Quick Thought – Friday, September 12, 2014

Read

John 11:17-27

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
John 11:25-26

Reflect

Toward the close of the century, the unbelievable happened. The Berlin Wall crumbled and is now merely a memory. Many can still visualize the East German guards and their attack dogs. These memories will lives for a long time to come.

What is not known is that out of the 6,500 guard dogs that were used on the wall, only 1,000 were actually trained to attack. The other 5,500 guard dogs were suitable as pets, and that is what each and everyone eventually became. No one knew which dogs were vicious and which were not. So, they were all considered dangerous – a tremendously feared symbol of the wall and enslavement.

The things we often fear are truly unworthy of our concern. Fear gobbles up spiritual energy and misdirects our lives. We must come to understand that there is no fear in love, but “perfect love drives out fear.” (1 John 4:18)

Jesus said, “but take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) He not only has overcome the world, but he has overcome death. His proclamation to one who inquired about faith:

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)

To draw close to Jesus is to discern God’s will in all things and not to be overcome by earthly fears.

Alleluia, Christ is risen.

The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia.

 

Reflection  from “Reflections on the Run,” copyright © 1994 by Charles B. Fulton Jr., second edition, 2001

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Quick Thought – Thursday, September 11, 2014

Read

Psalm 46

God is our refuge and strength,
    a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
    though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea.
Psalm 46:1-2

 

Reflect

Her name was Joan, and though I only saw her for less than an hour, I’ll never forget her.

The day was Tuesday, September 18, 2001 – exactly one week after the tragedy on 9/11. My dad and I had gone to New York because God had spoken to his heart and told him that there was work to do there. So on Sunday the 16th, after church, we made the long trip to the Big Apple, stopping briefly in Washington, D.C., to pick up a friend.

On Monday, we made it into the city, and if you’ve ever been there you’ll know what I mean. It was eerie. The noisiest city in the world was practically silent. No horns were blaring. No words were shouted. People were actually being polite. This was not New York as I had known it.

On Tuesday, we ventured as close to Ground Zero as we could get. There, we began to survey the situation and wait for God to “show up.” It didn’t take long.

As I looked around, the evidence of the disaster was still evident. We were a street away from Ground Zero, but soot and dust still covered everything. Shopkeepers were just beginning to clean off their storefronts to reopen. In the midst of this were people who were confused. No one understood why “God would let this happen,” and many of them were walking the same street searching for answers.

One of them, an older woman, came up to me and asked me to pray for her. I called my Dad, an Episcopal priest, over and he listened to the woman’s request and led her in prayer. A man saw us in prayer, and he walked up and also asked for prayer. While we prayed for him, a woman, Joan, waited with her daughter.

We learned that Joan’s husband had been on one of the upper floors of one of the two towers. She knew that he had to have been killed when the towers fell, but she had to see for herself. Dad prayed with her, then we walked with her past the police line and all the way to Zuccotti Park, where we surveyed the damage. (For perspective, look at this photo. Zuccotti Park is just below the tall red building at the lower right edge.)

When she saw the damage, Joan knew her husband was truly gone. She fell into the arms of her friends, and as they sat her in a chair, Dad continued to console her and pray with her.

There are two thoughts I want to leave you with. First, Joan was going to go to Ground Zero, with or without a priest. Had we not been there that day, she would have been there to deal with the loss of her husband without any spiritual support. God knew she needed prayer, and I truly believe He sent us to New York mainly to be there for her.

Second, no matter how big the tragedy, God is bigger than whatever may come. He truly is our refuge and our strength, and even if the earth falls to pieces and the mountains collapse into the oceans, He will still be the God who is big enough to overcome it all. In the days after 9/11, this nation turned to God for strength and guidance – and then promptly turned back to what we were doing before 9/11 once the danger had passed. The time to turn to Him isn’t when the bad things happen – it’s right now.

Today, ask the Lord to keep your heart set on Him in the good and the bad times. Ask Him to strengthen you for the tough times that might come your way. And take just a few minutes to watch this video, which I made after I got back from New York. (You’ll see Joan and her daughter at the end of the video.)

 

Reflection copyright © 2014 DV Enterprises.

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Quick Thought – Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Read

Psalm 49

Why should I fear in times of trouble,
    when the iniquity of those who cheat me surrounds me,
those who trust in their wealth
    and boast of the abundance of their riches?
Psalm 49:5-6

 

Reflect

Cheaters never prosper. At least that’s what we’re told. But every day we turn on the news, we hear stories about cheaters who are seemingly prospering. Just from today’s news:

  • “Kindle security flaw could let hackers take over your Amazon account with a malicious ebook”
  • “State’s new computer system puts thousands of employees’ personal info at risk”
  • “Thousands lose millions in IRS scam”
  • “Test cheat allegations at Vegas school still unresolved”
  • “Stiffer penalties sought for livestock and crop thefts”

Just today, I tried to test my computer’s speed and went to a site that I go to regularly. But I mistyped the address with a “.com” instead of a “.net” and the result was a scammer who tried to download a program onto my PC. And this website every day gets spammers who sign up for accounts for some reason. (It’s silly, because we delete them just as quickly.) No matter which way you turn, someone is going to try to scam you or rip you off.

It’s been that way since the beginning of time. Once man began to sin (and that was right after man was created), some of the people started taking advantage of others. But does God want us to live in fear of them? Absolutely not!

Today’s scripture says, “Why should I fear in times of trouble, when the iniquity of those who cheat me surrounds me…” That’s because the writer of the Psalm knew that God was ultimately in control, and that those who scheme and scam will ultimately get their “reward” from Him.

For though, while he lives, he counts himself blessed his soul will go to the generation of his fathers, who will never again see light.”

Meanwhile, for those who love the Lord, “God will ransom my soul from the power of (death), for he will receive me.”

Don’t fear those who try to take what is not theirs, because they’re ultimately not in control – God is. Love and cherish Him, and give Him all of your praise and adoration, because in the end, He will make everything right – if not here on Earth, then when we meet Him in the next life.

 

Reflection copyright © 2014 DV Enterprises.

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Quick Thought – Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Read

Psalm 47

Clap your hands, all peoples!
    Shout to God with loud songs of joy!
Job 32:4

 

Reflect

When I was a teenager, I one day discovered that there were people who actually spent all of their time making music that praised and glorified Jesus Christ. Up to that point, the thought had never occurred to me. Like most kids my age, I was into the music that ended up on Casey Kasem’s charts.

But my Mom took me to a Christian book store (another amazing discovery), and I ventured into the music section. In front of me were dozens of LPs and cassettes (because this was in the days of the dinosaurs, before there were CDs, and definitely before the invention of MP3s and digital downloads). Keith Green. Petra. Sweet Comfort Band. Second Chapter of Acts. Glad. (The band, not the trash bag.)

All of these and more ended up on my record player and in my cassette deck. I found that listening to Christian music could be fulfilling. But more importantly, I learned that praising God was not only important – it was commanded. The God who made the world from nothing and who holds everything together desires and demands our praise. It’s why He made us – so that we could be in a relationship together. He even made a way for us to spend eternity together, if only we’ll accept His Son, Jesus, as our Savior.

Today, I’m still listening to Christian music, though my playlist is more likely to include Newsboys, Chris Tomlin, Steven Curtis Chapman, Tenth Avenue North, the Afters and Kristian Stanfill. (Though as I write this, I’m listening to Glad!) But what hasn’t changed is that I’m still praising God, because He still deserves it. Regardless of our circumstances, God is worthy of my and your praise.

Today, spend some time letting God know how important He is to you. Tell Him just what He means to you, and maybe even lift a song of praise His way.

 

Reflection copyright © 2014 DV Enterprises.

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.