Quick Thought – Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Read

Matthew 9:14-17

Neither is new wine put into old wineskins. If it is, the skins burst and the wine is spilled and the skins are destroyed. But new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.”
Matthew 9:17

Reflect

Most people today have only seen wine in a bottle. But in Jesus’ day, after wine fermented in a vat, it was transferred into jars or animals skins so that it could finish the fermentation process or be consumed later. Once a wineskin had aged its contents, it would never again be useful for holding new wine. As the wine aged, the gasses it released would force the skin to expand, almost to the point of bursting. Eventually, the wine would finish fermenting, and the skin would lose its natural flexibility. An old wineskin would now be holding old wine. If you emptied the contents and poured new wine into the skin, the new wine would release more gasses, and the wineskin would burst, unable to expand any further.

So why did Jesus bring this up? In His day, the Pharisees were caught up in religious rituals, and they demanded that everyone else do the same. They felt that the only way to please God was to fulfill every aspect of the law – at least as far as everyone could see. Jesus shattered their world with His teachings. In the parable of the wineskins, He was saying that old religious rituals don’t work with new faith. Basically, He was telling the Pharisees (and us) that a faith based on works doesn’t impress God. He wants our open hearts (fresh wineskins) to be containers of the Lord’s Good News (new wine).

As we move through this fall, look for ways that the Lord is calling you to keep your heart fresh, renewed and receptive to His message and His will.

Reflection copyright © 2017 Doug DeBolt.

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Quick Thought – Monday, April 24, 2017

Read

Matthew 8:28-34

The herdsmen fled, and going into the city they told everything, especially what had happened to the demon-possessed men. And behold, all the city came out to meet Jesus, and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their region.
Matthew 8:33-34

Reflect

A farmer went to the hardware store to buy a saw so he could clear some trees. However, just a week later he was back at the store to return the saw.

“This saw doesn’t work,” he complained. “I’ve been working all week, and I’ve only been able to cut down two trees. It’s wearing me out.”

The clerk took the saw, pulled on the handle and cranked up the chainsaw. It immediately roared to life.

Surprised, the farmer said, “Wait, you mean it turns on?”

Sometimes, we all miss the point. In today’s scripture, Jesus encounters two demon-possessed men, and through the power of the Holy Spirit, drives the demons out of the men and into a herd of pigs. The pigs promptly run toward a cliff, jump over it and drown in the sea.

The people from the nearby town, who had been terrorized by the possessed men, came out to see what happened. For the first time, they saw these men clean, dressed and sane. And what was their response to this? They asked Jesus to get out of town. Instead of rejoicing with the healing of these men, they were angry that Jesus had hurt business. Instead of focusing on healing, they focused on the ham.

We live in a very cynical, hammed-up world that desperately needs the healing offered by our Lord. We’re the only people who can give that to them. It’s usually pretty easy to get caught up in the negative details of the world. Just turn on the TV and you’ll be overrun by bad news and celebrity drama. We can miss the spiritual point and be overwhelmed by the mess. Or we can make a choice to show them the difference that Christ has made in our lives.

Today, pray that the Lord will help you to look past the world’s ham, and to offer to others His healing.

Reflection copyright © 2017 Doug DeBolt.

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Quick Thought – Sunday, April 23, 2017

Read

Joshua 1:5-9

“Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them.”
Joshua 1:6

Reflect

“I’m afraid, Daddy.” Sarah stared through the open door that led to the basement.

Sarah’s father took her hand and reassured her. “I’m here, honey. There’s nothing to be afraid of.”

“But it’s dark. What if something trips me?”

“I wouldn’t let anything hurt you.”

Sarah looked at her dad. “Will you go with me?”

“Yes,” her father replied. “I’ll hold your hand. And I’ll be with you the entire time.”

Reassured, Sarah took a deep breath, held tightly to her father’s hand, and took the first step through the door…

From the time we were children, we have always been reassured by having someone bigger and stronger going with us into situations that are scary or unsure. God knew this when he was sending Joshua and the Israelites into the promised land.

Three times in the passage above, he told Joshua to be “strong and courageous.” But He didn’t leave it there – he reassured Joshua that He – God himself – would be with His people wherever they went. Fierce battles awaited the Israelites in their new homeland, but God wanted them to know that no matter what happened, they wouldn’t be alone. Victory awaited them because they had their Father with them every step of the way.

Today, think about the tough situations that you might face today or this week. Re-read the passage from Joshua, and pray that the Lord will be with you, just as He was with Joshua, and just as He promises He will be with all who follow Him.

Reflection copyright © 2017 Doug DeBolt.

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Quick Thought – Saturday, April 22, 2017

Read

Psalm 136:1-9

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
Psalm 136:1

Reflect

Have you ever tried to remember something by repeating it over and over? Like a phone number or an address? Sometimes, by saying something again and again, the message works its way into our brain and stays there forever.

In Psalm 136, there are 26 verses, and the second line of each one says the exact same thing: “for his steadfast love endures forever.” Clearly, the writer of this psalm wanted us to remember that God’s love is both ever-faithful and everlasting.

Why is that important?

Even though we can know that the Lord is good and that He takes care of us, sometimes our days can be pretty rough. But we serve a God who can overcome anything and everything. The God who has overcome Pharoahs, pagan kings and even death can also overcome the problems you encounter from day to day.

His steadfast love endures forever!

Reflection copyright © 2017 Doug DeBolt.

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Quick Thought – Friday, April 21, 2017

Read

Psalm 34

James 1:2-16

I will bless the Lord at all times;
his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul makes its boast in the Lord
let the humble hear and be glad.
Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
and let us exalt his name together!
I sought the Lord, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
Psalm 34:1-4

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
James 1:2-4

Reflect

Imagine being at work and having the worst day of your life. Nothing you do is working out, and your boss seems to be losing his patience with you. You seem to have destroyed the copier, broken the coffee maker and locked up the computer server. Now, he calls you into his office, and you’re certain it’s not to talk about a raise. As you approach his door, you’re probably thinking, “Thank you, Lord, for all of today’s problems!”

Really? Probably not, right? But both of today’s scriptures point us in that direction. “I will bless the Lord at all times,” Psalm 34 says, and “all” doesn’t mean “some.” It means that no matter what happens, we are supposed to praise God. And James, who was the brother of Jesus, tells us to “Count it all joy … when you meet trials of various kinds.” That means that in spite of the problems that come our way, we are to never let the Lord’s joy slip away from us. James goes on to say that when our faith is tested that it will result in “steadfastness,” or endurance. That endurance is what leads to us becoming more complete Christians.

Today, try to look at any problems you have as special opportunities to praise the Lord. It’s easy to keep His praise in your mouth when times are good, but the trials He allows are chances for us to exercise our faith when times are less than good.

Reflection copyright © 2017 Doug DeBolt.

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Quick Thought – Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Read

Matthew 6:5-15

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
Matthew 6:9-13 (KJV)

Reflect

Most of us know this passage very well. Even people who don’t go to church seem to know what has come to be known as “The Lord’s Prayer.” You’ve probably prayed it hundreds, if not thousands, of times. But have you every slowed down long enough to think about what you’re praying?

Consider this rephrasing:

My heavenly Father. Your name is holy.

Please make things happen down here on Earth just like it is where You are in Heaven.

Provide for my needs each day,

And forgive my sins in exactly the same way that I forgive other people when they wrong me.

Also, please don’t let me be tempted, and save me from evil when it finds me. Because it’s your kingdom, your power and your glory that’s important, both now and forever. Amen.

Your exact wording may or may not be different, but it’s important to completely understand what you’re praying instead of just running through it because it’s lodged in your memory. God wants us to pray because we love Him and because we want to do things His way.

Reflection copyright © 2017 Doug DeBolt

Unless otherwise noted, scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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