Ecclesiastes 4:1-6:12 When Ron, our middle son, was about eight years old, he asked us this question: "When we meet Jesus in the air, will we have on any clothes?" My husband thought for a moment, and then said with an official scholarly voice, "Son, the Bible says naked we come into the world and naked we leave the world." Our son surprised us with his response when he said, "Streakers in the sky." The whole family laughed uncontrollably. The thought expressed, however, is true. We cannot take it with us. As some have said, "I have never seen a hearse pulling a U-Haul."
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Ecclesiastes 1:1-3:22 Solomon says, "He has made everything beautiful in its time" (Eccles. 3:11). God's timing is not our timing. We go through so much in this life, and often what we go through is not pleasant. We wonder at those times what good will come from such trying experiences. Over my fifty years as a Christian I have experienced many trials and tribulations. I can honestly say now, however, that all these difficult times have worked for the good in my life.
2 Corinthians 5:12-21 My middle son, Ron, was in Bogota, Colombia on a mission journey. He went with a team into a drug dealing area called the Cartuge. His team visited a drug rehabilitation center there where criminals were learning about Jesus and being born again. When Ron entered the center he felt impressed by the Holy Spirit to offer to wash the feet of these men. Many of them did not know the story of Jesus' washing the feet of His disciples, so Ron read it to them. After the reading of the Scripture, the foot washing began.
2 Corinthians 4:13-5:11 The spirit of faith always causes us to speak. Faith is active, and faith is never silent. When faith is operative in our lives, we will speak about our faith to others. Paul says the following about the spirit of faith: "We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak, knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you" (2 Cor. 4:13-14, KJV).
2 Corinthians 4:1-12 When our middle son was in China as a teacher of English for two years, one of his students asked Ron what made him shine. This student recognized the light of the Lord's countenance upon Ron. Paul tells us in this letter to the Corinthians that Jesus is the light who has shone into the darkness of our hearts. He says, "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us" (vv. 6-7, KJV).
2 Corinthians 3:1-18 When I look in the mirror daily I notice I am aging. Each day there seem to be more wrinkles and brown spots. There is nothing I can do to stop the aging process. I cannot stop the clock from ticking. There is a mirror, however, I can look into, and I can be changed. I will not become more beautiful on the outside, but I will be more beautiful on the inside. This mirror is God's Word. As I look into this mirror I behold the glory of God, and that glory is contagious.
2 Corinthians 2:9-17 One of my favorite things to do when I was a child was to lick the bowl after my mother made homemade fudge or lace cookies. I savored the flavor as I first used a spoon to scoop the leftover batter, and then I would use my tongue to make sure I had not missed one morsel. I savored the flavor.
Job 23:1-27:23 As a mother of three growing boys and a husband who all love to eat, I spent most of my time in the kitchen cooking for this hungry brood. One of my favorite scriptures in the Bible is found in Psalm 86, where a verse reads, "He delivered my hands from the pots." I have been standing on this promise for years, but I find myself still cooking.
Proverbs 22:2-4 Yesterday we shared how the major thing that stands in the way of our doing all things with love is pride. Today we look at the benefits of humility. Jesus was the perfect example of humility. We are told in the Scriptures that He humbled Himself and became a servant. He emptied Himself of everything but love. God is love. He issues the invitation to every one to come to Him and learn meekness and lowliness of heart. Truly I believe Jesus is the only one who can help us learn all about humility. There have been many wonderful books written on humility. But none of those books will change us unless we are willing to sit at the feet of the Great Teacher who can instruct us perfectly in meekness and lowliness of heart.
1 Corinthians 16:1-24 Paul exhorts in his letter to the Corinthians that everything we do be done in love. What a great idea! Actually this is not an idea at all. It is a commandment. Jesus summed up the whole law in two commandments—love the Lord your God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself. If love were our motivation in everything we did, our lives would be blessed.
Job 12:1-15:35 Throughout our lives there is one goal God has for us. His goal is that we become totally dependent upon Him. There is also one goal Satan has for us as we live our lives on earth. His goal is that we become totally independent. Interdependency is God's heart for us. Independence is Satan's plan for us.
Job 8:1-11:20 Job in this passage cries out for a daysman to stand between him and God. He was crying out for a mediator between God and himself. Job did not know that God's plan from the beginning of the earth was to provide such a daysman. Jesus Christ, who would be our intercessor and our redeemer, is now our daysman or mediator who stands on our behalf before God. Later as we read the Book of Job, we see how God revealed His plan to Job, and Job finally knew he had a redeemer—one who could buy back everything he had lost, one who could redeem his very own soul from destruction.
1 Corinthians 14:18-40 As Paul was giving instructions to the church about how their services were to be conducted, he exhorted the church to let everything be done to edify. How different our lives would be if the motivation of our relationships with others was always to edify them—to build up one another in love. Our conversations would be seasoned with grace, and we would never be condescending, judgmental or critical in our words to others. We would esteem one another higher than ourselves, and we would ever be on the alert to serve and support one another in love.
Psalm 37:12-28 We have talked a lot about the blessings that come to those who have been made righteous through Jesus Christ and who abide daily in Him and His Word. I did a study once on the multitude of blessings that actually overtake those who fear the Lord and who walk uprightly with Him. Of course, the blessings to the righteous do not guarantee they will not experience troubles. In fact, the Word of God says we will be persecuted for righteousness' sake, and yet even with this will come a blessing. The Word also says many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord Himself delivers them out of them all. We have to remember that the end of every trial in a righteous person's life will develop something better in our lives than before. Our readings for the rest of this month in Job certainly prove this to be true.
1 Corinthians 12:27-13:13 Most people are familiar with this passage of Scripture. It is often used in wedding ceremonies and often referred to as the "Love Chapter." Chapter 13 of 1 Corinthians has much to say about love, but because of its familiarity we often miss the rich depth of this passage. After reading this passage one day, I asked the Lord a simple question that I have always wondered about. I asked Him why faith, hope and love last forever. In response to my question, I heard with my spiritual ears the following: "Faith, hope and love last forever because they are the eternal soul of Jesus Christ. Your soul consists of mind, emotion and will. Jesus also had a soul, but His soul was without sin. He had no lusts, even though He felt what it was like for you to be tempted. He was touched with the feelings of all of your weaknesses. His mind, however, was filled with faith; His emotions were anchored by hope, and His will was controlled by love."
Psalm 36:1-12 The reason people do not trust God is because they do not have a complete view of His character. To trust anyone we must know that this person speaks truthfully, has no guile and has our best interest at heart. The Psalm and Proverb readings today express so beautifully God's character. In Psalm 36:1-12 we see these attributes of God's character listed:
Psalm 35:17-28 Many years ago I did a study on the tongue of the righteous and the tongue of the wicked. This study revealed to me the power of the tongue and led me to write a book called The Tongue—a Mighty Weapon. Whenever I give talks to others, I like to speak about the power of our words and what God created our tongues to do. There is a psalm that says, "He that orders his conversation aright glorifies the Lord." (See Psalm 50:23.) Our tongues were made to glorify the Lord, to praise Him, to worship Him, to encourage and edify others, and to share the gospel with them.
Nehemiah 12:27-13:31 Have you ever been in a home where the garbage has not been emptied for days, the dishes are stacked a mile high, and bed sheets have not been changed for months? When my son was on drugs and living with two other boys in a rental house, I went to visit him. No one answered the door, but the door was opened, so I thought maybe Ray was sleeping. I opened the door, and what faced me was unbelievable. It was just like the home I described above. When I discovered no one was home, I set about to straighten things out as best as I could. After two hours of work and a spray of room deodorizer, the house was in much better order.
1 Corinthians 10:15-11:2 Many today are wearing a bracelet with the initials W.W.J.D? This stands for, "What would Jesus do?" My older sister was impressed with a family who counseled their children to ask "What would Jesus do?" when they were wrestling with whether to do something or not. The answer to the question "What would Jesus do?" is always the same. The answer is, "Jesus would always do what would bring glory to His heavenly Father."
Psalm 34:1-10 What a thrill it is for us to watch our grandchildren as they begin to crawl first, and then pull themselves up to a standing position. Shortly thereafter they begin to take their first steps. Sometimes, however, in their efforts to pull themselves up to the standing position, their legs get tangled and they cannot move. Someone has to come to their rescue and position them once again so they can hold on and stand up.