Read: 1 Peter 5:1-9
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. —1 Peter 5:8
One early autumn morning as I drove to work in the dark, I was startled by a flash of brown in my headlights followed by the sound of something hitting the front of my car. I had clipped a deer at 70 miles per hour! It was only a glancing blow, and no damage was done to my car (or the deer, as far as I could tell), but it really shook me up. I had been in my usual “autopilot mode” for the familiar drive to the office, but the shock of the incident certainly got my attention. I was now fully alert and trying to calm a racing heartbeat. It was a most unpleasant wake-up call.
The apostle Peter offers us a different kind of wake-up call—one that while unpleasant is necessary. He alerts us to a spiritual battle we are engaged in with a powerful enemy. Peter warns, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). This is a call to wake up, see the danger, and be ready for his attack!
Only when we are aware of the danger that faces us every day will we consciously seek the help we need. And only if we are on the alert will we lean on the strength of our Lord, who is greater than our spiritual enemy.
Though evil may surround us,
We need not fear defeat;
For when God fights the battle,
Our enemies retreat. —Sper
The Christian life is a battleground.
Publish Date: July 9, 2012 :: Author: Submitted by Angelia Macon
Who's Behind It?
July 9, 2012 — by Albert Lee
Who’s Behind It?
Read: 1 Chronicles 17:16-24
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights. — James 1:17
At a cultural show in Bandung, Indonesia, we enjoyed a wonderful orchestra performance. Before the finale, the 200 people in the audience were each handed an angklung, a musical instrument made of bamboo. We were taught how to shake it in rhythm with the conductor’s timing. Soon we thought we were performing like an orchestra; we felt so proud of how well we were doing! Then it dawned on me that we were not the ones who were good; it was the conductor who deserved the credit.
Similarly, when everything is going well in our lives, it’s easy to feel proud. We’re tempted to think that we are good and that it is by our abilities that we’ve achieved success. During such moments, we tend to forget that behind it all is our good God who prompts, prevents, provides, and protects.
David remembered that truth: "Then King David went in and sat before the Lord; and he said: ‘Who am I, O Lord God? And what is my house, that You have brought me this far?’" (1 Chron. 17:16). David’s heart swelled up in appreciation of God’s goodness.
The next time we are tempted to take credit for the blessings we enjoy, let’s pause and remember that it is the Lord who brings blessing.
No strength of our own, nor goodness we claim;
Our trust is all thrown on Jesus’ name:
In this our strong tower for safety we hide;
The Lord is our power, "The Lord will provide." —Newton
The hand of the Father is behind all good things.
Publish Date: June 11, 2012 :: Author: Dave Branon
Getting To Heaven
by Dave Branon
Read: Romans 3:21-28
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved. —Acts 16:31
While working with third- and fourth-graders at our church’s Vacation Bible School, I decided to give all 25 of the children a gift on the last day. But I told them that in order to receive it, they would each have to tell me how a person can get to heaven.
It was interesting to hear what these 9- and 10-year-olds said. Many were clear that salvation is through faith in Jesus Christ, but some were not yet equipped to explain the gospel. "You have to be good and go to Sunday school," said one. Another asked tentatively, "You have to pray to God?" Still another: "If you are nice to your friends and obey your mom and dad."
As I gently tried to direct the thinking of each child to the central element of salvation—faith in Jesus who died to pay for our sins and then rose again—I thought that these kids represented so many others in our world who don’t yet understand the gospel.
How about you? Are your ideas about salvation based on biblical truth? Think about the importance of what Jesus did for you. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 16:31). There is so much more at stake than getting a free gift for answering a question.
A Matter Of Faith
Jesus paid the penalty for your sins by His death. When
you admit you are a sinner and place your faith in Him
alone for forgiveness, you will be reconciled to God.
Believing Christ died—that’s history; believing Christ died for me—that’s salvation.
Publish Date: June 3, 2012 :: Author: Submitted by Angelia Macon
David C. McCasland
The Masters Tournament is one of the most prestigious in professional golf. In 2009, Kenny Perry placed second after leading during the final round. Writing in The New York Times, Bill Pennington described Perry as "disappointed but not despondent" after the loss. "I’ll look back on it occasionally and wonder what I might have done differently, but I won’t dwell on it," Perry said. "If this is the worst thing that happens in my life, I’ve got it pretty good. I won’t let it dog me. There are so many other things in life that matter more . . . . I’ll go home tonight with my family and we’ll have fun."
The ability to look beyond our disappointments is essential for followers of Christ. Our focus determines how we face the victories and defeats in life. "If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth" (Col. 3:1-2). This way of thinking looks to Christ, rather than our achievements, for significance and validation. We seek Him, not success.
When we strive for excellence and give our best effort, losing hurts, but it doesn’t have to harm us. The key is where we set our minds and hearts.
Lord, thank You that You are the one who measures
how we’ve done in life and determines
whether we’ve been successful. Help us to keep that
focus even in disappointments.
When Christ is the center of your focus, everything else comes into proper perspective.
Publish Date: February 20, 2012 :: Author: Submitted by Angela Macon
Side by Side
by Randy Kilgore
Side By Side
Read: Deuteronomy 6:1-9
You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. — Deuteronomy 6:7
In my family scrapbook is a picture of my daughter at age 4 working next to me, using a toy hammer to repair the siding on the house. Side by side we worked that day; she imitated my every action, absolutely convinced that she too was fixing the house. Rarely have I enjoyed a chore more. In the picture, it’s obvious that she’s enjoying it too.
That photo reminds me that our children mimic most of what they see in us—words and deeds. They also form their images of God from the images they have of us as parents. If we’re stern and unmerciful, they’re likely to see God that way too. If we’re distant and cold, so God will seem to them as well. It is one of our most important duties as parents to help our children see God clearly, especially the unconditional nature of His love.
I can imagine the family scrapbook of my relationship with God having a similar picture. I’m learning from Him how to live life, how to love, and how to make it a permanent part of my being. He then teaches me how to teach others (Deut. 6:1-7).
May the Lord grant us an understanding of Him and the wisdom to pass it on.
We must teach our children clearly
What is right and what is wrong;
Live before them an example—
Godly, righteous, pure, and strong. —Fitzhugh
To teach your children well, let God teach you.
Publish Date: February 20, 2012 :: Author: Submitted by Angela Macon
Knocked Off Your Feet?
Knocked Off Your Feet?
Read: Psalm 116:1-6
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. —Psalm 46:1
Because I’ve written many articles and a book about dealing with life’s losses, I have the privilege of being introduced to a number of fellow strugglers along life’s journey. One of my new friends is a mom whose 21-year-old daughter died suddenly in 2009, which sent her reeling. She told me, “I feel like an outcast from the normal world. I feel crushed and my soul is in so much pain.”
Indeed the losses that visit us can knock us off our feet—whether a death in the family, a child who walks away from God and family, or a physical or mental setback.
Yet what I’ve discovered is something musician Jeremy Camp made clear in a song he wrote after the death of his wife in 2001: When you are knocked off your feet by life’s difficulties, remember that “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Ps. 46:1). That’s reason enough to get back up again. Camp described his struggle in the song called “Understand.” He asked, “Why don’t I get back on my feet again?” And he recognized that he could because “I know You understand it all.”
When trouble knocks us down, we can look up. God is there. He understands and cares. It’s not easy, but we can trust Him to help us get back on our feet again.
Lift up your eyes, despairing one,
The Lord your help will be;
You have a friend in heaven who cheers,
And calms the troubled sea. —Anon.
There is no place where earth’s sorrows
are felt more than in heaven.
Publish Date: December 21, 2011 :: Author: Donna Woodard
Publish Date: November 7, 2011 :: Author: Donna Woodard
On Sunday, November 6th, Pastor Newman’s sermon, entitled, “Occupy the World,” was based on Luke 19:11-15. This parable symbolized Jesus giving spiritual gifts to all believers and leaving instructions that they are to use their gifts in service for Him. The Bible assures us that Jesus will one day return and when He does, we will be held accountable for how we used our gifts.
If you are a believer in the gospel of Jesus Christ, what spiritual gift(s) has been imparted in you? What have you done with it? If you don’t know what it is, you simply have to ask the Lord and it will be revealed to you.
In this parable, the nobleman represents Jesus; the servants equate to the believers and Luke is using money to symbolize the spiritual gifts given by Jesus.
Before Jesus returns (which could be anytime now), what are your spiritual gifts and what have you been doing with them? Would you have much to share with Jesus or would you offer excuses, of which He will have no interest? Talk about how your spiritual gift was revealed to you and how you are using it to glorify the Lord. And if you haven’t been occupying the world with your gift as instructed, perhaps, you will consider starting today. If so, share your thoughts of how you might begin.