Dec 312017
 

Toward the end of the nineteenth century-

Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel awoke one morning to read his own obituary in the local newspaper:

”Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, who died yesterday, devised a way for more people to be killed in a war than ever before, and he died a very rich man.”

Actually, it was Alfred’s older brother who had died.

A newspaper reporter had bungled the epitaph.

But the account had a profound effect on Nobel.

He decided he wanted to be known for something other than developing the means to kill people efficiently and for amassing a fortune in the process.

So he initiated the Nobel Prize-

– the award for scientists and writers who foster peace.

Nobel said:

”Every man ought to have the chance to correct his epitaph in midstream and write a new one.”

Few things will change you as much as looking at your own life as though it were finished.

What kind of legacy will you leave behind one day-

– when you are gone from this earth?

Will your children, grandchildren, and family members remember you-

– as one who followed obediently after the Lord each day of your life?

You and I are surrounded by people-family, friends, and acquaintances-who are watching the words we use and the things we do in this life.

It’s not too late to begin writing your epitaph.

Strive to leave a legacy-

– that will bring others to Jesus.

Ask the Lord to make your life a testimony-

– of His love and grace to those around you and those you leave behind.

(PA)

The God of hope!

 Hope  Comments Off on The God of hope!
Dec 302017
 

I heard a story about a man who was imprisoned during Napoleon’s reign.

While sulking in his dungeon one day, he etched on the wall the words:
“Nobody Cares!”

A few weeks later-
– through a crack in the dungeon floor, a little green shoot sprang forth, reaching toward the tiny ray of sunlight that came from his small prison cell window.

The prisoner began giving a portion of his daily water to the little shoot and it began to grow.

One morning the man awoke to a beautiful flower.

A tear rolling down his face-
– he crossed out the words, “Nobody Cares!”
– and replaced them with “God Cares!”

The story goes on to tell that his devotion to the flower was reported to the Empress Josephine.
She was so very moved that she convinced Napoleon to set the man free.

How many times do we feel like “Nobody Cares”?

God has planted little shoots of hope in each and every one of our difficult circumstances.
Do you know that?

Perhaps we’re stepping on them, not even noticing they exist.
Perhaps we’re pulling the shoots before they spring forth into beautiful flowers.

God wants us to be released from our prisons of despair.

“Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost” (Romans 15:13).

(PA)

Pray that prayer!

 Judging others  Comments Off on Pray that prayer!
Dec 292017
 

By nature we are both faultfinders and fault avoiders!

We can see the errors of others much more easily than our own-
– and manage to expect change from them while finding excuses for ourselves.

When the Pharisees brought an immoral woman before Jesus, their intent was to pin Him on the horns of a dilemma (John 8:7).

How could He, a friend of sinners, condemn her?
How could He, a righteous man, fail to keep the law?

Their focus was on Jesus-
– as they not only set but also sprung their trap.

Ever notice that the man involved in this act of adultery was not brought before Jesus?

Perhaps the adultery itself was part of the setting of the trap and he was part of the plot, providing an opportunity to catch a woman in the act.

Then the unexpected occurred.
Instead of answering their question-
Jesus pinned the Pharisees with His statement, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her” (v 7).

No stones were thrown.
Their error was exposed.
The faultfinders could not avoid their own faults.

It is interesting that the first to leave were the older ones-
– men who knew there was no use denying their own sins.

Seeing the wrong in others is easy!
Seeing the wrong in ourselves is imperative!!

There are times when we confront others biblically regarding their sins.
But we must always confront ourselves as well.

The psalmist prayed:
“Search me, O God, and know my heart: test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Ps 139:23-24).

Pray that prayer now and often-
-especially when you are finding fault in others.

(PA)

Here you have it!

 Serving One Another  Comments Off on Here you have it!
Dec 282017
 

A large group of European pastors came to one of D. L. Moody’s Northfield Bible Conferences in Massachusetts in the late 1800s.

Following the European custom of the time, each guest put his shoes outside his room to be cleaned by the hall servants overnight.

But of course this was America and there were no hall servants.

Walking the dormitory halls that night-

Moody saw the shoes and determined not to embarrass his brothers.

He mentioned the need to some ministerial students who were there, but met with only silence or pious excuses.

Moody returned to the dorm, gathered up the shoes, and, alone in his room, the famous evangelist began to clean and polish the shoes.

Only the unexpected arrival of a friend in the midst of the work revealed the secret.

When the foreign visitors opened their doors the next morning, their shoes were shined.

They never knew by whom.

Moody told no one, but his friend told a few people, and during the rest of the conference, different men volunteered to shine the shoes in secret.

I’m humbled.

How about you?

Many of us want to be great ministers for the Lord.

We want our names and our works to be remembered.

But let’s never forget the true ministry of the Lord.

Not only would have Jesus shined those shoes in secret-

He would have returned to wash their feet too!

Have you been asking the Lord to use you?

Here you have it!

Shine some one’s dingy shoes,

– give a gift to someone in need,

– love on someone hard to love…

But don’t tell the world.

Do it in secret!

You can be sure that the Lord sees these things!

And He will open up more opportunities for you to do even greater things for Him!

“You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you” (John 13:13-15).

(PA)

Get to know God better!

 Communion with God  Comments Off on Get to know God better!
Dec 272017
 

“Fast” and “faster” describe life today!

Fast food picked up at the drive-through window…

Computer processors and increased bandwidth for Internet access…

Even our suitcases have wheels…

Our lives are stuck on fast forward.

God says:
“Be still!”

Is He kidding?
Me?
Be still?

Not with my schedule…
We are on a mad dash-
– moving too quickly for our own good, particularly our own spiritual good.

“Be still,” He says, and for good reason—”and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).

You may recognize your neighbour because you see his face as you walk by.

But you will not really know him until you stop, and spend time with him.

Relationships are not built by a wave but a handshake,
– not by running past but by stopping to talk.

What is true about getting to know our neighbour is-
– true about getting to know God.

Do you take time to be still?

Daily Bible reading, devotions and individual and corporate worship all require time, and flourish as we are still.

Be still!

(PA)