He is recognized as a pioneer medical missionary, an African explorer who wanted to discover the source of the Nile River, a scientific investigator and a reformer of the political system in England.
One day at a Missionary Conference in London, a gracious man with a contagious smile noticed a young boy standing quietly with a puzzled look on his face. With a kind expression and that wonderful smile, he approached the youngster and asked, “Wouldn’t you like to become a missionary?”
Years later David Livingstone said, “It was that smile and the kind, questioning face that led me to become a missionary.”
Paul once wrote of Moses and said that “his face shown with the glory of God.” The glory that was evident in the face of Moses came from his relationship with God – the source of all glory then and now.
And Paul also wrote, “I pray that God who gives you hope will keep you happy and full of peace as you believe in Him.”
There is an obvious connection in Paul’s mind that is expressed in his writings: If the glory of the Lord is on the inside of the Christian, it will be obvious to those around us by the expressions on our faces. If you know and love Jesus you will express His grace and glory through the smile on your face and the kindness in your voice.
Prayer: We ask, Heavenly Father, that we will be so filled with Your Spirit that our faces will reflect Your beauty, our voices Your kindness and our deeds Your love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
A young child ran to his neighbor’s workshop in tears. His friend put his strong arm around the small boy’s shoulder and asked, “What’s wrong, my young friend? Why are you crying?”
“I can’t sing and I can’t play,” sobbed Antonio.
“Well, my little friend,” said Amati, “there are many ways of making music. If you have music in your heart, nothing else matters.”
Antonio felt better after hearing the comforting words of his friend. And the expression of concern he felt through the hug made him know that someone cared for him deeply. As a result of this kindness he began to visit with Amati and started to learn the craft of making violins. The day finally arrived when the violins made by Antonio Stradivarius were recognized as the finest violins in the world.
God has a perfect plan for each of us. He wants to take the “raw” gifts He has given us and transform them through His power into deeds of power and glory that reflect His grace. Though at times it may seem as though we are struggling to find a purpose in life and a way to honor Him, we must always remember that He will never leave us or forsake us as long as we look to Him for guidance.
God wants what is best for us but we will never know what that is until we surrender our lives completely to Him.
Prayer:Help us, Heavenly Father, to recognize the fact that You have something unique for each of us to do to build Your Kingdom and willingly surrender ourselves to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Romans 12:1,2 …I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship...Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.
It was the mid-week prayer service. The crowd was small but the singing loud. The final hymn before the Bible study was “For You I Am Praying.”
A visitor turned to a member of the church who was standing next to him and asked, “For whom are you praying?”
“No one, really,” came the response. “I just came to sing.”
Often the hymns we sing and the words we speak are completely disconnected from the lives we live. Sometimes our faith is so frail that we fail Him.
But if our relationship with God is what He expects it to be and we want it to be, we must give Him our love and our lives, our heads and our hearts, our desires and our dreams. And we must ask Him to empower us, by His grace and goodness, to live lives that will be pleasing to Him.
God’s first expectation of us is that we totally commit our lives to Him. Paul, writing to the Romans said, “I beg you, in view of all that God has done for you, to make a decisive decision to present all that you are or have to God as a living sacrifice – which is only reasonable.”
If we do that – make that decisive decision to surrender our lives to Him – the songs we sing and the words we speak will be consistent with His expectations.
Prayer:Help us, Heavenly Father, to be certain that our walk matches our words and that we behave what we say we believe. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Romans 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle studied to be a physician. After completing his studies he established a medical partnership with a friend. It did not go well and they soon parted ways.
Shortly afterward, he opened his own practice. Initially he had very few patients and to pass away the long, boring days he began to write factious crime stories. His first writings were not well received. But since he had empty hours to fill, he continued to write.
Two of his characters were Sherlock Holmes and Watson. His stories were framed around much of the information he learned while a medical student, and it was his use of “differential diagnosis” in his writings that brought much of the intrigue to his works. It did not take long before his stories gained much attention and his writing career was established.
It may be intriguing for some to wonder why he did not go directly into writing crime stories rather than the field of medicine. Certainly that was an option. But it was his understanding of “differential diagnosis” that made his crime stories different and brought him success.
Often we wonder why we are sometimes called to go through “things” that seem foolish and worthless, boring and frustrating. But God has a plan for each of us and we must be patient with Him until He reveals it.
Prayer:Help us, Father, to be patient and open while You are preparing us for our life’s work. May we do our best to develop our talents carefully and wisely for You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
A little girl went to church for the first time. She was full of questions.
When a baby was presented for baptism she became more interested than ever. Noticing her attentiveness, her father said, “The parents are giving her to God.”
After the baptism, the minister gave the baby back to the parents.
Not understanding, she whispered to her father, “I guess God didn’t want that one.”
Not so! God wants every one of us.
On one occasion He said, “Come to Me, all of you…” On another occasion He said, “If you come to Me I will not reject you.”
We have all experienced the pain of rejection. We know what it is like to feel alone. Family members leave us. Friends turn their backs on us. But Jesus? Never!
Someone said, “With Jesus, the welcome mat is out and the door is always open.” Paul said, “…nothing…will ever separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” There is nothing that we have done or ever will do that can separate us from Him, His love or His salvation.
Prayer:Father, we are so grateful for Your love that reaches out to all of us. We are thankful that Your arms are always open to each of us. We rejoice in Your salvation that can save and keep us: in Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture: Romans 8:38, 39 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
It was the worst game of golf he had ever played. As he missed his putt on the final green, he flew into a terrible tantrum, screaming and swearing and flailing his arms. Beating his putter on the grass, he cried, “I have to give it up!”
“Give up golf?” asked the caddy in disbelief.
“No,” snapped the golfer, “my ministry. The church is taking up too much of my time. Those people expect too much of me and always expect me to take care of them.”
Pure and simple, time is a special gift. It is a commodity that, once used in one way or another, can never be retrieved. Once gone, it is forever lost.
One expert on time put it this way: “Time is life. It is irreversible and irreplaceable. To waste your time is to waste your life. To master your time is to master your life.” Lost time leads to a lost life.
We must always begin each day with God in a time of worship – prayer, Scripture reading, meditating on His Word and recognizing His role in our lives. If we make Him our first priority and focus on Him throughout the day, we can trust Him to direct our paths and bless each moment He gives us.
Prayer:Help me, Lord, to not only do things right, but to do the right things in the right way, at the right time. I surrender my time to You and ask that You help me to use it wisely, for Jesus’ sake, Amen.
Scripture: Romans 8:37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
A young lady was bragging to her girlfriends about her good fortune. “I have two handsome men who want to marry me, and I can’t decide which one to choose. I can live with either of them!”
One of her friends wisely said, “Your job is to determine which one of them you can live without.”
Everyone has a decision to make: Will we accept or reject Christ as our Savior.
When we choose to accept Him and the life He has to offer, we settle our eternal destiny. Once we have accepted Him as our Savior our life will be different. When we turn from sin to the Savior, we are given the power to live an abundant life – a life that is satisfying and fulfilling and one that pleases and honors God.
Sin is not a defect in our personality but a disease that destroys us. Sin is not an attitude or an accident, but a decision to turn against God. Sin is not a mistake but a willing rebellion against God’s laws. God’s Word says that “the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life.”
Prayer:Heavenly Father, we are eternally grateful to You for giving us the opportunity to choose life through Your Son, Jesus Christ. We ask that You will become the Master in our lives and keep us from sin. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture: Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Years ago a luxury ocean liner was making its way from England to America. Shortly after dark it encountered a massive thunderstorm and heavy seas. The ship began to heave first one way and then the other because of the enormous waves. One of the passengers sought out the captain and shouted in a loud voice, “Do something!”
“Madam, we are doing our very best,” he said calmly, “and we are trusting in the providence of God.”
“Is it that serious?” she asked.
The word “providence” comes from two Latin words, “care” and “preparation beforehand.” For the Christian this means that before we encounter problems or pain, trials or troubles God has already made His preparation for us to be safe and secure no matter what He brings into our lives.
We must realize that God sees “things” beforehand and knows what happens to us before it actually happens. Because of His knowledge and power, He will arrange the outcome of these “things” to fulfill His purpose for our lives.
Paul certainly believed in the providence of God. In his letter to the Romans he assures us that “God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called by Him.” If it comes into our life it is because God has a purpose and plan for it. Accept it and look for God’s hand in it.
Prayer:Help us, Father, to trust You when days seem dark and nights seem long. May we realize and accept Your “providence” for us in everything! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
One morning on their way to school a group of young boys was walking past a home with a large iron gate. Michael thought he would provide a bit of humor for the group and decided to put his arms and head through the gate and said, “Look at me! My head and hands are on one side of the gate but my heart and body are on the other side.”
Before he could get his head and hands out of the gate, one of his friends slammed the gate and Michael Faraday was badly hurt. He overcame his injuries and became one of the most influential scientists in history for his contributions in the field of electromagnetism.
Later in life he said, “That experience taught me one thing: My heart, head and hands should always be on the same side.”
This great scientist explained an important truth: there is a path that flows from the heart to the head and from the head to the hands. Simply stated, what begins in our heart usually grows, and in one way or another, spreads outward and ends up dominating the way we live, what we live for and what we do.
God’s Word reminds us that we must “not let any part of our body become a tool of wickedness.” So, when our eyes are enticed to look at objects that may lead to temptation and sin, we must immediately look to Him to “deliver us from evil.”
Prayer:Help us, Lord, to realize that sin has a way of beginning with an innocent glance that can lead to everlasting destruction. May we keep our eyes on You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Romans 6:12-14 …Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life,” and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.
Carl Sandburg was a great American author who won several Pulitzer Prizes for his poetry. Near the end of his life he was asked, “What’s the ugliest word in the English language?”
Without hesitation he answered, “Exclusive!”
But that word is not found in God’s Word. In fact, the Apostle Paul said, “Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved!” And anyone includes everyone.
How wonderful it is to know that the God of love and the love of God are not exclusive. No matter who we are or what we have done, He loves us. No matter where we have been or whom we have traveled with, He loves us. No matter how dirty we get or how often we have disappointed Him, He loves us. He loves us when we are at our best and when we are at our worst. Anyone at anytime can call on Him and He will hear and help!
But Paul follows his statement about God’s gracious invitation with the question: “How can they believe in Him and receive Him if they have never heard of Him?” With this critical question he places a great responsibility on every Christian: We must take the Good News of God’s message of salvation to those who are unsaved. Unless we accept this challenge from Paul, those whom we know that are lost are doomed. We must do for others what others have done for us.
Prayer:Father, we are so grateful that someone took Paul at his word and shared Your message of salvation with us. Help us to do the same while there is still time. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Romans 3:14 “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”