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The Word For Life.

If we meet and you forget me, you have lost nothing:
but if you meet JESUS CHRIST and forget Him,
you have lost everything.

Walking God’s Way
Posted:Sep 24, 2018 5:01 am
Last Updated:Sep 24, 2018 5:01 am
8 Views
Read: Isaiah 30:15–2

| Bible in a Year: Song of Solomon 4–5; Galatians 3

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21

“We’re going this way,” I said as I touched my son’s shoulder and redirected him through the crowd to follow his mom and sisters in front of us. I’d done this more often as the day wore on at the amusement park our family was visiting. He was getting tired and more easily distracted. Why can’t he just follow them?
I wondered.

Then it hit me: How often do I do exactly the same thing? How often do I veer from obediently walking with God, enchanted by the temptations to pursue what I want instead of seeking His ways?

Think of Isaiah’s words from God for Israel: “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it’ ” (Isaiah 30:21). Earlier in that chapter, God had rebuked His people for their rebelliousness. But if they would trust His strength instead of their own ways
(v. 15), He promised to show His graciousness and compassion (v. 18

One expression of God’s graciousness is His promise to guide us by His Spirit. That happens as we talk to Him about our desires and ask in prayer what He has for us. I’m thankful God patiently directs us, day-by-day, step-by-step, as we trust Him and listen for His voice.

Father, You’ve promised to guide us through the ups and downs and decisions we face in life. Help us to trust and follow You, and to actively listen for Your guiding voice.

God patiently directs us as we trust Him and listen for His voice.
1 comment
Unexpected Ways
Posted:Sep 21, 2018 4:28 am
Last Updated:Sep 24, 2018 8:56 am
31 Views
Read: 1 Kings 19:1–12

Bible in a Year: Ecclesiastes 7–9; 2 Corinthians 13

Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. John 14:9

In 1986, five-year-old Levan Merritt fell twenty feet into the gorilla enclosure of England’s Jersey zoo. As parents and onlookers cried out for help, a full-grown male silverback, named Jambo, placed himself between the motionless boy and several other gorillas. Then he began to gently stroke the child’s back. When Levan began to cry, Jambo led the other gorillas into their own enclosure as zoo-keepers and an ambulance driver came to the rescue. More than thirty years later Levan still talks about Jambo the gentle giant—his guardian angel who had acted in a shockingly unexpected way, changing his perception of gorillas forever.

Elijah may have expected God to act in certain ways, but the God of gods used a rock-shattering wind, a powerful earthquake, and raging fire to show His prophet how not to think of Him. Then He used a gentle whisper to show His heart and to express His presence (1 Kings 19:11–12).

Elijah had seen God’s power before (18:38–39). But he didn’t fully understand the One who wants to be known as more than the greatest and most fearsome of gods (19:10, 14).

Eventually, that quiet whisper found fullness of meaning in the powerful gentleness of Jesus, who said, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). Then He quietly allowed Himself to be nailed to a tree—an unexpected, compassionate act by the great God who loves us.

Father in heaven, please help us to find courage in Your whisper—and in the ways of Your Son. Have mercy on us for not seeing beyond Your power to a love we’ve barely begun to know.

God won’t shout if we only need a whisper.
1 comment
Where to Find Hope
Posted:Sep 20, 2018 5:38 am
Last Updated:Sep 24, 2018 8:56 am
103 Views
Read: Romans 5:1–11

Bible in a Year: Ecclesiastes 4–6; 2 Corinthians 12

And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. Romans 5:5

Elizabeth struggled for a long time with drug addiction, and when she recovered wanted to help others in return. So she started writing notes and anonymously placing them throughout her city. Elizabeth tucks these notes under car windshield wipers and tacks them on poles in parks. She used to look for signs of hope; now she leaves them for others to find. One of her notes concluded with these words: “Much love. Hope sent.”

Hope with love—that’s what Jesus gives. He brings us His love with each new day and strengthens us with that hope. His love is not rationed out to us drop by drop but flows out of His heart freely and is poured lavishly into ours: “We know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love” (Romans 5:5 nlt). He desires to use the hard times to develop perseverance and character and bring us a satisfying, hope-filled life (vv. 3–4). And even when we’re far from Him, He still loves us (vv. 6–8.

Are you looking for signs of hope? The Lord gives hope with love through inviting us to grow in a relationship with Him. Our hope for a fulfilling life is anchored in His unfailing love.

I’m grateful, God, for the love You lavishly pour on me. Please bring me contentment in You and confidence in what You are doing in me.

Hope is the anchor of the soul.
1 comment
A Fitting Time
Posted:Sep 19, 2018 5:20 am
Last Updated:Sep 20, 2018 5:38 am
112 Views
Read: Ecclesiastes 3:1–14

Bible in a Year: Ecclesiastes 1–3; 2 Corinthians 11:16–33

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Ecclesiastes 3:11

Yesterday I purchased an airline ticket to send my firstborn child to college. I’m surprised the keyboard on my computer still functions, given the waterworks my eyes unleashed on it during the flight selection process. I have so enjoyed my eighteen years of daily life with her that I am saddened by the prospect of her departure. Yet I wouldn’t rob her of the opportunity that lies ahead simply because I’ll miss her. At this juncture in her life, it is fitting for her to embark on a new journey to discover adulthood and explore another part of the country.

As this season of my parenting draws to a close, another one begins. It will undoubtedly bring both new challenges and new delights. Solomon, Israel’s third king, wrote that God appoints “a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens” (Ecclesiastes 3:1). We humans have little control over the events of our lives—whether we view those events as favorable or not. But God, in His mighty power, makes “everything beautiful in its time” (v. 11).

In seasons of heartache, we can trust God to bring something good from them in time. Our comforts and joys may come and go, but God’s works “will endure forever” (v. 14). We may not relish every season—some are quite painful—yet He can bring beauty to them all.

Father, You have permitted this season in my life. Help me to be content in the midst of it, and to recognize Your power and might are at work.

God brings beauty from all seasons.
2 Comments
Engraved on His Hands
Posted:Sep 18, 2018 2:55 am
Last Updated:Sep 24, 2018 8:56 am
107 Views
Read: Isaiah 49:14–18

Bible in a Year: Proverbs 30–31; 2 Corinthians 11:1–15

See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands. Isaiah 49:16

In Charles Spurgeon’s many years at his London church during the 1800s, he loved to preach on the riches of Isaiah 49:16, which says that God engraves us on the palms of His hands. He said, “Such a text as this is to be preached hundreds of times!” This thought is so precious that we can run over it in our minds again and again.

Spurgeon makes the wonderful connection between this promise of the Lord to His people, the Israelites, and God’s Son, Jesus, on the cross as He died for us. Spurgeon asked, “What are these wounds in Your hands? . . . The engraver’s tool was the nail, backed by the hammer. He must be fastened to the Cross, that His people might be truly engraved on the palms of His hands.” As the Lord promised to engrave His people on His palms, so Jesus stretched out His arms on the cross, receiving the nails in His hands so we could be free of our sins.

If and when we’re tempted to think that God has forgotten us, we only need to look at our palms and remember God’s promise. He has put indelible marks on His hands for us; He loves us that much.

Lord God, how vast is Your love for me! You keep me ever before You. I know You’ll never leave me, and I’m grateful.

The Lord engraves us on the palms of His hands.
1 comment
Legacies of Love
Posted:Sep 17, 2018 5:09 am
Last Updated:Sep 24, 2018 8:56 am
117 Views
Read: 2 Timothy 1:1–5

Bible in a Year: Proverbs 27–29; 2 Corinthians 10

Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16

I was paging through my great-grandmother’s Bible when a treasure fell into my lap. On a small scrap of paper, in a young child’s handwriting, were the words, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:3–4 kjv). Scribbled beside those verses in wobbly cursive was my mother’s signature.

My great-grandmother had a habit of teaching her grandchildren to write out Scripture verses so they would learn them and take them to heart. But the story behind this verse brought tears to my eyes. My grandfather died when my mother was very young, and her little brother (my uncle) died just weeks later. It was in that tragic season that my great-grandmother pointed my mother to Jesus and the comfort only He can give.

Paul wrote Timothy, “I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also” (2 Timothy 1:5). Faith isn’t inherited, but it is shared. Timothy’s mother and grandmother shared their faith with him, and he believed.

When we encourage those close to us to have hope in Jesus, we offer them a legacy of love. Through a simple note, my mother left evidence of my great-grandmother’s love for her Savior and her family. Oh, to share Him with those who come after us!

Thank You for those who shared Your love with me, Father. Please help me to point others to Your salvation today.

When we share our faith, we share the greatest treasure of all.
1 comment
The supreme satisfaction
Posted:Sep 14, 2018 4:44 am
Last Updated:Sep 14, 2018 1:37 pm
134 Views
Read: Isaiah 55: 1-7

The Bible in one year: Proverbs 19-21; 2 Corinthians 7

To all the thirsty: Come to the waters; and those who have no money, come, buy and eat ... (v. 1).

While we were distributing the snack at a Bible school activity, we noticed that a child was devouring his portion. Then he also ate what the other children left on the table. I even gave him a bag of popcorn and he kept eating. Then, we were interested to know why he was so hungry.

It occurred to me that, when it comes to our emotions, we can be like that child. We look for ways to satisfy our deepest longings, but nothing is enough for us.

The prophet Isaiah invites those who are hungry and thirsty, saying, "Come, buy and eat" (Isaiah 55: 1). But then he asks: "Why do you spend money on what is not bread and your work on what does not satisfy?" (V. 2). He is talking about something deeper than physical hunger. God can satisfy our spiritual and emotional hunger with the promise of his presence. The "eternal covenant" of verse 3 evokes God's promise to David in 2 Samuel 7: 8-16. Through his lineage, there would come a Savior who would reconcile people with God. And in John 6:35 and 7:37, Jesus made the same invitation, identifying himself as the Savior prophesied by Isaiah.

Are you hungry? God invites you to go to Him and be filled with His presence. - lmw

Lord, only you can satisfy my deepest desires. I want to know you more.
Only God satisfies our spiritual hunger.
1 comment
What’s in a Name?
Posted:Sep 13, 2018 5:00 am
Last Updated:Sep 14, 2018 4:44 am
143 Views
Read: Matthew 1:18–25

Bible in a Year: Proverbs 16–18; 2 Corinthians 6

She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.
Matthew 1:21

“Gip” Hardin, a Methodist preacher, named his son after the famous preacher John Wesley, reflecting Gip’s hopes and aspirations for his baby boy. John Wesley Hardin, however, tragically chose a different path than his ministry-minded namesake. Claiming to have killed forty-two men, Hardin became one of the most notorious gunfighters and outlaws of the American West of the late 1800s.

In the Bible, as in many cultures today, names hold special significance. Announcing the birth of God’s Son, an angel instructed Joseph to name Mary’s child “Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). The meaning of Jesus’s name—“Jehovah saves”—confirmed His mission to save from sin.

Unlike Hardin, Jesus completely and thoroughly lived up to His name. Through His death and resurrection, He accomplished His mission of rescue. John affirmed the life-giving power of Jesus’s name, saying, “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31). The book of Acts invites everyone to trust Him, for, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved”
(Acts 4:12).

All who call on Jesus’s matchless name in faith can experience for themselves the forgiveness and hope He provides. Have you called on His name?

Thank You, Father, for providing salvation through Your Son, Jesus. I love You.

Jesus’s name is also His mission—to seek and to save that which was lost.
2 Comments
IS THERE WI-FI?
Posted:Sep 12, 2018 4:58 am
Last Updated:Sep 13, 2018 5:00 am
135 Views
Read: Proverbs 15:9–21

Bible in a Year: Proverbs 13–15; 2 Corinthians 5

A wise person is hungry for knowledge, while the fool feeds on trash.
Proverbs 15:14 nlt

As I was preparing to go on a mission trip with some young people, the most frequently asked question was, “Is there Wi-Fi?” And I assured them there would be. So just imagine the wails and groans one night when the Wi-Fi was down!

Many of us become anxious when we’re separated from our smartphones. And when we do have our iPhones or Androids in our hands, we can be fixated on our screens.

Like many things, the internet and all that it allows us to access can become either a distraction or a blessing. It depends on what we do with it. In Proverbs we read, “A wise person is hungry for knowledge, while the fool feeds on trash” (15:14 nlt).

Applying the wisdom of God’s Word to life, we can ask ourselves: Do we check our social networks compulsively throughout the day? What does that say about the things we hunger for? And do the things we read or view online encourage sensible living (vv. 16–21), or are we feeding on trash—gossip, slander, materialism, or sexual impurity?

As we yield to the work of the Holy Spirit, we can fill our minds with things that are “true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable” (Philippians 4:8 nlt). By God’s wisdom we can make good choices that honor Him.

God, help me to use my time well and to fill my mind with what is pure.

What we let into our minds shapes the state of our souls.
1 comment
He Knows Our Names
Posted:Sep 11, 2018 3:21 am
Last Updated:Sep 12, 2018 4:59 am
136 Views
Read: Psalm 23:1–6

Bible in a Year: Proverbs 10–12; 2 Corinthians 4

Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. Isaiah 43:1

During a visit to the National September 11 Memorial in New York City, I quickly photographed one of the twin reflecting pools. Around these two pools, the names of the nearly 3,000 people who died in the World Trade Center attacks are etched into bronze panels. Later, while looking more closely at the photo, my eyes were drawn to the hand of a woman resting on a name. Many people come to this place to touch a name and remember someone they loved.

The prophet Isaiah reminded God’s people of His unfailing love and concern for them, even though they had often turned away from Him. The Lord said, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine” (Isaiah 43:1).

In the 23rd Psalm, David wrote, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley [the valley of the shadow of death], I will fear no evil, for you are with me . . . . Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (vv. 4, 6).

God never forgets us. No matter where we are or whatever our situation, He knows our names and holds us fast in His unfailing love.

Father in heaven, thank You for calling us by name and surrounding us with Your love, today and forever.

God knows our names and He holds us fast in His love.
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