Yesterday, Today, & FOREVER The King of Pop

Devos

ANOTHER PART OF ME

“ONE IN JOY, ONE IN PAIN, ONE IN LOVE, ONE IN SERVICE AND IN CONSCIOUSNESS”

~ MICHAEL JACKSON 2009

Cherished Connections

When I heard that David was in the office for a board meeting, I was
excited. He and I had a mutual friend, Sharon, who had died several
years earlier. We had a few minutes to reminisce about her and her love
for life and God. What a delight to connect with someone who has loved
someone you have loved! There’s a special bond because you love to talk
about that cherished person.

Those who know Jesus Christ as their Savior have even stronger ties.
We are forever connected to Him and to one another. “We, being many,
are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another,” Paul
says in Romans 12:5. We’ve been “born of God,” and we love those who are “begotten of Him” (1 John 5:1).

When we get together with fellow believers, we have the opportunity
to talk about the one we love—Christ—and of the love, forgiveness, and
grace we have experienced in Him because of His death and resurrection
(4:9-10). At such times, we can encourage each other to continue to
trust Him and spur one another on to be faithful in our walk with Him.

We Believers have a kinship
with All others who believe,
And from that bond of faith and love
A mutual strength receive. —Hess

Our Daily Bread


Before you judge me, try hard to love me…

I’m Right; You Must Be Wrong



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  READ: Luke 6:37-42

Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. —Luke 6:37

My friend Ria admires the great blue
heron’s amazing 6-foot spread of wings and marvels at his majestic
appearance. She welcomes the sight of him gliding in for a landing on a
small island in the middle of the pond near her home.

Now, I can
appreciate that the heron is a marvelous and unique creature. But I
don’t ever want to spot him in my backyard! That’s because I know he
won’t be there just to admire the garden. No, this
not-so-fine-feathered version of persona non grata (someone not welcome) will be checking out our pond for a take-out fish dinner!

So,
am I right? Or is Ria? Why can’t we agree? Different personalities,
history, or knowledge can color people’s views. It doesn’t mean that
one person is right and the other wrong, yet sometimes we can be
unkind, rigid, and judgmental if there is not agreement. I’m not
talking about sin—but just a difference in opinion or perspective. We
need to take care in judging others’ thinking, motives, and actions
because we too desire that kind of benefit of the doubt (Luke 6:37).

Can
we learn from someone who sees things with a different perspective? Do
we need to practice a little patience and love? I’m so grateful that
God is abundantly patient and loving with me.  — Cindy Hess Kasper

You’ve been so patient with us, Lord,
Though we are slow to hear;
Give us the grace to show such love
To those we hold so dear. —K. De Haan

A little L:O:V:E can make a big difference.

Our Daily Bread


Wake-Up Music

More Than Mere Music

Lyrics >>>










HIStory





























READ: Deuteronomy 31:16-2  

Let
the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and
admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. —
Colossians 3:16


In a suburb of Nairobi, Kenya, a group
of international refugees has been singing songs that they hope will
wake up their homeland. According to the BBC, the group Waayah Cusub
has been enjoying extensive airplay on radio stations and television
channels by using bold lyrics to address social issues. One of the
musicians says, “We are not happy with what is happening back home; in
fact we have recorded a thought-provoking song that we hope will bring
our leaders back to their senses.”

Long before Waayah Cusub began
using songs to call for an end to social pain and violence, God taught
Moses to use music in a bold and provocative way. Knowing that His
people’s sinful inclinations would distract them when they began to
enjoy the prosperity of the Promised Land (Deut. 31:21), God told Moses
to teach them the song of chapter 32. It is a shocking song of warning,
designed to get the attention of those who would forget God and fill
their lives with trouble.


Could our wise and loving God be
repeating that strategy with us? Is there a psalm, a hymn, or a
spiritual song that is calling us back to His faithfulness and amazing
grace? What song might He be using to get under the radar of our
natural defenses and renew our hearts today?  — Mart De Haan

Come, Thou fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise. —Robinson

Where words fail, music speaks. —Hans Christian Andersen

Our Daily Bread



Watch Your Mouth!

Clean Up The Environment

Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification. —Ephesians 4:29


What a frustrating problem pollution is! Everybody suffers with it, yet everybody contributes to it.

Pollution takes many forms, but one type is often overlooked. Charles Swindoll calls it “verbal pollution,” passed around by grumblers, complainers, and criticizers. “The poison of pessimism,” Swindoll writes, “creates an atmosphere of wholesale negativism where nothing but the bad side of everything is emphasized.”

A group of Christian friends became concerned about this form of pollution and their personal part in it. So they made a pact to avoid critical words for a whole week. They were surprised to find how little they spoke! As they continued the experiment, they actually had to relearn conversation skills.

In Ephesians 4, Paul called believers to that sort of decisive action. He said we are to “put off” the old self and its conduct that grieves the Holy Spirit (vv.22,30) and “put on” the new self that builds up others (v.24). As we rely on the help of the Spirit (Gal. 5:16), we can make those changes in our conduct, our thinking, and our speaking.

If we want to be rid of verbal pollution, we must choose to change and ask for God’s help. It’s a great way to start cleaning up our spiritual environment.  — Joanie Yoder

What! Never speak one evil word,
Or rash, or idle, or unkind!
O how shall I, most gracious Lord,
This mark of true perfection find? —Wesley

Help stamp out pollution—clean up your speech!

Our Daily Bread


“Instrument of Nature”

“when
I create my music, I feel like an instrument of nature” 
~ 
Michael Jackson 1993 Grammy Awards

God Needs You!

If anyone says to you, “Why are you doing this?” say, “The Lord has need of it.” —Mark 11:3

For His triumphal entry into Jerusalem,
Jesus chose a donkey to serve as His royal transportation. His
disciples were instructed to say, “The Lord has need of it” (Mark
11:3). Isn’t it astounding that the Son of God should use such lowly
means to accomplish His purposes? Alexander MacLaren commented on this:
“Christ comes to us in like fashion, and brushes aside all our
convenient excuses. He says, ‘I want you, and that is enough.’ ”

Think
of it! The Creator of the universe needs us and desires to fit us into
His eternal design! Though all-powerful and not dependent on any
creature, He has chosen to carry out His plans through lowly human instruments. If this were not so, He would have taken us to heaven as
soon as He saved us by His grace.

Someone once asked Francis of
Assisi how he was able to accomplish so much. He replied, “This may be
why: The Lord looked down from heaven and said, ‘Where can I find the
weakest, littlest man on earth?’ Then He saw me and said, ‘I’ve found
him. I will work through him, and he won’t be proud of it. He’ll see
that I am only using him because of his insignificance.’ ”

You may be small in your own eyes, but God has need of you!  — Paul Van Gorder

Yours is a mission you alone can fill,
Whether it be to build or teach or till;
Your goal may still be hidden from your view,
But somewhere God has urgent need of you. —Thayer

God is looking for ordinary people for extraordinary work.

Our Daily Bread


Honoring God Simultaneously

Worthy Of Respect

Receive [Epaphroditus] therefore in the Lord with all gladness, and hold such men in esteem. —Phil. 2:29

Just before kickoff at Super Bowl XLIII,
Kurt Warner of the Arizona Cardinals received the Walter Payton NFL Man
of the Year Award—a tribute given to the player who had best combined
on-field excellence with off-field community service. “I am humbled the
Lord has given me such an amazing life to impact others,” said Warner,
a dedicated Christian. “Of all the awards given to NFL athletes, [this
one] stands out . . . because of what it represents.” It represents a
commitment to giving and sacrificing for others.

Paying homage to
those who serve is not a new concept. Paul spoke of it when he reminded
the Philippians to honor those who gave themselves in serving Christ.
He told them of their friend Epaphroditus, who had nearly died (Phil.
2:30) because of his efforts for Christ in ministering to
others—including the people at Philippi. How should they respond? Paul
said, “Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness, and hold
such men in esteem” (v.29). Clearly, when we think of those who
sacrifice in serving the Savior, they are worthy of our respect and
appreciation.

Why not look for ways to show gratitude to those who have served you spiritually. Give them the honor they deserve.  — Bill Crowder

To honor is to show respect,
To meet another’s need,
To give someone encouragement,
To love in word and deed. —Sper

Our Daily Bread

Related  >>>

Celebrity Worship or Media Hypocrisy?



Angel in Disguise



On March 7, 2010 in Beverly Hills, California Randy Jackson
accepted the ‘Angel Award’ presented to him on behalf of Michael at the
11th Annual Children Uniting Nations Oscar Celebration. Rebbie Jackson
was also in attendance.

Children Uniting Nations is a proactive
organization created to bring attention to the plight of at-risk and
foster youth. Their goal is to reach as many children in out-of-home
care by offering role-model support, guidance, a sense of community and
promoting the importance of an education.

 Source: MJFC / Life

God’s Helpers



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READ: Psalm 103:19-22

Bless the Lord, you His angels. —Psalm 103:20

I was having a conversation with some
children about God and superheroes when Tobias asked a question. An
imaginative, curious 5-year-old, he asked anyone listening: “Does God
have a sidekick like Hercules does?” His wiser, older brother, age 7,
quickly responded: “Yes, He has thousands of them—they’re His angels.”

Angels
are a popular topic of discussion, and people believe a number of myths
about them. For instance, some people pray to angels, thinking they are
on the same level as God Himself. And some believe that people become
angels when they die. But here’s what the Bible, our authority, teaches:

• God created angels (Col. 1:15-17).


Angels worship God (Neh. 9:6), and are known by these terms: archangels
(Jude 1:9), cherubim (2 Kings 19:15), and seraphim (Isa. 6:1-3).

• They minister to God’s people (Heb. 1:13-14) by guarding and protecting them (Ps. 91:9-12).

They are given special assignments by God (Matt. 1:20; Luke 1:26).

• God’s angels rejoice when we repent of sin and turn to Christ for salvation (Luke 15:7,10).

Only God deserves our worship. So let’s join the angels in singing His praises!  — Anne Cetas

All hail the power of Jesus’ name!
Let angels prostrate fall;
Bring forth the royal diadem,
And crown Him Lord of all. —Perronet

Angels are God’s special helpers.

Our Daily Bread

"But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me
one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came
to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia. " (Daniel 10:13, KJV)

This
is the first Biblical mention of Michael. Here he is referred to as a
"chief prince" or one who is first in rank or power. He was (and is) a
very powerful and influential spirit being.


In Which Realm Do You Live?



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READ: Romans 8:1-10


The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. —Romans 8:2

I was working with a petroleum company
in Singapore when an inspector from another country visited. He came to
check on a cargo of oil destined for his country, which was at war.
When he heard the shriek of fighter planes overhead, he instinctively
ran for cover. Embarrassed, he explained, “Sorry, I thought I was back
home.” He did what he would have done had he been in his war-torn
country.

For the Believer, it’s easy to dive back into old ways
of sin out of sheer habit because of the many temptations in this
world. Even though we are “in Christ Jesus” as Romans 8:1 says, we
sometimes live as if we are “in sin.”

God paid a very heavy price
to take us out of the realm of sin. He did so by “sending His own Son
in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering” (v.3 niv). We are
now to be governed by “the law of the Spirit of life,” not by “the law
of sin and death” (v.2). The apostle Paul urges us to “set” our mind
according to “the things of the Spirit” (v.5). This means that we take
our direction from God’s Word as guided by His Spirit.

When
you’re tempted to dive back into old sinful ways, will you instead
allow the Holy Spirit who resides in you to help you live more
consistently with your standing “in Christ”?  — C. P. Hia

Born of the flesh, conceived in sin,
Then born of the Spirit, new life to begin;
I’ve been washed in Christ’s blood and this will suffice,
Praise God I’m His child, I’ve been born twice! —Brandt

When you are a born again Believer, you become a citizen of heaven.


The Best Of Gifts



There’s a love that cannot lie, Love is strong, it only cares of Joyful Giving – Heal the World




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READ: John 1:10-13

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! —2 Corinthians 9:15

Having trouble selecting that perfect gift for someone? A friend shared with me a few suggestions:

The gift of listening. No interrupting, no planning your response. Just listening.

The gift of affection. Being generous with appropriate hugs, kisses, and pats on the back.

The gift of laughter. Sharing funny stories and jokes. Your gift will say, “I love to laugh with you.”

The gift of a written note. Expressing in a brief, handwritten note your appreciation or affection.

The gift of a compliment. Sincerely saying, “You look great today” or “You are special” can bring a smile.

But
as we begin this special month of celebration, why not pass on the best
gift you’ve ever received? Share the fact that “the gift of God is
eternal life in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 6:23). Or share this verse from
John 1:12, “As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to
become children of God, to those who believe in His name.” Remind
others that “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting
life” (John 3:16).

The best gift of all is Jesus Christ. “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (2 Cor. 9:15).  — Cindy Hess Kasper

The greatest Gift that has ever been given
Is Jesus Christ who was sent down from heaven.
This Gift can be yours if you will believe;
Trust Him as Savior, and new life receive. —Hess

The best gift was found in a manger.

Our Daily Bread


Michael Jackson: A Wonder of the World

“Light” Of Creation



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READ:
Job 37:1-18


[God] does great things, and unsearchable, marvelous things without number. —Job 5:9

Among the wonders of Jamaica is a body
of water called Luminous Lagoon. By day, it is a nondescript bay on the
country’s northern coast. By night, it is a marvel of nature.

If
you visit there after dark, you notice that the water is filled with
millions of phosphorescent organisms. Whenever there is movement, the
water and the creatures in the bay glow. When fish swim past your boat,
for example, they light up like waterborne fireflies. As the boat
glides through the water, the wake shines brightly.

The wonder of
God’s creation leaves us speechless, and this is just a small part of
the total mystery package of God’s awesome handiwork as spelled out in
Job 37 and 38. Listen to what the Lord’s role is in nature’s majesty:
“Do you know how God controls the clouds and makes His lightning
flash?” (37:15 niv); “What is the way to the abode of light? And where
does darkness reside?” (38:19 niv). God’s majestic creations—whether
dazzling lightning or glowing fish—are mysteries to us. But as God
reminded Job, all of the wonders of our world are His creative handiwork.

When we observe God’s amazing creation, our only
response can be that of Job: These are “things too wonderful for me”
(42:3).  — Dave Branon

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful;
The Lord God made them all. —Alexander

When we cease to wonder, we cease to worship.

Our Daily Bread


Let me show ya, let me Show You The Way To Go

On Shoulders Of Giants




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READ: Joshua 1:1-9

As I was with Moses, so I will be with you. —Joshua 1:5

Giants hold a special place in our lore—both historical and literary. From the real giant Goliath to the fictional giant of Jack and the Beanstalk fame, we are fascinated by these larger-than-life characters.

Sometimes
we use the word giant to honor ordinary-size people who have done
extraordinary things. One example is the 17th-century physicist Sir
Isaac Newton. A committed Christian, he credited his success to other
“giants” who had gone before. “If I have seen a little further,” he
said, “it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Indeed, Newton
became a giant on whose shoulders later scientists stood—even as they
used his observations in the conquest of space flight.

When God
commanded Joshua to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land, Joshua
certainly had a giant’s shoulders to stand on. He had watched Moses’
leadership for 40 years, and now he would put what he had learned into
action.

Joshua had another advantage—his walk with God sustained
his life’s mission. Therefore, he had both Moses’ example and God’s
promised presence as he led Israel.

Looking for help as you face
the future? Look for a giant to follow. And never underestimate the
importance of your walk with God.  — Dennis Fisher

There is a destiny that makes us brothers:
None goes his way alone;
All that we send into the lives of others

Comes back into our own. —Markham

A good example is someone who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.

Our Daily Bread


Christlikeness

The Teacher As A Midwife



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READ: Galatians 4:12-20

My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you. —Galatians 4:19

The 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 Life’s 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.

Our Daily Bread


“this world we live in is really a big, huge, monumental symphonic orchestra” ~ Michael Jackson – Ebony 1989

Everyone Sings!



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READ: Revelation 5:8-14

Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever! —Revelation 5:13

Each summer I enjoy attending many of
the free outdoor concerts presented in our city. During one performance
by a brass band, several of the members briefly introduced themselves
and told how much they enjoyed practicing and playing together.

The
pleasure of sharing music in community has drawn people together for
centuries. As followers of Christ, whether we are in small groups,
choirs, or congregations, bringing praise to God is one of the key
elements in our own expression of faith. And one day, we’ll be singing
in a concert that defies imagination.

In a sweeping vision of the
tumultuous events at the end of time, John records a chorus of praise
that begins with a few and swells to a company beyond number. In honor
of the Lamb of God, who with His blood has redeemed people from every
tribe and nation (Rev. 5:9), the song begins at the throne of God, is
joined by multiplied thousands of angels, and finally includes every
creature in heaven, earth, and sea. Together we will sing, “Blessing
and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to
the Lamb, forever and ever!” (v.13).

What a choir! What a concert! What a privilege to start rehearsing today!  — David C. McCasland

Give me a spirit of praise, dear Lord,
That I may adore Your name,
Sing praises from a grateful heart
To the One who is always the same. —Dawe

Those who know Christ now will sing His praise forever.

Our Daily Bread


You Are My Life

Prelude Of Praise



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READ: Psalm 150

I will sing praise to Your name forever, that I may daily perform my vows. —Psalm 61:8


We enter a concert hall, find our seats,
and listen with anticipation as the members of the orchestra tune their
instruments. The sound is discordant, not melodic. But the tuning is
simply a prelude to the symphony.

C. S. Lewis suggested that’s
how it is with our devotional practices and even our worship services.
Sometimes they sound discordant, but God hears our prayers and praises
with fatherly delight. We are really preparing for participation in the
glorious symphony of heaven. Now we are making a minuscule contribution
to the harmonies of angelic and redeemed hosts. But our adoration,
though feeble, pleases the heart of the Divine Listener more than the
finest rendition of earth’s greatest orchestra.

Are we eagerly
awaiting our participation in heaven’s symphony of praise? Are we
joyfully participating in the adoration that delights the heart of God?
Or do we regard devotion as more of a discipline than a delight?

Our
attitudes will be transformed when we realize that praise delights
God’s heart. Praise helps us to tune our lives to heavenly harmonies.

Praise
is an indispensable preparation for the worship that will be our
eternal joy. “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord” (Ps.
150:6).  — Vernon C. Grounds

Joyfully, heartily resounding,
Let every instrument and voice
Peal out the praise of grace abounding,
Calling the whole world to rejoice. —Routley

The heart filled with praise brings pleasure to God.

Our Daily Bread


Thankful to God for Michael Jackson, his light, love, labor & life.

Lament For A Friend



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READ: 2 Samuel 1:11,17-27


I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; you have been very pleasant to me. —2 Samuel 1:26

As a pastor, I was often asked to lead
funeral services. Typically, the funeral director would give me a 3 x 5
index card with all the particulars about the deceased so I would be
informed about him or her. I never got used to that, however. As
practical and necessary as it may have been, it seemed a bit trite to
take a person’s earthly sojourn and reduce it to an index card. Life is
too big for that.

After David received news of Jonathan’s death,
he spent time recalling the life of his friend—even writing a lament
that others could sing as a way to respect Jonathan (2 Sam. 1:17-27).
David recalled his friend’s courage and skill, and he spoke of the
grief that caused him to lament deeply. He honored a rich, pleasant,
heroic life. For David, it was an intense time of mourning and
remembrance.

When we grieve for a loved one, it is vital to
recall the cherished details and shared experiences of our lives
together. Those memories flood our hearts with far more thoughts than
an index card can hold. The day that grief visits our hearts is not a
time for short summaries and quick snapshots of our loved one’s life.
It is a time to remember deeply, giving God thanks for the details, the
stories, and the impact of an entire life. It’s time to pause, reflect,
and honor.
  — Bill Crowder

At journey’s end, take a long look back
At the details of the story;
Take time to review the godly life
Of your loved one now in Glory. —Branon

Precious memories of life can temper the profound sadness of death.


Immortality

The Heavenly Alternative



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  READ: 2 Corinthians 5:1-11

We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. —2 Corinthians 5:8


Recently, I wished a young friend “happy
birthday” and asked him how it felt to be a year older. His playful
response? “Well, I guess it’s better than the alternative!”

We
laughed together, but I later stopped to think—is it really? Don’t
misunderstand me. I’m happy to live as long as the Lord allows me to
live and to watch my kids and grandkids grow and experience life. I’m
not excited about the inevitability of death. But as a believer, the
alternative to getting older is heaven—and that’s not bad!

In 2
Corinthians 5, Paul talks about the reality of living with the aches
and pains of our physical bodies, our “tents” of flesh. But we should
not live in despair about aging. In fact, the apostle calls us to just
the opposite. He wrote, “We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to
be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord” (v.8).
Confident! Pleased! Why? Because our alternative to earthly life is
that we will be present with the Lord—forever! The heavenly perspective
of what awaits us can give us confidence for living now.

If you
know Christ, His promise can give you what the hymnwriter called,
“Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.” What a great
alternative!  — Bill Crowder

He’s gone “to prepare a place for you,”
That where He is, “there you may be.”
Our death is not the end of life—
We’ll be with Christ eternally! —Hess

Death is gain because it means heaven, holiness, and Him!

Our Daily Bread


The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away…


Thankful to God for Michael Jackson, his light, love & life…

Yesterday, Today & FOREVER Michael

Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity? – Job 2:10

This
verse is most often applied to accepting disappointment. But the
principle also applies to being grateful for blessings. The apostle
Paul had learned how to rejoice in plenty and in want (Phil. 4:10-13).
God has an interest in teaching us contentment through both gains and
losses. Thanking God in all circumstances recognizes His sovereignty
and nurtures a response of faith.  – Dennis Fisher

We thank You, Lord, for blessings
You give us on our way;
May we for these be grateful,
And praise You every day. – Roworth

The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. – Job

Our Daily Bread



ONE IN JOY, ONE IN PAIN, ONE IN LOVE, ONE IN SERVICE AND IN CONSCIOUSNESS ~ Michael Jackson

Words And Numbers



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READ: John 17:20-26
   I and My Father are ONE. —John 10:30


My husband is a “numbers” person; I am a
“word” person. When my incompetence with numbers gets the best of me, I
try to boost my ego by reminding Jay that word people are superior
because Jesus called Himself the Word, not the Number.

Instead of
trying to defend himself, Jay just smiles and goes on about his
business, which consists of much more important things than my silly
arguments.

Since Jay will not defend himself, I feel compelled to
do so. Although I am right about Jesus being the Word, I am wrong in
saying that He didn’t refer to Himself as a number. One of the most
moving passages of Scripture is Christ’s prayer just before His arrest
and crucifixion. Facing death, Jesus prayed not only for Himself, but
also for His disciples and for us. His most urgent request on our
behalf involved a number: “[I pray] that they all may be one, as You,
Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that
the world may believe that You sent Me” (John 17:21).

As people
who live by the Word, we need to remember that “right words” sound
hollow to the world unless we, being one in Christ, are glorifying God
with one mind and one voice.  — Julie Ackerman Link

Make us one, Lord, make us one;


Holy Spirit, make us one.
Let Your love flow so the world will know
We are one in You.
—Cymbala


© 1991, Word Music. All rights reserved.

God calls His children to unity.

Our Daily Bread

Michael Jackson


Keep The Faith

Armed For The Fray



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  READ: Ephesians 6:10-18


Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. —Ephesians 6:11

Paul the Apostle, a spiritual warrior,
testified as he came to the end of his embattled life: “I have fought
the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2
Tim. 4:7).

Years earlier, that valiant soldier of Jesus Christ
had pleaded with his fellow Believers to put on the armor of God that
would enable them to stand firm in their conflict with the powers of
darkness. He knew the vital importance of donning that armor every day.
In his service for Christ, Paul had been whipped, beaten, stoned, and
imprisoned, and was often hungry, thirsty, cold, and weary (2 Cor.
11:22-28).

Strapping on the belt of truth, the breastplate of
righteousness, the shoes of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of
salvation, and the sword of the Spirit (God’s Word) enabled Paul to
“quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one” (Eph. 6:14-17). With
God’s armor we too are fully covered and prepared for battle.

The
prince of darkness with his hosts of demonic helpers is an incredibly
crafty foe. That’s why we need to guard against his deceitful devices
and put on the whole armor of God every day. When we do, like Paul when
he was nearing the end of his days, we can be confident that we have
“kept the faith.”  — Vernon C. Grounds

Sound the battle cry! See—the foe is nigh!
Raise the standard high for the Lord;
Gird your armor on, stand firm, everyone;
Rest your cause upon His holy Word. —Sherwin

God’s armor is tailor made for you, but you must put it on.

Our Daily Bread


Making The Cut




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  READ: Matthew 4:18-22

[Jesus] said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” —Matthew 4:19

Every year, high-school seniors apply to
their favorite universities and then watch the mailbox for the letter
announcing their acceptance.

It was different for teens in New
Testament times. Jewish boys would often attend rabbinical schools
until age 13. Then only the best and brightest would be chosen to
“follow” the local rabbi. This small, select group of disciples would
go where he went and eat what he ate—modeling their lives after the
rabbi. Those who didn’t make the cut would pick up a trade like
carpentry, sheep-herding, or fishing.

Guys like Simon, Andrew,
James, and John hadn’t made the cut. So instead of following the local
rabbi, they were down by the docks, knee-deep in the family business.
It’s interesting that Jesus sought out the men the local rabbi had
rejected. Instead of targeting the best and brightest, Jesus offered
His invitation, “Follow Me,” to ordinary run-of-the-mill fishermen.
What an honor! They would become followers of the ultimate Rabbi.

Jesus
extends the same honor to you and me—not because we are the best or
brightest, but because He needs ordinary people like us to model His
life and to lovingly rescue people on His behalf. So, follow Him and
let Him make something of your life!  — Joe Stowell

As followers of Jesus
Who love Him from the heart,
We may be ordinary,
But we’ve been set apart. —Sper

Even the ordinary and the outcast can make the cut to follow Jesus.

Our Daily Bread


The Lost Children

Childlike Faith



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READ: Matthew 8:5-10
  The things which are impossible with men are possible with God. —Luke 18:27


On the way home from a family camping
trip, 6-year-old Tanya and her dad were the only ones still awake in
the car. As Tanya looked at the full moon through the car window, she
asked, “Daddy, do you think I can touch the moon if I stand on my
tiptoes?”

“No, I don’t think so,” he smiled.

“Can you reach it?”

“No, I don’t think I can either.”

She was quiet for a moment, then she said confidently, “Daddy, maybe if you hold me up on your shoulders?”

Faith?
Yes—the childlike faith that daddies can do anything. True faith,
though, has the written promise of God for its foundation. In Hebrews
11:1, we read, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the
evidence of things not seen.” Jesus talked a lot about faith, and
throughout the Gospels we read of His response to those who had great
faith.

When a paralyzed man’s friends brought him to Jesus, He
“saw their faith,” forgave the man of his sins, and healed him (Matt.
9:2-6). When the centurion asked Jesus to “speak a word, and my servant
will be healed” (8:8), Jesus “marveled” and said, “I have not found
such great faith” (8:10).

When we have faith in God, we will find that all things are possible (Luke 18:27).  — Cindy Hess Kasper

God, give me the faith of a little child
Who trusts so implicitly,
Who simply and gladly believes Thy Word,
And never would question Thee. —Showerman

A childlike faith unlocks the door to the kingdom of heaven.

Our Daily Bread


You Are Not Alone

I Will Never Leave You



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  READ: Deuteronomy 31:1-8

I am with you always, even to the end of the age. —Matthew 28:20

One of my earliest memories of hearing
good music was when a male quartet rehearsed at our home. I was about
10 years old, and I was especially attentive to my dad, who sang first
tenor. One of the quartet’s favorites was titled, “I Am With You.” Even
at that tender age, I not only appreciated the music but I “got the
message.”

Those words of Jesus to His disciples just before He
ascended—“I am with you always”—became precious to me as the quartet
sang, “In the sunlight, in the shadow, I am with you where you go.”

One
of the first references to God’s unfailing presence was spoken by Moses
in Deuteronomy 31:6-8, when he instructed his successor about leading
God’s people into the “land of promise.” And Joshua himself heard the
same word from the Lord, “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I
will not leave you nor forsake you” (Josh. 1:5).

That promise is
repeated in the New Testament, where the writer of Hebrews gave this
assurance: “He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake
you’” (13:5).

Wherever you may be today, you are not alone. If
you’ve placed your trust in Jesus for your eternal salvation, you can
be certain that He will never leave you.  — RBC Ministries

Jesus whispers “I am with you”
In the hour of deepest need;
When the way is dark and lonesome,
“I am with you, I will lead.” —Morris

First make sure you are with Him, then you can be sure He’ll be with you.

Our Daily Bread


Thunderstorm Thoughts




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  READ: Matthew 8:23-27

The God of peace will be with you. —Philippians 4:9

I laugh every time I hear the radio
commercial that has a woman shouting to her friend in conversation.
She’s trying to talk above the sounds of the thunderstorm in her own
head. Ever since a storm damaged part of her home, that’s all she hears
because her insurance company isn’t taking care of her claims.

I’ve
heard thunderstorms in my head, and maybe you have too. It happens when
a tragedy occurs—to us, to someone close to us, or to someone we hear
about in the news. Our minds become a tempest of “what if” questions.
We focus on all the possible bad outcomes. Our fear, worry, and trust
in God fluctuate as we wait, we pray, we grieve, and we wonder what the
Lord will do.

It’s natural for us to be fearful in a storm
(literal or figurative). The disciples had Jesus right there in the
boat with them, yet they were afraid (Matt. 8:23-27). He used the
calming of the storm as a lesson to show them who He was—a powerful God
who also cares for them.

We wish that Jesus would always calm the
storms of our life as He calmed the storm for the disciples that day.
But we can find moments of peace when we’re anchored to the truth that
He’s in the boat with us and He cares.  — Anne Cetas

Fierce drives the storm, but wind and waves
Within His hand are held,
And trusting His omnipotence
My fears are sweetly quelled. —Brown

To realize the worth of the anchor, we need to feel the stress of the storm.

Our Daily Bread


Incomplete



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  READ: Philippians 1:3-11


He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. —Philippians 1:6

When I was a little girl, my parents
bought their first house. One afternoon, the family hopped into the car
and drove to see where we soon would be living.

I couldn’t
believe it. The house had no windows or doors, and there was a strange
odor. The basement was clearly visible through big gaps in the floor
and we had to climb a ladder to get down there.

That night when I
asked my mother why they wanted to live in a house like that, she
explained that the builder wasn’t finished with it yet. “Just wait and
see,” she said. “I think you’ll like it when it’s done.”

Soon we
began to see changes. The house got windows, then doors. The “funny
smell” of new lumber faded. The holes in the floor were covered and a
staircase was added. Walls were painted. Mom put up curtains at the
windows and pictures on the walls. The incomplete house had been
transformed. It had taken some time but finally it was finished.

As
followers of Christ, we need “finishing” too. Although the groundwork is laid at
our conversion, the growing process continues throughout our life. As
we obediently follow Jesus, “the author and finisher of our faith”
(Heb. 12:2), one day we too will be complete.  — Cindy Hess Kasper

God sees in us a masterpiece
That one day will be done;
His Spirit works throughout our lives
To make us like His Son. —Sper

Please be patient. God isn’t finished with me yet!

Our Daily Bread