A Good Thing – September 30


Day 30 ThemeFuture Things
Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power– 1 Corinthians 15:24

When is “then”? Paul writes of the general resurrection of all saints, “at his (that is Christ’s) coming” (v.23).

So here is a very clear and concise picture of the last day. Jesus returns, as He promised, this time not in humility or poverty but in glory and majesty. The dead rise from the grace, just by the same power that raised Christ from the dead 2,000 years ago.

Then comes the end. Jesus Christ delivers up the kingdom of God, over which He has been reining and which He has been guiding since His ascension into heaven. He submits His church, successfully saved and sanctified, to God the Father, having conquered every other authority and power.

Everypower? Yes. Even death, we are promised, will eventually be vanquished: “the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death” (26). Nothing is left to oppose the reign of Jesus Christ, or the glory of His Father.

This is a thrilling, magnificent prospect, isn’t it? But why do you think Paul shares this reality with us? Is it simply information to be filed way for later, or to settle our curiosity about the future? No, it is so this future reality can enlighten and enliven our present situation.

If the end looks like this, which Christ victorious and all His enemies crushed, shouldn’t that effect how we live today? Why are we so awed by the wise and mighty of this world? Why are we so eager to please ourselves and others?

5 Truths for True Love in Your Marriage

By Dr. Tim Clinton & Patrick Springle

5 Truths for True Love in Your Marriage

We all carry relational wounds. So we go through life with a skewed definition of love. Our actions are often a far cry from true love. The truth is, we may be trying to “love” the other in an attempt to satisfy our “need” for the other.

When we act out of enmeshment and codependency, we may think we are experiencing love, but it’s a shallow substitute for the love God longs for us to experience and enjoy. True love, on the other hand, moves us from a place of saying, “I want to do something for you because it meets my needs” to “I want to do something for you because I love you.”
1. True Love Seeks to Love as Jesus Loves 
How does Jesus love? Genuinely. Unselfishly. Radically. In order to love with the genuine love of Jesus, we must learn to answer two critical questions. When does true love give in? When does true love push back?
2. True Love Is Wise and Strong 
True love is strong enough to speak the truth and do what is best for someone else, even if that person doesn’t like it. We come to understand the dynamics of motives and actions in relationships.
3. True Love Stands against Evil 
A weak, misguided definition of love causes us to give in repeatedly to the detriment of everyone involved, but a stronger, more accurate view of love directs us to speak and act wisely to address evil, manipulative behavior.
4. True Love Is Rooted in God’s Love 
Rooted. Grounded. Established. Having power. Filled to overflowing. When we choose to live in true love, we bring our hearts and minds back to the fundamental, unchanging truth of God’s love for each one of us.
5. True Love Will Not Fail 
Love never fails, because it is rooted and grounded in God’s unconditional love, not the need to fix or control someone else. True love has the strength and courage to never quit.
In the life-long process of discovering what true love is, God’s steadfast love holds us up. He will never leave us or forsake us along the way.

This is an excerpt from Dr. Tim and Patrick Springle’s book, Break Through: When to Give In, How to Push BackBreak Through offers practical, positive guidance for building a strong foundation for all your relationships that is rooted and grounded in the love of God.

Your Daughter will Thank You for Your Time and Tenderness

Solid Answers with Dr. James Dobson

By Dr. James Dobson

Your Daughter will Thank You for Your Time and Tenderness

The passion I feel for the subject at hand is related to the daughter who still calls me Dad. Danae is grown now, but I love her like I did when we were first introduced in the delivery room. Something electric occurred between us on that mystical night, and it endures today. I thank God for the privilege of being the father of this remarkable woman!

Being a father and a type A personality myself, I look back on my parenting experiences and recall instances where I could have done a better job. I wish I could relive some of those busy days at a slower pace. Unfortunately, none of us is allowed do-overs or mulligans. When our record is finally in the books, not a word or a deed can be altered.

Would it be self-serving to tell you that I also did some things right during my early days as a father, and that the memories of some very special times with my kids rank at the top of my list of accomplishments today? Among my favorites are recollections of Danae when she was five years old. We used to take bike trips together to a nearby park on Saturday mornings and play in a sandbox with shovels and buckets. I taught her to build sand castles, explained what a moat and a drawbridge were, and talked about anything else that seemed to interest her.

Then we would go to a nearby taco stand and have lunch before riding home. On the way back, we listened every week to a favorite recording of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella on a small Craig recorder, and we sang the songs together. Danae loved those outings, and she can tell you in detail about them today. And guess what? I loved them too.

From where I sit today, I can say that nothing, and I mean nothing, from that era turned out to be more significant than the hours I spent with my little family. The relationships we enjoy today were nurtured during those years when it would have been very easy for me to chase every professional prize and ignore what mattered most at home.

Some years ago, I asked our radio listeners to call our organization and record a message for their dads. More than six hundred people participated, and not one caller focused on what their father did professionally. None of them said, “Thanks, Dad, for earning a lot of money” or “Thanks for the big house you provided for us.” Instead, caller after caller said, “Thanks, Dad, for loving me and for being there for me.” Some said with strong emotion, “Thank you for letting me interrupt you, even when you were busy.” Nearly all of the calls coming from women mentioned the presence of tenderness in the relationship.

I address this specifically to dads who are still raising daughters and want to respond to the desires of their little hearts. My advice is also relevant to fathers whose daughters are grown. The woman who used to be “Dad’s little princess” may still long for what she didn’t receive when she was young. Even though these fathers can no longer play in the sandbox with their five-year-olds, it is never too late for them to say, “You are precious to me.”

From Dr. Dobson’s book Dads and Daughters.

Biblical Answers to Tough Questions, Day 10


Today’s reading is drawn from Hebrews 10:24-25.

Do Christians Really Need to Attend Church?

Yes! The Bible stresses the need for Christians to be part of a local church and have significant relationships with other believers (Ecc 4:9 – 12). Christians who are not involved in a local congregation are inevitably stunted in their spiritual growth and their witness for Christ to others.

Most important, Christians must be part of a church to please our Lord. In John 17:20 – 23 Jesus prayed, [May] those who will believe in me . . . be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. Together we are Christ’s body in this world. Our unified presence — as we actively love each other and fulfill our particular functions in the body — honors and delights the Lord. What’s more, our life together as his church makes the Lord visible to the lost world. And our unified prayers and decisions have the power of Jesus’ own presence (Mt 18:20; Jn 20:22 – 23).

Jesus also ministers to individuals through other believers in his body. The mutually edifying use of spiritual gifts (Ro 12:3 – 8; 1Co 12:4 – 31) builds all Christians up as each one does his or her part. Furthermore, we carry each other’s burdens (Gal 6:2), encourage one another in worship (Eph 5:19), admonish one another with all wisdom (Col 3:16), submit to one another (Eph 5:21) and consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds (Heb 10:24). We do all these things because of the deep spiritual unity we have in Christ: There is one body and one Spirit . . . one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all (Eph 4:4 – 6).


The Place of Exaltation

…Jesus took…them up on a high mountain apart by themselves…  Mark 9:2

We have all experienced times of exaltation on the mountain, when we have seen things from God’s perspective and have wanted to stay there. But God will never allow us to stay there. The true test of our spiritual life is in exhibiting the power to descend from the mountain. If we only have the power to go up, something is wrong. It is a wonderful thing to be on the mountain with God, but a person only gets there so that he may later go down and lift up the demon-possessed people in the valley (see Mark 9:14-18). We are not made for the mountains, for sunrises, or for the other beautiful attractions in life— those are simply intended to be moments of inspiration. We are made for the valley and the ordinary things of life, and that is where we have to prove our stamina and strength. Yet our spiritual selfishness always wants repeated moments on the mountain. We feel that we could talk and live like perfect angels, if we could only stay on the mountaintop. Those times of exaltation are exceptional and they have their meaning in our life with God, but we must beware to prevent our spiritual selfishness from wanting to make them the only time.

We are inclined to think that everything that happens is to be turned into useful teaching. In actual fact, it is to be turned into something even better than teaching, namely, character. The mountaintop is not meant to teach us anything, it is meant to make us something. There is a terrible trap in always asking, “What’s the use of this experience?” We can never measure spiritual matters in that way. The moments on the mountaintop are rare moments, and they are meant for something in God’s purpose. From My Utmost for His Highest Updated Edition

Bible in One Year: Isaiah 11-13; Ephesians 4

5 Asian Cities Where You Can Live Like a King on Little Money

As Asian culture continues to spread globally, more American expats are heading across the seas to settle down. Asian film, fiction, and food are all having a huge moment in American pop culture. That helps build cultural bridges to smooth out the transition for nomadic travelers and those looking to relocate. Another major part of the draw is that several Asian locales have a very low cost of living, making them attractive places for travelers to settle in and live a lavish lifestyle without feeling the financial pinch. Here are five Asian cities where you can live like a king on little money.

Canggu, Indonesia

Canggu, Indonesia

Credit: Marlon Trottmann/ iStock

Just a few years ago, this village in Bali was a sleepy beach town, but the flocking of American expats to its shores have shaken up the economy and the culture. Canggu has attracted those looking to live the Bohemian lifestyle since the 1970s. However, over the last 10 years, a new generation has moved in.

While this surge of newcomers has caused a rise in rent prices, they are still incredibly affordable by Western standards. Furnished two-bedroom villas are at most $900 a month. Renting a room in a shared space is even more affordable, averaging about $300 a month. Digital nomads looking to keep in touch with clients will find plenty of workplace amenities such as 24-hour co-working spaces and affordable internet access.

The culture has been heavily influenced by these digital nomads who hold social gatherings and have provided a market for vegan fare in many of the new restaurants popping up in the village. The community is small and tight-knit, with lots of people enjoying their downtime together over drinks or catching waves. Unfortunately, the influx of expats has priced out many of the locals from living full-time in the village. So, the full integration of the cultures is hard to attain and Canggu has become relatively Westernized.

Hua Hin, Thailand

Hua Hin, Thailand

Credit: tbradford/ iStock

Hua Hin began its transformation from a quiet fishing village into a popular summer destination in the 1920s when the Royal Family chose it as a vacation spot. Since then, it has also become a bustling locale attractive to expats. The city is a popular tourist destination on the beach, so there are plenty of hotels and restaurants. However, those who are looking for a more settled experience will enjoy the fresh markets and nearby vineyards. There is also a night-time Cicada Market, which is known for its lively vibe, great drinks, and crafts for purchase. Hua Hin is an excellent place for any free spirit who wants to get in touch with their artistic side in a beautiful beachside setting. It’s also a four-hour trip from Bangkok, making it easy to get to full-scale modern conveniences.

The cost of living is very affordable. A three-course meal for two can be under $20, and a one-bedroom apartment in the heart of the city only costs around $530 per month. Those who are looking for even more affordability can find one-bedroom apartments outside of the city for about $320.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Credit: FilippoBacci/ iStock

For expats or digital nomads looking for a little more hustle and bustle, Kuala Lumpur is a great choice. This capital city has 7.5 million people with a diverse range of religious and cultural backgrounds. In some ways, the melting pot nature of Kuala Lumpur leads to some interesting (if unusual) situations. For example, the city operates under two legal systems: one for Muslims and one for everyone else. Westerners will find the nightlife a little muted, but many of the comforts and excitements of a big city are present. Kuala Lumpur has a bustling local food scene. There are also lots and lots of shopping malls.

The cost of living is incredibly affordable, especially for such a large place. A three-course meal for two can be found for about $17. A one-bedroom apartment in the city center is only about $550 per month, while those outside of the city center can be found for around $300

Hanoi, Vietnam

Hanoi, Vietnam

Credit: holgs/ iStock

Hanoi is an amazing mix of ancient history (the city is 2,500 years old) and modernity. Westerners who find themselves relocating to Hanoi may be in for a bit of culture shock. They won’t find the full slate of Western amenities here. However, they will be able to find a robust and rich culture and a very affordable place to live. The city is well known for its artsy vibe, and walking along the crowded urban streets offers opportunities for lots of fresh food and local art.

While digital nomads do report some internet connectivity problems, the city is a popular place for those wanting to escape Western excess without completely giving up on modern comforts. With plenty of high-end restaurants and shopping centers, Hanoi offers a bit of both worlds. It has the added benefit of a relatively mild climate compared to many other sweltering Asian cities.

The cost of living is definitely a draw. Two people can enjoy a three-course meal for under $20. A one-bedroom apartment in the heart of the city is only $350 per month, and those who are willing to live a little outside of the city center can find lodging for as low as $215.

Manila, Philippines

Manila, Philippines

Credit: Joseph Christopher Oropel/ iStock

The Philippines are sometimes overlooked when thinking about places to visit or relocate. In the case of Manila, this could be because of its reputation as a high-crime area. Indeed, as the third-largest city in the world in a country that struggles with poverty, there are certainly some safety concerns. However, Manila is a place where an expat can definitely live like a king without a lot of money.

Manila also offers a wide array of modern conveniences such as a thriving nightlife and plenty of places to shop. While some of the Asian cities popular for expats tend to be reclusive places away from it all, Manila is a huge city with all of the hustle and bustle that comes along with modern urban living.

Cost of living is exceptionally low for such an urban location. A one-bedroom apartment in the thick of it all will only cost about $550 per month, and those willing to live a little outside of the city center pay an average of only $200.

God’s Great Gifts, Day 15

Today’s reading is drawn from 2 Corinthians 9:15.

Why did he do it? A shack would have sufficed, but he gave us a mansion. Did he have to give the birds a song and the mountains a peak? Was he required to put stripes on the zebra and the hump on the camel? . . . Why wrap creation in such splendor? Why go to such trouble to give such gifts?

Why do you? You do the same. I’ve seen you searching for a gift. I’ve seen you stalking malls and walking the aisles. I’m not talking about the obligatory gifts . . . I’m talking about that extra-special person and that extra-special gift . . . Why do you do it? . . . You do it so heart will stop. You do it so the jaw will drop. You do it to hear those words of disbelief, did this for me?”

That’s why you do it. And that is why God did it. Next time a sunrise steals your breath or a meadow of flowers leaves you speechless, remain that way. Say nothing and listen as whispers, “Do you like it? I did it just for you.”

from The Great House of God