AF Daily Devotional – An End to Affliction

Average reading time is about 1 and a half minutes

An Amazing Fact: Erik Weihenmeyer became the first blind man to climb to the highest peak in the world. He and his sighted friend, Eric Alexander, along with other members of their climbing team, reached the summit of Mount Everest on May 25, 2001. Mark Inglis, who lost both of his legs below the knee, conquered Everest in 2006. He is the first person to successfully scale the mountain with two false legs.

Since almost 20 percent of Americans are disabled in some way, chances are you have a friend or family member with a disability of some kind, or perhaps you are disabled yourself. Perhaps you have an illness or have had an accident that causes suffering. The Bible assures us that when an afflicted person cries out to God, He hears. And He cares.

When God healed the crippled man in Lystra, through Paul, the Bible says the man “leaped and walked.” Can’t you just see him jumping high into the air, again and again, landing on his new, healthy feet? Don’t you think he was laughing in delight?

This is what it will be like when Jesus returns. For those who belong to Him, all disabilities, deformities, diseases—afflictions of any kind—will vanish in that glorious instant. Freed from the effects of sin, we will be completely healthy, happy, and restored to the likeness of God. It’s what He has always wanted for us. As we praise Him, we will almost certainly leap for joy!

KEY BIBLE TEXTS

And there sat a certain man at Lystra, impotent in his feet, being a cripple from his mother’s womb, who never had walked: The same heard Paul speak: who stedfastly beholding him, and perceiving that he had faith to be healed, Said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet. And he leaped and walked. – Acts 14:8-10

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

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AF Daily Devotional – Lifting the Burden

Average reading time is about 1 and a half minutes

An Amazing Fact: Roman emperor Justinian once ordered a compilation of all the laws governing ancient Rome. A lawyer named Tribonian directed the five-year-long project, which resulted in nearly 300 volumes of laws!

From its founding in 753 BC, Rome began accumulating laws. Any leader—local or national—could introduce new laws to govern his subjects. When Justinian came to power in AD 527, Roman law was a confusing mass of contradiction and redundancy. Justinian appointed Tribonian to thoroughly examine the laws, determining what to keep and what to discard. Seven years later, in 534, the Justinian Code was finally finished.

Today, most European nations owe the structure of their legal systems to Roman law. Even in the United States, many legal concepts that we take for granted originated in Rome.

Like their hated captors, the Jews amassed an enormous set of confusing and burdensome laws. Regarding the Sabbath alone, Pharisees created 39 categories of activities that might be considered work and were therefore taboo on Sabbath.

Enter Jesus and His no-nonsense spirituality. A lawyer once asked Jesus which law was most important. Jesus summarized the Ten Commandments into two simple ideas: “Love Me, and love your neighbor.”

We serve a God who keeps it simple! Christians still gravitate toward black and white lists of dos and don’ts; with lists, thinking and communing with God over life’s unique situations becomes unnecessary. But God promises that when we ask Him for guidance, He will direct us—to actions that demonstrate our love for Him and for our neighbor.

KEY BIBLE TEXTS

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. – Matthew 22:37-40

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. – Proverbs 3:5

Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself, when thou art come into the hand of thy friend; go, humble thyself, and make sure thy friend. – Proverbs 6:3

This devotional is courtesy if http://www.amazingfacts.org

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AF Daily Devotional – Who Is the Strongest?

Average reading time is about 1 and a half minutes

An Amazing Fact: If asked what the world’s strongest animal might be, you would probably imagine a large animal like an elephant or whale. Surprisingly, the title actually goes to the Onthophagus Taurus dung beetle. This little creature can pull 1,140 times its own body weight!

A recent study from Queen Mary University of London reveals that the dung beetle uses its great strength to battle other male beetles during mating season. Imagine pulling 100 tons of weight—an impossible feat for any human. Yet a dung beetle can do the equivalent.

The strength of God’s creatures might cause us to pause in wonder, but the power of our Creator is even greater. The psalmist praised, “Be exalted, O Lord, in Your own strength! We will sing and praise Your power.” David recognized with awe the strength of our God as something to be praised. In the world around him and the events of his life, he could see God’s might at work.

The same God who created an astonishingly strong insect has the strength to orchestrate the powers that control our world, yet at the same time He knows and cares about the small details of our lives. The trials on your heart are close to His heart too, and His strength is always ready to carry us through each day. Like David, many of us face difficult trials; it can be easy to let fear overwhelm us. But if we pause to step back and recognize that our lives are not in our hands, we can rest easy. Our lives are in the hands of an incredibly strong and caring Creator.

KEY BIBLE TEXTS
Be thou exalted, LORD, in thine own strength: so will we sing and praise thy power. – Psalms 21:13

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

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AF Daily Devotional – Your Holy Hill

Average reading time is about 1 and a half minutes

An Amazing Fact: At 29,035 feet, Mt. Everest is the highest mountain in the world. It was named after Sir George Everest, a British surveyor, in 1865. The mountain has actually had many different names, including Sagarmatha (Nepalese for ‘goddess of the sky’), Chomolungma (Tibetan for ‘mother goddess of the universe’), and the simple designation, ‘Peak 15.

If you decide to make the trip to Nepal to climb one of the highest mountains in the world, you’d better plan ahead. Reaching the tallest summits on our planet is not for the faint of heart. Many have died making little mistakes while trying to make it to the top. Oxygen levels are one-third of that of sea level amounts, so without supplemental air, you easily get foggy in your thinking. Energy levels plummet above the death zone—8,000 meters—where the amount of oxygen is not enough to sustain life.

Good mountain climbers respect the mountain. They know their limits. Perhaps the greatest tragedy on Mt. Everest took place in 1996, when several groups pushed beyond the turn-around time. It takes humility to admit defeat, turn around, and go back down.

David asks God in Psalm 15:1, “Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill?” The Lord answers, “He who walks uprightly, and works righteousness, and speaks the truth in his heart” (v. 2). To walk uprightly is to walk in humility. Philippians 2:3 explains it like this: “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.”

The highest place we can climb is through bowing low in humility at the foot of Mt. Calvary where Jesus died for us. Christ lowered Himself to our earth that we might be lifted up with Him to heavenly places—mountains higher than even Mt. Everest.

KEY BIBLE TEXTS

For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. – Isaiah 57:15

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

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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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