On Wings Of Eagles

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Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Lessons in a Lunch Bag.

Matthew 6:19-24 (New International Version)

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.

(A true story of Robert Fulghum and his 7-year-old daughter Molly) It was Molly's job to hand her father his brown paper lunch bag each morning before he headed off to work. One morning, in addition to his usual lunch bag, Molly handed him a second paper bag. This one was worn and held together with duct tape, staples, and paper clips.

"Why two bags" Fulghum asked.

"The other is something else," Molly answered.

"What's in it?"

"Just some stuff. Take it with you."

Not wanting to hold court over the matter, Fulghum stuffed both sacks into his briefcase, kissed Molly and rushed off. At midday, while hurriedly scarfing down his real lunch, he tore open Molly's bag and shook out the contents: two hair ribbons, three small stones, a plastic dinosaur, a pencil stub, a tiny sea shell, two animal crackers, a marble, a used lipstick, a small doll, two chocolate kisses, and 13 pennies.

Fulghum smiled, finished eating, and swept the desk clean - into the wastebasket - leftover lunch, Molly's junk and all.

That evening, Molly ran up behind him as he read the newspaper. "Where's my bag?"

"What bag?"

"You know, the one I gave you this morning."

"I left it at the office. Why?"

"I forgot to put this note in it," she said. "And, besides, those are my things in the sack, Daddy, the ones I really like - I thought you might like to play with them, but now I want them back. You didn't lose the bag, did you, Daddy?"

"Oh, no," he said, lying. "I just forgot to bring it home. I'll bring it tomorrow."

While Molly hugged her father's neck, he unfolded the note that had not made it into the sack: "I love you, Daddy."

Molly had given him her treasures. All that a 7-year-old held dear. Love in a paper sack, and he missed it - not only missed it, but had thrown it in the wastebasket. So back he went to the office. Just ahead of the night janitor, he picked up the wastebasket and poured the contents on his desk.

After washing the mustard off the dinosaurs and spraying the whole thing with breath-freshener to kill the smell of onions, he carefully smoothed out the wadded ball of brown paper, put the treasures inside and carried it home gingerly, like an injured kitten. The bag didn't look so good, but the stuff was all there and that's what counted.

After dinner, he asked Molly to tell him about the stuff in the sack. It took a long time to tell. Everything had a story or a memory or was attached to dreams and imaginary friends. Fairies had brought some of the things. He had given her the chocolate kisses, and she had kept them for when she needed them.

"Sometimes I think of all the times in this sweet life," Fulghum concludes the story, "when I must have missed the affection I was being given. A friend calls this 'standing knee deep in the river and dying of thirst'." We should all remember that it's not the destination that counts in life - - it's the journey.

Dear Lord we pray that we wouldn’t take the things of life as junk, but as treasures from you. Help to treasure each moment and person. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Friendship in the Pit.

Proverbs 17:17 (New International Version)

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.

Here is a story I received in an email last year. I thought it was a good thing to share.

"I am in there again," I told my friend. "The pit." A time when no one can cheer you up and you wonder if there ever was or is a God. Have you ever had such times? Discouragement can be devastating even to the best of saints. It can bring us so low. The writer of Proverbs phrased it well when he said, "Hope deferred makes the heart sick" (Prov. 13:12). When we get so low that we despair of our belief, we can identify with the prophet Elijah who wanted to die after being so discouraged with life.

"I'm coming over," my friend said.

"Aw, you don't have to do that," I said.

"I'm coming over. We're going to pray."

About 30 minutes later my friend walked in the door. We sat down on the living room floor and simply lay on our backs as my friend began to pray. I didn't feel like praying. I was too deep in the pit. All I could do was listen. After a while my friend was quiet. We both sat quietly for ten to fifteen minutes, praying quietly to ourselves. Suddenly my friend said, "First Thessalonians 5:24!"

"What verse is that?" I asked.

"I don't know," she said. "That is the verse He spoke to me."

I grabbed my Bible and looked up the verse. "The one who calls you is faithful and He will do it."

We laughed. Can He be so personal? Can He care that much? That night I grew more in my love of my two friends, not to mention being brought out of the pit.

As I read the story I wondered. Do you have a friend who is there when you need somebody at any hour of the day? Are you there for your friend? Ask the Lord how you can be a better friend to someone today.

Dear Lord we pray that we would be the friend to someone today. Help our eyes be open so that we can see those who need a friend. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Getting Up When You're Feeling Down.

1 Thessalonians 5:24 (New International Version)

The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.

Do you ever feel blah? Ever wish you had a permanent "picker-upper"? If so, this may be for you.

In the 1920s, if you were looking for a little pick-me-up with your mid-afternoon snack, you might have reached for a cold, refreshing glass of 7-Up. Well, it wasn't called 7-Up back then, it was called "Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda." (Say THAT three times fast!)

Inventor C. L. Griggs' original recipe included the antidepressant lithium until the 1940s as a "picker-upper" (www.cadburyschweppes.com). The original Coca-Cola formula also included a "picker-upper" -- cocaine.

Today, people not suffering from serious depression understand that they usually don't need mood-altering drugs to cope with daily life. But most folks struggle with bouts of mild depression, despondency or "the blahs" from time to time. How do you pick yourself up when you're feeling down, without the aid of Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda?

I hope I'm not telling you anything new when I say that talking about the reasons you're down, making needed changes, watching your diet, getting enough exercise and sleep, developing a positive mental outlook and utilizing spiritual resources are all important pieces of our emotional puzzles. But one important strategy for feeling better (and one that's LEAST used) is as important as the rest. It is helping others in need.

* Visit a shut-in neighbor.

* Write a letter.

* Call a friend who has been struggling.

* Volunteer at church, synagogue or the local food pantry.

* Rake someone's leaves.

* Bake homemade bread for a new neighbor.

* Wash your spouse's car.

* Volunteer to baby-sit for a young mother.

* Plan an unexpected act of kindness.

* Give a gift for no reason at all.

The needs are abundant, and those who put aside some regular time to do something kind for others will often forget they were feeling low. Why does is work? I don't know … it just does. Reach out and lift somebody else up and for some wondrous and magical reason, you lift yourself up, too.

Corrie Ten Boom beautifully said, "The measure of a life, after all, is not its duration, but its donation." And if you've been feeling low, the best time to donate a piece of yourself is now.

Dear Lord we pray that we would reach out to others in need and share love with them. We know there are many in this world that are hurting helps us be the one that they need. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Monday, March 28, 2011

God Can Use an Empty Room

Psalm 27:14 (New International Version)

Wait for the LORD;

be strong and take heart

and wait for the LORD.

A story is told of a Gospel minister, long before the days of railroads, who was traveling on horseback from Philadelphia to Pittsburg. He stopped over night at a tavern among the mountains of Pennsylvania, and after supper asked the landlord some questions about the people, and whether they ever had preaching there. He was told that there was no church, and no attempt at holding services. The minister told him to prepare a room and invite in the neighbors and he would preach to them.

"That would be of no use," said the landlord, "for they would not come."

To all such objections the minister had but one answer: "Get the room ready."

This was finally done, and, sure enough, as the man had said, nobody came. The good minister was still concerned only to do his part. He waited awhile, then began the service, gave out a hymn, sang, read the Scriptures, prayed, and then gave out the text. Just then a man slipped in and hid himself behind the door, where he stayed all through the sermon which followed, rushing out the minute it ended.

Nearly two years afterward the minister went through the place again, and, stopping at the same house, he proposed once more that the landlord should find a room and get it ready, and invite the people in for preaching. "O," said the man, "there will be no trouble now. We have a church, and as soon as I let the people know that you are here it will be filled."

It came out a little later that this church of fifty members had been the direct fruit of that night's preaching to the man behind the door. He had been converted, and had been the means of conversion to many of his neighbors. All this from "getting the room ready."

Dear Lord we pray that we would trust you fully; knowing that you will use what we give you and You will bless it and multiply it. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Lessons from a Wasp.

John 14:6-7 (New International Version)

6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

One fine day there was a young boy minding his own business, doing his spelling test when a wasp DARED enter the kitchen. He HATEs wasps, because one stung him in the ear once.
He ran out of the kitchen. As he ran he prayed to Jesus that mom could catch the wasp and put him back outside where he belonged. But although she tried to catch him, the wasp didn't seem to understand that we were only trying to help him. He kept flying until his mom gave up. Then he flew to the door! Mom just opened it up and the wasp flew out!

God doesn't always answer our prayers the way we ask, but He DOES answer prayers. Sometimes we are like that wasp, not knowing which way to go. We fly around, and like the wasp again, we sometimes keep going farther and farther from God. Jesus tries to get us back, but soon we can't even remember God.

Let's be like that wasp and fly back to where we belong. Remember, Jesus is waiting. And when you are discouraged because your prayers for someone aren't being answered the way you think they should be answered, remember, God sometimes has a different but better way to get that wasp back outside!

Dear Lord we pray that we wouldn’t get discouraged when things don’t seem to go the way we think they should. Help us to completely trust in You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

How Do You handle Rejection?

Ephesians 3:20 (New International Version)
20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,

Once upon a time there was a little boy named Sparky. At least that's what his classmates called him. He was given the nickname in honor of a comic strip horse named Spark Plug. Sparky hated the name. But name-calling was the least of his worries.

School was tough for Sparky. His favorite subjects were recess and lunch. He failed every single subject in eighth grade. High school was no better. He flunked algebra, English, Latin, and physics. In fact, to this day he holds the record for the lowest physics marks in his school. Sports weren't much of an improvement. He made the school's golf team, but his poor play ended up costing his team the championship.

Sparky was a loser when it came to friendships too. No one seemed to notice him. He was astonished if a classmate said hello. Afraid of rejection, he never asked a girl out. Instead, he devoted himself to the one thing he really enjoyed: drawing cartoons. No one thought they were any good, but that didn't stop him. He practiced on binders and scribblers, and by the time he was a senior in high school, he got up the nerve to submit some cartoons to the yearbook staff.

They were rejected.

After graduating from high school, Sparky wrote a letter to Walt Disney Studios inquiring about job opportunities. He received a form letter requesting samples of his artwork. The letter asked him to draw a funny cartoon of "a man repairing a clock by shoveling the springs and gears back inside it." Sparky drew the cartoon and mailed it off with his fingers crossed. He waited anxiously for a reply. Finally it came. Another form letter spelling out rejection.

Sparky was disappointed but not surprised. He had always been a loser. This was just one more loss. Looking in the mirror one day, he smiled with the realization that in a weird sort of way, his life was funny. Almost like a cartoon character. Then a thought hit him. Why not tell his own story? Why not draw cartoons of the misadventures of a little boy loser, a chronic underachiever? He had no idea where his idea would take him.

This boy who failed the eighth grade, the young artist whose work was rejected by his own yearbook, was Charles Monroe "Sparky" Schultz-creator of the Peanuts comic strip and the little boy whose kite never quite flies.

You know him as Charlie Brown.

Through all the failures he never gave up. Let’s do the same.

Dear Lord we thank you for being in control. Help us no matter how many times we fail that we will keep moving forward. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Are You Looking at the Bigger Picture?

Philippians 1:12-13 (New International Version)
12 Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. 13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ.

Leith Anderson, a minister, shared this experience: As a boy, he grew up outside of New York City and was an avid fan of the old Brooklyn Dodgers. One day his father took him to a World Series game between the Dodgers and the Yankees. He was so excited, and he just knew the Dodgers would trounce the Yankees. Unfortunately, the Dodgers never got on base, and his excitement was shattered.

Years later, he was engrossed in a conversation with a man who was a walking sports almanac. Leith told him about the first major league game he attended and added, "It was such a disappointment. I was a Dodger fan and the Dodgers never got on base." The man said, "You were there? You were at the game when Don Larsen pitched the first perfect game in all of World Series history?"

Leith replied, ''Yeah, but uh, we lost." He then realized that he had been so caught up in his team's defeat that he missed out on the fact that he was a witness to a far greater page of history.

I wonder how often the same thing happens to us. We get so caught up in the "defeats" in our lives, the times when things don't turn out the way we want them to. So we're depressed because an illness continues to linger, or when people don't treat us the way we think they ought to, or when we face financial difficulties.

But we are often so blinded by the pain and disappointment of our "defeat" that we fail to appreciate the fact that we might be witness to something far greater that God is doing in our lives.

While most of us would have focused on the "defeat" (being in prison even though he was innocent), Paul was able to see what God was doing in his life. It's not an easy thing to do. It's never easy to view things from a heavenly perspective rather than an earthly one, but it is especially difficult in the midst of pain and defeat. But it is learning how to have a heavenly view that helps us to know joy no matter what happens in our lives.

Dear Lord we pray that we would look at the big picture and know that You are in control, no matter how tough it is for us at the time. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Believing in You.

Matthew 19:26 (New International Version)
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Did you know that Albert Einstein could not speak until he was four years old and did not read until he was seven? His parents and teachers wor­ried about his mental ability.

Beethoven's music teacher said about him, "As a composer he is hopeless." What if young Ludwig be­lieved it?

When Thomas Edison was a young boy, his teachers said he was so stupid he could never learn anything. He once said, "I remember I used to never be able to get along at school. I was al­ways at the foot of my class...my father thought I was stupid, and I almost decided that I was a dunce." What if young Thomas believed what they said about him?

When F. W. Woolworth was 21, he got a job in a store, but was not allowed to wait on cus­tomers because he "didn't have enough sense."

When the sculptor Auguste Rodin was young he had difficulty learning to read and write. Today, we may say he had a learning disability, but his father said of him, "I have an idiot for a son."

His uncle agreed. "He's uneducable," he said. What if Rodin had doubted his ability?

A newspaper editor once fired Walt Disney because he was thought to have no "good ideas." Caruso was told by one music teacher, "You can't sing. You have no voice at all." And an editor told Louisa May Alcott that she was incapable of writing anything that would have popular appeal.

What if these people had listened and become discouraged? Where would our world be without the music of Beethoven, the art of Rodin or the ideas of Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison? As Oscar Levant has accurately said, "It's not what you are, it's what you don't become that hurts."

You have great potential. When you believe in all you can be, rather than all you cannot become, you will find your place on earth.

Dear Lord, We pray that we would look to You for the potential in each of us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Lessons Learned From the Ocean

Genesis 1:9-10 (New International Version)

9 And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.

I see life like the ocean.

I have stood on the edge and looking out I was overwhelmed by the enormity of it. I can see the horizon but until I set sail I will never know what lies ahead.

Some days it comes gently lapping at my feet. Its gentle roll and sway brings peace and tranquility.

But some days it comes crashing over me knocking me down.

I stand on the shore of life with a deep respect for it. Respect is a part of love. I do love life!

I've come to realize that the ocean, like life, is never at fault. In the past I have blamed life for my failures and cursed the ocean when knocked down by an unexpected wave.

The tide comes in and the tide goes out. That's the ocean.

The sun comes up and the sun goes down. That's life.

The ocean is just the ocean, a massive body of water.

Life is just life measured in seconds, minutes days, and years.

Neither the ocean nor life is responsible for the ups and downs we experience.

They are both responding to storms, turbulence, seasonal changes and the influence of mankind on them.

The waves do not single you out. If you choose to step into the ocean so you must be prepared to handle whatever it throws at you. If you get knocked down, you can either stand or get washed out to sea.

Life does not single you out. You make choices and must be prepared to handle whatever it throws at you. If you get knocked down you must learn to get up as many times as it takes until you become strong enough to stand on your own.

You see, once you accept the fact that life responds to your choices and preparedness you have no excuses, no one to blame, but yourself.

If you see stormy waters, you either get a bigger boat or stay on the shore until it passes.

If your life is stormy, your sail should be faith, hope your life boat and God the Captain of your vessel.

You can stand on the shores of life and never get your feet wet or jump in.

It's not what happens to you, it's how you choose to react to what happens.

Me? I've learned to swim in the storms, so I can bask in the sun on "The shores of life."

Dear Lord we thank you for the lessons we can learn from your creation. We thank you for the ocean and the lessons we can learn. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

All in Attitude.

1 Thessalonians 2:11-12 (New International Version)

11 For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, 12 encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.

The car sped down Hwy 407, Jane at the wheel. Jim, Joe and John, her passengers, were quietly gazing out their windows when Jane suddenly slowed down and began guiding the car to the shoulder of the road.

"Jane, why are we pulling over?" Jim asked.

"I think we have a flat," was the response. And sure enough, by the time the car stopped, the right front tire looked like a pancake.

"We must have picked up a nail in that last patch of road construction. I'll need to go and get some help." With this, Jane matter-of-factly stuck out her thumb, and seconds later, a passing car stopped to pick her up. "I'll go and buy a new tire," she called to her traveling companions. "I'll be back as soon as I can!"

As the car sped away with their driver, the three guys were left standing along the side of the road. Now what?

"Why didn't Jane just use her cell phone?" Jim grumbled. "She could have called CAA and we would have been out of here in one, two, three. Now who knows how long we will be here."

"Awww, Com'on!" coaxed John. "Let's just enjoy God's sunshine. It isn't all that bad to be stuck here!"

"I think I'll get back in the car," Jim decided. "I brought my portable DVD player, just in case something like this happened!"

"There he goes again!" complained Jim. "I hate that guy! He's such a lazy bum."

"Oh, he has his positive traits," responded John.

"Oh yeah? Which ones?"


"Just look at this heavy traffic!" Jim interrupted. "We'll be stuck here all day!"

"Traffic?" John shifted his gaze to the road. "Wow! It IS busy out there! I hadn't even noticed. I was too busy admiring the beautiful trees. You know, maybe it's best to be stuck here on the side of the road until some of this passes!"

"Oh, go on!" Jim complained. "You're no better than my work place. My boss never thinks about us, his employees. He only thinks about filling his own pockets. He's selfish and-and our unions aren't any better! Real jerks, all of them!"

"Life isn't that bad Jim. No matter what bad stuff happens, God has given us good things as well!"

"Oh yeah? Wait until you hear about what my landlord did to me. You won't believe it..."

The next three hours passed very slowly as Jim continued to complain and Joe watched his DVDs. It didn't matter to John, however. He always enjoyed himself, no matter who he was with or what circumstances he found himself in.

When Jane finally appeared with a brand-new tire, John and Jim immediately set to work replacing it. Despite the fact that Joe was too busy watching his DVDs to help, it didn't take long to remove the old "pancake" tire and replace it with the new one; and by the time they were ready to roll again, the traffic had thinned down. They would reach their final destination after all!

Our journey on this planet is quite similar to Jim, Joe, John and Jane's car trip. Unforeseen events continually hamper our daily progress, and it will be our attitude that determines if our ride will be enjoyable or not. Complainers, like Jim, will always be bitter. They may help out, but their negativity alienates them from others, which in turn makes them even more bitter. Life is a bore to them, and their attitude sours the experience for all of the others around them.

Those like Joe may seem to be enjoying life, but because it has no purpose beyond having fun and thinking about themselves, they are not fruitful in their endeavors and people tend to not rely on them.

John's attitude is relatively rare. He enjoys life, no matter what circumstances he finds himself in. Why? Because he knows that God is with him. Why complain when you have a friend like Jesus living inside of you? John is a blessing to all those who meet him. He is reliable, enjoyable and fun to be with. He knows his purpose in life and looks forward in anticipation of what might be around the next bend.

Which one of these guys are you? Are you living like Jim, bitter about everything? Or are you like Joe, with your only purpose being self-gratification and fulfillment? If you are like John, it means that Jesus reigns in your heart! When you let Him be in control of your life, you will be able to find your true purpose. Any events, good or bad, are welcome, because you can rely on Jesus to deal with them.

Dear Lord we pray that we would have a Godly attitude. We pray that we would have a positive attitude in all that we do. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Are You George or the Dragon?

James 2:15-16 (New International Version)

15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?

A poor vagabond, traveling a country road in England, tired and hungry, came to a roadside inn with a sign reading: "George and the Dragon." He knocked.

The innkeeper's wife stuck her head out a window. "Could ye spare some victuals?" He asked. The woman glanced at his shabby clothes and obviously poor condition. "No!" She said rather sternly.

"Could I have a pint of ale?" "No!" She said again.

"Could I at least sleep in your stable?" "No!" By this time, she was fairly shouting.

The vagabond said, "Might I please...?" "What now?" The woman interrupted impatiently.

"D'ye suppose," he asked, "I might have a word with George?"

Is it possible that people around us who are in need view us as a "dragon" because of our callous indifference to their plight? Oh, I know, I know. I'm sure many of you did what I did a few weeks ago at Thanksgiving. As you sat down to a sumptuous feast, you offered up a prayer to God for those "less fortunate." But did you actually do anything to help anyone?

We live in a time when it's easy to be suspicious. There are some who refuse to work, preferring to live off the government and charitable organizations. There are some who seem to take joy in seeing how much they can get from naïve souls willing to believe their concocted "sob stories." But, there are also many around us in genuine need, and if we're not careful, we can come across to them like the woman above -- indifferent and uncaring.

Dear Lord we pray that we would be the caring people that you would have for us to be. We pray that our eyes would be open to those around us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Do You live a Life of Humor?

Job 8:21 (New International Version)

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.

She was a homemaker who became a nationally known author, speaker, and syndicated columnist. Among her bestsellers were The Grass Is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank and When You Look Like Your Passport Photo, It's Time to Go Home. Some of her humor could make even cynics laugh hysterically.

A woman who could write that way must have had an easy life, huh? All she had to do was think up jokes, write them down, and collect her royalties, right? Wrong. Bad wrong!

Erma Bombeck's father died when she was only nine years old. At 20 she was found to have a hereditary kidney disorder that would eventually lead to kidney failure. (Two of her three children have inherited the problem.) In 1991 she had breast cancer and underwent a mastectomy. In 1993 she started four-times-a-day peritoneal dialysis until a kidney transplant April 4. Complications from the transplant took her life last Monday.

When fans wrote to say, "Things like this shouldn't happen to you," she had an answer. "Why not me?" she said. "I had a good long ride with it. I have written all these books with kidney problems. … It doesn't affect your brain. It doesn't affect your sense of humor."

I suspect her sense of humor was a coping device. It helped her deal with her pain. It kept her from getting brittle and grumpy. It helped her live 69 years in a positive rather than negative way, with joy rather than self-pity.

People who succeed with life tend to have a great sense of humor. It gets them through the tough times. Remember when Ronald Reagan was shot in 1981? "Honey, I forgot to duck," he told Nancy at the hospital. To the surgeons about to operate on him, he said, "Please tell me you're Republicans."

A sense of humor is great therapy when you hit a bump in the road -- and everybody's road has some bumps. As Erma Bombeck put it, "There is something about getting on with your life." She might have added -- with a smile whenever you can manage it.

Dear Lord we pray that we would have a sense of humor so that we don’t take things to serious. We pray that with that joy others will see you in us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Humble Attitude

1 Peter 5:5 (New International Version)
In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”

Gladys Aylward was born in London in 1904. She worked for several years as a parlor maid, and then attended a revival meeting at which the preacher spoke of dedicating one's life to the service of God. Gladys responded to the message, and soon after became convinced that she was called to preach the Gospel in China.

At the age of 26, she became a probationer at the China Inland Mission Center in London, but was failed to pass the examinations. Then she heard of a 73-year-old missionary, Mrs. Jeannie Lawson, who was looking for a younger woman to carry on her work. Gladys wrote to Mrs. Lawson and was accepted if she could get to China.

She did not have enough money for the ship fare, but did have enough for the train fare, and so in October of 1930 she set out from London with her passport, her Bible, her tickets, and two pounds nine pence, to travel to China by the Trans-Siberian Railway, despite the fact that China and the Soviet Union were engaged in an undeclared war.

Gladys Aylward, parlor maid from England, became one of the most famous missionaries of the twentieth century, a woman that has been called "the most noted single woman missionary in modem history." A popular biography about her was made into a movie and she dined with Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. But the most notable thing about Gladys was her brokenness, her humility, and her willingness to be available to God.

She once said, "I wasn't God's first choice for what I've done for China. There was somebody else ... I don't know who it was? God's first choice. I don't know what happened. Perhaps he died. Perhaps he wasn't willing ... And God looked down. . . and saw Gladys Aylward."
The Lord is not looking for ability, He is looking for availability. He desires a humble heart that says: "Here I am Lord, send me!" Today in prayer, thank Christ for His love for you and desire to serve Him with a humble attitude.

Dear Lord we pray that we would be available to do what you want us to do. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Storms of Life Cannot Overcome His Power or Love

Matthew 14:29-30 (New International Version)

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!"

Below is a story as told by a young man.

Some of my earliest memories are of visiting Doctor Wilson's surgery in Springburn, Glasgow, where I grew up. The outside window had a plain sign depicting the surgery hours, with two tall glass bottles (one red, the other blue) at either side. When one walked into the surgery, the air was full of antiseptic smells, which added a sense of mystery to the whole place.

The waiting room was square, with benches all around the oak-panelled walls. As one entered, the first question one had to ask was, "Who's last?" You knew then that it would be your turn to enter the doctor's office directly after whoever answered. There was no need for tickets or appointments; one just appeared and waited for one's turn to be seen.

Doctor Wilson was ancient. He had a gentle round face, with steel-rimmed glasses propped at the end of his nose. He had one of the best smiles I can ever remember, and he made each of his patients feel very special. He sat next to an old writing bureau, where he wrote out all his prescriptions using a steel-nibbed pen, with ink from a bottle.

On the wall above his desk were an eye chart and an old painting depicting a biblical scene. There was a boat with fishermen on it, dark clouds in the sky, and fierce waves all around them. A man looked as though he was panicking in the waves, and he was desperately reaching up to another man, who was standing serenely above the waves. It was, of course, Peter and Jesus, but what was that picture doing in my doctor's office?

Years later, I realized that the picture was a symbol of the great work Doctor Wilson did in our community. He was there to help men, women, and children who were overwhelmed with sickness and disease, cancer and suffering. As the years sped by and my mother's debilitating sickness took away her health and sanity, Doctor Wilson was always there for us, ensuring that my dad and all our family did not sink into the waters of despair and depression, and that the storms of insanity and schizophrenia did not overwhelm us.

No matter what we go through today, Christ will be there for us, lifting us up and helping us out. The storms of this life cannot overcome His power or love. When we are sinking and we need Him, Christ will be there to offer us His hand.

Dear Lord, We pray that you will be with us today. We pray that if we experience pressure, stress, or fear we will reach out and take a hold of Your hand. In Jesus’ name Amen.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

From We Can Learn From Patrick.

2 Timothy 2:15 (New International Version)
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

“Patrick, is an intensely human person and not a plaster saint to admire from afar. He offers us a Christian vision of life honed out of his own experience and trials. He offers us a challenge to live our own Christian life today in changing and turbulent times. He comforts us when we are criticized and ridiculed. He gives to us the Celtic vision of the intimate presence of God in creation, in the Church, in people and in Scripture. He is a model for us, giving us an example to follow as we struggle to live authentically our own Christian lives in our own difficult times.”

Patrick’s life and ministry teach us to be open to the call of God in our lives. His beginning in Ireland did not dictate his future but it drew him into a love relationship with Jesus Christ. His relationship with Christ helped him to overcome adverse circumstances in his teen years. His ability to draw close to God and forgive had a dramatic impact on the Irish people and the success of his life. His willingness to follow God’s call made him a hero of the faith.

Lets learn from this man of God and ask our self a few questions, “Am I willing to draw closer to God in turbulent times? Am I willing and able to forgive those who have caused pain in my life? Am I willing to follow the call of God and even give my life to those who enslaved me? If you do you could become a hero of the faith like Patrick.”

If you learn to be like Patrick you have the benefit to really start living right were you are at. You really start to live when you take your eyes off the circumstances of life and draw closer to God. Then you will learn to recognize God’s voice. This spiritual maturity will lead you out of bondage and slavery to freedom. Then as you continue to draw closer to God through study, prayer, and spiritual disciplines you will be called upon by God to do a ministry for Him. Who knows maybe you could win an entire nation to Christ? Maybe you could win a generation to Christ? Maybe you could win your family to Christ? The benefits to you will be eternal and the most rewarding thing you could do with your life.

Dear Lord we pray that we would let You use us Like Patrick did. We pray that we may be the beginning of winning our generation to Christ. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Admiring or Trying?

Psalm 34:8 (New International Version)

Taste and see that the LORD is good;

blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.

A crowd of curious, expectant people gathered around the county courthouse in Salem, New Jersey. The county fair was in progress, and they jostled one another in eager anticipation, for they were about to witness a daring feat.

Soon a man appeared on the steps, holding in one hand a beautiful red-ripe fruit which had been part of the fair's decorations. Members of the crowd whispered excitedly to one another as he held it up for them to see.

"Is he really going to eat it?" some asked, incredulously.

The man was Colonel Robert Gibbon Johnson; the year was 1820; and the fruit was-a tomato, called in those days a love apple and considered deadly poison. Love apples were tokens of courtship or lawn decorations. Young men gave them to their girl friends, who would afterward wear the seeds in sachets around their necks. The fruit was admired for its beauty, but no one-repeat, no one-would dream of eating it.

The crowd gasped in horror as the colonel deliberately placed the tomato in his mouth, and ate it with apparent relish. They waited breathlessly, expecting soon to see him writhing in agony, dying on the courtyard steps.

But nothing like that happened. Instead-

He ate a second tomato, explaining, as he ate, that tomatoes were delicious either cooked or raw. He praised their color and texture. Then he invited the onlookers to join him in his meal, and a few of the braver ones went forward. Soon they too were pronouncing the tomatoes good.

The news spread rapidly, and eventually tomatoes graced most of the tables of the world, an accepted article of diet everywhere.

If Colonel Johnson had not eaten that tomato, it is possible that people would still be admiring "love apples" and shrinking with horror from the thought of tasting how good they are.

The Christian life is much the same. We could spend all our life admiring the lovely Jesus, and not know how really good He is-until we have tried Him.

Dear Lord we pray that we would not only admire you but that we would take ahold of You and have You lead us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.