Saturday, November 28, 2009


My dearly loved brothers, understand this: everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger, for man’s anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness. James 1:19-20 HCSB

Whatever is begun in anger ends in shame. Benjamin Franklin*

When I read the scripture above, two words stick out to me: “quick” and “slow.” Like many temperamental artists, I enjoy and understand “quick”. I can be quick to hear, which according to James is good, but many times I don’t choose to hear that way. If I am quick to hear, then I’m often swiftly moved away from my own preconceived ideas, which I desperately feel I need to hold on to. I’m an artist! Sometimes my convictions are all that I have, even if they are false. But I’m also sometimes quick to speak and quick to become angry, which is not good. Because I’m sometimes quick to speak, I can offend people. Because I’m sometimes quick to anger, I can get into arguments with others and they usually become angry. I’m not good at “slow” at all, but I’ve got “quick” down.

Lord, help us be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger.


Sunday, November 22, 2009


Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age. Matthew 28:19-20

Concerts. Eating out. Football. Certain things are much more enjoyable when done with others. Have you ever tried to do a group activity by yourself? If so, was it much fun? Did you want to quit?

God wants you to tell others about Him. He wants you to help them grow in their relationship with Him. But He doesn’t want you do it alone. He wants to join you.

Read Matthew 28:19-20 again.
What did Jesus command His followers to do?
What does this mean to you today?
What promise did Jesus make?
How does this make you feel?
What decisions are you going to make concerning the command and promise that Jesus makes in Matthew 28:19-20?

As Christians, Jesus commands us to go and make disciples of people in every nation of the world. But, making disciples is hard work. People often don’t want to hear about how to become a disciple of Jesus. Sometimes, they reject and even harm those who are reaching out to them. However, Jesus also promised that He would be with us always. We may feel inadequate in many ways, especially when it comes to sharing the love of Jesus with another person, but the presence of Jesus, working in and through us, can accomplish more than we could ever imagine.

Friday, November 20, 2009


Then she said to her husband, “I know that the one who often passes by here is a holy man of God, so let’s make a small room upstairs and put a bed, a table, a chair, and a lamp there for him. Whenever he comes, he can stay there.” 2 Kings 4:9-10

Awards. Name recognition. Being in the spotlight. Fame. People think these elements make someone great. But what about the so-called small, insignificant acts of service?

Here’s an example: Where do you live? Who provides you with a place to sleep? Who pays for your meals at home? Are they often recognized by others for what they do for you?

Read 2 Kings 4:9-10 again.
What did the Shunammite woman want to do for Elisha?
Why would this be important?
Do you think many people knew about what she had done?
Can ministry be important even if it is not seen by others?
Who do you know who does acts of service without being recognized?

The Shunammite woman knew that Elisha was a man of God. Whenever he passed by, she fed him. Wanting to do more, she and her husband prepared a guest room for Elisha. Most people did not know about her service to Elisha, but she continued to serve God in this unique way.

What has God called you to do? Is it something that everyone will see you do? Is it something that no one will see you do? God wants us to serve Him by serving others. It doesn’t matter if our service is attention-getting or not.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Then He said to His disciples, "The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest."
Matthew 9:37-38 HCSB

How would you feel if your teacher gave you a group project to complete on your own? Would you feel overwhelmed? Would you give up? Would you ask the teacher to assign other students to help you?

Read Matthew 9:37-38 again.
How did Jesus feel when He saw the people and why do you think He felt this way?
What did Jesus tell His disciples to do?
How would Jesus feel about our world today?
How should you pray as a result of seeing the world through Jesus’ eyes?

It is obvious from reading this story that Jesus cares about people. Matthew 9:36 shows us that when Jesus saw the crowds, “He felt compassion on them because they were weary and worn out.” Jesus knew the spiritual, physical, and emotional condition of the people in those crowds and this led Him to command His disciples to pray that God would send Christian workers to help them.

Jesus sees and knows the spiritual, physical, and emotional needs of today as well. He sees that people are weary and worn out. He knows that they need Christian workers to lead them. He wants you to pray. He wants you to get on your knees and ask God to send the right people into the most desperate places of the world so that they might know Him.


The people must be hungry, exhausted, and thirsty in the desert 2 Samuel 17:29b HCSB

For a minute, imagine that you are very thirsty. Your mouth is dry. It’s hard for you to swallow. All you can think of is water. Now, imagine someone giving you a bottle of water. How do you feel about this person? How do you think he knew that you were thirsty?

In 2 Samuel 17, King David and his men had been traveling through the desert. Even though these men were strong and brave, they were probably tired, hungry, and thirsty.

When Barzillai and his friends learned that King David and his men were in the desert, they decided to help them. They collected beds, food, and water and delivered them to the King. Barzillai and his friends saw a need and decided to take action.

As Christians, we are called to take action when we see needs around us. However, many of us do not see the needs of others because we do not consider the lives of others. We are too focused on other things. We are too focused on ourselves.

What about you? What needs are in your community, your work, your school, or even in your own home? God wants you to be sensitive to the needs around you, whether big or small. So, pay attention to what’s going on. Listen to others. Look around you. Think about how you can help. Then, do something about it.

Monday, November 16, 2009

His Plans

The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart from generation to generation. Psalm 33:11 HCSB

Hurricanes. Global Financial Crises. Widespread Disease. Divorce. Corrupt Politicians. Immoral Pastors. Sometimes the world seems like it’s out of control. With all of this chaos everywhere, is there any hope for you? Is there anyone you can trust?

Lots of things in life are confusing. Many people you know may turn out to be untrustworthy. But the God who created everything is still in control and He cares about you.

Read Psalm 33:11 again.
What does the word faithfulness mean to you?
What does this passage teach you about the faithfulness of God?
According to verse 11, how long will the counsel of the Lord last?
Do you think God ever gives up on His plans? Why or why not?
Are there areas in your life where you do not fully trust the Lord?

Even when the world feels out of control, you can trust God. He existed before time began and is more powerful than anything in the universe. He loves you so much that He sent Jesus to die on the cross to pay the penalty for your sins. He has proven Himself to be faithful. He has great plans for your life. He will always be there for you. He will never let you down. No matter how chaotic life gets, He will not be shaken. His plans will always succeed.

Friday, November 13, 2009


I know that all God does will last forever; there is no adding to it or taking from it. God works so that people will be in awe of Him. Ecclesiastes 3:14 HCSB

Have you ever been to the Grand Canyon? What about the Rocky Mountains? The Atlantic ocean? What was your first response when you saw one of them? How long did your initial excitement last?

People often treat God like the Grand Canyon. The first time they encounter Him, they are amazed and can’t look away from His grandeur. However, after a short time, they often let themselves get distracted and forget to honor Him. Have you ever been guilty of this?

Read Ecclesiastes 3:14 again. Why do you think God wants people to be in awe of Him?
List some awesome things that God has done. How should you respond to Him?
Have you ever let something keep you from being in awe of God? What happened?

God created the heavens and the earth. Everything exists because of Him. Life itself is a gift from Him. You were able to breathe in and out today because of Him. He cares about you and knows the details of your life. In fact, He is working in your life to bring about His plan for your life. He is awesome.

God deserves our worship. He wants us to express our awe of Him. Today, don’t let anything distract you from His greatness. Be in awe of Him. Let Him know how you feel about Him.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


God thunders marvelously with His voice; He does great things that we cannot comprehend. Job 37:5 HCSB

Have you ever known a good person who suffered terribly for no apparent reason? What happened? Did you pray about it? If so, what did you say?

Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people? Why does God allow suffering in the world? Can we trust a God who works this way? In the Bible, Job struggled with these issues. After talking with God, he realized that God does things that people are not capable of understanding.

Read Job 37:5 again. These words were spoken to Job while he was going through a terrible time of suffering where he lost his servants, his animals, and his children. If that wasn’t enough, Job also developed boils over his entire body.
If you were Job, how would you have responded to hearing these things?
What do these verses teach you about God and the way that He does things?
Why is that important for you to understand?

God wants you to trust Him, no matter what happens around you. He has your best interests at heart even when it doesn’t make any sense to you. Sometimes, people think that faith means that you have all the answers to any problem that you could possibly have at any time. That’s not true. Faith means that you trust God and honor Him through every circumstance, even when you don’t understand what He is doing.

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Course Of My Life

The course of my life is in Your power; deliver me from the power of my enemies and from my persecutors. Psalm 31:15 HCSB

Have you ever really needed help? Have you ever had to run for your life? Have you ever been in the place where you felt as if all would be lost if someone amazing didn’t lend you a hand? Have you ever needed a hero?

Why did David, the writer of this Psalm, need help in verse 15?
What did David say contained the course of his life?
What do these verses teach you about the power of the Lord?
Are you afraid of something? Have you talked to God about it? Why or why not?

David was a man who encountered many enemies. As a shepherd boy, he faced lions and bears. As a young man, he faced Goliath in battle. Later, he faced King Saul who chased him across the country. As an older man, he faced his son Absalom, who tried to steal his kingdom from him. David knew what it was like to have enemies. However, David also understood that God was in control and served Him faithfully through all of his difficulties.

No matter what troubles you may face, you need to remember that God is in control. He is greater than any enemy or any problem that you may encounter. Since the course of your life is in His power, shouldn’t you honor Him with the time He has given you?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


There is an occasion for everything, and a time for every activity under heaven. -Ecclesiastes 3:1 HCSB

You’ve seen it hundreds, perhaps thousands of times: Breaking News. Disaster occurs. Maybe you’ve heard on the news about a hurricane hitting a southern coastal city. Perhaps you’ve read online about a rampant disease in Central Africa. Maybe you overheard your classmates talking about the abortion rate in your own school.

In many ways, the world seems like it’s out of control. Various disasters are happening in nations around the world, in our own country, in your neighborhood or church, and maybe even within your own family. With such chaotic things happening all around us, how can we trust God to protect us?

According to the scripture above, everything that happens has its appointed time. In other words, God knows when and where things are going to happen. No matter what the people of the world may believe, nothing happens without His permission. He knows when disaster is going to strike a village in Southeast Asia. He also knows when disaster will happen to you and your family or friends.

God knows everything and is more powerful than anything. He wants you to follow Him even when you don’t understand what He is doing. God rejoices when you faithfully serve Him through chaotic times.

Are you ready to serve God with passion no matter what is happening around you? Are you up to the challenge?