On Wings Of Eagles

free counters

Thursday, June 30, 2011

"Facing the Giants" and Fear

Matthew 6:25-27 (New American Standard Bible)
    25 For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27 And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?

Last night Charlie and I watched "Facing the Giants". This is certainly a movie worth watching, if you haven’t seen it you should. It was made by Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia. There are many lessons we can learn from it, one of which is about fear.

Near the end of the movie, the Shiloh Eagles, coached by Grant Taylor, were about to play for the Georgia high school state championship against a team who had almost 3 times the number of players and were the reigning state champions 3 years running.  Coach Taylor was a bit afraid of how everything would turn out. But, just before the game, Coach Taylor's former football coach came to see him. He said something that I found very interesting. The former coach said that in the Bible God says 365 times to not be afraid, and that if God said it that many times then He must have meant it. Since there are 365 days in a year, and God says 365 times to not be afraid, then there is never a day in the year when we should be afraid.

Think of little David who went and confronted the giant Goliath. I would think that David would be afraid. But, the Bible does not give a hint of fear, rather faith. David knew that God was on his side, so he simply walked by faith and killed the giant. How often in our Christian life is rendered useless because of fear. Fear of failing, fear of what our friends would say, fear of our health failing, fear of being made fun of at work, fear of commitment, fear that God will not come through, fear of losing your time, energy, money. If David would not have stepped out in faith and faced the giant, we would not be talking about him. He would have been just another one of the Israelites standing on the sidelines shaking in fear. David made his life count by living by faith. He was not always perfect, but he was called a man after God's own heart. How? He let his faith control his life rather than fear.

Scripture says that the believer in Christ is more than a conqueror and that there is nothing that can separate us from His love (Romans 8). God also says that those who are in Christ should not even fear death because He has defeated death through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, His Son. If He could raise Jesus from the dead, then so could He raise each person who has placed their faith in Him. What does all this mean to us? Each of us wants our life to count for something.  Just like Gideon was able to lead 300 people to defeat a massive army, Joshua was able to lead Israel to defeat Jericho, Esther was able to stand up against evil, and Ruth was able to thrive in a foreign land was that they acted on what they believed.

If each of us would let go of our fear, repent of it, and live the words of God, then we will leave a mark on this world that will bring glory to God and cause others to follow Him. Let’s not wait until others decide to not fear. Let it begin with us.

So, what or who is your giant? What brings your fear to the point that you will not serve the living God? What are we seeing as bigger than God that we fear it rather than trust Almighty God? If God is really as powerful as He says He is, then why do we act like He is smaller than our everyday struggles, trials, and fears? He is not smaller; we just often convince ourselves He is.  Let’s take the time today and each of the other 364 days of the year not to fear but turn it over to God.

Dear Lord we thank you for Your word and the reminder that You give us to not fear. We pray that we would always turn our fears over to You knowing that You can handle them much better than we can. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Red Sea and God's Greatness

Psalm 77:13-14 (New International Version)
 13 Your ways, God, are holy. 
   What god is as great as our God? 
14 You are the God who performs miracles; 
   you display your power among the peoples

A boy was sitting on a park bench with one hand resting on an open Bible. He was loudly exclaiming his praise to God. "Hallelujah! Hallelujah! God is great!" he yelled without worrying whether anyone heard him or not.

Shortly after, along came a man who had recently completed some studies at a local university. Feeling himself very enlightened in the ways of truth and very eager to show this enlightenment, he asked the boy about the source of his joy. "Hey" asked the boy in return with a bright laugh, "Don't you have any idea what God is able to do? I just read that God opened up the waves of the Red Sea and led the whole nation of Israel right through the middle."
The enlightened man laughed lightly, sat down next to the boy and began to try to open his eyes to the "realities" of the miracles of the Bible. "That can all be very easily explained. Modern scholarship has shown that the Red Sea in that area was only 10 inches deep at that time. It was no problem for the Israelites to wade across."
The boy was stumped. His eyes wandered from the man back to the Bible laying open in his lap. The man, content that he had enlightened a poor, naive young person to the finer points of scientific insight, turned to go. Scarcely had he taken two steps when the boy began to rejoice and praise louder than before. The man turned to ask the reason for these resumed jubilation’s.

"Wow!" exclaimed the boy happily, "God is greater than I thought! Not only did He lead the whole nation of Israel through the Red Sea, He topped it off by drowning the whole Egyptian army in 10 inches of water!"

Dear Lord we thank you for your greatness. We pray that we would look to You in all things. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Parable of the River

Psalm 103:11-12 (New International Version)
 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, 
   so great is his love for those who fear him; 
12 as far as the east is from the west, 
   so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

Once there were five sons who lived in a mountain castle with their father. The eldest was an obedient son, but his four younger brothers were rebellious. Their father had warned them of the river, but they had not listened. He had begged them to stay clear of the bank lest they be swept downstream, but the river's lure was too strong.

Each day the four rebellious brothers ven­tured closer and closer until one son dared to reach in and feel the waters. "Hold my hand so I won't fall in," he said, and his brothers did. But when he touched the water, the cur­rent yanked him and the other three into the rapids and rolled them down the river.

Over rocks they bounced, through the channels they roared, on the swells they rode. Their cries for help were lost in the rage of the river. Though they fought to gain their balance, they were powerless against the strength of the current After hours of struggle, they surrendered to the pull of the river The waters finally dumped them on the bank in a strange land, in distant country, in a barren place.

Savage people dwelt in the land. It was not safe like their home. Cold winds chilled the land. It was not warm like their home. Rugged mountains marked the land. It was not inviting like their home.
Though they did not know where they were, of one fact they were sure: They were not intended for this place. For a long time the four young sons lay on the bank, stunned at their fall and not knowing where to turn. After some time they gathered their courage and reentered the waters, hoping to walk upstream. But the current was too strong. They attempted to walk along the river's edge, but the terrain was too steep. They considered climb­ing the mountains, but the peaks were too high. Besides, they didn't know the way.

Finally, they built a fire and sat down. "We shouldn't have dis­obeyed our father," they admitted. "We are a long way from home." With the passage of time the sons learned to survive in the strange land. They found nuts for food and killed animals for skins. They determined not to forget their homeland nor abandon hopes of returning. Each day they set about the task of finding food and build­ing shelter. Each evening they built a fire and told stories of their father and older brother. All four sons longed to see them again.

Then, one night, one brother failed to come to the fire. The others found him the next morning in the valley with the savages. He was building a hut of grass and mud. "I've grown tired of our talks," he told them. "What good does it do to remember? Besides, this land isn't so bad. I will build a great house and settle here."

"But it isn't home," they objected.

"No, but it is if you don't think of the real one." "But what of Father?"
"What of him? He isn't here. He isn't near. Am I to spend for­ever awaiting his arrival? I'm making new friends; I'm learning new ways. If he comes, he comes, but I'm not holding my breath."

And so the other three left their hut-building brother and walked away. They continued to meet around the fire, speaking of home and dreaming of their return.

Some days later a second brother failed to appear at the campfire. The next morning his siblings found him on a hillside staring at the hut of his brother.

"How disgusting," he told them as they approached. "Our brother is an utter failure. An insult to our family name. Can you imagine a more despicable deed? Building a hut and forgetting our father?"
"What he's doing is wrong," agreed the youngest, "but what we did was wrong as well. We disobeyed. We touched the river. We ignored our father's warnings."

"Well, we may have made a mistake or two, but compared to the sleaze in the hut, we are saints. Father will dismiss our sin and pun­ish him."

"Come," urged his two brothers, "return to the fire with us." "No, I think I'll keep an eye on our brother. Someone needs to keep a record of his wrongs to show Father."

And so the two returned, leaving one brother building and the other judging.

The remaining two sons stayed near the fire, encouraging each other and speaking of home. Then one morning the youngest son awoke to find he was alone. He searched for his brother and found him near the river, stacking rocks.

"It's no use," the rock-stacking brother explained as he worked.
"Father won't come for me. I must go to him. I offended him. I insulted him. I failed him. There is only one option. I will build a path back up the river and walk into our father's presence. Rock upon rock I will stack until I have enough rocks to travel upstream to the castle. When he sees how hard I have worked and how dili­gent I have been, he will have no choice but to open the door and let me into his house."

The last brother did not know what to say. He returned to sit by the fire, alone. One morning he heard a familiar voice behind him. "Father has sent me to bring you home."

The youngest lifted his eyes to see the face of his oldest brother. "You have come for us!" he shouted. For a long time the two embraced.
"And your brothers?" the eldest finally asked.

"One has made a home here. Another is watching him. The third is building a path up the river."

And so Firstborn set out to find his siblings. He went first to the thatched hut in the valley.

"Go away, stranger!" screamed the brother through the window. "You are not welcome here!"

"I have come to take you home."

"You have not. You have come to take my mansion." "This is no mansion," Firstborn countered. "This is a hut."

"It is a mansion! The finest in the lowlands. I built it with my own hands. Now, go away. You cannot have my mansion."

"Don't you remember the house of your father?" "I have no father."
"You were born in a castle in a distant land where the air is warm and the fruit is plentiful. You disobeyed your father and ended up in this strange land. I have come to take you home."

The brother peered through the window at Firstborn as if recog­nizing a face he'd remembered from a dream. But the pause was brief, for suddenly the savages in the house filled the window as well. "Go away, intruder!" they demanded. "This is not your home." "You are right," responded the firstborn son, "but neither is it his."

The eyes of the two brothers met again. Once more the hut­building brother felt a tug at his heart, but the savages had won his trust. "He just wants your mansion," they cried. "Send him away!" And so he did.
Firstborn sought the next brother. He didn't have to walk far. On the hillside near the hut, within eyesight of the savages, sat the fault-finding son. When he saw Firstborn approaching, he shouted, "How good that you are here to behold the sin of our brother! Are you aware that he turned his back on the castle? Are you aware that he never speaks of home? I knew you would come. I have kept careful account of his deeds. Punish him! I will applaud your anger. He deserves it! Deal with the sins of our brother."Firstborn spoke softly, "We need to deal with your sins first." "My sins?"

"Yes, you disobeyed Father."

The son smirked and slapped at the air. "My sins are nothing. There is the sinner," he claimed, pointing to the hut. "Let me tell you of the savages who stay there . . ."

"I'd rather you tell me about yourself."

"Don't worry about me. Let me show you who needs help," he said, running toward the hut. "Come, we'll peek in the windows. He never sees me. Let's go together." The son was at the hut before he noticed that Firstborn hadn't followed him.

Next, the eldest son walked to the river. There he found the last brother, knee-deep in the water, stacking rocks.
"Father has sent me to take you home."

The brother never looked up. "I can't talk now. I must work." "Father knows you have fallen. But he will forgive you. . ."

"He may," the brother interrupted, struggling to keep his balance against the current, "but I have to get to the castle first. I must build a pathway up the river. First I will show him that I am wor­thy. Then I will ask for his mercy."

"He has already given his mercy. I will carry you up the river. You will never be able to build a pathway. The river is too long. The task is too great for your hands. Father sent me to carry you home. I am stronger."

For the first time the rock-stacking brother looked up. "How dare you speak with such irreverence! My father will not simply forgive. I have sinned. I have sinned greatly! He told us to avoid the river, and we disobeyed. I am a great sinner. I need much work."

"No, my brother, you don't need much work. You need much grace. The distance between you and our father's house is too great. You haven't enough strength nor the stones to build the road. That is why our father sent me. He wants me to carry you home."

"Are you saying I can't do it? Are you saying I'm not strong enough? Look at my work. Look at my rocks. Already I can walk five steps!"
"But you have five million to go!"

The younger brother looked at Firstborn with anger. "I know who you are. You are the voice of evil. You are trying to seduce me from my holy work. Get behind me, you serpent!" He hurled at Firstborn the rock he was about to place in the river.

"Heretic!" screamed the path-builder. "Leave this land. You can't stop me! I will build this walkway and stand before my father, and he will have to forgive me. I will win his favor. I will earn his mercy."

Firstborn shook his head. "Favor won is no favor. Mercy earned is no mercy. I implore you, let me carry you up the river."

The response was another rock. So Firstborn turned and left.
The youngest brother was waiting near the fire when Firstborn returned.

"The others didn't come?"

"No. One chose to indulge, the other to judge, and the third to work. None of them chose our father."

"So they will remain here?"

The eldest brother nodded slowly. "For now." "And we will return to Father?" asked the brother. "Yes."

"Will he forgive me?"

"Would he have sent me if he wouldn't?"

And so the younger brother climbed on the back of the Firstborn and began the journey home.

All four brothers heard the same invitation. Each had an oppor­tunity to be carried home by the elder brother. The first said no, choosing a grass hut over his father's house. The second said no, preferring to analyze the mistakes of his brother rather than admit his own. The third said no, thinking it wiser to make a good impression than an honest confession. And the fourth said yes, choosing gratitude over guilt.
"I'll indulge myself," resolves one son. "I'll compare myself," opts another. "I'll save myself," determines the third.

"I'll entrust myself to you," decides the fourth.

May I ask a vital question? As you read of the brothers, which describes your relationship to God? Have you, like the fourth son, recognized your helplessness to make the journey home alone? Do you take the extended hand of your Father? Are you caught in the grip of his grace?

Or are you like one of the other three sons?

Dear Lord we thank You for Your forgiveness. We pray that we won’t be too busy  or to wrapped up in ourselves that we miss Your great forgiveness. I Jesus’ name, Amen.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Blind or Walking in the Light

John 8:12 (New International Version)
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Rose Crawford was blind for fifty years. Then she underwent delicate surgery in an Ontario hospital. "I just can't believe it," she gasped, as the doctor lifted the bandages from her eyes. For the first time in her life she saw a beautiful world of form and color.

Now here's is the stunning part of the story! Twenty years of her blindness had been completely unnecessary. The surgical techniques used could have given her vision when she was thirty; the operation had already been perfected then. The doctor said, "She just figured there was NOTHING that could be done about her condition."

Why did Rose Crawford live 20 years assuming her situation was hopeless? Possibly she was not looking for a remedy, had given up hope, or perhaps those who knew of the operation just never told her about it.

Millions of people walk in spiritual blindness TODAY unaware of the terrible consequences (see Matthew 22:13; 25:30). Yet, they are needlessly blind, for there IS a remedy. Why do they continue groping in darkness? Two reasons:

Some have QUIT searching, assuming their condition is hopeless. Such could not be further from the truth. God has gone to extraordinary lengths to provide a cure for spiritual blindness. The Cure is found through His Son Jesus, the "Light of the World." Those who will turn to the LIGHT (Jesus) in faith (Acts 16:31), turning from the sins of darkness in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confessing Jesus (Romans 10:9-10), and being baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38) are delivered by God "from the power of darkness and conveyed into the kingdom of the Son of His love" (Col 1:13). Then "-IF- we walk in the LIGHT as He is in the LIGHT, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin" (1 John 1:7).

Others stumble in spiritual darkness because no one has shared the LIGHT with them. If you are following Jesus, will you not encourage others to do the same? Of Christians Peter said, "But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light" (1 Pet 2:9).

Needlessly blind? What a terrible thought - especially when there is a Cure!

Will YOU not come to Jesus to receive your sight and allow His LIGHT to guide you through this DARK world? Will YOU not also encourage others to do the same?

Dear Lord we pray that we would take the light you have given us and shine it to those around us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Crumb or a Loaf of Bread?

Proverbs 29:18 (King James Version) 
Where there is no vision, the people perish; but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

Once upon a time a loaf of bread fell from a bakery truck and as it hit the ground a crumb broke loose. Three sparrows all eyed the crumb and swooped down to grab it, but began fighting over it.

Eventually, one of the sparrows succeeded in scooping up the crumb in its beak and flew away with it with the other two sparrows following in hot pursuit. A frenzied aerial fracas took place until the crumb was completely consumed.

The only thing these sparrows saw was the crumb. None noticed the loaf still on the ground. How often we consume our energies squabbling over trivialities while the true riches of life go unnoticed and escape us.

Dear Lord we pray that we wouldn't that we wouldn't focus on the small things and miss the riches that You have for us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Are You a Wave or the Ocean?

1 John 2:15-17 (New International Version)
15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father[a] is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.

A little wave was bobbing along in the ocean, having a grand old time. He is enjoying the wind and the fresh air, until he noticed the other waves in front of him, crashing against the shore.

"My Goodness, this is terrible!" The wave said. "Look what is going to happen to me!"

Then along comes another wave. Seeing the first wave, looking grim, and it said to him, "Why do you look so sad?"

The first wave answered, "You do not understand! We're all going to crash! All of us waves are going to be nothing! Isn't it terrible?

"The second wave replied, "It is you who does not understand. You aren't a wave, you're part of the ocean."

When we shift our focus from God to the world, we become a mere wave. Sometimes, we soar up high by world's respect and compliments. Other times we are rolled deep down by disappointments and feelings of worthlessness, and still other times, we crash at the shore of sin and vanish by death.

We become helplessly led by the world's winds of social acceptance or acquisition by any means. But when deeply rooted in Jesus Christ, we become part of "the Living Water" (John 4:10). As "living" water, we may experience emotional or physical waves, but we are strongly cushioned by Jesus' peace, grace and care. We become the light and salt for the world.

Rejoice - you belong to The Living King of Kings. You are His own child and will never be forsaken.

Dear Lord help us remember that we are more than a wave but that we are part of the ocean. We pray that we would be deeply rooted in You. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Hunting Dog

1 Corinthians 10:31  (New International Version)
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

A man who had bought a new hunting dog was eager to see how he would perform. So he took him into the woods one day, hoping to track down and bag some really big game.

No sooner had they gotten into the woods than the dog picked up the trail of a bear. Off he went, with the excited hunter close behind. Then the animal stopped suddenly, sniffed the ground, and headed down an altogether different path. He had caught the scent of a deer that had crossed the path of the bear.

A few minutes later, the process repeated itself. The dog stopped, smelled the ground, and headed in still another direction. This time it was the scent of a rabbit that had crossed the path of the deer. And the poor pooch was sidetracked again.

On and on it went, until the breathless hunter caught up with his dog - only to find him barking triumphantly down the hole of a field mouse.
We've seen this same formula destroy businesses. A company that loses sight of its true strengths, makes unwise-because-unrelated acquisitions, and discovers itself hopelessly diversified across too broad a range of products can fail quickly by virtue of losing its focus, marketing know-how, and client base.

Saddest of all, the same thing has destroyed believers who started out with high resolve to honor Christ in the marketplace, do noble things with their lives, and pursue lofty goals. Company growth, travel, money, flirtation, pride - a series of distractions came across the trail. Each one was pursued just far enough to pull the Christian a bit further off the trail of what is most important.

Dear Lord we pray that we would always honor you in the market place. Help us to always honor Your name in all that we do. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

False Advertising

1 Peter 5:8 (New International Version)
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

A well-paid, recently-promoted young executive dreamed he died and stood at the Pearly Gates. Peter asks: "Do you want to go to heaven or to hell?"

"Let me know my options," he says. "Show me hell." Up pops a giant screen with a video playing. Girls in bikinis and well-built guys are playing volleyball on the beach. Coolers are iced down with beer. Everybody is wearing brand-name clothes and driving a BMW.
Then he asks for a glimpse of heaven, only to notice that the video is still running. It pans upward and shows a park filled with old people sitting on benches feeding the birds and playing checkers — with angels singing in the background.
"Uh, very nice," the guy mutters, "but I think I prefer hell."
Immediately he is plunged into molten lava! In agonizing pain, he hollers at Peter. "Hey, where's the beach and the babes? What about the beer and cars?"

"Sorry," he says. "What you saw was the demo tape sent up by Satan."

Talk about false advertising! But that seems to be the devil's speciality. He would like you to believe that cutting corners is just good business. That fudging on quality is "standard operating procedure" for everyone. That promises with no intention of keeping them are all right — if they help make a sale.

On Satan's demo, "studs" and "bimbos" are the people who know how to turn boredom into fun. Booze is a "social lubricant," and pot and pills are "recreational." Both holiness and heaven are spelled b-o-r-i-n-g.
Come to think of it, the story of the young man at heaven's gates only compresses the time factor from 70 years to a few minutes. 

Everything else about it is real. The conspiracy of our time has been to convince young and old alike that "the good life" is defined by things shallow or evil and that anything connected to God is dull and tiresome. What a bunch of suckers we've been! People who fall for the demo tape from hell begin to pay dearly even in this life.

Be smarter this week than to fall for a lie's of Satan.

Dear Lord we pray that we would not fall for the false advertising that Satan keeps throwing at us. We pray that we would be in Your word so we will know the truth. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Are You Thankful For Your Hidden Blessings ?

Ephesians 3:20-21 (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, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

In the early years of the 1900s, a couple moved from North Carolina to Oklahoma. There they farmed a small piece of land.

Truth be told, they lived mighty poorly for a good number of years. That all changed when a stranger drove up on their property and took a sample of their water. I'm not sure what he found, but it wasn't too much later that another stranger showed up and offered to buy their farm at an unbelievable price
Before long, a high-producing oil well was located between the house and the barn. Reminiscing, the old farmer said, "To think that we slaved here for all those years and all that time we had a fortune under our doorstep and we didn't know about it."

Now, I'm not going to suggest we all ought to go out and dig in our backyard for oil. Life doesn't work that way -- at least not very often.
But I do suggest that the Lord, who gave His Son to save us, may have also given unrecognized fortunes to many of us.

Perhaps your unrecognized fortune is a spouse who has given faithfully without getting much in return. Perhaps your unrecognized fortune is an unexpectedly kind place of employment. Maybe it is in the form of children who respect you, or a church that appreciates you.
Most of us have fortunes right outside our back doors or under our roofs. That is why we should take the time to be thankful for those hidden fortunes we have in our life.

Dear Lord we pray that we would always be thankful for the things that we have. Help us not take them for granted. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Lessons From The Cyprus Hill Massacre

James 1:13-15 (New International Version)
 13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

John Evans was in a foul mood. So was his gang of Green River Renegades. Their horses had been stolen, presumably by Indians, and someone was going to pay! Trailing the supposed thieves, they entered Canada in what is known today as the province of Saskatchewan, and ended up a few kilometers from Fort Farwell, a whiskey trading post. Here the trail suddenly went cold.

John Evans and his gang were renowned wolfers, killing packs of wolves for their lucrative hides by attracting them to poisoned buffalo carcasses. Now they were looking for revenge and were blaming Indians for all of their woes.

The wolfers decided to stay at Fort Farwell for the night. Sleep was far from their mind however, and thoughts of vengeance, enhanced by alcohol, would keep them up until morning. Meanwhile they acquired the information from the proprietor, Abel Farwell, that there was a group of Assiniboines Indians camping just upriver.

During their drunken stupor, the wolvers met a trader by the name of George Hammond who was blaming the Assiniboines for the recent theft of his horse. He claimed that some Indian had claimed a reward for returning his mount, "probably the one who stole my horse in the first place." He had paid him with a bottle of whiskey, but continued to blame the Indian for the horse theft.

Early in the morning George Hammond found out that his horse was again missing. The Green River Renegades decided it was time for revenge. They climbed on their horses and off they went, heading for the Assiniboine camp. They had barely left Fort Farwell that someone found George Hammond's horse. It had simply wandered away looking for greener pastures, but the wolvers wouldn't be deterred.

The confrontation between chief Little Soldier and John Evans did not go well. The Indians had been drinking whiskey all through the night as well. The whiskey was far from being pure. It was diluted with water, mixed with tobacco juice for colour, and then laudanum, an opium substance, was added, along with Jamaican ginger or pepper to cause a throat-burning effect. By diluting the whiskey, more profits could be made. Nevertheless, it was enough to make any man sick, and most of the Indians were addicted to it.

The wolfers opened fired and succeeded in butchering thirty Assiniboines, thanks to their high-powered rifles. Only one of the wolfers, Ed Grace, died of an arrow in his chest. Still enraged, the wolfers cut off the chief's head, mounted it on a pole, and paraded it through the plundered camp as a warning to other natives. Although no horses were found in the camp, other than a few small ponies, the Green River Renegades returned to the United States, boasting of their kill.

News of the Cyprus Hill massacre reached the Prime Minister of Canada, John A. Macdonald. His whole cabinet was shocked, and fear of Indian reprisals was high. Canada did not want to end up with the same types of Indian wars that were being fought at the time in the United States. In addition there was concern over the fact that alcohol was ruining the lives of the native populations in the west, and Macdonald also feared losing the western Canadian territories to the Americans. A police presence had to be established in the West, and the North-West Mounted Rifles, renamed the North-West Mounted Police a few months later, was established. This police force had an amazing impact on Western Canada. Natives were again safe. Alcohol was banned, and some of the men of the Green River Renegades were brought to court. Due to insufficient evidence however, the cases were dismissed.

It is amazing how sin can quickly develop into a blazing fire. Blaming others can lead to revenge. The desire for revenge can lead to murder, and the worst of all the consequences of murder, it leads to boasting. Clear logic seems hampered where sin reigns. One action leads to another, and before we know it, we are facing the consequences of a huge disaster. Families are broken up, addictions are developed, jobs are lost and loneliness ends up in despair.

Instead of blaming others, isn't it time we own up to our own actions?

Dear Lord we pray that we would take responsibilities for our own actions. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Are You a Glass or a Lake?

Romans 8:28 (New International Version)
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

An aging Hindu master wanted to teach his apprentice an important factor of living life, and so, one morning, sent him for some salt. When the apprentice returned, the master instructed the unhappy young man to put a handful of salt in a glass of water and then to drink it.

"How does it taste?" the master asked.

"Bitter," spit the apprentice.

The master chuckled and then asked the young man to take the same handful of salt and put it in the lake. The two walked in silence to the nearby lake, and once the apprentice swirled his handful of salt in the water, the old man said, "Now drink from the lake."

As the water dripped down the young man's chin, the master asked, "How does it taste?"

"Fresh," remarked the apprentice.

"Do you taste the salt?" asked the master.

"No," said the young man.

At this, the master sat beside this serious young man who so reminded him of himself and took his hands, offering, "The pain of life is pure salt; no more, no less. The amount of pain in life remains exactly the same. However, the amount of bitterness we taste depends on the container we put the pain in. So when you are in pain, the only thing you can do is to enlarge your sense of things. Don't be a glass. Become a lake."

Dear Lord we pray that as we look at the things in life that we would look at them as the lake instead of the glass. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

Deuteronomy 1:29-31 (New International Version)
 29 Then I said to you, “Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them. 30 The LORD your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, 31 and in the wilderness. There you saw how the LORD your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.”

"A father is a thing that is forced to endure childbirth without an anesthetic.... A father never feels worthy of the worship in a child's eyes. He's never quite the hero his daughter thinks, never quite the man his son believes him to be, and this worries him, sometimes. So he works too hard to try and smooth out the rough places in the road for those of his own who will follow him....Fathers are what give daughters away to other men who aren't nearly good enough, so they can have grandchildren who are smarter than anybody's. Fathers make bets with insurance companies about who'll live the longest. One day they lose and the bet's paid off to the part of them they leave behind." 
--Paul Harvey

Dear Lord we thank you for our fathers on this special day. We pray that You would hold them in your arms and give them a special portion of grace. Help us always be thankful for that dad you gave to each of us. In Jesus’ name, Amen

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Letting Go of Resentments

Colossians 3:13 (New International Version)
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

A story tells of a merchant in a small town who had identical twin sons. The boys worked for their father in the department store he owned and, when he died, they took over the store.

Everything went well until the day a dollar bill disappeared. One of the brothers had left the bill on the cash register and walked outside with a customer. When he returned, the money was gone. He asked his brother,

"Did you see that dollar bill on the cash register?"

His brother replied that he had not. But the young man kept probing and questioning. He would not let it alone.

"Dollar bills just don't get up and walk away! Surely you must have seen it!"

There was subtle accusation in his voice. Tempers began to rise. Resentment set in. Before long, a deep and bitter chasm divided the young men. They refused to speak. They finally decided they could no longer work together and a dividing wall was built down the center of the store. For twenty years hostility and bitterness grew, spreading to their families and to the community.

Then one day a man in an automobile licensed in another state stopped in front of the store. He walked in and asked the clerk,
"How long have you been here?"

The clerk replied that he'd been there all his life. The customer said,
"I must share something with you. Twenty years ago I was 'riding the rails' and came into this town in a boxcar. I hadn't eaten for three days. I came into this store from the back door and saw a dollar bill on the cash register. I put it in my pocket and walked out. All these years I haven't been able to forget that. I know it wasn't much money, but I had to come back and ask your forgiveness."

The stranger was amazed to see tears well up in the eyes of this middle-aged man.

"Would you please go next door and tell that same story to the man in the store?" he said.

Then the man was even more amazed to see two middle-aged men, who looked very much alike, embracing each other and weeping together in the front of the store. After twenty years, the brokenness was mended. The wall of resentment that divided them came down.
It is so often the little things -- like resentments -- that finally divide people. And the solution, of course, is to let them go. There is really nothing particularly profound about it. But for fulfilling and lasting relationships, letting them go is a must. Refuse to carry around bitterness and you may be surprised at how much energy you have left for building bonds with those you love.

Dear lord we pray that we would forgive those around us. We pray that we won’t hold on to a grudge but that we will forgive. In Jesus’ name, Amen.