Rabu, 29 September 2010

Remember The Sacrifice

By Bill Crowder

Read: 1 Cor. 11:23-34
Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me. —1 Corinthians 11:24
Bible in a year:
2 Chronicles 13-14; John 12:1-26

Every Memorial Day, we remember those who have died in the service of their country. In the United States, a place where such remembrances carry a deep and emotional significance is Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington, DC. Arlington is a serious place where, due to the passing of aging war veterans and the ongoing conflicts around the world, there are currently about 25 military funerals every day.

This is particularly difficult for The Old Guard—members of the 3rd US Infantry Regiment who serve at Arlington. It is their task to bear the bodies of the fallen and honor their sacrifice. The members of The Old Guard never forget the price of liberty—for they are reminded of it every day.

Believers in Christ have been given the Lord’s Supper as a reminder of what our freedom from sin cost the Lord Jesus Christ. As we partake of the bread and the cup, we fulfill His command to “do this in remembrance of Me” (1 Cor. 11:24). But in the sober celebration of the sacrifice of Christ there is joy. For we need not leave our remembrances at the Lord’s Table. Living our lives for the Savior can show the world that we will never forget the sacrifice He has made for us.

Thank You, Lord, for dying for me
On the cross of Calvary;
Help me always to remember
What You did to set me free. —Sper

Remembering Christ’s death for us should cause us to live for Him.

Senin, 27 September 2010

Clean Up The Environment

By Joanie Yoder

Read: Ephesians 4:17-32
Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification. —Ephesians 4:29
Bible in a year:
1 Samuel 10-12; Luke 9:37-62

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.

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!

Minggu, 26 September 2010

Unseen Workers

By Julie Ackerman LinkRata Penuh

Read: Romans 12:1-10
We have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function. —Romans 12:4
Bible in a year:
1 Samuel 25-26; Luke 12:32-59

As I was giving myself a manicure, I started feeling sorry for my right hand. It does the most work, but my left hand gets the most attention. My right hand applies nail polish smoothly to my left-hand nails, but my left hand, lacking skill and coordination, does not return the favor. The polish on my right hand is always smeared and messy. One hand does the better work, but the other hand gets all the attention and honor.

As I worked on my fingernails, my thoughts turned toward something much more important—the people in my church, many of whom are highly skilled at tasks that make others look good. These hardworking folks, however, seldom get noticed, because their work puts the attention on someone else. It seems unfair that those who do such good work get little appreciation.

Truly servant-minded believers, though, don’t see it that way. They give preference to others (Rom. 12:10) because they know that God sees what others do not—and that He will reward those whose work is unseen by others (Matt. 6:4,6,18; 1 Cor. 12:24).

Is someone else reaping the benefit of your hard work? Be encouraged. God rewards those who work “invisibly” to make Christ visible to the world.

The service that we do for God
May go unpraised by men;
But when we stand before the Lord,
He will reward us then. —Sper

No service for Christ goes unnoticed by Him.

Sabtu, 25 September 2010

Our Only Hope

By Richard De Haan

Read: 1 Thess. 4:13-18
We should live . . . godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope. —Titus 2:12-13
Bible in a year:
1 Samuel 7-9; Luke 9:18-36

An anonymous author wrote, “When I was first converted, and for some years afterward, the second coming of Christ was a thrilling idea, a blessed hope, a glorious promise, the theme of some of the most inspiring songs of the church.

“Later it became an accepted tenet of faith, a cardinal doctrine, a kind of invisible trademark of my ministry. It was the favorite arena of my theological discussions, in the pulpit and in print. Now suddenly the second coming means something more to me. Paul called it ‘the blessed hope.’ But today it appears as the only hope of the world.”

From the human standpoint, there is no solution for the struggles of the world. Leaders are naturally frustrated in trying to deal with the increasing problems in society. The only complete and permanent solution is found in the return of Christ to earth. When He comes, He will set up His kingdom. He will rule the nations in righteousness, and “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea” (Hab. 2:14).

As we await our Savior’s return, let us keep on praying, working, and watching, while “looking for the blessed hope”—our only hope for this world.

And for the hope of His return,
Dear Lord, Your name we praise;
With longing hearts we watch and wait
For that great day of days! —Sherwood

As this world gets darker, the promised return of God’s Son gets brighter.

Jumat, 24 September 2010

Devotions: A New Normal

By Julie Ackerman Link

Read: Romans 6:1-11
Just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. —Romans 6:4

Bible in a year:
Judges 19-21; Luke 7:31-50

After my doctor announced that I had cancer, I tried to listen to what he said, but I couldn’t. I went home, pulled a blanket over my head, and fell asleep on the couch, as if sleeping could change the diagnosis.

When I finally gained enough strength to tell my loved ones, my friend Judy Schreur said something especially memorable. After expressing her sympathy, she said, “This is what will happen. You will feel really bad for 3 days. Then you will get up, figure out what you have to do, and get on with your life.” Then she added, “I think it has to do with death, burial, and resurrection.”

At the time, I didn’t believe it. I was sure that life as I knew it was over. Nothing would ever be the same. I couldn’t imagine feeling normal again. But she was right. Three days later I woke up and realized I didn’t feel quite so bad. And little by little, despite the physical misery of chemotherapy treatments, my emotional and spiritual condition improved significantly. I “died” to my old reality and was “raised” to a new normal.

Thankfully, God is in the business of resurrection. For those who have died in Christ, the death of one reality means resurrection to a new, glorious normal so that we can “walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4).

Jesus redeemed us and died in our stead;
In Him we died and rose from the dead.
No longer is death a thing that we dread;
The old is behind us, the new is ahead. —D. De Haan

To be “in Christ” is to share in His life, in His death, and in His resurrection.

Kamis, 23 September 2010

The Power Of Praise

By Paul Van Gorder

Read: Isaiah 61:1-3
The Lord has anointed Me . . . to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning. —Isaiah 61:1,3

Bible in a year:
1 Samuel 1-3; Luke 8:26-56

Praise is powerful! When Scottish pastor Robert Murray McCheyne was troubled with a coldness of heart toward the things of the Lord, he would sing the praises of God until he felt revived in his spirit. Those in his household were often able to tell what hour he awoke because he began the day with a psalm of praise.

One day, while he was trying to prepare his heart for preaching, he wrote in his journal: “Is it the desire of my heart to be made altogether holy? . . . Lord, You know all things . . . . I’ve felt so much deadness and grief that I cannot grieve for this deadness. Toward evening I revived. Got a calm spirit through [singing psalms] and prayer.” McCheyne had been uplifted by praising God.

Perhaps you feel as if you are mired in what John Bunyan called the “slough of despond.” Lift a song of praise to the Lord. The psalmist said, “I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever” (89:1). When we do that, the praise will flow not only from our lips but also from our heart. The Lord delights to give “the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness” (Isa. 61:3).

Yes, “it is good to sing praises to our God”—at all times (Ps. 147:1).

Praise, my soul, the King of heaven,
To His feet your tribute bring;
Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven,
Evermore His praises sing. —Lyte

If you find yourself wearing a spirit of heaviness, try on a garment of praise.

Rabu, 22 September 2010

Is It True?

by Cindy Hess Kasper

Read: Galatians 1:1-9
They received the Word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. —Acts 17:11

Bible in a year:

Ecclesiastes 10-12; Galatians 1

Trust, but verify.” My husband loves that quote from Ronald Reagan. During his time in office, the former US President wanted to believe everything he was told in his political dealings with others. But since the security of his country depended on the truth being told—he strived to verify everything.

Acts 17:11 tells us that the Bereans had a similar attitude about knowing the truth. “They received the Word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.” In other words, the Bereans didn’t simply believe what someone else was telling them. They also verified it on their own—on a daily basis.

That’s important for us to consider as well. Whether we receive our Bible teaching through church, Sunday school, radio, or TV—we need to test what we hear against God’s inspired Word (2 Tim. 3:16-17). We are to “be diligent to present [ourselves] approved to God, . . . rightly dividing the Word of truth” (2:15). If we do this, we won’t become prey to those who teach “a different gospel,” and those who “want to pervert the gospel of Christ” (Gal. 1:6-7)—false teachers who come as wolves in sheep’s clothing (Matt. 7:15).

Remember, trust—but verify!

Protection from false teaching comes
The more we read God’s Word;
For once we know the Scripture’s truth,
What’s false will sound absurd. —Sper

Knowing what’s true is the first step in knowing what’s false.