Quick Thought – Monday, May 15, 2017

Read

Romans 7:13-25

For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.
R0mans 7:18

Reflect

Most people share the feelings of the Apostle Paul – we don’t do the good things we want to do, but we end up doing the very thing we don’t want to do. It’s a vicious cycle where we’re trapped by our own sin.

Sin is a powerful force. We’re born with it basically in our DNA, just as much as we’re born with brown hair or freckles or green eyes or a high forehead. Sin is coded into us by our relationship to the first man, Adam, and his wife, Eve. It’s something we can’t escape on our own, and something that will continually have us fighting the desire to avoid good and to do bad.

It’s like a war going on within us. The God in us is constantly battling against the sin inside of us. God can’t stand sin, and our sinful nature feels uncomfortable around God. The only way to win is to make a habit out of submitting to the Lord on a daily, hourly, minute-by-minute basis. The more God has control of your heart, soul and mind, the more you’ll let Him guide your actions. And the more you’ll do things that are pleasing to Him.

This week, focus on inviting God into your plans. In fact, try making His plans your plans. By winning more of the minute-by-minute battles, you’ll make big strides toward winning more spiritual wars.

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, May 14, 2017 (Mother’s Day)

Read

Exodus 2:1-10

When she could hide him no longer, she took for him a basket made of bulrushes and daubed it with bitumen and pitch. She put the child in it and placed it among the reeds by the river bank.
Exodus 2:3

Reflect

All good mothers sacrifice for their children. All of them. Whether it’s time or money or even their lives, every good mother will set aside pieces of themselves so that their children can prosper.

Now, that may seem easy for me to say as a man, but it’s not some lofty, noble, biblical principal that I just pulled out of thin air. It’s an observation that I’ve gathered from a lifetime of observation of mothers, good and bad, and particularly of my own mother, who I count as probably the greatest person I’ve ever known.

My mom was remarkable, both as a person and as a musician. Growing up, she got the lead in just about every production she ever auditioned for, from Annie Get Your Gun to Carousel to The Sound of Music to My Fair Lady. She also played piano beautifully and wrote countless songs. She was so good that people frequently encouraged her to take a shot at the big time in New York, Nashville or Los Angeles.

But Mom felt she had a different calling. She knew that if she pursued one or more of those directions, it would take a toll on the family. And as much as she wanted to publish music or act on a bigger stage, she mostly wanted to be a good mother and provide a healthy home for her husband and children. And that she did enthusiastically and with excellence.

Mom sowed a lifetime of love into her family, and it’s reaped an amazing harvest of children and grandchildren who love and worship the Lord. We’re not perfect, but we’re happy and blessed, and that’s mostly what she wanted for us.

Today, thank the Lord for your mother and for the sacrifices she has made for you. If you haven’t done so already, find a way to bless her and let her know just how much she means to you.

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, May 13, 2017

Read

Numbers 22:21-38

Then the Lord opened the donkey’s mouth, and it said to Balaam, “What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?”
Numbers 22:28

Reflect

Have you ever been so stubborn that something or someone had to make you lo0k completely foolish to get your attention?

It’s happened to most of us. Sadly, by the time we figure out that we’re wrong, we’ve usually done something that we completely regret and that reveals how stupid we can be. Like the time I absolutely had to have a computer, way back in the Stone Age of the early 1980s. I had a little Christmas money and I went to the toy store (yes, the toy store) to buy the Coleco Adam. This was a machine made by the people who were best known for the mass-produced Cabbage Patch dolls. Clearly, it wasn’t a good purchase.

But I had to have it. No one could talk me out of it. And it wasn’t until I tried saving files onto a cassette tape that I figured out just what a stupid move I’d made. It cost me a couple hundred dollars that I could have saved for something worthwhile. Honestly, it was a piece of junk that never worked.

Today’s scripture is about a guy named Balaam who was stubborn enough that it took a talking donkey to get his attention. And this was thousands of years before Eddie Murphy did that in Shrek. Balaam goes where God does not want him to go, and he places an angel on the road to block his path. The donkey could see God’s messenger, but Balaam could not, so he beat his donkey three times to keep it moving. Only when God allowed the donkey to talk to Balaam were his eyes opened to the situation.

What about you? When you want something, do you trust God or other people who try to give you wise counsel? Or do you just go after what you want to do regardless of what God and others say? Wise people pay attention to what’s going on around them, and they plan their actions accordingly. Godly people pay attention to what God has to say, and they plan their actions according to His will. This week, try lining up your calendar by looking around you and by listening to the Lord. You might be very surprised at how much more successful you’ll be when you pursue wisdom and godliness.

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, May 12, 2017

Read

Acts 17:22-34

“For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you.”
Acts 17:23

Reflect

There are almost as many opinions about God as there are people. Some people are certain that He exists, but that He’s not all that powerful. Others believe that He exists and that He’s all powerful. Some think He doesn’t exist. And some people think they’re God – or at least godlike.

You may think the confusion about God is a 21st-century phenomenon, but it’s really as old as time itself. It goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit in an effort to “become like God.” The Apostle Paul encountered this same confusion at the Areopagus in Athens, Greece, where he found an altar that had a sign on it that said, “To an unknown god.”

Paul told them the same thing I’ll tell you today – God is far from being unknown, and has, in fact, made himself known to man from the beginning of time. Look through every Bible story and you’ll see the Lord drawing near to man, from the Garden of Eden to the burning bush to Elijah to Daniel. His final effort was complete, as He drew near through the sending of His Son, Jesus Christ, and allowing Him to be sacrificed on the cross for our sins.

God’s not foreign. He’s nearby and He’s reaching out to you. Take Him into your heart, and let Him reveal His love and His will for your 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 – Thursday, May 11, 2017

Read

Romans 5:12-21

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned…
Romans 5:12

Reflect

“Sure, I’ve done some bad things, but they aren’t all that bad.”

Have you ever said that or anything like that? Most people have because we’ve looked around and noticed something. There are murderers and rapists and thieves. There are people who care nothing for others and steal even the last few pennies that poor old ladies have in the bank.

We see those terrible people and begin to look at the things we’ve done and think, “I’m not as bad as they are.” Taking the last cookie or doing something your parents told you not to do – or even cheating on a test – aren’t as bad as killing someone or stealing something. Or are they?

You see, even though we have to make distinctions between sins (the murderer goes to prison for life; the thief gets 10 years; the speeder pays a fine), that’s simply not the case with God. Sin is sin, and all sin separates the sinner from their Creator. He’s so perfect that He can’t even be in the same place as sin, which is why Adam and Eve caused a problem for all of us when they ate the forbidden fruit. Because of that first sin, they – and all of their descendants, including us – were cursed to a life that included sin. That lost them the Garden of Eden, and it locked us all out of Heaven – that is until Jesus died for us to make a way for everyone who accepts Him to go there.

No matter if your sins are “big” or “small,” they’re all still sins and they’ll keep you out of a relationship with God unless you deal with Him. If you’ve accepted Jesus as your Savior, remember to keep your account with the Lord small by asking forgiveness for any sins on a regular basis. And if you’ve never accepted Him, now is a good time to do that. You can send me a message to ask me to pray for or with you about your relationship with the Lord.

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, May 10, 2017

Read

Romans 5:1-11

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:6-8

Reflect

“I hate you!”

Stella’s words rang with anger, but that’s just what she meant to do. Her father had grounded her for a week, and now she would miss the dance she’d been looking forward to.

No matter that she had missed curfew three straight times, or that her father had let her go with a warning the first time. The second time cost her the use of her cell phone for a week, and her father had warned Stella that the next time would come with a grounding. But that couldn’t include the dance!

So Stella did the only thing she could think of – use her words to hurt her father, just as he had hurt her. He was on his way out the door to catch a flight from Miami to Seattle for a meeting that he’d been planning for months, one that would make or break his business. Maybe while he was on that five-hour flight, he’d have time to rethink his actions.

But even as quickly as she’d said the words, Stella had started to regret them. She didn’t really hate her father. She just felt he was being unfair. But just as the words were undoubtedly stabbing him in the heart as he boarded his flight, the words were also eating into Stella’s heart. She walked out of the house with tears in her eyes, and the scene kept replaying itself in her mind. “I hate you! I hate you! I hate you!”

Maybe the words or the regrets or the tears were what kept Stella from seeing the car speeding at her as she entered the street on the flashing “Don’t Walk” sign…

The word got to Stella’s father even before his plane had touched down in Seattle. She was alive but critical and in surgery. He quickly got a new ticket for the next flight to Miami and was barely on the ground for an hour before he was back on another jet heading home. He had gotten word to the people he was to meet with and they understood, even though he knew this might well cost him the big deal. At the moment, Stella was the bigger deal.

The next morning, when Stella opened her eyes, the first face she saw was her father’s. She began to cry.

“Daddy, I’m so sorry. I don’t hate you.”

“I know Stella. It’s OK.”

Stella thought for a moment. “But your meeting,” she said. “You missed your meeting.”

“That doesn’t matter right now, Stella,” her father replied. “There will be other meetings. I only have one you.”

“But you came all the way back after the terrible things I said.”

“Stella, nothing you do can ever make me stop loving you. I would have stepped in front of that car to save you.”

More tears fell as Stella quietly said, “I love you, Daddy.”

“I know, honey. I love you too.”

Stella’s father is just a man, but like most fathers, he gladly would have sacrificed himself for his child. Stella was absolutely wrong for the things she said, but in spite of that, her Dad missed an important meeting and would have even risked his own life if he could have protected her.

By comparison, our heavenly Father did even more. While we were still buried in our sins, He sent His only Son, Jesus, to die for us so that we could be right with Him. He didn’t wait for us to figure out that we’re no good on our own. Instead, He showed his fatherly love by making a way for us, even while we were wrong.

If you’ve never said thank you to the Lord for what He did for you, today would be a good day to do it. You can also send me a message to ask us to pray for or with you about your relationship with the Lord.

No matter what you’ve done, God really does love you and wants to have a relationship with you.

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 – Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Read

Matthew 20:1-16

“‘Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’ So the last will be first, and the first last.
Matthew 20:15-16

Reflect

Today’s scripture tells a story that some people might not think is fair. Here’s what it would look like today.

Stan is building a house and needs workers to help him, so he goes down the road at 6 a.m. and finds where some day laborers are waiting for work. He finds 10 guys to help him, and they all agree to work for 12 hours at $20 an hour – $240 for the day.

Three hours later he finds that he needs some more workers, so he goes back down the road and finds some men still standing there. This time, they don’t agree to a dollar amount – Stan will just pay them whatever is fair. Two more times, Stan does the same thing – at noon and 3 p.m. Again, Stan just promises a fair wage for the remaining hours.

Finally, 11 hours into the job (5 p.m.) Stan goes to get a few last workers. Again, he promises a fair wage for the one hour the men will work.

At the end of the day, Stan settles the accounts. For the men who agreed to work 12 hours, he pays them the promised $240. Then the men who worked nine hours step forward. Stan also pays them $240. He does the same for the men who worked six and three hours – $240 for each man.

Finally, the handful of men who only worked an hour come to get paid, and Stan gives each of them $240.

If you were a 12-hour worker, how would you feel? After all, you worked 12 hours for your money, while some of the other workers only worked one hour for the same amount. That doesn’t seem very fair, does it?

But that’s how Heaven works, and it’s more than fair. Whether you turn your life over to the Lord as a child, or as an old man on your death bed, you’re still promised an eternal reward of everlasting life in Heaven. Of course, if you wait until you’re an old man on your death bed, you might just wait too long and miss your chance. It’s always better to trust the Lord sooner rather than later.

But no matter when someone trusts their life to Christ, they will receive the same reward as every other Christian throughout time – a place with Jesus in the life to come.

Today, take comfort in knowing that if you’ve received Christ into your life, you have a place with Him in His kingdom.

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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