Category Archives: Focus On The Family

There is Peace for the Righteous…if they Surrender. -By Billy Graham


ISAIAH 57:20-21 NKJV
But the wicked are like the troubled sea, When it cannot rest, Whose waters cast up mire and dirt. “ There is no peace,” Says my God, “for the wicked.”

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Fully Surrender

Faith has legs . . . I heard about a man some years ago who was rolling a wheelbarrow back and forth on a tightrope across Niagara River. Thousands of people were shouting him on. He put a 200-pound sack of dirt in the wheelbarrow and rolled it over, and then he rolled it back. He turned to the crowd and asked, “How many of you believe that I can roll a man across?” Everybody shouted! One man in the front row was very excited in his professed belief. The man pointed to this excited professor and said, “You’re next!” You couldn’t see that man for dust! He didn’t actually believe it. He thought he believed it—but he was not willing to get in the wheelbarrow. Just so with Christ. Many people say they believe on Him, they say they follow Him. But they never have stepped into the wheelbarrow. They actually never have committed and surrendered themselves wholly, 100 percent to Christ.

Daily Prayer

Loving Lord Jesus, it was only when I surrendered everything to You that I knew the ultimate joy and peace that had always escaped me.

Billy Graham on Reconciliation


ROMANS 5:10 NKJV – For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

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Reconciliation

The word “reconcile” means literally “bring into a changed relationship.” It means to bring together two parties who should have been together all along. The Bible speaks of the human race as enemies of God. You may say that you are no “enemy” of God, but according to Scripture we are either passive or active enemies of God, apart from Christ. Reconciliation means “brought back into full relationship and fellowship with God.” This is what Christ accomplished on the cross.  What a thrilling thought.

Daily Prayer

Your cross, dear Savior, brings me to my knees in humble gratitude. Thank You, for forgiving all past and giving me strength to live each day in Your power.

Compassion: A 14-day Journey #8


True Religion

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This beautiful piece of prophetic poetry speaks against religious practices that are not grounded in love for God and care for the needy (cf. Mt 22:34-40). The test of any church program or religious activity is whether it effectively reflects personal transformation; in other words, do social justice, generosity and personal holiness proceed from this program or practice (see Mt 23:23; Jas 1:27)? If our engagement with “church” fails to produce compassionate communities and holy individuals, we won’t be trusted when we claim God’s love or Christ’s name (see 1Co 11:17-22; Jas 2:1-4, 14-19; 1Jn 3:16-18). In the words of veteran Bible expositor J. Alec Motyer, we must rid ourselves of the false assumption that we can be “truly religious and socially indifferent” at the same time.
In his preface to a text on Catholic social teaching, law professor Leonard P. Liggio reflects on the reality that the budgetary crises of the developed countries require the withdrawal of the state from many activities undertaken in the confusions of boundless expectations. The new realities mean a return to self-involvement of citizens in the affairs that their health, retirement, and so on. Of the many areas education may be the most important. It is the education of our children upon which the future of the economy and of the resources for the health and pensions of older generations will depend. Yet the recognized shortcomings of the state education system, especially for the disadvantaged for whom it was especially introduced, seem the most difficult to resolve owing to entrenched structures.

Among the private initiatives in the 21st century will be the increased attention charity by the better off. In the USA there continues to be an expansion of charity. Those with middle class as well as higher incomes and wealth observe the private institutions that are offering assistance and make their charitable judgments on the basis of their attention to these instructions. Many people are participating as volunteers in the assistance programmes. Some are dedicated to moving the disadvantaged from static welfare to the dynamic of self-help. The Christian is motivated by compassion to assist the disadvantaged to achieve the dignity of labour Where the state withdraws it gives room for voluntary, Christian initiative to “breathe.” This is not so just in the spheres of welfare and charity, but in the cultural sphere too.

Christian financial stewardship leader Howard Dayton leaves us with some food for thought about the issue: “In some mysterious way that we cannot fully comprehend, Jesus personally identifies with the poor. Do you want to minister to Christ? You do so when you give to the poor. If that truth is staggering, then the reciprocal is terrifying. When we do not give to the poor, we leave Christ Himself hungry and thirsty.”

ISAIAH 58:1-914 NKJV

“Cry aloud, spare not; Lift up your voice like a trumpet; Tell My people their transgression, And the house of Jacob their sins. Yet they seek Me daily, And delight to know My ways, As a nation that did righteousness, And did not forsake the ordinance of their God. They ask of Me the ordinances of justice; They take delight in approaching God. ‘Why have we fasted,’ they  say, ‘and You have not seen? Why have we afflicted our souls, and You take no notice?’ “In fact, in the day of your fast you find pleasure, And exploit all your laborers. Indeed you fast for strife and debate, And to strike with the fist of wickedness. You will not fast as you  do this day, To make your voice heard on high. Is it a fast that I have chosen, A day for a man to afflict his soul? Is  it to bow down his head like a bulrush, And to spread out sackcloth and ashes? Would you call this a fast, And an acceptable day to the Lord ? “ Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness, To undo the heavy burdens, To let the oppressed go free, And that you break every yoke? Is  it not to share your bread with the hungry, And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; When you see the naked, that you cover him, And not hide yourself from your own flesh? Then your light shall break forth like the morning, Your healing shall spring forth speedily, And your righteousness shall go before you; The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; You shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am. ’ “If you take away the yoke from your midst, The pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, If you extend your soul to the hungry And satisfy the afflicted soul, Then your light shall dawn in the darkness, And your darkness shall be as the noonday. The Lord will guide you continually, And satisfy your soul in drought, And strengthen your bones; You shall be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. Those from among you Shall build the old waste places; You shall raise up the foundations of many generations; And you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach, The Restorer of Streets to Dwell In. “If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, From doing your pleasure on My holy day, And call the Sabbath a delight, The holy day of the Lord honorable, And shall honor Him, not doing your own ways, Nor finding your own pleasure, Nor speaking your  own words, Then you shall delight yourself in the Lord ; And I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth, And feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father. The mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

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Major Themes LXI – “One Another”


1John 1:1 NKJV

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life—

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Love Covers…by Billy Graham


1John 3:18 NKJV

My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.

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Love Covers

The Bible declares that we who follow Christ should be just as much in love with each other as God was in love with us when He sent His Son to die on the cross. The moment we come to Christ, Scripture says, God gives us supernatural love that is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. The greatest demonstration of the fact that we are Christians is that we love one another. Why not go out of our way to be a friend to someone whose skin is a different color from ours? Love does more to solve our problems than anything else does. Of all the gifts God offers His children, love is the greatest. Of all the fruits of the Holy Spirit, love is the first.

Daily Prayer

Jesus, loving Lord, teach me real love—mine is often shallow in my relationship to others.

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40 Days of Lent – #9


Luke 20:9-26 NKJV

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Read God's Word Daily

Then He began to tell the people this parable: “A certain man planted a vineyard, leased it to vinedressers, and went into a far country for a long time.  Now at vintage-time he sent a servant to the vinedressers, that they might give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the vinedressers beat him and sent him away empty-handed.  Again he sent another servant; and they beat him also, treated him shamefully, and sent him away empty-handed.  And again he sent a third; and they wounded him also and cast him out. “Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son. Probably they will respect him when they see him.’  But when the vinedressers saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours.’  So they cast him out of the vineyard and killed him. Therefore what will the owner of the vineyard do to them?  He will come and destroy those vinedressers and give the vineyard to others.” And when they heard it they said, “Certainly not!” Then He looked at them and said, “What then is this that is written: ‘The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone’ ? Whoever falls on that stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder.” And the chief priests and the scribes that very hour sought to lay hands on Him, but they feared the people —for they knew He had spoken this parable against them. So they watched Him, and sent spies who pretended to be righteous, that they might seize on His words, in order to deliver Him to the power and the authority of the governor. Then they asked Him, saying, “Teacher, we know that You say and teach rightly, and You do not show personal favoritism, but teach the way of God in truth: Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” But He perceived their craftiness, and said to them, “Why do you test Me?  Show Me a denarius. Whose image and inscription does it have?” They answered and said, “Caesar’s.” And He said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” But they could not catch Him in His words in the presence of the people. And they marveled at His answer and kept silent.

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Our Daily Bread Christmas Edition VIII


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Learning To Walk

I remember those days long ago when our children were learning to walk. First they showed their readiness by pulling themselves up and taking a tentative step or two. My wife and I would reach out our hands and encourage them to walk toward us. We held them up by their hands or by the suspenders on their overalls. We praised every effort and encouraged every attempt. We never grew discouraged, nor did we give up until they learned to walk.

So it is with our heavenly Father: He “taught Israel how to walk” (Hosea 11:3). He took His children “by the hand” and led them along with “ropes of kindness and love” (vv.3-4).

Our heavenly Father stands before us with outstretched arms, encouraging us toward holiness, eager to catch us when we stumble. He picks us up when we fall. He is never discouraged with our progress, nor will He ever give up. The more difficult we find the process, the more care and kindness He expends.

George MacDonald put it this way: “God will help us when we cannot walk, and He will help us when we find it hard to walk, but He cannot help us if we will not walk.” Even though you fall, you must try again. Your Father holds you by the hand. —DAVID ROPER

God helps us walk in the light of today and the hope of tomorrow.

HOSEA 11:1-4 NKJV

“When Israel was a child, I loved him, And out of Egypt I called My son. As they called them, So they went from them; They sacrificed to the Baals, And burned incense to carved images. “I taught Ephraim to walk, Taking them by their arms; But they did not know that I healed them. I drew them with gentle cords, With bands of love, And I was to them as those who take the yoke from their neck. I stooped and fed them.

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Verse of the Day – December 14th


http://bible.com/114/psa95.1-2.nkjv

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Oh come, let us sing to the Lord ! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
Psalm 95:1-2 (NKJV)

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Our Daily Bread Christmas Edition V


Grandpa’s Tree

When I first saw the twisted Christmas tree, I wished Grandpa were alive to fix it. He could make any tree beautiful. No matter how bad it looked when we gave it to him, it was beautiful when he gave it back.

He would get out his saws and clippers and begin cutting and shaping. When he was done, the tree looked as if it had been grown in a greenhouse where a caring gardener had watered, pruned, and protected it from storms, drought, and nasty bugs.

Then Grandpa would turn the tree over to the rest of the family to finish the job. We added lights, ornaments, and garland, and the imperfect tree was ready for a perfect celebration. What a transformation!

Life is like that crooked tree. Each of us comes to God bent and misshapen from the effects of sin. But when we put our faith in Christ as Savior, God lovingly begins His work in us, transforming us from the inside out (Philippians 1:6). Then He puts us into the care of His family, the church, and they continue His work by adding the lights of truth (Ephesians 4:15), the ornaments of encouragement (2 Timothy 4:2), and the garlands of love (1 Peter 4:8). What teamwork!

The message of Grandpa’s tree is this: Under God’s loving care, a life marred by sin can become beautiful! —JULIE ACKERMAN LINK

What sin has twisted, God’s grace can straighten.

PHILLIPIANS 1:1-11 NKJV – Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace. For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ. And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

EPHESIANS 4:15 NKJV – but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—

2 TIMOTHY 4:2 NKJV – Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.

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