Speaking to a Sunday school class, a pastor asked, “Why do you love God?”
“Because,” answered a young boy, “loving God runs in our family.”
What a wonderful statement to make about his family. What an important goal for every family. But God only “runs” in and with families at the invitation of the family.
Each member of the family must first ask Jesus to be their Savior. Then His Word must be read and remembered, honored and obeyed, followed faithfully and carefully if He is to have His rightful place in the family. Reminders of His presence in the lives of the family will be on display. He will be present at every meal, part of every conversation and readily recognized in the way family members treat one another.
Children learn how they are to behave from their parents. Parents must show love and understanding, care and compassion, patience and thoughtfulness, respect and honor toward each other first and then to each child. If we expect God’s love to run in our families, we must first “run” with God and become obedient to His Word.
Prayer:Help us, Father, to realize the importance of You always being present in our families. May we recognize our need to depend on You, to honor You and to follow the example of Jesus as we show love for each other: in His name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Ephesians 6:1-4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
It had been a particularly difficult day at work. But when Jim got home, he invited his son into the yard to play catch. Looking over the fence, a neighbor called out, “Jim, aren’t you tired from the day’s work?”
“Yes, I am,” he replied.
“Then why don’t you rest?” continued the neighbor.
“I’d rather have a backache tomorrow,” said the dad, “than heartache later on.”
As parents we focus on the present, forgetting that what we do today affects all of our children’s tomorrows. We are concerned with daily events and forget about eternity. We have homework on the refrigerator, photos on every table and clothes for every occasion. Yet what we do is far more important than how things look.
In The Message the words of Paul are translated this way: “Take them by the hand and lead them in the way of the Master.” (Ephesians 6:4)
If our children do not get attention from us, they will get it from someone else. If we are not available for them, someone else will be. If we are too busy, someone else will make time available for them.
Prayer:Heavenly Father, help me to be the kind of parent You want me to be. May I love my children as You love me, guard them as You guard me, protect them as You protect me and lead them into life everlasting. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Ephesians 6:1-10 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”
Henry Ford was a master manager. One of his habits was to visit his executive officers in their offices.
He was once asked a most interesting question: “Mr. Ford, why don’t you have your executives come to your office rather than you going to their offices?”
“Because,” he replied, “I can leave the other fellow’s office a lot quicker than I can get them to leave mine.” Henry Ford understood the value of time: Time is a precious gift, pure and simple, and it is to be used wisely. Once gone, it can never be reclaimed or replaced. It cannot be recycled or replenished and it certainly cannot be stored up for the future.
But there is more for the Christian. Paul says that we are to “make the most of every opportunity.” We are to seize the moment when God presents us with an opportunity to work for Christ and serve others who He brings into our lives. Each day He provides us countless opportunities to share His message and be a witness to others about His grace by showing them His love and concern.
Unfortunately, there are many who profess to be His disciples yet refuse or deliberately avoid opportunities to serve Him. How many times have we been asked to teach, to sing, to visit, to work for the good of others through our church only to refuse the opportunity? We are on His “clock.” We must use our time wisely.
Prayer:Lord, impress upon each of us the importance of every minute of every day and every opportunity to serve You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Ephesians 5:15-21 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
The defendant was being sworn in before he was to testify. After placing his hand on the Bible he was asked, “Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?”
“I do,” he answered.
“Now,” asked the judge, “what do you have to say in your defense?”
“Your Honor,” he replied, “with the restrictions you’ve placed on me, I can’t say anything!”
Lying is as old as recorded history. It was Satan who told the first lie in the Garden of Eden when he said to Eve, “You won’t die.” In one brief sentence he was able to bring into question all of the promises and privileges that God offered Adam and Eve. Ever since that day telling lies to deceive and destroy others, has been a common practice.
Paul has some strong advice for Christians, however. He says, “So, stop telling lies!” Because the Holy Spirit has given us a new nature, we are to behave in new ways. One of them is to speak the truth, at all times, in love.
God has blessed us with the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. And if the Lord controls us, He will control what we say. He knows our hearts and we know His truth. Whenever we speak the truth filled with His love, it can become a beautiful thing to those around us.
Prayer:Give us courage, Father, to surrender our minds and our mouths to You and always speak honestly and honorably. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Ephesians 4:15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—
During a lull in the Spanish-American War of 1898, Colonel Teddy Roosevelt went to a nurse named Clara Barton. Politely he said, “I have men who are sick and wounded in my regiment. They need the delicacies that you of the Red Cross have. I’m ready to pay for them out of my own pocket.”
“Not for a million dollars,” came the reply. “All you have to do is to ask.”
Salvation is like that. We cannot buy it or earn it, work to attain it nor expect to inherit it from a parent or relative.
We must ask for it with sincerity and the simple faith of a small child.
When offered a gift we must accept it to receive it. God’s salvation, through Jesus Christ, is offered to us as His gift. Even the faith to accept His salvation is a gift. But we must ask for and accept it to receive it.
Perhaps the most concise definition of how a person is saved is contained in the words: “By grace are you saved through faith which is a gift from God.” Our salvation comes from God’s grace and our trust in what He did for us through His Son. As Christians we live and die depending on God’s gifts of grace, faith and salvation.
Prayer:Father, we are grateful for Your love, grace and mercy and reach out to You in faith accepting Your salvation. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
President McKinley was having a difficult time making a decision between two qualified candidates for a key position in his cabinet. He labored long and hard knowing that his decision would affect the nation and the world.
One evening he boarded a crowded streetcar on his way home. After finding a seat he noticed one of the men he was considering for the position seated near the entrance. At the next stop an elderly lady with a large cumbersome package struggled to get onboard.
The candidate for the position turned his eyes, pretending that he did not see the lady who was having a difficult time. He kept his seat while he looked out the window as though he did not see her. But the president not only helped her with her package, he gave her his seat.
The next morning McKinley made his decision. The man's lack of kindness eliminated him from further consideration and the other man received the appointment.
Every decision we make affects history because it reflects who we are and what is important to us. Paul said to "be kind, tenderhearted, and loving toward one another."
Prayer:Heavenly Father, make us aware of each decision we make because it reflects our love for You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Ephesians 4:32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
Two longtime friends met at a class reunion. One turned to the other and asked, "Has your husband lived up to his promises?"
"Oh yes," she answered quickly. "He said that he wasn't good enough for me and has spent the last fifteen years proving it."
What makes a good husband and a husband good? The letter to the Ephesians describes a model for us: "You husbands must love your wives with the same love that Christ showed the church." At first, that may seem almost impossible. When carefully considered, however, it has great meaning and significance. This love that Paul speaks of has three elements in it: sacrifice, care and equality.
The sacrificial love mentioned here means that the husband must be willing to give up - sacrifice, if necessary - his life for his wife if it is in the best interest of the marriage. Nothing will ever be so important to him that his individual pursuits will overshadow her well-being. His goals will always include her and he will care for her physical needs as if they were his own “for husbands must love their wives with the same love we have” in Christ.
Prayer:Father, may Your Spirit trouble and convict us husbands until we love our wives as Scripture insists. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,
An employee was suddenly taken very ill at work and was rushed to the hospital. He was well liked by everyone for his constant humor and great disposition. The first one to visit him at the hospital was his boss.
Standing by the side of his bed and holding his hand, his boss encouraged him by saying, “John, please don’t worry about a thing. Just get well. We’ll all get together and do your work – as soon as we can figure out what you’ve been doing.” It seems as though every organization has an employee named “John.” He’s over here, over there, everywhere but where he is supposed to be, not doing what he has been hired to do. He’s busy but doing nothing while others take up the slack.
Paul said to “Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than people.” We are encouraged to work responsibly as if Jesus were our supervisor. Even when we find our work unsatisfying or unfulfilling at times, we must always remember that God will reward us for what we do and how we will do it, for we do it for His glory.
Prayer:Lord, when our work becomes difficult and we want to quit, encourage us to go on for You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Ephesians 6:7-8 with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free.
One evening a husband returned from work and found his home cluttered and un-kept. Calling to his wife he asked, “What on earth happened today?”
“Well,” she responded, “every evening when you arrive home you ask, ‘What did you do all day?’ Well, now you know.”
When a man and woman become husband and wife, a unique relationship is formed: the two become one. And when the two are merged into one, a unique union is formed. From then on, whatever affects one certainly affects the other. It is as if there is no seam.
Paul said that “each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” We know that a man “loves himself” if he takes care of himself as one who was created in God’s image for God’s glory. If a man takes this obligation seriously, he will be concerned about his spiritual, mental and physical well-being by developing his relationship with God, putting “good things” into his mind and caring for his body. These are the right things to do. And as he cares for himself, he must – and will willingly – also care for his wife the same way. A wife knows that her husband cares for her if he cares for himself as God intended him to and wants the same – what is best in God’s eyes – for her. Respect for the husband comes naturally and freely when the wife knows she is being cared for the way God intended.
Prayer: Lord, we pray that in our homes and in our lives we will live this love that comes from You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Ephesians 5:33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
Pope John Paul II was one of the most notable leaders of the Roman Catholic Church. In 1981 the Pope made a trip to a prison to speak with the man who tried to assassinate him and tell him that he forgave him. In 1984 the Pope appeared on the cover of TIME with the would-be assassin, shaking hands with him while his other arm was around his shoulders. Underneath the photo were the words “WHY FORGIVE?” in bold letters.
Strangely, the Pope asked readers to “pray for my brother whom I have sincerely forgiven.” Some condemned the Pope. Others agreed with the Pope. Still others could not understand the reason the Pope did such a thing.
For most, forgiveness is not easy to do nor pleasant to think about. Some even enjoy the resentment and anger that grows within us if we have been wronged. Some speak of their anger as a sign of mental health. Yet…
Paul said…When we accept and understand God’s mercy and forgiveness He expects us to forgive others just as Jesus did to those who crucified Him. Furthermore, because God through the death of Christ has forgiven us, He literally expects us to forgive others as our Savior has forgiven us. We must follow His example.
Prayer:Lord, we pray for the willingness to forgive others who have wronged us even as our Savior willingly forgives us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Ephesians 4:32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.