Thursday, September 30, 2010

+DEV+ Reflecting Christ

Date: September 30, 2010 9:58 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Reflecting Christ

Reflecting Christ

"And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit" (2 Corinthians 3:18).
Scripture Focus: Isaiah 62:1-5

In my wife’s words...
“Of all my wonderful life-moments, perhaps my favorite is from my wedding. As my dad walked me down the aisle, I was fixated on my groom. The closer we got, the more brightly we beamed at one another. It was as though we were the only two people on earth. In that moment we knew our lives were about to change permanently, and we couldn't be more excited about it.”

Every day we continue to reflect our love for one another through our actions and our words. People who know us know without a doubt that we are in love.

A similar thing happens when we become close to God. As we are shining in the light of His glory, we are transformed. We are no longer alone in life - we have Christ at our side. We are His bride! Our actions and behavior should make it clear to everyone who knows us that we love and are loved by Christ. Our attitudes should reflect the changes that have happened as a result of getting to know our Lord and Savior more intimately.

Insight: Are You In A Loving Relationship With God? Do People Who Know You Know You Know God? In What Ways Do You Reflect Him?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

+DEV+ A Swiftly Changing World

Date: September 29, 2010 10:57 PM
Topic: +DEV+ A Swiftly Changing World

A Swiftly Changing World

“I the LORD do not have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you...” (Malachi 3:6a, 7).
Scripture Focus: Psalm 125

America thrives on change. Although we're a relatively young country, we have seen very dramatic changes in just a few hundred years. Transportation, communication, entertainment, food preparation and even family life are wildly different than they were in the days of our founding fathers. How should a Christian behave in a world characterized by nearly constant change?

First, we must remember to keep God at the center of all we do, regardless of our surroundings. God has set us apart and called us for a specific purpose in life. We cannot fulfill that purpose if we stray from Him. Secondly, we should ask the Holy Spirit to give us a measure of discernment and wisdom so that we change only in ways that edify His church or make our personal relationships with Christ stronger. And finally, be thankful for the myriad of ways we benefit from all these changes.

Just because the world around us moves at breakneck speed, we need not fear. We serve a God who is unchanging and constant.

Insight: Do you struggle to obey laws that don't seem modern? Have any of God's laws changed? How have you changed in response to God's laws?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

+DEV+ Purifying the Heart

Date: September 28, 2010 9:03 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Purifying the Heart

Purifying the Heart

"Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded" (James 4:8).
Scripture Focus: James 4

How can we begin to close the gap that yawns between us and God? The first thing that needs to change about us is that we need to come clean. Like the child who stops covering up because his mom seems to see right through him, we must realize that we cannot hide anything from God. He already knows our comings and our goings both for now and forever. He knows our innermost thoughts and secrets-things we sometimes barely acknowledge to ourselves. To come clean before Him means that we come to Him with the full realization that we are unworthy.

Submitting to God involves openly admitting we are sinners. As we lay our failures before Him, our hearts change from filthy rags to beautiful gems, purified of all unrighteousness. In forgiveness God speaks His love to us and purifies our hearts all th more, washing us in the pools of His grace.

God has so much to offer...more than our minds could ever conceive, and nothing that this world could give.

Insight: Do you feel close to God? Is your heart available to be filled with His love? What hinders your close relationship with God?

+DEV+ A Change of Heart

Date: September 28, 2010 3:06 AM
Topic: +DEV+ A Change of Heart

A Change of Heart

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit" (Psalm 34:18).
Scripture Focus: Psalm 34:1-18

Of all the different things in life that have the potential to influence us, the ones that carry the most weight tend to be those that affect the heart. The Bible refers to the heart as the "wellspring of life," urging us to guard it above all else.

The Psalmist writes that God is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. A person's heart, in the emotional and spiritual sense, is a place where secrets and dreams are kept. The pain of a broken heart is as unique as its contents. We can take comfort in the fact that a God Who is so large and powerful demonstrates His love on such an intimate and personal level when He mends the brokenhearted of His creation.

When our own emotions overpower us, the Holy Spirit intervenes and changes our hearts to be more peaceful. Although we can't change the circumstances that hurt our hearts, we can cry out to God, and He will mend them like a mother tenderly mending her loved one's shirts. He is forever faithful and unchanging.

Insight: When Have You Needed Peace In Your Heart? Do You Believe God Is Faithful Times Of Brokenness? How Do Emotions Change Your Heart And Attitude?

Monday, September 27, 2010

+DEV+ Unfathomable Forgiveness

Date: September 27, 2010 1:17 AM
Topic: +DEV+ Unfathomable Forgiveness

Unfathomable Forgiveness

"Then when I make atonement for you, you will remember and be ashamed and never again open your mouth..." (Ezekiel 16:63).
Scripture Focus: Psalm 32:1-5

Many Christians trivialize the whole concept of forgiveness. We go through each day committing numerous sins; then, at the end of the day, we quickly offer up a flippant prayer saying, "forgive all my sins." When we do this, we may fail to recognize the gravity of our mistakes and the consequences of our sins. We don't even think to ask God to help us change our sinful attitudes. After all, why should we change? God loves us just as we are, doesn't He?

God does indeed love us exactly as we are, but He also loves us too much to let us stay that way. He never stops forgiving us. He never ceases to give us second chances. He desires that we have a change of heart and choose obedience over selfishness. God is best served when we live a life of humility and give Him the glory.

When God forgives us, He removes our sins as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12). We, however, should be humbly mindful of what He has done, and praise Him accordingly.

Insight: What does forgiveness make you think of? Do you need to change to become more humble? Aren't you glad that God allows us to change?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

+DEV+ A Change in Appetite

Date: September 23, 2010 8:47 PM
Topic: +DEV+ A Change in Appetite

A Change in Appetite

"He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known..." (Deuteronomy 8:3a).
Scripture Focus: Deuteronomy 8:1-18

I used to hate Italian food. I didn't mind my mom's spaghetti so much, but lasagna, penne, even pizza made me turn up my nose. I could count on one hand the number of times I'd been to an Italian restaurant. Then, when I was 15 a friend took me out to Alex’s Pizza where I decided to try the chicken parmigiana. My appetite underwent a dramatic change, and I have been a fan of Italian foods for quite some time since.

God has a way of turning our spiritual appetites around as well. When we open ourselves to the possibility of trying something new, blessings await us. It has been said that hunger is the best seasoning. Instead of trying to fill our emptiness by ingesting whatever looks the most appealing at the moment, we need to hunger for the Lord. Remember that only God can provide the satisfaction and change of appetite we need.

As I have hungered and thirsted after Him, I have undergone so many wonderful changes. Let's pray that the same would be true for you.

Insight: Do You Regularly Feed On God's Word? How Does God Satisfy Your Spiritual Hunger? Has God Ever Changed Your Appetite To Seek After Him?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

+DEV+ Changing Seasons

Date: September 22, 2010 7:33 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Changing Seasons

Changing Seasons

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die..." (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2a).
Scripture Focus: Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

My natural tendency is to cling to that which is familiar while resisting the new. Granted, some things should never be relinquished, but for the most part, living a fulfilled life means learning to let go. Additionally, resistance to change can, in some ways, impede our progress in a relationship with God.

As we read in Ecclesiastes, there is a time for everything. Life's seasons are characterized in many different ways, and throughout each season God has something to teach us. God is relentless in how He demonstrates His love for us, but if we are resistant to the idea of change, then we may be resisting Him, too. God desires that we focus on Him. If we are forever looking in the rear-view mirror at a season that has passed, we may completely miss out on where God is taking us next.

Seasons and situations change, but God remains the same. Every good and perfect gift comes from Him (See James 1:17). Let's welcome the changes He brings about in our lives and learn to appreciate the abundance of blessings He sends.

Insight: What Keeps You From Looking To The Future? Do You Ever Cling To The Past? Recall A Blessing God Has Given You In The Past.

+DEV+ Something More Permanent

Date: September 22, 2010 12:37 AM
Topic: +DEV+ Something More Permanent

Something More Permanent

"Since you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God...your life is now hidden with Christ in God" (Colossians 3:1, 3).
Scripture Focus: Colossians 3:1-10

The shades covering the window in our bedroom were atrocious. They were the adhesive variety that we purchased out of sheer necessity with little regard to aesthetics. I don't know why it took us so long to replace them, other than the fact that I managed to convince myself that they looked fine.

Eventually, the old shades came down and new ones went up. Even as flimsy as they were, that cheap adhesive proved a formidable challenge. In order to make room for new ones, the old had to be eliminated.

The same is true of the attitudes we harbor in our hearts at times. We convince ourselves that making changes requires too much work. Our brains tell us that what God has to offer in exchange for the old way of doing things can't possibly be better than whatever we attempt on our own.

Like installing the new shades, the Holy Spirit works by establishing new attitudes. God's will unfolds, and we learn that His saving grace is the only permanent thing worth treasuring.

Insight: Do you need a new attitude? What are some of the old things left in your heart? What other permanent things does God offer?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

+DEV+ Correct Change

Date: September 21, 2010 8:21 AM
Topic: +DEV+ Correct Change

Correct Change

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God" (Philippians 4:6).
Scripture Focus: Psalm 145:1-13

The vending machine accepted five-dollar bills, so I fed a crisp Lincoln into the slot and pressed the button corresponding with the caffeinated beverage of choice. The change descended loudly.

Quickly applying some mental math, I calculated that the vending machine had returned only $1.50 in change. I plunged my fingers into the coin return cup and planned to voice a complaint to the front desk as soon as I retrieved those six quarters.

Then I looked at the coins in my palm: three Susan B. Anthony dollars, and three quarters. My anger turned to embarrassment. The change I received wasn't what I anticipated, but it was correct.

God's answers to our prayers rarely look the way we think they should. We conceive in our own minds just how we believe things ought to go. We grow anxious when the job opportunity fails or when the loved one does not heal or when the rebellious child does not come home. Nonetheless, God's answers are exactly what we need, given to us in the perfect amount.

Insight: Has God answered your prayers in a way you didn't expect? Can you see His good providence in it now?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Prayer Request

A very dear friend of mine named George Wilson is dire need of prayer. He has been suffering from a heart rhythm condition for some time now, the Dr.s had to use shock treatment to get it back into rhythm and are now using medication to fine tune it. He is in quite a bit of pain and is getting discouraged and wants to come back home soon. Please agree in prayer that the Dr's will get this thing under control and for God's total healing of his heart.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

+DEV+ Debt Reconciliation

Date: September 19, 2010 6:13 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Debt Reconciliation

Debt Reconciliation

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who...gave us the ministry of reconciliation" (2 Corinthians 5:17-18).
Scripture Focus: 2 Corinthians 5:11-21

When we moved to our new house, we acquired someone's old phone number. Apparently, that person wasn't very financially responsible. Collection agencies and creditors call frequently. We've spent several months explaining that we are not the person they seek.

When we become a new creation in Christ, He takes on our debt of sin. However, the enemy tries to undermine this good work. The evil one takes great pleasure in reminding us of our sinful past and trying to make us believe that we are still in great debt. Our lack of faith makes us think that payment will be exacted from us. This can weigh us down and interfere with our ability to praise God with our whole hearts.

In those times of insecurity, we must remember that our debts already have been reconciled. He took our sin and paid it all. There is now no condemnation for those who serve the Lord. We have been forgiven; nothing can change that. Rejoice! For in His eyes, we are a new creation.

Insight: Does your sinful past ever trouble you? Do you rejoice to be debt-free in Christ? How should we respond to our newness in Christ?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

+DEV+ Consecrate Yourself

Date: September 16, 2010 8:56 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Consecrate Yourself

Consecrate Yourself

"...'Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow;...That which is devoted is among you, O Israel. You cannot stand against your enemies until you remove it'" (Joshua 7:13).
Scripture Focus: Joshua 7

Sometimes we become distracted by material things. We have a tendency to think that we bring about positive change in our lives through our own actions. We need to realize that we can do nothing without God. Rather, give Him the full credit and glory, keeping nothing back for ourselves. Our God is incredibly powerful; we have no excuse for putting earthly things ahead of Him on our list of priorities. When we yield to Him, we can experience the blessings of change that He has planned for us. And what welcomed changes those will be!

The Children of Israel were on the verge of the biggest change they could imagine. After years of wandering in the dessert, they had finally arrived at the Promised Land. The army was ready to go in and conquer the Canaanites; they needed to change their focus to rely fully on God and subject themselves to His will. Insisting on their own way of doing things was keeping them from enjoying the victory against Canaan that God had planned for them.

Insight: Do you trust God with life changes? Do you cling to the past? What changes has God made in your life when you've trusted Him?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

+DEV+ Grand Changes

Date: September 15, 2010 11:56 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Grand Changes

Grand Changes

"You drench its furrows and level its ridges; you soften it with showers and bless its crops. The grasslands of the desert overflow; the hills are clothed with gladness" (Psalm 65:10, 12).
Scripture Focus: Psalm 65

I remember the first time I saw the Grand Canyon. I marveled at it, awestruck by the many colors that the sun illuminated on the canyon walls. I was only 6 years old at the time, and the sheer magnitude of what I was viewing absolutely amazed me. What really impressed me was that the Grand Canyon is the result of many years of erosion by wind and water. Together those forces have created a breathtaking national park in the middle of Arizona's desert.

The Holy Spirit is a force even stronger than those of nature. Like a mighty river, the Holy Spirit churns in our hearts, eroding away all that should not be there. The result is a beautiful heart, one that pleases our Lord and Savior. Just as the waters of the Colorado River are relentless in turning the rocks of the riverbed, making them smooth, so too the Holy Spirit as it works on our hearts, smoothing over the rough spots and cutting a wide swath that evidences His glory. And there the Son illuminates the beauty of what has taken place.

Insight: God makes even the roughest patches smooth and beautiful. How has He demonstrated this in your life? Does your heart need to be smoothed over?

+DEV+ Change Is in the Air

Date: September 15, 2010 1:23 AM
Topic: +DEV+ Change Is in the Air

Change Is in the Air

"In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands...But you remain the same, and your years will never end" (Psalm 102:25, 27).
Scripture Focus: Psalm 102:1-2, 24-28

A friend has described the subtle indications of the changing seasons in the Midwest. He says a smell in the air distinctly marks a new time of year. One inhale of it and he would know "spring is on the way," or "fall is definitely here." He might not actually see the crocuses peeking out or the maple leaves turning orange, but the air would carry on it invisible yet very real testimony of what was to come.

We may not see or understand all of the changes the Lord is bringing about in our own lives or in the lives of believers around the globe, but just as surely as the changing seasons, He is shaping us all into the people He would have us be. Our lives are becoming each day the testimony of what He has created us for.

Change is in the air! Let's anchor our hearts this month in the truths of His Word which remind us that while seasons and political climates, economies and families all change, we cling to the One Who does not change like the shifting sands.

Insight: Do you fear seasons of your life with much change? Has God seen you through those times before? Trust Him to take you through again!

Monday, September 13, 2010

+DEV+ The Marriage Cup

Date: September 13, 2010 9:46 PM
Topic: +DEV+ The Marriage Cup

The Marriage Cup

"'Hallelujah!...Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready'" (Revelation 19:6b-7).
Scripture Focus: Revelation 19:4-9

What a joyful occasion marriage is!

In Bible times, a groom would go to the bride's home to establish a marriage contract and set the price he would pay for his bride.

With a cup of wine the symbol of the covenant, the marriage became legal, though not yet consummated physically.

Jesus shared a cup of wine with His disciples at the last supper. They served as representatives of the church, the bride of Christ. Communion reminds us of the commitment they tasted that night.

Finally, the groom would return to his father's house to prepare a place for his bride. The bride was to prepare for his return (John 14:2-3), not knowing when it would be, although the groom's arrival would be preceded by a shout (1 Thessalonians 4:16a). The bride and groom would return to his father's house and celebrate.

We, too, can expect a wonderful celebration on the glorious day of Christ's second coming. We'll look forward to meeting there!

Insight: We are the bride of Christ, and we must be ready for His return.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

+DEV+ Listen

Date: September 12, 2010 10:17 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Listen


"He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches" (Revelation 2:29).
Scripture Focus: Revelation 2:1-3:22

When the Lord God says something, it is crucial that we hear it. When He repeats something, it adds even more importance. Seven times in Revelation 2&3, God warns Christians to listen with the spiritual hearing He provides.

He spoke to seven literal churches, but they represent the problems all churches have faced throughout history-and still face today.

To each church, He gives a commendation for what they are doing right, a correction they need to make, and a consequence if they fail to change.

He tells them the benefit of trusting Him enough to listen and obey His Word. "To him who overcomes" God will give access to the tree of life, protection from the second death, hidden manna, a white stone with a new name written on it, authority over the nations, the morning star, acknowledgement of belonging to God, a crown, and the right to sit with Jesus on His throne. "Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God" (1 John 5:5).

Insight: Faith in Jesus makes it possible to overcome sin and death. Without faith, we cannot please God. He wants us to trust and obey.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

+DEV+ Contending for the Faith

Date: September 9, 2010 9:30 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Contending for the Faith

Contending for the Faith

"Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints" (Jude 3).
Scripture Focus: Jude 1-4

We live in days of great confusion, anger, and frustration not only in the world but also among believers. A recent news article said America's spirituality is in a state of flux. Many are unconcerned with doctrinal distinction, and unbelief is on the rise. Firm beliefs and firm organizations are increasingly things of the past.

But here we are, beginning a New Year and seeing that God's Word gives us very firm instruction. Jude urges us strongly to "contend for the faith." God's gracious action on behalf of believers is evident: verses 1 and 24 speak of God's divine preservation in keeping us. But also we see warnings against the secret strategy of false teachers who seek to overthrow the faith of God's people. They are described as "dreamers" (vs. 8), "clouds without rain" (vs. 12), "wild waves of the sea" and "wandering stars" (vs. 13). To counter this, we as believers are instructed in verses 20-23 to build ourselves up in the "most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit," and keeping ourselves in the "love of God."

Insight: God's power is able to keep us from compromise, but our responsibility is to build ourselves up in His truth.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

+DEV+ Hide and Seek

Date: September 8, 2010 10:18 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Hide and Seek

Hide and Seek

"'Do not consider his appearance or his height...The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart'" (1 Samuel 16:7).
Scripture Focus: Psalm 139:1-18

"Can He see me now?" our four-year-old daughter asked from beneath her bed. We had been teaching them that God sees us wherever we are, hears every word, and knows every motive of our hearts.

This is an important truth for all of us to remember. For we cannot just feel accountable to other people; we must know we are accountable to God Himself. One day we will stand before Him, and everything will become public knowledge.

He saw your unformed body. He fashioned you within your mother's womb, and He loved you even then. He knew you as His beloved one made in His image-not as a dispensable fetus.

David said, "Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?" Of course, there is no place to hide from the omnipresent God. "You hem me in-behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me" (Psalm 139:5).

God is the loving Seeker who sees all, hears all, and knows all. He is Light and can penetrate any physical, emotional, or spiritual darkness.

Insight: God's signal is never out of range. Our Father continually provides access, so we can talk to Him about any thing at any time.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

+DEV+ Identity Theft

Date: September 26, 2009 11:26 AM
Topic: +DEV+ Identity Theft

Identity Theft

"'I was found by those who did not seek me; I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me...All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people'" (Romans 10:20-21).
Scripture Focus: Acts 6:6; 8:17; 13:3

God made the first humans with His own hands, in His image-as His children. Then the deceiver, Satan, talked Adam and Eve into becoming his followers, his children. Why didn't God use His hands right then to destroy humanity?

It was because of His great love. God reached out His hands to Adam and Eve and to their descendants throughout history, offering each one the right to become His child (John 1:12). Jesus gave His hands...and humans pierced them.

God told the Israelites to touch the sacrifices they brought to God (Leviticus 1:4) to identify with them. This showed that the sacrifice was taking their place and paying for their sins. Touching the sacrifice acted out their faith in God's Word.

The apostles laid their hands on believers as they received the Holy Spirit. Church leaders lay hands on those who will preach, identifying with them. Through touch, Christians act out our faith, showing our true identity as God's children. And with the handprint of Christ on us, no one can snatch us away.

Insight: Let's rejoice with David that wherever we would go, there the hand of the Lord will guide us and hold us (Psalm 139:10).

+DEV+ Sweet Smell Of Victory

Date: September 7, 2010 1:23 AM
Topic: +DEV+ Sweet Smell Of Victory

Sweet Smell Of Victory

"Thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads...the fragrance of the knowledge of him." (2 Corinthians 2:14).
Scripture Focus: 2 Corinthians 2:14-16a

Paul used an analogy familiar to the people in Corinth. When the Romans won a battle, the general and his troops participated in "a triumphal march." People lined the streets, while priests walked in a parade spreading the sweet smell of incense. The smell meant victory to the Roman army. The aroma clung to them, so wherever they went, people knew they were victors.

But to the captives paraded through the streets and led to execution, the aroma meant they were facing death.

Christ won the battle over sin and death. He earned the right to a triumphal march. Those who identify with Christ share the victory over sin and death. Wherever His followers go, the sweet fragrance of the knowledge of Him goes. The aroma of Christ's sacrifice is sweet to the Father, for it speaks of the pure love and devotion of His Son.

Unlike the Roman generals, Christ on His own won the battle against sin and death. We participate in that celebration by His grace.

Insight: The New Testament teaches the priesthood of believers (1 Peter 2:9). Let us spread the sweet fragrance of Christ, Victor over sin and death.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

+DEV+ Taste of Death

Date: September 5, 2010 10:24 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Taste of Death

Taste of Death

"'My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death...My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done'" (Matthew 26:38, 42).
Scripture Focus: Matthew 26:36-46; Hebrews 2:5-10

When our youngest daughter was one or two she would clamp her mouth shut and refuse the medicine she needed for her cold. Mom pried open her mouth, poured the liquid in, and held her lips together. When she let go, she spit the bright red liquid all over her mom’s dress.

In contrast, Jesus willingly accepted the cup full of horrid medicine that would heal humanity. His human nature recoiled at the coming physical and emotional pain. He knew He would suffer betrayal, rejection, and torture from those He created and loved. His divine nature felt appalling disgust for the sin that would engulf Him-the sin of every person who ever lived, including yours and mine.

Several Old Testament passages mention a cup full of God's wrath against sin (Isaiah 51:17; Jeremiah 25:15). This is the bitter cup the Father God handed His beloved sinless Son.

Driven by selfless love, Jesus willingly took the cup and tasted death for us, fulfilling God's plan. Is anything more amazing?

Insight: How can we fail to respond with humble gratitude to His awesome love and mercy?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

+DEV+ Altered Sight

Date: September 1, 2010 10:13 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Altered Sight

Altered Sight

"'Woe to me!' I cried. 'I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty'" (Isaiah 6:5).
Scripture Focus: Isaiah 5:8-6:8

Change is hard. First, we must see our need for change. Then we must let God change us.

God used a vision of Jesus as an agent of change in Isaiah's life. After seeing Jesus as He is, none of us can remain the same.

God had prophesied through Isaiah six woes upon the rebellious children of Israel (5:11-22).

Once Isaiah saw Jesus in all His glory, Isaiah uttered the seventh woe against himself. When he observed angels crying, "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty" (6:3), Isaiah realized his own unworthiness and saw the overwhelming sin of his people. Their mouths spewed pride, discord, and lies instead of praise for the Holy One.

Isaiah saw that he needed to change before he could serve as a channel for God's Word-a high honor, indeed, for anyone to enjoy. Realizing his only hope for cleansing would come from the fire of God's holiness, Isaiah must have felt humility and pain in the process. But afterwards he was ready to share God's pure and precious Word.

Insight: God wants to purify our hearts and change what comes from our mouths, so we can share His glory with the world.

+DEV+ Be Careful Little Ears

Date: September 1, 2010 12:16 AM
Topic: +DEV+ Be Careful Little Ears

Be Careful Little Ears

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs..." (Colossians 3:16).
Scripture Focus: Ephesians 5:15-21; James 3:13-4:12

Paul speaks to us today of letting the Word of Christ live in us. It causes us to care about what happens to others. It means we teach them with the wisdom God gives us, using His Word to gently correct unhealthy behavior. The Word of Christ gives us a grateful attitude so the words we speak then glorify God.

But when Satan's words live in people, they produce the opposite results. They are concerned only with self interests. The wisdom they have to share is from the devil. "For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and every evil practice" (James 3:16).

By letting the Words of the Bible-its precious promises and its instruction-dwell in us richly, we will be transformed more and more into the likeness of Jesus. Have you been astounded at how the words of a song will stick in your mind for years? Let the words "stuck in your mind" be ones that glorify Him. Be careful of what goes in through the ear-gate; it will have a lasting affect our spiritual lives.

Insight: What type of songs do we choose to hear? Are the words living in us enriching our spiritual lives?