Saturday, October 21st, 2017 Bookmark and Share

October 2017 Dare 2B Daring Daily Devotions

Dare 2B Daring – October 20, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“I’m a fool to want you…” – Frank Sinatra

 

To the best of my knowledge, Frank Sinatra was only credited with writing one song, “I’m A Fool To Want You.”  Jack Wolf and Joel Herron co-wrote the music, and Frank penned the lyrics.

 

Sinatra first recorded an Axel Stordahl arrangement of the song in New York on March 27, 1951, backed by the Ray Charles Singers.  After its release by Capitol Records, it spent seven weeks on Billboard’s pop singles chart, peaking at #14.

 

Six years later, Frank entered the studio with Gordon Jenkins to record, “I’m A Fool To Want You”  for a second time, this time in stereo.  Known as “One-Take Charlie” throughout his movie career for insisting on only filming each scene once, Frank was a perfectionist in the studio.  He would record and re-record a song over and over again until it was just right.

 

However, on May 1, 1957, Frank entered the Capitol Records Tower in Hollywood and – without so much as removing his hat – sang through the entire song from start to finish.  Then he left, too overcome with emotion to continue.

 

The reason for his emotional reaction?  His marriage to actress Ava Gardner was on the rocks.  Ironically, his 1951 recording of the song took place in the midst of Frank’s notorious affair with Ava.

 

As much as I admire Sinatra’s enormous talent, he was a fool in his personal life.  He cheated on his first wife Nancy, divorced her, and then experienced two more failed marriages, multiple affairs, and two broken engagements.  What a mess!

 

By comparison, the Apostle Paul also referred to himself as a “fool”, but for a much different reason.  An extremely well-educated Pharisee, he “threw it all away” when He encountered the resurrected Jesus on the road to Damascus.  From that point on, he ceased being a prominent member of the Jewish ruling class.  Instead, he suffered a lifetime of hardships – from beatings and stonings to shipwrecks and imprisonment.

 

But, oh what heavenly rewards awaited Paul when he passed from this life into the next.  The Roman Emperor Nero may have ordered his execution, but Paul had the last laugh… and the crowns to prove it!

 

“We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ!  We are weak, but you are strong!  You are distinguished, but we are dishonored!” I Corinthians 4:10 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – October 19, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Regrets, I’ve had a few, but then again, too few to mention…” – Frank Sinatra, My Way, written by Paul Anka

 

If you are a father, it is the most convicting and heart-wrenching song ever recorded.  Harry Chapin and his wife Sandy co-wrote it, and it was released in 1974 as part of his “Verities and Balderdash” album.

 

Here are the timeless, punch-in-the gut lyrics…

 

My child arrived just the other day
He came to the world in the usual way
But there were planes to catch, and bills to pay
He learned to walk while I was away
And he was talking 'fore I knew it, and as he grew
He'd say, I'm gonna be like you, dad
You know I'm gonna be like you

Refrain:

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man in the moon
When you coming home, dad?
I don't know when
But we'll get together then
You know we'll have a good time then

My son turned ten just the other day
He said, thanks for the ball, dad, come on let's play
Can you teach me to throw, I said, not today
I got a lot to do, he said, that's okay
And he walked away, but his smile never dimmed
Said, I'm gonna be like him, yeah
You know I'm gonna be like him

 

Refrain

Well, he came from college just the other day
So much like a man I just had to say
Son, I'm proud of you
Can you sit for a while?
He shook his head, and he said with a smile
What I'd really like, dad, is to borrow the car keys
See you later
Can I have them please?

 

Refrain

I've long since retired and my son's moved away
I called him up just the other day
I said, I'd like to see you if you don't mind
He said, I'd love to, dad, if I could find the time
You see, my new job's a hassle, and the kid's got the flu
But it's sure nice talking to you, dad
It's been sure nice talking to you
And as I hung up the phone, it occurred to me
He'd grown up just like me
My boy was just like me

 

Refrain

 

As the father of three adult children, I couldn’t be more proud of the way they have turned out.  I credit the Lord and my wife, Deanna, for most of that.  I can’t begin to over-emphasize the importance of raising your children in the church and having a stay-at-home mom.

But despite the demands of my ministry, I can honestly say that I was present for virtually every important occasion in our kids’ lives.  I coached them in baseball, basketball, softball and soccer… cheered their concerts and school plays… taught them to swim, fish and ride a bike… and took them on lots of family camping vacations.  Most importantly, I had the privilege of leading all three of them to saving faith in Christ at the tender age of four.

 

Did I have my share of failures as a dad?  Absolutely… I still do!  But I was determined that one of them wasn’t going to be the lack of quality AND quantity time together.

 

PLEASE fathers, spend time with your kids.  Let them know that they are more important to you than your job and your career.  Show them by example that God comes first, followed by family.  Love your wife, the mother of your children.

 

And at least once a year, listen to Harry Chapin’s song and shed a few tears of regret.  Then get up, vow to do better, and keep that promise.

 

“And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – October 18, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are, “It might have been.” – Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.  

 

The headline screamed in bold-face type, “Florida’s Tom Petty, down-to-earth rock superstar, dies at 66.”

 

The ensuing article went on to describe in great detail Petty’s life and career, as well as the circumstances surrounding his death.  Apparently, Petty suffered cardiac arrest at his home in Malibu, California and never regained consciousness.  He was pronounced dead at the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles the following day after having been removed from life support.

 

I didn’t listen to Petty’s music or follow his career, but he and his band, “The Heartbreakers”, recorded many rock classics including “Free Fallin’”, “Refugee”, and “American Girl”.  They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.

 

Petty also toured with the supergroup, “the Traveling Wilburys”, which included fellow music icons George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynne.

 

What I found especially poignant – and more than a little tragic – about Petty’s obituary was the statement he made last year before embarking on a 40th anniversary tour.

 

“I’m thinking it may be the last trip around the country,” Petty told Rolling Stone magazine.  “We’re all on the backside of our 60’s.  I have a granddaughter now I’d like to see as much as I can.  I don’t want to spend my life on the road.  This tour will take me away for four months.  With a little kid, that’s a lot of time.”

 

Sadly, Petty’s granddaughter will grow up without him.  Not that he could have prevented his heart attack, but the lesson is clear: if there is something you want to do in life, do it now.  Today is not promised, let alone tomorrow.    

 

So, take that cruise.  Visit that exotic location.  Write that book.  Follow that dream.  And most of all, hug and hold close that loved one.

 

“…you do not know what will happen tomorrow.  For what is your life?  It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away?” James 4:14 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – October 17, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“When I was a kid my parents moved a lot, but I always found them.” – Rodney Dangerfield

 

In a few weeks, barring any unforeseen obstacles, I will be moving into a new place. After searching for a year and jumping through various hoops, it will be nice to finally complete the home-buying process. While my condo is modest, I am thrilled to call it my own. Though moving can be a tiresome and difficult task, it is also a time of change and new opportunities.

 

When I consider my upcoming move, I am reminded of one much grander that all believers will experience. In speaking to the disciples, Jesus said, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.”

 

Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

 

This address by Jesus was given in order to comfort His disciples. They had just been told one of them would betray Jesus and that Peter would deny Him as well. To encourage them, Jesus reminds the disciples of a promise. He wants them to believe in Him, understand who He is, and remember the place that awaits them in heaven.

 

I am very excited to move into my new place, but none of its features or amenities can compare to what Jesus is currently building for me. Accomplish the Lord’s work while on earth and look forward to your glorious move when He calls you home.

 

“And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” Luke 23:43 ESV

 

-          Christopher Glading, Program Director


Dare 2B Daring – October 16, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“If you want to be more productive, then start at the start: get there on time. Whether it is a meeting, a flight, an appointment or a date, it's important to ensure you are there when you say you will be there. This may feel like an old-fashioned tip to give, but it has served me well for five decades in business.” – Richard Branson

 

My dad was a salesman extraordinaire.  Some would say that he could sell an icebox to an Eskimo.  But he used his sales acumen to put a roof over our head and food on the table for a family of eight.

 

Sometimes that meant working more than one job.  My dad sold cemetery monuments, caskets, and bronze plaques and memorials.  His customers were funeral directors and families that had recently lost a loved one.  He also sold pens and other promotional items as well as religious jewelry. 

 

I did not inherit my dad’s talent for sales, nor did any of my five siblings.  However, I will always remember one important sales lesson that he taught us… actually two.

 

“A good salesman always has a pen in his pocket,” he would say anytime I asked to borrow one.  But the more important lesson was this: “If you’re on time, you’re late.”

 

In other words, my dad impressed upon me the importance of respecting other people’s time – and making the best use of mine – by showing up early for appointments.

 

Truth be told, as I scan the newspaper and watch our world seemingly spin out of control on TV, I wonder whether the Lord Jesus Christ is late for His divine appointment called the Rapture.  I long for Him to return and take His bride, the church, to meet Him in the sky.

 

But the reason why He hasn’t returned yet is explained clearly and succinctly by Peter in the following verse…

 

“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”  

 

And so, I will continue to wait patiently… and to witness boldly while I wait!

 

“Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed – in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.”  I Corinthians 15:51-52a (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – October 13, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“I think the thing I miss most in our age is our manners. It sounds so old-fashioned in a way. But even bad people had good manners in the old days, and manners hold a community together, and manners hold a family together; in a way, they hold the world together.” – Nancy Friday

 

As a youngster, I grew up reading the newspaper.  Back then, the afternoon edition arrived on our front steps anytime between 3:00 PM and 5:00 PM.

 

First, I would devour the sports page, and then the comics.  As I matured, I started reading the news stories on Page 1 and the editorials, too.  However, low on my list of priorities were the advice columns written by Abigail “Dear Abby” Van Buren and her sister (and rival) Ann Landers.

 

However, one long-forgotten column I think we all could benefit from is the one written for many years by Emily Post, who was recognized as America’s leading expert on what constituted proper manners.

 

Here is an excerpt from her online biography…

 

Emily Post was an American writer and socialite who became the nation’s most famous authority on how to behave graciously in society and business. Early in her career she wrote society columns and travelogues of pre-World War I Europe. Post published her first novel in 1904 and had a bestselling non-fiction book in 1909, but it was her 1922 book, Etiquette: The Blue Book of Social Usage (also Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics and at Home) that made her career. The success of the book led to a radio show and a syndicated newspaper column, and in 1946 she founded the Emily Post Institute for the Study of Gracious Living. By the time Post died in 1960, her book on etiquette had been revised many times and was in its 89th printing. The institute and the brand name continued after her death, directed first by Elizabeth Lindley Post, then by Peggy Grayson Post.

 

In this day and age, when political commentators insult and interrupt each other continuously, and civil discourse on social media is at an all-time low, maybe we should all pick up a copy of “Etiquette” and read it from cover to cover.

 

“Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.” Ephesians 4:29 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President 


Dare 2B Daring – October 12, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Perhaps I am old-fashioned, but black and white films still hold an affectionate place in my heart; they have an incomparable mystique and mood.” – Ginger Rogers

 

If I were to list all of the things I love about my church, it would spill over into tomorrow’s devotional message… and maybe even the next day’s.  But at the top of the list would be a strong devotion to God’s Word and an emphasis on applying it by serving others.

 

I also enjoy the music, which ministers to me every week and further energizes me to preach.  Although we sing a fair number of choruses, much of the music is found in one of the two hymnals that we use.  To me, there is nothing like the great hymns of the faith.

 

I am convinced that the hymnwriters labored over each and every word and note they wrote.  And I especially like the fact that each stanza differs from the previous one, building on its truth and laying a foundation for the next one.

 

Two of the hymns we sang recently so ministered to my spirit that I circled some of the words on my bulletin and want to share them with you today.

 

What Grace Is Mine

 

So I will go wherever He is calling me

I lose my life to find my life in Him

I give my all to gain the hope that never dies

I bow my heart take up my cross and follow Him

 

Find Us Faithful

 

O may all who come behind us find us faithful;

May the fire of our devotion light the way.

May the footprints that we leave behind them to believe,

And the lives we live inspire them to obey.

O may all who come behind us find us faithful.

 

“Is anyone among you suffering?  Let him pray.  Is anyone cheerful?  Let him sing psalms.” James 5:13 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – October 11, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“All the strength supplied to us by our gracious God is meant for service, not for wantonness or boasting.” – C. H. Spurgeon

 

As I mentioned before, I try to read one of Charles Spurgeon’s devotional messages every day.  Aside from the Bible itself, his “Morning and Evening” has blessed and challenged me more than any other book.

 

Here is an excerpt from the “Prince of Preachers”…

 

“When the prophet Elijah found the cake baked on the coals, and the cruse of water placed at his head, as he lay under the juniper tree, he was no gentleman to be gratified with dainty fare that he might stretch himself at his ease; far otherwise, he was commissioned to go forty days and forty nights in the strength of it, journeying towards Horeb, the mount of God.  When the Master invited the disciples to “Come and dine” with Him, after the feast was concluded He said to Peter, “Feed My sheep;” further adding “Follow Me.”  Even thus it is with us; we eat the bread of heaven, that we may expend our strength in the Master’s service.”

 

“Some Christians are for living on Christ, but are not so anxious to live for Christ.  Earth should be a preparation for heaven; and heaven is the place where saints feast most and work most.  They sit down at the table of our Lord, and they serve Him day and night in His temple.  They eat of heavenly food and render perfect service.  Believer, in the strength you daily gain from Christ labor for Him.”

 

“Even so the Lord feeds and refreshes our souls that we may afterwards use our renewed strength in the promotion of His glory.”

 

Not much more I can – or should – add to those profound words.

 

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President

 


Dare 2B Daring – October 10, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Live fast, die young, and leave a good-looking corpse.” – John Derek

 

On September 27th, Playboy founder Hugh Hefner passed from this life into the next.  Pause for a moment and allow the weight of those words to sink in.

 

After 91 years of living the “high life”, Hefner now must face his Creator and give an answer for the way in which he spent those nine decades here on earth.  If he never once trusted Jesus Christ as Savior – which from his lifestyle I would guess he didn’t – then he will spend eternity separated from not only his Playboy mansion, but also the God who loved him and gave His Son to die for him.

 

How tragic!

 

When Hefner founded his Playboy empire, starting with his iconic magazine in 1953, he probably thought that he was going to live forever.  He was just 27 years old and seemingly had the world by the tail.  But I’m sure he would say now that those intervening years passed like a blur.

 

As for John Derek, he failed to achieve his life’s goal, which was to die young and leave a good-looking corpse.  Sure, he lived “fast”, but he more than paid the price in his personal life.

 

Derek was married four times and divorced thrice.  He walked out on his first wife and family in order to marry 19-year old Ursula Andress.  Ironically, Andress left him eight years later for a French actor.

 

Enter wife #3, actress Linda Evans, whom Derek married in 1968.  This marriage also ended in divorce after five years when Derek had an affair with a 16-year old co-star named Mary Cathleen Collins, later known as Bo Derek.

 

John Derek had two children by his first wife.  His son Russell was paralyzed in a motorcycle accident in 1969, and his daughter Sean wrote an unflattering memoir about their dysfunctional relationship.

 

So much for life in the fast lane.

 

“If the dead do not rise, ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” I Corinthians 15:32 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President 


Dare 2B Daring – October 9, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“I’ve learned that as long as I hold fast to my beliefs and values – and follow my own moral compass – then the only expectations I need to live up to are my own.” – Michelle Obama

 

There are so many things wrong with Mrs. Obama’s quote – as well as her general approach to life that it reveals – that I don’t know where to start.  I guess at the beginning…

 

In Exodus 20:3, God tells the Jews through Moses that they are not to have any other gods before Him.  In the very next verse, He forbids them to make graven images or idols for them to worship.

 

In Mrs. Obama’s case, she seems to have broken the first two commandments rather unwittingly.

 

Her first mistake is following her own moral compass.  Scripture is very clear that, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” (Jeremiah 17:9)  In other words, by choosing to follow her own heart – and her own moral compass – Mrs. Obama is setting herself up for failure. 

 

Sadly, she is “lost in the woods” and doesn’t know it.

 

Even more tragically, she is making an idol of herself.  By saying that she only needs to live up to her own expectations, Mrs. Obama is equating herself with God.  He is the One who sets standards for righteous living, not us.

 

Since none of us meet God’s standards, He sent His Son to fulfill the 10 Commandments and the rest of the Law for us.  Jesus then died a sacrificial death in our place, experiencing the full wrath of God for the sins of the human race.  Those of us who trust Christ as Savior have our sins forgiven and His righteousness imparted unto us.

 

I pray that God will open Mrs. Obama’s spiritual eyes and reveal Himself to her in a supernatural way.

 

“Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized.” Acts 9:18 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President 


Dare 2B Daring – October 6, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.” – Langston Hughes

 

As our “Speed Week’ of devotional messages based on our fast-paced lives in this fast-paced world comes to an end, I thought I would share a few great quotes that I ran out of time – and room – to use.  Each one of them spoke to me in a different way. 

 

Some challenged me, some encouraged me, some made me laugh and some made me shake my head in disbelief.  Guess which were which (see below)…

 

“Light thinks it travels faster than anything, but it is wrong.  No matter how fast light travels, it finds that darkness has always gotten there first, and is waiting for it.” – Terry Pratchett

 

“Move fast and break things.  Unless you are breaking stuff, you are not moving fast enough.” – Mark Zuckerberg

 

“Fast food is popular because it’s convenient, it’s cheap and it tastes good.  But the real cost of eating fast food never appears on the menu.” – Eric Schlosser

 

“You don’t burn out from going too fast.  You burn out from going too slow and getting bored.” – Cliff Burton

 

“Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything.” – Wyatt Earp

 

“My style is to stay on the offensive: to take risks, to recover very fast when you make a mistake, but to keep moving forward.” – Newt Gingerich

 

“If you wish to travel far and fast, travel light.  Take off all your envies, jealousies, unforgiveness, selfishness and fear.” – Cesare Pavese

 

For the record, the first quote made me think, the second one made me cringe, and the third one made me nod my guilty head.  I agree – and disagree – with the fourth one, concur with the fifth, and absolutely love the last two.

 

How about you?

 

“Martha, Martha, you are worried about many things.  But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – October 5, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Life goes by fast.  Enjoy it.  Calm down.  It’s all funny.  Next.  Everyone gets so upset about the wrong things.” – Joan Rivers

 

One of the things I liked best about Joan Rivers was her ability to poke fun at herself.  Known for her dozens of plastic surgeries, Joan once recorded a TV commercial in which she asked the viewer, “Am I smiling?  I can’t tell.” as she felt her face in a mock panic.

 

One of the best pieces of advice I ever read was from Chuck Swindoll.  “Take life seriously,” Chuck wrote, “but don’t take yourself seriously.”

 

What Chuck was trying to say was that life is a precious gift from God and should be spent in His service, honoring Him.  After all, this life is simply preparation for the next one and eternal souls hang in the balance.

 

However, Chuck’s second point is that we should stop acting as if the whole universe revolves around us.  It doesn’t, so relax a little, decompress, and cut yourself some slack now and then. 

 

Yes, take time to smell the roses… hit the links… rock a baby… or wet a hook.

 

Above all, spend time with people who are the most precious to you: your family, your friends, your neighbors, your co-workers, your teammates, your classmates and your fellow church members.  

 

“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President  


Dare 2B Daring – October 4, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Drive slow and enjoy the scenery.  Drive fast and join the scenery.” – Douglas Horton

 

They’re b-a-a-a-a-c-k!!!

 

Who am I talking about?  Why, the snowbirds, that’s who. 

 

Every year, once the leaves start to fall up north, they arrive by the carload.  And quiet, tranquil Vero Beach is quickly transformed into the winter home of hundreds – if not thousands – of transplanted northerners.

 

Now, don’t get me wrong, I welcome most of the snowbirds with open arms.  After all, our local economy depends heavily on tourism.  And it wasn’t that long ago that this Jersey boy sought refuge in the Sunshine State himself.

 

But one thing about snowbirds that will drive most anyone crazy is their driving habits.  I am not a fast driver and – knock on wood – have never received a single speeding ticket.  However, sitting behind a long line of drivers who can’t see over the steering wheel and who refuse to use their turn signals can be a bit frustrating.

 

At times like that, however, it is best to remember that God has a plan and a purpose for each and every day that we live.  I am also convinced that He has a great sense of humor, too.

 

In other words, it’s always better to shake your head and laugh than to shake your fist and holler.

 

“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.” Proverbs 17:22 (KJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – October 3, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Slow down and enjoy life.  It’s not only the scenery you miss by going too fast, you also miss the sense of where you are going and why?” – Eddie Cantor

 

According to Wikipedia, the time it takes to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph is a commonly used performance measure for automotive acceleration in the United States and the United Kingdom.  Current performance cars can cover that distance in under 6 seconds, while exotic cars and some motorcycles can do it in less than 4.

 

The Bugatti Veyron Super Sport set the record for the fastest production street car in 2010, going from a full stop to 60 mph is just 2.46 seconds.  And the Porsche 918 Spyder, a hybrid vehicle, did even better in 2015, achieving the same speed in only 2.2 seconds.

 

These days, our world seems obsessed with speed.  For instance, everyone wants – and thinks they need – the fastest internet speed.  Land lines have been replaced by cell phones, but even a phone call seemingly takes too long.  And so, we started texting… then tweeting… then using Instagram… and now Snapchat.

 

We get impatient when we have to wait in line at the gas station or the grocery store.  I want service, and I want it NOW!!!

 

Looking at the life of Jesus, He never seemed to be in a hurry.  Although He lived a life of extreme purpose, He rested in the knowledge that God the Father had a perfect plan for His life.  As such, Jesus was confident that enough time would be allocated for Him to accomplish that plan.

 

And so, my friend, I encourage you to take a deep breath and r-e-l-a-x.  God remains on His throne and He’s not going anywhere.

 

“And He said to them, ‘Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while” Mark 6:31a (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President  


Dare 2B Daring – October 2, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Contradictions are the impossible chasms that create forever separations. God is the forever bridge that creates impossible reunions.” – Craig D. Lounsbrough

 

Last week, I began reading The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene. Though I am only in the beginning chapters, the core premise of the book seems to be the reconciliation of general relativity and quantum mechanics through string theory.

 

While general relativity accounts for a large-scale view of the universe, including stars, galaxies, and beyond, quantum mechanics provides a vantage point of microscopic proportions, consisting of molecules, atoms, and subatomic particles.

 

If you recall from your days in chemistry class, an atom is composed of a nucleus, containing protons and neutrons, and an electron cloud. The proton has a positive charge, the neutron has no charge, and the electron has a negative charge. Like charges repel and opposite charges attract.

 

But how can this be? The electromagnetic repulsion of protons should cause the nucleus to disintegrate. Moreover, the opposite charges of protons and electrons should lead them to combine and form a neutron. This would eliminate the nuclei of hydrogen, the simplest atom, stopping the formation of more complex elements.

 

Amazingly, even smaller subatomic particles keep this from happening. They are called quarks. A proton has two up-quarks and a down-quark while a neutron has two down-quarks and an up-quark. Furthermore, there are two forces acting upon these quarks, the strong force and the weak force.

 

Within a nucleus, the electromagnetic force of protons pushes them away from each other. However, the strong force overcomes the electromagnetic force and holds the nucleus together. Thankfully, our second problem is also avoided, for the mass of an electron is just slightly small enough to prevent it.

 

The physical world is filled with paradoxes, down to the smallest building blocks of matter. Still, they are resolved and the universe perseveres. The greatest paradox of the spiritual realm involves a holy God choosing to love sinful man. Yet, because of this sin, He is unable to look upon us. It is only through the intercession of Jesus Christ that we can be reconciled to our Father. In this sense, the force of justification overcomes that of condemnation.

 

“For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.” Romans 5:10 ESV

 

-          Christopher Glading, Program Director


Dare 2B Daring – September 29, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backward.”

– Aldous Huxley, Ends and Means

 

So many insightful quotes and so little time or space.

 

And so, as our week of technology-based devotionals comes to an end, let me share a few of the more memorable quotes with you… and then add a spiritual application at the end.

 

“It’s supposed to be automatic, but actually you have to push this button.” – John Brunner, Stand on Zanzibar

 

“At the end of a miserable day, instead of grieving my virtual nothing, I can always look at my loaded wastepaper basket and tell myself that if I failed, at least I took a few trees down with me.” – David Sedaris, Me Talk Pretty One Day

 

“Books don’t need batteries.” – Nadine Gordimer

 

“We can’t jump off bridges anymore because our iPhones will get ruined.  We can’t swim in the ocean because there’s no service on the beach and adventures aren’t real unless they’re on Instagram.  Technology has doomed the spontaneity of adventure and we’re helping destroy it every time we Google, check-in, and hashtag.” – Jeremy Glass

 

“Even the technology that promises to unite us, divides us.  Each of us is now electronically connected to the globe, and yet we feel utterly alone.” – Dan Brown, Angels & Demons

 

So, there you have it, some collected wisdom – and dark humor – from some very learned people.  Allow me to make a brief theological point based on the first quote by John Brunner. 

 

Ephesians 2:8 makes it abundantly clear that salvation is by grace through faith.  But James, in his timeless epistle, also drives home the eternal truth that faith without works is dead. 

 

In other words, yes, it’s automatic… but you still have to push the button.

 

“But someone will say, ‘You have faith, and I have works.’  Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” James 2:18 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President   


Dare 2B Daring – September 27, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Computers are useless.  They can only give you answers.” – Pablo Picasso

 

As a kid, one of my favorite TV shows was the original Star Trek.  It was already in syndication when I started watching, but I never got tired of seeing the same episodes over and over again.

 

In fact, my friends and I were so “into” Star Trek that we would play-act some of the more classic reruns.  My favorite character was Captain Kirk, but I also liked “Scottie”, the chief engineer, and Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy.

 

However, the one character that I could never quite warm up to was Mr. Spock.  As a Vulcan, his lack of emotion or expressiveness left me cold.  To me, logic and facts were far less interesting than the real drama of human emotions.

 

Thankfully, God made man to experience and express different emotions.  There are positive ones such as joy, happiness and love.  And yes, there are also negative ones like anger, hatred, and guilt.

 

I suspect that one of the main reasons why God gave us emotions was that He wanted us to worship Him in spirit and truth.  In other words, He desired our worship of Him to be voluntary, heartfelt and sincere.  An act of the will as well as the heart.

 

True God-honoring worship should involve both our heads and our hearts.  Pure emotion-driven worship without mental assent is like a rollercoaster ride that can be derailed at any time.  Likewise, worshipping God minus an emotional element can appear stoic and lifeless, as if by rote.

 

Just ask Pablo Picasso…

 

“God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:24 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President  


Dare 2B Daring – September 26, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“There will come a time when it isn’t ‘They’re spying on me through my phone’ anymore.  Eventually, it will be ‘My phone is spying on me’.” – Philip K. Dick

 

As we continue a week of technology-based devotional messages, I’d like to share a recent Facebook post from a dear brother in Christ, Steve Salis.

 

Hello! Gordon's pizza?

- No sir, it's Google's pizza.

- So, it's a wrong number?

- No sir, Google bought it.

- OK. Take my order please.

- Well sir, do you want the usual?

- The usual? You know me?

- According to our caller ID, the last 12 times, you ordered pizza with cheese, sausage, and thick crust.

- OK!

- May I suggest to you this time ricotta, arugula and dry tomato?

- What? I hate vegetables.

- Your cholesterol is not good.

- How do you know?

- Through the subscriber’s guide. We have the result of your blood tests for the last 7 years.

- Okay, but I do not want this pizza, I already take medicine.

- You have not taken the medicine regularly.  Four months ago, you only purchased 30 tablets at Drugsale Network.

- I bought more from another drugstore.

- It's not showing on your credit card.

- I paid in cash.

- But you did not withdraw that much cash according to your bank statement.

- I have another source of cash.

- That is not showing as per your last tax return unless you bought them from an undeclared income source.

- Enough! I'm sick of Google, Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp. I'm going to an island without internet, where there is no cellphone service or landline and no one to spy on me.

- I understand sir, but you need to renew your passport; it expired 5 weeks ago........

 

As comical as this fabricated conversation may be, it also contains some eerie truth that could easily happen in the years to come… if it hasn’t already.  Just look at the recent hack of Equifax, in which the personal information of 143 million Americans was compromised.

 

But while we’re waiting for Big Brother to completely eliminate our privacy rights, consider the fact that even before you were born, God saw your every move.  In fact, Psalm 139 makes it crystal clear that it is impossible to hide from God.

 

Jonah learned that lesson the hard way, as does anyone who tries to outrun, outlast, outthink or outlive God.  But for those who are walking by faith in lockstep with God, His omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence should be comforting and reassuring.

 

“Where can I go from Your Spirit?  Or where can I flee from Your presence?” Psalm 139:7 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – September 25, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“We are stuck with technology when what we really want is just stuff that works.” – Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt

 

Guilty…as…charged!

 

To what heinous crime am I pleading guilty?  Would you believe being too dependent on my smartphone?

 

Recently, I was listening to a guest on the Glenn Beck radio program who was formerly employed by Google.  He was making the point that – because of their far-reaching influence on the everyday lives of most Americans – three U.S.-based companies are more powerful than the federal government.

 

In case you were wondering, those companies are Apple, Facebook and Google.

 

To further his argument, the gentleman said that studies show that the average American checks his or her cellphone 150 times per day.  That’s 4,500 times per month and 54,750 times per year.  Ugh!!!

 

These small pocket-size devices that were designed to simplify our lives have, in many ways, made them far more complicated.  Not only have they made us their prisoners, but they have also ruined the art of interpersonal communication. 

 

Don’t believe me?  Look no further than your local restaurant, where couples on a date spend the majority of their time glancing at the smartphones in their hands rather than gazing into the eyes of their perspective mate.  Or watch four teens sitting in the same booth, chatting away via text with people who aren’t even there instead of talking to their friends across the table.   

 

Visit your local library and you will leave there shaking your head, too.  The most frequently visited section in the building isn’t fiction, non-fiction or reference…it’s the computer lab.

 

Perhaps Patti Smith said it best in her acceptance speech for receiving a National Book Award in 2010.  “Please, no matter how we advance technologically, please don't abandon the book. There is nothing in our material world more beautiful than the book."

 

And, above all books, the Bible is the most beautiful.  Just imagine what would happen if people checked the scriptures 150 times a day instead of their smartphones.  Ouch!!!  More than a little convicting, right?

 

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” Hosea 4:6a (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – September 22, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Not relying on any one guy, but getting contributions from every single person on the roster, that’s how we win.” – Derek Jeter

 

On Monday evenings, my son Chris and I pack up some basketballs and a cooler full of cold water bottles, and head to South County Park.  It’s only about a mile from our house, but I consider it a mission trip nonetheless.

 

You see, on any given night, South County Park attracts 30-40 basketball players… sometimes more.  One court usually features guys who want to play full-court games while the other court hosts two simultaneous half-court games.

 

Chris and I always pick the half-court closest to the lacrosse field and start shooting around.  More often than not, some nearby players challenge us to a game of two-on-two... or three-on-three, if one of our other Risk Takers players is with us.

 

So there we are, a soon-to-be 58-year old grandfather and a 6’0” leftie who weighs 145 pounds soaking wet.  And guess what?  We win almost every game we play. 

 

What allows us to beat players that are 35-40 years younger than me…and 3-5 inches taller (and 75-100 pounds heavier) than Chris?  The answer is simple: we play as a team.

 

Chris plays a multi-faceted game.  He can drive to the hoop or sink a long jumper equally well.  I, on the other hand, can do one thing and one thing only: bury a three-pointer.

 

And so, our game plan is simple.  Chris attacks the basket.  If he beats the defender, he scores an easy lay-up.  However, if they double-team him, he kicks the ball to me in the corner or at the top of the key and I try to drain a three.

 

As soon as one of us scores the winning basket, we offer a bottle of cold water to our former opponents along with a gospel tract featuring a prominent Christian athlete.  Then we invite them to our indoor program on Thursday evenings in an air-conditioned church gym.  On average, 35-45 of them show up every week for some “Bible and basketball”.

 

We call it our Living H2O Initiative and it works… because we work together.

 

“Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their labor…” Ecclesiastes 4:9 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President 


Dare 2B Daring – September 21, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“You gotta have fun.  Regardless of how you look at it, we’re playing a game.  It’s a business, it’s our job, but I don’t think you can do well unless you’re having fun.” – Derek Jeter

 

Ssshhh… don’t tell anyone.  Please, whatever you do, keep it a secret.

 

What secret am I talking about?  Simply this: I love being a minister.

 

For whatever reason, God hardwired me to care about causes greater than myself, the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Great Commission being prime examples.  He also gave me a heart for people and their eternal souls.  That means that I take great satisfaction and yes, even pleasure, in sharing the truth of God’s Word – whether it’s in a church sanctuary, on a prison softball field, or on a neighborhood basketball court.

 

In other words, ministry – at least to me – is F-U-N.

 

Yes, it’s also very hard work, time consuming, and physically, emotionally and spiritually demanding.  And yes, it comes with a host of headaches, heartaches and pressures… not the least of which are the family and financial sacrifices that it requires.

 

But at the end of the day – and someday, at the end of my life – I can’t think of anything I’d rather be doing.  God made me to minister to others by proclaiming His truth, especially in unconventional ways.  He also created within me a passion to do it passionately.

 

And so, here is my advice for those who are seeking God’s plan and purpose for their lives.  Find something you absolutely love doing.  Chances are, that may be exactly what God wants you to do.

 

Derek Jeter had a Hall of Fame career for three reasons.  First, God gave him unusual athletic ability.  Second, he worked hard to maximize that athletic ability.  Third, he had fun doing so.

 

“Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – September 20, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Never look down on anybody unless you’re helping them up.” – Rev. Jesse Jackson

 

As you might imagine, I have very little in common with Jesse Jackson.  Our political views are    miles apart and I think he has made a career – and a boatload of money – by creating, or at least exacerbating, racial unrest in America.

 

However, I wholeheartedly agree with his quote above and the sentiment it conveys.  And so, credit to where credit is due.

 

Why do I despise pride so much?  Maybe because it was the original sin.  Ask most people who committed the first sin and they will likely respond, “Adam and Eve”.  Wrong!  It was Lucifer, whose arrogance led him to want to be like God and to try to usurp His authority.

 

Thankfully, I am not alone in how much I hate pridefulness.  Many others detest pride and bemoan its corrupting influence on humanity – and dare I say it, on the church as well.  Here are just a few…    

 

  1. Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it's thinking of yourself less.  – C.S. Lewis
  2. Pride makes us artificial and humility makes us real. – Thomas Merton
  3. "Thank you" is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, understanding.  – Alice Walker
  4. The greatest friend of truth is Time, her greatest enemy is Prejudice, and her constant companion is Humility. – Charles Caleb Colton
  5. The proud man can learn humility, but he will be proud of it. – Mignon McLaughlin
  6. Humility, that low, sweet root, from which all heavenly virtues shoot. – Sir Thomas Moore
  7. Humility is throwing oneself away in complete concentration on something or someone else.             – Madeline L'Engle
  8. Pride must die in you, or nothing of heaven can live in you.  – Andrew Murray, Humility
  9. Humility is nothing but truth, and pride is nothing but lying. – St. Vincent de Paul
  10. Selflessness is humility. Humility and freedom go hand in hand. Only a humble person can be free. – Jeff Wilson

 “These six things the LORD hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: a proud look…” Proverbs 6:16-17a (NKJV)

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – September 19, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“A grateful heart is a beginning of greatness. It is an expression of humility. It is a foundation for the development of such virtues as prayer, faith, courage, contentment, happiness, love, and well-being.”

– James E. Faust

 

As part of my morning “quiet time” with the Lord, I read a portion of Scripture (I am currently in the Book of Psalms) and that day’s devotional message from “Morning and Evening” by Charles Haddon Spurgeon.  I also read three different online devotionals, one of which is written by Steve Marr.

 

Steve is an accomplished businessman who serves as a consultant with a number of companies across the U.S. and around the world.  Most importantly, he looks at commerce through the eyes of a committed Christian.

 

In one of Steve’s recent messages, he highlighted the fact that most business success is the result of a team effort, not the result of one person’s effort.  Steve then went on to use the illustration of an orchestra conductor to drive home his point.

 

“Good conductors take a humble bow, acknowledge the concert master, and then ask the orchestra to stand, giving them credit for their performance,” Steve wrote.  I couldn’t agree more.

 

As an avid sports fan, I find it harder and harder to watch sports on TV – especially pro games.  A 7-footer with the wingspan of a condor manages to dunk a basketball (how could he not?) and then mugs for the camera like he just discovered the cure for cancer.  A running back scoots down the field for a touchdown and proceeds to perform a choreographed dance routine in the end zone that would make the Rockettes envious.

 

What about the teammate who passed the ball to the 7-footer?  Or better yet, the God who made him that tall?

 

How about the offensive line whose blocking created a truck-size hole in the defense for the halfback to run through?  Or again, the God who gave him the ability to run so fast?

 

I’ve had it up-to-here with self-promoters – whether they are in sports, business or the ministry.  Enough is enough.  Give credit to your Creator, those around you, and do your best to deflect any honor or praise that comes your way.  In other words, stay humble.

 

“Let us not become boastful”. Galatians 5:26 (NASB)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – September 18, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“There is peace even in the storm.” - Vincent van Gogh

 

A few weeks ago, my partner and I were completing a survey on Hutchinson Island. As the last

task of the job, I had to walk out into the ocean. At times, the water rose above my waist, but

since it was another hot, sunny day in Florida, I did not mind.

 

As I stood in the water focused on holding my prism pole to the ocean floor, I could feel the pull

of the incoming tide. Though standing quite balanced, the sand shifted beneath my feet. The

foundation on which I stood was not secure.

 

We are all familiar with the parable Jesus told concerning a wise man and a foolish man.

Matthew 7:24-27 reads, ““Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be

like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the

winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.

And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man

who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and

beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

 

Those in attendance would have understood this teaching of Jesus. While the sand of the Sea of

Galilee was tremendously hard during the hot summers, it was washed away by the floods of

winter rains. A wise builder would dig deep into the bedrock in order to lay a foundation that could

withstand the rains.

 

Life will undoubtedly cast storms in your direction. At times, these will even be literal storms, as

we have seen with hurricanes Harvey and Irma. In order to withstand them, we must have a solid

foundation. During these trials, I can think of no greater foundation than that of Jesus Christ.

 

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in

the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing

made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the

darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:1-5

 

-          Christopher Glading, Program Director


Dare 2B Daring – September 15, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“It isn’t necessary to see a good tackle; you can hear it!” – Knute Rockne

 

As we finish this week of devotional messages devoted to college football coaching legends, there is no better place to end than with Knute Rockne.

 

Born in Voss, Norway in 1888, Rockne only lived 43 years, passing into eternity on March 31, 1931.  But during his short stint here on earth, Rockne accomplished many things.  As head coach of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (1918-1930), Knute led his team to an unparalleled record of 105 victories, 12 losses, five ties and three national championships, including five undefeated seasons without a tie.  His .881 winning percentage remains the highest for any major college coach almost 90 years after his death.

 

Rockne is also credited with popularizing the forward pass, an innovation that allowed the unheralded Irish to defeat a powerful Army team, 35-13, in 1913.  In that game, Rockne stunned the crowd at West Point by catching multiple long passes from quarterback Charlie “Gus” Dorais.

 

Tragically, Rockne was killed in a plane crash near Bazaar, Kansas at the height of his coaching career.  Perhaps his greatest legacy is that 29 of his players or assistant coaches went on to serve as head coaches, copying and implementing many of Knute’s strategies.

 

Rockne’s short life – and premature death – beg two questions.  First, are you ready to “meet your Maker”?  If not, trust Jesus as your personal Savior today!  And second, what legacy will you leave behind?  Are you making disciples as Christ commanded us to do in Matthew 28:19-20?  If not, it’s time to start getting busy by sharing your faith.  

 

K.P. Yohannan with the Gospel for Asia estimates that 80,000 people die and enter a Christ-less eternity each and every day.  How about throwing a “long pass” in their direction by telling them about Jesus?

 

“Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.” Psalm 144:4 (ESV)

 

“Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” James 4:14 (ESV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – September 14, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“He wasn’t just a coach.  He was THE coach.” – John McKay, former head coach, USC Trojans and Tampa Bay Buccaneers

 

As promised, here is the third and final (for now) devotional message based on the life and times of Paul “Bear” Bryant.

 

Despite his demanding ways that included some of the most grueling college football training camps ever, the Bear was almost universally loved by his players.  That includes quarterbacks Joe Namath and Kenny Stabler.

 

Bryant suspended “Broadway Joe” for the final two games of the 1963 season for violating his no-alcohol policy.  Four years later, Stabler was kicked off the team for partying and cutting classes.

 

So why did these future NFL Hall of Famers hold the Bear in such high esteem?  Because in both cases, Bryant gave them a second chance, reinstating them to the team once they had learned their lesson.

 

Tragically, the body of Christ doesn’t always treat our wayward members in the same way.  Slip up once – or twice – and you are relegated to the sidelines.  Not for a game or two, but permanently.

 

Contrast that less-than-kind treatment with the manner in which our Heavenly Father treats us when we go astray.  He loves us enough to chastise us, but His discipline is never meant to punish or condemn.  On the contrary, its sole purpose is to refine and restore.

 

Contemporary Christian singer Steve Green wrote the song, “Wounded Soldier” in 1984.  Here are the lyrics…

 

See all the wounded

Hear all their desperate cries for help

Pleading for shelter and for peace

Our comrades are suffering

Come let us meet them at their need

Don’t let a wounded soldier die

 

Obeying their orders

They fought on the front lines for our King

Capturing the enemy’s stronghold

Weakened from battle

Satan crept in to steal their lives

Don’t let a wounded soldier die

 

Chorus:

 

Come let us pour the oil

Come let us bind their hurt

Let’s cover them with a blanket of His love

Come let us break the bread

Come let us give them rest

Let’s minister healing to them

Don’t let another wounded soldier die

 

That song was written the year after Coach Bryant died, so he never got to hear the words.  But in his own inimitable way, the Bear simultaneously demonstrated tough love and restorative justice on the gridiron.  So did Barnabas (Acts 15:37-40); Paul (2 Timothy 4:11); and Jesus (John 21:15-17).

 

“Brethren, if any man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.” Galatians 6:1 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – September 13, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Coaching is a lot like preaching.” – Paul “Bear” Bryant

 

A college football icon like Bear Bryant is deserving of more than one devotional message, don’t you think?  Not that the Bear was a saint by any stretch of the imagination.  In fact, his drinking had become so problematic that he secretly checked himself into a rehab facility in the spring of 1978.

 

But if you ask his former players and assistant coaches – and even the men he coached against – the Bear’s positive attributes far outweighed his negative ones.  In fact, I plan to address one of Bryant’s most redeeming qualities in tomorrow’s devotional, so stay tuned.

 

For today, however, I want to focus on the quote above because it contains an important spiritual truth.

 

Over the past two months, I have had the privilege of filling the pulpit at a local church.  I am not serving as the interim pastor, because Pastor Russ is more than capable of performing those duties.  However, he has needed some help preaching while he recovers from a stroke and I have been more than glad to come alongside him in that manner.

 

Serving in this capacity has given me an even deeper appreciation for pastors and a greater understanding of the burdens they carry.  You see, all too often, churches hire (I prefer the term, “call”) a pastor and then expect him to do all the work.  Not only is he required to preach 2-3 times per week, but the congregation may want him to visit the sick, coordinate VBS, take out the garbage and mow the lawn.

 

After all, he is the “hired gun”, right?  W-R-O-N-G.

 

Scripture makes it abundantly clear what a pastor should be expected – and not expected – to do.  Basically, his job is to train and equip the church members, and then “coach” them from the sidelines.  Look no farther than the early apostles, who delegated many of the more mundane church responsibilities in order to devote themselves to prayer and the ministry of the Word.  (Acts 6:4)

 

Be a team player and help your coach, I mean pastor, do his job effectively.

 

“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” Ephesians 4:11-12 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President 


Dare 2B Daring – September 12, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“I make my practices real hard because if a player is a quitter, I want him to quit in practice, not in a game.” – Paul “Bear” Bryant

 

It is safe to say that there will never be another college football coach like Paul “Bear” Bryant.  In his nearly four decades as a head coach at Maryland, Kentucky, Texas A&M and Alabama, the Bear compiled a record of 323-85-17, giving him a winning percentage of .780.  His teams appeared in 29 bowl games and won 15 conference championships.

 

Bryant won an incomprehensible 193 games during the 60’s and 70’s, including six national championships.  Even more impressively, Bryant’s teams posted a losing record just once in his 38 seasons of coaching.

 

There was nothing more iconic than the Bear leaning against a goalpost, watching his team warm up before a game with his trademark houndstooth hat atop his head and a rolled-up playbook in his hand.  “He was simply the best there ever was,” said Bob Delvaney, former head coach at the University of Nebraska.

 

Bryant retired in 1983, defeating Illinois in the Liberty Bowl in his final game after a sub-par season.  When asked what his plans were, the Bear replied, “probably croak in a week”.  Tragically, Bryant’s words proved prophetic as he suffered a massive heart attack just four weeks later.  His years of heavy smoking and drinking had finally caught up with the Bear.

 

I don’t know if I could have withstood the grueling training regimen that Bryant required of his players, especially the “Junction Boys” at Texas A&M in his first season there.  But something tells me that the Bear and I would have gotten along pretty well.  Like Coach Bryant, I hate losing and because of that, I refuse to quit – no matter the odds and no matter the score.

 

If only you and I could apply that same tenacity to the spiritual realm, the sky would be the limit.  Instead of winning six national championships, we could collect some heavenly crowns to cast someday at our Savior’s feet.

 

"For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up of me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." 2 Timothy 4:6-8 (KJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – September 11, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Gentlemen, it is better to have died a small boy than to fumble a football.” – John Heisman

 

John William Heisman was born in 1869, just four years after the end of the Civil War.  Raised near Titusville, PA, he played football in both high school and college, starring at Brown University and the University of Pennsylvania.  Heisman went on to coach baseball, basketball and football at numerous colleges – primarily in the south – including Clemson, Georgia Tech and Rice.

 

Although Heisman’s baseball teams won an impressive 219 games against just 119 losses, he made his biggest mark on the gridiron where his teams compiled a 186-70-18 record, including a national championship at Georgia Tech in 1917.  Many experts rank Heisman alongside Amos Alonzo Stagg, Walter Camp and Pop Warner in the pantheon of great college football innovators.

 

And yes, the Heisman Trophy, awarded each year to the top college football player in the country, is named after him.

 

From the quote above, it is easy to deduce that Heisman was an extremely demanding coach.  Apparently, fumbling the football led to either a prolonged stay in his personal “doghouse” or being cut from the team altogether.

 

In a recent message, I shared with the congregation at my church that I find it extremely easy to offer forgiveness to others – including convicted murderers – and to convey to them God’s unconditional love.  However, because I am such a perfectionist, I have trouble applying that same grace to myself.

 

Praise God that His love, mercy and patience transcend my understanding. 

 

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President 


Dare 2B Daring – September 7, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“It’s something inside his heart that’s bigger than anything.  He’s got the heart of a lion about to grab something.” – Darryl Strawberry, talking about David Cone

 

Darryl Strawberry and David Cone were teammates on two different teams.  Their respective 17-year careers intersected on the New York Mets (1987-1990) and the New York Yankees (1995-1999). 

 

Ironically, the two ballplayers couldn’t have been much more different.  Strawberry, who was the first overall pick in the 1980 Major League draft, was known as much for his wasted potential as he was for what he accomplished on the playing field.  Most baseball analysts will say that “Straw” under-achieved, despite his 335 HR’s and 1,000 RBI’s.

 

A combination of a laid-back personality and a long battle with drug addiction, which resulted in three different suspensions, were mostly to blame for Darryl never achieving superstar status or posting Hall of Fame numbers.

 

David Cone, on the other hand, seemed to squeeze every last bit of God-given potential out of his storied career.  He wasn’t drafted until the third round in 1981, and it took him five long years to reach the majors.  Once there, Cone used an overpowering fastball and a devastating curve to stake a reputation as one of the best right-handers in the game.

 

But even more impressive are the wins Cone earned after his fastball lost its zip and he started to experience arm trouble.  Grit, determination and an encyclopedia-like knowledge of opposing hitters extended his effectiveness.  At the tail-end of his career – with a chronically aching arm – Cone hurled the 16th perfect game in Major League history.

 

So, with which player do you most identify?  Are you content to drift aimlessly through life, remaining “below the radar” as much as possible?  Or are you willing to take spiritual gambles that stretch your faith to its limits… and then some?

 

In other words, are you a true “Risk Taker for Christ”?

 

“Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you were a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed.  And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground.” Matthew 25:24-25a (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President  


Dare 2B Daring – September 6, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“If you’re going to play at all, you’re out to win.  Baseball, board games, playing Jeopardy, I hate to lose.” – Derek Jeter

 

My mother is half Scottish, meaning that I am ¼ Scottish myself.  Perhaps that is why the one and only thing of my personal “bucket list” is to visit my ancient homeland, Scotland.  I long to see first-hand the rolling hills, the lush valleys, and the glimmering lakes including Loch Lomond and Loch Ness.

 

I also want to visit the historical sights in Edinburgh and Glasgow, and to dine in a Scottish pub.  Maybe I will even visit the remnants of the MacDougall castle, which is our family’s clan.  But as an avid golfer, my #1 goal is to play as much links golf as possible.  I don’t have to play the Old Course in St. Andrews, Carnoustie, Turnberry or Muirfield… any old course will do.

 

By the way, are you familiar with the motto of the MacDougall clan?  It is “Victory or Death!”, also translated as “Conquer or Die!”  So now you know one of the reasons why I am so competitive.

 

Like Derek Jeter, I like to win, but I hate losing even more.  Which is why I will do everything I can – within the rules of the game – to come out on top.  Unless, of course, I am competing against my grandchildren.  Then, and only then, “Papa” loves to lose.

 

But at the end of the day, who wins and who loses a game of Monopoly, or horseshoes, or pick-up basketball is pretty inconsequential.  Ten days from now, who will really care.  Ten years from now, who will even remember.

 

What amazes me, however, is how little some people care about what will happen 10,000 years from now.  All of us will be in one place or another: believers in Jesus Christ will be spending eternity in heaven, and unbelievers will be spending the same amount of time in hell.

 

It doesn’t matter whether you won or lost last week’s softball game, soccer match or fishing contest.  However, the stakes concerning your eternal soul couldn’t be any higher.

 

Trust Christ TODAY!

 

“For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?  Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” Matthew 16:26 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President  


Dare 2B Daring – September 5, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“We just want to win – that’s the bottom line.  I think a lot of times people may become content with one championship or a little bit of success, but we don’t really reflect on what we’ve done in the past.  We focus on the present.” – Derek Jeter, after winning the 2000 American League pennant, heading into a “Subway Series” versus the Mets

 

Resting on one’s laurels is a danger that many of us encounter at different points in our lives.  I can remember two distinct times when that happened to me.

 

The first was in 1993.  I had served as the recreation director at a Christian retirement community in New Jersey for 10 years and was contemplating leaving the security of that position to go into full-time prison ministry.  I distinctly recall feeling like I was “losing my edge” at work, as God pulled me more and more towards becoming a missionary.

 

One of my responsibilities at the facility was to arrange three-day/two-night trips for the most able-bodied residents.  Previously, I had taken them to the Hudson River Valley – including Bear Mountain, West Point and Sleepy Hollow, Washington Irving’s country estate.  We had also traveled as a group to Annapolis, where we toured the Naval Academy; and Hershey PA, where we ate more than our share of freshly-made chocolate.  Mystic, Connecticut was another of our destinations.

 

That year’s trip was to Newport, Rhode Island, the playground of the rich and famous during America’s “Guilded Age”.  But as exciting as that trip was – including seeing Cornelius Vanderbilt’s fabulous home, “the Breakers” – I let a few minor details slip through the cracks.  No one noticed, but I did, letting me know that it was time to move on.

 

The second time I faced such a situation was in 2011.  Having founded The Saints Prison Ministry in 1987, and serving as the full-time executive director for 17 years, I found myself dreading planning another golf tournament, another basketball season, another softball crusade.  Budget meetings, board meetings and staff meetings all became a blur.  Once again, God confirmed to me that it was time to pick up stakes and try something different.  Something “risky”… like starting a brand-new ministry from scratch… in a different state, no less.

 

Where are you in your own personal faith-walk?  Are you approaching a place on your spiritual timeline where you know it’s time to do something else in order to stay fresh – and wholly dependent on God?

 

Been there, done that, and have the t-shirt, blessings, scars and spiritual “stretch marks” to show for it!

 

“Now the LORD had said to Abram: ‘Get out of your country, from your family, and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you.” Genesis 12:1 (NKJV)


Dare 2B Daring – September 4, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“We don’t have one big guy.  We have a team full of big guys.” – Tim Raines, Hall of Fame baseball player

 

Tim Raines spent 23 years in the Major Leagues, starting his career with the Montreal Expos in 1978 and ending it with the Florida Marlins in 2002.  Most of his best seasons were with the Expos, during which time he led the National League in such categories as plate appearances, runs scored, doubles and of course, stolen bases.  Raines even won a batting title in 1986, hitting .334 with an OBP (on base percentage) of .413.

 

The quote above referenced Tim’s three-year stint with the New York Yankees, 1996-1998.  The Yanks won two World Championships during that period and Raines was an important role player, coming off the bench many times to provide an offensive spark.  Occasionally, he was also inserted into the lineup late in the game as a defensive replacement because of his blazing speed.

 

I think what Raines was trying to say in his quote was that the “Bronx Bombers” didn’t rely on one superstar to win games.  On the contrary, they had many different players – some stars and some role players – who put aside their egos and worked together for one common goal: winning!

 

Joe Torre, who managed those teams, referred to the 1999 squad as “the standard of Yankee excellence.”  According to Torre, “There may have been Yankee teams with better players, more Hall of Famers, but I don’t think there ever was a team that had all 25 guys contributing to the success the way that team did.”

 

Imagine that!  Twenty-five individuals working together as one, all pulling in the same direction.

 

In I Corinthians 12 and John 17, Paul and Jesus both call for Christian unity in the church.  Setting aside petty differences, there is no limit to what a unified Body of Christ can do.

 

Is that true of your church?  And are you doing your part to see that such unity of purpose and practice exists?

 

At Sebastian Baptist Fellowship, I see the Bible coming alive and the words of Paul and Jesus – and Tim Raines – being applied on a daily basis.  I pray that you can say the same about the church where you are attending.

 

“For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.” I Corinthians 12:12 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President     


Dare 2B Daring – September 1, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“It’s [baseball] your work, it’s your profession, it’s your hobby, but it isn’t your life.  A lot of other things go into that.” – Joe Torre, former Major League player and manager

 

One of the biggest challenges most people face – and men, in particular – is separating who they are from what they do.  Don’t believe me?  What is the first question you normally ask someone you are meeting for the first time?

 

“What do you do for a living?”

 

We tend to define ourselves by our occupation more than any other aspect of our lives.  In fact, many surnames were derived from the person’s profession or trade.  Coopers made barrels and Smiths shoed horses.

 

There’s nothing wrong with such a family lineage, but becoming too closely associated with your job can be problematic when things don’t go well at the office, you get passed over for a promotion or you get laid off.  And it can be catastrophic for men who recently retired.  Just ask a husband who is constantly underfoot at home, or a former pro athlete whose life has revolved around playing his sport since grade school.  Now, at the tender age of 35 or 40, he no longer hears the roar of the fans or cashes a big paycheck.  He also misses the camaraderie of his former teammates.

 

Homemakers are not immune to this sense of loss either.  Having devoted their time and energies to raising children and caring for their family, they are suddenly faced with “empty nest syndrome”.  Husbands need to be especially sensitive to their wife’s needs during that time of transition.

 

So, what’s the solution to this dilemma?  Find your true identity in Jesus Christ.  When we become new creatures in Him (2 Corinthians 5:17), who we were and what we did (or do) becomes secondary to who we are in Christ.  And that new identity never changes or ceases to exist.

 

Bye-bye, empty nest syndrome!

 

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President     


Dare 2B Daring – August 31, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Sometimes, you pinch yourself.  I get to do such incredibly fun things with people who are of such an incredible caliber.  It’s really, really awesome.” – David Costabile

 

The other day, I was enjoying breakfast with a couple of buddies.  One of them asked what my plans were for the rest of the day.

 

“I get to go home and prepare a couple of messages,” I replied.  And that, dear friends, tells it all.

 

You see, I used to catch myself answering such questions with the words, “I have to…” instead of “I get to…”  A subtle difference, sure, but a profound one.

 

Over the past two months, I have been privileged to fill the pulpit at a local church while the pastor recovers from a stroke.  Thankfully, Pastor Russ is making steady progress and our prayer is that he will be able to resume his preaching duties in the near future.

 

During his absence, I have prepared and preached 17 different messages, all from the Gospel of Mark.  That may sound rather painstaking to some and yes, it has certainly been time consuming.  But you know what else it has been?  F-U-N… and lots of it!

 

To my amazement, every Monday morning I can’t wait to dive into God’s Word and start preparing my messages for the following Sunday morning and evening.  Most weeks, I consult multiple commentaries and my Hebrew-Greek Study Bible.  Hours, not minutes, go into each message along with lots of prayer.

 

I have often counseled people to find something they are passionate about and to pursue it for all they’re worth.  Guess what?  At the ripe old age of 57, I have discovered that I am passionate about expository (verse by verse) preaching.  Every time I step into the pulpit, I feel like I am exactly where God wants me to be, doing exactly what He wants me to do… and hopefully, saying exactly what He wants me to say.

 

Find your God-given passion and go for it!

 

“For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!” I Corinthians 9:16 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President 

 


Dare 2B Daring – August 30, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Regrets, I’ve had a few, but then again, too few to mention.” – Frank Sinatra, “My Way”, composed by Paul Anka

 

The subject of missed opportunities is such a common theme in life – as well as in scripture – that I thought it deserved more than one devotional message.  Here are a few quotes that address the age-old question of “what might have been”…

 

“Moments, when lost, can’t be found again.  They’re just gone.” – Jenny Han, The Summer I Turned Pretty

 

“Our lives are defined by opportunities, even the ones we miss.” – Eric Roth, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

 

“Footfalls echo in the memory, down the passage we did not take, towards the door we never opened, into the rose garden.” – T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets

 

“If you ask people what they’ve always wanted to do, most people haven’t done it.  That breaks my heart.” – Angelina Jolie

 

“The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.” – Harriet Beecher Stowe, Little Foxes 

 

“Don’t fear death, fear the un-lived life.” – Natalie Babbit, Tuck Everlasting 

 

I guess what I am trying to say is that even though I am a huge Frank Sinatra fan, I disagree with the sentiments expressed in “My Way”.  In fact, the entire premise of that song is wrong.  As a believer in Jesus Christ, my goal – my life’s ambition – is to do things HIS way, not mine.

 

Sure, I have many regrets in life.  But I am determined to go to my grave with as few as possible.  That means sharing my faith, taking risks, loving others… and telling them that I do.

 

And yes, emptying my bucket list.  Scotland, here I come!

 

“LORD, make me know my end, and what is the measure of my days, that I may know how frail I am.” Psalm 39:4 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – August 29, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Our biggest regrets are not for the things we have done, but for the things we haven't done.” – Chad Michael Murray

 

In yesterday’s devotional message, I made mention of Miami Beach, where the “Jackie Gleason Show” was filmed before a live television audience.  That same resort town has an even deeper meaning for my family and me, at least on my mother’s side.

 

My maternal great-grandfather was named Henry Joseph Gerke.  He was the son of German immigrants from Prussia who settled in Philadelphia.  Eventually, Henry moved across the Delaware River to Camden, New Jersey, where he raised his family and worked as a pressman for the Victor Talking Machine Company.  In 1918, Henry began a 24-year career with the Camden Fire Department, where his son-in-law Edward also served.  Eventually, Edward rose through the ranks to become chief, but that’s a story for another day.

 

Back to Henry Gerke, who our family lovingly refers to as “the dumb Deutschman”.  Why would his descendants, many of whom never met him, saddle Henry with such an unflattering moniker?

 

In the 1920’s, Florida was experiencing an unprecedented land boom.  To some, it was eerily reminiscent of the California Gold Rush of 1849, when real estate prices rose ten and twenty-fold (or more) virtually overnight.

 

A couple of Henry’s friends decided to drive to Florida and check out some property.  Once they arrived in the Sunshine State, they boarded a boat and scouted out the shoreline.  I don’t know if his buddies made a purchase, but Henry passed up the opportunity.  His infamous reasoning was simple: “Who wants a bunch of sand dunes?”

 

As you may have guessed, those “sand dunes” that Henry could have bought for pennies on the dollar are located in present-day Miami Beach.  If only Henry had pulled the trigger on that land deal, he – and his descendants – would probably have been millionaires.

 

Chad Michael Murray is right.  Sometimes it’s the decisions we don’t make that we live to regret the most.

 

“And Elijah came to all the people, and said, ‘How long will you falter between two opinions?  If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” I Kings 18:21 (NKJV) 

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – August 28, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“How sweet it is!” – Jackie Gleason

 

As a kid, I can remember watching the old Jackie Gleason show, “live from Miami Beach”.  It featured comedy skits, guest vocalists and, of course, the iconic June Taylor Dancers.  The cameraman would film their synchronized dance routines from above as they kicked their legs to form various flowers and other creative designs.

 

“How sweet it is!” was Gleason’s trademark slogan.  “The Great One” would utter it at least once per episode along with “…and here we go!”  That second line was Gleason’s way of transitioning from his opening monologue to the rest of the program.

 

Almost 100 years before Gleason coined that phrase, Charles Haddon Spurgeon incorporated it in one of his timeless devotional messages.  Here is an excerpt…

 

“There is a hallowedness about the hunger [for God], since it sparkles among the beatitudes of our Lord.  But the blessing involves a promise.  Such hungry ones shall be filled with what they are desiring.  If Christ thus causes us to long after Himself, He will certainly satisfy those longings; and when He does come to us, as come He will, oh, how sweet it will be!”

 

The hunger that Spurgeon is referring to is found in Matthew 5:6.  It reads as follows: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.”

 

May that be the prayer, cry, and desire of my heart and yours… to yearn after Jesus and His righteousness, seeking to be like Him on earth and to remain in His presence in heaven forever.

 

“As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God.” Psalm 42:1 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President   


Dare 2B Daring – August 25, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Gracious souls are never perfectly at ease except they are in a state of nearness to Christ; for when they are away from Him they lose their peace.  The nearer to Him, the nearer to the perfect calm of heaven; the nearer to Him, the fuller the heart is, not only of peace, but of life, and vigor, and joy, for these all depend on constant communion with Jesus.” – C.H. Spurgeon

 

Nothing I have ever experienced in life compares with being a grandfather.  Not that I love my three grandchildren any more than my wife, our three kids or my parents.  However, there is something so unique about the relationship between a grandparent and a grandchild that it has to be experienced first-hand to be believed.

 

Take Brady Joseph Blume, for example.  If I don’t get to see him at least once a week, I literally start experiencing a serious case of “Brady withdraw”.  To offset those symptoms, I will gaze at a picture of him on my phone or, if I am especially desperate, I will ask my daughter (his mother) to send me a fresh photo.

 

Last Saturday, our extended family got together at Disney Springs in Orlando for the day.  There were 21 of us there – some from New Jersey and some from Florida.  It was great seeing my nephew and his family for the first time in more than a year.  I also enjoyed some quality time with my sister, with whom I share a birthday one year apart.  But truth be told, I spent the most time with Brady, holding his hand as we strolled through countless toy stores. 

 

And when it came time to pose for a family photo, guess who was holding Brady?  That’s right… Papa!

 

My earnest prayer is that I will cherish my time with Jesus even more than I do my time with Brady.  To be honest, I struggle in that area because I can see and touch Brady whereas I can only sense Christ’s presence.  But one day, one glorious day, I will stand in His presence and we will be together for all eternity.

 

Something tells me that our time at Disney Springs will pale in comparison.

 

“For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another.  How my heart years within me!” Job 19:25-27 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President   


Dare 2B Daring – August 24, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“There is nothing little in God; His mercy is like Himself – it is infinite.  You cannot measure it.  His mercy is so great that it forgives great sins to great sinners, after great lengths of time, and then gives great favors and great privileges, and raises us up to great enjoyments in the great heaven of the great God.” – C.H. Spurgeon

 

When I was a kid, my parents took our family to see Niagara Falls.  I remember very little about the trip, but I’m sure that I was impressed by the enormity of it all.

 

Fast forward about 30 years, and Deanna and I took our kids to see the same falls as part of a Canadian camping trip.  My only concern was that what had appeared to be gigantic to me as a child would look far less awe-inspiring to me as an adult.

 

To my great relief, the American side of the falls was breathtaking… and even more so, the Canadian side.  We even took a ride on the Maid of the Mist, the sight-seeing boat that gets so close to the falls that you can’t see anything but cascading water all around you.  Not only that, but the roar is so deafening that you can’t hear the person next to you. 

 

God’s grace, mercy and love are like Niagara Falls.  They live up to – and exceed – all of our grandest expectations.  Amidst our sin and despair, He reaches down from heaven and offers forgiveness and restoration to truly repentant hearts.  Guilt, no matter how deep-seated and deserved, is washed away… once and for all.

 

As William Cowper wrote in his classic hymn,

 

There is a fountain filled with blood
Drawn from Immanuel’s veins;
And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,
Lose all their guilty stains:
Lose all their guilty stains,
Lose all their guilty stains;
And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,
Lose all their guilty stains.

 

“Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” Psalm 51:7 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – August 23, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“It is better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness.” – from W.L. Watkinson's sermon,  “The Invincible Strategy”, The Supreme Conquest, 1907

 

On Monday, much of the United States experienced a solar eclipse.  Not a partial one, but a total eclipse of the sun.  For parts of three hours, Indian River County – where I live – was shrouded in darkness in the middle of the afternoon.

 

When Deanna and I first started dating, I couldn’t get over the spectacular night skies of her native Fulton County, PA.  Coming from South Jersey with its bright lights, busy highways and crowded shopping malls, I had never seen more than a few dozen stars whenever I gazed heavenward.  But far removed from Philadelphia to the east and Pittsburgh to the west, the night skies over Fulton County are nothing short of breathtaking.  On a clear night, you can see literally hundreds – if not thousands – of celestial bodies.  It almost looks like an alien invasion!

 

Sadly, the moral and cultural state of America more resembles a solar eclipse than the skies over Fulton County.  Our country, founded on solid Judeo-Christian principles, continues to turn its back  on God as it “slouches” toward Gomorrah (see Robert Bork’s landmark book, penned in 1996).  Once sacred social mores have been discarded as Americans – led by activist judges and progressive politicians – embrace homosexuality, transgenderism, and a host of other deviant sexual behaviors. 

 

Meanwhile, church attendance is down and Christians are increasingly demonized as hate-mongers for standing up for biblical truth.  Like the Roman Empire, we are collapsing from within, fulfilling Abraham Lincoln’s prophetic warning that the United States was invincible to foreign invasion, but susceptible to national suicide.     

 

And yet, I trust that I am not alone in seeing a bright ray of sunshine peeking through the storm clouds brewing overhead.  You see, just like in Fulton County, the blackness of night magnifies the brilliance of light.  What an opportunity we have, as believers, to allow the Holy Spirit to shine through us, illuminating the world around us.

 

Please join me in lighting your candle… and leave cursing the darkness to others.

 

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President      


Dare 2B Daring – August 22, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“The blessed ones who possess the Kingdom are they who have repudiated every external thing

and have rooted from their hearts all sense of possessing. These are the ‘poor in spirit.’” – A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God

 

A few weeks ago, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was playing on television. Starring Gene Wilder as the eccentric chocolate connoisseur, it is one of my all-time favorite films. After watching,   I wanted to read the book from which the story was adapted. So, I went to the library and found Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl.

 

As I’m sure you know, the narrative centers upon Charlie Bucket. Charlie is an extremely poor boy who lives with his parents and both sets of grandparents. Miraculously, he finds one of five golden tickets permitting him to tour Mr. Wonka’s chocolate factory.

 

Along with Charlie are Veruca Salt, Violet Beauregarde, Mike Teavee, and Augustus Gloop. While Charlie is a well-mannered, humble boy, the other children are rude, obstinate, and selfish. Throughout the tour, each child ignores the instructions and warnings of Mr. Wonka and all encounter trouble. All but Charlie, of course.

 

By the end of the book, Charlie is the only child remaining and is subsequently declared “the winner”. unaware a competition was even taking place, Charlie is astonished when Mr. Wonka gifts him the entirety of his factory. From that point on, Charlie and his family will never worry of money, shelter, or food again.

 

Having read the book, I am reminded of Matthew 5:3, which states “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” While Charlie was physically poor, he was also poor in spirit. The young boy exhibited an unassuming, polite, and grateful attitude. Conversely, the other children were unruly, greedy, and disobedient. As a result, Charlie inherited the factory and the rest met destruction.

 

Let us be more like Charlie Bucket, acknowledging our spiritual bankruptcy before God in order that we may inherit the kingdom of heaven.

 

“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” Romans 14:17 ESV

 

-          Christopher Glading, Program Director


Dare 2B Daring – August 21, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“We are saved by faith alone, but the faith that saves is never alone.” – Martin Luther

 

Storage Wars is a television program my dad and I both enjoy. A major reason for this is Barry

Weiss. Barry is a highly entertaining individual with a great sense of humor and an eccentric

personality. He will often arrive at the auctions in a different custom-designed car each time. 

Unlike the other buyers on the show, Barry will look for items of historical or artistic value that

he may keep for his own, giving him a nickname of “The Collector”.

 

In a replay of an episode I saw this week, Barry did quite well on one unit. When the auctioneer

revealed the contents within to the buyers, no one seemed impressed. The locker was relatively

empty, and what was inside looked old and dirty.

 

Consequently, no one had a desire to bid. No one except Barry. Risking just $2.50, Barry won

the unit. If nothing of worth was to be found, he wasn’t out much. However, after a cursory

inspection, Barry found five antique glass jars in the top shelf of a cabinet, and he knew these to

be old fly catchers having considerable value.

 

After taking them to an expert, Barry was told his fly catchers could garner anywhere from

$1,500 to $2,000. Not bad for an investment of only a few bucks!

 

In Matthew 17, we see Jesus heal a demon-possessed boy. Interestingly, the father comes to

Jesus after His disciples initially failed in the matter. Later, the disciples ask Jesus why they were

unable to cast the demon out and are told it was a result of their little faith. Jesus continued

saying, “For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this

mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”

 

At the time, a mustard seed was the smallest seed planted by farmers. Still, the plant could grow

to ten feet in height if properly tended. This analogy from Jesus comes just chapters after another

in which He compared the kingdom of heaven to a mustard seed. Matthew 13:31-32 reads, “He

put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed

that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is

larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make

nests in its branches.”

 

Barry wagered $2.50, but garnered almost $2,000 in profit. In much the same way, faith the size

of a mustard seed can move mountains, and when grown, accomplish much for God.

 

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7 ESV

 

-          Christopher Glading, Program Director


Dare 2B Daring – August 18, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Always acknowledge a fault frankly.  This will throw those in authority off their guard and give you opportunity to commit more.” – Mark Twain

 

Obviously, Mark Twain’s comments above were meant to be tongue-in-cheek.  After all, he didn’t earn a reputation as one of America’s greatest humorists for nothing.

 

As I pointed out in yesterday’s devotional, Chuck Colson seemed to follow the first part of Twain’s advice to the “T”.  However, instead of creating a smokescreen to commit even more heinous crimes, Colson’s repentance was genuine as evidenced by the transformational life he lived after his conversion.

 

How I wish Peter Edward Rose had learned that same lesson and taken it directly to heart.

 

Pete Rose was the hero of every boy who grew up in the 1970’s.  He played the game of baseball the right way – hustling on every play, whether it was on offense or defense.  “Charlie Hustle” even ran to first base whenever he was walked!  Along with Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan and Tony Perez, Rose was a huge cog in the “Big Red Machine” that won back-to-back World Championships in 1975 and 1976.

 

But apparently, Rose’s competitive nature got the best of him and by the time he was managing the Cincinnati Reds, he was betting on many of his team’s games.  Although he never bet on his team to lose, Rose still broke the cardinal rule of baseball… over and over again.  Worse yet, he denied doing so for several decades after his banishment from the game.

 

Americans are a forgiving people and Christians (hopefully) even more.  If only Rose had admitted to his gambling addiction, he might be enshrined in Cooperstown today.  Instead, he continues to stand on the outside of the Hall of Fame… forever looking in.

 

Tragically, new allegations of sexual misconduct have surfaced from the 1970’s, making it virtually certain that Rose will never be voted into Cooperstown.  As John Greenleaf Whittier famously wrote, “For all sad words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these, ‘It might have been.’”

 

“But if you fail to do this, you will be sinning against the LORD; and you may be sure that your sin will find you out.” Numbers 32:23 (NIV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – August 17, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“If it’s going to come out eventually, better have it come out immediately.” – Dr. Henry Kissinger

 

In yesterday’s devotional message, I tried to convey the damage that a single momentary lapse can do to a person’s reputation.  What it has taken years, perhaps decades, to build can be tragically lost over the course of a few mindless seconds. 

 

However, that doesn’t mean that there is no second chance in life, let alone in the world of politics.  After all, Richard Nixon spent the last 20 years of his life in pursuit of political and historical redemption.

 

Imagine how differently things might have turned out had President Nixon acknowledged – and disassociated himself from – the bungled Watergate break-in from the very beginning.  No definitive evidence has ever been uncovered that he authorized the actual burglary.  In fact, doing so would have been politically unnecessary (and potentially suicidal) since Nixon was so far ahead in the polls that he was virtually guaranteed to coast to re-election.

 

No, Nixon’s mistake was trying to cover up the break-in.  And once the existence of a clandestine White House taping system became known, it was only a matter of time before the truth came out.  One by one, his co-conspirators were fired and/or faced indictment.  Today, names like John Dean, Jeb  Magruder, E. Howard Hunt, G. Gordon Lilly, John Ehrlichman, H.R. Haldeman and John Mitchell are mere footnotes in this political tragedy.

 

One other name is usually included in that laundry list of felons: Chuck Colson, Nixon’s chief legal counsel and self-avowed “hatchet man”.  However, something transformational happened to Colson between his indictment and his criminal trial – he trusted Jesus Christ as his Savior.  And so, when he stood before the sentencing judge, Colson (against the wishes of his defense attorney) pleaded guilty.  As a result, he served seven months at the Maxwell Correctional Facility in Alabama.

 

But as we all know, that wasn’t the end of Church Colson’s story.  He went on to found Prison Fellowship, to author more than 30 best-selling books, and to become one of the most-respected figures in modern Christendom.

 

May Colson’s life, his mea culpa (Latin for “through my fault”), and his radical transformation be lessons to us all.

 

“Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”  James 5:16a (NIV) 

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President 


Dare 2B Daring – August 16, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“It takes a lifetime to build a reputation and only a few seconds to destroy one.” – Author Unknown

 

Last week marked the 43rd anniversary of one of the lowest points in American history.  Richard Milhouse Nixon, the 37th president of the United States, was forced to resign in the face of almost certain impeachment.

 

Less than two years prior, Nixon had been resoundingly re-elected to a second term in office in one of the biggest landslides in presidential history.  He had received almost 18 million more votes than Democrat Senator George McGovern, defeating him 60.7% to 37.5%.  Even more impressively, Nixon earned 520 electoral votes to just 17 for McGovern.  Adding insult to injury, McGovern lost his home state of South Dakota, managing to win only Massachusetts and the District of Columbia.

 

But the reputation that Nixon had forged over his many years in the U.S. House of Representatives, his two terms as Dwight Eisenhower’s vice-president, and his first term as president was soon lost in the wake of the Watergate scandal.  A bungled office break-in during his re-election campaign – and the subsequent coverup – had brought down a sitting president. 

 

Pardoned by President Gerald Ford, Nixon retired to San Clemente, California where he remained in seclusion for several years.  Eventually, Nixon emerged from his self-imposed exile long enough to give a series of interviews to journalist David Frost.  He then spent the final 20 years of his life traveling the world, writing books and serving as an elder statesman in a somewhat successful attempt to rebuild his tarnished reputation.

 

Today, Richard Nixon is remembered for his foreign policy achievements, including visiting China and establishing diplomatic relations with that country.  However, if you consult the history books – or ask someone on the street what they think of when they hear the name “Richard Nixon” – the response will be the same: “Watergate”.

 

“A good name is more desirable than great riches, to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.” Proverbs 22:1 (NIV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President     


Dare 2B Daring – August 15, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“By the time you hear the thunder, it’s too late to build the ark.” – Unknown

 

I have one irrational fear and it is the fear of lightning.  I don’t mind seeing lightning bolts when I am safely inside a building or a car.  But if I am out in the open – either on a ballfield or a golf course – I get very nervous once the thunder starts to roll and the lightning begins to strike.

 

A few years ago, my son Chris and I were playing golf at a nearby club and had managed to get through 16 holes before it started to rain.  We ran under the porch of a nearby house and waited out the storm.  Once it had passed (or so we thought), we played #17 and had just teed off on #18.

 

BOOM!!!  Before we knew it, thunder was roaring in our ears and lightning was flashing in virtually every direction.  Turning to Chris – and trying not to sound too panicky – I shouted, “R-U-N!”

 

Together, him carrying his golf bag and me pulling mine, we set a new world record as we galloped down the fairway.  By God’s grace, we managed to reach the pro shop winded, but unscathed.

 

Flash (no pun intended) forward to one of our recent Living H2O Initiatives.  I had just finished teaching the young men there about end times prophecy, specifically about the Rapture, the Tribulation and the Battle of Armageddon.  Then I challenged them to pick up a Bible and read the Book of Revelation.   

 

At the end of the evening, one of our volunteers approached me with a startled look on his face.  “They’re all gone,” he said. 

 

“What’s all gone,” I asked.

 

“The Bibles,” he responded.  “All of the Bibles and the New Testaments on our free resource table are gone.”

 

I smiled, realizing that the young men had taken to heart my warning to be prepared for the Lord’s return.  They might not be afraid of lightning, but they sure were concerned about being “left behind”.

 

How about you, my friend?  Are you ready for the trumpet to sound and Jesus to appear in the eastern sky?  If not, trust Christ as your Savior today, because He is coming back soon!  

 

“…the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.” I Thessalonians 5:2 (NIV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – August 14, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“I thank the good Lord for making me a Yankee.” – Joe DiMaggio

 

No, this isn’t a reprint of last Friday’s devotional message.  On the contrary, it is an entirely new – and very different – lesson that we can learn from the life of Joe D.

 

Ted Williams, whose career spanned parts of four decades, called DiMaggio “the greatest all-around player I ever saw.”  Connie Mack, who managed the Philadelphia Athletics for a record 50 years, went even farther.  He referred to Joe as “the best player that ever lived.”

 

So, what is the second lesson we can learn from DiMaggio’s life – and specifically, from today’s quote?  Simply this: at the end of his career, Joe didn’t complain about the three full seasons he lost during World War II or the painful heel injuries that led to his premature retirement.  Nor did he bemoan his torn ligaments in 1934, the countless home runs that turned into harmless fly balls in Yankee Stadium's "Death Valley", or the wasted year he spent in the Pacific Coast League in 1935.  Instead of being called up to the Yankees that season, DiMaggio tore up the league by batting .398 with 34 HR’s, 154 RBI’s and a record 61-game hitting streak.

 

Instead, this son of Italian immigrants, born the eighth of nine children to Giuseppe and Rosalia DiMaggio, chose to focus on his blessings.  It didn’t matter that his father had barely eked out a living as a fisherman, first in Sicily and then San Francisco.  What mattered to Joe was that for 13 brief but stellar seasons, God had allowed him to patrol center-field for the most famous team in sports history… in the most famous stadium ever built.

 

Life doles out good along with bad to each and every one of us.  We can choose to be grateful for the good, or to become embittered by the bad.  It’s all a question of perspective – and attitude.

 

Another baseball player who lost multiple seasons at the height of his career to military service was Bob Feller. “Rapid Robert” was the first major leaguer to enlist in the service, signing up two days after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.  In the three seasons before World War II, Feller won 24, 27 and 25 games, respectively.  When he returned from the Navy in 1946, he recorded another 26 wins. 

 

However, the “Heater from Van Meter” didn’t regret serving his country in such a way, despite the more than 100 victories he probably forfeited in the process.  Near the end of his life, Feller was asked which of his many accomplishments he was the most proud of.  Without hesitating, he responded that it was the years he spent aboard the USS Alabama, for which he earned six campaign ribbons and eight battle stars.

 

“He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” Matthew 5:45 (NIV) 

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President          


Dare 2B Daring – August 11, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“It’s great to be young and a Yankee.” – Joe DiMaggio

 

Joe DiMaggio, nicknamed the “Yankee Clipper” for the way he glided across the outfield grass, took the American League by storm in 1936.  As a 21-year old rookie, he batted .323 and clubbed 29 homers while knocking in 125 runs.  A year later, he exceeded those numbers, hitting .346 with 46 home runs and 167 RBI’s.

 

It is easy to see why, as the toast of New York City, DiMaggio was able to utter the words in today’s quote.  After all, he had led the Yankees to World Championships in 1936 and 1937, and would again in 1938, 1939, 1941, 1947, 1949, 1950, and 1951. 

 

As impressive as “Joltin’ Joe’s” career numbers were, they would have been even more mind-blowing had he not lost three full seasons in his prime (1943-1945) serving in the U.S. Army during World War II.  Most baseball experts believe that his 56-game hitting streak in 1941 will never be broken.  To me, his greatest accomplishment may have been swatting 361 home runs while only striking out 369 times, never more than 39 times in a single season.

 

However, by 1951, the great DiMaggio was running out of steam.  Hobbled by painful bone spurs, he hung up his cleats for good following the World Series, his 10th championship in 13 seasons.

 

Today, most people remember Joe as a spokesman for “Mr. Coffee” or as one of Marilyn Monroe’s three husbands.  Still others recall him as a footnote in Simon and Garfunkel’s classic song, “Mrs. Robinson”.

 

The point of the matter is that fame is fleeting and youth, perhaps more so.  Passing fads and fading looks turn today’s movie stars into tomorrow’s has-beens, seemingly overnight.  Professional athletes have even shorter careers, with the average NFL player lasting just 2.66 seasons according to the league office (or 3.3 years according to the Players’ Association).

 

So, faced with such gloomy statistics, what’s a person to do?  Prepare for eternity by trusting Jesus as your Savior and start storing up treasures in heaven.  Then you won’t go broke like 78% of all professional football players do within three years of retiring.   

 

“But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” Matthew 6:20 (NIV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President   


Dare 2B Daring – August 10, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Short words are the best and old words, when short, are the best of all.” – Sir Winston Churchill

 

A few of my friends and I play a game where we award each other points for using an unusual word in the proper context.  Depending on the rarity of the word, it may generate a half-point or even a full-point.  The length of the word isn’t as important as its uniqueness and correct usage.

 

The point of the game is to encourage each other to constantly expand our respective vocabularies.  In this age of “tweets”, texts, posts and other abbreviated forms of communication, I find it refreshing to engage in some real in-depth (and preferably face-to-face) conversation.

 

For similar reasons, I enjoy reading “Morning and Evening” by Charles Haddon Spurgeon.  Almost every morning, I read one of that day’s two devotional messages.  This year, I am reading the morning messages and next year, I will switch over to the evening ones.  That means that every two years, I read Spurgeon’s masterpiece in its entirety… and then start over again.

 

There are more modern versions of “Morning and Evening” available, but I much prefer reading Spurgeon’s timeless wisdom in its original language.  To me, the richness of 19th century English prose conveys a depth of meaning far greater than 21st century “Americanese”.  

 

Of course, I realize that this is simply a matter of personal preference. The real key is to read something – in addition to the Bible – that strengthens and challenges your faith every day.  For me, it’s anything written by Spurgeon.  For others, it may be “My Utmost for His Highest” by Oswald Chambers or “The Pursuit of God” by A.W. Tozer.

 

Call me old-fashioned, but I find the spiritual depth and maturity of these classic writers to be far superior to much of what is being written – and mass-marketed – today.

 

“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!” Romans 11:33 (KJV)

 

-       Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – August 9, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“I am sorry for such a long letter.  I didn’t have time to write a short one.” – Mark Twain

 

A friend of mine from church was telling me about a letter he sent last year to Roger Goodell, the commissioner of the National Football League.  The purpose of his letter was to inform Commissioner Goodell why he was no longer watching NFL games on TV.

 

The main reason for my friend’s self-imposed boycott was the refusal of Colin Kaepernick, the 49’ers quarterback at the time, and others to stand for the playing of the National Anthem before games.  To make sure that Mr. Goodell read his letter personally, he wrote it by hand instead of typing it on his computer.  Like me, my friend has heard that handwritten letters get noticed – and have far more impact – than ones that are computer-generated.

 

At least once every week or so, I also receive a handwritten letter in the mail.  It is from my mother, whose handwriting is still as sharp and clear as ever.  By comparison, mine looks like a chicken stepped in ink and then walked across the page.

 

Without exception, my mom’s letters are cheerful and upbeat, telling me about what she has been up to.  She closes each one with a question or two about my immediate family and then assures us all of her love.

 

One of my friends, Larry “Chap” Lilly, also writes to me on occasion.  It is usually a short note tucked inside an envelope along with his monthly support check for Risk Takers.

 

Both Chap and my mom have learned the all-important lesson about the meaning of a handwritten note.  It shows that the letter writer cares – deeply – and has taken the time to prove it.

 

So, here’s my challenge.  How about picking up paper and pen today, and jotting a few lines to a friend or relative who could use some encouragement?  You’ll be amazed at the results, both earthly and eternally.

 

And yes, I think I may take my own advice and start writing, too! 

 

“See what large letters I use as I write to you with my own hand!” Galatians 6:11 (NIV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President

 


Dare 2B Daring – August 7, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“He knows not how to rule a kingdom, that cannot manage a province; nor can he wield a province, that cannot order a city; nor he order a city, that knows not how to regulate a village; nor he a village, that cannot guide a family; nor can that man govern well a family that knows not how to govern himself; neither can any govern himself unless his reason be Lord, and his will and appetite his vassals; nor can reason rule unless herself be ruled by God and wholly obedient to Him.” – Hugo Grotius, 1583-1645

 

Whenever there is a fifth Sunday in a month, the church where I have been filling the pulpit has a special “dinner on the grounds” after the morning service.  And so, last week I tried to feed the congregation spiritually with my message from Mark 2:18-22, knowing full well that they were about to be fed physically in very short order.

 

Within moments of the closing hymn and the final “Amen”, three buffet tables were set up to display a wide array of meats, vegetables, salads and yes, desserts.  Deanna made a crock pot full of her famous baked bean casserole while other ladies in the church provided ham, meatloaf, and an assortment of homemade dishes.  One of my favorites was the chicken and dumplings… yummy! 

 

As much as I may have wanted to sample each and every dish, I limited myself to one trip to the buffet (except for a second helping of chicken and dumplings).  I also had just a small brownie and a bowl of banana pudding for dessert.  Just for the record, I think that banana pudding will be served at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb!

 

But my point here is that we all have to learn to manage – and even master – our physical appetites in order to be effective spiritually.  For some of us, that may mean pushing away from the table and refusing seconds.  For others, it could be limiting our time watching TV or playing golf (ouch, that one hurt!)

 

Regardless of what activity or indulgence it is – or how healthy it may be in moderation – we cannot allow ourselves to be controlled by anyone or anything other than God’s Holy Spirit.  I don’t know about you, but I still have a long way to go and many hard lessons to learn in that department.  But I am striving and someday, on the other side of the veil, I will have finally arrived.

 

“For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” Romans 6:14 (NKJV)     

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – August 4, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“It is always darkest just before the Day dawneth.” – Thomas Fuller, “A Pisgah-Sight of Palestine And The Confines Thereof”, 1650

 

Last week, my son Matt had a rare day off from work.  As a branch manager for Enterprise Rent-A-Car, he usually works six and sometimes seven days a week.  So, when Matt texted me to ask if I wanted to go fishing with him that day, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to spend time with him.

 

I had some errands to run first, so it was late morning by the time I arrived at the inlet in Ft. Pierce.  Matt had already been there for an hour or so and was already hot… and a bit sun-burned.  Fortunately, I had packed some sun screen with me as well as a couple of cold drinks.

 

Within a short while, some clouds started to form and boy, was that a welcome relief.  More for Matt than me, since I had just gotten there.  The temperature was still high, but the cloud cover made it bearable.

 

In one of my devotional readings this week, Charles Spurgeon wrote about God’s promises to us, as believers.  One referred to His earthly provisions and another to His generous offer of rest.  Yet another spoke to God’s promise not to “break a bruised reed” or “quench a smoking flax”.  In other words, God has great compassion on those who are hurting and He refuses to add to their affliction.

 

However, my favorite made reference to how He blots out our sins like a thick cloud.  When Matt and I were fishing, a cloud blocked the sun’s penetrating heat from scorching us.  Likewise, God sent a cloud cover in the form of His Son Jesus to blot out all of our transgressions.

 

Matt and I didn’t catch a single fish that day, although we both enjoyed a fish sandwich later for lunch.  As believers, however, that day in the sun – and the shade – will always remind me of how merciful God really is.

 

“I have blotted out, like a thick cloud, your transgressions, and like a cloud, your sins.” Isaiah 44:22 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President 


Dare 2B Daring – August 3, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“He’d [Reggie Jackson] give you the shirt off his back.  Of course, he’d call a press conference to announce it.” – Jim “Catfish” Hunter

 

Reginald Martinez Jackson was one of the most prolific home run hitters in baseball history.  During his 21-year career with the Oakland Athletics, the Baltimore Orioles, the New York Yankees and the California Angels, Reggie clouted 563 home runs, placing him 14th on the all-time list.

 

In addition to being a great power hitter, Reggie was also known for his prodigious strikeouts.  He amassed 2,597 of them during his long career, the most ever.

 

However, despite all his whiffs, Reggie was also known as a tremendous clutch hitter.  His three consecutive homers on three consecutive pitches in Game Six of the 1977 World Series earned him the nickname, “Mr. October”.

 

On the field and off, Reggie liked to be the center of attention.  According to one of his teammates, Darold Knowles, “There isn’t enough mustard in the whole world to cover that hot dog.”

 

I found that quote, as well as the one at the top of this page, in a book that was sent to me recently by a dear friend of mine.  His name is Larry Lilly, but most people call him “Chap” because he served as a prison chaplain for more than 27 years.

 

Another nickname that I have given him is “Barnabas”.  In the Book of Acts, Barnabas introduced Saul (later known as the Apostle Paul) to the church leaders in Jerusalem.  Because Saul had a long history of persecuting Christians before his conversion, Peter, James and John were skeptical of him.  However, Barnabas vouched for Saul, putting his reputation on the line in the process.

 

Later, Barnabas accompanied Paul on several of his missionary journeys before partnering with a young believer named John Mark.  In both instances, Barnabas lived up to his name, which means “Son of Encouragement”.

 

Chap sent me that book titled, “Pinstripe Quotes”, because he knows that I am a die-hard Yankees fan.  He also enclosed a short note in the book along with a check for Risk Takers.  The book, the note and the check were his way of encouraging me… and they did.

 

Unlike Reggie Jackson, Chap doesn’t seek the spotlight and always deflects attention away from himself and onto others – especially God.  Hopefully, he will forgive me for highlighting his generosity and humility this one time.

 

“And Joses, who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement), a Levite of the country of Cypress, having land, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.” Acts 4:36-37 (NKJV) 


Dare 2B Daring – August 2, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“If there were but one small loophole through which to talk with Jesus, it would be a high privilege to thrust a word of fellowship through the narrow door; how much we are blessed in having so large an entrance!” – C.H. Spurgeon

 

It is called “Ad-Seg”, short for Administrative Segregation.  Inmates are housed there not for crimes they committed on the “outside”, but for serious infractions they committed while incarcerated.  Some of them have assaulted other inmates and some have attacked correctional officers.

 

Numerous times, I have had the opportunity to minister to the men in Ad-Seg.  However, it is not as easy as it sounds, because these men are in “lock-down” 24/7.  Except for a brief shower, they are confined to a 6’ x 9’ cell, usually with another inmate… or three. 

 

The lucky ones have a small area in the back of their cell called a “dog-run”.  It is called that because it resembles a dog kennel.  Here, surrounded by chain-link fences on both sides and above their heads, the inmates have just enough room to do push-ups, pull-ups or to pace like caged animals.

 

When ministering to someone in Ad-Seg, we try to get their attention through the small glass window in the heavy steel door.  If they get off their bunk and approach the window, we lower our head and start speaking to them through a crack in the door.  Before leaving, we slide a gospel tract through that same crack and offer a closing prayer, encouraging them to stay strong and not to give up.  Most of all, we encourage them to repent of their sins and to trust Jesus as Savior.

 

As Charles Spurgeon points out in today’s quote, if all we had was a small crack in the door to speak to Jesus, what a great privilege that would be.  And yet, the Bible makes it clear that, as believers, we have complete access not only to Jesus, but also to the very throne of God.

 

Let’s start taking advantage of that awesome privilege!

 

“For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.” Ephesians 2:18 (NKJV)

  

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – August 1, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“A bend in the road is not the end of the road…Unless you fail to make the turn.” – Helen Keller

 

I will venture to guess the name Sean Rodriguez means nothing to most, if not all, of you. Sean

is a utility infielder for the Atlanta Braves, who has previously played for the Angels, Rays, and

Pirates. The Braves had signed him in the offseason hoping he would fill the open position at

second base.

 

Tragically, Sean and his family were in a serious car accident just months before the start of the

2017 season. Rodriguez suffered an injury to his shoulder and required surgery. As a result, he

was expected to miss most of the season. Depending on his recovery status, it was even thought

he may not return to the Braves roster until 2018.

 

Nevertheless, Sean worked tirelessly in his recovery and healed much more quickly than initially

projected. After a short rehab assignment, Rodriguez returned to the Braves lineup last week.

 

While there is still rust to shake off, he has played hard and positively contributed to the team.

Last Monday night, Sean was brought in to pinch-hit. Although he had a two-strike count, he

battled hard and soon got the pitch he wanted. Sean took an aggressive swing and belted a two-

run home run to left field, traveling a distance of some 430 feet.

 

The last seven months have not been easy for Sean Rodriguez. The experience and injury of a

violent car crash are difficult in themselves. To recover from surgery and work to once again

play baseball at its highest level is quite impressive. Sean didn’t give up. He didn’t take his

rehabilitation lightly. He did all he could to return to the Braves and help them for the remainder

of the season.

 

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the

testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you

may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4 ESV

 

-          Christopher Glading, Program Director


Dare 2B Daring – July 31, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“He that has been in heaven but five minutes, knows more than the general assembly of divines on earth.” – C.H. Spurgeon

 

I graduated college in May 1981 and – after a period of unemployment – worked a series of part-time and full-time jobs over the next two years before settling into a position at a Christian retirement community.  For the first five weeks, I served as an Activities Assistant, meaning that I helped coordinate recreation programs for several hundred elderly residents.

 

Then, seemingly out of the blue, my immediate supervisor transferred to a different department and I was promoted to Activities Director.  All of a sudden, I was in charge of a small staff and even given the authority to hire someone to fill my previous position.

 

From there, I was placed in charge of hundreds of volunteers and groomed to take over the corporation’s fundraising efforts… all at the tender age of 23.  Looking back, it is amazing that God gave me so much responsibility – and so much favor – at such a young age.

 

In hindsight, I can also say that I learned more in my first month as a department head than I did during my four years in college.  My parents, who footed the bill for my undergraduate education, probably wouldn’t be happy to hear that, but it’s the truth.  Of course, I wouldn’t have gotten my job at the retirement community without my degree, so it was definitely worth it.

 

In His divine providence, God used all of the lessons I learned and the experiences I had at the Wiley Christian Retirement Community to prepare me to launch and lead two different parachurch ministries: The Saints Prison Ministry and Risk Takers for Christ.  To Him be ALL the glory for both.

 

But it all started with me “leading” craft classes, coordinating coffee klatches and conducting hymn sings at a home for the aged and infirmed.  I am so glad that God knew then – and still knows now – the end from the beginning. (Isaiah 46:10)

 

And so, I will continue to serve Him as best I can… all the while I await seeing Jesus and my loved ones in heaven, receiving my glorified body and knowing Him as He now knows me.

 

“For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face.  Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.” I Corinthians 13:12 (NKJV)     

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – July 28, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

"If the mountain was smooth you wouldn't be able to climb it." – Anonymous

 

Back in April 2014, I was part of a six-man mission team that traveled to Kenya to minister in 10 different prisons.  One of them, the Naivasha Main Prison, is one of only two maximum-security correctional facilities on the entire African continent.

 

Our team ministered virtually around the clock, performing dozens of strength demonstrations (we had some power-lifters with us) and training hundreds of prison chaplains (two pastors also accompanied us).  We even played basketball and soccer in two different institutions, and also visited an orphanage.

 

However, we did have a little bit of “downtime” and so, one day we opted to go hiking in a national park.  Looming over the park was a good-sized mountain, which we decided to climb – despite Kenya’s notoriously thin air and the fact that we were only a few miles from the equator. 

 

It took us more than an hour to reach the peak, as we were forced to crisscross many times because of the rocky terrain.  Finally, completely drenched with sweat, we reached the summit.  As we caught our breath, we gazed at our surroundings and realized that our climb had been worth the effort.  Because it was a clear day, we were able to see for miles.  Lush valleys, rocky outcroppings and hillsides covered with tea plants all laid before us.  What a sight!

 

Life here on earth is very similar.  We set goals and have our eyes fixed on our final destination: heaven.  But the journey from where we are now to our eternal home will not be an easy one.  There will be more bumps in the road – and detours – than you or I could possibly imagine.

 

But because our destination is guaranteed (Philippians 1:6; I John 5:13; et al) we can endure the trip with gladness and even enjoy the journey itself.  And if the view from atop a small mountain in Kenya was enough to take my breath away, I can’t begin to imagine what heaven will be like.

 

Let me leave you with two precious – and hopefully, encouraging – verses…

 

“…in the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

 

“Eye has not seen, not ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” I Corinthians 2:9

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – July 27, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Does anyone have any questions for my answers?” – Dr. Henry Kissinger

 

Last week, I attended a Bible study at the church where I am currently filling in for the pastor while he recuperates from a stroke.  The men met in one room while the women met in another.

 

A layman named John led the men’s study and did a fabulous job.  You could tell that he had thoroughly studied his subject and was very well prepared.  The topic was God’s omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence.

 

Although John, as the facilitator, did most of the talking, there was some great interaction amongst the other men, too.  Even more impressively, they ranged in age from 19 to 77, and everyone participated in the discussion.

 

We all agreed when it came to God’s omnipotence and omnipresence, because those characteristics are clearly spelled out in scripture.  Read Genesis 18:14; Jeremiah 32:17 & 27; I Kings 8:27; and Psalm 139:7-12 and see if you agree with us, too.

 

However, when it came time to discuss God’s omniscience, we wrestled with verses that described God “not remembering” our sins (Isaiah 43:25 and Hebrews 8:12).  Other passages that dealt with God regretting that he had created man (Genesis 6:6) and apparently learning something about an individual (Genesis 22:12) were also discussed in detail.

 

At the end of the night, we all concurred that God is truly omniscient, but there are some attributes of His that we – with our finite minds and equally finite reasoning – simply cannot fully comprehend.  Yes, God is THAT big… and I, for one, find great comfort in that truth.

 

A healthy discussion of biblical matters can be a very good thing, providing that you don’t start questioning God’s sovereignty or the accuracy of His Word.  Rob Bell, the former pastor of a megachurch, did that recently, saying that he doubted hell was a real place.  That, my friend, is heresy.  The very fact that Jesus taught more about hell than He did about heaven is proof enough for me.

 

“These [the Bereans] were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, searching the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.” Acts 17:11 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – July 26, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“The questions don’t do the damage.  Only the answers do.” – Sam Donaldson

 

Do you know anyone who simply has to interject his or her opinion on virtually everything?  I have met a few people who fit that description all too well.  No matter the subject, they feel compelled to share their vast knowledge – or lack thereof – with everyone else.  The problem with such behavior is that, after a while, other people start to tune you out.

 

And then there was Larry Lufburrow…

 

Larry was one of my spiritual mentors and the greatest man of prayer I have ever known.  He served several terms on the board of my prison ministry in New Jersey, but was usually hesitant to speak in our meetings.  Instead, Larry was content to share a few devotional thoughts at the beginning of each meeting and then to remain silent through the rest of the proceedings.  However, once in a great while he would clear his throat and say something… and when he did, you could hear a pin drop.

 

To paraphrase the old E.F. Hutton commercial, “When Larry Lufburrow spoke, people listened.” 

 

Once, when another board vacancy came up, Larry nominated a friend of his from church, Jay Herman.  Based on Larry’s recommendation, Jay was unanimously elected.  Curiously, Jay didn’t say a word during the first several meetings he attended.  Finally, someone asked him why he was being so quiet.

 

“I thought it best to sit and observe before earning the right to say anything,” Jay replied.  Wow!  What a godly – and rare – attitude!

 

Perhaps coincidentally, Larry and Jay were both strong admirers of Abraham Lincoln.  In fact, I can remember seeing Carl Sandburg’s entire six-volume biography of “Honest Abe” on Larry’s bookshelf.  Lincoln once famously said that, “It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.”

 

I sure do miss Larry and Jay, two fine Christian men who were equal parts humble and wise.

 

“Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace; when he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive.” Proverbs 17:28 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President     


Dare 2B Daring – July 24, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“It’s always a risk to speak to the press; they are likely to report what you say.” – Hubert H. Humphrey

 

Hubert Horatio Humphrey was involved in politics long enough to know that the press is ready to seize on your every word.  “The Happy Warrior” served as mayor of Minneapolis (1943-1948) and U.S. Senator from Minnesota (1948-1964) before serving as vice president under Lyndon Johnson (1965-1969).  In 1968, Humphrey won the Democratic nomination for president and narrowly lost the general election to Republican Richard Nixon that November.  Three years later, he returned to the U.S. Senate, where he served until his death in 1978.

 

Whether or not you are in the public eye, your words (and mine) carry a lot of weight.  They can reveal our innermost thoughts and betray our once-hidden emotions.  Our words can lift others up or bring them down.  They can also wound someone deeply, help raise their spirits or mend their broken heart.

 

Far too often, I have spoken before thinking and the results haven’t always been pleasant.  I have also been on the receiving end of someone’s hurtful comments more than once.  That tends to happen a lot in the world of politics, but it is also far too prevalent in the world of ministry.

 

James describes the tongue as “a fire, a world of iniquity” that “defiles the whole body” and is “set on fire by hell”. (James 3:6)  Pretty stern stuff, don’t you agree? 

 

James goes on to say that, “With it [the tongue] we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God.  Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing.  My brethren, these things ought not to be so.” (James 3:9-10)

 

No wonder James concludes that the tongue is impossible to control without the help of the Holy Spirit.  “But no man can tame the tongue.  It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.” (James 3:8)

 

At the tail end of Chapter 1, James offers a description of true and false religion.  “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.”  In the previous verse, he describes false religion in even more graphic language.  “If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless.”

 

I don’t know about you, but I stand convicted by my own devotional today.

 

“Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.” Colossians 4:6 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – July 21, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“I am looking for someone to share in an adventure that I am arranging, and it’s very difficult to find anyone.” (Gandalf)

 

I should think so – in these parts! We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner! I can’t think what anybody sees in them.” (Bilbo)

 

- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

 

Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit of the Shire. He enjoys a peaceful life of tea, books, and walks through the countryside. One day, however, Gandalf the wizard comes to his home with the proposition of an adventure. Bilbo is to accompany Thorin Oakenshield and a group of dwarves in an attempt to reclaim their homeland and its abundant treasure within the Lonely Mountain.

 

Initially, Bilbo has little interest in joining. He is comfortable with his current lifestyle and sees no reason to change. He believes adventures to be an inconvenience.

 

Still, there are stirrings deep within Bilbo to seize this opportunity. Awaking the next morning, he realizes Gandalf and the dwarves have left and regrets missing his chance. He rushes after the company in desperate hopes of catching it before it is too late. Fortunately, he does.

 

The next year of Bilbo’s life proves to be more than he could ever have imagined. He encounters trolls, goblins, wood-elves, Gollum, Beorn (a man who can transform into an incredibly large and ferocious bear), and, most incredibly of all, Smaug, the dragon which guards the Lonely Mountain. When all is said and done, Bilbo returns to the Shire with amazing experiences, fascinating stories, and immeasurable wealth.

 

So why recount this widely-read novel? To implore you not to miss out on an adventure. God calls upon His people to go into the world. He commissions us to preach the Gospel. While there may be perils, there are also abundant blessings and heavenly treasure. Do not miss out on a divine adventure because of discomfort or inconvenience.

 

“And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ Then I said, ‘Here I am! Send me.’” Isaiah 6:8

 

-          Christopher Glading, Program Director


Dare 2B Daring – July 20, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Honor bespeaks worth.  Confidence begets trust.  Service brings satisfaction.  Cooperation proves the quality of leadership.” – James Cash Penney

 

Last week, a tragedy was narrowly avoided in Panama City, Florida.  Here is what happened…

 

Roberta Ursrey and her family were spending the day at the Panama City Beach when she noticed that her sons were too far from shore.  They began screaming and so, Ursrey and some of her relatives swam to them.  Unfortunately, they got caught in a dangerous – and potentially deadly – rip current.

 

“I honestly thought I was going to lose my family that day,” Ursrey said.  “It was like, ‘Oh God, this is how I’m going.’”

 

Thankfully, some other beachgoers noticed that the family was struggling and banded together to form an 80-person human chain.  Your heard that right… an 80-person human chain!

 

Starting with the children, the rescuers pulled the swimmers along the chain and then towed them to shore.  Not a single life was lost.

 

“I am so grateful,” Ursrey told the Panama City News Herald.  “These people were God’s angels that were in the right place at the right time.  I owe my life and my family’s life to them.  Without them, we wouldn’t be here.”

 

That story begs the question: whose hero are you?  And what lost person, drowning in a sea of sin, are you rescuing, towing them back to the safety of heaven’s shore?

 

As K.P Yohannon said, “Lost men and women in this dark and dying world will not be found unless we search for them.”

 

And as Charles Spurgeon put it, “If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for.”

The bottom line, according to Keith Wright, is “Lost people matter to God, and so they must matter to us.”

“The Lord… is not willing that any should perish…” 2 Peter 3:9 (NKJV)

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – July 19, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“I have never been especially impressed by the heroics of people convinced they are about to change the world. I am more awed by those who struggle to make one small difference.” – Ellen Goodman

 

I have had the privilege of preaching at a local church this month for the regular pastor, who is recovering from a stroke.  Our prayers are with Brother Russ, that he will return to full health – and the pulpit – soon.

 

One of the things that Deanna and I have enjoyed the most about our time at Cornerstone Baptist Fellowship in Sebastian is getting to know the dear people there.  From Bill and Brenda to John and Janet, they have all made us feel right at home from Day One.

 

Recently, I learned that John is responsible for taking care of the church property.  That means that each week, he mows the grass – all seven acres of it.  And believe it or not, he has been doing that same job for the past 23 years!

 

Since grass grows year-round here in Florida (but much faster in the summer), I estimate that John has mowed seven acres times 52 weeks times 23 years for a grand total of 8,372 acres… and counting!

 

I mowed the lawn at our first house in Pennsauken and at our second house in Cinnaminson.  By the time we had moved to Barrington, our boys were old enough to do the job.  And now that we’re living in Vero Beach, Deanna and Chris usually share the duties.

 

But even if you put all of those years of mowing together, they would pale in comparison to the workload that John has borne for the past two decades.  After all, we’ve never owned more than a half-acre at a time.

 

Do you think that God sees John every time he mounts his tractor and starts cutting grass?  I believe He does… and He smiles, too.  God reacts the same way whenever you do something for Him out of a pure heart and with the right motive.

 

“Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.” Luke 21:3-4 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President 


Dare 2B Daring – July 18, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Hope founded upon a human being, a man-made philosophy or any institution is always misplaced… because these things are unreliable and fleeting.” – Dr. Charles Stanley

 

I am currently reading a book about the opening of Yankee Stadium in 1923 and the Yankees winning their first world championship that season.  It is titled, “The House That Ruth Built”, because Babe Ruth was largely responsible for filling the seats with fans – and the pockets of the owners with enough money to build the stadium.

 

On Page 19, something grabbed my attention and really spoke to my heart.  Here is how it read:

 

“Back at the Ansonia [the hotel where the Babe lived in New York City], Ruth made his way through the lobby.  He passed a newsman selling papers that noted the Berlin riots had dropped the deutsche mark to 33,000 to 1 U.S. dollar, heralded a pledge by Alma Cummings to stage the first one-hundred-hour dance marathon in Toronto (beyond the reach of the ‘Stop-the-Dance’ law), and reported on the sensational testimony in the big police-bootlegging scandal of the moment…”

 

So, what is so remarkable about those news headlines?  The fact that none of them matter today, that’s what!  In other words, fame and fortune are both extremely fleeting.

 

The book goes on to list some of the dignitaries who attended the stadium’s opening.  Among them were Yankees co-owners, Jacob Ruppert and Til Huston, as well as baseball commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis.  Governor Al Smith, a future presidential candidate, threw out the first pitch.

 

What do these men all have in common?  They are all long-since dead.  So are Yanks manager Miller Huggins, Hall of Fame outfielder Bob Meusel and, of course, the Babe himself.

 

As Andy Warhol once said, “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.”  The truth of the matter is that most of us won’t even achieve that dubious distinction.

 

Perhaps Mary Ellen Mark put it best.  “Looking at my own prom photograph reminds me of how significant that moment was – and how fleeting life is.”

 

On a similar note, my wife Deanna showed me a picture last week that made both of us smile… and then shake our heads.  It was taken to announce our engagement back in 1984.  Needless to say, we have both aged a good bit (me far more than her) since that photo was taken.

 

As I told someone during a recent phone interview, “Life is short and eternity is long.”  Make sure you aren’t selling your soul for 15 minutes – or less – of fame.  Trust Jesus today!

 

“Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.” Psalm 144:4 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President 


Dare 2B Daring – July 17, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“There are so many ways to be brave in this world. Sometimes bravery involves laying down your life for something bigger than yourself, or for someone else. Sometimes it involves giving up everything you have ever known, or everyone you have ever loved, for the sake of something greater. But sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it is nothing more than gritting your teeth through pain, and the work of every day, the slow walk toward a better life.” - Veronica Roth, Allegiant

 

Last week, I finished reading the Divergent series by Veronica Roth. Simply put, it is a combination of The Giver, by Lois Lowry, and The Hunger Games series, by Suzanne Collins. Set in the city of Chicago, members of a post-apocalyptic dystopia must choose one of five factions in which to live and learn.

 

Our protagonist, Beatrice Prior, though born into the selfless Abnegation faction, joins Dauntless during her Choosing Ceremony. The Dauntless are a free and daring group who are trained in self-defense and weaponry. To be Dauntless is to be brave.

 

Be brave. This concise statement is frequently repeated throughout the three-book series. Whether by her test administrator before the Choosing Ceremony, her Dauntless leader during training, or her mother, Tris, as she later renames herself, is told to be brave.

 

As we follow her story, bravery is most certainly exhibited. Tris overcomes multiple obstacles and life-threatening situations time and again, proving herself heroic during the most fearsome circumstances.

 

This sentiment of bravery is found throughout the Bible as well and we are similarly commanded to be brave. Deuteronomy 31:6 says, “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

 

Joshua 1:9 reads, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

 

John 16:33 states, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

 

Hebrews 12:12-13 says, “Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.”

 

Isaiah 54:17 states, “No weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall confute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their vindication from me, declares the Lord.”

 

-          Chris Glading, Program Director


Dare 2B Daring – July 14, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

"If we take the opportunity to be the church, we may find that America is not 'post-Christian,' but is instead maybe 'pre-Christian.' It may be that this land is filled with people who, though often Christ-haunted, have never known the power of the Gospel, yet." – Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

 

What do the following American cities have in common: Portland, ME; Boston, MA; Albany NY; Providence, RI; and Burlington, VT?  Nice homes, good schools and fine restaurants?  Maybe, but that’s not it.

 

How about upscale shopping districts and a burgeoning job market?  Guess again. 

 

According to the Barna Research Group, these five metropolitan areas are the most “post-Christian” cities in the United States.  As you can imagine, New York City, San Francisco and Seattle rounded out the Top 10, along with Hartford, CT and Buffalo, NY.  

 

Using a 15-point metric, Barna classified any metropolitan area that scored 12 or higher as “highly post-Christian”.  Among the criteria were church attendance, Bible reading and a belief in God.

 

Barna conducted a similar study in 2013, when only 37% of all American citizens were categorized as post-Christian.  Just two years later, that number had jumped to 44%.  Barna attributed some of the increase to the Supreme Court’s recent ruling legalizing same-sex marriage.

 

“Across the United States, cities in every state are becoming more post-Christian… some at a faster rate than others,” Barna concluded.

 

Despite the negative trend, there remained one bright spot in the survey.  According to Tim Keller, pastor of Reedemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, “People are moving into cities faster than churches are moving into cities.”  That means that urban areas are fertile ground for evangelistic efforts, especially ones that integrate vocation and faith because many people move to cities in search of work or career advancement.

 

So, it all depends on your perspective.  Either America is going to “hell in a hand basket” or the fields are white unto harvest.  Or both.  Either way, our work is cut out for us and it’s time we got busy.  

 

“Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few.  Therefore, pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” Matthew 9:37-38 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President   


Dare 2B Daring – July 13, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“The tendency of fire is to go out; watch the fire on the altar of your heart.  Anyone who has tended a fireplace fire knows that it needs to be stirred up occasionally.” – William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army

 

On a recent camping trip, Deanna asked me to build her a campfire.  We both love sitting around watching the flames and there is nothing better than that smell.  Plus, with more than a few mosquitoes in the area, the smoke is a great deterrent. 

 

And so, I gathered some wood and stacked the logs just right, making sure that they touched but also allowing for “breathing room”.  After all, one of the most common “rookie” mistakes when building a campfire is stacking the wood too closely together.

 

Then I stuffed a few pieces of newspaper between the logs and lighted them with a match.  Nothing!

 

I tried and tried, adding more newspaper and rearranging the logs, but to no avail.  The problem?  After two days of heavy rain, the wood was simply too soaked to light, let alone burn.

 

The next day we stopped at a local store to buy some lighter fluid.  I know that’s “cheating”, but desperate times call for desperate measures, right?

 

I doused each log with lighter fluid and then stood back, making sure that there would be a safe distance between me and what I hoped would soon be a blazing inferno.  Still no luck.

 

After a few more futile attempts, Deanna and I accepted the fact that only time – and some dry weather – would catch that wood on fire.  I guess they don’t call it being “water-logged” for nothing!

 

That incident made me think about your and my spiritual condition.  Sometimes, life and its many cares dampens our wood and we simply can’t “light up” for Jesus.  When that happens, it usually takes a little time and a lot of prayer to get “on fire” again.  Often, it also requires slowing down and spending some quality time alone with God.  Even then, however, the key ingredient is a fresh indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

 

Just like campfires need oxygen, our spiritual hearts require His divine presence for a spark to catch fire and smoldering coals to be fanned into flame.

 

“Then, as soon as they had come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid on it, and bread.” John 21:9 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President 


Dare 2B Daring – July 12, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“It is strange how little use we make of the spiritual blessings which God gives us, but it is stranger still how little use we make of God Himself.” – C.H. Spurgeon

 

On July 4th, our son Matt and his wife Natasha invited us to their house for a BBQ followed by some fireworks.  After dinner, while we waited for it to get dark enough for the fireworks, Matt and Chris played a few different games on Wii.  They started with tennis and won a doubles match, before trying bowling.  Matt was the best at that, beating both Chris and his brother-in-law, Shawn.  Then Matt and Chris played basketball, which involved a fast-paced three-point contest.

 

As enjoyable as it was watching them play, I have always found people’s fascination with video games somewhat perplexing.  At least Wii involves actual physical movement, and I can attest from watching Matt, Chris and Shawn that you can work up quite a sweat playing it.  But regular hand-held games hold absolutely no attraction to me.

 

Admittedly, I am not tech-savvy and using my thumbs to control the up and down arrows isn’t something that comes easily to me.  However, at the ripe old age of 57, I still prefer to play an actual sport than a video version.  That goes for relatively low-impact sports like golf as well as pound-the-pavement types such as basketball.

 

The same applies to experiencing God.  I am not content hearing someone else describe their relationship with God; I want to experience Him for myself.  And as much as I enjoy and benefit from reading daily devotionals such as Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon, there is no substitute for the Bible.  In fact, if I am so rushed in the morning that I have to pick between reading an excerpt from Morning and Evening or a few Bible verses, I pick God’s Word every time.

 

And I think Spurgeon, the “Prince of Preachers”, would be fine with that. 

 

In the same way, I encourage you to keep reading our Dare 2B Daring devotional messages each weekday.  Chris and I put a lot of time, effort and prayer into them, and I hope that you find what we write to be challenging, encouraging and even inspiring.   But nothing can – or should – ever take the place of Scripture.

 

“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God stands forever.” Isaiah 40:8 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – July 11, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Do you find yourselves forgetful about Jesus?  Some creature steals away your heart, and you are unmindful of Him upon whom your affection ought to be set.  Some earthly business engrosses your attention when you should fix your eye steadily upon the cross.  It is the incessant turmoil of the world, the constant attraction of earthly things which takes away the soul from Christ.” – C.H. Spurgeon

 

A few weeks ago, a house went up for sale in Indian River County.  Actually, it was sold at auction, with no reserve or minimum price.  Apparently, the owner had tried multiple times to sell the property, but to no avail.

 

Why did it take so long to sell this particular house?  Probably because of its outlandish price tag.  Originally listed around $40 million, its asking price had fallen to $17 million prior to the auction.  However, the real estate agent was hoping to attract an overseas buyer from China who would pay at least $20 million.

 

I don’t recall most of the specifics about the house, except that the property spanned from the Atlantic Ocean on one side to the Indian River Lagoon on the other.  Oh yeah, it also boasted a 14-car garage!

 

Last month, I took our 2010 Dodge Ram truck to get new tires.  The mechanic asked me if I planned to leave and come back or if I was going to wait.  “I’ll wait,” I replied, “it’s our only vehicle.”

 

Now don’t get me wrong.  There is nothing wrong with owning a nice house or multiple cars.  However, if your possessions cause you to take your eyes off of Jesus and to feel that you no longer need Him, then you may need to hold a “no reserve” auction of your own.

 

Don’t let anything or anyone come between you and God…period.    

 

“…looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith.” Hebrews 12:2a (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – July 10, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“May we think of freedom, not as the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right.” – Peter Marshall

 

Sadly, one of the best-selling books of the past few years was “Fifty Shades of Grey” by E.L. James.  A self-described “erotic romance novel”, it was published in 2011 and set a record in the United Kingdom as the fastest-selling paperback of all time.  By June 2015, more than 125 million copies had been sold and the novel had been translated into 52 different languages.

 

I haven’t read the book – or its sequels – and have absolutely no intention of doing so.  However, many people saw nothing wrong with plunking down their hard-earned money to buy a copy and then idling away the hours polluting their minds with a story about perverse sexual behavior.

 

Tragically, the target audience for Fifty Shades was middle-aged women.  Apparently, they flocked to the bookstores to snatch up copies as fast as the publisher, Vintage Books, could churn them out.

 

I don’t know – and I don’t want to know – how many of the men and women who bought the book were professing Christians.  And I’m not judging them either, because I live in a glass house of my own making.  However, all I’m saying is that we, as the body and bride of Christ, need to raise the bar.

 

The next time you are in line to buy a book, see a movie or attend a concert, ask yourself a simple question: “Does this glorify God?”  If so, enjoy yourself with a clear conscience.  But if not, put down the book, rent a different DVD or walk away from the ticket booth.

 

Let the unsaved world support its own without any help from you and me.  Meanwhile, let’s be the salt and light that Christ calls us to be in Matthew 5:13-16.      

 

“What shall we say then?  Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?  Certainly not!  How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” Romans 6:1-2 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – July 7, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“While the spoken word can travel faster, you can’t take it home in your hand.  Only the written word can be absorbed wholly at the convenience of the reader.” – Kingman Brewster, Jr.

 

My son Chris and I stopped by our local library the other day to pick up a few movies.  Whereas Redbox rents DVD’s for a couple dollars each, the library loans them out for free.

 

On our way out, Chris lamented a missed opportunity.  “Why didn’t I use the library more when we lived in Barrington?” he asked himself.  “It was right down the street.”

 

“I used to go the library a lot when I was a kid,” I responded.  “Especially in the summer.”  

 

I can also remember accompanying my dad to a used bookstore in Camden when I was young.  Paperbacks were 10 cents each and on virtually every visit, I would leave the store with a grocery bag (or two) full of books.  Some dealt with baseball and others with American history.

 

Both Chris and I are voracious readers, as is my wife Deanna.  In fact, there is nothing that she and I enjoy more than sitting outside our trailer at some campground, rubbing each other’s feet while we devour our respective books.

 

I just finished an excellent book titled, “Bloody Crimes”.  It details Lincoln’s assassination and cross-country funeral procession juxtaposed against the final days of the Confederacy and the capture of Jefferson Davis.  Next up is “The House That Ruth Built”, a book about the 1923 New York Yankees.

 

Because feeding my soul is even more important than feeding my intellect, I am also reading “Chase the Lion” by Mark Batterson and a book by Chuck Swindoll titled, “So, You Want to Be Like Christ?”  Of course, the only book I try to read each and every day is God’s Word.  As Charles Spurgeon recommended, “Visit many good books, but live in the Bible.”

 

“Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Psalm 119:108 (KJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President  


Dare 2B Daring – July 5, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“If we should learn to profit by our prosperity, we should not need so much adversity.” – C.H. Spurgeon

 

I was talking to a gentleman the other day who has faithfully served in his local church for more than 20 years.  “Sometimes we’re up,” he said, placing his hand at head-level.  “And sometimes we’re down,” he added, lowering that same hand to knee-height.

 

“Right now, we’re down,” he sighed.

 

“Do you know what that means?” I asked him.  “You have no place to go but back up!”

 

It is almost universally true that God teaches us our most valuable lessons when we’re down and out.  Stripped of our resources as well as our pride, we have no choice but to rest in Him and rely on His providence… and eventual deliverance.

 

I remember hearing about a chess grand master who actually looked forward to losing an occasional match.  Not a world championship, mind you, but a relatively inconsequential match.  His reasoning was that he leaned much more from his defeats than from his victories.

 

In the same way, we shouldn’t be discouraged when we hit a “speed bump” in life.  Whether it is spiritual, physical or financial in nature, each and every obstacle we encounter is simply an opportunity for growth.

 

Remember: a “setback” is merely a “setup” for future success!

 

“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans 5:3-5 (NIV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – July 4, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.” – Excerpt from the Declaration of Independence

 

Today, we honor our Founding Fathers, who pledged their “lives, fortunes and sacred honor” in the cause of American independence.  However, less than a century later, our founding principles were put to the test at the Battle of Gettysburg, fought on July 1-3, 1863.

 

And so, in addition to sharing the above excerpt from the Declaration of Independence, I thought it only fitting to also include Lincoln’s immortal Gettysburg Address, which was delivered on November 19, 1863.  Amid the picnics, backyard barbecues and fireworks, may we remember those responsible for granting – and preserving – our freedom as Americans.

“Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that "all men are created equal."

“Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of it, as a final resting place for those who died here, that the nation might live. This we may, in all propriety do. But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow, this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have hallowed it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here; while it can never forget what they did here.”

“It is rather for us the living, we here be dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.”

"Proclaim Liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof…” Leviticus 25:10 (KJV)


Dare 2B Daring – July 3, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“America is the greatest, freest and most decent society in existence. It is an oasis of goodness in a desert of cynicism and barbarism. This country, once an experiment unique in the world, is now the last best hope for the world.” – Dinesh D’Souza

 

At church yesterday, we celebrated America’s independence by reading several quotes from some of our most influential founding fathers. Each man, whether John Adams, James Madison, John Quincy Adams, or Patrick Henry, focused on the sovereignty and provision of God in the formation, protection, and sustained strength of the United States.

 

Today, there are many who would have you believe that America was not founded on Judeo-Christian beliefs and its founders were deists or agnostics. This sentiment could not be further from the truth, and its pervasion will only enhance the weakening of our country and forfeit blessings from the Lord.

 

To encourage you and continue in this spirit of celebration, I have listed additional quotes from some of the most significant men in America’s founding.

 

“I’ve lived, sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth: That God governs in the affairs of men. If a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We’ve been assured in the sacred writings that unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it. I firmly believe this, and I also believe that without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel.” - BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, Signer of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution

 

“While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian.” - GEORGE WASHINGTON, Commander-in- Chief in the American Revolution; Signer of the Constitution; First President of the United States

 

“And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.” - THOMAS JEFFERSON, Signer and the principal author of the Declaration of Independence; Third President of the United States

 

“To the kindly influence of Christianity we owe that degree of civil freedom, and political and social happiness, which mankind now enjoys…Whenever the pillars of Christianity shall be overthrown, our present republican forms of government – and all blessings which flow from them – must fall with them.” - JEDEDIAH MORSE, Patriot and Educator, called “The Father of American Geography”

 

“Human law must rest its authority ultimately upon the authority of that law which is Divine. Far from being rivals or enemies, religion and law are twin sisters, friends, and mutual assistants. Indeed, these two sciences run into each other.” - JAMES WILSON, Signer of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution; Original Justice on the U. S. Supreme Court

 

Regardless of what you have heard, America was founded on Christian principles. It is now incumbent upon us to preserve this legacy and strengthen its impact going forward.

 

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!” Psalm 33:12

 

-          Christopher Glading, Program Director 


Dare 2B Daring – June 23, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Violence does, in truth, recoil upon the violent, and the schemer falls into the pit which he digs for another.” – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 

 

A few weeks ago, Deanna and I ate dinner at McDonald’s.  We both ordered quarter-pounders with cheese and a value drink, and split an order of fries.  But even with a BOGO coupon for the sandwiches, our bill came to almost $80.00.

 

That’s crazy, right?  Well, not if you factor in the dent in our truck and the busted tail light we discovered when we got ready to leave.  Apparently, someone had backed into our Dodge Ram 1500 while we were eating and then fled the scene of the accident.  To say that I was “ticked off” would be  a gross understatement.

 

I took pictures of the damage to our truck and collected fragments of the broken tail light while I waited for the police to show up.  Ironically, most of the plastic pieces scattered across the parking lot belonged to the other vehicle.

 

Over the next 10 days or so, I stayed in regular contact with the sheriff’s deputy who had filed our report and was investigating our case.  Finally, I received the news I was waiting to hear.  Using videotape from the surveillance camera outside of the restaurant, she was able to identify the make and model of the car that hit us as well as the driver himself.

 

Now came the moment of truth.  “Do you want to press charges?” the officer asked.  Normally, she explained, she would have issued a citation to the driver that required a court appearance without asking our permission.  However, in this instance, she said the driver was a young college student with a clean record.  “And he’s really scared,” she added.  “He didn’t realize that he had damaged your vehicle too and, because his grandmother just took him off her insurance, he didn’t know what to do.”

 

Despite the circumstances, I wasn’t ready to let the young man off the hook without talking with him first.  And so, the deputy arranged for us to meet at a local park.

 

I began by handing the young man a bag containing his broken tail light and then told him a story from my childhood when I was forced to face the consequences of something I had done wrong.  The lesson I learned – the hard way – has proven valuable throughout my life.  I then asked him if he knew the difference between mercy and grace.

 

“Mercy is not getting what you deserve,” I explained.  “And so, I am going to grant you mercy by not pressing charges against you because God has shown me mercy through His Son, Jesus Christ.  In fact, I am not even going to make you reimburse me for the $70 in repairs I had to pay out-of-pocket.”

 

“Grace, on the other hand, is receiving something you don’t deserve,” I continued.  And then, to his astonishment, I pulled a $10 gift card to Wawa out of my pocket and handed it to him along with a Gospel of John and an evangelistic tract.

 

“I can’t accept that”, he said rather sheepishly.  “No, I want you to take it and to either treat yourself or someone else.  But when you do”, I added, “I want you to think about what you did and how you should have handled the situation differently.”

 

Did I let the young man off too easily?  Who knows?  All I know is that God has been more than gracious in my life and I wanted to extend that same treatment to someone else… while at the same time, making sure that he learned an important life lesson.

 

“Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” John 8:11 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President  

 


Dare 2B Daring – June 22, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Out, out, brief candle!” – William Shakespeare’s, “MacBeth”

 

Here is the entirety of MacBeth’s soliloquy…

 

“Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,

Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,

To the last syllable of recorded time;

And all of our yesterdays have lighted fools

The way to dusty death.  Out, out, brief candle!

Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,

That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,

And then is heard no more.  It is a tale

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,

Signifying nothing.”

 

I have watched many people live, but I have only watched one person die.  It wasn’t pretty, but it was extremely peaceful.

 

The person alongside whose deathbed I stood as he drew his last breath was my childhood friend, John Miller.  We had been inseparable throughout our elementary and high school years, then drifted apart after college only to reconnect when he was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer.  Given two years to live by his doctors, John fought bravely for seven before finally succumbing to that dreadful disease.

 

However, four months before he died, I had the distinct privilege of leading John to saving faith in Jesus Christ.  Hence, the peace that permeated his hospital room as he passed into eternity.

 

Conversely, I sat reading scripture and praying at my great-aunt’s bedside in her final hours.  The sheer terror on her face as she contemplated an uncertain hereafter is something I will never forget.

 

A dear friend who is currently battling metastatic lung cancer sent me a text the other day.  I had reached out to reassure him of my love and prayers for him and his family.  Dave’ response was a testament to his rock-solid faith in God. 

 

“It is amazing how things like this make you even more aware of God’s grace and goodness,” he replied.  “I am looking forward to getting to know Him even better through this process.”

 

I read his text, swallowed hard, and prayed that I would face illness – and possibly death – with that same degree of steadfast faith.

 

“And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’  Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lord, do not charge them with this sin.’ And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” Acts 7:59-60 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – June 21, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Time used to be on my side.  Now it’s at my back and pushing.” – Bob Thaves, creator of the comic strip, “Frank and Ernest”

 

Today is the longest day of the calendar year.  By that I mean that June 21st has more daylight hours than any other day in the Northern Hemisphere. 

 

As a kid, I loved the summer months – not only because school was out, but also because I could play outside until 8:30 or even 9:00 PM.  These days, I think about how many rounds of golf I can squeeze in on what is known as the “Summer Solstice”.

 

Truth be told, however, June 21st only has 24 hours in it, just like any other day.  And truth be told, the lifespan for most people in the western world is still between 70 and 80 years… just like it was when Moses penned those words in Psalm 90 several centuries ago. 

 

Since I will turn 58 this September, I am becoming increasingly aware of the brevity of life.  In fact, this same realization hit home (hard) last week when a dear friend of mine was diagnosed with lung cancer, which unfortunately has spread to his lymph nodes.  This very good and godly man has never smoked a single cigarette and yet, he is now facing a fight for his very life.

 

In Psalm 90, after contemplating the shortness of life, Moses prayed for God to teach him to “number” his days.  Now, it wasn’t Moses’ desire to know the exact day that he was going to die.  On the contrary, he simply wanted to be reminded to live each and every day to its fullest for God’s glory.

 

Another friend of mine who served on our prison ministry softball team in New Jersey used to remind his teammates of the same thing before we took the field.  “Play this game as if it is your first; and play this game as if it is your last.”

 

In other words, leave it ALL on the field so you’ll have no regrets when life’s final out is recorded.

 

“For what is your life?  It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.” James 4:14 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President     

 


Dare 2B Daring – June 20, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservation, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality, nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit.” – Christopher McCandless

 

Do you hate your job?  Then my advice is to review your pertinent life experiences, analyze your personal skill set, and start looking for a position that allows you to utilize your spiritual gifts, natural talents, and learned abilities.

 

Do you dread waking up every morning because your daily routine is so unfulfilling?  Then take some time to dream about your ideal life or occupation, compare it to God’s Word and, if everything is in agreement, go for it!

 

Do you seem to be wandering through life, lacking a true sense of purpose?  Try meditating on verses such as Psalm 37:4; Proverbs 16:3; and Matthew 6:33.  Reading – and taking to heart – the Westminster Shorter Catechism might also prove helpful.

 

Here is the bottom line: if you are dissatisfied with something in your life, then do something about it!  Take positive steps, no matter how small, in the right direction.  But please, don’t just sit there being miserable. Life is too short for you to spend your time endlessly spinning your wheels.

 

God has a perfect – and glorious – plan for each and every one of us.  That doesn’t mean that He promises you health, wealth or a life of endless ease.  On the contrary, the Christian life is full of trials and temptations.  And if lived correctly, it is also sure to provide you and me with lots of opposition.

 

However, nothing is more rewarding – spiritually and otherwise – than being in the center of God’s will for your life.  So, stop plodding along and start pleading with Him to reveal His unique plan for you instead.

 

“See ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33 (KJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – June 19, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“I was thirty years old and still living by the seat of my pants. I probably should have had my life together a little bit more by then. But the thing was, my friends all had these stressed-out lives, and they came to our place and it felt like we were just living this laid-back, beautiful, no-stress life. We made being poor look fun.” – Chip Gaines, The Magnolia Story (Fixer Upper) 

 

My mom writes to me once a week or so and in one of her recent letters, she enclosed an article that she had clipped from a magazine.  Basically, it compared “road trips” from years ago to those of today.

 

Here’s how it went…

 

  • When we were kids, a family of five traveled in a sedan.  Today, a family of three travels in a luxury SUV.

 

  • When we were kids, our cars had manual crank windows.  Today, cars are equipped with massage and climate-controlled seats.

 

  • When we were kids, we wore seat belts (sometimes).  Today, kids are restrained in 5-point harness booster seats with cup holders.

 

  • When we were kids, we played the “License Plate Game” and “I Spy” to pass time in the car.  Today, cars come with dual TV screens, DVD players and iPads.

 

  • When we were kids, there were three FM radio stations.  Today, cars have SiriusXM satellite radios with 150+ channels.

 

Personally, I love the idea of better safety devices for kids, but bemoan electronic games replacing ones that require physical activity and imagination.  In fact, I heard a child psychologist say the other day that the #1 thing that today’s children lack (and desperately need) is more unstructured play time.

 

So, let’s all try to slow down and smell the roses a little bit more.  Better yet, how about unplugging those electronic devices that were designed to make our lives easier, but which monopolize our time and turn us into techno-slaves who have difficulty interacting with other people face-to-face. 

 

One more thing.  Why not hold off on the organized sports and team uniforms until kids are in third grade or so… and bring back swing sets, backyard games and clubhouses?

 

“Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things.  But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42 (NKJV)    

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – June 16, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“In a time of deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” – George Orwell

 

During an episode of Pawn Stars, an individual entered the store with a painting he believed to be the work of Claude Monet. Known as the founder of French Impressionism, Monet’s paintings can be valued in the millions of dollars.

 

Rick Harrison, the owner of the store, showed immediate interest in the piece. However, when the individual stated he would sell the painting for $1 million, Rick’s interest quickly turned to caution.

 

Per usual, Rick decided to bring in an art expert friend of his for a second opinion. Yet, after careful analysis, the expert was not completely sure. He called a colleague for a third opinion. It was at this time that the painting was revealed not to be Monet’s work, but rather, one done much later by an unknown artist.

 

In other art news, it was recently reported that hedge-fund billionaire Steve Cohen bought a Roy Lichtenstein painting called “Masterpiece” for an incredible $165 million. Cohen, an avid art connoisseur and trader, has amassed a collection worth well over $1 billion.

 

While both paintings possessed characteristics resembling two famous painters, only one was authentic, and this was reflected dramatically in each’s value. A man who had hopes of walking away with $1 million, left with nothing.

 

Christians must be on guard against such deception in our spiritual lives. What may seem like sound doctrine, could instead lead believers in the wrong direction. False prophets will rise among us to tickle the ears of the undisciplined. As the “Monet” painting was heavily scrutinized for its validity, so must every teaching be held to the ultimate standard of God’s Word.

 

“See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” Colossians 2:8 ESV

 

-          Christopher Glading, Program Director


Dare 2B Daring – June 15, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Gray skies are gonna clear up, put on a happy face!  Brush off the clouds and cheer up, put on a happy face!” – Dick Van Dyke in “Bye Bye Birdie”

 

In yesterday’s tribute to my dad, I mentioned that he starred in his junior and senior high school plays.  Well, apparently the “acting bug” was inherited by his three sons.

 

My oldest brother, Scott, starred as King Arthur in “Camelot” during his senior year and has gone on to act in – and mostly direct – dozens and dozens of high school musicals and summer stock shows.  In fact, he is currently directing a production at Villanova University.

 

My other brother, Gary, is just as talented.  He portrayed Emile De Becque, one of the male leads, in “South Pacific” alongside Scott’s portrayal of Lt. Joe Cable.  A few years later, he spent time abroad studying music at a conservatory in Switzerland, which led to professional gigs in Paris and Las Vegas.  For the past 30 years or so, Gary has entertained on cruise ships all over the world.  A true “song and dance man”, he speaks seven languages fluently and can play virtually every musical instrument.

 

And then there’s me… 

 

Although I’ve always preferred “performing” on the softball field or the basketball court, I also appeared in a few school plays myself.  As a junior, I was given the leading role in Thornton Wilder’s, “Our Town”.  However, I doubt that I got the part due to my acting ability.  My guess is that I was one of the few people that auditioned who was willing and able to memorize the pages and pages of script required of the “Stage Manager”.

 

But my favorite stage role may have been in 8th grade, when I played the part of Mr. MacAfee in “Bye Bye Birdie”.  Paul Lynne, a famous comedian, mastered the role on both Broadway and in the subsequent movie.  And so, my job was to imitate his comedic genius as best I could.

 

To this day, I can still picture my dad with tears streaming down his face, practically rolling in the aisles laughing as I hammed it up on stage.  Ironically, it was the same stage that he had performed on 30 years earlier. 

 

But my purpose today isn’t to reminisce about my brothers and our respective acting careers.  Instead, I want to highlight the following words of Charles Spurgeon.

 

“Some Christians are sadly prone to look on the dark side of everything, and to dwell more upon what they have gone through than upon what God has done for them.  Ask for their impression of the Christian life, and they will describe their continual conflicts, their deep afflictions, their sad adversities, and the sinfulness of their hearts, yet with scarcely any allusion to the mercy and help which God has vouchsafed them.”

 

“But a Christian whose soul is in a healthy state, will come forward joyously, and say, ‘I will speak, not about myself, but to the honor of my God.  He hath brought me up out of a horrible pit, and out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings: and He hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God.  The Lord hath done great things for me, whereof I am glad.”

 

“It is true that we endure trials, but it is just as true that we are delivered out of them.  It is true that we have our corruptions, and mournfully do we know this, but it is quite as true that we have an all-sufficient Savior, who overcomes these corruptions, and delivers us from their domination.”

 

The best approach to life – and its constant ups and downs – is to have a positive frame of mind!

 

“Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” – Nehemiah 8:10 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – June 14, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“This world and then the next.” – William “Bill” Glading

 

On June 14, 1924, a male child was born at home to William John and Kathryn Ann Glading in Camden NJ.  He would grow up in the Cramer Hill section of town before moving to neighboring Pennsauken during the Great Depression.  An only child, he played marbles with his friends and chased the ice man down the street for a cold treat on a hot summer day.  And yes, he also pulled the blanket over his face so only his nose was showing on cold winter nights when his family couldn’t afford coal for the furnace.

 

As he grew in stature, young “Billy” became known as “Bill”.  He played a little basketball in high school, but where he really excelled was on the stage.  Bill was awarded the starring role in both his junior and senior plays, portraying Alfred Hastings, Esq. and Chuck Harris, All American Boy.

 

Soon after graduating, Bill was drafted into the Armed Forces.  He trained at an army base in Washington State before being transferred to Jefferson Barracks, MO.  His superior officer was so impressed with Bill that he offered him the opportunity to remain stateside throughout the war, serving as a drill sergeant.  Instead, Bill opted to be shipped overseas, where he served for three years – and saw extensive combat – in the jungles of the South Pacific.

 

Returning home after the war, Bill worked as a bank teller, a car salesman, and even a cemetery plot salesman.  Eventually, he started his own business selling gravestones, caskets and memorial plaques – but not before marrying June MacDowell and beginning a family of his own.  Because he didn’t like being an only child, Bill was determined to have a big family.  And so, he and June had six children together, losing a seventh to a miscarriage.

 

A member of his church vestry, Bill came to the shocking realization – in his early 50’s – that he wasn’t a Christian.  In his own words, “I wouldn’t have known Jesus Christ if I’d tripped over Him.”  And so, at an age when many self-made men are resting on their laurels, Bill humbled himself and trusted that same Jesus to save him.

 

When he was finally called home to Glory on March 13, 2002, Bill left behind a tremendous legacy of faith for his children… and a whole lot of grandkids who dearly loved their “Gramps”.

 

Happy 93rd birthday, Dad!

 

“We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 5:8 (NKJV)   

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President 

 


Dare 2B Daring – June 13, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Show me the horizon.” – Capt. Jack Sparrow

 

At the end of the movie, “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl”, Capt. Jack Sparrow reclaims his flagship from a mutinous crew.  Portrayed by Johnny Depp, the pirate captain takes hold of the ship’s wheel, gazes across the open waters and says, “Show me the horizon”.

 

In life, there are many times when the best course of action is to look straight down or straight ahead, concentrating on what lays immediately in front of you.  In fact, God’s Word seems to encourage this approach.

 

Psalm 119:105 reads, “Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.”  The implication there is that we are to walk, step by step, in accordance with God’s precepts.

 

And in James 4:13-15, we are warned not to brag and boast about our grandiose plans for today… or tomorrow.  “You do not know what will happen tomorrow.  For what is your life?  It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.”  

 

One of my sports heroes, Jack Nicklaus, applied this strategy throughout his golfing career.  Instead of aiming at the hole on his putts – or the flag on his full shots – the “Golden Bear” would pick out an intermediary target just a few feet in front of him… and then putt or swing accordingly.

 

And yet, there is still something to be said for having long-range vision and keeping our eyes fixed on our ultimate goal or destination.  Christ’s teaching in Luke 14 about “counting the cost” of building a tower seems to fit that mold.  Likewise, the parable of the 10 virgins in Matthew 25.

 

In practical terms, every farmer knows that the secret to plowing a straight row is to concentrate on an object in the distance.  And yes, sailors have known for centuries that the best way to avoid sea-sickness is to focus on the horizon… not the waves below.

 

So, what is the answer?  Do both!  Divide your plans (which hopefully coincide with God’s) into bite-size pieces so you don’t become overwhelmed by the enormity of a project or prideful about its eventual completion.  However, don’t lose sight of the end result… or you may never get there!

 

And in both cases, remember that God is the Author and Finisher of your faith and mine. (Hebrews 12:2)  In other words, the responsibility of guiding us safely through troubled waters and into our heavenly port is His – alone.

 

“Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6 (NIV)   

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – June 12, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Greed is a bottomless pit which exhausts the person in an endless effort to satisfy the need without ever reaching satisfaction.” – Erich Fromm

 

Recently, an email and a news story caught my eye.  They weren’t related… or were they?

 

The email was an invitation to a political fundraiser.  OK, having run for office several times, I realize that candidates need to raise money in order to spread their message and hopefully, influence prospective voters.  However, this particular fundraiser had a very expensive price tag.

 

“Minimum Contribution $1,000” it said.  “Say what?” I replied.

 

I really like this particular candidate and have voted for him previously.  But $1,000 a pop, especially for a race that he should win handily?  Sounds a bit steep to me.

 

The news story reported on Bernie Madoff, the former financial adviser who had swindled countless investors of billions of dollars.  After his conviction, the courts ordered a firm to oversee the distribution of monies back to his victims.

 

To date, the Madoff Victim Fund has been paid $40 million by the U.S. Justice Department, but has yet to return a single dime to his creditors.  Wow, how crazy – and immoral – is that?

 

Perhaps that’s why Jesus preached about money more than any other subject during His earthly ministry.  He knew all too well how easy it was to become gagged by greed and consumed by consumerism.

 

Take heed, my friend, lest your earthly treasures exceed your heavenly ones.

 

“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” I Timothy 6:10 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President   


Dare 2B Daring – June 7, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god.” - Isaiah 44:6 ESV

 

In church on Sunday, we sang “What a Beautiful Name” in worship. One line to this song reads, ‘You have no rival, You have no equal’. Though a simple statement, it carries a truth that provides all meaning to a belief in Christianity.

 

Our world would have us think there are multiple ways to heaven, or a comparable paradise. This pervasive ideology surpasses the belief in a religion with multiple gods to the belief that all religions are true and have equal merit.

 

I’m sure most of you have seen the “Coexist” bumper stickers at some point. While a mutual respect among people of different faiths is agreeable, the implication that all faiths are valid is rather ridiculous. If one faith proposes Jesus as the Messiah, another only a prophet, and yet a third a mere teacher, how can all be true.

 

In His Word, God claims sole authority and Lordship. In Isaiah 43:11, He says “I, I am the Lord, and besides me there is no savior.” In Hosea 13:4, He declares “But I am the Lord your God from the land of Egypt; you know no God but me, and besides me there is no savior.” In Revelation 1:8, He states “I am the Alpha and the Omega, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

 

While the belief in one God is a simple truth for us, it has come under great attack. In a world of compromise and tolerance, it is here we cannot yield.

 

“Yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.” 1 Corinthians 8:6 ESV

 

-          Christopher Glading, Program Director


Dare 2B Daring – June 6, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Learn to say no. It will be of more use to you than to be able to read Latin.” – C.H. Spurgeon

 

One of the most important lessons I have learned in my 40 years as a believer – and in my 30 years as a prison minister – is the ability to say “no”.  Sometimes, all it takes is a quiet wave of the hand.  Other times, it requires a full-throated “NO” shouted at the top of my lungs.

 

As Spurgeon wisely put it, knowing how and when to say “no” is far more valuable than the ability to read Latin… or any other language for that matter.  Because by saying “no” to some things, you are free to say “yes” to others.

 

But what do you do when two spiritual opportunities seem equally appealing?  For me, the answer is to make the decision before it even presents itself.  Let me explain.

 

To borrow a phrase that I first heard applied to President George W. Bush, I am – at long last – “comfortable in my own skin”.  At age 57 and counting, I know intimately my strengths and just as intimately my weaknesses.  I also know what spiritual gifts I possess and what talents the Lord has bestowed on me.

 

God, in His divine providence, has seen fit to grant me the spiritual gifts of leadership (Romans 12:8) and administration (I Corinthians 12:28).  They are no more – or less – important than any other gifts.  However, they are mine and I intend to use them for God’s purposes and glory.

 

So, if I am offered the opportunity to serve in a manner that allows me to exercise my spiritual gifts, I generally say “yes”.  But if the opportunity requires me to operate outside of my area of giftedness, I usually say “no”.

 

I realize that such an approach may sound a bit simplistic, but it really does help discern one’s calling and direct one’s steps.  If you are curious as to your spiritual gifts, try taking an online test at https://spiritualgiftstest.com/spiritual-gift-administration/   I just did and it confirmed my suspicions.

 

“Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them.” Romans 12:6a (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – June 5, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“We are not celebrating scar tissue with our children the way we should be.” – Sen. Ben Sasse, R-NE

 

Not only is Ben Sasse a United States Senator from Nebraska, but he is also a best-selling author.  His most recent book is titled, “The Vanishing American Adult”.  The above quote was drawn from an interview Sasse gave promoting his book.

 

So what is Sasse’ point?  I think I’ll let him answer that question himself.

 

Sasse describes Americans as “a drifting and aimless people – awash in material goods and yet spiritually aching for meaning.”  He decries “institutionalized school-centric childhood[s]” and instead, calls for a universal recognition that producing is more fulfilling than consuming.  In other words, it is better (and more blessed) to give than to receive.

 

Where have I heard that before?    

 

According to the Atlantic, Sasse believes Americans have lost their sense of personal integrity and discipline. For the country to deal with the troubles ahead – including automation, political disengagement, and the rise of nativist, huckster politicians – he says that people must recover their sense of virtue.  

 

Imagine that?  Sasse believes that the answer to the most serious and perplexing problems facing America today is spiritual (and moral) in nature.  Hmmm… kind of reminds me of my own campaign theme in 2016, when I called for people to focus on social issues – such as the sanctity of life and the sanctity of marriage – adding that once we aligned properly with God on those matters, He would help take care of the economic issues that seemingly dominate every election cycle. 

 

I wholeheartedly recommend Sasse’ book and the overarching themes it contains.  Perhaps the most important point Sasse makes is that our greatest challenge is the “nurturing [of] more resilient souls. And governments cannot nurture.”

 

In other words, more responsible parenting and less intrusive government.  I like the sound of that!

 

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6 (NKJV)   

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President 


Dare 2B Daring – June 2, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” – Charles Dickens

 

If you have read my previous devotionals, you will know I am a loyal fan of the Atlanta Braves. While my team had a rough start to the season, it has begun to play great baseball as of late. This has led to a rise in its divisional standing.

 

Unfortunately, not all has gone perfectly for the Braves over their good stretch of play. Last week, Freddie Freeman, the team’s best player, was hit by a pitch and injured. Later tests revealed a fractured wrist. He was placed on the disabled list and is expected to miss two months.

 

Prior to his injury, Freeman was hitting a robust .341 with 11 doubles, 14 home runs, and 25 RBI’s. Though early in the season, he was already a top candidate for the National League’s most valuable player. His injury is a tremendous blow to the Braves and certainly a constant frustration for Freddie.

 

Nevertheless, the Braves must continue to play. The next two months will be more difficult without him and truly test the caliber of the team. At this time, other players in the Braves lineup need to step up and help shoulder the load. A new and greater sense of responsibility will be placed on veterans like Brandon Phillips, Nick Markakis, and Matt Kemp. They must play all the harder in the absence of their stellar teammate.

 

At some point, even the best of us will face overwhelming situations in life. Whether it be a family conflict, financial issue, or medical diagnosis, strife is inevitable. It is during these trials when we as a Christian “team” are to rally around an individual in need. No one can make it through life on his own. Every member has an obligation to encourage and uplift.

 

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV

 

-          Christopher Glading, Program Director


Dare 2B Daring – June 1, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“As long as algebra is taught in school, there will be prayer in school.” – Cokie Roberts

 

A + B = C

 

That simple algebraic equation is the basis for much of advanced math… or so I’ve been told.  You see, I never liked math in school, which is why the minute I had enough credits to qualify for college I stopped taking math classes.

 

Algebra I in 8th grade, Geometry in 9th, and Algebra II in 10th… and then, I said good-bye to associative properties, binomials and bell curves.  So long to coefficients, integers, and logarithms.  Hasta la vista factorials, parabolas, and vectors.

 

Until, that is, my first semester in college, when I was forced to take trigonometry and pre-calculus.  As a straight-A student, imagine the horror on my face when I received my first test back… and it had a big red “D” at the top! 

 

And just ask my wife about statistics, the course that led me to drop out of grad school.

 

In His Word, God uses some spiritual formulas that I can understand – and apply – much more easily.  The Apostle Paul, in 2 Corinthians 7:10, teaches that godly sorrow produces repentance and ultimately, leads to salvation.  And in James 1:14-15, the natural progression of sin is described in terrifying detail.

 

I don’t know about you, but I take great comfort in the fact that God has established some biblical equations that are eternal and unshakable.  I guess my favorite is this: Jesus’ shed blood on the cross plus my faith and trust in Him equals salvation.

 

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President  


Dare 2B Daring – May 31, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Build it and he will come”. – Field of Dreams

 

The other day, I was driving in my truck when I heard an advertisement on the radio.  Not just any advertisement, mind you, but one for a local church.

 

I don’t think I’d ever heard a commercial for a church before and so, I leaned into the radio to make sure I captured every word.

 

“We have great music and great people”, the pastor said in an upbeat voice.  And then, he went on to mention the church’s location before finishing with a catchy slogan.

 

I kept waiting to hear the pastor mention the Bible or talk about what his particular church believed.  Nothing.  Not a word.

 

I may be little strange – O.K., maybe A LOT strange – but I don’t go to church to listen to music or to meet friendly and fascinating people.  On the contrary, I look for a church that stands on the Word of God and preaches it unapologetically… period.

 

As far as I know, the church that sponsored the ad is a pretty solid one.  You just wouldn’t know it from its commercial.

 

I don’t know about you, but when it comes to worshipping God, I can do without all the bells and whistles.  Good solid doctrine and a burden for the lost is what attracts me to a church.  Everything else is icing on the cake… or in some cases, nothing more than window dressing.

 

As Ray Kinsella would say in Field of Dreams, “preach it and they will come.”

 

“And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God.  For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” I Corinthians 2: 1-2 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President 


Dare 2B Daring – May 30, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end - it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.” Habakkuk 2:3

 

A couple of weeks ago, our son Matt and his wife Natasha settled on their first house.  To help them celebrate, Deanna and I offered to take them out to dinner that night.  However, they were too tired from packing their belongings for the big move, so they asked for a rain check.

 

Last Saturday, we helped them move into their new home… and a beautiful one it is.  After eight hours of lifting and carrying boxes, we all called it quits, but Matt and Nat were back at it the next day.

 

Exhausted, Matt called to “cash in” on his rain check.  We let him choose the restaurant and he picked “Cowboys”, a local BBQ joint.  And so, I visited their website to see what specials they were running and to see if they had any online coupons.

 

Bingo!  All you had to do was sign up for their “Fan Club” and they promised you a free appetizer.  I could just taste the fried pickles or gator tail as I entered our name and email address.

 

I kept checking my email throughout the day to see if the promised coupon had arrived, but to no avail.  Fortunately, appetizers are half-price on Sunday nights, so we still got to enjoy some “frickles”.  And guess what?  The coupon arrived in my in-box the very next day!

 

Oh well, I guess we’ll have to make a return trip for the gator tail!

 

Aren’t you thankful that God is never late?  On the contrary, He and His promises – as well as His answers to our prayers – are always right on time.

 

“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President 


Dare 2B Daring – May 29, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“To say, ‘I hope so, I trust so, is comfortable; and there are thousands in the fold of Jesus who ever get much further.  But to reach the essence of consolation you must say, “I know”.  Ifs, buts and perhapses, are sure murderers of peace and comfort.  Doubts are dreary things in times of sorrow.  Like wasps they sting the soul!”  – Charles Haddon Spurgeon

 

I haven’t been stung by a wasp in quite some time (knock on wood), but I distinctly remember three times when I was stung by a yellow jacket over a three-year period.  Each time, a different part of my body blew up like a balloon.

 

The first time was in 6th grade.  I had made the travelling All-Star baseball team in our little town and was scheduled to pitch that night.  However, a bee of some type obviously had other plans, because my arm swelled so much that I wasn’t able to throw a single pitch.

 

About a year later I was scheduled to go to summer camp in New York State with the Boy Scouts.  Same scenario, only this time a bee stung my foot.  And so, instead of driving up with the rest of our troop, my dad – God bless him – had to make the 10-hour roundtrip with me the next day.

 

Then, in 8th grade, my parents allowed me to host a graduation party at our backyard pool.  There were a lot of towels hanging on the fence, but only mine had a yellow jacket hiding inside it.  OUCH!!!

 

Three stings, three swollen limbs, lots of pain.

 

But as Spurgeon points out in today’s quote, there are few things in life more painful than not knowing for sure if you are saved and on your way to heaven.  I trusted Jesus Christ as my Savior in 1977 and surrendered my life to His Lordship five years later.  Since then, God has granted me a “blessed assurance” about my salvation.    

 

Not because I have led a sinless life or anything close to it (I haven’t); but simply because He has remained faithful to His promises.  No “ifs, ands or buts” about it!

 

“These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life…” I John 5:13a (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President 


Dare 2B Daring – May 26, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“If thou hast ever come to the blood of sprinkling, thou wilt feel thy need of coming to it every day.”    – Charles Haddon Spurgeon

 

Monday evenings and Thursday evenings have one thing in common: my son Chris and I arrive home covered with sweat from head to toe.

 

You see, on those two evenings, we both participate in our Living H2O Initiative, which uses basketball to minister to at-risk youth in our community.  On Monday nights, we visit a local park and play pick-up games ranging from 2-on-2 to 4-on-4.  After two hours, our gray shirts are dark with sweat and even our gym shorts are soaked.

 

The same thing happens on Thursday nights at First Baptist Church of Vero Beach.  The church allows us to use their indoor gym, which is located on the second floor of their Family Life Center.  As we all know, hot air rises… and when the air conditioning isn’t functioning properly, the temperature in the gym climbs into the 90’s and above.

 

On a recent Thursday evening, I was listening to our guest speaker share the gospel at center court.  As pools of sweat formed on the floor around me, I grabbed my shirt to wipe off my face.  Unfortunately, there wasn’t a single dry spot to use as towel!

 

Imagine, if you will, Chris and I coming home on Monday or Thursday night, taking off our sweat-soaked clothes and hanging them back in our closets… before crawling into our respective beds without showering.  Crazy, right?  And yet, that’s exactly what we, as believers, do when we become spiritually soiled by the world or by the blackness of our own sin.

 

Coming to the cross and having our sins – past, present and future – covered by Christ’s blood is just the first step.  The second is regularly and routinely returning to that “fountain filled with blood, drawn from Immanuel’s veins”, making sure that we are in right relationship with our Heavenly Father.

 

One shower per week doesn’t get the job done for Chris and me.  And even though I believe strongly in eternal security, neither does a one-time trip to the cross.  Daily confession is good for the soul.  It is also the key to having a clear “spiritual complexion”.

 

“In that day a fountain shall be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness.” Zechariah 13:1 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President

 


Dare 2B Daring – May 25, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“When you come to a fork in the road, take it!” – Yogi Berra

I love the Global Positioning Systems (GPS) in the new cars. A voice comes on and tells me how far I have to go and when to turn. However, sometimes I get off course and the voice says: "Recalculating route." The GPS is telling me I have gone off course and it is now recalculating the route based on my wrong turn.

Sometimes we can make wrong turns in our spiritual lives. We think we are going the right direction only to discover it was never God's will to enter that relationship, make that business deal, hire that person - the examples are limitless.

There is an amazing thing about God. He can make our crooked places straight. He has an ability to make whatever blunder you make turn out right. It may mean there might be some consequences to those decisions, but He will always allow your actions to work together for good for those called according to His purposes if we repent and seek Him fully to make things right. These lessons can even contribute to greater wisdom in our lives if we learn from our mistakes.

God's omnipotence is always one step ahead of our incompetence. Do you think He knew you would make that misstep? Absolutely. Do you think your life was planned even with that misstep figured in? Absolutely.

Isn't it comforting to know you cannot plan God out of the equation no matter how bad you mess up? He will always turn crooked places into straight places for those who are humble and contrite.

Do you need a crooked place straightened out today? Ask Him to straighten the course so you can flow in His perfect will for your life.

"The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth". Luke 3:5

 

-          Os Hillman

Reprinted by permission from the author. Os Hillman is an international speaker and author of 15 books on workplace calling. To learn more, visit http://www.MarketplaceLeaders.org"


Dare 2B Daring – May 24, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” – C.H. Spurgeon

 

It’s patently unfair, but I’ve seen it happen over and over again.  Unfounded and unproven allegations – often made my unnamed sources – are splashed across the front pages of newspapers across the country and headline that evening’s news broadcasts.

 

However, once these same allegations are proven false, the retraction (if there is one) is buried somewhere in Section B, Page 12.

 

Someone once said, “It takes a lifetime to build a reputation and only a few seconds to destroy one.”  How true!

 

Sometimes, we are the ones who destroy our own reputations by acting in an immoral, illegal or uncivil manner.  However, there are times when an innocent party has his or her reputation besmirched and even ruined beyond repair by false rumors and whispered innuendoes.

 

So, what’s a person to do?

 

First, do everything possible to guard your own reputation as well as those who you know and love.  Second, refuse to be a part of spreading unsubstantiated rumors.  Many Christians are guilty of gossip, hiding behind the pretense of sharing “prayer requests”. 

 

If you don’t want someone to find out you said something, then don’t say it.  And if you wouldn’t want something said about you, don’t say it about someone else.

 

Third, if you are guilty of something, it’s better to confess it yourself than to have someone else expose the truth for you.  In politics and public relations, that’s called “getting ahead of the story”.  In the Body of Christ, it’s called repentance.

 

Finally, mediate on the following verses... Exodus 23:1; Leviticus 19:16; Psalm 34:13; Psalm 41:7; Psalm 141:3; Proverbs 10:19; Proverbs 11:9 & 13; Proverbs 16:28; Proverbs 17:9; Proverbs 18:6-8 & 21; Proverbs 20:19; Proverbs 26:20; Romans 1:28-32; 2 Corinthians 12:20; Ephesians 4:29; I Timothy 3:9-11 and 5:13-14; Titus 2:2-5; and James 1: 26 and 4:11.

 

“Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” James 5:16 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – May 23, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

"He could have added fortune to fame, but caring for neither, he found happiness and honor in being helpful to the world." – Epitaph for George Washington Carver

It is said of George Washington Carver that he got up early in the morning each day to walk alone and pray. He asked God how he was to spend his day and what He wanted to teach him that day. Carver grew up at the close of the Civil War in a one-room shanty on the home of Moses Carver- the man who owned his mother. The Ku Klux Klan had abducted him and his mother, selling her to new owners. He was later found and returned to his owner, but his mother was never seen again.

Carver grew up at the height of racial discrimination, yet he had overcome all these obstacles to become one of the most influential men in the history of the United States.

He made many discoveries with the use of peanuts and sweet potatoes. However, after he recommended farmers to plant peanuts and sweet potatoes instead of cotton, he was led into his greatest trial. The farmers lost even more money due to the lack of market demand for peanuts and sweet potatoes. Carver cried out to the Lord, "Mr. Creator, why did You make the peanut?" Many years later, he shared that God led him back to his lab and worked with him to discover some 300 marketable products from the peanut. Likewise, he made over 100 discoveries from the sweet potato. These new products created a demand for peanuts and sweet potatoes, and they were major contributors to rejuvenating the Southern economy.

As he made new discoveries, he never became successful monetarily. But during his lifetime, he overcame great rejection for being black. He was offered six-figure income opportunities from Henry Ford, and he became friends with presidents of his day, yet he knew what God had called him to do.

Like Carver, each of us must connect with our primary purpose in life. Pray that God allows you to fully fulfill your purpose.

"He gave him the plans of all that the Spirit had put in his mind for the courts of the temple of the LORD and all the surrounding rooms, for the treasuries of the temple of God and for the treasuries for the dedicated things." 1 Chronicles 28:12

-          Os Hillman

Reprinted by permission from the author. Os Hillman is an international speaker and author of 15 books on workplace calling. To learn more, visit http://www.MarketplaceLeaders.org"


Dare 2B Daring – May 19, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“The devil has seldom done a cleverer thing than hinting to the church that part of their mission is to provide entertainment for the people, with a view to winning them.” – C.H. Spurgeon

 

“I can’t go to church there anymore,” my nephew told me.  Then he added with more than a hint of exasperation and disdain, “It’s not a worship service; it’s a performance.”

 

My nephew went on to describe the multi-color laser light show that accompanied each service complete with technicians running up and down the aisles with large television cameras mounted on their shoulders.  One of their jobs was to zoom in on individual worshippers, hoping to catch a close-up shot of them praising God with an enraptured look on their face.

 

Sounds silly, doesn’t it, and more than a little commercial.  Well, welcome to the modern-day church, where the end seems to justify the means as long as the seats are filled and the offerings are large.

 

So what if we imitate the world in such a way that it’s hard to tell the difference… if there is one.  As long as everyone leaves the pep rally on an emotional high, it doesn’t matter whether the Bible was actually preached or if true doctrine was, in fact, taught.  After all, it’s more important that people have a good time at church and exit the doors with smiles on their faces as they hum the latest worship chorus.

 

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want God’s Word measured out to me in baby-size spoonfuls.  I am not a spiritual child, so give me heaping portions of meat.  And while you’re at it, you can keep the bells and whistles – and yes, the pyrotechnics – to yourself.

 

One last thing… I want to occasionally leave the sanctuary (not the auditorium) chastised and even heart-broken over my sin.  Save the 24/7 pep rally for someone else. 

 

“They shall come with weeping, and with supplications I will lead them.” Jeremiah 31:9a (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President        


Dare 2B Daring – May 18, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Most people spend more time and energy going around problems than in trying to solve them.”         – Henry Ford

 

There were just 26 seconds left in Super Bowl XLIX and the Seattle Seahawks, having blown a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter, were now poised to score the winning touchdown.  The ball rested at the one yard line as running back Marshawn Lynch lined up behind quarterback Russell Wilson.

 

Every player on the field, every spectator in the stands, and every broadcaster in the booth expected the same thing: for Wilson to hand the ball off to Lynch.  After all, it was still first down and there was no way that the Patriots exhausted defense could possibly stop the man nicknamed “Beast Mode” for his powerful running style, his propensity for breaking tackles, and his consistent ability to run over defenders.  Not four consecutive times, anyway.

 

But in one of the most inexplicable decisions in Super Bowl history, Head Coach Pete Carroll called for a pass play.  Wilson obeyed, dropped back, and threw a short slant pass over the middle.  But a rookie defensive back named Malcom Butler stepped between the ball and the intended receiver, picking off Wilson’s pass and ending the Seahawks comeback.

 

Known simply as “The Call”, Carroll’s implausible decision continues to be second-guessed by sports fans and analysts alike, and will go down as one of the worst play calls in the annals of professional sports.

 

A reporter named Melissa Stark tweeted, “Standing w @Seahawks as they walk thru tunnel and one says best back in football and we throw the ball on one yard line.”

 

Sometimes, when faced with an obstacle, the best approach is to plow right through it.  Just ask Marshawn Lynch and the rest of the Seahawks, who are still licking their wounds more than two years later.  Or Pete Carroll, who will regret throwing around an obstacle – instead of facing it head on – for the rest of his coaching career… if not his life.

 

“From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.” Matthew 16:21 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President   

 


Dare 2B Daring – May 17, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“The same Lord who led me to this point, will now lead me from this point.” – Rev. Roger Ball

 

About six weeks ago, the air-conditioning stopped working in the gym where we hold our Living H2O Initiative every Thursday night.  Without the cooling air, the temperature in the gym soon climbed into the 90’s and possibly higher.  Add to that the humidity generated from dozens of sweating bodies, and the conditions were becoming increasingly oppressive… and even dangerous.

 

At the same time, we had yet to receive approvals from the Florida Department of Corrections for our monthly prison trips for the summer, fall and winter months.  They had approved our visits from January through May, but we hadn’t heard anything about our trips scheduled for June, July, August and for the rest of the year – despite submitting our requests way back in December of 2016.

 

Does God want us to cancel our Living H2O Initiative for the summer, we asked ourselves?  And if we do, will our program – which has had so much success and impacted so many young lives – lose its momentum?

 

And what about our monthly prison trips during which we share the gospel with hundreds of lost prisoners?

 

Well, just as we started making alternate plans for our Living H2O Initiative, the church custodian told us that one of the two A/C units was still working.  Not optimum, but much better news than anticipated.  According to my son Chris, who serves as our Program Director, the temperature in the gym dropped by 10 degrees last week.

 

And last week, we also received good news from the Florida DOC.  They have now approved our softball games for June and August as well as our basketball games for July.

 

Once again, God showed up… just in time!

 

“But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.” Galatians 4:4-5 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – May 16, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“The only way to be on the ‘right side of history’ is to be on the right side of His Story.” – Rev. Jim Korth

 

During the season finale of "Once Upon a Time," one of the characters delivered a great line.  It was, “Darkness fools you into thinking it's won, when it hasn't."

 

Though spoken in a very different fictional/fantasy setting, it expressed a truth. Living in a culture that continues to shake its fist in defiance and speak with rebellious arrogance against God (see Psalm 75:5), it is a comfort to know darkness will not prevail.

 

At the same time, we must warn the proud and the wicked, who boast and raise their fists (75:4), that they will drink the cup of God's wrath unless they repent (75:8).

 

"God says, 'At the time I have planned, I will bring justice against the wicked.’" Psalm 75:2

 

-          Rev. Jim Korth 


Dare 2B Daring – May 15, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Love is not love

Which alters when it alteration finds,

Or bends with the remover to remove.

O no, it is an ever-fixed mark

That looks on tempests and is never shaken;

It is the star to every wand’ring bark,

Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.

 

― William Shakespeare (Sonnet 116)

 

I did not read much when I was younger. I often preferred to play outside or watch TV. Now, I love to read and it is a choice pastime of mine. As a result, I have begun to read certain books I neglected when a child. I recently finished the Harry Potter series and believe it to be one of the best I’ve read.

 

Of all the characters in the series, Severus Snape is my favorite. Professor Snape is a truly complex individual. For most of the series, he appears to be a cold, unfeeling, and harsh person. His disgust for Harry Potter is apparent in each of their encounters, believing him to be a spoiled, arrogant young wizard.

 

However, in the final book, the full persona of Severus Snape is revealed. We learn of his undying love for Harry’s mother, Lily, and resultant dislike for he and his father. It is because of this extraordinary love that Snape devotes his life to the protection of Harry Potter following the deaths of his parents.

 

Though mostly hidden, Snape works tirelessly to keep Harry safe. Employed as a double-agent by Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Harry’s school, Snape must assume an ever-dangerous role as a death eater, the name given to Voldemort’s followers, our story’s antagonist.

 

With each day, Snape places himself in graver peril. He must convince Voldemort of his unfailing loyalty while using his position as a death eater to protect Harry. His devotion to Lily gives him courage and resolve. At the end of the final book, Snape sacrifices his life to preserve Harry, fulfill his oath to Dumbledore, and express his love for Lily.

 

Love truly is sacrificial and to demonstrate it fully we must be willing to give of ourselves. While Severus Snape offers us a tremendous example of this, our ultimate example is found in Jesus Christ. We are commanded to love God and others with all our beings. Sacrifice, then, is a consequential

necessity.

 

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” Romans 12:1 ESV

 

-          Christopher Glading, Program Director


Dare 2B Daring – May 9, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“You cannot warm the hearts of people with God’s love if they have an empty stomach and cold feet.” – William Booth

 

It was the early 1930’s and the Great Depression was deepening by the day.  One afternoon, the pastor of a Methodist church in Camden, New Jersey glanced out of his window and saw some children scrounging through his garbage can in search of food.

 

Moved to tears, Rev. John Hackett turned to his wife and vowed, “We will hit this thing.”

 

And so, the Wiley Methodist Church opened a soup kitchen and began ministering to the poorest people in their neighborhood.  Word got around and soon, Rev. Hackett was forced to rent an abandoned post office building to accommodate the growing crowds.

 

Almost 90 years later, that soup kitchen has grown into a vast and multi-faceted ministry called the Wiley Mission.  No longer based in Camden, it includes a church, a continuing care retirement community (CCRC), and a daycare in Marlton as well as an outreach to poor, homeless and disadvantaged people in nearby Pennsauken.

 

I worked at the Wiley Christian Retirement Community for 11 years, and Deanna and I lived on the property when we were first married.  My paternal grandmother and two great-aunts lived and died there.  Today, my own mother lives in one of the independent apartments at Wiley, and I am pleased with the care and concern shown to her by the entire staff.

 

All because a godly man saw a physical need and – in the name of Jesus – met it.  What physical, emotional or spiritual need is God calling you to meet in the lives of others?

 

“If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them. ‘depart in peace, be warmed and filled,’ but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?  Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” James 2:15-17 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President 


Dare 2B Daring – May 8, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“There are darknesses in life and there are lights, and you are one of the lights, the light of all lights.”  – Bram Stoker, Dracula

 

A few weeks ago, my church hosted Bob Gillespie from Answers in Genesis. He gave several messages highlighting the first book of the Bible and stressed the importance of taking each word recounting God’s creation literally. To not would set a dangerous precedent for the interpretation of the rest of Scripture.

 

After attending these services, I took to reading the first chapter of Genesis again. While I saw many of the points made by Mr. Gillespie, one passage stood out to me in particular. In Genesis 1:3-5 it states, “And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.”

 

As I read, I marveled at the simple, yet profound, implications to these verses. The physical, natural aspect relates to the mere presence of light. God had created the earth, but it was formless, empty, and dark. Thus, God spoke light into existence.

 

However, I believe there is much greater meaning to take from these verses. We see that God saw the light was good and separated it from the darkness. On the surface, this makes sense to denote the distinction between morning and evening, as we see at the end of verse five.

 

This excerpt, though, is rather incredible. In just the fourth verse in the Bible, God reveals a powerful metaphor that will be used throughout Scripture. In Psalm 27:1 David proclaims, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” Jesus states in John 8:12 “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

 

Still, this responsibility does not end with Jesus. During His sermon on the mount, He says, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

 

The contrast between light and darkness is ever present in the Word of God. He has separated the light from the darkness and calls it good. As believers, we have been “called out of darkness into His marvelous light” (I Peter 2:9b) to proclaim the excellencies of our Lord.

 

“For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.” Ephesians 5:8 ESV

– Christopher Glading, Program Director


Dare 2B Daring – May 5, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Hardship often prepares an ordinary person for an extraordinary destiny.” – C.S. Lewis

 

Many people, including me, wonder from time to time why they seem to face one difficult situation or circumstance after another.  Well, instead of trying to answer that age-old question myself, I think I’ll turn it over to someone far more qualified: Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the “Prince of Preachers”.

 

“Look upward to thy heavenly Father, and behold Him pure and holy.  Dost thou know that thou art one day to be like Him?  Wilt thou easily be conformed to His image?  Wilt thou not require much refining in the furnace of affliction to purify thee?  Will it be an easy thing to get rid of thy corruptions, and make thee perfect even as thy Father which is in heaven is perfect?”

 

“Next, Christian, turn thy eye downward.  Dost thou know what foes thou hast beneath thy feet?  Thou wast once a servant of Satan, and no king will willingly lose his subjects.  Dost thou think that Satan will let thee alone?  No, he will always be at thee, for he ‘goeth about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.’  Expect trouble, therefore, Christian, when thou lookest beneath thee.”

 

“Then look around thee.  Where art thou?  Thou art in an enemy’s country, a stranger and a sojourner.  The world is not thy friend.  If it be, then thou art not God’s friend, for he who is the friend of the world is the enemy of God.  Be assured that thou shalt find foeman everywhere.  When thou sleepest, think that thou art resting on the battlefield; when thou walkest, suspect an ambush at every hedge.”

 

“Lastly, look within thee, into thine own heart and observe what is there.  Sin and self are still within.  Ah!  If thou hadst no devil to tempt thee, no enemies to fight thee, and no world to ensnare thee, thou wouldst still find in thyself enough evil to be a sore trouble to thee, for ‘the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.’  Expect trouble then, but despond not on account of it, for God is with thee to help and to strengthen thee.  He hath said, ‘I will be with thee in trouble; I will deliver thee and honour thee.’”

 

So, there you have the answer to why Joseph found himself sold into slavery, falsely accused of a crime he didn’t commit, and imprisoned.  Satan knew that God had a marvelous plan for Joseph’s life and he tried everything at his disposal to thwart it.

 

Guess what?  Satan lost (again) and God won (again).  For what Satan and other men mean for evil, God always means for good (Genesis 50:20).      

 

“In the world ye shall have tribulation.” John 16:33 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President   


Dare 2B Daring – May 4, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Many of us are silent Christians simply letting the status quo reign while we sit quietly by watching.” – Os Hillman

 

Supposedly, St. Francis of Assisi said the following: “Preach the gospel always and, if necessary, use words.”  Scholars debate whether the cleric actually said that, but for the sake of argument, let’s say he did.

 

The problem with this approach, called lifestyle evangelism, is that there is often very little difference between the way a believer and an unbeliever live their respective lives. 

 

Don’t take my word for it.  Here is what Christian pollster George Barna says…

 

“Most born-again adults believe they're engaging in ‘lifestyle evangelism,’” says Barna. "But then when we studied the lifestyles of those people," he says, "what we found was that there really wasn't that much difference between those individuals and the people that they allegedly hoped to influence." 

 

Despite the Great Commission being given to every Christ-follower, only 25% of all professing Christians think it is their responsibility to witness.  Maybe that is why Barna found the following to be true:

  • Ninety-five percent of all Christians have never won a soul to Christ
  • Eighty percent of all Christians do not consistently witness for Christ
  • Less than two percent are involved in the ministry of evangelism
  • Seventy-one percent do not give toward the financing of the Great Commission

So, what’s the solution?  Try living a life that is different than those around you.  Be counter-cultural.  Refuse to be friends with this world (James 4:4).  Recognize that your true citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20)… and start acting like it.

 

And, oh yeah, open your mouth and begin sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ.

 

“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light…” I Peter 2:9 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – May 2, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Out of the mouth of babes oft times come gems.” – Anonymous

 

A friend of my mother’s named Connie sent her the following verse.  She, in turn, shared it with me and encouraged me to include it in one of my devotional messages.

 

And so, because I always try to listen to my mom, here is Connie’s verse (which I thought was funny, true and inspiring).

 

Once upon a time, all the villagers decided to pray for rain.  On the designated day of prayer, all the people gathered, but only one small boy came with an umbrella.  That’s FAITH.

 

When you throw a baby in the air, they laugh because they know you will catch them.  That’s TRUST.

 

Almost every night, we go to bed without any assurance of being alive the next morning, but still we set the alarm to wake up.  That’s HOPE.

 

We plan big things for tomorrow in spite of absolutely no knowledge of the future.  That’s CONFIDENCE.

 

We see the world suffering and in turmoil, but we still get married.  That’s LOVE.

 

On an old woman’s shirt was written the following sentence.  “I am not 80 years old… I am sweet 16 with 64 years’ experience.” That’s ATTITUDE.

 

Do you have faith?  How about trust, hope and confidence?  A loving attitude may be the most important trait of all.

 

“Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants, you have ordained strength.” Psalm 8:2 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President  


Dare 2B Daring – May 1, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“No pastor should ever cut down the net.  He should hold the ladder instead.” – Rev. Greg Sempsrott

 

On Monday, April 3rd, the North Carolina Tar Heels claimed their sixth NCAA men’s basketball title in a real nail-biter over the Gonzaga Bulldogs.  The final score was 71-65, but the game’s outcome wasn’t decided until the final minutes.

 

When it when all over, Coach Roy Williams mounted a metal ladder and performed the long-standing tradition of cutting down the net.  It was the third time Williams has had the privilege of doing so as head coach at UNC.

 

However, the point Pastor Greg is making in today’s quote is that what is fine for a college basketball coach to do is not recommended or appropriate for a pastor.

 

Why is that?

 

Simply put, a pastor is God’s under-shepherd, caring for and guiding His flock here on earth.  As such, he is to exemplify the same principles of servant-leadership that Jesus did during His earthly ministry.  

 

“A pastor’s job is to equip, coach and then be a cheerleader,” Pastor Greg told me recently.  I agree 100%.  More importantly, God agrees, because He instructed the Apostle Paul to put into writing a pastor’s job description 2,000 years ago (see the Bible passage below).

 

My friend, your pastor is not an employee, he is a man called by God.  And he is not a “hired gun”, whose job it is to win every soul, teach every class and perform every other ministry-related task in your church.

 

His job is to give you and me the tools, the training and the opportunity... and then allow us the privilege of using our spiritual gifts to help carry out the Great Commission by making disciples ourselves. 

 

“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” Ephesians 4:11-12 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – April 28, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“If the Devil never bothers you, could it be because you're both going in the same direction?” – Dr. J. Bruce Sofia

 

Last week, I was on a long-distance conference call with several other people involved in sports evangelism.  One of them asked me a rather pointed question. 

 

“Having been involved in various ministries for as long as you have,” he began, “I assume that you’ve made a few enemies.  How have you handled that?” he asked.

 

What a great – and very insightful – question!

 

My response was that I may have inadvertently stepped on more than a few toes during my 30 years of ministry, but I don’t know of a single person that I would call my enemy.  The same goes for my involvement in the often-dark world of politics.

 

However, there in one person who most definitely is my mortal enemy… and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  His name is Lucifer, but he also goes by the name Satan as well as a myriad of pseudonyms such as the devil, Beelzebul, the god of this age, the prince of the power of the air, the accuser of the brethren, and the father of lies – among others.

 

I hope that I am also on Satan’s list of enemies, because I want to be a continuous thorn in his rotting flesh.  He desires to kill and destroy – especially souls – and I want to see them come to saving faith in Christ.  Yes, the two of us are diametrically opposed in everything.

 

How about you, my friend?  Are you on Satan’s enemies list?  I sure hope so!

 

“Adulterers and adulteresses!  Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?  Whoever therefore wants to be friends of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” James 4:4 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President 


Dare 2B Daring – April 27, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“We need the tonic of wildness... At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us… We can never have enough of nature.” – Henry David Thoreau, Walden: Or, Life in the Woods

 

The other night, my dad and I watched several episodes of River Monsters. The show features Jeremy Wade, a biologist, adventurer, and expert fisherman. Jeremy travels the world in order to reveal mysterious beasts that lie beneath the water. Having heard remarkable stories from people across the globe, he hopes to answer questions that have haunted communities for ages.

 

In one episode, Jeremy travels to Iceland. After reviewing Norse mythology and multiple other sources, he believes a creature often thought to be the Loch Ness Monster could reside within the cold Icelandic waters. Eventually, Jeremy reels in a 400-pound Greenland Shark. Due to its shape and unusually small dorsal fin, it could possibly match the description of Nessie. But is it?

 

Later on, Jeremy traveled to Puget Sound, just off the coast of Seattle, Washington. Here, he is told the story of a giant octopus that attacked a man. While diving for sea cucumbers, the unsuspecting victim was wrapped in massive tentacles before feeling the powerful beak of the octopus come down upon his head. With help from his friends, the diver was barely able to make it back to shore.

 

Jeremy needed to confirm this story for himself. With a crew of men, he dove to the icy depths of Puget Sound and began his search. He soon came across a Giant Pacific Octopus measuring more than 20-feet across and weighing up to 500-pounds. Coming to the surface, Jeremy was amazed by what he saw.

 

So, what’s the point? Why bother telling these accounts from an Animal Planet TV show? For me, it is the continual ability of God’s creation to leave me in complete awe. That is exciting!

 

Experiences like these serve to strengthen my faith as an infinite God displays His power, vision, and imagination to a finite being such as myself. While I am earnest to explore and learn all things, I require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, and God provides this.

 

“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” Revelation 4:11 ESV

 

-          Christopher Glading, Program Director


Dare 2B Daring – April 26, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“I do not care whether you’re a Democrat, you’re a Republican or an independent.  We must pull for the people who are wearing the uniform of the armed forces.  These people weren’t drafted.  They enlisted, because they believe.” – Tommy Lasorda

 

Tommy Lasorda, as many baseball fans know, served as manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers from 1976 to 1996.  During his 20 seasons at the helm, Lasorda’s teams recorded 1,599 wins and captured four National League pennants and eight division titles.  A member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, Lasorda was known for bleeding “Dodger blue”.

 

However, Tommy acknowledged that there were other Americans whose sacrifices – and yes, blood – were far more valuable than his two World Series rings or his two Manager of the Year awards.  These men and women volunteered to serve their country in dangerous places all over the world… and some of them paid the ultimate price, giving their lives for our freedom.

 

Have you volunteered to serve in God’s army or are you still waiting to be drafted?  The key – as Lasorda put it – may be how deeply you believe in the cause. 

 

Risk Takers for Christ’s slogan is “moving believers from the sidelines to the front lines”.  Here is Webster’s definition of both terms…

 

Front Line: a military line formed by the most advanced tactical combat units; also, an area of potential or actual conflict or struggle.  The most advanced, responsible, or visible position in a field or activity.

 

Sideline: a sphere of little or no participation or activity.

 

The choice is yours, my friend.  Are you satisfied being a “spiritual spectator” or are you willing to engage in battle, maybe even hand-to-hand combat with evil forces, on behalf of your Lord?

 

The souls – and eternal destinies – of countless millions may depend on your answer.  Enlist today!

 

“He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called the Word of God.  And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses.” Revelation 19:13-14 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – April 25, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“His voice leads us not into timid discipleship, but into bold witness.” – Dr. Charles Stanley

 

Forty years ago last month, my brother Gary asked my mom if we could have a family Bible study after lunch that day.  She said yes, even though it was a Sunday and we had already gone to church that morning.  To make matters worse, Sunday afternoon was my favorite day to play whatever sport – baseball, football or basketball – was in season.

 

But as mothers tend to do, my mom gave me and my other siblings the “this is not open for discussion” look.  And so, all eight of our family members gathered around our large dining room table while Gary led the Bible study.

 

Funny that he should call it that, because I didn’t own a Bible – or if I did, I certainly had no idea where to find it.  But as it turned out, I really didn’t need one, because Gary read from the one that he had been carrying around with him lately.

 

The two things that I remember most about that day are how nervous Gary was and how much sense he made.  In fact, he made so much sense that when he finished, I went upstairs, knelt beside my bed, and asked Jesus to save me… and He did!

 

Ten years later, I began ministering to prisoners and haven’t stopped since.  All because my brother overcame his fear of rejection and shared the gospel with the people that he loved the most.

 

Today is Gary’s birthday and so, I wish him health, happiness and a close walk with God.  I also pledge to follow his example not to allow anything to prevent me from witnessing to my family, my friends, my neighbors or anyone who will listen – even if it means me missing another baseball game!

 

“A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President 


Dare 2B Daring – April 24, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Go straight for souls, and go for the very worst.” – William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army

 

To this day, I have never received as much as a speeding ticket.

 

Knock on wood…

 

And yet, God has called me to minister to prisoners across the country and around the world for the past 30 years.  Why?

 

I think the Apostle Paul had the right idea.  A self-described “Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee” (Philippians 3:5); Paul had every right to brag about his spiritual position.  However, he was more in tune with his spiritual condition, meaning that he knew the wickedness that still resided in his own heart… even after his conversion.

 

That is why – in a moment of complete transparency – Paul referred to himself as the “chief of sinners” (I Timothy 1:15).  Identifying with the “worst of the worst” allowed him to minister to everyone he came in contact with regardless of their social status.  Because of this, Paul was as comfortable witnessing to prisoners (Acts 16:25-34) as he was sharing his faith with a king (Acts 25 & 26).

 

Even more importantly, Paul’s willingness to minister to – and live among – those who were looked down upon in that society carried out Christ’s command in Matthew 25.  By ministering to the “least of these My brethren”, Paul was in essence ministering to Jesus Himself.

 

So, how about it, my friend?  Are you willing to only witness to those who are “acceptable” by the world’s standards?  Or would you care to join me on a prison trip sometime and minister to forgotten men and women for whom Christ also died?

 

Praying… paying… or playing.  Those are three ways you can be involved with Risk Takers for Christ.

 

“For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if  I do not preach the gospel!” I Corinthians 9:16 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – April 21, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Can we go too fast in saving souls?  If anyone still wants a reply, let him ask the lost souls in hell.”   – William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army

 

When our family moved to Vero Beach in 2011, one of the first transitions we had to make was adjusting to the slower pace of life here in the South.  Coming from New Jersey – where the unspoken motto is “speed up, step aside or be run over” – we had trouble getting used to the “what’s your hurry?” attitude of some native Floridians.

 

Now, six years later, we love the more relaxed atmosphere of Indian River County, but still find ourselves walking faster, talking faster, and yes, driving faster than many of our neighbors.

 

But what about saving souls?  Could it be that all of us – native Southerners and transplanted Northerners alike – should be far more aggressive when it comes to witnessing?  Now when I say “aggressive”, I don’t mean hitting people over the head with the gospel or shoving the plan of salvation down their throats.  Far from it.  Instead, what I am referring to is having a greater sense of evangelistic urgency.

 

A couple of years ago, I had a discussion with a local woman who is very active in the pro-life movement.  However, knowing how passionate I am about protecting the lives of the innocent unborn, she offered me a word of caution. “We like to take things slowly here,” she said.

 

“Try telling that to the 1,000 unborn babies that are aborted each day in America,” was my reply.

 

The same goes for eternal souls.  K.P. Yohannan, the founder of the Gospel for Asia, estimates that 80,000 people die and enter a Christ-less eternity every day.

 

So, I ask you, based on that information, should we delay – or accelerate – our evangelistic efforts?

 

“I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.” John 9:4 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President    

 

Dare 2B Daring – April 20, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“There is nothing easier than getting into the right relationship with God, unless it is not God you seek, but only what He can give you.” - Oswald Chambers

 

“I don’t know God’s will for my life”.

 

“God seems so far away.”

 

“My prayer life is practically non-existent.”

 

Ever say or hear one of the phrases above?  I know I have.  But as Oswald Chambers reminds us in today’s quote, it doesn’t need to be that way.

Do you want to know God’s will for your life?  Start by doing the little things you know He wants – even commands – you to do, such as pray (I Thessalonians 5:17); witness (Matthew 28:19-20); worship Him (Psalm 67:3); attend church regularly (Hebrews 10:25); and read your Bible daily (Joshua 1:8).  As you do these things, His specific will for your life will be revealed.

If God seems far away, guess who moved?  After all, He is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).  But the good news – make that the Good News – is that He is always ready to welcome us back at a moment’s notice… and to renew and restore that broken relationship.  Start by saying “I’m sorry” and my guess is that He will stop and embrace you before you finish with your entire apology (see I John 1:9 and Luke 15:11-32).

And if your prayer life is lacking (whose isn’t?), then begin by simply talking to Him aloud as you would your closest pal.  Drop the formality along with the “thee’s” and “thou’s”… and just talk, friend to Friend.  Remind yourself of the truths found in Proverbs 18:24 and John 15:13-15.

Feel better now?  I know I do.  God bless you, my friend.

“For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.” Psalm 103:14 (NKJV)

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – April 19, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Don't pray when you feel like it. Have an appointment with the Lord and keep it. A man is powerful on his knees.” - Corrie Ten Boom

 

When we got married, I was 25 and Deanna was only 20.  Within six years, we had three children, the last two just 19 months apart.  And yet, every Sunday morning, every Sunday evening, and every Wednesday evening we loaded all three kids into our car – regardless of the weather – and headed off to church.

 

Why?  Because we had an appointment with God.

 

It always amazes me when I hear people make excuses for not attending church.  Maybe they had a long and exhausting day on the soccer field the day before (or later that day), or maybe one of the kids has the sniffles… so the entire family has to stay home and wipe his or her nose.

 

And yet, that same family would never miss other less important appointments such as doctor’s visits, play dates, or basketball practice.  It’s all a question of priorities.

 

The same goes for establishing a regular time to have your personal devotions.  In some ways, the content of those devotions is less critical than their regularity.  Some people start with prayer and praise, others with reading a portion of Scripture or a devotional message.  Personal devotions are not “one size fits all”.

 

However, what does apply to every person’s devotional time is the need for consistency.  Unless we are fasting or dieting, very few of us miss a meal or go all day without eating.  And yet, to our spiritual detriment, we can go days on end without cracking the Bible or spending time alone with God in prayer.

 

If you want physical muscles, visit the gym and do it regularly.  Don’t allow excuses to get in the way.  But if you want spiritual muscles, be sure to make – and keep – your daily appointment with God.

 

“And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President  


Dare 2B Daring – April 18, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“You were born an original.  Don’t die a copy.” – Anonymous

 

I was watching an episode of Designated Survivor last week in which the FBI was trying to ascertain the identity of a suspect.  Finally, an agent was able to enlarge a picture of a bedside table that held a wine glass.  By enlarging the picture even further, she was able to zero in on a fingerprint on the glass.  Within seconds, by “lifting” and running that fingerprint through the FBI’s data base, she uncovered the suspect’s identity.

 

How was that possible?  Because every human being that has ever walked the face of the earth has a unique fingerprint.  Just like snowflakes, no two are alike.

 

I believe – and Scripture bears it out – that God has a general and a specific will for every person.  His general will is best summarized in the Westminster Shorter Catechism, which states that the chief end of man is “to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.”

 

However, God also has a specific will for every believer, too.  In other words, His unique and perfect plan for you is different than His unique and perfect plan for me.

 

Paul explains this point in detail in I Corinthians 9:12, “For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.”  Paul goes on the describe feet, hands, eyes, ears and even noses.

 

Perhaps the most important part of his teaching in this passage is found in verse 21.  “And the eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you’; nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’”

 

What Paul is saying is that if one part of the body isn’t doing its part – and fulfilling its purpose – the whole body suffers.  So it is with the Body of Christ.

 

Let’s make a deal.  Do your part and I’ll do mine… and to God be the glory for both!

 

“Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed, and in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.” Psalm 139:16 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President 


Dare 2B Daring – April 17, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Nerve, enthusiasm, and practice are the three essentials to success in golf.  But to be great requires the gift.” – Bob Ferguson

 

Bob Ferguson was a Scottish golfer whose career covered the last two decades of the 19th century.  As Old Tom Morris aged – and after Young Tom Morris passed away at a tender age of 24 – Bob became the dominant golfer in Scotland.  He won three consecutive Open Championships in 1880, 1881, and 1882 among his seven top-10 finishes in the tournament.

 

One of the reasons why Ferguson was able to surpass Old Tom Morris was that, having turned 50, Morris began to lose his nerve over relatively short putts.  Likewise, Ferguson’s unbridled enthusiasm for the game rivaled that of Young Tom, a four-time winner of the Open himself.

 

As for practice, no records exist detailing how much time and effort Ferguson put into refining his craft.  Suffice it to say that he probably wouldn’t have written about its importance had he not backed up his words with the appropriate action.

 

Ferguson had a threefold formula for golfing success, but he felt that a fourth ingredient was necessary to be truly great.  He called it “the gift”.

 

Last week, I watched a three-part biography about Jack Nicklaus, my all-time sports hero.  Each segment began with a tribute to Jack from greats in other sports: Wayne Gretzky in hockey, Roger Federer in tennis, Jerry Rice in football, and Pete Rose in baseball.

 

Chances are, you and I may not be a GOAT (greatest of all time) in a particular sport or endeavor.  However, we can be the best we can possible be – maximizing our natural talents and spiritual gifts –  if we apply Bob Ferguson’s advice.

 

Nerve (which comes from having confidence in God), enthusiasm (which is generated by being in the center of His will for your life), and practice (by communing with God daily through Bible reading and prayer).  Do these three things and you will win eternal crowns… which are far more valuable than the claret jug awarded to the winner of the Open Championship.

 

“And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things.  Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.” 1 Corinthians 9:25 (NKJV)    

 

-          Rev.  Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – April 10, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“If I thought I could win one more soul to the Lord by walking on my head and playing the tambourine with my toes, I’d learn how!” – William Booth

 

William Booth was born in Nottingham, England on this very date in 1829.  His family was relatively affluent, but eventually descended into poverty.  As a result, William left school at age 13 to become an apprentice to a pawnbroker.

 

Two years later, William was converted to Methodism and in 1851, he left his job to become a full-time preacher and later, an itinerant evangelist.  He is best known as the founder and first “general” of the Salvation Army.

 

Booth faced some early opposition in his ministry from the alcohol industry, the press and even from organized religious groups, including the Church of England.  However, by the end of his preaching career, he had won most of them over.

 

Nearly blind, Booth conducted his last preaching tour in 1910 at the age of 86.  He died two years later and his memorial service was attended by 40,000 people – including Queen Mary.  An estimated 150,000 people filed by his casket as it laid in state for three days.

 

This week, I plan to share a few quotes by Booth and then build my devotional messages around them.  Here is the first (and one of my favorites)…    

 

“’Not called!’ did you say?  ‘Not heard the call,’ I think you should say.  Put your ear down to the Bible, and hear Him bid you go and pull sinners out of the fire of sin.  Put your ear down to the burdened, agonized heart of humanity, and listen to its pitiful wail for help.  Go stand by the gates of hell, and hear the damned entreat you to go to their father’s house and bid their brothers and sisters, and servants and masters not to come there.  Abd then Christ in the face, whose mercy you have professed to obey, and tell Him whether you will join heart and soul and body and circumstances in the march to publish His mercy to the world.”

 

“Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father [Abraham], that you would send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’” Luke 16:27-28 (NKJV) 

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – April 7, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“It is better to burn quickly and melt many souls than to burn slowly and melt none.” – Sadhu Sundar Singh

 

Last week, after working 27 of the previous 28 days, Deanna and I went camping for a couple days of R & R.  We were sitting outside of our trailer reading books when she took a look at my bare feet and said, “Wow… you need a pedicure!”

 

I must admit that she’s right.  After playing competitive sports for the past 45 years, my feet have lots of knots and callouses.  But I don’t see any sense in getting a pedicure – it would be my first – only to keep playing four hours of basketball each week.

 

But, Paul told the Roman church that people who spread the gospel have “beautiful feet”, so I guess I’ll have to settle for that! 

 

As I close this week of messages devoted to worldwide missions, let me quote from two of my spiritual heroes, Charles Spurgeon and Hudson Taylor.  Hopefully, their words will prick and penetrate your heart and soul the way they did mine.  

 

“It will not do to say that you have no special call to go to China.  With these facts before you and with the command of the Lord Jesus Christ to go and preach the gospel to every creature, you need rather to ascertain whether you have a special call to stay at home.” – Hudson Taylor, founder of the China Inland Mission 

 

Answering a student’s question, “Will the heathen who have not heard the Gospel be saved?”, Spurgeon replied, “It is more a question with me whether we, who have the Gospel and fail to give it to those who have not, can be saved.”

 

As Emeril Lagasse, the famous chef, would say, “BAM!!!”

 

“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!” Romans 10:15 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – April 6, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Lost men and women in this dark and dying world will not be found unless we search for them.”

– K.P. Yohannan

 

Remember the children’s game “hide and seek” that most of us played when we were kids?  The idea was not to look in the most obvious places that were out in the open and easily seen, but to search in the dark and less conspicuous places where someone might be hiding.

 

The same goes for souls.

 

The most powerful visual reminder at the Missions Conference I attended last week was a portable wall in the back of the church.  Eerily reminiscent of the Vietnam War Memorial that lists the names of all 58,209 American servicemen who died in that conflict, this wall listed the 6,800 unreached people groups around the world.

 

In other words, there are 6,800 different ethnic, language and cultural groups – most of them in the so-called 10/40 window – that have never heard the name of Jesus before… let alone the gospel message.

 

So, guess what God would have us to do?  Start searching for them!

 

Michael Brown put it this way: “We have the most wonderful, revolutionary message the world has ever heard.  Let us shout it from the rooftops.  Let us live it on the campuses, in the workplaces, in the schoolrooms, on the streets, in the homes.  Let us demonstrate to the world once and for all the true potential of the Gospel of Jesus.”

 

Molla Mae said it even more succinctly: “What are we here for, to have a good time with Christians or to save sinners?”

 

Let’s start playing hide and seek for S-O-U-L-S!

 

“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?” Luke 15:4 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President  


Dare 2B Daring – April 5, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“The mark of a great church is not its seating capacity, but its sending capacity.” – Mike Stachura

 

I am dedicating this week’s devotional messages to the topic of worldwide missions.  Why?  I think I will although Keith Wright to answer that question…

 

“Lost people matter to God, and so they must matter to us.”

 

Chris Vogt, a missionary to Africa who I referenced in yesterday’s devotional, made the following bold statement from the pulpit on Sunday, citing Romans 10:14-15.

 

“When it comes to missions, there are only three choices for believers.  To go, to send or to disobey.”

 

Wow, how convicting – and true – is that?!?!

 

Oswald Chambers put it this way: Oh, to realize that souls, precious, never dying souls, are perishing all around us, going out into the blackness and despair, eternally lost, and yet to feel no anguish, shed no tears, know no travail!  How little we know of the compassion of Jesus!”   

 

So, my friend, what is your response to Chris Vogt and Oswald Chambers?  To Mike Stachura and Keith Wright?

 

Or to Keith Green, the famous Christian singer and songwriter, who said, “This generation of Christians is responsible for this generation of souls on earth!”

 

K.P. Yohannan of the Gospel for Asia, estimates that 80,000 people die and enter a Christ-less eternity each and every day.

 

May your response – and mine – be that of John Smith… “Oh, give me souls, or else I die!”

 

“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jersualem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President 


Dare 2B Daring – April 4, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Believers who have the gospel keep mumbling it over and over to themselves.  Meanwhile, millions who have never heard it once fall into the flames of eternal hell without ever hearing the salvation story.” – K.P. Yohannan

 

A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of opening a weeklong Missions Conference at a church here in Vero Beach by speaking at a men’s breakfast.  My topic and my text were Isaiah 6:8, “Here Am I, Lord.  Send Me.”

 

I ended my message with a call for the men there to consider full-time Christian service, perhaps as a missionary to a foreign land where the gospel message has never been heard.  Although there were at least 50 men in the room, no one approached me to say that the Holy Spirit was speaking directly to them about making such a commitment.

 

The Missions Conference ended this past Sunday with an inspired – and very convicting – message by Chris Vogt, a missionary to Africa who is currently home on furlough.  Chris shared a list of statistics interspersed with scripture, including the same passage in Isaiah that I had preached on the previous week. 

 

Two of the stats that Chris shared were particularly mind-numbing.  The first was that although there are an estimated 400,000 missionaries in the world, only 3% are serving among unreached people groups.  The vast majority are ministering in so-called “Christian” countries or in places where the people have ready access to the gospel.

 

The second set of figures that Chris hammered home was that Christians own $42 trillion in assets and yet, they give less than 2% of them to mission agencies and other ministries.  In fact, Chris said that believers spend more money on Halloween costumes for their pets than they do on reaching the lost.

 

How sad and how tragic is that?

 

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, in a service with roughly 400 people in attendance, no one that I saw went forward to surrender his or her life to missionary service.  I am hoping and praying that the spiritual seeds that I planted and that Chris watered so well will take deep root and bear much fruit.

 

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…” Matthew 28:19 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – April 3, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: That word is love.” – Sophocles

 

Last Monday, my dad and I went to South County Park as part of the Living H2O Initiative. Per usual, we played several 4-on- 4 basketball games against young men from the area. Toward the end of the night, I found myself once again injured.

 

After having battled for a rebound, I attempted to go back up with the ball and make a layup. Unfortunately, a player on the other team came over the top of me as I jumped. My head collided violently with his mouth and split open. I spent the next few minutes on the ground, keeping pressure on the wound as blood spilled onto the court.

 

In the days that followed, I experienced mild discomfort as the cut healed. But, it healed. Our bodies have an amazing way of repairing themselves, and this is a result of God’s perfect design.

 

My intent, however, is not to comment on physical healing. Instead, let us discuss spiritual healing. At some point in life, we have all experienced true spiritual pain. While time and fellowship among friends often help in the healing process, Jesus Christ should be our primary physician.

 

Though Sophocles may not have purposely alluded to life’s greatest solution, love is truly one word that frees man from pain. I John 4:7-9 states that God is love, God demonstrated His love through sending His son, and God enables us to love others through the love that comes from Him.

 

If you need healing, look to your Heavenly Father and His Son.

 

“Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:4-5

 

-          Christopher Glading, Program Director


Dare 2B Daring – March 31, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Quality means doing it right when no one is looking.” – Henry Ford

 

I’ll readily admit that I am a perfectionist with some definite OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) tendencies.  Call it what you will – having a Type-A personality or being anal retentive – but I constantly strive for excellence in virtually everything I do... down to the smallest detail.

 

Do you proof read your text messages before sending them and your Facebook comments before posting them?  Well, I do – sometimes multiple times.

 

Does that attention to detail drive others nuts?  Yeah, sometimes.  But I’ve always believed that something worth doing was worth doing well.

 

In my previous ministry, I used to instruct the volunteers who graded the Bible studies sent in by inmates from across the country to make sure that the names and addresses on the return envelopes were neat and legible.  One time, a well-meaning volunteer replied, “But it’s only going to a prisoner.”

 

My immediate response was, “No, if you read Matthew 25:44-45, you are really sending that graded Bible lesson to Jesus.”  And so, I would insist that the volunteer tear up the envelope that was ink-stained – or otherwise bent and blemished – and rewrite it.

 

I’d like to think that the inmates who received correspondence from us were impressed with the quality of our work.  To me, sending them a crumpled envelope was disrespectful – to them and to the “real” recipient, Jesus Himself. 

 

Do you cut corners, perhaps at work, when no one is watching?  Or do you perform your daily assignments for the pleasure of an audience of One? 

 

I can’t imagine Jesus turning out faulty products or engaging in shoddy workmanship when He was serving in Joseph’s carpentry shop.  The same goes for the artisans whom God hand-picked to work on His temple.  So, let’s follow their examples… on the job and off.

 

“A servant is not greater than his master.” John 15:20 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – March 28, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“You have to learn to follow your heart.” – Joel Osteen

 

Yesterday, I published a devotional message in which I categorized Joel Osteen as a false prophet.  As a result, one person unsubscribed, but several others sent me emails thanking me for my boldness.

 

Please know that I don’t write my messages to make myself popular or to receive praise.  Neither do I write them to intentionally tick people off.  I simply write what God has placed on my heart in accordance with Scripture.

 

And that, my friends, is where Joel Osteen and I tend to differ.

 

In today’s quote, Joel makes a statement that – on face value – sounds fine.  However, when we compare it to what the Bible says, it falls well short of Truth.

 

Here is what God’s Word says about the human heart…

 

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)  And “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool.” (Proverbs 28:26)

 

To me, the #1 flaw in Osteen’s theology is that it is man-centered instead of God-centered.  “If you want God’s favor in your life,” he writes, “you must be the person He made you to be.”  That’s hogwash.  If you want God’s favor, simply obey His Word.  In other words, the focus should be on God – His holiness and His love – and not on our feeble attempts to please Him.

 

Every religion on earth falls into the same trap.  Some, like Islam, require its adherents to maintain a strict moral code that includes dietary guidelines and mandatory prayer intervals.  Others – including Buddhism, Hinduism and Scientology – teach that we should aspire to higher levels of divine revelation, eventually becoming gods ourselves.

 

Only Christianity, in its purest form, focuses not on the follower’s behavior, but on the One True God.  Simply put, it’s not about our accomplishments, but about what Christ accomplished on the cross on our behalf.

 

“But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Galatians 6:14 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – March 27, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Jesus saw the best in me, then He died to forgive me for it.” – Les Lanphere

 

WARNING!!!  If you are a fan of Joel Osteen and his teachings, you will not like today’s devotional message.  Why?  Because I think Joel is a false prophet and his watered-down teachings – which are misleading hundreds of thousands of people – are both dangerous and heretical.

 

Joel came to national prominence by writing a series of bestsellers with titles like “Your Best Life Now” and “Become a Better You”.  Some of his other books include “I Declare”, “You Can, You Will”, “Think Better, Live Better”, “The Power of I Am”, and “It’s Your Time”.

 

Why do I consider Joel to be both dangerous and heretical?  Because nowhere in the Bible does it teach that our “best life” is to be enjoyed now.  In fact, Scripture teaches the exact opposite.  By “denying ourselves, taking up our cross and following Jesus” (Matthew 16:24); we are sure to encounter all kinds of opposition and persecution (see John 15:18-25; John 16:33; I Peter 4:12-19; Philippians 3:10 and many other related passages).

 

However, it will be worth it all because – as true believers – our “best life” isn’t here on earth, but rather in heaven.  And I, for one, am more than willing to wait.

 

The same goes for Osteen’s ear-tickling teaching (or theological pablum, take your pick) about becoming a “better you”.  As Les Lanphere states above, the best “me” is still a dirty, rotter sinner who needs to be covered by the shed blood of Jesus Christ in order to be forgiven by God.  Case closed.

 

Most of Osteen’s theology is founded in the so-called “prosperity gospel” where you simply name-it, claim-it… and it’s yours!  Call it Norman Vincent Peale and “the power of positive thinking” on steroids.

 

Throughout church history, most biblical scholars believed that the abundant life that Jesus refers to in John 10:10 applied to spiritual blessings, not material ones.  But try telling that to Joel, who is convinced that he won’t be able to fill stadiums – at $15 to $175 per person, no less – by preaching the Truth.

 

Believers… beware!

 

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.” 2 Timothy 4:3-4 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President   


Dare 2B Daring – March 24, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“All my possessions for a moment of time.” – the dying words of Queen Elizabeth I of England

 

Earlier this week, Forbes magazine published its annual list of the richest people in the world.  Topping that list for the fourth year in a row – and 18th time in 23 years – was Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft.  Last year, Gates’ fortune rose from a mere $75 billion to $86 billion… and counting.

 

Warren Buffet, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, came in second with “just” $75.6 billion.  In third place was Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s chief executive, at $72.8 billion followed by retailer Amancio Ortega ($71.3 billion) and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg ($56 billion).

 

Altogether, there were 2,043 billionaires in the world in 2016, up 13% from the previous year.  And yet, all of these entrepreneurs have one thing in common besides their bulging wallets and offshore bank accounts.

 

They will all die someday.

 

That’s right; just like billionaire banker David Rockerfeller did on March 21st at the ripe old age of 101.  No one will escape death.  Regardless of wealth, fame, power or social status, we will all meet our Maker and have to give an account for the way we lived our lives.

 

For believers, that accounting will take place at the Judgement Seat of Christ.  However, instead of being condemned for our sins, we will be declared righteous through the blood of Jesus Christ.  And so, appearing before the Judgement Seat of Christ will be more about the distribution of rewards than anything else.

 

Conversely, unbelievers will stand – and eventually kneel – at the Great White Throne Judgment, where the Lord Jesus, the Lion of Judah, will be their judge.  There, the only verdict will be “guilty”, and the words “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness” will echo throughout the judgment hall… and for all eternity.

 

“And it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgement.” Hebrews 9:27 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – March 23, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Yet as I read the birth stories about Jesus I cannot help but conclude that though the world may be tilted toward the rich and powerful, God is tilted toward the underdog.” – Philip Yancey

 

Though I shouldn’t be surprised, my NCAA March Madness bracket has been busted by the rise of an underdog. On Sunday night, 7-seed South Carolina defeated 2-seed Duke. Guess who had Duke winning the championship?

 

In addition, another 7-seed, Michigan, beat another 2-seed, Louisville. While this loss was not as devastating to my bracket, it still caused a few ripples. The good news? Two-fold: I do not take the destruction of my bracket too seriously and I am now able to cheer for the Cinderella stories going forward.

 

Philip Yancey mentioned that God is tilted toward the underdog. As I am sure you have often heard, and seen in Scripture, God uses the least likely people to accomplish His plans. Moses had a speech impediment; David was the runt of the litter, an adulterer, and murderer; Rahab was a prostitute; Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were young Jewish boys subject to the most powerful man in the world; Jonah was a fearful man; and the list goes on.

 

God is not looking for the perfect. He knows that is not to be found. God is looking for the willing. Isaiah knew he was a sinful man, but He heard the calling, and through the power of the Lord was able to accomplish great and mighty works.

 

Do not be disheartened by your inadequacies. God is tilted toward the underdog.

 

“For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are.” 1 Corinthians 1:25-28

 

-          Christopher Glading, Program Director


Dare 2B Daring – March 22, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“What goes around, comes around.” – Anonymous

 

Last week, a 98-year old man was charged with a crime.  More specifically, Michael Karkoc of Minneapolis was accused of committing war crimes as a commander in the notorious SS-led Ukrainian Self Defense Legion in 1944.

Prosecutor Robert Janicki said that various evidence gathered in the years-long investigation has confirmed “100 percent” that Karkoc ordered the burning of villages and the killing of innocent civilians during World War II.  He has asked a local court in Poland to issue an arrest warrant for Karkoc. If granted, Poland would seek his extradition, Janicki told the Associated Press.

History is replete with examples of people who thought they “got away with it”, only to be tracked down years later.  Adolf Eichmann, another Nazi war criminal who fled first to Poland and then to Argentina, comes to mind.  So does Mafia kingpin Al Capone, who dodged multiple murder charges only to be tripped up, caught and imprisoned for tax evasion.  In each of these cases, justice may have been delayed, but it was not denied.

The Bible also has its share of such stories.  King David spent an agonizing year trying to cover up his adultery with Bathsheba and his murder of Uriah.  But eventually, God revealed his secrets to Nathan the prophet, who confronted the king.  To his credit, David “owned up” to his sin, making a public confession.  Because of his contrition, God forgave him, but there were some very serious consequences… such as the death of his infant son.

The best course of action is to refrain from sin.  The next best is to confess it immediately when it occurs.  The worst is to try to hide it.  Concealed sin eats away at you until it is finally revealed – either in this life or in the next.

“But if you do not do so, then take note, you have sinned against the LORD; and be sure your sin will find you out.” Numbers 32:23 (NKJV)

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – March 21, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Integrity is telling myself the truth. And honesty is telling the truth to other people.” – Spencer Johnson

 

As I have continued watching the television series “House”, I’ve come to a prominent theme. In almost every episode, there is a reference to Dr. House’s belief that everyone lies. This theory translates particularly to his patients.

 

Whether it concerns an individual’s past, medical history, or current actions, House relies on the premise that people are not always honest. Instead, he proposes that people will universally act in their own best interests and, consequently, lie to do so. He thus questions everything and trusts no one.

 

While I don’t think it is entirely healthy to live life in this way, we would all be lying if we said we never lied. As with any sin, it is within our nature to be untruthful at times. Regardless of the motivation or severity, we all lie.

 

The Bible is very clear, however, on the importance of being honest and warns against those who are not. Jesus, most significantly, identifies as The Truth in John 14:6, and we are to live our lives worthy of His calling on us. Proverbs 12:19 speaks to the fleeting substance of our lies, stating, “Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment.”

 

Psalm 5:6 reminds of the consequences to lying. It reads, “You destroy those who speak lies; the Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.” In Ephesians 4:25, we see an example of proper Christian fellowship. It says, “Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.” Finally, in Proverbs 28:13, we see the blessings that come by being honest, for “whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.”

 

Simply put: Be honest with yourself, be honest with others, and be honest with God.

 

“For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light.” Luke 8:17 ESV

 

-          Christopher Glading, Program Director


Dare 2B Daring – March 20, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“The best intelligence test is what we do with our leisure.” – Laurence J. Peter

 

We were driving home from a recent prison trip and I was engaged in conversation with one of my teammates.  Somehow, we started talking about “mudding”.

 

I had never heard about mudding until I moved to Vero Beach which, despite being a relatively affluent area (not the part we live in!), has its share of self-avowed “rednecks”.  And one of their favorite weekend activities is to go off-roading in their pick-up trucks.  Their ultimate goal is to find muddy patches in the woods where they can spin out, causing mud to fly in every direction.

 

A successful mudding expedition ends with the truck – and its inhabitants – caked with dirt and grime.  In fact, many “mudders” refuse to wash their truck for weeks in order to show off their exploits to their friends.

 

As nonsensical as this activity seems to me, I am sure that many people question my near-obsession with smacking a little white ball all over God’s creation.  If I am successful, the ball eventually winds up in an equally small hole in the ground… and then I try to do it again 17 more times.

 

And yes, I pay for the privilege of doing so, too (as well as for all the balls I lose in the woods, the weeds and the water!)

 

I guess the answer to making our leisure hours count is ensuring that they “relax and recharge” us.  If we return to work on Monday morning physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted, chances are that we didn’t spend our weekend wisely.

 

When it comes to leisure, one size doesn’t fit all.  The key is spending our free time in a healthy, biblical and Christ-honoring way. 

 

“And He said to them, ‘Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.’” Mark 6:31 (NKJV)    

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – March 15, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Not a long journey, your marriage is an adventure. Not a love story, your marriage is an epic tale of romance. Not a happy ending, your marriage is a blissful loop of sweet memories.” – Anonymous

 

Two days ago, someone very close to me celebrated his 15th anniversary.  Not of his birthday, his wedding, or some other earthly milestone.  Monday, March 13th marked the 15th anniversary of my father’s “graduation to glory”.

 

I was at the Philadelphia International Airport on March 13, 2002 – ready to board a plane for Florida with our prison ministry basketball team – when I received a call from my wife.  “I have some bad news,” Deanna said.  “Your dad just died.”

 

Still in shock, I gathered my bags, bade farewell to my teammates, and headed for the airport exit.  Instead of ministering to thousands of inmates, I spent the next several days mourning his loss, comforting my mom, and finalizing plans for my dad’s memorial service.

 

Whereas I may have missed out on the opportunity to share the plan of salvation behind bars, I was privileged to deliver my dad’s eulogy which, at my mother’s insistence, included a full-blown gospel presentation.  As a result, two people in attendance – one an uncle and one a close friend – placed their faith and trust in Jesus Christ.

 

According to etiquette experts, a one-year anniversary is celebrated with paper.  Cotton, leather, linen and wood follow in rapid succession.  A 15-year anniversary is called a “quindecennial” celebration and its symbol is crystal.

 

Something tells me that while I was eating off paper plates that day, my dad spent Monday dining on fine crystal in a place where there is no crying, no pain and no death. 

 

Till we meet again, Dad, save a place at the table for me!

 

“Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal.” Revelation 4:6a (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – March 14, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black.” – Henry Ford

 

On August 12, 1908, the first Model T Ford rolled off the assembly line in Detroit, Michigan.  Between 1909 and 1927, more than 15,000,000 of these classic cars were produced by Ford, revolutionizing the auto industry and elevating the middle class.

 

In 1927, Ford introduced his Model A, which soon replaced the “Tin Lizzie” in both performance and popularity.  Over a five-year period, Ford sold almost 5 million Model A’s.

 

One of the more common misconceptions is that Model T’s and Model A’s only came in black.  It’s true that for almost a decade, Ford only produced cars in that ubiquitous color.  Car buffs and historians have speculated that Ford chose that tint because it was cheap and durable.  However, Model T’s and Model A’s also came in Royal Maroon, Phoenix Brown, Highland Green and several other shades.

 

This past Saturday, I was privileged to preach at Putnam Correctional Institution in East Palatka, FL.  Using an illustration from the Wizard of Oz, I shared that just like there was only one way to the Emerald City, there is only one way to heaven.  In fact, Jesus Himself said so in John 14:6.

 

That means that good works won’t get you there nor will loads of money.  Neither will being born into a family of believers or following the teachings of false prophets and counterfeit religions.

 

In the afternoon, Brandon Taylor shared a similar message and urged the men to repent of their sins.  Thankfully, 12 inmates did exactly that, placing their faith and trust in Jesus Christ for the salvation of their souls.

 

Ironically, some of them were black, some were white and some were brown.  And all of them were welcome at the foot of the cross.

 

“Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President  


Dare 2B Daring – March 13, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Not everything of value in life comes from books – experience the world.” – Thomas Edison

 

If you ask my wife Deanna about her greatest regrets in life, I think I know what she would say… because that same regret is near the top of my list, too.  In fact, at least one or two of our kids might chime in with a similar answer.

 

When our children were relatively young – maybe 10, 8 and 6 – Deanna and I seriously entertained a novel idea.  Since both of us were (and still are) lifelong campers, we considered taking Bethany, Matthew and Christopher out of school and homeschooling them for a year… all the while we traveled across the country in our trailer.

 

Seeing the sights and exploring the backroads of America seemed exciting to us.  But then, the demands of work and ministry – and the reality of our personal finances – crept in and we were forced to give up our dream.

 

However, Deanna still clings to a slightly modified dream I which she and I do the traveling, financed by honorariums from various speaking engagements.   The problem is that I am not very well known regionally, let alone nationally.  But who knows?  Maybe some day…

 

What I do know is that I learned more in my first month of full-time work than I did in four years of college.  So just imagine what I could learn from spending 3 or 6 or 8 or 10 months “on the road” preaching, ministering and evangelizing?

 

Stay tuned!

 

“And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out MY Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.” Joel 2:28 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President  


Dare 2B Daring – March 10, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason so few engage in it.” – Henry Ford

 

At the risk of contradicting Mr. Ford, I know something that is much more difficult than thinking.  In fact, it makes the most laborious tasks seem like a walk in the park by comparison. 

 

So, what is the world’s hardest job?  Is it digging ditches in the scorching sun?  How about mining for coal miles below the earth’s surface or hauling in salmon and Alaskan king crab in the Bering Strait?    

 

As difficult and dangerous as these activities may be, I know something that takes a lot more physical, mental and spiritual energy than coal mining and commercial fishing combined. 

 

It’s called prayer… and it is reserved for the bravest and most fearless of all believers.

 

Prayer takes time.  Prayer takes discipline.  Prayer takes determination.  And yes, prayer requires a willingness to engage in spiritual warfare at the highest levels.

 

And yet, nothing a person does has more impact in this life – or on the next – than the ministry of intercessory prayer.

 

If you don’t believe me, try praying for 30 minutes (or even five) without your mind wandering onto other things.  Or try offering the same heartfelt petition for years… perhaps decades… without so much as the hint of an answer.

 

Truth be told, I am not the prayer warrior that I should be.  But I know some people whose prayers literally move heaven and earth.  They are steadfast, they are unrelenting and they get results.

 

Larry Lufburrow, one of my spiritual mentors, and his wife Millie were two such people.  They are both home with the Lord now and so, their place in my life has been taken by Judy Morgan and a handful of others.

 

Who is laboring in prayer for you and more importantly, for whom are you diligently praying?

 

“For assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’, and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.  However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” Matthew 17:20-21 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – March 9, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goals.” – Henry Ford

 

The 12th hole at Augusta National Golf Club is only 155 yards long.  However, it can be one of the most treacherous holes on the entire course.  Jack Nicklaus, who has won more Majors (18) and more Masters (6) than any other golfer in history, calls the 12th hole “the hardest Par 3 in the world”.

 

What makes this short little hole so dangerous?  Mostly the wind, which constantly changes direction as it swirls around the green.  One minute, it may be at your back as you stand on the tee box and the next, it can be howling right in your face. 

 

Misjudge the wind and come up short, and your ball is sure to roll down the bank into Rae’s Creek.  Go long and you end up in a backside bunker or buried in some azalea bushes.  Hitting into either of these hazards is a good way to make a double bogey or worse.

 

Just ask Tom Weiskopf, who dumped five balls into the water in 1980 on his way to a 12.  Or Rory McIlroy, who four-putted the slick green in 2011.  Defending champion Bubba Watson chunked three balls into Rae’s Creek for a 10 in 2013.  And last year, the 12th hole claimed yet another victim as Jordan Spieth recorded a quadruple-bogey to go from first to fourth in a matter of minutes (although to his credit, Spieth birdied two of the next three holes to finish in a tie for second).   

 

According to Patrick Reed, “You get on your hands and knees and pray.  It’s so deceiving there, because the clouds can go one way, the flag will go the opposite way and the trees are going another way.”

 

However, two of the golfers who have enjoyed the most success at Augusta National view the 12th hole differently.  “Twelve is not the hole that I worry about or stress about,” says 3-time winner Phil Mickelson. “We try to judge the wind, and we just hit a solid shot.”

 

And Nicklaus adds, “I thought that when you played 12, you worried less about the wind and [more about] what you want to do with the shot. The more you worry about the wind, the less chance you have of executing the shot that you really want to play, which is really right over the middle of the bunker.”

 

How do you handle life’s obstacles, my friend?  Do you stress and worry about them, tying yourself into a spiritual, mental and emotional knot?  Or do you do your best and trust God for the results?

 

“Commit your works to the LORD, and your thoughts will be established.” Proverbs 16:3 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President  


Dare 2B Daring – March 8, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.” – Corrie ten Boom

 

For work, I was instructed to oversee the successful completion of a report. While it initially seemed to be a simple task, it has become more complicated.

 

The first draft of the report contained a couple of errors. They were relatively easy fixes, or so I thought. After contacting the necessary people, a second draft of the report was done. One error was resolved, but the other remained incorrect.

 

Though frustrating, there wasn’t cause to get overly upset. I once again contacted the individual responsible and explained the changes that needed to be made. I was assured they would be in the final draft of the report.

 

After a few days, I checked the corresponding account and saw that the report had not been completed. Somewhat annoyed, I tried to remain calm. For the third time, I spoke with the individual and the report was completed at last.

 

When situations like this occur in life, there is a tendency to become angry. We often ask aloud, “How hard can it be?” Yet, we must remember that it is within our nature to err. People are going to make mistakes. It is during these times we are to forgive.

 

Forgiving others is not easy and we are prone to limit its power. Peter, in speaking with Jesus, asked how many times he was to forgive those who sin against him. Thinking himself generous, he proposed seven times. In response, Jesus says, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times”, or a countless amount of times.

 

You will be annoyed, angered, and even hurt by others. It is an inevitable consequence of being human. When this happens, it is critical we forgive, whether it be once, twice, or a thousand times. God’s forgiveness never runs dry, but to receive it, we must forgive others.

 

“Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” Colossians 3:13 ESV

 

-          Christopher Glading, Program Director


Dare 2B Daring – March 7, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“To wash and dress a corpse is a far different thing from making it alive: man can do the one, God alone can do the other.” – C.H. Spurgeon 

 

Growing up, I heard scores of jokes from my buddies such as, “Your dad must be really important, because he has a lot of people under him.”  Another one was, “Your dad is in a dying business.”

 

So what business was that, you ask?  For most of my childhood, my dad sold cemetery monuments.  He also represented companies that manufactured bronze tablets and other funeral-related items.

 

I know that my friends weren’t trying to be mean, and I certainly didn’t take their jokes as such.  But I must admit it wasn’t until I became an adult that I developed a much deeper appreciation for my dad and his strong work ethic.  In order to support a family of eight, he worked long hours – including many nights and weekends – making calls on funeral directors and families that had recently lost a loved one.

 

Because of my dad’s business connections, it wasn’t unusual for a funeral director to stop by our house to say hello.  Jeff Brown and Wilson Bradley are two names that I remember well from my childhood.  However, as talented as these men and their peers were, there wasn’t a single one of them that could raise a dead person from the grave.

 

Sure, they could color a corpse’s complexion just right and make sure that they were properly dressed and groomed for their memorial service.  But infuse life back into one?  Hardly.

 

And yet, that is what God does each and every time he saves a sinner.  Once spiritually dead and on our way to hell, we are “born again” and become “new creatures” in Jesus Christ.

 

I’d like to see Jeff Brown or Wilson Bradley try that!

 

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President 


Dare 2B Daring – March 3, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“The Court finds these allegations sufficient to establish that CNN was acting recklessly with regard to the accuracy of its report, i.e., with ‘actual malice.’” – Federal District Judge Orinda Evans

 

In a ruling handed down on February 15th, a federal district judge sided with Davide Carbone, the former CEO of St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach, in a defamation suit brought against CNN (the Cable News Network).  Judge Evans found that CNN had aired erroneous reports about the hospital, thereby damaging its reputation in the community.

 

Ironically, CNN’s slogan is “the Most Trusted Name in News”.

 

A friend of mine, who pastors a church in Charlotte NC, seized on the plethora of “fake news” making headlines these days to make the following statement.  “With all this talk about ‘fake news’ and ‘alternative facts,’ it's great to know that we have free access to The Truth in the pages of the Bible.”

 

Great point, Jim!  In a day and age when black and white has given way to gray, and liberals are hell-bent on eliminating any and all moral absolutes, I find great solace in the fact that God’s Word is 100% trustworthy and true.  It is inerrant and infallible, and contains zero doctrinal errors.

 

I’ll be preaching at Jim’s church later this month, but in the meantime – if you are looking for a good, Bible-believing church in the Charlotte area – I can wholeheartedly recommend Candlewyck Baptist Church.  It is located at 7200 Providence Road and its Sunday service times are 9:15 AM for Small Group Bible Study and 10:30 AM for Worship Gathering. 

 

For more information, please visit www.candlewyckchurch.com.

 

“Sanctify them by Your truth.  Your word is truth.” John 17:17 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – March 2, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Vision without execution is just hallucination.” – Henry Ford

 

In yesterday’s devotional message, I wrote these words…

 

“However, that vision soon became a burden and then, an obsession.  For five years, I prayed about the idea and sought wise counsel from some very godly men.  Finally, in 1987, I decided to act.”

 

“And the rest, as they say, is history.”

 

What I didn’t mention is what drove me to finally act after five years of dreaming, praying and seeking godly counsel.

 

Believe it or not, it was a cartoon.  That’s right; God used a simple cartoon published in a Christian radio station’s monthly newspaper to motivate me to put “feet to my faith”.

 

The cartoon showed several people gathered on or around a race track.  One runner was sitting on the ground, saying despondently, “I can’t do it”.  Another obviously exhausted runner remarked, “I give up”.  A third runner was pictured breaking the tape at the finish line, triumphantly mouthing the words, “I did it!”

 

I decided to be like the third runner and so, I formed an all-Christian softball team and took them into prison on June 6, 1987.  The result was a loss on the field, but a win in the spiritual realm as eight inmates trusted Christ as Savior.

 

Until that day, I had led exactly one person to saving faith in Jesus Christ… to my shame.  Now, in a single afternoon, I had witnessed eight men being born-again right before my eyes.

 

Not wanting to wonder “what if” was a primary motivation in my decision to finally act.  So was being afraid of standing before God and explaining why I hadn’t acted on the vision He had given me.

 

What vision has God granted you, my friend, and what is keeping you from acting on it?  And if He hasn’t given you a vision (yet), try asking Him to.  It’s never too late to get started.

 

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – March 1, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” – Henry Ford

 

It was the spring of 1982.  I had trusted Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior five years prior, but hadn’t exactly been living for Him in every area of my life.  As a result, He allowed a series of trials to come into my life that included a broken relationship and a long period of unemployment.

 

Now, having just returned from a vacation to Florida with some Christian friends, I was “on fire” for Jesus.  And so, when people asked me – a recent college graduate – what I wanted to do with my life, my answer came easily.

 

“If there is one thing I could do with my life,” I began, “it would be to put a bunch of Christian ballplayers on a bus, travel around the country, and tell people about Jesus.”

 

Virtually everyone I shared that vision with looked at me as if I had two heads, if not three.

 

However, that vision soon became a burden and then, an obsession.  For five years, I prayed about the idea and sought wise counsel from some very godly men.  Finally, in 1987, I decided to act.

 

And the rest, as they say, is history.

 

Surveys show that 80% of America’s 2.2 million prisoners flatly refuse to attend a conventional religious program such as a chapel service or a Bible study.  And yet, up until I started The South Jersey Saints (later The Saints Prison Ministry), that is exactly the approach used by virtually every prison ministry in the country.

 

These well-meaning ministries would tweak a program here and add a new variation there.  But the fact remains that they were still offering nothing more than – in the words of Henry Ford – a “faster horse”.

 

Taking softball, basketball, soccer and volleyball teams into prisons was a novel idea in 1987.  So was going to where the inmates were – the recreation yard and the prison gym – instead of inviting them to come to the chapel building.

 

If you are involved in some type of ministry, why not try a revolutionary new approach to doing things?  If it doesn’t work out, you can always go back to doing “business as usual”… but my guess is you won’t need to.

 

“I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” I Corinthians 9:22 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – February 28, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.” – Henry Ford

 

Earlier this month, I had the privilege of ministering at Sumter Correctional Institution in Bushnell, Florida along with the rest of our Risk Takers for Christ softball team.  Between games, I engaged in a conversation with an inmate named Nelson.

 

Nelson had volunteered to play for our team in the first two games, and then played on the prison team in the third and final game.  He seemed to be a very nice guy – quiet, reserved, and very polite.

 

During our conversation, Nelson revealed that he was serving a 10-year sentence and still had seven years to go.  His crime?  Driving with an open container of alcohol in his car.

 

Of course, I imagine that Nelson had a few “priors” or I doubt that the judge would have come down on him so hard.  Regardless, Nelson was very despondent about the length of his sentence.

 

“I was doing great on the outside,” he said.  “I had started my own handyman business.  Now it’s all gone.”

 

“That’s true,” I admitted.  “But if you learn a lesson from all of this, then your time on the inside won’t be wasted.  And in the light of eternity, your 10-year sentence is like a blink of an eye”, I added.

 

Ironically, I met another gentleman last week at a church where I was preaching.  After my message, he approached me and confided that he was an ex-offender who had recently been released.

 

“I’m from Chicago,” he said, “but I just had to get out of there.”

 

I commended this young man for having the wisdom to cut ties with his past and the so-called “friends” who were bad influences in his life.  I also praised him for doing the other two things – getting a job and attending a good, Bible-believing church – that will greatly increase his chances of not going back to prison.

 

We ALL make mistakes; in fact, many of them.  The key to success is learning from them and not repeating them.

 

“Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” John 8:11 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – February 27, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Don’t find fault, find a remedy; anybody can complain.” – Henry Ford

 

Last week, I wrote a devotional message about a friend of mine named Jack, who is now “home” with the Lord.  Jack and I served on the same deacon board for several years before he graduated to glory.

 

Another dear Christian brother with whom I had the privilege of serving was Brian.  A very talented bass singer, Brian was a biology teacher and a very gentle soul.  He was also quick with a joke to match his ever-present smile.

 

At one of our deacon meetings, Brian shared a policy that his school had recently adopted.  It had worked so well that Brian thought we should consider adopting it, too.

 

What was the policy? “Don’t make a suggestion unless you are willing to help implement it.”

 

After we got done laughing, we voted unanimously to make that a new board policy.  And as you can imagine, from that day forward, people thought twice before making suggestions because they knew that they would be expected to help put them into practice.

 

Brian’s policy – and Henry Ford’s quote – both touch on the same subject.  “Don’t complain about anything, if you are not willing to be a part of the solution.”

 

I agree with both gentlemen – and James, the Apostle – 100%.

 

“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.  For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.  But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.” James 1:22-25 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – February 24, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“You can’t build a reputation on what you’re going to do.” – Henry Ford

 

On October 9, 2009, an announcement was made that shocked the world.  Despite serving in office for less than nine months, President Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples".  The prize committee went on to cite Obama’s support for nuclear non-proliferation as well as his establishing a “new climate” in international relations, especially lauding him for reaching out to the Muslim world.

 

Admittedly surprised, President Obama deliberated turning down the award, but eventually reconsidered.  Instead, he made a much-maligned trip to Oslo to accept the award on December 10th of that year.

 

In his acceptance speech, President Obama admitted that “perhaps the most profound issue surrounding my receipt of this prize is the fact that I am the Commander-in-Chief of the military of a nation in the midst of two wars."

 

Three American presidents had previously won the same award: Theodore Roosevelt in 1906 for negotiating a peaceful end to the Russo-Japanese War; Woodrow Wilson in 1919 for serving as the main architect of the League of Nations; and former president Jimmy Carter in 2002 “for his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development”. 

 

So did the Nobel committee make a mistake in honoring President Obama before he had actually accomplished something?  The former secretary of the committee now says, “Yes”.

 

In December 2016, a remorseful Geir Lundestad told the Associated Press that he had hoped the award would “strengthen” President Obama and encourage him to follow through on his lofty campaign promises.  However, considering that the war in Afghanistan intensified under the Obama administration, ISIS was born on his watch, and governments in Egypt and Libya were toppled with U.S. assistance and acquiescence, I think it’s reasonable to speculate that Mr. Lundestad isn’t the only member of the Nobel committee who wishes he had voted differently.

 

Likewise, Paul warns the church not to “lay hands on anyone hastily” (I Timothy 5:22), elevating a relatively new believer to a place of prominence and authority.

 

“A bishop then should be blameless… not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil.” I Timothy 3:2a, 6 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – February 23, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“My best friend is the one who brings out the best in me.” – Henry Ford

 

About 20 years ago, I was serving as a deacon at my church along with about five or six other men.  Most of the other deacons were around my age, except for one gentleman named Jack.

 

Jack was about 20 years my senior and a very nice man.  He was relatively quiet and enjoyed using his musical abilities to minister to our congregation.

 

One other thing about Jack: he was extremely deliberate – some would say painstakingly slow – when it came to making a decision.  I, on the other hand, was headstrong and usually led with my heart instead of my head.

 

As you can imagine, Jack and I “locked horns” a few times during our monthly deacon’s meetings.  Jack’s reluctance to make a decision before having all the facts – and only until analyzing the situation from every conceivable angle – clashed openly with my more impetuous nature.  To me, making a bad decision was sometimes preferable to making no decision at all.  Fish or cut bait, right?

 

Gradually, something miraculous happened: some of Jack’s wisdom started to rub off on me.  Instead of “leaping before I looked”, I began to exercise a little more caution.  And just as miraculously, Jack started to take a few more baby steps of faith.

 

Over the course of a few years, Jack and I became very good friends, finally realizing that our different – and very unique – personalities actually complemented each other.  Basically, Jack slowed me down and I sped him up.

 

Tragically, Jack developed cancer and despite his doctor’s best efforts, he eventually succumbed to that dreaded disease.  As he lingered at death’s door, he asked for our pastor to pay him a final visit… with one caveat.  He requested that I be there, too.

 

And so, I had the tremendous honor of being one of the last people to speak – and pray – with Jack before he slipped into eternity.

 

See you soon, my dear, dear friend.  You taught me so very much.

 

“As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” Proverbs 27:17 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – February 22, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“The gospel is this: We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope.” – Timothy J. Keller

 

Last week, I came down with a very bad cold. While resting one day, I found a TV marathon of House. Dr. Gregory House, played by Hugh Laurie, is the Head of Diagnostic Medicine at Princeton-Plainsboro Hospital. Though unconventional in style and demeanor, House is one of the greatest minds in medicine.

 

I remember this show as one of my favorites while its series ran on television. I enjoyed the back-and- forth between House and his colleagues as well as the interesting case of each episode.

 

When individuals came to the hospital with unexplained symptoms, it was left to House and his team to diagnose the particular disease before the patient succumbed to its effects. Dr. House, who is crass and arrogant, is defined by one characteristic above all else. While his career gives him a significant role in the lives of hundreds of patients, House is less concerned with their personal well-being as he is with solving the diagnostic puzzle. House sees his cases as riddles to be answered, not people to be helped. His driving force in life, his obsession even, is to find the truth and unravel the mystery before him.

 

As a diagnostician, House must consider a number of symptoms and diagnose the correct disease. As individuals, we must do the same with our spiritual condition. Our nature is inherently sinful. Man is fallen and condemned to a life apart from God. We know this from our innate proclivity to be selfish, insensitive, angry, greedy, and so forth.

 

While Dr. House observes symptoms, diagnoses an illness, and prescribes medication to cure the patient, we need to diagnose our sinful state and prescribe the only form of medicine able to heal. We are sinful people separated from God, but with the forgiveness that comes through Jesus Christ, we may be saved.

 

“He himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed.” 1 Peter 2:24 ESV

 

-          Christopher Glading, Program Director


Dare 2B Daring – February 21, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Failure is only the opportunity more intelligently to begin again.” – Henry Ford

 

Yesterday, I dedicated my devotional message to my friend Warren Miller, who at age 75 still competes (and usually wins!) on the softball field and the golf course.  More importantly, Warren is a winner in the game of life, because he has the right priorities: God, family, friends and lastly, himself.

 

Today, I’d like to talk about another of my heroes.  At age 26, he is young enough to be Warren’s grandson and my son.  In fact, that’s exactly who he is – my son, Christopher.

 

Turning 26, like Chris did yesterday, means that it has been 23 years since he suffered a massive stroke.  Born right-handed, he had to learn how to do everything left-handed… and I mean, everything

 

Playing center-field, like he did at Sumter CI on February 11th, means wearing a glove on his left hand, catching the ball, switching the glove to his right hand, and throwing the ball back in left-handed.  If that sounds confusing to you, Chris makes it look easy.  In fact, he catches and throws the ball faster than most players without a handicap.

 

Chris also bats leadoff on our team and runs like a jack rabbit.  However, it is on the basketball court that he really shines the most.  Despite being only 6 feet tall and 145 pounds, Chris battles the tallest and strongest players for rebounds.  He can shoot a three-pointer from 10 feet behind the arc and isn’t afraid to drive to the hoop… again and again… even when it means being hammered – and fouled – by players 100 pounds heavier than him.

 

Against the best basketball players in a prison housing 1,500 men, Chris routinely scores 25-35 points per game.  In fact, at one institution he is known affectionately as “the White Lebron”.

 

When he is not leading our team on the softball field or the basketball court, Chris is busy working three part-time jobs.  In the morning, he reports for duty with a local surveyor, and the afternoons find him assisting a financial planner.  On top of those two demanding jobs, he serves as our program director and oversees our Living H2O Initiative.

 

And yes, ladies, he is still single.

 

“To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.” Revelation 3:21 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President   


Dare 2B Daring – February 17, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t… you’re right.” – Henry Ford

 

Last Saturday, I jogged out to my position at second base and repeated the same ritual that I have performed for the past 30 years.  I knelt on the ground, scribbled a Bible verse in the dirt, and prayed.

 

Guess what verse I wrote in the sand?  If you said Philippians 4:13, you are right!

 

You see, I am not a true athlete.  On the contrary, I am a self-described “rapidly aging second baseman”.  I never played college sports and certainly was never scouted by the pros.  My softball playing has been limited to church and community leagues from 1979 to 1986, and serving on various prison ministry teams from 1987 to the present.

 

I started my softball “career” as a bench warmer and then became a part-time player.  Gradually, my skills improved and my confidence increased.  Eventually, I became a better-than-average defensive player who had very little power, but could hit for a high average.  Along the way, I was named to a few All-Star teams and even won a couple of MVP awards. 

 

As a prison minister, I have played in front of crowds of inmates ranging from a few dozen to more than 500.  In each case, the key to any success I have had was to rely on God’s strength and not my own.  That is why I scribble “4:13” in the dirt before each and every game.  Not as a superstition, but as a helpful reminder.

 

At age 57, my range in the field is about a quarter of what it once was.  But I still managed to field every ball hit my way on Saturday and even turned two double plays with my nephew, who was playing shortstop.  I share that report not for my glory, but for His, because I can ONLY do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

 

The same goes for you in whatever endeavor you pursue.  Trusting in your own limited ability and resources will only get you so far.  But allowing God to work in you – and to flow through you – can and will have powerful results.

 

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – February 16, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Never, never, never give up!” – Sir Winston Churchill

 

Yesterday was one of those days that was physically demanding and emotionally draining… and I have Florida Blue to thank for both!

 

After four weeks of doing battle with dozens of customer service representatives and lower-level supervisors, I finally gave up and decided to make one last-ditch effort to rectify my situation.  And so, I drove 426 miles roundtrip from Vero Beach to Jacksonville to try to talk with a senior executive at Florida Blue’s headquarters.

 

Long story short, Deanna and I had completed a health insurance application with Florida Blue via the dreaded “Marketplace” back in mid-December.  Florida Blue approved our application and even sent us emails thanking us for making our binder payment on December 16th and our first premium payment on January 3rd.

 

So far, so good, right?

 

Unfortunately, things quickly spiraled downhill from there.  After waiting for several weeks for our membership packet and ID card, I called and was told that our first premium had been mistakenly applied to a long defunct policy.  Repeated assurances followed, telling me that the error was being corrected.

 

But it wasn’t, which is why we received a past due notice for January and then a cancellation notice on February 9th, even though Florida Blue had cashed our premium check more than a month earlier.  Dozens of phone calls ensued and an estimated 40 hours were wasted as I explained the situation ad nauseam to (seemingly) every employee on Florida Blue’s payroll.

 

Which brings me back to my “desperation drive” to their corporate headquarters in Jacksonville… only to be turned away at the front gate because “we don’t allow policy holders to talk to live people here.”  Seriously, that was the verbatim response I received.

 

As a dear friend of mine likes to say, “then Jesus showed up.”  A Christian lady who used to work for Florida Blue saw one of the Facebook videos that I had posted, documenting my journey to Jacksonville.  She texted me, called someone she knew at the company, and soon I was meeting with two upper-level managers who made the necessary corrections in short order.

 

I think Winston Churchill would be proud.

 

“There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man.  Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’  And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’” Luke 18:2-5 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President 


Dare 2B Daring – February 15, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

 

The other day, my cousin sent me a link to a remarkable, yet believable, story. According to numerous sources, including CNBC, a Harambe-shaped Cheeto was sold on eBay for $99,900. As you may remember, Harambe was a 400-pound silverback gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo. Unfortunately, a zookeeper was forced to fatally shoot the majestic beast after a child entered his enclosure. This event was met was severe backlash from the media and activist groups alike.

 

As an admirer of wildlife, and gorillas in particular, I found the story of Harambe’s death to be upsetting. While grieving his loss and memorializing his life is fine for a time, spending close to one hundred grand on a Cheeto that remotely resembles his appearance is ludicrous.

 

When I see such stories in the news, I am no longer surprised. Our society has taken matters like this to the extreme again and again. All perspective and clarity of thought have seemed to vanish. In these times, it is ever important to value what truly matters. Our priorities in life should center on Jesus Christ and extend to our family, friends, and loved ones. While material possessions are not innately immoral, buying one Cheeto for $99,900 is inexcusable.

 

More so, God has granted gifts to each of us. While some have the gift of teaching or preaching, others have been financially blessed. Whatever your gift is, pray that God would enable you to use it well to bring Him glory.

 

“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 4:10-11 ESV

 

-          Christopher Glading, Program Director


Dare 2B Daring – February 14, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

"The best love is the kind that awakens the soul; that makes us reach for more, that plants the fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds. That’s what I hope to give you forever." – The Notebook

 

Last week, I came across a list of the 50 (supposedly) greatest quotes about love.  In honor of Valentine’s Day – and Deanna, my bride of 31 years – I decided to share a few of them with you.

 

"I look at you and see the rest of my life in front of my eyes." – Anonymous

 

"The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves." – Victor Hugo

 

"All, everything that I understand, I only understand because I love." – Leo Tolstoy

 

"And remember, as it was written, to love another person is to see the face of God." – Les Miserables

 

"The best and most beautiful things in this world cannot be seen or even heard, but must be felt with the heart." – Helen Keller

 

I think my favorite quote on the “love list” is one by Angelita Lim (see below), perhaps because it reminds me of our closing Bible verse for today.

 

"I saw that you were perfect, and so I loved you. Then I saw that you were not perfect and I loved you even more." – Angelita Lim

 

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President 


Dare 2B Daring – February 13, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“When they send for you, you go in alive, you come out dead, and it’s your best friend that does it.”

– Lefty Ruggierio (Al Pacino) in “Donnie Brasco”

 

“Life hurts, God heals.”

 

That slogan has been used by the youth group at our church for several years.  It reveals twin truths that are uncontestable.

 

First is that life does indeed hurt… sometimes a lot!  In fact, none of us leaves this earth without the bumps and bruises that come from being a sinner living in a fallen world.

 

Thankfully, the second truth trumps the first. 

 

No matter the type or severity of your hurt, the Great Physician has a cure.  To be more accurate, He IS the cure!

 

That doesn’t minimize the physical, emotional or spiritual pain that you may be currently experiencing... perhaps at the hand of a once close friend.  However, it does serve as a healing ointment that sometimes instantly – but more often gradually – removes the sting.

 

Like you, my life has had its share of ups and downs.  Pain, problems and sorrows have been mixed with times of sheer joy and unbridled happiness.  It is those pains – as well as those glimpses of glory – that make me yearn for my heavenly home.

 

How about you?  Ready to be healed… and even more ready to go home?  It’s best to be prepared for both. 

 

“Is there no balm in Gilead, is there no physician there?” Jeremiah 8:22a (NKJV)

 

“Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” Psalm 103:2-5 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – February 10, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.” – Michael Corleone, The Godfather - Part III 

 

A friend of mine who is a recovering addict and who leads a local ministry for those struggling with dependency issues, posted the following excerpt on Facebook from a book by Brian Welch titled “Save Me from Myself”.  The subtitle of the book is “How I Found God, Quit Korn, Kicked Drugs, and Lived to Tell My Story”.

 

Here is the quote…

 

" It started one night after band practice. I was pretty drunk, and I didn't think I would make it home. I'd done some speed (Meth) a couple of times with some friends back in Bako, so I knew that when you snorted it, it instantly took away drunkenness. It also takes away your sleepiness. And then it takes your mind. Then it takes your soul... I wish I would have known that then."

 

And another powerful excerpt…

 

"You see, I was a Master at hiding my pain and anguish from absolutely everyone. I was always the one who made everyone laugh, everyone except myself that is. I would always act like this goofball, appearing to be a normal, happy guy when I was around other people. But it was all a front to cover up the internal prison that my heart was in. Behind closed doors, I was a very depressed, lost soul. As you read this book, please remember that while my outer life looked happy to the rest of the world, there was a lot of things happening inside that no one knew about. This is the story of that inner life."

 

Dear reader, I am not sure what the quality of your inner life is at the present time.  However, if your heart – like Brian’s – is in an “internal prison”, it’s time to swallow your pride and get some help.  There is freedom and forgiveness in Jesus Christ.

 

And if you are thinking about starting on drugs or any other addictive substance… don’t.

 

“Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.  But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.  Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” James 1:13-15 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President 


Dare 2B Daring – February 8, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“The ultimate victory in competition is derived from the inner satisfaction of knowing that you have done your best and that you have gotten the most out of what you had to give.” – Howard Cosell

 

I have a friend who played 13 years in the NBA.  Pretty impressive stuff, right?  Yes, it is, especially considering the obstacles he overcame to get there.

 

Steve Mix was a two-time All-American out of the University of Toledo who was drafted in the fifth round by the Detroit Pistons.  He played spot minutes his first several years in the league before being cut and eventually, he signed to play in the ABA (the American Basketball Association).

 

When the 1972 season started, Mix was out in the cold, having been cut by the Philadelphia 76’ers, a team that went on to post the worst record in NBA history at 9-73.  But Mix refused to give up and after a year in the CBA (the Continental Basketball Association), he tried out for the Sixers again in 1973.  This time, he made the team, played in all 82 games and was named the NBA’s “Comeback Player of the Year”.

 

The following year, Mix averaged 15.6 points per game and was voted to the league’s All Star Team, meaning that he was recognized as being one of the best 24 basketball players in the world. 

 

Although Steve played in four NBA finals, he never won a world championship.  But to me, my friend, “the Mayor of Mixville” was – and is – a winner because he gave it his best and refused to ever give up.

 

“But you, take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded.”

–        2 Chronicles 15:7 (ESV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – February 7, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Try your best and never give up!” – the Glading motto

 

By halftime, it was 21-3, with the underdog Atlanta Falcons pummeling the favored New England Patriots from one end of Houston’s NRG Stadium to the other.  Shortly thereafter, the Falcons found the end zone yet again, making the score 28-3.  No team in the first 50 years of the Super Bowl had ever recovered from a 14-point deficit, let alone climbed out of a 25-point hole.

 

Despite the lopsided score, quarterback Tom Brady and the Pats kept their cool and slowly chipped away at the seemingly insurmountable lead.  First came a touchdown, followed by a missed extra point, and then a field goal.  That made it 28-12, with Atlanta still holding a commanding lead and time running out

 

Again, Brady and his teammates went to work.  Their defense stiffened and their once-sputtering offense began to fire on all cylinders.  A passing touchdown, a rushing touchdown and two two-point conversions knotted the score at 28-28.  And when the Patriots won the overtime coin toss, it seemed only a matter of time before New England would score again to claim its fifth Super Bowl… and second in three years.

 

For his herculean efforts, Brady was awarded his fourth MVP award and deservedly so.  His 466-yard passing performance (43 for 62 with 2 TD’s and 1 INT), broke virtually every Super Bowl record in the books.

 

So, what was the turning point in the most historic and unprecedented comeback in Super Bowl history?  Was it Brady’s clutch passes to James White, Danny Amendola, and Malcolm Mitchell?  What about Julian Edelman’s circus catch down the middle, surrounded by three Falcon defenders?  Or maybe the critical sack of Atlanta’s Matt Ryan, followed by a holding penalty, that took the Falcons out of field goal range?

 

To me, the key was the simple fact that at no point in the game did the Patriots think that the score had gotten out of hand or that the cause was lost.  Maybe it was because many of them had “been there before”, but Coach Bill Belichick, Brady and the rest of the Pats simply refused to give up.

 

And that, at least in my book, made them winners even if the final score hadn’t worked out in their favor.

 

“For nothing will be impossible with God.” Luke 1:37 (ESV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – February 6, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“We are in a risky business, and we hope that if anything happens to us, it will not delay the program.” – Gus Grissom

 

Virgil “Gus” Grissom was a Lt. Colonel in the United States Air Force and one of the original seven NASA Project Mercury astronauts.  As such, he was the second American to fly in space and the first to do it twice.

 

On January 27, 1967, Grissom – along with Roger Chaffee and Ed White – was conducting a series of pre-launch tests at Cape Canaveral prior to their scheduled February 21st launch date.  Tragically, a fire broke out in the command module and all three men perished from smoke inhalation.

 

Predictably, NASA grounded the Apollo program temporarily until corrections could be made and additional safety measures could be put into place.  Once these were accomplished, Grissom’s words became prophetic as NASA continued its quest to land a man on the moon.

 

Apollo 11 launched from Cape Kennedy on July 16, 1969 and its lunar module touched down in the Sea of Tranquility four days later.  Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin spent 21 hours and 36 seconds on the lunar surface before rejoining Michael Collins for the return trip to Earth.  The three men splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on July 24th after a roundtrip journey of almost 200 hours and more than 500,000 miles.

 

Left behind on the moon were five commemorative medallions, honoring Grissom, Chaffee, White and two Russian cosmonauts who had also lost their lives in space exploration.

 

Sadly, the man who had challenged America to embark on such a monumental endeavor didn’t live to see it realized.  On May 25, 1961, President John Kennedy, in an address to a joint session of Congress, said, “I believe this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to Earth.” 

 

Sometimes in life, we don’t get to enjoy the fruits of our labors.  However, that shouldn’t stop us from trying… and trusting that those who follow behind us will finish the job.  As the Apostle Paul reminds us in I Corinthians 3:6, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.”

 

“Then the LORD said to him (Moses), ‘This is the land of which I swore to give Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, saying ‘I will give it to your descendants.’  I have caused you to see it with your eyes, but you shall not cross over there.’” Deuteronomy 34:4 (NKJV)  

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President  


Dare 2B Daring – February 2, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.” – Aesop

 

On Monday evening, my son Chris and I were down at the local park playing basketball as part of our Living H2O Initiative.  Justin Vandal, a Risk Takers volunteer, joined us to form a three-man team. 

 

We played four games of 3-on-3 against some fairly stiff competition and won them all.  Each team them added a fourth player and we played three more games of 4-on-4.  Believe it or not, we won those games as well.

 

Finally, we started to run out of gas and quickly fell behind in the eighth and final game, 14-1.  Since the games are played to 15, things were looking pretty bleak for us.

 

As I “checked” the ball to the opposing player that I was guarding, he asked me what the score was.  “It’s 14-1”, I repeated.  “Who’s winning?” he inquired with a wide grin.  It was his way of “trash talking”, which I found not-very-amusing, especially since we had already defeated his team three straight times.

 

Slowly, we began to chip away at their lead.  Chris sank a three (which counts for two points in this format), as did Justin.  Then Chris made a couple of driving buckets and Justin netted another three-pointer.  Meanwhile, our fourth player kept ripping down rebounds and putting them back up for baskets.  Before we knew it, we had closed to within a point of the other team and its once insurmountable lead.

 

I could tell that the players on the other team were getting nervous, because they started hollering at each other.  Defiantly, my counterpart decided to take matters into his own hands.  Putting up a jumper, he arrogantly shouted, “For the win!”  Unfortunately for him, the ball rattled off the rim.

 

We scored on the next two possessions and just like that, had “stolen” the game, 16-14.  As we congratulated each other, “Mr. Who’s Winning?” slunk off the court.

 

Yes, indeed, “pride does go before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.  Better to be a humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.” Proverbs 16:18-19 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – February 1, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Love you.” – Brady Blume

 

About two weeks ago, I was helping my daughter Bethany put her three children into her car.  Deanna had babysat them while Bethany was at work and now, it was time to pick up their father and head home to make dinner.

 

As I was buckling Brady, who will be three in June, into his car seat, I said “I love you” as I always do.  However, this time – for the very first time – Brady smiled at me and responded, “Love you”.

 

I melted…

 

The love of a father for his child (or a grandfather for his grandchild) is hard to describe.  Let’s just say that it runs deeper than any ocean and wider than the earth’s equator.

 

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, known as the “Prince of Preachers”, put it this way…

 

“How great is a Father’s love to His children!  That which friendship cannot do, and mere benevolence will not attempt, a father’s hand and heart must do for his sons.  They are his offspring, he must bless them; they are his children, he must show himself strong in their defense.  If an earthly father watches over his children with such unceasing love and care, how much more does our heavenly Father?  Abba, Father!” 

 

Feeling alone and abandoned today?  How about unloved and unlovely?  Try reminding yourself of the eternal truth that is as simple as a children’s song, one most of us learned in Sunday School or while sitting on a parent’s lap.  “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”

 

And don’t forget to claim the same truth that is echoed in I John 3:1…

 

“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!” 

 

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 (KJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President 


Dare 2B Daring – January 31, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“God’s people are doubly His children: they are His offspring by creation, and they are His sons by adoption in Christ.” – C.H. Spurgeon

 

Last evening, I joined my son Christopher at South County Park to play two hours of pick-up basketball as part of our Living H2O Initiative.  It is a great outreach to at-risk youth in our community that combines basketball, some free bottles of water, and gospel literature.

 

Chris and I are scheduled to play again on Thursday evening at First Baptist Church for the indoor part of that program.  Free of the restrictions of a public park, we can actually sit the young men down at center court and share God’s Word with them each and every week.  Last Thursday, we had 45 teens there, mostly from broken homes and dysfunctional families.

 

Before our Living H2O Initiative begins on Thursday, I plan to play a round of golf with my other son, Matt.  He lives in Port St. Lucie, about 40 minutes away, which means that I don’t get to see him as often as I do Chris.  So when Matt calls to say that he has a rare day off and wants to play golf, I try to arrange my work schedule to accommodate him.

 

The best part of being Chris and Matt’s dad is that I am also their brother.  That’s right; when they were just four years old, I had the privilege of leading both of them to saving faith in Jesus Christ.  Matt trusted Christ on the way home from preschool one day, and Chris accepted Him as Savior while walking through the streets of Old New Castle DE.

 

Deanna and I often say that we are glad that we had our kids young.  We were married when I was 25 and she was just 20 (I know, I robbed the cradle!)  By the time we were 31 and 26 respectively, we were already done having kids.  I guess that’s what enables me – at age 57 – to still play sports with my two boys and hopefully, someday with the grandchildren that our daughter Bethany (who also came to Christ at age four) has given us.

 

Having kids is great and so is having grandchildren.  But knowing that they are also your brothers and sisters in Christ is far more important.  Be sure to share the gospel with your family members today.

 

“While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, saying, ‘What do you think about the Christ?  Whose Son is He?’  They said to Him, ‘The Son of David.’  He said to them, ‘How then does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord’ saying: ‘The LORD said to my Lord, sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool’?  If David then calls Him ‘Lord’, how is He his Son?’” Matthew 22:41-45 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – January 30, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“We are all failures - at least the best of us are.” – J.M. Barrie

 

Each evening, my family does its best to take our two dogs for a walk. Though we are usually tired by the end of the day, both Forrest and BamBam look forward to this activity. Simply say the word “walk” and they will enter into a frenzy.

 

As of late, these walks have become more of a weight loss program for the dogs than a means of expending energy. Forrest, in particular, needs this training. As seems to be the case with humans, Forrest also adds a few pounds over the holiday season. Some extra treats and a hectic couple of months leave him sluggish and a bit porky.

 

However, Forrest has turned things around in January. Having switched to a high-fiber diet and longer walks, he has lost more than five pounds. The difference is clearly noticeable. Forrest looks much more trim and he has regained the energy of a puppy. We have even found it hard to keep up with him at times.

 

In our Christian lives, it is possible to become sluggish. We may be complacent or even disengaged in our walk with Christ. This behavior is often caused by the guilt of the past. It acts as that few extra pounds, sapping our energy and keeping us from living a more vibrant life.

 

It is important to remember that this weight no longer holds us down in a life set free by Jesus Christ. Don’t let mistakes from the past hinder your present and future. Enter a spiritual life with a healthy diet and daily exercise and begin living with a renewed energy.

 

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1 ESV

 

-          Christopher Glading, Program Director


Dare 2B Daring – January 27, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Fire is the test of gold; adversity, of strong men.” – Martha Graham

 

Remember when you were a kid and all of a sudden, your TV would emit a shrieking sound followed by an ominous announcement, “This is a test of the emergency broadcast system”?  The announcer would then add a short disclaimer.  “If this were an actual emergency,” he would say, “you would be instructed where to go and what to do” or something very similar.

 

Well, this week I conducted a test for the readers of our daily devotionals and guess what?  You all passed with flying colors!

 

What test was that, you ask?  Well, I was curious to see if people are opening and reading our daily devotional messages for the right reason.  And so, I titled one of them, “Get a free iPhone”.

 

The title wasn’t misleading, because the devotional was about my buddy getting his first smart phone and how they – and other technological advances – can be a blessing or a curse.  It all depends on whether you own your cell phone, iPad, etc. or whether it owns you.

 

Long story short, I checked to see the “open rate” for that particular message and it was right in line with the rest of the ones I wrote this week.  In fact, it actually had one fewer “open” than the day before.

 

That tells me that our readers are looking for God’s eternal truth instead of free electronic devices.  And so, kudos to you!

 

Keep up the good work and Chris, Keith, our other writers and I will try to do likewise.

 

“Set you minds on things above, not on things on the earth.  For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:2-3 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – January 26, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Woman, how divine your mission, here upon our natal sod; keep – oh, keep the young heart open, always to the breath of God!  All true trophies of the ages are from mother-love impearled.” – William Ross Wallace

 

In yesterday’s devotional message, I quoted from William Ross Wallace’s timeless poem, “What Rules the World”.  First published in 1865, it is best known by the next line, “The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world”.

 

Sadly, an estimated 500,000 women marched in Washington on Sunday – and more than 2 million around the world – for the right not to rock their babies in a cradle.  Instead, they protested for the “right” to murder their own offspring while still in the womb.

 

More than any other issue, abortion breaks my heart and mobilizes me to action.  My zeal to protect the unborn is only exceeded by my zeal to share the gospel, and I have dedicated my life to doing both.

 

On Sunday, I led my church family in a pro-life prayer before participating in a pro-life rally in Vero Beach.  Along with dozens of others, I stood silently along Route 60 holding a pro-life banner.  From there, Deanna and I drove to a nearby cemetery to participate in a memorial service for Baby Hope, a newborn girl who was discarded in a dumpster by her mother and left to die in 2001.

 

Oh, how my heart breaks for Baby Hope and the 3,000 unborn children who are aborted each and every day in our supposedly civilized country. 

 

And oh, how I pray for the women whose hearts have been hardened and whose minds have been clouded by the evil one.  Satan has somehow deceived them, convincing them that the precious children they are carrying are simply “blobs of tissue” despite the fact that medical science has proven that an embryo’s heart starts beating as early as 18 days after conception.

 

May God remove the spiritual scales from their eyes and in the meantime, may we – the body and bride of Christ – stand up and speak out in defense of the defenseless.

 

“Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.” Mark 10:14b (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading. President


Dare 2B Daring – January 24, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“For the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.” – William Ross Wallace 

 

I work out of a home office.  In the same house, my wife babysits our three grandchildren every other week.  And so, as you can imagine, there is occasionally some overlap between the two.

 

At least once a day, our grandson Brady comes into my office, usually when I have a pile of work on my desk.  Placing his hand in mine, he then utters the two most powerful words known to man…

 

“Papa, play!”

 

And guess what Papa does, nine times out of ten?  Papa puts down his pen, pushes himself away from his computer, and allows himself to be led to the living room, or the porch, or the garage… wherever Brady feels like playing at that particular time.  Maybe even outside if the weather is good.

 

For the next few minutes, this middle-aged man crawls in and out of make-shift tents, pushes fire trucks and tractors across the floor, or blows bubbles in the air.  Lately, Brady loves putting together puzzles and so, that’s exactly what I do – for the umpteenth time.

 

And…I…love…it!

 

Specifically, I love it because I love Brady and there is nothing (and I mean NOTHING) that I wouldn’t do for him.  After all, I am his “Papa”, which is one of the proudest titles I have ever worn.

 

I like to think that God looks at us the same way.  Although He is busy running the universe and ensuring that the planets continue to orbit, the tides continue to rise and fall, and the earth continues to rotate on its axis, He still takes time for us, His children.

 

Yes, He really does care that much.  Call out to Him today and see what I mean.

 

“For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by which we cry out, ‘Abba, Father.’” Romans 8:15 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President    


Dare 2B Daring – January 24, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power.  We have guided missiles and misguided men.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

Yesterday, I had lunch with a good friend from New Jersey.  He lives in Vero Beach now along with his wife and daughter.

 

Once we had eaten, my buddy couldn’t wait to show me his new smart phone.  “Welcome to the 21st century,” I said before adding, “No more flip-top for you!”

 

That’s right; up until recently my friend used a cell phone that more closely resembled the shoe-phone used by Maxwell Smart than an iPhone or a Galaxy S7.  But do you know what?  He was happy and well-adjusted.  Even more importantly, he refused then – and still refuses now – to allow modern technology to get in the way of his relationship with his wife and daughter.

 

Sadly, I know far too many people who, instead of owning smart phones, their smart phones own them!

 

They can’t play a round of golf or watch a movie without checking their phone every few minutes.  In fact, I see this unnerving habit every Monday and Thursday night at our Living H2O Initiative.  After virtually every game, the young men feel compelled to leave the court to check their messages.

 

Technology is neutral.  In some ways, it has made our lives easier and more productive.  However, in other ways, it has made slaves of us all.

 

To me, the key is balance and perspective.  If you can’t go 10 minutes without checking for texts, voicemail or Facebook posts, your communication device has become a trap and a snare.  And if you check your phone more often than you consult God’s Word, pray or witness to a non-believer, you may want to reorder your priorities.

 

God has given each of us 24 hours per day to know Him, love Him, serve Him and make Him known to others.  Use those moments wisely.

 

“But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise…” I Corinthians 1:27a (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President  


Dare 2B Daring – January 23, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Tell me where you lost the company of Christ, and I will tell you the most likely place to find Him.”

– C.H. Spurgeon

 

One of my grandson’s favorite games to play is “hide and seek”.  However, Brady has his own version of the game.

 

He will come into my office, grab my golf umbrella and “hide” underneath it.  Even though 90% of his body is still showing, he is convinced that if he cannot see me, I must not be able to see him.

 

Likewise, Brady will ask me to hide in his Thomas the Tank Engine tent with him.  At age two, he fits into it very comfortably, but only about half of my 5’11” body squeezes inside.  However, that doesn’t stop Brady from hollering, “Noni, come find us!”

 

Dutifully, Deanna comes into the garage and looks everywhere, pretending not to be able to see my legs and feet sticking out of the tent or to hear Brady and I giggling inside it.

 

As humorous as Brady’s childlike antics may be, there’s nothing funny about us trying to hide from God.  In Psalm 139 (my favorite), David makes it very clear that God saw us in our mother’s womb and that it is impossible to successfully hide from him.  Jonah discovered the same thing when he attempted to hide from God in the hold of a ship bound for Tarshish (instead of Ninevah, where God told him to go).

 

Even our first parents, Adam and Eve, discovered the futility of trying to hide from God.  And yet, at one point or another, we all do it.

 

When we find ourselves losers in a game of heavenly hide and seek, Spurgeon offers some very sage advice.  The “Prince of Preachers” suggests that we return to the very spot where we last experienced His presence.  Because He is the same yesterday, today and forever… He is still there.  And His arms remain wide open, just like they were the very first time you met Him.

 

“And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President 


Dare 2B Daring – January 20, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“To a world that is screaming at one another, our prayers display the unique peace that the gospel brings in the heart of believers.” – Trillia Newbell

 

Writing on behalf of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, Newbell lists five ways in which we can pray for Donald Trump, who is scheduled to become the 45th President of the United States later today.  I think they are so well stated that I want to share them with you in their entirety.

  1. Pray for wisdom and understanding: Pray that our President will understand the implications of each decision made, each conversation and all policy negotiations. Pray for wisdom for major decisions like the Supreme Court nominees and other potential groundbreaking decisions that have the ability to change the shape of our nation for years to come.
  2. Pray for self-control and a heart of service: Pray that the President would be self-controlled and sober-minded. Pray that the President would not make rash decisions and will seek good counsel. Pray for humility and a desire to work and serve for the good of others and this country, and not for selfish gain.
  3. Pray for protection: Pray that the President would be protected from evil and from doing evil deeds. Pray also for protection from enemies. Pray for the President’s health and general safety.
  4. Pray for courage: There will be days ahead when our President must stand firm and have courage in the face of adversity. Let’s pray that the President will be courageous in seeking to serve the nation.
  1. Pray for the President’s salvation: Ultimately, as the text above shared, we want to pray for the salvation of all people, including our leaders. Pray that our leaders, including our President, would truly know Jesus. Pray that God would capture their hearts and Jesus would reign. Pray for humility to repent of sin and turn to the bread of life.  

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 1 Tim. 2:1-4

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – January 19, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“If you like something, you tend to be good at it.  You’ll never be great at something if you don’t genuinely love what you do.” – Michael Keaton

 

I have always loved sports.  I love to play them, watch them, read about them and talk about them.

 

And I love Jesus even more.

 

So, when God led me start an athletic prison ministry in 1987, I was in 7th heaven.  Let me get this right, I would ask myself, I get to share the gospel with lost prisoners by playing sports with them?

 

That’s right… and so, I haven’t stopped doing it for the past 30 years.

 

At least once a month, I still take basketball and softball teams into prisons throughout Florida and other states.  And even at the ripe old age of 57, I still put on a uniform and compete to the very best of my ability.

 

I know that there will come a time when I can no longer circle the bases or run up and down a basketball court.  But when that day arrives, I can guarantee you that I will still coach, drive the team van, distribute gospel literature and share the Good News of Jesus Christ.

 

You see, that has been my primary calling for the past 30 years and I love it.  I really do.

 

My advice to you, dear reader, is the same advice I have given to all three of our children.  Find something you love doing, something that you are absolutely passionate about, and make it your life’s work. 

 

God has “wired” each of us differently and uniquely for a reason.  Ask Him to reveal your passion and then pursue it for His glory.

 

“But earnestly desire the best gifts.” I Corinthians 12:31 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – January 17, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“When tempted to sin, reply, “I cannot do this great wickedness, for I am Christ’s.  When wealth is before you to be won by sin, say that you are Christ’s and touch it not.” – C.H. Spurgeon

 

I have a dear friend who just quit his job, despite having a wife and several kids to support.  To make matters worse, he has no other guaranteed job offers or prospects for the immediate future.

 

And you know what?  He made the right decision and I support him!

 

Why would I commend a friend for quitting a job that generated his family’s only source of income?  Because his employer demanded that he do something unethical and illegal.

 

As you might imagine, I can’t go into any details other than to say that when he was instructed to perform the highly questionable task, my friend balked.  Looking his boss in the eye, he said, “Do you realize that you’re asking me to commit fraud?”

 

When his boss nodded his head, my friend quit on the spot.  He was not offered a severance package and all his benefits were immediately terminated.

 

I am confident that God will honor my friend’s integrity by providing him with an even better position.  Until then, I also know that He will meet every need that my friend’s family has… and then some.

 

Please join me in prayer for my buddy.  And if you are ever asked to do something illegal, immoral or unethical by your employer, I suggest that you follow Spurgeon’s advice and my friend’s example.

 

“I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread.” Psalm 37:25 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President 


Dare 2B Daring – January 16, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it.  He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

In honor of Dr. King’s birthday yesterday and the federal holiday that commemorates his memory today, I have chosen to simply publish some of his famous – and not so famous – quotes for your and my edification.

 

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

 

“I have decided to stick with love.  Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

 

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”

 

“There can be no disappointment where there is not deep love.”

 

“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive.  He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love.  There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us.  When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.”

 

“I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”

 

“The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people, but the silence over that by the good people.”

 

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.  Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” 

 

“And above all things have fervent love for one another, for ‘love will cover a multitude of sins.’”

I Peter 4:8 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – January 13, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Is this my case?  Have I been making a fair show in the flesh without having a corresponding inner life?” – C.H. Spurgeon

 

Like some of you, I watched portions of the Golden Globe Awards on Sunday night.  I say “portions”, because I can only stomach so much of the Hollywood elites congratulating each other for being so wonderful.

 

Aside from Meryl Streep’s inappropriate acceptance speech for a Lifetime Achievement Award, the thing that stood out the most for me was seeing several aging actresses trying to battle Father Time… and losing.

 

In the interest of full disclosure, I had a crush on Goldie Hawn as a young man.  I enjoyed her in Foul Play and Private Benjamin, and even liked a few of her later films such as Overboard and Housesitter.  But at age 71, Goldie has not been seen on the silver screen since 2002.

 

This year, Goldie is appearing in a new movie titled “Snatched” with Amy Schumer.  In order to hype the film, Goldie served as a presenter at the Golden Globes along with Nicole Kidman.  The two award-winning actresses tried to pull off a poorly-written comedy sketch, but it fell flat.  However, what really caught my attention was how “plastic” both women looked. 

 

To me, aging is part of life and should be embraced and enjoyed for what it’s worth.  But apparently, Goldie and Nicole “didn’t get the memo”, because they wore far too much make-up on faces that had already been lifted multiple times.

 

I realize that fame is fleeting and in Hollywood, most of the best parts go to younger actors.  However, I hope that Goldie and Nicole are spending as much – if not more – time taking care of their spiritual health and well-being.  Kidman is a former Scientologist, and Hawn was raised Jewish but has studied Buddhism.

 

Please join me in praying for these two women to find the truth and peace that only Jesus Christ offers.

 

“Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.” Proverbs 31:30 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – January 12, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“But remember, that to receive the word in the ear is one thing; and to receive Jesus into thy very soul is quite another.” – C.H. Spurgeon

 

January 30, 2000 was the date that the Tennessee Titans’ 1999 season came to an end.  Under head coach Jeff Fisher, they had qualified for the playoffs as a wild card team and then caught fire.

 

Having closed out the regular season with four consecutive wins, the Titans hosted the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Wild Card Game.  Trailing 16-15 with just 16 seconds left on the clock, wide receiver Kevin Dyson returned the ensuing kick-off 75 yards for the winning touchdown in what has been called the “Music City Miracle”.

 

The following week, the Titans traveled to Indianapolis where they defeated the Colts 19-16 behind Eddie George’s 162 rushing yards.  From there, the upstart Titans routed the host Jacksonville Jaguars, 33-14, to earn a berth in Super Bowl XXXIV.

 

Held at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Super Bowl XXXIV pitted the Titans against the St. Louis Rams.  Led by quarterback Kurt Warner, the Rams offense had been among the league leaders all season, thanks to a strong receiving corps featuring Isaac Bruce, Torry Holt, Az-Zahir Hakim, and Rickey Proehl.  Known as the “Greatest Show in Turf”, the Rams offense also included a strong running game with future Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk in the backfield.

 

Undaunted, the Titans rallied from a nine-point halftime deficit to knot the score at 16-16.  However, Warner hit Bruce with a 73-yard pass, putting the Rams ahead by a touchdown with just 1:48 left on the clock.

 

Refusing to give up, Titans QB Steve McNair, maneuvered his team downfield to the Rams 10-yard line with just six seconds remaining.  With no timeouts left, McNair hit Dyson on a slant pattern at the five, but he was wrapped up by linebacker Mike Jones at the three.  Lunging forward, Dyson – and the ball – fell one-yard short of the end zone as time expired.

 

Missing a chance to tie the Super Bowl by such a short distance was devastating to the Titans.  But missing out on heaven by 18 inches – the distance between your head and your heart – would be far more tragic. 

 

Trust Christ as your Savior today.

 

“Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” 2 Corinthians 6:2 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President  


Dare 2B Daring – January 11, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“A comfortable old age is the reward of a well-spent youth.  Instead of its bringing sad and melancholy prospects of decay, it would give us hopes of eternal youth in a better world.” – Maurice Chevalier

 

Every Thursday morning, I meet with some local pastors for prayer, fellowship and accountability.  But on the first Thursday of the month, instead of meeting at a nearby church, we enjoy breakfast together at a restaurant in town. 

 

That is where I see the same distinguished-looking man, month after month.  He sits at an adjacent table with a group of men his age, which I would estimate to be mid-70’s.  I don’t know his name or his life story, but from the way he carries himself, I would surmise that he was a very successful businessman who retired to Vero Beach to enjoy the warm weather.

 

His clothes are always freshly pressed and because he seems fit and trim, I envision that he plays a lot of golf or tennis.

 

As I entered the restaurant last week, the man was sitting alone at his table, waiting for his friends to arrive.  But there was a marked difference in his appearance.  Instead of looking confident and self-assured, he sat slumped in his chair.  Around his neck hung an oxygen tube, linking him to a small air tank on the floor.

 

I was about to strike up a conversation with him, but his friends quickly filtered in and I didn’t want to interrupt or make him feel uncomfortable.  And so, I decided to pray for him and his condition, as well as for any spiritual needs he may have.

 

Every time I think of this man, I am reminded of how fleeting youth and health are.  One day, your step is quick and your future is bright and full of promise.  But then you blink, and much of your life can be seen in the rear-view mirror.  Gone is the vitality of youth and the boundless optimism that accompanies it.

 

All the more reason to trust Christ as your Savior now, and to make your relationship with Him your #1 priority.  Then you need not fear old age, because your Golden Years will give way to Platinum.    

 

“Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, before the difficult days come.” Ecclesiastes 12:1a (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – January 10, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.” – Ernest Hemingway

 

The other day, my dad told me the five most common New Year’s resolutions according to a survey. Topping the list was the desire of each individual to become a better person. At first glance, this seems reasonable. It is most people’s ambition to improve and grow.

 

After deeper consideration, though, one must question the meaning of this aspiration. What does it mean to become a better person and how can it be achieved? Does an increase in volunteerism or charitable giving make one a better person? For some, self-betterment may not be tied to specific actions at all, but instead relate to matters of attitude, emotion, or spirituality.

 

How can we measure the process of becoming a better person? Comparison to our fellow man offers little help. Hemingway states there is nothing noble in being superior to others. Such an endeavor is folly, marked by arrogance and pride.

 

Becoming a better version of oneself, while good, still has its obstacles. The prophet Isaiah compares the righteous acts of a sinful people to filthy rags. Through the Apostle Paul, we know our works do not save us and are fully surpassed by the glory of Jesus Christ.

 

So where does that leave us? We would be mistaken to discount the worth of good actions. Yet, to grant them the power to justify would be far worse. Instead, I believe we should focus on the book of James and its perspective regarding this matter. Let us live in faith through Jesus Christ and have this faith completed by our works in Him. For then, it should be counted to us as righteousness.

 

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10 ESV

 

-          Christopher Glading, Program Director


Dare 2B Daring – January 9, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“I have a simple life.  I mean, you just give me a drum roll, they announce my name, and I come out and sing.  In my job, I have a contract that says I’m a singer.  So, I sing.” – Tony Bennett

 

Anthony Dominick Benedetto was born in Queens, New York on August 3, 1926.  Raised in an Italian-American family, Bennett started singing at an early age and later served in the U.S. Army during the closing days of World War II.  Following the war, he signed a recording contract with Columbia Records and when “Because of You” became a #1 hit in 1951, Tony was on his way.

 

Among Bennett’s best known recordings were “Rags to Riches” (1953), and his signature song, “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” (1962).  Perhaps Tony’s biggest break came in 1965, when Frank Sinatra made the following comments in a Life magazine interview…

 

“For my money, Tony Bennett is the best singer in the business.  He excites me when I watch him.  He moves me.  He’s the singer who gets across what the composer has in mind, and probably a little more.”

 

Tony just celebrated his 90th birthday with a well-received primetime TV special.  He also performed during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade last year, and has recorded recently with vocalists as diverse as Lady Gaga, Carrie Underwood, Willie Nelson, Aretha Franklin and Queen Latifah.

 

There are many lessons we can learn from Tony’s long life and very successful career during which he has won 19 Grammys, two Emmys and sold more than 50 million records.  First, find your passion – something you’re really good at and which you enjoy immensely – and follow it for all you’re worth.  In other words, as Tony says, keep it simple.

 

Second, be flexible and willing to change with the times.  That doesn’t mean compromising your core principles, but rather staying up-to-date with things like trends and technology.  There’s a reason why Tony is as popular with the MTV generation as he is with senior citizens.

 

Third, never give up.  Tony suffered a near-fatal cocaine overdose in 1979 when his career was going through a rough patch.  That “wake-up call” caused Tony to reach out to others for help and he got it.  As a result, he rebounded personally and professionally.

 

Fourth, keep expanding your horizons.  Not only is Tony one of the greatest pop singers of the 20th century, but he is also an accomplished artist whose paintings hang in galleries around the world.

 

Fifth, remember your roots and who helped you on the way to the top.  In appreciation for Sinatra’s kind words that boosted his career, Tony founded the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in New York City.

Is Tony Bennett without flaws?  Hardly.  He has been married three times and his liberal politics led him to call for the legalization of drugs in February 2012, following the overdoses of Whitney Houston and Amy Winehouse.  But overall, Tony has lived a rich and full life.  I just hope he knows Christ as his Savior so I can see – and hear – him in heaven.

 

“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?  Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” Mark 8:36-37 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President     


Dare 2B Daring – January 6, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.” – Gen. George S. Patton

 

Two weeks from today, Donald J. Trump will be inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States.  I didn’t support Trump in the Republican primary, but I voted for him in the general election and am very optimistic about his incoming administration.

 

Why is that, you ask?  Mostly because I think he will shake up the status quo inside the Washington Beltway.  I have also been a big fan of Vice President-Elect Mike Pence for quite some time.  Finally, based on Trump’s list of potential Supreme Court nominees, I am confident that there will be a conservative and pro-life majority on the High Court for years to come.

 

I also like most of Trump’s cabinet picks, especially when it comes to national defense and homeland security.  Unlike President Obama, Mr. Trump is not surrounding himself with political sycophants, people who will only tell him what he wants – instead of needs – to hear.  On the contrary, men like Gen. James “Mad Dog” Mattis and Gen. John F. Kelly are sure to speak their minds when they’re sitting around the cabinet table or in the White House situation room.

 

John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan were two recent presidents famous for refusing to fill their cabinet with “yes” men and women.  Instead, they surrounded themselves with the best and brightest advisors possible.  As a result, many historians rank them high on the list of our most effective chief executives.

 

You and I may not be running a country, but we are certainly in charge of something.  It could be a classroom, a department, a small business or something even more important – a family.  No matter what position of authority God has placed you in, if you want to succeed be sure to ask for advice and seek outside counsel from respected – and honest – sources. Above all, consult God’s Word and the Holy Spirit whenever you need to make a critical decision.

 

“Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.” Proverbs 11:14 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – January 5, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom.” – Gen. George S. Patton

 

It is a Christmas tradition at our house and has been for many years.  Parents and kids gather around the TV and watch “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” together.  I know I can recite most of the dialogue by heart and I am sure that our three (now adult) children can as well.

 

Among the more memorable lines are those spoken by Yukon Cornelius, who starts out searching for gold with his dog sled team, but later changes his mind and begins looking for silver.  Here’s a brief sample of Yukon’s wit and wisdom…

 

“This fog’s as thick as peanut butter.”  Hermey the elf responds by saying, “You mean pea soup”, after which Yukon replies, “You eat what you like and I’ll eat what I like.”

 

“Whoa.  Whoaaaaa!  Unmush, will ya?”

 

“How do you like that?  Even among misfits, you’re a misfit.”

 

“Douse your nose and run like crazy!”

 

“Open up!  It isn’t a fit night out for man nor beast.  Here’s the man… and here’s the beast.  And lookie what he can do!  And he doesn’t even need a step ladder!”

 

But perhaps the most famous words uttered by Yukon are the ones when he reappears unhurt after falling over a cliff fighting the Abominable Snowmonster.

 

“Didn’t I ever tell you about bumbles?  Bumbles bounce!”

 

Just like Yukon Cornelius, we all change our minds occasionally and yes, we all tend to go overboard – and over the cliff – in our enthusiasms.  However, it is important to remember that “bumbles bounce” and so do professing Christians.

 

Yukon had a soft “bumble” to land upon and break his fall.  You and I, as followers of Jesus Christ, have a faithful companion with us who keeps us from falling and forgives us when we do.

 

So, as you enter this new year, remember that Jesus is with you 24/7.  And He’ll even guide you through the worst storms – even ones as thick as pea soup or peanut butter!

 

“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling…” Jude 1:24a (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – January 3, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“If you don’t delight in the fact that your Father is holy, holy, holy, then you are spiritually dead. You may be in a church. You may go to a Christian school. But if there is no delight in your soul for the holiness of God, you don’t know God. You don’t love God. You’re out of touch with God. You’re asleep to his character.” – R.C. Sproul, Choosing My Religion

 

Did you make a New Year’s resolution this year?  If so, have you broken it yet?

 

According to the New York Daily News, approximately 45% of Americans make a New Year’s resolution.  However, only 8% of us actually succeed in keeping our resolution for an entire year.

 

So if you already “blew it” or are ready to throw in the towel, don’t feel so bad.  You are in the vast majority of well-intentioned resolution makers.  And remember, you can always start over tomorrow.

 

This year, for the first time since 2014, “losing weight” was not the #1 resolution.  It fell into a tie for second place with “exercising more”, closely followed by “spending less and saving more” and “eating healthier”.

 

What resolution was the most popular?  “Being a better person” topped the list.    

 

In case you were wondering, I made a New Year’s resolution in 2017 for the first time in several years.  Is it to shed a few extra pounds?  Nope, although I wouldn’t mind dropping from 175 to below 170.  How about exercising more?  Wrong again.  My aching knees can only handle four hours of basketball per week.

 

So what is it?  My resolution is pretty simple: I want to be holier at the end of 2017 than I was at the beginning.  Not more religious, just more holy.  In other words, more Christ-like.

 

I realize that to become more like Jesus, I will have to act less like Dale and I am willing to accept that challenge.  John the Baptist expressed it perfectly in John 3:30 when he said that in order for Jesus to increase, he must decrease.

 

So look for a “decreasing” Dale Glading in 2017… and hopefully, for many years to come.

 

“For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son.” Romans 8:29a (NKJV)

 

“Because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy.’” I Peter 1:16 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – January 2, 2017

A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Radical obedience to Christ is not easy... It’s not comfort, not health, not wealth, and not prosperity in this world. Radical obedience to Christ risks losing all these things. But in the end, such risk finds its reward in Christ. And he is more than enough for us.” – David Platt

 

Over the Christmas break, I watched the movie Suicide Squad, an adaptation from a DC Comics series. In the film, a group of supervillains is assembled by the U.S. Government to complete a highly dangerous mission.

 

At one point in the movie, the Joker is speaking with Harley Quinn, his love interest and counterpart in evil. To test her level of commitment, he asks if she would die for him. After she responds positively, the Joker finds the question to be lacking. He says, “That’s too easy. Would you... would you live for me? Hmm?” Again, Harley answers with a yes. He warns her of the implications, but she remains undeterred.

 

We often hear others say, “I would die for…”, followed by something unimportant. Whether it be for  a glass of water on a hot day or tickets to a high-profile sporting event, the overused term can trivialize its inherent significance.

 

When pledged to a close friend or family member, it can truly be meaningful. Most people would give of themselves to protect the lives of those they love. In the greatest act of devotion, Jesus gave Himself so we may have life in Him.

 

The sacrifice of one’s life is not to be diminished. We must be ready to suffer for our faith. Still, I believe we are called to a higher purpose than dying for Christ, and that is living for Him. A life fully devoted to the ministry of Jesus is the greatest of all sacrifices. Would you die for Jesus?

 

Many would say yes. Will you live for Him?

 

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life

I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20 ESV

 

-          Christopher Glading, Program Director


Home | About | Prison Projects | Conferences | Daily Devotions | Newsletters | Shop | Partner With Us | Testimonials | Contact Us
Copyright © 2017 RiskTakersforChrist.org | All rights reserved.