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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.

LET´S FINISH THE RACE
Posted:Sep 20, 2017 3:17 am
Last Updated:Sep 20, 2017 1:14 pm
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Read: Ecclesiastes 4:9–12

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

Two are better than one . . . . If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. Ecclesiastes 4:9–10

In the 2016 Rio Olympics, two athletes in the 5,000-meter race caught the world’s attention. About 3,200 meters into the race, New Zealander Nikki Hamblin and American Abbey D’Agostino collided and fell. Abbey was quickly up on her feet, but stopped to help Nikki. Moments after the two athletes had started running again, Abbey began faltering, her right leg injured as a result of the fall. It was now Nikki’s turn to stop and encourage her fellow athlete to finish the race. When Abbey eventually stumbled across the finish line, Nikki was waiting to embrace her. What a beautiful picture of mutual encouragement!

It reminds me of a passage in the Bible: “Two are better than one . . . . If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up” (Eccl. 4:9–10). As runners in a spiritual race, we need one another—perhaps even more so, for we are not racing in competition with each other but as members of the same team. There’ll be moments where we falter and need someone to pick us up; at other times, someone may need our encouragement through our prayers or presence.

The spiritual race is not to be run alone.

The spiritual race is not to be run alone. Is God leading you to be a Nikki or Abbey in someone’s life? Respond to His prompting today, and let’s finish the race!
Dear Lord, thank You for the encouragement of fellow believers to help me on my journey. Help me to look for ways to encourage others.

We need each other to get where God wants us to go.


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THE BEST PORTION OF ALL
Posted:Sep 19, 2017 4:35 am
Last Updated:Sep 20, 2017 1:14 pm
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Read: Psalm 73:21–28

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

I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation.
Philippians 4:12

“His piece is bigger than mine!”

When I was a boy my brothers and I would sometimes bicker about the size of the piece of homemade pie mom served us. One day Dad observed our antics with a lifted eyebrow, and smiled at Mom as he lifted his plate: “Please just give me a piece as big as your heart.” My brothers and I watched in stunned silence as Mom laughed and offered him the largest portion of all.

When we are His, He is ours, forever.

If we focus on others’ possessions, jealousy too often results. Yet God’s Word lifts our eyes to something of far greater worth than earthly possessions. The psalmist writes, “You are my portion, Lord; I have promised to obey your words. I have sought your face with all my heart” (Ps. 119:57–58. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, the writer conveyed the truth that nothing matters more than closeness to God.

What better portion could we have than our loving and limitless Creator? Nothing on earth can compare with Him, and nothing can take Him away from us. Human longing is an expansive void; one may have “everything” in the world and still be miserable. But when God is our source of happiness, we are truly content. There’s a space within us only God can fill. He alone can give us the peace that matches our hearts.
Loving Lord, thank You that nothing and no one can meet my every need like You can.

When we are His, He is ours, forever.

You have made us for yourself, Lord. Our hearts are restless until they can find rest in You.

1 comment
WATCH THE CONDUCTOR
Posted:Sep 18, 2017 6:03 am
Last Updated:Sep 20, 2017 1:14 pm
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Read: Hebrews 12:1–3

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

Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. Hebrews 12:1–2

World-renowned violinist, Joshua Bell, has an unusual way of leading the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, a forty-four-member chamber orchestra. Instead of waving a baton he directs while playing his Stradivarius with the other violinists. Bell told Colorado Public Radio, “Even while I’m playing I can give them all kinds of direction and signals that I think only they would understand at this point. They know by every little dip in my violin, or raise in my eyebrow, or the way I draw the bow. They know the sound I’m looking for from the entire orchestra.”

Just as the orchestra members watch Joshua Bell, the Bible instructs us to keep our eyes on Jesus our Lord. After listing many heroes of the faith in Hebrews 11, the writer says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith” (Heb. 12:1–2).

Let us keep our eyes on Jesus our Savior as He directs our lives.

Jesus promised, “I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28.20). Because He is, we have the amazing privilege of keeping our eyes on Him while He conducts the music of our lives.
Lord, our eyes look to You this day so we may follow Your direction and live in harmony with You.

Let us keep our eyes on Jesus our Savior as He directs our lives.

1 comment
WHAT´S YOUR FATHER´S NAME?
Posted:Sep 15, 2017 3:13 am
Last Updated:Sep 18, 2017 6:03 am
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Read: John 8.39–47

Bible in a Year: Proverbs 22–24; 2 Corinthians 8

To those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.
John 1:12

When I went to buy a cell phone in the Middle East, I was asked the typical questions: name, nationality, address. But then as the clerk was filling out the form, he asked, “What’s your father’s name?” That question surprised me, and I wondered why it was important. Knowing my father’s name would not be important in my culture, but here it was necessary in order to establish my identity. In some cultures, ancestry is important.

The Israelites believed in the importance of ancestry too. They were proud of their patriarch Abraham, and they thought being part of Abraham's clan made them God's children. Their human ancestry was connected, in their opinion, to their spiritual family.

God is our Eternal Father.

Hundreds of years later when Jesus was talking with the Jews, He pointed out that this was not so. They could say Abraham was their earthly ancestor, but if they didn’t love Him—the One sent by the Father—they were not part of God’s family.

The same applies today. We don't choose our human family, but we can decide the spiritual family we belong to. If we believe in Jesus’s name, God gives us the right to become His children (John 1:12).

Who is your spiritual Father? Have you decided to follow Jesus? Let this be the day you trust in Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins and become part of God’s family.
Dear Lord, You are my heavenly and eternal Father. Thank You for Jesus, my Savior.

God is our Eternal Father.

1 comment
WE HAVE A KING!
Posted:Sep 14, 2017 3:19 am
Last Updated:Sep 15, 2017 3:13 am
77 Views
Read: Judges 2:11–23

Bible in a Year: Proverbs 19–21; 2 Corinthians 7

In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit. Judges 21:25

After attacking my husband with hurtful words when a situation didn’t go my way, I snubbed the Holy Spirit’s authority as He reminded me of Bible verses that revealed my sinful attitudes. Was nursing my stubborn pride worth the collateral damage in my marriage or being disobedient to God? Absolutely not. But by the time I asked for forgiveness from the Lord and my spouse, I’d left a wake of wounds behind me—the result of ignoring wise counsel and living as if I didn’t have to answer to anyone but myself.

There was a time when the Israelites had a rebellious attitude. After the death of Moses, Joshua led the Israelites into the promised land. Under his leadership, the Israelite’s served the Lord (Judg. 2.7. But after Joshua and the generation that outlived him died, the Israelites forgot God and what He’d done (v. 10). They rejected godly leadership and embraced sin (vv. 11–15).

Jesus, please help us remember You are our living King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Things improved when the Lord raised up judges (vv. 16–18, who served like kings. But when each judge died, the Israelites returned to defying God. Living as if they didn’t have anyone to answer to but themselves, they suffered devastating consequences (vv. 19–22). But that doesn’t have to be our reality. We can submit to the sovereign authority of the eternal Ruler we were made to follow—Jesus—because He is our living Judge and King of Kings.
Jesus, please help us remember You are our living King of Kings and Lord of Lords, almighty and worthy of our loving obedience and trust.

God gives us the power and the privilege to enjoy the rewards of doing things His way.

1 comment
STAY AWHILE
Posted:Sep 13, 2017 5:04 am
Last Updated:Sep 14, 2017 3:20 am
96 Views
Read: Hebrews 11:8–13

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

All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. Hebrews 11:13

During a discussion of The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, a teenager said he prefers his stories in books rather than movies. When asked why, the young man replied, “With a book, I can stay there as long as I want.” There is something to be said for the power of lingering in a book, especially the Bible, and “inhabiting” the stories there.

Hebrews 11, often called “the faith chapter” of the Bible, mentions nineteen people by name. Each one traveled a road of difficulty and doubt, yet chose to obey God. “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth” (v. 13).

Father in heaven, thank You for Your written Word.

How easy it is to rush through our Bible reading without pondering the people and events in the text. Our self-imposed time schedule robs us of going deeper into God’s truth and His plan for our lives. Yet, when we are willing to stay awhile, we find ourselves caught up in the real-life dramas of people like us who chose to stake their lives on God’s faithfulness.

When we open God’s Word, it’s good to recall that we can stay as long as we want.
Father in heaven, thank You for Your written Word and the examples of people who lived by faith. Help us to follow You as they did.

Linger in God’s Word and you'll find stories of faith.

2 Comments
TAKING THE FIRST STEP
Posted:Sep 12, 2017 4:50 am
Last Updated:Sep 20, 2017 1:14 pm
111 Views
Read: 2 Corinthians 5:11–21

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

God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:19

Tham Dashu sensed something was missing in his life. So he started going to church—the same church his daughter attended. But they never went together. In earlier days, he had offended her, which drove a wedge between them. So, Tham would slip in when the singing started and leave promptly after the service ended.

Church members shared the gospel story with him, but Tham always politely rejected their invitation to put his faith in Jesus. Still, he kept coming to church.

Our willingness to seek reconciliation with others shows God’s heart to them.

One day Tham fell gravely ill. His daughter plucked up the courage and wrote him a letter. She shared how Christ had changed her life, and she sought reconciliation with her dad. That night, Tham put his faith in Jesus and the family was reconciled. A few days later, Tham died and entered into the presence of Jesus—at peace with God and his loved ones.

The apostle Paul wrote that we are to “try to persuade others” about the truth of God’s love and forgiveness (2 Cor. 5:11). He said that it is “Christ’s love [that] compels us” to carry out His work of reconciliation (v. 14).

Our willingness to forgive may help others realize that God desires to reconcile us to Himself (v. 19). Would you lean on God’s strength to show them His love today?
Is there someone you need to try to reconcile with? What practical first step can you take today?

Our willingness to seek reconciliation with others shows God’s heart to them.

2 Comments
THE ONE WHO UNDERSTANDS
Posted:Sep 11, 2017 5:46 am
Last Updated:Sep 20, 2017 1:14 pm
109 Views
Read: John 1:1–18

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

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. John 1:14

John Babler is the chaplain for the police and fire departments in his Texas community. During a twenty-two-week sabbatical from his job, he attended police academy training so that he could better understand the situations law enforcement officers face. Through spending time with the other cadets and learning about the intense challenges of the profession, Babler gained a new sense of humility and empathy. In the future, he hopes to be more effective as he counsels police officers who struggle with emotional stress, fatigue, and loss.

We know that God understands the situations we face because He made us and sees everything that happens to us. We also know He understands because He has been to earth and experienced life as a human being. He “became flesh and made his dwelling among us” as the person of Jesus Christ (John 1:14).

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. John 1:14

Jesus’s earthly life included a wide range of difficulty. He felt the searing heat of the sun, the pain of an empty stomach, and the uncertainty of homelessness. Emotionally, He endured the tension of disagreements, the burn of betrayal, and the ongoing threat of violence.

Jesus experienced the joys of friendship and family love, as well as the worst problems that we face here on earth. He provides hope. He is the Wonderful Counselor who patiently listens to our concerns with insight and care (Isa. 9:6). He is the One who can say, “I’ve been through that. I understand.”
Dear Lord, thank You for caring enough to humble Yourself and come to earth as a human being.

God understands the struggles we face.


1 comment
CARRIED THROUGH
Posted:Sep 8, 2017 6:00 am
Last Updated:Sep 11, 2017 5:46 am
135 Views
Read: Psalm 30:1–12

Bible in a Year: Proverbs 3–5; 2 Corinthians 1

Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5

I recently stumbled across some of my journals from college and couldn’t resist taking time to reread them. Reading the entries, I realized I didn’t feel about myself then the same as I do today. My struggles with loneliness and doubts about my faith felt overwhelming at the time, but looking back now I can clearly see how God has carried me to a better place. Seeing how God gently brought me through those days reminded me that what feels overwhelming today will one day be part of a greater story of His healing love.

Psalm 30 is a celebration psalm that similarly looks back with amazement and gratitude on God’s powerful restoration: from sickness to healing, from threat of death to life, from feeling God’s judgment to enjoying His favor, from mourning to joy (vv. 2–3,11).

Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5

The psalm is attributed to David, to whom we owe some of the most pain-filled laments in Scripture. But David also experienced restoration so incredible he was able to confess, “Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning” (v. 5). Despite all the pain he had endured, David discovered something even greater—God’s powerful hand of healing.

If you are hurting today and need encouragement, recall those times in your past when God carried you through to a place of healing. Pray for trust that He will do so again.
Lord, when our struggles feel bigger than what we can handle, help us to find comfort and strength in how You’ve carried us before.

God is lovingly working toward restoration and joy in and through the pain of our lives.

1 comment
THE MINISTRY OF MOURNING
Posted:Sep 7, 2017 4:00 am
Last Updated:Sep 20, 2017 1:14 pm
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Read: Acts 7:54–8:2 | Bible in a Year: Proverbs 1–2; 1 Corintios 5

Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. Acts 8.2

In 2002, a few months after my sister Martha and her husband, Jim, died in an accident, a friend invited me to a “Growing Through Grief” workshop at our church. I reluctantly agreed to attend the first session but had no intention of going back. To my surprise, I discovered a caring community of people trying to come to grips with a significant loss in their lives by seeking the help of God and others. It drew me back week after week as I worked toward acceptance and peace through the process of sharing our grief together.

Like the sudden loss of a loved one or friend, the death of Stephen, a dynamic witness for Jesus, brought shock and sorrow to those in the early church
(Acts 7.57–60). In the face of persecution, “Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him” (8:2). These men of faith did two things together: They buried Stephen, an act of finality and loss. And they mourned deeply for him, a shared expression of their sorrow.

Father in heaven, help us to grow together in Your healing love.

As followers of Jesus, we need not mourn our losses alone. In sincerity and love we can reach out to others who are hurting, and in humility we can accept the concern of those who stand beside us.

As we grieve together, we can grow in understanding and in the peace that is ours through Jesus Christ, who knows our deepest sorrow.
Father in heaven, help us to “mourn with those who mourn” and grow together in Your healing love.

The ministry of mourning with others helps bring healing to our hearts.


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