or inferior. How should we react to people who are unlovely or annoying to us?
I took my daughter, Tory, to Atlantic City, New Jersey, for the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Miss American Pageant. A big reunion of former Miss Americas was planned, and forty-four of us were returning. A special book had been commissioned to commemorate the anniversary. Tory went armed with the book and a pen, determined to get every autograph.
As we walked along the board walk, I was struck by the incredible dichotomy before us. Flashing lights and glittering displays lit the boardwalk. Pageant attendees were dressed to the nines in tuxedos and dresses t…

Star Gazing

By:  J. Devlin 
I attended a high school that had its very own planetarium. As a kid who would rather do anything than chemistry, I was excited to see the option for stargazing hiding in the course descriptions for senior year. Could it be? Can I get out of high school with credit for taking astronomy instead of chemistry? It’s worth a try, I thought to myself. With the guidance counselor’s approval and class schedule in hand, I wove my way through the hallways until I found the subtle enclave with the right room number affixed above the door.
The first day of class, we all filed into the covert hideaway nestled between the library and the main hall. Each row of reclining seats beckoned the new students with a comfort we had not been given in any other class on campus. It was almost too much to bear when the instructor asked us to lean back in reclining chairs in a pitch dark room and look at the projected scene on the ceiling. We all looked at each other and just knew this was the best…

Who Am I?

By:  K. C. Tate
“I am the LORD your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery” (Exodus 20:2).
“Who am I?” That’s the question we’re seeking to answer. Admittedly this is my passion, that people know who they truly are. Everything flows from that—your mindset, your choices, your outlook, your mood, and yes, your eternity. A great many go through life believing a lie. They only know the deceiver’s version of who they are. But when you know the truth—God’s version—and you walk in it, you’re set free to live the abundant life He intended for you.
God called Abraham out of Ur. He left behind his native land, family, and his very identity to follow God and the promise of a new land, a new family, and a new identity. In fact, God promised to make an entirely new nation through Abraham—the nation of Israel.
Abraham had a son, Isaac, and Isaac had Jacob (also known as Israel). Jacob had twelve sons, and the entire clan ended up in Egypt due to a famine, where they m…

Pleasing God is Paramount

By:  Blackaby
For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ. (Galatians 1:10)
At times you will have to make a choice between pleasing God and pleasing those around you, for God’s ways are not man’s ways (Isa. 55:8–9). As important as it is to strive for good relations with others, it is even more important to maintain a steadfast and obedient relationship with Christ. Disobeying God to keep peace with other people is never wise. Peace with God is always paramount.
Jesus warned that obeying Him might cause division in your relationships (Matt. 10:35–36). If Paul’s primary goal had been to please others, he would never have become an apostle of Jesus Christ. Paul went completely against the wishes of his colleagues in order to obey Christ.
At times, obedience to God sets family members at odds with each other (Matt. 10:35–36). When you follow Jesus’ Lordship, your family may misunderstand, or even oppose y…

If I Were The Devil

By:  F. Kong
Paul Harvey wrote this thought provoking article entitled: “IF I WERE THE DEVIL.” Listen to this carefully.
If I were the devil, I would gain control of the most powerful nation in the world;

I would delude their minds into thinking that they had come from man's effort, instead of God's blessings;
I would promote an attitude of loving things and using people, instead of the other way around;
I would dupe entire states into relying on gambling for their state revenue;
I would convince people that character is not an issue when it comes to leadership;
I would make it legal to take the life of unborn babies; I would make it socially acceptable to take one's own life, and invent machines to make it convenient;
I would cheapen human life as much as possible so that the life of animals are valued more than human beings;
I would take God out of the schools, where even the mention of His name was grounds for a lawsuit;
I would come up with drugs that sedate the mind and target…

Know the Value of Others

There was once a young man, a summa cum laude of a prestigious university, who came to a remote village and crossed a wide river via small boat. While travelling, he asked the boatman, “Do you know the exact weight of your boat when it is full to its capacity?” “I don’t know, Sir,” replied the boatman. “Well, you are a boatman. You should know that!”
Few minutes passed and the young man asked again, “Do you know the exact height of that mountain over there?” The poor boatman answered, “I’m sorry, Sir, but I don’t know the height of that mountain, Sir.” “Well, you are always here boating everyday so, you should know that!,” insisted the young man.
Then, after few minutes, the wind suddenly blew so furiously that it heavily hit the boat. The boatman insistently suggested, “Sir!, we need to jump out of the boat immediately and swim across the shore to spare our lives!” The young man fearfully exclaimed, “What!? Swim? No!, just keep rowing! I don’t know how to swim! I don’t know that!!” T…

Victory Over Fear

By:  B. Espinoza
Black Bart, who robbed 29 Wells Fargo stage coaches between 1875 and 1883, managed to strike fear in the hearts of his victims. Bart used his evil demeanor to ignite fear in anyone unfortunate to be on or around a Wells Fargo stagecoach during a robbery. Bart used fear to get his victims eyes on their circumstances. He knew distracting his victims from what was true was his only hope for a successful robbery and get away. The truth about Black Bart was in the 29 robberies history documents; he never once fired his gun or took a hostage. I wonder if the victims of his later robberies would have been as afraid, when robbed, if they had just set their mind on that truth. Like Black Bart, Satan uses fear as a tool to distract us from what is true.
Satan's understanding of who we are in Christ is evidenced by his repeated attempts to get us to submit to fear. When we are fully aware of the truth of who we are in Christ, we will not be afraid. The only thing Satan can do …

Why I’m Retiring Early and Inviting You To Do the Same

By:  C. Chua
As of today, I’m retired from work and life.
What do I mean? I mean that I’ll no longer work or live life as conventional society deems me to. I’ll no longer concern myself with monetary needs, societal statuses, creating a lifetime of achievements, matching people’s expectations, and so on. I’ll just do my thing, act the way I want to act, and live the life I want to live, void of expectations and self-obligation—and trust that everything will work itself out in the end.
Why? Technically I still have a good four decades to go before I am considered fit for retirement. (The retirement age in Singapore is 65 now. It was 62 previously and was extended to 65 last year, and is probably going to be 68 or even 70 by the time I’m in 50 or 60.)
I guess I just realized that life is too short to be spent doing something, anything, I don’t want to do. Thinking back, a good part of my life had been spent living for someone or something else. From my studying years to my working years, I …

You Are Accepted

By:  R. Warren
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9 NIV)
Most of us spend our entire lives trying to earn acceptance. We want to earn it from our parents, peers, partners in life, people we respect ourselves, and even people we envy. The desire to be accepted drives us to do all kinds of things. It can influence the kind of clothes you wear, the kind of car you drive, the kind of house you buy, even the career you choose.
Would you agree that people do the craziest things to be accepted? Remember as a kid you wanted so badly to be in the in-crowd that someone would say to you, “I dare you to do this,” and you did something stupid. You did it because your desire to be accepted overruled the desire for personal safety in your life. When you played baseball as a kid and teams were chosen, remember how great it felt to be picked …

Enjoying Who God Created You to Be

By:  J. Meyer
Start believing today that you are a rare, one-of-a-kind, valuable and precious individual. To help you learn how to be successful at being yourself, I want to give you some easy-to-follow suggestions:
Speak good things about yourself. 
Declare what God’s Word says about you. For example, say to yourself, “I am the righteousness of God in Christ. I am made acceptable in the Beloved. God formed me with His own hand, He loves me, and God doesn’t make mistakes.”
Avoid comparing yourself with others.
God must love variety, or all of us wouldn’t look so different. He has created each of us differently right down to our fingertips. We can look to certain people as good examples to follow, but even then, good traits if duplicated will manifest differently through our individual personalities.
Focus on your potential instead of your limitations. 
Refuse to concentrate on your weaknesses except in an effort to turn them into strengths. Keep your flaws in perspective. People with a high…

Small Beginnings

By:  L. Stewart
 Zech 4:10 says, “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.” 
I’m so glad that God gets excited when I start something new. He knows that trusting Him will cost me something.  
I recently started a new life adventure. God directed me, an almost 40-year-old school teacher, to move from California to Virginia to go back to school. As a wife and mother of three, you can imagine the tremendous leap of faith this was for my husband and children. But the Word of God is full of such stories.
When the exiles returned to Jerusalem from Babylon, they faced one obstacle after another.  First, the Jewish exiles had no place of worship since Solomon’s temple had been destroyed. Zerubbabel and Jeshua were priests in charge of building a new temple. But before they could build the temple, an altar of sacrifice was built. 
Ezra 3:3 says, “Even though the people were afraid of the local residents, they rebuilt the altar.” 
Have you ever been afraid t…

Difficult People

By:  GST
What the king asks is too difficult. No one can reveal it to the king except the gods, and they do not live among men (Daniel 2:11).
G.K. Chesterton, the British author and critic wrote, "The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies, probably because they are generally the same people" (Mark Rosen, Thank You For Being Such A Pain, (New York, NY: Three Rivers Press, 1999), p. 13.)
Difficult people are all around you.  In the office the difficult person tells you your faults. At home he or she has the frankness to tell you your lipstick isn't the right shade, that you are wearing the wrong clothes, that your fried chicken isn't as good as Colonel Sanders'.  Your difficult neighbor tells you that your house isn't painted the right color, or that you should have more sense than to vote the way you do, or that your tree is on his property.  A difficult teacher picks at your work, accuses you of plagiarism when you wrote your own ess…

Long Enough on the Mountain

By:  Blackaby
The LORD our God spoke to us in Horeb, saying: "'You have dwelt long enough at this mountain." (Deuteronomy 1:6)
If God allowed us to live on the “mountaintop,” we would not experience trials, but neither would we achieve any victories. The Israelites had gathered at the foot of Mount Horeb while God spoke to them and gave them His law. It was a breathtaking experience! Fire and smoke covered that awesome mountain; lightning flashed, and loud trumpet sounds pierced the air in a deafening crescendo! The ground at the foot of the mountain shook, and the people trembled in fear (Exod. 19:16–25).
As important as it was for God’s people to have this inspiring encounter with Him, their Lord had not rescued them from Egypt in order for them to settle around a mountain in the wilderness. God delivered them so that they could conquer the Promised Land. God wanted to demonstrate His power to the Israelites so that they would trust Him in their conquest of Canaan. Finall…

How a Hot Furnace Can Help You Chill Out

By:  J. Meyer
We often find ourselves stressed out and overwhelmed when we have a whole list of things we can't control. Maybe you're having trouble paying the bills and worried you can't afford to buy your child's birthday gift, a set of tires for your car or pay for the dental work you really need.
The devil wants you to spend your life frustrated, anxious, in fear, and out of touch with God. But we have to stop thinking about what's wrong and start focusing our mind on God, who's in control.
In the Fire, but not Burned
You can do everything you need to do when God is with you—and He's always with you. In the Bible, the book of Daniel shares the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego who, because of their faith in God, refused to worship a statue of the king of Babylon. Their protest infuriated the king so much that he ordered them to be thrown into a fiery furnace that was heated seven times hotter than usual. In fact, the furnace was so hot it burned up t…

Fail Your Way Forward

By:  E. Jones
Some months ago I stood shoulder-to-shoulder with best selling author Bruce Wilkinson. Bruce stood behind an accordion partition, waiting to go on stage. I stood beside him, examining the subtleties of God's promises. Neither of us spoke to the other, but we both shared a common bond that evening: we'd both followed God’s voice and found failure at the end of the journey.
When Bruce took the platform he explained how years earlier his first publication folded after just five issues. “When that first magazine ceased publication, I was certain of only one thing - I'd never produce another magazine.” Soon afterwards, Bruce explained, he did produce another periodical, albeit reluctantly. In 1978 Bruce launched Daily Walk and his Walk Thru the Bible publishing ministry began. "Had that first magazine succeeded, I might have been tempted to take credit for its success and that of Daily Walk. But that failure left no doubt in my mind as to who deserved the glory…