THURSDAY 1 SEPTEMBER
‘Who works out everything in conformity with…his will.’ Ephesians 1:11 NIV (2011 Edition)
Your Personalized Road Map
The Bible says before you were born: ‘Every day of [your] life was recorded…Every moment…laid out before a single day had passed’ (Psalm 139:16 NLT). God personalized a road map for your life ‘in conformity with…his will.’ And it’s your job to discover it and walk within its confines. A respected pastor says: ‘You may know your ultimate destination, but need guidance on how to get there. First and foremost, “God’s Word is a lamp for your feet and a light for your path” (Psalm 119:105). He sees the big picture…the shortcuts and pitfalls…Don’t look for external guidance…the Holy Spirit lives inside you, and it’s from within that you’ll get the inside track.’ Meditate on these Scriptures and make them personal prayers: ‘God has made us what we are…to do good works, which [He] planned in advance for us to live our lives doing’ (Ephesians 2:10 NCV). ‘The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives’ (Psalm 37:23 NLT). ‘You clear the way for me, and now I won’t stumble’ (Psalm 18:36 CEV). ‘Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take’ (Proverbs 3:6 NLT). ‘Behind you a voice will say, “This is the way you should go,” whether to the right or…left’ (Isaiah 30:21 NLT). At the end of his life Paul could say, ‘I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith’ (2 Timothy 4:7). Notice, sometimes Paul had to ‘fight’ to stay on course, but by God’s grace he made it – and so will you!
FRIDAY 2 SEPTEMBER
‘The children God has graciously given your servant.’ Genesis 33:5 NIV (2011 Edition)
Dad, Treasure Your Children
We live in a day when kids have never been given more of the things they want, and less of the things they need. What do they need? You! Not trinkets, treasures, and toys, but your love and your time. Read these unsettling words in a Newsweek column entitled, ‘Dear Dads, Save Your Sons,’ by psychologist Christopher Bacorn. He tells about an anxious mother in her mid-thirties who came to his office with her fifteen-year-old son. The boy’s dad had left four years before. Since then the teenager had descended into alcohol, gang membership, and violence. The mother had nowhere else to turn, and it was obvious the boy was at best a hostile participant. After attempting for thirty minutes to crack the steel vault of this boy’s heart, Dr. Bacorn realized the futility of it all. He wrote these poignant and sad words: ‘I’ve come to believe that most adolescent boys can’t make use of professional counseling…What a boy can use, and all too often doesn’t have, is the fellowship of men – at least one man who pays attention to him, who spends time with him, who admires him. A boy needs a man he can look up to. What he doesn’t need is a shrink…As a nation we’re racked by youth violence, overrun by gangs, guns, and drugs. The great majority of youthful offenders are male, most without fathers involved in their lives in any useful way.’ In Genesis we read that Jacob was a successful businessman, but he discovered that his greatest earthly treasure was ‘the children God has graciously given to your servant.’ Dad, have you discovered that?
SATURDAY 3 SEPTEMBER
‘God…comforts us…so that we can comfort [others].’ 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV (2011 Edition)
Ministering to Others (1)
Years ago a lady visited an orphanage and asked the matron, ‘Is there a child here nobody has offered to adopt?’ The matron replied, ‘There is. She’s ten years old, not much to look at, and she has a hunchback.’ The lady said, ‘That’s the child I want!’ Thirty-five years later the director of the Orphanage Inspection Department in Iowa submitted the following report on a state-run facility: ‘This home is outstanding. It’s clean, the food’s good, the children are well-cared-for, and the atmosphere is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. The matron, Mercy Goodfaith, has a soul that oozes love; she has such beautiful eyes I forgot how homely her face was – or that she was a hunchback.’ Because a Good Samaritan had the courage to love and nurture a little girl others overlooked, Mercy Goodfaith went on to share that same love with hundreds of other orphans. Paul says, ‘God…comforts us…so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we…received.’ And Billy Graham adds: ‘Those who have suffered the most are best able to comfort others …to empathize with [their] afflictions because of what they’ve experienced…Our sufferings may be hard to bear, but our goal should be to learn all we can from what we’re called to endure so we can fulfill a ministry of comfort as Jesus did. “Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted” (Hebrews 2:18 NIV 2011 Edition). The sufferer becomes the comforter in the service of the Lord.’