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July 2018 Dare 2B Daring Daily Devotions

Dare 2B Daring – July 20, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“You are not responsible for how people respond to the truth of the gospel.  Your responsibility is to give the truth.  It’s God’s responsibility to lead them to believe it.” – Chuck Swindoll

 

Survey after survey produces the same results.  When asked why they don’t witness to unbelievers by sharing their faith, the #1 response given by evangelical Christians is the fear of rejection.  And so, paralyzed with fright, they remain silent and leave the unsaved world – including many of their closest friends and family members – to wallow in spiritual darkness and on the fast track to hell.

 

Penn Gillette, the world-famous illusionist and avowed atheist, once recorded a YouTube video in which he asked the following haunting question: "How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?"

 

Gillette went on to share an even more disturbing illustration.  He said that if a person refused to believe that a truck was bearing down on them, but you could see that it really was, shouldn’t you tackle that “unbelieving” person in order to save his or her life?  Of course, the answer is “Yes!”

 

And so, what is the answer to rising above our fear of being rejected for sharing the gospel?  Simply this: Get over it!  It’s not about you or me.  It’s about heaven and hell, eternal life and eternal damnation.

 

Jesus said it even better in Luke 10:16.  “He who hears you hears Me, he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me.”

 

If you want to watch Penn Gillette’s video, here is the link:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6md638smQd8

 

Meanwhile, please meditate on the following verse… and then start witnessing!

 

“And the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you: for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them.’” I Samuel 8:7 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President    


Dare 2B Daring – July 19, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Laughter is the most beautiful and beneficial therapy God ever granted humanity.” – Chuck Swindoll

 

Every morning, I receive a report from the company that distributes our free online devotional messages (such as this one!)  Basically, the report tells me how many of our subscribers opened the email and how many times it was passed on to someone else.  It also lets me know when someone unsubscribes from our distribution list – ouch! – and for what reason.

 

On average, 30-35% of our subscribers read the devotional each day, which is well above the industry standard.  It’s always encouraging to discover that dozens and dozens of fellow believers are being blessed, challenged and encouraged by what God has laid on my heart to share.  I know that my son Chris is equally encouraged by the response to the devotionals that he writes.

 

Guess what devotional topic received the most “opens” over the past month?  That’s right… the one that dealt with “elephant jokes” and the need for more humor in our lives.  I suppose that’s God’s way of saying that in today’s stress-filled world, we all need to lighten up a little and share a hearty belly laugh from time to time. 

 

I imagine that’s why a childhood friend sent me a text message the other day that was simply titled “prison humor”.  It showed a cartoon drawing of an inmate climbing over a prison wall and letting himself down with a bedsheet.  The caption simply read, “Con-descending”.

 

Get it?  Corny, I know, but it made me smile when I first saw it and once again, as I am typing these words.

 

The point I want to make today is that sometimes, the best way to minister to someone isn’t by sharing with them some deep theological truth.  Yes, there is most definitely a time and place for that.  But every once in a while, what they really need is for you to tell them a clean joke or a funny story.

 

“What did the mayonnaise say when someone opened the refrigerator?”

 

“Close the door.  Can’t you see I’m dressing.”

 

“Therefore comfort each one another with these words.” I Thessalonians 4:18 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – July 18, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“I would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than alone in the light.” – Helen Keller

 

The other day, I watched a video of a safari in Botswana. The group was tracking two African lions, which were thought to be brothers. Eventually, the two came upon the Linyanti River. The lions hoped to cross this river and continue on their journey into Namibia.

 

Before entering, both appeared very hesitant. Not far from them, a Nile crocodile watched their every move. Needing to get to the other side, the lions proceeded cautiously into the water. As they swam, the crocodile drew nearer. Despite a valiant effort to reach the other side, the lions could not. Within seconds, the crocodile cut off the lead lion and attacked.

 

The male African lion is King of the Jungle, averaging 400 pounds, but he is at a severe disadvantage in the water. The Nile Crocodile ranges in length from 11 to 20 feet and can weigh as much as 1,200 pounds.

 

While the situation did not look good for the lion, he was not alone. As the crocodile attacked, so did the second lion, taking his enemy under water with tremendous speed. He was able to pry the crocodile off his brother and both lions survived.

 

The Bible speaks to the importance of friendship. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says, “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!” Proverbs 27:17 reads, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” A close friend gives aid in times of need and urges his counterpart to improve.

 

Even more, a friend is willing to sacrifice himself for those he loves. As the one lion came to his brother’s rescue, we are to do the same for our friends. Friendship is an invaluable part of life and it comes with responsibility. Surround yourself with loving people, for we all need close friends, and take to heart the commitment necessary for a successful friendship.

 

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13 ESV

 

-          Christopher Glading, Program Director


Dare 2B Daring – July 17, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“There is a boundary to men’s passions when they act from feelings; but none when they are under the influence of imagination.” – Edmund Burke

 

Have you ever wondered what the future holds for you, your family, your business, or your church?  Is the sky the limit or is there a “ceiling” above which you can never aspire to, let alone attain?

 

Being an eternal optimist, I am a big believer in potential.  I truly believe that our Creator wants us to fulfill our God-given potential as individuals and the same goes for our families, our businesses, and our ministries. However, that belief comes with a couple of HUGE caveats.

 

First, God is not a fairy godfather who grants our every wish.  Nor does He promise us a trouble-free life, contrary to the prosperity gospel being peddled by scores of false teachers.  In fact, maximizing our God-given potential may involve persecution and even martyrdom.  It certainly did for Peter, Paul and many other church fathers… and it still does today for countless sincere Christ-followers around the world.

 

Second, trying to reach our full potential in our own strength – and by tapping our own resources – is a surefire recipe for disaster.  Eventually, our internal gas tank will exhaust itself and we will be operating on nothing but fumes.  Unless we are plugged into the Holy Spirit, we can count on having to repeatedly call AAA from the side of life’s rocky road.

 

I guess it all boils down to this: you and I will only achieve our full potential if we stop relying on our feelings and start resting on God’s promises.  Simply put, our human emotions are about as reliable as next week’s weather report.  One minute, our disposition is sunny and the forecast calls for nothing but clear skies.  The very next, our outlook darkens and storm clouds suddenly appear overhead.

 

Feelings are fickle, but God’s Word is flawless.  Read it, study it and apply it if you truly want to be – in the words of the U.S. Army recruiting ad – “all that you can be.”   

 

“Where there is no revelation, the people cast of restraint; but happy is he who keeps the law.” Proverbs 29:18 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – July 16, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“People will not look forward to posterity who never look backward on their ancestors.” – Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France

 

Merriam-Webster defines posterity as “all future generations”.  So, what Edmund Burke wrote in his pamphlet in 1790 simply meant this: you must look backward before you face forward.

 

George Santayana, an American philosopher and novelist, put it this way.  “Those who cannot learn from history are condemned to repeat it.”  Alternate versions of this saying have been attributed to Sir Winston Churchill and others.

 

I don’t know about you, but I think I am a lot wiser today than I was 10, 20 or 30 years ago.  Why, because I’ve evolved to a higher plane of consciousness?  Hardly!  On the contrary, I am wiser today because I have experienced so many different things – and made so many mistakes – during those intervening years.

 

As a result, I know what works and what doesn’t.  I know what is bound to succeed and what is doomed to fail.  And I know what causes pain (disobedience to God) and what causes pleasure (following His will).

 

There is an old joke that goes something like this…

 

A man walks into a doctor’s office and says, “Doctor, it hurts when I bang my head against the wall.”

 

The doctor looks the man straight in the eye and hands him a prescription.  It simply reads, “Stop banging your head against the wall.”

 

My friend, don’t be afraid to make mistakes.  After all, Theodore Roosevelt once said that “the only man who never makes a mistake is the man who never does anything.”  Albert Einstein echoed those same sentiments when he wrote, “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.”

 

Look back.  Learn from your successes and failures.  Face forward and try something new.  Most of all, stop banging your head against the wall.  Trust me… it hurts.

 

“When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, ‘Woman, where are those accusers of yours?  Has no one condemned you?’  She said, “No one, Lord.’  And Jesus said to her, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.’” John 8:10-11 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President 


Dare 2B Daring – July 13, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“God is glorified by our serving Him in our proper vocations.  Take care, dear reader, that you do not forsake the path of duty by leaving your occupation, and take care you do not dishonor your profession while in it.  Think little of yourselves, but do not think too little of your callings.” 

 

“Every lawful trade may be sanctified by the gospel to noblest ends.  Turn to the Bible, and you will find the most menial forms of labor connected either with most daring deeds of faith, or with persons whose lives have been illustrious for holiness.  Therefore, be not discouraged with your calling.”

 

“Whatever God has made your position, or your work, abide in that, unless you are quite sure that He calls you to something else.  Let your first care be to glorify God to the utmost of your power where you are.  Fill your present sphere to His praise, and if He needs you in another He will show it to you.” – C.H. Spurgeon

 

I placed my faith and trust in Jesus Christ as my personal Savior in March 1977.  Following a period of brokenness, I made him Lord of every area of my life in April 1982.

 

A short time later, I answered an altar call during a missions conference at Haddon Heights Baptist Church in New Jersey.  Not for salvation, because I was already genuinely and eternally saved.  Instead, I virtually ran down the aisle to surrender my life to full-time Christian service.

 

At the time, I was working as a travel agent in Philadelphia.  Shortly thereafter, I accepted a position as recreation director at a Christian retirement community, where I served for 11 years.  During that time, God led me to launch an athletic prison ministry that is still in existence today.  Finally, on January 1, 1994, I entered full-time ministry.

 

Or did I?  Looking back, I actually entered full-time ministry the day I answered that altar call.  And from God’s vantagepoint, my work as a travel agent and my service as a recreation director were as holy and sanctified as my prison ministry.  Why?  Because I treated each position not only as my job, but also as God’s vocational assignment.

 

I encourage you to do likewise, whether you are a pastor or a plumber, a missionary or a mechanic.

 

“Moreover there are workman with you in abundance: woodsman and stonecutters, and all types of skillful men for every type of work.” I Chronicles 22:15 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – July 12, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“If you be indeed the chosen of God, and beloved by Him, do not suffer all the lavish treasures of grace to be wasted upon you.  Follow after holiness; it is the Christian’s crown and glory.  An unholy church!  It is useless to the world, and of no esteem among men.  It is an abomination, hell’s laughter, heaven’s abhorrence.  The worst evils which have ever come upon the world have been brought upon her by an unholy church.  O Christian, the vows of God are upon you.  You are God’s priest: act as such.  You are God’s king: reign over your lusts.  You are God’s chosen; do not associate with Belial.  Heaven is your portion: live like a heavenly spirit, so shall you prove that you have true faith in Jesus, for there cannot be faith in the heart unless there be holiness in the life.” – C. H. Spurgeon

 

Do you know what is one of the greatest hindrances to the gospel?  And do you know what prevents – or at least discourages – countless people from placing their faith and trust in Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins?

 

No, it’s not the devil or his demons.  It’s Christians – or at least professing ones – and the way they sometimes behave.

 

From priests that molest children to televangelists who scam widows out of their savings in order to finance their lavish lifestyles, the Bride of Christ has given itself more than a few black eyes in recent years.  Sadly, that’s all the motivation a skeptical world needs before pointing a disparaging and accusatory finger in our direction… and rightfully so.

 

Yes, I realize that many – if not most – of these offending priests and evangelists are not true believers.  But what about you and me?  Has there ever been a time when we acted in such a way as to dishonor our Lord or pose a stumbling block between an unbeliever and Jesus?

 

None of us is perfect; certainly not me, that’s for sure!  But let’s try our best not to hinder the spiritual growth and development of someone else because we couldn’t (or wouldn’t) bridle our tongue, manage our anger, or control our lusts.

“Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:48 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – July 11, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Given the lethal enormity of sin and the inestimable value of a single soul, a baby in a manger and a man on a cross makes more sense that anything else I will ever be able to possibly imagine.” – Craig D. Lounsbrough

It happens more often than you would think…

 

I post a faith-based comment on Facebook and someone feels compelled to mock me, my faith and worst of all, my God.  Usually the “troller” says something snarky about the “pixie in the sky” or makes some other disparaging and slanderous statement about God.

 

The God that created them.  The God that loves them.  The God that sent His Son to die on their behalf.

 

I’m not sure what motivates people to engage in such rude behavior.  I mean, if you want to persist in your atheism or agnosticism, that’s up to you.  But for some reason, these same people who preach “tolerance” are intolerant of other people’s faith.  It irks them to no end that you believe in God and claim to have a personal relationship with Him through His Son. 

 

Not content to agree to disagree, they lash out in anger, often resorting to profanity to drive home their point.  Initially, I may try to extend God’s grace to them.  Mostly, I simply ignore them.  As a last resort, I “unfriend” them.

 

I guess it all boils down to this: I know in my spirit that the Bible is true, that Jesus is real, and that salvation is attainable only through personal faith in Him.  No man-made theory or new scientific discovery can shake – or confirm, for that matter – what I already know in my heart to be true.

 

Sadly, and for some inexplicable reason, that drives them crazy!

 

Please join me in praying for those who are so hostile to God, His Word, and His Church.  Don’t let them get under your skin and resist the urge to answer evil for evil.  Remember that someday they will be convinced of God’s existence.  Tragically, for many of them, it will be too late.

 

“Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”  Philippians 2:9-11 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – July 10, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Once I finally understand the immensity of my own impoverishment, I am finally in a position to see the enormity of God’s majesty.” – Craig D. Lounsbrough, “An Intimate Collision: Encounters with Life and Jesus”

 

After a recording session in which he had absolutely nailed a song perfectly, Frank Sinatra was fond of saying, “If you don’t like that, you don’t like ice cream.”  Well, my friend, if you don’t like the following devotional thoughts from Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the “Prince of Preachers”, you don’t like ice cream either! 

 

“Have you ever really weighed and considered how great the sin of God’s people is?  Think how heinous is your own transgression, and you will find that not only does a sin here and there tower up like an alp, but that your iniquities are heaped upon each other…mountain upon mountain.”

 

“What an aggregate of sin there is in the life of one of the most sanctified of God’s children!  Attempt to multiply this, the sin of one only, by the multitude of the redeemed, ‘a number which no man can number,’ and you will have some conception of the great mass of the guilt of the people for whom Jesus shed His blood.”

 

“But we arrive at a more adequate idea of the magnitude of sin by the greatness of the remedy provided.  It is the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s only and well-beloved Son.  God’s Son!  Angels cast their crowns before Him!  All the choral symphonies of heaven surround His glorious throne.”

 

“And yet, He takes upon Himself the form of a servant, and is scourged and pierced, bruised and torn, and at last slain; since nothing but the blood of the incarnate Son of God could make atonement for our offenses.  No human mind can adequately estimate the infinite value of the divine sacrifice, for great as is the sin of God’s people, the atonement which takes it away is immeasurably greater.”

 

“Therefore, the believer, even when sin rolls like a black flood, and the remembrance of the past is bitter, can yet stand before the blazing throne of the great and holy God, and cry, ‘Who is he that condemneth?  It is Christ that died; yea rather, that hath risen again.’  While the recollection of his sin fills him with shame and sorrow, he at the same time makes it a foil to show the brightness of mercy – guilt is the dark night in which the fair star of divine love shines with serene splendor.”

 

“Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.” Romans 5:9 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – July 9, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“If Christ be anything, He must be everything.” – C.H. Spurgeon

 

The song, All or Nothing at All, was composed by Arthur Altman in 1939.  Jack Lawrence penned the memorable lyrics.

 

That same year – on August 31st, to be exact – a young vocalist named Frank Sinatra recorded the song with Harry James and His Music Makers (later known as the Harry James Orchestra).  Initially, the recording drew little attention, but Columbia Records reissued it in 1943 during a musicians’ strike.  It quickly became a hit, staying atop the Billboard charts for 21 consecutive weeks.

 

Over the years, this classic of the American songbook was recorded by – among others – Billie Holliday (1958), Steve Lawrence and Al Martino (1959), Keeley Smith and Shirley Bassey (1960), John Coltrane and Sarah Vaughan (1962), Bobby Darin and Anthony Newley (1963), Jack Jones (1966 and 1997), Al Jarreau (1989), Barry Manilow (1994), and even Bob Dylan (2016).  Sinatra recorded updated versions of his original in 1962, 1966 (my personal favorite), 1977 and 1982.

 

Lawrence’s haunting lyrics include the following lines…

 

All or nothing at all

Half a love, never appealed to me

If your heart, never could yield to me

Then I’d rather (rather) have nothing at all

 

All or nothing at all

If it’s love, there is no in between

Why begin then cry, for something that might have been

No I’d rather (rather) have nothing at all

 

My friend, God wants all of us or – dare I say – none of us.  That was the message that the risen and glorified Christ conveyed to the lukewarm church in Laodicea through John, the Apostle. 

 

Jesus gave His all on Calvary’s cross… and He deserves and expects no less from us now.  Let’s not make Him sick to His stomach by offering Him “half a love”.

 

“I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot.  I could wish you were cold or hot.  So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.” Revelation 3:15-16 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

Dare 2B Daring – July 6, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

"Like a welcome summer rain, humor may suddenly cleanse and cool the earth, the air and you."         – Langston Hughes

 

When I was a kid, I loved reading elephant jokes.  One of my favorites went as follows (and please remember, these are just children’s jokes, so don’t call the Humane Society or the ASPCA on me)…

 

Question: “How do you kill a blue elephant?”

 

Answer: “With a blue elephant gun?”

 

Question: “How do you kill a red elephant?”

 

Answer: “Hold his trunk until he turns blue and then shoot him with a blue elephant gun.”

 

Still another one went like this…

 

Question: “How can you tell there’s an elephant in your refrigerator?”

 

Answer: “You can see his footprints in the peanut butter.”

 

Over the years, I’ve graduated from elephant jokes to more “sophisticated” humor such as Monty Python, Mel Brooks and Steve Martin.  But the bottom line is that for an often-too-serious person like me, good clean humor – and the belly laughs that come with it – can be very medicinal.

 

Many doctors – including those serving at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America – agree that laughter has remarkable recuperative powers for their patients.  Author, professor and journalist Norman Cousins attested to this very fact in his book, Anatomy of an Illness as Perceived by the Patient.  Cousins wrote, “I made the joyous discovery that ten minutes of genuine belly laughter had an anesthetic effect and would give me at least two hours of pain-free sleep."

 

I suppose that’s why King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, wrote the following in Psalm 17:22…

 

“A merry heart does good, like medicine.”

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – July 5, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“It is not, what a lawyer tells me I may do; but what humanity, reason, and justice, tell me I ought to do.” – Edmund Burke

 

Here is a good question to ask yourself, although I’m not so sure you will like the answers.  I know I didn’t when I asked – and answered – the question myself.

 

“What would you do if you knew you could get away with it?”

 

Would you rob a bank, embezzle money from your company, or engage in “insider trading” in order to (illegally) make a boatload of money?  Would you have an extramarital affair or do something equally immoral just to feed your flesh?

 

Man’s laws and God’s laws are there for a reason.  They encourage good behavior and discourage – even punish – bad behavior.  And yet, that still doesn’t stop criminals from breaking man’s law and sinners (and saints) from breaking God’s.

 

In I Corinthians 10:23, the Apostle Paul comes to grips with this question.  “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify.”

 

Remember, this is the same man who admitted in Romans 7:19 that “the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.”  In other words, Paul knew what he was talking about.

 

Paul knew that he could get away with certain things, at least in this lifetime.  But doing so wouldn’t glorify God, help him to grow spiritually, or conform him more into Christ’s image.  And so, the best he could, Paul refrained from such questionable behavior.

 

My friend, let’s both try to follow Paul’s example.  Meanwhile, I’ll pray for you and please, say a prayer or two for me.

 

“What shall we say then?  Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?  Certainly not!  How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?  Or do you not know that as many as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?  Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Romans 6:1-4 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – July 4, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Kings will be tyrants by policy when subjects are rebels from principle.” – Edmund Burke

 

Today, we celebrate the 242nd anniversary of American independence.  But independence from whom?

 

Not only did the Declaration of Independence sever the ties between the 13 colonies and Great Britain, but also the ties between King George III and his American subjects.

 

In fact, the Declaration contains a list of 27 distinct grievances the colonists had against King George.  They begin with the following words: “The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.”

 

Thomas Jefferson then went on to cite each individual grievance, some in great detail.  In summary, what Jefferson was saying is that the colonists wanted the right of self-determination.  They had grown weary of being told what to do and how to do it by a tyrannical king who lived an ocean away.  And yes, they were more than a little tired of paying exorbitant taxes for the “privilege” of being British subjects.

 

In other words, the American patriots had principles and they were willing to fight to the death for them.  All of which begs the question: for what principles are you willing to fight… and possibly die? 

 

Hopefully, your faith, your family and your country top that list.  They do mine.

 

Meanwhile, amidst the food, family and fireworks today, be sure to do two things.  First, thank God for the men who pledged their lives, fortunes and sacred honor that we might be a free and independent nation.  Second, thank God that He is a benevolent and loving Father, instead of a tyrannical dictator like King George III.

 

Happy Independence Day!

 

“Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” John 8:36 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – July 3, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“It is a general popular error to imagine the loudest complainers for the public to be the most anxious for its welfare.” – Edmund Burke

 

We have all heard the famous adage, “The squeaky wheel gets the oil.”  Its meaning is simple: if you want something to happen – badly enough – mention it as loudly and as often as possible.  Eventually, you will get results.

 

There is a scriptural basis for such behavior and it is found in Luke 18.  In the parable of the persistent widow, Jesus commends a woman who seeks justice from an unrighteous judge.  According to Jesus, the judge doesn’t fear God or care about her case.  However, because she keeps badgering him with her request, he finally decides to grant it so he can get a little peace and quiet.

 

The obvious application is for us, as believers, to be both persistent and consistent with our prayers.  We should never give up just because God doesn’t answer us the first time.

 

That being said, “the squeaky wheel approach” is one that is far too often abused in our churches.  Instead of quietly and fervently petitioning God, we bypass our heavenly Father and go straight to the pastor, the elders, or the deacon board.  Then we proceed to make a nuisance of ourselves – calling them at home, clogging up their email inbox, and stopping them on the way in and out of church.

 

I am not saying that our church leaders shouldn’t be held accountable, because they should.  However, they should not be held hostage by a vocal minority that simply wants to have its way regardless of what is best for the church.

 

In other words, pray long and hard to God when you desperately need His help.  But be respectful – and far more reticent – with your pastor, elders and deacons.  They don’t have an easy job, so don’t make it any harder with your nagging.

 

“For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain.” Titus 1:10-11 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President  


Dare 2B Daring – July 2, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“May we regard death as the most weighty of all events, and be sobered by its approach.” – C.H. Spurgeon

 

“The Iceman Cometh” is a play written by Eugene O’Neill that premiered on Broadway in 1946.  It is set in New York City in 1912, specifically in a saloon and rooming house in Greenwich Village owned by Harry Hope.

 

The bar is frequented by 15 regular customers, 12 men and three prostitutes, who spend every possible moment seeking oblivion in each other's company and trying to con or wheedle free drinks from Harry and his bartenders. They drift without purpose from day to day, coming fully to life only during the semi-annual visits of a salesman named Theodore Hickman, known to them as Hickey. (Wikipedia)

 

One day, Hickey returns for his birthday party and informs the other patrons that he has given up drinking and as a result, he now sees life far more clearly.  He then encourages them to face their own delusions and inadequacies.

 

Unfortunately, it turns out that Hickey was lying all along.  In fact, he eventually admits to having murdered his own wife, rationalizing that it was a “mercy killing” of sorts.  Hickey turns himself in and wants to be executed for his heinous crime, but the other patrons rally to his defense and attest to his insanity.

 

Hickey and the other customers come to accept the fact that their empty dreams are what has kept them alive.  However, a young man named Parritt is so consumed with his own guilt that he jumps from the fire escape to his death.  Another man, Larry, is also absorbed with life’s uselessness and the futility of his own situation, but he fears death as much as he does life.  And so, he remains in a semi-permanent state of limbo, despite claiming that "by God, there's no hope! I'll never be a success...Life is too much for me!"   

 

This depressing play teaches two very important lessons.  First, life without Christ has no meaning or purpose.  Second, we all must come to terms with our own mortality.

 

If you don’t know Jesus, it’s not the Iceman who is coming for you, it’s the Grim Reaper.  However, for those of us who have committed our lives to Christ, we eagerly await His second coming… or His calling us home.

 

“He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming quickly.’  Amen.  Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” Revelation 22:20 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – June 28, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“It makes one sad to hear Christians saying, ‘Well, there is no harm in this; there is no harm in that,’ thus getting as near to the world as possible.  Grace is at a low ebb in that soul which can even raise the question of how far it may go in worldly conformity.” – C.H. Spurgeon

 

Pendulums are funny things.  Sometimes they swing far to the left, only to lose their momentum… after which they swing equally as far to the right.  Back and forth they go, always out of balance, never seeming to find equilibrium.

 

When I was a new Christian, I attended a couple of Baptist and independent Bible churches that taught sound doctrine.  They also had a habit of “majoring on the minors”, focusing more on the things a Christian shouldn’t do as opposed to the things a Christian should do.  If you didn’t smoke, drink, dance, or go to movies, then you were obviously walking closely with the Lord.  However, there was little attention given to witnessing, caring for the needy, and other “positive” behaviors.

 

Gradually, the pendulum swung back in the other direction, which I was glad to see.  But guess what?  It didn’t stop in the middle, it kept on going.  Soon it didn’t matter what you did in your personal time as long as you shared your faith – maybe over a beer at the local pub – fed the hungry or clothed the naked.

 

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I don’t want to go back to the rigid days of legalism, when a person’s outward behavior was all that mattered regardless of the condition of their inner heart.  But I am just as troubled by today’s lackadaisical attitude toward sin and the mad dash towards worldliness, lest we be considered aloof, uncool, and unapproachable.

 

“So what if I enjoy a few mixed drinks (and a nice buzz) at the office party?  And what’s the big deal if I wear clothes – or a bathing suit – that reveals way too much skin?  R-rated movies with lots of nudity and four-letter words… they don’t bother me, so why should they bother you?  And using salty language allows me to fit in with my buddies, making it that much easier to witness, right?”

 

Folks, there has to be a “happy medium” between acting like a Pharisee and acting like a pagan.  Jesus called it being “in the world, but not of it” (see John 15:19 and John 17:14-16).

 

Believe me… I’m not casting stones, because I haven’t come close to mastering this proper balance and doubt I ever will.  But I’m striving to have the faith I profess match the way I live day to day.  So, the next time you see me, tell me – honestly – how I’m doing.  I really do want to know.  

 

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – June 27, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” – Charles Dickens

 

The other week, I went to Disney World with my sister and her family. It was an amazing trip and I enjoyed our time together. On Wednesday, we decided to go to Blizzard Beach, one of Disney’s huge water parks. We spent a good part of our day at Melt-Away Bay.

 

It is a large swimming area where people can cool off and relax on inner tubes. A feature of Melt-Away Bay is a simulated wave pool created every ten minutes or so. Taking the effect of an ocean, the waves become higher and more forceful the further out you go.

 

Brady was my buddy for the day and he loved the waves. Being that he is just four years old, it was up to Uncle Chris to hold Brady tightly as we ventured deeper into the pool. Brady and I loved every minute of it as the waves came over our shoulders and, at times, crashing into our faces.

 

After about an hour, we were both tired and chose to head back to shore. When we reached the shallow end again, Brady wanted to try swimming on his own. So, I left go of his hand and watched him carefully. Wearing his swimmies, Brady easily stayed afloat. However, he became caught in a small rip current produced by the waves. Despite kicking his feet and moving his arms, Brady remained in the same spot.

 

Discouraged and slightly afraid, he looked to me for help. With ease, I reached down, took Brady by the hand, and lifted him up. While a simple task for me as a grown man, getting safely out of the pool was a daunting feat for Brady as a small boy.

 

Like Brady, we will all face challenging circumstances in life. We may even feel unable to overcome them. Still, we have confidence in knowing we are not alone. Psalm 23:4 says, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

 

Not only is God with us, but also our brothers and sisters in Christ. Galatians 6:2 states, “Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Help others through their struggles and rely on them during your own.

 

“It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8

 

-          Christopher Glading, Program Director


Dare 2B Daring – June 26, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Someone’s sitting in the shade today, because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” – Warren Buffet

 

Question: What character trait does virtually every criminal have in common? 

 

Answer: An uncontrollable urge for instant gratification.

 

Drug addicts want a high…NOW.  Armed robbers want money…NOW.  Murderers want revenge…NOW.

 

Even so-called “white collar” criminals fall victim to the same all-consuming craving.  Whether it is power, fame, wealth or some other fleeting fantasy, they are unwilling to sit back, work hard and wait for it to happen.  Instead, they go out and grab it…only to be grabbed back.

 

On the contrary, the Christian life is all about delayed gratification.  Saying no to fleshly desires, we focus – or try to focus – on eternal matters.  That means putting off earthly pleasures for a season…or maybe even a lifetime…because we know what awaits us “on the other side” is far better.

 

Read what the writer of Hebrews says about delayed gratification in 11:35-40…

 

“Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection.  Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment.  They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword.  They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented – of whom the world was not worthy.  They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth.  And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.”

 

Did you catch that last verse?  Having been tortured, mistreated and martyred, they still didn’t receive all that God had promised them.  But they will someday, you can bet on it, and it will be a glorious day indeed.

 

The same goes for us, my friend, if we continue to fix our eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2); crucify our flesh (Galatians 5:24); and hang in there…just…a…little…longer (Galatians 6:9).

 

“For whosoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.  For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?  Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” Matthew 16:25-26 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – June 25, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Our Redeemer’s glorious cry of ‘It is finished,’ was the death-knell of all the adversaries of His people, the breaking of ‘the arrows of the bow, the shield, and the sword, and the battle.’  Behold the hero of Golgotha using His cross as an anvil, and His woes as a hammer, dashing to shivers bundle after bundle of our sins, those poisoned ‘arrows of the bow;’ trampling on every indictment, and destroying every accusation.  What glorious blows the mighty Breaker gives with a hammer far more ponderous than the fabled weapon of Thor!” – C. H. Spurgeon, based on Psalm 76:3

 

In Norse mythology, Mjolnir is the hammer of Thor, the god of thunder.  One of the most powerful weapons ever made, it is supposedly capable of leveling entire mountains.

 

Over the years, Thor and his hammer have been the subject of countless comic books and movies, most recently the Marvel Avengers series.  But alas, Thor is not a real god and his mighty hammer never existed.

 

On the contrary, the One True God has always existed, and He doesn’t need a hammer, a sword, a spear or any other weapon to accomplish His will.  All the God of creation needed to do was speak and the entire universe came into existence.

 

And when His Son, the Sinless One, uttered those immortal words “It is finished” on Calvary’s cross, every sin – past, present and future – committed by His true believers was dashed to pieces so small as to be invisible, and cast into the very depths of the sea (see Micah 7:19).

 

How can we not praise such a One?  How can we not serve such a mighty Warrior?  How can we not be eternally devoted to such a conquering and compassionate Hero?

 

Because of Him – and Him alone – we are forgiven, and Satan’s accusations are deemed null and void.  Or, as Spurgeon so eloquently puts it…

 

“Who now accuseth?  Who now condemneth?  Christ hath died, yea rather, hath risen again.  Jesus has emptied the quivers of hell, has quenched every fiery dart, and broken off the head of every arrow of wrath; the ground is strewn with the splinters and relics of the weapons of hell’s warfare, which are only visible to us to remind us of our former danger, and of our great deliverance.  Sin hath no more dominion over us.  Jesus has made an end of it and put it away forever.”

 

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” Romans 8:1 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President

 


Dare 2B Daring – June 22, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

"No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good." – C.S. Lewis

 

I was listening to Glenn Beck’s radio program the other day and Steve “Stu” Burguiere was filling in as host.  Something he said cracked me up – partly because it was so funny and partly because it was so true.

 

Basically, Stu was making the point that people are capable of adopting virtually every type of behavior for 30 days except one: eating sensibly.  “That has proven to be impossible,” Stu said tongue-in-cheek.

 

Now I realize that Stu’s comment was meant to be humorous and to get the audience to stay tuned through the commercial break.  But the point he made, perhaps unwittingly, was a valid one.

 

Sure, you may be able to discipline yourself to eat sensibly for a month or longer, to give up smoking, to exercise daily, etc.  All of these are either good habits worth making or bad habits worth breaking.  But the one thing you and I can’t do – no matter how self-disciplined we are – is to be good each and every day of our lives.

 

Trying to be good, every second of every hour of every day, is a sure-fire way to drive yourself to exhaustion, or crazy, or both.  Why?  Because you are doomed to fail every time you try.  Our sin nature – the Bible calls it our “old self” – simply won’t allow us to behave 24/7.

 

So, what’s a person, especially a Christian, to do?  Stop trying to be good and start letting Jesus be good through you.  That’s the key to holy living!  Allowing the Holy Spirit to do what you and I – in our flesh and fallen state – cannot begin to accomplish.

 

When we do that, starving our old nature until it starts to shrivel up, our new nature becomes more and more robust… and dominant.  That, in and of itself, makes holy living more attainable.

 

The truth of the matter is that we will never reach sinless perfection this side of glory.  But while we await the permanent death and destruction of our old self, we can at least make sure that he (or she) is malnourished, increasingly feeble, and existing only on life-support.

 

“Therefore, put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” Colossians 3:5 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – June 21, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

"Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it." – Mark Twain

 

I’ve heard it said, you’ve heard it said… and it’s 100% true.  When we refuse to forgive someone for something they did to us, they aren’t the ones that suffer.  WE ARE!

 

Trapped in the prison cell of unforgiveness, we revisit the same hurt over and over again, endlessly replaying it in our minds until we know every chapter and verse by heart.  And speaking of our heart, it becomes cold and hard as we allow unforgiveness – and the bitterness it breeds – to infest our innermost being until it saps our strength and maims our spirit.  

 

I recently had to learn (or relearn) this lesson yet again.  Some people who had deeply hurt me years ago refused to apologize for doing so.  Instead, they simply wanted to move on as if the offense never happened. 

 

My initial reaction was to forgive them, but I still harbored ill feelings… which, obviously, isn’t forgiveness at all.  And so, following the advice of one of my spiritual mentors, I offered them my sincere forgiveness without preconditions – such as them apologizing – and I meant it!

 

So, what was the result?

 

In the words of the old Negro spiritual, quoted so eloquently by Dr. King in his memorable speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, “Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty, we are free at last!”

 

How about you, my friend?  Has Satan wormed his way into your soul, convincing you that you have every right to be perpetually angry at someone for the way they treated you?  If so, remember that Jesus called him the “father of lies” in John 8:44.  Remember, too, that Jesus not only taught us to forgive (Matthew 6:12), but He also said that the Father’s forgiveness of us would be predicated on our forgiveness of others (Matthew 6:14-15).

 

Ouch!  Why did I wait so long?

 

Do me a favor and, as soon as you’re done this devotional, go read Matthew 18:21-35.  Then write down a list of people who have hurt you, but whom you have yet to forgive.  And yes, then forgive them… and try to mean it, too!

 

“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another, even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.” Colossians 3:12-13 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President    


Dare 2B Daring – June 20, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Smiley’s King is at once more flawed and more human than we have come to see him.  But for that reason he is even more courageous, and more admirable.” – New York Times Book Review of “Death of a King” by Tavis Smiley

 

When I get to heaven, there are a number of people I want to say “hi” to ASAP… after I spend the first 10,000 years or so laying prostrate before Jesus and praising Him with every fiber of my being.  First and foremost on that list are my dad and my granddad.  I miss them both, especially my dad, terribly.

 

I’d also like to introduce myself to William Henry Harrison Glading and Henry Clay Glading.  They are, respectively, my paternal great-grandfather and great-great-grandfather.  I’m also looking forward to getting reacquainted with my best friend from childhood, John Miller, who I had the privilege of leading to faith in Christ shortly before his death.  And I want to see – and hug – two of my spiritual mentors, Larry Lufburrow and Ken Campbell, who have gone on to glory before me.

 

But once I make the rounds of my immediate friends and family, I desperately want to meet some of my biblical heroes.  Caleb and Nehemiah are near the top of that list, but there is one Old Testament saint who I simply can’t wait to encounter.

 

David.  The shepherd boy.  The king.  The mighty warrior.  And yes, the liar, the lousy dad, the adulterer, and the murderer.

 

I am so grateful that when God recorded the life of David in I and 2 Samuel, I Kings, and I Chronicles, He did not omit David’s many failings.  There they are, for everyone to see, right next to his great accomplishments.

 

Just like Tavis Smiley’s riveting – and extremely honest – account of the last year of Martin Luther King Jr.’s life, these four Old Testament books spare few of the sordid details.  Which begs the question, why did God do that?  Why not include the highlights of David’s life and redact the lowlights?

 

The answer is simple: so that we could see first-hand how God can use an imperfect man for His glory.

 

“And when He had removed him [King Saul], He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.’” Acts 13:22 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – June 19, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Zeal for the glory of King Jesus was the seal and mark of all genuine Christians.  Because of their dependence upon Christ’s love they dared much, and because of their love to Christ they did much, and it is the same now.” – C.H. Spurgeon, writing about the early Church

 

One of my pet peeves is sitting in a church pew and listening to a preacher deliver a message in a monotone voice without a hint of passion or excitement.  In fact, it drives me absolutely CRAZY!

 

To me, the Word of God contains the answers to all of life’s questions.  Who am I?  Where did I come from?  What is my purpose?  Is there a God?  If so, what is He like?  And most importantly, how can a sinner like me be reconciled to a holy God?

 

In today’s world, where we are told that there are no moral absolutes and that all truth is supposedly relative, there is only one completely dependable source of Truth.  It is the Bible, period.  End of story.

 

That Truth is revealed in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, who described Himself in John 14:6 as, “THE Way, THE Truth, and THE Life.”  If a person wants to know what God is like, he has to look no further than Jesus.  And if he wants to know how to get to heaven and experience eternal life, Jesus is the answer to those questions, too.

 

Isn’t that something to get excited about?  Yeah, I thought so, too.

 

Charles Spurgeon, the “Prince of Preachers”, certainly agreed.  That’s why he wrote the following words in the late 1800’s…

 

“The love which they [the early Christians] felt towards the Lord was not a quiet emotion which they hid within themselves in the secret chamber of their souls, and which they only spake of in their private assemblies when they met on the first day of the week, and sang hymns in honor of Christ Jesus the crucified, but it was a passion with them of such vehement and all-consuming energy, that it was visible in all their actions, spoke in their common talk, and looked out of their eyes even in their commonest glances.  Love to Jesus was a flame which fed upon the core and heart of their being; and, therefore, from its own force burned its way into the outer man, and shone there.”

 

My fellow Christians, let’s get excited about Jesus, the Living Word!

 

“Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.  Praise the LORD!”  Psalm 150:6 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – June 18, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“He who is called to the ministry should go through with it. As long as lungs and life hold out, no preacher may cease his testimony. If God has called him he must not, yea, he cannot, leave his sacred work.” – C.H. Spurgeon

 

Several years ago, I was speaking with the pastor of a rather large church.  He told me that whereas he didn’t know how long he would remain the senior pastor there, he was confident that he would always be a pastor.

 

“I can see myself pastoring a small church late in my life,” he said.  “But I’ll never stop being a pastor.”

 

I admired – and still admire – this pastor and his commitment for two reasons.  First, he was sure of his spiritual calling.  He knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that God had called him to shepherd a flock of believers somewhere.  Second, it didn’t matter to him the size of the congregation God was calling him to serve.  He just wanted to be obedient.

 

When you have that kind of confidence in your calling, there is no stopping you.  And when you couple that confidence in your calling with an even greater confidence in the One doing the calling, watch out.  The sky is the limit!

 

My friend, if you know for sure what God has called you to do, keep doing it.  If you don’t, ask Him today to reveal to you His perfect plan and purpose for your life.

 

There is nothing more fulfilling than being in the absolute center of God’s will for your life.  Find it today… and stay there until He calls you elsewhere.

 

“For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” Romans 11:29 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – June 15, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

"One doesn't discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.” – Andre Gide

 

About 15 years ago, our family was enjoying a camping trip in Canada.  On the way there, we stopped and visited with friends in upstate New York and even got to see Niagara Falls.  Impressive!

 

One of the campgrounds we stayed at was located on the banks of Lake Ontario.  It offered everything we were looking for – beautiful scenery for Deanna, a nice swimming pool for Bethany and Christopher, and excellent fishing for Matt and me.

 

One day, Matt and I rented a small rowboat and headed out onto the lake.  I asked Matt to pick a spot to cast our poles and he quickly pointed to a rocky cove about a half mile away.  How I wished I had spent the extra $20.00 or so to rent an outboard motor, too!

 

Without complaining, I leaned my back into the oars and started rowing… and rowing… and rowing.  Finally, we reached the spot that Matt had chosen and started fishing.  Within minutes, we were landing some nice-sized bass.  In fact, a few of them were so large that that actually snapped our lines in half.

 

Since the fish were biting – and biting hard – Matt and I lost track of time.  After a few hours, Deanna started to worry about us, especially since the cove (and our boat) were hidden from the shoreline.  By the time we returned, she was equal parts angry and relieved… and I received a well-deserved rebuke.

 

That being said, Matt and I still look back on that day with a lot of fond memories.  We are both convinced that we never would have caught so many bass had we not been willing to venture out into the lake – even though it meant losing track of the shore.

 

Faith is the same way.  If you are afraid to take some spiritual risks in life, you will never grow… let alone realize your full God-given potential.

 

I have a picture on my office wall that has the word RISK spelled out in large letters followed by the following phrase: “A ship in the harbor is safe…but that’s not what ships were made for.”  I guess that’s why I chose Hebrews 11:6 as the theme verse for Risk Takers for Christ.

 

“But without faith, it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – June 14, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“We must share with God’s people in cloud as well as in sunshine.  When we hear them spoken of with contempt and ridicule for being Christians, we must come boldly forward and say, ‘So am I.’” – C.H. Spurgeon

 

What character trait do you value the most in your spouse, your friends and co-workers, or your employer/employees?  If I had to pick just one, it would be honesty.  But if I could pick a second most desirable trait, it would be loyalty.

 

One of my favorite characters in the Bible is a man named Abishai.  He was one of David’s “Mighty Men”, and he once slew 300 men with his spear.  He was also the only soldier to accompany David when he found King Saul sleeping in the camp and vulnerable to attack.  Abishai also commanded one of the three divisions of David’s army when he went to war with his son Absalom.

 

However, my favorite reference to Abishai is found in 2 Samuel 21:15-17.  King David had grown old and as a result, he became so tired in the midst of a battle with the Philistines that he could no longer defend himself, let alone fight.  Guess who stumbled upon David is such a defenseless condition?  A giant named Ishbi-Benob, one of Goliath’s sons.

 

Ishbi-Benob couldn’t believe his good fortune.  He believed that David had been delivered into his hand, so he could avenge his father’s death.  And so, relishing the opportunity, he raised his sword (he was also carrying a mammoth spear) and prepared to bring it down on David’s head.

 

If you want to know what happened next, read the Bible verse at the bottom.  But suffice it to say, that Abishai proved himself not only able, but also extremely loyal to King David. 

 

If I could summarize Abishai in one phrase, it would be this: if you wanted a piece of King David, you would have to go through Abishai first.  Now that’s what I call L-O-Y-A-L-T-Y!

 

 My friend, go out and be an Abishai to someone else today!

 

“But Abishai the son of Zeruiah came to his [David’s] aid; and struck the Philistine and killed him.  Then the men of David swore to him, saying, ‘You shall go out no more with us to battle, lest you quench the lamp of Israel.’” 2 Samuel 21:17 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President 


Dare 2B Daring – June 13, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

"You don't have to defend the Bible.  That's like defending a caged lion.  In reality, all you have to do is let him out and he'll defend himself." – C. S. Lewis

 

I cut a cartoon out of the Sunday paper a few months ago and saved it in a file to use later.  Well, today is later.

 

The cartoon features Hagar the Horrible and his trusty friend, Lucky Eddie.  It only has two cels, the first of which shows Lucky Eddie telling Hagar that he can always tell when rain is coming.  Hagar responds by asking, “Really?  Do you get pain in your joints?”

 

“No,” Lucky Eddie replies.  “I see dark clouds!”

 

God’s Word is a lot like that.  It says what it means and means what it says.  It doesn’t need fancy embellishments and in fact, a person does so at his own peril (see Revelation 22:18-19).

 

The Bible doesn’t even require eloquence to be effective (see I Corinthians 2:1-5).  History records that Jonathan Edwards, whom God used to launch America’s First Great Awakening in the early and mid-1700’s, was known for reading many of his sermons in a quiet, emotive voice.  Such was the case with his most famous message, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”.  And yet, there are many reports of people collapsing at the altar and openly weeping over their sin when he finished preaching.

 

Scripture – especially the plan of salvation – can be readily understood by the masses.  It doesn’t take a Doctor of Divinity degree to comprehend the simple fact that we are all sinners (Romans 3:23) and that our sin has separated us from a holy God (Romans 6:23a).  But praise God, Romans 6:23a is closely followed by Romans 6:23b.

 

“…BUT the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

 

Pastors, let’s start “uncaging” God’s Word.  And fellow believers, be sure to attend a church where the pastor isn’t a “lion tamer”.

 

“For the word of God living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12 (NKJV)

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President  


Dare 2B Daring – June 12, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

“My brother need not be idealized or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life; to be remembered simply as a good and decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it.  Those of us who loved him and who take him to his rest today, pray that what he was to us and what he wished for others will someday come to pass for all the world.  As he said many times, in many parts of this nation, to those he touched and who sought to touch him: 'Some men see things as they are and say why. I dream things that never were and say why not.’” – Sen. Edward Kennedy, eulogizing his brother, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy

Last week marked the 50th anniversary of Robert Kennedy’s assassination.  It is still debated whether Sirhan Sirhan acted alone, but what is incontrovertible is that Sen. Kennedy was gunned down in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, just moments after delivering a victory speech following the California presidential primary.

Sen. Kennedy was hit three times: twice in the back and once behind his right ear.  The last bullet was fired at such close range that it left powder burns.

As Sen. Kennedy lay dying on the kitchen floor, his body cradled by a 17-year old bus boy named Juan Romero, he uttered his last words.  “Is everybody O.K.?” Kennedy asked, despite being mortally wounded himself.

“Yes, everybody’s O.K.” Romero responded.

“Everything’s going to be O.K.” Kennedy said reassuringly.

Minutes later, as he was being placed into the back of an ambulance, Kennedy whispered, “Don’t lift me”, before losing consciousness.  He died 26 hours later.

Amidst such a tragedy, I think it is informative to focus on RFK’s final words.  His dying thoughts were not for himself, but rather for the safety and wellbeing of others.  Just like Jesus (see below).

May we, as believers, live our lives in such a fashion.

“Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.’” Luke 23:34

“Then he [the thief on the cross] said to Jesus, ‘Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.’  And Jesus said to him, Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” Luke 23:42-43

“When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, ‘Woman, behold your son!’  Then He said to the disciple, ‘Behold your mother!’  And from that hour that disciple took her into his own home.” John 19:26-27

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – June 11, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Yet, as I read the birth stories about Jesus, I cannot help but conclude that though the world may be tilted toward the rich and powerful, God is tilted toward the underdog.” – Philip Yancey

 

Charlie Culberson will most likely never be selected to a Major League All-Star game. In fact, he doesn’t even earn a starting position most days. Still, he is the talk of the town in Atlanta, Georgia this week.

 

After entering the league in 2012, Charlie has played on four different teams, mostly as a utility infielder. His career numbers have been far from impressive. Over the course of six seasons (he did not play in 2015), Culberson has had just 482 at-bats, equating to less than a single year’s worth for an everyday player. Additionally, before this week, he had only 6 home runs and 47 runs batted in during that span.

 

Yet, the past seven days have been very different. Charlie hit 7 for 21 with 5 runs scored and 5 RBI’s. Amazingly, 4 of those RBI’s came on two 2-run walk-off homers in the bottom of the ninth inning. Having won a Memorial Day contest for the Braves against the Mets, Culberson finished off his triumphant week with a blast against a division rival, the Washington Nationals. I do not know if Charlie’s late success will continue or if it was simply a flash in the pan, but it sure has been exciting.

 

At church on Sunday, Pastor Derrick West said one of his favorite qualities of the Bible is that it does not hide the scars of its heroes. Whether it be Gideon, David, or Samson, Scripture reveals both the good and the bad of these men. Nevertheless, God was able to use them, regardless of their weaknesses, to accomplish amazing acts with strength and courage through faith.

 

I’m sure there are many who would discount Charlie Culberson altogether, and probably a few who do not even know who he is. Still, Charlie has been given an opportunity to shine, and has done just so. He has his scars and weaknesses, but his value to the Atlanta Braves, especially this week, has been immeasurable. Do not let your inadequacies keep you from accomplishing great feats for Christ.

“For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:10 ESV

-          Christopher Glading, Program Director


Dare 2B Daring – June 8, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“I’m far more concerned about doing something for humanity and what I consider the will of God than longevity.  Ultimately it isn’t so important how long you live.  The important thing is how well you live.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

My dad lived to the ripe old age of 77 before suffering a fatal heart attack in 2002.  His father, my paternal granddad, died from a massive stroke in 1978 at the very same age.  So, I kiddingly tell people that when I turn 77, I will probably grab my head or my heart… and be transported to Glory.

 

Contradicting that reasoning, however, is the fact that my mom is still alive and kicking, and her mother lived to be almost 101.  So, who knows, right?  I may live another 20 years, another 30, another 40… or I might get hit by a bus tomorrow.

 

The point I’m trying to make is that today is not guaranteed, let alone tomorrow.  Because of that indisputable truth, we need to maximize each and every day that God gives us.  Get right with God – today!  Get right with other people – today!  And do your very best to serve Him with all your heart, all your mind, all your soul and all your strength – today!

 

Dr. King was right.  It doesn’t matter how many years are in your life.  What really matters is how much life is in your years.

 

Martin Luther King’s life was snuffed out by an assassin’s bullet at the tender age of 39.  But what a legacy he left behind!  Not a perfect one, but a long lasting one.  One that made a difference here and now… and for all eternity.

 

On February 10, 1968, Dr. King was in Philadelphia for a speaking engagement, but contracted an upper respiratory infection that required a doctor’s visit.  After treating him, the physician asked Dr. King to pose for a photograph and to sign it for his children. 

 

“May you have a noble future,” Dr. King wrote.  My friend, that is my prayer for you, and me, and everyone I know.

 

“But he who is noble plans noble things, and on noble things he stands.” Isaiah 32:8 (ESV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – June 7, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“To me, that concept of surrender, of giving yourself over to something inexorable, something so much larger than yourself, is the basis of what we call faith.” – John Lewis

 

On November 30, 1979, Ray Charles “Sugar Ray” Leonard defeated Wilfred Benitez for the WBC Welterweight Championship.  The bout was fought at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas and Leonard, a 1976 Olympic gold medalist, dominated the fight.

 

After a successful title defense against Dave “Boy” Green that ended with a KO in the fourth round, Leonard stepped into the ring again on June 20, 1980.  This time the location was the Olympic Stadium in Montreal and his opponent was Roberto Duran, a former world champion widely considered to be “pound for pound” the best fighter in the world.

 

Forgoing his trainer Angelo Dundee’s advice, Leonard decided to go toe-to-toe with Duran instead of bobbing and weaving around the ring.  The result was a unanimous decision for Duran and his “Hands of Stone”.

 

Stripped of his title, Leonard signed up for a rematch against Duran just five months later.  This time, he followed Dundee’s wise counsel to the tee.  Duran was clearly out of shape, having gained a lot of weight in the ensuing months and then crash-dieting to sweat it off.

 

In the seventh round, Leonard stunned Duran with a left jab that made his eyes water.  One round later, Duran turned his back to Leonard and told the referee, “No Mas” or “No More”.  He simply walked to his corner and gave up trying.

 

Duran fought for another 20 years, winning numerous bouts and several more world titles.  However, he never quite lived down his reputation as a quitter. 

 

I’ve never stepped into a boxing ring, but I am one of the most competitive persons you’ll ever meet.  No matter the odds, I refuse to give up and if I lose, I demand a rematch ASAP.

 

However, there have been several times in my life when I gladly said, “No Mas”.  The first was in March 1977, when I trusted Jesus Christ as my Savior.  The second was in April 1982, when I made Him my Lord.  And the third was in September 1986, when I finally surrendered every aspect of my life to Him.

 

There is no shame in surrendering to God.  In fact, I highly recommend it.  After all, He is the One True Undisputed and Undefeated Champion of the World!

 

“I am the LORD, and there is no other; there is no God besides Me.” Isaiah 45:5 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – June 6, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Except for Dr. King’s speeches, I had never been exposed to religion beyond the bounds of the Good Book.  Now my brain was crackling as it strained to assess and absorb these new ideas.  Now I saw philosophical and theological underpinnings for what I’d sensed and deeply felt all my life – that there was a contradiction between what was and what ought to be.” – John Lewis

 

I am currently reading John Lewis’ autobiography, “Walking With The Wind”.  Written in 1998, it chronicles Lewis’ childhood growing up poor and black in rural Alabama.  Lewis eventually went off to a Bible college in Nashville for blacks only, was a leader of that city’s lunch counter sit-ins, and – as chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) – helped organize the March on Washington in 1963 that featured Dr. King’s immortal, “I Have a Dream” speech.

 

Lewis was also one of the original 13 Freedom Riders, seven whites and six blacks who were determined to travel from Washington to New Orleans in an integrated fashion.  Along the way, they were viciously beaten, arrested and jailed. 

 

However, Lewis is probably best known for co-leading the Selma to Montgomery marches in 1965 that culminated in “Bloody Sunday”.  Attempting to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge, Lewis and the other 600 marchers were confronted by Alabama state troopers on horseback who ordered them to disperse.  When the marchers stopped to pray, the troopers fired tear gas and charged into the crowd, brutally beating many of them with night sticks.  Lewis suffered a fractured skull and still bears scars from that incident today.

 

There are many issues on which Lewis and I strongly disagree.  After all, he is a liberal Democrat who has represented Georgia’s 5th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1987.  But I refuse to throw the baby out with the bathwater, because they are some critical issues on which he and I wholeheartedly concur, such as the need for racial reconciliation in America and the importance of putting feet to one’s faith regardless of the consequences.

 

A disciple of Dr. King, Lewis has advocated for – and practiced – nonviolent protest for more than 50 years.  For his contributions to the Civil Rights movement and racial equality for all Americans, Lewis was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011, our nation’s highest civilian honor.

 

Let me conclude with another excerpt from Lewis’ book.  “For the most part, white Southern Baptist churches [of that era] didn’t even want black people to step inside their buildings. Yet within these very institutions, people were being taught that Jesus Christ says to love thy neighbor as thyself.  How could that be?  How could people reconcile that belief with the way they lived.  It was illogical.  It was contradictory.”

 

My friend, let’s be sure that our lives and our beliefs are one and the same.

 

“Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, saying, ‘The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat.  Therefore, whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say and do not do.’” Matthew 23:1-3 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – June 5, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

"Some days I don't know if I believe in God or Santa Claus or Tinkerbell.” – Anthony Hopkins in “The Rite”

 

Sir Anthony Hopkins is one of the most celebrated actors of our time.  Knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1993 for his service to the arts, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2003.  Among his numerous other honors are an Oscar for Best Actor (The Silence of the Lambs, 1991) and three other Academy Award nominations.

 

Hopkins’ movie credits are far too numerous to mention.  In addition to the Hannibal Lecter trilogy, some of his better-known films include “The Mask of Zorro”, “Meet Joe Black”, “The Elephant Man”, “Magic”, “Bram Stoker’s Dracula”, “Legends of the Fall”, “Remains of the Day”, “Armistad”, and “Nixon”.

 

And yet, despite all his fame and fortune, I wouldn’t trade my life for his for anything.

 

For one thing, Hopkins has been married three times and divorced twice.  Sadly, he is also estranged from his only child, a daughter named Abigail by his first wife.  At various times in his life, Hopkins has battled alcoholism, and was recently diagnosed with Asperger’s, a high-functioning form of autism.

 

Hopkins is a self-described agnostic, who believes that there is a "superior consciousness in all of us".  He also once said, "I don't know what I believe, myself personally".

 

Perhaps the most tragic aspect of Hopkins’ life surfaced in an interview just last month.  When asked whether he had any grandchildren, Hopkins replied, “I don’t have any idea. People break up. Families split and, you know, ‘Get on with your life.’ People make choices. I don’t care one way or the other.”    

 

As the proud grandfather of four, I can’t think of more chilling words.  Brady, Sadie, Levi and our soon-to-be-born grandson are the absolute lights of my life.  I simply can’t imagine living without them, and the immeasurable joy they bring.

 

I have decided to pray for Sir Anthony that he would know the joy of being a “Papa”, and even more importantly, being a child of the King.  Please join me.

 

“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?  Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” Mark 8:36-37 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President  


Dare 2B Daring – June 4, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“How happy are tried Christians, afterwards.  No calm is more deep than that which succeeds a storm.” – Charles Haddon Spurgeon

 

Here in Florida, we really only have two seasons.  One is dry and one is wet.  The dry season extends from November through March or April, and then the wet season arrives with a vengeance.  Virtually every day there is at least a small chance of a late afternoon thunderstorm.

 

Life is a lot like Florida weather.  There are times when the sun is bright, the air is warm, and a refreshing breeze blows lightly across our face.  And then, there are also periods when that same wind howls with hurricane force and torrents of rain pound against the sides of our physical, spiritual and perhaps financial “house”.

 

And yet, for a believer, there is always hope.  Here is how Spurgeon puts it…

 

“Our sorrows, like the passing keels of the vessels upon the sea, leave a silver line of holy light behind them ‘afterwards.’  It is peace, sweet, deep peace, which follows the horrible turmoil which once reigned in our tormented, guilty souls.”

 

“See, then, the happy estate of a Christian!  He has his best things last, and he therefore in this world receives his worst things first.  But even his worst things are ‘afterward.’  Even now he grows rich by his losses, he rises by his falls, he lives by dying, and becomes full by being emptied.”

 

“If his dark nights are as bright as the world’s days, what shall his days be?  If even his starlight is more splendid than the sun, what must his sunlight be?  If he can sing in a dungeon, how sweetly will he sing in heaven!  If he can praise the Lord in the fires, how will he extol Him before the heavenly throne!  If evil be good to him now, what will the overflowing goodness of God be to him then?”

 

“Oh, blessed ‘afterward!”  Who would not be a Christian?  Who would not bear the present cross for the crown which cometh afterwards?  But herein is work for patience, for the rest is not for today, nor the triumph for the present, but ‘afterward.’  Wait, O soul, and let patience have her perfect work.”

 

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.  But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete lacking nothing.” James 1:2-4 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – June 1, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Thou dost receive with favor the smallest sincere token of affection!  Thou dost receive our poor forget-me-nots and love-tokens as though they were intrinsically precious, though indeed they are but as the bunch of wild flowers which the child brings to its mother.” – C. H. Spurgeon

 

We’ve all done it, right?  Gathered a bunch of dandelions or some other flowering weed and presented them with great pride to our mothers.  She, in turn, would gush with delight, treating our erstwhile bouquet as if it were a dozen long-stemmed red roses.

 

Being a father, I don’t ever recall my kids bringing me such a bouquet.  But the soap dish that sits on my bathroom sink was handmade and hand-painted by my son, Matt, at a very young age.  Matt also gave me a small metal tin adorned with a fish on top that he purchased with his own money around the same time.

 

I have countless other homemade treasures that I have kept – and cherished – over the years.  Artwork by Bethany, poems by Chris, and the aforementioned presents from Matt.  I keep them in my Bible, my desk drawers and other places of prominence where I am sure to come across them periodically.  I wouldn’t part with any of them for “all the tea in China”.

 

Our humble, and even childlike, offerings to God are treated by Him in the very same way.  He doesn’t look at the imperfections.  Instead, He sees the hands and the heart of the person that made them. 

 

His child, whom He desperately and eternally loves.  YOU.

 

So, go ahead and give Him your time, talent and treasures today.  They don’t have to be perfect.  In fact, they can’t possibly be.  But give them anyway.

 

I’m guessing that our Heavenly Father will put them in a place of prominence where He sees them, not just periodically, but constantly and forever.

 

“But Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:14 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – May 31, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“If what you have done yesterday still looks big to you, you haven’t done much today.” – Mikhail Gorbachev

 

It’s extremely easy to do, but potentially lethal if carried to an extreme.  What am I talking about?  Resting on one’s laurels.

 

It is one thing for a successful businessman to decide to take his foot off the accelerator and enjoy the fruits of his labor.  However, it is another thing altogether for a Christian to deceive themselves into thinking that they have “already arrived”.  Or, just as bad, that they have earned the right to take it easy spiritually in their Golden Years.

 

Truth be told, there is no retirement when it comes to being a believer in Jesus Christ.  Nor is there a “graduation service” this side of Glory.  Sure, we may reach an age where we are no longer active in the workforce.  But that only frees up our time and energies to do more for our Lord and Savior.

 

Retirement brings more time to study God’s Word, to pray, and to help out at church.  Perhaps most importantly, it also allows us to use our lifetime of experiences – both good and bad – to mentor younger believers. 

 

At age 58, I have two primary prayers.  The first is for the salvation of my precious grandchildren.  The second is that my remaining years – whether they be 5, 10, 20 or more – be the most spiritually productive ones of my entire life.

 

I guess that’s why one of my favorite Bible characters is Caleb.  After spying out the Promised Land as a young man and bringing back a good report, he survived 40 years in the wilderness and then fought alongside Joshua to defeat the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Hivites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the Jebusites and others.

 

Finally, at age 85, he refused to spend the rest of his life in a rocking chair.  Instead, he demanded that Joshua give him a mountain filled with giants as his inheritance.  And then he proceeded to drive those giants off the mountain and out of the Promised Land.

 

Resting on your laurels is a sickness that will rob you of your spiritual strength and virility.  Resist it at all costs!  Better yet, ask God to help you to finish strong… like Caleb.

 

“Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died.  His eyes were not dim nor his natural vigor diminished.” Deuteronomy 34:7 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – May 30, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Do the best you can in every task, no matter how unimportant it may seem at the time.  No one learns more about a problem than the person at the bottom.” – Sandra Day O’Connor

 

Two Sundays ago, my son Chris and I were watching his beloved Atlanta Braves on TV.  Despite having Julio Teheran, their “ace”, on the mound, the Braves were trailing the lowly Florida Marlins by five runs going into the bottom of the ninth inning. 

 

With two men out, the Braves were still down 9-5.  That’s when All-Star first baseman Freddie Freeman stepped to the plate.

 

Freeman is an outstanding player, routinely batting above .300 each season with lots of power.  Not only that, but he should win the Gold Glove award this year for the way he fields his position.

 

Freddie proceeded to hit a sharp grounder between first and second, but Justin Bour made a nice backhand stab and tossed the ball to the pitcher covering first.  Normally, that would be an easy out, because 95% of Major Leaguers would simply jog down the baseline.  After all, his team was down by four runs with two outs in the ninth, right?

 

Wrong!  Freeman, at 6’5” and 220 pounds, was “busting his hump”.  Looking like a locomotive at full throttle, Freddie bore down on the first base bag – and the pitcher covering it – with a full head of steam.  The pitcher, the ball and Freddie all arrived there at the same time, causing the pitcher to drop the ball to avoid the charging Freeman.  SAFE!!!

 

A simple, but obscure play that only prolonged an inevitable loss, right?  Wrong again!  Energized by Freeman’s hustle, the Braves rallied for five more runs to steal the victory.

 

My friend, they say that integrity is what you do when no one is watching.  If that is the case, then hustle can be defined as giving 100% regardless of the score and regardless of the outcome.

 

How are you serving your family, your employer and most importantly, your Lord today?  Are you jogging down the baseline – spiritually and otherwise – because you think it doesn’t matter and no one is watching?  Well, guess what?  It does matter and Someone is watching!

 

“And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Colossians 3:17 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – May 29, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.” – John F. Kennedy

 

The other night, I watched Dead Poets Society. This film is set at a boarding school in Vermont called Welton Academy. Both the school’s curriculum and behavioral code are intensely stringent. The students are held to high standards of tradition, honor, integrity, and discipline.

 

The parents of the young men at Welton continuously pressure their sons to achieve greatness, as their path to an Ivy League college and career in medicine or law depends heavily upon it. John Keating, the newly hired English teacher, does not believe in such forced conformity. He encourages his students to think for themselves and create a life based on individual passions and ambitions. Through his unique teaching of poetry and literature, a group of boys are inspired to form a new Dead Poets Society. It is during these meetings that the boys develop a personal enthusiasm for life apart from the expectations of their parents or school.

 

During one lesson, Keating states, “Boys, you must strive to find your own voice. Because the longer you wait to begin, the less likely you are to find it at all. Thoreau said, ‘Most men lead lives of quiet desperation.’ Don’t be resigned to that. Break out!”

 

Romans 12:1-2 reads, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

 

The world today would have us believe many things that, although complete madness, have been deemed true. As followers of Christ, we are called to lives of nonconformity. Psalm 1:1-2 says, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on His law he meditates day and night.”

 

Throughout Scripture, we are reminded to examine situations, flee from evil, and focus on the Lord. While it may seem strange in the eyes of others, we are a chosen people set apart by God.

 

“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10

 

-          Christopher Glading, Program Director


Dare 2B Daring – May 28, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“If you reach for the stars, you might just land on a decently sized hill.” – Stuart Hill, “The Cry of the Icemark”

 

There are two mistakes many people make when starting out in business, marriage or some other worthwhile endeavor.  Either they set their sights too high, having unrealistic expectations, or they set them too low.  The people who do the former are often frustrated because – no matter how successful they become – they are bound to fall short of their lofty goals.  And the people who do the latter, usually just “schlep” their way through life without accomplishing much.

 

I guess if I am guilty of one or the other, it would definitely be setting goals that are somewhat unattainable.  For instance, I ran twice for the U.S. House of Representatives and once for the Florida State House because I really saw both as ministry opportunities.  However, I forgot to factor into the equation the need to raise hundreds of thousands – if not millions – in order to run a competitive race… and win.  As a result, I have two silver medals and an “honorable mention” to show for my efforts.

 

However, setting lofty goals sometimes has its benefits.  When I first started in prison ministry in 1987, I named our fledgling organization, “The South Jersey Saints” because that was about as big as my vision was.  But within a few short years, God broadened our horizons and we changed our corporate name to “The Saints Prison Ministry” in order to reflect a national scope as opposed to a regional one.

 

We also adopted a new vision statement that included our dream of becoming the largest and most effective athletic prison ministry in the country.  And guess what?  By the time I left that organization in 2011 to launch Risk Takers for Christ, that’s exactly what “The Saints” had become!

 

Shame on me for originally setting my sights too low.  After all, there are more than 5,000 correctional institutions in the United States, housing an estimated 2.2 million inmates.  What a vast mission field, simply waiting for some “dreamers” to come along and use sports to reap a spiritual harvest.  

 

What star are you reaching for today?  Whichever one it is, don’t be discouraged if you never quite get there.  As Stuart Hill pointed out, there are some very nice hills along the way. 

 

“Now therefore, give me this mountain of which the LORD spoke in that day…” Joshua 14:12 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – May 25, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“To accomplish great things, we must dream as well as act.” – Anatole France

 

As crazy as it sounds, I have preached some of my best sermons in my sleep!  That’s right; I will awake in the morning feeling equal parts refreshed and exhausted from having delivered a powerful message from God’s Word.

 

Usually, when that happens, I try to find a tablet as soon as possible and jot down a few notes before the main points fade from my memory.  If I remember enough of the sermon, I will preach that message again – only this time, when both my audience and I are wide awake.

 

Doctors tell us that dreaming while asleep is essential for our mental, emotional and physical health.  Even birds and other mammals experience REM (rapid eye movement) sleep.  In fact, our English beagle, often twitches, blinks and barks in his sleep… probably while chasing a rabbit or some other prey.

 

Unconscious dreaming is definitely important, but dreaming with our eyes open is even more critical.  Dreams are what motivate people: inventors, entrepreneurs and yes, preachers.

 

From 1982 to 1987, I had one recurring “eyes open” dream.  I imagined taking a team of Christian athletes across the country, playing softball games to attract an audience, and then using that platform to tell others about Jesus. 

 

After five years of dreaming – and praying and seeking godly counsel – I finally decided to act.  As a result of putting “feet to my faith”, I have had the privilege of witnessing to an estimated 500,000 inmates in approximately 500 different correctional institutions across North America and Africa.

 

As Richard Bach puts it, “You are never given a dream without also being given the power to make it true.  You may have to work for it, however.”

 

My friend, a dream that is never acted on is worthless.  Follow your dreams… today!

 

“And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.” Joel 2:28 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – May 24, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“I am only one, but I am one.  I cannot do everything, but I can do something.  And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.” – Edward Everett Hale

 

From 1987 to 2011, I played an average of 75-80 softball games per year.  Some of them were slow pitch, some were fast pitch (modified or full windmill), and some were unlimited arc.  However, the one thing all the games had in common was they were played behind bars in correctional institutions across the U.S. and Canada.

 

My primary position was second base and I earned that spot with a good glove and an accurate arm.  At the plate, I was just average – at first – because I was a dead pull hitter.  Gradually, I learned to use the entire field, looking for an outside pitch and driving it to center or right.  As a result, my batting average climbed from .400 to .600 and sometimes even higher.

 

Because I couldn’t run fast and lacked any power, I concentrated on one thing and one thing only: getting on base.  Whether it was by lining a single to left, blooping a double down the right-field line, or drawing a base-on-balls, my job was to “set the table” for the power hitters in the middle of our lineup.

 

Year-after-year, I would lead off with a single or a walk, move to second or third on a wallop by Walt Nesbitt, and then waltz home courtesy of an extra base hit (or homer) by the greatest softball player I ever saw – Bud Collins.  On the rare occasion when Buddy failed to bring me home, Dave Storms, Steve Teisen, Brent Dempsey, Rob Collins, Phil Smith or Wes Brown would get the job done.

 

If I had insisted on swinging for the fences, I would haven’t helped my team at all, because even the shortest ones were beyond my reach.  In fact, in 25 seasons, I only hit four home runs… and three of them were inside-the-parkers!  But by doing what I excelled at – and staying away from what I was lousy at – I was awarded two MVP trophies by my teammates.

 

As Clint Eastwood famously said in Magnum Force, “A man’s gotta know his limitations.”

 

The same goes for our spiritual service.  Some of us are called and equipped to be evangelists, some to be pastors, some to be teachers, etc. (Ephesians 4:11-12).  No one is gifted in every area, but everyone is gifted in some area (Romans 12:4-8; I Corinthians 12:1-12.  Ask God to reveal to you what part He wants you to play in building His kingdom.

 

“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)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – May 23, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“If you were born without wings, do nothing to prevent them from growing.” – Coco Chanel

 

Coco Chanel was a fashion icon, designing clothes that set women free from the world of corsets.  One of her most famous designs was her legendary Chanel suit that featured a collarless jacket and well-fitted skirt.  Her revolutionary “little black dress” also transformed women’s fashion in the first half of the 20th century.

 

And, of course, there is her highly-popular fragrance line, built around “Chanel No. 5”.  Coco once referred to perfume as “the unseen, unforgettable, ultimate accessory of fashion… that heralds your arrival and prolongs your departure.”

 

One would suspect that Coco Chanel was born into great wealth and used her family’s fortune to launch her various businesses.  However, that couldn’t be farther from the truth.  Born Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel in Saumur, France in 1881, she was placed in an orphanage after her mother died by her father, who was a peddler.  Raised by nuns who taught her to sew, Chanel performed in clubs in Vichy and Moulins for several years before opening a millinery shop in Paris in 1910.

 

Coco quickly moved from selling just hats to designing, manufacturing and selling all sorts of women’s clothes.  By the 1920s, she had added perfume to her growing line of female fashion items.  However, the Great Depression, World War II and several personal scandals forced her to close her business and go into a self-imposed exile for many years.  Finally, in 1970, she made a triumphant return to the world of high fashion.  

 

Although she died just a year later, Chanel’s legend lives on today.  So does her fashion design and perfume empire.  She was even immortalized by a Broadway musical, “Coco”, that was based on her life and featured Katherine Hepburn in the title role.

 

And it all started in a French orphanage…

 

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – May 22, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“If we command our wealth, we shall be rich and free.  If our wealth commands us, we are poor indeed.” – Edmund Burke

 

I have seen it happen over and over again.  In fact, so many times that I have lost count.

 

Well-meaning and hard-working people, spending half of their lives accumulating material things and the other half of their lives taking care of those same things. 

 

Did you catch the key word in that last sentence?  It is the word, “things”.  Not “people”, not “relationships”, not “service to God”, and certainly not “souls”, but T-H-I-N-G-S.  Inanimate objects such as houses, boats, planes, vacation homes, 401K’s and stock portfolios.  Meanwhile, the people in their lives – including their immediate family members – often take a distant back seat.

 

Sadly, this “habit of hording” strikes Christians at about the same rate it does nonbelievers.  Perhaps that is one of the reasons why many churches and mission organizations are constantly in need of finances, while those who are in a position to help turn a deaf ear and a closed wallet.  

 

From my personal study, I have only come across two instances where Jesus Christ calls someone a “fool”.  One is in Matthew 23, where Jesus “dresses down” the scribes and pharisees.  The other is in Luke 12, in the parable of the rich man who thought he had accumulated so much wealth that he was set for life.  The only problem, Jesus said, was that the man’s life was about to end that very night… after which he would enter into eternity.

 

My friend; don’t be a fool.  Own your wealth, but don’t let it own you.  Better yet, “pay it forward” by investing it in your heavenly bank account where moth and rust don’t corrupt, and thieves don’t break in and steal (Matthew 6:19-21).

 

“Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, ‘One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven: and come, take up your cross, and follow Me.’  But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.  Then Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, ‘How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!’” Mark 10:21-23 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President    


Dare 2B Daring – May 21, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Never despair, but if you do, work on in despair.” – Edmund Burke

 

Generally speaking, I am an eternal optimist, who always tries to see the bright side of things.  Tell me that I can’t do something, and I’ll show you that I can… or exhaust myself trying.

 

But even a “cock-eyed” optimist like me gets down in the dumps sometimes.  Maybe my health has taken a turn for the worse or my bank account is even lower than normal.  Or maybe, just maybe, I missed an important putt or a critical free throw – or let a ground ball go through my legs.

 

All of these mishaps can make me feel blue, but usually not for too long.  After all, there is always another birdie putt awaiting me, especially if I’m playing in a two-person scramble with my long-hitting son, Matt.  And yes, my health is bound to improve and yes, the mailbox should have a check or two in it tomorrow.

 

The key to handling bad news or bad fortune – at least for me – is to focus on two things.  First, I try to remind myself of how God delivered me from a similar situation in the past, transforming a “bummer” into a blessing.  Second, I turn my attention to the future, which is filled with almost limitless possibilities… including heaven!        

 

In the meantime, I concentrate on the fact that – in the present, no matter how difficult it may be – Jesus is with me every step of the way. 

 

Yes, in the midst of a storm, it helps to remember that “this too shall pass”, but God’s love never will.

 

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – May 18, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves and sharpens our skill.  Our antagonist is our helper.” – Edmund Burke

 

Do you want to stagnate?  Then surround yourself with a bunch of “yes-men” and see what happens.

 

When he was elected president, John F. Kennedy did something that some Commanders-in-Chief – before and since – were hesitant to do.  He recruited some of the brightest minds in America to fill his cabinet without regard to their political leanings.  Dean Rusk, arguably one of the most capable men to serve in this capacity, was named Secretary of State.  Robert McNamara was appointed as Secretary of Defense and Stewart Udall held the post of Secretary of the Interior.  Abraham Ribicoff was JFK’s first Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare and, despite some initial resistance, Kennedy nominated his brother Robert to be Attorney General.

 

Although none of these men – not even Bobby – were pushovers let alone sycophants, they served Kennedy and the country admirably.  So much so that when Lyndon Johnson assumed the presidency after JFK’s assassination, he pleaded with the carryover cabinet members to remain in office.

 

In a six-point memo to the cabinet, dated the day after Kennedy’s death, LBJ said the following: “President Kennedy had confidence in you.  He relied on you.  I have confidence in you.  I rely on you.”  He also went on to say, “I need each of you to tell me what the problems are that press in on you.  I want you to speak frankly, candidly.”

 

Johnson ended his memo with these simple words, “I want you to stay on.  I need you.”

 

What we ALL need, not just JFK or LBJ, are people who love us, respect us and care about us enough to be honest and forthright.  Not to tell us what we want to hear, but what we need to hear.

 

If you don’t have some people in your life who are free to speak “frankly and candidly”, then go find some… and do it quickly.  Otherwise, you will not only stagnate, but also regress.

 

“Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” Proverbs 27:6 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – May 17, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“No power so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.” – Edmund Burke

 

The date was March 4, 1933.  Having defeated the incumbent, Herbert Hoover, in the general election the previous November, Franklin Delano Roosevelt had just taken the oath of office as the 32nd President of the United States.

 

FDR’s first inaugural address was comprised of just 1,883 words and only took 20 minutes to deliver.  But it contained some immortal phrases that were meant to reassure a nation buried in the depths of the Great Depression.  One of the first lines in his address went as follows…

 

“So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is...fear itself – nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”

 

Roosevelt didn’t ignore or minimize the economic hardships facing most Americans.  Instead, he faced them head-on, saying that, “Only a foolish optimist can deny the dark realities of the moment.”

 

But FDR didn’t simply bemoan the challenges ahead.  On the contrary, he reminded his fellow Americans that they had faced – and overcome – many such obstacles before.  “Compared with the perils which our forefathers conquered because they believed and were not afraid, we have still much to be thankful for.” 

 

My friend, you may be experiencing some fears of your own today.  If so, I suggest that you follow some of FDR’s advice by remembering how God delivered you from your troubles in the past.  Then, remind yourself that He promises to never leave or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).

 

Experiencing fear is natural but being paralyzed by it betrays a lack of faith.  As John Wayne famously said, “Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.”

 

Nelson Mandela also weighed in on this subject, saying that, I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

 

Even Gen. George Patton addressed this important issue.  Courage is fear holding on a minute longer,” he said.

 

So, hang in there!  It’s always darkest before the dawn and the cavalry may be just over the hill.   

 

“The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?  The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1 (NKJV)


Dare 2B Daring – May 16, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Liberty does not exist in the absence of morality.” – Edmund Burke

 

One of the most common experiences I had when running for office was hearing someone say the following: “You can’t legislate morality!”  It usually happened after I had passionately defended my pro-life position, including my proposal to outlaw abortions after 18 days with my “Human Heartbeat Act”.  Of course, I believe that life begins at conception, but eliminating abortions at 18 days – the time at which the embryo’s tiny heartbeat can first be heard – would effectively end all abortions-on-demand.

 

When someone would counter with the aforementioned objection, I would counter right back.  “We legislate morality every day”, I would say.  Usually, the person who made the original statement would look puzzled, giving me an opening to explain my position in greater detail.

 

“I can’t grab your car keys and go joy-riding in your car without your permission, right?  Why not?  Because it’s stealing, and stealing is illegal.”

 

"And why is stealing illegal?" I would ask.  "Because we, as a society, have decided that it is immoral and therefore, unacceptable."

 

From there, I would cite multiple other examples that included assaulting an innocent person, committing fraud or even murdering someone.  Our society deems each of these heinous acts to be immoral and therefore, illegal.

 

Folks, without mutually-agreed-upon moral standards, civilization devolves into anarchy.  Perhaps John Adams, the second president of the United States, said it best: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.  It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

 

Or if you prefer folk music, here is Bob Dylan’s take on the matter: “Well, it may be the devil, it may be the Lord, but you’re gonna have to serve somebody.”   

 

“In those days, there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” Judges 21:25 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – May 15, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little.” – Edmund Burke

 

It was an honest difference of opinion.  I wanted to take action sooner rather than later, but my friend wanted to wait.  I was convinced that my plan was well-thought-out and had a reasonable chance of succeeding.  However, my friend believed that there was probably a better way.  Unfortunately, he had no idea what that better way was!   

 

And so, we “agreed to disagree” and I acted independently.  Time will tell which one of us was right.

 

“Perfect is the enemy of the good”.  Orlando Pescetti first penned these words in 1603, including them in his book, “Italian Poems”.  The French philosopher Voltaire popularized them even more in the late 1770’s.  Even Shakespeare referenced these sentiments in his tragedy, “King Lear”.

 

To me, there is a big difference between “shooting from the hip” and “walking by faith.”  The former is purely speculative and emotion-driven with very little reason or thoughtful analysis.  The latter starts with prayer, includes a period of “due diligence”, and concludes with bold action.

 

Recently, I had an opportunity to share similar advice with a different friend who was having trouble making a decision.  Torn between two options, he waffled back and forth, changing his mind several times.

 

My advice to him was simple: pray, do your homework, seek godly counsel, and then make an informed decision, trusting God for the results.  If you are facing a difficult decision today, my advice to you would be the same.

 

Meanwhile, here are a few pertinent Bible verses to meditate on…

 

“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)

 

“Commit your works to the LORD, and your thoughts will be established.” Proverbs 16:3 (NKJV)

 

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.  But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.  For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” James 1:5-8 (NKJV)

 

“Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.” James 4:17 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – May 14, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Reading without reflecting is like eating without digesting.” – Edmund Burke

 

Editor’s Note: Last week, I whetted your appetite (and mine) with a quote from Edmund Burke, an Irish-born author, orator, statesman and political theorist.  This week and next, many of our devotionals will feature more wisdom from the “philosophical founder of modern conservatism”.

 

Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder usually characterized by periods of binging (excessive overeating) followed by purging, often involving vomiting.  Excessive exercise, laxatives, enemas and fasting are other less common methods of purging.  Some people who suffer from this disease consume more than 2,000 calories in a single sitting before beginning the purging process.

 

It is tragic to see lives damaged, destroyed and even ended by bulimia and related eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa.  Thankfully, there is medical and psychological help available for these individuals.  Bulimia.com and www.nationaleatingdisorders.org are two such resources.

 

Just as tragic as the victims of anorexia and bulimia are those people who lack the ability or desire to digest spiritual food.  The former are usually unbelievers from whom the Holy Spirit has yet to remove the spiritual scales from their eyes (see Acts 9:18 and Romans 11:7).  The latter are professing Christians who prefer the milk of the Word to solid spiritual food (see Hebrews 5:12).  As a result, they remain malnourished and underdeveloped “babes in Christ” far longer than God ever intended.

 

In our fast-paced and all-too-busy world, it is becoming more and more difficult to find the time not only to read the Bible, but also to meditate on it.  But it is absolutely essential that we do!  Perhaps that is why God emphasized this practice over and over again in Scripture. Here are just two examples…

 

“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it.” Joshua 1:8 (NKJV)

 

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things.” Philippians 4:8 (NKJV)

 

How about joining me for a sizzling spiritual steak or a heaping bowl of pastoral pasta this Sunday… and every day?

 

“I will meditate on Your precepts, and contemplate Your ways, I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your Word.” Psalm 119:15-16 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – May 11, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.” – Edmund Burke, Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents and The Two Speeches on America

Piggybacking on yesterday’s devotional about less-than-chivalrous men failing to defend a woman’s honor, I have chosen to print the words of William P. Merrill’s timeless hymn, “Rise up, O Men of God!”  But first, here are the circumstances surrounding Merrill’s writing of the hymn, in his own words. 

“No­lan R. Best, then ed­it­or of The Con­ti­nent, hap­pened to say to me that there was ur­gent need of a bro­ther­hood hymn…The sug­gest­ion lin­gered in my mind, and just about that time I came up­on an ar­ti­cle by Ger­ald Stan­ley Lee, en­ti­tled “The Church of the Strong Men.” I was on one of the Lake Mi­chi­gan steam­ers go­ing back to Chi­ca­go for a Sun­day at my own church, when sud­den­ly this hymn came up, al­most with­out con­scious thought or ef­fort.”

Rise up, O men of God!
Have done with lesser things.
Give heart and mind and soul and strength
To serve the King of kings.

Rise up, O men of God!
The kingdom tarries long.
Bring in the day of brotherhood
And end the night of wrong.

Rise up, O men of God!
The church for you doth wait,
Her strength unequal to her task;
Rise up and make her great!

Lift high the cross of Christ!
Tread where His feet have trod.
As brothers of the Son of Man,
Rise up, O men of God!

O, that every church would be known as, “The Church of the Strong Men!”

“These are the names of the mighty men whom David had…” 2 Samuel 23:8a (NKJV)


Dare 2B Daring – May 10, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke

 

A couple of weeks ago, the Washington press corps held its annual White House Correspondents Dinner.  In the past, the dinner featured some good-natured ribbing of presidents and politicians, supposedly for a good cause – providing scholarships for journalism students.

 

However, this year’s affair at the plush Washington Hilton was anything but good-natured.  In fact, it was vulgar, profane and downright obscene. 

 

Comedienne Michelle Wolf was the featured “entertainment” and she viciously attacked President Trump and various administration officials from start to finish.  I can’t – and won’t – repeat some of her “one-liners”; but suffice it to say they would have made a Marine drill sergeant blush.

 

And yet, as she repeatedly referenced female genitalia and ridiculed press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ appearance, not a single person spoke up.  Sure, there were more than a few gasps and moans from the audience, but the tuxedo and evening gown-dressed crowd remained seated throughout her monologue.

 

Why didn’t someone grab the mic from Wolf after her second or third expletive?  And why didn’t a single man rise to Ms. Sanders’ defense?

 

Supposedly, Matt Schlapp of the American Conservative Union walked out in silent protest, and several other prominent conservative reporters tweeted their disgust at Wolf’s remarks.  But how much more effective – and dare I say, manly – would it have been for these gentlemen to storm the stage and defend Ms. Sanders, womanhood, and common decency?

 

Edmund Burke also famously said that, “Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.”  I fear that until and unless good and godly men start to demonstrate a little chivalry – and a lot of backbone – these types of episodes will continue to happen… and with more frequency.

 

“Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves.  And He said to them, ‘It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’” Matthew 21:12-13 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President    


Dare 2B Daring – May 9, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“If you don’t feel strong desires for the manifestation of the glory of God, it is not because you have drunk deeply and are satisfied. It is because you have nibbled so long at the table of the world. Your soul is stuffed with small things, and there is no room for the great.” – John Piper, A Hunger For God

 

On Friday, I went to McKee Botanical Gardens with my dad, mom, and nephew, Brady. It is one of Brady’s favorite places to go, for he enjoys leading our group with map in hand. As we walked through the gardens, our group came across many beautiful flowers, plants, and trees.

 

Additionally, there are several sculptures of African wildlife. With each, is a sign noting important facts about that particular animal. I found one bit of information especially interesting regarding the elephant. When it finds a watering hole, this great animal can drink up to 200 liters of water in a single day. That is more than 50 gallons! More so, an adult elephant can consume anywhere from 300 to 600 pounds of food in that same day.

 

As I thought about this, I was reminded of the encounter Jesus had with the Samaritan woman at the well. While their conversation begins with physical water that satisfies only for a time, it quickly moves to living water. Such water can only be given by Jesus and it wells up to eternal life.

 

Likewise, Jesus also meets the needs of our spiritual hunger. While being tempted in the wilderness, Jesus said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

 

The elephant may drink gallon after gallon of water in one stint, but within days it will thirst again. Similarly, we may drink a glass of water only to desire more after just a few hours. An elephant requires hundreds of pounds of roots, leaves, grasses, and tree bark to satisfy its diet. Yet, by the next morning, it will need to eat again. Though we may have breakfast at the start of the morning, within hours it will be time for lunch.

 

Our physical needs must be met, but so must our spiritual. We spend so much time considering our next meal. What difference would we see if the same effort was made to satisfy our souls?

 

“Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” John 6:32-35 ESV

 

-          Christopher Glading, Program Director


Dare 2B Daring – May 8, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” – Anonymous

 

Go to the supermarket, the drug store or Walmart, and you’re sure to see products labeled, “New & Improved”.  Maybe they are and maybe they’re not.  The point is, the manufacturers want you to be dissatisfied with the previous version so that you feel compelled to buy the latest one.

 

However, some things defy improvement, such as the following devotional by Charles Spurgeon.  Written in the late 1800’s, Spurgeon’s treatises have stood the test of time because they are doctrinally sound and yet, extremely practical.

 

“Covenant blessings are not to be looked at only, but to be appropriated.  Even our Lord Jesus is given to us for our present use.  Believer, thou dost not make use of Christ as thou oughtest to do.  When thou art in trouble, why dost thou not tell Him all thy grief?  Has He not a sympathizing heart, and can He not comfort and relieve thee?  No, thou art going about to all thy friends, save thy best Friend, and telling thy tale everywhere except into the bosom of thy Lord.”

 

“Art thou burdened with this day’s sins?  Here is a fountain filled with blood: use it, saint, use it.  Has a sense of guilt returned upon thee?  The pardoning grace of Jesus may be proved again and again.  Come to Him at once for cleansing.”

 

“Dost thou deplore thy weakness?  He is thy strength: why not lean upon Him?  Dost thou feel naked?  Come hither, soul: put on the robe of Jesus’ righteousness.  Stand not looking at it, but wear it.  Strip off thine own righteousness, and thine own fears too: put on the fair white linen, for it was meant to wear.”

 

“Dost thou feel thyself sick?  Pull the night-bell of prayer, and call upon the Beloved Physician!  He will give the cordial that will revive thee.  Thou art poor, but then thou hast “a kinsman, a mighty man of wealth.”  What! Wilt thou not go to Him, and ask Him to give thee of His abundance, when He has given you this promise, that thou shalt be joint heir with Him, and has made over all that He is and all that He has to be thine?”

 

“There is nothing Christ dislikes more than for His people to make a showthing of Him, and not to use Him.  He loves to be employed by us.  The more burdens we put on His shoulders, the more precious He will be to us.”

 

Feel better now?  I know I sure do!

 

“…casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” I Peter 5:7 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President

 


Dare 2B Daring – May 7, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Had we become distracted by the question of my safety we would have lost the moral offensive and sunk to the level of our oppressors.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

From 1955, when he led the Montgomery bus boycott, to his Poor People’s Campaign in 1968, Dr. King received thousands of death threats.  Some were more easily dismissed, whereas many others were eerily prescient.  He even received an anonymous letter from the FBI, threatening to disclose some of his less-flattering personal behavior and encouraging him to spare his family the embarrassment by taking his own life.

 

But despite the almost daily threats, Dr. King refused to carry a gun or to hire a professional security team.  He believed that his life was in God’s hands and that, like all of us, his days were numbered.  Dr. King also was convinced that, “If someone really wants to kill me, there’s nothing I can do about it.”  And so, driven by a mixture of faith and fatalism, he pressed on.

 

Last week, I saw “The Black Panther”, yet another super hero movie in the Marvel comic series.  It was surprisingly well done and had an actual plot, real character development and some decent dialogue. 

 

Of course, like many of the movies coming out of Hollywood these days, it also had a bit of a political agenda.  In this case, it was that – if left alone – African nations could and would develop advanced cultures far superior to those of their colonizers.  But here is where the film took an unexpected twist.

 

One of the main characters seeks to dethrone the current king because he wants to extract revenge upon the aforementioned colonial powers.  But the reigning monarch rebukes him, saying that doing so would diminish their cause and their culture, making them no better than their previous oppressors.

 

That high-minded position reminded me of Dr. King’s words as well as the teachings of another – and far greater – world leader, Jesus Christ.  Over and over, He taught His followers to love their enemies, to forgive those who had hurt them, and to refuse to return evil for evil.

 

I doubt the producers of “The Black Panther” meant to do so, but they put together a film that can be effectively used as a witnessing tool.

 

“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.” Colossians 3:12-13 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – May 4, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Everything is changing.  People are taking their comedians seriously, and their politicians as a joke.” – Will Rogers

 

In yesterday’s devotional, I lamented the lack of humility in many of our philanthropists and professional athletes.  Today, I want to turn my attention – and yours – to some of the worst offenders of the lot: politicians.

 

Having run for office a few times, I am no stranger to the world of politics.  Unfortunately, most of the officeholders I met while campaigning had oversized egos, perhaps because they surrounded themselves with fawning aides, consultants, lobbyists, and other hangers-on.  Like Hollywood starlets, many of them read – and believed – their own grandiose press releases.  Thankfully, there were some notable exceptions, like my friend Ralph Poppell, a former Florida state representative; and Bill Posey, my current congressman.  Both men have always managed to put the interests of their constituents above their own.

 

I find it comical when officeholders take credit for creating scores of new jobs as if they were the ones doing the actual hiring.  I find it equally amusing when they promote a new road or a new bridge, as if they worked on the construction crew or funded the project out of their own pocket. 

 

When I was a candidate, I used to tell people not to vote for me because I am human and, as such, will eventually let them down.  “Instead, vote for my guiding principles – the Bible and the U.S. Constitution – because they will never let you down.”  I won two Republican primaries and lost two general elections, so I guess my campaign strategy wasn’t very effective.  But then again, it really wasn’t a strategy at all… it was my heart.

 

Let me close this week – and this devotional – with a few funny, but somewhat biting, political quotes…    

 

“I have come to the conclusion that politics are too serious a matter to be left to the politicians.” – Charles de Gaulle

 

“Politicians are the same all over.  They promise to build bridges even when there are no rivers.” – Nikita Khrushchev

 

“Ninety percent of the politicians give the other ten percent a bad reputation.” – Henry Kissinger

 

“Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.” I Timothy 2:1-2 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – May 3, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“What I’m trying to get you to see this morning is that a man may be self-centered in his self-denial and self-righteous in his self-sacrifice.  His generosity may feed his ego, and his piety may feed his pride.  So without love, benevolence becomes egotism, and martyrdom becomes spiritual pride.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

When our kids were growing up, we played a lot of games in our backyard.  Wiffleball was probably the most popular and, in fact, I even devised a field with artificial dimensions.  For instance, the short right-field fence, which in reality was about 50 feet away, was listed as 330’ in order to more closely resemble a Major League stadium.

 

In our backyard games, we only had one rule: NO SHOWBOATING!  In other words, when you made a great play on defense, you were to give the ball back to the pitcher and resume your position.  And if you hit a mammoth home run, you were to put your head down and circle the bases quickly and humbly.  After all, there’s no “I” in “TEAM”, right?

 

The same goes for when people make a generous donation to a church, Christian ministry or other worthwhile cause.  I can’t for the life of me figure out why they – or the organization – calls a press conference or issues a press release announcing both the gift and the giver.  Or why a plaque is hung  or a building is renamed in their honor.

 

Scripture is very clear that if we draw attention to our good deeds, we have exchanged our heavenly reward for an earthly one (Matthew 6:1-2).  How short-sighted is that?

 

I guess that’s why I don’t enjoy watching pro sports the way I used to, except for golf.  Baseball players stand at home plate and admire their home runs before arrogantly flipping their bats and jogging ever-so-slowly around the bases.  Football players, hoping to call attention to themselves, run 15 yards down field after making a routine tackle.  And don’t get me started on the choreographed touchdown celebrations!

 

And then there are basketball players.  The average NBA player is 6’7” tall with abnormally long arms and large hands.  And yet, they somehow think it is some great athletic feat when they dunk a basketball into a net that only stands 10 feet above the floor.  PUHLEEZE!!!

 

How about a heaping dose of humility, gentlemen?  Remember… young and impressionable kids are watching.

 

“But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.” Matthew 6:3-4 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – May 2, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Be yourself.” – advice given to Nick Kingham by Steve Blass, a former Pirates pitcher and current broadcaster, before his Major League debut on Sunday

 

Nick Kingham was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2010, straight out of high school.  He worked his way through the minors and by 2015, he was poised to make it to the majors.  However, a serious arm injury led to Tommy John (ligament replacement) surgery and a long rehab.  

 

Finally, this March, it looked like Kingham would join the parent club coming out of spring training.  But the Pirates front office decided that he needed some more seasoning in Triple A and so, Kingham was left behind when the squad broke camp and headed north. 

 

Instead of complaining or becoming bitter, Kingham kept working at his craft and eventually, got the phone call he had waited eight long years for.  Needing a “spot starter”, the Pirates wrote Kingham’s name in the lineup against the St. Louis Cardinals for Sunday afternoon’s game.

 

In his Major League debut, Kingham was nothing less than sensational.  He retired the first 20 batters he faced and struck out nine on his way to recording the victory.

 

After the game, Kingham was surrounded by reporters and had this to say about his long road to the majors…

 

"Some downs make you realize who you are.  The ups make you remember where you came from," Kingham said.  "It's not how I drew it up when I signed eight years ago.  It made me who I am.  I'm here now.  Hopefully, we can keep this train rolling."

 

What a mature perspective, especially from a young man still in his mid-20’s!

 

My friend, when things don’t go your way or according to your plan, how do you react?  I can tell you – to my shame – that I often respond in the flesh.  Then, minutes, hours or days later, I reconsider, repent and start trusting that God knows exactly what He’s doing in my life.

 

I am sure that Nick Kingham had some dark moments during his long rehabilitation.  And yes, I am equally sure that he was disappointed when the Pirates sent him back down to Triple A at the end of spring training.  But somehow, he was able to focus on the big picture and to view things from a long-term vantage point.

 

Thanks for teaching this old dog a new trick, Nick!

 

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD.  “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8 (NKJV)


Dare 2B Daring – May 1, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“If there is no wind, row.” – Latin proverb

 

A year ago today, our ministry held its first-ever charity golf tournament.  Dubbed the “Old Hickory Golf Classic” because we used hickory-shafted clubs and replica balls from the 1920’s, the event was an unqualified success.  Thirty-two golfers participated, and we raised several thousand dollars for Risk Takers for Christ.

 

The only negative to last year’s tournament was the weather.  It more closely resembled the climate you’d expect at the British Open than a charity event in southeast Florida.  Morning sunshine gave way to bands of wind and rain, only for the skies to clear again just in time for the cycle to repeat itself… over and over again.

 

So, this year, I prayed even harder for God to grant us good weather and boy, did He ever deliver!  There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the temperatures hovered around 80 degrees with a gentle breeze.  Picture-perfect golf weather, for sure!

 

All 44 golfers enjoyed themselves immensely as did our faithful volunteers.  And by God’s grace, we raised a few thousand more dollars for our ministry to prisoners and at-risk youth.  But you know what?  God was as much in control at last year’s tournament, amidst the rain and the wind, as He was this year under sunny skies.

 

Life is the same way, my friend.  Some days, we seemingly enjoy blessing after blessing, almost without interruption.  Then, the next day, the dark clouds of misfortune open up and drench us.

 

Scripture clearly teaches that followers of Jesus Chris are not exempt from tests and trials.  In fact, our Lord promised us that “in this world, you will have tribulation.”  However, He went on to encourage His disciples with these words, “but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

 

And so, my friend, don’t despair when things don’t go your way.  Instead, make the best of the situation by focusing on two things.  First, Jesus is with us amidst life’s storms.  Second, it’s always darkest before the dawn, so hang in there a little longer… and the sun will eventually break through those clouds of fear, worry, and discouragement.

 

“…for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” Matthew 5:45b (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – April 30, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Big jobs usually go to the men who prove their ability to outgrow small ones.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

The Peter principle is a concept in management theory formulated by educator Laurence J. Peter and published in 1969.  It states that the selection of a candidate for a position is based on the candidate's performance in their current role, rather than on his or her abilities relevant to the intended role. Thus, employees only stop being promoted once they can no longer perform effectively, and "managers rise to the level of their incompetence". (Wikipedia)

 

Years ago, I knew of a medium-seized church where the senior pastor had recently resigned.  After a relatively short but thorough search, the pulpit committee recommended that the church elevate the youth pastor to the position.

 

I can still recall the rationale used by one of the committee members.  “We know he isn’t ready,” he said, “but we don’t want to lose him to another church.”  And with that faulty logic, they offered the position to the not-ready-for-prime-time youth pastor.

 

As you might imagine, things didn’t work out so well.  Sadly, it was only a matter of time before the pulpit committee was out looking for another senior pastor.

 

In I Timothy 4:12, Paul instructs Timothy not to allow others to look down on him because of his youth.  But just one chapter earlier, Paul also warns that a new believer shouldn’t be elevated to a position of leadership in the church, “lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil.”

 

So, what is the answer?  Proper balance.  How long a person has been a believer isn’t always a sign of spiritual maturity, but there is something to be said for a proven track record.

 

As Orson Welles used to emote into the camera as he promoted Paul Masson, “We will sell no wine before its time.”  Likewise, churches would be wise not to prematurely elevate new believers.

 

“For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a good standing and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.” I Timothy 3:13 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – April 27, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work.  And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.  If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking.  Don’t settle.” – Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple

 

“9 to 5” was a blockbuster movie filmed in 1980 and starring Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dabney Coleman.  The theme song from the movie, written and performed by Parton, was also a big hit.  Here are some of its lyrics…

 

Tumble outta bed and I stumble to the kitchen

Pour myself a cup of ambition

Yawn and stretch and try to come alive

Jump in the shower and the blood starts pumpin’

Out on the street the traffic starts jumpin’

With folks like me on the job from 9 to 5

 

Workin’ 9 to 5, what a way to make a livin’

Barely getting’ by, it’s all takin’ and no givin’

They just use your mind and they never give you credit

It’s enough to drive you crazy if you let it

 

A friend of mine, Os Hillman, is an accomplished Christian author and speaker who founded an international ministry called Marketplace Leaders.  Os believes that God is preparing and positioning Christians to make a huge impact in the workplace.  After all, Os reasons, the average American works 46.7 hours per week, so why not make your office, shop, or other place of employment your very own mission field?  As Os puts it, you and I are “spiritual warriors in workers’ uniforms”.

 

That doesn’t mean spending time witnessing when you should be working.  On the contrary, it means doing such a good job that your boss and fellow employees notice a difference in you.  Then, when they ask what drives you to such excellence, you have an open door to share the gospel.

 

For years, churches and mission organizations have been emphasizing the “10/40 window”, the latitudinal lines between which lies the vast majority of the world’s poorest and least evangelized people groups.  Without detracting from the 10/40 window, Hillman is promoting the “9 to 5 window” where most people spend the majority of their waking hours.

 

An interesting concept, if you ask me!

 

“And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.” Colossians 3:17 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – April 26, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“No movement worth its salt is devoid of philosophical debate and there are moments in any social revolution where you have peaks of united activity and you have other moments of debate and even dissension.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

In my opinion, the greatest social revolution of all time took place in Palestine during the 1st century.  Starting with just 11 men, the early church exploded overnight, with 3,000 people coming to saving faith in Christ on the Day of Pentecost alone.

 

People who were once selfish and self-absorbed soon became others-oriented, sharing their possessions willingly and generously.  A spirit of unity pervaded the church in Jerusalem as they continued “daily with one accord” (Acts 2:46).  The result was favor with the city’s residents, some of whom were “added to the church daily” (Acts 2:47).

 

However, in relatively short order, persecution arrived and many of the believers were forced to flee Jerusalem for their lives.  One of their tormentors was named Saul of Tarsus, who was later dramatically converted on the road to Damascus.  Saul, the persecutor, had become Paul, the persecuted.

 

And yet, this same Paul – who wrote much of the New Testament under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit – had a stubborn streak and an explosive temper.  He got into a shouting match with Barnabas (Acts 15:38-40) that became so contentious that they parted ways.  And by his own admission, Paul “withstood him (Peter) to his face”, engaging in a very public dispute (Galatians 2:11).

 

I don’t know about you, but I am glad that God chose to include these passages in the Bible instead of “sweeping them under the rug”.  It demonstrates that God can and will use imperfect people – warts and all – for His glory.

 

Do you want proof?  In Acts 17, just one chapter after Paul and Barnabas had their big “blow-up”, it was said of the early disciples that, “These who have turned the world upside down have come here too”. 

 

How I wish people will say that about me someday.

 

“But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty.” I Corinthians 1:27 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – April 25, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Never trust a Christian leader who does not walk with a limp.” – A. W. Tozer

 

A few Saturdays ago, I accompanied our Risk Takers basketball team on a prison ministry trip.  In addition to sharing the gospel with an estimated 600 inmates, we also played two full-court games on concrete.  And since we didn’t have any subs, yours truly had to play every minute of both games.

 

By the time we returned to Vero Beach that evening, I was both stiff and sore.  Not only from the two games, but also from the five hours of driving.  And so, when I got out of our rental van to grab a bite to eat, the sight wasn’t too pretty.

 

Instead of looking like a relatively fit 58-year old man, I more closely resembled someone in his late 70’s or early 80’s.  Or like I was imitating Walter Brennan, for those of you who remember the old black and white TV show, The Real McCoys. 

 

But despite the comical way I maneuvered across the parking lot, my “walking with a limp” also had   a spiritual application, as A.W. Tozer mentioned above.  Like most people (and like virtually every minister I know), I have been deeply wounded during my life.  Some of those wounds were self-inflicted, but others were undeserved.  And as you might have guessed, the ones that hurt the most – and did the most damage – came from close friends and ministry associates.

 

But do you know what?  God has used each and every one of those hurts to accomplish three things.  First, to glorify His Name.  Second, to make me more dependent on Him.  And third, to remove some hindering dross from my life.

 

The truth of the matter is this: we cannot be conformed into the image of His Son (Romans 8:29) without going through some fiery trials in our lives.  I guess that’s why Tozer also wrote, “It is doubtful whether God can bless a man greatly until He has hurt him deeply.” 

 

Alan Redpath agrees, having written that, “When God wants to do an impossible task, He takes an impossible individual – and crushes him.”

 

So, my friend, take heart when God allows people and circumstances to cripple you.  Because like Jacob, your limp will both cause and reflect a closer walk with Him.  And like Paul, when you are at your weakest, you are actually at your strongest (2 Corinthians 12:10).

 

“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18 (NIV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – April 24, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Beloved, the wounds of Jesus are far more fair in our eyes than all the splendor and pomp of kings.  The thorny crown is more than an imperial diadem.” – C.H. Spurgeon

 

At age 58 – and despite playing competitive sports for more than 45 years – I don’t have that many scars.  There’s a two-inch scar on my right hand from when a baserunner refused to slide into second base, tearing a tendon at the base of my thumb in the process.  Then there’s the barely visible scar at the top of my forehead from playing football in the street.  It turns out that diving for an errant pass wasn’t such a good idea.  Take it from me… concrete curbs don’t have a lot of “give”.

 

Speaking of diving for balls, my right elbow boasts a large scar from repeated attempts at corralling ground balls on a prison ministry trip to Washington State and Oregon about 15 years ago.  Every time the scrape started to heal, I would tear the scab off with another headfirst dive.  But that’s the way I learned to play the game – and still do.

 

My two knee surgeries were done arthroscopically, leaving no marks behind.  So, I guess the biggest scar I have dates back to 6th grade, when I had a precancerous birthmark removed from my scalp.  And here you thought I was starting to go bald, right?

 

But all of my scars pale in comparison to the ones on the hands and feet of my risen Savior.  It’s a bit puzzling why the resurrected Jesus chose to retain those pain-induced marks, but He obviously did.  Just ask “Doubting” Thomas if Jesus’ glorified body was scarred.

 

My guess is that Jesus wanted to prove His true identity to Thomas and the other disciples.  But Spurgeon’s reasoning is even more sound.  The “Prince of Preachers” believed that Jesus will wear those scars throughout eternity as a badge of honor.  Nothing He could wear would bring Him more glory – or better remind us of His sacrifice on our behalf – which, in turn, would generate even more praise.

 

I agree.  Worthy is the Lamb who was slain!   

 

“And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain…” Revelation 5:6 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – April 23, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Christian, is not this very comforting to thee also, that there is not a word which has gone out of the Savior’s lips which He has ever retracted?” – C.H. Spurgeon

 

I don’t know about you, but I suffer from a recurring disease which is not only painful to me, but also to those around me.  I’m not sure if it’s contagious or not, but it certainly is chronic in nature.

 

What deadly disorder am I referring to?  Foot-in-mouth disease!

 

That’s right; like so many others, I occasionally part my lips and engage my mouth before first filtering what I am about to say through my brain… as well as my spirit.  Sometimes the results are comical, like the time I made fun of a person’s name in a restaurant, only to have a waitress sing “Happy Birthday” to a nearby customer – with that very same name – seconds later.  You talk about having egg on your face!  I think I turned about six shades of red.

 

At other times, my propensity to speak first and think later has hurt someone’s feelings, forcing me to quickly apologize and do some major damage control.

 

Thankfully, these foot-in-mouth “flare-ups” have become fewer and farther between as I have started learning to bridle my tongue.  But it’s not easy and I am nowhere near where I need to be – or should be – when it comes to mastering my speech.

 

Abraham Lincoln once said that, “It is better to remain silent and thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.”  I think Honest Abe was onto something!

 

I am so glad that my Savior doesn’t suffer from such a debilitating ailment.  He speaks nothing but    T-R-U-T-H.

 

“Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things.  See how great a forest a little fire kindles!  And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity.  The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.  For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind.  But no man can tame the tongue.  It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.  With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God.  Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing.  My brethren, these things ought not to be so.” James 3:5-10 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President  


Dare 2B Daring – April 20, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“There is not one blade of grass, there is no color in this world that is not intended to make us rejoice.” – John Calvin

 

The caribou, also known as the reindeer, lives in various northern regions of North America. Interestingly, this animal has etched itself into the Guinness Book of World Records. Each year, it travels almost 3,000 miles, marking the longest annual terrestrial migration.

 

In an episode of Planet Earth II, the caribou was highlighted for its magnificent journey. Yet, I found one particular fact about this mammal even more surprising. During an encounter with a pack of wolves, a calf was separated from the herd. Immediately, a wolf began his chase and the calf fled. All hope seemed lost for the baby caribou.

 

It was at this point, however, that narrator David Attenborough remarked, “At one day old, baby caribou are already faster than an Olympic sprinter”. With amazing speed, the calf eventually escaped.

 

The caribou is incredibly designed. It possesses speed and endurance, preserving its species. When I witness such feats in nature, I am reminded of Romans 1:20, which reads, “For His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So, they are without excuse.” Creation, inevitably, points to its creator. God has given us general revelation and to deny it is our ruin.

 

Furthermore, as God uniquely made the caribou, so He did with us. Psalm 139:13-16 says, “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”

 

God, with infinite wisdom and eternal knowledge, crafted each of us. He plotted the course of our lives before we were even conceived. As David wrote, “Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and His greatness is unsearchable.”

 

“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” Revelation 4:11 ESV

 

-          Christopher Glading, Program Director


Dare 2B Daring – April 19, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“It is remarked that Joshua never grew weary in the fighting, but Moses did grow weary in the praying; the more spiritual an exercise, the more difficult it is for flesh and blood to maintain it.” – Charles Haddon Spurgeon

 

How much TV do you watch in a week?  And how much time do you devote to social media?

 

Most of us would be afraid – and a bit ashamed – if we actually totaled the hours spent in the above activities.  Personally, I watch an average of an hour or two of TV per night, but if there is an important golf tournament being played, you can double or even triple that estimate.  As far as social media is concerned, between Facebook, texting and checking my email, I would guess that I spend 2-3 hours per day…maybe more.

 

OUCH!!!

 

Now for the spiritual gut-check.  How much time do you and I spend each day reading and meditating on God’s Word, and in prayer?  Yep, I thought so!  And if you’re like me, it is much easier to become distracted and lose your focus – or fall asleep – while praying than it is when you’re watching Blue Bloods, Designated Survivor or Blacklist.

 

Why is that?  Part of it is a matter of priorities, and part of it is a simple biblical truth.  Engaging in any spiritual activity – prayer, Bible reading, or witnessing – is hard work.  It demands physical and mental discipline, all the while you are engaging in and experiencing spiritual warfare of sorts.

 

Satan doesn’t mind us watching TV and he is pleased when we wile away our hours playing video games or Snapchatting with someone.  But start picking up your Bible or offering up an intercessory prayer and all of a sudden, you have gotten his attention.

 

So, what’s the answer?  Do what Moses did, and try recruiting a prayer partner or two.  Another idea that may help is praying with your eyes open or walking around while you pray.  I pray a lot while I’m driving because I am forced to stay awake.

 

Whatever it takes… do it.  You won’t regret it, but Satan will.

 

“And his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.” Exodus 17:12 (NKJV)

 

-           Rev. Dale M. Glading, President 


Dare 2B Daring – April 18, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“For me, a golf course is an island of peace in a world often full of confusion and turmoil.” – Rev. Billy Graham

 

When someone tells me that he or she doesn’t play golf, they usually give one of the following two reasons.

 

Reason #1 – “I don’t see the sense in hitting a little white ball all over the place and trying to knock it into a small hole in the ground.”

 

Reason #2 – “I can’t spare the time it takes to play a round of golf.”

 

My answer to both objections is the same:  EXACTLY!!!

 

Just like Billy Graham, I find golf to be a great source of relaxation and rejuvenation.  For four hours,  I get to enjoy a place of beauty and tranquility with people whose company I thoroughly enjoy.  And during those four hours out of the office, I forget about the pressures and demands of life – let alone full-time ministry.  My focus is on trying to put a little white ball into the hole in as few strokes as possible.  And then doing it again on the next hole… and then the one after that.

 

In its May 2018 issue, the editors of Golf Digest decided to reprint an article written in 1961 by Billy Graham.  “This is a golf article, not a sermon,” Rev. Graham wrote.  But he went on to make some excellent spiritual applications to a round of golf.

 

“Golf techniques can be applied to life,” Billy wrote.  “Keep your head down…keep your eye on the ball…and follow through.”

 

Billy Graham wasn’t saying that everyone should play golf, although his doctor advised him to do so for his health.  He was simply making the point that we all need to find an activity we enjoy that allows us to decompress.  For some it is hunting, fishing or kayaking.  For others, it is hiking, jogging, or cycling.  The activity itself isn’t the important thing.  What is important is that you do it as often as needed, enjoy it, and then return to the “real world” of work and family responsibilities with your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual batteries recharged.  

 

(For those who don’t subscribe to Golf Digest, feel free to email me at dale@risktakersforchrist.org and I will gladly send you a copy of Billy Graham’s article.)

 

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

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – April 17, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Do you know the way to San Jose?  I’ve been away so long, I may go wrong and lose my way.” – Song by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, recorded by Dionne Warwick

 

Last Saturday, our basketball team drove from Vero Beach to Bowling Green.  No, not Bowling Green OH, a small town of 30,028 residents which serves as the Wood County seat as well as the home of Bowling Green University.

 

And no, not Bowling Green KY either.  That sprawling city boasts 67,924 people, making it the third largest in the state behind Louisville and Lexington.  The seat of Warren County, it is also where you will find Western Kentucky University.

 

Instead, we drove to Bowling Green FL, a town with a population of just 2,930 people spread over 1.4 square miles.  Why go there?  Because that is the home of Hardee Correctional Institution and its 1,300 residents.

 

In order to arrive at the institution on time, I used Mapquest to plot our route.  Like usual, it worked just fine and we got to the prison without a single mishap.  Although I use Mapquest regularly, especially to plan prison ministry trips, there are times when it frustrates me.  The same goes for Google maps.  You see, both of those software programs give you the quickest route based on mileage.  However, they don’t always take into consideration things like congestion or tolls.

 

For instance, whenever I go to the Orlando International Airport, Mapquest tells me to take I-95 to 528.  However, 528 has a lot of stop lights, especially as you get closer to Disneyworld.  And yes, in order to pay for road construction and maintenance (at the expense of tourists), 528 is also a toll road.

 

And so, I much prefer to take the second option that Mapquest recommends, which is I-95 to 192.  According to their estimates, this route takes an average of nine minutes longer, but it saves on tolls…and aggravation.

 

Unlike the multiple options offered by Mapquest however, there is only one way to heaven.  Most people today think otherwise, trusting their eternal souls to false hopes, false teachers and false religions.  Please don’t be one of them.

 

“I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6 (NKJV)

 

“Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – April 16, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“A saying I heard years ago: ‘It doesn’t matter what you do.  Just do something, even if it’s wrong!’  That’s the most stupid counsel I’ve ever heard.  Never do what’s wrong!  Do nothing until it’s right.  Then do it with all your might.  That’s wise counsel.” – Chuck Swindoll

 

For 22 years, Deanna and I attended an independent Bible church in New Jersey.  It was a great church filled with people who loved God, His Word, and each other.  We are so glad that we raised our children in that church and that their lives were positively influenced by so many godly people.

 

However, one thing always bothered me about the time we spent there.  When we first joined, one of the biggest issues facing the church was a crack that had formed along one of the walls in the fellowship hall.  As the story goes, the hall was built on top of fill dirt and as it settled, the crack appeared.

 

The crack was on the agenda at deacon meeting after deacon meeting.  Periodically, the deacons would report to the entire congregation about the crack’s progression.  Engineering studies were commissioned, and lines were drawn on the wall – with corresponding dates – to mark how the crack was continually expanding. 

 

Finally, I had had enough and blew my lid.  “I don’t care if we raze the entire building or stabilize it and build a three-story addition on top,” I said.  “But let’s do something!”

 

I don’t think my position was wrong nor do I think Chuck Swindoll would disagree with my approach.  Yes, we should never run ahead of God, making important – potentially life-changing – decisions by the seat of our pants.  All such decisions should be bathed in prayer and accompanied by thorough research and godly counsel.

 

But there comes a time when we have all the facts and spiritual insight necessary to make a decision.  When that time arrives, we must refuse the temptation to kick the decision further down the road for someone else to make.  Faith must be exercised – boldly and courageously.  And yes, without looking back and second-guessing yourself.

 

“Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – April 13, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“The Body of B. Franklin, Printer.

Like the Cover of an old Book,

Its Contents torn out,

And Stript of its Lettering and Gilding.

Lies here, Food for Worms.

But the Work shall not be lost,

For it will as he believ’d,

Appear once more

In a new & and more elegant Edition,

Corrected and improved by the Author.”

 

-          Ben Franklin’s epitaph, written by him in 1728 at age 22

 

Have you ever thought about how you wish to be remembered?  I have often said that I want my gravestone to simply read as follows: “Husband, Father, Grandfather, Friend of Prisoners.”  That is who I am, in order of importance, and that is how I have tried to live my life.  I guess I could also add “Child of God” at the top, but that goes without saying.

 

Ben Franklin and I are not alone in writing our own epitaphs.  Here are the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

“Every now and then I think about my own death and I think about my own funeral.  And I don’t think of it in a morbid sense…I ask myself, ‘What is it that I would want said?’”

 

“If any of you are around when I have to meet my day, I don’t want a long funeral.  And if you get somebody to deliver the eulogy, tell them not to talk too long.  Tell them not to mention that I have a Nobel Peace Prize – that isn’t important.  Tell them not to mention that I have three or four hundred other awards – that’s not important.  Tell them not to mention where I went to school.”

 

“I’d like somebody to mention that day when Martin Luther King, Jr. tried to give his life serving others.  I’d like for somebody to say that day that Martin Luther King, Jr. tried to love somebody.”

 

“I want you to be able to say that day that I tried to be right on the war question…say that I did try to feed the hungry…say that day that I did try in my life to clothe those who were naked…say that I was a drum major for justice.  Say that I was a drum major for peace.  I was a drum major for righteousness.”

 

“And all of the other shallow things will not matter.  I won’t have any money to leave behind.  I won’t have the fine and luxurious things of life to leave behind.  But I just want to leave a committed life behind.  And that’s all I want to say.”

 

Did you catch that last phrase?  “I just want to leave a committed life behind.”  Is that what you want people to say about you when you draw your last breath?  If so, how are you living your life now and to what great cause are you committed?

 

Dr. King was committed to peace, justice and righteousness.  I am committed to my faith, my family, and to reaching as many people as possible – especially prisoners and at-risk youth – with the gospel.

 

Remember, you are writing your epitaph every single day.  So, live your life in such a way that the words spoken at your funeral will ring just as true today.

 

“And he (Hezekiah) did what was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father David had done.  He trusted in the LORD God of Israel, so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor who were before him.  For he held fast to the LORD; he did not depart from following Him, but kept His commandments, which the LORD had commanded Moses.” 2 Kings 18:3, 4-5 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – April 12, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Life is hard, at times as hard as crucible steel.  It has its bleak and difficult moments.  Like the ever-flowing waters of the river, life has its moments of drought and its moments of flood…If one will hold on, he will discover that God walks with him…God is able to lift you from the fatigue of despair to the buoyancy of hope, and transform dark and desolate valleys into sunlit paths of inner peace.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

In many ways, today’s quote by Dr. King sums up the true gospel in a nutshell.  Contrary to what the prosperity gospel peddlers would have you believe, life – as Dr. King said – is full of ups and downs, peaks and valleys.  One minute you are experiencing showers of blessings and the next, you are being swamped by the floodwaters of misfortune.

 

But the good news – make that the Good News – is that when we come to saving faith in Jesus Christ, He promises to be with us throughout life’s highs and lows.  Jesus is that Friend who sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24); the One who assures us that He will never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).

 

For our first date, Deanna and I decided to meet halfway between her home in Fulton County, PA and mine in South Jersey.  That halfway point turned out to be Hershey Park and so, we spent the day enjoying the rides and each other’s company.  

 

Unbeknownst to Deanna, I wasn’t a roller coaster fan at the time, although I have grown to like them since.  However, since I wanted to make a favorable impression, I joined her – white knuckles and all – on the “Comet”, a rickety old wooden coaster.  She also talked me into going on the “Sooper Dooper Looper”, which turns you completely upside down (more than once!)

 

In many ways, those two rides were a microcosm of our 33-year marriage.  Together, we have soared to some incredible heights and also experienced our share our bone-jarring lows.  The births of our three children and three grandchildren have brought us unspeakable joy; whereas Christopher’s stroke as a two-year old and my father’s sudden death knocked the wind out of us for a period of time.

 

But just as Dr. King predicted, we have discovered God’s peace and experienced His presence every step of the way.  Not always instantaneously, but simply by holding on with both hands for dear life.

 

“The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” Deuteronomy 33:27 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – April 11, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright days of justice emerge.  And that is something that I must say to my people who stand on the worn threshold that leads into the palace of justice.  In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds.  Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

Two wrongs don’t make a right.

 

How many times have you heard those words from your parents, a teacher, or a pastor?  In essence, that is exactly what Dr. King is saying in today’s quote.

 

Amidst the well-entrenched racism of the 1950’s and 1960’s, Dr. King reminded his followers that the path to true equality wasn’t going to be an easy one.  It was going to take discipline and perseverance.  Discipline not to retaliate and perseverance not to give up.

 

Committing a crime – and yes, Dr. King considered hatred and bitterness a moral crime of sorts – in the pursuit of justice was not to be tolerated. 

 

Unfortunately, not everyone involved in the civil rights movement agreed with Dr. King’s nonviolent approach.  Malcolm X, Eldridge Cleaver, Stokely Carmichael and others were far more radical in their methodology.  But Dr. King pressed on, despite being ridiculed as a relic from the past.

 

Today, virtually every American knows the name – and honors the memory – of Dr. King.  Meanwhile, the Black Panther Party and the unsuitably named Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee are mere historical footnotes.

 

History has proven Dr. King to be right… and his one-time critics to be wrong.  May we follow his example by choosing a Christ-honoring path in life and staying committed to it no matter what.

 

“Repay no one evil for evil.  Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.  If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.  Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.  Therefore ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.’  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:17-21 (NKJV)   

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – April 10, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“A time comes when silence is betrayal.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

Last week, I had the privilege of attending the MLK50 conference in Memphis TN.  Hosted by the Southern Baptist Convention in partnership with the Gospel Coalition and the Presbyterian Church in America, the conference drew almost 4,000 people from across the country – all of them seeking racial reconciliation.

 

Whereas I enjoyed the general sessions as well as the workshops, especially the one on criminal justice reform, the highlight of my trip was the half-day I spent touring the National Civil Rights Museum.  The museum is housed in the former Lorraine Motel, the very spot where Dr. King was assassinated on April 4, 1968. 

 

I can’t begin to tell you how moving that experience was for me.  The museum exhibits covered the entire scope of the civil rights movement from the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955 to Dr. King’s murder at age 39.  I learned about the Freedom Riders, Rosa Parks, and “Bloody Sunday”, March 7, 1965, when 600 marchers on their way from Selma to Montgomery were met at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge by Alabama State Troopers armed with tear gas and billy clubs.

 

But nothing I saw at the museum affected me more than standing within a few feet of the balcony where Dr. King was gunned down.  I was also able to view the room in the boarding house across the street from where James Earl Ray fired the fatal shot.

 

Since returning home, I have been devouring a book about the final year of Dr. King’s life.  It is titled, “Death of a King”, and I literally can’t put it down.  What I like the most about the book is how the author, Tavis Smiley, refuses to “sugarcoat” Dr. King’s legacy.  Smiley pays homage to Dr. King, quoting the soaring oratory of his most powerful speeches.  But he also chronicles the internal riffs within the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, as well as King’s battles with depression and his marital infidelities.

 

I guess what I am learning the most about Dr. King is that, despite his many flaws and contradictions, he refused to remain silent.  Warts and all, he saw injustice and fought it to his dying breath.

 

“And when He had removed him, He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.’” Acts 13:22 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – April 9, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16 ESV

 

Some of my favorite shows to watch are those about nature. Recently, I have been particularly interested in the Planet Earth series. As always, I was amazed by the grandeur of God’s creation. Moreover, I saw certain events played out in the animal world that serve as examples for us…and I don’t believe this to be a coincidence.

 

In one episode, featuring jungles, narrator David Attenborough described an unusual phenomena affecting insects. A fungus, known as Cordyceps, infects the body and mind of its host, causing strange behavior. This was seen specifically in the case of a bullet ant. Clawing at his head and moving sporadically up a tree, it was clear the ant had been poisoned by the fungus.

 

Upon observing this ant’s conduct, a worker ant picked it up and removed it far from the colony. Amazingly, if the infected ant had been allowed to stay, the rest of the colony could have perished. When the ant died, the fungus grew forth from its corpse and released deadly spores. If other ants were near, they too would have been infected.

 

In Matthew 5:29-30, Jesus speaks to the idea of one part affecting the whole. If our eye or our hand causes us to sin, we are to remove them with immediacy. Though Christians are not to be a group of dismembered individuals, the principle of eradicating sin from our life remains.

 

One sin is not easily kept hidden in a box. It often reveals itself through the manifestation of other sins. Do not allow such a sin to destroy your entire soul. Confess it, repent from it, and remove it from your life.

 

“Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.” Proverbs 28:13 ESV

 

-          Christopher Glading, Program Director


Dare 2B Daring – March 30, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Obstacles don’t have to stop you.  If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up.  Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.” – Michael Jordan

 

Before there was Ken Griffey, Jr., there was “Pistol” Pete Reiser.

 

Junior Griffey, a second-generation Major Leaguer and a first ballot Hall of Famer, was known for his sweet left-handed swing that produced 630 HR’s and 1,836 RBI’s.  However, “Junior” wasn’t a one-dimensional player.  He also stole 184 bases on his way to scoring 1,662 runs.

 

But Griffey’s greatness doesn’t stop there, because he was also awarded 10 consecutive Gold Gloves (1990-1999) for his fielding excellence.  Junior was what many baseball experts call a “5-tool player”.

 

As incredible as his statistics are, Griffey might have posted even higher numbers had he not played the game “all-out”.  He regularly dove for balls and crashed into walls to help his team defensively.  #24 was also a very aggressive baserunner.  At the end of his storied 22-year career, Junior paid the price as he was constantly hobbled by injuries.

 

The way Junior played the game reminds me of a center-fielder for the Brooklyn Dodgers named Pete Reiser.  His career only lasted 10 seasons for two reasons.  First, he served in the U.S. Army from 1943 to 1945, missing three entire seasons at the height of his career.  Second, Pete had a penchant for running into walls in pursuit of fly balls. 

 

In his first full season, Reiser led the NL in batting average, doubles, triples, runs scored and slugging percentage.  The next year, he was hitting .350 on July 19th when he crashed face-first into the outfield wall.  “Pistol Pete” only missed four games with the resulting concussion, but his average plummeted to .310 by the season’s end.

 

Reiser played the game “full-speed ahead”, especially in the field, and was therefore very injury-prone. He fractured his skull running into an outfield wall on one occasion (but still made the throw back to the infield), was temporarily paralyzed on another, and was taken off the field on a stretcher a record 11 times.  His one-time manager, Leo Durocher, said that there was only one other ballplayer who compared to Reiser, and that was the legendary Willie Mays.

 

"Pete had more power than Willie – left-handed and right-handed both,” Durocher said. “He had everything but luck."

 

So, what is the morale of today’s devotional?  If Pete Reiser and Ken Griffey, Jr. can repeatedly crash into outfield walls in order to catch a flyball, shouldn’t you and I crash the very gates of hell to win souls to Jesus Christ?

“And I say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:18 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – March 29, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“The most common mistake Christians make in worship today is seeking an experience rather then seeking God.” – Rick Warren

 

I am not a big Rick Warren fan, but the first sentence of his book, “The Purpose Driven Life”, is spot-on.  “It’s not about you”, is how that mega best-seller begins.

 

And yet, tragically, many churches across America have fallen into the trap – and propagated the lie – that the purpose of gathering on Sunday morning is to provide a meaningful worship experience for their attendees.  In other words, church is to be people-oriented instead of God-centered.

 

The result has been a plethora of church “innovations” meant to attract newcomers and entertain existing members.  Lost in the mix are two eternal truths.

 

First, church services are primarily meant for Christians.  They serve as a place and a time for Christ-followers to corporately worship the One True God.  Sunday mornings are also meant to teach believers God’s truth and help them apply it to their lives.  Reaching the lost is a secondary function, but best accomplished by members witnessing to their friends, relatives, neighbors and co-workers.

 

Second, if church members need to be constantly amused in order to hold their attention, then something is dreadfully wrong.  Instead, believers should be challenged to grow in their faith and share it with others.  “Disciples who make disciples” sums it up pretty well.

 

Let me reiterate – the purpose of a worship service is exactly that: to worship.  Through singing, through praying, and through the proclamation of His Word.  It really doesn’t matter whether those three elements cause you to exit church on a spiritual high… or broken and repentant.  When God is worshipped in spirit and in truth, He determines the outcome, not us.

 

Remember, it’s NOT about you, me or anyone else.  It’s about HIM… and deservedly so.

 

“So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness, and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people.  And the Lord added daily to the church daily those who were being saved.” Acts 2:46-47 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – March 28, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.” – Michael Jordan

 

When it comes to winning games – and especially, championships – Michael Jordan certainly knows what he’s talking about.  He won six NBA titles with the Chicago Bulls, including three-peats in 1990-1993 and 1995-1998.  MJ also led the Bulls to a 72-10 record during the 1995-96 regular season to set an all-time record (since broken by the 2015-16 Golden State Warriors).

 

But despite his greatness, “His Airness” couldn’t win an NBA title by himself.  In his rookie season, Jordan averaged 28.2 points per game (3rd in the league), but the Bulls finished with a losing record, 38-44.  It wasn’t until the Bulls management surrounded him with other players – some good like Horace Grant and Dennis Rodman, and some great like Scottie Pippen – that the Bulls started to dominate the league.

 

In my 30-plus years of taking sports teams into prisons across North America and Africa, I have seen this same scenario played out over and over again.  Generally speaking, inmate teams are younger, faster and more athletic than we are.  However, our teams of seasoned veterans win far more often than we lose for one very simple reason: we play smart and we play together.

 

Inmate squads are comprised of five very talented individuals, whereas our undersized teams are exactly that – a TEAM.  We don’t care who scores the most points or who drives in the most runs.  All we care about is winning… souls first and games second.

 

Two different U.S. presidents – Truman and Reagan – were quoted as saying the same thing: “It is amazing what can be accomplished when you don’t care who gets the credit.”  That’s true in sports, in politics and yes, in the Body of Christ.

 

If your church is full of people with big egos and hidden agendas, you are headed for disaster.  On the contrary, if your congregation is able to set aside its personal ambitions for the greater cause of Christ and the advancement of His gospel, then “Katy bar the door!”  You are on your way to accomplishing great things for God’s kingdom.

 

“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.  Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-4 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – March 27, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“If you’re not failing, you’re not trying.  And if you’re not trying, you’re not living.” – Will Estes, Jamie Reagan on “Blue Bloods”

 

If you’ve ever watched “Blue Bloods” on TV, you know that each episode features a scene around the dining room table.  The entire Reagan family, all four generations, gathers there once a week to reconnect with each other. 

 

Henry, the patriarch, is a former NYPD commissioner.  He sits at one end of the table while his son Frank, the current commissioner, sits at the other.  In between them sit Danny, a police detective with his two sons (Jack and Sean); and Erin, an assistant district attorney and her daughter (Nicky).  And then there’s Jamie, an unmarried beat cop who graduated from law school before realizing that his heart was really in law enforcement.

 

In a recent episode, the conversation around the dinner table dealt with failure.  It was Jack’s turn to describe a time that week when he had failed.  Jack was naturally hesitant, but Jamie reminded him that we all learn more from our failures than our successes.  He then shared the quote at the top of today’s devotional.

 

For the record, I agree with Jaime 100%!  Yes, we all fail repeatedly and to deny that simple fact is both prideful and deceitful.  I also agree with Jamie that we tend to learn our most valuable lessons from the times we mess up and fall flat on our faces.  But most of all, I echo Jamie’s contention that if you’re not occasionally failing, you’re not trying very hard to excel… or to make a difference for Christ.

 

Teddy Roosevelt famously said, “The only man who makes no mistakes is the man who never does anything.”  Even the great Michael Jordan spoke out on the subject of failure – and its immense value.

 

“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career.  I’ve lost almost 300 games.  26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed.  I’ve failed over and over and over in my life.  And that is why I succeed.”  

 

Like most people, I hate failing.  It stinks, and it stings.  But I will never use that as an excuse not to try something new.  Leaving one’s comfort zone – spiritually and otherwise – and risking failure in the pursuit of excellence tests a person’s faith more than anything I know.

 

“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” Galatians 6:9 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – March 26, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Honesty is the fastest way to prevent a mistake from turning into a failure.” – James Altucher

 

During high school and college, one of my favorite TV shows was, “Happy Days”.  It starred Ron Howard as Richie Cunningham and featured other memorable characters like “Potsie Webber”, “Ralph Malph”, “Al Delvecchio”, and “Mr. and Mrs. C.”  Then, of course, there was Arthur Fonzarelli, better known as “the Fonz”, portrayed by Henry Winkler.

 

In one of my favorite episodes, “Tell it to the Marines”, Fonzie made some kind of mistake. However, he simply couldn’t bring himself to admit it.  Confronted with the truth, he hemmed and hawed, stammered and stuttered.  Finally, he tried his best to confess, but all that would come out was, “I was wwwrrr...”  The great (and very proud) Fonz couldn’t admit that he was w-r-o-n-g!

 

Eventually, Fonzie circumvented the issue by saying, “I was not exactly right.”  That was the closest he could come to an admission of guilt.

 

My friend, do you have a similar problem?  When faced with a sin you’ve committed or a bad situation that you’ve created, do you make excuses or freely admit your shortcomings?

 

Scripture says that “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.  Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due season.” I Peter 5:5-6

 

I don’t know about you, but I would much rather receive God’s grace than His resistance.  That is why I try my best to readily admit my guilt whenever I am wrong – which, quite frankly, is fairly often.

 

Or should I say, when I am “wwwrrr…?”

 

“Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” James 5:16 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – March 23, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“The Christian should take nothing short of Christ for his model.  Under no circumstances ought we to be content unless we reflect the grace which was in Him.” – C. H. Spurgeon

 

One of the easiest traps for a believer – or an unbeliever, for that matter – to fall into is comparing oneself to another person.  If we think that the other person is better than us, we risk developing an inferiority complex and low self-esteem. 

 

However, far more commonly, we choose someone to whom we feel morally superior.  That allows us – or so we think – to rationalize our sinful behavior because, after all, “we aren’t as bad as so and so.”  The end result of such misguided behavior is a prideful heart, which is the one thing God hates more than any other.

 

Spurgeon, who is one of my spiritual heroes, writes that the second option is no option at all.  Instead of comparing ourselves to another person, Spurgeon says that our one and only model should be the Lord Jesus Christ.  Compared to the Son of God, you, me and every person who has ever walked the face of the earth comes up begging.

 

That is why Isaiah, when confronted by God in His temple, cried out, “Woe is me, for I am undone!  Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.”

 

Yes, when compared to Jesus, all of us fall – and I do mean FALL – woefully short.  But there is a silver lining to that very dark cloud.  Jesus doesn’t simply write us off because we are sinners.  After all, the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke 19:10).  Instead, He continues to shape and mold us, conforming us into His image.  The Bible calls that process sanctification.

 

My fellow believer, stop comparing yourself to your friends, your neighbors, your co-workers or anyone else.  If you must “comparison shop”, stand side-by-side with Jesus Christ... and then ask (and allow) Him to make you more like Him.

 

I can promise you three things about that process: it will sometimes hurt; it will take a lifetime to complete; and it will be worth it all.

 

“Being confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6   

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – March 22, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Real courage is when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.” – Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

 

Over the past two days, I’ve written devotional messages featuring my two sons, Matt and Chris.  So, there’s no way I can leave out my daughter Bethany – who was, is and always will be the absolute apple of her daddy’s eye.

 

A few years before our family relocated from New Jersey to Florida, I had the privilege of escorting Bethany into prison.  Not as an inmate, mind you, but as a volunteer.  Actually, as a missionary athlete, because she was there to minister as part of a women’s softball team.

 

Our lady’s team was new and relatively inexperienced.  In fact, Bethany was one of the few girls who had played competitively before.  But that really didn’t matter, because we were there to minister first and play softball second.

 

That’s a good thing, because we got shut out at the first prison and had fallen behind at the second one.  As coach, I had batted Bethany third in the lineup and she had had a good day at the plate.  However, every time she got on base, there was no one to drive her in.

 

Until the next to last inning of the final game, that is.  Leading off with a single, Bethany advanced to second on a ground out.  Unfortunately, it looked like she would be stranded there because the next batter struck out.  But then lightning struck, as the next hitter singled to left. 

 

Knowing that it would be a close play at the plate, Bethany rounded third and headed for home.  She slid hard, arriving a split-second before the catcher applied the tag.  S-A-F-E!!!

 

Rising to her feet, Bethany limped to our bench and painfully removed her right cleat.  Beneath her blood-stained sock, it was apparent that – in the process of scoring our one and only run – she had ripped the nail off her big toe.  Ouch!

 

But guess who put her cleat back on and hobbled out to her position at second base?  That’s right… MY daughter!  Excuse me now while I go replace the button that just popped off my chest.

 

“He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels… To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne.” Revelation 3:5, 21 (KJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President

 


Dare 2B Daring – March 21, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“We learned about honesty and integrity – that the truth matters… that you don’t take shortcuts or play by your own set of rules… and success doesn’t count unless you earn it fair and square.” – Michelle Obama

 

In 1925, the U.S. Open was played at Worcester Country Club near Boston.  In the first round, playing the 11th hole, Bobby Jones addressed his ball in the deep rough.  As he did, his clubhead brushed the grass, causing his ball to move ever so slightly.  Jones hit the shot and then informed his playing partner, Walter Hagen, and the nearest USGA official that he was calling a one-stroke penalty on himself.

 

Hagen and the official both tried to talk Jones out of the self-imposed penalty, saying that they hadn’t seen the ball move.  But Jones insisted, signing for a 77 instead of a 76.  That one stroke kept him from winning the tournament outright and instead, Jones lost in a playoff.

 

Flash forward to a junior tournament about 15 years ago, played at a prestigious country club in Ringoes NJ.  I had encouraged my son Matt to enter to see how he compared to other golfers his age – even though the competition was comprised almost exclusively of “blue blood” kids who had grown up taking private lessons from a PGA golf professional.

 

On the second hole, a par 5, Matt got into trouble off the tee.  One bad shot led to another, but he kept plodding away.  When he finally holed out, I asked Matt what score he had shot on the hole.  “A 10”, he said matter-of-factly, recording that double-digit number on his scorecard.

 

I was sure that Matt would lose heart and give up, but instead he seemed to be motivated by the “double par”.  Never losing his composure, Matt regrouped and started playing some excellent golf.  Stringing together a bunch of good shots – and good holes – he managed to finish in the top third of the tournament.

 

Congratulating him after his round, I told Matt how proud I was that he hadn’t lied about his score on the 2nd hole.  I also complimented him on the way he had rebounded from such adversity.

 

“Dad,” Matt said, “the guy I played with may have finished with the lowest score, but he really didn’t win the tournament.  I caught him cheating a few times.”

 

Hmmm… honesty, integrity, grit and determination.  Way to make your dad proud, son!

 

“For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of man.” 2 Corinthians 8:21 (NIV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – March 20, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Promise me you will not spend so much time treading water and trying to keep your head above the waves that you forget, truly forget, how much you have always loved to swim.” – Tyler Knott Gregson

 

About 15 years ago, our family was vacationing in Connecticut and Massachusetts.  For the first part of the trip, we camped on Lake Odetah in CT. 

 

One day, Matt, Chris and I were swimming in the lake while Deanna and Bethany were hanging out at the pool.  Either I challenged Chris or he challenged me, but we were soon competing to see who could tread water the longest.  After 10 minutes, neither of us was showing any signs of tiring.  The same after 20 minutes.

 

Finally, after 30 minutes, I suggested that we call it a tie and try something even more adventurous, like swimming across the 32-acre lake.  On the count of three, Chris and I stopped treading water and started swimming.  We invited Matt to join us, but he opted to walk around the perimeter of the lake and meet us there.

 

To say that Deanna wasn’t too thrilled with me “upping the ante” would be an understatement.  But I wasn’t the least bit tired, the lake wasn’t that deep, and we would be swimming close to the shoreline.  Besides, I was an accomplished swimmer, having served two summers as a Red Cross-approved lifeguard in my youth.

 

And so, Chris and I set off – with him swimming slightly ahead of me, so I could keep a watchful eye on him.  I was hoping we would encounter a turtle or two, but no such luck.  Instead, after a relatively uneventful five-minute swim, we climbed victoriously onto the bank. 

 

To this day, Chris and I love recounting that day’s exploits.  It is a shared experience that neither of us will ever forget.

 

Imagine, for a minute, if we had simply ended our treading water contest in a tie and then called it quits.  Chris and I would have missed out on a great father and son experience, one that taught us a few valuable life lessons.  By pushing each other to accomplish something special, we did exactly that.

 

Brothers and sisters, please resist the urge to simply tread water in life.  Push yourself – physically, mentally and most of all, spiritually.  And be sure to invite someone else along for the ride… or the swim.

 

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” I Thess. 5:11 (NIV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – March 19, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“If you want your children to turn out well, spend twice as much time with them, and half as much money.” – Abigail Van Buren (Dear Abby)

 

I have seen it happen over and over again, almost always with the same tragic results.

 

Parents, especially fathers, so hellbent on advancing their careers that they wind up neglecting their kids.  A big promotion, a prestigious title, and a corner office take precedence over their paternal responsibilities.  Racked by guilt, the father then showers his son or daughter with every toy or gadget imaginable.

 

Soon, the child’s room features the newest video game console, and their closet is filled with the trendiest fashions.  Next comes the latest laptop and the snazziest smart phone.  And when he or she is old enough, there is a hot new – and very expensive – sports car sitting in the driveway with their name on the title.

 

But is that really what a child wants?  More importantly, is that really what a child needs?

 

I have served in prison ministry for more than 30 years, during which time I have been privileged to minister to an estimated 500,000 inmates.  And for the past seven years, I have also spent countless hours ministering to at-risk youth, many of whom are already dabbling in criminal behavior.

 

Do you know what is the #1 common denominator among these prisoners and soon-to-be prisoners?  The lack of a positive male role model.

 

From my experience, there are two kinds of absentee fathers.  First, there are the ones who selfishly and heartlessly abandon their kids at a young age.  The second kind are still living at home, but they spend so much time at the office that they are equally AWOL.  The fathers who deserted their young children gave them too little.  The guilt-ridden dads gave their kids too much.

 

Dads (and moms, too) do your kids a favor.  Put away the checkbook and give them what they truly want and need – YOU.  Instead of handing them the keys to a fancy new Corvette, offer them something really special: your undivided attention.

 

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6 (NJKV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – March 16, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“No one defended the inerrancy of the Scriptures more than Jesus.  He quoted biblical passages in responding to His disciples, His critics, and the devil himself.  He referred to almost every controversial story in the Old Testament including: Noah, Jonah, Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah and Daniel.  He emphasized technical details of interpretation and dared to claim the entire Old Testament message was all about Him.  We are ultimately left with one of two choices: poor dumb Jesus or poor dumb scholars.  I’ll stick with Jesus every time.” – Ed Hinson, Dean and Distinguished Professor of Religion, Liberty School of Religion

 

As a child, I loved to play with blocks.  Starting with simple towers, I eventually graduated to building forts and filling them with my plastic Civil War soldiers.  Because I had read about their heroic exploits on the battlefield, I usually made sure that Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson won almost every skirmish.

 

Sadly, I outgrew blocks and my epic Civil War battles became a thing of the past.  However, I still liked to build things and so, I traded my blocks for a deck of cards.  Whereas it was easy to place wooden blocks on top of each other, building houses out of cards required a much steadier hand. 

 

I think the biggest card house I ever built was a three-story one.  But at some point, my hand would inevitably shake, and the entire house of cards would come tumbling down.

 

The doctrine of biblical inerrancy works the same way.  Either all of God’s Word is true or none of it is.  If we start picking and choosing what parts are truly inspired and what parts supposedly aren’t, we undermine all of Scripture.  Even worse, we put ourselves in the dangerous position of saying that we know better than God.

 

Maybe my faith is childlike, but I believe that every word of the Bible was inspired by the Holy Spirit.  Likewise, I believe that the God who created and sustains the universe is completely capable of preserving His Word throughout the ages.

 

As philosophy professor Richard Howe puts it, “The Bible is the Word of God.  God cannot err.  Therefore, the Bible cannot err.  If the Bible errs, then either in some sense it is not the Word of God or in some sense God can err.  The logic is undeniable.”

 

Donald Williams, President of the International Society of Christian Apologetics, puts it this way.  “Some doubt whether inerrancy makes a practical difference.  The difference is this: Without it, authority is inevitably transferred from the Text to the ‘Expert’, whether it be the critic, the scholar, the pastor, or the individual.  For now someone other than the Apostles and Prophets has to tell you what to believe.”  

 

Why am I so adamant about biblical inerrancy, refusing to budge a single inch?  I’ll let Emir Caner, President of Truett-McConnell College, answer that question for me.  “The inerrancy of Scripture is the key doctrine as it pertains to the character of God and how He relates to man.  What is on the line is no less than the souls of men and women.”  

 

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness…” 2 Timothy 3:16 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President 


Dare 2B Daring – March 15, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“When it is not necessary to change, it is necessary not to change.” – Pat Buchanan

 

As early as 2007, I sensed that God was preparing me for a new ministry after two decades with The Saints Prison Ministry.  As I jokingly tell people now, that’s why I wrote three books and ran for Congress twice over a three-year period.  Simply put, I had a hard time sitting still while I was waiting on my new “marching orders”.

 

Finally, in 2011, He led our family to relocate to Florida to launch Risk Takers for Christ.  At the time, I thought that God wanted to use me more as an itinerant preacher and evangelist.  And to a certain extent, I was right.  However, here we are in 2018 and guess what I am spending the vast majority of my time doing?  That’s right; using sports to minister to prisoners!

 

Of course, I am also dedicating much of my energies to reaching at-risk youth with the gospel before they get into trouble with the law.  As they say, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”  But in hindsight, it appears that God wanted me in prison ministry all along.  Maybe I just needed a change of scenery to keep me fresh.

 

Change can be good, and change can be healthy.  And most definitely, it keeps us on our toes, spiritually and otherwise.  Trust me – leaving a successful ministry to start a new one from scratch will either draw you closer to God or give you gray hair.  In my case, it did both!

 

But despite the benefits that result from implementing some changes in your life, I don’t advise people to make changes for change sake.  Instead, I suggest that you keep doing what you’re doing while remaining open to God’s leading.  In other words, put down roots and bear fruit… but be prepared for God to “transplant” you elsewhere.

 

After all, He might what to use a change of scenery, vocation or ministry to keep you fresh, too.

 

“Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, ‘Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.’  This is desert.  So he arose and went… Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing.” Acts 8:26-27, 39 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – March 14, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“War’s very object is victory, not prolonged indecision.” – Gen. Douglas MacArthur

 

I love history, especially American history.  From the colonial days, through the American Revolution and the Civil War, followed by the Industrial Revolution and two World Wars – I continue to be fascinated by the accomplishments (and shortcomings) of the men and women who went before us.

 

One of my favorite subjects to study and read about are U.S. presidents and military generals.  In fact,  I am currently reading a book about Richard Nixon, and recently finished books about George Washington, Dwight Eisenhower and George Patton.

 

However, one thing I can’t figure out is how America went from fighting and winning wars to fighting and losing them.  Or at the very least, to being satisfied with a stalemate. 

 

Up and through World War II, the United States “pulled out all the stops” whenever it committed its troops to battle.  After all, if you are going to place your best men and women in harm’s way, you’d better do everything in your power to ensure that they win… right?

 

Somehow, during the 1950’s and 1960’s, that rationale seemed to change.  America went from a “victory at all cost” mentality to more of a containment strategy.  Ignoring Gen. MacArthur’s advice to push into Communist China and finish the job, we settled for a divided Korea in the fifties.  And then in the sixties, we fought with one hand tied behind our backs in Southeast Asia, eventually abandoning South Vietnam in the seventies to Ho Chi Ming and the Viet Cong.

 

Even more tragic than fighting a military war half-heartedly is following the same misguided approach in the spiritual realm.  Folks, spiritual warfare is real… and it is deadly.  Most importantly, the stakes are eternal.

 

So, my friend, stop trying to “contain” Satan and his emissaries and quit fighting them without your complete spiritual arsenal.  Instead, recognize that “greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.”  Put on your full spiritual armor each and every day, wage into battle, and fight to win!

 

“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world.  And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith.  Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” I John 5:4-5 (NKJV)

 

“Then all this assembly shall know that the LORD does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the LORD’S, and He will give you into our hands.” I Samuel 17:47 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President  


Dare 2B Daring – March 13, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Time heals everything but loving you.” – Mabel Normand

 

“Mack & Mabel” is a Broadway play written by Michael Stewart (book) and Jerry Herman (music and lyrics).  It tells the story of the tortured romance between silent film producer Mack Sennett and his favorite leading lady, Mabel Normand.

 

Produced by the legendary David Merrick, “Mack & Mabel” debuted on the “Great White Way” in 1974 with Robert Preston and Bernadette Peters in the title roles.  However, despite receiving eight Tony Award nominations including one for Best Musical, “Mack & Mabel” closed after just eight weeks.

 

In 1977, I appeared in our high school’s production of “Mack & Mabel” and have many wonderful memories of that experience.  And I still love the musical score, including “I Won’t Send Roses” and the haunting, “Time Heals Everything”.

 

Yes, time does heal a lot of things, but losing a close and cherished loved one is still hard to get over.  Just ask my mother, who today is mourning the 16th anniversary of my dad’s passing.

 

“I know He’s with the Lord and wouldn’t want to come back, even if he could,” she told me on the phone yesterday.  “But I still miss him terribly.”

 

My parents married in 1950 and my dad “graduated to Glory” in 2002.  That means that they spent almost 52 years together as man and wife.  No wonder my dad used to say, “I’ve been married so long, I don’t remember being single.”

 

Deanna and I are closing in on 33 years of marriage and I pray that we will eclipse my parents’ record of longevity someday.  But in the meantime, I try to tell her each and every day that I love her.  More importantly, I do my best to show her, too.

 

If you love someone, don’t wait.  Tell them and show them today… and tomorrow… and the day after that.  Someday they will be gone, and it will be too late to send them roses.

 

“Behold, you are fair, my love!  Behold, you are fair!  You have dove’s eyes.” Song of Solomon 1:15 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – March 12, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“We need the lift of a driving dream.” – Ray Price, political advisor to Richard Nixon

 

Admittedly, communicating a grand dream that motivates and inspires is important in politics.  However, it is absolutely essential to a person’s spiritual life if he or she wants to fulfill their true God-given potential.  And no local body of believers can survive – let alone flourish – without a vision of what God wants to accomplish in and through them.

 

That is why my home church, Cornerstone Baptist Fellowship, just conducted the first of three “Elisha Prayer Walks”.  Based on 2 Kings 7:17, our members are walking throughout the church property, pleading with God to “open our eyes that we may see.”  Just like Elisha’s servant, we want Him to reveal to us a vision.  No, not of the armies of God that surrounded the Syrian army (which, in turn, surrounded the Israelite army).  Instead, we want God to show us what He wants us to do with the seven acres of land our church building sits on.

 

Our building is debt-free, we have money in the bank, and our property is located on a well-traveled street.  So, the question remains: How does God want us to best use these resources for His glory?

 

Dear friend, God has not blessed you merely to meet your needs.  He has blessed you so that you will use those blessings to do one or both of the following things: (1.) To proclaim the gospel; (2.) To meet and minister to the needs of others.

 

If you live in Indian River County, I invite you to join our “prayer patrol” this Sunday evening at 6:00 PM.  Cornerstone Baptist Fellowship is located at 1091 Schumann Drive in Sebastian.  However, if you live elsewhere, I challenge you and your church to conduct an Elisha Prayer Walk of your own.

 

God desires to bless – and use – His children.  Sometimes, we just have to ask.

 

“Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Proverbs 29:18 (KJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – March 9, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“The agenda the liberals would impose on America – abortion on demand, a litmus test for the Supreme Court, homosexual rights, discrimination against religious schools, women in combat units – that’s change, all right.  But it is not the kind of change America needs.  It is not the kind of change America wants.  And it is not the kind of change we can abide in a nation we still call God’s country.” – Patrick J. Buchanan

 

Make no mistake about it.  Today’s devotional is not a political one; it is a moral one.  It is also a testament to the foresight of a good and godly man – and what happens when that prophetic warning is disregarded.

 

My guess is that Pat Buchanan would rather have been proven wrong than proven right.  However, there is no getting around the fact that virtually every dire prediction he made during his presidential campaign in 1992 has come true.

 

I am 58 years old and I can’t believe how America has changed – mostly for the worse – since I was a kid.  When I was in elementary school, abortion was still illegal.  Now, because of Roe v. Wade and the abortion mill called Planned Parenthood, we are witnessing the murder of an estimated 1,000,000 unborn babies annually.

 

Meanwhile, same-sex marriage has been legalized across the country and those who refuse to participate in a gay or lesbian wedding risk fines and/or imprisonment.  As former Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork once wrote, we are “Slouching Towards Gomorrah”.

 

These days, I long for three things.  The first is a nationwide revival and a return to the moral absolutes of my childhood.  The second is for more men and women of God to stand strong in the face of wicked and destructive societal pressures.

 

Third, should those two things fail to occur, I long for Christ’s return.  But until He does, I want to be found on the front lines of societal warfare, pushing back the forces of evil as much as possible.  Not for me and my generation, but for the sake of my children and grandchildren.

 

Care to join me?

 

“When the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:8 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – March 8, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“While pragmatism is the popular and fashionable line at present, it has very little appeal to people.  We may have to do what is pragmatic, but we have to talk in terms of principle.” – Richard Nixon in   a memo to Pat Buchanan, 1967

 

I am currently reading a fascinating book by Pat Buchanan, the conservative columnist and commentator.  Pat ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for president in 1992 and 1996; but is probably best known for being a senior advisor to three U.S. presidents – Nixon, Ford and Reagan.  He also was one of the original hosts of CNN’s popular “Crossfire” political roundtable.

 

Buchanan’s book is titled, “The Greatest Comeback” and covers the political resurrection of Richard Nixon.  Having lost the presidential race to John F. Kennedy in 1960 and the California gubernatorial race to Pat Brown in 1962, Nixon was considered a “dead man walking”.  In fact, the New York Times famously published his political obituary after he lost to Brown.

 

But mixing pragmatism with principle, Nixon found a way to fight his way back.  He campaigned arduously for Sen. Barry Goldwater in 1964; and crisscrossed the country countless times for Republican congressional candidates in 1966.  By the time the GOP convention rolled around in 1968, Nixon was the clear frontrunner, besting three Republican governors: George Romney (MI); Nelson Rockefeller (NY); and Ronald Reagan (CA).  He then defeated Democrat Hubert Humphrey to become the 37th president of the United States.

 

Regardless of what you think of Mr. Nixon, the first and only U.S. president to resign from office under threat of impeachment, there are some valuable lessons to be learned from his life and career.

 

  1. We should establish clear principles and stick to our core beliefs no matter what.  However, there are times when an element of pragmaticism must be added to the mix as long as doing so doesn’t violate those principles and beliefs.  As the saying goes, there are some very well-meaning believers who are “so heavenly-minded that they are no earthly good”.

 

  1. Don’t believe the pessimists and other naysayers.  If God calls you to do something, do it… and trust Him for the results.  All Christians sin and some of us fall harder than others.  However, God is not done using you until you draw your last breath, so keep on keeping on.

 

  1. When you slip up, confess it immediately.  If it was a private sin, confess it to God and move on.  If your conscience still bothers you, try confiding in a trusted Christian friend.  However, if your sin was a public one, a public confession may be required.  Above all, don’t try to cover it up.

 

Long story short, apply what Nixon did right and avoid what he did wrong.

 

“…because David did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, and had not turned aside from anything that He commanded him all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.”  I Kings 15:5 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – March 7, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“The fuller a vessel becomes, the deeper it sinks in the water.  Idlers may indulge a fond conceit of their abilities, because they are untried; but the earnest worker soon learns his own weakness.  If you seek humility, try hard work; if you would know your nothingness, attempt some great thing for Jesus.  If you would feel utterly powerless you are apart from the living God, attempt especially the great work of proclaiming the unsearchable riches of Christ, and you will know, as you never knew before, what a weak unworthy thing you are.” – C.H. Spurgeon

 

Here is a short list of the times when I have felt the most inadequate in my life (in no particular order)…

 

  1. Preaching at First Church of God in Vero Beach for the first time before a congregation of 500 people at three different services.

 

  1. Talking live to Bill Bennett on his popular radio program, which is broadcast coast to coast.

 

  1. Sharing my candidacy at a closed-door meeting of Washington insiders and power brokers.

 

  1. Debating a nine-term incumbent congressman on live TV in a major media market (Philadelphia).

 

These different events all have two things in common.  First, they involved me having to step outside of my spiritual, physical and emotional comfort zones… which made me exceedingly nervous.  Second, largely because of the first point, I was forced to rely almost exclusively on the Lord Jesus Christ to see me through.

 

And guess what?  He did each and every time!  I did a good enough job preaching at FCOG that I have been invited back numerous times.  My radio interview with Bill Bennett went well, as did my closed- door meeting and my live TV debate.  I may not have won the subsequent election, but I didn’t embarrass myself either.  And yes, I earned more votes than any previous candidate in my party since 1974. 

 

The moral of the story – and of today’s devotional message – is this: until you try to do something great for God, you will never know just how insufficient your own knowledge and resources are.  In times of desperation, we are more inclined to cry out to God for His protection and provision.

 

“I will lift up my eyes to the hills – from whence comes my help?  My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – March 6, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Let the thought of what life would be without Jesus enhance His preciousness.” – C.H. Spurgeon

 

My heart breaks whenever I think of the parents of the students – or the families of the teachers – who lost their lives in the most recent school shooting.  I pray that God will comfort them not only with His presence, but also with many happy memories of their loved one.  However, I am sure that there will always be a void in their lives as a result of the tragedy.  I can only pray that the emotional pain they are currently experiencing diminishes over time.

 

Unfortunately, the families of the victims don’t have to imagine what life would be like without their son, daughter, or husband.  But we can learn a valuable lesson from their grief, and it is this: don’t wait until someone is gone to fully appreciate them.

 

Deanna and I have been married for almost 33 years and I can’t imagine life without her.  Fortunately, since I am five years older than her and women usually outlive men by about five years, I probably won’t have to face that grim reality.  But that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t cherish each and every moment we have together now.

 

The same goes for our precious children and grandchildren.  And yes, even our pets.  Perhaps more than anyone, we need to value the time spent with our aging parents.  Deanna is blessed to have both of her parents still living.  In fact, they are currently staying at our house for a couple of weeks.  I, on the other hand, only have my mother left.  I try to call and/or write her every week and each conversation ends the same way.  My mom’s favorite phrase is, “Love you bunches”, to which I always reply, “Love you too, Ma.”

 

As the old saying goes, dead people can’t appreciate flowers.  So, send them now! 

 

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you.” Exodus 20:12 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President 


Dare 2B Daring – March 5, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

"I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can't accept not trying." – Michael Jordan, American athlete and businessman

 

As many people know, Michael Jordan was cut from the varsity basketball team in high school as a sophomore.  At 5’11” tall, he was deemed too short to play at that level.  However, instead of giving up, “MJ” joined the JV squad and scored more than 40-points in several games.

 

During that summer, Jordan trained hard – and grew four inches.  The results were phenomenal.  Michael averaged more than 20-points per game in his junior and senior years and was named a McDonald’s All-American.  From there, he went on to star for the University of North Carolina, winning a national championship in 1982.

 

After his junior season, Jordan declared for the NBA draft and was selected third overall by the Chicago Bulls.  Over his 16-year career, MJ tallied 32,292 points (30.1 ppg); grabbed 6,672 rebounds; and recorded 5,633 assists.  More importantly, he led the Bulls to six NBA titles (1991-1993 and 1995-1998).  He was also named the league’s MVP five times, was a 14-time All-Star, and won two Olympic gold medals.

 

Why the two-year gap between championship “three-peats”?  Three months after his father was murdered by car-jackers, Michael announced his retirement.  Four months after that, he signed a minor league contract with the Chicago White Sox to play for the Birmingham Barons.  Jordan only hit .202 that season with just three HR’s.  Soon, he was back in a Bulls jersey, leading them to three more consecutive NBA titles before retiring a second time.

 

After a two-year lay-off, Jordan came back one more time, playing two final seasons with the Washington Wizards.  He finally hung up his sneaks for good on April 16, 2003.  Today, MJ is the principal owner and chairman of the Charlotte Hornets.

 

Was Jordan the greatest basketball player of all time?  Probably so.  But he was a failure as a baseball player if you judge solely by the numbers.  However, in my book, MJ was equally successful in both endeavors because he never backed down from a challenge.  He simply did his best at whatever he tried, and then let the chips fall where they may.

 

Winning doesn’t make one a success.  Accepting challenges and giving 100% makes a person a true champion. 

 

“Give me this mountain!” Joshua 14:12 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – March 2, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.” – Groucho Marx

 

Man’s best friend deserves more than one devotional message, don’t you think?  And so, I’ve chosen today to share a few “canine quotes” along with a brief illustration for each one.

 

“Happiness is a warm puppy.” – Charles Schultz

 

Schultz was the author of the Peanuts comic strip and countless holiday specials featuring Charlie Brown and his dog, Snoopy.  Linus van Pelt may tell you that a warm blanket is the key to happiness, but Ol’ Chuck would beg to differ.  But they would both agree with the Apostle Paul, who reminded us that the simple things in life were the key to happiness.  “And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.” I Timothy 6:8

 

“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.” – Josh Billings

 

Pete, the English setter featured in yesterday’s devotional, was the epitome of that truth.  All a dog requires is a place to sleep – preferably by your side – and food in his bowl.  In exchange, he offers a lifetime of camaraderie, companionship, protection and unconditional love.  It’s true that Proverbs 18:24 was written about Jesus Christ.  However, the words “there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother,” could also apply to man’s best friend.

 

Here are a few final quotes without any additional commentary…

 

“The better I get to know men, the more I find myself loving dogs.” – Charles de Gaulle

 

“If you don't own a dog, at least one, there is not necessarily anything wrong with you, but there may be something wrong with your life.” – Roger Caras

 

“If a dog will not come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” – Woodrow Wilson

 

“You think those dogs will not be in heaven! I tell you they will be there long before any of us.” – Robert Louis Stevenson  

 

Can you tell I’m a dog lover?  Now go give yours a hug – or better yet, visit your local animal shelter and rescue one today!

 

“Rescue the perishing, care for the dying, snatch them in pity from sin and the grave; weep o’er the erring one, lift up the fallen, tell them of Jesus the mighty to save.” – Fanny Crosby

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – March 1, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on     a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring--it was peace.” – Milan Kundera

 

It was one of the most heartwarming – and heartbreaking – news stories I’ve read in very long time.

 

Pete was adopted by a couple in Greenwood Lake, NY when he was 12 years old.  By the time he turned 14, he was saying good-bye to middle-age and hello to his golden years.  Yes, Pete was an English Setter, and a rescue dog to boot.

 

Pete fit in seamlessly with Stephen and Cathi as well as their other two dogs, Boone and Jezebel.  In his youth, Pete was a hunting dog, but he had gotten too old for that.  However, Pete still enjoyed long walks in the woods with his family.

 

On one such walk, Pete and his family encountered a large black bear.  Feeling threatened and afraid to turn its back, the bear decided to attack instead.  While Stephen, Cathi, Boone and Jezebel ran for cover, Pete stood his ground.  He bravely fought off the much-larger bear, but sadly, lost his life in the process.

 

As I read Pete’s story – and tried to swallow the large lump in my throat – two things came to mind.  One was the love I have for our English beagle, Forrest, and the love he has for me.  Approaching his 10th birthday in April, Forrest has been a member of our family since he was a puppy.  No matter what kind of day I’ve had, Forrest is always there to greet me at the door with lots of barks and lots of “kisses”.  His love is truly unconditional.

 

The other thing that came to mind was the love my Savior had – and has – for me.  Perhaps C.H. Spurgeon put it best…

 

“It was from everlasting that He signed the compact with His Father, that He would pay blood for blood, suffering for suffering, agony for agony, and death for death, in the behalf of His people; it was from everlasting that He gave Himself up without murmuring a word, that from the crown of His head to the sole of His foot He might sweat great drops of blood, that He might be spit upon, pierced, mocked, rent sunder, and crushed beneath the pangs of death.”

 

“Has He from everlasting been going forth to save me, and will He lose me now?  Has He carried me in His hand, as His precious jewel, and will He now let me slip from between His fingers?  Did He choose me before the mountains were brought forth, or the channels of the deep were dug, and will He reject me now?  Impossible!”

 

“I am sure He would not have loved me so long if He had not been a changeless Lover.  If He could grow weary of me, He would have been tired of me long before now.  If He had not loved me with a love as deep as hell, and as strong as death, He would have turned from me long ago.  Oh, joy above all joys, to know that I am His everlasting and inalienable inheritance, given to Him by His Father before ever the earth was!”

 

Excuse me now, while I try to swallow an even larger lump…

 

“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” John 15:13 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – February 28, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Everlasting love shall be the pillow for my head this night.” – C.H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening

 

A few weeks ago, our son Chris asked Deanna and me to go shopping with him as he picked out his first-ever mattress.  Since moving into his own condo back in November, Chris had been sleeping on a futon made of three different sections – with three different creases.

 

We met Chris at a local furniture store and from there visited two more.  Finally, we ended up at one of the mattress stores that seemingly fill every strip mall in Vero.  While Chris was speaking with the sales manager, Deanna and I started sampling mattresses on our own.  I felt a little like Goldilocks as I first laid down on a firm mattress… and then a soft one… and then one in-between.

 

Chris eventually settled on a queen-sized bed to his liking and a collapsible metal frame.  He also purchased a “cooling” pillow that was “buy one, get one free”.  No sooner had he completed his purchase than Deanna and I decided to pull the trigger ourselves.

 

In our 32 years of marriage, we have only owned two new mattresses – one, when we first got married, and one when we first moved to Vero.  Our original mattress lasted us 25 years, but when we relocated to Florida our finances were so tight that we were forced to buy a bargain-basement one.

 

That morning, I had told Chris that one of my regrets in life was not investing in a decent mattress.  After all, I reasoned, we spend 1/3 of our lives asleep.  So it was time to “put up or shut up”.

 

Two days later, a delivery truck pulled up at our house and two men unloaded a new queen mattress.  It was on a great sale and even came with a free reclining bedframe.  And yes, we bought the same BOGO pillows as Chris.

 

Now, after a long day of work – followed by two hours of pick-up basketball – I can look forward to a restful night’s sleep.  Our new mattress is not-too-firm and not-too-soft, and we love our cooling pillows too.

 

However, like Charles Spurgeon, it isn’t a new mattress or a reclining bedframe that allows me to sleep peacefully each and every night.  It is the simple fact that I am God’s and He is mine.  His love for me is unconditional and everlasting.

 

ZZZZZ…..    

 

“It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows; for so He gives His beloved sleep.” Psalm 127:2 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – February 27, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“In passing we should note this curious mark of our age: The only absolute allowed is the absolute insistence that there is no absolute.” – Francis Schaeffer 

 

Truth is not relative.  It is either absolute or it is not truth.

 

One of the problems we have trying to interpret the Bible – or understanding world events – is allowing our emotions and personal experiences to influence (and even sway) our positions.  Human emotions come and go, rise and fall, but the Word of God stands forever. 

 

Last week, following the mass school shooting in Florida, TV and social media were ablaze with admittingly hurting people permitting their raw emotions to dictate their actions and opinions.  Career (and conniving) politicians seized that opportunity to promote their preconceived agendas.

 

What is needed, in addition to calm and cool heads, is a rock-solid system of core beliefs that will weather any storm, let alone any news headline.

 

I remember when President Ronald Reagan, one of my heroes, was first diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.  As the disease progressed, Nancy Reagan became an outspoken proponent of embryonic stem cell research.  

 

What would lead the wife of a pro-life president to support the harvesting of unborn fetuses for scientific research?  Someone had convinced her that the research could result in a cure for Alzheimer’s (despite the fact that no such scientific findings have ever been produced).  And so, because of her deep and abiding love for her husband, Mrs. Reagan was willing to compromise her religious and political beliefs in a vain attempt to save his life.

 

Folks, don’t wait until you face a crisis to form an opinion or take a stand.  If you do, in almost every case, your emotions will overrule your reasoning.

 

Know what you believe and more importantly, in Whom you believe.  Then see the world through the prism of your faith.

 

“…for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.” 2 Timothy 1:12 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President

 


Dare 2B Daring – February 26, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“We should be abler teachers of others, and less liable to be carried about by every wind of doctrine, if we sought a more intelligent understanding of the Word of God.” – C.H. Spurgeon

 

One of my greatest concerns about the Church today is that, in many places, it is a mile wide and an inch thick.  By that I mean too many professing Christians don’t study the Bible or sit under godly and learned teachers.  As a result, they remain spiritual infants and are easily led astray by religious fads and false doctrine.

 

A case in point was the Prayer of Jabez craze a few years ago.  Whereas Bruce Wilkinson, the author of “The Prayer of Jabez: Breaking Through to the Blessed Life”, may have had good intentions, his teachings soon devolved into nothing more than a passing fad.  Supposedly mature believers started reciting Jabez’s prayer every morning as if it were some kind of mantra or magic incantation, guaranteeing them God’s blessing and favor.

 

In short order, the Prayer of Jabez became a spiritual movement – as well as a cash cow.  The book’s publishers, Multnomah Press, quickly ordered several sequels and signed multiple licensing deals that led to a wide array of Prayer of Jabez merchandise.  At last count, you could purchase the following POJ souvenir items: key chains, t-shirts, mugs, backpacks, Christmas ornaments, scented candles, mouse pads and all sorts of jewelry. 

 

I’m cringing, but I think the Holy Spirit is grieving.

 

Here are a few lessons the Body of Christ should have learned from the POJ debacle…

 

  1. God doesn’t hide obscure verses in the Bible for centuries, only to reveal them to one person by way of special revelation.
  2. Reciting a prayer by rote has no mythical power (see Matthew 6:7-8).
  3. There is no substitute for daily and in-depth personal Bible study or regular church attendance where a well-trained and spiritually mature pastor proclaims God’s Word faithfully and unapologetically.

 

“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 – February 23, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Parenting isn’t for sissies.” – Denise Schipani

 

On February 20th, our son Christopher turned 27 years old.  I had the privilege of leading Chris to a saving knowledge of Christ when he was just four years old.  Today, he works one full-time job and two part-time jobs, one of which is with Risk Takers for Christ. 

 

Chris earned a B.S. in Business with Summa Cum Laude honors and is currently studying to take his licensing test to sell insurance.  More importantly, he loves the Lord, attends church regularly, and reads the Bible daily.

 

On the same day that Chris celebrated his birthday, I received a phone call from a brother-in-Christ.  He asked if I would pick up his son and transport him home.  Unfortunately, the pick-up location was the county jail.

 

I know that this dear brother did his very best to raise his son to know, love and serve the Lord.  And from all indications, he does exactly that.  However, due largely to some cognitive and behavioral disabilities, his son occasionally steps out of line.

 

Parenting is hard.  In fact, it may be one of the most difficult and challenging responsibilities any of us will ever face.  All we can do is love our children, teach them about God, and try to model Christ before them. 

 

Sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn’t.  There are no guarantees.

 

However, there is a promise in God’s Word that every parent should cling to and memorize.  It is found in Proverbs 22:6 and it reads as follows…

 

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

 

I interpret that to mean that – although there may be some bumps and bruises along the way – if your child is raised in a Christian home and with a genuine Christian faith, he or she will eventually return to those roots. 

 

So, parents, do your best, take a deep breath, and allow God to work in your child’s life.  After all, He loves then even more than you do.

 

“As a father pities his children, so the LORD pities those who fear Him.  For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.” Psalm 103:13-14 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – February 22, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Carpe diem!”, which is translated as “pluck or seize the day” – Horace, a Roman poet

 

In yesterday’s devotional message, I shared about how my brother Gary led me to Christ back in March 1977.  Since then he has gone on to a very successful career in the entertainment industry.  Starting as a song and dance man in Paris and Las Vegas, Gary eventually became an entertainer and cruise director aboard a variety of ships.  Today, in addition to speaking nine different languages, he serves as the Head of Entertainment and Guest Experience for one of the world’s largest cruise lines.

 

On Sunday, our family drove down to Ft. Lauderdale to see Gary for the first time in about eight years.  He lives in Genoa, Italy, but mostly works out of the corporate offices in Switzerland.  Gary also owns a chalet (more like a small castle) in Normandy, France. 

 

Because he is constantly traveling the world on business, Gary rarely gets “stateside”.  And so, whenever he is in our area, even for just a few hours, we try to make an effort to see him.

 

We had a great visit, and Gary got to reconnect with Deanna and me, our three kids, and one of our nephews.  He also got to meet our son-in-law, our daughter-in-law, and our three precious grandchildren for the very first time.

 

Later that night, we received a text from our daughter while we were at church.  Our son-in-law’s grandmother had suffered a massive stroke and had been placed on life support.  Tragically, she passed away the following morning.

 

Unfortunately, death is a part of life.  Unless our name is Enoch or Elijah, none of us leaves this earth without experiencing it.  So here is my advice…

 

Seize every opportunity to spend quality time with your family, friends and other loved ones.  And be sure to show them – and tell them – that you love them, too.

 

On Sunday, as my brother prepared to board a cab to take him to the Miami International Airport, we exchanged hugs.  “I love you,” I told him.  “I love you, too” he said, fighting back tears.

 

I miss him already…

 

“Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.” Romans 13:8 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President    


Dare 2B Daring – February 21, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“As soon as a man has found Christ, he begins to find others.” – C.H. Spurgeon

 

At least that’s the way it’s supposed to work, right?

 

On a Sunday afternoon in March 1977, my brother Gary asked my mom if we could have a family Bible study.  I didn’t like the idea, because the minute church was over I would hustle home, gobble down a quick lunch, and then go play baseball (or whatever sport was in season) all afternoon.

 

But my mom gave me “that look” that told me that attendance at the impromptu Bible study was non-negotiable.  And so, I took my seat around our large 8-person dining room table and listened as my brother tried his best to share the gospel. 

 

I only remember two things about that afternoon.  First, my brother was extremely nervous and keep stumbling over his words.  Second, everything he said made perfect sense!  And so, when the Bible study was over, I crept upstairs, knelt at the foot of my bed, and trusted Christ as my Savior.

 

It took another five years (and a period of brokenness) before Jesus became the Lord of every area of my life.  But I can trace my spiritual birth back to that early spring afternoon when my brother cared enough about me – and the rest of our family – to explain God’s plan of salvation.

 

I mention the rest of our family because, in very short order, my dad, and two of my sisters also trusted Christ.  Today, my dad is in glory and my two sisters are both serving the Lord… all because my brother summoned the nerve to share the Good News with those closest to him.

 

What is the best way to overcome your fear of sharing the gospel with your immediate family?  First, concentrate on your love for them.  Next, concentrate on the reality of hell.

 

The rest should come fairly easily.

 

“He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (which is translated, the Christ).  And he brought him to Jesus.” John 1:41-42 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – February 20, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“The knee is certainly an issue.  I want to point out she also got married.  It’s historically very challenging to race on World Cup with a family or after being married.  Not to blame the spouses, but I just want to toss that out there, that it could be her husband’s fault.” – Bode Miller

 

Retired alpine skier, Bode Miller, a six-time Olympic medalist in his own right, was trying to explain why Anna Veith of Austria has been struggling lately.  Sure, she’s had some serious injuries over the past several years, but Miller seemed to think that her recent marriage had something to do with her sub-par times in the downhill.

 

Since making that comment on live TV, Miller has been lambasted on social media and has publicly apologized several times.  His excuse is that he was just trying to make a joke.

 

Well, joke or not, Miller was wrong… but he was also right!  Now let me explain before I, too, get hammered on Facebook and Twitter.

 

For some people (like Adam), marriage is a tool that God uses to complete them as a person and to maximize their potential.  I am definitely one of those people, because I can’t imagine not being married to Deanna.  She is better at money management than me and much handier around the house.  She also keeps an immaculate home, cooks a great meal, and is a wonderful mother and grandmother.

 

By “tending the home fires”, Deanna has allowed me to pursue my calling as a minister.  If I had to juggle all the things she does in addition to performing my ministry duties, I wouldn’t come close to reaching my God-given potential.

 

On the flip side, I think God has used me to stretch Deanna’s faith.  After all, I am a “Risk Taker for Christ”!  When we met and married, I had a steady job with a steady income.  Such is not the case in full-time ministry, so she has had to adjust to the financial challenges and the spiritual attacks that “come with the territory”.

 

But as Paul wrote in I Corinthians 7:25-40, married people face a difficult balancing act.  They want to serve God without reservation, but they also want to please their spouse.  Sometimes, this sense of divided loyalty can be problematic, which is why Paul suggested that single persons are better off remaining single (but they do not sin if they marry).

 

I think the point Bode Miller was trying to make is this: an Olympic athlete needs to be laser-focused on his or her sport.  Having a spouse, especially a new one, can be a distraction for some.

 

So, like I said, Miller was right and he was wrong.  Simply put, marriage isn’t one-size-fits-all.

 

“But I want you to be without care.  He who is married cares about the things of the Lord – how he may please the Lord.  But he who is married cares about the things of the world – how he may please his wife.  There is a difference between a wife and a virgin.  The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit.  But she who is married cares about the things of the world – how she may please her husband.  And this I say for your own profit, not that I may put a leash on you, but for what is proper, and that you may serve the Lord without distraction.” I Corinthians 7:32-35 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – February 19, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“One might think that the money value of an invention constitutes its reward to the man who loves his work.  But I continue to find my greatest pleasure, and so my reward, is the work that precedes what the world calls success.” – Thomas Edison

 

I have heard many coaches – and even politicians – say something similar.

 

A true coach isn’t someone who gets into the profession simply to win games.  On the contrary, most great coaches receive their ultimate satisfaction from teaching their players a new skill or technique, and then seeing them master it.  Winning becomes a natural by-product of sound fundamentals.

 

Politics, even more so than boxing or football, is a “blood sport”.  Campaigns are often littered with the bruised and bloodied corpses of their opponents… and sometimes their own internal advisors.

 

Think for a minute about the 2016 presidential election.  Sixteen Republican candidates entered the race and by the time of the first debate, nine men and one women were still standing.  Under the heat and glare of the stage lights, candidates started to melt until there was only a handful left.

 

Today, if you asked Doug Pederson, the head coach of the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles, I think he would say that experiencing – and overcoming – the highs and lows of the regular season and the playoffs was his greatest reward.  Winning the Lombardi Trophy was just icing on the cake.

 

The same goes for Donald Trump.  When he descended the escalator at the Trump Tower in New York City on June 16, 2015 to announce his candidacy, I doubt that Mr. Trump believed that he was going to win the GOP nomination, let alone the presidency.  But over the course of the next 13 months, he picked off one challenger after another until he was named his party’s nominee.  Then he took on Hillary Clinton one-on-one and defeated her in one of the greatest upsets in modern U.S. political history.

 

Considering the attacks he has received from the media, the Democrats and even from within his own party, I imagine that President Trump occasionally looks back wistfully on his more light-hearted days on the campaign trail.  

 

Yes, sometimes the process is more satisfying and enjoyable than the result itself.  So enjoy the ride, my friend, enjoy the ride.

 

“So I commended enjoyment, because a man has nothing better under the sun than to eat, drink, and be merry; for this will remain with him in his labor all the days of his life which God gives him under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 8:15 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – February 16, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Proud people breed sad sorrows for themselves.” – Emily Brontë

 

While I have not paid much attention to the NBA this year, there were some very interesting trades last week. The Cleveland Cavaliers, in particular, made several to completely change the makeup of their team. Isaiah Thomas, an All-Star, was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers for Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance, Jr. With this trade, and many others, the Cavs became a much younger and more athletic team.

 

The Thomas deal, however, was rather shocking. During the previous offseason, the Cavs traded one of the best players in the league, Kyrie Irving, for Isaiah Thomas and a host of other players in a blockbuster move. Irving had become unhappy in Cleveland, and the Cavs were excited to gain another elite player in exchange.

 

Unfortunately, the trade did not work exactly to plan. Thomas missed the beginning of the season due to injury. In addition, he failed to connect with his teammates. The natural chemistry a team wishes to see between its men was nonexistent, and Thomas was said to have been a problem in the locker room. As a result, he was traded… again.

 

Isaiah Thomas entered the NBA as a member of the Sacramento Kings in 2011. He has averaged 19 points and 5.1 assists per game while shooting 44.1% from the floor, 36.3% from behind the arc, and 87.6% from the line during his career. With such impressive statistics, you may be surprised to learn that Isaiah Thomas has played for five teams in just seven seasons.

 

Is Isaiah Thomas a talented player? Absolutely! Is he a good teammate and presence in the locker room? I would say no. Upon hearing of his trade to the Lakers, Thomas reportedly told his agent he refused to come off the bench. Ironically, that is exactly what he did in his Los Angeles debut. Regardless, a pattern of prideful behavior has inevitably marked the career of Isaiah Thomas, and it has come at a cost.

 

The Bible warns us of pride in multiple passages. Proverbs 11:2 states, “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.” Proverbs 16:18 reads, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” This teaching continues into the New Testament. James 4:6 says, “But He gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Galatians 6:3 proclaims, “For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.”

 

Isaiah Thomas is truly gifted, but he will not see a full reward until his demeanor becomes one of humility and not pride. Likewise, we will not see a complete measure of blessing in our lives until we walk humbly with our God.

 

“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.” James 4:10 ESV

 

-          Christopher Glading, Program Director


Dare 2B Daring – February 15, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“I'll think of it tomorrow, at Tara.  I can stand it then.  Tomorrow, I'll think of some way to get him back.  After all, tomorrow is another day.” – Vivian Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind

 

Yesterday, I gave Deanna not one, but three presents for Valentines Day.  She didn’t want any candy and flowers already graced our table, so I went to Rock City, a local garden center, and bought her three flowering shrubs.

 

I know, not exactly the most romantic of gifts, but she absolutely loved them!  I guess after almost 33 years of marriage, I know my wife pretty well after all.

 

Anyway, I’ve already forgotten the names of the bushes.  All I know is that one of them produces reddish-orange blooms and another one grows on a trellis like a vine.  However, the third one may be my favorite.

 

We had several of these shrubs at our previous home in Vero Beach and I found them to be fascinating.  Every morning, they produced the most beautiful violet-colored flowers.  And then every evening, the petals fell off, decorating the ground with a carpet of purple.  Amazingly, the next morning the bushes were filled with violet blooms yet again!

 

I never get tired of looking at these remarkable plants, maybe because they remind me of an important spiritual truth.  Like God’s mercies, the purple flowers are new each and every morning (see Lamentations 3:22-23).

 

Gone are the failures and disappointments of the day before.  Replacing them is a fresh beginning filled with unlimited – and very bright and colorful – possibilities.

 

Praise God that He forgets about our sins and doesn’t hold our shortcomings against us.  Instead, He buries our sins in the depths of the sea, remembering them no more.  And in their place, He showers us with fresh blooms of blessing.

 

What a great – and yes, romantic – God we serve!

 

“He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities.  You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.” Micah 7:19 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – February 14, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Results?  Why, I have gotten a lot of results.  I know several thousand things that won’t work.”          – Thomas Edison

 

Growing up, I was known as being “book smart.”  In other words, I could listen to the subject matter being taught, process and even memorize it, and then “spit it out” on a test.  The result would often be a report card with straight A’s.

 

However, there have been many times in my life when I was a very slow learner.  It seems like I would have to learn the same lesson over and over – usually, the hard way – before it would finally stick.  Blame it on my German heritage if you want, but I think my innate stubbornness has more to do with my sin nature than with my ancestors.

 

If I could summarize the most important lesson that God is teaching me these days it would be this: to accept and be grateful for life’s setbacks and disappointments, and to learn from them.  Sounds kind of crazy, doesn’t it?  But the more I think about it, God has taught me more from my failures than He has from my successes. 

 

The same goes for life’s confusing and confounding twists and turns.  We boldly seize some opportunities while allowing others to simply pass us by.  And yet, on the surface they all look equally enticing.  Who knows which decisions are the right ones and which ones are best avoided?

 

In His unlimited and unparalleled wisdom, God has often used closed doors not only to guide my path, but also to keep me from harm.  Indeed, as I age, I see His hand of providence and protection more and more.

 

So, my friend, my advice is to stop sweating the small stuff.  In fact, stop sweating altogether.  Instead, try praying, trusting (and laughing) more – and stressing less.  And don’t forget to read and recite verses like Romans 8:28 and Philippians 1:6… again and again… until they finally sink in.

 

“For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure.’”  Isaiah 46:9b-10 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – February 13, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“In due time there shall be heard ‘a great voice from heaven’ to every believer, saying ‘Come up hither.’  This should be to the saints the subject of joyful anticipation.  Instead of dreading the time when we shall leave this world to go unto the Father, we should be panting for the hour of our emancipation… We are not called down to the grave, but up to the skies.  Our heaven-born spirits should long for their native air.” – C.H. Spurgeon

 

Last Saturday, our Risk Takers for Christ basketball team traveled to the DeSoto Correctional Institution in Arcadia, FL to play two games and minister to the hundreds of men housed there.  I use the term “team’ rather loosely, because although we have 17 players on our roster, only three of them (plus one non-playing volunteer) could make the trip.

 

We advised the institution of our situation, but the senior chaplain still wanted us to come as did the assistant warden who had approved our visit.  And so, off we went, leaving Vero Beach at 5:30 AM.

 

I had told the chaplain that we would need three inmates – preferably two rebounders and one ball-handler – to play on our team, and that’s exactly what we got.  These three men couldn’t have been happier and more honored than to join us on the court.  “We’re Risk Takers”, they shouted for everyone to hear.

 

We rotated our three new teammates in and out of the lineup while my son Chris, my nephew Tyler, and I played the entire game that morning.  The final score read, Risk Takers 42 – DeSoto 38.

 

That afternoon, the six of us took on another inmate team, only this one was bigger, stronger and very well-rested.  In fact, they had two players over 6’6” and both of them weighed about 250 pounds.  But despite the height disadvantage, we won again, this time by eight points.  Far more importantly, we were privileged to share the gospel with 300 men that day and seven of them made decisions for Christ.  PTL!!!

 

I had kidded with Chris and Tyler on the way to the prison that morning that, at age 58, I might not survive having to play two full games in 88-degree temperatures.  “But I can’t think of a better way to go than on a basketball court sharing the gospel,” I added.

 

And you know what?  I meant every word of that.  I do not fear death, because I know what – and Who – is on the other side.  My dad, my grandfather, and most importantly, my Lord.  Heaven, here I come! 

 

But in the meantime, there’s nothing sweeter than sharing my faith, winning two games and ministering alongside my son and my nephew.  And, oh yeah, scoring 16 points in the first game was pretty special too!

 

“For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.  Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you.” Philippians 1:23-24 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – February 12, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.” – Plato

 

“Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” – Mark Twain

 

When I was young, my parents emphasized proper manners to my sister, brother, and me. Among a list of do’s and don’ts was the need to hold the door for the person behind you. In fact, I can hear my father saying it as I write. Whether we were out to dinner or simply returning home, the Glading kids knew the polite way of entering and exiting a doorway.

 

While this principle remains in my mind, I often notice a lack of manners by others in day to day life.  I recently began a part time position at a retail store and observe the way in which people behave and interact. Though some conduct themselves well, it is rather amazing how many do not.

 

People seem to be constantly in a hurry and single-minded. They rush through doorways and continue on with determined resolution. Many times, I find a simple greeting of “Hello. How are you?” goes unanswered.

 

Now, my aim is not to criticize. Rather, it is to highlight an effortless way for the body of Christ to stand out in the world. The Bible speaks volumes on the significance of kindness. Proverbs 11:17 says, “A man who is kind benefits himself, but a cruel man hurts himself.” Colossians 3:12 reads, “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.” In I Corinthians 13, we see that love is kind and, in Romans 11:22, we experience the kindness of God if we also demonstrate it.

 

I understand it is not always easy to be kind. We have bad days, the amount of time to accomplish a task is limited, and some people rub us the wrong way. Still, remember to show kindness. The small act of holding a door can display the love of Christ to the lost.

 

“Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” 1 John 3:18 ESV

 

-          Christopher Glading, Program Director


Dare 2B Daring – February 9, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“I have friends in overalls whose friendship I would not swap for the favor of the kings of the world.” – Thomas Edison

 

Back in 2016, I was engaged in an uphill battle for state representative here in Florida.  Having run for the U.S. House of Representatives in New Jersey in 2008 and 2010 – winning two Republican primaries but losing both general elections – you’d think I would have learned my lesson.  But idealism got the best of me once again and so, I launched a low-budget, underdog campaign based on “Faith, Family and Freedom”.

 

Since the other three candidates in the race were wealthy and either self-financing or attracting deep-pocketed donors to their cause, it was suggested to me that I start attending a weekly Bible study at an exclusive country club on the barrier island to get to know some affluent people.  Doing so, however, would mean that I would have to skip a weekly breakfast meeting, where several Christian friends and I got together for food, fellowship and to hold each other accountable.

 

Call me naïve (or maybe principled), but I don’t think attending a Bible study for political purposes is the right thing to do.  I also disliked the idea of giving my friends the “cold shoulder” so I could rub elbows with the rich and famous.

 

I doubt that my decision to forego the Bible study at the country club cost me the election.  And in hindsight, I think it was God’s will for me not to win, even though I still consider public service a ministry and not a career.  Simply put, God had another job for me to do… and the woman who won seems to be doing an outstanding job, too.

 

So, consider this an invitation to join Steve, Greg, Thomas, Dave and me for breakfast every Tuesday morning at Mrs. Mac’s Filling Station on Old Dixie Highway.  I’ll even treat the first time.

 

And if you have trouble finding our booth, we’ll be the ones wearing overalls.

 

“For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.  But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty…”

I Corinthians 1:26-27 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – February 8, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Being busy does not always mean real work.  The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration.  Seeming to do is not doing.” – Thomas Edison

 

Our family moved from Barrington, New Jersey to Vero Beach, Florida in August 2011.  Shortly thereafter, construction work began on a relatively short stretch of I-95 between Vero and Sebastian, the town where we now live. 

 

The project to widen this section of I-95 was scheduled to take no more than two years.  So far, it has taken four… and there is no end in sight.

 

Meanwhile, dozens of accidents – some of them fatal – have occurred as drivers are forced to slow down, change lanes, and navigate through a series of concrete barriers while simultaneously avoiding various pieces of construction equipment.  Considering that many drivers in our area are either senior citizens or visiting tourists (or both), the number of accidents and fatalities isn’t surprising.

 

I remember reading a few years ago about a massive bridge that collapsed in Minneapolis.  The I-35W Bridge was an eight-lane, steel truss bridge that crossed the Mississippi River atop the Saint Anthony Falls.  On August 1, 2007, it collapsed at the height of the evening rush hour, killing 13 people and injuring 145.

 

Because the bridge was the state’s third-busiest, carrying 140,000 vehicles daily, the Minnesota Department of Transportation fast-tracked its replacement.  On September 19, 2007, a $245 million contract was approved for the Flatiron Constructors and Manson Construction Company.  On September 18, 2008, the I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge was opened, more than three months ahead of schedule.  Not only that, but the new bridge received the "Best Overall Design-Build Project Award" for 2009 from the Design-Build Institute of America.

 

The moral of today’s devotional message is simple: the appearance of work doesn’t mean that actual work is taking place.  Nor does the appearance of ministry equate to actual ministry.

 

My advice is to sort through the smoke and mirrors – and the glitzy promotional pieces – and support the ministries and office holders who give you the most “bang for the buck”.  Today, more than ever, we need pastors and politicians to stop leaning on their shovels and to start digging instead.

 

“Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” Luke 2:49b (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – February 7, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“I never did a day’s work in my life.  It was all fun.” – Thomas Edison

 

Although he may have exaggerated a little in today’s quote, I think that Thomas Edison was on to something.  Something profound.  Something life-changing.

 

The simple point that Edison was trying to make was that if you are doing what God created you to do, then your “work” will seem like anything but.  In fact, it will provide you with countless hours of actual amusement.

 

Following Edison’s logic, you will wake up most days anxious to get to the office, the factory, or wherever you are employed.  And instead of watching the clock and counting down the hours, the workday will fly by all too quickly.

 

Now don’t get me – or Edison – wrong.  We are always going to encounter rough days at work, no matter our occupation.  But if we are in our spiritual and vocational “sweet spot”, those rough days will be an exception to the rule.

 

The same goes for ministry.  Paul says that God gifted some people to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be teachers, and so on.  In other words, one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to spiritual gifts.

 

Do you want to be miserable at work, at church and at home?  Try operating outside of your area of giftedness.  On the contrary, if you understand your calling and remain true to it – and to God – then I can promise that you will experience a lifetime of blessing and fulfillment.

 

Ask God to match your career and your calling…and start having fun today!

 

“Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them…” Romans 12:6a (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President  


Dare 2B Daring – February 6, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are: hard work, stick-to-itiveness, and common sense.” – Thomas Edison

 

My son Chris and I were playing basketball at South County Park recently along with two other Risk Takers for Christ volunteers.  We played several games of 4-on-4, winning each one fairly handily.  The reaction from two of the opposing players couldn’t have been any more different.

 

“We’re going to keep playing until we win,” one young man said with fierce determination.  The other player simply walked off the court without saying a word.

 

If I had to make a guess, I suspect that the first young man will probably succeed in life whereas the other one may not accomplish much.  How can I make such a prediction based solely on a handful of pick-up basketball games?  Actually, it’s pretty simple. 

 

Life isn’t fair, nor is it smooth from start to finish.  On the contrary, it is full of ups and downs, highs and lows.  Today’s success often leads to tomorrow’s failure… and vice versa.  What determines how far you go in life is how you deal with that roller coaster ride, that blatant and unrelenting “unfairness”. 

 

In 1966, Frank Sinatra recorded a song written by Dean Kay and Kelly Gordon.  Here are its lyrics…

 

That’s life, (that’s life), that’s what all the people say;

You’re riding high in April, shot down in May.

But I know I’m gonna change that tune;

when I’m back on top, back on top in June.

 

I said that’s life (that’s life), and as funny as it may seem;

Some people get their kicks,

Stompin’ on a dream.

But I don’t let it’ let it get me down;

‘Cause this fine old world, it keeps spinnin’ around.

 

Sinatra goes on to sing about being a “puppet, a pauper, a pirate, a poet, a pawn and a king.”  He also laments having been “up, down, over and out.”  But then he adds matter-of-factly…

 

Each time I find myself, flat on my face;

I pick myself up, and get back in the race.

 

When things don’t go your way and life trips you up or knocks you down, do you pick yourself back up – with God’s assistance and the help of others?  Or do you simply throw in the towel?

 

How you answer that question – not with your words, but with your actions – tells me a lot.  First, about your faith and character.  And second, about your chances of achieving success.

 

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.  But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:2-4 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President   


Dare 2B Daring – February 5, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“There are no rules here.  We’re trying to accomplish something.” – Thomas Edison

 

I used to call them “dream days”.  In fact, I still do.

 

I started “celebrating” dream days when I was serving as the recreation director at a Christian retirement community back in the mid-80’s.  About once a quarter, whenever I was completely caught up on my work, I would schedule some time alone in my office where I would sort through brochures, catalogs and other information I had collected over the previous several months.  Remember, this was long before laptops, smart phones and personal computers.

 

Some of the info pertained to local historical sites and tourist attractions that would make a nice day-trip for the more active residents of the community.  Others gave me ideas for in-house programs for those residents who couldn’t venture outside.  Ask me sometime about the “Wiley Olympics” we held, complete with gold, silver and bronze medals! 

 

I loved “dream days” because they allowed me to stretch my imagination and think outside of the box.  The same goes for today, when I seek the Lord’s leading for new and innovative ways to reach inmates and at-risk youth with the gospel… or to challenge Christians to be bolder in their faith.

 

What is the secret to having a successful “dream day”?  More than anything, it is forcing oneself to get alone – just you and the Lord – and think deeply.  As Edison famously said, “The best thinking has been done in solitude.  The worst has been done in turmoil.”

 

Are you facing a big decision or are you overwhelmed by life’s demands?  Do you have writer’s block, a literary term for lack of creative inspiration?  My advice is to schedule – that’s the key phrase – a dream day or even a dream hour.  I promise… you will be amazed at the difference it makes.

 

Clear thinking requires a clear calendar.

 

“Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.” – Luke 6:12 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – February 2, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“I am the greatest.” – Muhammad Ali

 

A few years ago, I penned an editorial for our local newspaper.  It was titled, “I Blame Muhammad Ali”.  The crux of the article was that until Ali, then known as Cassius Clay, came on the scene, the majority of professional athletes were humble… at least publicly. 

 

Great athletes knew that they were great and so, they let their actions on the field or the court do the talking for them.  It was considered unseemly to toot one’s own horn, so they simply allowed their teammates or the local sportswriters to do it for them. 

 

But Ali was different and so were his blustering press conferences.  He would describe in great detail all of his positive attributes and then lambast – often in denigrating and derogatory tones – his opponent’s.  Some people found Ali to be refreshing and somewhat entertaining.  On the contrary, I found him to be boorish and egotistical.

 

The same goes for trash talking.  Having played competitive sports for more than four decades, I can’t remember a single time when I baited an opponent or said something uncomplimentary to his face.  I just wasn’t raised that way.  More importantly, I don’t see self-adulation as being a biblical principle.

 

However, Scripture does include one incident of “sanctified” trash talking and it is found in I Kings 18.  In his standoff with the prophets of Baal, Elijah ridiculed their false god with taunts about him being preoccupied, out-of-town, or asleep.  “Cry louder”, Elijah said in jest, knowing full well that Baal couldn’t hear a word they were saying.

 

The point is clear.  Boast about God, but not about yourself.  And for the record, I think Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano and Jack Dempsey would have cleaned Ali’s clock!

 

“Thus says the LORD: ‘Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the mighty man glory in his might, nor let the rich man glory in his riches; but let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth.  For in these I delight,’ says the Lord.” Jeremiah 9:23-24 (NKJV)

 

“But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ…” Galatians 6:14a (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – February 1, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men should do nothing.” – attributed to Sir Edmund Burke

 

As many of my readers know, I am not just pro-life, I am passionately pro-life.  That is why, when we moved to Vero Beach, one of the first organizations I joined was the Republicans for Life.  I even served one term as chaplain and one as president.

 

At last week’s RFL luncheon, a video was shown of our state representative testifying before a legislative committee.  Being very pro-life herself, Rep. Erin Grall has introduced a bill that would eliminate dismemberment abortions, known as D&Es.  Of course, Erin would prefer that abortion be outlawed altogether, but at least she is trying to put an end to this particularly barbaric practice.

 

In the video, Erin described the gruesome procedure in great detail from a medical perspective.  As she did, I saw a few people shaking their heads in disbelief or wiping tears from their eyes.  However, I was amazed – and very disturbed – by the reactions of two older women in the room.

 

The first lady was sitting near me and as soon as Erin began speaking, this woman said aloud with great disgust in her voice, “Too graphic!”  Another woman, seated at an adjacent table, literally placed her fingers in her ears so she wouldn’t have to listen to Erin’s testimony.

 

Now I completely understand that talking about a dilation and evacuation abortion isn’t pleasant.  But I agree 100% with Erin that it is necessary.  And quite frankly, if you can’t address pro-life issues at a pro-life meeting, where can you?

 

Many social ills survive because people are afraid to face them head-on.  Instead, they prefer to pretend that they don’t exist, as if not discussing them will make them invisible.  Slavery was one such evil and it took William Wilberforce decades of describing its horrors in Parliament before it was finally outlawed in Great Britain. 

 

Folks, abortion is evil and evil isn’t pretty.  But it will prevail until and unless bold and brave people are willing to stand up and call it out for what it is.  If doing so shocks some people or bothers their tender sensibilities, so be it.

 

“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.” Ephesians 5:11 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – January 31, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“We know a thing or two, because we’ve seen a thing or two.” – Farmers Insurance commercial

 

Whether they feature a mascot on fire, a moose attacking a swing set, or a dog shifting a runaway car from park to drive, the Farmers Insurance TV ads are both creative and memorable.  So is their famous tagline, quoted above.

 

This past Sunday, our pastor asked one of the men in our church to close in prayer.  Noting that many people in our congregation have been battling illnesses recently, he prayed for restored health but then added a rather unique twist.

 

“Thank you, Lord,” he prayed, “that these illnesses are building up our immune systems.”

 

A few people chuckled at John’s words, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that he was right.  Suffering through – and surviving – an illness does indeed prepare our bodies to ward off a similar disease.  But it doesn’t stop there.

 

Suffering through – and surviving – any type of affliction makes us better able to handle a similar situation when it occurs.  One financial setback often makes a person better prepared to handle (or avoid) another one.  So does a physical ailment or a spiritual attack.  Because life so often repeats itself, obstacles that are overcome can – and should – make us stronger and better equipped to take the next one in stride... and the one after that, too.

 

An added benefit to enduring affliction and coming out “on top” is that we are in a much better position to provide counsel and comfort to someone else who is going through a similar struggle.  These headaches and heartaches – Paul calls them tribulations in Romans 5 – also produce perseverance, character and hope.

 

I hope that you are enjoying good health as you read these words.  But if not, take heart and take heed.  God will teach you some very valuable life lessons on your sickbed if you have “ears to hear”.

 

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all 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 1:3-5 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President   


Dare 2B Daring – January 30, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Who can be astonished at anything, when he has once been astonished at the manger and the cross?  What is there wonderful left after one has seen the Savior?” – C.H. Spurgeon

 

Recently, I heard a radio talk show host tell a story about Buzz Aldrin.  As a crew member of Apollo 11, Buzz was the second person, right after Neil Armstrong, to ever step foot on the moon.  The date of that famous walk was July 21, 1969.

 

That was almost 50 years ago.  Sadly, the radio host said, when he met Aldrin he came away feeling that Buzz’s life was frozen in time.  It was as if everything leading up to the moon landing was all that mattered, and he has spent the last half-century in some kind of “lunar limbo”, reliving that special moment over and over again.

 

Now I must admit that being one of only 12 men to walk on the moon is pretty exclusive company.  And viewing the Earth from 238,855 miles away has to be a breathtaking sight.

 

But life is meant to be lived looking forward, not backward.  I guess that’s why the windshield in a car is much larger than the rearview mirror.  What matters most isn’t what you’ve done or where you’ve been, but where you’re going and what you are in the process of becoming.

 

For all his achievements, Aldrin has struggled in his personal life, having been married and divorced three times.  He also battles depression and alcoholism, and both his mother and maternal grandfather committed suicide.  This American hero needs – and deserves – our prayers.

 

As for heroes, one of mine is Caleb.  At the ripe “young” age of 85, he demanded that Joshua give him the greatest physical and spiritual challenge of his life.  Having spied out the promised land, survived 40 years in the wilderness, and being triumphant in multiple battles, Caleb looked ahead and not behind.

 

“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 2:13b-14 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President    


Dare 2B Daring – January 29, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Few can foresee whither their road will lead them, till they come to its end.  The question – and thus the Quest – concerns how we shall travel the road and whether we shall complete our errand.” – Legolas, the Lord of the Rings

 

“Life is a marathon, not a sprint”.  You’ve heard that saying many times, I’m sure, and it certainly rings true.  After all, the average lifespan in the U.S. is 78.8 years according to the Center for Disease Control.  That means that we need to pace ourselves, because no one can “sprint” for eight decades.

 

However, I think there is another message hidden within that iconic statement.  Simply put, life is as much about the journey as it is about the destination.  Far too many people race through life with their head down – and their earbuds in – which means that they miss the sights, sounds and people around them.

 

When I was a kid, our family made many trips from New Jersey to Florida, towing our Airstream trailer behind a Ford Country Squire station wagon.  Without fail, one of my siblings or I would ask how much longer the 1,100 mile trip was going to take.

 

“Look out the windows,” my dad would reply each time.  “You may never pass this way again.”

 

Truer words have never been spoken!

 

Even Christians are guilty of this behavior, so anxious to “get to glory” that we forget that the road there is full of ministry opportunities.  And yes, equally full of priceless souls whose eternal destiny hangs in the balance.

 

Marathons are 26.2 miles and half-marathons are 13.1 miles.  Make no mistake… I have zero intention of ever running in either race.  However, I have every intention of running life’s race with diligence and a real sense of purpose.  That means stopping to enjoy my surroundings and minister to my fellow life travelers – especially those who are struggling to complete their own life race or who are unsure of their final destination.

 

“Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” Hebrews 12:1b (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – January 26, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“The people gather, we teach, God works.” – Jim Flora

 

Jim and Teresa Flora are Southern Baptist missionaries in Lesotho, Africa.  They each felt God’s call to minister to the people of sub-Saharan Africa at the age of 50 and so, they went, leaving their adult children and small grandchildren 10,000 miles away.

 

Teresa uses her medical training as a registered nurse not only to minister to the physical needs of her patients, but also to build relationships with them.  Jim trains pastors and other church leaders in an effort to establish indigenous churches throughout the country.

 

Jim’s quote above reflects a simple, but very strong faith.  He understands that God is in complete control, but that we as believers are responsible to do our part.  And so, Jim sets up meetings and invites the villagers to attend.  When they do, he faithfully and diligently teaches them God’s Word.

 

And then, as Jim puts it, “God works”.

 

It’s not rocket science, folks.  Sometimes we try to make it more complicated than it really is.  God calls and equips us to perform a specific task in His service.  We prepare and then execute it to the very best of our ability.  The rest, including all of the results, is up to Him.

 

In the early 1990’s, I had the privilege of touring Prison Fellowship’s headquarters in Virginia.  Entering Chuck Colson’s office, I noticed a sign sitting prominently on his desk.  It read, “Faithfulness, not success.”

 

I have never forgotten those simple, but very profound words.  I doubt Jim and Teresa Flora have either, because they live them out each and every day.

 

Two final points about the Floras.  They put God – and creature comforts – before family.  And they did so at the ripe old age of 50, when many of us are padding our 401K’s and planning for retirement.

 

Read Matthew 19:29 and Joshua 14:6-15 and tell me if you agree with the Floras’ decision.

 

“I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.” I Corinthians 3:6 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President  


Dare 2B Daring – January 25, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“I am always inspired by our readers’ commitment to think deeply about how the good, beautiful, and true gospel is lived out in these complex times.” – Andy Olsen, Managing Editor, Christianity Today

 

Permit me for a minute to modify Andy Olsen’s quote to make it even more provocative.  “I am always inspired by our readers’ commitment to think deeply…period!”

 

If I were king of the world for a day, the first thing that I would do is require my loyal subjects to stop what they were doing for 10, 20 or even 30 minutes each day – and THINK DEEPLY.  That’s right; I would make each person put down their smart phone, remove their ear buds, turn off their TV and, dare I say it, T-H-I-N-K.

 

To me, taking a few moments every day to clear the cobwebs and the clutter from my mind is absolutely essential.  So is taking those moments to refocus on what is really important and what is not.

 

My quiet time, which usually lasts about 15 minutes each morning, includes Bible reading, a devotional by Charles Spurgeon, and prayer.  I also try to carve out other times during the day, often while riding in my truck, to talk with God one-on-one.  And yes, to think – or at least try to think – deep thoughts.

 

One of my favorite scenes in the Wizard of Oz is when the “defrocked” wizard bestows gifts and awards to Dorothy and her traveling companions.  Here is what the wizard says to the scarecrow…

 

“Why, anybody can have a brain. That's a very mediocre commodity. Every pusillanimous creature that crawls on the Earth or slinks through slimy seas has a brain. Back where I come from, we have universities, seats of great learning, where men go to become great thinkers. And when they come out, they think deep thoughts and with no more brains than you have. But they have one thing you haven't got: a diploma.”

 

You have a brain and so do I.  God gave them to us to use to their fullest extent for His glory.  But until and unless we discipline ourselves to unplug from the world and plug into Him, we will continue to waste our collective “gray matter”.

 

So, here’s my goal for 2018: to double my quiet time from 15 minutes to 30 each and every morning.  Not very ambitious perhaps, but certainly attainable.  And just imagine what spending an extra 5,475 minutes alone with God – thinking deeply – will do this year!

 

“Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – January 24, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Many people say many things about God, but that doesn’t mean they’re always right.  Unless the things said agree with the scriptures, it’s actually the opposite.” – KeptByGrace.com

 

Piggybacking on yesterday’s devotional, in which I called out prosperity preachers like Joel Osteen for peddling false doctrine, there is another lynchpin of modern-day heresy that I want to shatter to pieces today.  Here it is…

 

“God needs you” (usually said in plaintive tones dripping with saccharin).

 

W-R-O-N-G!!!

 

God is the great “I AM WHO I AM” (Exodus 3:14).  He has always existed and as such, He is completely self-reliant.  He created everything that exists and He sustains it as well.

 

Who are we to think, to entertain for a single moment, that such a Being would need us to somehow complete Himself?  Not only is that heretical, but it is so self-serving as to be hysterical too.

 

And yet, that it the kind of “poppycock preaching” that is scratching the itching ears of many people in churches today.  Because we live in a consumer-oriented society, companies try to cater to our every need (i.e. whim) in order to earn our business and separate us from our dollars.  Now some churches are following the same business-model, placing the emphasis solely on the “consumer” instead of on God.

 

Don’t we see that such a “me-first” and egocentric approach was what led to Lucifer’s fall?  And don’t we realize that Satan used that same evil ploy to tempt Adam and Eve in the Garden?

 

How stupid and gullible can we be?  Is it really so easy to deceive the masses?

 

Folks, please don’t fall prey to one of Satan’s favorite tactics and stop attending churches (or buying books from authors) that have swallowed the same thing hook, line and sinker.  God does NOT need you, me or anyone else.  However, He CHOOSES to have a relationship with us through His Son Jesus Christ, for which we should be eternally grateful.     

 

“How you have fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!  How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations!  For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven,   I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’  Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit.” Isaiah 14:12-15 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President  


Dare 2B Daring – January 23, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“It’s my money and I want it now!” – J.G. Wentworth

 

I’m sure you’ve seen the J.G. Wentworth commercials that feature people sticking their heads out of windows and shouting the company’s famous tagline (see above).  It’s a parody of the movie Network, which was named Best Picture in 1976.  Network is the satirical story of fictional broadcaster Howard Beale, portrayed by Peter Finch, who won a best actor award for his efforts.

 

Read the J.G. Wentworth tagline one more time.  What two words jump out at you the most?  For me, it is the words “my” and “now”.  In other words, the primary emphasis is on self and the secondary emphasis is on immediate gratification.

 

Compare Wentworth’s tagline with these words from Charles Haddon Spurgeon, known as the “Prince of Preachers”…

 

“As for the true Christian, he expects to have his reward in the next life, and to endure hardships in this.  The promise of the old covenant was prosperity, but the promise of the new covenant is adversity.”

 

I have zero tolerance for modern-day prosperity preachers who convince their audiences that God wants us all to be healthy and wealthy in this life.  That’s nothing but hogwash and heresy.

 

The Bible states very clearly that, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” (Luke 9:58)  Using the logic of false teachers like Joel Osteen, that would mean that Jesus was outside of God’s will because He didn’t enjoy material blessings – or a long and healthy life.  Poor Jesus… if only He had exercised more faith, the Father would have opened the windows of heaven and showered Him with untold blessings.

 

Here is a good rule of thumb for discerning whether someone is a true or false teacher.  If they encourage you to focus on yourself and the “here and now”, they are most probably peddling false doctrine.  Instead, if they are encouraging you to focus on God and eternity, they are probably a true man of God.

 

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace.  In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NKJV)

 

“Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” 2 Timothy 3:12 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President  


Dare 2B Daring – January 22, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“The surest road to wisdom is not speculation, reasoning or reading human books, but meditation upon the Word of God.  The readiest way to be spiritually rich in heavenly knowledge is to dig in this mine of diamonds, to gather pearls from this heavenly sea.” – C.H. Spurgeon

 

Last week, Gem Diamonds Ltd. announced that they had unearthed a 910-carat stone at its Letseng mine in the kingdom of Lethoso, located in southern Africa.  The D-color Type IIa diamond, roughly the size of two golf balls, is of exceptional quality.  It is reportedly the fifth-largest diamond ever discovered.

 

Gem did not say how much the diamond could be worth.  However, the Lucara Diamond Corp. sold a 1,109-carat stone last year for $53 million and a smaller 813-carat diamond in 2015 for a record $63 million.

 

Can you imagine finding any of these remarkable stones?  There, glistening in the vast darkness of an underground mine, your eyes fall upon a “diamond-in-the-rough”.  Immediately, your brain goes into overdrive as your mind is filled with visions of how you are going to spend your new-found riches.

 

Well, my friend, there is something far more priceless sitting on your bedside table or gathering dust on your bookcase.  It is called the Bible, and it is the very Word of God.  By mining its pages, you will discover untold riches.

 

Many of the Bible’s gems are spiritual in nature, providing food for your soul.  However, there is also solid financial advice from Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, as well as a wide assortment of relationship and marriage tips.  Want to know how to succeed in business or how to live a long, healthy life?  Look no further, because the secret to those things – and so much more – is contained within its pages.

 

So put on your helmet, affixed with the light of the Holy Spirit, and start mining for heavenly diamonds in God’s Word today!

 

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.” Matthew 13:45-46 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President     


Dare 2B Daring – January 19, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Without solitude, it is virtually impossible to live a spiritual life.” – Henri Nouwen

 

Today, after five long days, my health is almost back to normal.  But that doesn’t mean that I have forgotten the valuable lessons I learned while flat on my back, compliments of a raging norovirus that hit me broadside last week.

 

And so, without further ado, here are Lessons # 6 and #7…

 

In today’s techno-crazy world with its 24-hour news cycle, it is increasingly difficult to disconnect from all of the external stimuli that constantly and relentlessly compete for our attention.  But it is a MUST!

 

I have found Nouwen’s quote to be 100% true.  Time spent alone – talking (and listening) to God, meditating on His Word, and simply allowing the cob webs to clear so you can refocus and regain your bearings – is an absolute necessity.  Not just for spiritual growth, but also for physical, mental, and emotional health.

 

You can either do it voluntarily, which is highly recommended, or you can do it the hard way (see the above reference to being slammed by a norovirus).  In hindsight, I wish that I had willingly set aside some downtime.  But I can assure you of one thing: the harder the lesson, the more it usually “sticks”.

 

And so, I make the following promise to you, my wife and my still-recovering body:  I will start taking some more time off to rest, relax and rejuvenate.  Admittedly, that is a hard promise to make – let alone keep – for a self-driven, Type-A, over-achiever…especially one from New Jersey!  But unless I want to flame out before my time, it is non-negotiable.  It is also the only way to hear God’s still, small voice speaking amidst the din of everyday life.  Just ask Elijah.

 

The final lesson?  Simply that someday all of this will not matter.  The stomach flu and every other ailment will be a thing of the past, a distant memory.  In their place will be a perfect place with a perfect Person.  No sorrow, no crying, no pain, and no death. (Rev. 21:4)

 

Bring it on!

 

“…and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.” I Kings 19:12 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – January 18, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” – Rahm Emanuel

 

Aaahhh!!!

 

Finally, after four days of battling the mother of all flu bugs, I am starting to feel semi-human again.  Thankfully, I can once again eat – carefully – without worrying about experiencing severe stomach pain.  And as you can see, I am back in the office, playing “catch-up” for a few hours each day.  If I feel up to it, I may even take our dog for a (short) walk later today.

 

Whew… these last few days have been a real battle and I am grateful that the worst of it is finally in the rearview mirror.  Knock on wood!

 

Laying flat on my back, covered with blankets, I asked God not to waste this trial.  Instead, I pleaded with Him to teach me some valuable life lessons – especially spiritual ones – and boy, has He ever!

 

I shared two of them with you yesterday, but here are a few more.  You can thank me later for offering the wisdom I gathered “the hard way” so you wouldn’t have to.

 

Lesson #3 – Two are better than one.  As Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 4:9, it helps to have someone with you when you fall and beside you when you are cold.  My helpmate of 32 years, Deanna, was that and a whole lot more while I was convalescing.  And now that she is fighting a bad head cold of her own, I am trying to return the favor.

 

Lesson #4 – I have not yet “resisted unto blood”.  As the writer of Hebrews bluntly put it in 12:4; fellow Christians – and Jesus Himself – have endured much worse, so “suck it up, buttercup”.  I am reminded of my friend Debi Large, who recently battled the same flu for two weeks all the while fighting an invasive and aggressive brain tumor with faith, grace and humor.  What an inspiration!

 

Lesson #5 – As another Christian friend, Bill Spurgeon, said, “I wonder what all the Lord saved you from during these down days.”  In other words, either Romans 8:28 is true or it isn’t.  IT IS!

 

Stay tuned for two final “flu lessons” tomorrow…

 

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – January 17, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“When we can do nothing, Jesus can do all things; let us enlist His powerful aid upon our side, and all will be well.” – C. H. Spurgeon

 

It hit me around 12:00 PM last Friday – high noon – and it hit me hard.  For the next four hours, I was almost completely helpless, kneeling beside our toilet as wave after wave of nausea wracked my body. 

 

How I hate the flu!

 

When the first wave struck, I prayed that God would relieve my symptoms and bring healing to my increasingly frail frame.  However, it soon became evident that I was in this for “the long haul”.  And so, my semi-eloquent prayers for deliverance quickly dissolved into three simple words, uttered in desperation through clenched teeth.

 

“Jesus, have mercy.”

 

By late afternoon, my stomach was completely empty and the dry heaves had subsided.  However, a team of miniature gymnasts continued to turn summersaults in my belly for the next three days.  And simple tasks like showering and eating (what little I could) drained me of every ounce of energy I could muster.

 

As of Monday, when I’m penning these words, I am still feeling weak and a bit dehydrated.  But unless I relapse, the worst is – thankfully – behind me. 

 

So, what valuable lessons have I learned from battling the flu bug?  Actually, quite a few!

 

First, that God is always there, in every circumstance and every situation.  You may not see or sense Him, but trust me – He is there! (Hebrews 13:5)

 

Second, our prayers do not need to be long and ornate, especially in times of duress.  Here is how Spurgeon put it, referencing Peter’s cry for help when he started sinking: “Short prayers are enough.  There were but three words in the petition which Peter gasped out, but they were sufficient for his purpose.  Not length but strength is desirable.  A sense of need is a mighty teacher of brevity.  If our prayers had less of the tail feathers of pride and more wing, they would be all the better.  Verbiage is to devotion as chaff to the wheat.”

 

Yes, three little words did the job!

 

“Beginning to sink, he cried out, saying, Lord, save me!” Matthew 14:30 (KJV) 

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President 


Dare 2B Daring – January 16, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.” – Thomas Edison

 

When I was a kid, maybe 8 or 10 years old, I had a strange habit.  Before going out to play with my friends, I would sometimes fill my pockets with string and other miscellaneous objects from our junk drawer.  Because my buddies and I would often play “army” and engage in mock battles, I figured you never knew when these things would come in handy.

 

Hmmm…junk that comes in handy.

 

When Jesus was gathering his team of disciples, he didn’t go to the local synagogue and hold a “casting call” for the smartest theologians or the most gifted orators.  Nor did he schmooze up to people with deep pockets, hoping that they would underwrite his new enterprise.  Instead, the Master of the universe recruited lowly fisherman, tax collectors – and even a terrorist – to fill his ranks and be His closest confidants.

 

Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?  Go ahead and admit it.

 

But the message that Jesus communicated by choosing Peter, James, John and the rest was simply this: that God can and will use anyone and anything for His glory.  The only prerequisite is that they be willing, because He is already more than able.

 

And so, my friend, the next time that Satan tries to convince you that you aren’t worthy of being used by God, simply nod your head and smile.  Yes, the Accuser of the Brethren is half-right.  We aren’t worthy, but that never stopped God before and it won’t stop Him now.

 

So fill your pockets with string and get busy serving the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

 

“For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.  But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence.” I Corinthians 1:27-29 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President  


Dare 2B Daring – January 15, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up.  The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” – Thomas Edison

 

Last week, I was privileged to represent Risk Takers for Christ at the American Correctional Association’s winter conference in Orlando.  I arrived on Saturday afternoon to set up our booth and then stayed overnight to rest up for the start of the convention on Sunday.

 

In order to save money, I didn’t stay at the host hotel, which was a very nice Marriot property.  Instead, I booked a room at a nearby Comfort Suites and commuted back and forth each day.  It was a very nice room with all of the amenities one would need for a brief stay. 

 

However, there was one problem that I encountered not just once, but virtually every time I tried to enter my room.  The key card simply would not work!  I would try over and over again, turning the card in every possible direction, swiping it slowly and then swiping it quickly.

 

Next, I would use the spare key card, but usually to no avail.  Inevitably, I would ride the elevator back down to the registration desk to get a new key.

 

This went on for three days and two nights.  Finally, the card reader started to work… just in time for me to check-out!

 

Life is full of minor inconveniences like this as well as major disappointments.  If the little ones – like getting stuck in traffic – make you want to throw up your hands in despair, you’ll more than likely “bail out” when things get really tough.

 

But like Thomas Edison said in today’s quote, trying just one more time is sometimes the key to victory.  In fact, Edison once said that he had not failed, despite thousands of experiments going awry.  He had simply “found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

 

Taking that approach almost guarantees success.  Maybe not this time or the next, but eventually… and certainly, eternally.

 

“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” Galatians 6:9 (NKJV)    

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – January 12, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“The ever-recurring law of necessity soon teaches a man to do what he does not like, so as to avert evils which he would dislike still more... this foresight, well or ill-used, is the source of all the wisdom or the wretchedness of mankind.” – Jean Jacques Rousseau

 

A few weeks ago, I was reading through the book of Genesis when I came to chapter 34. Though I was familiar with the story, I found it interesting all the same. In this passage, Dinah, the daughter of Jacob and Leah, is taken by Shechem, a Hivite ruler, while she is out visiting other women. Shechem violated Dinah and then asked his father Hamor to arrange for her to become his wife, for he had fallen in love with her.

 

Hamor and Shechem then went to Jacob in hopes of finding an agreement between their two people groups. However, Jacob’s sons had heard what was done to their sister and were filled with rage. They manipulated Hamor and Shechem by promising Dinah in exchange for the rightful circumcision of their men. Shechem quickly obliged.

 

Three days later, Simeon and Levi, knowing the Hivite men were still recovering, went into the city and killed every male. The sons of Jacob plundered the entire city, taking its women, children, and livestock.

 

When Jacob learned what his sons had done, he was greatly distressed and feared retribution. In response, Simeon and Levi simply asked, “Should he have treated our sister like a prostitute?” You can decide for yourself concerning the morality of the brothers’ actions. Regardless, they saw an injustice and took action in the best way they knew.

 

This account reminds me of two others in Scripture where ordinary people do rather extraordinary acts. In the time before David’s battle against Goliath, he asked the men of the Israelite army, “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?” Likewise, when Esther decided to approach the king and speak on behalf of her people, she said to Mordecai, “If I perish, I perish.”

 

There will be situations in our life that demand action. At times, it will be in defense of our faith and our God. Are you prepared to do what is necessary?

 

“We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.” II Corinthians 10:5-6

 

-          Christopher Glading, Program Director


Dare 2B Daring – January 11, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Nobody does it better, makes me feel sad for the rest; nobody does it half as good as you, baby, you’re the best.” – Carly Simon

 

Excuse me for taking liberties by using the theme song from a James Bond movie to introduce a devotional message written by Charles Spurgeon.  But to me, the “Prince of Preachers” was also the best devotional writer the world has ever known.

 

Forget the fluff that passes for some doctrine these days.  Instead, I invite you to bask in the spiritual wisdom and intellect of C.H. Spurgeon.

 

“Pleasant it is to the believer to know that God’s eye is thus tenderly observant of that work of grace which He has begun.  He never loses sight of the treasure which he has placed in our earthen vessels.  Sometimes we cannot see the light, but God always sees the light, and that is much better than our seeing it.”

 

“Better for the judge to see my innocence than for me to think I see it.  It is very comfortable for me to know that I am one of God’s people – but whether I know it or not, if the Lord knows it, I am still safe.  This is the foundation, ‘The Lord knoweth them that are His.’”

 

“You may be sighing and groaning because of inbred sin, and mourning over your darkness, yet the Lord sees ‘light’ in your heart, for He has put it there, and all the cloudiness and gloom of your soul cannot conceal your light from His gracious eye.  You may have sunk low in despondency, and even despair; but if your soul has any longing towards Christ, and if you are seeking to rest in His finished work, God sees the ‘light’.”

 

“He not only sees it, but He also preserves it in you.  ‘I, the Lord, do keep it.’  This is a precious thought to those who, after anxious watching and guarding of themselves, feel their own powerlessness to do so.  The light thus preserved by His grace, He will one day develop into the splendor of noonday, and the fulness of glory.  The light within is the dawn of the eternal day.”

 

As Emeril, the world-famous chef, would say… BAM!!!

 

“Being confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – January 10, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“You are what your record says you are.” – Bill Parcells

 

During his career as a head coach, Bill Parcells was known for his no-nonsense approach to football… and life in general.  Drafted in the 7th round (the 89th overall pick) out of Wichita State, Parcells only lasted one season as a player in the NFL.  However, he quickly landed a coaching job at Hastings College, followed in rapid succession by stints at his alma mater, Army, Florida State, Vanderbilt, Texas Tech and the Air Force Academy.

 

In 1979, Parcells graduated to the NFL, serving as Defensive Coordinator for the New York Giants.  From there, he moved back and forth between the Giants and the New England Patriots until the Giants hired him to be their head coach in 1983.  Taking over a team that had had only one winning season in the previous decade, Parcells led the Giants to two Super Bowl wins in just eight years.

 

Parcells retired in 1991, but returned to coaching just two years later, guiding the then-woeful Patriots to Super Bowl XXXI in his fourth season with the team.  He left the Pats in 1996 to assume the head coaching reins with the New York Jets, with whom he also had great success.  After three years with New York, Parcells moved onto Dallas, where he ended his coaching career in 2006.

 

Since “hanging them up” for good, Parcells has served in various front office positions with the Jets, the Miami Dolphins and the Cleveland Browns.  He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2013.   

 

Getting back to Parcells’ original quote, it sounds to me as if the “Big Tuna”, as he was called, was making reference to the Book of James.  Throughout his epistle, James tells his reader that faith without works is dead.  “Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” (James 2:18)

 

Coach Parcells was right.  At the end of the day, we all are exactly what our record says we are.  Talk is cheap.  Actions speak louder than words.

 

“Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” James 2:17 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – January 9, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“A man can fail many times, but he isn’t a failure until he begins to blame somebody else.” – John Burroughs

 

The 2018 PGA season is now officially underway with the completion of the Sentry Tournament of Champions.  Played every year at the Plantation Course at Kapalua in Maui, Hawaii, this prestigious event is reserved for players who won a tournament the previous year.

 

Despite winning 42 PGA events, including five majors during his illustrious career, Phil Mickelson was not invited to play at Kapalua because he hasn’t won a tournament since the 2013 Open Championship.  But as much as “Lefty” will be remembered for winning three green jackets at Augusta National, he will also be forever known for blowing the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot.

 

Leading by one shot on the final hole, Mickelson proceeded to slice his drive left, from where he made a series of poor decisions on his way to a double-bogey.  Par would have won him the tournament and bogey would have gotten him into a playoff with eventual winner Geoff Ogilvy.

 

After his disappointing finish, Mickelson refused to skip his press conference. Instead, he stood tall and made no excuses.  “I'm still in shock,” he told reporters. “I still can't believe I did that. This one hurts more than any tournament because I had it won. Congratulations to Geoff Ogilvy on some great play. I want to thank all the people that supported me. The only thing I can say is I'm sorry."

 

Mickelson ended his interview on an even more candid note.  "I just can't believe I did that,” he said incredulously. “I'm such an idiot."

 

Sometimes, you win more fans by the way you graciously accept defeat than you do in victory.  Greg Norman found that out following his final round collapse at the Masters in 1996, as did 59-year old Tom Watson when he narrowly missed winning his sixth Open Championship at Turnberry in 2009. 

 

“It tore my guts out,” Watson said years later.  And yet, much to his credit, he smiled throughout the awards ceremony as Stewart Cink was named the “Champion Golfer of the Year”.

 

Nobody wins them all, not even my all-time favorite golfer, Jack Nicklaus.  The “Golden Bear” won a record 18 majors, but also had 19 runner-up finishes, including seven in the Open Championship.

 

Like golf, life is full of ups and downs… so enjoy the highs and weather the lows.  Above all, resist making excuses.

 

“So David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the LORD.’” 2 Samuel 12:13 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President   

 


Dare 2B Daring – January 8, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Take chances, make mistakes.  That’s how you grow.  Pain nourishes courage.  You have to fail in order to practice being brave.” – Mary Tyler Moore

 

One of the sadder aspects of entering a new year is being reminded about the people who passed away during the previous one.  In 2017, we lost prominent figures in a variety of different fields.

 

The worlds of music and entertainment were hit especially hard.  Making their final “curtain calls” were Chuck Berry, Glen Campbell, David Cassidy, Jerry Lewis, Della Reese, and Don Rickles.  We also said good-bye to Batman (Adam West); James Bond (Roger Moore); Gomer Pyle (Jim Nabors); Joe Mannix (Mike Conners); and Joanie Cunningham (Erin Moran).

 

And yes, to Laura Petrie, otherwise known as Mary Tyler Moore.

 

At first glance, one would think that Mary lived a charmed life, moving from one successful TV program (the Dick Van Dyke Show) to another (the Mary Tyler Moore Show).  However, there were many trials and tragedies that filled her life before, during and after those career highs.

 

Born in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, Mary was the oldest of three children.  Unfortunately, her sister died at age 21 from a mixture of alcohol and painkillers, and her brother at age 47 from kidney cancer.

 

Mary also had her share of physical challenges, being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 1969, shortly after suffering a miscarriage.  In 2011, she had a benign brain tumor removed.

 

Mary’s personal life was also tumultuous.  She was married three times and divorced twice.  Her only child, Richard, died from an accidental gunshot to the head in 1980.

 

And yet, Mary persevered through it all.  In addition to her very successful acting career, she was a lifelong animal rights activist as well as the International Chairman of the JDRF (formerly the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation).

 

I have no idea where Mary stood spiritually.  I can only hope and pray that she knew Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior.  If she did, we will meet someday in glory.  If not, her life can still teach us several important lessons.

 

First, instead of giving up, she faced – and overcame – countless adversities throughout her eight decades of life.  Second, she may have done so without the help of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

 

So, for those of us who know Christ personally, what’s our excuse?

- Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – January 5, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Some men’s passion is for gold.  Some men’s passion is for art.  Some men’s passion is for fame.  My passion is for souls.” – William Booth

 

On New Year’s Day, my son Chris and I watched one of the greatest games in the history of college football.  The University of Georgia and the University of Oklahoma battled it out at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, and it took double overtime for the Bulldogs to finally pull out a 54-48 victory.

 

I’m sure that a collective cheer emanated from Athens, Georgia – and a collective groan from Norman, Oklahoma – when tailback Sony Michel took a direct snap from center and coasted into the end zone.  His 27-yard run ended the highest-scoring game in Rose Bowl history, and the first to go into overtime.

 

As exciting as the game was – especially for UGA fans – I wonder how many of us get just as “pumped” about reading our Bibles, or attending church, or praying to the God of the universe.  Does witnessing to an unbeliever “float our boat” as much as tailgating?

 

Don’t get me wrong.  I love sports as much as (if not more than) the next guy.  And when the Yankees are in the playoffs or Jack Nicklaus is standing over a birdie putt, I get equal parts nervous and excited.  But at the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter who wins a bowl game or a golf tournament.

 

Only one thing truly matters in this life: S-O-U-L-S.  They are eternal, whereas national championships are not.

 

So, let’s all try to keep things in their proper perspective.  Go ahead and cheer for your favorite team, but don’t forget to “Amen” your pastor this Sunday!

 

“And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: ‘Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!’  Then the four living creatures said, ‘Amen!’  And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever.” Revelation 5:13-14 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – January 4, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Secular music, do you say, belongs to the devil?  Does it?  Well, if it did I would plunder him for it, for he has no right to a single note of the whole seven.  Every note, and every strain, and every harmony is divine, and belongs to us.” – William Booth

 

Now before you jump down my throat – or William Booth’s – let me explain what I think the founder of the Salvation Army meant when he penned these words.

 

First, remember that Booth was born in 1829 and died in 1912.  That meant that he was never exposed to rock, rap or anything that passes for music these days.  In fact, the “rowdiest” music that Booth ever heard was probably ragtime, popularized by Scott (not Janice) Joplin and others around the turn of the 20th century.

 

Second, Booth was talking about the actual musical notes, not the accompanying lyrics.  I am sure that he never envisioned the mix of misogyny and profanity that marks the recordings of so-called “artists” like Jay Z and Lil Wayne.

 

Third, in Booth’s day, music was never played at such ear-splitting levels.  For example, a whisper in a library is measured at 30 decibels and a normal conversation at twice that amount.  Sounds recorded at 90-95 decibels – which is when prolonged exposure can lead to serious hearing loss – include a train whistle at 500 feet and a jackhammer at 50 feet.

 

Today’s rock concerts – at 115 decibels – are on a par with sandblasting, measuring just 10 decibels below the threshold when actual pain begins.

 

So, what point was Booth trying to make?  Simply this: that we should stop ceding territory to Satan and his minions.  Music is a gift from God, so let’s seize it back for His glory.   

 

“And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord…” Ephesians 5:18-19 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President   


Dare 2B Daring – January 3, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“You must pray with all your might.  That does not mean saying your prayers, or sitting gazing about in church or chapel with eyes wide open while someone else says them for you.  It means fervent, effectual, untiring wrestling with God.  This kind of prayer be sure the devil and the world and your own indolent, unbelieving nature will oppose.  They will pour water on this flame.” – William Booth

 

I must be lazy and undisciplined.  There is no other logical explanation.

 

Consider the following facts…

 

  1. As a child of God, I believe that prayer grants me immediate and unbridled access to His very throne room.
  2. As a child of God, I understand that He hears and answers my prayers, and desires to answer them in accordance with His perfect will.
  3. As a child of God, I recognize that the power of prayer is virtually limitless – moving mountains, healing the sick, etc.

 

So, if the above facts are true (and they are), then there is only one viable conclusion that can be drawn from the fact that I don’t pray as often or as fervently as I should.  As difficult as it is to admit, I am spiritually lazy… and I’m guessing that you are too.

 

Martin Luther wrote that the more he had to accomplish on a certain day, the more time he spent in prayer that morning.  Far too often, I do the exact opposite.  When I am extremely busy, it is tempting to shorten my personal prayer time with the Lord in order to start checking items off of my “to do” list.

 

Ironic, isn’t it?  Instead of accessing the greatest power source in the universe, I pull the plug instead!

 

Now you know what is going to be my #1 New Year’s resolution: P-R-A-Y longer and P-R-A-Y harder.  How about you?

 

“Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.” Luke 6:12 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – January 2, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Only familiarity with the thought of death creates true, inward freedom from material things.  The ambition, greed and love of power that we keep in our hearts, that shackle us to this life in chains of bondage, cannot in the long run deceive the man who looks death in the face.  Rather, by contemplating his end, he eventually feels purified and delivered from his baser self, from material things, and from other men, as well as from fear and hatred of his fellow men.” – Dr. Albert Schweitzer

 

Will I die in 2018?  I don’t know.  Actually, only God Himself knows the answer to that question.

 

But let me state unequivocally one thing I do know about 2018.  Whatever days – and strength – God grants me will be spent in His service.  This year, next year and every year until He returns or calls me home.  

 

As Albert Schweitzer put it so eloquently above, “familiarity with the thought of death” is the key to living life to its fullest in the service of the King.  In other words, once we embrace our own mortality, it is far easier to reject materialism.  

 

Ask yourself this question: How do I want to be remembered?  As a successful businessman who acquired great wealth, only to see it inherited by less-than-grateful heirs?  How about as a famous artist whose works fill galleries today, but are sold for discount prices at yard sales tomorrow?  

 

Or maybe your heart’s desire is to be a screen idol with people flocking to see your movies.  If so, there’s a pretty good chance that someday you will be the answer to the trivia question, “Whatever happened to [insert your name here]?”

 

It may sound a bit sappy, but I’d rather be known in the courts of heaven than in the halls of man.  How about you?

 

 “Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for my sake and for the Good News, will receive now in return a hundred times as many houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and property – along with persecution… And in the world to come that person will have eternal life.But many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then.” Mark 10:29-31 (NLT)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – January 1, 2018

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“He realized once more the unsurpassed joy that came through giving one’s life in service to others.” – Ken Gire, writing about Dr. Albert Schweitzer

 

I just finished reading a short biography about Albert Schweitzer… and what a remarkable man he was!

 

An accomplished organist, renowned author and highly respected physician, Schweitzer earned doctoral degrees in medicine, philosophy and theology.  He pastored a church, taught at a seminary, and was recognized as Europe’s leading authority on Johann Sebastian Bach.  And yet, at the height of his career, Schweitzer left it all behind and answered God’s call to minister to the people of Africa.

 

From 1913 until his death in 1965, Schweitzer spent much of his time in Gabon, in French Equatorial Africa.  The hospital that he built in Lambarene treated thousands of patients every year, many of whom would have died had it not been for “Papa Pour Nous”, the name affectionately given to Schweitzer by the Gabonese.

 

Schweitzer was greatly influenced by the writings of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, whose life’s motto was, “Do good for the pure love of doing good.”  Perhaps that is why the following phrase was inscribed above the door to the missionary hospital in Lambarene: “Here, at whatever hour you come, you will find light and help and human kindness.”

 

Albert Einstein, a contemporary of Schweitzer’s, once said of him, “Here in this sorry world is a man!”  Oh, that such a phrase would be uttered about you and me during our life and especially, at our life’s end.

 

“Do good for the pure love of doing good.”  Sounds like a perfect New Year’s resolution to me!

 

“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.  Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:9-10 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – December 29, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“I observed that when a footballer is about to make a threatening strike to score a goal, there comes a big shout from spectators at the field. He could either get detracted to miss the opportunity or motivated to make it happen. Such is life!” – Israelmore Avivor, The Great Hand Book of Quotes

 

Tapping into our son Chris’ childhood one more time…

 

As I did for all three of our kids, I coached Chris in soccer on several different teams.  One of them was called “the Bulldogs”, and Chris led his team to an undefeated season by scoring 35 goals.  Going into the final game of the season, Deanna and I offered to take him to “Chuck E. Cheese’s”, the indoor arcade, if he reached 30 goals for the season.  I guess Chris didn’t want to take a chance on us changing our mind, because he scored seven goals that day!

 

Another year, he had a teammate who was also named Chris.  However, the two of them couldn’t have been any more different.  The “other” Chris was big for his age and not very motivated.  On the contrary, “our” Chris was almost always the smallest kid on his team, but he also hustled the most.

 

And so, several times every game, our Chris would get the ball at the far end of the field and weave through a phalanx of opposing players until he was within shooting range of the goal.  Almost without fail, the other Chris – who hadn’t moved an inch from his position all game long – would shout, “Chris, I’m open!”

 

In other words, having watched our Chris do all the work, the other Chris was more than willing to shoot the ball and bask in the glory of scoring a goal.

 

Using this somewhat comical scenario to make a spiritual application may seem a bit far-fetched, but it makes perfect sense to me.  Simply put, we were hopelessly mired in sin with no hope of ever scoring a goal (i.e. getting into heaven).  However, seeing our plight, the Star Player weaved His way up the field, past a host of defenders, and pounded the ball into the back of the net.  Then, to our utter amazement, he went over to the Official Scorer and insisted that we be credited with the goal.

 

Or as they say in soccer stadiums around the world, “GOOOOAAAALLLL!!!!!”

 

“Knowing that man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.” Galatians 2:16 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President    


Dare 2B Daring – December 28, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Share and share alike.” – Ancient proverb

 

One year, when our son Chris was a little boy, we celebrated his birthday by hosting a party for him and his friends.  Among them was a boy named Andy, whom Chris knew very well from church.

 

As Chris was unwrapping his presents, every time Andy saw a gift that he liked he would say, “Chris, we share, right?”  That comical scene has given birth to a “catch phrase” that our family continues to use, kind of like an inside joke.

 

In my devotional readings this week, I read a passage from “Morning and Evening” by Charles Spurgeon that dealt with this same topic.  It was so meaningful to me that I felt compelled to share it with you, my brothers and sisters in Christ.

 

“As the Anointed Redeemer of Israel, Christ Jesus has nothing distinct from His Church, but all that He has He holds for her.  Adam’s righteousness was ours so long as he maintained it, and his sin was ours the moment that he committed it; and in the same manner, all that the Second Adam is or does, is ours as well as His, seeing that He is our representative.”

 

“Here is the foundation of the covenant of grace.  This gracious system of representation and substitution, this is the very groundwork of the gospel of our salvation, and is to be received with strong faith and rapturous joy.”

 

The Apostle Paul captures this same thought in 2 Corinthians 5:21.  “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

 

John also touched on this theme in his first epistle (3:1).  “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!”

 

It’s as if we, being sinners, saw Jesus in all His sinless perfection and glory and shouted out, “Jesus, we share, right?”  And He said “Yes!”

 

“And so it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living being.’  The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.” I Corinthians 15:45 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – December 27, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“I finally figured out that not every crisis can be managed.  As much as we want to keep ourselves safe, we can’t protect ourselves from everything.  If we want to embrace life, we also have to embrace chaos.” – Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Breathing Room

 

One of my favorite TV shows is “Designated Survivor”, starring Kiefer Sutherland.  Much of the political intrigue revolves around the unplanned presidency of Tom Kirkman, who was a relatively obscure cabinet officer until a terrorist attack on the U.S. Capitol killed everyone in the presidential line of succession but him.

 

Natascha McElhone portrays Kirkman’s wife, Alex, a high-powered Washington attorney.  Initially, she wrestles with her new duties as First Lady, but just as she seems to be making the adjustment – and shortly after being cleared in a federal investigation – Alex is killed in a car accident.

 

That’s right… despite riding in an armored limousine and being accompanied by well-armed Secret Service agents, Alex Kirkman is killed instantly when a truck slams into the side of her vehicle.  Whether her death was purely accidental or part of another terrorist plot remains to be seen in upcoming episodes.

 

Now I realize that “Designated Survivor” is simply a TV show and that the real Natascha McElhone   is alive and well.  But the point remains that life is fleeting and filled with unexpected occurrences.  Some of them are happy, pleasant and more-than-welcome.  Others, like the fate that befell Alex Kirkman, are extremely tragic.

 

In “The Last Star”, Rick Yancey put it this way.  “You’re never perfectly safe.  No human being on Earth ever is or ever was.  To live is to risk your life, your heart, everything.”

 

Perhaps Beth Nimmo summed it up best.  “There’s no safety outside of God”, she wrote.

 

The moral of today’s devotional?  Get right with God by trusting Jesus as your Savior… and then live your life fearlessly and courageously.

 

“Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – December 26, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“There is no salvation in becoming adapted to a world which is crazy.” – Henry Miller

 

One of the biggest fears that people have is the fear of being different, of not fitting in.  It starts in childhood, grows in magnitude throughout our adolescence, and continues – sometimes unabated – for the rest of our lives.

 

Is there an upside to uniformity?  Sure, in some ways.  For instance, the U.S. military relies heavily on troop uniformity to be battle-ready.  And denying oneself for the greater good and a higher purpose is also a biblical principle (see Matthew 16:24).

 

But – and it’s a big but – the Bible also warns repeatedly about the dangers of conforming to the world.  “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2)

 

Far too often, there is little or no outward difference between believers and unbelievers.  Sadly, our childhood (and lifelong) desire to “fit in with the crowd” results in us talking like, dressing like and even acting like the unsaved world around us.

 

Depending on your translation, Peter calls us a “peculiar people” or “His special people”, meaning that we should stick out like a sore thumb in this dark and dying world.  In that same verse, he also refers to us as “chosen”, “royal” and “holy”.  And Jesus Himself challenges us to be “salt and light” in Matthew 5:13-16.

 

So the next time you feel pressure to put on some “spiritual camouflage”, ask yourself the following questions.  Will blending in help or hurt my testimony?  Will trying to fit in result in me conforming to – or transforming – the world around me?  Most of all, will my actions and attitudes glorify God… or embarrass Him?

 

Finally, if accused of being a true Christ-follower, will there be enough evidence to convict me? 

 

“Then he [Moses] said to Him, ‘If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here.  For how then will it be known that Your people and I have found grace in Your sight, except you go with us?  So we shall be separate, Your people and I, from all the people who are upon the face of the earth.’” Exodus 33:15-16 (NKJV) 

 

“Then you shall again discern between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him.” Malachi 3:18 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – December 25, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

Soldiers’ Christmas

By Ted L. Glines

 

Creeping through the silent night

Things that move are things of fright,

Sleigh bells never ringing now

Angels seldom singing now

Nothing comes to make their season bright.

 

(Chorus)

Ring the bells and praise the Lord

For our soldiers’ love outpoured,

Post their names upon your tree

As they fight to keep us free.

Remember their gift forevermore.

 

Helicopters – guns and tanks

Moving now in guarded ranks,

Not a bit of Christmas cheer

That must wait ‘til they’re home next year,

Since their only present is your “Thanks.”

 

Now with many flags unfurled

Boys and girls from ‘round the world

Lift their voices – battle cry

Bound to win or bound to die

Brave young heroes all – to chaos hurled.


Here at home with Christmas cheer
In this fun time of the year

Let’s pause a bit from what we’ve planned,

Singing songs – with praises… and

Send a loving hug to soldiers dear.

“Greater love has no one but this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.  You are my friends if you do whatever I command you.  No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called your friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.” John 15:13-15 (NKJV)


Dare 2B Daring – December 22, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“Apart from vital godliness all religion is utterly vain; offered without a sincere heart, every form of worship is a solid sham and an impudent mockery of the majesty of heaven.” – C. H. Spurgeon

 

Last Saturday, Chris and I attended the PNC Father & Son Challenge, a golf tournament in Orlando.  No, we didn’t play; we simply watched some of the greatest golfers in the history of the game compete alongside their sons (or in one case, his father; and in another case, his grandson).

 

Chris and I stood at the first tee and watched every group tee off except for the first and the last two-man teams.  Then we followed my golf hero, Jack Nicklaus, for nine holes as he was paired with his grandson G.T.  Also in Jack’s foursome was Lee Trevino and his son, Danny…what a treat!

 

Even at age 77 and 78 respectively, Jack and Lee can still strike the ball with authority.  Sure, the “Golden Bear” isn’t launching any 300-yard drives these days, nor is the “Merry Mex”.  But their iron games remain strong and their chipping is nearly flawless.

 

But try as they might, Jack and Lee had some trouble willing the ball into the hole.  Birdie putts simply refused to drop, leaving them with a lot of tap-in pars.  Not bad, but not good enough to climb the leader board.  By the end of the two-day event, Team Trevino stood at -11 and Team Nicklaus at -10.  The tournament winners were Angel Cabrera Sr. and Angel Cabrera Jr., who shot 59 the first day and wound up at -25.

 

In golf, there is a saying that says, “drive for show and putt for dough”.  In other words, driving the ball long and straight is an asset, but if you want to win a tournament – and the prize money that comes with it – you’d better have a hot putter in your bag!

 

The same goes for spirituality.  Appearing religious from the outside gets you and me nowhere.  What God is looking for – and counting on – is a sincere heart.  One that is equal parts repentant, devoted, obedient, and on fire.

 

Is yours?

 

“But the LORD said to Samuel,’ Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, for I have refused him.  For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.’” I Samuel 16:7 (NKJV)     

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – December 21, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“If I have made any valuable discoveries, it has been owing more to patient attention than to any other talent.” – Isaac Newton  

 

On a recent trip to the library, I picked up the first season of the BBC series Sherlock. I had heard very good recommendations of it and thought I’d watch a few episodes. I have thoroughly enjoyed the show so far. Sherlock Holmes displays his incredible talents for deductive reasoning while working alongside Dr. John Watson.

 

One common admonition of Sherlock’s is “observe, don’t just see and listen, don’t just hear”. We see and hear everything around us in the course of a day, but we may not always be paying close enough attention to truly account for it.

 

This theme is prevalent all throughout Scripture. In the book of Isaiah, the prophet writes that he spoke, but the people did not listen; they heard, but didn’t understand; they were told, but did not know.

 

Hearing is the precursor to acknowledgement and action. John 5:24 states, “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.” Revelation 3:20 reads, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.”

 

In your life this coming week, I encourage you to observe and listen intently, especially to what God would show and say to you.

 

“In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.” Matthew 13:14-15

 

-          Christopher Glading, Program Director


Dare 2B Daring – December 20, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

"I find it harder and harder every day to live up to my blue china." – Oscar Wilde

 

The above quote is attributed to Wilde during his university years when he and his roommate were known for hosting lavish parties, possibly subsidized by his father.  William Wilde was Britain’s leading eye and ear surgeon, and was knighted for his medical service.  Meanwhile, Oscar was busy decorating his dorm room with peacock feathers, lilies, sunflowers and various “objets d’art”.

 

The dysfunctional relationship between father and son became even more pronounced when Oscar considered converting to Catholicism and becoming a priest.  William Wilde responded by threatening to cut his son off financially.  Years later, while on his deathbed, Oscar was baptized into the Catholic faith. 

 

I am thankful that I had a good relationship with my dad, especially after he and I both trusted Jesus Christ as our Savior in 1977.  Over the next 25 years, he served as a quiet mentor and role model.  He was there when I needed him and non-interfering when I didn’t.

 

Today, with all three of our children having “flown the nest”, I am trying my best to follow my dad’s example.  Hopefully, our kids know that I will always be there for them, through thick or thin.  But I also realize that they are now adults and need to spread their respective wings.

 

If Deanna and I did a good job as parents, we are confident that Bethany, Matthew and Christopher will continue to live godly and productive lives.  So far, so good!

 

And now, much of our emphasis is on our precious grandchildren.  We desire to be a major part of their lives, and to model Jesus Christ before them each and every day.  Our earnest prayer is not only that Brady, Sadie and Levi will come to know Jesus personally, but also that they will become mighty warriors in His spiritual army.

 

Today’s lesson is simple.  As mature believers, we are to model Christ and pray hard for the next generation… and the one after that. 

 

“This will be written for the generation to come, that a people yet created may praise the LORD.” Psalm 102:18 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – December 19, 2017

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

(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)

 

“A visionary is one who can find his way by moonlight and see the dawn before the rest of the world.” – Oscar Wilde

 

Oscar Wilde was one of the most flamboyant and sensational personalities of the second half of the 19th century.  Raised by a father who had sired three out-of-wedlock children before him, Oscar was denied a normal upbringing.

 

Later, he was on the losing end of a lover’s triangle, with his childhood sweetheart choosing Bram Stroker, the author of Dracula, over him.  Although Wilde later married and fathered two children of his own, he eventually adopted a homosexual lifestyle for which he was imprisoned for two years.

 

After his release, Wilde fled Great Britain, never to return.  He died in abject poverty three years later, reportedly of meningitis.  Today, Wilde is best remembered for his novel, “The Picture of Dorian Gray”, and his play, “The Importance of Being Earnest”.

 

There are many lessons to be learned from Wilde’s short and tumultuous life.  The first is that proper parenting is critical to one’s future health and well-being.  Conversely, improper parenting often leaves mental, emotional and even physical scars that take years to heal…if they ever do.

 

Second, people will naturally seek out love and acceptance.  If they do not find those necessary elements in a traditional relationship, they may be susceptible to non-traditional (and unbiblical) ones.

 

And yet, despite his tortured life, there is no denying Wilde’s brilliance.  He was a creative genius of the highest order.  Just imagine, if you will, how much more productive he might have been – and happier, too – if his father had been a better role model or if those closest to him during his adolescence had steered him in the right direction.

 

Providing positive male role models for at-risk youth is what our Living H2O Initiative is all about.  Too bad our program wasn’t around when Oscar Wilde was searching for answers.

 

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6 (NKJV)

 

-          Rev. Dale M. Glading, President


Dare 2B Daring – 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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