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December 2017 Dare 2B Daring Daily Devotions

Dare 2B Daring – December 18, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“The ache for home lives in all of us.  The safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.” – Maya Angelou, All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes

 

In the late-1990’s, our family was preparing to relocate.  We had lived in – and loved – a small Cape Cod in Pennsauken NJ.  Sadly, our neighborhood was beginning to deteriorate and becoming less safe and so, we started to look around at surrounding communities.

 

Our two main prerequisites were simple.  First, we wanted a town with a decent educational system, especially since Bethany, our oldest child, was about to enter middle school.  Second, we wanted to be closer to our home church.

 

With those two thoughts in mind, we took out a map of South Jersey and placed a compass point on Moorestown NJ.  That was where our home church, Moorestown Bible Church, was located.  Our home in Pennsauken was just 15-minutes away, but we wanted to be even closer to our spiritual home.

 

Using the compass to draw a small circle around Moorestown, we eventually settled on the adjacent town of Cinnaminson.  Yes, it had a good school system, but even more importantly it was only five minutes from our church.  Considering that we attended Moorestown Bible Church every time the doors were open – Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday evening – the move made perfect sense.  Plus, our prison ministry’s offices were also located at MBC, so I was there six days a week... sometimes more.

 

Fast forward to 2017.  Deanna and I had decided to sell our house in Vero Beach because all three of our kids had moved out and we no longer needed a 3-bedroom house.  We also wanted to eliminate much of the debt we had incurred from medical bills and student loans.  And so, guess what we did?  Yep, we started looking at houses closer to our new home church, Cornerstone Baptist Fellowship in Sebastian.

 

God soon led us to a beautiful modular home in a 55 & over community.  Because we don’t own the actual property, the purchase price of our new house was much lower than the selling price of our home in Vero.  That allowed us to pay off all of our debt except for a manageable mortgage.  But best of all, our new home is just five minutes away from Cornerstone!

 

To me, home isn’t where you “hang your hat”.  It’s where you “hang your soul”!

 

“Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young – even Your altars, O LORD of hosts, my King and my God.  Blessed are those who dwell in Your house; they will still be praising You.” Psalm 84:3-4 (NKJV)


Dare 2B Daring – December 15, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“If Moses had operated through committees, the Israelites never would have gotten across the Red Sea.” – William Booth

 

Many years ago, I attended a church that was collapsing under the weight of its own infrastructure.  Instead of focusing on evangelizing the lost and ministering to the needy, the church members were bogged down by attending committee meeting after committee meeting.

 

The physical plant, including the sanctuary and church grounds, was in tip-top shape, but the spiritual condition of the congregation was stagnating.  Simply put, there wasn’t enough time and energy to do everything.

 

One day, I took the senior pastor aside and gave him a piece of unsolicited advice.  “If I were you, I would shut down every committee in the church for one year and replace them all with a single committee.  I’d call it the ‘People are dying and going to hell, what are we doing about it’ committee.”

 

“After a year,” I continued, “the committees that were truly necessary would re-emerge.  Good riddance to the others.”  

 

He laughed, sighed and shrugged his shoulders.  I knew he agreed with me, but I also knew that most of the committees had become so entrenched that they had taken on a life of their own.  As a result, the pastor felt powerless to do anything about them. 

 

Scripture clearly teaches that the Body of Christ has many different members – all with different spiritual gifts – and that there is wisdom in a multitude of counselors (see I Corinthians 12 and Proverbs 11:14).  However, too many “cooks in the broth” can result in inaction due to a “paralysis of analysis”.

 

Better to seek God’s face, seek godly counsel and then act decisively.

 

“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.” Ecclesiastes 9:10 (NKJV)

 

“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:23-24 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – December 14, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Faith and works should travel side by side, step answering to step, like the legs of a men walking.  First faith, and then works; and then faith again, and then works again – until they can scarcely distinguish which is the one and which is the other.” – William Booth

 

Our Sunday School class has been studying the Book of James for the past couple of months.  Because we are taking our time, dissecting and discussing each verse, we are still in Chapter 2.

 

Martin Luther wasn’t a fan of James’ epistle, referring to it as “the gospel of straw”.  I think Luther, having been liberated from the false doctrine of salvation by grace through faith plus works, had a natural aversion towards anything that approximated it.  However, the point that James attempts to make over and over in his letter is that works, although not an ingredient in the salvation process, should be a natural by-product of it.

 

“But someone will say, ‘You have faith, and I have works.’  Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”

 

Faith comes first and then works.  Which, as Booth stated above, brings about more faith, which leads to more works, which… well, you get the idea.

 

Booth put his faith into practice when he launched the Salvation Army in 1865.  His first priority was to win converts to Christianity by introducing people to the gospel message.  But he also realized that spiritual needs are often intertwined with – and even overshadowed by – pressing physical ones.  And so, Booth started ministering to the poor, the hungry, the homeless and the destitute in the name of Jesus.

 

Today, the Salvation Army is better known for its philanthropic work than for the proclamation of the gospel.  But Booth’s original model of ministering simultaneously to spiritual and physical needs was straight out of the Book of James… as well as the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  In other words, Jesus modeled the same ministry style.  

 

Where Jesus left off, William Booth picked up.  How about you and me?

 

“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?” James 2:15-16 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – December 13, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Perhaps home is not a place but simply an irrevocable condition.” – James Baldwin, Giovanni’s Room

 

One of my favorite Christmas songs is “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”.  It was written by lyricist Kim Gannon and composer Walter Kent to honor American soldiers serving overseas during World War II.  Bing Crosby recorded the song for Decca in 1943 and it became a top-10 hit, as well as an instant holiday classic.

 

In the song, an anonymous soldier asks his family to prepare for his homecoming with “snow, mistletoe and presents under the tree”.  Sadly, at the end, he admits that a Christmas celebration at home may only take place in his dreams… this year, anyway.

 

“Home” is a common theme in both song and literature.  “Home Is Where The Heart Is”, a 2008 recording by Lady Antebellum, captured this concept with the following lyrics…

 

I felt like I was spinning my wheels, before too long the road was calling;

I packed everything I owned, so sure that I was leaving this small town life behind for good.

And not a single tear was falling, it took leaving for me to understand;

Sometimes your dreams just aren’t want life has planned.

 

Mama said home is where the heart is,

When I left that town, I made it all the way to West Virginia.

And that’s where my heart found exactly where I’m supposed to be;

It didn’t take much time.

 

Thomas Wolfe famously said that, “You can’t go home again.”  At least that was the title of his final book, published posthumously from a collection of his works by his editor, Edward Aswell.  But can you… go home again, that is?

 

I think you can, because like James Baldwin said so eloquently at the top of this devotional, home isn’t a location – it’s a condition.  It’s a physical, spiritual and emotional place where, simply put, you belong.

 

Here on earth, home is wherever your loved ones are gathered.  And once life ends, home is called heaven… at least by believers.  Make sure that you spend this Christmas in the former and eternity in the latter.   

 

“So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord.  For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:6-7 (NKJV)

- Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – December 12, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” – Benjamin Franklin

 

Safety – like fame, fortune and life itself – is fleeting.  One minute you’re feeling safe and secure in your house, and the next you are the victim of a break-in.  Same goes for your car and a crash, or your investments and a crash of a different sort.

 

No, there is really only one completely safe and secure place in this world and it is being in the center of God’s will for your life.  Here is how Charles Spurgeon, the “Prince of Preachers”, put it…

 

“The doctrine of God’s Word is, that all who are in union with the Lamb are safe.”

 

Now, does that mean that no hurt or harm will enter into the life or cross the path of a true believer?  Not at all.  It simply means that every trial we face and every tribulation we endure has three things in common. 

 

First, like the ordeals that Job encountered, these temporary “bumps in the road” are subject to God’s approval and permission.  He knows what is best for us and more importantly, what is required to conform us into the image of His Son.

 

Second, God promises to be with us in the midst of life’s storms.  The Holy Spirit indwells us and Jesus promises to never leave us or forsake us.  That indisputable fact – and that comforting promise – provide us with a “peace that passes all understanding”.

 

Third, life’s tempests are short-lived.  They may seem unbearable (and unending) now, but in the light of eternity they are a mere blink of an eye.  And compared to the glories of heaven – the absence of pain, sorrow, crying and death; not to mention being in the very presence of God Himself – well, they simply don’t compare.

 

In Spurgeon’s words, “Sustained by such a doctrine, we can enjoy security even here on earth.  Not that high and glorious security which renders us free from every slip, but that holy security which arises from the sure promise of Jesus that none who believe in Him shall ever perish, but shall be with Him where He is.”

 

Unlike the soon-to-be bankrupt Social Security System, you can take God’s promises to the bank!

 

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – December 11, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Keeping silent about evil plants the seeds to rise up a thousand-fold in the next generation.” – Aleksandr Soltzhenitsyn, the Gulag Archipelago

 

Dollar weed.  It was Deanna’s personal nemesis at our previous home in Vero Beach. 

 

Perhaps because she grew up in the country, Deanna has always taken great pride in how our house looks from the outside.  That means nice landscaping and a lush lawn as free as possible of weeds.

 

In New Jersey, she would spend time spreading weed killer throughout the yard and pulling up dandelions by the root.  After all, if you don’t remove the entire root system, dandelions grow back with a vengeance… and bring some of their friends with them!

 

Dollar weed is even worse.  It spreads like wildfire and even fertilizer designed to eradicate this nuisance has spotty results.  What frustrated Deanna even further was when she would have that demon weed “on the run” only to have it make an unexpected comeback thanks to our next-door neighbors neglecting their lawn.

 

Evil works the same way.  If it is allowed to grow unchecked, it will soon take over the entire “lawn”, choking out the good “grass” in the process.

 

Edmund Burke famously put it this way.  “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

 

Don’t let evil prosper.  Not on your watch.  Instead, do everything in your power to eradicate it.  Future generations are depending on you.

 

That means fighting to put an end to abortion, sex trafficking and other abominations.  It also means standing up for what is right, such as the Judeo-Christian principles upon which America was founded.

 

Go out and pull up some dandelions today!

 

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – December 8, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“God loves with a great love the man whose heart is bursting with a passion for the impossible.” – William Booth

 

This week, I have chosen to use – and elaborate on – four different quotes by William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army.  Although each quote is somewhat distinct, they have a common premise: see a need and trust God to use you to meet it.

 

Yes, God warns us to count the cost first (see Luke 14:28-30), but that cost-counting is not to prevent us from boldly following Him into the unknown.  In fact, the preceding two verses address the cost – to one’s life and one’s family – of following Jesus and yet, the call to be His disciples still goes forth loudly, clearly, and unapologetically.  

 

I guess you could say that Jesus simply wants us to “look before we leap”… and then to go ahead and leap anyway!

 

Since Deanna didn’t grow up around a pool, I taught all three of our kids to swim.  Part of those lessons was convincing Bethany, Matthew and Christopher to trust me enough to jump into the water, fully believing that I would catch them.  And you know what, I did… every time!

 

What are you trusting God for these days?  Something ordinary or something so daring and spectacular that only He can bring it to pass?

 

According to William Booth, God delights in using simple people to accomplish great things for His glory.  All He requires is a mustard seed of F-A-I-T-H.

 

I suppose that is why I chose Hebrews 11:6 as our Risk Takers theme verse.  “For without faith, it is impossible to please Him.”  The rest of the verse goes on to say, “for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

 

Do you want to please God?  Do you want Him to reward you?  Then guess what?  You must exercise faith and diligently seek Him.  And when you do, He promises to do the seemingly impossible.

 

“For with God nothing will be impossible.” Luke 1:37 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President 


Dare 2B Daring – December 7, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“I am not waiting for a move of God.  I am a move of God!” – William Booth

 

As a young boy, I remember reading a short story about a character who was so convinced that he was a man of great destiny that he passed up opportunity after opportunity to do something of consequence because he was waiting for something even more momentous to occur.  Years – and then decades – went by, but still he waited.  Finally, on his deathbed, he realized that he had squandered his entire life waiting for an event that never happened and a breakthrough that never came.

 

Kind of reminds me of Linus Van Pelt, the little boy with the ever-present blanket in the Peanuts comic strip.  Linus is absolutely convinced that there is a Great Pumpkin.  Every year at Hallowen, according to Linus, the Great Pumpkin travels the world looking for the most sincere pumpkin patch.  And so, there he sits, alone in his pumpkin patch, while all of his friends are out collecting bags of free candy.

 

Of course, there is no such thing as the Great Pumpkin (spoiler alert!)  Sally, Charlie Brown’s sister who has a crush on Linus, discovers that the hard way when she passes up trick-or-treating to keep Linus company in his pumpkin patch.

 

Life – and ministry – are divided into two groups: participants and spectators.  You can sit passively along the side of the road waiting for the next trolley car to pass by or you can start walking towards your eventual destination.  I loathe the former and embrace the latter.

 

I guess I am cut from the same cloth as my dad.  He was self-employed and a real go-getter, but also a very impatient man.  Ironically, he used to lecture my siblings and me on the importance of being patient.  “Patience is a virtue… learn it”, he would often say.

 

But to me, there is a difference between patience and complacency, or even laziness.  God has given me an entrepreneurial spirit, one that causes me to imagine how things should be and then to start making them a reality.  Sure, I have had more than my share of false starts and false steps, but at least I haven’t spent my life sitting idly on the sidelines.

 

Don’t get me wrong.  Waiting on the Lord is a scriptural principle (see Psalm 37:7 and Isaiah 40:31).  However, God also detests slothfulness (see Proverbs 12:24 and Matthew 25:26).  Know the difference… and then get moving!

 

“How long will you slumber, O sluggard?  When will you rise from your sleep?” Proverbs 6:9 (NKJV) 

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President 


Dare 2B Daring – December 6, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“If you want to change the future, then you are going to have to trouble the present.” – William Booth

 

What are the two most dangerous words in the English language?  Give up? 

 

Status Quo.

 

Webster’s defines the term “status quo” as “the existing state of affairs”.  Synonyms include “complacency”, “stagnation”, “entrenched” and “intransient”.  Antonyms include “change”, “progress”, “innovation” and “growth”.

 

As dangerous as the status quo is to a person’s career and relationships, it is even more dangerous to one’s spiritual growth and development.  For instance, if a Christian is merely content with his or her “fire insurance”, they will enter heaven’s gates empty-handed.  No crowns and no rewards.  And between now and then, they will drink nothing but spiritual milk when, in fact, they should be dining on the solid meat of the Word.

 

However, if that same person were to read the Bible daily, pray without ceasing, and attend church faithfully, there is a better than average chance that they would start growing by leaps and bounds.  Their spiritual infancy would soon be in the rearview mirror as they were conformed more and more to the image of Christ Himself.

 

Not all change is good and not all status quo is bad.  But all living organisms need to grow, even when doing so creates some discomfort.  Remember your adolescent years, when you were a gawky and gangly teenager?  That was a necessary phase for you to transition from childhood to adulthood.

 

There’s nothing sadder – and more tragic – than a long-time Christian who should be a mature believer, but who insists on remaining a babe in Christ.

 

“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.  For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe.  But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” Hebrews 5:12-14 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – December 5, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“While women weep, as they do now, I’ll fight.  While little children go hungry, as they do now, I’ll fight.  While men go to prison, in and out, in and out, as they do now, I’ll fight.  While there is a drunkard left, while there is a poor lost girl upon the streets, while there remains one dark soul without the light of God, I’ll fight.  I’ll fight to the very end!” – William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army

 

Deanna and I received an email yesterday that began with the words, “Welcome to your retirement home.”  Boy, did they ever get that wrong!

 

First, I am “only” 58, so I can’t collect full Social Security benefits for another nine years… and Deanna is much younger than me.  Second, even after 30 years in ministry – 23 of them full-time –

I don’t have a pension and never will, so retirement is not an option.  Third, true ministers never officially retire anyway. 

 

As long as I have breath in my lungs and life in my body, I will continue to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ to anyone who will listen.  I will also do my best to serve others, especially those in need, by being the hands and feet of Jesus.

 

How about you?  Are you tempted to put your life on “spiritual autopilot” and coast through your Golden Years?  I hope not!  After all, those years belong to God, not to you or me.

 

My desire is to minister as long as my health holds up… and even after it begins to fail.  For now, I am still healthy enough to minister to prisoners and at-risk youth by competing on the basketball court or the softball field.  But when I can no longer run around the bases or up and down the court, I still plan to go into correctional institutions every chance I get.  I will simply use my knowledge of the sports I love playing to coach instead.  And yes, I will continue to preach in prison and on the outside.

 

Like the Apostle Paul, I desperately want to finish well.  That means hitting the spiritual accelerator instead of the brake.

 

“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President  


Dare 2B Daring – December 4, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

This weekend, I watched School Ties. Brendan Fraser played the main role of David Greene, a top quarterback from a small high school in Pennsylvania. Greene receives a scholarship to St. Matthew’s Preparatory Academy and accepts it with promise of attending Harvard the following year. It is the hopes of all that Greene will help the school defeat its rival and win a championship.


While Greene fits in immediately with his classmates and teammates, he quickly faces ridicule when a secret of his is revealed. Though he tried to conceal it, Greene’s Jewish heritage is made known.

Amazingly, all those he once called his closest friends turn on him with unfettered prejudice and bigotry. His newfound love, Sally, even separates herself from him.

Greene is forced to embrace who he is and overcome severe hatred. Eventually, he earns the acceptance of some as they see him for the honest, principled young man he is.

As I watched this film, I was reminded of the passage in I Corinthians 12. Here, Paul discusses the many parts of one body in Christ. Verse 13 states, “For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body - whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free - and we were all given the one Spirit to drink”.

Paul makes it quite clear that in Christ there is no ethnic, cultural, or social distinction. Today, it can be rather easy to divide people into classes, and to stereotype them by those classes. Our attitudes and feelings may change as a result. Yet, we know that Christ sees no difference and favors no man, and nor should we.

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus”. Galatians 3:28

-          Christopher Glading, Program Director


Dare 2B Daring – December 1, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“All the great men of God have been so simple, just like little children.  Isaiah and Paul from the Word of God, John Bunyan, William Carey, Handley Moule, Hudson Taylor, D.L. Moody, Adoniram Judson, to mention just a few; but these men with brilliant minds were basically as simple as little children in their walk with God.  A man may be a saint without having many of the qualities which the world today rates very highly, but he will never be a saint without simplicity of soul, a simplicity that is in Christ.  It was this that burned in the heart of Martin Luther in the days of the Reformation when he said, ‘Let us get through to God.  Give us a basic, dynamic, personal simplicity of faith in Jesus Christ.’” – Alan Redpath, “Blessings Out of Buffetings”

 

Different day, different quote, same message.  Make that, same simple message.

 

I have some dear friends whom I have known for about 45 years.  They are successful in their respective fields, but lack true contentment and a quietness of spirit.  As a result, there is a certain sadness and frustration to their lives.

 

My ongoing advice to them is to “get off of the hamster wheel”.  In other words, to stop chasing the American Dream – a bigger home, a newer car, a more luxurious vacation, and deeper savings – and start chasing Christ.  Focus of the people you love instead of the career you are learning to hate.

 

Most importantly, ask yourself the question that I try to ask – and answer – myself each and every day: “What will matter 10,000 years from now?”  The answer is your relationship with God and how many people – precious, eternal souls – you have led to personal faith in Him.

 

Hear the words of Chuck Swindoll…

 

“The message of Christianity is quickly becoming a system of enlightened thinking instead of a simple call to turn from sin and pursue a relationship with God.  The desire for greater theological knowledge (as good as that is) has supplanted the simple call to know Him intimately… in the power of His resurrection and in sharing His sufferings.”

 

Stop complicating the gospel and stop complicating your life.  Simple is better!

 

“Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become like little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3 (NKJV)  

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – November 30, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Thirty days hath September, April, June and November…” - Anonymous

 

Thirty days.  Times 12.  Times 79.9.  That’s how many days the average male in the United States has to live.

 

How are you spending your days?  And how many of them are now gone… forever?

 

David Cassidy, a 1970’s teen heartthrob whose career – and personal life – fell apart after the Partridge Family left the air, died last week of organ failure.  According to his daughter Katie, his last words were, “So much wasted time.”

 

Over the past week, Deanna and I have been staying in our 21-foot trailer awaiting settlement on our new house in Sebastian.  Whenever we camp, I switch devotional books for a change of pace.  And so, instead of reading “Morning and Evening” by Charles Spurgeon every day, I have been enjoying excerpts from “So, You Want to Be Like Christ?” by Chuck Swindoll.

 

The answer to Swindoll’s somewhat rhetorical question is a resounding, “YES!”  I dearly and desperately want to be more like Jesus.  In order to develop that kind of intimacy with God, Swindoll recommends eliminating as many unnecessary distractions as possible and simplifying one’s life.

 

John Piper wrote an entire book on this subject called, “Don’t Waste Your Life”.  I highly recommend it and the basic premise of investing in spiritual matters instead of material ones. 

 

Our move to a 55 & over community in Sebastian is a major step in that direction.  By eliminating our debt except for a manageable mortgage and lot fee, Deanna and I will be able to devote more of our time and energy to ministry instead of figuring out ways to pay bills.  No more robbing Peter in order to pay Paul.  We are determined to live within our limited means and pay cash as much as possible from here on.

 

For years, I have told others that ministry is all about people.  The people you minister to, the people you minister with, and the people who provide the resources that allow you to minister.  As long as those folks who believe in Risk Takers continue to give generously to our ministry to prisoners and at-risk youth, we will focus even more of our attention on reaching the lost… behind bars and on the streets.

 

I think David Cassidy would approve.

 

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Matthew 6:33 (NKJV)


Dare 2B Daring – November 29, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Do not pursue what is illusory.  All that is gained at the expense of your nerves decade after decade and is confiscated in the fell of night.  Live with the steady superiority over life.  Don’t be afraid of misfortune.  Do not yearn after happiness.  It is, after all, all the same.  The bitter doesn’t last forever.  And the sweet never fills the cup to overflowing.  It is enough if you don’t freeze in the cold.  And if thirst and hunger don’t claw at your insides, if your back isn’t broken, if your feet can walk and your arms can bend, if both eyes can see, if both ears hear, then whom… whom should you envy?” – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

 

I challenge you to reread Solzhenitsyn’s words above.  They are hauntingly profound, written by a man who spent eight years in a Soviet labor camp for alleged crimes “against the state”.  After his release, he was banished for life to a small village in Kazakhstan, where his undiagnosed and untreated cancer almost claimed his life.

 

Unbowed, Solzhenitsyn penned some of his greatest works while in exile: “One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich” in 1962; “Cancer Ward” in 1968; and his magnum opus, “The Gulag Archipelago” in 1973.

 

Solzhenitsyn was eventually expelled from the Soviet Union altogether and stripped of his citizenship.  For 20 years, he lived in exile in West Germany and the United States.  Finally, after the fall of the Soviet Union, his citizenship was restored and he was allowed to return to his homeland where he lived in a small dacha in west Moscow.  Solzhenitsyn died there of heart failure on August 3, 2008 at the age of 89.  

 

Ponder this question if you will…

 

Who had a more profound – and beneficial – influence on the world during the 20th century: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who lived in near poverty for much of his life, or some unnamed multi-millionaire who wasted his life accumulating houses, cars, boats, wives and other assorted shows of wealth?

 

Yep, I think so, too.

 

“Now godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can nothing out.  And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.” I Timothy 6:6-8 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – November 28, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Our life is frittered away by detail.  Simplify.  Simplify.” – Henry David Thoreau

 

Last week, we sold our home in Vero Beach.  We had lived in it for more than six years and loved every minute of it.  However, with all three children now living on their own, we simply didn’t need a house with three bedrooms.  The other thing we didn’t need was mounting debt.

 

One of the downsides to being in full-time ministry, especially parachurch ministry, is the uncertain paychecks that come with it.  As a result, it is very easy to accumulate debt.  When unexpected medical bills arise, such as Deanna’s two melanoma surgeries, we are forced to put it on a credit card.  Add that to our truck loan (we only own one vehicle), two student loans, and a home mortgage, and you can see where debt can escalate quickly.

 

And so, we decided to make a life-changing decision.  Simply put, we decided to drastically down-size and live within our limited means.  Taking the equity from our house in Vero, we paid off our truck, our trailer, two credit cards and the student loans. 

 

Our new house is a modular home in a beautiful 55 & over community.  It has two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a full-size kitchen, an office and a large storage shed.  The community offers an outdoor pool, a huge lake and many other amenities.  But because we will only own the house and not the property, our new mortgage is very manageable even when combined with the lot fee.

 

I have watched far too many people spend half of their lives accumulating things – often times by borrowing to the hilt – and the other half maintaining those same things.  Deanna and I are determined not to be like that.  We prefer living simply, paying cash whenever possible, and enjoying people and experiences… not material goods. 

 

Between selling our house in Vero and settling on our new home in Sebastian, all of our worldly possessions were placed in two small storage units and our daughter’s garage.  Shaking her head, Deanna said, “We need to start practicing what we preach.”  In other words, my bride of 32 years wants to downsize even more… and I agree!

 

The simple life truly is the best life!

 

“Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.” Philippians 4:11 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President   


Dare 2B Daring – November 27, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“There was another life that I might have had, but I am having this one.” – Kazuo Ishiguro

 

As I entered my senior year in high school, I had my entire life already mapped out… or so I thought.  I was going to graduate near the top of my class, enroll as a political science major at Rutgers University, and eventually attend law school.  Once I had passed the bar exam, I would set out on a political career.

 

However, a chance conversation with my favorite uncle when I was 17 changed that scenario completely.  “You know, Dale,” he said, “you can major in sports administration these days.”

 

Within a matter of months, I found myself at St. John’s University in Queens, New York, the only college at that time with an undergrad program in Sports Administration.  After two years at St. John’s, I transferred to Temple University in Philadelphia, graduating with a B.S. in Community Recreation.

 

Following a prolonged period of unemployment, I worked briefly for Liberty Travel as an agent, before serving for 11 years as the recreation director at a Christian retirement community.  It was there that I learned how to supervise staff and volunteers, manage a budget, write direct mail fundraising letters, and organize multi-day trips… skills that would come in extremely handy when I started my first prison ministry in 1987.

 

Since 1994, I have been in full-time ministry, mostly serving prisoners and at-risk youth.  I have also conducted numerous men’s conferences and revival meetings as well as preached in countless churches throughout the eastern United States.

 

Yes, I have also run for public office several times, winning two GOP primaries but never a general election.  However, by the time I campaigned in my late 40’s and early 50’s, it was for the right reasons – to serve God by serving others – and not to feed my once over-sized ego.

 

It’s strange how God uses seemingly insignificant events like my uncle’s off-hand comment to completely change the path of a person’s life.  Would I have been a successful lawyer?  Possibly.  Would I have earned a much larger income as an attorney?  Absolutely!

 

But God had other plans for my life and I am eternally grateful for that.  Because of Him, I have had the opportunity to minister to hundreds of thousands of people in three countries on two continents.  So what if I’m not rich and famous.  My health is good, and my quiver (one wife, three children and three grandchildren) is full.  Most importantly, my name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

 

“A man’s heart plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.” Proverbs 16:9 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – November 24, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“I’ve found that prayer works best when you have big players.” – Knute Rockne

 

The response to yesterday’s football quotes was so positive that I thought I’d share a few more of them for your amusement and edification.  Enjoy!

 

“I asked Darrell Royal, the coach of the Texas Longhorns, why he didn’t recruit me.  He said, ‘Well, Walt, we took a long look at you, and you weren’t any good.” – Walt Garrison, Oklahoma State

 

“We didn’t tackle well today, but we made up for it by not blocking.” – John McKay, USC

 

“Son, you’ve got a good engine, but your hands aren’t on the steering wheel.” – Bobby Bowden, West Virginia & Florida State

 

“Football is NOT a contact sport, it is a collision sport.  Dancing IS a contact sport.” – Duffy Daugherty, Michigan State

 

“If lessons are learned in defeat, our team is getting a great education.” – Murray Warmath, Minnesota

 

“We live one day at a time and scratch where it itches.” – Darrell Royal, Texas

 

Ohio State’s Urban Meyer on one of his players: “He doesn’t know the meaning of the word ‘fear’.  In fact, I just saw his grades and he doesn’t know the meaning of a lot of words.”

 

After USC lost 51-0 to Notre Dame, John McKay’s post-game message to his team was simple and to the point: “All those who need showers, take them.”

 

“And such were some of you.  But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of God.” I Corinthians 6:11 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – November 23, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“A witty saying proves nothing.” – Voltaire

 

Thanksgiving in America is generally associated with the four “F’s”: faith, family, food and football.  Hopefully, there is also adequate time given to thank God for a fifth “F” – the religious and political freedoms that we enjoy in this country.

 

And so, as you gather around the table and gorge yourself on turkey, mashed and/or sweet potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce and of course, pumpkin pie, here are a few football-related quotes from college players and coaches to get you ready for the big game.  Some of them are funny, and some of them are profound.

 

“At Georgia Southern, we don’t cheat.  That costs money, and we don’t have any.” – Erik Russell, Georgia Southern

 

“The man who complains about the way the ball bounces is likely to be the one who dropped it.” – Lou Holtz, Arkansas & Notre Dame

 

“When you win, nothing hurts.” – Joe Namath, Alabama

 

“There’s nothing that cleanses the soul like getting the heck kicked out of you.” – Woody Hayes, Ohio State

 

“I don’t expect to win enough games to be put on NCAA probation.  I just want to win enough to warrant an investigation.” – Bob Devaney, Nebraska

 

“In Alabama, an atheist is someone who doesn’t believe in Bear Bryant.” – Wally Butts, Georgia

 

“I never graduated from Iowa.  But I was only there for two terms – Truman’s and Eisenhower’s.” – Alex Karras, Iowa

 

“My advice to defensive players is to take the shortest route to the ball, and arrive in a bad humor.” – Bowden Wyatt, Tennessee

 

“I could have been a Rhodes Scholar except for my grades.” – Duffy Daugherty, Michigan State

 

“Always remember that Goliath was a 40-point favorite over David.” – Shug Jordan, Auburn

 

“So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him.” I Samuel 17:50a (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – November 22, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.” – John Wooden

 

I have had the privilege of preaching hundreds – perhaps thousands – of messages over the past three decades.  Some in churches and some in prisons.

 

Many times, the messages are fresh, meaning that I have never preached them before.  But there are a handful of sermons that I have preached more than once.  In fact, a few of them I have shared a dozen times or more.

 

“Get Out of the Boat” (Matthew 14); “Give Me This Mountain” (Joshua 14); and “If I Perish, I Perish” (Esther 4) are three of my absolute favorites.  So is “Here Am I!  Send Me” (Isaiah 6).

 

Last week, Pastor Dave McMurray preached three messages on Isaiah 1-6 as part of our three-day Bible conference.  And guess what?  Even though I have studied – and preached from – that passage numerous times, I learned something new.  Actually, not just something new, but a lot new!

 

That is one of the countless beauties of the Bible.  You and I can read and meditate on a familiar portion of scripture and all of a sudden, a fresh truth pops into our mind and drops into our lap.  In fact, mining God’s Word for previously hidden revelations is a lifelong process.

 

So, the next time you read Exodus 20, Psalm 23, John 3, or Matthew 5-7, ask God to show you something for the very first time.  I can assure you that no matter how many times you have read those chapters, there is more to them than meets the spiritual eye at first – or fourteenth or four hundredth – glance.

 

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NKJV)

 

“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President

 


Dare 2B Daring – November 21, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“No such thing as bad student, only bad teacher.” – Mr. Miyagi

 

The above quote is from the movie, “The Karate Kid”.  It infers that if a student fails to learn a particular lesson, it is the teacher’s fault… plain and simple.

 

Well, I’m not so sure about that!

 

Last week, three pastors – two Baptists and one Presbyterian – taught a series of lessons from the major and minor prophets at our three-day Bible conference.  Combined, they brought more than 100 years of ministry experience to their messages.

 

As I listened to Pastor Tom Cox teach on Jonah, dividing that four-chapter book into three separate but well-connected lessons – I was amazed at the depth of his insights.  Then, as Pastor Bill taught on Hosea, Habakkuk and Haggai, I was transfixed by his depth of knowledge.  Finally, as Pastor Dave preached from Isaiah 1-6, I was blown away by the depth of his passion.

 

It was evident from the beginning of the conference to its very end, that these three choice servants of God had put countless hours of preparation – and prayer – into their presentations.  

 

Long story short, if I didn’t get something out of their respective messages, the fault was mine, not theirs.  Fortunately, I got A LOT out of each of them and have already started to apply some of the lessons I learned.

 

The next time you sit in a Sunday School class, attend a church service, or participate in a Bible study… ask God to give you a teachable heart.  Just as importantly, ask Him to help you apply those valuable lessons before they go in one ear and out the other.

 

“He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” Matthew 11:15 (NKJV)

 

“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” James 1:22 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – November 20, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Nothing does more to activate Christian divisions than talk about Christian unity.” – Conor Cruise O’Brien

 

Last week, Risk Takers for Christ was privileged to host a three-day Bible conference in Sebastian FL.  It was held at Cornerstone Baptist Fellowship and billed as “Three Days of Teaching & Three Nights of Preaching”.

 

The speakers at our morning sessions were Rev. Tom Cox and Dr. Bill Waltz.  Pastor Tom is a Presbyterian pastor and Pastor Bill is a Baptist pastor.  Together, they taught on the subject, “Major Lessons from the Minor Prophets”.  Tom gave a three-part message on Jonah while Bill honed in on the “3-H Club” – Hosea, Habakkuk, and Haggai.

 

Rev. Dave McMurray was our featured speaker each evening, preaching from the book of Isaiah with a special emphasis on chapter six.  To say that his messages were powerful would be the understatement of the century. 

 

Tying it all together was Kenny Munds, an award-winning country and gospel music vocalist.  Kenny’s soaring vocals, expert guitar-playing, and comedic talents ministered to everyone in attendance.

 

For four nights, Tom, Bill and Kenny shared our home while Dave and his wife Carm stayed at a local hotel.  We ate every meal together and ministered seemingly around-the-clock.  Yet, despite being sleep-deprived and a cold bug going around, there wasn’t a single harsh word spoken or a single disagreement among us.

 

When God’s Spirit is moving – and human egos and personal agendas are put in check – the combined ministry is more powerful… and the ensuing fellowship is much sweeter… than anything this side of heaven.

 

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” Psalm 133:1 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President    


Dare 2B Daring – November 17, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have.”  - Socrates

 

The headline read “$3.70 price stickers ends with arrest”.  The news story itself was even stranger.

 

It appears that a 25-year old woman went shopping at a Walmart in Ft. Pierce FL.  So far, so good, right?  Nothing illegal with that.

 

Well, before filling her shopping cart with more than $1,800 worth of electronic goods, she allegedly covered the bar codes on each item with stickers removed from merchandise in the clearance department.  That made the total cost of her shopping trip – which included a computer, video game controllers and other electronic gadgets – a miniscule $3.70.  Quite the bargain, huh?

 

Despite trying to slip through the self-checkout lane, the woman was quickly apprehended by store security and arrested by a sheriff’s deputy.  She now faces charges of felony grand theft and felony shoplifting, and is being held at the Indian River County Jail on $3,000 bail.

 

What stood out the most to me about the entire episode was the rationale the woman gave for committing her crime.  “I am just trying to get gifts for my son that I cannot afford,” she said.  “The computer is for my husband.  Since he just got me a Coach purse, I figured he deserved something nice, as well.”

 

I wonder if she realized how twisted her logic sounded?  Instead of buying her husband and son much smaller gifts that she could afford – or saving up to purchase the computer and video game controllers at a later date – she allowed her greed and sense of entitlement to get the best of her.  Now, instead of celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas at home with her loved ones, she most likely will be spending those holidays alone in a 6’ by 9’ cell.

 

But that is what happens when materialism becomes our idol and immediate self-gratification becomes our god.  

 

“Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have.” Hebrews 13:5 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President 

 


Dare 2B Daring – November 16, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“We sinned for no reason but an incomprehensible lack of love, and He saved us for no reason but an incomprehensible excess of love.” – Peter Kreeft

 

This week, Risk Takers held a series of teaching and preaching events, focusing on the role of the minor prophets and the holiness of God. It was our honor to host Pastor Tom Cox, Pastor Bill Waltz, and Pastor Dave McMurray. While Pastor Cox and Pastor Waltz taught each of three mornings, Pastor McMurray was charged with sharing the Word of God at night. In one of his messages, Pastor McMurray referred to a well-known story, the washing of the disciples’ feet by Jesus Himself.

 

The point most commonly emphasized from this passage is that of service and humility. The washing of feet was an expected favor of a host to a guest, delegated to the lowliest of servants. And yet, as it says in John 13:4, “Jesus got up from the meal, took off His outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around His waist.”

 

However, this week, I was taught another incredibly significant point. When Jesus reached Peter, He was quickly told by Peter that He was not to wash his feet. Jesus responded, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” With enthusiasm, Peter said “Then, Lord, not just my feet, but my hands and my head as well.”

 

I think we can understand Peter’s excitement. If being washed by Jesus unites us to Him, we would want to be washed completely. But Peter did not understand something very important. As Jesus would explain, “a person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean.” Just two chapters later, John 15:3-4 states, “You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you.”

 

As believers in Jesus Christ, we have been washed by His blood. Our bodies are clean. Still, our feet get dirty. We have been justified, but continue to battle our fleshly desires. So, while we can in no way lose our salvation, we must repeatedly return to the cross and confess our sins to Jesus. Our feet must be washed daily by our Lord and Savior. 

 

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1

 

-          Christopher Glading, Program Director

 


Dare 2B Daring – November 15, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“The best revenge is to be unlike him who performed the injury.” – Marcus Aurelius

 

The other night, I watched a movie adaptation of The Count of Monte Cristo. It stars Jim Caviezel as Edmond Dantes and Guy Pearce as Fernand Mondego. In the story, Edmond is falsely accused of high treason by his best friend, Fernand. As a member of the elite, Fernand was driven mad with envy by the loss of a love interest to Edmond, a sailor.

 

Fernand is quickly taken to the Chateau d’If, where he spends more than a decade in horrendous conditions. While imprisoned, Edmond meets the Abbe Faria, a soldier and priest. From him, Edmond is trained in math, science, language, and combat. The Abbe Faria also reveals to Edmond the location of a vast treasure on the island of Monte Cristo.

 

When the priest dies, Edmond uses his body bag to escape. He then begins to enact his plan of revenge, which had been formulated over many long nights in prison. After acquiring the treasure, Edmond becomes the Count of Monte Cristo. With his new-found wealth and status, Edmond is able to learn the daily movements of those who wrongly accused him. Eventually, he has J.F. Villefort, the corrupt deputy crown prosecutor who condemned him without trial, arrested and taken away to prison. Moreover, Edmond is reunited with his love and kills Fernand in a duel.

 

While all seemed to go well for Edmond, we are warned against seeking revenge. In fact, we are encouraged to do quite the opposite. Romans 12:17-21 states, “Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

 

We are encouraged to love others when they have done us wrong. It is the sole right of God to repay. We are to be patient, slow to anger, peaceable, and merciful.

 

“You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.” Leviticus 19:18 ESV

 

-          Christopher Glading, Program Director


Dare 2B Daring – November 14, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“You can safely appeal to the United Nations in the comfortable certainty that it will let you down.” – Conor Cruise O’Brien

 

The summer between my junior and senior years in high school, I was selected by a local organization to be a student delegate to the United Nations.  For several days, we were shown the inner workings of that body and given a behind-the-scenes tour of the building.

 

As you can imagine, visiting the U.N. – and New York City, for that matter – was a big deal for a kid from a town with just 3,500 people.  But my favorite memory of that trip had nothing to do with the U.N. itself.  Instead, it occurred one evening when I decided to take a stroll outside our hotel to “see the sights”.

 

After walking for a few blocks, I came upon an upscale hotel with a sign advertising that it was one of the host sites for the Democratic National Convention.  The actual convention where Gov. Jimmy Carter of Georgia was to be nominated was being held at Madison Square Garden, but many of the delegates were staying at this particular hotel.

 

Realizing that I was still wearing my official-looking U.N. student badge, I decided to push my luck.  And so, I climbed the stairs to the hotel, entered through the revolving doors, and walked briskly and confidently into the lobby.  Yep, as if I was someone important who had every right to be there.

 

I soon noticed that the first room on my right was bustling with activity.  Figuring I had made it this far without being detected, I entered the room and quickly took a seat.  It was a relatively small room where a private reception was being held for some rather important people.  Among the 25 or so V.I.P.’s were Miss Lillian (Gov. Carter’s mother), Sen. Ted Kennedy… and me.

 

Can you imagine, with today’s much tighter security, a brash high school student bluffing his way to within a few feet of the soon-to-be president’s mom and JFK’s younger brother?   Yeah, me neither – but it really happened!

 

That surreal scenario reminds me of a place no one will be able to bluff their way into.  It’s called heaven, and it is reserved for the blood-bought saints of God.  If you try to enter the pearly gates based on your own merit or flashing your own credentials, you will be denied access.  However, if you have reservations and your name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, you will be ushered in like a V.I.P.

 

“But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.” Revelation 21:27 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – November 13, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Sometimes, reaching out and taking someone's hand is the beginning of a journey.  At other times, it is allowing another to take yours.” – Vera Nazarian

 

So, did you ride the wave of Charles Spurgeon’s writings through the weekend, experiencing God’s calming peace and presence as a result?  I sure hope so, because I did.

 

But wait… there’s more!

 

Because as the “Prince of Preachers” reminds us in his commentary on Isaiah 49:16, God refuses to forsake His people – no matter what.  After all, as He states emphatically, “Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands.”

 

Here’s how Spurgeon “unwraps” that precious verse…

 

“No doubt a part of the wonder which is concentrated in the word ‘Behold’, is excited by the unbelieving lamentation of the preceding sentence.  Zion said, ‘The Lord hath forsaken me, and my God hath forgotten me.’”

 

“How amazed the divine mind seems to be at this wicked unbelief!  What can be more astounding than the unfounded doubts and fears of God’s favored people?  The Lord’s loving word of rebuke should make us blush; He cries, ‘How can I have forgotten thee, when I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands?  How darest thou doubt my constant remembrance, when the memorial is set upon my very flesh?”   

 

“O unbelief, how strange a marvel thou art!  We know not which most to wonder at, the faithfulness of God or the unbelief of His people.  He keeps His promise a thousand times, and yet the next trial makes us doubt Him.”

 

“I have graven thee.  It does not say ‘Thy name’.  The name is there, but that is not all: I have graven thee.  See the fulness of this!  I have graven thy person, thine image, thy case, thy circumstances, thy sins, thy temptations, thy weaknesses, thy wants, thy works; I have graven thee, everything about thee, all that concerns thee; I have put thee altogether there.  Wilt thou ever say again that thy God hath forsaken thee when He has graven thee upon His own palm?”

 

That verse – and Spurgeon’s timeless commentary – reminds me of a reoccurring prison incident.  I’ll enter a vast recreation yard with hundreds of prisoners milling around and almost without fail, an inmate will come up to me, extend his hand and say, “Hey Dale, remember me?”

 

If I’m fortunate, the man is wearing a prison-issued uniform that bears his name and ID number, in which case I can respond accordingly.  However, if not, I am forced to fess up and admit that – having encountered more than 500,000 inmates over the past 30 years – I simply don’t recall every face, let alone every name.

 

BUT – GOD – DOES!!!

 

“Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb?  Surely they may forget, yet I will not forget you.” Isaiah 49:15 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President  


Dare 2B Daring – November 10, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“It is well for us that, amidst all the variableness of life, there is One whom change cannot affect; One whose heart can never alter, and on whose brow mutability can make no furrows.  All things else have changed – all things are changing.” – Charles Haddon Spurgeon

 

At the end of the day – or in this case, the week – it is sometimes good to sit quietly and reflect.  On life… on God… on eternity…

 

No one helps me more in that critical spiritual exercise than Charles Spurgeon, the “Prince of Preachers”.  And so, rather than offer you more of my words, I prefer to offer you some of his.

 

“There is One who only hath immortality, of whose years there is no end, and in whose person there is no change.  The delight which the mariner feels, when, after having been tossed about for many a day, he steps again upon the solid shore, is the satisfaction of a Christian when, amidst all the changes of this troublous life, he rests the foot of his faith upon this truth – ‘I am the Lord, I change not.’”

 

“The stability which the anchor gives the ship when it has at last obtained a hold-fast, is like that which the Christian’s hope affords him when it fixes itself upon this glorious truth.  With God “is no variableness, neither shadow of turning”.  Whatever His attributes were of old, they are now; His power, His wisdom, His justice, His truth, are alike unchanged.  He has ever been the refuge of His people, their stronghold in the day of trouble, and He is their sure helper still.”

 

“He is unchanged in His love.  He has loved His people with ‘an everlasting love’; He loves them now as much as ever He did, and when all earthly things shall have melted in the last conflagration, His love will still wear the dew of its youth.  Precious is the assurance that He changes not!”

 

Feel better, calmer and more at peace?  I sure do!  You know why?  Because "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." Hebrews 13:8 

 

“Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace, be still!’  And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.” Mark 4:39 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President 

 


Dare 2B Daring – November 9, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“There is a child in every one of us who is still a trick-or-treater, looking for a brightly-lit front porch.” – Robert Brault

 

Piggy-backing on yesterday’s devotional, the second application of Robert Brault’s statement concerns the front porch light that forever beckons.  All of us long to be welcomed and appreciated, to be warmly accepted wherever we go.  We long for a safe haven, one that promises more than a bag of sugar-laden goodies. 

 

For believers, that safe haven on earth is the church.  Ultimately, it is heaven… and the older I get, the more I long to be there.

 

But in the meantime, my desire and my avowed goal is to “leave the light on” for others, just like Tom Bodett and Motel Six.  I want to provide a shelter from life’s storms for my fellow travelers who need a place to rest and recuperate.  Better yet, I want to point them to the true Light of the world, the One who illuminates hearts and souls for all eternity.

 

How about you?  In what ways are you – and your church – being a “brightly-lit front porch”? 

 

“You are the light of the world.  A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.  Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – November 8, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“There is a child in every one of us who is still a trick-or-treater, looking for a brightly-lit front porch.” – Robert Brault

 

There are two different ways to interpret Robert Brault’s statement and both of them have a valuable spiritual application.  So rather than try to squeeze them both into a single devotional, I plan to address one today and one tomorrow.

 

The first application involves the eternal child that lives within each of us.  I don’t know about you, but I still have many of the same feelings, likes and dislikes that I did as a young boy.  I still love sports – both playing and watching – and I still enjoy reading about U.S. history.  Camping with my family remains a favorite activity and “wetting a hook” continues to be a great source of relaxation.

 

However, when I look in the mirror – or when I try to keep up with players 40 years younger than me on the basketball court – reality hits home in a hurry.  What I am, my reflection and my arthritic knees tell me, is a middle-aged man with rapidly graying hair who is just two years away from celebrating his 60th birthday.

 

But that doesn’t mean that I need to start acting my age!  On the contrary, I remain forever young as far as my attitude and my optimism are concerned.  Yes, at age 58, I still have tons of energy and lots of gas left in my tank.  Believe it or not, I am convinced that my best years lie ahead of me.

 

Better yet, after 40 years as a Christian, my faith remains childlike.  I believe God’s Word in its entirety, and trust Him to answer my prayers and keep His promises.  After all, He is able to do “exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.” Ephesians 3:20

 

Conversely, what should be naturally “aging” is my spiritual maturity.  The writer of Hebrews chastised believers who were long-time followers of Jesus, but still spiritual infants.  “By this time, you ought to be teachers”, he wrote.  Instead, these immature Christians required spiritual milk because they couldn’t stomach the meat of the Word.  How sad…

 

Paul echoes this same teaching in I Corinthians 13:11.  “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”

 

The morale of the story – and the goal of this devotional – is for us to remain as energetic and optimistic as a child, while seeking to become as wise and spiritually mature as a “seasoned citizen”. 

 

That’s no trick… it’s a treat!

 

“Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:2 (NKJV)


Dare 2B Daring – November 7, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

"Much of modern Christian enterprise is 'Ishmael.' Born not of God, but of an inordinate desire to do God's will in our own way - the one thing our Lord never did." – Oswald Chambers

 

As a pastor friend of mine is fond of saying, there is a difference between a good idea and a “God idea”.  One is born of human intellect, reasoning or desire whereas the other is born of the Spirit.  Likewise, a good idea may succeed, but a God idea is guaranteed to do so.

 

Starting an athletic prison ministry was definitely a God idea.  God gave me the vision in 1982 and carefully cultivated it in my spirit until it became as natural as breathing.  I simply had to do it.

 

And so, when I took a Christian softball team into a prison for the first time on June 6, 1987, I knew what the ultimate outcome was going to be.  Because God had given me the burden, I also knew that God would bless my obedience… and did He ever!

 

By the time I left the Saints Prison Ministry in 2011, that one softball team had spawned five others in four different states.  We had also branched out into other sports such as basketball, soccer and women’s volleyball.  And in addition to our international headquarters in New Jersey, we had established branch offices in Colorado, Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia.

 

Conversely, the aftercare program that we started in the early 2000’s may have been a “good idea”, but not necessarily a God one.  For four years, our subsidiary, Lives in Transition, ministered to 200 ex-offenders.  By providing food, clothing, housing, transportation, vocational training, job placement, addiction counseling and spiritual mentoring, we were able to post a 5% recidivism rate.  That means that only 10 of our 200 clients were re-arrested for new crimes or minor parole violations. 

 

Compare that to the national average of 75% and yes, you could say that launching L.I.T. was a good idea, maybe even a great one.  But was it a God idea?  Since our aftercare program only lasted four years before we ran out of funding, who is to say?  Maybe God wanted us to begin L.I.T. and only operate it for a short season, I don’t know.  All I know is that we kept a lot of men from falling through society’s cracks and returning to prison.

 

How about you?  Are you pursuing a good idea or a God one?  There is nothing wrong with having a good idea and implementing it properly.  But when God gives you one of His ideas, look out!  I can tell you from personal experience that the sky is the limit.

 

“For with God, nothing will be impossible.” Luke 1:37 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – November 6, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Whatever I do, I love to win.  I don’t care if it’s tennis or ping pong, I’ll kill myself to win it.” – Andy Pettitte

 

On our ministry’s website, there is a tab at the top of our home page that reads, “Testimonials”.  If you click on that tab, you will be treated to several letters of recommendations from pastors, other ministry leaders and even a governor and former presidential candidate, all of whom I have gotten to know during my three decades of prison ministry.

 

One of the testimonials includes the following words…

 

“Dale is a go-getter and quite competitive.  He likes to do his best and see others do the same.  His vision and drive resulted in the formation of the Saints Prison Ministry more than 25 years ago.”

 

“Go-getter”, yes.  “Quite competitive”, you betcha.  “Likes to do his best”, absolutely.  “Vision and drive”, I guess so.

 

Looking back, I can see how God has used those personality traits to accomplish a lot for His kingdom.  However, sometimes my competitive nature has gotten the best of me.  And to my shame, my drive has occasionally turned into “over-drive”, leaving considerable damage in its wake.

 

Finally, at the ripe old age of 58, I think I’m starting to mellow.  “Starting to”, I said, not “mastered”.  You see, there are still times when my desire to win becomes an all-consuming fire that burns me… and scorches those around me.

 

Thankfully, most of my friends, relatives and co-laborers for Christ “take the good with the bad”.  But that doesn’t mean that I’m satisfied with the status quo.  On the contrary, I am working hard to make the “bad Dale” a thing of the past.

 

“He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:30 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President      


Dare 2B Daring – November 3, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“He’s the most mentally tough person I’ve ever played with.” – Derek Jeter, speaking about Mariano Rivera

 

He is almost universally acknowledged as the greatest reliever in Major League history.  Appearing in 1,115 games and tossing a total of 1,283 innings, “Mo” Rivera struck out 1,173 batters on his way to recording 652 saves.  His 2.21 Earned Run Average was impressive, but his post-season ERA of 0.70 was even more mind-boggling.

 

And yet, amidst all of his regular season and post-season successes, Rivera hit more than a few speed bumps during his Hall of Fame caliber career.  Mo made a critical throwing error in the ninth inning of Game 7 of the 2001 World Series on what appeared to be a tailor-made double-play ball.  Two batters later, Luis Gonzalez blooped a single over a drawn-in infield, and the Arizona Diamondbacks – not the New York Yankees – were World Champions.

 

Three years later, Rivera blew saves in Games 4 and 5 of the American League Championship Series, allowing the arch-rival Boston Red Sox to come back from a three-games-to-none deficit and win the pennant.

 

Most players would have carried those defeats over to the following season, potentially derailing or even ending their baseball career.  But not Mo.  He learned from his mistakes and put them behind him.  At the end of his storybook 19-year career, Rivera was as dominant as ever.  In 2013, his final season, he posted a 2.11 ERA with 44 saves and was named Comeback Player of the Year.

 

Altogether, Rivera was a 13-time All Star, won five World Championships, and was named the Rolaids Relief Man of the Year in the AL five times.  Not bad for a skinny kid from Puerto Caimito, Panama.

 

Today, Mo is a pastor in his native Panama and heads up the philanthropic Mariano Rivera Foundation.  His wore his favorite Bible verse, Philippians 4:13, on his glove throughout his career.

 

“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – November 2, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“It’ll keep you alive for another 10 years if you get yourself a laugh once a day; either provoke it, or look around at the wildest laboratory in the world, the public.” – Jerry Lewis

 

It was April 2014 and we were traveling from Kakamega to Nairobi in Western Kenya.  By “we”, I mean our six-man ministry team that consisted of two pastors, two body builders, a high-ranking prison official, and yours truly.

 

For the past 10 days, we had been ministering in correctional institutions throughout Western Kenya, including the Naivasha Main Prison, one of only two maximum-security facilities in Africa.  Now we were on our way back to our starting point, Nairobi, for a final meeting with a prominent cabinet officer and a tour of Kenya’s most famous animal preserve.

 

Punch-drunk from a week and a half of nonstop ministry compounded by too little sleep, my co-laborers and I spent the 12-hour van trip telling stories and laughing until our sides hurt.  In fact, I don’t remember laughing that hard before or since.  We literally had tears running down our collective faces.

 

As I look back on that memorable trip – and look forward to a possible return visit in 2018 – one of my fondest recollections is of that tortuous ride on bumpy, dirt roads in a van without air-conditioning.  The only thing that made the trip bearable – actually enjoyable – was the laughter that filled our van from start to finish.

 

If Jerry Lewis’ quote is true, that long van ride probably added 10 or 20 years to my lifespan!

 

“A merry heart does good, like medicine.” Proverbs 17:22 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – November 1, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Faith is a living, daring confidence in God’s grace, so sure and certain that a man could stake his life on it a thousand times.” – Martin Luther

 

Yesterday was the 500th anniversary of the start of the Protestant Reformation.  It all began when a Catholic monk, priest and theology professor named Martin Luther – convinced that salvation was by grace through faith alone – wrote and then nailed 95 theses on the door of All Saints Church in Wittenberg, Germany.

 

Luther paid dearly for his alleged heresy, being excommunicated by Pope Leo X and declared an outlaw by Holy Roman Emperor Charles V.  But his courage and fortitude, not to mention his clear understanding of Scripture, gave birth to the Lutheran Church and all subsequent Protestant denominations.

 

As much as George Washington was the Father of our Country, Martin Luther was the Father of our Faith.  Luther’s translation of the Bible into German made God’s Word accessible to the common people for the very first time.  He also wrote hundreds of sacred hymns, the best known of which was “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”. 

 

In Luther’s honor, I’d like to share a few of his more famous quotes…

 

“To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.”

 

“Pray, and let God worry.”

 

“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.”

 

“You are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you do not say.”

 

“I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that I still possess.”

 

“Peace if possible, truth at all costs.”

 

“Every man must do two things; he must do his own believing and his own dying.”

 

“The Bible is the cradle wherein Christ is laid.”

 

“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 – October 31, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Growing up, I kind of liked the way Thurman Munson played.  I didn’t see much of him, but I remember him being a leader.  I remember him really standing up for his teammates, and that really caught my eye.” – Jorge Posada, former Yankees catcher

 

I didn’t start following Major League Baseball until 1969, when I was nine years old.  From the very beginning, I was a diehard New York Yankees fan, mostly because my paternal grandfather was one, too.

 

Although the Yankees had won 29 American League pennants and 20 World Championships before 1969, that season they were not that good.  Their 80-81 record landed them in fifth place in the six-team AL East, 28.5 games behind the Baltimore Orioles.  One of the few bright spots was Thurman Munson making his MLB debut on August 8th

 

The next year, led by Munson’s .302 batting average, the “Bronx Bombers” rebounded to win 93 games against just 69 losses.  That was good enough for second place, still 15 games behind the Orioles, and Munson was named the AL Rookie of the Year.

 

Three consecutive fourth place finishes followed in 1971, 1972 and 1973.  But Munson continued to hone his craft, becoming a great clutch hitter and a fine defensive catcher.  In 1976, he led the Yanks to the postseason for the first time in 13 years.  Although they were swept by the Reds in the World Series, Munson was named the AL Most Valuable Player.  That season, one of Munson’s best, he hit .302 with 17 HR’s and 105 RBI’s.  The stocky catcher even stole 14 bases and only struck out 38 times.

 

The Yankees won back to back championships in 1977 and 1978, with Munson batting .308 and .297 respectively… and then he was gone.  On August 2, 1979, while practicing “touch and go” landings at the Akron-Canton Regional Airport in Ohio, Munson shorted the runway and clipped a tree.  His Cessna Citation then hit a stump and burst into flames.  His two passengers escaped with burns, but Munson – his neck broken – was asphyxiated by the smoke and fumes.

 

There are many lessons we can learn from the life and death of the first Yankees captain since Lou Gehrig.  First, if you work hard enough, you can achieve almost anything.  Through sheer determination, Munson transformed himself into a Gold Glove catcher and a perennial All-Star.

 

Second, you never know when the Lord is going to call you home.  So, trust Jesus Christ as your Savior today and live each day as if it is your last – because one day, it will be.

 

“It is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.” Hebrews 9:27 (ESV) 


Dare 2B Daring – October 30, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Flexibility is the greatest strength.” – Steven Redhead, Life Is Simply A Game

 

On October 21st, our Risk Takers basketball team traveled to Sumter Correctional Institution in Bushnell. Although we arrived at 7:45 AM for an 8:45 AM game, we were not processed and allowed into the gym until well after 9:00 AM. Apparently, the appropriate paperwork had not been delivered to the corresponding officers and as a result, we were forced to wait.

 

Following this delay, we were able to play the first game and deliver the Gospel without further issues. However, we experienced similar problems in the afternoon. Having left to grab a quick lunch, we returned to the prison at 1:00 PM, as scheduled. Yet, upon arriving, we were told we would not be able to go back in until 2:00 PM. So, we went outside and waited for an hour. While we still had the opportunity to share with the inmates, this delay kept us from playing much of the second half.

 

This was frustrating for me, as I love to play basketball and dislike not finishing games. During these times, I am often reminded by my dad of a quote from Chaplain Larry Lilly. He always states, “The key to prison ministry is flexibility.” After Saturday’s episode, I cannot think of a more trustworthy saying.

 

We may not always understand the way in which events occur, but we are still to be faithful and trust God’s sovereignty. Our responsibility is to obey the Lord’s calling through exemplifying the love of Christ and carrying out His will.

 

“Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him.” Mark 1:16-18 ESV

 

-          Christopher Glading, Program Director


Dare 2B Daring – October 26, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“I have a loyalty that runs in my bloodstream, when I lock into someone or something, you can’t get me away from it because I commit that thoroughly.  That’s in friendship, that’s a deal, that’s a commitment.  Don’t give me paper – I can get the same lawyer who drew it up to break it.  But if you shake my hand, that’s for life.” – Jerry Lewis

 

Loyalty.  It’s a precious commodity.  To me, there are very few things these days that are more important… or more lacking. 

 

When Arnold Palmer burst onto the scene as America’s top golfer – and most marketable one, too – it was important for him to find someone to represent his business interests.  Enter Mark McCormick, the founder of IMG (International Management Group). 

 

McCormick was an Army vet and an attorney, having graduated from Yale Law School.  In the 1950’s, he helped organize various golfing exhibitions across the country, enabling pros on the nascent PGA Tour to earn a few extra dollars. 

 

In 1960, McCormick decided to become a professional sports agent and he signed Arnie as his first client.  I say “signed”, but in actuality there was no contract.  For the next 43 years, until his death in 2003, McCormick represented Arnie on the basis of a gentleman’s agreement, sealed with a simple handshake.   

 

Other star athletes were so impressed with McCormick’s work on Arnie’s behalf that they soon joined his stable of clients.  Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Fran Tarkenton, Bjorn Borg, Chris Evert, Pete Sampras, Derek Jeter, Charles Barkley and even model Kate Moss followed Arnie’s lead.  So did Margaret Thatcher, Mikhail Gorbachev, and Pope John Paul II.

 

I don’t know about you, but I long for the days when a man’s word was his bond and a handshake, given in earnest, was more binding than a written contract.  I grew up in an age of athletes playing for one team for their entire career, and husbands and wives taking their marriage vows seriously.

 

“New and improved” isn’t always so…

 

“But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’  For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.” Matthew 5:37 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President 


Dare 2B Daring – October 25, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Adrenaline is wonderful.  It covers pain.  It covers dementia.  It covers everything.” – Jerry Lewis

 

I have often said that my greatest strength and my greatest weakness are one and the same: my passion.

 

Even as a child, I never saw the sense in doing something halfway.  And so, I sought to be the absolute best at whatever I did.  It wasn’t enough to be an honor student; I wanted to get straight A’s.  And if you beat me on the athletic field, kudos to you because it sure wasn’t due to lack of effort on my part.

 

I guess that passion for excellence has carried over to my preaching.  Not that I’m comparing myself to some of the great preachers of our generation or anyone else, for that matter.  After all, I lack a seminary degree and have had a slight lisp since childhood.  But every time I step into the pulpit, I give it my very best… and that means preaching with lots and lots of energy.

 

It isn’t something that I have to fabricate or build up to either.  Nor is it a case of me putting on a show.  To be quite honest, I am a bit of an introvert and hate to be the center of attention. 

 

But here is the secret to my being so passionate when I preach: God’s Word is absolute T-R-U-T-H.

 

Every time I open the Bible, the Holy Spirit within me lets me know that what I am reading – and what I am preaching – is 100% accurate.  God breathed each and every word of Scripture (see 2 Timothy 3:16-17) and yes, I mean every word!

 

Handling the Word of God and teaching it to others is extremely humbling.  It is also an incredible honor as well as a heavy responsibility that I take very, very seriously.

 

In this day and age, when the entire world seemingly has gone mad, I find it comforting and reassuring to cling to the Bible.  Not only does it contain absolute truth, it IS absolute truth!

 

So, please forgive me for getting a little revved up the next time you hear me preach… which I hope will be soon.

 

“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” 2 Peter 1:20-21 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – October 24, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“God didn’t make me handsome, but He gave me something I always felt: funny bones.” – Jerry Lewis

 

A few weeks ago, our family was looking for something to watch on TV.  Despite having several hundred cable channels to choose from, we couldn’t find a single show worth watching.  And so, we clicked the “On Demand” button and went hunting for an old movie.

 

The one that I selected was “The Ghost and Mr. Chicken”, starring Don Knotts.  It was filmed in 1966 at the height of Knotts’ fame from the Andy Griffith Show.  In the movie, Knotts’ character “Luther Heggs” dresses and acts similarly to Mayberry’s loveable and laughable Deputy Barney Fife.

 

But you know what?  The type-casting worked perfectly, and both Deanna and Chris enjoyed the movie along with me.

 

Don Knotts and Jerry Lewis, another comedic genius, understood that God has given each of us different talents and abilities.  Recognizing that not everybody resembles George Clooney or Angelina Jolie, Knotts and Lewis made successful careers out of acting silly and making people laugh.  So did Tim Conway, best known for playing Ensign Parker on McHale’s Navy and serving as Harvey Korman’s sidekick on the Carol Burnett Show.  Conway also co-starred with Knotts in the “Apple Dumpling Gang” movie series.   

 

Scripture clearly states that each and every believer in Jesus Christ, in addition to our innate talents, is given at least one spiritual gift at the time of our conversion.  Among mine are administration, evangelism and encouragement/exhortation. 

 

How do I know?  I’ve asked God to reveal them to me and have sought the wise counsel of others.  And yes, I have even taken a couple of spiritual gift tests.  Perhaps most importantly, I have observed what I like doing and what I excel at (and what I dislike and am terrible at, too!)

 

Maybe Jerry Lewis put it best.  “I get paid for what most kids get punished for,” he once said.  Now there’s a man who knew who he was… and who he wasn’t. 

 

“But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all.” I Corinthians 12:7 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President

 


Dare 2B Daring – October 23, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was from a horse master.  He told me to go slow to go fast.  I think that applies to everything in life.  We live as though there aren’t enough hours in the day, but if we do each thing calmly and carefully we will get it done quicker and with much less stress.” – Viggo Mortensen

 

Want to hit a golf ball farther than ever before?  Try swinging the club more smoothly instead of more quickly.

 

Most teaching professionals will tell you that the key to 300-yard drives isn’t the “grip it and rip it” approach popularized by John Daly.  On the contrary, they generally advocate the smooth, slow backswing and accelerated downswing of Sam Snead or Fred Couples.  Yes, clubhead speed is important, but clean, solid contact is far more critical if you want to post a low score.

 

After all, what good does it do if you can drive a golf ball a country mile, but you wind up in knee-deep rough every time?  And how many winners of the Volvik World Long Drive Championship have ever come in first in an actual PGA Tour event?  The answer is zero.

 

Yep, I’ll take a 250-yard drive down the middle every time!

 

The same truth applies to our lives as believers.  The Christian life is a marathon, not a sprint.  As such, it requires discipline and endurance – and the spiritual maturity that comes with both.

 

How many times have you seen someone make a profession of faith and start out “on fire” for Jesus Christ, only to “flame out” when the inevitable trials of life occur?  Now, that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be passionate about our faith!  On the contrary, it simply means that we should take time to lay a solid foundation, to ground ourselves in the Word, and to put down deep spiritual roots.

 

There are no short cuts to spiritual maturity, so S-L-O-W down and enjoy the ride.  Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither are the most effective saints of God.

 

“Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth.  But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away.” Matthew 13:5-6 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President 


Dare 2B Daring – October 20, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – October 19, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Refrain:

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

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

 

Refrain

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

 

Refrain

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

 

Refrain

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – October 18, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – October 17, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

-          Christopher Glading, Program Director


Dare 2B Daring – October 16, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – October 13, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Here is an excerpt from her online biography…

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President 


Dare 2B Daring – October 12, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

What Grace Is Mine

 

So I will go wherever He is calling me

I lose my life to find my life in Him

I give my all to gain the hope that never dies

I bow my heart take up my cross and follow Him

 

Find Us Faithful

 

O may all who come behind us find us faithful;

May the fire of our devotion light the way.

May the footprints that we leave behind them to believe,

And the lives we live inspire them to obey.

O may all who come behind us find us faithful.

 

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

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – October 11, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President

 


Dare 2B Daring – October 10, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

How tragic!

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

So much for life in the fast lane.

 

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

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President 


Dare 2B Daring – October 9, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President 


Dare 2B Daring – October 6, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

How about you?

 

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

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – October 5, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President  


Dare 2B Daring – October 4, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

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

 

They’re b-a-a-a-a-c-k!!!

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – October 3, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President  


Dare 2B Daring – October 2, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

-          Christopher Glading, Program Director


Dare 2B Daring – September 29, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

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

– Aldous Huxley, Ends and Means

 

So many insightful quotes and so little time or space.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President   


Dare 2B Daring – September 27, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Just ask Pablo Picasso…

 

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

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President  


Dare 2B Daring – September 26, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

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

 

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

 

Hello! Gordon's pizza?

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

- So, it's a wrong number?

- No sir, Google bought it.

- OK. Take my order please.

- Well sir, do you want the usual?

- The usual? You know me?

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

- OK!

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

- What? I hate vegetables.

- Your cholesterol is not good.

- How do you know?

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

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

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

- I bought more from another drugstore.

- It's not showing on your credit card.

- I paid in cash.

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

- I have another source of cash.

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – September 25, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

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

 

Guilty…as…charged!

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – September 22, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President 


Dare 2B Daring – September 21, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – September 20, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – September 19, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

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

– James E. Faust

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – September 18, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

foundation on which I stood was not secure.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

withstand the rains.

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

-          Christopher Glading, Program Director


Dare 2B Daring – September 15, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – September 14, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

See all the wounded

Hear all their desperate cries for help

Pleading for shelter and for peace

Our comrades are suffering

Come let us meet them at their need

Don’t let a wounded soldier die

 

Obeying their orders

They fought on the front lines for our King

Capturing the enemy’s stronghold

Weakened from battle

Satan crept in to steal their lives

Don’t let a wounded soldier die

 

Chorus:

 

Come let us pour the oil

Come let us bind their hurt

Let’s cover them with a blanket of His love

Come let us break the bread

Come let us give them rest

Let’s minister healing to them

Don’t let another wounded soldier die

 

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

 

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

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – September 13, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President 


Dare 2B Daring – September 12, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

If only you and I could apply that same tenacity to the spiritual realm, the sky would be the limit

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