On Wings Of Eagles

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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Do You Hear the Master's Voice?

John 10:3-5 (New International Version)
3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”

The story is told of an American tourist who was traveling in the Mid-East. He came upon several shepherds whose flocks had intermingled while drinking water from a brook. After an exchange of greetings, one of the shepherds turned toward the sheep and called out, "Manah. Manah. Manah." (Manah means "follow me" in Arabic). Immediately his sheep separated themselves from the rest and followed him.

Then one of the two remaining shepherds called out, "Manah. Manah." And his sheep left the common flock to follow him. The traveler then said to the third shepherd, "I would like to try that. Let me put on your cloak and turban and see if I can get the rest of the sheep to follow me."

The shepherd smiled knowingly as the traveler wrapped himself in the cloak, put the turban on his head and called out, "Manah. Manah." The sheep did not respond to the stranger's voice. Not one of them moved toward him. "Will the sheep ever follow someone other than you?" The traveler asked.

"Oh yes," the shepherd replied, "sometimes a sheep gets sick, and then it will follow anyone."

We live in a world where a lot of different "voices" are calling us to follow. Materialism cries out for us to follow. Power and prestige call out. Sensual pleasure makes its plea. It's easy to be pulled in a lot of different directions. That is, unless we have Jesus Christ as our shepherd. A sheep in His flock will ignore all other voices and listen for the voice of its Master.

Whose voice are you listening to?

Dear Lord we thank You that You are there for us. We pray that our ears will always be tuned to hear You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Don't Send Away the One that Forgives.

Jeremiah 5:4 (New International Version)
I thought, “These are only the poor;
   they are foolish,
for they do not know the way of the LORD,
   the requirements of their God.

In 1904, Governor George Nash stepped out of his office and, for a moment, out of his role as Governor of Ohio. He tucked his large, black Bible under his arm and made his way down the hallway of the State Penitentiary, in Columbus, Ohio. As a Christian, his heart burned with desire to share Christ with a certain young man named Benjamin Wade waiting on "death row."
Guilty of first-degree murder of his girlfriend, the condemned one sat in his cell, just hours away from his appointment with the electric chair. Upon seeing the elderly man with a dark suit and Bible under his arm, Wade thought him to be a minister or the prison chaplain. His anger boiled over and he cursed as he sent the man away.

A guard standing nearby could hardly believe his eyes. "You fool," he said, "don't you know who that was?"

"A preacher, I guess," was the reply.

"No, that was the Governor, the only one who could set you free, and you sent him away."

The young man died a few hours later, guilty not only of murder, but of sending away his only hope for freedom and life.

Dear Lord we pray for wisdom and direction for the choices we need to make today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Giving a Chance to Others.

Matthew 7:12 (New International Version)
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

Jason was a senior at Greece Athena High School in Rochester, New York. He has had some tough breaks in life. But most of the other kids at his high school treaedt him with respect. He tried hard. People liked him. He has been pretty visible the year as manager of the varsity basketball team. He is autistic.

His autism has been a major “bad break” for J-Mac, as his friends call him. Autism is a brain disorder that typically shows itself in problems with socialization and communication. Some people find it hard to be around persons with autism.

J-Mac has the good fortune of attending a school that does everything possible to integrate students with developmental issues into the mainstream of life. Coach Jim Johnson even added him to the team roster for the final basketball game of the season. He hoped to get him in the game for a few minutes. He wanted J-Mac to have the experience. To get a team jersey. To cherish a memory. But he had no idea things would turn out as they did.

With Greece Athena well in the lead and four minutes left on the clock, Johnson put J-Mac in the game. And the kid did the unthinkable! After missing his first two shots, he scored 20 points in three minutes – 18 by draining three-point shots from the perimeter. The team carried him on their shoulders in celebration.

“This is the first moment Jason has ever succeeded and been proud of himself,” said his mother. “I look at autism as the Berlin Wall, and he cracked it.” Her greater dream for her son is that he can get a high school diploma.

Hooray for Jason. Hooray for the attention this story has gotten not only in local news but in national media. And hooray for the encouragement and hope this heartwarming episode will bring to families dealing with similar challenges.

But I’ve not heard many folks applauding the coach for his decision to give J-Mac a chance. So my kudos go to Jim Johnson. He paid attention to a kid who needed a break. Made him team manager. Took the chance of putting a uniform on him and putting him into a game. What a gutsy call by the coach!

“I’ve had a lot of thrills in coaching and I’ve coached a lot of wonderful kids, but I’ve never experienced something like this ever in my life – you know, other than my own family things,” Johnson said. “My emotions, I couldn’t stop crying.”

Thank God for people who give other people a chance.

Dear Lord we thanks You for giving each of us a chance. We pray that we would always look for those around us who need a chance. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Clear Conscience

2 Timothy 1:3 (New International Version)
I thank God, whom I serve, as my ancestors did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers.

In April 2001, Tim Shutt was the crew chief for NASCAR driver Mike McLaughlin. Tim was a new Christian who came to Christ at a Christian retreat for participants in the racing industry. Preparing for the major race in Talladega, Alabama, he was tempted to add an illegal part to the car. "Joe [Gibbs, team owner] is adamant that we don't cheat," said Shutt. Joe Gibbs is also a Christian and a former National Football League coach. Tim said to McLaughlin that morning in practice: "If we're no good in practice, I'll put this piece-the illegal piece-on. Probably 30 other teams are doing it." Tim knew he was justifying it. Tim said: "I got up under the car, I got halfway through putting it on, and that verse, 'Seek ye first the kingdom of God,' came flashing in red in front of me, and whoa, that was it. I said, 'I'm leaving this up to you, God.'" Shutt didn't put the piece on the car. McLaughlin won the race at Talladega, and later reflected: "When we won, the first thing that came to my mind was that verse. God wanted to show himself to me."

You will be regularly tempted to cheat, but resist the temptation and serve the Lord with a clear conscience. Today in prayer, thank Christ for His infinite love for you and seek to live this day for His glory.

Dear Lord we pray that when we are faced with temptation that we would make the decision that You would have for us to make. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Its Your Point of View, Choose it.

John 16:23-24 (New International Version)
23 In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 24 Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.

Two men fell on hard times. Try as they might, they couldn't find work. They heard that a museum was willing to pay $50 apiece for live rattlesnakes so, in desperation, they decided to catch snakes.

Outfitted with a net and basket, they hiked to a remote area renowned for its large snake population. But as they scaled a steep ledge, the rock gave way and they tumbled down the slippery bank -- into a deep pit crawling with rattlesnakes!

One of the men quickly sized up the situation and shouted excitedly to his friend, "Look! We're rich! We're rich!"

Some people see good in anything! And I suppose there's usually a brighter side. Take aging, for instance. As we grow older, our skin turns from satin to cotton to seersucker to corduroy. But, on a brighter side, I'm just glad wrinkles don't hurt! It has to do with how we look at our situation. Like a sign spotted outside a New England shop: "We buy junk. Antiques for sale." Is your attic full of junk or antiques? It's a matter of perspective.

Your greatest power may well be your power to choose. As Abraham Lincoln wisely said, "Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be." The truth is, we can choose to view many of our problems as opportunities, we can choose to age in body without aging in spirit, and we can choose to be encouraged by the good of life, rather than discouraged by the bad.

It's your point of view! Choose it!

Dear Lord we pray that we would be positive in our outlook. Help us look positively at the things that come our way. In Jesus’ name Amen.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Making the Right Choice Concerning Your Mate.

2 Corinthians 6:14 (New International Version)
Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?

Melody walked through the mall, quickly, yet deliberately. She had no idea that as she walked, she seemed to move to invisible music. Her tall, boy-like figure swayed to an unheard beat. Short brown hair framed her pixie face, and her chocolate brown eyes danced with merriment.

She was on a mission to get the perfect gift for her best friend. She had heard that a new Christian CD was just out and it was what she wanted. Spotting the Christian Book Store, she turned toward it, and ran smack into someone--or some thing. She stopped and looked up into the most beautiful blue eyes she had ever seen. Melody started to apologize, but words seemed to fail her as she just stood and stared at the man. He was about 6’2”, tall, and slim. He was beautiful if one could call a man beautiful. A woodsy fragrance filled the air around him. The man seemed amused at her and said,

“You must really be in a big hurry. Where is the fire?” Melody backed away from the man and said,

“I am so sorry. I really did not look where I was going. Just in a hurry, I guess.” The man smilingly answered,

“Well, if I had to be run over, I am glad it was by a beautiful young lady. Maybe we should start over. My name is Josh and yours is?”

In a low, soft voice Melody said,

“My name is Melody, and I am truly sorry for running into you like that.”

Josh just stood there looking at her for some time before he said,

“No problem, Melody, in fact you have brightened up a dreary day. I don’t have a habit of picking up ladies at the mall, but how about me buying you a cup of coffee?”

Looking back into those beautiful blue eyes, she could only nod. How could she say no? She wanted to so badly. Her quest for the CD was forgotten. She had just agreed to have coffee with a complete stranger. The very thought thrilled her.

The taste of the coffee was strong and delicious. As they sat at one of the tiny tables sprinkled across the floor near the coffee spot, Melody told him a lot about herself, which was a most unusual thing for her to do. She told him that she was a secretary for the Harvest Church and its Youth Minister. She told him of her family and where she lived and where the church was and everything else she could think of.

Josh told her he was the lead singer in a band that played at the clubs downtown. They called themselves “Dusk to Dawn” and he loved his job.

They talked as if they had known each other for years. She felt comfortable talking with Josh, and she really enjoyed the chance to get know him better.

When the coffee cups were empty, Josh asked her for her phone number, which she gave to him. She really had no idea why.

That was the beginning of a wonderful friendship. Melody and Josh spent much time together, sometimes going on long walks by the riverbank. Even the dirty water looked good to Melody as long as she was with Josh. Sometimes they rode bikes on the bike trail, where the smell of fresh flowers filled the air. Many evenings they would sit on her porch swing and talk. With her job being during the day, and his job being at night, they were able to spend evenings together.

As the months passed, they grew closer and closer. Melody knew she was in love with Josh and she believed that he loved her. Josh never said the words to her, but she felt his deep, quite love each time they were together. They never seemed to disagree on anything--except her church. He did not want to hear about it. He would get quiet and just look at her when she tried to share things from the church. When Melody would get excited about something in church, she would try to tell it to Josh, but he didn’t want to hear about it.

“It's like this, Melody," Josh told her at the end of one particularly beautiful summer evening. "I don’t want to hear about your church; I don’t want to go to your church. Not now. Not ever. You have a choice to make here. Do you want to be with me always and forever, or do you want to be with this God of yours?”

His words burned to the depths of Melody’s very soul. She closed her eyes tightly in agony. Was he asking her to choose between him and the Lord? There was no choice! She would never turn away from God. She loved Josh so much it hurt, but Jesus was--and always would be--first in her life. Melody opened her eyes to see Josh still standing in front of her. He stood waiting for her to say something. What could she say? She cleared her throat and spoke,

“Josh, I love you with all my heart, but the Lord is first in my life and always will be. I will not deny Him ever. I just can’t.”

Josh shook his head and said, “Well, I guess you made your choice. I will not try to compete with this Jesus of yours. My only hope is that He can make you happy.” He bent over and kissed her then turned and walked away leaving left her standing there.

As the next few months slowly passed, Melody was numb. She cried and cried. She had loved Josh so much. The main thought in her mind was,

Why? Why did he do this? Her heart was broken and she felt betrayed. Melody knew she could not, nor did she want to, change her decision. But would the pain ever go away? Could she ever begin to live again? She thought not. The hurt cut too deeply.

...Two Years Later...

Melody was busy getting ready for a concert the teens were having that night.

Some new Christian band had become very popular and they agreed to come to the church for a concert. The excitement in the air was contagious. The band was already at the hall. At least 20 teens had told her so and how every thing was.

Melody sank into the middle chair in the back row of seats at the Fellowship Hall and closed her eyes. Soft brown hair fell over her face as she bowed her head to rest a bit before the program began. She was so tired.

Suddenly the sound of a beautiful praise song flowed over the room. It was almost surreal. Then she heard the voice. The beloved voice she could never forget. She opened her eyes, immediately spotting him as he stood behind the microphone at the front of the stage. He looked good. His hair was shorter and he was slimmer now, but he still had those beautiful crystal blue eyes. She could see the blue from all the way back where she sat.

Then Josh looked directly at her as he spoke.

“A couple of years ago I walked away from the woman I loved with all my heart. I made her choose between her God and me. She had the wisdom to choose her God. I had a hard time accepting that she would choose someone who was not real over me, and I convinced myself she did not love me. But as I finally came to see, she made the right choice. He is real, this man Jesus Christ. I now see and my blinded eyes are open to the Truth. It took a barmaid in a small town to sit me down and share the Good News with me. I played music in bars. I now sing in churches and at church events to lift up the name of the man Jesus Christ.” He walked toward the back of the church where Melody sat.

Warm tears flowed down Melody’s cheeks as he came nearer and nearer. She thrilled to the news that Josh had found the greatest love of all, Jesus. She whispered, “Thank you Jesus, for saving his soul.”

Josh stood at the end of the row and held out his arms. She stumbled numbly over the feet and legs of the kids sitting between her and Josh. Melody slid into his arms and looked into his face. He kissed her and held her close. Then the whole hall filled with clapping and hoots. Melody and Josh never noticed. They simply turned and walked out of the hall with their arms around each other, on their way to start a beautiful life together. In the service of their Lord…

Dear Lord we thank You that You have a plan for each of us. We pray that we would never deny You, but always put You first in our life knowing that You have the perfect person for each of us. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Lesson Learned from a Duck in the Barnyard.

James 4:7 (New International Version)
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

A flock of wild ducks were flying in formation, heading south for the winter. They formed a beautiful V in the sky, and were admired by everyone who saw them from below.

One day, Wally, one of the wild ducks in the formation, spotted something on the ground that caught his eye. It was a barn yard with a flock of tame ducks that lived on the farm. They were waddling around on the ground, quacking merrily and eating corn that was thrown on the ground for them every day. Wally liked what he saw.

"It sure would be nice to have some of that corn," he thought to himself. "And all this flying is very tiring. I'd like to just waddle around for a while."

So after thinking it over a while, Walley left the formation of wild ducks, made a sharp dive to the left, and headed for the barn yard. He landed among the tame ducks, and began to waddle around and quack merrily. He also started eating corn. The formation of wild ducks continued their journey south, but Walley didn't care. I'll rejoin them when they come back north in a few months, he said to himself.

Several months went by and sure enough, Walley looked up and spotted the flock of wild ducks in formation, heading north. They looked beautiful up there. And Wally was tired of the barn yard. It was muddy everywhere he waddled, nothing but duck doo.

"It's time to leave," said Wally.

So Wally flapped his wings furiously and tried to get airborne. But he had gained some weight from all his corn eating, and he hadn't exercised his wings much either. He finally got off the ground, but he was flying too low and slammed into the side of the barn. He fell to the ground with a thud and said to himself,

"Oh well, I'll just wait until they fly south in a few months. Then I'll rejoin them and become a wild duck again."

But when the flock flew overhead once more, Walley again tried to lift him self out of the barn yard. He simply didn't have the strength.

Every winter and every spring, he saw his wild duck friends flying over head, and they would call out to him. But his attempts to leave were all in vain.

Eventually Wally no longer paid any attention to the wild ducks flying overhead. He hardly even noticed them. He had after all, become a barn yard duck.

Sometimes we get tired of being wild ducks-followers of Jesus Christ. It's not always easy to be obedient to God and to discipline ourselves to hang in there for the long haul. When we are feeling that way, that's when Satan tempts us to "fall out of formation" and to join the barn yard ducks... the world... But look what happened to Wally.

He thought he would just "check it out" for a while and then leave when he wanted to. But he couldn't do it. Sin is like that. Sin is a trap, and it has a way of changing us into people we don't even want to become. Eventually we lose touch with who we really are ... the sons and daughters of the Most High. We become barn yard ducks.

Dear Lord we pray that we wouldn’t get tired of living our life for You.  We pray that we would be strong and be able to stand against the things Satan throws at us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Be Strong and Courageous.

Joshua 1:7 (New International Version)
“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.

In March 1939, Japanese Consul-General Chiune Sugihara was sent to Kaunas to open a consulate service. Kaunas was the temporary capital of Lithuania at the time and was strategically situated between Germany and the Soviet Union. After Hitler's invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939, Britain and France declared war on Germany.

Chiune had barely settled down in his new post when Nazi armies invaded Poland and a wave of Jewish refugees streamed into Lithuania. They brought with them chilling tales of German atrocities against the Jewish population. In June 1940, the Soviets invaded Lithuania and soon after ordered all foreign embassies to leave. Three times Sugihara wired Tokyo for permission to provide Japanese visas to Jews; three times he was rejected.

Sugihara, a committed Christian, had to choose between his job and those whose lives hung in the balance. For 29 days, from July 31 to August 28, 1940, Mr. and Mrs. Sugihara sat for endless hours writing and signing visas by hand. Hour after hour, day after day, for these three weeks, they wrote and signed visas. They wrote over 300 visas a day, ultimately his work saved 6,000 Jews.

Back in Japan, Sugihara's remaining days were spent selling light bulbs. When his story was finally told, his son was asked, "How did your father feel about his choice?" "My father's life was fulfilled. When God needed him to do the right thing, he was available to do it."

The Lord encourages us to be strong and to obediently follow Him.

Dear Lord we thank You that You have not left us alone. We pray that we would always seek to follow You in everything that we do. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Being Wrong.

John 3:16 (King James Version)
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Adam Thompson of Cincinnati, Ohio, was the first American to fill a bathtub.   Doctors who heard of it predicted rheumatism and inflammation of the lungs.   Some cities banned the new 'bathtub exercise'. Today a home is not complete without a bathtub or shower. The crowd was wrong. England once had a law forbidding anyone to drive a vehicle faster than four miles an hour without a person going before them with a red flag. Today we have vehicles capable of more than one hundred times that speed. The crowd was wrong.

Musicians and critics groaned and laughed at the music of Richard Wagner. But his compositions transformed the music world. The crowd was wrong. Westinghouse was called a fool for daring to think that he could stop a train with wind. Now Westinghouse air brakes are being used the world over.   Again the crowd was wrong.

"What is radium?" the crowd jeered at Madame Curie. Today it is a valuable asset in fighting disease. The crowd was wrong.  For eleven years Goodyear and his wife worked on vulcanizing rubber.  Everyone laughed at them, but today millions ride on Goodyear tires. The crowd was mistaken.                                                      

There have been advances in medical science hailed at the time, but were later proved to be disastrous. The drug Thalidomide comes to mind.  In the early 1950's the world hailed the first jet airliner, the 'Comet', which cut traveling time by half. Several crashed and many were killed.  The designers were wrong about the effect that speed and altitude had on aircraft construction.   They learned from that mistake and today air travel is even safer than driving the car. Publishers told Zane Grey that he had no writing ability.   But his books are still being read.  The crowd was wrong.

Being wrong can be a serious matter, and that applies particularly to our relationship with God.   Too much is at stake.  We can be wrong about many things. The world can be wrong about things - it has been through the ages.   However, we dare not be wrong about Jesus.  God offers us eternal life through Jesus Christ.   He so loved the world that He gave His only Son, and whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.

Dear Lord we pray that even when things go wrong we would look to You for the answers. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Friday, July 22, 2011

God is Calling. How Will You Answer?

Romans 1:5-6 (King James Version)
5 By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name: 6 Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ:

When Americans answer the telephone, most of them simply say, "Hello." Let’s look at the response in some different countries.

- Germans answer a ringing phone with their last name.

- In Denmark, the Danes will answer with both their first and last names.

- Russians say, "I’m listening."

- The curious French say, "Hello, who’s on the line?"

- Italians greet callers with "Ready" upon which the caller demands, "Who's speaking?"

- The Spanish give the command, "Speak!"

- The Chinese proclaim, "Hey, hey, who are you?"

If you live in a different country, I'd be interested in knowing what is your traditional way of answering a phone.

Just as there are different ways of answering phone calls, there are also different ways to answering a call from God. God has called each of us.

But those who are called by God have different ways of answering that call. Moses answered God's call by saying, "Who am I?" (Exodus 3:11). Gideon answered, "I am the least in my father's house." (Judges 6:15). Zechariah answered, "How shall I know this?" (Luke 1:18). Isaiah answered, "Here am I. Send me." (Isaiah 6:8).

How will you answer God's call in your life? It's a call that demands much from you (God calls asking for nothing less than everything you have), but it is a call that offers the presence of God in your life as you fulfill your calling. Will you answer His call? Will you be the man or woman of God that He has called you to be? Are you willing to accept the responsibility that God has laid on you?

Dear Lord we pray that when You call, we will answer. We thank You that You are always there and ready to help us. In Jesus name, Amen.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Now Or Maybe Never

1 Thessalonians 1:2-3 (New International Version)
2 We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. 3 We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Michael Ellsessar was an athlete whose own school was so small he ended up playing varsity sports at three different high schools. A good athlete, he was also involved in church activities and community organizations.

All things being said, Ellsessar was a fine young man, the kind of all-round, good kid you hope your child will become. This explains, in part, why he is going to be missed.

It's true. Ellsessar is no longer with us. A few weeks ago he was killed while playing a varsity football game. His was a freak accident that happened when he was tackled after having caught a pass.

After the hit, Ellsessar got up, collapsed, and even the EMTs couldn't revive him.

The doctors said Ellsessar had a better chance of dying from a lightning strike than he did dying this way. Even so, he is dead.

Thinking back upon the pain he's endured these last weeks, John, Ellsessar's father said, "Hug your kids. Keep them close, and watch out for them." Then the father added this: "No parent deserves to bury their 16-year-old son. It is devastating."

John Ellsessar's advice is wise. Too often people stay tight-lipped and don't share or show how they feel with those they love. Then the day comes when it is too late for anything to be said.

But there's another thing John Ellsessar mentioned. It is that last line: "No parent deserves to bury their son. It is devastating." Our Heavenly Father would agree. After all, He didn't deserve to watch His Son die on Calvary's cross for a lost world, and Jesus didn't deserve to die for a race that had rejected Him.

Jesus didn't deserve death, but I am thankful He gave His life for my salvation. His undeserved death has brought about undeserved salvation for countless millions.

And that includes Michael Ellsessar. Jesus died an unfair death so he might live, and that is comfort for his father and all who mourn.

Thank the Lord He gives us His grace and not the justice we deserve.

Dear Lord, we thank you for giving Your Son's life for our forgiveness. We ask you to accept our unending gratitude for all You do. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The "No Hug" Rule

Ephesians 6:2 (New International Version)
“Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise—

The first day of kindergarten, he hurried to the door Shrugging off his mother's hugs, he didn't need them anymore For he was all grown up now, too big for all that stuff Instead he waved a quick good-bye, hoping that would be enough

Still he couldn't help but look back, as he hurried through the door Seeing tears in his mother's eyes, he waved to her once more And then he left her standing there, with a sad smile upon her face As he ventured onward to a different world, a new exciting place

And when he came home from school that day, she asked what all he'd done He handed her a paper, trees upon its front, and a big round yellow sun A picture quite imperfect, for he'd messed up here and there But she didn't seem to notice, or she didn't seem to care

The first day of Junior High, he hurried to the door Running from his mother's hugs, he didn't want them anymore He ignored her calling out to him, as he hurried down the street Near the intersection, where his friends had planned to meet

He hoped that she would understand, why he had to walk to school Riding with his mother, just wouldn't have been cool But somewhere near the crosswalk, he turned to see her there Standing on the sidewalk, her hand raised up midair

Hastily he coyly waved, then hurried to meet his friends Fighting back the urge, to turn and wave again And when he came home from school, she asked what all he'd done He handed her some papers, with X's marked on more than one

The teacher clearly pointing out, the wrong answers here and there But his mother didn't seem to notice, or she didn't seem to care The first day of senior high, he hurried out the door Jumped into the driver's seat, of his jacked up shiny Ford

He left without his breakfast; he left without a word But he turned and looked back, before pulling from the curb He saw her waving frantically, as he drove away He tapped his horn just once, to brighten up her day

He saw a smile cross her face, and then he drove from sight Onward to a different world, a new exciting life Months came and went, and at the end of every day She would ask about his life, but he had less and less to say

He didn't have the time for talk; she would have to understand He was no longer a little boy; he'd become a man And at his graduation, as tears shone in her eyes He knew the time had come, to bid his Mom good-bye

For he was off to college, off to better days No more rules to abide; alone to find his way

Suitcases filled the trunk, of his dirty beat-up Ford He couldn't wait to get to school, to checkout his room and dorm She opened up his car door, closed it when he got in Then smiled proudly at her son, as tears dropped from her chin

She reached through the open window, wished him luck in school And then she pulled him close to her, and broke the "no hug" rule He felt the freedom greet him, as he pulled onto interstate At last his life was his alone; he anticipated fate

But college life deemed more challenging, than he ever could have hoped There was no time to respond to letters, his mother often wrote He was a grown adult now, too old for all that stuff His visits during holidays, would have to be enough

Besides, midterms were quickly coming, the pressure was immense He often studied late into the night, his need to pass intense And being a man was harder, than he imagined it would be His future was at stake, and all he longed to be

He wondered how he'd manage, how he'd ever cope What if he failed his tests? Would there be no hope? As if he had a calling, he headed down the interstate Driving at full speed, the hour getting late

He pulled up to the curb, where once he used to roam And went through the open door, of his mother's home She was sitting at the table, with a drawing in a frame Memories from the past, that brought both joy and pain

She didn't need to ask, why he was home from school Because she knew the answer, when he broke the "no hug" rule His arms around her tightly, peering at the drawing he had done Lots of trees, imperfect branches, and a big round yellow sun

She smiled a knowing smile, and then she spoke aloud "Son you always did, and you always will, make me very proud For look how far you've traveled, from that little boy so brave Heading off to kindergarten, your hand up in a wave

And through the years you've made mistakes, but son I've made them too Being perfect is not an option; you can only do --- the best that you can do And don't expect more than that, for life is supposed to be fun You've only got one to live, so you must do what is best for you --- son"

Sitting in his dorm room, when the pressure seems too much And all that he is striving for, seems completely out of touch He peers at the drawing, of a big round yellow sun And then he is reminded, of just how far he's come

From childhood to manhood, fighting back many a fear Through trials and tribulations, holding back many a tear Knowing that being successful, isn't passing every test And the only way to falter in life, is by failing to do his best

And the biggest lesson he's learned, one he did not learn in school . . . That it's okay, for even a man, to break the "no hug" rule.

Dear Lord we thank You for our parents and we pray that we would show them the respect and love the deserve. We thank You for all they have done for us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Most.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 (New International Version)
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

The most enriching good habit - Complimenting others
The most destructive bad habit - Worry
The greatest joy - Giving
The greatest loss - Loss of self-respect
The most satisfying work - Helping others
The ugliest personality trait - Selfishness
The most endangered species - Dedicated leaders
Our greatest natural resource - Our youth
The ugliest look - A frown
The greatest "shot in the arm" - Encouragement
The greatest problem to overcome - Fear
The most effective sleeping pill - Peace of mind
The most crippling failure disease - Excuses
The surest way to limit God - Unbelief
The most powerful forces in life - Love
The most dangerous piranha - A gossiper
The Greatest Life-Giver - The Creator
The worlds most incredible computer - The brain
The worst thing to be without - Hope
The deadliest weapon - The tongue
The two most power-filled words - "I Can"
The greatest asset - Faith
The most worthless emotion - Self-pity
The most beautiful attire - A SMILE!
The most prized possession - Self esteem
The most powerful channel of communication - Prayer
The most contagious sprit - Enthusiasm
The most urgent need - SALVATION

Dear Lord we pray that as we look at the “most” today that we would always remember that you are the “most” and that we would share that with those around us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Prayer of a Child.

Matthew 5:44 (New International Version)
But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

When the public schools of New Orleans were integrated under court order in 1960, four six-year-old black girls were selected to break the immoral barrier that had been built over generations to keep white and black children apart. Three were assigned to one school, and Ruby Bridges was sent alone to Frantz Elementary School. How was a little girl supposed to deal with such tension?

She was escorted to and from school each day by federal marshals for her protection. She had to run the gauntlet of taunts, curses, and threats from adults as she arrived and left each day. White parents took their children out of Frantz, and Ruby was the only child in Miss Hurley's first-grade class.

Dr. Robert Coles is a child psychiatrist who studied Ruby's experience. He visited with Ruby and her family twice every week. He interviewed Miss Hurley about her pupil. To his amazement, Ruby was sleeping soundly every night, eating well, and playing with neighborhood children as before. "You know, I don't understand this child," said her teacher. "She seems so happy. She comes here so cheerfully."

One morning Miss Hurley was watching Ruby walk toward the school. Suddenly the little girl stopped right in the middle of the screaming, jeering crowd. Facing all those angry people, her lips started moving. Miss Hurley thought she was talking to them. She wondered what Ruby might be saying to people who seemed ready to kill her. The marshals tried to move her into the building. But she wouldn't budge until she finished what she was saying.

Miss Hurley asked her later what had happened, and Ruby explained. "I wasn't talking to those people," she said. "I was praying. I was praying for them." You see, every morning Ruby had stopped a few blocks from her school to pray for the people who hated her. That morning she had forgotten until she was already on the sidewalk in the middle of the angry adults.

Here is what she prayed twice a day, before and after school. "Please, God, try to forgive those people. Because even if they say those bad things, they don't know what they're doing. So you could forgive them, just like you did those folks a long time ago when they said terrible things about you."

Do you have some tough situations to face this week? Have to deal with some unpleasant people? Have to confront people who are unkind or unfair? Let us try Ruby's method and remember that Jesus said of little children, "Of such is the kingdom of heaven."

Dear Lord we pray that we would take the time today to pray for those that hurt us or are unkind to us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Do You Believe in All You Can Be?

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.

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

Walt Disney was once fired by a newspaper editor 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, trust that God will show you what you are to be and what you should do.

Dear Lord we pray that we would be all that You have planned for us. Help us never take the easy way. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Angels Come in all Shapes, Colors and Sizes

Isaiah 11:6 (New International Version)
The wolf will live with the lamb,
   the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
   and a little child will lead them.

Most two and a half year olds are cute and adorable. Many of them are so smart you would think they are little adults.

Asha came to the day care center after she had open heart surgery. She was very little, very petite, with pale, almost alabaster skin, and she had extremely long blonde hair. Along with her beauty, she was extremely smart. She definitely knew her own mind, and was very opinionated, to say the least.

Jason, was a little African American boy who was the same age as Asha. His mother worked across the street from our day care center. One of her co-workers suggested that she put Jason in our center. The co-worker had a daughter who attended our Summer Camp program and she loved it. She assured Jason's mother that all the staff were very attentive to all the children and their needs, and he would be safe with us.

The first time Jason came to visit, he joined right in a circle and played a musical game with children his own age. A few days later his mother enrolled him in the center and Jason began his day with us. When his mother left, the tears began. Eeverybody was very understanding. This was his first time away from his mom. So the sweet lady that was mother to them all, held him and consoled him all throughout the day.

Hours went by and the tears didn't stop. His heart was broken when his mother left. They were all strangers to him. His sobs tore at all their souls. He felt completely abandoned. No reassuring from any of the staff members mattered to him. Then something truly beautiful happened.

Asha came over to Miss Carle while she was still holding Jason. She said "Miss Carole, Jason needs me to make him feel better!"

She told her I think you are right, Jason needs a beautiful little angel to kiss away his tears and make him feel all better.

Asha leaned over and kissed his cheek, right where a tear was rolling down his face and she said "Don't you worry, I am your angel. "I will take care of you"." Don't cry, we all love you".

Jason looked up at Miss Carole, tears still running down his cheeks. She assured him that it was alright to go with Asha. His little angel would take care of him.

Asha walked him to the bathroom, washed his face, and took him by the hand into her little group.

That was the beginning of a friendship that lasted for years to come. Asha and Jason became an inseparable team.

"And a Child Shall Lead Them"

Dear Lord we pray that we would see the treasure that children are. Help us recognize the things we can learn from them. In Jesus’ Name, Amen