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TOO BLESSED TO BE STRESSED CHALLENGE 7/1 THRU 12/30, 2013
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One Minute Sermons; RFTH ministry
Topic Started: Dec 10 2012, 06:05 AM (1,382 Views)
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Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013
The Right Formula For Teaching Your Children
"...do not imitate what is evil, but what is good." - 3 John 1:11 NIV

You may remember 1984, a book written by George Orwell. It was considered required reading in schools for many years. When it came out in 1949, he predicted, among many other things, that people would go to the movies and laugh at people being killed. The world was shocked! Sadly, that prediction became a reality a long time ago. It's called "the numbing of America."

Have you thought about the current epidemic we face as parents in this generation? There is more violence, sex, and immorality bombarding a child's intellect than ever. Look at the results: We see children committing vicious murders, including killing their classmates, with little regard for their actions. Obviously, they are conditioned by what they see on TV, video games, and in the movies.

There is a remedy. As a parent, you can teach your children to make decisions based on a formula that's been around for a while - WWJD - What Would Jesus Do? Can you think of any wrong your child might learn by doing this?

What WOULD Jesus do? The Bible shows us. Teach it to your child as a formula for learning right from wrong.
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hursday, Jan. 31, 2013
Jesus The Taboo-Breaker
"For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, 'You sit here in a good place,' and you say to the poor man, 'You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool,' have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives?" - James 2:2-4

Let me ask you a question. Are you willing to reach out to those who are different from you, culturally, socially, and morally? Students, are you willing to reach out to that person who is always left out, or maybe a classmate who's a bit on the fringe? Adults, are you willing to reach out to those folks at the office that are different or even difficult? Jesus certainly was willing. He broke one social taboo after another so that He could reach out to people in need.

In fact, Jesus broke a lot of taboos while He walked this earth. One huge cultural faux pas was when He spoke with the woman at the well. In this single act, Jesus actually broke three taboos:

He traveled into Samaritan territory.
He spoke to a woman in public.
He interacted with a woman who had a "reputation."

But the truth is, Jesus was always far more concerned with reaching out to those in need than in dodging man-made social taboos.

If you call yourself a Christian, are you willing to be like Jesus? If you're not, you might want to look at His life - you'll be surprised at how much you'll like Him. Shame on all of us who aren't willing to do what Jesus would do.
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Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013
Reality - Really?
"Be subject to one another in the fear of Christ. - Ephesians 5:21 KJV

I'm sure this will come as a complete surprise to you, but it appears that people love to watch television reality shows. Yes, it's true and has been ever since the debut of the reality hit, Survivor. We watched the contestants scheme, plot, and back-stab their way to the million dollar prize, hoping to avoid being voted off the island by looking out for number one. The winner of this reality show is always the person who best adopts an "it's all about me" attitude!

While that may be a successful strategy for playing a TV reality show, the "all about me" philosophy is devastating to the family. Today, more marriages are terminated in divorce than by the death of a spouse. Thirty-five percent of our nation's children live apart from their biological fathers. That is the real reality of the "all about me" strategy.

Christianity rejects the self-centered attitude and teaches that the winning strategy is really all about submission. We are to first commit to Jesus Christ, and then we are called to submit to Him. As part of that, we are called to submit to our government leaders, employers, and spiritual leaders. While husbands are called to love their wives as Christ loves the church, wives are called to submit to their husbands; and children are called to submit to their parents. And within the family, there is to be mutual submission to one another, seeking the best interests of other members of the family before ourselves.

The really good thing is that when our outlook changes from "it's all about me" to "it's all about God and family," there is peace with God and a better chance for peace within our families, and harmony with our fellowman. When that reality is real, we don't just survive - we soar!
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Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013
This Is How Jesus Prayed
"Pray, then, in this way..." - Matthew 6:9a NAS

Jesus' disciples asked Him how to pray, because they saw that He often got away to pray. There's no real mystery to praying; after all, you're just talking to your Heavenly Father - your best Friend. But Jesus knew His disciples needed help, as we often do, so here is a summary of what Jesus said to do:

Address God as Father. Through Jesus, we can know God personally as our Father - the embodiment of the ideal dad.
Praise. Praise His name and character traits. It makes our problems seem small when we remember how great God is.
Pray for His will to be done. This begins with us, but carries over to praying for others.
Pray for daily needs. God wants to meet our needs, but don't confuse needs and wants.
Confess your sins. Ask God's forgiveness and ask God's help in forgiving others who have wronged you.
Ask for protection and strength in the face of temptation and evil.

Jesus taught the basics on prayer. Whatever else you need to talk with Him about, go ahead and tell Him. Find a quiet spot and give it a try. And, remember, your prayer life gets better with practice.
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Monday, Feb. 4, 2013
Oops! Did I Say That?
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer. - Psalm 19:14 KJV

It happens all the time. I've just met someone and we're about to play a tennis match or a golf game. He finds out I'm a pastor and says, "Oh, I've got to watch my language today." Or, in the course of the match, curse words will fly and he'll say, "Pastor, I'm so sorry."

My response is usually, "Don't worry about me. God is the one you need to be concerned about. He hears everything."

Usually the person will look at me with big eyes like, "I hadn't thought about that." And bless his heart, he sometimes becomes so unsettled trying not to curse, plus realizing that God always hears what he says, that his game suffers a little bit!

God hears all, knows all, sees all, and is over all. Everything we've done or said is recorded in His book of our life. Yet, He loves us anyway. He loves us so much that He sent His Son to pay the penalty for our sins so we can be forgiven. That includes every bad thing that we've said or done. Our choice is whether to accept His love and grace in faith!
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Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013
Do You Need A New Heart?
"...for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." - 1 Samuel 16:7b NAS

Ever thought about how you measure the worth of another person? Maybe it's by their wealth, their title, their fame, their looks, their education, or perhaps, their success?

I don't know how you would answer that question, but I can tell you how God measures the worth of a person. As the scripture says, "...for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."

The heart speaks of a person's character, their courage and spirit. Sadly, oftentimes when we measure the worth of a person, we just look at the outward appearance. But God looks at what's on the inside.

Knowing this, how would He measure you? If you had a heart exam today, what kind of heart would God find? The good news is that God has given us a way to have a new heart and it's found through faith in Jesus Christ.

It's an interesting insight into life that when we begin to have the right heart through Christ, we begin to measure the worth of others God's way.
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Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013
What To Do With A Gift
"He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. 15 In this way, he disarmed[a] the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross." - Colossians 2:14-15 NLT

Think about it. When we receive a fabulous gift, we're really excited. We stare at it. We show it to everyone. We start using or wearing it. We just have that great feeling that someone cared enough to give us this gift. Then, in most cases, after a few days, weeks or months, the new wears off and even if we still use it, the gift has lost its pizazz.

Unfortunately, this is also true with a lot of Christians. At first, we're so excited, we want the world to know. Then time passes and life happens. All of the sudden, we take for granted the incredible gift we were given when Jesus died for our sins. It's not that we don't care anymore, but we have spoken about it so routinely that we might not comprehend the full scope of this gift.

You see, it's as though all of our sins were listed on a writing board. And then Christ came along with a cloth and erased them forever. It's as though they were never even there. On that board, somebody put a receipt that says, "PAID IN FULL." And Christ did it all. For you. For me. Our sins have been nailed to the cross; they've been taken care of. Nothing more is needed for forgiveness other than our accepting this amazing gift.

Are you guilty of becoming a routine Christian? Today, ask God to forgive you and renew His Spirit within you. Or have you not yet claimed the liberating forgiveness of knowing that Christ has paid the full debt of your sins? If that's you, claim it today. Let Christ give you a "paid in full" clean slate. It's your choice. Accept His gift through faith - do it right now.
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Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013
Sometimes Logic Isn't Such A Good Thing
"But you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die." - Genesis 2:17 NIV

Perhaps it was Adam's added words to Eve that gave the serpent his opening. "You shall not eat from it or touch it, lest you die!" Wait, is that really what God said to Adam? That would be a big NO. When God set down the house rules for the garden, He told Adam that no one could eat from a certain tree or death would be the result. He said nothing about touching the fruit.

It appears that Adam, probably with good intentions in telling Eve of God's command, added his own words, "or touch it." Makes sense. If you can't touch it, you can't eat it. It seems like such a little thing, doesn't it? Yet with those three added words, Adam gave the devil the ability to challenge Eve's claim that just touching the fruit would cause death. (Now remember, God never said that.) You see, this kind of thing is one of the main reasons why the devil is so successful in messing with us. He finds little loopholes in the sins we commit and argues that surely God wouldn't really be upset about that little sin - ah, legalism at its finest. So we take our eyes off of God to argue with the devil! Where is the logic in that?

Adding to the words of God always leads to confusion. News flash: God is never the author of confusion. Let's try to learn from Adam's mistake and be effective Christians by sharing only the perfect Word of God as it is written - adding no words of our own.
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The Last Enemy That Will Be Abolished
"...there shall no longer be any death...the first things have passed away." - Revelation 21:4 NAS

History, as we know it, will be culminated by the second coming of Jesus Christ. He will return and establish His kingdom on earth, overcome the Antichrist and the forces of evil, and bring justice and peace. That's almost too much to fathom, isn't it? The great enemy of God and man will be abolished. As is written in the Word of God, "Then comes the end...He must reign until He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be abolished is death."

What a great day it will be for all of Jesus' followers! No more death. No more tears. No more grief. And no more separation from God and those we loved. When you say the Lord's Prayer, "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven," you're actually praying for Jesus to come again and establish His kingdom. To experience God's will on earth as it is in heaven means no more death.

Jesus is the first to conquer death.

Then His followers will do the same.

What a day that will be!
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Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013
Maybe You THINK That's In The Bible...
"For the love of money is the root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." - 1 Timothy 6:10

We've talked about how important it is not to add words to the Bible. However, with no bad intention, there are a lot sayings that many really believe are there, but are not. "Cleanliness is next to godliness." Not there. "God helps those who help themselves." Nope, not there, either. But the most misquoted non-scripture just has to be "Money is the root of all evil." The Bible doesn't say that at all! What the Bible does say is, "The LOVE of money is the root of all sorts of evil." Money is neither good nor bad. But God does judge our attitude towards money. He is concerned with how you acquire money, how you spend it, and where wealth ranks in your list of priorities.

God says you must decide who you're going to love most—God or money. When we choose to love money, it can lead to all sorts of compromised decisions and makes us much more vulnerable to temptation. God's Word warns us that if we make money a priority over God, we'll bring a lot of unnecessary grief into our lives.

In the early part of the 21st century, we saw this with the accountants and executives of very large corporations and mega-banks. They, along with their families, employees, shareholders, and suppliers, still deal with the grief that the love of money brings.

God allows us to be the caretakers of what He provides, including our money. Be careful not to let the LOVE of money take over your life. Let's love God first and foremost and realize that everything already belongs to Him anyway. He wants us to love Him and manage His money.
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Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013
No Dread Of The Second Coming
" And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him." - Hebrews 9:27

The book of Revelation can be a bit unsettling, can't it? It speaks of some pretty scary images before the return of Jesus Christ. The whole period conjures up scenes of plagues, giant horsemen with rather crude names, and souls trembling in fear. Jesus even promised that this time he would come as a lion, not a lamb.

For those who have not accepted Christ, there is a legitimate reason to be fearful of the return of Christ. There’s fear that you haven’t done enough, because the fact is you haven’t done enough. Unless you have been perfect, you have not done enough. And sure enough when that time comes, and Christ returns again, it will be a time of dread and fear. Because there will be the realization that you have missed out on the incredible gift of salvation that God offers in Jesus Christ.

So, why is it the Christian has no dread of the rapture? It is because we know that Christ has borne our sins. He has taken upon himself the judgment that we deserve; because of His sacrifice we will be spared those horrid consequences. Instead of the dread of His return, there is actually a longing for it to happen.

When you think of Christ’s second coming, is it dread or joy? Fear or faith?
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Monday, Feb. 11, 2013
And Grace Will Lead Me Home
"Then King David went in and sat before the LORD, and he said: 'Who am I, O LORD God, and what is my family that you have brought me this far?" - 1 Chronicles 17:16 NIV

Throughout the years, there are many Christian songs that have come and have gone. Many were really good and touched many lives, but maybe they were here just for a season. Then, there are those songs that are timeless.

Is any hymn more beloved than Amazing Grace? The lyrics do seem to sum up a Christian's journey of redemption, the divine grace of God, and the promise of eternal life. With its simply-stated definition of eternity: "When we've been there 10,000 years...we've no less days to sing God's praise than when we first begun," it is no wonder that it is sung at many funerals. You can better understand how the lyrics are able to capture the true meaning of God's amazing grace when you realize just how the hymn came to be written. An Anglican priest, John Newton, used the hymn to reflect on his earlier service as captain of a slave ship. He could think of nothing more evil than those deeds, and was amazed God would provide such grace despite his wretched past. Note the passion in his words:

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now I see.
'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear, the hour I first believed!
Through many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come;
'Tis grace has brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.

I hope you’ll claim that grace today. It's there for the taking.
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Tuesday February 12th, 2013:

We love because he first loved us. — 1 John 4:19
Share on Facebook | Discuss this Verse
Thoughts on Today's Verse....

As human beings, we like to think of ourselves as the center of our universe. We determine the greatness or validity of most deeds based on their impact upon us. We consider ourselves great adventurers, inventors, and investigators. However, in the most important quest of all, we did not act first; God did. He loved us sacrificially. He loved us personally. He loved us first. Our love is a response to his grace. Our love is simply sharing with others what has been lavished upon us. We love because he loved us first.
My Prayer...

Almighty God and Abba Father, over these last several days I have tried to understand your love for me and my fellow humans. I don't profess to understand your love, but I do know that you have blessed me with it in ways I could not have imagined. So please, dear Father, help me remember your great love for me when I am faced with temptation, led to doubt your love, or wonder about my worthiness. I want your love to be reflected in my daily life. Thanks for loving mightily. Thanks for loving sacrificially. Most of all, thanks for loving first! In Jesus' name I thank you. Amen.
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Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013
Is War Ever Right?
“Fight the good fight of faith;” - 1 Timothy 6:12 KJV

William Tecumseh Sherman said, “War is hell.” A pastor friend said to me, “War is not hell. Hell is a place where certain people deserve to be, but war is a place where innocent women and children are killed. And they don’t deserve that.”

No doubt war is horrible. We see more and more of it every day, and it's something no sane person ever wants. Yet many people are asking, “Is war ever right?”

Jesus teaches us to love our enemies and to seek to be peacemakers. Certainly, every Christian should. God’s Word teaches that God has ordained government to administer justice, to defend and protect the citizens, and to punish evil. How do we reconcile what seems to be contradictory teaching in God’s Word? Jesus teaches us about the attitude of the individual and, later in God’s Word, we learn about the role of government.

So let us pray for our government leaders and military personnel, as well as for those of our allies, to protect and defend its citizens, to administer justice and to punish evil effectively.
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Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013
We All Need Love
“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.” - 1 John 4:7 NAS

It's that time of year when stores are filled with beautiful red hearts, chocolates, balloons, greeting cards and all kinds of things that say, "You're beautiful and I love you." You ask a man how he fell in love with his wife or girlfriend and most every response will begin this way: “I saw her.”

All women want to feel beautiful. All wives want to feel their husbands see them as beautiful, and it is true that men are drawn to beauty. This is why women focus so much on fashion and good looks. Obviously, making the most of natural beauty is important, but don’t miss the true secret to a radiant, lasting beauty that comes from knowing Jesus. It's unmistakable, the beauty on the face of an older woman who loves her Lord.

But that's not all. Love isn't just for romance. Even if you don’t have a sweetheart this Valentine's Day, perhaps you can think of someone who could benefit from an expression of love from you. Just think – there may be someone in your life who won’t be hugged or told someone loves him or her if you don’t take the initiative.

Lastly, but most importantly, I want to tell the Savior of my soul, the Maker of my heart and the Creator of love itself that I love Him.

Say, "I love you" to someone today!
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Friday, Feb. 15, 2013
The Beauty Of An Established Time With God
"In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, went away to a secluded place and was praying there." - Mark 1:35 NIV

One of the difficulties we all have is getting into the practice of having prayer and quiet time with the Lord on a regular basis. It's often hard to do in this fast-paced world in which we live. But it's not impossible.

Find a place that's easy to get to and a place that you enjoy and feel comfortable each time you go. You may have a quiet spot in your home, or perhaps it would work better to get to the office early and close the door. For some, it's a walk in the park, because you may have found that you can pray best when you're enjoying outdoors. And, for those of you who travel a lot, you may have more trouble finding a routine place. But what could be more private than a hotel room? Each person has a different place that feels right, but the important thing is to find a place that works for you.

Then, decide on a plan for your quiet time. Maybe you can start with a devotional that helps get your spiritual juices flowing. After that, ponder on what it says and then look up the Scripture from which the devotion is taken and read from the Bible, think about the words, and think about God. And then, begin to pray. If you don't know where to begin, look at Jesus' model prayer, not to recite, but just to help you focus. And then, just listen for the voice and inspiration of the Holy Spirit. After a while, this will become like second nature to you and spending time with the Lord will not only fuel you for the day, but you'll find that without it, your day just isn't complete.

The main thing is to find what works for you and begin enjoying the blessing you will receive by being alone with God. I can promise you that there's nothing like it. Not only will you enjoy communing with your Lord, but you will begin to hear God speak to you in ways you've never heard before. Know why? It's because you've given Him the chance to speak because you're still! "Be still and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10)
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Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013
The Secret That God Kept
"Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father." - John 14:9b NIV

Secrets. We all know what it's like when you see someone whispering to another person. There's something inside all of us that really wants to know what they're talking about - especially if we think it might be about us or someone we know!

I have some interesting news for you about a secret that was kept for thousands of years! I imagine there were a lot of people who REALLY wanted to know what that secret was! Well, guess what? It's a secret that God kept. But He did reveal it - and He wants you to know it. The Scripture declares, "That their hearts may be encouraged...and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God's mystery (His secret) that is," - THIS IS IT- Christ Himself." Christ was the secret!

If you want to understand what God is like, look at Jesus. He is the visible image of the invisible God. Christ is the Creator behind all creation. He is our Savior, who has come to rescue us from a spiritual darkness and to give us peace with God. If you want to understand truth, look at Jesus. If you want to understand the answer to life, look at Jesus. God's ultimate secret was revealed to you - Jesus Christ. Don't you want to know more about Him?
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Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013
Persecuted For Following Jesus
"Don't think I came to bring peace on the earth." - Jesus - Matthew 10:34a NIV

There is a lot of focus these days on universal acceptance. This concept is a big deal to a lot of church folks. (Hey, can't we all just get along?) And to be fair, one of the core values of our church is to have a Kingdom vision for ministry. But understand this: when church folks take on the mindset that unity and acceptance is more important than truth, they have completely misunderstood the person of Jesus Christ! Because Jesus Christ is very clear that when He comes into a person's life, there will be a lack of peace in certain relationships - some are for Christ and some are not. There will be division. When we follow Christ, we're going to face ridicule, division and sometimes even persecution. There are a lot of well-intentioned Christians that get confused and are pridefully divisive in their self-righteous judgment of others. In their blindness to their own sin, they are quick to point out the sins of others. In that process, they often take on a martyr complex. "Oh, I'm being persecuted for my faith." Really? Try being a missionary in a country that hates Christians, then talk about being persecuted.

But Christ does want us to understand that when we claim what He claims about Himself, when we take on the character of Jesus Christ, it will not be an easy road. And persecution comes in many forms, so I certainly don't mean to denigrate any persecution you might have endured in trying to life the Christian life, no matter now big or small. I just want you to understand, it all comes with the package.
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Monday, Feb. 18, 2013
What Does It Mean To Be Great?
"Whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all." - Mark 10:43b-44

What does it mean to be great? Probably the most common way that the world defines greatness is through accomplishments. You might go back into ancient history and think about Alexander the Great, because he conquered the known world by the time he was 33 years old, and then wept that there were no more worlds to conquer. Or you may think about Thomas Edison with over a thousand patents to his name. Or consider Einstein and his amazing discoveries in quantum physics.

Others might say real greatness is all about power. In Jesus' time, Caesar Augustus was considered truly great because of all the power he held. In the modern world, you might look at United States Presidents – because, after all, there is no position more powerful in the world than that! Or is there?

Actually anyone can become great. Perhaps not in the world's definition - perhaps not even in your own definition. Jesus tells us how: "...whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all." Jesus - the greatest man to ever exist says He didn't come to be served; He came to serve, even to the point of trading His life for our salvation. What, you might ask? What's so great about serving> others? There was a time even in our American history when servants were considered just plain ordinary.

Well, let me tell you - the greatest man was also the greatest servant. And that is what He calls us to do. No self-accomplishment, nothing you can conquer, no patent or scientific discovery, no worldly power, not even a President - nothing in this earthly world can be considered truly great in the eternal. Follow the footsteps of Jesus. Serve your fellow man. That's the only lasting road to true greatness.
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uesday, Feb. 19, 2013
Seeing Doesn't Always Mean Believing
"...he who spreads slander is a fool." - Proverbs 10:18

A pastor went to visit a woman from his church before she was to have serious surgery. As he walked into her hospital room, he found her in the arms of a man who was not her husband. Stunned and embarrassed, he silently walked out. Later, he discovered that this woman's brother had flown in from California to comfort her before her surgery.

After that, the pastor said, "I could have told others I saw that woman in the arms of a man who was not her husband and it would have been a fact, but it would not have been the whole truth."

The press often does this in reporting what people have done. They confuse the facts with the whole truth. This results in half-truths that are really the worst forms of lies, because they are so believable. Gossip and slander are big on facts and short on truth. They unfairly destroy people's character.

The next time you hear something bad about another person, be sure you have more than the facts. Be sure you have the whole truth, for it is easy to confuse the facts with the truth. And most of the time, it's not your business to share, anyway!

Remember, there is only one perfect truth and that truth is embodied in the life of Jesus Christ.
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Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013
The Living Word Of God
"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." - 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV

Ever asked someone why they believe the Bible is real? Let me share with you some of the most meaningful reasons for me:

Did you know that the phrase, "Thus sayeth the Lord," appears over 2,000 times in the Old Covenant? God is speaking. This is the written Word of God!
The Bible was written over 1600 years by about 40 different writers, but has a single theme and author (the Lord). Though at first read some things look contradicting, when we accept Christ, the Holy Spirit gives us understanding of how it all fits together. No group of mortals could possibly produce such a book on their own.

You can study a passage that you’ve known all your life and one day, the Holy Spirit gives you fresh insight. There is an inexhaustible richness about the Scripture that is unlike any other book. It truly is the living Word of God.
Do you realize that the Bible applies to any race, any tribe, any ethnic group, and to any age group? Its application is universal!
Now, all through history, there have been archaeologists who arrogantly uncover things in the Middle East and say, "This obviously proves the Bible is wrong." And then they keep digging to lower layers, and have to say, "Wait just a minute! The Bible was obviously right."
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Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013
Too Much Salt Is Bad For The Heart
"Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person." - Colossians 4:6 NAS

I just love the Bible's reference to seasoning our grace with salt when sharing your life with someone around you. If somebody sprinkles salt on food and makes it taste good, you really appreciate it. But if somebody hands you a spoon of salt and says, "Take this all at once," it's really hard to swallow, difficult to digest, and it's not very good for the heart.

Well, think how the non-Christian feels when all you do is talk about God and church and Jesus. You never talk about baseball. You never talk about the office. You never talk about politics. You never talk about the struggles in the neighborhood. You never talk about your family. You never talk about the everyday concerns that a non-believer has. On the other hand, if you talk about all of these things and occasionally sprinkle in a little word about the Lord when there's the right opportunity to mention some insight you had from a sermon, their curiosity may be aroused, and longer, deeper conversations may follow.

When you have the opportunity, just sprinkle the conversation with a little spiritual salt. It adds zest and flavor to life, without hardening the heart.
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Friday, Feb. 22, 2013
We Are All Indebted To Someone
"The Lord favors those who fear Him, those who wait for His loving kindness." - Psalm 147:11 NAS

Have you ever heard someone refer to themselves as "self-made?" It's an interesting choice of words and often makes people think more highly of that person, when in actuality, it's quite a pompous assertion.

Think about it. The majority of those reading this today were born in America. Did you have any part in that decision? Did you write the Constitution that guarantees you freedom to live and work where you choose? Did you have anything to do with our nation's abundant natural resources?

Or, regardless of where you were born, what about that person who helped you along the way: a relative, a teacher, a coach, a friend, or a mentor? You've heard it said that "no man is an island, and that is an absolute truth. The fact is, no one can really call himself or herself self-made. We are all indebted to someone.

I urge you to take a few moments to say thanks to someone who has encouraged you along the way through a phone call, a note, or a visit. And when you do, don't forget to thank your Creator, who loves us enough to make decisions on our own, and to put people of wisdom in our paths to help us along the way. Most of all, thank Him for making a way for us all to spend eternity with Him.
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Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013
No Furnace Is Too Hot
"No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able..." - 1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV

There's a wonderful question about which most of us wonder from time to time. It became the title of Rabbi Harold Kushener best-selling book, Why Bad Things Happen to Good People. Although his book painted a much smaller God than we know, it still was helpful to many people.

But, taking into account the scripture verse for today (this would be a good time to read it, if you haven't!), there is also a great Bible story in the book of Daniel, Chapter 3, of three Hebrew boys who refused to worship the idols of the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar. Even though they were threatened with being thrown in a furnace, they held fast in their devotion to God. Their response: "God can spare us from the fiery furnace; He has that power. But, even if He does not, we'll never serve your gods or bow down to your statue." Were they afraid? Yes. Was it a little warm in the furnace? You bet. But, they chose to trust God even when it made no earthly sense to do so. And, much to the amazement of their captors, God repaid their faith and they were not harmed by the fires in that furnace.

Now, to be sure, bad things will always happen to good people. Adam and Eve made sure of that when they disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden. But God will never take us through a time of testing that is too tough for us to deal with. No matter how difficult your trials, you can count on His promise. Not one situation is too great for us to face with the power of God. He will give us a way to endure it, to resist it, or to get through it.
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Monday, Feb. 25, 2013
He'll Be There For You Every Time
"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted." - Matthew 5:4 NAS

Grief is described as "keen mental suffering or distress over affliction or loss; sharp sorrow; or painful regret." It can be caused by many things, such as death, divorce, loss of a friend, loss of money...the list goes on and on. Whatever the reason for your grief, it's never easy.

One of the most difficult things in life is losing a loved one. If you have recently faced the death or loss of someone you love - or perhaps you or someone you know is in distress - understanding the Stages of Grief can help.

Grief involves:

Numbness - an inability to feel when the news of death arrives.
Denial - a sense of disbelief that the person is really gone.
Tearful Emotion - The reality of permanent separation sets in.
Anger - A hurt at God or at life as the world continues and you are hurting so badly.
Depression - A feeling there is little reason to live. Life may seem meaningless when the loss of a loved one has occurred
Acceptance - coming to terms with the loss and beginning to move on.

The grieving process takes time, sometimes months and sometimes years, but it can be overcome. The greatest strength for getting through it can be found in the Lord. He loves you and wants to help you overcome your grief, because He understands what grief is. He grieves every day for His children who are lost and in pain. And He also knows what it's like to have a child die. He saw His own Son, Jesus, die for us all.

Talk to God. Tell Him you need His help and I promise, He'll be there for you every time.
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Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013
Living The Good Life
"Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions." - Luke 12:15 NIV

An excessive desire, especially for wealth or possessions, is called "greed." Now, you may not realize this, but greed is as old as time. Jesus told the parable of a rich man who had had such a good year that he had run out of places to store his crops and other treasures. He decided to solve this "problem" by building bigger and bigger barns so he could have a place for all his new stuff. With all these new riches, he reassured himself that he could take it easy and spend the next few years eating, drinking, and living the good life. Sounds pretty enticing, doesn't it? One day he sat back and thought he had everything he needed and much, much more. Or did he?

Don't think so. I doubt he realized God was getting ready to say to him, "You fool - didn't you realize that this very night your soul would will be required of you?" (Luke 12:20) This man was too busy hoarding his wealth to realize that it was God who had entrusted him with all that wealth. In fact, the man was quite sure he had done it all by himself. Oh, how wrong he was. He was rich in the world's eyes, but poor in God's eyes and it led to a pitiful entry into eternal poverty.

Life is so short. It will be over before you know what happened. What treasures have you laid up in Heaven as a Christian? Remember - the need to have more than you "need" equals greed. There is nothing wrong with having wealth, as long as you realize it all really belongs to God and you use it to further His kingdom.

Being rich in your relationship with God through Jesus Christ - now, that is a richer way to live - forever.
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Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013
Who Do Your Friends See In You?
"But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?" - Romans 10:4

Did you know that most people make decisions to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ during their teen years? Also, it's during the teen years that most believers make decisions to serve the Lord in full time ministry.

Of all the age groups in our society, teens are most susceptible to peer pressure. No other age group cares more about what others their age think and believe. So, teenage Christians potentially have the greatest opportunity for reaching and impacting other teens - because they spend a lot of time together and know the struggles and issues that teens wrestle with.

A local pastor tells of a teenager at his church who is responsible for leading dozens of his friends to Christ. How does he accomplish this great ministry? Well, it's actually pretty simple. He invites schoolmates to come to church with him. Many accept the invitation, begin attending regularly, and become involved in the many activities the church provides for the youth. This teen is a great missionary by simply bringing his friends to church and then letting the teachers and pastors take it from there. In explaining the young man's amazing success at witnessing to his friends, the pastor says simply, "No one ever told him that witnessing was supposed to be hard!"

There's a song that says, "you're the only Jesus some will ever see."* Think about that for a moment. Who do your friends see in you?
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Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013
Identify With The Name Of God
"A good name is to be more desired than great riches..." - Proverbs 22:1 NLT

Throughout most of history, a person's name was very important. In Biblical times, a person's surname linked them to their genealogy and even their first names often described their circumstances. Although a name might not carry the same significance as in days of old, a person's name still carries a lot of meaning today. What does your name bring to mind?

In the Bible, Solomon said, "A good name is better than a good ointment." In the ancient world, they would often use very rare oils and sweet-smelling perfumes on special occasions - not every day, like we use perfume or after-shave today. Solomon wants us to understand that, even as precious and expensive as those items were, their value didn't compare to a good name.

You can put on perfume or aftershave and you'll smell good for a short time, but a good name is lasting. It stays with you wherever you go, in every setting in life.

What do people think when they hear your name? Is it good or bad? I have good news. When you put God first and follow His teaching, over time, identifying with His name will help you develop a good name, regardless of what your name is.
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