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Post  Admin on Fri 10 Jul 2009, 1:29 pm

Date: July 9, 2009 10:04 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Praying with Persistence

Praying with Persistence

"I say to you, Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." (Luke 11:9).
Scripture Focus: Luke 11:1-13

Much of my life is spent listening to people and trying to help them with desperate needs. In such times God invites us to be persistent in prayer.

In Luke 11, a friend goes to a neighbor at midnight asking for bread, knowing that persistent knocking will awaken the household. Friendship alone isn't enough to get the neighbor up, but persistence is. The friend has an urgent need.

At four and a half months old, my little granddaughter was facing open-heart surgery. Many people prayed for her. Through the five-hour drive to the hospital, through the hours of surgery, and throughout her stay in the hospital, I persistently prayed for her. It was a time of great need, but even more, a time for God to be honored through her life, whatever the outcome. We all went to God out of our insufficiency and poverty, having no place else to go. We knew He cared.

God rewarded our persistence; this year she will celebrate her eighth birthday.

Insight: God encourages us to never give up! Like beggars, we ask out of the painful condition of our brokenness and poverty. And He answers.
--
Jesus is Lord of All
Michael D. Inman
- Going to church doesn't make you a Christian...
...any more than standing in your garage makes you a car. -
The Only Thing Necessary For Evil to Triumph is for Good Men to do Nothing.
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Post  Admin on Thu 09 Jul 2009, 8:52 am

Date: July 8, 2009 8:18 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Face to Face

Face to Face

"Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, who did all those miraculous signs and wonders the Lord sent him to do in Egypt" (Deut. 34:10-11).
Scripture Focus: Deuteronomy 34:1-12

God changed Moses the stuttering shepherd into a powerful speaker and national leader. His success story serves as an example to us that our past failures don't have to doom our chances to be Jesus' servants. God and Moses had a face-to-face encounter with clear instructions from God so there would be no misunderstanding.

Jesus calls us to follow Him as He did with Andrew and Simon, Philip and Nathanael, and the other disciples. They saw Him physically face to face; we see Him spiritually face to face in His written Word. We don't become instant, mature believers when we respond to Him any more than the disciples did. Like them, we grow in our faith day by day. Jesus told His disciples to love each other as He loved them (John 13). He wasn't talking about warm, fuzzy love, but love in action. That kind of love doesn't magically appear in a Christian's life immediately. But as we follow and obey Jesus, His love in us grows and those around us see evidence of our genuine Christlikeness.

Insight: Sharing our faith in Jesus is still the central mission for His people, demonstrating that we are devoted to a Person, not a cause.
--
Jesus is Lord of All
Michael D. Inman
- Going to church doesn't make you a Christian...
...any more than standing in your garage makes you a car. -
The Only Thing Necessary For Evil to Triumph is for Good Men to do Nothing.
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Post  Admin on Wed 08 Jul 2009, 6:02 pm

Date: July 7, 2009 10:07 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Sovereign!

Sovereign!

"'I am the Alpha and the Omega,' says the Lord God, 'Who is, and Who was, and Who is to come, the Almighty.'" (Revelation 1:8).
Scripture Focus: Revelation 1:1-20

Pastoral ministry to pastors and hospital patients can be tough: deaths, hard questions, rejection, troubles with their families. After a particularly tough week I came across the words of John in Revelation 1, also written during tough times. I was reminded that Christ is sovereign. There is nothing outside His knowledge, no unknown factors that can sabotage my faith. The Almighty stands supreme over all the uncertainties and traumatic events in the world. As He has done before, He simply says, "Do not be afraid" (Revelation 1:17).

As we confront the severity of life with all its fragile issues, we can turn to Jesus. He has set us free from the control of sin; He restores us, and will resurrect us to eternal life someday. Jesus has His hand on me, giving me inexpressible peace and comfort and the strength to press on. There is nothing better than the confidence that I am being held by Him and underneath are His everlasting arms. I know my sovereign God is in control.

Insight: It's significant to fall before Him, but also to be raised up by Him, renewed and refreshed for whatever is ahead.
--




Jesus is Lord of All
Michael D. Inman
- Going to church doesn't make you a Christian...
...any more than standing in your garage makes you a car. -
The Only Thing Necessary For Evil to Triumph is for Good Men to do Nothing.
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Post  Admin on Wed 08 Jul 2009, 5:47 pm

Date: July 6, 2009 8:41 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Living Spiritually Strong

Living Spiritually Strong

"Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs. But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good." (Jonah 2:8-9).
Scripture Focus: Jonah 2:1-10

Nineveh was a very important city that was soon to become the capital of the Assyrian empire. Jonah, who despised the powerful and wicked empire, was called by God to warn the Assyrians that they would receive judgment if they did not repent. He didn't want the assignment, so he ran from God. But God has ways of teaching us to obey and follow Him. He got Jonah's attention through a storm and kept his attention in the belly of a fish.

I'm intrigued by Jonah's prayer, especially his final words: "Salvation comes from the Lord." It was a prayer of thanksgiving and affirmation of God's faithfulness and availability, even in Jonah's failure. He realized that nothing could separate one of God's own from Himself and no situation could prevent a sincere prayer from being heard by God. Jonah gave in and admitted where his salvation came from.

The experience taught him to trust God and live spiritually strong. When we know what God wants us to do, we need to obey, not run. He will have the final word!

Insight: God wants more than an up-and-down spiritual life for us. Look to God at all times and live spiritually strong.
--


Jesus is Lord of All
Michael D. Inman
- Going to church doesn't make you a Christian...
...any more than standing in your garage makes you a car. -
The Only Thing Necessary For Evil to Triumph is for Good Men to do Nothing.
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Post  Admin on Mon 06 Jul 2009, 5:57 pm

Date: July 5, 2009 9:52 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Foundations of Our Faith

Foundations of Our Faith

"Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ for . . . the knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness-a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life . . ." (Titus 1:1-2).
Scripture Focus: Titus 1:1-10

A pastoral colleague and I were sharing our history, discussing how we have lived through many decades of "movements" that God has allowed: popular preachers who have developed a following; tremendous changes in worship styles; authors promoting pop-theology and psychobabble.

When it's all said and done, the only important thing is our confidence in the finished work of Jesus Christ, sent by God. Paul's letter to Titus declares that he is a servant and apostle, one committed to obeying God and declaring the Good News. His commitment was also to the truth of the Gospel, showing people how to live godly lives.

I believe that God is truth and, thus, the source of all truth. In this age of skepticism, disillusionment, and despair, the answer for sinful mankind is the salvation that was determined and decreed before man was even created. God, in eternity past, planned for our redemption today. That's the foundation of my faith, as it was Paul's. And "God's solid foundation stands firm" (2 Timothy 2:19).

Insight: God's desire for His church is that the common clay of our humanity may be saturated with the deity of Christ to serve Him.
--
Jesus is Lord of All
Michael D. Inman
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Post  Admin on Fri 03 Jul 2009, 6:51 pm

Topic: +DEV+ Sacred Ground

Sacred Ground

"Do not be afraid, O man highly esteemed,' he said. 'Peace! Be strong now; be strong.' When he spoke to me, I was strengthened" (Daniel 10:18-19).
Scripture Focus: Daniel 10:1-19

The description of Daniel's personal encounter with God sends chills through my body. In the heat of battle between good and evil, we see Daniel divinely strengthened. In his final vision, Daniel was given further insight into the great spiritual battle between God's people and those who want to destroy them.

It was frightening for Daniel in his day, and still frightening in the times we're living in today. But as God ministered to and empowered Daniel, restoring his strength, He brings peace to us in trouble and strength in our weakness.

We are surrounded by war, terror, political evil, and world-wide trauma. We shudder every time we pick up a newspaper and read about more trouble, even in the cities and towns of our own country. Worry doesn't help; losing sleep only makes things worse. The message to Daniel was, "Peace! Be strong now; be strong." Jesus said to His disciples and to you and me, "Peace be with you" (John 20:21). Accept His offer now and rest easy.

Insight: Christ is not just the maintainer of the status quo; He is God's divine answer to the entire human dilemma.
--

Jesus is Lord of All
Michael D. Inman
- Going to church doesn't make you a Christian...
...any more than standing in your garage makes you a car. -
The Only Thing Necessary For Evil to Triumph is for Good Men to do Nothing.


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Post  Admin on Thu 02 Jul 2009, 10:02 am

Date: June 30, 2009 9:46 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Serious About Faith

Serious About Faith

"Stephen . . . did great wonders and miraculous signs. . . . Opposition arose, however . . . but they could not stand up against his wisdom or the Spirit by whom he spoke" (Acts 6:8-10).
Scripture Focus: Acts 6:8-15

There are times in life's spiritual battle when the heat is turned up and the opposition becomes more aggressive. When that happened to Stephen, he proved that he was willing to give his life for his Savior. We meet Stephen in the book of Acts along with others who are given the task of managing fairly the distribution of food among Christians in Jerusalem. He was not only a servant, but also a powerful speaker "full of God's grace and power." While speaking he was harassed, but he calmly, logically devastated the arguments against him. He was hauled before a tribunal that eventually condemned him to death.

Here was a man serious about his faith. As his persecutors were throwing stones at him to kill him, Stephen was asking God for forgive them. His life and death demonstrates that the most important prerequisite for Christian service is to be filled with faith and the power of God's Holy Spirit who gives strength and courage, even in the hardest moments of our lives.

Insight: We dare not ignore God's command to make the Gospel of Jesus available to all of mankind. The world has no other hope!
--
Date: July 1, 2009 9:46 PM
Topic: +DEV+ No Longer Thirsty

No Longer Thirsty

"Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life" (John 4:13-14).
Scripture Focus: John 4:4-15

I was called to the district counseling office to meet with a pastor who was burned out and ready to quit. We sat quietly until he finally spoke, asking for water. Finally, refreshed by a cold drink, we began to deal with his issues and eventually got to a place of prayer. I asked for God's refreshing touch upon the man's life.

In the Bible story of the woman at the well, the Samaritan was a woman of mixed heritage with a bad reputation. No Jewish man would talk to her, but Jesus didn't let that stop Him from engaging her in conversation.

The story reminds us that the Gospel is for every person, no matter what race, social status, or sinful past. Like Jesus, we are called to cross barriers as we follow Him, prepared to offer the Gospel to anyone, anytime, in any place.

My academy friend offered himself to Jesus, drinking deeply of His love, strength, wisdom, and care. He found the strength to keep going and enter the world of law enforcement.

Insight: Jesus, the fountain of life, brings living water that can forever quench a person's thirst for God.
--

Jesus is Lord of All
Michael D. Inman
- Going to church doesn't make you a Christian...
...any more than standing in your garage makes you a car. -
The Only Thing Necessary For Evil to Triumph is for Good Men to do Nothing.
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Post  Admin on Tue 30 Jun 2009, 3:38 pm

Date: June 28, 2009 10:15 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Being Salty

Being Salty

"Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out" (Luke 14:34-35).
Scripture Focus: Luke 14:25-35

Jesus used salt to remind people what it means to follow Him. His audience understood His vivid illustration because salt was a common preservative and flavoring agent. Everyone knew that if the saltiness (sodium chloride) disappeared, the residue was useless and they tossed it out.

Following Him, Jesus warned, did not mean having a trouble-free life. His followers needed to be committed in a way that gave Him preeminence. He asked then, and now, for total submission. Those who followed Him halfheartedly would never make the impact they needed to make on the world around them. They were like salt without the salty taste.

Before making a commitment to Jesus, we need to count the cost. He never promised it would be easy. Remaining unaffected by the sinful world and true to Jesus is a struggle. But those who choose to be His "salty" followers have great reward and great opportunity to "flavor" the world by sharing the message of His love.

Insight: When Christians blend into the world to avoid the cost of standing up for Christ, they are useless, like salt without flavor. How salty are you?
--


Date: June 29, 2009 9:25 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Follow Me!

Follow Me!

"After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. 'Follow me,' Jesus said to him, and Levi got up, left everything and followed him" (Luke 5:27-28).
Scripture Focus: Luke 5:27-32

Jesus had been preaching the Good News, healing those in need, and carefully choosing people to follow Him. The Pharisees observed Him with a critical spirit. Jesus withdrew for a time to pray, then he went and found Levi collecting taxes. Jesus looked the man in the eye and said simply, "Follow me." Levi responded by moving out of his comfort zone and following Jesus. Then he made his commitment to Jesus known by opening his home where Jesus could come and meet his friends.

The world, in this case the Pharisees, were critical. "Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?" they asked Jesus. Of course, that was exactly what God had sent Jesus to do.

It's encouraging to know that God uses ordinary people like Levi to serve Him and build His church. And like Levi, we should look for ways to build His church by being available to those outside the family of God, helping them make a spiritual connection with the Savior. Following Jesus means more than accepting Him; it also means serving Him.

Insight: It is the purpose of God to take His church and make us the channels through which He expresses Himself.
--

Jesus is Lord of All
Michael D. Inman
- Going to church doesn't make you a Christian...
...any more than standing in your garage makes you a car. -
The Only Thing Necessary For Evil to Triumph is for Good Men to do Nothing.


Restoration Ministry
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Post  Admin on Sun 28 Jun 2009, 7:42 pm

Date: June 24, 2009 9:21 PM
Topic: +DEV+ The Rescuer

The Rescuer


"When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy" (Luke 1:57-58).
Scripture Focus: Luke 1:57-66

Elizabeth bore a son after years of barrenness. She was old and well past the age of childbearing. God in His mercy waited for the perfect time, then shocked Elizabeth and Zechariah with an answer to prayer that had long since been set aside.

Mary, a lowly girl in Nazareth, had no outstanding features to draw God's attention to her, but in His mercy, He lifted her up and blessed her above all women.

I too have received great mercy at the hands of the Lord. When I was a young, single mother living in rebellion, God rescued me. He brought into my life a godly man who believed in me.

As with Elizabeth and Mary, "The Lord had shown [me] great mercy," and my loved ones shared my joy.

Still today I stand in awe when I think of the dark pit of hell from which God rescued me. When Jesus accepted me, I couldn't help myself-my heart compelled me to serve Him, to love Him, to lift His name on high. I was compelled to worship Him.

Insight: Because God rescues His children in their time of need, we can put full trust in Him. He won't let us down. He can't. He is totally trustworthy.
--



Date: June 25, 2009 10:09 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Amazing Love

Amazing Love

"How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called the children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him" (1 John 3:1).
Scripture Focus: 1 John 3:1-10

What an amazing love this God, Creator, King of all kings has lavished on us. To come to earth a helpless Babe, willingly making Himself vulnerable to an evil and perverse world. To live amongst those He created, only to be abused, ignored, and counted insignificant. He knew what was waiting for Him, yet He came anyway.

What an amazing love, the love of this Father who gave His Son to die for those who hated Him "that we should be called the children of God! And that is what we are!" Imagine it, ponder it, and bask in its sweetness, for it is true. Let the warmth of that knowledge permeate your being. God is your Father. There is nothing you can do to make Him disown you; His love is unconditional. Did you fail a lot this past year? Tell Him all about it. Remember, He loves you anyway.

What an amazing gift, this love given freely, yet totally undeserved. You can look forward with excitement, security, and confidence. Your Father is with you every step of the way.

Insight: Because of God's amazing love we are privy to all that is His. What a shame that we so often ignore it for the fleeting things of this world!
--


Jesus is Lord of All
Michael D. Inman
- Going to church doesn't make you a Christian...
...any more than standing in your garage makes you a car. -
The Only Thing Necessary For Evil to Triumph is for Good Men to do Nothing.


Restoration Ministry
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Post  Admin on Sat 20 Jun 2009, 6:31 pm

My computer has corrupted all my files... including my devotionals. So no devotionals until I get them re-sorted out again. We will resume posting them later.
--



Jesus is Lord of All
Michael D. Inman
- Going to church doesn't make you a Christian...
...any more than standing in your garage makes you a car. -
The Only Thing Necessary For Evil to Triumph is for Good Men to do Nothing.


Restoration Ministry
http://www.rollanet.org/~restore/
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Post  Admin on Fri 12 Jun 2009, 9:29 pm

Date: June 11, 2009 10:16 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Bridge Building Test

Bridge Building Test

Scripture Focus: Ephesians 4:17-52
"Live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us" (Ephesians 5:2). "Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves"

Jesus was preparing His disciples for His departure. Soon He would give His life for them and for us on the cross. Then He would return to His Father. How should they live after He was gone?

He said, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

We should be known as bridge builders. This month we've looked at bridges to build relationships. Today's reading summarizes qualities to help us get along better with others.

List all the bridge builders to strengthen godly friendship and the bridge burners to sever ties with evil. Then take time to check your progress in building bridges to others:

1. How have your interpersonal relationships improved? Think of several specific ways.

2. What bridges do you still need to work on? Decide on a plan to continue practicing them to better related with others.

Insight: Try these two rules for building bridges to others: (1) Forget yourself. (2) Learn to love others and be truly interested in them.
--
Jesus is Lord of All
Michael D. Inman
- Going to church doesn't make you a Christian...
...any more than standing in your garage makes you a car. -
The Only Thing Necessary For Evil to Triumph is for Good Men to do Nothing.


Restoration Ministry
http://www.rollanet.org/~restore/
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Post  Admin on Thu 11 Jun 2009, 10:55 pm

Topic: +DEV+ Second Chances

Second Chances

Scripture Focus: John 21:1-23
"If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, 'I repent,' forgive him" (Luke 17:4)

Looking out the window, I noticed two neighbor boys quarreling in the yard next door. Suddenly one boy picked up his toys and started to leave. The other one called after him, saying he was sorry, but the first child continued to walk away, refusing to give his friend another chance to play together.

How much like adults these boys were! So often we cut people off when they disagree with us or disappoint us, refusing to give them a second chance.

But not Jesus. Before His crucifixion, Peter had denied knowing Him three times but repents.

After His Resurrection, Jesus singled out Peter, He had already met with Peter privately and forgiven him. Now Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved Him, and three times He commissioned Peter to minister for Him. Jesus didn't write Peter off as impossible or unusable.

"Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you." (Colossians 3:13)

Insight: Have you let a relationship suffer because you have not been willing to give and give that person another chance?
--

Jesus is Lord of All
Michael D. Inman
- Going to church doesn't make you a Christian...
...any more than standing in your garage makes you a car. -
The Only Thing Necessary For Evil to Triumph is for Good Men to do Nothing.


Restoration Ministry
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Post  Admin on Thu 11 Jun 2009, 11:03 am

Date: June 10, 2009 11:56 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Temptation Resisted

Temptation Resisted

Scripture Focus: Matthew 4:1-11
"Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith" (1 Peter 5:8-9).

"I believe Satan to exist for two reasons: first, the Bible says so; and second, I've done business with him," so says D.L. Moody.

Though Satan is a fallen angel and we cannot see him, he is a being with whom we have to deal. A relationship with Satan is one we certainly want to destroy, not build. Before Jesus began His public ministry, He demonstrated how to do so by overcoming Satan's temptations. We can learn much from this encounter.

Satan tempted Jesus in the same areas he tempts us today the cravings of our flesh, the lust of our eyes, and the pride of life (1 John 2:16). First, he tried to get Jesus to act independent from God; next he tempted Jesus with the boastful pride of life to test God; and finally he appealed to the lust of the eyes to get Jesus to become King by avoiding following God's will to the cross. To each of these temptations, Jesus used appropriate Scripture to resist temptation. He is available to enable us to resist temptation today.

Insight: "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (James 4:7).
--

Jesus is Lord of All
Michael D. Inman
- Going to church doesn't make you a Christian...
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The Only Thing Necessary For Evil to Triumph is for Good Men to do Nothing.

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Post  Admin on Tue 09 Jun 2009, 8:59 pm

Date: June 8, 2009 10:51 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Acknowledgment

Acknowledgment

Scripture Focus: John 20:24-29
"Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe." Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!" (John 20:27-28).

Who of us wants to be treated like wallpaper - there in the background but hardly noticed? We at least want to be acknowledge as someone of worth.

Jesus acknowledged people as individuals, even when they expressed doubt or unbelief. His encounter with Thomas is only one example.

Though Thomas had missed Jesus' meeting with the disciples after the Resurrection and doubted their report, he was with them the following week. When Jesus appeared again, He took special note of Thomas and his doubts, giving him the opportunity to touch the nail prints and the spear hole from the Crucifixion. Jesus acknowledged Thomas' lack of belief and loved him anyway.

God wants us to acknowledge people as individuals, regardless of how weak they may be in their faith, how much they may disagree with us, or how much their personalities rub us the wrong way.

Are you guilty of ignoring someone for one of these reasons?

Insight: "Father, every person is important in your sight. Help me to treat them of worth and dignity, even when I disagree with them."
--

Jesus is Lord of All
Michael D. Inman
- Going to church doesn't make you a Christian...
...any more than standing in your garage makes you a car. -
The Only Thing Necessary For Evil to Triumph is for Good Men to do Nothing.


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Post  Admin on Mon 08 Jun 2009, 6:48 pm

Date: June 8, 2009 1:40 AM
Topic: +DEV+ Gratitude

Gratitude

Scripture Focus: John 12:1-18
"Leave her alone’" said Jesus. "Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me." (Mark 14:6).

Someone passes judgment, "Charles sure spends a lot of money on himself. The cost of his new car alone could feed many starving children."

Our conversations are not much different from the disciples’ when they witnessed Mary anointing Jesus six days before His last Passover feast.

According to Matthew, the disciples objected to what they thought was a gigantic waste of the perfume she used to anoint Jesus’ feet. It was worth a whole year's wage for a common laborer!

But Jesus rebuked His disciples and expressed gratitude for Mary's actions. She loved Him much and wanted to demonstrate her love in a tangible way, giving Him the best she had. He also commended her because she recognized He would die, and she was anointing Him for burial ahead of time. Even the disciples were not as discerning.

Criticism seems to come naturally and much more easily than gratitude does. Will you work on building bridges with gratitude instead of erecting walls with criticism?

Insight: To whom can you express gratitude? How will you do it?
--

Jesus is Lord of All
Michael D. Inman
- Going to church doesn't make you a Christian...
...any more than standing in your garage makes you a car. -
The Only Thing Necessary For Evil to Triumph is for Good Men to do Nothing.


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Post  Admin on Fri 05 Jun 2009, 11:17 am

Date: June 5, 2009 3:33 AM
Topic: +DEV+ Observation

Observation

Scripture Focus: Luke 19:1-10
"When Jesus reached the spot, He looked up and said to him, Zaccheus, come down immediately, I must stay at your house today’" (Luke 19:5).

Children are keen observers. They notice ants in cracks and flowers just beginning to bud. They're the first to find stray cats and to know that people down the block are moving.

Unfortunately, many of us pass by people without even seeing them. But not Jesus. He noticed a man in a sycamore tree, a man who was despised by his fellow Jews for collecting taxes for the hated Roman government and making money for himself in the process.

Jesus went beyond noticing Zaccheus, however. He socialized with the tax collector, much to the consternation of the Jewish people who openly criticized Jesus for doing so.

As a result of Jesus’ observing him, Zaccheus became a new man. He placed his trust in Jesus and demonstrated his faith by making restitution.

Not everyone we take time to notice will be this receptive to our message about Christ. But for some, the loving act of observing them will bring them closer to God’s love.

Insight: Who are the people in our everyday life whom you seldom notice? How can you reach out to them?
--




Jesus is Lord of All
Michael D. Inman
- Going to church doesn't make you a Christian...
...any more than standing in your garage makes you a car. -
The Only Thing Necessary For Evil to Triumph is for Good Men to do Nothing.


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Post  Admin on Wed 03 Jun 2009, 1:43 pm

Date: June 3, 2009 1:11 AM
Topic: +DEV+ Lack of Pressure

Lack of Pressure

Scripture Focus: Matthew 19:16-22
"The Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful" (2 Timothy 2:24).

We all face pressures to conform to the standards of others. Some are subtle while other pressures are blatant commands.

It's interesting to note that Jesus did not coerce people into following Him. When the rich young ruler approached Him with a question about obtaining eternal life, Jesus pointed him to God's standards outlined in the Ten Commandments.

No one, including this ruler, has kept all God's commands. We are all sinners and cannot save ourselves by our own efforts. That is why Jesus voluntarily came to pay the penalty for our sins. We must put our faith in Him to have eternal life.

The ruler's possessions were more important to him than God. Consequently, he left with sadness. Jesus did not pressure him, but let him go away. He taught the truth but acknowledged the man's free will to choose God or not.

Few people respond well to our pressure to change. Let's continue to share the truth of God's Word, but let's allow God to do the convicting.

Insight: Have you been pressuring someone to change? Will you let God do the convicting instead?
--
Jesus is Lord of All
Michael D. Inman
- Going to church doesn't make you a Christian...
...any more than standing in your garage makes you a car. -
The Only Thing Necessary For Evil to Triumph is for Good Men to do Nothing.


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Post  Admin on Thu 28 May 2009, 1:00 pm

Date: May 27, 2009 11:07 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Condemnation of Sin

Condemnation of Sin

Scripture Focus: Luke 11:37-54
"We exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men" (1 Thessalonians 5:14, KJV).

Sin erects barriers in relationships. It comes between people and God, person and person. Left uncorrected, it eats away at fellowship like a cancer and becomes contagious.

Jesus knew the power of sin, and was not afraid to condemn the religious leaders for their hypocrisy and other sins which hindered relationships with God and men. Though He condemned their actions and attitudes, He did not attack their personhood. He still loved them and died for them.

As believers in Christ, we have the responsibility to help one another grow. Sometimes that includes pointing out sin, but we must be sure we go to the individual with love and being sure there is not unconfessed sin in our own lives.

We need to realize that not everyone will respond well to that kind of conversation. Remember that the religious leaders were hostile toward Jesus. However, to avoid the confrontation to try keeping peace with someone will eventually erode the relationship anyway.

Insight: (1) Deal with sin in your life first. (2) Be sure the other person's problem is sin, not your opinion. (3) Go and speak the truth in love.
--

Jesus is Lord of All
Michael D. Inman
- Going to church doesn't make you a Christian...
...any more than standing in your garage makes you a car. -
The Only Thing Necessary For Evil to Triumph is for Good Men to do Nothing.
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Post  Admin on Wed 27 May 2009, 12:12 pm

Date: May 26, 2009 10:42 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Rebuke

Rebuke

Scripture Focus: Luke 10:38-42
"Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses" (Proverbs 27:5-6).

Martin Luther wrote, "I had rather that true and faithful teachers should rebuke and condemn me, and reprove my ways, than that hypocrites should flatter me and applaud me as a saint."

Not many of us have Luther's attitude toward rebukes, but often they are needed to help us grow.

Jesus was not afraid to rebuke people. While Mary sat listening to Jesus, Martha prepared dinner. Though she was doing something worthwhile, she did it with the wrong attitude. She fretted and complained about having to do it alone. Instead of reproving Mary for not helping, Jesus rebuked Martha for her worry.

Martha did not let the rebuke break her relationship with Jesus. In fact, it strengthened that relationship. She sent for Him when her brother Lazarus was sick, and Jesus often visited her home.

It is difficult to point out wrong actions and attitudes to our friends, but it is necessary for relationships to develop depth. It is also necessary to do so with the right attitude and in love.

Insight: Do you need to rebuke a friend? Ask for God’s help to do so in love.
--




Jesus is Lord of All
Michael D. Inman
- Going to church doesn't make you a Christian...
...any more than standing in your garage makes you a car. -
The Only Thing Necessary For Evil to Triumph is for Good Men to do Nothing.
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Post  Admin on Tue 26 May 2009, 10:40 pm

Date: May 26, 2009 12:58 AM
Topic: +DEV+ Teaching

Teaching

Scripture Focus: Luke 10:25-37
"We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ" (Colossians 1:28).

Teachers are powerful influences, in both positive and negative ways. While I was a child, my Sunday School teacher influenced me to become a Christian and to serve God. Then a high school teacher influenced me to drop out of church for a time.

Several church leaders influenced me to write and teach. A pastor changed my view of teaching adults. Other pastors challenged me to think through my convictions in the light of biblical truth. As a result of the influence of these pastors and teachers as well as many others, I have grown intellectually, spiritually, emotionally, and socially.

Jesus knew the value of teaching in helping people grow. When a lawyer asked Him questions, He answered by a story. That story about the Good Samaritan and the accompanying question of who was the neighbor taught more than a lecture.

We don't need to be a teacher in order to teach others. In fact, the New Testament makes it clear that all believers are to teach. God can use you to build relationships through your teaching!

Insight: "The only way we can teach the Word of God is to live the Word of God" (Henrietta C. Mears).
--




Jesus is Lord of All
Michael D. Inman
- Going to church doesn't make you a Christian...
...any more than standing in your garage makes you a car. -
The Only Thing Necessary For Evil to Triumph is for Good Men to do Nothing.
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Post  Admin on Mon 25 May 2009, 2:43 pm

Date: May 24, 2009 9:56 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Acceptance
Acceptance

Scripture Focus: John 8:1-11
"Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven" (Luke 6:37).

Teenagers are characterized by their struggles for acceptance. Some will do almost anything to be part of a group. Many of us never outgrow this need for acceptance. We crave friends who will love us as we are, not as they wish we were. We're fortunate to develop a relationship with even one such person.

Jesus was such a man. One morning when He was teaching people, some religious leaders brought to Him a woman they probably had set up in an adulterous situation in order to trap Jesus.

To these leaders, she was an object to be used. To Jesus, she was a person to be respected as someone made in God's image. He ignored the men as they tried to trap Jesus into agreeing with them that she should be stoned. After He told them the one without sin should cast the first stone, they slunk away. When the last man had gone, Jesus spoke to the woman. He didn't condemn her as a person, but He did tell her to stop sinning. Though He did not like her sin, He loved and accepted her.

Are you following His example?

Insight: Have you been condemning someone instead of accepting him, though you can't agree with him.
--
Jesus is Lord of All
Michael D. Inman
- Going to church doesn't make you a Christian...
...any more than standing in your garage makes you a car. -
The Only Thing Necessary For Evil to Triumph is for Good Men to do Nothing.
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Post  Admin on Fri 22 May 2009, 1:36 pm

Date: May 22, 2009 12:38 AM
Topic: +DEV+ Discernment

Discernment

Scripture Focus: Matthew 15:21-28
"Teach me knowledge and good judgment, for I believe in your commands" (Psalm 119:66).

People need help. Sometimes it is difficult to know which individual or Christian organization should get our time, and efforts.

When Jesus was on earth, He taught and healed many people, but He didn't help everyone. He used discernment in the use of His time and abilities.

In today's passage, again He wanted to be alone, but it was difficult to hide the news of His arrival in the area. When a Gentile woman with a demon-possessed daughter heard Jesus was there, she went to Him for help.

At first He ignored her, but she was persistent. In Jesus’ brief conversation with her, He discerned that her faith in Him was genuine. He made it clear that His mission was to Jewish people first, not Gentiles. When her answer demonstrated that she still had faith in Him, Jesus healed her daughter.

As we relate with others, we often need to exercise discernment in order to know if we should support their causes, help them in some tangible way, or even spend a lot of time with them.

Insight: "I am your servant; give me discernment that I may understand your statutes" (Psalm 119:125).
--




Jesus is Lord of All
Michael D. Inman
- Going to church doesn't make you a Christian...
...any more than standing in your garage makes you a car. -
The Only Thing Necessary For Evil to Triumph is for Good Men to do Nothing.
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Post  Admin on Thu 21 May 2009, 10:08 pm

Date: May 20, 2009 10:07 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Time for People

Time for People

Scripture Focus: Mark 6:30-44
"Be very careful, then, how you live not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil" (Ephesians 5:15-16).

My weekly "to do" schedule keeps me functioning. Without it, I accomplish little, but sometimes it gets in the way of relationships. I have to fight the tendency to stick to the list instead of making time for people who haven't been scheduled.

Jesus faced the same conflict. After sending out His disciples on an extended mission and hearing about the death of John the Baptist, He scheduled time alone with the Twelve when they returned.

However, His plans were interrupted by a crowd of people. Instead of sticking to His planned schedule, He took the time to teach the multitude and heal the sick. In fact, He spent so much time that His disciples began to worry that it growing late. Instead of sending the crowd away to eat, Jesus spent even more time with them, feeding them by means of a miracle.

Do you reflect Jesus’ heart by building relationships choosing to set your schedule aside and take or make time for individuals? Or are you too busy with your own plans?

Insight: What friend, neighbor, relative, or acquaintance do you need to spend time with soon? When will you do it?
--




Jesus is Lord of All
Michael D. Inman
- Going to church doesn't make you a Christian...
...any more than standing in your garage makes you a car. -
The Only Thing Necessary For Evil to Triumph is for Good Men to do Nothing.


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Post  Admin on Wed 20 May 2009, 11:01 pm

Date: May 17, 2009 11:35 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Forgiveness

Forgiveness

Scripture Focus: Luke 7:36-50
"Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you" (Colossians 3:13).

Jesus demonstrated the importance of forgiving others when He accepted a dinner invitation from a Pharisee named Simon.

A prostitute, who probably had responded earlier to Jesus' teaching, joined the group and openly displayed her love and worship. She performed the common courtesies of a host washing dusty feet, greeting with a kiss, and anointing with oil all of which Simon had neglected to do.

Jesus read Simon's thoughts of condemnation toward the woman and told him a story to illustrate the relationship between forgiveness and love, thus vindicating the woman's actions.

Because of the woman's faith, Jesus verbalized His forgiveness, not only for her sake but also to teach Simon His power to forgive sins.

Paul made it clear in our verse for today that we are to follow Christ's example and readily forgive others instead of holding grudges. When we find it hard to forgive, we need to remember that Christ forgave us.

Insight: Forgiveness builds bridges; a grudge builds walls. Has someone wronged you whom you have not forgiven? Will you do so today?

Date: May 18, 2009 10:53 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Encouragement

Encouragement

Scripture Focus: Mark 5:21-43
"Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness" (Hebrews 3:13).

The note was not lengthy, but the message was powerful: "Don't give up; keep on believing. God is still in control. I'm still praying for you."

Encouragement like that helps me continue trusting God to work in difficult situations. Jesus was the model encourager. When Jairus approached and asked Him to heal his only daughter, who was dying, Jesus started to follow him home. But on the way, a woman who needed healing came to Him. While Jesus took time for her, Jairus' daughter died.

Jesus encouraged Jairus by telling him not to give up. "Don't be afraid; just believe" (Mark 5:36). "Just believe" literally means, keep on believing. After encouraging Jairus with these words, Jesus took charge of the situation and brought Jairus’ daughter back to life.

Spoken or written words of encouragement are bridges to strengthen relationships. Is there someone you know who is going through a trial or difficulty and who could use your encouragement?

Insight: Whom can you encourage today? What will you say to that person to help him not give up? Perhaps you can share Psalm 27.
--

Date: May 19, 2009 10:21 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Mercy

Mercy

Scripture Focus: Matthew 9:27-3
"Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful" (Luke 6:36).

Mercy is . . .

* watching a friend suffering in a hospital, squeezing his hand to remind him he is not alone.

* bandaging a child's cuts and offering him a cookie to cheer him up.

* noticing the widow's son does not have a warm coat and giving him one.

* forgetting the cutting remark you heard about yourself, instead of retaliating in kind.

* overlooking a friend's faults (not sins) instead of harping on them.

* visiting individuals in a nursing home.

* taking meals to a family when a parent is sick.

* helping someone who is out of work find a job.

* watching children so their mother can have a day to herself.

Jesus demonstrated mercy when He responded to two blind men who persistently followed Him. After ascertaining their faith, He touched their eyes, giving them sight. He didn't have to do so, but He reached out with mercy to alleviate their hardship.

Insight: Will you ask the Lord to make you more aware of the needs others have? Will you make yourself available to show your Father's mercy to them?
--




Jesus is Lord of All
Michael D. Inman
- Going to church doesn't make you a Christian...
...any more than standing in your garage makes you a car. -
The Only Thing Necessary For Evil to Triumph is for Good Men to do Nothing.


Restoration Ministry
http://www.rollanet.org/~restore/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Restoration_Ministry/

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Post  Admin on Fri 15 May 2009, 1:04 pm

Date: May 13, 2009 9:47 PM
Topic: +DEV+ Commendation

Commendation

Scripture Focus: Luke 7:1-10
"When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, I tell you I have not found such great faith even in Israel’" (Luke 7:9).

At funerals people say nice things about the deceased, compliments they usually did not tell that person when he or she was alive. In contrast, Jesus commended people in their hearing. He let them know what He appreciated about them. One example is in today's Scripture reading.

The centurion asked Jesus to heal his dying servant. He expressed faith in Jesus’ ability to do so by telling our Lord that it wasn't necessary to see the servant. He believed Jesus could heal just by speaking from where He was.

Jesus publicly commended the man for his faith, pointing out that this Gentile's faith was greater than the faith of any Jewish person He knew.

It's not difficult to commend others. If we feel uncomfortable doing so, it may be because we do not give words of praise often enough.

Think of some of the people you live and work with. What do you appreciate about them? Don't keep those compliments to yourself; pass them on verbally or in a note.

Insight: Whom will you commend today? For what? How will you do it?
--




Jesus is Lord of All
Michael D. Inman
- Going to church doesn't make you a Christian...
...any more than standing in your garage makes you a car. -
The Only Thing Necessary For Evil to Triumph is for Good Men to do Nothing.
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