Quick Thought – Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Read

Matthew 15:10-20

“What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.”
Matthew 15:11

Reflect

Sticking out tongueThe Bible has a lot to say about the words we speak. Words spoken in faith often resulted in healing. Proverbs 18:21 even says that the power of life and death is in the tongue.

In today’s passage, Jesus says that the things you speak are far worse for you than any bad food you might eat. Imagine that every time you said words that hurt someone else, you got sick. Or if every dirty word you uttered made you physically filthy. What if the bad things you say you want to happen to someone else instead happened to you?

Now, imagine that there is actually life in your tongue, and the things you speak made you healthy and well, or the blessings you spoke to other people actually happened to them and to you.

That may not actually happen physically to you, but your words are precious in the Lord’s sight, and He wants you to always use them for good, and never for evil. He doesn’t want you to defile, or dirty, yourself by saying words of profanity and abuse. Rather, He wants your words to be a blessing to yourself and to others, and to Him as well.

Today, let life come forth from your mouth. Pray that the Lord will sanctify your speech and that you will use your words always for blessing, and never for cursing.

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, August 14, 2017

Read

Matthew 5:13-16

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
Matthew 5:16

Reflect

Candle in the darknessHow far away do you think you could see a candle at night?

One mile? Two? Five? Ten?

The truth is, that on a flat surface, in pitch darkness, you could see the flickering of a single candle as far away as 30 miles. That’s an amazing distance, but it shows that light truly does defeat darkness.

Jesus was saying the same thing in the Sermon on the Mount. He told His followers that lights placed in full view of others will help illuminate the darkness. And He encouraged us to shine light in our lives to give honor and glory to God.

You might ask what that light looks like. It’s a good attitude, even when things are going poorly. It’s doing good deeds for others, but not taking the credit yourself. It’s speaking in good and decent language, without resorting to course and rude words. It’s sharing your testimony of what the Lord has done in your life when you have the opportunity to do so.

Your entire life can be a light to others, but only if you live it in a way that honors God. Even without preaching the Gospel, you can draw others to Him simply by allowing His light and life to flow through you.

Today, pray about the light the Lord wants you to shine. Ask Him to help you continually shine His light in your life, and pray for opportunities to bring His light into dark places.

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, August 13, 2017

Read

Ephesians 4:17-32

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Ephesians 4:32

Reflect

Corrie Ten Boom in the "Hiding Place" in her former home.Sometimes heroes come in different shapes and sizes. Often, they’re so unlikely that they could be standing right in front of you.

The Ten Boom family is a prime example.

During World War II, the Ten Booms took their Christian responsibilities seriously and began hiding Jews in their home in Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands. Even though discovery meant certain imprisonment, the Ten Booms, along with their friends, saved the lives of around 800 Jews over the course of about three years.

At one point, they even constructed a hidden room the size of a closet on the top floor of their house (in youngest daughter Corrie’s room) so that their “illegal” guests could have time to hide in case the Nazis investigated the home.

Eventually, that day did come. A local informant turned the Ten Booms in, and the Nazis raided the home. The entire Ten Boom family was thrown into concentration camps, where Corrie’s father Casper and sister Betsie both died.

Corrie is remembered for her heroic acts during the war, but also for the way that she forgave her betrayer and captors. She is remembered for sayings like, “Forgiveness is the key that unlocks the door of resentment and the handcuffs of hatred. It is a power that breaks the chains of bitterness and the shackles of selfishness.”

It’s doubtful that you’ll be betrayed in a matter of life and death, but you will almost certainly have times where people do things to hurt you, whether on purpose or not. The Bible is very clear on forgiveness – it’s not an option. Jesus led the way by forgiving those who crucified Him, and if we’ve confessed our sins to Him, He has even forgiven us. How, then, can we do anything less by holding unforgiveness in our hearts toward others?

Today, examine your heart and see if you have hardness toward anyone. If you do, pray that the Lord will help you release that so that you can forgive them, allowing your heart to fully heal.

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, August 12, 2017

Read

Colossians 1:24-29

To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Colossians 1:27

Reflect

Frank Reich vs. the Houston OilersThe Buffalo Bills are mostly known for their unfortunate record of losing four straight Super Bowls. But they also have another record that happened during their third Super Bowl season.

During the 1993 Wild Card playoffs, the Bills hosted the Houston Oilers, and the game looked like a complete rout for the Oilers. To begin with, Buffalo’s starting quarterback, Jim Kelly, didn’t play, as he’d been injured in the final game of the regular season. And by halftime, Houston was up 28-3, and quickly moved to 35-3 after an interception return for a touchdown early in the third quarter.

It was bad enough that people watching on TV turned to other channels, and many of the hometown Buffalo crowd headed home rather than watch a blowout. Houston’s radio announcer quipped, “The lights are on here at Rich Stadium, they’ve been on since this morning, you could pretty much turn them out on the Bills right now.”

Most of those who sold the Bills short missed out on the greatest comeback in NFL history.

By the end of the third quarter, backup quarterback Frank Reich had led the Bills to four touchdowns, and closed the gap to 35-31. In the fourth quarter, he hit Andre Reed for the go-ahead score. Houston later kicked a field goal to tie it 38-38 and take the game into overtime. In the extra period, Houston quickly turned the ball over, and Buffalo kicked the winning field goal.

But what happened after the game was perhaps the most remarkable thing of all. During the postgame press conference, Reich stood up and recited the lyrics to the song, “In Christ Alone,” by Michael English:

“In Christ alone I place my trust
And find my glory in the power of the cross
In every victory let it be said of me
My source of strength, my source of hope
Is Christ alone”

His testimony was an amazing witness to the power of Christ, especially on a day when he could have taken the full spotlight for engineering such an incredible comeback. Instead, Reich pointed all of us toward the cross of Christ as the source of his strength and hope.

Today, be sure to give praise and honor to the One who is our source of strength – Jesus Christ. Thank Him for all that He has done for you, and remember Him to others when you speak of success you’ve had in life.

 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, August 11, 2017

Read

Hebrews 12

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:1-2

Reflect

Derek Redmond and his father in Barcelona

No one who was in the Olympic Stadium in Barcelona on August 3, 1992, will ever forget what they saw. A crowd that entered the stadium expecting the greatest feats of competition left talking about one of the greatest feats of perseverance in sporting history.

Derek Redmond also entered the stadium with great hopes. After two heats of the men’s 400-meters, Derek was becoming a favorite to contend for a medal. He had won both of those heats with decent times, and he certainly looked like Great Britain’s best hope for a medal in the event. Four years earlier, he had to drop out of the Olympics in Seoul, Korea, just seconds before he was due to run because of an Achilles tendon injury. Now, he was just two races away from potential Olympic glory.

The race started well enough. Derek was posting a strong time, but almost midway through the race, he heard a pop and then felt a searing pain in his right leg. Breaking stride, Derek grabbed the leg and crumpled to the ground – a victim of yet another injury, this time to his hamstring.

At first, Derek thought he still might be able to catch the other runners and qualify. But then reality set in, and he realized that the best he could do would be to finish the race no matter what. Step by step, Derek hobbled toward the finish line, the agony clearly showing on his face. Derek was used to running the entire race in 45 seconds or less, but he could only manage those next 150 meters or so in 40 seconds.

It was then that a man ran onto the track from the crowd and pushed his way past security. He reached Derek’s side and the runner could see that it was his father, Jim. “Derek, it’s me,” he said. “You don’t need to do this.”

Derek replied, “Dad, I want to finish, get me back in the semi-final.”

Putting his arm around his son, Jim said. “OK. We started this thing together and now we’ll finish it together.”

Jim’s next words to his son bring tears to my eyes: “You’re a champion, you’ve got nothing to prove.”

Together, Derek and Jim Redmond crossed the finish line, and the crowd erupted in a standing ovation. Because Derek crossed with assistance, the official result is listed as DNF – Did Not Finish. But everyone who watched that day or who has seen the video since then knows that the truth tells a much different story.

The writer of Hebrews told us that we’re all in a race as Christians and that the stadiums of Heaven are cheering for us as we run toward our eternal finish line. He told us that there will be difficulties, but that we need to press on in spite of those, striving with every step toward our goal.

Each of us will encounter problems and troubles as we try to live the Christian life. But ours is a race not only worth running but worth winning. One wonderful thing is that we don’t have to finish first – we just have to finish. Another is that each step of the way, our Heavenly Father is running with us, encouraging us and assuring us that, “You’re a champion.”

Today, pray that the Lord will give you a fresh wind for the Christian race. Ask Him to help you persevere and endure in spite of any obstacles that block your path.

 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 – Thursday, August 10, 2017

Read

Galatians 6:1-9

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
Galatians 6:9

Reflect

Eddie "The Eagle" EdwardsJamaican bobsled teamIn February 1988, the eyes of the world were on Calgary, Alberta, as the world’s elite athletes descended there for the Winter Olympics. And while national anthems were played and medals of gold, silver and bronze were awarded, two of the biggest stories had nothing to do with anthems or medals – rather, they were for the lack of both of those.

These heroes didn’t win any medals. By most standards, they weren’t even good at what they did. The establishment often tried to keep them out. But in the end, they achieved their goals and triumphed in ways that make us remember them today.

Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards was a talented downhill skier who wasn’t quite good enough to make Great Britain’s ski team. Still, he had an Olympic dream, and he kept pursuing it in spite of a lack of funding or sponsorship. Eventually, he switched to ski jumping, even though he had no experience (and little talent) for that. He had poor equipment, was too heavy and was extremely farsighted. And still, he worked and trained and eventually qualified for the 1988 Winter Olympics as Great Britain’s only ski jumper. Eddie finished dead last in both ski jumping events, but he gained fame as someone who never gave up in the face of impossible odds.

At those same Olympics were competitors from a most unlikely nation. The average temperature in February in Calgary is -6 degrees Fahrenheit. Meanwhile, the average temperature in Jamaica is 77 degrees. Still, a determined group of Jamaicans worked to put together the country’s first bobsled team. Like Eddie, they had no experience and very little funding. Still, they never gave up and eventually qualified for the Calgary Olympics. There, the outcome was predictable. The team finished 30th in the two-man event and didn’t finish in the four-man event. But their effort inspired the world, as well as others in Jamaica. Since 1988, the country has placed bobsled teams in five of the seven subsequent Winter Olympics.

Persistence is a godly virtue, and the Lord loves it when we persist, even in the face of impossible odds. So often, we won’t even try unless we’re guaranteed a positive outcome. But the Lord wants us to try – to persist – no matter the outcome. Leave the results to him – our job is simply to keep pressing ahead.

Today, do what you know is right in every circumstance. If your circumstances are difficult, press in even harder, and thank the Lord for the opportunity. The world may never take notice, but the Lord and Heaven will cheer as you persist in doing good.

Reflection copyright © 2016 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, August 9, 2017

Read

Psalm 11

In the Lord I take refuge…
Psalm 11:1a

Reflect

Bird flying over a mountainDavid was a man who experienced hard times. Consider that he continually had to escape the wrath of King Saul, who all too often looked to kill young David for fear that he would rise up and take Saul’s throne. David even started living in caves because that seemed like the safest place to avoid the king and his soldiers.

In the midst of his troubles, even David’s friends seemed to abandon him. Instead of standing with him, they were the ones telling him from behind, “Run away!” (Or, as this scripture says, Flee like a bird to your mountain, for behold, the wicked bend the bow; they have fitted their arrow to the string to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart; if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?”)

When everything seemed the most bleak, David didn’t seem to have anyone to turn to. So he turned to the most reliable place that he – or that any of us – could find. The Lord.

“In the Lord I take refuge.”

David simply acknowledges God and tells us about how wonderful and righteous the Lord is – and because He is so wonderful and righteous, He values those qualities in others. David knew that if he kept his heart pure, eventually God would uphold him. And eventually, that was indeed true. Saul’s corrupt heart failed him, and the king died a violent death. Meanwhile, David, the man after God’s own heart, did become king despite Saul’s efforts to prevent that.

No matter how difficult life becomes, there is only one place of refuge that will always be reliable – the Lord. He never shifts or changes, and He never turns His back on us. Even if every friend turns away, you can count on God to stand by your side. Take a page from David and proclaim His goodness and righteousness. And because those things are so important to Him, pursue goodness and righteousness in your own life.

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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