_ Weekly Devotion _

Why do you beliave that?
By Peggy Horne

            I say this not to judge. How can I when I don’t know your or anyone else’s story. I say this because very few people have been able to answer the question when asked “Why do you believe that?” I also was one of those people. In fact, it wasn’t until I met a man who refused to believe anything anyone said to him till he searched it out for himself that I began to question my own belief system.

A friend of mine was told that our "religion" is anti-scientific, and this is what she had to say about that. “I wonder if the person that said that knows more science than Einstein? or Newton? They were believers. Einstein writes; "If we cleanse the Judaism of the prophets and Christianity as Jesus has taught it from what came afterwards, especially from priest craft, we have a religion which can save the world from all social evils. It is the holy duty of every man to do his utmost to bring this religion to triumph." And let’s not forget the great physiologist, Pavlov, he too was a Christian....Even, Marx, in his preface to Das Kapital, said that," Christianity, especially in its protestant form, is the ideal religion for remaking characters destroyed by sin." How can we say such things when very often we know very little about what we are speaking?

            Science, politics and other belief systems in today’s world are rarely a question of "how" or “why” and more of a religion that its followers follow blindly. Politicians are voted for based on party and not the individual, the absence of god is considered science and vice versa. Without consideration of the details how can you truly know what we are choosing? On the other hand the study of individuals will reveal character. To search out such things like natural sciences will only reveal to you a great designer, prove that things are so much more than they seem and are waiting there for us to search for the answers so they or rather He can be discovered. Blind faith is not faith at all, be it in any type of belief system. Rather, it is a choice to not choose, but to let others choose for us and this can be very dangerous.

           As children we must allow others to make decisions for us because we lack the understanding and ability to reason, but as we become adults, we are then able to take responsibility for our own choices because we now have the ability to make them and deal with the consequences. If we continue to choose to let others think for us, we give our freedom over to someone else. This is when we choose to be a slave and not free. This is how I see the norm in our world today. My heart aches when I whiteness people choosing this life and I am saddened when I look back at my own past and see how I could be so blind to what I was doing to myself.  

            However, there is freedom in knowledge and wisdom. God said in Isaiah, “Come let us reason together” Isaiah 1:18 and proverbs is full of advice on making healthy choices for our life by searching out wisdom for ourselves. The reality is that, when we are able, we are responsible for every choice we make, even if that choice is to let someone else choose. Most of us have a freedom that we must learn to not only be thankful for, but to use to free our own minds from laziness and ignorance. To be able to stand up for what we believe because we fully understand and know what exactly what that is, and finally to be able to answer the question when someone asks us, “Why do you believe that?” After all, God Himself tells us to be ready with an answer when we are asked.



The Faith Challenge
By Peggy Horne

"For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. " _ Romans 12:3 KJV

 I have been so blessed to have grown an abundance of faith in my life. This has come not through ignorance which is believing what I do not understand or wishful thinking. No, my faith has grown through Our Lord God proving Himself and His promises to me amidst countless trials that have challenged me to step out in hope and trust in the God I am coming to know and cherish.

            The Bible tells us that "Faith without works is dead." (James 2:20).  Recently I have felt the Lord leading me in helping others to grow in their faith. He has called us all to take the "Faith Challenge".  The steps are simple enough since God does most of the work as usual. All we have to do is to spend time learning of who He is and what He says he will do for us.  Then just claim these promises for ourselves and follow His instruction for our lives then act on those promises and instruction as though the Lord has already provided because the simple truth is He already has. He will never fail us. Many times it is we who fail to receive that which God has already provided because we do not grab those promises and instruction and use them as they are intended. We are to be moved to action when the knowledge of God's faithfulness is revealed to us, not to sit back and wait as though there was something more needed.

            God has set his Word for us to use. The power within it is already there waiting to be utilized by God's children as they trust in Him and use the faith provided to them. This is an assurance I have come to know so well and I encourage anyone that will hear to take this “Faith Challenge” and share it with others. It will be one of the best things you can ever do for your relationship with the God who loves you so much.


Give and it will be given to you 

Good morning said a woman as she walked up to the man sitting on the ground. The man slowly looked up. This was a woman clearly accustomed to the finer things of life. Her coat was new. She looked like she had never missed a meal in her life. His first thought was that she wanted to make fun of him, like so many others had done before......

 "Leave me alone," he growled....To his amazement, the woman continued standing. She was smiling -- her even white teeth displayed in dazzling rows. “Are you hungry?" she asked.
"No," he answered sarcastically. "I've just come from dining with the president. Now go away."
The woman's smile became even broader. Suddenly the man felt a gentle hand under his arm.

"What are you doing, lady?" the man asked angrily. "I said to leave me alone. Just then a policeman came up. "Is there any problem, ma'am?" he asked.. "No problem here, officer," the woman answered. "I'm just trying to get this man to his feet. Will you help me? “The officer scratched his head. "That's old Jack. He's been a fixture around here for a couple of years. What do you want with him?"

"See that cafeteria over there?" she asked. "I'm going to get him something to eat and get him out of the cold for a while.”  “Are you crazy, lady?" the homeless man resisted. "I don't want to go in there!" Then he felt strong hands grab his other arm and lift him up. "Let me go, officer. I didn't do anything."
"This is a good deal for you, Jack" the officer answered. "Don't blow it.”

Finally, and with some difficulty, the woman and the police officer got Jack into the cafeteria and sat him at a table in a remote corner. It was the middle of the morning, so most of the breakfast crowd had already left and the lunch bunch had not yet arrived...The manager strode across the cafeteria and stood by his table. "What's going on here, officer?" he asked. "What is all this, is this man in trouble?"

"This lady brought this man in here to be fed," the policeman answered. “Not in here!" the manager replied angrily. "Having a person like that here is bad for business. “Old Jack smiled a toothless grin. "See, lady. I told you so. Now if you'll let me go. I didn't want to come here in the first place. “The woman turned to the cafeteria manager and smiled....... "Sir, are you familiar with Eddy and Associates, the banking firm down the street?"

"Of course I am," the manager answered impatiently. "They hold their weekly meetings in one of my banquet rooms. “And do you make a goodly amount of money providing food at these weekly meetings? “What business is that of yours? “I, sir, am Penelope Eddy, president and CEO of the company. “OH. “The woman smiled again. "I thought that might make a difference." She glanced at the cop who was busy stifling a giggle.

"Would you like to join us in a meal, officer?" "No thanks, ma'am," the officer replied. "I'm on duty." "Then, perhaps, a cup something to go?" "Yes, ma’am. That would be very nice. “The cafeteria manager turned on his heel, "I'll get your coffee for you right away, officer. “The officer watched him walk away. "You certainly put him in his place," he said. “That was not my intent. Believe it or not, I have a reason for all this. “She sat down at the table across from her amazed dinner guest. She stared at him intently.

"Jack, do you remember me?" Old Jack searched her face with his old, rheumy eyes. "I think so -- I mean you do look familiar." "I'm a little older perhaps," she said. "Maybe I've even filled out more than in my younger days when you worked here, and I came through that very door, cold and hungry. “Ma’am?" the officer said questioningly. He couldn't believe that such a magnificently turned out woman could ever have been hungry. “I was just out of college," the woman began.

 "I had come to the city looking for a job, but I couldn't find anything. Finally I was down to my last few cents and had been kicked out of my apartment. I walked the streets for days. It was February and I was cold and nearly starving. I saw this place and walked in on the off chance that I could get something to eat. Jack lit up with a smile. "Now I remember," he said.. "I was behind the serving counter. You came up and asked me if you could work for something to eat. I said that it was against company policy."

"I know," the woman continued. "Then you made me the biggest roast beef sandwich that I had ever seen, gave me a cup of coffee, and told me to go over to a corner table and enjoy it. I was afraid that you would get into trouble... Then, when I looked over and saw you put the price of my food in the cash register, I knew then that everything would be all right." "So you started your own business?" Old Jack said.
"I got a job that very afternoon. I worked my way up. Eventually I started my own business that, with the help of God, prospered."

She opened her purse and pulled out a business card. "When you are finished here, I want you to pay a visit to a Mr. Lyons...He's the personnel director of my company. I'll go talk to him now and I'm certain he'll find something for you to do around the office." She smiled. "I think he might even find the funds to give you a little advance so that you can buy some clothes and get a place to live until you get on your feet... If you ever need anything, my door is always opened to you."

There were tears in the old man's eyes. "How can I ever thank you?" he said. “Don’t thank me," the woman answered. "To God goes the glory. Thank Jesus...... He led me to you. “Outside the cafeteria, the officer and the woman paused at the entrance before going their separate ways..."Thank you for all your help, officer," she said. “On the contrary, Ms. Eddy," he answered. "Thank you. I saw a miracle today, Something that I will never forget.

 Give and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” _ Luke 6:38



Rejoicing in the Word

Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O Lord God of hosts.
Jeremiah 15:16.

There is constant need of patience, gentleness, self-denial, and self-sacrifice in the exercise of Bible religion. But if the Word of God is made an abiding principle in our lives, everything with which we have to do, each word, each trivial act, will reveal that we are subject to Jesus Christ, that even our thoughts have been brought into captivity to Him. If the Word of God is received into the heart, it will empty the soul of self-sufficiency and self-dependence. Our lives will be a power for good, because the Holy Spirit will fill our minds with the things of God. The religion of Christ will be practiced by us; for our wills are in perfect conformity to the will of God.

Some who profess to have true religion sadly neglect the Guidebook given by God to point the way to heaven. They may read the Bible, but merely reading God's Word, as one would read words traced by a human pen, will give only a superficial knowledge. Talking of the truth will not sanctify the receivers. They may profess to be working for God, when, were Christ among them, His voice would be heard, saying, "Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God" (Matthew 22:29). Such cannot know what true religion means. 

"The words that I speak unto you," said Christ, "they are spirit, and they are life" (John 6:63). Jeremiah testifies to the Word of God, saying, "Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart." There is divine healing in God's Word, which the so-called wise and prudent cannot experience, but which is revealed to babes. "The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple" (Psalm 119:130). If this Word is enshrined in the heart, it becomes the treasure-house of the mind, from which we bring forth things new and old. We no longer find pleasure in thinking of the common things of earth, but say, "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path" (verse 105).--Review and Herald, May 4, 1897. {YRP 116.4}

God's Marvelous Grace


"A Taste of Eternal Life"                                

You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life." _ John 5:39, 40

During their wilderness experience, the children of Israel express their dissatisfaction towards God because of hunger. As a result God provided Manna for them which did not prevent their dying in the wilderness; but in the Gospel of John Jesus offers a heavenly substance that ensures eternal life. What is that heavenly substance? - Himself. "I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.” _
John 6:51
Because Christ came and veiled Himself with humanity, He was able to make His perfect humanity available to those who partake of Him by faith.

In the Text above, Jesus told the religious leaders "if you had been searching the scriptures diligently by faith, there is no way you could have missed me and the promise of eternal life."

"When the child of God looks
into the Word of God
and sees the Son of God,
he is changed by the Spirit of God
into the image of God
for the glory of God."

Have you had a chance to spend some times in the word of God this morning? Have you seen Jesus in the Scriptures today? If you have - You have had a taste of eternal life.



"My Redeemer Lives"




"Give Thanks"                                     

Many people may opt out of celebrating holidays that seem to have no spiritual significance, but one holiday people often make an exception to is Thanksgiving day. Although there is no Biblical account of celebrating this particular holiday the Bible is packed full of "Thanksgiving". The following passages tell us how we should give thanks to God.

 "when you offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the LORD, offer it of your own free will." Leveticus 22:29

Thanksgiving should be a day of solemn gladness and gratitude to God, instead, it has become a day of jollification, self-indulgence, and gluttony. Self interposes for attention, for gratification, for indulgence.

Mattaniah the son of Micha, the son of Zabdi, the son of Asaph, the leader who began the thanksgiving with prayer. Nehemiah 11:17

Thanksgiving is necessary in prayer; they should go together; giving thanks for former mercies is a becoming way of begging further mercies.

In the second chapter of 1 Samuel is recorded the prayer of a consecrated woman who served and glorified God. She prayed: “My heart rejoices in the LORD; My horn is exalted in the LORD.  I smile at my enemies, because I rejoice in Your salvation. No one is holy like the LORD, for there is none besides You,  Nor is there any rock like our God.
Hannah’s offering of thanksgiving for the answer to her prayer is a lesson to those who today receive answers to their requests. Do we not neglect to return praise and thanksgiving to God for His lovingkindness?

Of the ten lepers who were cleansed, only one appreciated the gift. He returned, to give thanks, Luk_17:15. When he saw that he was healed, instead of going forward to the priest, to be by him declared clean, and so discharged from his confinement, which was all that the rest aimed at, he turned back towards him who was the Author of his cure, whom he wished to have the glory of it, before he received the benefit of it. He appears to have been very hearty and affectionate in his thanksgivings: With a loud voice he glorified God, acknowledging that the healing came originally from Jesus; and he lifted up his voice in his praises, as he had done in his prayers.

Just like the leper who returned to give thanks to Jesus for cleansing him of his leprosy. Why not take this moment, this occasion to look back at the cross and give Him thanks for cleansing us of this leprosy of sin.



"Heaven Is Open to Us"                         

And he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep. And he dreamed. Genesis 28:11, 12.

Jacob was afflicted because he had made a mistake in his life. He was cast down to the very depths. Alone, weary, dispirited, tortured by the recollections of his past errors, and overwhelmed with apprehensions for the future, he laid him down to rest, his head pillowed upon a stone. Had Jacob's conscience been clear, his heart would have been strong in God. But he knew his present perplexities, his fears and trials, were in consequence of his sins. This reflection is what embittered his life. Jacob was repentant, yet he did not feel easy under the wrong he had done. Through tribulation and through physical and mental suffering he could only have hope to find his way again to the favor of God.
He lay down in sadness, with a heavy heart, repenting and yet fearing. He expected that new trials would meet him on the morrow as he pursued his weary way.
There was no friend nigh to speak a comforting word to Jacob, no one to tell him he had in his sincere repentance done what he could. But God's eye was upon His servant. He sent His angels to reveal to him a ladder of brightness reaching from the earth to the highest heavens, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon this glorious ladder, which showed Jacob the connection and intercourse constantly going on between the two worlds. When Jacob awoke his difficulties had not vanished entirely, but he had such confidence in God that he was comforted. In humble gratitude of heart he adores his Saviour and especially honors even his stony pillow.
Oh, the wonderful condescension of God! He is ever ready to meet us, even in our infirmities, and to encourage us by His presence, when we have done all on our part to make an entire surrender to Him. Heaven is open to man. God will be entreated to do these things for us. The future may seem dark before you, but God lives.
Break down every barrier and let the Saviour into your heart. Let self die. Surrender your will and die to self now, just now, and leave God to make your way for you.



Our Strength and Security                  

"Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might." Ephesians 6:10.

Many are spiritually weak because they look at themselves instead of at Christ. Christ is the great storehouse from which on every occasion we may draw strength and happiness. Why, then, do we withdraw our eyes from His sufficiency to look on and bemoan our weakness? Why do we forget that He is ready to help us in every time of need? We dishonor Him by talking of our inefficiency.
Instead of looking at ourselves, let us constantly behold Jesus, daily becoming more and more like Him, more and more able to talk of Him, better prepared to avail ourselves of His kindness and helpfulness, and to receive the blessings offered us. As we thus live in communion with Him, we grow strong in His strength, a help and a blessing to those around us. 
Christ has made every provision for us to be strong. He has given us His Holy Spirit, whose office is to bring to our remembrance all the promises that Christ has made, that we may have peace and a sweet sense of forgiveness. If we will but keep our eyes fixed on the Saviour, and trust in His power, we shall be filled with a sense of security; for the righteousness of Christ will become our righteousness.
When temptations assail you, as they surely will, when care and perplexity surround you, when, distressed and discouraged, you are almost ready to yield to despair, look, O look, to where with the eye of faith you last saw the light; and the darkness that encompasseth you will be dispelled by the bright shining of His glory. When sin struggles for the mastery in your soul, and burdens the conscience, when unbelief clouds the mind, go to the Saviour. His grace is sufficient to subdue sin. He will pardon us, making us joyful in God.
God wants our minds to expand. He desires to put His grace upon us. We are to be one with Christ as He is one with the Father, and the Father will love us as He loves His Son. We may have the same help that Christ had, we may have strength for every emergency; for God will be our front guard and our rearward. He will shut us in on every side.