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Just The Right Time

The conductor stood on the podium, his eyes scanning the choir and orchestra. The singers arranged the music in their folders, found a comfortable position for standing, and held the folder where they could see the conductor just over the top. Orchestra members positioned their music on the stand, found a comfortable position in their seats, and then sat still. The conductor waited and watched until everyone was ready. Then, with a downbeat of his baton, the sounds of Handel’s “Overture to Messiah” filled the cathedral.

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In Jesus’ Name

One of my favorite collections of photos is of a family dinner. Preserved in an album are images of Dad, his sons and their wives, and his grandchildren in a time of thanks-giving and intercession.

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The Heart Of Christmas

Charles Dickens’ novel A Christmas Carol was released on December 19, 1843, and has never been out of print. It tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a wealthy, sour, stingy man who says, “Every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas,’ on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding!” Yet, one Christmas Eve, Scrooge is radically changed into a generous and happy man. With great humor and insight, Dickens’ book captures the universal longing for inner peace.

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My Friends And I

John Chrysostom (347–407), archbishop of Constantinople, said this about friendship: “Such is friendship, that through it we love places and seasons; for as . . . flowers drop their sweet leaves on the ground around them, so friends impart favor even to the places where they dwell.”

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A Work In Progress

Pablo Casals was considered to be the preeminent cellist of the first half of the 20th century. When he was still playing his cello in the middle of his tenth decade of life, a young reporter asked, “Mr. Casals, you are 95 years old and the greatest cellist that ever lived. Why do you still practice 6 hours a day?”

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A Ukrainian Christmas

The people of Ukraine include many wonderful elements in their observance of Christmas. Sometimes wisps of hay are placed on the dinner table as a reminder of the Bethlehem manger. Another portion of their celebration echoes the events of the night when the Savior entered the world. A Christmas prayer is offered and then the father in the household offers the greeting, “Christ is born!” The family then responds, “Let us glorify Him!”

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Story Stewards

Many people take great care to make sure their resources are used well after they die. They set up trusts, write wills, and establish foundations to guarantee that their assets will continue to be used for a good purpose after their life on earth is done. We call this good stewardship.

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A Special Birth

In the pages of Scripture, several baby-boy births stand out. Cain, the firstborn after creation. Isaac, the hope of Israel’s future. Samuel, the answer to a mother’s fervent prayer. All extremely important. All joyously expected. And all described exactly the same by the chroniclers of Scripture: In each case, we are told that the mother conceived and bore a son (Gen. 4:1; 21:2-3; 1 Sam. 1:20).

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Another Hero Of Christmas

For most of my life, I missed the importance of Joseph in the Christmas story. But after I became a husband and father myself, I had a greater appreciation for Joseph’s tender character. Even before he knew how Mary had become pregnant, he decided that he wasn’t going to embarrass or punish her for what seemed to be infidelity (Matt. 1:19).

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Snug As A Bug In A Rug!

When I was a child, my family lived in a house my father built in the cedar breaks west of Duncanville, Texas. Our house had a small kitchen-dinette area, two bedrooms, and a great room with a large stone fireplace in which we burned 2-foot-long cedar logs. That fireplace was the center of warmth in our home.

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Snake In A Box

At a nature center, I watched my friend’s rosy-cheeked toddler pat the side of a large glass box. Inside the box, a bull snake named Billy slithered slowly, eyeing the little girl. Billy’s body was as thick as my forearm and he sported brown and yellow markings. Although I knew Billy could not escape from his container, seeing a menacing-looking creature so close to a small child made me shudder.

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Wonders Of The Heart

Our heart beats about 100,000 times every day, pumping blood to every cell in our bodies. This adds up to about 35 million beats a year and 2.5 billion beats in an average lifetime. Medical science tells us that every contraction is similar to the effort it would take for us to hold a tennis ball in our palm and give it a good hard squeeze.

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Our Life Is A Primer

The New England Primer was published in the late 1600s. Throughout the colonies that would later become the United States, the book became a widely used resource.

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Stones Cry Out

Every year it seems that Christmas becomes more and more commercialized. Even in nations where the majority of people call themselves “Christian,” the season has become more about shopping than worshiping. The pressure to buy gifts and plan elaborate parties makes it increasingly difficult to stay focused on the real meaning of the holiday—the birth of Jesus, God’s only Son, the Savior of the world.

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Johnny’s Race

When 19-year-old Johnny Agar finished the 5k race, he had a lot of people behind him—family members and friends who were celebrating his accomplishment.

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Better Than Before

As infants, my children had nearly perfect skin. Their flesh was soft—they had no dry elbows or rough patches on their feet. Smooth and new, it contrasted with mine, which was marked by years of various scars and callouses.

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Human Chess

Chess is an ancient game of strategy. Each player begins with 16 pieces on the chessboard with the goal of cornering his opponent’s king. It has taken different forms over the years. One form is human chess, which was introduced around ad 735 by Charles Martel, duke of Austrasia. Martel would play the game on giant boards with real people as the pieces. The human pieces were costumed to reflect their status on the board and moved at the whim of the players—manipulating them to their own ends.

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Called By Name

At the beginning of the academic year, a school principal in our city pledged to learn the names of all 600 students in her school. Anyone who doubted her ability or resolve could look at her track record. During the previous year she had learned the names of 700 students, and prior to that, 400 children in a different school. Think of what it must have meant to these students to be recognized and greeted by name.

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Whose Side Are You On?

In the heat of the American Civil War, one of President Lincoln’s advisors said he was grateful that God was on the side of the Union. Lincoln replied, “Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.”

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Losing Our Way

An online survey conducted by a New York law firm reveals that 52 percent of Wall Street traders, brokers, investment bankers, and other financial service professionals have either engaged in illegal activity or believe they may need to do so in order to be successful. The survey concludes that these financial leaders “have lost their moral compass” and “accept corporate wrongdoing as a necessary evil.”

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28 thoughts on “Losing Our Way

  1. Rocky says:

    There always has to be a balance, often times in church we have been taught that if we saved our money, we loved our money, because we should not store our riches where moths and rust would destroy it.

    There has to be not only a balance, but knowledge and wisdom also need to be used. Proverbs teaches us that a good man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children.

    Joseph had the entire nation of Egypt save 20% for Seven years, when have we been taught to save 1% for One year, let alone 20% for Seven years?

    I’ve been debt free for about 6 years now, and carry no credit cards, and live well within my means and I’m so content living well within my means. I have have a motto that I use together with scripture “If I can’t afford to pay cash for it, then I don’t need it”.

    The coolest thing that I have experienced from all of this is that I can sleep at night, I am not afraid to lose my job, because I know that God is my provider and my employer is not my provider.

    1. vijoyal says:

      Rocky
      I wish I could do that- a day without debt. I am trying my best and praying to God to relieve me from all debts. I shall adopt your Motto:“If I can’t afford to pay cash for it, then I don’t need it”. But in the modern techno savvy world without a Credit Card Life is difficult. Hence I reduced my limit to $250.00 and whenever I want to use it I make sure that I replenish Cash. I hope and Pray by 2015 I will be out of debts and retire. Please pray for me as well along for others who are in deep debts.

      1. Rocky says:

        vijoyal, It’s been a journey, the Bible says that when God teaches us we will have more knowledge and understanding than our teachers and elders. The Bible also teaches us obedience is better than sacrifice.

        I was always taught that if I was struggling financially, all I had to do was pay my tithes and offerings and I would be just fine. Interesting the Lord through His word has taught me that the opposite is actually true.

        The Lord wants us to get out of bondage first before we can help anyone, and that’s the bottom line.

  2. eternallyhis says:

    hmmm about wealth and poverty
    I don’t know much about material wealth, most likely due to fault on my part, and my hubby’s. But, with seven children between us, and only his paycheck and my abilities of gardening and picking and preserving apples and berries, etc. Well, we did as good as we were able, taking our faults and/or wastefulness into consideration. Other people might have done much better than us with our resources, but we weren’t other people.
    Anyhow, we were classed as being ‘poor’ financially, but after giving my life, my marriage and all to God and learning about Jesus and getting to know Him, I became aware of my new position in life. Wow! A child of the Almighty God, and so blessed with a hubby I had thought I didn’t want, but God giving me so much love for him, and lifted him up in my sight as the head of our home through which God would lead us, teach us and bless us…and to think He would entrust me to be a vessel through which over half of those precious children came.
    There were still some extremely rough times now and again, even times when I would look at other people’s homes and think how nice it would be to have modern conveniences such as running water and an indoor bathroom, etc. But our God is faithful, every time I started feeling sorry for myself He would bring the words of a song to my mind, “A tent or a cottage, why should I care?
    They’re building a palace for me over there!
    Though exiled from home,
    yet still I may sing:
    All glory to God, I’m a child of the King.” (Harriet Buell)
    I was so happy in Jesus that I actually felt bad for others that might not know Jesus, no matter how financially wealthy they might be. I would definitely rather live in a tent with Jesus than to live in a mansion without Him. I’m sure you all would too. Right? Right!
    Anyhow, what I’m trying to say is that I praise God for allowing me to go through some really rough financial times, due to all that I learned and gained in Christ that I might not have learned otherwise. I am not saying that any of us should deliberately choose to be poor, but I would not criticize anyone if they did choose to give up all worldly wealth, etc. in their effort to gain spiritual wealth. However, I would encourage them to live as frugally as they choose to, but to try keeping the money coming in to give to those worthy causes, such as water and food and bare necessities of life that so many people are lacking.
    We all need to learn as the apostle Paul did, to know both how to be content in whatsoever state we are in. To know both how to be abased, and how to abound: everywhere and in all things to both be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need’ (Philippians 4:10-13) We can do all things through Jesus Christ which strengthens us. Amen and Amen

    1. eternallyhis says:

      p.s. Since it is so late, I’m thinking maybe I’ll copy and paste this on tomorrow’s comment section. God bless all

  3. damaris05 says:

    Great insight! I want to be a GW with God’s help. And want to help others with His guidance!

  4. praise the lord says:

    Hi Everyone,
    This scripture starts with Now godliness with contentment is great gain. It isn’t saying whether we should be rich or poor. But it does point out the fact that an attitude toward our acquiring money can become destructive.
    Verse 11 which is not a part of todays reading tells us where our focus should be.
    11But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love patience, gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life,…..

    In Revelations 3:16 so then you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17″Because you say, I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’– and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked– 18 “I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.

    I have a roof over my head, food to eat, and clothing to wear. That makes me richer than most of the people in other countries.
    I’ve been on mission trips and these people who have far less can put me to shame in the joy that they show.
    In Voice Of The Martyrs a mother explains to her child to die rather than deny Christ.
    Money does not bring joy. Money does not bring us salvation. 1Timothy 7 For we brought nothing into this world , and it is certain we can carry nothing out. God wants us to be content with what he gives us and to use what we have wisely for his kingdom.

    Lord give us your peace, joy, love for others,.a heart to pray for the persecuted, and as Proverbs 30:8-9 …Give me neither poverty nor riches– 9 Lest I be full and deny You, and say, “Who is the Lord?” Or lest I be poor and steal, and profane the name of my God.

  5. richardtour says:

    Doctor’s Perspective,

    Your perspectives are usually highly esteemed and appreciated in this forum, but I must say, I’m not impressed with your comment to the poor in today’s post.

    You stated, “No where does God bless anyone with poverty. So if this applies to you, get out of your comfort zone. Find another reason or excuse for being poor. It is not a blessing from God.”

    I would be very hard-pressed to find any poor people who are “comfortable” being poor, or searching for justifications to remain poor, or who are reasoning within themselves that their poverty is a “blessing” from God.

    I wouldn’t pretend to know all the reasons why the poor are poor, but I can say with confidence that they are not seeking poverty as some sort of a divine emblem of blessing. In fact, I think it’s offensive to the poor to suggest any such thing.

    I was raised in a poor home. My Mom did everything she could to make ends meet. She had nothing beyond a high school education, but she worked as hard as she could to provide for us. I have never regarded her endeavors as someone “looking for reasons,” or “excuses” or desiring to maintain poverty as a “comfort zone”. She did what she could, and we had what we had. And I praise God for her diligence.

    God does bless the poor in this world with riches that are not necessarily of this world. And sometimes, God even uses poor people to save cities: “There was a small city with few men in it and a great king came to it, surrounded it and constructed large siege works against it.But there was found in it a poor wise man and he delivered the city by his wisdom. Yet no one remembered that poor man.” (Ecc. 9:14-15).

    Those of us who can are to help the poor; respect, and honor them. We ought not regard their poverty with a condescending attitude.

    And remember, it was Lazarus who spent his life covered with sores at the gate of the rich man waiting for bread crumbs, who was rewarded in Heaven by having his place at Abraham’s side. “‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony.” (Luke 16:25)

    1. rickt1961 says:

      I don’t see where he said everyone that is poor can be wealthy. He was referring to people that choose not to gain wealth because they think that makes them closer to God. They think when they hear that it is easier for a camel to fit through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get to heaven they have to not acquire wealth. As the reading today says it is the love of money not money itself that is the root of all evil. But wanting to acquire wealth and have more first fruits to share is not necessarily a bad thing. It is when you put acquiring money ahead of loving God that it turns into a problem.

      1. jerome00 says:

        Thank God for both of your comments. Not to be critical, but I think we all could benefit more by way of number of viewers and context if replies to specific posts were posted w/ the reply option as rickt1961 has done here. Others have posted that they look for particular posters, so they might not see a different “perspective” or insight on certain posts. A “thread of dialogue” is much more enlightening.

    2. vijoyal says:

      I think you didn’t understand Dr’s comment rightly. He was saying about two kinds of ‘Poor’ people. Godly and Wicked. The comfort zone he mentioned is ‘wicked’. A recent survey about job prospective in Hospitality Industry says that 95% of the Graduates are employed. The rest 5% are unemployed not because of openings but due to the refusal of coming out of their comfort zone. Either they cannot do shift jobs, or doesn’t want to shfit from one place to another, umpteen reasons. Your mother doesn’t belong to any of these groups since she was spiritually rich.

  6. pnkorsi says:

    What a suprise that these verses are also in the Bible, thanks to Odb.org. How true it is that the law and its aparatus are for sinners. Have you seen a righteous person dragged before the law courts these days, if it were not in a few cases that God allowed to prove a point?….

    Difficult to se a faithful man dragged to the law for adultry; difficult to see an honest man dragged before the law for stealing or lying; difficult to see a chaste and humble person, dragged before the law for insulting authority or blasphemy;

    If a man therefore accepts Christ and determines to be like him, the law is not for him anymore. The Bible says there is no longer any condemnation for those who are in Christ, for the law of life in Christ Jesus has set them free from the law of sin and death. The Bible says again that s/he shall not be put to shame when s/he speaks with the enermy in the gate.

    Accept Jesus, observe to do according to his Word and the law shall no longer be for you. Amen

  7. lsylvain says:

    This an excellent devotion, Pastor Williams. While the love of money is a snare that is common to all walks and stations of life and causes much destruction – often to others but also to the greedy or covetous person himself, even discontent with a job and desire for a new one may cause one to miss God’s will and plan for his life. Lord, help me keep my prayers simple as our Savior thought us. May Your kingdom come and Your will be done. In Jesus’ name.

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