Thursday, February 26, 2015

Psalm 73 (NLT)...

FROM TODAY'S READING (2/27/2015)...

The enemy does not have to destroy you but simply distract you. Little distractions tolerated over a long period of time result in big disasters. 
- Adapted quote from Daniel Henderson (Defying Gravity)

Psalm 73: 2-5, 7, 13-14, 17, 21-26 (NLT)...2-5, 7 But as for me, I almost lost my footing. My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone. For I envied the proud when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness. They seem to live such painless lives; their bodies are so healthy and strong. They don’t have troubles like other people; they’re not plagued with problems like everyone else...These fat cats have everything their hearts could ever wish for!
13-14 Did I keep my heart pure for nothing? Did I keep myself innocent for no reason? I get nothing but trouble all day long; every morning brings me pain.
17, 21-26 Then I went into your sanctuary, O God, and I finally understood the destiny of the wicked...Then I realized that my heart was bitter, and I was all torn up inside. I was so foolish and ignorant— I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you. Yet I still belong to you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny. Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Psalm 56:3-4 (NLLT)...

FROM TODAY'S READING (2/26/2015)...

Trust and thankfulness will get you safely through the day. Trust protects you from worrying and obsessing. Thankfulness keeps you from criticizing and complaining: those "sister sins" that so easily entangle you.
- Sarah Young (Jesus Calling, devotional)

Psalms 56:3-4 (NLT) But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. I praise God for what he has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me? 

Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT) Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Romans 11:33-36 (NLT)..,

FROM TODAY'S READING (2/25/2015)...

God's understanding is soul deep.
Kathrese McKee (author)

Romans 11:33-36 (NLT) Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways! For who can know the LORD’s thoughts? Who knows enough to give him advice? And who has given him so much that he needs to pay it back? For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Isaiah 53:3-5 (2/24/2015)...

FROM TODAY'S READING (2/24/2015)...

Scars are a sign of healing.
- Unknown

Isaiah 53:3-5 (NLT) He was despised and rejected— a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care. Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. 

Galatians 6:14, 16-18 (NLT) As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died...May God’s peace and mercy be upon all who live by this principle; they are the new people of God. From now on, don’t let anyone trouble me with these things. For I bear on my body the scars that show I belong to Jesus. Dear brothers and sisters, may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

John 3:16-18 (NLT)...

FROM TODAY'S READING (2/23/2015)...

Those who know God well enough to fear His wrath know God well enough to desire His grace.
- LAB note (Rev. 14:19)

John 3:16-18 (NLT) For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. 

John 5:24 (NLT) “I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life."

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Matthew 6:24-34 (NLT)...

FROM TODAY'S READING (2/20/2015)...

Worry does absolutely no good. It won’t bring in money, food, or clothing. Worry only has negative results: it chokes the word of God and distracts us from God. It is unbelief, the opposite of faith. And it leads to more fear and anxiety. And the different scenarios we play out in our minds can’t prevent a single thing from happening. And besides that, most of the things we spend so much time fretting about won’t happen anyway.
- Pastor Mark Altrogge
Sovereign Grace Church     
Indiana, Pennsylvania

- Today I am worried about _________________________________.
- My plan to alleviate my worry today by _____________________________.

Matthew 6:24-24 (NLT) No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. 
That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? 
And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? 
So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. 
So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Colossians 3:12-14 (NLT)...

FROM TODAY'S READING (2/19/2015)...

"A lack of compassion can be as vulgar as an excess of tears."
- Lady Violet (Downton Abbey)

Colossians 3:12-14 (NLT) Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Proverbs 20:1 (NLT)..,

FROM TODAY'S READING (2/18/2015)..,

Alcohol is the most commonly abused – and most deadly -- drug in America — In 2012, 71 percent of Americans reported they drank in the past year; 56.3 percent reported that they drank in the past month. An estimated 17 million Americans have an alcohol use disorder — a medical term that includes both alcoholism and harmful drinking that does not reach the level of dependence. Each year in the U.S., nearly 80,000 people die from alcohol-related causes, making it the third leading preventable cause of death in our country.
- Joe Carter ("5 Facts About Substance Abuse In America")

Proverbs 20:1 (NLT) Wine produces mockers; alcohol leads to brawls. Those led astray by drink cannot be wise. 

Proverbs 23:29-35 (NLT) Who has anguish? Who has sorrow? Who is always fighting? Who is always complaining? Who has unnecessary bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes? It is the one who spends long hours in the taverns, trying out new drinks. Don’t gaze at the wine, seeing how red it is, how it sparkles in the cup, how smoothly it goes down. For in the end it bites like a poisonous snake; it stings like a viper. You will see hallucinations, and you will say crazy things. You will stagger like a sailor tossed at sea, clinging to a swaying mast. And you will say, “They hit me, but I didn’t feel it. I didn’t even know it when they beat me up. When will I wake up so I can look for another drink?” 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Mark7:20-23 (NLT)...

FROM TODAY'S READING (2/16/2015)...

NOTE: Today's FTR is posted as an addendum and/or alternative thought to this past weekend's blockbuster movie "Fifty Shades of Grey." 

“Lust is always an unholy desire for the forbidden. Its goal is the very act of desiring. The result is that lust cannot be quenched. As soon as the object of lust is attained, lust wants something more. Even when you indulge in every kind of impurity, you’re still filled with a continual lust. You won’t be able to fantasize enough to quench lust.”
- Joshua Harris (Sex Is Not The Problem)

Mark 7:20-23 (NLT) And then he [Jesus] added, “It is what comes from inside that defiles you. For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you.” 

James 1:14-15 (NLT) Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death. 

Titus 2:11-14 (NLT)For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds. 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Ezekiel 13:10-12 (NLT)...

FROM TODAY'S READING (2/16/2015)..,

"...as Christians, we don’t get to define what “relevant” means in terms that are unquestioning of what our culture means by “relevant.” I submit that ...a church [Christ-follower] in retreat doesn’t give answers. It doesn’t storm the gates of Hell. It settles and makes peace where there is no peace... A church in exile...is one that is faithful amidst the culture, regardless of whether that culture looks more like America or more like Babylon. It knows that it may lose the culture, but that it cannot lose the Gospel. So be it.
- Andrew Walker (erlc.com)

Ezekiel 13:10-12 (NLT) This will happen because these evil prophets deceive my people by saying, ‘All is peaceful’ when there is no peace at all! It’s as if the people have built a flimsy wall, and these prophets are trying to reinforce it by covering it with whitewash! Tell these whitewashers that their wall will soon fall down. A heavy rainstorm will undermine it; great hailstones and mighty winds will knock it down. And when the wall falls, the people will cry out, ‘What happened to your whitewash?’ 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Matthew 25:34-40 (NLT)..,

FROM TODAY'S READING (2/13/2015)...

THE PIT
~ A man fell into a pit and could not get himself out.
~ A Subjective person came along and said "I feel for you down there in that pit"
~ An Objective person came along and said "It’s logical that someone would have fallen down into that pit"
~ A Christian Scientist came along and said "You only think you’re in the pit"
~ A Pharisee said "only bad people fall into the pit"
~ A Newspaper Reporter wanted the exclusive story on the pit
~ A Fundamentalist said "You deserve your pit"
~ Confucius said "If you had listened to me you would not be in that pit"
~ Buddha said "The pit is only a state of mind"
~ A Realist said "that’s a pit"
~ A Scientist calculated the pressure necessary to get him out of the pit
~ A Geologist told him to appreciate the rock strata in the pit
~ A Tax man asked him if he was paying taxes on the pit
~ An inspector asked him if he had a permit to dig the pit
~ An Evasive person came along and avoided the subject of the pit altogether
~ A Self pitying person said "You haven’t seen anything until you have seen my pit"
~ A Charismatic said "just confess that you are not in the pit"
~ An Optimist said "It could be worse"
~ A Pessimist said "Things will get worse"
~ Jesus walking along seeing the man in the pit simply knelt down, extended his hand and pulled him out of the pit!

Matthew 25:34-40 (NLT) “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’ 
"Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 
"And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Proverbs 22:1 (NLT)...

FROM TODAY'S READING (2/12/2015)...

If all the gold in the world were melted down into a solid cube it would be about the size of an eight-room house. If a man got possession of all that gold...he could not buy a friend, character, peace of mind, clear conscience, or a sense of eternity.
- Charles F. Banning

Proverbs 22:1 (NLT) Choose a good reputation over great riches; being held in high esteem is better than silver or gold.

Monday, February 9, 2015

1 Thessalonians 5:5-8 (NLT)...

FROM TODAY'S READING (2/11/2015)...

One year, Pastor George Sweeting visited Niagara Falls to see the amazing work of God. It was spring, and ice was rushing down the river. As the large blocks of ice flowed toward the falls, one could see that there were carcasses of dead fish embedded in the ice. Sea gulls by the dozens were riding down the river feeding on the fish. As they came to the brink of the edge, their wings would go out, and they would escape from the falls.

One gull seemed to delay and it was curious to see when it would leave. The gull was engrossed in the carcass of a fish, and when it finally came to the brink of the falls, out went its powerful wings. The bird flapped and flapped and even lifted the ice out of the water, and it seemed like it would escape. But it had delayed too long, and its claws had frozen into the ice. The weight of the ice was too great, and the gull plunged into the abyss. 

- Unknown

1 Thessalonians 5:5-8 (NLT) For you are all children of the light and of the day; we don’t belong to darkness and night. So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be clearheaded. Night is the time when people sleep and drinkers get drunk. But let us who live in the light be clearheaded, protected by the armor of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the confidence of our salvation. 


Sunday, February 8, 2015

1 John 2:15-17 (NLT)...

FROM TODAY'S READING (2/9/2015)...

The lure of wealth, or what we might call the magnetism of materialism.
“Finns [people from Finland] who can’t get enough of winter swarmed to the northern town of Kemi for the opening of a sprawling ice castle that features a theatre, a playground, an art gallery, and a chapel.
“Thirty workers took three months to build a castle with 13-foot walls stretching for 1650 feet. 
“An Orthodox Church chapel, hewn from ice, has been booked for weddings and christenings. The theater has a capacity of 3000 and features rock and pop concerts, musicals, modern dance, opera recitals, and popular operas.
“Construction and upkeep costs are estimated to be $1.1 million, yet the castle always melts sometime in mid-April.
“The melting ice serves as a reminder that all the material things in this world will one day pass away.” 
- 1001 Quotes, Illustrations & Humorous Stories


1 John 5:21 (NLT) Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts. 

1 John 2:15-17 (NLT) Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever. 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

1 John 2:18-19 (NLT).,,

FROM TODY'S READING (2/6/2015)..,

The antichrists were not total strangers to the church; they once had been in the church, but they did not really belong to it. John does not say why they left; it is clear that their reasons for joining in the first place were wrong. Some people may call themselves Christians for less than the best reasons. Perhaps going to church is a family tradition. Maybe they like the social and business contacts they make there. Or possibly going to church is a long-standing habit, and they have never stopped to ask themselves why they do it. What is your main reason for being a Christian? Unless it is a Christ-centered reason, you may not really belong. You don't have to settle for less than the best. You can become personally acquainted with Jesus Christ and become a loyal, trustworthy follower.
- LAB Study Bible

1 John 2:18-19 (NLT) Dear children, the last hour is here. You have heard that the Antichrist is coming, and already many such antichrists have appeared. From this we know that the last hour has come. These people left our churches, but they never really belonged with us; otherwise they would have stayed with us. When they left, it proved that they did not belong with us. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

1 John 2:16-16 (NLT)...

FROM TODAY'S READING (2/5/2015)..,

Some people think that worldliness is limited to external behavior—the people we associate with, the places we go, the activities we enjoy. Worldliness is also internal because it begins in the heart and is characterized by three attitudes: (1) craving for physical pleasure— preoccupation with gratifying physical desires; (2) craving for everything we see—coveting and accumulating things, bowing to the god of materialism; and (3) pride in our achievements and possessions—obsession with one's status or importance. When the serpent tempted Eve (Genesis 3:6), he tempted her in these areas. Also, when the devil tempted Jesus in the wilderness, these were his three areas of attack (Matthew 4:1-11).
- LAB Study Note

1 John 2:15-17 (NLT) Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

John 15:13 (NLT)..,

FROM TODAY'S READING (2/4/2013)...

It was February 1941, Auschwitz, Poland. Maximilian Kolbe
was a Franciscan priest put in the infamous death camp for helping Jews escape Nazi terrorism.
Months went by and in desperation an escape took place. The camp rule was enforced. Ten people would be rounded up randomly and herded into a cell where they would die of starvation and exposure as a lesson against future escape attempts.
Names were called. A Polish Jew Frandishek Gasovnachek was called. He cried, "Wait, I have a wife and children!" Kolbe stepped forward and said, "I will take his place."
Kolbe was marched into the cell with nine others where he managed to live until August 14.
This story was chronicled on an NBC news special several years ago. Gasovnachek, by this time 82, was shown telling this story while tears streamed down his cheeks. A mobile camera followed him around his little white house to a marble monument carefully tended with flowers. The inscription read: IN MEMORY OF MAXIMILIAN KOLBE HE DIED IN MY PLACE.
Every day Gasovnachek lived since 1941, he lived with the knowledge, "I live because someone died for me." Every year on August 14 he travels to Auschwitz in memory of Kolbe. 

- Victor Knowles (Peace on Earth Ministries) 

John 15:13 (NLT) This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 

1 John 4:20-21 (NLT) If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love t

Monday, February 2, 2015

Romans 5:3-5 (NLT)...

FROM TODAY'D READING (2/3/2015)...

Good character is more to be praised than outstanding talent. Most talents are to some extent a gift. Good character, by contrast, is not given to us. We have to build it piece by piece...by thought, choice, courage, and determination.

Romans 5:3-5 (NLT) We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.