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June 2017 Dare 2B Daring Daily Devotions

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


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