On Wings Of Eagles

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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

John Wycliff "Everybody Should Have a Bible"

John 1:1 (New International Version)

 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God

How many Bibles do you have? I did a quick count in my office and came up with more than thirty-five. There may not be quite that many Bibles in your home, but I suppose the average Christian household has at least half a dozen. But just six hundred years ago, you might be fortunate if you ever once saw a single Bible in English, much less own one. Who got the ball rolling from no Bibles for the people to millions? One man instrumental in getting the Bible to the common folk was named John Wycliff.
Wycliff was born in 1329, in England. He was a man of rather humble origin, but of outstanding intellect. He attended Oxford University, and soon became a professor there. His brilliance was obvious to all, and evidenced in debate and discussion. He was beyond doubt the leading philosopher of Oxford University.
In the course of time, Wycliff was invited to serve as a chaplain in the king’s royal court, and he soon offended the church by supporting the government’s right to seize the property of clergymen who were patently corrupt. Wycliff thought that if God had given property to the church, He had given to them to be good stewards over it. And corrupt churchmen should be relieved of their stewardship! Obviously, the Pope didn’t like this attitude at all.
But Wycliff was an outspoken opponent of the papacy; he called the Pope "the Anti-Christ, the proud, worldly priest of Rome, and the most cursed of robbers and pick-pockets." He didn’t think there was anything magical about the Pope. He thought that if the Pope was a worldly, unspiritual man (and many of them were in those days), and that he ought to be considered a heretic and deposed. As you might guess, the Roman Pontiff could give just as good as he got. Pope Gregory said that Wycliff was "vomiting out of the filthy dungeon of his heart the most wicked and damnable heresies," and that he tried to overthrow the church. Of course, the Pope condemned his views in 1377, but influential political friends protected him from the terrors of the Inquisition.
Just what was it that Wycliff opposed in the Roman Catholic Church? He was against many of their central doctrines. He opposed the teaching of transubstantiation. That is the claim that Jesus is physically, bodily, present in the bread and wine of communion; that Christians literally eat the body and blood of Jesus at the Lord’s table. Wycliff believed that Jesus was spiritually present in the Lord’s Supper, not physically present.
Wycliff condemned the worship of saints, and said that every man has access to God, and doesn’t need a priest to get to God. He thought that it was more important to worship God in spirit and truth rather than with impressive traditions.
He also held that the real Church consisted of God’s chosen people, who didn’t need a priest to mediate with God for them. In addition, Wycliff believed that the church was far too interested in worldly authority, and had forfeited its spiritual authority by its greed for political power.
The traditions and customs of the church didn’t matter much to John Wycliff. He was a greatly educated man, but didn’t think that formal education was the most important thing for a minister. He once pointed out: "The Apostles had no college degrees!"
But as much as anything else, Wycliff believed that the Roman Catholic Church was wrong in the way that it treated the Bible. In those days, the teaching of the church was more important than the teachings of the Bible. Wycliff didn’t agree with this at all. He earnestly taught that where the Bible and the church do not agree, it is the Bible that should be followed, not the church. That may seem obvious to you today, but it was revolutionary in the high days of the Papal throne. Wycliff thought the Bible was the ultimate authority, not any Pope or council. That’s why he thought it was so important to get the Bible into the hands of common folk.
So, one of the charges against Wycliff was that he had made the Bible common and more open to laymen and even women! In those days, people thought it was good for the clergy to be educated and well read in the Bible, but they thought that giving the Bible to the common folk was like casting pearls before swine. Church authorities were instrumental in having the reading of Wycliff Bibles forbidden under penalty of death. Can you imagine that? The death penalty for reading the Bible! Many martyrs perished in flames for refusing to give up the book.
More than anything, Wycliff was a man devoted to the scriptures. It had been hundreds of years since anybody was really concerned with getting the Bible into the hands of common people. He once said, "The Sacred Scriptures are the property of the people, and one which no one should be allowed to take from them . . . Christ and His apostles converted the world by making known the Scriptures to men in a way they could understand . . . and I pray with all my heart that through doing the things contained in this book we may all together come to everlasting life."
Most church leaders felt that they were wasting their time trying to teach the Bible to the common people. But Wycliff believed that people had a hard time understanding the Bible because incompetent and ignorant people were teaching it so poorly. For this reason, Wycliff put a lot of emphasis on preaching the word, and doing it well. While at Oxford, he attracted many enthusiastic supporters through his energetic preaching and teaching. While other preachers told stories about the saints and interesting fables, Wycliff taught the Word of God. His reputation for exegetical teaching - for letting the Bible speak for itself - spread across the land. His sermons were powerful. His vigorous pamphlets were widely distributed. He organized a group of priests to preach throughout the land. He thought that preaching was the most important duty of a minister, and called those pastors content to let others preach for them "murderers of Jesus."
Before long, his followers numbered in the hundreds, and became known as "Lollards" - which may mean "mutterer” perhaps for the way the Word of God was always on their lips. By 1395, the Lollards had developed into an organized group, with their own ministers and popular support. They stressed a Bible-based religion; the availability of the Bible to the common man, and good preaching. Wycliff and the Lollards became a small reformation that began a hundred years before Martin Luther. And the Lollard’s passion for the Bible prepared the ground for Luther’s Reformation when it came to England.
But the authorities of the church couldn’t stand to let Wycliff keep preaching the doctrines that threatened the Pope’s power. Friends in high places gradually deserted him, and church authorities eventually forced him out of his influential teaching position at Oxford.
On a day in May of 1378, the teachings of John Wycliff were put on trial in the Blackfriar’s Monastery of London. As the judges took their seats, a sudden cry of terror erupted. The walls of the judgment-hall trembled; and earthquake shook the city of London. Some thought this was God speaking through nature, voicing His support of the accused reformer. But the trial went on.
And in the end, Wycliff was condemned and excommunicated. He was allowed to retire to a small town, where he worked on his translation of the Bible into English. Wycliff had expected to meet with a violent death from his persecutors, but God allowed him to finish his work before he died. He lived to be 64 years old.
In retrospect, John Wycliff has been called "the Morning Star of the Reformation" because of his insistence that the Bible was the only legitimate authority for faith and practice.
Thirty-one years after he died, a church council formally condemned Wycliff. Twelve years later his body was dug up and removed from the "holy ground" surrounding the church. His bones were burnt and cast into a river. But somehow it was all very fitting; because the river that bore his ashes eventually emptied into the ocean, and its waters circulated all around the world. So did the passion for the word of God that so marked the life of John Wycliff. So, the next time you pick up a Bible in a language you can read, thank God for men like John Wycliff.

Dear Lord we thank You for Your word. We pray that we would value it and that we would learn from it and pass it on to those around us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Saving the Flag

2 Chronicles 7:14 (New International Version)
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

She was not the popular girl in high school.  She was in advanced studies, in a school system that idolized their honors program.  My daughters thought the world of her, and with good reason.  Aimee was a patriot.  No apologies nor excuses.  She was an officer in her high school  JROTC program.  She was disciplined.  Courageous.  And she loved her country.
You could always pick Aimee out in a field filled with young, military hopefuls marching in formation.  She was sharp.  She was proud.  And, in spite of her petite form, she always looked tall.  But Aimee did not have it easy.  She was the butt of jokes and ridicule.   Aimee worked her heart out in her classes, and she was about to graduate with a  better than 5.0 average, which she had maintained for four straight years.
In a school system where the grade point average of the “honors” classes went up to 6.0, Aimee didn’t stand a chance for Valedictorian.  Some unseen experts decided that Aimee would not become Valedictorian, because it would be unfair to the honors students.  Although she had never made less than an “A” in her entire high school career, some “A-B” student in the honors program outranked Aimee.
The high school Principal fought his way up through the School Board on Aimee’s behalf, to give her the honor she deserved.  It was an outrage that such excellence would be ignored.  It didn’t make the papers, but on graduation day, Aimee received her victory, and she became Co-Valedictorian of her high school class, although many of us thought she had earned the honor to stand alone.  Aimee did not sit with the other graduates.  She stood, proudly, with her JROTC unit, as the assembly turned towards them to salute the flag.  Aimee did not hold the flag, because she was graduating, but she was there, as always, proud to serve.
Graduation was held in the football field.  It was sunny and windy, and it was wet, as it had rained torrents the night before.  Suddenly, the wind kicked up, and the beautiful colors of the red, white, and blue tottered in the air, as the flag holder lost his footing, and the flag careened toward the ground.  Without hesitation, breaking formation, Aimee launched herself through the air, catching the flag and landing in the mud, on her face.
Many in the crowd roared their laughter, but not all of us.  Some of us were in tears, as Aimee, carefully steadied her country’s flag, and came back into formation, her JROTC uniform covered in mud.  But not the flag.  It never touched the ground.  Aimee had saved the flag.
I never met Aimee, but her story is what legends are made of.  Aimee graduated with honors, and she went on to college with an ROTC Scholarship, and on into a military career.  I have no doubt that Aimee is somewhere on the front lines, today, still defending the American flag.
Let’s take today and pause to thank the many that are protecting our flag today and the rest of the year.

Dear Lord we thank You for those have given their life to give us the freedoms we have. We pray that You will be with their family’s today and give them a peace and a feeling of pride for what has been done by their loved one. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Sunday, May 29, 2011

A Diary of the Bible

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (New International Version)

16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

JANUARY: A busy time for me. Most of the family decided to read me through this year. They kept me busy for the first two weeks, but they have forgotten me now.

FEBRUARY: Clean-up time. I was dusted yesterday and put in my place. My owner did use me for a few minutes last week. He had been in an argument and was looking up some references to prove he was right.

MARCH: Had a busy day first of the month. My owner was elected president of the PTA & used me to prepare a speech.

APRIL: Grandpa visited us this month. He kept me on his lap for an hour reading I Cor 13. He seems to think more of me than do some people in my own household.

MAY: I have a few green stains on my pages. Some spring flowers were pressed in my pages.

JUNE: I look like a scrapbook. They have stuffed me full of newspaper clippings - one of the girls was married.

JULY: They put me in a suitcase today. I guess we are off on vacation. I wish I could stay home; I know I'll be closed up in this thing for at least two weeks.

AUGUST: Still in the suitcase.

SEPTEMBER: Back home at last and in my old familiar place. I have a lot of company. Two women's magazines and four comic books are stacked on top of me. I wish I could be read as much as they are.

OCTOBER: They read me a little bit today. One of them is very sick. Right now I am sitting in the center of the coffee table. I think the Pastor is coming by for a visit.

NOVEMBER: Back in my old place. Somebody asked today if I were a scrapbook.

DECEMBER: The family is busy getting ready for the holidays. I guess I'll be covered up under wrapping paper & packages again ... just as I am every Christmas.

Dear Lord we thank You for Your word. We pray that we would honor your word by reading it, Studying it and applying the lesson to our life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Do You Crave Spiritual Milk?

1 Peter 2:1-3 (New International Version)

1 Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. 2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

In 1978, Steve Bartkowski, quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons, was beginning his fourth season in the National Football League. He remembers after one difficult preseason game: "I told myself "This is it - I have tried as hard as I can in every game and things still continue to get worse. There is nothing else I can do. There is no more ability left in me".

Alone in my room, I recalled that a man once told me how to become a Christian. I bowed my head and repeated a simple prayer. I asked God to put HIS plan to work in my life. I asked Christ to come into my life and take over as Number One. Although, I wasn't sure at that moment what had happened, the one thing I was sure of was the terrific sense of peace that came over me as I prayed. A huge burden had been lifted. I knew I had had an encounter with the living Lord, even though I was not sure how to explain it to anyone."

Steve describes his new attitude toward the Bible: "For years the Bible was a dead book to me ... like grits without salt. But after I gave my life to Jesus Christ, it became alive. I saw that the Bible was God's way of talking to me."

We need to crave our daily intake of the Bible just as we daily crave food. Today in prayer, ask the Lord to give you a hunger for His Word and spend some extra time today reading your Bible.

Dear Lord we pray that we pray that the we would have a real hunger for Your word the Bible. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Conquering the Worries of Life

Mark 4:19 (New International Version)

but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.

In 1941, actor Jimmy Stewart enlisted in the Army Air Corps. Prior to being shipped out overseas, his father Alex wrote the following: My dear Jim boy. Soon after you read this letter, you will be on your way to the worst sort of danger. Jim, I'm banking on the enclosed copy of the 91st Psalm. The thing that takes the place of fear and worry is the promise of these words. I am staking my faith in these words. I feel sure that God will lead you through this mad experience. I can say no more. I only continue to pray. Goodbye, my dear. God bless you and keep you. I love you more than I can tell you. Dad.

Jimmy Stewart rose through the ranks from private to colonel. He returned home a decorated war hero, unharmed even though his record included 20 combat missions. During the height of battle, Stewart said he learned to lean on the words of his tattered copy of Psalm 91, especially verses 1 and 2, which speak of God as a refuge and fortress. Upon returning home, he told his father: "What a promise for an airman. I placed in his hands the squadron I would be leading. And, as the psalmist promised, I felt myself borne up."

Are you facing worry and anxiety? Today in prayer, give all of your cares and worries to Christ and know that He cares for you.

“There is no need for two to care, for God to care and the creature too.” – Charles H. Spurgeon

Dear Lord we pray that as we face the anxieties of life that we would turn them over to You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Chopping Wood

Ecclesiastes 10:10 (New International Version)

If the ax is dull

and its edge unsharpened,

more strength is needed,

but skill will bring success.

There's an old story told about two woodcutters who were in a forest. They were being paid commission for every log that they chopped. Both of them were ambitious and wanted to outdo the other. One of the woodcutters spent all day chopping logs, without taking a break. He supposed that if he continued working, he would be able get more logs done than his rival.

The second woodcutter took a break every hour for five minutes. At the end of the day, he had taken ten breaks. The first woodcutter believed that he had outpaced his rival, but when it came to tallying the amount of logs that were actually chopped, the second woodcutter had the largest pile and earned more commission.

"How did you do that?" Asked the first woodcutter. "How did you manage to chop more logs than me, with all those breaks?"

"Each time, I took a break, " answered the second woodcutter, " I sharpened my axe. It meant I could chop more logs than you in the latter part of the day."

The same applies to what we do with our spirituality. If we're not taking time to sharpen our souls with prayer, Bible reading, and worship, then our connection to God becomes blunt, and our faith is almost useless in times of trial. In midst of all our busy-ness, we need to take time out to be with God, to focus on Christ, and to be re-sharpened by the Holy Spirit.

Dear Lord, we pray that we would work to strengthen our relationship with You. Help us take the time to sharpen our soul for you so that we can be the testimony for you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Romans 5:12 (New International Version)

Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned.

The Maker of all human beings (GOD) is recalling all units manufactured, regardless of make or year, due to a serious defect in the primary and central component of the unit, specifically the heart and soul of each unit.

This is due to a malfunction in the original prototype units code named Adam and Eve, resulting in the reproduction of the same defect in all subsequent units. This defect has been technically termed "Sub-sequential Internal Non-Morality," or as it is more commonly known, as S.I.N., a malfunction that is programmed in to all of these units from the moment their Earthly existence begins.

Some of the symptoms include:

1. Loss of direction
2. Foul vocal emissions
3. Amnesia of origin
4. Lack of peace and joy
5. Selfish or violent behavior
6. Depression or confusion in the mental component
7. Fearfulness
8. Idolatry
9. Rebellion

However, on a good note, the Manufacturer, who is neither liable nor at fault for this defect, is willing to provide factory-authorized repair and service free of charge to correct this defect.
The Repair Technician, JESUS, has most generously offered to bear the entire burden of the staggering cost of these repairs, so there is no additional fee required.
The number to call for repair in all areas is: P-R-A-Y-E-R.

Once connected, please upload your burden of SIN through the FORGIVENESS and REPENTANCE procedures. Next, download ATONEMENT from the Repair Technician, Jesus, into the heart and soul component.

No matter how big or small the SIN defect is, once it is removed, Jesus will then graciously replace it at no additional cost with:
1. Love
2. Joy
3. Peace
4. Patience
5. Kindness
6. Goodness
7. Faithfulness
8. Gentleness
9. Self control

If you have any questions, please see the operating manual, the B.I.B.L.E. (Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth), for further details on the use (and applicability) of these repairs.

WARNING: Continuing to operate the human being unit without correction voids any manufacturer warranties, exposing the unit to dangers and problems too numerous to list and will result in the human unit being permanently impounded upon expiration of the unit. For free emergency service, call on Jesus.

DANGER: Those human being units not responding to this recall action will have to be scrapped in the furnace upon expiration, because the SIN defect will not for any reason be permitted to enter Heaven so as to prevent contamination of that facility. Thank you for your attention!

Dear Lord we are thankful to You for making a way for us to be forgiven for our sin. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

How Do You Handle The Things That Come Before You?

1 Timothy 6:6 (New International Version) But godliness with contentment is great gain.

Sharon sat in her women's Bible study group, listening and laughing with the other mothers, as they vented their frustration over the drudgery of daily errands, and household chores.

One woman told the group, "I use to vacuum my carpet, and wash my floors as I fumed to myself, how much I hated cleaning and picking up after everybody."

Sharon could identify with the complaints of the other women in the group. However, they all left on a positive note saying they would change their negativity around and serve others— including their family— with a positive attitude.

As Sharon opened the front door to her home, her eyes immediately met with a trail of shredded papers, empty containers, and an assortment of garbage strewn across her floor. While she was gone, her dog had ripped apart the trash. Greeted by this unexpected disaster, she met her first challenge to stay positive.

After cleaning up the mess, she went to the gym for her work-out. Upon entering the locker room she discovered she had forgotten her change of clothing. She could feel the frustration start to rise within her. Keeping in mind what she had learned that morning, she got back in her car and turned on some upbeat music. She was determined to keep a positive attitude, as she drove all the way home, and back.

After exercising her muscles, Sharon got another exercise of faith. She had forgotten about an important doctor's appointment for her son, and was already 45 minutes late.

"That office runs flawlessly on a strict time schedule," she muttered to herself, as she drove to the office wondering how she would get in for the appointment.

Approaching the reception desk, she was tempted to give the receptionist a lame excuse as to why she was late. But she admitted that she simply forgot about it. Amazingly they ushered her son in for his appointment.

Sharon found the benefits of staying positive no matter what. She realized putting God's Word into practice really did make a difference in the outcome of her day. Instead of the usual feeling of dissatisfaction, she ended her day feeling happy and content.

Dear Lord we pray that we would be positive in all the things that come our way. Help our choices be pleasing to You that we would be able to show Your love to those around us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Guiding His Course for Us

Psalm 119:105 (New International Version)
Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

An old sailor repeatedly got lost at sea, so his friends gave him a compass and urged him to use it. The next time he went out in his boat, he followed their advice and took the compass with him. But as usual he became hopelessly confused and was unable to find land. Finally he was rescued by his friends.

Disgusted and impatient with him, they asked, "Why didn't you use that compass we gave you? You could have saved us a lot of trouble!"

The sailor responded, "I didn't dare to! I wanted to go north, but as hard as I tried to make the needle aim in that direction, it just kept on pointing southeast."

That old sailor was so certain he knew which was north that he stubbornly tried to force his own personal persuasion on his compass. Unable to do so, he tossed it aside as worthless and failed to benefit from the guidance it offered.

Once at summer camp, I spent some time in a sailboat. Relying on the boat to keep me afloat, as I slide across the water propelled by a gentle breeze. Yet within the confines of the shores, I had the opportunity and responsibility of guiding the rudder to determine the direction of travel.

Is that not similar to living within the will of God? As Christians we must rest upon God to sustain us, and upon the breath of his Spirit to empower us. Yet within His moral boundaries, we each have the opportunity and responsibility to determine our course.

Dear Lord we pray that we would allow you to be our compass and let You lead and guide us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

God's word Protected

Mark 16:15-16 (New International Version)

15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

(This story is taken from a fantastic biography about Brother Andrew, called The Narrow Road)

There is a Roman Catholic priest in Rumania whom we have been helping to buy Bibles and other supplies for years. On his last trip home from Vienna, his car loaded with Bibles, he was stopped at his own border and his cargo discovered.

The priest was in anguish. He had already been in jail once on a trumped-up charge of hoarding, but here was a truly serious economic crime, and he was really guilty. A Bible costs a month's wages in Rumania, and he was carrying nearly two hundred.

Just at this moment another car pulled up to the border. Out stepped a businessman who was well known at the station; he walked breezily into the inspection shed greeting each of the guards by name. At the sight of the counter ten-deep in Bibles he stopped short. "Bibles?" he said. "I don't suppose you would be willing to sell them to me? They are confiscated, right?"

"Yes, they are confiscated, but we could not possibly sell them to you."

The businessman winked. "Not even," he said, "for. . ." and he leaned over and whispered a figure into the ear of the customs man. The official's eyes grew large.

"Are they really worth that much?"

"More. I shall make a profit." The official thought for a moment. "Let me talk with my comrades." The three guards huddled together, and when they emerged from their little ring, they had apparently decided that the price was high enough to be worth the sacrifice of principle. So the businessman paid them in cash, got the priest's help in loading his car with his own Bibles, and drove on to Rumania.

In the shed there was an awkward silence. "Am I still charged with smuggling Bibles?" the priest asked at last.

"Bibles?" said the customs official. "What Bibles? There are no Bibles here. You'd better move along while the gate's open."

And as for the Bibles, although they went on the black market, at least they too reached Rumania safely, where somehow believers will find enough money to buy them for their own.

Dear Lord we thank You for your word. We pray that it will continue to reach to the entire world. We thank you for those who risk everything to spread your word around the world. In Jesus’ name, Amen

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Do You Go to the Creator?

Isaiah 40:28 (New International Version)She was a beauty, Alex thought. A two-seat convertible just off the assembly line and loaded with all the options Alex's saving account could afford. She was a deep cobalt blue, glossy and seemingly untouched, glistening in the summer sun. As he looked out of the window in the salesman's office, he could see the car waiting for him, waiting for the last signature on the last piece of paperwork, waiting to have him slide into the driver's seat and start her up for the first time. Alex would sign anything now to be able to drive off in this magnificent sculpture of steel and leather.
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary.

The first joyride out of the dealer's lot was exhilarating. He negotiated turns his old automobile never could have, and sped past cars he never would have challenged previously. What a machine, he thought as he pulled into his driveway and turned off the ignition. He sat for an hour in the leather seat, breathing in the aroma of the plastic and wood trim, fingering the buttons and dials, and dreaming of all the good things owning this vehicle could mean.

The next morning, a Saturday, Alex woke up early and got out the cleaning supplies. Though his car was only hours in his possession, he wanted it to stay perfect for as long as possible. He planned to spend a good part of the day on it, sweating under an August sky, making it shine even more than it already did.

First, he dumped a bag of gravel on the hood and smeared it around a bit, then removed the gravel with a garden rake. After that, he went over the exterior with sandpaper, wiping every surface thoroughly and with gusto. Next came the interior. He used the garden hose to spray everything off inside and then gouged some of the gauges and switches with a screwdriver. He used a little sandpaper here and there as well.

Alex then got under the hood for a little fine-tuning. He banged on the fuel filter with a hammer, and did the same to a number of other components, including the brake lines and alternator. He poured some water in the oil receptacle and cut a few wires here and there. Now, he thought, she'll really run smooth.

After he had spent hours on the car, he stepped back to admire her. Somehow, he thought, she didn't look quite right. He shrugged it off, though, reasoning that emotions come and go, but, deep down, he knew what a jewel she was.

Over the next few days, Alex began to notice that something was wrong with his new car. She didn't have the "get up and go" that she once did, and the stereo stopped working. He tried each night to find the problem, but he just wasn't quite sure where to look. He had learned about cars over the years from his father and assorted friends. He tried everything he could remember. He took it to friends and professional mechanics that claimed to be experts. Nothing seemed to work. In fact, the car's performance and appearance only got worse.

While tooling around one night, Alex opened the glove compartment and noticed a booklet in a protective plastic cover. He took it out and read the front: "Owner's Manual." He opened the book, and sat for hours reading it and rereading it by the map light.

Alex was astonished. Apparently, if this book was to be believed, he, and many of the people he knew, was dreadfully mistaken about how to maintain and fix automobiles. In fact, most everything he had been doing wasn't merely ineffective, but actually destructive. No wonder, he thought, she isn't quite the same. "I've been killing her," he whispered to himself.

He knew that he couldn't go to his "friends" or "professionals" for help with his car troubles. He had tried them. They were of no use. Contained in the owner's manual was a telephone number for the manufacturer. Alex knew what his only viable option was. He resigned himself to a long night on the phone, and walked back into the house.

Dear Lord we pray that we would come to you first, knowing that you are the creator of us and that you know us better than anybody. In Jesus name, Amen.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Can This Mess Be Fixed?

1 Peter 5:5-7 (New American Standard Bible)

5 You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE. 6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, 7 casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.

Customer: "I got this problem. You people sent me this install disk, and now my A: drive won't work."

Tech Support: "Your A: drive won't work?"

Customer: "That's what I said. You sent me a bad disk, it got stuck in my drive, now it won't work at all."

Tech Support: "Did it not install properly? What kind of error messages did you get?"

Customer: "I didn't get any error message. The disk got stuck in the drive and wouldn't come out. So I got these pliers and tried to get it out. That didn't work either."

Tech Support: "You did what, sir?"

Customer: "I got these pliers, and tried to get the disk out, but it wouldn't budge. I just ended up cracking the plastic stuff a bit."

Tech Support: "I don't understand sir, did you push the eject button?"

Customer: "No, so then I got a stick of butter and melted it and used a turkey baster and put the butter in the drive, around the disk, and that got it loose. I can't believe you would send me a disk that was broken and defective."

Tech Support: "Let me get this clear. You put melted butter in your A: drive and used pliers to pull the disk out?"At this point, I put the call on the speaker phone and motioned at the other techs to listen in.

Tech Support: "Just so I am absolutely clear on this, can you repeat what you just said?"

Customer: "I said I put butter in my A: drive to get your disk out, then I had to use pliers to pull it out."

Tech Support: "Did you push that little button that was sticking out when the disk was in the drive, you know, the thing called the disk eject button?"

- Silence -

Tech Support: "Sir?"

Customer: "Yes."

Tech Support: "Sir, did you push the eject button?"

Customer: "No, but you people are going to fix my computer, or I am going to sue you for breaking my computer."

Tech Support: "Let me get this straight. You are going to sue our company because you put the disk in the A: drive, didn't follow the instructions we sent you, didn't actually seek professional advice, didn't consult your user's manual on how to use your computer properly, instead proceeding to pour butter into the drive and physically rip the disk out?"

Customer: "Ummmm."

Tech Support: "Do you really think you stand a chance, since we do record every call and have it on tape?"

Customer: (now rather humbled) "But you're supposed to help!"

Tech Support: "I am sorry sir, but there is nothing we can do for you. Have a nice day."

Sounds like the mess we sometimes make of our lives. We don't consult God's "instruction manual" (the Bible), we don't call for assistance (pray), we just try to "fix" the problems in our lives by ourselves and in the process do some pretty stupid things.

But there's one big difference. When we finally reach the point where we realize we've made a mess and we humble ourselves in the presence of God, He doesn't say, "There's nothing I can do for you." Rather, He stands ready to help.

Made a mess of something lately? The "tech support" line is open and ready to take your call.

Dear Lord I pray that when we are in a mess we will turn to You knowing that you are always there. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Bible 911

Bible 911

When in sorrow, call John 14.

When men fail you, call Psalm 27.

If you want to be fruitful, call John 15.

When you have sinned, call Psalm 51.

When you worry, call Matthew 6:19-34.

When you are in danger, call Psalm 91.

When God seems far away, call Psalm 139.

When your faith needs stirring, call Hebrews 11.

When you are lonely and fearful, call Psalm 23.

When you grow bitter and critical, call 1 Cor. 13.

For the secret to happiness, call Col. 3:12-17.

For idea of Christianity, call 1 Cor. 5:15-19.

When you feel down and out, call Romans 8:31-39.

When you want peace and rest, call Matt. 11:25-30.

When the world seems bigger than God, call Psalm 90.

When you want Christian assurance, call Romans 8:1-30.

When you leave home for labor or travel, call Psalm 121.

When your prayers grow narrow or selfish, call Psalm 67.

For a great invention/opportunity, call Isaiah 55.

When you want courage for a task, call Joshua 1.

How to get along with fellow men, call Romans 12.

When you think of investments/returns, call Mark 10.

If you are depressed, call Psalm 27.

If your pocketbook is empty, call Psalm 37.

If your losing confidence in people, call 1 Cor. 13.

If people seem unkind, call John 15.

If discouraged about your work, call Psalm 126.

If you find the world growing small, and yourself great, call Psalm 19.

These emergency numbers may be dialed direct. No operator assistance is necessary. All lines are open 24/7/365!

Dear Lord we thank You for Your Word and the way it has all the asnwers to the things life throws at us. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Have You Read the Script of What the Astronauts Were Reading?"

John 1:1 (New American Standard Bible)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

It was Christmas Eve, 1968. American astronauts, orbiting the moon, had just read from the first chapter of Genesis. There was a wave of favorable reaction. The Space Center at Houston was crowded with reporters. From the beginning of the American space effort other nations had been watching with interest. One nation in particular, which I shall not name, seemed especially fascinated by all that was going on. Its reporters, of course, were on hand in Houston that evening. They didn't understand just what the astronauts had been reading, but they were caught up in the enthusiasm of others and somehow sensed that it must be something very important.

They waited in the hallway for a change of shifts, hoping to speak to someone about what had just occurred. When a NASA official approached them, one of them stepped up and said politely, "Tell us, sir, would it be possible to obtain a

The official suppressed a smile and said with a straight face, "Yes. When you go back to your hotel room, you will find on the nightstand, or possibly in the drawer of the nightstand, a black-bound Book. Just open that and on the first page you will find the script from which they read."

The reporters were profuse in their appreciation. "Thank you so much," they said. "It was so thoughtful of NASA to provide the astronauts' script in our hotel room!"

We smile. But seriously, wasn't it thoughtful of God to tell us just how He created the earth, and then to make the record of Creation so easily available that the Gideons could place a copy in every hotel room?

Dear Lord we thank you for Your word. We thank You for the Gideons and the way they make the Bible is available for each of us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Are You Following the Bubbles?

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (New International Version)

16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Vern Treat told about a scuba-diver who said that when you're deep underwater you're surrounded by an aura of light which makes it very difficult to tell which way is up because the water diffuses the light. Furthermore, having a sense of weightlessness, you have no sense of gravity. As such it is easy to get disoriented and lose your sense of direction. It may even seem that your air bubbles are going sideways.

You may feel so strongly that your perception of up is correct that you ignore your air bubbles and go the way you think is up. One of the things the scuba-diver is taught is to always trust and follow his bubbles. No matter what you think or feel, your bubbles are always correct. They always go up! So always follow your bubbles. Always! Sadly, many people in today's society are disoriented and have lost their way because they have ignored life's only trust-worthy guide, God's Word, the Bible. They are going the way they think or feel is right. Or they choose to live as they please. "The Bible describes things as they are. It agrees with reality. Like the scuba-diver's bubbles, the Bible is always right, no matter how you feel, no matter what you think."

As another has said, "We can't improve on God's plan. The best thing to do is to get in on it." Every instruction, every command- ment, and every directive is given for our good and for our eternal well-being. Like the scuba-diver who ignores his bubbles, we disregard God's Word to our own peril.

Dear Lord we pray that we would not only read Your word but that we would follow the instructions we find in it. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Monday, May 16, 2011

A Lesson From Bozo the Elephant.

1 Corinthians 13:1 (New International Version)
If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

A woman was explaining her theory of putting her children to bed: "I never tell bedtime stories that begin with 'Once upon a time,'" she said. "If I really want to put them to sleep, I start off with, 'Now, when I was your age...'" It's nice to understand people so well that we know just what to say! Here is a mother who could speak her children's language.

The story is told of the most famous elephant in the world -- a huge, beautiful and gentle beast named Bozo. Children extended open palms filled with peanuts for the Indian elephant, who gently plucked them from little hands and seemed to smile as he ate his treats.

But one day, for some inexplicable reason, Bozo changed. He almost stampeded the man who cleaned his cage. He charged children at the circus and became incorrigible. His owner knew he would have to destroy the once-gentle giant.

In order to raise money for a new elephant, the circus owner held a cruel exhibition. He sold tickets to witness Bozo's execution and, on the appointed day, his arena was packed. Three men with high-powered rifles rose to take aim at the great beast's head.

Just before the signal was given to shoot, a little, stubby man in a brown hat stepped out of the crowd and said to the elephant's owner, "Sir, this is not necessary. Bozo is not a bad elephant."

"But he is," the man argued. "We must kill him before he kills someone."

"Sir, give me two minutes alone in his cage," the visitor pleaded, "and I'll prove to you that you are wrong. He is not a bad elephant."

After a few more moments of discussion (and a written statement absolving the circus of liability if the man should be injured), the keeper finally agreed to allow the man inside Bozo's cage. The man removed his brown derby and entered the cage of the bellowing and trumpeting beast.

Before the elephant could charge, the man began to speak to him. Bozo seemed to immediately quiet down upon hearing the man's words. Nearby spectators could also hear the man, but they could not understand him, for he spoke a foreign language. Soon the great animal began to tremble, whine and throw his head about. Then the stranger walked up to Bozo and stroked his trunk. The great elephant tenderly wrapped his trunk around the man, lifted him up and carried him around his cage before carefully depositing him back at the door. Everyone applauded.

As the cage door closed behind him, the man said to Bozo's keeper, "You see, he is a good elephant. His problem is that he is an Indian elephant and understands one language." He explained that Bozo was frustrated and confused. He needed someone who could speak his language. "I suggest, sir, that you find someone in London to come in occasionally and talk to the elephant. If you do, you'll have no problems."

The man picked up his brown derby and walked away. It was at that time that the circus owner looked carefully at the signature on the paper he held in his hand -- the note absolving the circus of responsibility in the case he was injured inside the elephant's cage. The statement was signed by Rudyard Kipling.

People also become frustrated and angry when they are not understood. But great relationships are formed by parents who learn to speak their children's language; lovers who speak each other's language; professionals who speak the language of their staff and clients. When people understand that YOU understand, that you empathize with their heartaches and understand their problems, then you are speaking their language! It is the beginning of true communication.

Dear Lord we pray that we would learn to speak their language. Help us be able to share your love in a manner they understand. In Jesus’ name, Amen.