Resource Library

Sunday
Sep252016

What it means to give your life for Christ

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.

Romans 12:1

The chaplain walked in and saw the soldier lying on the bed. The news was bad. His leg had been terribly injured and had to be amputated. Now, it was up to the chaplain to break the news to the wounded soldier.

“Son,” the chaplain spoke as the drowsy soldier opened his eyes, “you’ve lost your leg in a great cause. You’ll never walk again. I’m sorry.”

The soldier’s parched lips opened as he struggled to make the words come out, “I didn’t lose my leg. I gave it.”

When we enter eternity, we’ll either be known as people who lost our lives, or gave them for a greater cause. And the key factor in how we’ll be remembered isn’t necessarily our means of departure (we don’t have to be martyred to give our lives), but it’s how we live every day.

If you want to give your life to a greater cause – live for that cause right now. And of course, there’s no greater cause, nor a greater King, than Jesus Christ. Live daily for Him and give your life for the sake of His Kingdom!

 

Prayer Challenge

Pray and ask God to help you live for Christ daily and give your life for the sake of the gospel.

 

Questions for Thought

When you think about those who’ve given their lives for Christ, what comes to mind?

How can you begin giving your whole life for Christ today?

Thursday
Sep222016

How to find joy in every circumstance

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

Philippians 4:4

The famous English architect Sir Christopher Wren was supervising the construction of a beautiful new cathedral in London. A local journalist thought it would be interesting to interview some of the workers, so he went to the site and found the most miserable looking people he could and asked the question, “What are you doing?”

The first worker responded, “I’m cutting stone for only 10 shillings a day.” The second answered, “I’m putting in 10 hard hours a day for this measly job.”

The journalist then looked over and saw a man who was energetic and seemed very happy about his job. So he went to him and asked the same question, “What are you doing here?”

The worker answered, “I’m helping Christopher Wren construct one of London’s greatest cathedrals.”

Often times, our outlook on life has much more to do with our joy than the actual things we are doing. And it’s in those times when our circumstances are worse than what we’d hoped that we can either despise our situation or we can see it as an opportunity to do something great for God’s Kingdom.

Whatever your circumstances are today, make the choice to be about God’s purposes within them. See your situation as a mission from God and you’ll find amazing joy in any circumstance!

 

Prayer Challenge

Pray that God would transform your thinking in whatever circumstance you face to see your situation as a mission from Him.

 

Questions for Thought

Why do you think it’s sometimes easy to allow your circumstances to steal your joy?

How might seeing your situation today as a mission from God change your attitude?

Wednesday
Sep212016

Doing the hard cleanup work

But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.

Job 23:10

A man named Ed was sitting out in his backyard one day and he began to notice the poor condition of his wooden fence. Most of it was sun-bleached gray, and the parts that were close to the sprinkler heads had a good layer of mildew. But Ed didn’t think much of it.

Some time passed, and Ed’s neighbor bought a new pressure washer, which he used to clean his own fence. Ed saw that his neighbor’s fence looked just like new, so he asked him if he could to borrow the tool to spray his fence as well.

After several hours of spraying, Ed’s fence looked good as new too. But he didn’t stop there. He also used it on the eaves of his house, his brick, and his backyard deck. It all looked so good!

Very often in our lives, God has to address areas of disrepair – attitudes and actions which have grown moldy and ugly without us even noticing. And in doing so, He has to apply pressure, which is sometimes painful.

But when we have a willing heart and open our lives to God, He will wash away the dirt and the grime. It might take some pressure, but it will lead us to a more joyful, fulfilled, and God-honoring life!

 

Prayer Challenge:

Ask God to show you attitudes and actions in your life that have fallen into disrepair. Hand those over to Him.

 

Questions for Thought:

If you’re honest, what are some areas of your life where you’ve grown moldy that you need to address?

How might God want to deal with those negative actions and attitudes?

Tuesday
Sep202016

How you can rejoice in the midst of loss

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

Colossians 3:1-2

One night in December of 1914, a fire in West Orange, New Jersey, claimed Thomas Edison’s manufacturing facilities and with it, almost $1 million worth of equipment and the record of much of his work.

The next morning as he walked about the charred embers of much of his life’s work, Edison said, “There is value in disaster. All our mistakes are burned up. Now we can start anew.”

When material possessions are lost – be it a family heirloom, a retirement account, or a home – we have a choice in how we will respond. We can either throw up our hands in despair, or we can remember where our real security lies and look for a way forward.

How we react to losing worldly possessions says everything about our priorities. If we truly set our hearts on things above, not below, then however devastating our loss is, we can rejoice in knowing we have treasures in heaven that can never be destroyed.

So when you see the things of the world passing away, let it remind you of the coming world where nothing will pass away. Set your heart on heaven – not your earthly possessions – and you’ll be able to rejoice even amidst worldly loss.

 

Prayer Challenge

Pray and ask God to help you maintain a focus on heavenly things, not earthly things.

 

Questions for Thought

Think of your most valued earthly possession. How would you feel if it were lost?

How might looking at every worldly object as something that’s passing away help give you perspective in a time of material loss?

Monday
Sep192016

Discover true financial freedom!

There’s no greater financial freedom and security you can have than when you steward well the resources God has entrusted to you.

We want to help you better understand what it means to have real financial freedom in every season of life by sending you Rick Dunham’s book, ‘Secure: Discovering True Financial Freedom.’

This book is our gift to thank you for your donation below to help encourage more seniors to embrace the life God intends. So be sure to request yours when you give.

Thank you for your support today!

Monday
Sep192016

Can fear be a good thing?

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Proverbs 1:7

A woman visiting the Toronto Zoo years ago lost her hat at the tiger enclosure. It had fallen between the outer fence, which keeps the people out, and the inner fence, which keeps the tigers in. She tried to retrieve it by climbing the outer fence and dropping over the edge.

A bystander captured the video of a tiger desperately running back and forth in front of the wire cage trying to find a way to attack the woman. But the woman was casual in her approach to retrieving her hat. The people were horrified, but the woman found her hat and climbed back over the outer fence. She did not fear the tiger.

The word fear in the Old Testament can be used to mean either “terror” or “awe”. And so many people in our churches today have, much like that woman at the zoo, become so casual, distant, and detached from a healthy fear of the Lord.

But wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord – an awe-inspiring, even terrifying, understanding of who God is in your life. God is both fearsome and good. And we have to understand that both are true to begin to think wisely about His righteousness and His great love for us.

 

Prayer Challenge:

Pray that God would give you a greater awe for who He is in your life.

 

Questions for Thought:

How does having a healthy sense of awe of God lead you to a wiser understanding of who He is?

Sunday
Sep182016

Where to turn with life’s tough questions

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

1 Corinthians 13:12

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. was a doctor who became very interested in the use of ether to anesthetize patients who were having procedures done. So in order to better understand its effects, he decided to administer it to himself one day. He found himself in a dreamy state and awoke believing he had suddenly grasped the key to all the mysteries of the universe.

He was unable to recall what he had learned, however, and decided to put himself under again with a stenographer by his side to record whatever he said. Coming out of the daze, Holmes asked his stenographer if he’d said anything that might give insight to the mysteries of the universe.

The assistant looked down at her notebook and read, “The entire universe is permeated with a strong odor of turpentine.”

It’s seems that more than ever today, people are asking deep questions about the universe. And if you’re not looking in the right place for the answers, you might just come up with something quite silly.

Every answer we seek in life will ultimately be found in Jesus Christ, who gives us full access to God the Father. So instead of chasing the next spiritual fad, rest on the solid rock of Christ and trust that your deepest “whys” and “whats” will find their answers in Him.

 

Prayer Challenge

Ask God to give you faith and patience that your deepest questions will eventually find their answers through Jesus Christ.

 

Questions for Thought

If you could ask God one question, what would it be?

What do you think are the dangers of taking our deep questions anywhere else but to God through His Son, Jesus?

Thursday
Sep152016

Is the Christian life an easy life?

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.”

Luke 9:23-24

Clarence Jordan, the author of The Cotton Patch Gospel New Testament translation, was getting a red-carpet tour of a brand-new church. With pride, the pastor pointed out the beautiful pews, the luxurious decorations, and the beautiful, handcrafted pulpit in the front.

The two walked outside as darkness was falling, and the pastor pointed up at a huge cross atop the structure, illuminated by several bright spotlights. “That cross alone cost us ten thousand dollars,” the pastor boasted proudly.

“It looks like you got cheated,” said Jordan. “Times were when Christians could get those for free.”

When we look at the cross, it’s crucial we remember what that symbol is really all about. During the time of Jesus, the cross was the ultimate sign of shame – a torture and execution device for the lowliest of criminals.

When Jesus said that a follower of His should “take up their cross daily and follow me,” He wasn’t talking about a glorious life. He meant that a disciple would encounter hardship, persecution, and even death for His sake. He did promise, however, that it would all be worth it.

Don’t let the spiritual freedoms you enjoy today cause you to forget the price of following Christ. Be willing to do whatever it takes to stay faithful. And even if the Lord allows you to suffer for the sake of Christ, remember it will all be worth it!

 

Prayer Challenge

Pray that God would give you a commitment to follow Christ not because it’s easy, but because it’s worth any suffering you encounter.

 

Questions for Thought

In the parts of the world where we enjoy religious freedom, why do you think it’s easy to forget what the cross really means?

How might your life look differently if you truly committed yourself to following Christ no matter the consequences?

Wednesday
Sep142016

The power of your words

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

— Ephesians 4:29

A church decided to do some major renovations on their decades-old building, so they called together a group of members to do the internal demolition. Around 40 people of all ages showed up that day eager to take on the task.

They went right to work ripping up carpet, knocking out walls, tearing down ceilings, and dismantling just about everything in the building. There was no skill or training required. People young and old pitched in and had the demolition done in no time.

When this phase was completed, the remodeling began – which required skilled and trained people who knew how to construct, build, and refurbish. Their task was much more difficult and it took much longer than the demolition.

Tearing down is easy, especially when it comes to people. A simple burst of anger or a careless word can destroy a relationship. But it takes skill and intention to build someone up – holding your tongue and speaking the right words at the right times.

When it comes to people, be a skilled builder instead of a demolisher. It takes more time and effort, but the rich, God-honoring relationships you’ll build are well worth it! 

 

Prayer Challenge:

Pray and ask God to make your words a constructive, not destructive, force in other people’s lives.

 

Questions for Thought:

Think of a time when someone said something that tore you down. Why did those words hurt you?

How can you speak words into other people’s lives that build them up?

Tuesday
Sep132016

How to keep unity in the face of adversity

I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.

— 1 Corinthians 1:10

A story is told of Tonto and the Lone Ranger riding through a canyon one afternoon. All of a sudden, both sides were filled with American Indian warriors on horses, dressed for battle and shouting loudly.

The Lone Ranger turned to Tonto and asked, “What are we going to do?”

Tonto replied, “What do you mean, ‘we’, kemosabe?”

It’s amazing how when times get tough and we encounter adversity, one of the first things to be sacrificed is unity. And when we think about the challenges facing Christians today, many of these things are sadly dividing brothers and sisters in Christ when we need to be united more than ever.

Christian unity in the face of adversity, however, isn’t some unattainable concept. In fact, when we as believers in Christ maintain our commitment to the truth of Scripture and to the fellowship of the Spirit, unity just seems to happen.

When challenges come, we as the body of Christ must face them together. So stay committed to biblical truth. Reaffirm your devotion to one another in the Spirit. When you make those things your priorities, adversity will bring you together instead of tearing you apart!

 

Prayer Challenge

Pray and ask God to help you stay committed to biblical truth and fellowship of the Spirit so you stay unified with the body of Christ!

 

Questions for Thought

What do you think is the main issue that causes division among Christians in the face of adversity?

Why do you think unity in the face of adversity is so vital for believers in Christ?

Monday
Sep122016

How to deal with rejection

For the Lord will not reject his people; he will never forsake his inheritance.

Psalm 94:14

There were around 150 young preachers who sought entrance to the Wesleyan ministry in 1888 – and Campbell Morgan was one of them. He passed intense doctrinal examinations, but then faced the trial sermon, where he would preach to three ministers who would determine his fitness for ministry.

Morgan stepped into the pulpit, and the pressure was just too much. He came up short on his sermon, and was rejected from the ministry that year. He sent a wire to his father that contained only one word: “Rejected.”

His father quickly wired back the words, “Rejected on earth. Accepted in heaven. Dad.”

In later years, Morgan said, “God said to me, in the weeks of loneliness and darkness that followed, ‘I want you to cease making plans for yourself, and let Me plan your life.’”

Every one of us encounters rejection at some point. Perhaps you were let go from a job. Or maybe you’re estranged from a friend or family member. But even in those dark days, remember that God will never reject you if you’re in Christ. You are precious in His eyes!

 

Prayer Challenge:

Ask God to remind you that no matter what, He’ll never reject you if you’re in Christ.

 

Questions for Thought:

What kinds of feelings do you experience when you’ve been rejected? Why?

How does God’s unconditional acceptance of you in Christ Jesus turn those feelings of rejection around?

Monday
Sep122016

How to prepare yourself for battle

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

— 1 Peter 5:8

A Japanese attack on Hawaii is regarded as the most unlikely thing in the world, with one chance in a million of being successful. Besides having more powerful defenses than any other post under the American flag, it is protected by distance.

— Journalist Clarke Beach, September 6, 1941

Looking back on history, these words must be considered some of the most foolish ever written. Yet they go to show simply how unaware many people in the United States were about the possibility for the kind of attack carried out by the Japanese just a few months later. For many, it seemed next to impossible that such a thing could ever happen.

But the risk became a reality on the morning of December 7, 1941, when America’s vulnerability was exposed in a sneak attack on the U.S. military base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.

Like some people in those days, many Christians live their lives almost completely unaware of the danger of spiritual attacks that loom each and every day. But the reality is that our enemy, Satan, lurks around and waits for a chance to attack us spiritually. And if we aren’t on our guard, we risk being caught unready to fend off those attacks.

So when it comes to spiritual warfare, be ready to go to battle at any time. Remain steadfast in prayer and resist the temptation to fall into sin. When you do that, you’ll be ready for the enemy’s attacks whenever they come!

 

Prayer Challenge

Pray that God would help you remain steadfast in prayer and avoid sin in order to be ready for the enemy’s attacks!

 

Questions for Thought

Why do you think people are often lured into a false sense of security when it comes to spiritual warfare?

What does being ready for spiritual warfare look like in your daily life?

Thursday
Aug252016

The target of your transformation

Some time ago during a football game between Michigan State and UCLA, the score was tied at 14 with only seconds to play. Michigan State had the ball and was within field goal range...

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Thursday
Aug252016

Why is spiritual growth important?

In the mid-1700s, a shipload of migrants landed on the northeast coast of America. Their first year, they established a site on which they’d build their town. The second year...

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Thursday
Aug252016

Your divine privilege

On February 17, 1791, the famous preacher John Wesley preached his very last sermon. The text he preached was Isaiah 55:6, which says, “Seek the LORD while he may be found..."

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Thursday
Aug252016

The real definition of ‘wealth’

According to a survey of the general American public, most perceive the status of “rich” to be attained when a person has between $1 million and $5 million in assets. But here’s the catch...

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Thursday
Aug252016

What to do when you feel unappreciated

A young man moved away from his rural hometown and went out to search for a better life. After some time, he became rather successful. His parents, however, still had...

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Thursday
Aug252016

Avoiding the self-inflicted pain of sin

A number of years ago, a play was written called 'The Potato Creek Chair of Death'. This was a rather bizarre theatrical work about a man who built a timing device he attached to a shotgun...

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Thursday
Aug252016

Trusting God as your provider

A young boy named Billy went to the local store with his mother. When it came time to check out, the shop owner looked down at the boy and passed him a large jar of suckers...

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Thursday
Aug252016

What it means to love others as yourself

In 1986, a terrible tragedy happened in the Black Sea off the coast of Russia. Hundreds of ship passengers were killed when two ships collided, throwing many into the icy waters below...

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