Friday, April 29, 2016

Proverbs 16:24 (NLT)...

FROM TODAY'S READING (4/29/2016)...

I KNOW SOMETHING GOOD ABOUT YOU

Wouldn't this old world be better
If the folks we meet would say -
"I know something good about you!"
And treat us just that way?

Wouldn't it be fine and dandy
If each handclasp, fond and true,
Carried with it this assurance -
"I know something good about you!"

Wouldn't life be lots more happy
If the good that's in us all
Were the only thing about us
That folks bothered to recall?

Wouldn't life be lots more happy
If we praised the good we see?
For there's such a lot of goodness
In the worst of you and me!

Wouldn't it be nice to practice
That fine way of thinking, too?
You know something good about me;
I know something good about you.
- Unknown author

Proverbs 16:24 (NLT) Kind words are like honey— sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NLT) So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.

Colossians 4:6 (NLT) Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

1 Timothy 1:19 (NLT)...

FROM TODAY'S READING (4/28/2016)...

"Happy is that man, that can be acquitted by himself in private, by others in public, and by God in both."
- Joseph Hall (1574-1656)

"Man is the only animal that blushes, and the only animal that needs to." 
- Mark Twain

"So the three options available: One, harden and sear your conscience by continually violating it. That is the making of a psychopath. Two, keep a soft heart, persist in unrepentant sin and live with the ongoing agony of a tormented conscience – the restlessness, anxiety, stress and psychosomatic disorders (ulcers, high blood pressure, heart palpitations, etc.). Or, three, simply obey God’s Word which honors the Lord and enjoy a life of peace which far surpasses any worldly perks obtained sinfully that promise us greater satisfaction but violate our conscience."
- Pastor Randy Smith

1 Timothy 1:19 (NLT) Cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked.

1 Peter 3:13-18 (NLT) Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong! 
Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit.”

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Matthew 22:36-40 (NLT)...

FROM TODAY'S READING (4/27/2016)...

"I would like to buy $3-worth of God, please. Not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep, but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk or a snooze in the sunshine. I don’t want enough of Him to make me love a black man or pick beets with a migrant worker. I want ecstasy, not transformation. I want the warmth of the womb, not a new birth. I want a pound of the eternal in a paper sack, please. I would like to buy $3-worth of God."
- Wilbur Reese

 Matthew 22:36-40 (NLT) ""Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” 
Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.””

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Psalm 19:12-14 (NLT)...

FROM TODAY'S READING (4/26/2016)...

"When Princess Diana died in an automobile accident, a minister was interviewed and was asked the question “How can God allow such a terrible tragedy?” And I loved his response. He said, “Could it have had something to do with a drunk driver going ninety miles an hour in a narrow tunnel? Just How, exactly, was God involved.”
Years ago, boxer, Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini, killed a Korean opponent with a hard right hand to the head. At the press conference after the Korean’s death, Mancini said, “sometimes I wonder why God does the things he does.”
In a letter to Dr. [Jim] Dobson, a young woman asked this anguished question, “Four years ago, I was dating a man and became pregnant. I was devastated. I asked God, “Why have you allowed this to happen to me?”
Susan Smith, the south Carolina mother a couple years ago who pushed her two sons into a lake to drown and then blamed a fictional car-jacker for the deed, wrote in her confession: “I dropped to the lowest point when I allowed my children to go down that ramp into the water without me. I took off running and screaming, ‘Oh God! Oh God, no! What have I done? Why did you let this happen?”
Now the question remains, exactly what role did God play in a boxer beating his opponent to death, a teenage couple giving into temptation in the back seat of a car, or a mother drowning her children?
Is God responsible for these acts? To the contrary, they are examples of incredible human free will being exercised on a fallen planet. And yet it’s in our nature as mortal, frail, fallen people to lash out at one who is not, that being God."
- Philip Yancey, "Reaching For The Invisible God" (originally published in 2000)

Psalms 19:12-14 (NLT) How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults. Keep your servant from deliberate sins! Don’t let them control me. Then I will be free of guilt and innocent of great sin. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

Hebrews 5:7-9 (NLT)...

FROM TODAY'S READING (4/25/2016)...

A bar of steel worth five dollars, when wrought into horseshoes, is worth ten dollars. If made into needles, it is worth three hundred and fifty dollars; if into penknife blades, it is worth thirty-two thousand dollars; if into springs for watches it is worth two hundred and fifty thousand dollars. What a drilling the poor bar must undergo to be worth this! But the more it is manipulated, the more it is hammered and passed through the fire, and beaten and pounded and polished, the greater the value. 
- Unknown

Hebrews 5:7-9 (NLT) While Jesus was here on earth, he offered prayers and pleadings, with a loud cry and tears, to the one who could rescue him from death. And God heard his prayers because of his deep reverence for God. Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered. In this way, God qualified him as a perfect High Priest, and he became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey him.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Psalm 18:46 (NLT)...

FROM TODAY'S READING (4/22/2016)...

Worry is the act of imagining a future without God. When you strip it down to its bones that’s what it really is. 
I worry when I imagine a future devoid of God. 
I worry when I project my current feelings and discouragements and struggles into the future. 
I worry when I take God’s love and faithfulness out of the equation. When I imagine a stark and bleak future, a screaming void in which my faithful and loving Father does not exist or act on my behalf. Underneath all the anxiety and fear and confusing emotions worry is actually a form of atheism. It’s acting as if God does not exist.
Psalm 18:46 provides three words which destroy worry and fuel faith: “The Lord lives…”
Don’t pass over those words too quickly. The...Lord...Lives.
- Pastor Stephen Altrogge (Sovereign Grace Church)

Psalms 18:1-2, 46 (NLT) I love you, LORD; you are my strength. The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety.
The LORD lives! Praise to my Rock! May the God of my salvation be exalted!”

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Proverbs 17:1 (NLT)...

FROM TODAY'S READING (4/21/2016)...

"Never ruin an apology with an excuse."
- Kimberly Johnson

"If you’re not listening, you’re not learning."
- L.B. Johnson

"Never cut what you can untie."
- Joseph Joubert

Proverbs 17:1 (NLT) Better a dry crust eaten in peace than a house filled with feasting—and conflict.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Psalm 103:8-12; Mark 11:25 (NLT)...

FROM TODAY'S READING (4/20/2016)

Forgiveness is not a feeling but a promise or commitment to the following three things: 
1. I will not use it against them in the future.
2. I will not talk to others about them.
3. I will not dwell on it myself.
- Jay E. Adams

There's no point in burying a hatchet if you're going to put up a marker on the site.
- Sydney Harris

Mark 11:25 (NLT) But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too. 

Psalms 103:8-12 (NLT) The LORD is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever. He does not punish us for all our sins; he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve. For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

1 Peter 5:6-9 (NLT)..,

 FROM TODAY'S READING (4/19/2016)

"Oh Lord, give me a backbone as big as a sawlog, ribs like the sleepers under the church floor, put iron shoes on me and galvanized breeches, give me a rhinoceros hide for a skin, and hang a wagonload of determination up in the gable-end of my soul, and help me to sign the contract to fight the devil as long as I've got a fist and bite him as long as I have a tooth, then gum him till I die. All this I ask for Christ's sake. Amen."
- Uncle Bud Robinson (1860-1942)

1 Peter 5:6-9 (NLT) So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.

Monday, April 18, 2016

1 Timothy 6:6-10 (NLT)...

FROM TODAY'S READING (4/18/2016)...

Tell me what you are eager to buy, and I will tell you what you are.
- Anon

1 Timothy 6:6-10 (NLT) Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content. 
But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Psalm 1 & 150 (NLT)..,

FROM TODAY'S READING (4/15/2016)...

The last several morning personal devotions have included reading through Psalms. This wonderful divinely inspired collection is divided into 150 chapters. Psalm 117 is the shortest chapter in the Bible...it is also the middle chapter. Psalm 119 is the longest chapter.

One cannot help being inspired and challenged with a full range of thoughts and emotions while reading this cherished collection.  I was seemingly divinely nudged to take note of the first and last chapters during this latest reading journey. Take a look/read...

Psalms 1:1-3 (NLT) Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the LORD, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.

Psalms 150:1-6 (NLT)
Praise the LORD! 
Praise God in his sanctuary; 
praise him in his mighty heaven! 
Praise him for his mighty works; 
praise his unequaled greatness! 
Praise him with a blast of the ram’s horn; 
praise him with the lyre and harp! 
Praise him with the tambourine and dancing; 
praise him with strings and flutes! 
Praise him with a clash of cymbals; 
praise him with loud clanging cymbals. 
Let everything that breathes sing praises to the LORD! 
Praise the LORD!”
PS - The first sermon text I ever officially preached as a church pastor (August of 1981) was taken from Psalm 1. 

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)...

FROM TODAY'S READING (4/14/2016)...

Art Linkletter saw a small boy drawing a picture. He inquired, "What are you drawing?" The small boy replied, "A picture of God."
Linkletter told the lad that no one knows what God looks like, to which the boy confidently responded, "They will when I get through."
- Unknown

Ephesians 2:10 (NLT) For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

2 Corinthians 5:6-9 (NLT)...

FROM TODAY'S READING (4/13/2016)...

Three men were walking on a wall,
Feeling, Faith and Fact,
When Feeling got an awful fall,
And Faith was taken back.
So close was Faith to Feeling,
He stumbled and fell too,
But Fact remained,
And pulled Faith back
And Faith brought feeling too.
~Author Unknown

2 Corinthians 5:6-9 (NIV) Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.
2 Corinthians 5:6-8 (MSG/paraphrase) That’s why we live with such good cheer. You won’t see us drooping our heads or dragging our feet! Cramped conditions here don’t get us down. They only remind us of the spacious living conditions ahead. It’s what we trust in but don’t yet see that keeps us going. Do you suppose a few ruts in the road or rocks in the path are going to stop us? When the time comes, we’ll be plenty ready to exchange exile for homecoming.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Matthew 6:31-34 (NLT)...

FROM TODAY'S READING (4/11/2016)...

"Don't worry about the world ending today. It's already tomorrow in Australia." 
- Charles M. Schulz (American cartoonist)

Matthew 6:31-34 (NLT) 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.

Friday, April 8, 2016

1 Corinthians 11:21-27 (NLT)...

FROM TODAY'S READING (4/8/2016)...

"If you are going through hell, keep going."
- Winston Churchill

APOSTLE PAUL'S RESPONCE TO THOSE WHO WERE CRITICIZING HIM...

1 Corinthians 11:21-27 (NLT) "But whatever they dare to boast about—I’m talking like a fool again—I dare to boast about it, too. 
Are they Hebrews? So am I. 
Are they Israelites? So am I. 
Are they descendants of Abraham? So am I. 
Are they servants of Christ? I know I sound like a madman, but I have served him far more! 
I have worked harder, 
been put in prison more often, 
been whipped times without number, 
and faced death again and again. 
Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes. 
Three times I was beaten with rods. 
Once I was stoned. 
Three times I was shipwrecked. 
Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea. 
I have traveled on many long journeys. 
I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. 
I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. 
I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. 
And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not. 
I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. 
I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. 
I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm.”

   Philippians 3:12-14 (NLT) "I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Proverbs 13:4 (NLT)...

FROM TODAY'S READING (4/7/2016)...

Opportunity is missed by people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.
- Thomas Alva Edison

Proverbs 13:4 (NLT) Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper.
 Proverbs 14:23 (NLT) Work brings profit, but mere talk leads to poverty!

Colossians 3:23-24 (NIV) Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

1 Corinthians 13:3-7 (MSG)..,

FROM TODAY'S READING (4/6/2016)...

"Love doesn't have a price tag."
- Unknown 

1 Corinthians 13:3-7 (MSG The Message) If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love. Love never gives up. 
Love cares more for others than for self. 
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. 
Love doesn’t strut, 
Doesn’t have a swelled head, 
Doesn’t force itself on others, 
Isn’t always “me first,” 
Doesn’t fly off the handle, 
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, 
Doesn’t revel when others grovel, 
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, 
Puts up with anything, 
Trusts God always, 
Always looks for the best, 
Never looks back, But keeps going to the end.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Philippians 2:12-14 (NLT)...

FROM TODAY'S READING (4/5/2016)...

God's plan has much more to do with who we are becoming as it does what we are accomplishing. We often want him to work through us; he wants to work in us.

Philippians 2:12-18 (NLT) Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. 
Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless. But I will rejoice even if I lose my life, pouring it out like a liquid offering to God, just like your faithful service is an offering to God. And I want all of you to share that joy. Yes, you should rejoice, and I will share