On Wings Of Eagles

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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Count Down to Easter

Using 12 plastic eggs that can be opened and filled, either you give a basket with all 12 eggs (label each with the number of the day, i.e. Day 12, Day 11) or give one egg each day to be opened. (Day 1 is "Easter Day", so start 11 days before Easter with "Day 12")

Day 12 = Place a cracker or small piece of cracker inside the first egg with a slip of paper explaining how this symbolizes the bread & wine of the Last Supper. (Putting in the appropriate Bible verse/verses for the contents of each egg would REALLY be neat and SUCH a reinforcing learning tool", too!)

Day 11 = Place 3 dimes to symbolize the "30 pieces of silver" that Judas received to betray Jesus.

Day 10 = Place a toy soldier or picture of a soldier to symbolize the soldier who arrested Jesus.

Day 9 = Place a "feather" to symbolize the cock rooster that crowed 3 times.

Day 8 = Place a die or a couple of dice to symbolize the "lots that were cast" for Jesus' clothing.

Day 7 = Place a "thorn" in to symbolize the "crown of thorns" that Jesus wore. (taken off a rose bush is fine)

Day 6 = Place a "sponge" in to symbolize the sponge that was dipped in vinegar when Jesus said, "I thirst".

Day 5 = Place a "piece of cloth" in to symbolize the cloth that Joseph wrapped the body of Jesus in.

Day 4 = Place a "piece of black paper or black cloth" into the egg to symbolize the "shadow of darkness" that covered the Earth.

Day 3 = Place a "cross" inside to symbolize the cross on which Jesus was crucified.

Day 2 = Place a "rock" inside the egg to symbolize the stone that was rolled away.

Day 1 = EASTER MORNING! This egg will be "empty" to symbolize the tomb that was empty, that Jesus was "risen" !!

... Be sure to write the symbolization description and appropriate Bible verses on slips of paper to go into each of the eggs.

Day1 - small cracker pieces (represent the Last Supper) Mark14:22

Day2 - feather (represents the Rooster ) Matt 26:33

Day3 - Three silver dimes (30 pieces of silver) Matt26:14-15

Day4 - Thorns (crown of thorns) Mark 15:17 (I used the thorn of a rose stem)

Day5 - Nail (nails on the cross) Matt27:31

Day6 - a small metal or paper cross (the cross) John19:17-18

Day7 - Dice (casting lots) John 19:23-24

Day8 - Toothpick (spear) John 19:34

Day9 - White cloth (linen burial cloth) Matt 27:57-60

Day10- Cinnamon Sticks (burial spices) Mark 16:1

Day11 - Stone (over the mouth of the tomb) Matt 27:62-65

Day12- Empty Egg (the empty tomb) Mark16:5-6

Dear Lord We thank You for what You did for us on Easter. Because of Your love for us and your willingness to die for our sins we can have eternal life. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Are You Like Barnabas?

Galatians 6:1-2 (New International Version)
 1 Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

As we get close to opening day of Baseball season let’s take a look at a name we all will likely recognize, Jackie Robinson. Jackie Robinson Was the first African-American to play Major League baseball. In his first season with the Brooklyn Dodgers, Robinson faced hatred nearly everywhere he traveled. Pitchers threw fastballs at his head. Runners spiked him on the bases, ugly insults were written on cards and spoken from the opposing dugouts. Even the home crowds in Brooklyn saw him as an object of reproach.

During one game in Cincinnati, the taunts and racial slurs seemed to reach a peak. To make matters worse, Robinson committed an error and stood at second base humiliated while the fans hurled insults at him. Another Dodger, a Southern white man by the name Pee Wee Reese, called timeout. He walked from his position at shortstop toward Robinson at second base, and with the crowds looking on; he put his arm around Robinson's shoulder. The fans grew quiet. Robinson later said that arm around his shoulder saved his career.

That reminds me of a similar story in the Bible. Saul was a most unlikely candidate for Christianity. I doubt if he was on anybody's soul-winning list. Except God's. The reason is that you would have been locked up or killed before you got through the first Bible study. The words Saul and persecution were synonymous. So, Saul had a bit of a problem when he became a Christian. Everybody was afraid to get close to him. The members of the Jerusalem church thought that Paul was pulling a fast one, that he was only pretending to be a disciple.

After all, that was a perfect plan -- pretend to become a member of the church, get the names of all of the members, call the Sanhedrin and then take the whole bunch to prison. Sounds like a spy story, doesn't it? But, they weren't about to fall for that one! But Barnabas accepted him.

There are a couple of things about Barnabas that we need to imitate. First of all, he was a man who insisted on believing the best in others. When others suspected Saul of being a spy, Barnabas insisted on believing he was genuine and real. The world is largely divided into people who think the best of others and people who think the worst of others. "Love doesn't keep track of wrongs....never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up." (I Corinthians 13:5,7.

Barnabas was also a person who didn't hold a man's past against him. It happens so often that whenever a man makes a mistake, he is forever condemned in our eyes. It is a wonderful characteristic of God that he doesn't hold our past sins against us. We, too, should never condemn a man just because he has failed in the past.

What a great example! We've all been there -- standing in need of someone to face our problems with us. And we have those around us who need the encouraging arm around the shoulder.

Dear Lord we pray today that we would be like Barnabas and that we would encourage those we come into contact with. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Are You Practicing Your Mistakes

Colossians 3:23-24 (New International Version)
23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Caroline, was a talented musician even as a teen-ager but after a compliment she would always say, "Thank you, but "I play well only because of my teacher, you should hear her, she plays like the touch of angel wings on the strings." She was referring to Katherine who was not only her teacher, an exceptional violinist, but also a very kind, generous, elect lady who not only taught her music but many good things about life.

After Katherine's death it was very hard for Caroline to put her heart into her playing. She and her parents were at a loss as to where they could possibly find another teacher. After several weeks went by they were surprised by a phone call from, Jason, the son of this beloved teacher. He quietly said, "If you ever feel like you could drive, once a week, the 3 hours, to where I live, I would like to have Caroline as my student and try to take up where my mother left off - I think she would like that."

Needless to say they gave little thought to the drive. The important things was to begin lessons again and to have lessons from this extraordinary young man, who was already a member of a well known symphony orchestra, seemed like a God-send.

The young student had let her violin lay in its case for several weeks but now music filled their home. She realized she had much practicing ahead to make up for those weeks of letting the violin lay idle. Saturday morning came almost to quickly and anticipation turned to apprehension. As they turned on the street where the new teacher lived, Caroline turned to her mother and said, "Mom, I don't think he will teach me very long." "Oh, I don't mind waiting an hour, it will be worth it," Joanna, her mother replied. "No, I don't mean that, I mean he will listen to me and say, "Caroline, get a life! I don't have time for you, I can tell you haven't been practicing." Joanna, offered the needed encouragement and Caroline slowly walked up the sidewalk to the front door.

It took only a few minutes of visiting for Caroline to became comfortable with the new teacher. Jason reminded her so much of his mother. For the next 15 minutes he instructed her to play certain pieces for him and then suggested a rest. Caroline knew she had not played as she had done in the past and the apprehension returned. Jason, picked up her violin and looked at it and then at her as he said, "You are a good violinist, Caroline but you can become a great violinist, it is your choice, if you will remember one thing, "Don't practice your mistakes." For a moment she looked at him with surprise and wonder, he wasn't reprimanding her; he was instructing and encouraging her just as his mother had. "Oh, alright, I won't - not ever again," she quickly replied.

Jason smiled; he could remember those years when he was her age and that same lesson his mother had taught him. "Don't practice your mistakes." Those words had been a great influence in every phase of his life, as well as the reminder, "It is your choice."

After Caroline left, he sat a few minutes alone in the music room. His wife wondering why he hadn't come into to lunch went in search of him. He smiled as she came through the door, "My, sweet I don't think it will be long until we hear violin music that will sound like the whisper of angel wings on the strings."

"How did it go," Joanna asked when Caroline got into the car. "Mother, I know this sounds strange, but it felt just like Katherine was there as Jason talked with me, I'll bet if she were still alive she would have said just what Jason said as I left, "Drive carefully and don't forget Caroline, don't practice your mistakes." Joanna reached over and gave her daughter a warm hug.

Dear Lord we pray today that we would not practice our mistakes. Help us do the very best in all that we do. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Guardian Angel

Psalm 91:11 (NASB)
For He will give His angels charge concerning you,
To guard you in all your ways.

It was May, 1995, and 44-year-old Denise lay in the recovery room at Yale University Hospital in New Haven, Connecticut. She had been very ill with throat cancer for over a year. Radiation hadn't worked, and surgery had been her only option. Now her voicebox and lymph nodes had been removed, to halt the disease's progress. But her chance for life seemed even less than the doctor had anticipated. Now, as Denise slowly awakened, many people in white coats surrounded her. They seemed grim, and Denise was seized with a sudden terror. What was wrong? She looked up and noticed one very young doctor. He was looking down at her, his expression kind, and he seemed to glow. She must be dreaming...

When Denise got back to her room, her worried brother Ron was waiting. Although she could no longer speak, she gestured to Ron. "I wanted to see what they had cut and what they had done to me. Ron hesitated but handed me my compact." Denise gasped. Her head looked at least three times its normal size. Her throat had been cut past both ears and she couldn't raise her head. She began to sob. Ron ran for a doctor.

Instead, the young man Denise had seen in the recovery room came in. "It's all right," he told her soothingly. "Your head won't stay like this. The scar is bad, yes, but you're alive, and you're going to get better." He picked up her hand and held it. Peace seemed to flow through Denise. She fell asleep.

The next time Denise awakened, it was four a.m. When she rang for a nurse, the same doctor came in! He was smiling, and he spoke so softly she could barely hear him. "You're going to be all right. I want you to know that. I'm here. I'll never leave you," he said, leaning over her. This time Denise was awake enough to study him. His features seemed flawless. His hair was short and blond, cut in an old fashioned way with longish bangs and parted on the left. He had bright blue/green eyes. His hand was warm, soft, and strong. Again, Denise fell asleep with him telling her she would be fine. From that point on, every day at 4 a.m. she would wake up and he would be there, holding her hand and talking softly.

"The next time Ron came in to see me, I wrote to him on my tablet about this doctor," Denise says. "I wanted Ron to find out his name. I wanted to thank him for being so kind to stay with me when I was too afraid to be alone. I suggested Ron check the interns because I thought he must be an intern. What doctor would have this much time to spend with just one patient?"

Ron went out to talk to the nurses, but when he returned, he looked at her strangely. "You must have been dreaming," he said.

"NO!" Denise scribbled on the pad.

"He doesn't exist, Dee, I asked all the nurses. And they checked. No one has seen anyone like him. No one knows him, either"

Denise knew better than to argue with Ron. It was only later, when she got home, that she learned her brother had continued to look for the unknown doctor. Ron had stopped only when several nurses assured him that it wasn't at all unusual for a hospital patient to see her guardian angel.

Denise recovered from cancer, and she knows she suffered less because God allowed her angel to be very visible to her. "Maybe someday," she says, "I can tell him face to face once again, Thank you so much."

Dear Lord we thank You for those You send our way to take care of us and encourage us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Bearing One Another's Burden

Galatians 6:2 (NASB)
Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.

Imagine that there is a person standing in front of you struggling with several large packages. You may know them, or you might not. It could be a friend or a stranger. Maybe it's your spouse or maybe it's someone you barely know. Perhaps it's someone you see everyday, or it could be someone you'll only meet once.

Imagine then there before you struggling with several large packages. They've got more than they can carry. The burden is too much for them to bear alone. You see them straining and hurting and aching from the weight of the packages.

Now, what would you do?

Think about it, you're at Wal-Mart or the grocery store and you're standing there with nothing in your own hands. And all of a sudden you notice this person in front of you who is just about to drop their packages because they have more than they can handle. What is your first thought?

Of course, you have the natural urge to give them a hand. You wouldn't just stand there and watch them struggle and drop things when you could easily help them out.

You know, you don't have to use your imagination unless you want to. You can see it in living color every single day of your life.

You see, there ARE those in your pathway, standing right there in front of you, who are struggling with more than they can carry. Oh, it may not be groceries or household items from the department store, but it is a very real burden that weighs them down just the same.

Maybe it's a divorce they are going through. Or, it might be an illness. It could be a relationship problem, a difficult decision, a situation at work, or they could just be having a bad day. There are all kinds of things that weigh us down. Things that we struggle with. Things that leave us straining and hurting and aching from the weight that is upon us.

Someone who is carrying too many packages will be in front of you today. You can count on it. Will you notice them? It might be a friend or a stranger, someone you are close to or someone you barely know someone you see every day or someone you'll only meet once. And they'll be standing there struggling under the weight.

What is your first thought? Will you reach out and give them a hand? Will you do what you can to help meet the need? Will you offer a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on? Will you be someone to help bear the burden in whatever way that you can?

You see, the Bible tells us that we are to "bear each other's burdens." We are to lighten each other's load. We are to help with those spiritual, emotional, mental and physical packages that are weighing each other down.

Today you'll meet someone who is carrying too much.

Will you offer a helping hand?

Dear Lord we pray that our eyes would be open to the one that needs our helping hand today. Help us to show Your love with our actions. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Art of Encouragement.

Hebrews 3:13 (New International Version)
But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.

A well-known preacher visited a school in England and spoke to the boys. A few days later the preacher received a letter from one of the boys which read, "A wonderful thing happened as a result of your talk. Yesterday our form master actually praised our work - a thing never known before. Can you come again and have a go at the headmaster? We might get an extra half-holiday.

And a man thought his boss was going 'funny' for he actually said "thank you" that morning - the first time he had said that for years.

There are countless people in every walk of life who are never recognized or encouraged no matter how hard they try. Often that lack of appreciation is the last straw. Yet many think that to give a word of praise may cause the recipient to get a swollen head.

Most people will put a good deal of effort into all they do if now and again someone says: "Well Done" or "Thank you." But if those words are never spoken, if there is no sign that the effort put into something is appreciated, it's impossible to do ones best continuously. Perhaps people think that a job well done is a reward in itself, and that may be so if the work is routine and the salary is good. But for many who give of their time and talent without financial recompense, such as voluntary social workers, then those words of encouragement and appreciation are often the only reward.

It is sometimes suggested that it may embarrass people to be thanked, and certainly the patronizing friend who is always telling us how good it was can come on a bit heavy at times, but we all know one or two people who could help the cause considerably with a little more recognition, encouragement and thanks.

We could all stand a good deal of so-called "embarrassment." The sudden shock of finding one's efforts are appreciated is seldom fatal.

Dear Lord we pray today that we would take the time to compliment or encourage somebody today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Are You Discouraged?

1 Thessalonians 5:11 (New International Version)
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn is one of the leading Russian writers of the 20th century. He was born in Kislovodsk on December 11, 1918. A brilliant student, he graduated from the University of Rostov-on-Don majoring in physics and mathematics. He served in the Red Army and rose to the rank of Captain. In 1945 he was arrested after writing critical remarks in a letter to a friend. He was sentenced to eight years of hard labor. In 1950, he was transferred to the most dreaded labor camp in Kazakhstan. In 1952, with less than a year to go to his release, Alexander was losing hope. Weakened from the years of beatings and malnutrition, he came up with a plan. He would end it all by stopping his work and letting the guards beat him to death. Alexander leaned on his shovel, but as he did, a Christian prisoner next to him quickly drew a cross in the dirt at Alexander's feet. Then as just as quickly, the man erased it before a guard could see it. Alexander was a believer, and he later wrote that he was energized by that man's silent act of encouragement to remind him of his hope in Christ.

Are you discouraged? Look to the Lord, for He is our eternal hope! Today in prayer, give all of your discouragements and sadness to Jesus and He will strengthen you with hope.

Dear Lord we pray the when we are discouraged that we would turn it all over to You. We also pray that we would be an encouragement to those around us that need the encouragement today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Power Source

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.

Almir had heard about the incredible power of electricity from the white men visiting his tribe. He wanted more than anything to experience this power for himself, but when he finally succeeded in moving to a place where housing with such power was available, he had no idea how to tap into it.

Neighbours encouraged him to buy devices such as a television, a radio and even an alarm clock. When he raised enough money, he followed their advice and purchased these items, but this only frustrated him because none of these seemed to work! The television set stood in his room, but no matter what he did, it remained silent and still. The radio was no different, and he couldn't help but wonder what the little black box called an "alarm clock" could possibly be used for.

As he sat in his dark, silent house, he was mystified as to why so many people boasted about electricity. And the funny thing was, it really did seem to work for them! How could something supposedly so useful be so totally useless to him? Why were others successful, while he experienced utter failure? Had he done something bad in his life that hindered him from enjoying such power?

No one bothered to tell Almir that he needed to be connected to the power source, that he needed to plug the power cord into the electrical outlet!

Just imagine for a moment trying to use electric devices without electricity. Electronics would remain completely inoperative. A television set would be merely decoration-and not even a pretty one! But by tapping into the electrical source, you suddenly become provided with power beyond imagination. You can write or talk to people living in distant countries, you can be provided with heat or air-conditioning, you can cook and preserve food-All things unheard of 100 years ago!

The same is true with God's Spirit, the "spiritual electricity" to anyone who believes. However, His power remains a mystery to anyone who does not connect himself to God by receiving His Holy Spirit!

But how can we do this?

Friends, we cannot even fathom all the power that is available to us! Is it possible that just like Almir, we experience defeat because we do not know how to "be connected"? So many depend on their own efforts to attain heaven and to develop intimacy with God, but in all reality it is God Himself who pursues us and makes intimacy with Him possible! And, He grants us salvation at the same time! All of this is available though "His faith". Not ours, but "His"!

Is it possible that so many believers are experiencing failure because they have no idea of the power available to them through God's Spirit? Is it possible that we concentrate too much on our own efforts instead of depending solely on Jesus' faith? Are we realizing how much God really loves us?

The difference between a victorious believer and a defeated one is that the first one is connected and remains connected. The first one lets "God's fullness" fill his inner void. Nothing else will do! Illicit attractions from this world will always be unfulfilling and deceiving and will inevitably lead to addictions. Victory can be ours, but only if we depend on Jesus' faith. Only if we make the decision to remain connected with the All-Powerful One!

Are you connected? Is your "electrical cord" plugged in?

Dear Lord we pray that we would always be connected to the power. We pray today that we would make the effort to always come to You for the power  to live our life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Friday, March 23, 2012


Matthew 5:16 (New International Version)
In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

There is a worm in New Zealand called the glowworm (Arachnocampa luminosa). It actually isn't a worm at all, but an insect, but it gets its name because in its larvae stage and pupa stage, it glows in the dark!

These bugs attract numerous tourists to the Waitomo Caves, where millions of them can be seen hanging from ceilings and walls. Who would have thought that people would actually pay to look at bugs! Don't we have enough of them in our own back yards?

If you take the boat trip in the caves however, you enter into a different world. No pictures can be taken, but what you will see will fill you with awe for a lifetime. Looking at the ceilings you will see these bugs shine. Because there are so many of them, it's as if you are looking at the night time sky, alit with millions of beautiful stars, swaying delicately from side to side.

Why do glowworms shine? As they hatch from their eggs, the glowworm builds a nest and produces a sticky substance in the shape of threads. These threads, swaying out over the water, "light up" to attract their food -- the abundant insects in the wet, dark cave. The light emitted comes from a chemical reaction of Luciferin, Luciferase, Adenosine triphosphate and Oxygen. Imagine all of those chemicals in such a tiny bug! With all that, they really can't help but shine!

The same is true for every follower of Christ
We can't help but shine, because our lives were meant to shine! How? By being who we are: followers of the Christ!

This kind of shining, which is our purpose in this life, will draw us closer to the Lover of our soul. It will also dim any temptation that may come our way. Have you noticed that the devil will try to create any kind of obsession in order to keep us from shining? And those who stay discouraged do not shine because of the remaining obsessions with things that they were never supposed to be distracted by in the first place!

Our purpose to shine is not for God's benefits, and though it does benefit others, this is also not the purpose for us to shine. We are to shine in order to benefit ourselves! Doubt and discouragement evaporate! Temptations are transformed into opportunities as we take our stand and declare: "You do not attract me any longer! My focus is now on Jesus. He is the One who fills me with adrenaline! I have victory though Him!"

If you wish to be like a glowworm, start being the follower of Christ you have declared to be. Let Him shine through you! You'll see, it will soon come naturally, and it will lead you into a life worth living, a life that will attract others to God because of your brightness.

Dear Lord we pray that we will shine for You. We pray that we will not allow doubt or discouragement cover the light we have from you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Thursday, March 22, 2012


Colossians 3:23-24 (New International Version)
23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.


12 newborns will be given to the wrong parents daily
114,500 mismatched pairs of shoes will be shipped/year
18,322 pieces of mail will be mishandled/hour
2,000,000 documents will be lost by the IRS this year

2.5 million books will be shipped with the wrong covers
Two planes landed at Chicago's O'Hare airport will be unsafe every day
315 entries in Webster's Dictionary will be misspelled
20,000 incorrect drug prescriptions will be written this year

880,000 credit cards in circulation will turn out to have incorrect cardholder information on their magnetic strips
103,260 income tax returns will be processed incorrectly during the year
5.5 million cases of soft drinks produced will be flat
291 pacemaker operations will be performed incorrectly
3056 copies of tomorrow's Wall Street Journal will be missing one of the three sections
A typical day would be 24 hours long (give or take 86.4 seconds)

Dear Lord we pray today that we would do our very best in everything that we do. Help us not just give 99.9%. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

God Will Water the Seeds

1 Corinthians 3:6-7 (New International Version)
6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. 7 So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.

"Back in 1921, a missionary couple named David and Svea Flood went with their two-year-old son from Sweden to the heart of Africa-to what was then called the Belgian Congo. They met up with another young Scandinavian couple, the Ericksons, and the four of them sought God for direction. In those days of much tenderness and devotion and sacrifice, they felt led of the Lord to set out from the main mission station and take the gospel to a remote area.

This was a huge step of faith. At the village of N'dolera they were rebuffed by the chief, who would not let them enter his town for fear of alienating the local gods. The two couples opted to go half a mile up the slope and build their own mud huts.

They prayed for a spiritual breakthrough, but there was none. The only contact with the villagers was a young boy, who was allowed to sell them chickens and eggs twice a week. Svea Flood-a tiny woman only four feet, eight inches tall decided that if this was the only African she could talk to, she would try to lead the boy to Jesus. And in fact, she succeeded.

But there were no other encouragements. Meanwhile, malaria continued to strike one member of the little band after another. In time the Ericksons decided they had had enough suffering and left to return to the central mission station. David and Svea Flood remained near N'dolera to go on alone. Then, of all things, Svea found herself pregnant in the middle of the primitive wilderness. When the time came for her to give birth, the village chief softened enough to allow a midwife to help her. A little girl was born, whom they named Aina.

The delivery, however, was exhausting, and Svea Flood was already weak from bouts of malaria. The birth process was a heavy blow to her stamina. She lasted only another seventeen days.

Inside David Flood, something snapped in that moment. He dug a crude grave, buried his twenty-seven-year-old wife, and then took his children back down the mountain to the mission station. Giving his newborn daughter to the Ericksons, he snarled, "I'm going back to Sweden. I've lost my wife, and I obviously can't take care of this baby. God has ruined my life." With that, he headed for the port, rejecting not only his calling, but God himself."…

(Eventually the baby landed with some missionaries from the States. They changed her first name to "Aggie". Aggie grew up in South Dakota and married a young man named Dewey Hurst. They had two children together and moved to the Seattle area, where there was a large population of Scandinavians.)

"One day a Swedish religious magazine appeared in her mailbox. She had no idea who had sent it, and of course she couldn't read the words. But as she turned the pages, all of a sudden a photo stopped her cold. There in a primitive setting was a grave with a white cross-and on the cross were the words SVEA FLOOD.

Aggie jumped in her car and went straight for a college faculty member who, she knew, could translate the article. "What does this say?" She demanded.

The instructor summarized the story: It was about missionaries who had come to N'dolera long ago ... the birth of a white baby ... the death of the young mother ... the one little African boy who had been led to Christ ... and how, after the whites had all left, the boy had grown up and finally persuaded the chief to let him build a school in the village.

The article said that gradually he won all his students to Christ ... the children led their parents to Christ ... even the chief had become a Christian. Today there were six hundred Christian believers in that one village....

All because of the sacrifice of David and Svea Flood. For the Hursts' twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, the college presented them with the gift of a vacation to Sweden. There Aggie sought to find her real father. An old man now, David Flood had remarried, fathered four more children, and generally dissipated his life with alcohol. He had recently suffered a stroke. Still bitter, he had one rule in his family:

"Never mention the name of God-because God took everything from me."

After an emotional reunion with her half brothers and half sister, Aggie brought up the subject of seeing her father. The others hesitated. "You can talk to him," they replied, "even though he's very ill now. But you need to know that whenever he hears the name of God, he flies into a rage." Aggie was not to be deterred. She walked into the squalid apartment, with liquor bottles everywhere, and approached the seventy-three-year-old man lying in a rumpled bed. "Papa?" She said tentatively. He turned and began to cry. "Aina," he said. "I never meant to give you away." "It's all right, Papa," she replied, taking him gently in her arms. "God took care of me."

The man instantly stiffened. The tears stopped.

"God forgot all of us. Our lives have been like this because of him." He turned his face back to the wall.

Aggie stroked his face and then continued, undaunted. "Papa, I've got a little story to tell you, and it's a true one. You didn't go to Africa in vain. Mama didn't die in vain. The little boy you won to the Lord grew up to win that whole village to Jesus Christ. The one seed you planted just kept growing and growing. Today there are six hundred African people serving the Lord because you were faithful to the call of God in your life....

"Papa, Jesus loves you. He has never hated you."

The old man turned back to look into his daughter's eyes. His body relaxed. He began to talk. And by the end of the afternoon, he had come back to the God he had resented for so many decades.

Over the next few days, father and daughter enjoyed warm moments together. Aggie and her husband soon had to return to America-and within a few weeks, David Flood had gone into eternity."

Dear Lord we pray today that You will use us to share Your love. Help us not get discouraged if we don’t see the fruits. Help us to continue to share Your message. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Don't Leave Me

Psalm 68:5-6 (New International Version)
5 A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
   is God in his holy dwelling.
6 God sets the lonely in families,
   he leads out the prisoners with singing;
   but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.

There was a man who had spent two years in Vietnam and had barely escaped with his life. He spent all that time suffering in the most miserable conditions imaginable. But when asked what the worse thing he had ever suffered during his lifetime, he said this:

"I've raised my granddaughter for most of her life. Her father moved to another state and abandoned her when she was only a few months old. Due to a mental condition, her mother was unable to safely care for her. One time when she was about three years old, her mother took her from us to live with her and an excessively abusive man. We went to visit her in another city, and when we were about to leave, she began hysterically crying, reaching her arms out to me begging, "Papaw, please don't 'left' me!!!"

 There was nothing I could do. Her mother insisted she stay with her. My wife and I cried all the way home, and many nights afterwards we would take turns staying up all night, crying out to God in prayer. I would have to say THAT was the worse pain I've ever suffered. When your (grand) child is hurting and wants to be with you and you are forced to forsake them...that is real suffering.

There is a happy side to my story, however. Shortly after that, she came to live with us again and we still have her. She is well adjusted and is a perfect student in honors classes. There was another Father who had to leave His Son for a brief period of time. His son cried out to Him from the cross, 'My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?!' I think I know a little about what God the Father felt at that moment when His Son Jesus needed Him, but He had to depart as Jesus took our sins upon Himself. Sin causes so much pain."

Perhaps it was that brief moment that Jesus knew that He would be separated from His father that caused Him to say these things to comfort us, as is recorded by the writer of Hebrews:

Hebrews 13:5 KJ (Emphasis mine) " Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have; for He hath said, I will NEVER LEAVE THEE, nor forsake thee."

Though earthly loved ones may abandon us or leave us, God will not, no matter what the circumstances.

Some of you who are lonely and fatherless may not have a Papaw that loves you and will care for you. Or you may have been widowed and left alone, but we all have a Father that loves us, and who is there for us.

Dear Lord thank You for suffering as You offered Your Son, Jesus, for our sins. Your heart must have broken when You could not reach down to Him when He cried out to You! We praise You and thank You for being our Father and placing us into the family of God. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Only Son

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.

A story is told of a ship called the North Star, which left port October 22. The ship had to cross the North Atlantic charting through cold, iceberg-infested waters. A sailor was placed on deck to watch for icebergs. As fate would have it, the watchman fell asleep. When he suddenly awoke, to his horror, he saw a massive iceberg sitting ominously ahead of the ship. The watchman frantically rang the alarm and crewmen tried to correct the ship's direction, but it was too late. There was a jolt, then a sickening slow-motion crunch as the iceberg ground into the ship.

The captain quickly assembled the frightened passengers and crew on deck and announced the extent of the damage. He gave a hopeful glance to the huddled passengers on one side of the deck, and then turned to the other side to face a neatly assembled line of sailors standing at attention. He told them there was still a way to save the ship. A volunteer was needed to jump into the frigid waters and swim into the gash caused by the iceberg. Once inside, the swimmer could close the door to the compartment where the water was entering, saving the ship and all lives on board.

As the captain paused to look silently down the line of sailors, he realized that he would have to go down the line and ask the men individually. The first seaman, with a mournful glance, reminded the captain that he had a wife and kids at home. The next sailor stood quietly, unable to say anything. Suddenly all eyes turned toward a voice that pierced the tense silence. It was the youngest sailor, a teenager, who came forward. He said, "I will do it, captain. Just give the command and I'll enter the water."

The captain turned pale. He wrapped the young sailor in a tight embrace, and then whispered the command, and the sailor quickly took off his shoes and jumped into the water.

As the crowd on deck listened intently, the subtle roar of the water entering the ship stopped. In the silence of that moment, the passengers realized that the young sailor had drowned.

The next morning, as the sun began to raise on the cold, gray horizon, the captain, being a Christian, called everyone together for a service of thanksgiving to the Lord. After singing a few songs, the captain said, "That young man who made such a great sacrifice for us last night ....was my only son."

This story helps us to better understand the meaning of John 3:16, God allowed His only Son to volunteer His life so that you and I might live forever with Him. Now that's devotion! God is so devoted to us that He has paid the ultimate price. All He asks is that we devote our lives to Him in return. And whatever we give to Him, He always gives back to us blessed and glorified.

Dear Lord we thank You for the reminder today that You came to Earth to save each of us, we pray that today we would share that great love with those in our life today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

He Knows My Name

Isaiah 43:1 (New International Version)
But now, this is what the LORD says—
   he who created you, Jacob,
   he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
   I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

They say if you want to make a good first impression on someone, you should use his name.

Folks are flattered that you remembered who they are.

If that's the case, there is a congressman who is in trouble. Let me explain why.

On December 12th, Sergeant Sean Collins, having completed two tours of duty in Iraq and serving his first in Afghanistan, was murdered by a suicide bomber.

In an appropriate show of respect, the congressman of Sean's parents sent a letter of sympathy. It was the appropriate thing to do.

The problem is this: rather than calling Sean by his name, that is: Sean, the letter referred to the sergeant as Byrn. That's right; the congressman got the sergeant's name wrong. Collins' parents said, we "were kind of taken aback by wow! This is probably just a form letter and (nobody) didn't even take the time to proofread it so it was really disappointing."

I think I would be disappointed, too.

Of course, as Christians, that's not something we have to worry about, is it?

It's true that "God loved the world ..." (John 3:16a), but He also loves each of us as individuals.

The Lord listens to prayer, but not just broad, generic prayer. The Lord listens to the petitions of each individual's heart.

The Lord forgives sins, but not just sins in general; He forgives individual sins, special sins, big sins and sins that are troublesome. He especially can forgive those sins we think of as being beyond the scope of forgiveness.

All of this means the Lord who created and formed us, who sent His only Son to redeem us, has called us by our names.

We are His.

Dear Lord we thank You for knowing our name. We know even the hairs on our head are numbered by you. Thanks for caring for each one of us. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Saint Patrick's Day

Psalm 52:8-9 (King James Version)
 8 But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever. 9 I will praise thee forever, because thou hast done it: and I will wait on thy name; for it is good before thy saints.

St Patrick was born in Britain in the 4th century AD.  It is believed that as a young man, Patrick was kidnapped and taken into slavery to Ireland.  He claimed that his escape from Ireland and his eventual return to Britain was based upon God’s instructions, given to him in a dream.  After his return to Britain, he began to study for the Catholic priesthood.

 Later in life, as a Catholic bishop, Patrick said that he was called to return to Ireland to win over the Irish who held a belief in many Gods.  It is believed that he used the shamrock to illustrate the doctrine of the trinity.

 Although originally being associated with the color blue, gradually green became the representative color for St Patrick’s Day.  It is believed the color green has been associated with the celebration due to the color of the shamrock and the green vegetation found in Ireland.

The symbolic use of the color green is not limited to the St Patrick’s Day holiday.  In the Bible the color green is often associated with a state of blessing from Almighty God. 

As we see the “wearing of the green” on this St Patrick’s Day, let all of us be reminded of our life based upon God’s mercy to us.  Once reminded of God’s mercy shown to us, let’s appreciate His workings by taking advantage of the opportunities that He places before us.   When we have the opportunity, let’s be a good example and encouragement to others who have trusted in Christ.  This means being careful, even on St Patrick’s Day, to set a Godly example of holiness in living as others see our lives of faith.

Dear Lord we pray that we will always remember the great things You have done for us. As we see all the green today let it remind us of Your mercy You have shown to us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Love of God

Ephesians 3:17-19 (New International Version)
17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

A story is told about a father and his son who were minding their sheep in the highlands of Scotland one spring night. The young son tugged at his father's pant leg and asked, "Daddy, how big is God's love?" The father stopped a moment and then pointed and explained, "Son, beyond these gigantic mountains to the south and farther than the eye can see is England." "Aye," said the boy. Then the dad turned, pointed, and said, "And to the north and beyond, farther than the eye can see is the great Atlantic Ocean." "Aye," said the son. The father hesitated a moment and then said, "Well son, God's love is bigger than both those distances." The young son looked amazed, and with a Scottish smile on his face and looking directly into his father's eyes, he said, "Oh daddy, isn't it wonderful! We're standing right here in the middle of it!" With tears in his eyes, the father picked his son up and hugged him.

We, too, are standing in the middle of God's great love. Let us acknowledge Him as the giver of all gifts, His greatest ones being forgiveness, compassion, and love.
God is in control, and causes all things to work together for good for those who love Him, and our God will see us through the rough waters.
Wide, wide as the ocean, High as the heaven above, Deep, deep as the deepest sea Is our Saviour's love.

Dear Lord we thank You for Your gift of love. Thank you for always being there, ready to come to our rescue when we call upon You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.