Resource Library

Saturday
Nov182017

Appreciating the blessings of others in your life

"But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness."

- Hebrews 3:13

A story was told of a man who loved old books. He met an acquaintance who had just thrown away a Bible that had been stored in the attic of his ancestral home for generations. “I couldn’t read it,” the friend explained. “Somebody named Guten-something had printed it.”

“Not Gutenberg!” the book lover exclaimed in horror. “That Bible was one of the first books ever printed. Why, a copy just sold for over two million dollars!” His friend was unimpressed. “Well, this one wouldn’t have brought a dollar. Some fellow named Martin Luther had scribbled all over it in German.”

Sometimes you don’t know the value of what you have until it’s gone. There are people in your life who become so commonplace… you see them every day, talk with them, but you’re never truly grateful for the blessings they bring to your life. Then one day, by death or something else, they’re gone, and you realize how important they really were to you.

Don’t take others in your life for granted. Instead, be thankful to God for the friends and family He’s given you. And let those special people in your life know you care about them while you have the time. Be diligent to express appreciation for those you have today!

Prayer Challenge:

Pray and ask God to show you those in your life who need to hear you appreciate them.

Questions for Thought:

Why do you think people tend to take others in their lives for granted?

How can you show those in your life who’ve blessed you with their friendship and love that you appreciate them and don’t take them for granted?

Wednesday
Nov152017

Be free!

"Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."

- Ephesians 4:31-32

Bitterness and anger are heavy weights to carry. They rob you of the freedom that’s yours to enjoy through Jesus Christ. And they keep you from sharing His love with others.

It’s like the woman who was bitten by a rabid dog and told she had only days to live. The doctor suggested she put her final affairs in order, so the woman took out some paper and began writing furiously.

She wrote and wrote and wrote. Finally, after hours had passed, the doctor said, ‘That sure is a long will you’re making.’ The woman snorted and replied, ‘Will, nothing! I’m making a list of all the people I’m going to bite!’

Are you carrying the weight of bitterness and anger today?

Be free of it. Don’t lose one more second working on your list of grievances against others. You’ve been rescued from that trap through the Gospel. And now it’s your privilege to live in the freedom of Jesus Christ.

So walk in the grace of God’s forgiveness today. And freely offer that same grace to others. You’ll be glad you did!

Prayer Challenge:

If you’ve held onto bitterness and anger against others, ask God for forgiveness and for the grace to let Him have your pain. Pray also that you can show others the same grace He’s shown you.

Questions for Thought:

Who are some people in your life that you need to show grace to?

What could you do today to show them the love of God?

Wednesday
Nov152017

The importance of facing life’s challenges head-on

"Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong."

-1 Corinthians 16:13

Researcher Spencer Silver from 3M was curious about what would happen if he mixed an unusual amount of monomer into a polymer-based adhesive he was working on. The result was an adhesive that would “tack” one piece of paper to another and even re-stick, without leaving any residue on the second piece of paper.

The company had no use for the new adhesive until 3M chemist Arthur Fry began having problems in the choir loft. The slips of paper he used to mark pages in his hymnal often fluttered to the floor, leaving him frantically searching for his place. Then he remembered Silver’s adhesive. Fry’s better bookmark soon metamorphosed into the handy Post-it Notes that have become a fixture in offices throughout the world.

It’s very often true in life that some of the greatest things are born out of challenges. Had Arthur Fry not have reached a point of frustration with his hymnal, offices all over the globe today might not be filled with those florescent little sticky notes that have now become so commonplace.

Instead of giving up when you encounter a challenge or a struggle in your life, find out what God is doing. Seek Him and ask Him what He wants to accomplish through it. Because when you have the courage to face life’s challenges head-on, you never know the impact it will have!

Prayer Challenge:

Pray that God would give you the courage not to back down when challenges come your way.

Questions for Thought:

As you look back at your life up to now, have you typically seen challenges as something to be avoided or embraced? Why is that?

What tangible steps can you take to become more resilient in the face of life’s challenges?

Monday
Nov132017

How’s your vision?

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”

- Matthew 7:3

A young couple moved into a new neighborhood where they didn’t know anyone. The next morning while they were eating breakfast, the wife saw her neighbor hanging the wash outside.

Disgusted with what she saw, the woman said to her husband, “That laundry is not very clean. I can’t believe our neighbors don’t know how to wash correctly. Perhaps they need better soap.”

Her husband didn’t say a word and just chewed his cereal thoughtfully. The following morning the same thing happened. And then every day for a month the young woman complained at breakfast about the horrible condition of her neighbor’s laundry.

Finally, one morning the woman walked in to see beautiful clean wash hung on her neighbor’s line. “Look!” she said in surprise. “Our neighbor learned how to wash right. I wonder what happened.”

The husband swallowed his oatmeal and said simply, “I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows.”

It’s so easy to judge the sins of others without seeing the dirt in our own hearts. But the truth is that you can’t really help someone else experience freedom and healing from their sin until you’ve received God’s grace for your own.

The good news is that His grace is available for you today – able to clean you up and give you clear eyes to see others through His love.

Prayer Challenge:

Ask God to reveal any ‘planks’ in your own life that you need to confess. And pray for His help to show that same grace to others.

Questions for Thought:

Why do we tend to hold others accountable for sins we ignore in ourselves?

Does showing grace to others mean ignoring sin? What’s the difference?

Monday
Nov132017

Finding reward in life’s challenges

"Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession."

- Exodus 19:5

Almost everyone has heard of Paul Revere’s midnight ride to warn American patriots of advancing British soldiers during the American Revolution. But few have heard of Israel Bissel, a humble post rider on the Boston-New York route.

After the Battle of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775, Bissel was ordered to raise the alarm in New Haven, Connecticut. He reached Worchester, Massachusetts, normally a day’s ride, in just two hours. There, according to tradition, his horse promptly dropped dead.

Pausing only to get another mount, Bissel pressed on and by April 22, he was in New Haven—but he didn’t stop there! He rode on to New York, arriving April 24, and then stayed in the saddle until he reached Philadelphia the next day. Bissel’s 126-hour, 345-mile ride signaled American militia units throughout the Northeast to mobilize for war.

In the Christian life, God often calls us to challenging tasks that, while difficult, ultimately bring about good. Perhaps He challenges us to step out in faith and help mend a broken relationship. Or, maybe He calls us to step out in faith and share the message of salvation with another person. While tasks like these aren’t always easy, they’ll always be blessed.

So be willing to do the hard things for God so that in due time, you’ll receive abundant blessings!

Prayer Challenge:

Pray that God would give you a heart that’s willing to do great things for Him even when they seem challenging.

Questions for Thought:

Are you typically eager to accept challenges in life or are you more prone to do what’s safe?

How can you change your perspective to be more eager to do the hard things for God, knowing that the reward will be great?

Friday
Nov102017

How you can avoid spiritual immaturity

"For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the LORD, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel."

- Ezra 7:10

In a survey conducted by the Barna Research Group, nearly 1/3 of all born-again Christians stated that all good people will go to heaven, whether they have embraced Jesus Christ or not.

Another astonishing fact found was that while 88% in a recent poll believe Jesus Christ was a real person, what they believe about Him differs sharply from Scriptural teaching. About 42% (even a quarter of the “born again” Christians) believe that while on earth, Jesus sinned just like other people. Around 61% believe the devil is just a symbol of evil, not a living being. And 54% think that if people are good enough, they will earn a place in heaven regardless of their religious beliefs.

As shocking as many of those statistics are, especially those that deal with “born-again” Christians, there’s a very important inference that can be made from them: people aren’t growing in their faith.

You see, many people who are raised in a “Christian” home learn the basics of the faith. Then, when they’re about 10 to 12 years old, they begin coasting spiritually. And very often they coast for decades, until one day when they’re 50, and they realize they have the biblical knowledge of a 10-year-old.

Don’t allow yourself to coast in the spiritual life. Instead, like the prophet Ezra, grow deeper in God’s Word by devoting yourself to studying and observing it every day!

Prayer Challenge:

Ask God to give you insight and discipline to study His Word regularly to avoid coasting through life spiritually.

Questions for Thought:

Are there areas in your spiritual life where you’ve been guilty of just coasting? What are they?

What’s a practical plan for you to get in God’s Word regularly to avoid the problem of spiritual immaturity?

Thursday
Nov092017

Be restored!

Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.

1 Peter 3:8

Home remodeling has grown into a big business these days, especially on TV. If you’ve ever watched one of these shows where a couple helps some family buy a tiny, rundown house and turn it into the home of their dreams, then maybe you’ve noticed a particular pattern.

The demolition always happens much quicker than the renovation.

It doesn’t take much to rip up carpet, break down walls, and smash a kitchen sink to pieces. All someone really needs is a sledgehammer and maybe a little bit of pent-up anger!

But after the demolition is done and it looks like a tornado has swept through the place, then comes the real work of creating a home. The renovation takes time, effort, focus, and care.

And that’s the way it is for people too.

It doesn’t take much to tear someone down. Sometimes we even do it thoughtlessly, like swinging a hammer through a house. But once the damage is done, only grace and love can rebuild what’s been destroyed.

Have you been torn down today by someone’s careless words? Have you been the one swinging the hammer?

Jesus can restore you and give you the grace to restore others. He is the master builder, and if you’ll ask Him, He’ll build into your life something beautiful that reflects His love.

Prayer Challenge:

Ask God to restore you from the hurts caused by others. And pray for the grace to build up those whom you’ve hurt as well.

Questions for Thought:

What are some ways you could build into the lives of the people around you with God’s love and grace?

Thursday
Nov092017

How to emphasize the eternal in your life

What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ. 

Philippians 3:8

Professional golfer Tommy Bolt was playing in Los Angeles and had a caddy with a reputation of constant chatter. Before they teed off, Bolt told him, “Don’t say a word to me. And if I ask you something, just answer yes or no.”

During the round, Bolt found the ball next to a tree, where he had to hit under a branch, over a lake and onto the green. He got down on his knees and looked through the trees and sized up the shot. “What do you think?” he asked the caddy. “Five iron?” “No,” the caddy said.

“What do you mean, not a five iron?” Bolt snorted. “Watch this shot.”

The caddy rolled his eyes. “Nooo, Mr. Bolt.”

But Bolt hit it and the ball stopped about two feet from the hole. He turned to his caddy, handed him the five-iron and said, “Now what do you think about that? You can talk now.”

“Mr. Bolt,” the caddy said, “that wasn’t your ball.”

Quite often in life, it’s easy to expend time and energy on things that are ultimately meaningless. Just like Tommy Bolt hit the wrong ball, many people also put an enormous amount of effort into shots that don’t count for anything when life is over.

When it comes to how you spend your time, do things that count. Spend your energy on things that bring glory to God—growing in His Word, fellowshipping with other believers, and loving those that don’t know Him.

Prayer Challenge:

Pray and ask God to show you when you are putting too much time and energy into things that have no eternal significance.

Questions for Thought:

What are the temporal things in your life today on which you’d admit you’ve placed too much emphasis?

What are the things of eternal significance that you can put more time and energy into today?

Wednesday
Nov082017

Your Support at Work!

Thank you for making the following testimony possible through your support of Senior Living…

 “Just had back surgery to relieve the pain in my back and legs. Please pray things will mend quickly and the stimulator implanted will start to work. My daughter and caregiver will be gone for her work in a couple of weeks. Please pray I will be able to do everything necessary by the time she leaves. Thank you so much and know you folks are also in my prayers.”  –Charlotte

 

Wednesday
Nov082017

A Note from Warren and Virginia

Dear Friend,

 Some missionary friends were telling me not long ago what it’s like living in a part of the world where resources are extremely scarce.

 It’s incredible, they shared, how many small blessings we take for granted in our everyday lives. In fact, we rarely even notice them until they’ve been taken away.

One example they remembered was going to the supermarket. They said…

“You never knew what you were going to be able to buy because you weren’t sure what was going to be in stock. Having choices was a blessing we enjoyed living in America - one we never recognized until it was gone.”

Most of us have probably never thanked God for the ability to make choices at the grocery store. It’s just something we take for granted - because we’ve always had it.

But it’s a perfect example of a small blessing God gives for which you and I can be grateful.

Jesus tells in Luke 12:6-7…

“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (NIV) 

God cares about even seemingly insignificant things like sparrows and hairs on your head. Nothing in all of creation is outside His purview. That means even the smallest blessings are from Him. So don’t let those gifts come into your life without being thankful for them.

This Thanksgiving, Virginia and I count you among our many blessings.  Your support is vital to reaching and encouraging seniors all over the world.

Thank you. And may God bless you and yours during this season of thanks!

Wednesday
Nov082017

From Virginia’s Kitchen: Chili Cheese Morsels

Dear Friend,

My mom used to make these yummy appetizers as football game fare. They’re perfect for a cool, lazy fall afternoon in front of the TV. Enjoy!

 

Chili Cheese Morsels

Ingredients: 

32 oz. shredded cheddar cheese

8 oz. can chopped chili peppers, drained

12 eggs

1 Tablespoon milk

Dash of salt

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a 9 x 13 baking dish, spread half of the shredded cheddar cheese. On top of that, spread the chopped chili peppers. Then top the peppers with the remaining cheese.

Beat the eggs with the milk and pour evenly over the cheese mixture.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, and let cool before cutting into bite-size squares. Enjoy!

Wednesday
Nov082017

Q&A with Warren

Q: Warren, things just aren’t going well for me these days. I have health problems, financial issues, and my family has forgotten me. How can I be thankful this Thanksgiving?

A: If being thankful were always easy, everyone would do it. In fact, we’d have no sadness, fear, depression, or anger. Everything would be great. But the truth is thankfulness can be a real struggle - especially when things aren’t going well. It takes the Holy Spirit at work in your life to truly, as Scripture tells us, “Give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

    I would encourage you to pray. Ask the Holy Spirit to bring to mind the things God has blessed you with - big and small. Then take out a piece of paper or a journal, and start jotting down what comes to mind. And you don’t have to do this exercise alone - ask others to help you make a list of God’s blessings in your life. Then take that list and pray through it, giving thanks for each item you’ve written down. If you do that, it will absolutely change your attitude and give you a heart of thanks, even in tough circumstances.

 Q: I look around at my friends and things seem to be going so well for them. How can I avoid being bitter at God for not blessing me the same way He has them?

 A: God blesses each of us in unique ways. I can guarantee you there are blessings you have in your life right now that others don’t. Recognize and acknowledge those gifts. Give thanks to God for them. When you do, you’ll open the door for God to bless you even more.

 

For more Answers for Living like these, visit our Resource Library today! 

Wednesday
Nov082017

The greatest gift you’ll ever give yourself

By Dr. Chuck Olson

Did you know you can actually make a choice to stay grateful? You can! 

God’s power, through our hearts of gratitude and minds focused on Him, allows us to release the grip our struggles have over us. And through this choice, we are given strength for the journey along with His overflowing peace and abundant grace.

He has provided us with His words to claim, to memorize, and to carry us through difficult days. Here are two that I have recently been reciting that offer much hope and joy as we choose to live grateful lives.

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. ... And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:15 NLT)  

Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. (Colossians 2:7 NLT)

So give yourself the incredible gift of staying grateful. It’s the greatest gift you’ll ever give yourself - because God promises to pour out His blessings and favor on those who give honor and gratitude to Him.

Indeed, at this time of year, we express deep appreciation to you for your partnership. As we continue to carry out the mission to embrace the life God intends, we count it a privilege to see this ministry flourishing with increasing impact through your support.

We’re thankful for you!

Wednesday
Nov082017

Give thanks for God’s blessings - great and small!

By Warren Olson

Many years ago, a Baptist minister named R. C. Buckner felt God was calling him to open a children’s home to care for the many orphans in his community. So with only $27 in his pocket, he followed the Lord’s leading.

Times were tough early on. Money was short - and it was a struggle to even keep the doors open, not to mention take care of the kids. It reached a point where Buckner had no idea how they were going to make ends meet. It looked like the doors were going to shut.

So he began praying that God would miraculously provide for the orphanage to remain open. He would pray for hours at a time, not knowing how - or if - God was going to provide. That’s when the thought occurred to him.

Buckner had built his orphanage in the middle of a grove of pecan trees. So he began gathering pecans - thousands and thousands of them - and made enough money by selling them to keep the orphanage open during that difficult season. In fact, he later remembered that while he was praying, he could hear the pecans hitting the roof as they fell from the trees!

God loves to provide for us in both great and small ways. Of course, He gives us life, health, and family - those are big things. But He also gives us small mercies, like nice weather to enjoy, as well as physical comforts like air conditioning and the Internet.

The Bible tells us in James 1:17 that, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (NIV).

Every good gift - big or small - comes from God!

Yet too often, Christians focus so much on the areas of life they feel are lacking, that they neglect to be thankful for the blessings they receive. This kind of “blessing blindness” can be harmful to our relationship with God - because it can keep from truly understanding and recognizing God’s goodness.

I want to challenge you this Thanksgiving season to give thanks for God’s small mercies - like kind words from friends or the ability to read Scripture and be encouraged. That all comes from God, too. 

And as you learn to give thanks for God’s blessings - big and small - you’ll begin to walk even more closely with Him as you recognize His incredible provision in your life.

Wednesday
Nov082017

Be encouraged!

"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."

- Hebrews 12:1

Professional athletes know that when a hometown crowd rises to their feet in a stadium and cheers at the top of their lungs, something powerful happens. From Super Bowls to World Series, the combined voices of so many fans passionately cheering on their team gives athletes the ability to achieve greatness.

As one player puts it, “When the fans are with you, their voices come together in a big booming rush of sound that you can actually feel in your body – almost like a wave that lifts you and carries you past your own limits.”

This is what it’s like for God’s people as we run the race of faith.

You are not alone in your Christian life. As the author of Hebrews says, you’re surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. These are the great heroes of the faith like Abraham, Moses, David, and others – men and women whose lives bear testimony to the faithfulness of God so you can be inspired to live for Him now.

Though their race is over and they stand in glory at the finish line, their example cheers us on today. So be encouraged by their company, and draw strength from their testimony to God’s goodness and love.

Prayer Challenge:

Pray for encouragement and inspiration as you run the race of faith. Ask God to help you see His faithfulness in the lives of believers from the past.

Questions for Thought:

Who from Scripture inspires you by their example of a life lived well for God? Why?

How will your life inspire others to run the race of faith well?

Monday
Nov062017

The destructive power of unforgiveness

“And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”

- Matthew 6:12 

The famous writer Leo Tolstoy thought he was getting his marriage off on the right foot when he asked his fiancée Sonya to read his diaries, detailing all of his sexual indiscretions. Instead, Tolstoy’s confession sowed the seeds for a marriage that would be held together by bitterness, not love. Sonya wrote in her diary, “When he kisses me I’m always thinking, ‘I’m not the first woman he has loved.’”

Some of his adolescent flings she could forgive, but not his affair with a particular peasant woman who continued to work on the Tolstoy estate. Another diary entry dates from January 14, 1909. “He relishes that peasant wench with her strong female body and her sunburnt legs, she allures him just as powerfully now as she did all those years ago…”

Sonya wrote those words when this peasant woman was eighty years old. For half a century, jealousy and unforgiveness blinded her and destroyed all love for her husband.

It’s difficult to truly comprehend the power of unforgiveness. Years, even decades, after a person was wronged, he or she can hold onto bitterness so tightly that it is as if it happened yesterday.

But God calls us to a higher level of forgiveness, one that understands our own brokenness before Him and forgives others because we were first forgiven. So instead of holding onto bitterness, let it go. Allow God to soften your heart and forgive others because you were first forgiven!

Prayer Challenge:

Pray that God would reveal areas of unforgiveness in your life and give you the strength to forgive others who may have wronged you.

Questions for Thought:

As you think back, are there people in your life against whom you still harbor bitterness and unforgiveness?

What would your life look like if it exemplified the forgiveness toward others that God has already shown to you?

Friday
Nov032017

The incredible value of what God’s given you

However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”—the things God has prepared for those who love him. 

- 1 Corinthians 2:9

When the Western Union company asked the great inventor Thomas Edison to “name his price” for the ticker he had invented, Edison asked for a few days to think it over. His wife suggested he ask for $20,000, but Edison thought that was too much.

So when the time came for the meeting, the Western Union official asked Edison for his price. Edison wanted to say $20,000, but couldn’t get the words out of his mouth. So the official broke the silence. “Well, how about $100,000?”

It’s sometimes easy to undervalue things that haven’t come to full fruition yet. Edison hadn’t really seen the full potential of his world-changing invention, so he wasn’t aware of its incredible value. The same is often true of salvation. You see, no living person has seen what God has prepared for those who love Him, but its true value is beyond what anyone could imagine.

As a believer, what you have in Jesus Christ is the most valuable thing in the world. Yet there are still those who take it for granted, using it as license to live as they please. But a Christian who knows its value will live every day in thankfulness to the glory of God.

Live today in light of your salvation, giving thanks to God and doing everything to bring honor to Him!

Prayer Challenge:

Thank God for His saving work in you and pray your life would bring glory to Him!

Questions for Thought:

What are some times in your life when you might have taken God’s salvation for granted?

What would it look like for you to live each day in thankfulness, bringing honor and glory to Him?

Friday
Nov032017

Is knowledge enough to save?

"You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder."

-James 2:19

When General Douglas MacArthur was a young West Point student, he was asked to give a report on a section of reading about the time-space relationship later formulated by Einstein as his Theory of Relativity. The reading was incredibly complex and, being unable to comprehend it, MacArthur committed the pages to memory.

When he was called upon to give his report, he solemnly reeled off almost word for word what the book said. The instructor looked at him somewhat quizzically and asked, “Do you understand this theory?”

“No, sir.” You could’ve heard a pin drop in the lecture hall. The student braced himself and waited. And then the slow words of the professor: “Neither do I, Mr. MacArthur. Section dismissed.”

Is often easy to know something without understanding or accepting it. You can know that Jesus Christ came to earth, died for your sins, and rose again, but never really accept it for yourself. Today’s passage says even demons believe the things of God, but they are certainly not saved by it!

Instead of just letting the Bible be head knowledge, know it in your heart. Meditate on God’s Word so that it becomes more than what you believe, but what you truly accept!

Prayer Challenge:

Pray that God would give you eyes to see and ears to hear and accept His message of salvation.

Questions for Thought:

Throughout most of your life, would you say you’ve been more of a “knower” or an “accepter” of the things of God?

What can you do to move from simple head knowledge to a heart knowledge of the Gospel?

Friday
Nov032017

Keeping your focus where it belongs

"Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things." 

-Colossians 3:2

A pastor tells a story of how he spent a summer teaching in Mexico and took both of his children with him. To pass the time as they drove, his 13-year-old son watched for license plates. The trip to Mexico netted him plates from 24 states!

So when they started back, the son was almost halfway to having seen plates from all 50 states. And their return trip would take them through Yellowstone National Park—a license plate collector’s paradise. By the morning of the second day there, he had just one more state to go: Delaware.

When the three stopped to see Yellowstone’s magnificent sights, the boy wouldn’t even glance at them. He preferred to run up and down the parking lots, looking at license plates. He had become so obsessed with finding that Delaware plate, it was as if his life depended on it. When they stopped near the picturesque Yellowstone Falls, he kept looking for license plates.

“Come here! You’ve got to see it!” the father heard. As they ran to the parking lot, they saw a blue Volkswagen bus with Delaware license plates. The family still has that picture, and even today, that picture that tells more about what they did in Yellowstone than anything else.

It’s easy to become so focused on the petty things of life that you miss the big things that really matter. So don’t let life’s distractions keep you from focusing on God. Instead, concentrate on what really matters in life: knowing God and making Him known!

Prayer Challenge:

Pray that God would reveal to you the things in your life that compete for His attention and ask Him to help you focus on Him over and above everything else.

Questions for Thought:

What are some things in your life today that are competing for God’s attention?

How can you put those things into perspective so that you don’t miss God because of trivial things?

Tuesday
Oct312017

Trusting Christ when it means rejection

"What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ."

- Philippians 3:8

At his father’s funeral, American track and field star Carl Lewis placed his 100-meter gold medal from the 1984 Olympics in his father’s grave. “Don’t worry,” he told his surprised mother. “I’ll get another one.”

A year later, in the 100-meter final at the 1988 games, Lewis was competing against Canadian world record holder Ben Johnson. Halfway through the race, Johnson was still five feet in front. Lewis was convinced he could catch him. But at 80 meters, he was still five feet behind. “It’s over,” Lewis thought. As Johnson crossed the finish, he stared back at Lewis and thrust his right arm in the air, index finger extended.

Lewis was exasperated. He had noticed Johnson’s bulging muscles and yellow-tinged eyes, both indications of steroid use. “I didn’t have the medal, but I could still give to my father by acting with class and dignity,” Lewis said later. He shook Johnson’s hand and left the track.

Then came the announcement that Johnson had tested positive for anabolic steroids. He was stripped of his medal. The gold went to Lewis, a replacement for the medal he had given his father.

There are times that standing firm for what you believe will result in you losing. You might lose respect from those you want to please. You could lose a job. You may even lose friendships. But when the pressure is on, stand firm in your faith knowing that a better reward is on the way!

Prayer Challenge:

Pray and ask God to help you do what’s right even when it means losing something. And thank Him that a much better reward is on the way!

Questions for Thought:

As you think back on your life, are there times when being a believer in Christ has cost you something?

What would your life look like today if you had no fear of rejection and lived fully for Christ?