Friday, April 1, 2016

The Peanut Vendor

by Sam Kameleson

Once upon a time, there lived a peanut vendor in South India. Every day he walked up and down the beach calling out, “Peanuts! Peanuts for sale! Peanuts!” The man was miserably poor. He barely earned half a living, hardly enough to feed his family. But at night he bragged to his wife and children, “I am the president and the vice president and the secretary and the treasurer of my own company!”

Eventually, the grinding poverty wore his nerves paper thin. One day he snapped. He sold all his peanuts and most of his meager belongings. He decided to go on a big fling.

“For one day, I am going to live like a rich man!” he vowed.

So he stopped by the barbershop for a clean shave and a hairstyle trim. He visited a fine clothing store and purchased an expensive suit, white shirt and tie, and all the accessories needed to look rich. Then he checked himself into the finest luxury hotel for the night. He had just enough money left to pay for the gourmet breakfast buffet the next morning.

He enjoyed the night’s accommodations in his luxury suite. When morning came he located the private, beachfront patio for the breakfast buffet. Although it was crowded with tourists, he found a table by himself. He had just filled his plate when in walked an elegantly dressed man. By this time no more tables were available, so the man approached and asked, “May I join you?”

The peanut vendor replied, “Why, yes! Please sit down.” He thought,

This is my lucky day! Not only am I living like a rich man, but I am going to eat with a rich man, too.

As the two began to talk, the stranger asked, “Sir, what do you do?” “I am the president and the vice president and the secretary and the treasurer of my own company,” he replied. “And what do you do?” The richly dressed man looked a bit sheepish. “I’m sorry. I should have introduced myself. I just supposed that with the coverage in the newspapers you might have recognized me. My name is John D. Rockefeller.” Although he had not recognized the face, the peanut vendor did know the name. He thought, This is wonderful! I am eating with one of the richest men in the whole world.

After talking for a while, Mr. Rockefeller said, “I like your style. We are starting a new company here in South India. Why don’t you come to work for me? I will make you vice president of sales in my new firm.”

The peanut vendor replied, “Why, thank you. What a generous offer! I would like a few minutes to think it over.”

“Of course,” said Mr. Rockefeller, “but I would like some indication of your interest before we part company.”

The two leisurely enjoyed the rest of their meals. When they were finished, the peanut vendor stood up. He wanted to announce his decision with style. He took a step away from the table and then turned and spoke in a voice loud enough so many could overhear.

“Thank you, Mr. Rockefeller, for offering me the position of vice president in your new company. But I must decline. I prefer to be the president and the vice president and the secretary and the treasurer of my own company.” He turned on his heel and walked out.

Years later, an old peanut vendor walked up and down the same resort beaches croaking in a broken voice, “Peanuts! Peanuts for sale! Peanuts!” But at night he boasted to his grandchildren that long ago one of the richest men in the world had offered to make him vice president of a huge firm.

“I turned it down,” he bragged, “so I could be the president and the vice president and the secretary and the treasurer of my own company.”

Looking ahead…

The peanut vendor had a chance for financial security but was too proud and self‐sufficient to accept it. Yet don’t we, as Christians, often make the same mistake? Our “rich” friend—our heavenly Father—owns the possessions and resources of the entire world. He has offered us love, meaning, purpose, and, ultimately, eternal life. These are His gifts to us (“And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Jesus Christ”—Philippians 4:19). All we must do is repent of our sins and accept His lordship in our lives. But many husbands and wives are too proud—too self‐sufficient—to surrender their lives and belongings to Him. The unfortunate result is that they continue in misery and poverty.

Do you struggle with wanting “more”—be it money, possessions, status, or something else? We’ll spend the next few days discussing the impact of material desires and money management on marriage. As we do, keep in mind that everything we own and everything we are really belongs to the Lord of all.

- James C Dobson

From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved. “The Peanut Vendor” by Sam Kameleson. Taken from The Christ- Centered Marriage, © 1996 by Neil T. Anderson and Charles Mylander, Gospel Light/ Regal Books, Ventura, Calif., 93003. Used by permission.

Frederick Denison Maurice, Priest

Today the church remembers Frederick Denison Maurice, Priest, 1872.

In 1848 virtually all of Europe was aflame with revolution. Governments were violently overthrown in France, Germany, and Austria. The Establishment in England shuddered and reacted rather fearfully. At least one Christian theologian, F. D. Maurice, responded positively and set to work to apply Christian principles in the acute area of social reform.

Maurice, along with John Ludlow and Charles Kingsley, organized the Christian Socialists. They publicized the use of Christian attitudes in solving social problems. They helped organize trade unions and promoted reform legislation. Their ideas and actions were unpopular with certain persons of the Establishment, and Maurice was forced to resign his post in theology at London's King's College.

Undeterred, Maurice founded Working Men's College in London and pioneered in the field of education for working class people. He wrote and published many volumes, the most famous of which was entitled The Kingdom of Christ.

Maurice laid the groundwork for much modern English theology. He forged contacts between the church and the reforming movements in the state and thereby helped prevent in England the antagonism which typified church-state relations in some countries as these reforming groups began to take the reins of government.

When we desire retreat into our churches, O God, lead us outward to meet the world's needs. Amen.

Almighty God, you restored our human nature to heavenly glory through the perfect obedience of our Savior Jesus Christ: Keep alive in your Church, we pray, a passion for justice and truth; that, like your servant Frederick Denison Maurice, we may work and pray for the triumph of the kingdom of your Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Daily Readings for April 1, 2016 - Friday in Easter Week

Psalm 118:19-24
19   Open for me the gates of righteousness; I will enter them; I will offer thanks to the LORD.
20   This is the gate of the LORD; he who is righteous may enter.
21   I will give thanks to you, for you answered me and have become my salvation.
22   The same stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.
23   This is the LORD'S doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes.
24   On this day the LORD has acted; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Acts 4:1-12
While Peter and John were speaking to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees came to them, much annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming that in Jesus there is the resurrection of the dead. So they arrested them and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening. But many of those who heard the word believed; and they numbered about five thousand. The next day their rulers, elders, and scribes assembled in Jerusalem, with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family. When they had made the prisoners stand in their midst, they inquired, "By what power or by what name did you do this?" Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, "Rulers of the people and elders, if we are questioned today because of a good deed done to someone who was sick and are asked how this man has been healed, let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that this man is standing before you in good health by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead. This Jesus is 'the stone that was rejected by you, the builders; it has become the cornerstone.' There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved."

John 21:1-14
After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias; and he showed himself in this way. Gathered there together were Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples. Simon Peter said to them, "I am going fishing." They said to him, "We will go with you." They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, "Children, you have no fish, have you?" They answered him, "No." He said to them, "Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some." So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the sea. But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, only about a hundred yards off. When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish that you have just caught." So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred fifty-three of them; and though there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, "Come and have breakfast." Now none of the disciples dared to ask him, "Who are you?" because they knew it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.

Daily Meditation for April 1, 2016 - Friday in Easter Week

From Forward Day by Day

Acts 4:11 This Jesus is “the stone that was rejected by you, the builders; it has become the cornerstone.”

What an appropriate reading for April Fool’s day! It makes me a little wary of those things I presume to “reject” in my own life. If these religious people, and the highest government officials can come to an agreement to reject Jesus, what have I rejected that could become a cornerstone in my life?

In high school and college, I hung around artists. I admired them but rejected the possibility that I could be an artist. I continued to flirt with that rejected part of myself until a mentor helped me see art was an essential part of who I am.

I don’t have an opening scheduled at the Museum of Modern Art, but as I accept the cornerstone of art, the rest of my life has opened up. It is the cornerstone of my prayer life. It is how I speak with God and how God speaks through me.

Men of the Bible - Gideon

His name means: "Hewer, Slasher, Hacker"
His work: A farmer called to bring Israel back to the Lord (a task in which he partially succeeded) and to deliver God's people from their Midianite oppressors. 
His character: A fearful man, living in a time when Israel had plenty to fear, Gideon questioned the Lord, demanding signs that would reassure him of God's faithfulness. Even though he was a reluctant warrior, he won a brilliant military victory and became one of Israel's greatest judges. 
His triumph: That God's vision for his life turned out to be far greater than his own. 
Key Scriptures: Judges 6-8

A Look at the Man

Gideon's story reminds us of the story of another man, centuries earlier, who also felt inadequate for the role God assigned him. His name was Moses, a man who had been hiding out just as Gideon had when God called him. Both Gideon and Moses made excuses, plausible-sounding ones to us though not to God. To both men God simply said, "I am sending you."

When Gideon pleaded that his clan was the weakest in Israel and he the least of his family, he was unwittingly expressing his qualifications for the job. God wasn't looking for a born leader, a man who would be great in the eyes of his own people. He wasn't searching for a self-reliant man who would take credit for every victory. He needed someone whose weakness he could use, a man whose apparent unsuitability would eventually convince his people that their God was still with them, still powerful, still loving.

It's interesting that God called Gideon a mighty warrior precisely at the moment when such a description was hardest to believe. How could Gideon comprehend it when his own idea of himself was so contrary to God's idea? Because of the Lord's remarkable patience, Gideon was eventually able to overcome his doubts and become the man God intended him to be. By believing in God, he lived out his life, not as a timid man, but as a warrior who had won a brilliant victory.

Many of us are like Moses and Gideon were at the moment God first called them. We are hiding out, living our own lives, reluctant to alter the status quo, unable to believe we are capable of any kind of greatness. But God describes his plan for our lives, not in our terms, but in his. And that's how it should be, because he's the only one who knows who we really are and what his power can do within us. If we want to experience God shaping our lives and using us—in our families, our churches, and our communities—we will have to set aside our own vision for ourselves in order to embrace his. Anyone who does that will one day look back, not with regret, but with gratitude, amazed at the great things God has done in a life yielded to him.

Reflect On: Judges 6:36–40 
Praise God: For his patience. 
Offer Thanks: For the guidance God gives. 
Confess: Any doubts you may have about God's desire to guide you. 
Ask God: To help you use "the strength you have" as you seek to do his will.

Today's reading is a brief excerpt from Men of the Bible: A One-Year Devotional Study of Men in Scripture by Ann Spangler and Robert Wolgemuth (Zondervan). © 2010 by Ann Spangler. Used with permission. All rights reserved. Enjoy the complete book by purchasing your own copy at the Bible Gateway Store. The book's title must be included when sharing the above content on social media.

His Princess Every Day - Friday, April 1, 2016

Devotionals for Women - Inspirational author and speaker Sheri Rose Shepherd imagines what a letter written from God to you would look like.

His Kingdom
My Daughter,

I know some days you feel as if there is no fight left inside of you. You, like all My chosen children, sometimes wonder where I am and whether this faith is worth fighting for. Many times your strength is sapped because you are waging battles I did not ask you to fight. Give up battles not worth winning so you will have the strength to win souls for My Kingdom. I know this life is not easy, but I have not called you to a life of comfort; I have called you to combat and adventure! Battles won for My Kingdom will not be wasted; so ask Me before you choose your fight. I will guide you, and I promise to use you to bring abundant life to all those you love. Now, My beloved daughter, ask yourself, What am I winning if I lose my chance to glorify my God with my life?

Your King Who fights for you

If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. - Mark 3:24

Treasure of Truth
What battle is worth winning on earth if, as a result, you lose souls that could have been won for the Kingdom?

This devotional is written by Sheri Rose Shepherd. All content copyright Sheri Rose Shepherd 2015. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Visit for devotionals, books, videos, and more from Sheri Rose Shepherd.


They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the king of Israel!” John 12:13

There were two crowds who greeted Jesus on that first Palm Sunday. The first crowd were Passover celebrators who came out from Jerusalem to meet Jesus as he approached from Bethany (John 12:12). The second crowd was made up of those accompanying Him from Bethany who had witnessed the recent miraculous resurrection of Lazarus (John 12:17). Both crowds loudly proclaimed praises to Jesus as he rode into town on a donkey on the road leading Him to Calvary.

John’s account of this day also indicates there were two types of responses to Jesus as he rode into Jerusalem. One outspoken group “continued to spread the word” about Jesus causing many people to look for Him. It even caused the Pharisees to say, “Look how the whole world has gone after him” (John 12: 19).

A second group believed in Jesus but would not publicly confess their faith because of fear of losing their status in the local synagogue. They loved praise from men more than praise from God, John concluded (John 12:42-43).

Palm Sunday is thus a challenge to us about how outspoken or not we are about King Jesus. Do we continue to loudly proclaim Him as our King or are we so fearful of consequences that we hold back and hesitate, losing every opportunity to make Him known.

A pastor friend of Rev. Joseph Tson in Romania was told by an interrogating officer, “We know that Mr Tson would love to be a martyr, but we are not so foolish as to fulfill his wish.”

Pastor Tson said:

Now that I had placed my life on the altar and decided I was ready to die for the Gospel, they were telling me they would not kill me. I could go wherever I wanted in the country and preach whatever I wanted knowing I was safe. As long as I tried to save my life, I was losing it. Now that I was willing to lose it, I found it…

Jesus taught us long ago: with Him, the road down leads upward. With Him, the path of suffering ends in victory. The road to Calvary does not stop until resurrection.

RESPONSE: Today I commit to joining the group of disciples who “continue to spread the word.”

PRAYER: Lord, help me walk the Calvary road with You right through to resurrection!

Girlfriends in God - April 01, 2016

Take Hold of the Faith You Long For
Sharon Jaynes
Today’s Truth
“I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me” (Phil. 3:12, emphasis added).

Friend to Friend 
Have you ever watched a circus performer on a flying trapeze? A short horizontal bar suspended by ropes or metal straps dangles high above the crowd. The aerialist grabs the trapeze bar, jumps off of a high platform, and swings through the air. She swings out once, swings back above the platform, and swings out again.

It is during the peak of the third swing where the fun begins for those below. The performer releases the bar mid-air and grabs hold of another bar or second performer hanging from his knees who swings toward her. Once she grabs hold, the crowd remembers to breathe. Somersaults, backflips, and triple twists wow the crowd. And each move requires the performer to let go and grab hold—let go of one bar and grab hold of another. Without the faith to do so, the trapeze artist would simply swing back and forth until the pumping momentum gave way to dangling, or she would hang, stuck in-between two platforms, with hands clinging to both bars. Not the greatest show on earth.

Paul wrote to the Philippians, “I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me” (Phil. 3:12, emphasis added). Another version expresses the verse this way: I press on to lay hold of (grasp) and make my own, that for which Christ Jesus (the Messiah) has laid hold of me and made me His own” (AMPC). When you take hold, grasp, and make your own all of what Jesus had already taken hold of for you, you begin to experience life to the full—the faith you’ve always longed for. If we would grasp and make our own what Jesus has already done for us, and what He has deposited in us, our lives would look very different than the tepid faith of the average churchgoer.

It’s not enough to know the promises of God, you’ve got to grab hold with all the firmness of the trapeze artist—release what is behind and take hold of what is ahead. That is the greatest show on earth. That is how the greatest faith on earth becomes a reality.

God’s promises are not automatic. We must move from knowing the promise, to believing the promise, to actually taking hold of the promise through obedient action in order to make them a reality in our lives. God told Joshua about the Promised Land, “I will give you every place where you set your foot” (Josh. 1:3). He and the Israelites had to “set their feet” to conquer the land; to grab hold of the promise that was theirs for the taking.

God’s power, provision, and purposes are for “whosoever will” (Mark 8:34 KJV). Will what? Will let go of all that holds you back from experiencing the abundant life of the adventurous faith and take hold of truth that makes it so.

Paul wrote to the Corinthian church, and to you and me: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived, all that God has planned for those who love Him” (1 Cor. 2:9). Another translations says: “What eye has not seen and ear has not heard and has not entered into the heart of man, [all that] God has prepared (made and keeps ready) for those who love Him [who hold Him in affectionate reverence, promptly obeying Him and gratefully recognizing the benefits He has bestowed]” (AMPC). Every one of those plans that God has prepared, made, and keeps ready requires us to let go of one thing and take hold of another. It was this truth that gave me the courage and confidence to leave the comfortable land of in-between—to let go of simply being a nice church girl and venture into the purpose God had planned for me all along.

And that’s what God wants for you.

If you’re ready to take hold of all that Jesus has taken hold of for you, click over to my Facebook page and say, “I’m taking hold!”

Let’s Pray
Lord, I want to move forward and take hold of all that You have taken hold of for me, but sometimes I have trouble letting go. Help me to release all that hinders my spiritual growth and intimate relationship with You. I open my heart, my hands, and my eyes to all You have for me.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn 
What is one thing that you are having trouble letting go of that you know God has called you to release?

What do you think would happen if you truly “Let It Go?”

Consider memorizing Philippians 3:12 “I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.”

More from the Girlfriends
On the outside, many of us are well-put-together churchgoers with trendy shoes, beautiful families, and wide, white smiles. On the inside, we’re little girls hesitating at the edge of the playground, wishing we could join in, but feeling something’s not quite right. We don’t know how to truly take hold of the “life to the full” that Jesus offers us. So we settle for a life that’s . . . less.

But a mediocre, mundane faith is not your destiny! In Take Hold of the Faith You Long For, I reveal the most common reasons we get stuck in our Christian faith. I show you how to break free of all that holds you back, move forward with all that God promises, and live the adventurous faith of bold believing. It’s time to leave behind feelings of inferiority, insecurity, and inadequacy that hold you hostage and take hold of the mountain-moving faith God intends. Let’s uncover untapped sources of confidence and courage, and see how to move from simply knowing the truth to actually living it out boldly in a life marked by true freedom and expectancy. It’s time to get UNSTUCK! Click on the book cover to discover free bonuses when you order before May 1, 2016.

Seeking God?
Click here to find out more about how to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Girlfriends in God P.O. Box 1311 Huntersville, NC 28070