THEY ARE THE PROBLEM

By Anne Cetas

He who glories, let him glory in the Lord. —2 Corinthians 10:17

Researchers from Virginia Tech University, along with police administrators, recently determined that distracted drivers put others in more danger than aggressive drivers. Drivers who eat, discipline children in the backseat, or talk on the phone are the most hazardous.

When residents in Grand Rapids, Michigan, were asked about the bad habits of drivers that made the highways unsafe, most felt that others caused more problems than they themselves. One woman said that she talked on her cell phone a little, but at least she didn’t dial the phone numbers while on the road. She concluded her comments by stating that others “aren’t following the rules of the road . . . . They put us all at risk.”

It’s our nature to point a finger at others. The apostle Paul talked about fellow teachers who avoided looking at their own behavior and instead attacked him (2 Cor. 10:12-18). He wrote, “They, measuring themselves by themselves, . . . are not wise” (v.12).

When we don’t look at our own actions but instead compare ourselves with others, we often come out looking good. But, as Paul said, it’s the Lord’s commendation that counts, not our own approval of ourselves (v.18).

The faults I see in others’ lives
Are often true of me;
So help me, Lord, to recognize
My own hypocrisy. —Sper

If you must compare yourself with someone, compare yourself with Christ.

Devotional forwarded to you by:

UP CHRISTIAN YOUTH MOVEMENT

NCCP Ecumenical Ministry – Church of the Risen Lord

University of the Philippines, Diliman Campus, QC

RETIREMENT TIME

By Anne Cetas

Whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. —Matthew 16:25

After working for 40 years as a teacher, Jane Hanson retired. She and her husband were looking forward to the arrival of their first grandchild.

Retirement is that time of life when many people simply relax, travel, or enjoy hobbies. But Jane heard about a ministry to at-risk youth in a city near her home, and she knew she had to get involved. “I realized there are kids just waiting, and I could make a difference,” she said. She began teaching English to a young Liberian man who had been forced to flee his home country because of civil war. Though he was in a safe environment, he didn’t understand the new language. Of this ministry opportunity, Jane said with a smile, “I could just go shopping to stay busy, but what fun would that be?”

Jane is making a difference. Perhaps she has learned a little of what Jesus meant when He said, “Whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matt. 16:25). Giving ourselves to the Lord through helping others takes self-denial, yet one day Jesus will reward that effort (v.27).

Let’s follow Jane’s example of love for God and others—no matter what our stage of life may be.

Oh, let us be faithful to Jesus,

The faith we confessed let’s renew,

And ask Him this question each morning:

“Lord, what will You have me to do?” —Pangborn
Work for the Lord—His retirement plan is out of this world.

Devotional forwarded to you by:

UP CHRISTIAN YOUTH MOVEMENT

NCCP Ecumenical Ministry – Church of the Risen Lord

University of the Philippines, Diliman Campus, QC

WHEN YOU SAY, “I’M SORRY”

By Herbert Vander Lugt

Godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted. —2 Corinthians 7:10

With tears in his eyes a man said to me, “I told my wife I was sorry, but she says she won’t continue to live with me. First John 1:9 says that God forgives us when we confess our sins. Please talk to her and tell her that if God forgives, she should too.”

I knew this man had “repented” several times before, only to revert to his abusive behavior. So I said, “No, I’m not going to tell her that. In your case, saying ‘I’m sorry’ isn’t enough.” His wife insisted that he receive counseling and give evidence of a genuine change before returning home. She was right.

Just saying “I’m sorry” is not enough for God either. The leaders of Israel, in the face of trouble brought on by their sin, thought that merely returning to prescribed sacrificial offerings would solve their problems. But God rejected that kind of “repentance.” It was as fleeting as “a morning cloud” and “the early dew” that fades away with the first rays of sunlight (Hosea 6:4).

Merely saying “I’m sorry” is no different than the empty rituals of the Israelites. God said, “I desire mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings” (v.6). He meant that repentance must result in a change of heart and a change in behavior. That’s “godly sorrow” (2 Corinthians 7:10).

Repentance is to leave the sin
That we had loved before,
And showing we are grieved by it
By doing it no more. —Anon.

Repentance means hating sin enough to turn from it.

Devotional forwarded to you by:

UP CHRISTIAN YOUTH MOVEMENT

NCCP Ecumenical Ministry – Church of the Risen Lord

University of the Philippines, Diliman Campus, QC

DOING JUSTICE

By David C. McCasland

You shall not follow a crowd to do evil; nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after many to pervert justice. —Exodus 23:2

In the decades since the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., the US national holiday established to commemorate his birth has also become a day to remember the cause in which he gave his life.

During the ’50s and ’60s, Dr. King led a nonviolent struggle against racial discrimination and issued a plea for the civil rights of African-Americans. His goal was justice and equality based on human dignity, not skin color.

From Old Testament days until now, God has commanded His people to exercise justice in their dealings with others. “You shall not follow a crowd to do evil; nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after many to pervert justice” (Exodus 23:2).

“He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8).

Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for doing their religious duties while neglecting “justice and the love of God” (Luke 11:42).

To treat people with fairness and integrity is part of our responsibility as Christians. Standing publicly for what is right is required of us as well.

May we honor God by living out truth in action in our world today.

Justice is the clarion call for Christians-
We cannot step aside from what God said;
He has told us how to treat our neighbor,
And we must follow in the path He’s led.  -Hess

God’s standard of justice leaves no room for prejudice.

Devotional forwarded to you by:

UP CHRISTIAN YOUTH MOVEMENT

NCCP Ecumenical Ministry – Church of the Risen Lord

University of the Philippines, Diliman Campus, QC

LEARNING TO GIVE

By David C. McCasland

Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor.” —Luke 19:8

Many people in affluent countries have become burdened by the accumulation of material goods they no longer need or use. But they have a hard time getting rid of things that clog their homes and businesses. After five moves in four years, one woman said, “You know how much stuff I brought with me to each place? I’ve asked myself, ‘Where was your brain when you moved all this stuff?’” She then hired a professional organizer to help her learn to let go of things.

People cling to their possessions for many different reasons. It seems that Zacchaeus struggled with this problem because he was greedy (Luke 19:1-10). But the story of this wealthy tax collector who climbed a tree to see Jesus culminated in a complete change of heart when Zacchaeus said, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor” (v.8). He then promised, “If I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.” Jesus responded by saying, “Today salvation has come to this house” (v.9).

The new spiritual freedom that Zacchaeus found could be observed as he turned from getting to giving. His relaxed grip revealed a renewed heart.

Is it true of us as well?

Speak to us, Lord, till shamed by Thy great giving,
Our hands unclasp to set our treasures free;
Our wills, our love, our dear ones, our possessions
All gladly yielded, gracious Lord, to Thee. —Anon.

We haven’t learned to live until we’ve learned to give.

Devotional forwarded to you by:

UP CHRISTIAN YOUTH MOVEMENT

NCCP Ecumenical Ministry – Church of the Risen Lord

University of the Philippines, Diliman Campus, QC

PAIN AND GAIN

By Joanie Yoder

No chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness. —Hebrews 12:11

Years ago I was an extremely anxious Christian. When I began spiraling downward emotionally, God didn’t intervene, for He knew I needed to reach the end of myself. When I finally hit rock bottom, the “rock” on which I fell was Jesus Christ.
The Lord immediately began rebuilding me, applying truths from His Word to teach me trust and faith. Gradually He changed me into the joyful, God-dependent person He intended me to be. Through this painful but profitable experience, I learned that when God disciplines us, our greatest gain isn’t what we get but what we become.

In Hebrews 12, we read that our heavenly Father loves us too dearly to let us remain immature. Like any loving father, He disciplines, corrects, and trains us—often through difficult situations. God uses our times of struggle to help us grow and make us more holy (vv.10-11).

Many people are motivated to live for health, wealth, and ease, and they try to avoid pain at all costs. But the abundant life that God intends for His people isn’t trouble-free. Growth and change are often unsettling, but the gain is worth the pain.

We shrink from the purging and pruning,
Forgetting the Gardener who knows:
The deeper the cutting and paring
The richer the cluster that grows. —Anon.

God uses setbacks to move us forward.

Devotional forwarded to you by:

UP CHRISTIAN YOUTH MOVEMENT

NCCP Ecumenical Ministry – Church of the Risen Lord

University of the Philippines, Diliman Campus, QC

READ ALL OF IT

 

By Vernon C. Grounds

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. —2 Timothy 3:16

Some Christian families follow the practice of reading through the whole Bible. After evening meals, they read a chapter or two. They read from Genesis to Revelation, skipping nothing. Even the genealogies with their hard-to-pronounce names are read aloud.

We might question the relevance of such a method for small children, but it does acquaint all the family members with the entirety of God’s Word. It also exposes children to the sinful depths and spiritual heights of which we are capable, and it teaches them right and wrong.

If you’ve never done so, why not embark on your own program of reading the Bible straight through? Try doing it as a family or for your personal devotions.

There are two persuasive reasons for resolving to undertake such a program. One is Paul’s declaration that all Scripture is God-breathed and profitable (2 Timothy 3:16). The other is the testimony of believers whose lives have been changed by following such a practice.

Read God’s Word straight through and you’ll begin to see the unfolding plan of God’s redeeming grace, and that you were the object of His love even before you were born. Do it once, and you’ll want to do it again.

Oh, may these heavenly pages be
My ever dear delight,
And still new beauties may I see,
And still increasing light. —Steele

Those who only sample the Bible never acquire a taste for it.

Devotional forwarded to you by:

UP CHRISTIAN YOUTH MOVEMENT

NCCP Ecumenical Ministry – Church of the Risen Lord

University of the Philippines, Diliman Campus, QC