Thursday, July 31, 2014

Hang on...Job 1:22

Job 1:22

Job could write about wounds. His words were more than patronizing platitudes and armchair proverbs. He'd been there and back again. He could describe intense inner suffering in the first person because of his own sea of pain.

Step into the time tunnel with me and let's travel together back to Uz (not like the wizard of ___, but like the land of __). This place called Uz had a citizen who had the respect of everyone, because he was blameless, upright, God-fearing, and clean-living. He had 10 children, fields of livestock, an abundance of land, a houseful of servants, and a substantial stack of cash. No one would deny that the man called Job was "the greatest of all the men of the east" (Job 1:3). He had earned that title through years of hard work and honest dealings with others. His very name was a synonym for integrity and godliness.

Then, without announcement, adversity thundered upon him like an avalanche of great, jagged rocks. He lost his livestock, crops, land, servants, and—can you believe it?—all 10 children. Soon thereafter he lost his health, his last human hope of earning a living. I plead with you to stop reading, close your eyes for 60 seconds, and identify with that good man—crushed beneath the weight of adversity.

The book that bears his name records an entry he made into his journal soon after the rocks stopped falling and the dust began to settle. With a quivering hand, the man from Uz wrote:

"Naked I came from my mother's womb,

And naked I shall return there.

The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away.

Blessed be the name of the LORD." (Job 1:21)

Following this incredible statement, God added:

Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God. (1:22)

Right about now, I'm shaking my head. How could anyone handle such a series of grief-laden ordeals so calmly? Think of the aftermath: bankruptcy, pain, 10 fresh graves . . . the loneliness of those empty rooms. Yet we read that he worshiped God, he did not sin, nor did he blame his Maker.

Well, why didn't he? How could he ward off the bitterness or ignore thoughts of suicide? At the risk of oversimplifying the situation, I suggest three basic answers: Job claimed God's loving sovereignty; he counted on the promise of resurrection; and he confessed his own lack of understanding. We'll take a closer look at each of these tomorrow.

Under an avalanche? These are for you. Hang on tight.

Source unknown

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Time part 2...Psalm 90:12

Psalm 90:12

Yesterday, I mentioned my penchant for time-management books. It's a vital topic to address because it bleeds into every area of life. Let me mention a few specifics. Some people are always running late. Yes, always. Punctuality is simply a time-management matter. Some folks feverishly work right up to the deadline on every assignment or project they undertake. The job usually gets done . . . but the hassle, anxiety, and last-minute panic steal the fun out of the whole thing. Starting early and pacing oneself are time-management techniques. And some people seem forever in a hurry, pushing and driving, occasionally running here and there. Again, another evidence of poor planning. Time management allows room for ease and humor, much-needed oil to soothe the friction created by motion.

Which brings us back to the counsel we studied yesterday in Ephesians 5. Living purposefully, worthily, accurately . . . being sensible, intelligent, and wise in the rationing of our time.

In a book I was reading, The Time Trap (I told you I was a sucker for such volumes), I came upon a list of the most popular time wasters. They helped pinpoint some specific areas of frustration I must continually watch.

 attempting too much at once

 unrealistic time estimates


 lack of specific priorities

 failure to listen well

 doing it myself—failure to delegate

 unable to say no

 perfectionism—focusing on needless details

 lack of organization

 failure to write it down

 reluctance to get started

 absence of self-appointed deadlines

 not doing first things first

Who hasn't heard the true story of Charles Schwab and Ivy Lee? Schwab was president of Bethlehem Steel. Lee, a consultant, was given the usual challenge: "Show me a way to get more things done with my time." Schwab agreed to pay him "anything within reason" if Lee's suggestion worked. Lee later handed the executive a sheet of paper with the plan:

Write down the most important tasks you have to do tomorrow. Number them in order of importance. When you arrive in the morning begin at once on No. 1 and stay on it until it is completed. Recheck your priorities, then begin with No. 2 . . . then No. 3. Make this a habit every working day. Pass it on to those under you. Try it as long as you like, then send me your check for what you think it's worth.

That one idea turned Bethlehem Steel Corporation into the biggest independent steel producer in the world within five years.

How much did Schwab pay his consultant? Several weeks after receiving the note, he sent Lee a check for $25,000, admitting it was the most profitable lesson he had ever learned.

Try it for yourself. If it works, great. But don't send me any money for the idea. I'd just blow it on another time-management book . . . which I don't have time to read.

Source unknown 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Time...Ephesians 5:15-17

Ephesians 5:15–17

I'm a sucker for time-management books.

Some people can't say no to a salesman at the door. Others have the hardest time passing up a free puppy . . . or driving by a garage sale without stopping. Still others find it almost impossible to withstand the urge to gamble. Not me. My weakness is books on the investment of my time. Books that tell me how to replace being busy with being effective. Books that caution me to think things through before plunging into them. I often recall what Bernard Baruch once said:

Whatever failures I have known, whatever errors I have committed, whatever follies I have witnessed in private and public life, have been the consequences of action without thought.

The antidote to that problem is described best by Paul in his letter to the Ephesians:

So watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times! Don't live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the Master wants. (5:15–17 MSG)

Verses like those always grab my attention. Some alarm down inside my system goes off whenever I sense a waste of energy in what I'm doing—when there is some leak in my time dike I have failed to plug. Without wanting to be neurotic about it, I get a little nervous when I think I am not living purposefully, when I am failing to make the most of every opportunity, as Scripture so clearly commands. The verse that appears just before the passage I quoted shoves a long, pointed index finger into the chest of its reader as it shouts:

"Awake, sleeper." (5:14)

Today, we'd say it like this: "Hey, wake up. Get with it, man!" The easiest thing in the world is to drift through life in a vague, thoughtless manner. God says there's a better way. He tells us to take time by the throat, give it a good shake, and declare: "That's it! I'm gonna manage you—no longer will you manage me!"

That attitude is a first step and a major secret to living above our circumstances rather than under them.

Source unknown

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Falling into Crisis...Ephesians 6:11

In 1 Kings we have the story of the prophet Elijah.  In chapter 18, we see a great victory over the priests of Baal, an incredible victory that demonstrated the power of the one true God for all to see.

In the next chapter, we see Elijah on the run (1 Kings 19:1-3),

And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, also how he had executed all the prophets with the sword.  Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, "So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time."  And when he saw that, he arose and ran for his life, and went to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there.

How could Elijah, a prophet of God who had been used in such a powerful way, now be on the run?  (He eventually even became suicidal.)  While there are a number of things we could look at, I want to give you one truth today to consider.

After any great spiritual victory, it is always wise to keep your armor on.  Over and over, there are examples of tremendous trials and temptations after great victories.

King David, after God had supernaturally spoken to him, fell morally, and committed adultery with Bathsheba.  Or there is Samson who, after God used him to bring great deliverance, got messed up with Delilah.  Then there is Jesus who, after being with the Father on the mount of transfiguration, came to the bottom of the mountain and was met by a demon-possessed boy.

Sometimes we are the most vulnerable after the highest and brightest times we have with God.  So today, let me encourage you to always keep your armor on (see Ephesians 6:11).

Source unknown 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Discernment part 2...Proverbs 3:21-22

Proverbs 3:21–22; Philippians 1:9–10

Discernment is essential. Undiscerning love spawns and invites more heresy than any of us are ready to believe. One of the tactics of survival when facing "the flaming arrows of the evil one" (Ephesians 6:16) is to make certain we have cinched up the belt of truth rather tightly around ourselves. And what helps us do battle with the enemy also strengthens us in relationships with friends.

A Christian without discernment is like a submarine in a harbor plowing full speed ahead without radar or periscope. Or a loaded 747 trying to land in dense fog without instruments or radio. Lots of noise, a great deal of power, good intentions, until . . . bam! Disaster. It happens day in, day out . . . with frightening regularity.

Do I hear you say you want discernment but don't know where to go to find it?

Go to your knees. James 1:5 promises wisdom to those who ask for it.

Go to the Word. Psalm 119:98-100 offers insight beyond our fondest dreams.

Go to the wise. Discernment is better caught than taught. Those who have the disease are often highly contagious.

This offer is good throughout life and comes with a satisfaction-guaranteed clause. All are welcome to apply.

 A Christian without discernment is a 747 landing in fog without instruments.

Please Pray for my true brother in Christ and the entire Cartaya family as his brother went to be with the Lord a few hours ago. As he was robbed and kill in his country. Amen!

Source unknown

Friday, July 25, 2014

Discern part 1...1 Corinthians 2:12-16

1 Corinthians 2:12–16

There is a Persian proverb that sounds more like a tongue twister than sound advice. My high school speech teacher had us memorize it for obvious reasons:

He who knows not, and knows not that he knows not, is a fool; shun him.

He who knows not, and knows that he knows not, is a child; teach him.

He who knows, and knows not that he knows, is asleep; wake him.

He who knows, and knows that he knows, is wise; follow him.

All four "types" can be found on every campus, in any business, among all neighborhoods, within each church. They don't wear badges, nor do they introduce themselves accordingly. You'll never have someone walk up, shake your hand, and say, "Hi, I'm Donald. I'm a fool." Chances are good that the last thing he will want you to discover is the deep-down truth that "he knows not that he knows not."

Then how in the world are we to know whom to shun, to teach, to awaken, or to follow? Discernment is the answer. Skill and accuracy in reading character. The ability to detect and identify the real truth. To see beneath the surface and correctly "size up" the situation. To read between the lines of the visible.

Is it a valuable trait? Answer for yourself. When God told Solomon to make a wish—any wish—and it would be granted, the king responded:

"Give Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people to discern between good and evil." (1 Kings 3:9)

And who doesn't know about the wisdom of Solomon to this very day? Paul informed us that discernment is one characteristic that accompanies genuine spirituality

(1 Corinthians 2:14–16). The writer of Hebrews 5:14 called it a mark of maturity. Discernment gives one a proper frame of reference, a definite line separating good and evil. It acts as an umpire in life and blows the whistle on the spurious. It's as particular as a pathologist peering into a microscope. Discernment picks and chooses its dates with great care. It doesn't fall for fakes

. . . or flirt with phonies

. . . or dance with deceivers

. . . or kiss counterfeits good night.

Come to think of it, discernment would rather relax alone at night with the Good Book than mess around with the gullible gang. You see, it's from that Book that discernment learns to distinguish the fools from the children . . . and the sleeping from the wise.

Before you start in on the old bromide, "But that doesn't sound very loving!" better take another look at John's counsel. You remember John. He's the guy known for his tender love for Jesus. He wrote:

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God. (1 John 4:1)

In today's talk: "Stop believing everything you hear. Quit being so easily convinced. Be selective. Think. Discern!"

Source unknown 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Friendships...Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Ecclesiastes 4:9–12

The world in which one person lives is too limited and restricted. When rubbing shoulders with another, we gain a panoramic view, which allows us to see the whole picture. "As in water face reflects face, so the heart of man reflects man" (Prov. 27:19). That's so picturesque! People provide a clear reflection of what is in the heart. A mirror goes only skin deep. The counsel of a friend reflects what is down inside.

I'm talking about people who love you too much to let you play in dangerous traffic. They also love you too much to let you start believing in your own stuff. When they spot conceit rearing its head, they say so. But they also love you too much to let you be too hard on yourself. Like Jonathan with David, they are messengers of great encouragement.

"He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm" (Prov. 13:20). That statement is not a verse written to teenagers in high school, though it certainly would apply. I clearly remember my high school years, don't you? Many of us ran around with others who were tougher than we, so we could cover up our own feelings of inadequacy. My mother kept saying to me, "Charles, every time you run with the wrong crowd, you do wrong. When you are with the right crowd, you do right." Her counsel is still true. If I were to run with the wrong crowd, I would be tempted to do wrong.

And it doesn't stop when we turn twenty. It goes on into adult years as well. If you choose a wrong set of co-workers, you'll practice wrong things in your business. If you choose a wrong set of friends, you'll practice wrong things in your social life. Run with those who do drugs, and you'll wind up doing the same.

But—the flip side—those who walk with the wise learn from them. You need someone who will say, "I'm not sure how healthy that is. I'm glad you asked me. Let's talk about it." And that person will help point out the traps you could fall into if you keep tracking in that direction.

Other eyes, more perceptive and objective than ours, can see traps that we may fail to detect.

Source unknown

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Determination...Luke 9:51

Luke 9:51

When Jesus tells us to "seek first the kingdom of God," the very word "seek" implies a strong-minded pursuit. J. B. Phillips paraphrases the idea with "set your heart on." The Amplified Bible says, "Aim at and strive after." The Greek text of Matthew's Gospel states a continual command: "Keep on continually seeking. . . ." The thought is determination, which I define as "deciding to hang tough, regardless."

We need to keep in mind the difference between natural sight and supernatural vision. When we look at life with vision, we perceive events and circumstances with God's thoughts. And because His thoughts are higher and more profound than mere horizontal thinking, they have a way of softening the blows of calamity and giving us hope through tragedy and loss. It also enables us to handle times of prosperity and popularity with wisdom.

I'll be frank with you. I know of no more valuable technique in the pursuit of successful living than sheer, dogged determination. Nothing works in ministry better than persistence—persistence in godliness, determination to stay diligent in study, persistence in commitment to the priorities of ministry, determination in working with people. I often remind myself of those familiar words in 2 Timothy 4:2, "Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season." That's a nice way of saying, "Hang tough! Do it when it comes naturally and when it is hard to come by. Do it when you're up, do it when you're down. Do it when you feel like it, do it when you don't feel like it. Do it when it's hot, do it when it's cold. Keep on doing it. Don't give up."

That is persistence and determination. Staying at it. Hanging tough with dogged discipline. When you get whipped or when you win, the secret is staying at it.

 Hang tough! Whether you win or get whipped, the secret is staying at it.

Source unknown

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Purpose...Jeremiah 1:4-10

Jeremiah 1:4–10

Monotony and mediocrity mesh like teeth in gears. One spawns the other, leaving us yawning, bored, and adrift. In referring to monotony, I do not have in mind a lack of activity as much as a lack of purpose. We can be busy yet bored, involved yet indifferent. Life becomes tediously repetitious, dull, humdrum, pedestrian. In a word, blah.

Look into the faces of entertainers off the stage. Talk to physicians out of the office and hospital corridors. Those in the political arena are equally susceptible. Show me an individual who once soared, whose life was characterized by enthusiasm and excellence, but who no longer reaches those heights, and I'll show you a person who has probably become a victim of the blahs.

A blah attack may sound harmless, but it can leave us in an emotional heap, seriously questioning if life is worth it.

Yet even during your drab and seemingly meaningless assignments of life, God is there! He cares! He knows! From your yesterday to your tomorrow—God. From the little involvements to the big ones—God. From the beginning of school to the end of school—God. From the assignments that will never really make the headlines (which seem to be mere busy work) all the way to those things that gain international attention—God. He is there! So the very next time you feel those clammy, cold fingers of the blahs reaching around you, remember, "From yesterday until tomorrow, You, O Lord, are there. You care!"

Source unknown

Monday, July 21, 2014

Dreams...2 Samuel 7:1-3

2 Samuel 7:1–3

There is an important dimension to hanging tough that you dare not miss. It is the thing that keeps you going. I call it a dream. I don't mean those things we experience at night while we're asleep. No, by dream, I mean a God-given idea, plan, agenda, or goal that leads to God-honoring results.

Most of us don't dream enough. If someone were to ask you, "What are your dreams for this year? What are your hopes, your agenda? What are you trusting God for?" could you give a specific answer? I don't have in mind just occupational objectives or goals, although there's nothing wrong with those. But what about the kind of dreaming that results in character building, the kind that cultivates God's righteousness and God's rulership in your life?

Here are a few more ideas about dreams. Dreams are specific, not general. Dreams are personal, not public. God doesn't give anyone else my dreams on the online computer screen. He gives them to me personally. They're intimate images and ideas. Dreams can easily appear to others as extreme and illogical. If you share your dreams with the crowd, they'll probably laugh at you because you can't make logical sense out of them. Dreams are often accompanied by a strong desire to fulfill them. And they are always outside the realm of the expected. Sometimes they're downright shocking. They cause people to suck in their breath, to stand staring at you with their mouth open. A common response when you share a dream is, "You've gotta be kidding! Are you serious?"

One more thought on dreams: This is the stuff of which leaders are made. If you don't dream, your leadership is seriously limited. To make things even more complicated, those who refuse to dream the impossible are always in the majority. Those who choose to live by sight will always outnumber those who live by faith.

So once you've decided to live differently, let God be your guide and hang tough—follow your dreams with determination.

Source unknown

Saturday, July 19, 2014


Mark 10:42–45

I'm sure it comes as no surprise to most of us that we act out precisely what we take in. In other words, we become what we think. Long before that familiar line found its way into Psychology 101 and hyped-up sales meetings, the Bible included it in one of its ancient scrolls. It just said it in a little different way: "For as he thinks within himself, so he is" (Prov. 23:7).

The secret of living a life of excellence is merely a matter of thinking thoughts of excellence. Really, it's a matter of programming our minds with the kind of information that will set us free. Free to be all God meant us to be. Free to soar! It will take awhile, and it may be painful—but what a metamorphosis!

Let me get to the heart of the issue. Since the mind holds the secrets of soaring, the enemy of our souls has made the human mind the bull's-eye of his target. His most insidious and strategic moves are made upon the mind. By affecting the way we think, he is able to keep our lives on a mediocre level.

Don't forget: Our minds were originally enemy-held territories. We were blinded by the power of the enemy. The mind was his "base of operations" until the light shone within. At that time, the veil was lifted and we were no longer blinded. It was a supernatural event in which new life was given, and the enemy was relieved of his command.

But I am increasingly more convinced that Satan doesn't want to give up his territory. He is a defeated foe who knows his future. Yet he fights to the last degree to maintain the hold he has had on us. God is interested in our breaking free from such locks.

And what is God's ultimate goal? To take "every thought captive." When He invades those lofty areas, His plan is to transform the old thoughts that defeat us into new thoughts that encourage us. He has to repattern our whole way of thinking. And He is engaged in doing that continually because old habits are so hard to break.

God's offer is nothing short of phenomenal! Remember it? It is "taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ" (2 Cor. 10:5)

Source unknown

Creativity...Exodus 35:21

Exodus 35:21, 25–26

God is a God of freshness and change. But wait, before I leave that thought, let me make something very clear: God Himself isn't changing, nor is His Son. He "is the same yesterday and today and forever" (Heb. 13:8). Isn't that a great thought? God is no different this year than He was last year or a decade ago. Nor will He change one hundred years from now. But even though He is the same, His working is different. It stays fresh. His ways and methods are forever fresh, unpredictably new.

I need to warn you, if you like things to stay the same, you're going to be terribly uncomfortable in heaven. Everything is going to be new. God is a God of freshness and change. He flexes His methods. He alters His way so much, it's as if you've never seen it before. You can't imagine what it may be like next time.

God says we are to be "imitators" of Him, which really means we are to "mimic." Since God is a God of freshness and change, so we should be. If we are to fulfill this command, then I suggest that we stay fresh—that we remain open, innovative, willing to change.

Every age knows the temptation to try to restrict God's dealings. The majority of people in this world are maintainers. Once we get things set, we don't like them changed.

Are you open to change in your life? Are you willing to risk? Are you flexible enough to innovate? Are you willing to tolerate the sheer possibility of making a massive change in your direction for life? "Lord, is it South America? Great! Or Indonesia? I'll do it. I'll move or change my profession. Fine! Are You leading me into a new venture? I'll do it. Count me in!"

That's the spirit! It may mean moving across the street. It may mean moving across the States. It may mean moving across the seas. How flexible are you? It may not involve a move at all, only a willingness.

Source unknown

Friday, July 18, 2014

Commitment...John 21:20-22

John 21:20–22

People of excellence are those who see through the clutching greed of our times—people who have declared their undivided allegiance to Christ's message, people who have humbled themselves to Christ's sovereign authority.

If you are greatly gifted, you may be able to do marvelous things that would cause the public to be swept up in your skills and in your abilities. In the process of your growing, you will find great temptation to make a name for yourself, to make a big splash, to gain attention, to get the glory, to strut around, to increase your fees, to demand your rights, and to expect kid-glove treatment. You're in authority now! People are talking about you!

Let me remind you that if you're in life only for yourself, you'll have no endurance. On that precarious top of the ladder, you'll always have to maintain your balance by maneuvering and manipulating, lying, deceiving, and scheming. But if you're committed to kingdom-related excellence, when you go through times of testing, you can count on kingdom endurance to get you through.

If you're the kind of Christian who really wants the whole purpose of God, then you dare not leave out kingdom commitment. That means your motives must be investigated. For example, every time you make plans to acquire a sizable possession—a car, an expensive boat, a house, and such like—you must deal with it before God and ask: Is this His will? Would this honor Him? Would this glorify Him?

Am I suggesting that you take a vow of poverty? No, not that. My message is not that you go hungry and give up all nice things. I just say you give up control of them. Give all you have to the Lord God and trust Him to give back all that you need.

Source unknown 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Optimist...Psalm 31:24

Psalm 31:24

Vision—the one essential ingredient for being an original in a day of copies—gets lost, overwhelmed by the odds. Too bad! We start focusing on the trouble. Then we start comparing the odds. The result is predictable: We become intimidated and wind up defeated.

What is your challenge? Which giants make you feel like a grasshopper when you face them? What does your future resemble when you measure it on the basis of facts and figures? You'd like not to surrender, right? You'd like to be courageous, wouldn't you? There is a way through, but you'll need one essential quality—vision.

Vision is the ability to see God's presence, to perceive God's power, to focus on God's plan in spite of the obstacles.

When you have vision it affects your attitude. Your attitude is optimistic rather than pessimistic. Your attitude stays positive rather than negative. Not foolishly positive, as though in fantasy, for you are reading God into your circumstances. So when a situation comes that cuts your feet out from under you, you don't throw up your arms and panic. You don't give up. Instead, you say, "Lord, this is Your moment. This is where You take charge. You're in this."

This is nothing more than having a strong belief in the power of God; having confidence in others around you who are in similar battles with you; and, yes, having confidence in yourself, by the grace of God. Refusing to give in to temptation, cynicism, and doubt. Not allowing yourself to become a jaded individual. Belief in oneself is terribly important.

Determination is hanging tough when the going gets rough. I have no magic wand to wave over your future and say, "All of a sudden everything is going to fall into place." Vision requires determination, a constant focus on God who is watching and smiling. Even in a world that is negative and hostile. Even in a world where the majority says, "We can't," you can. Trust God today. With eyes of faith, get back in the game. Play it with great enthusiasm!

 The eyes of faith allow you to get back in the game and play with enthusiasm!

Source unknown

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Power of the tongue...Proverbs 18

Proverbs 18

"The tongue has the power of life and death '" (v.21)

Don't think that your words will be overlooked and easily erased. I can remember the words of a teacher who made me stand up in a crowded classroom and said something that pierced my heart, leaving a deep scar. The hurt has gone now and forgiveness had dealt with the residual effects, but the memory burned within me for years. Any counselor will tell you how unkind and cruel words spoken to a child in its early years have shaped and molded his life for good or for bad. A minister tells of talking to a forty-two-year-old man who was frantically working himself into exhaustion - "a volatile human being whose temper exploded at the slightest hint of disagreement or criticism." He found that during childhood this man's father repeatedly told him: "You are not going to amount to anything." Every time his father lost his temper, he would repeat this statement to the boy. Thirty years later the man still bore the pain of his father's verbal malpractice and was driven to prove his father wrong. This is what psychologists are talking about when they refer to people who are driven. They are driven by the lash of cruel words to them years earlier. Take, on the other hand, this example of another man. He told me that his father used to hug him every day and say: "You are so special to me. There is no one in the world who could take your place." That man grew up with aliveness and optimism in his personality. Proverbs is right: death words destroy, life words build up and give increasing strength.

Source unknown

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Purpose...Galatians 5:13

Galatians 5:13

God has a purpose for your life. If that weren't true, He'd have taken you home to heaven at the moment of salvation. Do you ever wonder why He left you here?

The Lord intends to influence others through you. Our purpose is to be a vessel through which Christ overflows to others--touching those who hurt and desperately need a Savior. Once we are saved, Scripture teaches, our involvement is threefold.

First, we love others. Jesus clearly stated that this was one of the two greatest commandments (Matt. 22:38-39).

Second, we share the good news of salvation (Acts 1:8). Some travel across the world to spread the gospel, while others teach neighbors across the street. The Holy Spirit will direct us to the right people if we are willing to obey.

Third, we serve in a variety of ways, like helping those in need, sharing our resources, and lifting others in prayer. Jesus is our perfect example of all three. His entire life was marked by caring for people--both those who loved Him and those who did not. In fact, the Bible teaches that He humbled Himself and became like us, willing to give up His life for our redemption. There is no greater love; there is no greater act of service.

Scripture clearly defines the believer's purpose. Aligning ourselves with God's intentions for His children--loving others, witnessing, and serving-- bring us great satisfaction. In fact, we're still on earth not merely to hear more teaching but to act on it and share with others what we learn.

Source unknown 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Flexibility...Acts 16:6-10

Acts 16:6–10

Are you open to change? People who make a difference can be stretched, pulled, pushed, and changed. You heard it from me: traditionalism is an old dragon, bad about squeezing the very life out of its victims. So never stop fighting it. Let's be careful to identify the right opponent. It isn't tradition per se; it's traditionalism. I'm not trying to be petty, only accurate. The right kind of traditions give us deep roots—a solid network of reliable truth in a day when everything seems up for grabs. Among such traditions are those strong statements and principles that tie us to the mast of truth when storms of uncertainty create frightening waves of change driven by winds of doubt. For example: believing in the authority of holy Scripture, knowing and loving God, bowing to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, committing ourselves to others, and becoming people of genuine encouragement. Such traditions (there are others, of course) are valuable absolutes that keep us from feeling awash in a world of relativism and uncertainty.

However, there is a great deal of difference between tradition and traditionalism. By traditionalism, I have in mind mainly an attitude that resists change, adaptation, or alteration. It is holding fast to a custom or behavior that is being blindly and forcefully maintained. It is being suspicious of the new, the up-to-date, the different. It is finding one's security, even identity, in the familiar and therefore opposing whatever threatens that. And if you'll allow me one more, it is substituting a legalistic system for the freedom and freshness of the Spirit—being more concerned about keeping rigid, manmade rules than being flexible, open to creativity and innovation.

By now you've guessed where I stand. Clearly, my position is on the side of openness, allowing room for the untried, the unpredictable, the unexpected—all the while holding fast to the truth. Believe me, there are plenty of people around who feel it is their calling to tell others what to do and what to say. They are self-appointed wing-clippers who frown on new ways and put down high flight. They work hard to "squeeze you into their mold."

Whoever decides to soar must first fight through the flatland fog that hangs heavy over the swamp of sameness.

 Allow room for the untried and unpredictable—still holding fast to the truth.

Source unknown

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Priorities...Matthew 6:33

 Matthew 6:33

Life is a lot like a coin; you can spend it any way you wish,but you can spend it only once. Choosing one thing over all the rest throughout life is a difficult thing to do. This is especially true when the choices are so many and the possibilities are so close.

To be completely truthful with you, however, we aren't left with numerous possibilities. Jesus Himself gave us the top priority: "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you" (Matt. 6:33). He said, in effect, "This is your priority; this comes first."

If I am to seek first in my life God's kingdom and God's righteousness, then whatever else I do ought to relate to that goal: where I work, with whom I spend my time, the one I marry, or the decision to remain single. Every decision I make ought to be filtered through the Matthew 6:33 filter: where I put my money, where and how I spend my time, what I buy, what I sell, what I give away.

Living out the kingdom life means that everything must remain before the throne and under the authority of the ruler. Everything must be held loosely.

What tangibles are you holding onto? What are you gripping tightly? Have they become your security? Are you a slave to some image? Some name you're trying to live up to? Some job? Some possession? Some person? Let me give you a tip. If you cannot let it go, it's a priority to you. It is impossible to be a slave to things or people and at the same time be a faithful servant of God.

Life places before us hundreds of possibilities. Some are bad. Many are good. A few, the best. But each of us must decide, "What is my choice? What is my reason for living?" In other words, "What priority takes first place in my life?"

 It is impossible to be a slave to people and also be a faithful servant of God.

Source unknown 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Face to Face...Job 20

Job 20; Acts 10:24-48

And it came to pass, when Moses entered the tabernacle, that the pillar of cloud descended and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the Lord talked with Moses. All the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the tabernacle door, and all the people rose and worshiped, each man in his tent door. So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. Exodus 33:9-11

When I read the verse that says, "the Lord spoke to Moses face to face," I have a longing in my heart to see the Lord like that. What must it have been like to be in such an intimate presence of the Lord? I try to picture in my mind what it looked like when the cloud descended. Regardless of how hard I try, I am sure that my thoughts could never come close to the awesome-nessof such a meeting.

Moses was just a man, no more special than any other person. But God called him for a special purpose and God equipped him for the job. Moses had a tough job leading the children of Israel through the wilderness for forty years. I do not envy his calling, but at times, I have envied his intimacy with the Lord. These feelings of longing and envy; however, cannot remain too long within me because I have God's Spirit living within me. When I desire to be with the Lord in that intimate place of His presence, I can go to Him and be with Him.

I no longer envy Moses because I have my own personal intimacy with the Lord, and so can you. For all who come to Jesus and accept Him as their Savior are sealed with the Promise of His Holy Spirit.

Have you ever longed to be in the presence of the Lord God Almighty? Do you desire to experience Him intimately? Please know that you can find Him. The Bible tells us that if seek the Lord with all of our heart we will find Him (Jeremiah 29:13). The keys are in truly seeking Him, waiting on Him, and obeying His words to us. Find a quiet place and commit to just spending that time with the Lord. Start with worshiping Him and coming before Him with an open heart. Keep seeking and keep knocking until you find that sweet place of fellowship. Remember that He is always here for us…we are the ones who are distracted and turn away from Him. Practice His presence every day.

Source unknown

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Knowing God's Will...Philippians 2:12-13

Philippians 2:12–13

Want to know God's will for your life? Let me ask you to stop, look, and listen. God makes His desires known to those who stop at His Word, look in with a sensitive spirit, and listen to others. When we go to His Word, we stop long enough to hear from above. When we look, we examine our surrounding circumstances in light of what He is saying to our inner spirit (perhaps you prefer to call this your conscience). And when we listen to others, we seek the counsel of wise, qualified people.

1. Stop at the Scriptures

The Bible tells us that the entrance of God's Word gives light (Psalm 119:130). That it is a lamp for our feet and a light that shines brightly on our path (Psalm 119:105). God has placed His Word in our hands and allowed it to be translated into our tongue (both were His determined will) so we could have a much more objective set of guidelines to follow than our dreams, hunches, and feelings. Sixty-six books filled with precepts and principles. And the better we know His Word, the more clearly we will know His will.

Precepts. Some of the statements that appear in the Bible are specific, black-and-white truths that take all the guesswork about God's will out of the way. Here are a few:

For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality. (1 Thessalonians 4:3)

See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people. Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:15–18)

These specific things are stated to be the will of God. There are even times that suffering is directly the will of God for us.

First Corinthians 7 says a lot about remaining single as well as being committed to one's marriage. Clearly, this chapter (along with 2 Corinthians 6:14) states that a Christian is definitely not to marry a non-Christian. These are finely tuned precepts that reveal God's will.

Principles. But the Bible also has principles, general guidelines to assist us through the gray areas. Not so much "do this" and "don't do that," but an appeal to use wisdom and discretion when such are needed.

We have both precepts and principles in our traffic laws. The sign that reads "Speed Limit 35" is a precept. The one that reads "Drive Carefully" is a principle. And that principle will mean one thing on a deserted street at two o'clock in the morning, but something else entirely at three-thirty in the afternoon when children are walking home from school.

Just remember this: A primary purpose of the Word of God is to help us know the will of God. Become a careful, diligent student of Scripture. Those who are will be better equipped to understand His desires and walk in them.

2. Look Around and Within

Philippians 2:12–13 presents a good cause for our cooperating with the Lord's leading:

So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

These verses highlight three specifics: There's a willingness to obey. There's the need to "work out" or give ourselves to doing our part with a sensitive spirit (fear and trembling). And then there's the promise that God will "work in you" to accomplish His plan. As we remain alert to His working, paying close attention to doors He opens and closes, He directs us into His will.

Closed doors are just as much God's leading as open ones. The believer who wants to do God's will must remain sensitive and cooperative, not forcing his or her way into areas that God closes off. The Lord uses circumstances and expects us to "read" them with a sensitive, alert conscience.

We must stop and check His Word. We must look around and within. And there is one more helpful piece of advice to remember. We must . . .

3. Listen to the Counsel of Qualified People

Solomon the wise once wrote:

A plan in the heart of a man is like deep water,

But a man of understanding draws it out. (Proverbs 20:5)

Iron sharpens iron,

So one man sharpens another. . . .

As in water face reflects face,

So the heart of man reflects man. (Proverbs 27:17, 19)

Like a quarterback, facing fourth-and-one on the thirty-yard line, who calls a time-out to consult with the coach, so must we. God uses others to help us know His desires.

God makes His will known: (1) through His Word . . . as we stop and study it, (2) through circumstances . . . as we look within and sense what He is saying, and (3) through the counsel of others . . . as we listen carefully.

 The better we know God’s Word, the more clearly we will know His will for us.

Source unknown

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Grief of Mind...Job 14

 Job 14; Acts 9:22-43

When Esau was forty years old, he took as wives Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Basemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite. And they were a grief of mind to Isaac and Rebekah. Genesis 26:34-35

Do you have relationships in your life that are "a grief of mind"? Think about those people who really challenge your thoughts. It is as if you just cannot get along with them no matter how hard you try and you cannot accept who they are or what they do no matter how much you pray. However, for some reason, you cannot escape the relationship either. These people quench our peace and rob us of joy. Why can we not just live life without personality conflicts?

The answer has to do with the two greatest commandments. We must love the Lord with all our hearts, minds, souls and strength and we must also love others as ourselves. Jesus says in Luke 6:32-36 that, if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.

God wants us to learn mercy, kindness, thankfulness and love. We cannot love God with everything we have and then not love others. We can have people in life that are a grief of mind but God desires that we learn to love with His heart, touch with His hands and see through His eyes. We can only do that through a dependency on the Lord through His Holy Spirit. God wants us to be more like Him and He can change us if we work with Him through all this.

To overcome these personal conflicts, try stepping back from the issues and pray that you can have a discernment to change the dynamics of the relationship. That person may not ever change but you can. Be proactive in prayer if you know that you will be interacting with that person and ask the Lord to check your spirit before you act out in the flesh. Slowly but surely, you will begin to have victory and God will receive the glory.

Author unknown

Monday, July 7, 2014

Think Theologically...Hebrews 6:17-18

Hebrews 6:17–18

I confess to you, at times I've doubted God's purpose and promise. I say that to my own embarrassment. When things hadn't worked as I thought they would, when I received a no instead of a yes or a yes instead of a no as an answer to prayer, when I couldn't unravel a situation and fit it with the character of God . . . those have been times when I've said, "I know down inside this isn't right."

When the bottom drops out of your life, when hope starts to wear thin, when human logic fails to make much sense, think theologically! Read Hebrews 6:17–18. The theological facts are: (1) there is an unchangeable purpose with God, and (2) that purpose is guaranteed with an oath.

It's at this juncture I should add: Don't try to explain it all to someone else. You can't. If you could, you would be God. The only thing you can explain theologically is that the issue you struggle with is part of His unchangeable purpose, guaranteed with an oath, neither of which is a lie. That's theological thinking. As Solomon states so well: "[God] has made everything appropriate in its time" (Ecclesiastes 3:11a).

Let me give you a syllogism—a theological syllogism:

God is in control of the times and seasons.

Some times are hard, and some seasons are dry.

So the conclusion is:

God is in control of hard times and dry seasons.

We are quick to give God praise when the blessings flow: when the checking account is full and running over; when the job is secure, and a promotion is on the horizon; when the salary is good; when our health is fine. But we have a tough time believing when those things aren't true.

There are benefits that come from thinking theologically, as found in Hebrews 6:18:

So that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us.

One benefit to thinking theologically is you will have "strong encouragement." Logical thinking will discourage you, but theological thinking will encourage you. And you will also have a refuge of hope. Encouragement is the opposite of discouragement. Hope is the opposite of despair. When you accept the fact that sometimes seasons are dry and times are hard and that God is in control of both, you will discover a sense of divine refuge, because the hope then is in God and not in yourself.

In those seasons when it's difficult to see God's purpose and promise, remember where your hope and encouragement are found—in the person and purposes of the Lord Jesus Christ.

 In dry seasons, remember that your hope is found in the person of Jesus Christ.

Author unknown

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Perservere through Pressure...Hebrews 6:18

Hebrews 6:18

Doubts often steal into our lives like termites into a house. These termite-like thoughts eat away at our faith. Usually, we can hold up pretty well under this attack. But occasionally, when a strong gale comes along—a sudden, intense blast—we discover we cannot cope. Our house begins to lean. For some people it completely collapses. It is during these stormy times, during the dark days and nights of tragedy and calamity, that we begin to feel the destructive effects of our doubts—running like stress fractures through the structure of our lives.

For me, there are three times when the intensity of doubt reaches maximum proportions.

One such time is when things I believe should never happen, occur. There are times when my loving, gracious, merciful, kind, good, sovereign God surprises me by saying yes to something I was convinced He would say no to. When bad things happen to good people.

I once received a letter from a woman who heard a talk I had given entitled "Riding Out the Storm." Little did she know how meaningful it would be to her. Just as she was entering into the truth of that message, she arrived at home to discover that her young, recently married daughter had been brutally murdered.

Why did God say yes to that? Why did that bad thing happen to that good person? The effect of such termites within our soul is great. They eat away at us, and doubt wins a hearing.

Doubts also increase when things I believe should happen, never occur (the other side of the coin). When I expected God to say yes but He said no. Numerous parents of young men and women have said good-bye and sent their children away to war, convinced God would bring them home again. But sometimes He says no.

Joni Eareckson Tada (and a thousand like her) trust confidently for awhile that the paralysis will go away—that God will say, "Yes, I'll get you through this. I'll teach you some deep lessons, and then I will use you with full health in days to come as I heal you completely." But God ultimately says no. When we expect Him to say yes and He says no, doubts multiply.

The third situation in which doubts grow takes place when things that I believe should happen now, occur much, much later. Of all the doubts which creep into our soul perhaps few are more devastating than those that happen when we are told by God, in effect. "Wait, wait, wait, wait . . . wait . . . wait!" All of us have wrestled greatly with His timing.

These "pressure points" provide a perfect introduction to the verses in Hebrews 6. This is that great chapter that begins with a strong warning, continues with words of affirmation, and closes with words of reassurance and ringing confidence. It addresses the Christian hanging on by his fingernails as he feels himself sliding down the hill. It shouts: "Persevere! Hang tough! Be strong! Don't quit!" Even when God says no, and you expected yes. Even when He says yes, and you anticipated no. And especially when He says to wait, and you expected it now.

If you're in that painful space right now, my word for you is: persevere! Hope in God—this is not the end.

 If you're in a painful place now, persevere! Hope in God; this is not the end.

Author unknown

Saturday, July 5, 2014

When Logic Fails...Hebrews 6:20

Hebrews 6:20

Human logic breaks down in crisis. The mystery is enormous, and it is the enormity of it all that calls for faith. I'm sorry if that sounds like an overused bromide. But if we could unravel it, why would we need faith? If that were true, all we'd really need is the answer in the back of the book and someone to point it out to us; we'd read it, and that's all there would be to it. But God's plan is that we walk by faith, not by sight. It is faith and patience that stretch us to the breaking point. Such things send doubt running.

When you find yourself dealing with doubt, let me give you three things to remember. First, God cannot lie. He can test, and He will. He can say no, and He sometimes will; He can say yes, and He will; He can say wait, and occasionally He will—but God cannot lie. He must keep His word. Doubt says, "You fool, you're stupid to believe in a God who puts you through this." By faith, keep remembering that God cannot lie.

Here's the second piece of advice that helps me: We will not lose. Doubt says, "You lose if you trust God through this. You lose." If I read anything in this whole section of Hebrews 6, I read that in the mysterious manner of God's own timing, for some unexplainable and yet unchangeable purpose, those of us who trust Him ultimately win—because God ultimately wins.

There's a little chorus Christians love to sing. It is quiet and tender, yet tough and true:

In His time, in His time,

He makes all things beautiful

In His time.

Lord, please show me every day,

As You're teaching me Your way,

That You do just what You say,

In Your time.¹

God cannot lie. We will not lose. Your mate has walked away from you, an unfair departure—you will not lose, child of God. Your baby has been born and for some reason, it has been chosen to be one of those special persons on this earth. You will not lose. You've waited and waited, and you were convinced things would improve, yet things have only gotten worse—keep remembering, you will not lose. God swears on it with an oath that cannot change. You will not lose.

Third—and I guess it's the best of all—is that our Lord Jesus does not leave. To quote a verse from Scripture, He "sticks closer than a brother" (Proverbs 18:24).

"Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever . . ." Hebrews 6:20. That means He is there at any time . . . and always.

God cannot lie. He will always keep His Word.

You cannot lose. God is trustworthy.

Our Lord Jesus does not leave. He is with you even now.

 If we could unravel the mysteries of life logically, why would we need faith?

Author unknown

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Rock of Ages...1 Corinthians 3:12-15

1 Corinthians 3:12-15

Believers build their lives on the Rock of Ages: Jesus Christ. Every motive, every deed, and every word is material for our spiritual house. The apostle Paul warned followers to construct with care because on the day of judgment, fire will test the quality of each person’s work. This refers not to a literal fire but to the purifying presence of Jesus Christ.

When I stand in the Savior’s perfectly holy and just presence, all the wood, hay, and stubble in my life will disappear. Good things done with wrong motives will vanish along with secret sins and bad attitudes. Only what has been done and said in Jesus’ name remains. And the moment the chaff is gone, we will see that God is right—those things didn’t fit the life of His child.

On hearing this explanation, someone usually says, “All that matters is that I get into heaven.” But that attitude is shortsighted because the judgment of believers is about rewards. In the parable of the unrighteous steward, Jesus explained the basic concept to His disciples: “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much” (Luke 16:10). Our time on earth is the beginning of an eternity serving and rejoicing in the Lord. God will reward us with heavenly responsibility according to our faithfulness here.

Wise people plan for the future (Prov. 27:12).I want to receive as much of God’s goodness as He offers, so I am determined to build with top-quality, enduring materials. The privilege of serving is only the beginning of the rewards. In heaven, God’s generosity will be even more abundantly unleashed.

Author unknown

Rest...Psalms 84:7

“They go from strength to strength, until each appears before God in Zion.” - Ps 84:7

“They go from strength to strength.” It is in the margin, “from company to company.” I rather think, that the meaning implied is, “they go from resting place to resting place.” There were certain fixed spots where the whole company rested at night; as we read, when the infant Jesus tarried at Jerusalem, his parents knew it not—they supposed that he was “in the company;” that is, had gone on with the traveling pilgrims; but when night came, and they looked for him, he was not there.

These resting places were certain spots where the caravan of the traveling pilgrims rested at night; by these successive restings their strength was recruited, and they were enabled to bear the long journey, rising in the morning refreshed with their night’s rest.

The Psalmist viewing it spiritually says, “They go from strength to strength.” At each resting place they received fresh strength to pursue their journey onward. And is not this true in grace? There are resting places in the divine life, spots of refreshment, where the true pilgrims renew their strength. For instance, every manifestation of the Lord is a communication of divine strength, a recruiting place, where the soul renews its strength to travel onward. Every promise that comes with sweet power is another resting place where the traveler may rest. Every discovery of saving interest in Christ; every glimpse of the grace and glory of Jesus; every word from the Lord’s lips; every smile from the Lord’s face; every token for good; everything that encourages, supports, blesses, and comforts the soul, enabling it to go onwards towards its heavenly home, is a resting place, where the pilgrim rests, and where he recruits his weary limbs.

And where can we rest, except where God rests? But does not God “rest in his love?” And can we rest anywhere short of God’s love shed abroad in our heart? Does not God rest in his dear Son? Did not this voice come from the excellent glory, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased?” All the satisfaction of God centers in Jesus; all the delight of the Father rests in the Son of his love. “Behold my servant, whom I uphold; my elect, in whom my soul delights!” Can we then rest anywhere but where God rests? Is it not spiritually with us as with the Israelites of old? When the cloud tarried, they tarried; when the cloud went, they went; when the cloud moved onward, they followed it; and when the cloud stopped, they halted, and rested beneath its shadow.

Source: Daily Blessings

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Reality of Heaven...Revelation 21:1-6

Revelation 21:1–6

The same Bible that develops the subject of hell also reveals the truth about heaven. What is heaven like? Playing harps all day? Lounging around on Cloud Nine? Living in enormous mansions along solid gold streets? Does it mean we'll all have long white robes with matching sandals, glowing halos, and big flapping wings? Hardly!

Heaven is an actual place. A prepared place, designed for God's redeemed people, those who have accepted God's free gift of His Son.

"Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also." (John 14:1–3)

According to this and other New Testament verses, heaven will be a place of beauty, peace, constant health, and happiness, filled with people from all the earthly ages who have one thing in common: faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, who took away the sin of the world.

In heaven we'll have a face-to-face, exclusive relationship with our Savior, gloriously enjoyed without interruption or heartache or grief or sin or the threat of death.  God promised that He would make all things new in heaven.

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband . . .Then He said to me, "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost.

(Revelation 21:1–2, 6)

Heaven will be the destiny of those who take God at His Word, believing in His Son, Jesus Christ, and coming, by faith, to salvation . . . without cost.

Can something this good really be free? Even free of works? You decide after reading these Scripture verses.

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8–9)

Being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus. (Romans 3:24)

Yes, salvation comes to us "free and clear" of any hidden charges or religious deeds or human effort. We come to God through Christ . . . lost, sinful, without hope, and deserving of hell. In grace, He sees us in Christ and in grace loves us, forgives us, accepts us into His family, and promises us an eternal home with Him in heaven, the ultimate destination of all His people.

Salvation is the single most important issue in all of life. Yet, if we are not careful, we'll put it off until later; we'll even put it completely out of our minds. Salvation is an urgent matter and is yours for the taking.

I ask you, will you do so today?

Author unknown