He was one of those deacons who spoke much more than was necessary and did much less than was needed. There was always a discrepancy between the way he lived, and the way he worked for the Lord.
One day he stopped by his pastor’s office in a state of great excitement. “Pastor,” he shouted, “I’m going to the Holy Land. Isn’t that wonderful? Aren’t you happy for me?”
“Well, yes I am,” said his pastor.
“Do you know what I’m going to do?” he asked.
“No, no I don’t. But I’m sure you’re going to tell me,” came the reply.
“When my group gets to the top of the mountain where God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, I’m going to have the group sit in front of me in a half circle while I read them out loud to everyone. Isn’t that exciting? I’m thrilled,” he continued.
“Deacon,” replied his pastor, “I think it would be much better for God and your group if you’d stay at home and live them.”
The Psalmist came straight to the point: “In keeping them, there is great reward.”
Many of us have memorized them, given copies of them to others - perhaps even entered into arguments as to why or why not The Ten Commandments should be placed in public places where everyone could see them.
However, if God were involved in the conversation, I’m sure He’d be with the pastor and say, “Just live them!”
Prayer: Father, it’s much easier to talk about You than live for You. Help us, please, to show others who You are. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: Psalm 19:11 By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward. 
It’s not often that we read of a treasurer reading the Word of God. But we do read of one from Ethiopia who was doing exactly that. He’d been on a trip and was on his way home sitting in his chariot. We are told that he was reading it out loud and having a difficult time understanding its message. God knew he was confused and said to Phillip, “Go and talk with him in his chariot.”
As soon as the Holy Spirit spoke to him, Phillip did not hesitate for one moment. He knew that God had something important for him to do so he ran as fast as he could to the chariot and began to talk to him about the Lord. As they rode along they came to a small body of water.
“Look,” exclaimed the treasurer, “here is some water. What is there that could possibly keep me from being baptized?” Phillip answered, “You can - if you believe with all your heart.” The official replied, “I do believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God!” So, Phillip baptized him.
Imagine how this story might have ended if his heart was not sensitive to the Holy Spirit or if doing the Lord’s work was not important to him or if he had walked and not run to the man. That man may never have come to the Lord as his Savior. None of that matters. When God called - he answered. Immediately!
Perhaps he read Psalm 119:32 for his devotions that morning: “I run in the path of Your commands, for You have broadened my understanding.”
Prayer: Father, may I at all times - no matter the cost - be open to Your voice and obedient to Your call. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 119:32 I run in the path of your commands, for you have broadened my understanding.
James didn’t want to be a farmer like his Dad. He resented the long days, hard work and low pay. So, every time Dad asked him to do something he would ask sarcastically, “Why?” or “Why should I do that?” or “Why me?” or “Why do you want that done?” It bothered his Dad who planned on leaving the farm to him when he died.
One day he gave him a basket with a rope on it and said, “Go to the well and fill it with water.” “Why?” asked his son. “None of your ‘whys’ this time - just do as you’re told.”
He dipped the basket in the well and pulled it to the top. He watched the water flow out between the spaces in the basket and became angry. “It won’t hold water,” he shouted. “Do it again,” said the Dad. Again the water seeped out of the basket. “Do it again,” said his Dad. “I will not. You’re not going to make a fool of me! I’m not going to do it again! Take your old basket back!”
“Look,” said his Dad with a smile. “Now the basket is clean - which is what it needed and you didn't have to ask ‘why.’ The water did what it was supposed to do. It washed away the dirt. Now it’s clean and we can use it to put our crops in.”
How like God’s Word. We don’t need to ask God “Why” we need to read His Word. It’s the way it works - it cleanses us from sin and keeps us pure. The Psalmist had it right: “How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to Your Word.”
Prayer: Lord, give us a deep desire to read Your Word and allow it to fill our lives. Help us to become pure. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 119:9 How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word.
“Papa, what do you want more than anything else in the whole world?” asked my Grandson Keller.
We had been watching a commercial on popular hand-held football games and he hadn’t blinked once during the entire advertisement. My first thought was that he wanted me to state the name of the computer game. But suddenly, the words of Jesus came to my mind: “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”
“Well, Keller,” I said, “most of all I want to be like Jesus and then I’d also like to be the best Papa I can be. That’s really important to me and other than being like Jesus that’s number one. I want to be a good example for you.”
Not long ago I read a story of a man in a foreign country who wanted to “Be like Jesus.” So, he decided to memorize the New Testament and made it through the Beatitudes. One day he ran into the missionary who had led him to the Lord and baptized him. Immediately, he told him about his goal. After he heard them recited, he said, “Good. Now go and put them in to practice.”
A few weeks later he met the missionary again and said, “You know I tried doing what you said and it didn’t work out. I got confused. So, I started over with just the first one and it worked better. Now I’m trying number two. I want to live what I know.”
Knowing the Bible is one thing. Living it is very different. The Psalmist said, “Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying Your decrees.”
Prayer: Lord, help us to keep it simple but steady as we grow into the likeness of Your Son, our Savior. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 119:5 Oh, that my ways were directed To keep Your statutes!
General Robert E. Lee had a brilliant officer serving on his staff. He was fiercely faithful and loyal to the general. He was also a man of conviction, courage and confidence. Every letter or note he wrote to General Lee was signed, “You can count on me.” 
Our Lord has many people He can count but not many He can count on. But there is one who stands as an example to all of us: Joshua!
Joshua was careful to obey all of the teachings and instructions given by God. As we read the book that bears his name, we find the theme of obedience time and time again. This theme of obedience is so very prominent because it was an important aspect of the believer’s life. Additionally, it is certainly a significant part of our lives and one part of our lives that, with God’s help, we can control.
We cannot control the events that God brings into our lives, but we can control the way we respond to them. We cannot control the behavior of others around us but we certainly can control how we behave when we are in their presence. We cannot control the decisions of our leaders but we certainly can “pray without ceasing” for them. We cannot control the content of the media but we can certainly choose different materials to read or programs to watch on television.
However, one choice that every Christian has is to obey God. God’s Word sets the standard for all to follow.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, empower us with Your Holy Spirit to understand and accept Your Word, and to be obedient to it so You will be able to “count on us.” In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Joshua 11:15 As the Lord had commanded Moses his servant, so Moses commanded Joshua, and so Joshua did. He left nothing undone of all that the Lord had commanded Moses.
Janie had been disobedient and refused to follow her mother’s instructions. Wanting her to learn the importance of obedience and necessity of prayer, her mother sent her to her room to ask God to help her. In a few moments she returned to the kitchen where her mother was preparing the evening meal.
“Mom,” she announced, “I prayed about my disobedience.”
“Good,” said her mother. “Did you ask God to help you to be a good girl?” 
“No, Mom, I didn’t,” she answered. “Instead I asked Him to help you put up with me.”
Jesus said something important about obedience: “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me.” There is always a connection in Scripture between love and obedience. Again, He said, “If you love me you will obey my commandments.”
If we say that we love God we will show this love by being obedient to Him. When we look at the life of Jesus, we see a relationship between a Father and His Son founded on love and reflected in obedience. His life set the standard for us to follow.
It was His sacrificial life that ultimately showed us what it means to obey the Father. When we waver in our obedience to Christ we need to examine our lives to make certain that what we say is seen in what we do.
Prayer: Help us, Heavenly Father, in our struggle to be obedient to You. We know that selfish temptation often overwhelms us – but give us strength to persevere. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: John 14:21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.
A man once said to Mark Twain, “It is my deepest desire to go to the mount where God gave Moses the Ten Commandments and recite them there!” Puzzled, Mark Twain asked, “Don’t you think it would be better to stay at home and try to keep them there?”
The Lord did not give us the Ten Commandments to review, but to reveal; not to look at but to live; not to admire but to acknowledge in the way we behave.
There are many who say one thing with their lips but show another thing with their lives. There are those who say the right things but live the wrong way. And there are some who speak the language of faith but give no evidence of it in their lives. The proof of our faith is not our words but our works.
Some say, “I am a Christian” but if they are watched closely there is no evidence of Christ in their lives. We are reminded by James that we are not only to be hearers of the Word, but doers of the Word. A good time to start doing good is now. A good place to start doing good is where you are.
Prayer: Father, help me to follow the directions for living that I find in Your Word. Do not allow me to deceive myself into thinking that I am acting on Your behalf when my behavior does not reflect what Your Word tells me to do. In Your Name. Amen.
Scripture: James 1:22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 
Bud Grant was the legendary head football coach of the Minnesota Vikings and a member of the pro-football Hall of Fame. He was once referred to as the “toughest person on the field.”
The first event at the first practice session of every Viking camp was the same. He personally showed his players how to line up for the playing of our National Anthem. He would remind them that if the other teams slouched or looked disinterested during the playing of the anthem, he was not responsible for their behavior.
However, he said to his men, “You're special. You're winners. Look and act like winners every second you are part of this team!”
We Christians need to realize that we are “special.” We need to look and act like Christians all of the time – no matter where we are or what we are doing. The Apostle John said, “Those who say they live in God should live as Jesus did.”
This does not mean that God expects us to have disciples or perform miracles. It means that we are to walk as He walked, talk as He talked, live as He lived, obey God as He obeyed God and follow His example of loving and serving others as He did.
Prayer: Our Father, may we as Your children be and act like Jesus, Your Son, and demonstrate to others that we are members of Your family. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 John 2:6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.
A professor of philosophy was being wheeled into the operating room for a serious procedure. For several days before the operation he slept very little and spent most days in great fear. At last he came up with an idea that gave him some peace.
When removing the final layer of clothing before making an incision, the surgeon noticed a word written at the exact location where the surgery was to take place. Looking carefully he read: THINK!
Another philosopher once said, “Five percent of the population thinks; ten percent of the population thinks they think and the rest of the population would rather die than think.”
A Psalmist once said, “I pondered the direction of my life, and I turned to follow Your laws. I will hurry, without delay, to obey Your commands.”
Our thoughts are very powerful. They are the beginning of all that we say and all that we do. We seldom pause to ponder how frequently we react to the events of life rather than to act after we pause and pray and ask God for His guidance. Responsible Christian behavior comes from knowing and obeying God’s instructions and commands.
Prayer: Help us, Heavenly Father, to meditate on Your Word so constantly that Your teachings will fill our minds and guide our thinking. In Jesus’ Name.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 119:59-60 I have considered my ways and have turned my steps to your statutes. I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands.
Josiah Wedgewood was the founder of one of the world’s finest pottery businesses. It was his practice to walk through his plant carrying a little hammer. Whenever he detected the slightest defect in any of his earthenware, he would break it and shout, “Only the best is worthy of the name of Wedgewood.” That is why his china has maintained the reputation of being among the world’s finest.
Have you ever considered what it means to be called “Christian?” It means that we are being called by the name “Christ.” What a privilege! But are we worthy?
Often individuals find fault with the way some of us who are called “Christian” behave. It is not that those in question “believe” wrong, it is simply that they do not “behave” right. It is an observation about how they live and what they do. The world finds no fault with Christ, but has difficulty understanding why those who represent Him do not live as they are expected to. Perhaps this is why many do not receive Him.
Too many of those who claim His name find it easier to “talk” as He did than to “walk” as He walked.
Prayer: Father, it is sometimes difficult for me to walk as You walked. Please give me Your strength and courage to live for You: through Christ. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Colossians 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father by Him.
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