Wednesday, December 31, 2008


December 27-28, 2008

by Charles R. Swindoll

John 1:14

What exactly is grace? And is it limited to Jesus' life and ministry? You may be surprised to know that Jesus never used the word itself. He just taught it and, equally important, He lived it. Furthermore, the Bible never gives us a one-statement definition, though grace appears throughout its pages . . . not only the word itself but numerous demonstrations of it. Understanding what grace means requires our going back to an old Hebrew term that meant "to bend, to stoop." By and by, it came to include the idea of "condescending favor."

If you have traveled to London, you have perhaps seen royalty. If so, you may have noticed sophistication, aloofness, distance. On occasion, royalty in England will make the news because someone in the ranks of nobility will stop, kneel down, and touch or bless a commoner. That is grace. There is nothing in the commoner that deserves being noticed or touched or blessed by the royal family. But because of grace in the heart of the queen, there is the desire at that moment to pause, to stoop, to touch, even to bless.

The late pastor and Bible scholar Donald Barnhouse perhaps said it best: "Love that goes upward is worship; love that goes outward is affection; love that stoops is grace."

To show grace is to extend favor or kindness to one who doesn't deserve it and can never earn it. Receiving God's acceptance by grace always stands in sharp contrast to earning it on the basis of works. Every time the thought of grace appears, there is the idea of its being undeserved. In no way is the recipient getting what he or she deserves. Favor is being extended simply out of the goodness of the heart of the giver.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Be still

"Moses answered the people, "Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today... The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still." "
Exodus 14:13-14

This is Moses speaking to the Israelites just after they've left their home, albeit their home filled with slavery and suffering, in Egypt. They are marching out into the desert, away from their captors, when the Egyptians decide they want them back and begin to chase. The Israelites are panicked. They are men, women and children, babies and grandparents. The Egyptians behind them are warriors. The Israelites are moving, carrying their possessions. The Egyptians are chasing, with nothing to slow them down. The Israelites are wondering if perhaps they should have "behaved" and just stayed in Egypt. They see no way out. Moses had to be panicking a bit too. He know that God was powerful. They all did. But what could even God do here, with the sea on one side of them and the army on the other? But Moses trusted God.


Do I trust like this? Do I grab hold of a promise God's given me and then "be still", knowing that He will keep that promise? Oh, that's hard for me to do!! But think what could happen if I did!

For Moses it involved God parting a sea for the Israelites to walk safely away from the Egyptians. Parting a sea!!! For me I'm guessing He is fully able to see me through the problems of each day....

Be still, hmmm.....

Monday, December 29, 2008

My purpose?

I am plugging along, sporadically, but plugging nonetheless, through the Bible, and this past week was reading in Exodus.

"But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." Exodus 9:16

That's God talking to Moses. He has just let him know, basically, that the things He's done in Moses' life were for "this very purpose" - to glorify God. He didn't work out Moses being saved by the princess to give him a happy cushy life, or even to spare his mom the suffering of seeing her son killed. He didn't bring Moses to a place of power because he deserved it, or even because he thought he'd do a good job in it. His purpose for Moses' life was not for Moses to feel fulfilled or happy. His purpose for Moses' life was to glorify Himself.

How self centered I am to think that God's purpose for me, for my life, might be something other than that! How many of my prayers ask God to help me feel better, help me stay comfortable, protect those I care about? How much time to do I spend taking care of the me part of my life? How much time and energy, really, do I spend thinking about how God might be glorified through me?


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Arrival

A good one for Christmas by Max Lucado...

God had entered the world as a baby.

Yet, were someone to chance upon the sheep stable on the outskirts of Bethlehem that morning, what a peculiar scene they would behold.

The stable stinks like all stables do. The stench of urine, dung, and sheep reeks pungently in the air. The ground is hard, the hay scarce. Cobwebs cling to the ceiling and a mouse scurries across the dirt floor.

A more lowly place of birth could not exist.

Off to one side sit a group of shepherds. They sit silently on the floor; perhaps perplexed, perhaps in awe, no doubt in amazement. Their night watch had been interrupted by an explosion of light from heaven and a symphony of angels. God goes to those who have time to hear him—so on this cloudless night he went to simple shepherds.

Near the young mother sits the weary father. If anyone is dozing, he is. He can’t remember the last time he sat down. And now that the excitement has subsided a bit, now that Mary and the baby are comfortable, he leans against the wall of the stable and feels his eyes grow heavy. He still hasn’t figured it all out. The mystery of the event puzzles him. But he hasn’t the energy to wrestle with the questions. What’s important is that the baby is fine and that Mary is safe. As sleep comes he remembers the name the angel told him to use … Jesus. “We will call him Jesus.”

Wide awake is Mary. My, how young she looks! Her head rests on the soft leather of Joseph’s saddle. The pain has been eclipsed by wonder. She looks into the face of the baby. Her son. Her Lord. His Majesty. At this point in history, the human being who best understands who God is and what he is doing is a teenage girl in a smelly stable. She can’t take her eyes off him. Somehow Mary knows she is holding God. So this is he. She remembers the words of the angel. “His kingdom will never end.” (Luke 1:33)

He looks like anything but a king. His face is prunish and red. His cry, though strong and healthy, is still the helpless and piercing cry of a baby. And he is absolutely dependent upon Mary for his well-being.

Majesty in the midst of the mundane. Holiness in the filth of sheep manure and sweat. Divinity entering the world on the floor of a stable, through the womb of a teenager and in the presence of a carpenter.

She touches the face of the infant-God. How long was your journey!

This baby had overlooked the universe. These rags keeping him warm were the robes of eternity. His golden throne room had been abandoned in favor of a dirty sheep pen. And worshiping angels had been replaced with kind but bewildered shepherds.

Meanwhile, the city hums. The merchants are unaware that God has visited their planet. The innkeeper would never believe that he had just sent God into the cold. And the people would scoff at anyone who told them the Messiah lay in the arms of a teenager on the outskirts of their village. They were all too busy to consider the possibility.

Those who missed His Majesty’s arrival that night missed it not because of evil acts or malice; no, they missed it because they simply weren’t looking.

Little has changed in the last two thousand years, has it?

Cast of CharactersFrom
God Came Near
© (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2006) Max Lucado

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Fool's Gold

A neat one from Ron Hutchcraft...

My outreach trips to South Africa have been with some wonderful ministry experiences. We saw African young people coming to Christ. We had the privilege of training South African youth workers to reach lost young people. And we're even training people to reach the lost and the young through radio. One afternoon we were able to sneak away long enough to visit one of the gold mines that helped make South Africa the richest country on that continent. Years ago this was the largest and richest gold mine in the world. Today, an old miner take guys like me, puts a helmet on them, gives them a light, and takes them on tours. It was fascinating to hear him describe how gold was uncovered and then extracted from deep inside the earth. At one point, he asked us to shine our light on one wall of the mine, and it sparkled with this bright, yellow gold! It was amazing - beautiful! The old miner told us, "Don't get too excited." He said, "Real gold is black. It doesn't even look like gold. That stuff that glitters, well, that's just fool's gold.

It's "values clarification time," with the help of our word for today from the Word of God. 1 Timothy 6:8, "If we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich (that's the people who go after the stuff that glitters) fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs."

It's so easy to buy the values of a world that measures worth by success, by how much of the glittery stuff you have - to spend major life-energy going after more house, more car, more wardrobe, more position, more prestige. It's gold - but it's fool's gold. Notice the words God uses to describe the pursuit of more: a trap, foolish desires, harmful desires, ruin and destruction, wandering from the faith, grief. The foolishness of all this is summed up in two words God uses to describe security that is based on earth-stuff "so uncertain." That's what He calls it in 1 Timothy 6:17.

So God reveals the scam - what looks so valuable is so worthless, and the spiritual riches that may look so worthless are so valuable. Like fool's gold and real gold. The chapter goes on to describe the real gold. "But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness." Don't look for those on the Dow-Jones, but they are so much more precious than anything you'll find there and certainly a lot more lasting.

God says when you live your life to give instead of get, you will be one of those who "lay up treasures for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life" (1 Timothy 6:19) or the gold that is really gold.

Take a moment for a priority check - not about what you believe, but about how you're spending your life. Honestly now, is most of the best of your life tied up in going after fool's gold? Do you even have much energy, much time, much resource left to pursue the gold of what will last for eternity like getting to know Jesus better, getting people to heaven with you, showing Jesus' love to people who really need it, absorbing God's Word? It's time to live for what will last.

With whatever years you have left, go where the real gold is. The stuff that glitters is what most of the people around you are going for. But remember, it's just fool's gold.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Joy to the World

Here's a good one from Katherine R. Cottle...

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16 (NIV)


Uh-oh, my son had begun the dreaded potty dance. He had gotten so engrossed in the beautiful, giant, Christmas ornaments suspended from the shopping mall ceiling that he totally ignored his almost 4 year-old bladder. It was warning him to get to the potty. We were only seconds away from an accident, without a change of clothes.

Doctors had recently given my little son a great big label: Pervasive Developmentally Delayed. Simple translation: he learns differently than most and things that "typically developing" children are able to do easily, he finds challenging. For example, being able to recognize that his body needs to go to the potty and communicating his need to me. I had 20 other things to accomplish in the mall and I was not prepared for this.

Thanks to a mother's ability to quickly maneuver through crowds and leap tall mounds of Christmas presents in a single bound, we made it to the restroom just in time.

Frustration began to overwhelm my heart. I wasn't just overwhelmed by the pressure of the things I had on my to-do list, but also by my son's struggle with being able to recognize and verbally acknowledge his needs. Lord, will he ever be able to tell me what is going on in his head? How are we going to reach him?

As we were washing our hands, he suddenly began to sing with all his heart, "Joy to the world, the Lord has come, let earth receive her King." Where was this coming from? I wondered. Quieting my frustrated mind, I slowed down to listen. The song was playing over the intercom. I had totally tuned it out.

My beautiful little boy with his great big label had heard what I had not. Women coming out of their stalls smiled and sang with him. I think the angels would have included us in their choir that day.

In that moment I felt the Lord assure me that He had created my son and knew his needs and exactly how to reach him. After all, this is what Christmas is all about. Our loving Father, knowing our need of the gift of salvation, reached the world through Jesus Christ. Joy to the world, the Lord has come. Let us receive our King!

Dear Lord, Thank you for knowing my needs, sending Your Son and creating a way to reach me. This Christmas, please help me quiet my frustrations and busy to-do list and listen to Your song. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Being Part of God's Plan

This devotional was written by Jim Liebelt .

The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God." "I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her.
Luke 1:35-38

Mary has an honored place as being the mother of Jesus. In our Christian circles, we celebrate Mary as a virtuous young woman willfully taking on the responsibility of becoming mother of the Son of God. Still, it's easy to overlook the difficulties Mary faced in accepting this role. She was likely in her mid-teens at the time of the angel's announcement. An unmarried teen pregnancy in Jewish culture at the time would have been quite scandalous. She faced the prospect of being an outcast in her hometown. Further, imagine Mary attempting to explain the circumstances of her pregnancy to her parents and to Joseph, her fiancé. Being part of God's plan was no doubt very difficult for Mary.

One of the characteristics that set Mary apart for her role was her willing obedience. "May it be to me as you have said," was Mary's reply to the angel. This is simply amazing.

We, just like Mary, are part of God's plan to carry His light and love to a needy world. Each of us have been given different roles in His plan, but none are unimportant. It might be difficult to see ourselves as being active participants in what God is doing in the world. It's not always easy to say yes to God. Saying yes can mean facing difficulties and persecution. But, God always provides the means of sustaining us when we choose obedience to His desires for our lives.

As we celebrate Christmas this year, remember Mary as an example of the obedience God desires of us.

Going Deeper:
Put yourself in Mary's position. How do you think you would have responded to the angel's message?
What makes it hard to believe that you are part of God's plan for the world?
What can you do to become more obedient to God?

Family Time: Watch the movie, The Nativity Story with your family. Afterward, use the content above to debrief, noting Mary's obedience and bringing home the concept that God calls us to similar obedience as well.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

"Instead of complaining that the rosebush is full of thorns, be happy that the thornbush has roses."

-German proverb

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Shield of Faith

In every battle you will need faith as your shield to stop the fiery arrows aimed at you by Satan.
Ephesians 6:16

What is this shield of faith Paul refers to? Remember, as he was writing this letter to the Christians at Ephesus, he was chained to a Roman guard. He had plenty of time to observe Roman armor.

The shield would have been made of wood--a rectangular object about four feet high and two feet wide.

Prior to an actual face-to-face engagement with the enemy, a soldier often would encounter a barrage of flaming arrows coming from all directions. The sole purpose of this was to demoralize and confuse.

Thus, the Roman soldiers would put their shields together to protect themselves from this onslaught of arrows that had been set on fire. They needed their shields above and beyond what their breastplates could provide for protection.

The same goes for us. The devil will direct his flaming arrows toward Christians. They could be arrows of immorality, hatred, pride, envy, covetousness, doubt, worry, or any other kind of sin. They will be delivered primarily in the realm of our thoughts.

He will barrage us with his flaming arrows at strategic times, like when we decide to read the Bible or go to church. Flaming arrows will come our way during times of trial and hardship.

It is during these times that you need to hold up the shield of faith--not the shield of feelings, not the shield of emotions, but the shield of faith. You base your faith on what God has done for you, not on how you feel at a given moment.

Emotions come and go. Sometimes you feel great; and sometimes you don't feel anything. It is then that you learn to use the shield of faith.

For more relevant and biblical teaching from Pastor Greg Laurie, go to

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Prayer diary opportunity

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Praise and an Untrue Heart

A hard, but good one from Michael Youssef...

Pride is not the only thing that can keep us from praising God. An untrue heart can squelch both the desire and the ability to develop a life of praise. An untrue heart is a heart that is insincere, hypocritical, or filled with doubt. The writer of Hebrews said:

Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water (Hebrews 10:22).

There are some people who try to honor God with their lips while their hearts are full of anger, bitterness, or envy. However, God knows the status of our hearts and our weaknesses.

We cannot develop a life of praise alone or in our own strength. Instead, we must surrender our intellect, feelings, and will to the Lord. As we do this, God will empower us to develop a habit of praising Him--regardless of our circumstances.

In Genesis 22, when God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac, He was asking him to surrender the object of his love. He was asking Abraham to give up something that meant more to him than anything else.

Did God want Abraham to sacrifice Isaac? No. God wanted to be certain that Abraham was willing to surrender everything to Him. Like Abraham, God wants us to surrender to Him. He wants us to praise Him. Praise is a sacrifice that costs us our pride, our plans, and our desires. True praise requires that we place everything on the altar to the Lord.

Don't let pride or an untrue heart keep you from a life of praise. Yield to the Lord, come before Him in humility, and God will give you His strength and power to live a victorious life.

Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me! (Psalm 66:20).

Learn how praise can make all the difference in your life. Michael Youssef explores this topic in our free resource this month--"Empowered by Praise." Download it today.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Being Ready for Rough Times

I think everyone's a bit nervous right now... What's happening with our economy? What's going on politically? Are rough times coming? I just got an applicable email from Dr. Charles Stanley. Take a peek!

Being Ready for Rough Times
1 Peter 1:13-14

The apostle Peter knew that hard days lay ahead for his fellow believers. So he reminded them about their security as children of God: they were chosen by Him, born into a living hope, given spiritual protection during this life, and guaranteed eternity in heaven with their Father. Peter then gave them specific ways to prepare for the coming trials. His words, divinely inspired by the Lord, can guide us as well.

His first instruction relates to our minds: What we believe has a direct impact on our response to life's problems. If we trust that God is looking out for us, then we will feel less threatened by hard circumstances. But if we decide we must rely on ourselves, then we are more likely to react poorly to situations beyond our control. A negative attitude--whether from anger, fear, worry, or jealousy--can make a hard time worse. Preparation for the future starts with developing biblical thinking.

A second lesson from Peter is to be "sober in spirit"--in other words, to maintain our balance in the midst of crises (v. 13). That requires resisting quick fixes to problems and refusing to embrace ungodly ideas or philosophies. Our enemy Satan is quick to offer suggestions designed to trip us up or turn us away from God's path. With the Spirit's help, we can learn to stand firm in a crisis and steadfastly follow the Lord.

Our culture is increasingly distancing itself from Jesus Christ and opposing His followers. Are you preparing spiritually for whatever the future holds?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Obey your thirst!

Another great one, this time by Daniel Darling...

John 4:1-42

It was the final minute of a close basketball game between my high-school and our rival. We were playing at a tournament in a hot gym in a small dusty Illinois town.

My coach called timeout and the waterboy raced out to us players and offered a water bottle.

I cocked my head back and squeezed the bottle. Warm, sulfur-tasting water squirted out into my mouth. We had run out of Gatorade and so all we had was water that tasted like it came from the fish-tank in the school lobby.

But I was so thirsty, I downed half the bottle.

Have you ever been thirsty? I mean parched to the point where you would drink anything?

Well, Jesus was this thirsty when he stopped at a well in Samaria. He had just walked for two days under the hot, sticky Judean sun. Even though Jesus was God in the flesh, He was also human. He was looking forward to a tall, soothing glass of water.

But Jesus was also here for another reason. At the other side of the well was a lady who was also thirsty. She had plenty of water available at the well, but she was still thirsty.

Thirsty for approval. Thirsty for satisfaction. Thirsty for something more to her life.

She had sought happiness in a series of relationships that wouldn't satisfy. Sound familiar? Maybe you're there right now. You've bought the lie that says, "If I could just get a guy to look at me" Or "If I could just get that hot girl to go out with me."

But there is no human relationship that will satisfy your deepest longings. God designed you that way. We were created to find fulfillment and joy only in Jesus Christ.

Jesus offered something to this woman at the well. He offered her living water. Water that satisfies. By believing in Jesus Christ, God's Holy Spirit would allow her to have unconditional access to the God of the universe.

Are you thirsty? If so, obey your thirst and discover Jesus' living water.


  • Why can't I find satisfaction in life outside of God?

Daniel Darling is an author and pastor with a passion for young people. He is the author of Teen People of the Bible, a 100-day devotional for teens. Visit him at

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Hearing God in a Noisy World

This devotional was written by Jim Liebelt

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is -- his good, pleasing and perfect will. --
Romans 12:2

Some of my friends tease me about my so-called obsession with electronic gadgets. One of my favorite purchases of recent years was my noise-canceling headphones. I use them whenever I'm traveling by airplane. These headphones actually quiet much of the noise generated by the jet engines. The manufacturer suggests that noise cancellation reduces the stress and fatigue associated with air travel. The science behind the noise cancellation is that the headphones have microphones that monitor outside noise, then process those sound waves and generate into the headphones opposite sound waves, which cancel out the unwanted noise. It really, really works! When I use the headphones, and the jet noise is quieted, I am amazed how you can still very clearly hear the voice of someone speaking to you from the next seat.

This noise cancellation technology reminds me that in our relationship with Christ and our interaction with the Scriptures, we have a noise cancellation system. When we study and apply God's Word to our lives; when we passionately pursue Jesus' Lordship daily, the noise of the world is quieted and we can hear Him clearly. Sure, you still know the noise is out there, but the level of the roar is reduced. But, when we ignore these basic disciplines, the noise of the world increases and can become deafening -- and our lives suffer because we no longer hear God's word.

Jesus didn't intend to remove us completely from the noise of the world with its temptations, hurts, injustices and evil. No, rather He intends to protect us in the midst of these dangers -- effectively canceling the world's noise -- to a point where we can hear and respond to God's Word and our lives can be lived joyfully and effectively for Him.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

I am insignificant

I do like writing my own little "crumbs" on here, but there are so many good ones that so many people so much smarter than me have written that I have to share those too!! This is one is by Charles R. Swindoll. Read on!!

Read Job 40:1--5

If you take the time to analyze those words, you'll see that Job has three responses. The first is a response of humility. The second is a response of relief. And the third is a response of surrender. That's all God wanted to hear. And what an important change for Job! Without realizing it, he had become this independent, determined, self-assured apologist defending himself. Without saying so, he'd begun to appear as if he had his arms around the providence of God.

His first response is verse 4, "I am insignificant." Many of those who have been schooled in the fine points of psychology will reject this response. They will say we should be encouraged to realize how important we are, how valuable we are to God, what a significant place we fill in this world. They would counsel, "Don't think or say, 'I am insignificant.' " Before we're tempted to go there, take note that God doesn't reprove Job for saying he is insignificant or unworthy.

We'd put it this way: "I'm a lightweight." Frankly, it's true. It is an appropriate term for Job to use after being asked so many things he couldn't answer and shown so much he didn't understand. In unguarded humility the man admits, "I'm insignificant."

His second statement is, "What can I reply to You?" I see that as an expression of relief. God didn't want answers, He knew the answers. He knows all of them! He wanted Job to acknowledge, "I don't know any of the answers. And if I don't know about those things, as objective as they are, how could I ever fully understand the profound mysteries surrounding my world?" By acknowledging that, quiet relief replaced troubling resistance.

My point here---and this is terribly important: When we are broken and brought to the end of ourselves, it is not for the purpose of gaining more answers to spout off to others. It's to help us acknowledge that the Lord is God, and His plans and reasons are deeper and higher and broader than we can comprehend. Therefore, we are relieved from having to give answers or defend them.

Job's third response is a statement of surrender: "I lay my hand on my mouth," verse 4 concludes. "I dare not say more. I've said enough---actually too much---already."

Can you make these three admissions to God? If not, work on it!

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Psalms 62:1-2
"My soul finds rest in God alone;
my salvation comes from Him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation;
He is my fortress. I will never be shaken."

Oh, this is so good to read! This was David talking, a king, in desperate need of rest and quiet, and strength, I am sure, but how fitting for a mom. How fitting for all of us, but for me, right now, feeling in desperate need of rest, this is good. I see the hope of rest in HIM. I see strength when I am out. How good!!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Biblically correct

A good one by Charles R. Swindoll...
Read Job 27:1--23
Isn't that closing comment a great line? The wicked man may have more clothes in his closet, but he'll wind up leaving them to us. Remember the materialistic line that is framed around license plates? "He who dies with the most toys wins." The truth is, he who dies with the most toys passes them off to the righteous, and the righteous get to enjoy them! Job has come to realize this priority: wrong will occur, but it will not ultimately triumph. That brings a sense of justice.
There go those great riches! How often have we witnessed or heard about individuals who are loaded financially, but it isn't too many years before it is gone. Those riches were like an eagle---they made themselves wings. Rest assured, God keeps accurate records. He knows what He's about. Furthermore, He knows who is righteous and who is wicked.
It's easy to become confused if you watch too much of the evening news on television. Be very discerning about what you watch and what you read. If the source is not reliable, the information will be skewed. Thankfully, there are still some in our day who think straight and aren't afraid to say so. Their words remind us that evil is evil, that wrong actions will be judged, that even though the wicked may seem to be winning, they will ultimately lose! The nineteenth century American poet and essayist, James Russell Lowell, put it well:
Truth forever on the scaffold Wrong forever on the throne--- Yet that scaffold sways the future And, behind the dim unknown, Standeth God within the shadow, Keeping watch above His own.
Stay on the scaffold. Keep thinking straight. Refuse to tolerate wrong! Like Job, keep forming your priorities from the Word of God. Spend less time in the papers or watching TV and more time in the Scriptures. Let God dictate your agenda and help you interpret the events of our times. Become biblically correct rather than politically correct.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Potter

"Why am I this way? Why can't I change?"
Most of us have heard that cry from troubled individuals. The first time I heard it, it came from a man who had been an alcoholic for almost a decade. He kept trying to quit; once he stayed sober for eight months, and another time for nearly a year. He always went back to the bottle.
I didn't have an answer for him. I don't think he actually asked for an answer Even if he had received one, it wouldn't have solved his problem.
All of us are les than perfect, and we know it. Probably most of us have things in our personality we've tried to change but have been unsuccessful. We may have mellowed slightly or made some adjustment, but in other areas we just don't seem to win.
Our tendency is to blame God or some other outside force that we're the way we are. Perhaps we were born that way, or our early environment made us that way. How can we change?
When we cry out to God, "Why am I this way?" I wonder if we're asking for information or subtly blaming God for making us the way we are.
We're not the first to question God. Jeremiah, an Old Testament prophet, struggled with this issue when he wrote about watching a potter at work. "I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. Then the word of the LORD came to me: 'O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does?' declares the LORD. 'Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel'" (Jer 18:3b-6, NIV).
God's sovereignty over us is difficult for us to accept. We want free will, power of choice, and the ability to make decisions in our lives.
I don't know where the line falls between God's sovereignty and our ability to change. But we need to remember that we belong to God and are divine possessions; God created us to be who we are.
What would it be like, I asked God, if I accepted myself as I am, without reservation? What would it be like if I took the very position Jeremiah stresses? If God is the potter, and I am clay in the divine hands, whom am I to complain, or debate about it? But to acknowledge the full sovereignty of God gives us problems. We just can't quite accept that we have no rights.
I thought of what it would feel like to be a young child, feeling hungry, and waiting for food. Would I sit complacently and say, "Oh, I'll get fed," or would I surge forward, push myself to the table, and scream, "Me, me, me"? Probably the latter.
Part of it, I suppose, has to do with trust or maybe with how many times we have gone hungry. We're simply afraid to turn everything over to God. If we fully surrender, what will God do with us? Where will God take us?
I think of the old hymn sung in countless churches even today: "Thou are the potter, I am the clay. Make me and mold me after thy will, while I am waiting, yielded and still" ("Have Thine Own Way, Lord," 1902).
I've sung those words, and I've meant them. They're a vow-a promise to God and to myself of total commitment.
I'm quick to make that vow until something happens in my life that I don't like. When I'm treated unfairly or unkindly, I'm a first-class complainer.
If we submit to the total sovereignty of God, we're saying, "It doesn't matter what happens in my life, it's okay. You have the right to do anything you want with me." That's not easy for most of us.
For instance, when I receive business opportunities, I ask God to make each of them happen "if it's your will." How should I react when the answer comes? Typically, if I get a yes I'm joyful and if it's a no, I feel dejected. But I'm not satisfied with that response.
I think of Job who suffered far more trauma than I could imagine happening to me. His wife urged him, "Curse God and die."
Here's his response: "You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?" (2:10, NIV).
That's the attitude I want to have. It's actually a freeing attitude. It's leaving the results in God's hands. They're there anyway, but being a pride-filled human being, that's not easy for me to live with.
When bad things happen to good people-and I'm good people-I don't handle it very well. I don't turn my back on God or deny the faith. No, I pout and moan and tell God, "That's not fair." Then after I've groaned and moaned awhile, I finally hear myself say, "Okay, I'm yours. Whatever you want." It's an eventual surrender.
I want that "eventual surrender" to be an immediate, spontaneous reaction: "I accept your will." As difficult as that is for me, that's how I'm praying.
It's the way Jesus prayed in the garden. "Not my will, but thine be done." I don't think we pray those words unless they're preceded by a deep yearning for something that we think God isn't going to let us have. It may be a marriage partner, a special job, or a sale that will net us a fortune. We pray such a prayer after we tell God what we want, mean it with intensity, and then have it fall apart in front of us.
At such moments, we realize we are clay. The Master Potter shapes and forms us, keeps us on the wheel, trims away the excess, forms us into the vessel that pleases the Potter's experienced eye.
In the midst of that comes the pain and the natural tendency to say, "I'm only human, and I don't like this."
The Master Potter ignores our dissatisfaction and just keeps on working, shaping and reforming, doing what only the Potter does well.
You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay! Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, "He did not make me?" Can the pot say of the potter, "He knows nothing?" --
ISAIAH 29:16, NIV Great Potter, forgive me for complaining,grumbling,rebelling,and help me submit to whatever you need to do to make me into a vesselthat meets your approval. Amen.
For more from Cec, please visit

Monday, November 3, 2008

No Fear

As I've mentioned before, I really really enjoy these emailed devotionals. On days when I don't make time to do too much in the way of getting my head on straight, they often hit me right where I need them to. Check this one by Laura MacCorkle out....

For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; He will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.
Psalm 27:5, NIV

"No Fear" was a popular slogan back in the '90s.

I remember seeing auto decals with this inscription everywhere I went. Pickup trucks, sports cars, SUVs ... you name it and you would probably see "No Fear" displayed across the back window in some kind of "edgy" font.

I didn't know exactly (and still don't) what it meant, though. Did "no fear" connote a state of mind, as in living fearlessly? Or was it a marketing gimmick for some product line? Most likely the latter (especially in this day and age).

Now I haven't fully researched it out as of this writing, but if the thought is to live without fear, then I am all for that. And so, apparently, was David in Psalm 27:1-3 ...

The LORD is my light and my salvation-whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life-of whom shall I be afraid?
When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh,
When my enemies and my foes attack me,
they will stumble and fall.
Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear;
Though war break out against me, even then will I be confident.

Based on these verses, living a life of "no fear" all boils down to who or what is at the center of our lives. And this, in essence, will result in how we live. With fear or with "no fear."

In my life, I've found that the surest - and quickest - way to find out what I'm made of is during a time of crisis or trial. That's when the outside pressures of this world squeeze out what's holding me together on the inside. And it's either a stronghold that sustains or something that just causes me to crumble.

About nine years ago, I faced a time such as this when I was laid off from my job. It was the first time I had ever experienced this in my career, and I'm sure it won't be the last. Employees were let go in three waves, and I knew I was going to be in the final one.

People were upset. They were afraid. And they were angry that their worlds had been disrupted. Their sources of income were gone, and they would now have to figure out what to do next for themselves and their families. They had placed their trust in a company that had decided to unexpectedly shut down and was offering no future for any of its employees.

For some strange reason, though, I did not fully share these sentiments. I didn't know what the road ahead would hold for me, but somehow I knew that the Lord would take care of me and that he would show me what to do next. As someone who struggles with anxiety, this was out of the ordinary for me to immediately have such a peace. Surely, it passed all of my understanding.

Well, when the third round of lay-offs came, sure enough I received my pink slip. The company would officially close at the end of the calendar year, and so I was asked to help shut it down along with the other last handful of employees.

As we began notifying our business contacts of the company's demise and getting rid of files and figuring out what to do with leftover office furniture and computer equipment, news came in that a different company wanted to buy part of our dying company.

And you know what? This "hero" company wanted to employ me and about five other people who had been laid off as well! So, in about a week's time - from being laid off to accepting new jobs - the Lord had taken me from unemployed to employed. How could I have known this was going to happen?

The Lord was surely with me in this "day of trouble" and had kept me "safe in his dwelling." And he is the one who (miraculously) enabled me to live with "no fear."

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Opening the Door to Calamity

A Scripture I've never really picked up on before.... Hmmmm.... Good devotional by Bayless Conley:

In 1 Kings 13:21-25, God provides us with quite an unusual story,

And he cried out to the man of God who came from Judah, saying, "Thus says the LORD: 'Because you have disobeyed the word of the LORD, and have not kept the commandment which the LORD your God commanded you, but you came back, ate bread, and drank water in the place of which the LORD said to you, "Eat no bread and drink no water," your corpse shall not come to the tomb of your fathers.'" So it was, after he had eaten bread and after he had drunk, that he saddled the donkey for him, the prophet whom he had brought back. When he was gone, a lion met him on the road and killed him. And his corpse was thrown on the road, and the donkey stood by it. The lion also stood by the corpse. And there, men passed by and saw the corpse thrown on the road, and the lion standing by the corpse. Then they went and told it in the city where the old prophet dwelt.

Notice that the lion did something very unnatural. The guy disobeyed, the lion killed him, but the lion didn't go after the donkey. The donkey didn't run away, but the lion didn't try to kill the donkey, nor did it drag the guy off to eat him.

And to top it all off, now people start to walk by. Look, people do not walk by wild lions! But here they are: the donkey, the lion, the dead guy, and people are walking by.

What is God up to here? He is giving a snapshot, something He wants indelibly burned into their understanding: Disobedience opens the door to calamity.

If you choose to disobey God, know you have opened your life to calamity!

Visit the Answers with Bayless Conley website for more ways to Connect with God

Saturday, November 1, 2008

A line in the sand

This was forwarded to me in an email. Take just a moment and quietly watch the whole thing, without preconceptions... Watch. Think. Pray.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Don't forget to change your clocks back one hour this Sunday!!!

Today's devotional by email really jumped out at me because of the title - "I need rest." My husband is just finishing up a short term missions trip, so I've been going it alone this week. We've been doing fine, but I am definitely feeling that I need rest. It's not going to happen as far as a nap, but it's nice to know that it's available in other ways too. This is written by Gwen Smith. Check it out...

Today's Truth
"The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest." So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place" (Mark 6:30-32, NIV).

Friend to Friend
I spin plates. Not real plates. Metaphorical plates. I spin lots of plates at the same time and I multi-task, whether it's with small household chores or with big projects. Doesn't matter. This is both a blessing and a curse in my life. Sometimes my attention is divided in too many directions, leaving me harried ... while at other times, I'm energized by the amount of things I can get done in a small window of time. Regardless, there just never seems to be enough hours in the day to get things done or enough hours in the night to give me complete rest.

Being a plate-spinning mom can be a real challenge. When my kids want me, they don't like to wait for me to spin three more plates before I answer them. When they were smaller, they figured out a way to stop me mid-task, no matter what I was doing. They would place their chubby little hands on my cheeks, look me in the eye, and demand my full attention. Then they would deliver their message or question to me. I was their captive audience.

In Mark 6:30-32, we learn that Jesus and His apostles had been busy working for their heavenly Father. In fact, they had worked with such vigor that they hadn't even gotten a decent meal in their belly. (Boy, do I know what that's like!) In response, Jesus invited them to get away with Him so they could find some rest and rejuvenation in His presence. He said, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest" (Mark 6:31, NIV). That same invitation is extended to you and me.

God wants you to pause the plate spinning and be His captive audience in this very moment. He wants you to come away with Him to a quiet place: to be still, to gaze into His eyes, to worship Him in Spirit and in truth, to be lost in His glory, and found by His grace - to find rest.

I'd like you to imagine His strong yet gentle hands reaching for your cheeks, lifting your chin, and drawing your eyes to His. He wants you to fix your gaze on His beautiful, blazing, mercy-filled eyes. He wants your full attention. He wants to be your rest.

I co-wrote a song called "Sacred Place" that speaks to this. Please take a moment right now to listen to "Sacred Place" and personally respond to Him.


Let's Pray
Heavenly Father, please forgive me for all of the times I fail to give You my attention. I shake my head at the very thought that You want to lock gazes with someone like me, yet Scripture clearly tells me that You desire to be sought after and found by me. I'm here. You have my full attention, please speak to my heart and help me to be Your captive audience throughout today and everyday. In Jesus' Name, Amen

Now It's Your Turn

  • Find a solitary place, grab your Bible and read Psalm 103.
  • Write down your favorite verses from that chapter and journal about what they teach you.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Through the Storm

We have so many storms in our lives... It's nice to know that we're not alone. This teaching from Greg Laurie is an encouragement!!

On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, "Let us cross over to the other side." (Mark 4:35)

In the Gospel of Mark, we find an interesting story in which Jesus invited the disciples, some of whom were seasoned fishermen, to join Him on a little boat trip across the Sea of Galilee. But on the way over, they encountered a radical storm.

Now the question would arise, "Did Jesus know that a storm was coming?" The answer is yes. In fact, you might even say that it was a part of His curriculum that day. It was all part of teaching the disciples to believe what they claimed to believe.

I don't want to make light of what these disciples were experiencing, because I'm sure this was a very harsh storm. Several on board had seen many storms on the Sea of Galilee. So it had to be a very difficult storm for the disciples to be so gripped by fear. According to Mark's Gospel, the waves were breaking over the boat and filling it with water.

The disciples were very afraid, but they didn't have to be. Jesus had made a significant statement they apparently had forgotten about: "Let us go to the other side."

And when God says, "Let us go to the other side," it means you will get to the other side. He didn't say it would be smooth sailing. He didn't say it would be an easy trip. But He did say, "Let us go to the other side."

Often we are gripped by fear and cease to think logically when we forget God's Word to us. That is exactly what happened to the disciples. But Jesus was on board with them, and He was there to see them through.

Copyright © 2008 by Harvest Ministries. All rights reserved. Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

For more relevant and biblical teaching from Pastor Greg Laurie, go to

Sunday, October 26, 2008

But it is so dark in here!!

Give me light in the darkness lest I die.
Psalm 13:3

David was in a dark time in his life. His beloved son, Absalom, had turned on him. He had stolen away David's kingdom, turned the people against him, and now sought his father's very life. David was on the run, hiding from his Absalom's hatred and Absalom's henchmen.

Without question, this was the darkest time in David's life. He had no one to blame but himself. His sin with Bathsheba... his failure to properly deal with family problems (Absalom's sister was raped by a half-brother, Amnon; Absalom ended up killing Amnon in response)... and his reluctance to discipline and mentor Absalom all contributed to this horrible time in his life.


What do you do when you are in a dark time in life? What do you do when that dark time is due, perhaps in large part, to your own failures? Can you have victory even in the darkness? YES!! But you must do three things that David did in Psalm 3.

1. BELIEVE THE TRUTH (Psalm 3:1-4). There is help for you in God. He will be your shield and the One who will lift your head. He will answer your prayers as you call out to Him. Don't call once and quit just because He does not answer on the first ring. Call and keep calling. He will answer at the proper time. He promised!!

Remember, the devil is a liar. Do not believe his lies. God is for you, not against you. Get your heart right with Him. Confess your sins and seek His face. He will help you and bring light to your darkness.

2. REST IN THE LORD (Psalm 3:5-6). Big problems often steal away our peace. We tend to walk in fear when our enemies and our problems are increasing and surrounding us. Yet in the midst of terrible trouble, David slept peacefully. How? He turned his problems over to the Lord. He cast his burdens on Him.

Peace is your birthright as a child of God. You experience supernatural peace when you get your mind and heart off your troubles and onto the Lord. Isaiah 26:3 says, "And You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You." Fix your mind on Jesus in the midst of your problems. Lean hard on Him. Think only on that which is true and honorable and right (Phil. 4:8). Put your life in His hands, and trust Him with the results.

3. RELY ON HIS DELIVERANCE (Psalm 3:7-8). Salvation belongs to God. He will deliver you from the darkness as you trust in Him. Wait on His timing. In the last letter Paul ever wrote, he said, "The Lord will deliver me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever" (2 Tim. 4:18).

I know when you are in the darkness, time moves slowly. A day is like a thousand years.
But take courage, my friend. Your life is not over. God will arise at the proper time... and your enemies will scatter (Ps. 68:1). You can and will have victory in the darkness as you cling to God and His word. David was delivered from Absalom... and you will be delivered too if you simply trust Him.

How do I know? Because He promised... and He cannot lie!!

Jeff Schreve

From His Heart Ministries can be seen on This is another opportunity to reach people throughout the world with the love of Christ. Tell your friends and check us out.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Context of Stillness

A good devotional about a topic that's hard for us moms by Katherine Britton, News & Culture Editor:

"Be still, and know that I am God"
Psalm 46:10

How many times have you heard this verse? A hundred? A thousand? This snippet of a psalm is a pet verse of mine. It constantly pops into my head when I start getting too busy or stressed out. Ironically, I hadn't taken time to read the whole psalm in months until the other night, and I had no recollection of the verses surrounding my favorite one-liner. Here's a sampling of the other verses in Psalm 46:

"Though the earth gives way..." (vs. 2)

"Though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea..." (vs. 2)

"The nations rage, the kingdoms totter..." (vs. 6)

"Be still and know that I am God... I will be exalted in the earth!" (vs. 10)

"The God of Jacob is our fortress." (vs. 11)

I had been picturing an idyllic, Psalm-23-ish passage as the context for my pet verse, but the context is completely different. The psalm is actually the meditation a man holding back fear with faith. In a setting of uncertainty, war, and all-around "trouble" (vs. 1), the psalmist focuses on the peace that comes from being the presence of God -- even though the earth around him threatens to fall apart. The verse holds even more power in this context than in my imagined setting, doesn't it?

I love the Psalms because of their deep meditations on humanity confronted with God's holiness and faithfulness. I can see real men writing the lines, reminding themselves of the bigger context for their troubles. I see men who -- like me -- wondered what would happen next in this life. But every one of them comes to the realization that they serve a God who supersedes their worries and replaces them with worship. These men heard the command to "be still and know" and found that God blew their imaginations.

I often look at the looming election and the financial woes and start getting jittery, wondering about outcomes and impacts. In these times, I slip into this mentality that thinks "being still" and listening to God can only happen in green pastures. But the real context of Psalm 46:10 tells me otherwise. God's amazing peace works most powerfully when the world's craziness reaches a crescendo. Like they say, context is everything.

Intersecting Faith & Life: Look up your favorite one-liners of the Bible today, and read the surrounding passages and chapters. How does the context add to your understanding of the verse? What more does it reveal about living the Christian faith?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Problem of Laziness

I love these email devotionals!! This one is from Dr. Charles Stanley...

Proverbs 6:9-11

The book of Proverbs has much to say about people who are lazy. They are regarded as sluggards who do not think beyond today (20:4), who wrongly consider themselves wise (26:16), and who are on a path leading to future poverty.

When people develop a habit of laziness, they tend to offer excuses--such as "I was too tired" or "I ran out of time." They will avoid doing something they don't like, even if it is their responsibility, and instead do only what pleases them. Sadly, individuals who act this way have trouble seeing clearly what they are doing wrong, and they find criticism unreasonable (Prov. 26:16). Though such men and women might think that their self-centeredness slips by unnoticed, it is usually evident to others.

People may fool themselves, but God, who sees poor attitudes and careless ways, is not pleased by shoddy efforts. He has prepared work for us to do and expects it to be handled conscientiously. The Lord knows that the consequences of laziness are serious: at work, there is the possibility of frequent criticism, probation, or even termination; at home, harsh words can add tension to the atmosphere as frustration builds; and in a "trickle-down effect," children may copy their parents' undesirable work habits.

If you are already a disciplined worker but must interact with people who are not, continue to please the Lord with your productiveness. In addition, pray for patience (Gal. 5:22), and be an example of Christ to those around you.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Little white lies?

"The lip of truth shall be established forever: but a lying tongue is but for a moment."
Proverbs 12: 19, King James Version


"Sarai: There's No Such Thing as a Little White Lie"

"Truth, like the burgeoning of a bulb under the soil, however deeply sown, will make its way to the light."
Ellis Peters

Do I live a truth-filled life?


"Truth is the only safe ground to stand upon."
Elizabeth Cady Stanton

For days the family caravan had been trudging over dusty paths, headed toward the "Promised Land" -- Canaan. But as often happens, Abram and Sarai came upon a detour. I wish none of us ever found our paths straying from God's map, but I know that more than once in my own life, I've found myself veering off course, wandering like a lost lamb, hunting desperately for greener pastures, when in fact, God has a beautiful meadow up ahead and I'm too blind and stupid to stay on the road with Him so I strike out on my own. Has this happened to you?

In the case of Sarai and Abram, Genesis 12: 9 & 10 (K.J.V.), tells us that Abram journeyed toward the south. "And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there: for the famine was grievous in the land." Now, you can correct me if I'm mistaken, but I don't see any place where God told Abram, "I want you to go to Egypt to 'sojourn.'" In fact, if we take a look at the Hebrew meaning of "sojourn" as used in this situation, I find it enlightening for it shines a spotlight on exactly what was going on. Sojourn means to "turn aside from the road for another purpose." There's more! The word "sojourn" also means to shrink back or fear a strange place. Let's lay out the situation. God called Abram for a single purpose -- to make of him a great nation. At God's instruction, Abram was to leave the comforts of family, home, and land, and travel to Canaan. This was God's bidding. But when trouble popped-up, and in this case it was a famine, Abram became afraid. Evidently, he forgot who was leading him. He convinced himself that he was in charge of solving the food crisis. Aren't we humans a crazy lot? Abram decided he could figure out how to get food better than the Creator of all food! I've often wondered what would have happened if Abram had told God, "I'll keep walking on Your path, I'll fulfill Your purpose, and I'll trust you to provide food for the journey."

Instead, off to Egypt Abram headed. Only now that he had taken things into his own hands, he encountered another obstacle. He was married to a beautiful woman.

Historians tell us that at this time, Sarai was not the age of a teenage beauty queen. She was even better. She was a mature woman who was not only beautiful but who also radiated a dignity and bearing that would have been appealing to the Egyptian Pharaoh for Sarai would have been admired as a goddess. Take that girls! For those of us who find the "teen years" of our life are only a faint memory in the rear view mirror, in Bible times, mid-life and old age often brought admiration and respect borne out of the dignity, strength, and wisdom shown by mature women.

Since Abram had taken things into his own hands, the problem of Sarai's beauty and allurement became his to solve, so he cooked up a real dilly of a story that was partially true.

Abram instructed his wife, "Do not tell anyone who asks that you are my sister, otherwise they will kill me."

I say there was some truth to the story because as we found out, Terah was Abram and Sarai's father. With the threat of her husband's potential murder hanging over her head, Sarai accommodatingly went along with the little white lie and within a short period of time, the story blew up in Abram and Sarai's face.

Even though Abram and Sarai stepped off God's path, He didn't lose track of their whereabouts. God saw exactly what was going on and so He did an interesting thing.

As Abram thought, the princes of Pharaoh saw Sarai and said, "What a knock out. We'll gain favor with the Pharaoh if we bring a beautiful woman like this to him for his pleasure." They were right! The Pharaoh was so thrilled he sent Abram "sheep, oxen, asses, menservants, and maidservants, and she asses, and camels" (Genesis 12: 16, K.J.V.).

In the United States, we have a word for men who get money for selling the favors of their women. They are called pimps. And pardon me, this is what Abram, the father of a Great Nation became when he got off God's path and detoured into Egypt to get food. Abram became a pimp and God didn't like his behavior at all. Since Abram hadn't been paying attention to God's will, God went to see Pharaoh. Genesis 12: 17 (K.J.V.) says "And the Lord plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai Abram's wife." God stepped in, not to save Abram, but to protect Sarai! One of God's daughters was going to be "used" and God said, "NO!" I love this story because for every one of God's daughters in this world who is being disrespected, the God of the Universe, our Father who art in heaven is watching. To His girls in Kenya and Zimbabwe who are brutalized -- God is watching. He is with you. He will save you. As one of our Transformation Garden sisters from Kenya wrote me last week, "I believe God is faithful." I wept as I read her note because many of us have no idea the pain and suffering our sisters are enduring and as I read of God's intervention to protect Sarai, I asked our God, who used plagues to protect one of His girls, to please use His mighty power to protect His daughters around the world who are suffering at the hands of those who have no respect or concern for God's daughters.

Well, poor Pharaoh! He was taken off guard. He thought he was adding another gorgeous woman to his harem. As the plagues fell, he called Abram and said, "What is this that thou hast done unto me?" I'm glad Pharaoh was astute enough to lay the blame, not on God who was protecting His daughter, but on Abram who had betrayed His Father and his wife, too.

This short story has so many lessons I could write all day but let's just focus on four of them.

1. When God gives you a purpose for your life, follow His path or you might end up in Egypt.

2. There's no such thing as a little lie. Little lies can cause great suffering.

3. Each of us must choose what is right, no matter what threats hang over our heads.

4. Just because we can't see God's solution to the famine in our lives, doesn't mean God's food basket isn't filled to over-flowing waiting for us just around the next corner.

Tomorrow, we're going to leave Egypt and find out what lessons Sarai learned about hospitality and God's gracious love.

"A half-truth is a dangerous thing, especially if you have got hold of the wrong half."
Myron F. Boyd