DID YOU THANK GOD TODAY?

By Dennis J. De Haan

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving . . . . Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. —Psalm 100:4

On my way to work one day I saw a bumper sticker that read: “Did you thank a green plant today?” Plants are essential to the balance of nature. They release oxygen into the air. They’re also a source of food, fuel, medicine, and building materials.

Was the bumper sticker suggesting that because we are so dependent on plants we should actually thank them? If that’s what the driver believes, he certainly has a lot to learn about who should receive our gratitude.

Nature bears marvelous testimony to the wisdom of the Creator. The interdependence of one life-form on another makes us realize that we’re part of a complex system characterized by beauty and balance. But to direct our praise to nature reminds us of Paul’s indictment of those who “worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator” (Romans 1:25). God alone is worthy of our gratitude! He set our world in motion, and He sustains it by His power.

Yes, it’s wonderful to be alive, and deep feelings of appreciation often well up within us. But we must always center our devotion on the One who not only provides the air we breathe but also gives us eternal life through faith in Christ.

I’d like to see that bumper sticker changed to: “Did you thank God today?”

Wind and water, light and sod
Speak with faithful lips for God;
May we give to Him our praise
For the goodness He displays. —Anon.

When you think of all that’s good, give your thanks to God.

Devotional forwarded to you by:

UP CHRISTIAN YOUTH MOVEMENT

NCCP Ecumenical Ministry – Church of the Risen Lord

University of the Philippines, Diliman Campus, QC

HE’S BEEN FAITHFUL

By Julie Ackerman Link

Your faithfulness endures to all generations. —Psalm 119:90

Jim and Carol Cymbala prayed and praised and preached their way through a personal 2-year nightmare. Their teenage daughter Chrissy had turned her back on the God they loved and served so faithfully. Although their hearts were breaking, Jim and Carol continued ministering to the people of the Brooklyn Tabernacle in New York City.

Some people think that Carol wrote the song “He’s Been Faithful” after her daughter’s dramatic return to God, but she didn’t. She wrote it before. Carol refers to it as “a song of hope born in the midst of my pain.” While hurting deeply, Carol said that her song “became like a balm to my heart, strengthening me once again.” The words she wrote during that time helped her to move forward. Although her daughter had not yet come back to the Lord, Carol could praise Him for His loving faithfulness in her own life.

Later, when Chrissy showed up at home and fell to her knees begging forgiveness, the truth of Psalm 119:90 became real to Carol: God is faithful not just to our generation, but to all generations! Carol also experienced in a new way a line of her own song that has blessed so many: “What I thought was impossible, I’ve seen my God do!”

When we have nothing left but God, we find that God is enough.

Devotional forwarded to you by:

UP CHRISTIAN YOUTH MOVEMENT

NCCP Ecumenical Ministry – Church of the Risen Lord

University of the Philippines, Diliman Campus, QC

IN DEFENSE OF LIFE

By Dennis J. De Haan

You shall not murder. —Exodus 20:13

The Jews clearly understood that God’s commandment not to kill refers to murder-the malicious taking of human life. It doesn’t forbid governments to use the death penalty or to wage war. This commandment deals solely with private morality.

Exodus 20:13 is based on the divine truth that human life is sacred and that we must protect and preserve it. Every human being bears God’s image. Even an embryo is marked with a unique identity from the moment of conception. Life is God’s most precious gift, and only He has the right to take it. Abortion, euthanasia, and physician-assisted suicide must all be viewed in the light of God’s right to our life.

Jesus brought this commandment to everyone’s doorstep when He said that to be angry at someone without cause makes us guilty of murder (Matthew 5:21-22). And John wrote, “Whoever hates his brother is a murderer” (1 John 3:15). This makes us all murderers in desperate need of God’s forgiveness and mercy.

Thank You, Lord, for Your love and forgiveness. Help us by Your Holy Spirit to love others as You have loved us, and in so doing to value life, protect life, and enrich life as a gift from You.

Points To Ponder
What did John mean when he said that if we hate
someone we are murderers? (1 John 3:15).
How does this truth help us to forgive those who hurt us?

Anger is just one letter short of danger.

Devotional forwarded to you by:

UP CHRISTIAN YOUTH MOVEMENT

NCCP Ecumenical Ministry – Church of the Risen Lord

University of the Philippines, Diliman Campus, QC

A REASON FOR HOPE


By Julie Ackerman Link

His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. —Lamentations 3:22-23

It’s one of the saddest stories of the Bible, yet it inspired one of the most hopeful hymns of the 20th century.

The prophet Jeremiah witnessed unimaginable horrors when the Babylonians invaded Jerusalem in 586 BC. Solomon’s temple was reduced to ruins, and with it went not only the center of worship but also the heart of the community. The people were left with no food, no rest, no peace, no leader. But in the midst of suffering and grief, one of their prophets found a reason for hope. “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,” wrote Jeremiah, “because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23).

Jeremiah’s hope came from his personal experience of the Lord’s faithfulness and from his knowledge of God’s promises in the past. Without these, he would have been unable to comfort his people.

This hope of Lamentations 3 is echoed in a hymn by Thomas Chisholm (1866-1960). Although suffering sickness and setbacks throughout his life, he wrote “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.” It assures us that even in times of great fear, tragic loss, and intense suffering we can find comfort and confidence as we trust in God’s great faithfulness.

The best reason for hope is God’s faithfulness.

 

Devotional forwarded to you by:

UP CHRISTIAN YOUTH MOVEMENT

NCCP Ecumenical Ministry – Church of the Risen Lord

University of the Philippines, Diliman Campus, QC

THE ONLY ONE

By Dave Branon

The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers. —1 Peter 3:12

As a teacher with many years of experience in high school and college classrooms, I have observed many kinds of students. One in particular is what I call the “just me and the teacher” student. This pupil has a kind of one-on-one conversation with the teacher—almost as if no one else were in the class. The teacher’s rhetorical questions, for instance, result in verbal answers from this student—oblivious to anyone else’s reaction. While the class is filled with other pupils, this one seems to think it’s “just me and the teacher.”

As I watched one of these students recently and saw him command the teacher’s attention, I thought, He’s on to something. He has the focus we all need to have when we pray.

The thought that millions of other Christians are talking to God as we pray should never cause us to feel that we are less important. No, as we talk to our everywhere-present, all-knowing, all-powerful God, we can be confident that He is giving us His full attention. David said, “This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him” (Psalm 34:6). God directs single-minded attention toward our praise, our requests, and our concerns.

When you pray, to Him you are the only one.

So lift up your heart to the heavens;
There’s a loving and kind Father there
Who offers release—comfort and peace—
In the silent communion of prayer. —Anon.

Though millions are bending God’s ear in prayer, He listens to each individually.

 

Devotional forwarded to you by:

UP CHRISTIAN YOUTH MOVEMENT

NCCP Ecumenical Ministry – Church of the Risen Lord

University of the Philippines, Diliman Campus, QC

FINDING REST

By David C. McCasland

He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. —Psalm 23:3

According to a survey conducted by an insurance company, one of every six workers in the US feels too busy to take all the vacation days he or she has earned. Even though studies show that a week’s holiday each year can dramatically reduce stress and the risk of heart attack, many people just keep working.

A vacation can be good for body and soul. But many people don’t have the luxury of time away from work and daily responsibilities. What can we do when we must remain in demanding circumstances?

Psalm 23 paints a beautiful word picture of a caring shepherd, secure sheep, and a tranquil scene of quiet meadows and still waters. But it is the Lord, our shepherd, who gives rest, not the green grass or the flowing stream. “He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake” (v.3).

Rest is a place of peace that our spirits find in God. Neither the presence of those who oppose us nor the dark valley of death can keep us from what hymn writer Cleland McAfee called “a place of quiet rest, near to the heart of God.” Through prayer and meditation on His Word, we can commune with Him. In the Lord’s presence we can experience the rest and renewal we so desperately need.

There is a place of comfort sweet,
Near to the heart of God,
A place where we our Savior meet,
Near to the heart of God. —McAfee

Spending quiet time with God will bring quiet rest from God.

 
Devotional forwarded to you by:

UP CHRISTIAN YOUTH MOVEMENT

NCCP Ecumenical Ministry – Church of the Risen Lord

University of the Philippines, Diliman Campus, QC

WITNESS FROM A WHEELCHAIR

 

By Vernon C. Grounds

The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve. —Matthew 20:28

A woman named Nancy put this ad in her local newspaper: “If you are lonely or have a problem, call me. I am in a wheelchair and seldom get out. We can share our problems with each other. Just call. I’d love to talk.” The response to that ad was surprising—30 calls or more every week.

What motivated this woman to reach out from her wheelchair to help others in need? Nancy explained that before her paralysis she had been perfectly healthy but in deep despair. She had tried to commit suicide by jumping from her apartment window, but her fall left her paralyzed from the waist down.

In the hospital, utterly frustrated, she sensed that Jesus said, “Nancy, you’ve had a healthy body but a crippled soul. From now on you will have a crippled body but a healthy soul.” As a result of that experience, she surrendered her life to Christ. When she was finally allowed to go home, she prayed for a way to share God’s grace with others, and the idea of the newspaper ad occurred to her.

Every believer can do something to help others. Limited as we may be by sickness, old age, or disability, we can still pray, call, or write. No matter what our condition, we can be effective witnesses for Jesus.

Lord, let me be a shining light
So others then may view
Your mercy and Your love displayed
In all I say and do. —Sper

Only after talking to God about people are we ready to talk to people about God.

 

Devotional forwarded to you by:

UP CHRISTIAN YOUTH MOVEMENT

NCCP Ecumenical Ministry – Church of the Risen Lord

University of the Philippines, Diliman Campus, QC