Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Daily Grace - Kangaroos and Emus

Two of Australia's indigenous creatures, kangaroos and emus, have something in common - they seldom move backward. Kangaroos, because of the shape of their body and the length of their strong tail, can bounce along with forward movement, but they cannot shift easily into reverse. Emus can run fast on their strong legs, but the joints in their knees seem to make backward movement difficult. Both animals appear on Australia's coat of arms as a symbol that the nation is to be ever moving forward and making progress.

The apostle Paul called for a similar approach to the life of faith in his letter to the Philippians: "Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (3:13-14). While it is wise to learn from the past, we shouldn't live in the past. We cannot redo or undo the past, but by God's grace we can press forward and serve God faithfully today and in the future. The life of faith is a journey forward  as we become like Christ.

Today We Pray

Dear God, I offer Thee all my actions of this day for the intentions and for the glory of Christ Jesus. I desire to sanctify every beat of my heart, my every thought, my simplest works, by uniting them to His infinite merits. And, I wish to make reparation for my sins by casting them into the furnace of His Merciful Love.

I hope and pray that I will at least not do anything today that I am certain will displease You, and I know that if I do this, You will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust You always. Though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death, I will not fear, for You are ever with me and You will never leave me to face my troubles alone.

Now all glory to God, who is able to keep me from falling away and will bring me with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time.


Today's Godly Reminder - Philippians 3:13-14

Like a physical race, we should also win our spiritual race. How to win it? It is by forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. Reach forward for the future, especially your goals.

When you press on toward that goal, you will win the Heavenly Price. It is the price being called to Heaven. This is the prize that God offers because of what Christ Jesus has done. Press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The Daily Grace - As White As Snow

I was driving my son home from school one day when snow began to fall. The cottony fluff came down steadily and quickly. Eventually, we slowed to a stop, boxed in by traffic. From inside our vehicle, we watched a transformation take place. Dark patches of soil turned white. Snow softened the sharp outlines of buildings; it coated the cars around us, and accumulated on every tree in sight.

That snowfall reminded me of a spiritual truth: Just as that snow covered everything in sight, God's grace covers our sin. But grace doesn't just cover sin, grace erases sin. Through the prophet Isaiah, God appealed to the Israelites, saying, "Come now, and let us reason together. . . though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow" (Isa. 1:18). When God made this promise, His children had a painful problem with sin. God compared them to a physical body plagued with "wounds and welts and open sores, not cleansed or bandaged or soothed with oil" (Isa. 1:6).

As bad as their sin was, God was willing to extend His grace to them. As His children today, we have the same assurance. Sin may stain our lives, but when we repent and confess it, we have "the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of [God's] grace" (Eph. 1:7). The weight of sin is balanced only by the blood of Christ.

Today We Pray

Dear Lord, I have tasted Your goodness and it has satisfied me, yet it has made me thirst for even more. I am so painfully aware of my need for even more grace than I now enjoy; and even when I do not want more, I am ashamed of my lack of desire. I want You completely and I want to want You even more than I do.

Give me courage to confess, to bare my sinful heart to Thee; forgiving love You long to show and from my sin to set me free. Fill me with longing for You; make me even thirstier. Show me Your glory, I pray, so that I may know You always better and better, growing in my faith and love. 

In utter humility, I thank You and glorify You, that You might hear the prayer of one so small as myself, amidst the billions of souls among billions of stars in one of billions of galaxies in Your universe. Let me go forth in your peace, keeping Your Spirit always in my mind. And bless me, I pray, that I might always follow Your will and live in the radiance of Your blessing.


Today's Godly Reminder - Isaiah 1:18

This is the promise of the Lord about sin. Human as we are, we really sin (Rom. 3:23). But, He will cleanse us from all of our sins. As white as now, He will make us pure again.

He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). This verse was written because of the terrible sins that Israelites did. God was very disappointed with them. But because of His great love to us, He is still faithful to cleanse as as white as snow.

Monday, May 29, 2017

The Daily Grace - Jordyn's Journey

Jordyn Castor was born blind. But this doesn't hold her back from living a full and productive life. The documentary "Can You See How I See?" tells her story. She excels at school and with a little help she enjoys biking and downhill skiing. Of her sight, Jordyn says: "If I could give my blindness back, I wouldn't do it. I think God made all of us the way we are for a reason . . . and I think my blindness is part of what I am going to do with my life". She is now a university student majoring in computer technology. Her dream is to assist in developing new computer software that will help the blind.

How can Jordyn maintain such a positive outlook on life? As a Christ-follower, she understands that God is in control of the circumstances of life. This gives her confidence to pursue opportunities that others might not have believed possible. Certainly, Jordyn's life illustrates this truth from Philippians: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (4:13).

No matter what our strengths or weaknesses might be, God's providential hand can give us what we need to make a difference for Him in our world. Rely on His strength to help you as you take a step of faith. God's call to a task includes His strength to complete it. Take courage for His promises never fails!

Today We Pray

Dear God, our one hope, everlasting light of heaven and earth, we break the silence of the peaceful night. Saviour Divine, cast thine eyes upon us! Pour on us the fire of thy mighty grace, that all hell may flee at the sound of the voice; Banish the slumber of a weary soul, that brings forgetfulness of thy laws!

Look with favour upon thy faithful people now gathered here to praise thee. Receive their hymns offered to thy endless glory. May they go forth filled with thy gifts.

Let me not forget my prayers as I go out into the world. Holy Spirit, be with me, and let me praise you and remember you in my every action and thought, for the entire day long. In Christ's name I ask this.


Today's Godly Reminder - Philippians 4:13

Always be reminded that God will give us strength to face anything. He will strengthen us where He has called us to do. It comes from Him who strengthens and empowers us. It is to fulfill His purpose for us.

We are self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency. Let us be ready for anything and equal to anything through Him. He infuses us with inner strength and confident peace everyday. Just ask Him for strength and He will grant it.

The Daily Grace - Quest for Stolen Treasure

In J.R.R Tolkien's The Hobbit, the dwarves gathered to go up against Smaug, the fierce dragon, to retrieve their stolen treasure. In spite of the dangerously frightening quest, Balin, the second-in-command dwarf, expressed confidence in Thorin: "There is one I could follow. There is one I could call King". His commitment to the mission, as dangerous as it was, was empowered by his confidence in his leader.

At the beginning of Jesus' earthly ministry, He gathered a group around Him that would join Him in the kingdom task of rescuing the treasure of lost souls from our enemy, Satan. When He called them, He said, "Follow Me" (Matt. 4:19). For them, following Jesus would mean a radical transition from catching fish to the enterprise of being fishers of men and women who were lost in the grip of sin. But the task would not always be easy; Jesus referred to the quest as taking up our cross to follow Him (See Matt. 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23).

How do we stay engaged in the battle to reclaim Christ's lost treasure when it seems intimidating or awkward? By keeping our eye on our Leader. He indeed is worthy - One we can follow, the One we call King! Follow your Leader into the lives of those around you.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Today We Pray

Dear Lord, give us a lively faith, a firm hope, a fervent charity, a love of You. Take from us all lukewarmness in meditation, dullness in prayer. Give us fervor and delight in thinking of You and Your grace, Your tender compassion towards me.

In the face of intimidation and fear when seeking to engage others with the gospel, remind me that they are Your lost treasures. I count it a privilege to follow You into other's lives. Help me dear Lord to do your work. 

Pour Your love into my heart, that I may love You above all things, and my neighbors as myself. Fill me with the fire of Your Holy Spirit and give me the words and the strength, if only to witness how much You have meant to me in my own life. Through Christ our Lord.


Today's Godly Reminder - Matthew 4:19

This verse also talks about the Great Commission, which is "go and make disciples" (Matt. 28:18). God also talks about discipleship here, but in different analogy. He compared it to a fisherman. For us to disciple and win souls for Christ, He will teach us to catch men instead of fishes.

How to be a fisher of men? Believe in Him, accept Him as your personal Lord and Savior. Also, walk the same path of life that He walk. Have a character like Jesus so that people will also see Him in you as you minister to them.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Daily Grace - The Crash

For years after the Great Depression, the stock market struggled to win back investor's confidence. Then, in 1952, Harry Markowitz suggested that investors spread their stock holdings over several companies and industries. He developed a theory for portfolio selection that helped investors in uncertain times. In 1990, Markowitz and two others won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for their theory.

Like those jittery investors, we followers of Jesus may also find ourselves frozen in fear after a "crash" in our personal lives, unsure how to pick up the pieces and move on. We might even spend our remaining lives waiting for a "Markowitz Moment", when one big idea or action can help us recover from a previous failure. We forget that Jesus has already done that on our behalf. He covered our shame, and He set us free to fellowship with God and serve Him daily. Because He gave His life, and rose from the dead, when we "fall", we can "arise" with Him, for "He delights in mercy" (Micah 7:8; 18).

The moment we find Jesus, our eternity with Him begins. He walks alongside us so He can change us into the people we long to be and were created to be. Look up from your failure, and you'll find God standing ready to receive you.

Today We Pray

Dear God, You make me glad with the weekly remembrance of the glorious resurrection of Your Son my Lord. Give me the peace to worship You with my whole heart and mind, forgetting the cares of the world, and dwelling with You for a short moment with my entire being. And give me this day such blessing through my worship of You, that the week to come may be spent in living knowledge of Your peace.

This life can be so hard and painful. But You are right there with us, loving us, keeping us, holding us! And You promise never to leave us or forsake us.

May the love of the Lord Jesus draw us to Himself. May the power of the Lord Jesus strengthen us in his service. May the joy of the Lord Jesus fill our souls and may the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among us and remain with us always.


Today's Godly Reminder - Romans 8:27

“And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God."

All of our thoughts are known to God. He can understand what is in the mind of the Spirit, as the Spirit prays for God’s people. He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is. It is because the Spirit intercedes before God on behalf of God’s people in accordance with God’s will.

Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.

Friday, May 26, 2017

The Daily Grace - Garlic and Sapphires

In her fascinating book Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise, Ruth Reichl reflects on her 6 years as a New York Times restaurant critic. Because she was the most influential critic in the country, top restaurants posted her photograph so their employees could recognize her. Hoping to earn a high rating in the New York Times, the staff intended to provide her with their top service and best cuisine. In response, Reichl developed a clever strategy. Hoping to be treated as a regular patron, she disguised herself. On one occasion, she dressed up as an old woman. The restaurant made her wait a long time to be seated and then was unresponsive to her requests.

In the early church, James spoke out against favoritism: "[If] you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, 'You sit here in a good place', and say to the poor man, 'You stand there', or 'Sit here at my footstool', have you not shown partiality among yourselves?" (2:3-4).

When people attend our churches, are they treated impartially? Or do we show favoritism to the wealthy or elite? God calls us to show concern for and interest in all people, regardless of their social status. Let's welcome all to join us in worshiping the King! God let us into His fellowship. Who are we to keep others out?

Today We Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, You welcomed us into Your kingdom, not because of who we are but because of who You are – our loving and merciful God. Help us to open our arms of fellowship to all who enter in. Restore me as You would have me, that I may better serve You and show Your Glory to all the world.

Thank You for the peace of mind that comes from knowing You are standing watch over the events of our lives. Help us to rest securely in Your protection. I depend on Your without any backup plan, Lord; for You and only You have the power to change me.

The God of peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, the great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant; Make me perfect in every good work to do your will, working in me that which is well pleasing in your sight; through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever.


Today’s Godly Reminder - John 10:9

“I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.”

God is our door. In Him, there is hope. Anyone who enters through Him will be saved and will live forever. You will find security and freedom in Him.

Remember, He is the gate. Anyone who goes through Him will be cared for. You will freely go in and out. You will find pasture.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Daily Grace - Promoting Unity

The language of Proverbs 6:16-19 is strong. In the citing of seven things the Lord hates, sowing "discord among brethren" makes the list. The reason for naming this sin is that it spoils the unity that Christ desires for His followers (John 17:21-22). Those who sow discord may not initially set out to create divisions. They may be preoccupied instead with their personal needs or the interests of a group they belong to (James 4:1-10).

Consider how Lot's herdsmen argued with those of Abraham (Gen. 13:1-18); Christ's disciples argued about personal preeminence (Luke 9:46); and divisive groups in the church at Corinth elevated party factions above the unity of the Spirit (1 Cor. 3:1-7). So what is the best way to promote unity? It begins with the transformation of the heart. When we adopt the mind of Christ, we develop an attitude of humility and we focus on service toward others (Phil. 2:5-11).

Only in Him can we access the power to "look out not only for [our] own interests, but also for the interests of others" (v. 4). Soon the needs and hopes of others become more important to us than our own. With growing bonds of love among us, we find discord replaced with joy and unity (Ps. 133:1). We can accomplish more together than we can alone.

Today We Pray

Dear Lord, Your blessings every morning know no limit. Yet I often rush by not seeing them, I fear. Let me take a moment this and every morning, God, I pray, to remember all of them, and know that you are here.

Hold me in the palm of your hand. I pray that You will mold me into what you want me to be. May I joyfully fill the role you have given to me and feel your peace deep in my soul, today and always.

I bless and thank you for finding me, Lord. May I never more take a breath without a heart filled with your Spirit. This is all we ask, through Christ our Lord.


Today's Godly Reminder - 1 Peter 2:2

"As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby."

Like newborn babies, you should long for the pure milk of the word. So that by it. you may be nurtured and grow in respect to salvation. You will know more about life's ultimate fulfillment. Make it a goal that you will really grow in Christ.

You’ve had a taste of God. Now, like infants at the breast, drink deep of God’s pure kindness. Then you’ll grow up mature and whole in God. Keep growing!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Daily Grace - Pace Yourself

Not long ago I developed a physical problem. My left shoulders and arm were aching. I had a painful rash on my forearm and thumb, and I struggled daily with fatigue. When I finally went to do the doctor, I learned that I had a case of shingles. The doctor put me on antiviral medication and said it would take several weeks for the disease to run its course. Because of this illness, I had to force myself into a new routine. A short nap in the morning and one in the afternoon were necessary to give me the strength to be productive. Until I recovered, I had to learn to pace myself.

At one point when Jesus sent His representatives out to teach in His name, they were so excited with all they were doing that they neglected to take time to eat and rest properly. When they returned, Christ told them: "Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while" (Mark 6:31). Everyone needs rest, and if we go too long without it, we will suffer physically and emotionally. We also will be unable to carry out our responsibilities as well as we should.

Is the Lord encouraging you to "come aside. . . and rest a while"? Sometimes a few more rest stops with Him may be necessary. To avoid a breakdown, take a break for rest and prayer. The Lord is also encouraging us to rest.

Today We Pray

Dear Lord, I come before You today and I thank You for all the blessings that You have given me. Many times my life is so full of busy work that I neglect my relationship with You: for that I am truly sorry. I know that You never neglect me, for if You did my very life would cease to be. 

May it please You, my good Lord, that there may come a day when I can repay a little of my great debt to you. O Jesus, strengthen my soul, You who are good above all good; and since you have inclined my soul in this way, show me how I may act for you, whatever it may cost, O Lord. Here is my life, my honor and my will; I have given them all to you and they are yours: use me to do whatever you want.

Continue to pull me to Yourself, guide me in my journey, and hold me close in Your bosom until the day I come home to be with You forever. Be with me, and with those who pray with me, for although we are in different places around the world, we gather spiritually in Your name. May we feel your presence among us.


Today's Godly Reminder - James 5:16

Never stop praying. God hears your sincere cries to Him. He is listening to you. He may be silent, but His ears are always there for you to listen to your concerns.

Once you're sincere, He will answer your prayers. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with. It is effective. So, pray without ceasing.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Daily Grace - An Appropriate Name

The name of the Southeastern Asian nation of Indonesia is formed by combining two Greek words which together mean "island". That name is appropriate because Indonesia is made up of more than 17,500 islands spanning nearly 750,000 square miles. Indonesia - an appropriate name for a nation of islands.

In the Bible, we find that people were often given names - sometimes at birth, sometimes later - that made a statement about them or their character. Barnabas, whose name means "son of encouragement", continually encouraged those he encountered. Jacob, whose name means "schemer", repeatedly manipulated people and situations for his own selfish ends. And no one has ever been more appropriately named than Jesus. When the angel of the Lord spoke to Joseph about Mary's soon-to-be-born Son, he told Joseph, "You shall call His Name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins" (Matt. 1:21).

Jesus means "the Lord saves" and defines both who Jesus is and why He came. He was also called Immanuel, which means "God with us" (Matt. 1:23). His name reveals our eternal hope! The name of Jesus is at the heart of our faith and our hope.

Today We Pray

Dear God, my soul longs for your presence. When I turn my thoughts to You, I find peace and contentment. You are indeed the Prince of Peace.

Grant that Your holy and life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart. Let those barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear and hatreds cease; that our divisions being healed, we may live together in justice and peace. Please build the heart of Christ into my heart that those around me will see Him clearly and desire to know Him too.

Now all glory to You, mighty God, who is able to keep me from falling away and will bring me with great joy into Your glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to You who alone are God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are yours before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time.


Today's Godly Reminder - Galatians 5:16

Walk habitually in the Holy Spirit. Seek Him and be responsive to His guidance. When you do this, you will certainly not carry out the desire of the sinful nature. This responds impulsively without regard for God and His precepts.

Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit. Then you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness. For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. These two ways of life are antithetical, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day. 

Monday, May 22, 2017

The Daily Grace - High-Tech Communication

When it comes to communication, our world is becoming increasingly high-tech. The popularity of things like Twitter and Facebook might cause some to think the Bible is too old-school. The tech-savvy people of our world might feel deterred because there are no sounds and no nifty graphics in the Bible. But the truth is, there's more high-tech power in God's Word than in any cutting-edge communication tool our world will ever know.

It's not uncommon for a pastor to be told, "When you said that in your message, it was just what I needed". Somehow during the sermon, God spoke to the person's heart with a message tailor-made for him or her. If you've ever read the Bible and sensed God speaking directly to you, you know what I'm talking about. God has hard-wired you with His Spirit, who illumines your mind to understand His Word. Imagine getting a "text message" directly from the Creator of the universe telling you exactly what you need at exactly the right time. No matter how high-tech this world gets, you'll never experience a more powerful mode of communication!

Rejoice in the reality that "we have received . . . the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God" (1 Cor. 2:12). The Bible may be old, but its truths are always new. Ask the Lord to give you an insight as you hear His Word today. So that, you will truly understand His message and His way.

Today We Pray

Dear marvelous God, You are my light, my life, and my salvation. Grant to me, I pray, such fullness of faith and such a consciousness of Your love and goodness. Let Your blessed Spirit dwell within me, giving me healthy body, peace of mind, faithfulness of heart, and holiness of life and being.

Hold us all in your loving arms. Let us be comforted by the strength and peace You make available to us through the birth of Your son, Jesus. Thank You for all the many gifts You offer us, during our life on earth and for all eternity.

I dedicate this day to You, mighty God. I pray that your Spirit will lift me up this day. Let Your face shine upon me all the day long, that I might do Your will and lead a new life in Christ, reborn in the Spirit.


Today's Godly Reminder - Psalm 119:10

"With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments!"

Let us seek the Lord with all of our hearts. This heart of ours should be inquiring for God and longing for God. Let us not wander from His commandments. Neither through ignorance nor by willful disobedience, do not wander from His words.

Let us worship Him with all of our hearts. Don’t walk away from His commands. Try hard to find Him. Let us not be astray from His words.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Daily Grace - I Shall Not Want

Before they were a week old, the eaglets were fighting over food. Neither was strong enough to hold up his head for more than a few seconds, so the pair looked like fuzzballs with bobble-heads attached. But whenever the parents brought food to the nest, the bigger eaglet was quick to peek down his brother to keep him from getting a single bite.His aggression would have been understandable if food was scarce, or if the parents couldn't be trusted to supply what he needed. But nothing could be further from the truth. The eaglets were being fed fish many times their size; there was more than enough for both of them.

The greedy eaglet reminds me of our own foolishness when we try to get for ourselves something that belongs to someone else (James 4:1-5). Conflicts erupt because we want something that God has given to a friend, colleague, relative or neighbor. Instead of asking God for what we need, we try to get what He's given to someone else (v. 2). But God has something good for each of us. We don't need what belongs to anyone else. And, we certainly never need to harm anyone to get what we need.

Our loving heavenly Father has more than enough for everyone. Our needs will never exhaust God's supply. The secret of contentment is to let the Lord supply. Just do your part and put God first and rely on His Word.

Today We Pray

Dear Lord, thank You for the temporal blessings of this world. I bring my tribute of thanks for spiritual graces, the full warmth of faith, the cheering presence of our Spirit, the strength of Your restraining will, Your spiking of hell's artillery. Blessed be my sovereign Lord!

Do not allow me to be insensible to these daily mercies. Your hand bestows blessings. Your power averts evil.

As my lips pour forth Your praise, fill my heart with the peace You give to those who wait for Your salvation in Jesus Christ our Lord. Incline me, O God, to think humbly of myself, to be severe only in the examination of my own conduct, to consider my fellow creatures with kindness, and to judge of all they say and do with that charity that I would desire from them myself. In Christ's name I pray.


Today's Godly Reminder - James 4:6b

God will shower more grace unto us, it is His promise. It is through the power of the Holy Spirit to defy sin and live an obedient life that reflects both our faith and our gratitude for our salvation. But, He will only show grace to the humble. God defies proud and haughty people.

Thus, He loves people who are humble. He continually gives gift of grace to these kind of people. These are the people who turn away from self-righteousness. God goes against the willful proud. But, God gives grace to the willing humble.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Daily Grace - I, Me, Mine

In 1970, the Beatles began work on a documentary intended to show how their music was made. But instead of revealing the process of musical creativity, the film pulled the curtain back on a display of self-interest and bickering. The band members were more concerned about their own song than the advancement of the group. Shortly after the project was completed, the group dissolved in disharmony and broken friendships.

It's an age-old problem. In the first century AD, the apostle Paul feared that the believers in the church at Philippi would fall into the trap of selfishness. He knew that when the desire for personal advancement overrides concern for one another, attitudes quickly become disruptive and divisive. To counteract this dangerous tendency, Paul wrote, "Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others" (Phil. 2:3-4).

What would a documentary of your life reveal? Selfishness or selflessness? We must look out for one another, for selfless concern will prevent division and build unity in our church families. A heart that is focused on others will not be consumed with self.

Today We Pray

Dear Lord, take away from me my sins, and mercifully kindle in me the fire of Your Holy Spirit. Take away from me the heart of stone, and give me a heart of flesh, a heart to love and adore You, a heart to delight in You, to follow and to enjoy You, for Christ's sake. Have mercy on me, Oh Lord, for I am a humble and miserable sinner. 

I renounce all of these sins and repent of them. I promise to make every effort not to repeat them. Cleanse me, O Lord.

Have mercy on me, pardon me for these offences and any I might have omitted from forgetfulness or ignorance, I pray for forgiveness. And I pray that your Holy Spirit may dwell with me today and throughout the coming week, to comfort me, to give me strength against temptation, and to guide me into the path of righteousness. Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory for ever and ever.


Today's Godly Reminder - Philippians 2:3

"Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself."

Do nothing from factional motives or strife. But with an attitude of humility, regard others as more important than yourselves. Do not be arrogant nor self-righteous. Don't do anything out of selfishness or empty conceit.

Don’t push your way to the front. Don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.

Friday, May 19, 2017

The Daily Grace - Once Upon a Time

Some people say that the Bible is just a collection of fairy tales. A boy slaying a giant. A man swallowed by a big fish. Noah's bot-building experience. Even some religious people think that these events are just nice stories with a good moral.

Jesus Himself, however, spoke of Jonah and the giant fish and Noah and the flood as actual events: "As the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be" (Matt. 24:37-39). His return will happen when we're not expecting it. Jesus compared Jonah's three days inside the big fish to the three days He would experience in the grave before His resurrection (Matt. 12:40). And Peter talked about Noah and the flood when he equated it to a future day when Jesus comes back (2 Pet. 2:4-9).

God gave us His Word. It's a book that is filled with truth - not fairy tales. And one day, we will live happily ever after with Him when Jesus comes again and receives His children to Himself. We have reason for optimism if we're looking for Christ's return.

Today We Pray

Dear God, as I cross the threshold of this day, I commit myself Your care. Mold me in Your image. In everything I say and do, let my mind be on the eternal goodness of heaven rather than the vanities of earth, meaningless pride, or the anger and envy that tear apart my precious soul.

I dedicate myself to Your holiness and pray that You may be with me, to check my tongue before it can speak evil and to stop my hand when it seeks to sin. I come to You as a child. I will look to You for guidance and wisdom.

All through this day, O Lord, by the power of Your quickening Spirit, let me touch the lives of others for good, whether through the word I speak, the prayer I speak, or the life I live. Let me know the joyful feeling of having done something that pleased You; let me never feel the pain of knowing I have disappointed You. And let me live without fear, without confusion, always steady in the certainty of Your forgiveness and ultimate victory, I pray.


Today's Godly Reminder - Matthew 24:44

Jesus is coming real soon. His coming will be the least expected event in this world. Be prepared and be thrilled for his coming. Be excited to experience His Heavenly Kingdom, where there is no more pain and suffering. Be excited to see His Wonderful Face and worship Him mightily. Repent! For the Kingdom of Heaven is near!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Daily Grace - Interruptions

My sister and I were looking forward to our holiday in Taiwan. We had purchased our plane tickets and booked our hotel rooms. But two weeks before the trip, my sister learned she had to stay at home in Singapore to handle an emergency. We were disappointed that our plans were interrupted.

Jesus' disciples were accompanying Him on an urgent mission when their trip was interrupted (Mark 5:21-42). The daughter of Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue, was dying. Time was of the essence, and Jesus was on His way to their home. Then, suddenly, Jesus stopped and said, "Who touched My clothes?" (v. 30). The disciples seemed irritated by this, and said, "You see the multitude thronging You, and You say, 'Who touched Me?' " (v.31). But Jesus saw it as an opportunity to minister to a suffering woman. Her illness had made her ceremonially unclean and unable to participate in community life for twelve years! (see Lev. 15:25-27).

While Jesus was talking to this woman, Jairus' daughter died. It was too late - or so it seemed. But the delay allowed Jairus to experience an even deeper knowledge of Jesus and His power - even power over death! Sometimes our disappointment can be God's appointment. Look for God's purpose in your next interruption. 

Today We Pray

Dear Lord, You have commanded me to love others as myself. Yet it is so easy to find the faults in others, for I see their outside and compare it against what is inside me. I have inflated my goodness and importance in my own mind, but have judged others for the smallest shortcoming, and I am filled by foolish pride.

I vow by this prayer that I will strive to follow Your Word, to forgive all who have injured me, to turn loose the petty resentments and grudges that poison the world with hatred, and to overlook the faults of others; and I ask to be pardoned wherever I have done injury to my brothers and sisters, who are Your beloved children even though they, like me, are sinners. And I vow, when I fall short of Your commandment, to seek out and confess my wrongdoing. Forgive me, Holy Christ, and help me to ever amend my life with faith in the grace You have promised to the penitent sinner.

May the God of hope fill me and all of us with the joy and peace that comes from believing, so that we may abound in hope, by the power of the Holy Spirit. Open my eyes to behold Your gracious hand in all your works; that rejoicing in your whole creation, I may learn to serve you with gladness, faithfully managing your bounty; for the sake of him by whom all things were made, your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.


Today's Godly Reminder - Psalm 33:11

As always, His plans will always prevail. It is as strong as the building's foundation, or more than that. It will not be shaken and moved. It is because God is always there for You, the Mighty One.

His counsel will stand forever. It will not be gone. It is always there. Give thanks to the Lord, for He is always good in your lives.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Daily Grace - A New Bucket List

A friend told me he had recently accomplished one of the things on his "bucket list" (a list of things to do before you die) when he took his sister to Europe. Although he had traveled there many times, she had never been there. What struck me was the unselfish nature of having that goal on his "bucket list". It caused me to wonder how many of my dreams and goals are focused on others, not on myself.

Romans 12:6-21 speaks of God's gifts to us as members of the body of Christ and how we should use them in everyday life. All of them are outward in focus. Teaching, for example, is not for the teacher's self-fulfillment but for the benefit of others. So too with the other gifts mentioned in verses 6 through 8. Paul summarized this openhanded approach by urging us to "be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves" (v. 10).

Paul exemplified this attitude by including others in his ministry and investing his life in the next generation of believers. Generosity, hospitality, forgiveness and compassion guided his behavior. Our goals in life should include giving away the gifts of God has given to us. For a healthier spiritual life, exercise humility and care for others.

Today We Pray

Dear Lord, bless me this day to live with Your Spirit, to resist temptation to evil, and to show Your joy and love to all. Make Your home with me, that I might be truly blessed. I give You my love without reservation. 

Your words are sacred and I aspire to live by them, this day and always. I glorify You for Your sacrifice of pain and death. It was made out of Your love for us, that all who follow You might find salvation and eternal life.

I humbly pray You so to guide and govern me by Your Holy Spirit, that in all the joys, occupations, and cares of this day I may never forget You. But, remember that I am ever walking in Your sight. In Christ's name, I pray.


Today's Godly Reminder - Romans 12:10

"Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another"

Be devoted to one another with authentic brotherly affection. Be devoted like as one member of the family. Love each other as brothers and sisters and honor others more than you do yourself. Take delight in honoring each other.  Love each other with genuine affection. Treat each and everyone nicely. Be kind to them and care for them always.