Sunday, January 30, 2011

+DEV+ Bearing Fruit

Date: January 30, 2011 8:36 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Bearing Fruit

Bearing Fruit

"We pray this in order that you may live a life, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with...his glorious might" (Colossians 1:10-11).
Scripture Focus: Colossians 1:3-14

Along with waiting comes growth. The fruit maturing on the trees, the development of an unborn child, the love between a man and a woman all take time to grow. Paul identifies spiritual growth by the "fruit" that becomes evident in those who follow Jesus.

Getting to know God better is the first step in spiritual growth. Learning more about Him comes from reading the Bible. We learn to trust Him for strength when we endure difficulty.

Allowing God to strengthen us is the second requirement for spiritual growth. Perhaps we endure a situation we'd rather not deal with, a person we'd rather not cross paths with, or a limitation we'd rather overcome. God's strength gives us patience and thanksgiving. We see that we are not going through any of our trials alone.

It takes time to know God more deeply, to display patience, and to be thankful. As the Holy Spirit works in our hearts to mold us, He makes us worthy of the Lord, pleasing Him in every way.

Insight: Take time to learn more about God. Ask for His strength to help you endure with patience and thankfulness.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

+DEV+ Always in Style

Date: January 27, 2011 9:16 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Always in Style

Always in Style

"They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts" (Ephesians 4:18).
Scripture Focus: Ephesians 4:17-32

Each season retailers advertise new lines of clothing, promoting new styles and latest trends. It's hard to keep up with the changes!

Paul's encouragement "to put off your old self... and to put on the new self" relates to the clothing of our mind. The purpose isn't to make ourselves, our church, or our God reflect a fashionable image. The purpose is for us to reflect the very image of God.

When the routine of life turns into a season of heartache, we usually don't understand God's ways. Bitterness clothes us. After all, a darkened understanding coordinates well with distancing ourselves from God and hardening our hearts. But we "did not come to know Christ that way" (Ephesians 4:20).

Even while we wait for a difficult situation to end, we remember we're clothed in righteousness. Because Christ has redeemed us, we wear the clothing that displays truthfulness, self-control, and encouragement, attributes reflecting our magnificent Designer. Such apparel, purchased for us with Christ's own blood, will never go out of style.

Insight: Dress for the day from God's wardrobe. Put on truth, sharing, uplifting conversations, self-control, kindness and forgiveness.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

+DEV+ Joy in the Daily Grind

Date: January 26, 2011 9:28 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Joy in the Daily Grind

Joy in the Daily Grind

"May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus" (Romans 15:5).
Scripture Focus: Romans 15:1-13

Leave it to human nature to look forward to the wedding, but to hardly joy in the engagement; to take pleasure in the game, not the week of practice; to long for Memorial Day, not the first day of school. Achieving, accomplishing, arriving - we yearn for those. Words like waiting, delaying, and pausing stir up negative emotions.

We expect feelings of joy and peace once we attain a goal and the waiting is over. Yet Paul shows us that, through the power of the Holy Spirit, joy and peace can be experienced in the midst of waiting.

When a journey becomes a struggle, we often revert to critical comments, judgmental demands, and defensive responses. But Romans 15 challenges us to keep a spirit of unity during "the daily grind." When we're tempted to think about self rather than others, we are to "accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you" (15:7).

Show love and forgiveness to others as God has to us. He fills us with joy and peace, and our lives can overflow with His power (15:13).

Insight: When you need endurance and encouragement, continue to love and forgive others. This will bring unity and will glorify God.

+DEV+ I'll Wait for Heaven

Date: January 26, 2011 12:14 AM
Topic: +DEV+ I'll Wait for Heaven

I'll Wait for Heaven

"...Our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently" (Romans 8:18, 25).
Scripture Focus: Romans 8:18-28

"If you don't pick up your play dough, you won't be allowed to play with it for a very, very long time!" the young mother threatened.

Her toddler thought for a moment and asked, "Can I play with it when I get to heaven?"

Waiting wouldn't be so bad if we always thought of our delays with an eternal perspective. Instead we fret, wanting to know when our struggle will be over. Will my problem end in a week or in a month? Will the relationship be restored soon?

Paul reminds the Romans that allowing God's glory to shine through their struggle gives them strength to wait. Paul focuses attention on God being glorified through suffering, not on God ending it. Some people use this passage to justify that God is obligated to smooth out life's problems. God's eternal perspective does not limit the fulfillment of His promises to our timetable. Regardless of when He brings an answer, we can be as satisfied as the toddler who will once again play with his play dough - even if he waits until heaven.

Insight: Instead of focusing on your struggles, ask God to give you an eternal perspective of your problems. Allow His glory to shine through you.

Monday, January 24, 2011

+DEV+ Peaceful Parting

Date: January 24, 2011 10:24 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Peaceful Parting

Peaceful Parting

"They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark...but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord" (Acts 15:39-40).
Scripture Focus: Acts 15:36-41

Although we may idealize the lives and faith of Biblical characters, Scripture shows their lives to be very human, filled with struggles. For example, Paul wanted to return with Barnabas to the towns in which they had previously preached. Barnabas wanted to take his cousin, John Mark. Paul adamantly refused since Mark had previously deserted them. A disagreement arose.

Paul saw Barnabas's decision as unwise; Barnabas saw Paul's decision as unforgiving. Unable to reach a compromise, they parted ways. Yet they remained committed to their mission of strengthening churches and bringing unbelievers to faith. God blessed both of them.

Throughout history, successful partners have been effective and memorable. Still sometimes partners reach an impasse. Ideally we would compromise and continue working together since God delights in unity.

Paul and Barnabas' experience illustrates, however, that at times God blesses a peaceful parting.

Insight: When a disagreement affects your ministry, keep your focus on serving God. He can still work through you.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

+DEV+ Days of Darkness

Date: January 23, 2011 11:02 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Days of Darkness

Days of Darkness

"Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. For three days he was blind" (Acts 9:8).
Scripture Focus: Acts 9:1-22

Saul's conversion happened while he traveled to Damascus to persecute Christians. Meeting Jesus changed his life. Instead of condemning the followers of Christ to their death, Saul desired to follow Christ with his life.

Once converted, he waited in blindness for three days. Through Ananias God healed Saul and filled him with the Holy Spirit. Saul was baptized and then began his ministry.

How long those three days must have seemed to Saul. Would it last forever? Yet those days of darkness never diminished his desire to serve Christ. While blind, he waited; once healed, he sprang up for the cause of Christ.

In our darkest days of worry, regret or failure, we may reach a standstill. The wait is not because God will not forgive us or because He doesn't have time to help. More likely, we're just unable to see how God brings the healing we need. He may send a friend with compassion and encouragement. Though we wait in the dark, God will not leave us there.

Insight: When you are stranded or do not know where God will lead, be faithful. He'll provide the healing, support and encouragement needed to serve Him.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

+DEV+ Missed Opportunities

Date: January 20, 2011 10:32 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Missed Opportunities

Missed Opportunities

"[Jesus] asked him, 'Do you want to get well?' 'Sir,' the invalid replied, 'I have no one to help me...While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me'" (John 5:6b-7).
Scripture Focus: John 5:1-9

Waiting is increasingly difficult when we've experienced missed opportunities. When there are logical reasons to keep hope, it's easier to maintain faith. But as hope wanes, disappointment erodes our faith.

The man Jesus addressed at the pool of Bethesda experienced the cruel cycle of missed opportunities. Perhaps he appeared to be waiting hopefully as he sat with the others in need of healing. But his reply to Jesus suggests that he was past the point of even trying. His hopes were shattered with every missed opportunity for healing when the water was stirred. Perhaps Jesus talked to that particular man precisely because he was hopeless.

If the man had been miraculously healed after being the first one in the stirred water, he might have felt some how responsible for, or entitled to, his healing. But his healing wasn't based on effort, desire or faith; it rested in Jesus' power.

Though we feel hopeless, Jesus is able to restore. In our powerlessness, He is all-powerful.

Insight: Even if you are past the point of waiting for a miracle, Jesus can bring healing. He's all-powerful.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

+DEV+ Compelling Temptation

Date: January 19, 2011 9:13 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Compelling Temptation

Compelling Temptation

"After fasting forty days and forty nights, [Jesus] was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, 'If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread'" (Matthew 4:2-3).
Scripture Focus: Matthew 4:1-11

Satan tempted Jesus to prove His deity and to enjoy instant gratification by turning stones into bread. After fasting 40 days, Jesus was hungry, so Satan appealed to His very human hunger pangs.

Many temptations lure us with the appeal of immediate gratification. When our senses are enticed or our desires are stirred, it's tempting to act without delay. In the book Get Off Your Knees and Pray, Shelia Walsh discusses our human tendency to avoid waiting. She has learned, "When I feel a compulsion to move quickly, I wait. God is a God of order and peace."

Jesus understands the lure of instant gratification. He was "tempted in every way, just as we are - yet was without sin" (Hebrews 4:15). He resisted every temptation because He knew the truth of Scripture. God's character has been revealed through Jesus. Why wouldn't I confidently trust in God's timing and His provision?

We can resist the lure of temptation by filling up with the nourishing truth of God's Word.

Insight: When tempted to satisfy a desire immediately, turn to God's Word. Through it, you'll receive the strength to wait for His provision.

+DEV+ The Need to Wait

Date: January 19, 2011 12:47 AM
Topic: +DEV+ The Need to Wait

The Need to Wait

"Jesus said, 'This for God's glory so that God's Son may be glorified through it.' Yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days" (John 11:4, 6).
Scripture Focus: John 11:1-7, 11-15, 20-45

Waiting is part of life. We wait at the grocery store, the bank, and the doctor's office. Many are the times and years we have waited for God. Yet consider this: sometimes God waits for us. He waits to meet our need. He waits so He can work in ways that are beyond our expectations.

Jesus gave us a clear example. When told of Lazarus' illness, He waited before meeting needs. Healing Lazarus when his sisters asked would have placed the greatest importance on their faith in Jesus. Jesus didn't want to confirm their faith, He wanted to increase it. After Mary and Martha's brother died, their situation was beyond the point of their own faith in Jesus.

That's when He arrived.

When our needs are greater than our faith in God's intervention, He may be trying to increase our faith. He sees the need we bring to Him, but He also sees the need for our faith to grow. When God is not "showing up", or when we feel most desperate for His help, wait while your faith grows and God is glorified.

Insight: Consider God's delay an opportunity for your faith to grow and for Him to be glorified in the process.

Monday, January 17, 2011

+DEV+ Priorities and Peace

Date: January 17, 2011 10:08 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Priorities and Peace

Priorities and Peace

"Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She asked, 'Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself'" (Luke 10:40)?
Scripture Focus: Luke 10: 39-42

When Jesus and His disciples came to visit Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, Martha was burdened with preparing the meal for over a dozen men. As she toiled with her hands, she stewed in her mind. She expected her sister's help, but Mary sat and listened to Jesus. Martha's resentment simmered until she questioned Jesus' concern.

Jesus knew Mary was not the solution to Martha's problem. He didn't give Martha advice about cutting her list or delegating her chores or multi-tasking. Nor did Jesus trivialize the enormity of Martha's responsibility. Rather, He advised her to reprioritize her list. She longed for Mary's help; Jesus wanted Martha to long for Him.

Even today, peace is not proportional to the number of items we check off our list. Like Martha, we are burdened with "too much to do." We wish others would lighten our load. When we're weighed down with responsibility, our efforts to find relief can drive us to bitterness. We'll only experience peace if we listen to Jesus through His Word.

Insight: When you're disappointed by others or burdened by your list, take time with Jesus to find relief through His peace.

+DEV+ Rejoicing with Others

Date: January 17, 2011 1:47 AM
Topic: +DEV+ Rejoicing with Others

Rejoicing with Others

"In a loud voice she exclaimed: 'Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of the Lord should come to me'" (Luke 1:42-43)?
Scripture Focus: Luke 1:39-45

Elizabeth was "well along in years" when she became pregnant. She had waited decades. When her niece, Mary, came to visit, surprisingly she was also pregnant. Yet there were no conversations of comparison, no questioning Mary's virginity, and no criticizing God's choosing Mary over Elizabeth to bear His Son. Logic would have chosen a godly, well-established couple like Zechariah and Elizabeth to raise the Son of God. Holiness chose the virgin, Mary.

It's easy to compare how God works in our lives with how He works in the lives of others. So much time and effort go into developing relationships, achieving health, or securing finances. Yet, others seem to obtain blessings effortlessly. When we compare our journeys, resentment grows.

Elizabeth never frustrated herself with comparisons. She rejoiced in God's work in Mary's life. She thanked God for His blessings without resenting her difficult journey to receiving them. We can do the same and give Him the glory.

Insight: Appreciate the blessings God gives you and thank Him for the gifts He gives to those around you.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

+DEV+ Obedience in Barrenness

Date: January 13, 2011 9:12 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Obedience in Barrenness

Obedience in Barrenness

"Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord's commandments and regulations blamelessly. But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren" (Luke 1:6-7).
Scripture Focus: Luke 1:5-25

Elizabeth was barren during a time that linked infertility with great shame. How did she and her husband respond? They kept the commandments. Commandments not only revealed how to "do good" but also how to love God. Zechariah and Elizabeth didn't try to earn blessings or substitute their emptiness with distractions; they deepened their relationship with God. They knew God was loving and powerful, even if He never gave them a child.

Many Christians live with some form of barrenness. Instead of an empty womb, perhaps our finances, relationships or career feel empty. We may attempt to fill that barrenness with people, hobbies or even church activities. Trying to satisfy our emptiness with anything or anyone other than God focuses our attention on gaining control rather than on serving our Creator.

We can obey God and live righteously even in our longings because our greatest need has already been filled in Jesus Christ.

Insight: As you go through times of barrenness, continue to obey God. You will be satisfied by Him alone.

+DEV+ Still Seeking God

Date: January 13, 2011 3:29 AM
Topic: +DEV+ Still Seeking God

Still Seeking God

"He answered, 'While the child was alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live'" (2 Samuel 12:22-23a).
Scripture Focus: 2 Samuel 12:13-23

The prophet Nathan told David that the child he conceived in adultery would die. When the child became ill, David refused to eat, and he pleaded with God to spare the child.

While David fasted and prayed, he may have thought about Moses. The Scriptures told of times God changed his mind due to Moses' prayers. As long as the child lived, David was determined to plead with God for mercy. But the child died.

David's time of prayer while waiting no doubt changed him. After the death, David went to the house of the Lord and worshiped. Waiting didn't distance him from God. It kept David focused on the holy character of God rather than allowing bitterness to burrow a hole deep within.

Praying for God's mercy while living through a tragedy can seem futile if our desires aren't realized. Yet He is faithful. Seeking God allows us see the truth of who He is, not just the pain of what we lose. Seek God even while your heart aches; that is the heart of worship.

Insight: When you're faced with sorrow, ask God to show you the truth of who He is and why He is worthy to be praised.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

+DEV+ Timing is Everything

Date: January 11, 2011 9:27 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Timing is Everything

Timing is Everything

"Abishai said to David, 'Today God has delivered your enemy into your hands...' 'As surely as the Lord lives,' [David] said, 'the LORD himself will strike him'" (1 Samuel 26:8a, 10a).
Scripture Focus: 1 Samuel 26:5-12

After David was anointed the next king of Israel, he spent years running for his life. Saul, the current king, wanted David dead. Though he had two perfect opportunities to kill Saul and was encouraged to do so by his men, David declined.

How did David know that these opportunities weren't God's provision? Why didn't he see them as the means by which God was fulfilling his promise? Logic, rationalization, and encouragement from others did not convince David. He waited for peace from God. Killing Saul would be a means to an end - a quick way to the kingdom. But David knew that would not glorify God.

It is tempting to justify speeding up God's timing. We don't always enjoy waiting for God. And it's tempting to jump at opportunities to hurry Him when we only think of the end goal. Yet God wants the process to glorify Him. Seeking God's timing results in peace and willingness to wait for it. When we desire Him to be glorified more than we desire to obtain a goal, God directs the means.

Insight: When you're tempted to manipulate your circumstances, ask yourself if your actions would glorify God. Wait for His peace.

Monday, January 10, 2011

+DEV+ Difficult Directions

Date: January 10, 2011 10:48 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Difficult Directions

Difficult Directions

"All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their leader. About four hundred men were with him" (1 Samuel 22:2).
Scripture Focus: 1 Samuel 22:1-4

It's easy to expect God to simplify our lives when we're trying to serve Him. Burdened by the weight of our problems, we think God's leading is only evident when He lightens our load. Yet King David's life became increasingly hard while he followed God. God led him through long periods of waiting and seemed to send additional challenges in the meantime.

God chose David to be Israel's second king, but He didn't create an easy path to that position. Not only did David have to wait years before becoming king, he also had to run for his life much of that time. We might expect God to at least give David strong, powerful, and respected men to lead while fighting enemies. But God assigned David the distressed, the indebted, the discontented.

There's no record of David questioning if he had misunderstood God's leading. He willingly worked with those God placed in his path. David followed God - and led God's people - confident in the character of God even when life was hard.

Insight: Ask God to help you see your less-than-desirable circumstances as gifts from Him and opportunities for growth.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

+DEV+ Praise the Lord!

Date: January 9, 2011 5:42 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord!

"Praise the LORD. Praise the LORD from the heavens...Let them praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; his splendor is above the earth and the heavens" (Psalm 148:1a, 13).
Scripture Focus: Psalm 148:1-14

In the movie Bruce Almighty, Bruce drives down the road praying for God's direction in life. He ignores a flashing neon sign warning "Caution Ahead" and a truck full of signs warning "Dead End," "Wrong Way" and "Stop!" After ignoring every answer God sent, Bruce crashed.

in my past, I prayed that God would tell me what to do to resolve a problem. Like Bruce, I pleaded with God for direction and initially missed His reply since it wasn't what I wanted.

While studying the Psalms, I continued to read about our need to praise the Lord. Each of the last five chapters tells us that, but it wasn't the instruction I was listening for. I wanted to do something, and then praise God after my action contributed to the solution. He wanted me to praise Him. God doesn't always lead us to do something. Psalms 148-150 may be our flashing neon signs: Praise Him! Praise needn't be reserved for when a problem is solved; it should flow from our hearts continually for the One who has saved us from eternal death.

Insight: Reflect on the ordinary, the joyful, and the difficult circumstances in your life. Praise God for what He has done for you in each one.

Saturday, January 8, 2011



Be sure to refill the ice trays, we're going to have company.

Watch for the postman, I want to get this letter to Willie in the mail today.

Quit slamming the screen door when you go out!

Be sure and pull the windows down when you leave,
it looks like a shower is coming up.

Don't forget to wind the clock before you go to bed.

Wash your feet before you go to bed, you've been
playing outside all day barefooted.

Why can't you remember to roll up your britches legs?
Getting them caught in the bicycle chain so many times is tearing them up.

You have torn the knees out of that pair of pants so many times
there is nothing left to put a patch on.

Don't you go outside with your school clothes on!

Go comb your hair, it looks like the rats have nested in it all night.

Be sure and pour the cream off the top of the milk when you open the new bottle.

Take that empty bottle to the store with you so you won't have to pay a deposit on another one.

Put a dish towel over the cake so the flies won't get on it.

Quit jumping on the floor! I have a cake in the oven and

you are going to make it fall if you don't quit!

Let me know when the Fuller Brush man comes by,

I need to get a few things from him.

You boys stay close by as the car may not start and I will need your help to push it off.

There's a dollar in my purse, get 5 gallons of gas when you go to town.

Open the back door and see if we can get a breeze through here, it is getting hot.

You can walk to the store; it won't hurt you to get some exercise.

Don't sit too close to the TV. It is hard on your eyes.

If you pull that stunt again, I am going to wear you out!

Don't lose that button; I'll sew it back on after a while.

Wash your neck before you come to the table, you have beads of dirt and sweat all under there.

Get out from under the sewing machine; pumping it messes up the thread!

Be sure and fill the lamps this morning so we don't have to do that tonight in the dark.

Here, take this old magazine to the toilet with you when you go, we are almost out of paper out there.

Go out to the well and draw a bucket of water so I can wash dishes.

Don't turn the radio on now, I want the battery to be up when the Grand Ole Opry comes on.

No! I don't have 10 cents for you to go to the show. Do you think money grows on trees?

Eat those turnips, they'll make you big and strong like your daddy.

That dog is NOT coming in this house! I don't care how cold it is out there, dogs don't stay in the house.

Sit still! I'm trying to get your hair cut straight and you keep moving and it is all messed up.

Hush your mouth! I don't want to hear words like that! I'll wash your mouth out with soap!

It is time for your system to be cleaned out. I am going to give you a dose of castor oil tonight.

If you get a spanking in school and I find out about it, you'll get another one when you get home.

Quit crossing your eyes! They will get stuck that way!

Soak your foot in this pan of kerosene so that bad cut won't get infected.

When you take your driving test, don't forget to signal each turn.

Left arm straight out the window for a left turn;

left arm bent up at the elbow for a right turn;

and straight down to the side of the door when you are going to stop.

It's: 'Yes Ma'am!' and 'No Ma'am!' to me, young man, and don't you forget it!

Y'all come back now, ya hear.

Bring back any memories? It sure did for me !

Thursday, January 6, 2011

+DEV+ How Sweet It I

Date: January 6, 2011 9:07 PM
Topic: +DEV+ How Sweet It Is

How Sweet It Is

"I have more understanding than the elders, for I obey your precepts...I have not departed from your laws...How sweet are your promises to my taste" (Psalm 119:100-103a).
Scripture Focus: Psalm 119:89-104

Are you one who resorts to eating in times of stress? You may even have a stash of chocolate for such occasions (I love chocolate). David loved God's Word (I love the Word too). Even during times of great distress, he received sweet joy and security from the Scriptures. David wanted to obey the Scriptures because in doing so they revealed God to him. When life is hard and others disappoint us, God is faithful. Problems overwhelm us; God is powerful. Loneliness and fear surround us; God is compassionate and merciful. Scripture might not give every answer to our "whys," but it does reveal the One who is always loving, merciful, and faithful.

The more we study God's Word, the sweeter it becomes and the greater our desire to obey it. Disobedience tempts our human nature, but God's Word sours the evil path which draws us away from Him. Studying His Word on a regular basis increases our understanding of who God is. As we study and obey the Scriptures, they become increasingly sweeter.

Insight: Ask God to give you a hunger for knowing Him and for obeying His Word. Run to it instead of to whatever pleases your stomach.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

+DEV+ Be Still

Date: January 5, 2011 10:55 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Be Still

Be Still

"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. 'Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth'" (Psalm 46:1, 10).
Scripture Focus: Psalm 46:1-11

Years ago when my daughters were young, when they talked to me, I often neglected to give them my full attention. "Look at me, Dad!" they would plead. She wanted my full attention, to my full shame...

How often it must seem that the Lord has to call out to us that way when we show little interest in Him. The pressing details of life dominate when really what we need to do is be still. Psalm 46, addressing this, could be summarized: "Look at God; give Him your attention!"

We may recognize God's presence more when we are still than when we are signing up for more Bible studies or church activities. The Bible never encourages over-scheduling. But it does encourage us to be still as He writes on our heart, stirs our conscience, and whispers in our ear.

Psalm 46 tells how God directly impacts our lives. We can be still because we are safe: God is our refuge. We can be still because we are strong: God is our strength. We can be still because we are supported: God is our help. We can be still because we are in awe: God is exalted.

Insight: Be Still, Give God time to impress your heart with His attributes and bring to mind the qualities He wants to use in your life.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

+DEV+ The Potential of Praise

Date: January 4, 2011 11:37 PM
Topic: +DEV+ The Potential of Praise

The Potential of Praise

"I waited patiently for the Lord...He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD" (Psalm 40:1a, 3).
Scripture Focus: Psalm 40:1-10

Eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and getting plenty of rest benefit us noticeably. Others may benefit from our good health, too.

One of the greatest benefits of waiting for God to work in our lives is the potential for our situation to draw an unbeliever to Him. Others may trust in Jesus when we praise Him in the midst of our waiting. Praise does not minimize our struggle; it acknowledges His love, power and grace.

Displaying godly attitudes is one way to praise Him. We display God's forgiveness while we wait for a change of heart in the prodigal of the family. We display His love while we wait for courtesy from one who's critical. We display God's wisdom while we wait humbly for direction.

We often gauge the value of waiting according to our own benefits. Indeed, God may develop our character, redirect our priorities, or strengthen our faith. Yet we dare not overlook the potential for our praise to be instrumental in leading others to Christ.

Insight: Praise God in practical ways today. Rely on His strength; display His compassion; tell others of His faithfulness.

Monday, January 3, 2011

+DEV+ Waiting with Confidence

Date: January 3, 2011 8:33 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Waiting with Confidence

Waiting with Confidence

"I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord" (Psalm 27:13-14).
Scripture Focus: Psalm 27:1-14

David's confidence in God gave him strength. God's faithfulness sustained him as he waited for deliverance. Today's reading identifies the challenges David faced when his enemies attacked him, his parents abandoned him, and others falsely accused him. Such circumstances would threaten anyone's confidence. Yet God had proven Himself faithful in the past, so David knew He would be faithful in the future. David didn't ignore his problems; he remembered God's goodness.

Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us how to obtain confidence in God, even in the midst of difficulty. If we trust God rather than trust our own understanding, we're promised He will lead us. Our own reasoning and expectations disappoint us, leaving us feeling vulnerable and fearful. Yet we are secure in the One who has always been faithful and trustworthy.

Reading the Bible regularly develops our awareness of God's provision. Some people keep a journal listing how God provides for various needs. Keep God's faithfulness in mind and see God's goodness.

Insight: Take time to recognize the examples of God's goodness that surround you. Let His faithfulness strengthen you to wait with confidence.

+DEV+ In the Meantime

Date: January 3, 2011 1:24 AM
Topic: +DEV+ In the Meantime

In the Meantime

"So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed [David] in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came upon David in power" (1 Samuel 16:13).
Scripture Focus: 1 Samuel 16:10-13, 18-21

God directed Samuel to anoint David as the next king of Israel. But years passed before David would assume that role. So what did he do in the meantime? He tended his father's sheep. He played his harp. He became the king's armor bearer. For many of those years he lived a very ordinary life while waiting for his extraordinary appointment.

We may grow restless waiting for God to work in our lives. We shouldn't devalue the significance of "the meantime." How easy it is to idealize our goal and not appreciate the process. While David waited to become king, he continued to shepherd his sheep, a task that later gave insight in shepherding God's people (2 Samuel 5:2). He became Saul's armor bearer but apparently learned more about the armor of God.

There are seasons of life when God calls us to live "in the meantime." David didn't waste the meantime. We can wait as he did, allowing God to work in our ordinary days to teach us extraordinary truths about Him. And that's what we're called to do.

Insight: While You're Waiting For God To Work, Continue To Be Diligent With The Ordinary Responsibilities He Has For You Today.