Knowing And Doing
by email@example.com (Guido staff) on August 12, 2020 at 11:00 AM
A young, energetic salesman approached a wise, old farmer and offered to sell him a set of newly published books on “Farming: Things You Need to Know.” “If you buy them, read them carefully, and study them thoroughly,” said the confident young man, “you’ll farm twice as good as you do now.” “Listen, young fellow,” said the farmer, “I ain’t farming half as good as I know how now!” It’s not what I do not know or understand about the Bible that troubles me; it’s what I know about the Bible and often do not apply its teachings as I go about my daily responsibilities. At the conclusion of one of His lessons about applying His teachings to their lives, Jesus said to His disciples, “You know these things - now do them! This the path to a happy life.” Often we are anxious to purchase a new Bible that promises to provide new insights and knowledge about the teachings of Scripture. And, it seems as though there are more new study Bibles published every month that promise “easy-to-understand” interpretations of difficult passages. Other editions promise to teach the reader how to study the Bible “inductively” or “deductively.” Others focus on timelines and prophecies, culture and geography. What is most helpful, however, is to simply read the Bible every day, think about what we have read, meditate on its content, and ask God, through His Holy Spirit, to teach us His ways. Prayer: Father, help us to understand the teachings of Your Word. May we look to You for Your guidance and insights that will enable us to live lives that please You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. Scripture For Today: All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 2 Timothy 3:16
Never Left Alone
by firstname.lastname@example.org (Guido staff) on August 11, 2020 at 11:00 AM
A flight attendant noticed an elderly lady having a difficult time buckling her seat belt. Recognizing her anxiety and obvious fear, the flight attendant went to the captain and explained what she had seen. Graciously, he accompanied the attendant to the lady, and he asked, “May I help you, Ma’am?” “Oh, yes,” she replied. “This is my first flight. I must admit that I am rather frightened. Tell me, Sir, will you bring me back down safely?” As he fastened her seat belt, he smiled politely and said, “Yes, Ma’am. I’ve flown hundreds of thousands of miles and never left anyone up there.” In the closing verse of Matthew, Jesus made one final, eternal promise to His disciples: “And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Have no doubt about Me! What a precious and powerful promise: “I am with you always.” But what does it mean? Would his memories be with us? Would his teachings be with us? Would His imprint on history be with us? Of course. But that is only the beginning. “I am with you” leaves no doubt that after Jesus ascended into heaven, He would be with us through the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The Holy Spirit, available and active in our lives, is Jesus’ presence within us and working through us. Jesus was with His disciples then, and today the Holy Spirit is with us now, always will be, and will never leave us. Ever. Jesus said, “I am going away, but I will come back to you again!” And He did – through the Holy Spirit. And because of God’s power through Christ, He continues to be with us today. Prayer: Thank You, Father, for the assurance of Your presence in our lives. We are comforted to know that whatever comes into our life, You are there to protect us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. Scripture For Today: Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Matthew 28:20
What We Have In Christ
by email@example.com (Guido staff) on August 10, 2020 at 11:00 AM
Looking at a gallon of water in a plastic container hardly suggests that it has any power. If, however, the water seeps into the crack of a rock or space in a cement road and turns into ice, the rock and the road will split into pieces. If, on the other hand, the water is turned into steam, it can drive the pistons of a large engine and turn into a massive amount of power. Water has the potential to do many great things. So do we. When we become Christians, God empowers us to change our lives into something wholly different and unique. Paul, in our Scripture for today, teaches us that there are four things that Christ can do for us: 1. He gives us wisdom. By walking with Him and listening to Him, we can hear and learn the truth because He is the expert in living. 2. He is righteousness. Righteousness in Paul’s writings always means a right relationship with God. We can never achieve a right relationship with God through ourselves or what we try to do. We can only accomplish this “right” relationship with God through Christ. 3. He is holy. It is only through the presence of Christ in our lives that we can be or become all that God intends or expects us to be or become. 4. He is deliverance. Only Christ can forgive us and free us from our past sins, and Only He can deliver us from being enslaved to sin and then set us free from self-destruction. Prayer: Lord, help us to understand the goodness of Your grace and the power of Your presence in our lives. With You, all things are possible - most importantly salvation. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. Scripture For Today: God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin. 1 Corinthians 1:26-31
by firstname.lastname@example.org (Guido staff) on August 9, 2020 at 11:00 AM
It was the first day in her new position as the secretary to the president. As she was presented with her first task, she wanted to appear confident and competent. Speaking very carefully, he said to her, “These accounts that I am giving you are critical. They are the foundation of our income. I want you to go over each of them at least three times to make sure that all of the numbers in each are correct before you return them to me. Your results must be right!” Working anxiously for quite some time, she finally completed her task. Returning the work assigned her by the president, she proudly gave him the results of her efforts. As he took the papers from her hands, she said with confidence, “Sir, I want you to know that I exceeded your expectations. I went over each page ten times, and discovered that there are ten different answers to each column.” When asked the Way to heaven and eternal life, Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one can come to the Father except through Me.” This statement in John’s Gospel is one of the most basic and important passages in all of Scripture. If anyone anywhere wants to know the Way to God and eternal life, this is the one and only answer. Jesus, with no hesitation, declared once and for all that He is the Way. Some may argue that this declaration and proclamation is much too narrow. But, in all reality, it is wide enough for anyone, anywhere to enter into at any time. Prayer: Thank You, Heavenly Father, for sending Your One and only Son into the world to become, if we choose, Our Savior. “He” is the Way to eternal life with You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. Scripture For Today: Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. John 14:6
Faith Or Fear?
by email@example.com (Guido staff) on August 8, 2020 at 11:00 AM
When Mario Marini, a famous Italian painter and sculptor, was young, he fashioned a series of figures of men on horses. The first one he sculpted appeared young, strong, fierce, formidable, and triumphant: all were expressions of extreme confidence. But, as he continued his series of bronze figures, each rider and horse appear to become less confident and certain of being victorious. The last characters in the series portray a rider and his horse frozen in terror. When asked about the way his series changed from triumph to terror, he replied, “That is because I believe that we are approaching the time of a sorry end to this world.” How different for the Christian! Rather than fear, we have faith. In place of horror, we have hope. Because of our God, we know that we shall be given eternal life through Christ our Savior and Lord, and we will be with Him throughout eternity. How blest we are to have the words of the Psalmist: “Even though I will walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I do not need to be possessed by fear, for You, Creator of life, are with me to protect me!” Our Savior will guide us and guard us and grant us victory when days are dim and dark. But, thankfully, one day, we will also say with the Psalmist, “Your goodness and unending kindness has been with me all of my life, and afterward, I will live with You in Your home - forever!” Prayer: Grant us, Father, Your peace that passes all understanding, and the assurance that You are the God of all comfort, so that we will not fear the threats of life or death. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. Scripture For Today: Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23
Count On Me!
by firstname.lastname@example.org (Guido staff) on August 7, 2020 at 11:00 AM
General Robert E. Lee had a brilliant officer serving on his staff. He was fiercely faithful and loyal to the general. He was also a man of conviction, courage, and confidence. Every letter or note he wrote to General Lee was signed, “You can count on me!” Our Lord has many people He can “count,” but not many He can “count on.” But there is one who stands as an example to all of us: Joshua! Joshua was careful to obey all of the teachings and instructions that were given by God. As we read the book that bears his name, we find the theme of “obedience” time and time again. This theme of “obedience” is so very prominent because it is an essential aspect of the believer’s life. Additionally, it is a significant part of our lives, and one very crucial part of our lives that, with God’s help, we can control. We cannot control the events that God brings into our lives, but we can control the way we respond to them. We cannot control the behavior of others around us, but we certainly can control how we behave when we are in their presence. We cannot control the decisions of our leaders, but we certainly can “pray without ceasing” for them. We cannot control the content of the media, but we can certainly choose different materials to read or programs to watch on television. However, one choice that every Christian has is whether or not to obey God’s Word. The instructions in His Word sets the standard for all believers to follow and represent Him well! Prayer: Heavenly Father, empower us with Your Holy Spirit to understand and accept Your Word Then enable us to be obedient to it so You will be able to “count on us.” In Jesus’ Name, Amen. Scripture For Today: As the Lord had commanded his servant Moses, so Moses commanded Joshua. And Joshua did as he was told, carefully obeying all the commands that the Lord had given to Moses. Joshua 11:15
Launching the Rural Church Renewal Project
by email@example.com (Guido staff) on August 6, 2020 at 3:51 PM
August 2020 will be recognized and remembered as the month that Guido Ministries launched the Rural Church Renewal Project. In honor of this project, we are providing two articles that describe the nature and necessity of this project. The first written by Dr. Cheryl Conley, a member of the Guido Ministries Board of Trustees, clearly describes the demands and delights of serving the Lord in a small church. The second article, written by Rev. Bobby Braswell, Director of Missions for a group of rural churches, describes the need for this new ministry to strengthen and encourage rural churches. Critical to the success of this program is the introduction of the revised curriculum of Guido Bible College. When the new semester begins this month, we will offer our new degree program designed to meet the specific needs of rural churches: The Bachelor of Arts Degree in Rural Church Ministry. This two-year program of instruction contains 16 classes to prepare students for ministry in and through churches in rural America.What It’s Like Being a Member of a Little Country Church by Dr. Cheryl Conley As a current (and life-long) member of a very small, rural, communitychurch, I have experienced the ups and downs, the struggles,the joy and heartache that rural churches often go through. I wouldlike to share some of the unique “opportunities” that rural churchesmay encounter.Rural churches are often filled with “family” members. This is atremendous blessing but offers its own challenges. Parents feel theneed for their children to have ‘someone else’ as their Sunday Schoolteacher rather than themselves. Often times, finding that ‘someoneelse’ is very difficult. These children get the same spiritual trainingon Sunday morning that they get all during the week. (This is notnecessarily a bad thing, but I know from experience that my ownchildren respond differently to others.) Teenagers are often relatedto their Sunday School teacher and may not feel comfortable sharingthings that they really need to talk about. Our young people need tohave someone with whom they can confide without fear that theirdiscussion will be shared with other family members.Rural churches usually have smaller congregations which requirechurch members to take on multiple responsibilities and wear‘many hats’. This can be seen as positive and negative. If you wantto ‘get lost in the crowd and just attend church’, it is hard to do in asmall, rural church. If you have someone ineffective in a position, itcan be difficult to replace them because no one wants to take on theadditional responsibility.Rural churches often have only one pianist, one Sunday Schoolteacher for a class, and basically ‘one of everything’. When our pianistis absent, the service is most often conducted without any music.If a Sunday School teacher has to be absent and can’t find a substituteteacher (ie: wakes up sick on Sunday Morning), classes are eithercombined at the last minute or the teacher contacts the class membersand lets them know that he/she will not be there.Rural churches have smaller congregations which result in fewerchildren. Too often there are not enough children of a specific‘age-span’ to make up a class. You either have multiple ‘age-spans’in a classroom or classes of 2 or 3 children. Children/youth generallywant to attend Sunday School and Church Services with theirfriends. Rural churches can offer fun activities and have great turnouts,but on Sunday mornings, they go back to their ‘home church’.Rural churches are often far from town, and the distance canpose a problem. Parents living in the community will often droptheir children off at Sunday School, and the children will ride homewith a family member after service. Children living in town, a greaterdistance away, are often dropped off at churches closer to their homes. Eventually, the children and parents may attend regularly - often the churchcloser home. Parents within the community maydrop their children off for Sunday School and join them for the worshipservice. Unless the parents live close-by, they don’t have enoughtime to drop children off, go back home, get dressed, and come backto church within the hour.Living and worshiping in a small, rural community is much differentthan worshiping in a larger town or city. Although all churches,both large and small, have their own set of “opportunities”, I findthat the benefits of the small, rural church outweigh any issues wemay have. Some benefits include:1. Very close-knit group of people - a true family.2. People moving into the community soon become ‘family’even though they were not born into the family.3. If someone is in trouble or has a need, everyone prays andhelps out.4. Food, prayers, transportation, etc., is provided for the sick,shut-in, and needy.5. When one ‘hurts’, we all hurt; when one ‘rejoices’, we all rejoice.6. There are no ‘splintered groups’ within the church. Everyoneis part of the larger group. The ladies may do things togetheror the men, etc., but they do not have multiple ladies’groups or men’s groups.I, personally, love being a member of God’s Little CountryChurch. We may have challenges but we are blessed beyond measure.There is nothing that we need that God can’t provide.----------What makes rural ministry unique?Pastoring a church is not a “one size fits all” proposition.There are different needs for different congregations, which meanschurch ministry has to be customized to and for the communitiesthat are served. Note, the ministry is different, depending on thesize of the congregation, not the message. The eternal message ofGod’s saving grace remains unchanged.Sadly, the rural church ministry is the one that is most oftenoverlooked as ministerial training courses and degrees of studyfocus their programs on the larger congregations in the biggercommunities. To help pastors as they serve rural churches acrossAmerica, Guido Bible College has introduced the Bachelor of Artsdegree in Rural Church Ministries.The Bachelors program concentrates on rural communities,the unique needs of individuals, families and churches, and howthese needs can be met through the rural church. The programof instruction will not only provide an in-depth knowledge andunderstanding of the history and culture of rural communities butalso the skills and practical ways to meet these needs. At this time,GBC is the only college that is offering a degree that focuses onrural church ministry.In addition to college classes, GBC is developing and planninga series of workshops to educate and train pastors and lay-leadersthat are now serving in rural churches. GBC will present fourworkshops, each designed to meet the needs of the rural churches.These workshops will discuss the importance of each rural churchhaving and developing a unique vision for what God has calledthem to do, what they need to do to accomplish their vision andthen working with pastors and leaders to teach them the skills toeffectively achieve their vision. This program will launch on August15 at Hamstra Worship Center on the Guido Campus.Bobby Braswell, associational missionary for the Middle BaptistAssociation, a network of congregations in Effingham, Jenkinsand Screven Counties in Georgia, has his own view on whatmakes rural ministry a unique challenge.“Approximately 60 million Americans, or about 19.3% of theU.S. population, live in rural areas,” he said. “These communitiesare mainly served by smaller member congregations. This is whatwriter Mark Clifton calls the ‘normative church’ in his book ReclaimingGlory. The Hartford Institute of Religion Research putsthe estimated number of Protestant Congregations in the UnitedStates at about 314,000. Of those congregations over 59% (177,000)average less than 100 people in worship. Of the approximately 56million people who attend worship in America in these Protestantchurches each week, nearly 9 million of them will worship in arural church. Yet in my experience as a pastor and denominationalservant since 1992, much of the leadership support through conferences,writing and denominational programming and supportis not provided with this reality in mind. Often pastors struggle tofind content that helps them deal with the realities that they arefaced with in their small town context.”Those challenges, Braswell explained, include the culture ofthe rural congregation, including its slower, less hurried pace.“The unhurried pace has to be factored into shepherding. On theother hand, because of the closeness of the relationships, disruptionis experienced with elevated intensity. Whether the leader isworking through adaptive change or handling relational crises,the energy ripples quickly through the tight-knit church family.Additionally, influence is categorized differently in smaller member churches.In my first church even though I was the pastor, I wasn’t really the pastor. Iwas the preacher. But the church had experienced a lot of turnover and the actual pastor was the deacon chairman. Thankfully he was godly andgifted in shepherding.”“Smaller member churches have unique struggles,” he continued.“Many rural towns are faced with difficult economic realities.Many rural churches are bi-vocational or multi-vocational. Eitherthe pastor has to find an additional income stream or his wife hasto work outside the home to make ends meet. Maybe they are bothworking. Because rural America by definition is going to providelimited bi-vocational opportunity, many smaller member churchesare in big time crisis mode any time there is pastor transition.”“This speaks to some significant issues. First, this means thatmaintaining congregational harmony is extremely important(Psalm 133:1). If a congregation develops a reputation for beingcontentious in a declining or static population growth area, thatis very difficult to recover from. It is worth the effort involved tolearn how to disagree agreeably. Again, because the relationshipsare so close and longstanding, often congregations are hesitant tocorrect behavior in members that is aberrant and unhelpful. Butthe alternative is to lose an aspect of community that is indispensableto vitality.”“Again, if it is true that any transition in a bivocational churchis a significant crisis because of supply and demand, developing ahealthy congregational life is a critical component in this. Smallermember churches often are looking for young leaders who canenergize the ministry. Sometimes the church leaders think thathe will grow the church by osmosis by virtue of the fact that hehas a young family. But if he meets with obstruction each time hetries to advance innovation, of course he will eventually hit thewall. His frustration will cause him to look for greener pastures.If the crisis in transition for smaller member churches is not wellmanaged, the church will probably eventually trade off somethingit shouldn’t in their desperation to find a pastor. They will trade offthe character qualities that the Bible assigns to a pastoral leader.They will turn to someone unqualified to serve as a pastor. Theywill trade off their missionary identity.”“These are just a few of the challenges of ministry in ruralchurches across America,” Braswell said. “There are many otherconcerns that could be explored. It’s one reason I am thankful thatDr. Larry Guido and the Guido Bible College in Metter, GA havereached out to us at the Middle Baptist Association about partneringto discover solutions in assisting rural churches. There ismuch to be gained in a partnership like this and we are prayingand listening to God about what this opportunity might eventuallybecome.”Rev. Bobby Braswell
Take Time To Preach
by firstname.lastname@example.org (Guido staff) on August 6, 2020 at 11:00 AM
Saint Francis is remembered for his greatness and goodness in spreading the Gospel of Christ – His Lord. His writings still inspire people today. One day he said to a fellow “brother” who lived with him in the monastery, “Let’s go to town and preach to the people.” As they walked the dusty road, they stopped to talk to people and play games with the children. Tired and hungry, St. Francis turned to his young companion and said, “Let’s return to the monastery.” “But,” protested his young colleague, “when do we preach to the people?” “Every step we took,” said St. Francis, “and every word we spoke and every smile we shared with the people and everything we did was our sermon. We have been preaching all day!” The only sermon some people will ever hear are the words that come from our lips, and the only preaching that many will “listen” to is what they see in our lives. For many, we are what we say, and our lives demonstrate we believe. John wrote, “Those who say they live in God should live as Christ did.” To live as Jesus did, we must obey His teachings and follow His example and do as He did – show others God’s love. Years ago, a hymn writer asked most effectively: “Can others see Jesus in you?” Prayer: Father, may the disturbing words of that hymn trouble our minds and hearts and force us to examine our lives and then make changes that will please You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. Scripture For Today: Those who say they live in God should live as Christ did. 1 John 2:6
Guard Your Heart!
by email@example.com (Guido staff) on August 5, 2020 at 11:00 AM
She was over eighty years old and went to work every day. Though old in years, she was young at heart. She made her way through life in a wheelchair and was very successful in several different business ventures. She was also well-known for being involved in doing kind things for others who were going through difficult times. “What caused you to end up in a wheelchair?” asked a friend one day. “Infantile paralysis,” she replied. “My goodness! How do you cope?” the friend wondered, “and why do you do so many kind things for so many people?” “Well,” she said with a gracious smile, “the paralysis never touched my head or my heart.” Our head is the door to our hearts. What we see, think, and dwell upon shapes our feelings and is expressed in what we do and the way we act. It was the writer of Proverbs who expressed this truth so well. “Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance,” he wrote, “for out of it flow the springs of life.” Our hearts, the source of our feelings of love and desire, dictates the things that we do and say. How we live and what we find time to do and enjoy all come from “the inside” – our heart. Wisely, Solomon advises us to concentrate on those things that will reflect God’s love to others. We must make sure that what matters most to us leads us in the right direction and demonstrates our concern for others. We can only do this if we focus on putting God first. Prayer: Help us, Heavenly Father, to look straight ahead and keep our eyes focused on You. Keep us from becoming sidetracked by things that would destroy us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. Scripture For Today: Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance for out of it flow the springs of life. Proverbs 4:23
by firstname.lastname@example.org (Guido staff) on August 4, 2020 at 11:00 AM
Grandmother had just finished reading the story of Creation to her beloved four-year-old granddaughter, Beth. Sitting quietly in her lap, she noticed that Beth seemed to be in deep thought. “Beth,” she asked, “what do you think of that story?” “I love it, Grandmother!” she replied. “Love it? Why?” Grandmother wondered. “Well,” she replied carefully, “you just never know what God’s going to do next!” While life is unpredictable, God isn’t. Even though we do not know what God is going to do next, He certainly does. And, one thing we who are Christians know for sure is this: whatever He brings into our lives is in our best interest to mold us and shape us into His likeness. Whatever we face, we know that God will be with us and never abandon us. As life comes and goes, He does not pick and choose when He will be available to help us. He will not step back from the pain we may be enduring nor the problems we are forced to face and resolve. No, the Eternal One guides us, guards us, and guarantees His presence and power in our lives so that we can accept and overcome every obstacle and challenge. Whether life is joyous or seemingly unjust, God will never give up on us, never fail us, or ever abandon us. When times are difficult and life seems horrible, we need to focus on Him. Prayer: Lord, help us to trust in You and on You and know that You will never leave us or forsake us. May we always seek and sense Your will and way in our lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. Scripture For Today: Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Proverbs 3:5-6
Don't Forget What He Looks Like!
by email@example.com (Guido staff) on August 3, 2020 at 11:00 AM
Little Danny was proud of his newborn brother. Every now and then, he would quietly and carefully approach his crib, look down at him, and smile. On one occasion, his mother stood watching him from a corner in the nursery while she was folding the baby’s clothes. After a few moments, Little Danny said, “Little Brother, before you get too big and forget, please remember what God looked like when you last saw Him in heaven, cause I want you to tell me when you learn to talk.” Little Danny is not the only one who wants to know what God looks like. Hidden in the heart of everyone, everywhere is the same question. It was planted there by God Himself! John wrote that “No one has ever seen God.” If this is true, Little Danny is in serious trouble. However, John also wrote that “His only Son, Jesus, who is Himself God, is near to the Father’s heart, and He has revealed God (which means ‘made Him available’) to us.” Jesus was, and still is, the complete expression of God in human form. Through His life and teachings, He revealed God to us, so we do, indeed, know what He looked like, acted like, and thought like. Remember this critical fact, Jesus passed on that “picture” of God to His disciples, and they in turn passed it on to their disciples. So, today, we - as His disciples - have the same responsibility that Jesus had: to reveal God to the world through the way we live. What a great privilege! Prayer: Lord, You have given us the responsibility to make Your Son known to the world. Empower us with Your Spirit to live God-like lives that represent You well. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. Scripture For Today: No one has ever seen God. The one and only Son, who is himself God and is at the Father’s side - he has revealed him. John 1:18
Mercy. Who Needs It?
by firstname.lastname@example.org (Guido staff) on August 2, 2020 at 11:00 AM
Alexander the Great was the first conqueror of the world. Even today, as we recognize leaders who have left their imprint and impact on the world, he is considered one of the most remarkable men of history. Late in his life an artist was commissioned to paint a portrait of him. In discussing the content of the painting Alexander informed the artist that he was anxious to conceal the scar on his face. To accommodate him, the artist painted the portrait of Alexander in a reflective mood with his head resting on his hand and a finger covering the scar. This act of insight and kindness by the artist worked perfectly, and the scar was hidden. That is love in action - reflecting the mercy of one who honors the needs of others. The Apostle Peter summed up the behavior that we, as Christians, are to show to others: “Most important of all,” he wrote, “continue to show deep love for each other.” Love is always expressed in deeds of kindness that we offer to those in need. If we say that we have love for others yet do nothing to help them in their times of need, we do not reflect our appreciation for the deeds of kindness that God, through Christ, has shown us. We can only show our gratitude for the grace of God in our lives by what we do to and for others. Words are not works, and thoughts do not bring change or help to those in need. Prayer: Help us, Lord, to show our gratitude to You for the love, grace, and mercy You shower on us each day. Give us hearts of compassion and hands that help others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. Scripture For Today: Above all, maintain constant love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8
Do Our Words Really Matter?
by email@example.com (Guido staff) on August 1, 2020 at 11:00 AM
It was the mid-week prayer service. The crowd was small but the singing loud. The final hymn before the Bible study was “For You I Am Praying.” A visitor turned to a member of the church who was standing next to him and asked, “For whom are you praying?” “No one, really,” came the response. “I’m just singing.” Often the hymns we sing and the words we speak are completely disconnected from the lives we live. Sometimes our faith is so frail that we fail Him. But if our relationship with God is what He expects it to be, we must give Him our love and our lives, our heads and our hearts, our desires and our dreams. And, we must ask Him to empower us, by His grace and goodness, to live lives that will be pleasing to Him. God’s first expectation of us is that we totally commit our lives to Him. Paul, writing to the Romans said, “I beg you, in view of all that God has done for you, to make a decisive decision to present all that you are or have to God as a living sacrifice - which is only reasonable.” If we do that - make that decisive decision to surrender our lives to Him - the songs we sing and the words we speak will be obvious in our lives and consistent with His expectations. Prayer: Help us, Heavenly Father, to be certain that our walk matches our words and that we behave what we say we believe. Give us Your courage to be consistent. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. Scripture For Today: I beg you, in view of all that God has done for you, to make a decisive decision to present all that you are or have to God as a living sacrifice - which is only reasonable. Romans 12:1
Profit And Loss
by firstname.lastname@example.org (Guido staff) on July 31, 2020 at 11:00 AM
It was one of those days when nothing seemed to go right at work. Ralph had lost sale after sale and was three hours late for his lunch.He sat down on his favorite stool in his favorite diner waiting to place his order. When the waitress asked for his order, he said meekly, “Please, I’d like two things: an order of pot roast and a few kind words.”Looking at him kindly, she replied, “The kindest words I can think of right now are, ‘don’t order the pot roast.’”Offering “kind words” is the responsibility of every Christian every day to everyone we meet. All of us, most of the time, welcome words of strength, hope, and encouragement to meet the challenges we face. Life, for most of us, has various shades of difficulty each day.Have you ever asked, “What are the kindest words I can ever offer anyone?” Perhaps they are these: “Don’t forget the next world while living in this one.”It is natural for each of us to put our values on the wrong things. No one is immune from being caught up “in the moment” when we are tired, vulnerable, discouraged, and weak. How sad it will be if we live our lives and, at the last moment, discover life’s greatest mistake: we did not include God in our plans. Jesus asked, “What do you benefit, really, if you gain the whole world and lose your own soul?”Prayer: We pray, Lord, that we will recognize our greatest need: to accept You as our Savior. Then, help us if You will, to share our faith with others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.Scripture For Today: And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? Mark 8:34-38
Right For God's Plan
by email@example.com (Guido staff) on July 30, 2020 at 11:00 AM
Charlie Brown was sitting behind his desk holding his head between his hands, as his elbows kept them in place. With a worried look on his face he moaned, “The moment I set foot on the stage of life, they took one look at me and said, ‘Not right for the part!’“Not so for the Christian!Paul, writing to the Ephesians said, “When you believed in Christ, He called you, He identified you as His own by giving you the Holy Spirit.” That’s God’s guarantee that we belong to Him, that He has a unique plan for our lives, and we are just “right for the part.”When the Holy Spirit comes into our lives, it is the beginning of a new way of living because we have become “new creations” through Christ Jesus. We know that “old things have passed away and all things have become new!” And, whatever “part” God has for us is one that meets His needs and we will certainly be able to fulfill that “part” for His glory because of His plan for us.We must always remember that the power of the Holy Spirit is at work in our lives at this very moment – continually reforming and transforming us into the image and likeness of Christ right now. Often we look at the “end product” - being with God in the Kingdom of Heaven. We must always remember that His power is always at work in us. And, when we look back and see where we were, and look forward and know where we will be, we know He has a “part” for us.Prayer: We pray, Lord, that we will be as patient with You as You are with us. Shape us and mold us and work with us until we are “right for our part.” In Jesus’ Name, Amen.Scripture For Today: When you believed in Christ, He called you, He identified you as His own by giving you the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 1:13
by firstname.lastname@example.org (Guido staff) on July 29, 2020 at 11:00 AM
It was the new pastor’s first opportunity to visit the sixth grade boys’ Sunday school class. He knew the lesson they were about to study was on forgiveness. He looked around the class and recognized Danny who lived in his neighborhood.“Danny,” he said, looking at him and smiling, “do you think you could forgive a boy if he hit you?”“Oh, yes sir,” he said proudly, “I know I could - especially if he was bigger than me.”It’s interesting to think about whom we are willing to forgive or not forgive. Perhaps we even have an established criterion. It seems as though there are some individuals whom we forgive easily and quickly - no matter what they have said or done to us. Then, there are some we do not want to forgive – now or ever - some whom we want to “get even” no matter how long it takes. How unlike Jesus. When He was teaching His disciples to pray, He said, “...forgive us our sins just as we have forgiven - not “might” or “should” - but, have forgiven those who have sinned against us.Jesus offered no criteria when it comes to forgiving. Forgiving others is the sign of a heart that understands, accepts, and appreciates the forgiveness of God. If we are slow or refuse to forgive others, we do not understand the true meaning of forgiveness and do not realize all that God has done for us. The more we understand God’s forgiveness, the more forgiving we will be.Prayer: We know, Father, that when we forgive others we have an understanding of Your forgiveness and mercy. May we forgive others as You have forgiven us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.Scripture For Today: and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. Matthew 6:12
The Will To Win!
by email@example.com (Guido staff) on July 28, 2020 at 11:00 AM
It was the first practice of the football season. The captain of the team was trying to impress his fellow teammates with his leadership skills. Pacing back and forth in front of the team, he was doing his best to get them excited. Finally, as his voice reached a level of great intensity, he shouted, “We’ll win because we have the will to win!”The coach, looking rather amused said, “Don’t fool yourself, son. The will to win is important. But more important than the will to win is the importance to surrender to hard work, sore muscles, aching joints, sweat running into your eyes, and long hours of studying our plays.” In other words, winning requires hard work – not simply a will.What is required of athletes who want to be victorious on a football field is true of the Christian who is called to live a victorious life for Christ. Paul said, “Spend your time and energy in training yourself for spiritual fitness. Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is much more important for it promises a reward in this life and the life to come.”Spiritual exercise - studying God’s Word, praying, worshiping, fellowship, and serving Him as well as others - and the desire to achieve success for the Christian does not come easy or simply being willing. It requires a life of discipline and surrender to the will of God. Paul reminds us, however, that if we do the “required work” we will be rewarded in this life and the life to come. Prayer: Lord, You never promised us a life of ease. But for Your sake, we ask for Your strength and power to live a life that is worthy of You and victorious over sin. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.Scripture For Today: Spend your time and energy in training yourself for spiritual fitness. Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is much more important for it promises a reward in this life and the life to come. 1 Timothy 4:7-8
Limited By Choice
by firstname.lastname@example.org (Guido staff) on July 27, 2020 at 11:00 AM
James Corbett was a one-time bank teller who became a world champion heavyweight boxer. One day while strolling through the woods, he came upon a man fishing for trout. Intrigued, he paused to watch him.Eventually, the fisherman pulled out a huge trout, examined it carefully, and threw it back into the stream. After a short time, he caught another large trout, measured it, and then threw it back into the stream as he had with the first one. Eventually, he caught a trout half the size of the first two and kept it. Intrigued, Corbett asked, “Why did you throw the two large trout back into the stream and keep the small one?”“Small frying pan,” said the fisherman casting his line back into the stream.Our vision keeps us in bondage. If we have small goals about what we want to achieve for God, then we will be satisfied with small gains. If we engage in little battles for God, we will be content with small victories. If we attempt nothing for God, that will be our reward.If, on the other hand, we look to God for ideas that are worthy of Him, He will give them to us. And, not only will He give us ideas that are worthy of Him, but with them His inspiration and confirmation, His power and strength, His wisdom and insight to accomplish them. Then, we can do all things through Him if we do all things for Him. “By His mighty power,” Paul said, “He can accomplish more than we can ask or hope.” With God, all things are possible! Prayer: Heavenly Father, it is evident that You want us to do great things for You. Give us an unlimited view of what we can do for You, and empower us to do great things for You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.Scripture For Today: Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Ephesians 3:20
How God Loves
by email@example.com (Guido staff) on July 26, 2020 at 11:00 AM
Little Nancy had kept every doll that her family and friends had given her. Over the years, many became tattered and worn. Some even had missing eyes and ears, and a few had lost some or most of their hair.One day a friend of her mother came for a visit. With pride, Little Nancy invited the guest to visit her bedroom to meet her dolls. All of her dolls had been carefully displayed on her bed. “I love these dolls,” she said to the guest.Picking up a doll with a button missing from an eye, part of the thread gone from its lips, and a face that had become worn from being held so tightly for so many years, with a charming smile she said, “I love this one the most!”“Why?” asked the friend.“Well,” she replied thoughtfully, “if I didn’t, probably nobody would.”How like our Heavenly Father. When we read John 3:16, we are confronted with a love that has no boundaries, no barriers, no exceptions, no requirements, no standards, and no preconditions. When God proclaimed whosoever, He included everyone.Often when we see those who are marred by sin and scarred by self-destructive behaviors or catch a glimpse of those individuals who are dirty and grimy and homeless, we look away in disrespect and disgust. Not Jesus. He sees in everyone – including us – a life worthy of His love.Prayer: Help us, Father, to see those for whom You lived and died as You do. May we realize the price You paid for our salvation and do what we can to win them to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.Scripture For Today: For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
by firstname.lastname@example.org (Guido staff) on July 25, 2020 at 11:00 AM
A visitor to a monastery asked the monk who greeted him the main ministry of his order.Offering the visitor a gracious smile, he said, “Well, when it comes to learning and teaching, we cannot compare to the Jesuits. When it comes to good works, we certainly cannot match the Franciscans. And, when it comes to preaching, we are far below the Dominicans. But when it comes to humility, we are at the top of the list.”The apostle Peter is well known for his boldness for his Lord. Yet he once wrote, “You young men...serve each other with humility, for God sets Himself against the proud, but He shows favor to the humble.”We often think that position and status are the marks of greatness. And, it is reasonable to want recognition and to be rewarded for the things that we accomplish. But here, Peter reminds us of a crucial fact: in the final analysis, we must remember that God’s recognition and rewards, His blessings and approval, count more than all of the human praise we may ever get.In His own time, God will honor and bless us for what we do to honor and bless Him. It is not the things that we do to draw attention to ourselves that matter to God. It is what we do to direct others to recognize His love that reflects His goodness and grace, mercy and salvation, and the hope that we have in and through Him. In the final analysis, we must make Him known.Prayer: Lord, let us be alert for every opportunity to let others know that You are the “main attraction” in our lives. May what we do point others to Christ, our Savior. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.Scripture For Today: So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. 1 Peter 5:6