AF Daily Devotional | The Hand That Rocks the Cradle

 

 

Posted: 29 Jan 2015 11:00 PM PST

Average reading time is about 2 minutes

An Amazing Fact: The total amount spent annually on Mother’s Day cards is $671 million. The total spent on flowers on Mother’s Day is $1.9 billion.


God made mothers with incredible love for their offspring. He pre-wired them with a natural desire to protect their children, even at the risk of their own lives. The Creator has programed this sacrificial nature not just into human mothers, but also within the maternal animal kingdom at large.

In the mountains of Northern California, we have a lot of black bears that are generally harmless. On the few occasions when black bears have attacked humans, it’s usually because someone came between a mother and her cubs. I even once heard of a car being ripped apart by a mother bear because her cub was trapped inside when a well-meaning camper tried to take it home. As the Bible says, “I will meet them like a bear deprived of her cubs; I will tear open their rib cage” (Hosea 13:8).

All through the Bible, we see examples of a mother’s love and sacrifice. And this natural love, combined with the influence of a godly mother, has changed history on many occasions. Mothers must recognize the profound power they have in molding human souls, not only for the difference they will make in this life, but also to prepare them for eternity. As it is often said, “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.”

Paul reminds us, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother,’ which is the first commandment with promise: ‘that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth’ ” (Ephesians 6:1–3).

Perhaps this is why our text for this evening calls a person who despises his mother a fool. Most mothers have given a tremendous amount of themselves to help their children be successful. Only a son who is blind to his mother’s love will scorn her.

Someone once said, “It takes a village to raise a child.” I categorically reject that. It might sound nice and reassuring to think the whole herd is watching out for everyone’s children. But I believe that we have so much crime and decadence in our world because this “village” is really just a deceitful euphemism for the streets. It doesn’t take a village to raise the child; it takes a mother and a father.

When a son or daughter pauses to recognize the sacrificial love of their parents, it brings gladness to the heart. Such respect fulfills the fifth commandment and honors our mothers and our fathers.

Additional reading: Proverbs 15:16–33

KEY BIBLE TEXTS
A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish man despiseth his mother.
– Proverbs 15:20


 

This daily devotional is courtesy of http://www.amazingfacts.org

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AF Daily Devotional- The Ultimate Tree of Life

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Average reading time is about 2 minutes

An Amazing Fact: One tree can absorb as much carbon dioxide in a year as an automobile creates driving 26,000 miles.

The longest living organism on our planet is the tree. It’s also one of the greatest natural resources we have. Trees help to keep our air clean. Just one tree can produce about 260 pounds of clean oxygen per year. Over the course of its life, a tree can absorb about one ton of carbon dioxide. An acre of trees can remove 2.6 tons of carbon dioxide in a year. 

Trees benefit us in many other ways. If they are well-maintained, trees can increase our property value and the soil quality. Properly placed trees around buildings can reduce air conditioning needs by 30 percent. Wind buffering provided by trees can also lower our heating bills in the winter. Of course, I could talk about lumber and paper products we get from trees, along with fruit to feed our families. 

Our text for this evening says, “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life” (Proverbs 11:30). People who live according to the wisdom and knowledge of God are a nurturing blessing to others. Their conduct and words bring life, healing, and encouragement to those around them. Perhaps you’ve been next to someone who “drains” you—someone who is usually focused on himself and only wants to get from others. 

On the other hand, some folks seem to inspire you when you are in their company. Their presence lifts you and gives you energy. Much like the tree of life in the garden of Eden, people who live according to God’s laws are a gift of life to those close by. Jesus was like this. When men, women, and children were close to Christ, they were transformed. And others could tell. 

When Peter and John were arrested for preaching about Jesus, they were brought before the Sanhedrin and questioned. The disciples spoke so courageously about the Lord that the Bible says of the Jewish rulers, “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13). We win souls by reflecting Jesus to others. The wisest thing we can do is lead others to the cross of Christ, which is the ultimate tree of life. 

Additional reading: Proverbs 11:16–31

KEY BIBLE TEXTS
The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise. 
– Proverbs 11:30

This daily devotional is a courtesy of http://www.amazingfacts.org .

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AF Daily Devotional – Fiery Tongues

Posted: 19 Jan 2015 11:00 PM PST

Average reading time is about 2 minutes

An Amazing Fact: The largest tongue in the world is found in the blue whale. Its tongue is the size of an elephant and weighs 5,400 pounds.

You might think that your tongue is a small organ and not extremely important, but without it you could not eat, talk, spit, swallow, or even kiss! Scientists have even determined that the tongue is, pound for pound, the strongest muscle in your body even though it is the only muscle that is attached at only one end. 

The human tongue has been listed in world records as well. The longest human tongue on record is 3.86 inches from tip to the back. Contrary to “old wives’ tales,” women have shorter tongues than men. Thomas Blackstone holds the record for having the strongest tongue; he actually lifted a 24-pound, 3-ounce weight with his tongue. 

According to the World Record Academy, Fran Capo is the world’s fastest talking female. She was clocked at 603 words in 54 seconds. That comes to 11 words a second! She first broke the world record on the Larry King Live show in 1986 when she spoke 585 words per minute. Before you think I’m biased about women talking, let me add that Steve Woodmore from England was clocked at 637 words per minute! 

Solomon has something to say about lots of words. Our text this evening reminds us that people who talk a lot can be inclined to say things they regret. When our tongues move faster than our brains, we’re in for trouble. The Bible often warns us to watch what we say. 

James writes, “Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell” (James 3:4–6). 

The proverb encourages us that he “who restrains his lips is wise.” Guard your tongue. It is not the number of words you speak that demonstrates your intelligence; it is the care with which you choose them. 

Additional reading: Proverbs 10:16–32

KEY BIBLE TEXTS
In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise. The tongue of the just is as choice silver: the heart of the wicked is little worth. 
– Proverbs 10:19-20

This daily devotional is a courtesy of http://www.amazingfacts.org

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AF Daily Devotional – Straight talk

Posted: 14 Jan 2015 11:00 PM PST

Average reading time is about 2 minutes

An Amazing Fact: With eight tight hairpin turns down a 27 percent grade, Lombard Street in San Francisco has been dubbed the most crooked street in the world.

Maybe you’ve driven down the red-bricked Lombard Street when touring the City by the Bay. It’s kind of fun to travel down the one-block section famous for it corkscrew turns. Carl Henry, a property owner, first suggested adding switchbacks to deal with the quarter mile section that was much too steep for most automobiles at the time. That happened in 1922. Even walking up this hill is tough on most people. 

Our text for this morning contrasts righteous speech with talk that is perverse or “crooked.” The King James uses the word “froward,” which means to be habitually disposed to disobedience. Good speech is honest and straightforward. People whose mouths speak unrighteous words are perverse. What they say is winding and shaped more like a slithering snake. That matches Satan, whom Jesus calls the father of lies (John 8:44). His first conversation with Eve was definitely crooked! 

This reminds me of the time Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, went to visit Ahab, king of Israel, to discuss attacking Ramoth Gilead. When Ahab called upon 400 prophets to give him advice, they all said, “Go up, for the Lord will deliver it into the hand of the king” (1 Kings 22:6). But Jehoshaphat said, “Is there not still a prophet of the Lord here, that we may inquire of Him” (v. 7). Ahab said there was one man, Micaiah, but he hated listening to him because this prophet spoke the truth. 

Straight talk has never been popular. It put Jeremiah in prison and cost John the Baptist his head. On multiple occasions, the apostle Paul was beaten for speaking the truth. And most of all, honesty led Jesus to be nailed to a cross for our sins. All Christ’s words were true. The reason a river is crooked is because it follows the path of least resistance. This is why some lives are also crooked. The path of the righteous might not always be easy, but it is straight. The way to heaven is through Jesus. When we speak with unswerving faith in the Lord, we will reach our destination—heaven! 

Additional reading: Proverbs 8:1–21

KEY BIBLE TEXTS
All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them. They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge. 
– Proverbs 8:8-9

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AF Daily Devotional – Slaughterhouses

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Posted: 13 Jan 2015 11:00 PM PST

Average reading time is about 2 minutes

An Amazing Fact: In the United States, about nine billion animals are slaughtered annually for food. Each year Americans consume more than 13.6 million tons of beef.

Slaughterhouses are not popular with the public. Though most people enjoy eating the end product, there is an aversion to the gruesome process of killing animals. In many places local laws actually specify where meat packing plants can and can’t be located. Animal welfare groups criticize the often callous methods of transporting, preparing, herding, and killing animals. 

It is really unpleasant to think about the procedure. Cattle are driven in trucks or by rail hundreds of miles from a ranch or feedlot, typically in crowded conditions. Not all make it to the slaughterhouse alive. Then they are shuttled through narrow corrals and brought into holding pens where they are “incapacitated.” I didn’t think much about this stuff when I ran a meat sales business in my VW many years back, but let’s just say that after hanging the animal upside down and draining out most of the blood, butchers begin to do their grisly work. 

Does this process disgust you? I won’t explain the details of turning a cow into “food” for your local burger shop. Most of my readers are thinking, “Stop talking about this! What’s the value in even thinking about it?” Let me tell you. … This is the analogy that Solomon uses to describe the fate of foolish young (or old) men, (this would apply to women as well), who are seduced into breaking God’s commandment on adultery. What seems like a flower-strewn pathway ends up being the road to hell. 

Solomon says of this foolish man that he “immediately” goes after her. In other words, he is controlled by his carnal nature and passions, not his rational brain. Like a bird flying into a net, “He did not know it would cost his life” (v. 23). Sin confuses us into thinking about the moment and not the true end-result. No wonder the wise man says, “Do not stray into her paths; for she has cast down many wounded, and all who were slain by her were strong men. Her house is the way to hell, descending to the chambers of death” (vv. 25-27). It’s a one-way tunnel you don’t ever want to enter. 

Additional reading: Proverbs 7:13–27

KEY BIBLE TEXTS
With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him. He goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks; 
– Proverbs 7:21-22

This daily devotional is a courtesy of http://www.amazinfacts.org.

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AF Daily Devotional – Apple of Your Eye

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Posted: 12 Jan 2015 11:00 PM PST

Average reading time is about 2 minutes

An Amazing Fact: The human eye is one of the most fascinating and complex organs of the body. It is one of the many features of creation that has baffled evolutionists because of the intricate and interdependent way in which it functions. The dark hole in the middle of our eye is called the pupil. It is black because light entering inside is absorbed. Muscles surrounding the pupil can expand and contract to adjust the size of the hole, permitting more or less light to enter the eye—much like a camera aperture.

Proverbs 7 is another call to purity by Solomon and describes keeping God’s law as the “apple of your eye.” What does this mean? Generally, it speaks of someone (or something) that you cherish above all else. The original Hebrew idiom behind this phrase is literally translated “little man of the eye.” Some believe that it is a reference to the reflection you can see of yourself in someone else’s pupils. Others suggest “apple” was simply the translator’s creative description for what is simply “the dark spot” of the eye. 

Whatever the exact origin of the phrase, what is clear to Solomon is that if we are to live a pure and holy life, then God’s law must be central in our thinking. When we allow impure thoughts and pictures to enter our pupils, it pollutes our thoughts. Solomon’s father, King David, allowed this to happen when looking upon Bathsheba. Instead of turning his eyes away, he permitted what he saw to set aside God’s law. It clouded his vision and led him into sin and a horrific train wreck of consequences. 

When we keep God’s law as the apple of our eye, we meditate on His precepts and hold the commandments up before us. We not only read them, we also seek to live by them. The reflection of the law in our eyes can be seen by others. Jesus said, “The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light” (Matthew 6:22). Focus on the beauty of God’s law today and it will enlighten your eyes (Psalm 19:8). 

Additional reading: Proverbs 7:1–12

KEY BIBLE TEXTS
My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee. Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye. 
– Proverbs 7:1-2

This daily devotional is a courtesy of http://www.amazingfacts.org .

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AF Daily Devotional – A Taste for Something Good

Average reading time is about 2 minutes.

An Amazing Fact: Humans have about 10,000 taste buds on their tongues, yet insects have the most highly developed sense of taste—using their feet and antennae.

Have you ever taken a bite of some food and suddenly tasted something bitter? (At one potluck, I put some peanut butter on my desert only to discover it was actually vegan cheese spread. Not pretty!) Your first response is to spit it out. Of the five senses of the tongue, bitterness is the most sensitive at picking up something that tastes disagreeable. Perhaps that was God’s intention, as many toxic plants have naturally bitter compounds.

The taste threshold of bitterness is measured in relationship to quinine, which is given a reference index of 1. In 1958, scientists discovered a chemical called denatonium, the bitterest substance ever found. It has a threshold of 1,000! This aversive agent is added to poisonous matter to prevent people from accidentally swallowing something that might harm them.

Researchers have also discovered a couple of substances that are extremely bitter to some people but are virtually tasteless to others. Evidently, the genes of some people make them “supertasters” when it comes to identifying certain bitter compounds.

Solomon gives strong medicine to his son in Proverbs 5, urging him to shun immorality at all costs. He speaks from personal experience. It’s odd that the wisest man who ever lived made some of the most foolish choices in the area of lust. To all men he warns that what might seem sweet in the beginning ends up being bitter in the end.

He illustrates the remorse and disastrous consequences of breaking the seventh commandment with a perennial plant that grows in the temperate parts of Northern Africa called artemesia. The shrub was used as an ingredient in flavoring some alcoholic drinks and in some spices, but the strong bitter juice of the plant is unfit to eat in your typical lunch salad.

God wants us to be supertasters at sensing the poisonous temptations of Satan. Through Solomon’s example, the Lord calls to us to “pay attention!” We can learn from Solomon’s experiences and be saved from a taste of bitter grief.

Lord, I make a promise to keep my eyes on you today and to keep my thoughts pure. I choose to turn from every polluted pathway.

Additional reading: Proverbs 5:1-4

KEY BIBLE TEXTS

My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding: That thou mayest regard discretion, and that thy lips may keep knowledge. For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil: But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. – Proverbs 5:1-4

This Daily Devotional is a courtesy of http://www.amazingfacts.org .

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AF Daily Devotional – Gospel Shoes

Average reading time is about 2 minutes

An Amazing Fact: The world record for “walking” on one’s hands is held by Sarah Chapman of the United Kingdom. She travelled on her hands 16,404 feet in eight hours on June 3, 2002.

The most famous “walk” in history was probably taken by Neil Armstrong on July 21, 1969, after the Apollo 11 lunar module, the Eagle, landed on the moon. Though the original plan was for Armstrong and Aldrin to rest after landing, they were given permission to suit up right away, depressurize the module, and go outside.

I vividly remember sitting in front of the TV and watching it all play out: Armstrong was the first to descend the ladder. As he reached the bottom step, he turned and planted his left foot onto the powdery surface of the moon and then uttered his now famous words, “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.” (There has actually been a long debate whether the “a” was actually spoken by Neil. Without it, the sentence is a contradiction. Later acoustical analysis supposedly reveals he did state this missing word.)

I believe the most famous steps (other than those of Jesus) recorded in Scripture are taken by those who carry the gospel to others. You’ve probably sung the words to this Bible verse: “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who proclaims peace, who brings glad tidings of good things, who proclaims salvation, who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’ ” (Isaiah 52:7).

When we share the love of Jesus, God promises to guide and bless our steps. Since the Lord has called us to witness for Him, we are given the assurance of His angels to keep us from stumbling when we walk in His paths. Perhaps today the Lord will lead you to walk over to a cubicle in the office where you work and hand someone a small piece of literature as you say the words, “I thought you’d enjoy this.” Or you might bake a loaf of bread or a batch of cookies and visit a neighbor who is discouraged. Take a famous walk today. Use your feet to make a giant leap … for the Lord.

Dear Jesus, because you freely walked the bloodstained path to Calvary, you purchased redemption for all mankind. Thank you.

Additional reading: Proverbs 4:1–13

KEY BIBLE TEXTS

When thou goest, thy steps shall not be straitened; and when thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble. Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life. – Proverbs 4:12-

Daily Devotional Courtesy of http://www.amazingfacts.org

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AF Daily Devotional | Wise in our own eyes

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Average reading time is about 2 minutes.

An Amazing Fact: Everyone has a blind spot in their field of vision because of how nerve fibers pass through the retina and out of the eye. The octopus has no blind spot since the nerve fibers pass behind the retinas of their eyes.

The third chapter of Proverbs lists six commands for us to follow. It also gives us reasons for obeying these instructions. The fourth exhortation in our text for this morning starts with, “Do not be wise in your own eyes.”

This same directive can be found in several places in Proverbs, most often in reference to fools (Proverbs 12:15; 26:5, 12). What does it mean to be wise in your own eyes?

Those who are wise in their own eyes have a spiritual blind spot. They can be arrogant and have an inflated estimation of their own opinions. Such people are proud, overconfident, and closed to input from others. Solomon’s admonition really builds on what comes before in verse 5—“Trust in the Lord.” In other words, don’t trust in your own wisdom. Acknowledge God in everything you do and He will bless you.

Our text promises health and strength when we seek the Lord’s ways. Saul, the first king of Israel, is a prime example of someone who was wise in his own eyes. His position as leader of God’s people went to his head. He began to believe that his opinions were always right … and woe to anyone who would dare cross him! This is why he tried to kill David.

When the Lord instructed Saul to utterly destroy the Amalekites, the arrogant king did not follow God’s command. When Samuel confronted the king for disobeying, he insisted he had not transgressed the order. Saul thought so much of himself that he became blind to his own sins—and he ultimately fell on his own sword.

The end result of being wise in our own eyes leads us to separate ourselves from God and, therefore, to self-destruction. When we are independent of the Lord, it ends in detachment from the One who gives life. Because of his blind spots, Saul died tragically. We do not need to follow the same path. Humbly heed God’s commands “for length of days and long life and peace they will add to you.”

Dear Lord, thank you for your commands. Help me see clearly where I diverge from them. Today I commit to obey your Word and receive the blessings of acknowledging you in all my choices.

Additional reading: Proverbs 3:1–18

KEY BIBLE TEXTS

Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones. – Proverbs 3:7-8

Daily Devotional is courtesy of WWW.AMAZINGFACTS.ORG.

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AF Daily Devotional | Lifesavers

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Average reading time is about 2 minutes.

An Amazing Fact: The most unsuccessful flavor of Life Savers candy was called Malt-O-Milk. Introduced in 1920, it was poorly received by the public and dropped after a couple years. At some time in your life, you have probably sampled the small circular candy called “Life Savers.” The little ring-shaped mints and fruit-flavored candies come in a roll wrapped in aluminum foil. Clarence Crane created them in 1912 as a “summer candy” that wouldn’t melt like chocolate. Their name comes from their similarity in shape to lifebuoys, which are used for saving people who fall overboard from boats.

Lifesavers have been around long before 1912—I mean the type used to rescue people from drowning. Some believe the “kisby ring” was first invented by Thomas Kisbee (1792–1877), a British naval officer. Today, many lifebuoys actually have saltwater activators that cause a light to come on inside the buoy, making night rescues easier. The apostle Paul might have appreciated such a lifesaver during a shipwreck he experienced. While being taken on a ship to Rome as a prisoner, he warned the ship’s crew against sailing out of a certain harbor during the storm season and risking the ship and passengers.

His wise counsel was ignored—and all on board would have been lost, except for Paul’s prayerful intercession. An angel told Paul everyone would be spared but that the ship would be wrecked. As predicted, the ship ran aground and broke into pieces. Passengers soon began to jump overboard and cling to boards and floating cargo. Perhaps this is the closest reference in Scripture to lifesavers!

Our proverb this evening depicts wisdom as a lifesaver that will preserve us through the storms of life. It also tells us that discretion will keep us safe. Knowledge that comes from God helps us to make responsible decisions. Like a good lifebuoy, we can depend on the truth we find in Scripture to protect us from making foolish choices. Clinging to worldly philosophy will only sink us. But like the words of the angel to Paul, wisdom and obedience will give us heavenly buoyancy.

If you are weighed down because you are trying to make an important decision, seek the wisdom of Scripture. Study your Bible for answers. Use your concordance and follow the truths you uncover.

Like a lifesaver, God’s wisdom will float your life. Dear God, today I place all my choices into your hands. I ask for your divine wisdom to guide all my decisions today. May Jesus be my lifesaver!

Additional reading: Proverbs 2:10–22

KEY BIBLE TEXTS When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee: – Proverbs 2:10-11

Daily Devotional courtesy of http://www.amazingfacts.org

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