On Wings Of Eagles

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Friday, September 30, 2011

Today is the Day to Stop Complaining.

Philippians 2:14 (New International Version)
Do everything without grumbling or arguing.

Back in the mid-1970s, a man was driving through Arizona and stopped at a gas station in the middle of a torrential downpour. This was in the days of "full-service" gas stations. He sat inside his dry car while a man, who whistled cheerfully while he worked, filled up his tank in that awful rain.

As the customer was leaving, he said apologetically, "I'm sorry to get you out in this weather."

The attendant replied, "It doesn't bother me a bit. When I was fighting in Vietnam I made up my mind in a foxhole one day that if I ever got out of this place alive, I would be so grateful I'd never complain about anything again. And I haven't."

Taking responsibility for our attitudes is part of building a whole and happy life.

Dear Lord we pray that today would be the day that we would stop complaining and be thankful I all things. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Spilled Coal.

Hebrews 13:16 (New International Version)
And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

The dirty gray clouds hung so low it seemed you could reach up and touch them. It was spitting a few flakes of snow and the temperature was in the 20s.

The winter of 1940 was cold in the mountains. It was a bone chilling, face freezing, penetrating kind of cold.

Lilly was going about her morning chores in the warmth of her home, when she heard a knock on the door. Opening it, there stood Mr. Gibson, her neighbor.

"Come in out of the cold." She opened the door wide for him. "Is everything ok? How is your wife?" Lilly asked. Mrs. Gibson had cancer and was confined to her bed most of the time. "She is about the same. I have come to ask a favor. We are almost out of wood for the stove and wondered if you had some to spare until we get our welfare check?"

Lilly didn't know how to respond. Her wood supply was pretty low and her husband was gone for the week at a job sixty miles away. Thinking about the severe cold, she wondered if she would have enough wood for herself.

She told Mr. Gibson she would see what she could do and be back in touch. Her sister lived a couple of blocks away and she would find out if she had any coal or wood to spare. Lilly bundled up warmly and made the trek to her sister's house. Sitting in the kitchen with a hot cup of coffee, the sisters talked about what to do for the Gibsons. June told Lilly she had very little extra wood to burn as the weather had turned so cold, the stove seemed to eat it like tissue paper.

They didn't have enough money to buy wood for the Gibsons but Lilly had an idea. The railroad tracks were not far away. Train cars loaded with coal sometimes spilled coal on the tracks. Maybe they could take a sack and borrow a wagon from one of June's sons and pick up some coal. It was a plan.

They put on all the clothes and scarves they could find and got the wagon and a tow sack before going out in the bitter cold. They walked down the tracks and put whatever coal they found into the sack. The icy wind brought tears to their eyes, which froze on their faces. When they reached the unloading depot, a man was on top of a box car of coal. He would shovel the coal down a chute to a waiting truck.

The man greeted the ladies and remarked what a cold day it was. He asked why they were out in the frigid weather. They told him they were picking up coal to burn.

The man lifted his large coal filled shovel and then turned the shovel sideways pouring the coal on the ground. Twice more he spilled his shovel of coal on the ground. He told them he was clumsy and the coal he couldn't get in the chute was just left on the ground to go to waste.

Next he climbed down the ladder and muttered he needed a cup of coffee and would be back soon.

The women had just finished filling the sack when he returned with two cups of hot coffee for them. They took the coffee and thanked him profusely.
Lilly asked his first name, explaining she wanted to mention it in her prayers tonight.

The man smiled. "Do you think the Lord will bless me for spilling my employer's coal on the ground?"

June spoke up. "He will bless you for your act of kindness. He will bless you for keeping two elderly people warm during this cold spell. Not only will this coal warm their bodies, but it will also warm their hearts. Yes, you will be blessed."

Thanking him again, they left.

Somehow the trip home didn't seem as far. They took turns pulling the wagon now heavy with coal, but their hearts were much lighter.

Upon reaching the Gibson home, the four friends held hands while they thanked God for the total stranger whose act of kindness had helped them accomplish their mission.

The Gibsons had enough coal to last until the weather broke and their check arrived.

Dear Lord we pray that we would have hearts of compassion. We pray that our eyes would be open to the needs of those around us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Working Together.

1 Corinthians 1:10 (New International Version)
I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.

"I'm about to have a contest between our workers to spur productivity. Any ideas?" - Harvey G.

Let the following story be a warning.

"We're about to have some exciting competition," said the manager of a steel plant in Ohio. "We have three eight-hour shifts and I'm going to issue this challenge. The shift that produces the most steel with the highest quality over the next thirty days will receive a substantial bonus for every worker."

For the first few days, there was a lot of bantering between the workers as they changed shifts. "You just wait. We're going to win this thing," one night supervisor said to the incoming morning employees. It began as a friendly rivalry.

As time passed, however, what the manager thought was a great motivational device proved to be a disaster. Just a few days after the competition began, discord surfaced between the teams. For example, as one shift was about to leave the plant they would turn off the power so that the next group would have to re-fire the furnaces - losing precious time and producing less steel.

Workers in another shift, dumped foreign materials into the furnace that would lower the quality of the steel for the next team.

At the end of the month, management was stunned. There had been a decrease in output.

Internal competition rarely works. It pits worker against worker, resulting in lower morale, diminished production and friction in the organization. The lesson learned in that Ohio plant is one we all must discover sooner or later. We win through cooperation, not competition. 

Dear Lord we pray that we would not compete against each other but that we would work together. In Jesus; name, Amen.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

How Will You Repond to Suffering.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (New International Version)
give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

One of Canada's most famous physicians was Dr. William Osler. Many stories are told of Dr. Osler, but one of the most revealing comes from World War I.

Friends recalled the day when he was working in one of Britain's military hospitals during the war. He was called out of the wards during his daily rounds to be given an important message; his own son had been killed on the fields of France.

Stunned by the news, he still came back to pick up his rounds. For a long period afterward he was noticeably different. And those who knew him best said that he changed as a physician that day. The cheerful note was gone from his voice and never again did friends hear the tune which he so often whistled as he went from ward to ward.

Though these things never returned, something eventually came to take their place. Everyone noticed a new compassion in his care of the soldiers who each day streamed in from the battlefield. Before, he had the professional concern of the physician, so important to the practice of medicine; now there was an added discernable note of a personal compassion, like that of a father for his son....

Osler was understandably hurt and, like most people who have experienced such losses, he likely became angry. In time, after working through pain and anger, he found a way to integrate the loss into his life. Though he was never the same, he chose not to let his son's death turn him into a bitter and resentful man. Instead, he channeled it into energy and love for others, caring for them as he would care for his own.

Helen Keller wisely said, "The struggle of life is one of our greatest blessings. It makes us patient, sensitive, and Godlike. It teaches us that although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it."

Osler teaches us something about overcoming suffering. It can leave us bitter, or quite surprisingly, it can often leave us better. More patient. More sensitive. More compassionate. And a little more like how God must surely be.

Dear Lord we pray that the circumstances in life would help make us better people. We pray that we would be sensitive to those around us and care for them. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Voice of Compassion

Deuteronomy 15:7 (New International Version)
 7 If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites in any of the towns of the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them. 11 There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land.

I read a story about Fiorello LaGuardia who was mayor of New York City during the worst days of the Great Depression and all of WWII. He was adored by many New Yorkers who took to calling him the "Little Flower," because of his name and the fact that he was so short and always wore a carnation in his lapel.

He was a colorful character -- he rode the New York City fire trucks, raided city "speakeasies" with the police department, took entire orphanages to baseball games and, when the New York newspapers went on strike, he got on the radio and read the Sunday funnies to the kids.

One bitterly cold night in January of 1935, the mayor turned up at a night court that served the poorest ward of the city. LaGuardia dismissed the judge for the evening and took over the bench himself. Within a few minutes, a tattered old woman was brought before him, charged with stealing a loaf of bread. She told LaGuardia that her daughter's husband had deserted her, her daughter was sick, and her two grandchildren were starving.

But the shopkeeper, from whom the bread was stolen, refused to drop the charges. "It's a real bad neighborhood, Your Honor," the man told the mayor. "She's got to be punished to teach other people around here a lesson."

LaGuardia sighed. He turned to the woman and said, "I've got to punish you. The law makes no exceptions. Ten dollars or ten days in jail." But even as he pronounced sentence, the mayor was already reaching into his pocket. He extracted a bill and tossed it into his famous hat, saying, "Here is the ten dollar fine which I now remit; and furthermore, I am going to fine everyone in this courtroom fifty cents for living in a town where a person has to steal bread so that her grandchildren can eat. Mr. Bailiff, collect the fines and give them to the defendant."

The following day, New York City newspapers reported that $47.50 was turned over to a bewildered woman who had stolen a loaf of bread to feed her starving grandchildren. Fifty cents of that amount was contributed by the grocery store owner himself, while some seventy petty criminals, people with traffic violations, and New York City policemen, each of whom had just paid fifty cents for the privilege of doing so, gave the mayor a standing ovation.

Someone beautifully said, "Sympathy sees and says, 'I'm sorry.' Compassion sees and says, 'I'll help.'" When we learn the difference, we can make a difference.

Dear Lord we pray that we would be people of compassion and not just people of sympathy. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Family Lessons From the "Dolphin Tale"

Proverbs 22:6 (King James Version)
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

I enjoy seeing a great, inspirational family movie.  Today I did just that when I took my family to see Dolphin Tale This movie is about a fatherless  and lonely boy named Sawyer who finds meaning and purpose in the rehabilitation of a beached dolphin named Winter
Following are some lesson I gleaned from the movie. Some are original and some I read from others that made me think.
·         Great Things Can Come From A Crab Trap – Winter is discovered on the beach tangled up in a crab trap.  What seemed like a potentially fatal situation turned into a story that has inspired thousands of amputees and millions of others.  We all face devastating things in our life.  Always remember that Jesus can make beautiful things out of our pain.
·         “A Turned On Kid” – Sawyer’s mother Lorraine found something that inspired her son and fought to help him continue.  God makes all children unique.  A key to parenting is discovering your children’s uniqueness and leveraging it in a healthy and productive manner. What better way then to be there and be involved.
·         “Can I ask a weird question?” - It was this question posed to Dr. Cameron McCarthy at a VA Hospital that led to the creation of Winter’s prosthetic tale.  Remember there is never a weird question, they all make us think and may lead to a new innovation. For that one weird question Winter is grateful.
·         “No one in their right mind would even try it.  Luckily, I’m not.” –This is one of my favorite lines in the movie. Remember normal is overrated.  If you think you’re weird or don’t fit in, you are the type of person who will one day do great things.
·         “Just because the road before us changes it doesn’t mean we should stop chasing our dream. - There is much patience, sacrifice, pain, effort, and perseverance needed to have your dreams come true.  If you’re thinking of quitting on your dream or what you are most passionate about, please don’t.
·          “Never quit on Winter.  Never quit on yourselves.” - It took over 60 different attempts and variations of prosthetic tales before they discovered one that Winter would not reject.  If God has put something in your heart to be done to serve others and glorify Him, please know that it may take multiple (maybe over 60)  attempts to discover the right combination of resources needed for success.  
·         “Just cause you’re hurt doesn’t mean you’re broken.” – There is a difference between being hurt and broken.  You may be legitimately hurt – physically, emotionally, psychologically, relationally, or financially.  But we must stay the course.  You’re not broken.  You can succeed.
·         Leaders Invest In Other Leaders - During the film, the land the aquarium is located on was purchased by an investor for the purpose of becoming a series beachfront hotels.  However, upon seeing the work by the facility’s director Dr. Clay Haskett, the investor says, “I’m going to keep this open as long as you’ll run it.”   People will buy into a person before they will buy into a dream. Be the person that God wants you to be and the dreams will fall into place.
·         The Importance Of Fathers – The most touching moments of the movie was the last scene when Sawyer was snuggled up with Winter.  This was after he said, “Family is forever.”  Through the different experience  Sawyer had through the movie he truly learned that “Family is forever.”

All in all it was a great movie!  As a movie reviewer would say I give it 5 tail fins out of 5– Dolphins shouldn’t have to replace dads. Let’s not make it so our kids have to find something to replace us.   As a father we need to be there for our family.  Today I took my whole family to see a great movie and had a great time being together. I challenge each father to make an effort to spend time with your wife and children, they are a gift from God and Family is forever

Dear Lord we thank You for our family’s. We pray that we would always treat our family as the gift that they are. We pray that we would always be there for them.in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Right Thing to Do.

Romans 12:10 (New American Standard Bible)
 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor;

Darius and Johntel have a lot in common.

They are both talented high school seniors. They both love basketball. They are both captains of their respective high school basketball teams.

But on one Saturday night in February, they were forever linked in the minds of all who were present for a mutual act of courage, sportsmanship and respect.

The remarkable moment came during a game between Darius's small town Illinois team and Johntel's big city team in Wisconsin -- a game that almost wasn't played.

Just hours before tip-off Johntel's mother lost her five-year battle with cervical cancer.

Her death was sudden and devastating to all who knew her, and Johntel's coach wanted to cancel the game. But Johntel insisted that the game should be played, and so with heavy hearts his teammates prepared to honor their captain's wishes and to play -- and hopefully win -- without him.

What they weren't prepared for was Johntel's appearance in the gym mid-way through the first half.

As soon as he saw him, Johntel's coach called a time out, and players and fans surrounded the grieving young man to offer love and support. The coach asked him if he wanted to sit on the bench with the team.

"No," Johntel said. "I want to play."

Of course his team was thrilled to have him.

But because Johntel wasn't on the pre-game roster, putting him in the game at that point would result in a technical foul and two free throws for the opposing team.

Johntel's coach was OK with that. He could see that this was the teenager's way of coping with his loss -- the points didn't matter.

The opposing team understood the situation and told the referees to let Johntel play and to forget the technical foul. The referees argued that a rule is a rule, and the free throws would have to be taken before the game could proceed.

For possibly the first time in basketball history, officials had to force a team to accept and take the technical free throws.

As team captain, Darius volunteered to take the shots.

One would have expected he was looking for an opportunity to keep his team close in a hard-fought game against a big city school. Or one could even assume he wanted a chance to add a couple of points to his personal statistics.

In either case, one would be wrong.

Darius took the ball from the official, looked at the basket and calmly shot the ball.

Now, basketball purists know that the free throw line is 15 feet from the basket. Darius's first shot only traveled about 4 feet. His second shot only traveled 2.

Immediately Johntel and his teammates understood what Darius was doing. They stood and applauded the gesture of sportsmanship as Darius made his way back to his bench. So did all of the big city fans.

"I did it for the guy who lost his mom," Darius told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel after the game. "It was the right thing to do."

For those who are concerned about such things, Johntel's team rode the emotion of the night to a 15-point victory. But as the two teams met after the game for pizza and sodas, nobody on either side was too concerned with wins or losses or personal stats.

"This is something our kids will hold for a lifetime," Darius's coach said. "They may not remember our record 20 years from now, but they'll remember what happened in that gym that night."

Dear Lord we pray that we would have the compassion to those around us just as we have read in todays story. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Lesson Learned from a Puppy

Zechariah 7:9 (New International Version)
“This is what the LORD Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another.

A store owner was tacking a sign above his door that read "Puppies For Sale."

Signs like that have a way of attracting small children, and sure enough, a little boy appeared under the store owner's sign. "How much are you going to sell the puppies for?" he asked.

The store owner replied, "Anywhere from $30 to $50."

The little boy reached in his pocket and pulled out some change. "I have $2.37," he said. "Can I please look at them?"

The store owner smiled and whistled and out of the kennel came Lady, who ran down the aisle of his store followed by five teeny, tiny balls of fur. One puppy was lagging considerably behind. Immediately the little boy singled out the lagging, limping puppy and said, "What's wrong with that little dog?"

The store owner explained that the veterinarian had examined the little puppy and had discovered it didn't have a hip socket. It would always limp. It would always be lame.

The little boy became excited. "That is the puppy that I want to buy." The store owner said, "No, you don't want to buy that little dog. If you really want him, I'll just give him to you."

The little boy got quite upset. He looked straight into the store owner's eyes, pointing his finger, and said, "I don't want you to give him to me. That little dog is worth every bit as much as all the other dogs and I'll pay full price. In fact, I'll give you $2.37 now, and 50 cents a month until I have him paid for."

The store owner countered, "You really don't want to buy this little dog. He is never going to be able to run and jump and play with you like the other puppies."

To his surprise, the little boy reached down and rolled up his pant leg to reveal a badly twisted, crippled left leg supported by a big metal brace. The boy looked up at the store owner and softly replied, "Well, I don't run so well myself, and the little puppy will need someone who understands!"

We ALL need someone who understands!  And Jesus UNDERSTANDS!

Dear Lord we thank You for showing compassion to us. We pray that we would show that same compassion to those around us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

His Compassions Never Fail

Matthew 14:14 (New International Version)
When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.

On September 11, 2001, Lt. Col. Brian Birdwell stepped into a Pentagon hallway when the fireball from the hijacked plane hit him. After recovering from the initial shock, Birdwell realized he was on fire. "Jesus, I'm coming to see you," he remembers praying.

When doctors finally attended to him at the Washington Burn Center, they found second- and third-degree burns over 40 percent of Birdwell's body. To save him, they performed several skin graft operations.

On September 13, while lying in his bed in the burn center, Laura Bush visited Brian's room and spoke to him for about a minute, all the time as if they were life-long acquaintances. She then turned to Brian's wife, Mel, who had been at the hospital for about two-and-a-half days. She was dirty, grimy, and wore a bloodstained shirt. Despite this, Laura gave her a long hug, as if she were a close family member. Laura then told them that there was "someone" there to see him.

The President walked in. Standing by Brian's bedside, the President told Colonel Birdwell that he was very proud of them both and regarded them as heroes. The President then saluted Brian. Brian slowly began to return the salute, taking about 15 to 20 seconds to get his hand up to his head because of his bandaged arms. During all of this, President Bush never moved. He dropped his salute only when Brian was finished with his.

Birdwell lives now with renewed purpose. "I'm a walking miracle. Christ got me out of the fire. In him not taking me, that means I have a mission to complete. He'll tell me what it is in due time."

Our Lord is a compassionate God, one who is with us in our most hurting times. He is one who knows our pain and one who can deliver us for a purpose.

Dear Lord we thank You for Your compassion towards us. We pray that we would always be faithful to You and compassionate to  those You bring into our life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

God Can Sympathize With Us

Hebrews 4:14-16 (New International Version)
 14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

On May 24, 1962, Commander Scott Carpenter roared into space in a Mercury space capsule. He piloted his Aurora 7 spacecraft through three revolutions of the earth, reaching a maximum altitude of 164 miles. The spacecraft landed in the Atlantic Ocean about 1000 miles southeast of Cape Canaveral after 4 hours and 54 minutes of flight time.

Following his return, NASA Administrator Webb presented him with astronaut wings in a ceremony at the Cape. Then on June 5, New York City celebrated his flight with a ticker tape parade and President Kennedy honored him at the White House.

In the middle of the White House ceremonies, his five-year-old daughter, Candace, tugged at his sleeve. She wanted to show her daddy the scratch on her right elbow that happened while he was gone. What did he do? Yes, he turned away from the honors, away from the acclaim of a proud nation to give his attention to the concerns of his little daughter. A scratch on the elbow was important to her, and so it was important to him. Likewise when we hurt Jesus cares.

When we hurt, Jesus Christ can sympathize with us.

Dear Lord we thank You for the example of caring You have given us. We pray that we likewise would show that we care for those You have put in our life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Are You George or a Dragon?

Galatians 5:22-23 (New International Version)
 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Today in Sunday School we studied the “Fruits of the Spirit” The goal was that this week others would see the good fruits in our life in all that we do. As I thought about the Fruits we show I was reminded of a story I read a while back.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s let our “fruits” show through us as we interact with those around us.

The scriptures have much to say about our attitude toward those in need. In fact, Jesus said that will be one factor which determines where we will spend eternity (Matthew 25:31-46). May we be known not only as a people who care, but as a people whose concern is shown through our actions.

"If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, 'Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,' but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?" (James 2:15-16)

Because of the fruits that you show do people view you as George.......or the dragon?

Dear Lord we pray that we would let the fruits of the Spirit show through us in all that we do.  We pray that Your love would show through in all that we do. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Go and Do Likewise

Luke 10:36-37 (New International Version)
   36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” 37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”   Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

Luke chapter 10, verses 25-37 is the parable of the Good Samaritan. Here we have a story about a well-to-do legal eagle anxious to make an impression and display his knowledge of the scriptures. But Jesus threw back the challenge and asked him who was the neighbor and the lawyer replied "the one who had mercy on him." And Jesus told him to, "Go and do likewise."

Here is a modern version of this story. It concerned a traveling salesman who lived somewhere in the United States. He had had a busy week and was returning to his home town. He stopped his car for a break at a roadside coffee shop. As he sat drinking his coffee he heard a girl quietly crying in the next booth. He didn't want to get involved but he was moved by her obvious distress. The girl was about 17, the same age as his own daughter. Against his better judgment he introduced himself and asked if he could help. The girl whose name was Lisa told him that she was from a broken home and had got into bad company. She was into drugs and had turned to prostitution to pay for them. Moved as he was, he just bought the girl a meal and continued his journey.

Later that evening he shared his experience with his family, how his heart had reached out to her and how he wanted to help her in some way. His family suggested that he return to that town and try to find Lisa again and offer to help. He eventually located her. He discovered that she was but a number of girls in that town in similar circumstances who were being exploited by the pimps and drug pushers. He was so moved by Lisa's plight that he took her home to his family, and that started a ministry to try and get those girls off the streets. Out of that simple beginning over a cup of coffee that man now has three full time workers and has seen scores of girls come off the streets and get their lives back together. Some of those same girls are now part of the team. The ministry became so successful that it earned that man a Presidential citation.

He acted like a Good Samaritan. He could have got together with his church fellowship and said, "We need to pray for these girls, they must be set free." If that was all he had done nothing would have happened. We need to pray, but we need to act. We need to pray, not for the situation itself but for the courage and strength to step out in faith and do something about it according to the gifts that God has given us.

There are a million stories out there. There are thousands of girls like Lisa and there are countless examples of injustice, corruption, pornography, abuse, and everywhere there are people needing, searching, desperately trying to find a new life. We are His hands and feet. When Jesus said 'follow me' He meant it!

Dear Lord we pray that we would learn from the example that You showed us in today’s verse. Help us be willing to help those that need it. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Being Kind One to Each Other

1 Thessalonians 5:15 (New International Version)
Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.

John Darley and Daniel Batson are two Princeton University psychologists. Some years ago they decided to conduct a study, inspired by the story of the Good Samaritan. They conducted the study at Princeton Theological Seminary.

They met with a group of seminarians and asked each one to prepare a short talk on a given theme. Then they would walk individually to a nearby building to present it. Along the way to the presentation each student would run into a man who was planted in an alley. He would be lying there, moaning & groaning in pain. The question was who would stop to help the man.
Darley and Batson asked half of the seminarians to give their talk on ministry opportunities available for students after graduation. The other half was asked to prepare a short devotional on the story of the Good Samaritan.

Also, the researchers wanted to find out if being in a hurry made any difference to the students. So they told one third of the group that they had plenty of time to get to the building to give their talk so they could take their time. Another third was told that they would just make it in time if they left right now. And the last third was told that they were already late-they'd better get moving immediately!

In other words, the experimenters put a third of their subjects in a "low hurry" situation; a third in a "intermediate hurry" situation; and a third in a "high hurry" situation. So, which ones offered to help the man in pain? It turned out that it made no significant difference whether the student was giving a talk on job opportunities or the Good Samaritan.

What did make a difference was how much of a hurry he was in. Of the "low hurry" subjects, 63% offered help; of the "intermediate hurry" subjects, 45% offered help; and of the "high hurry" students, only 10% offered help.

The experimenters concluded that the study would seem to indicate that bystander apathy is encouraged not only by the crowding in today's world but also by the rush of big-city life as contrasted with the more leisurely pace of smaller towns.

In our "hurry-up world" it is easy to excuse why we don't help others. So let's slow down. Today in prayer, ask the Lord to slow down and see the people who truly need His kindness this day.

"The measure of a life, after all, is not its duration, but its donation." - Corrie Ten Boom

Dear Lord we pray that our hearts would be open and that we would be kind to everyone we come into contact with today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Be Compassionate

James 5:11 (New International Version)
As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.

Patrick Bouvier Kennedy was born prematurely on August 7, 1963. His father, President John F. Kennedy, knew his second son's chances of survival were slim. Young Patrick had a lung ailment and he was rushed by ambulance to Children's Medical Center in Boston. The President visited the hospital four times a day worrying about his wife Jackie while being concerned about the baby as well.

On the night of August 8, Kennedy decided to sleep at the hospital to be near the baby. Around two o'clock in the morning, the President was awaken and told that Patrick's condition was taking a bad turn. As the President was waiting for the elevator, he saw a baby boy in a room that was badly burned. He asked the night nurse how it happened, and how many times the mother came to see the baby. The nurse answered "everyday." He then asked for her name and while his own son was down stairs dying, the President stopped to write a note to the lady telling her not to give up faith, and to keep up her courage.

Then for the next two hours, the President kept a lonely vigil over his son until he died and then Kennedy wept.

If a mere man-even a president-can show love and concern to an unknown child while his own son was dying, how much more will our infinite Father in heaven take concern in us. Today in prayer, thank God that He loves you and His compassion is infinite towards you.

"Love is never lost. If not reciprocated, it will flow back and soften and purify the heart." - Washington Irving

Dear Lord we pray today that we would show compassion to those you bring into our life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Chicken and the Windshield

James 1:19 (New International Version)
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,

In an issue of Meat & Poultry magazine, editors quoted from "Feathers," the publication of the California Poultry Industry Federation, telling the following story:

The US Federal Aviation Administration has a unique device for testing the strength of windshields on airplanes. The device is a gun that launches a dead chicken at a plane's windshield at approximately the speed the plane flies. The theory is that if the windshield doesn't crack from the carcass impact, it'll survive a real collision with a bird during flight.

It seems the British were very interested in this and wanted to test a windshield on a brand new, speedy locomotive they're developing. They borrowed FAA's chicken launcher, loaded the chicken and fired.

The ballistic chicken shattered the windshield, broke the engineer's chair and embedded itself in the back wall of the engine's cab. The British were stunned and asked the FAA to recheck the test to see if everything was done correctly.

The FAA reviewed the test thoroughly and had one recommendation: Use a thawed chicken.

Communication. So vital to good relationships, yet so subject to breakdowns. Have you ever found yourself in trouble (in your marriage, in friendships, or at work) because you didn't listen carefully to what someone else said to you? You thought you understood correctly, and you almost understood correctly, but you overlooked one tiny detail and it almost proved to be disastrous.

Listening is an art that few have mastered. We would much rather be heard than take the time and trouble to listen to others. But God's Word has much to say about the value of listening.

Lets each of us take the effort today to listen carefully to others. It just may prevent a frozen chicken from flying through your windshield!

Dear Lord we thank You for always listening to us. We pray that we would take the time to listen to those around us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

He is Lord of All

1 Chronicles 29:11 (New International Version) 
Yours, LORD, is the greatness and the power
   and the glory and the majesty and the splendor,
   for everything in heaven and earth is yours.
Yours, LORD, is the kingdom;
   you are exalted as head over all.

Hurricane Charley slammed into Florida on Friday, August 13, 2004, and became known as the worst storm since Hurricane Andrew in 1992. It claimed 27 deaths, destroying more than 10,000 homes and resulting in more than $10 billion of insurance claims.

In addition to the stories of tragedy and devastation were remarkable stories of hope and goodwill. Many people have told how neighbors have helped with tree removal and volunteers brought in ice. Others reported how they spent the evening that Hurricane Charley arrived at home in prayer. One woman related to a local Orlando television news reporter that God did not throw the roof of a nearby church onto her house, but instead was with her when she was praying for protection in her bathroom.

Many of the signs and billboards in the area were no match for Hurricane Charley. However, one billboard resisted the 100-mile per hour winds of the eye wall of the storm. Though the billboard stood, the most recent advertisement was pealed back by the hurricane's winds to reveal an earlier message. The earlier message had been created a few years prior by the Smith Agency of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, which had handled an assignment from a client by placing of a variety of billboards bearing non-denominational religious messages around the U.S. When the sun rose the morning following the storm in Orlando, the words on the billboard clearly read,

"We need to talk," - God.

God is Lord of all! There is none like Him. Today in prayer, worship the Lord and praise Him for His omnipotence.

"Omnipotence teaches us that no power in all the universe can stop God or impede his plans. Not evil men. Not natural catastrophe. Not reversal of fortune. Not fate or luck or chance. - Paul Fritz.

Dear Lord we pray that in all things we would always remember that You are all powerful and nothing happens without your knowledge. In Jesus’ name, Amen.