On Wings Of Eagles

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Monday, March 31, 2014

Do You Welcome Visitors?

Judges 19:20 (NIV)
 “You are welcome at my house,” the old man said. “Let me supply whatever you need. Only don’t spend the night in the square.”

Whitehorse, Yukon has a pair of unique skyscrapers made out of logs. Basically, they are stacked log cabins! These three-story skyscrapers consist of 5 apartments and one store. They are 58 logs high, with each log weighing a minimum of 300 pounds. It makes for a quite unique heavy building! The original foundation in 1947 was in the ground; to support the weight however, concrete footings have been added in recent years.

While the Alaskan Highway was under construction during World War II, the Northwest Staging Route airports and the Canol Pipeline were also being built. To say that housing was at a premium in Whitehorse would have been an understatement. Every hotel and home was overflowing with Air Force and Army personnel and construction crews. Even the riverboats were employed to accommodate the excess workers! And things didn't settle down after the war, either. Whitehorse then became the hub of the Yukon transportation system, and housing remained at a premium. Talk about a great time for real estate investments!

Martin Berrigan, a 70 year old builder, suggested meeting the needs by building the first (and last)  They were the first privately-owned, multiple-dwelling rental accommodation in the Yukon, and they still house people today. In fact, they have become quite a landmark in Whitehorse! (It seems that construction methods were a bit sturdier in the past!)

Some of you may frown and wonder who would want to live in such accommodations; but if you could visit them today you will immediately see that they are loaded with character and charm. Add to this the fact that the apartments have now been insulated, dry-walled and equipped with plumbing, electricity and the latest technologies, and you have one very desirable dwelling!

The purpose for housing has changed dramatically over the centuries. Imagine for example, living in Jerusalem in first century A.D. Unless you were rich, you house was used solely as a place to sleep and store provisions. You lived in the courtyard, and that's where you invited the neighbors to come and share in your meals and conversations. Even as late as the early twentieth century, housing was still people friendly. Doors were left unlocked and neighbors were welcome, even if you were away!

But things have changed however. Houses are now used to keep people . . . OUT! Ah those noisy bothering neighbors! Our houses have turned into mansions of doom. "It's my house, not yours! Get out!"

I wonder if this might be a sign of the fulfillment of Jesus' prophecy: "Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold." (Matt 24:12 NIV)

As Christians , we are urged to be different: "Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:34-35 NIV) But how can we truly love one another with a closed door policy?

Do we always welcome visitors into our home with open arms? Or is our attitude something like this? "What do you want? Money again! What do you take me for?" Or "Jehovah witnesses again! " Or "Who gave you the permission to tell me who to vote for? Go back where you came from!"

Sometimes our attitudes do improve: "What! I just won the lottery and you have a check for me? Come on in! You are more than welcome in my home!"

Wealth is not measured by what we have but by who we know, and it is demonstrated by how well we respond to others.

Who's at your door, now? Will you welcome them with open arms or with clenched fists?

Dear Lord, help us welcome those You bring to us with open arms.  We thank You for what You have given to us and pray that we would be willing to share that wit those around us who need help. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Do You Love Your Enemies?

Matthew 5:44-45 (NIV)
44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

In the Christian catacombs of Rome, the following story (retold in Modern English) was found:

"A rich man named Proculus had hundreds of slaves. The slave named Paulus was so trustworthy that Proculus made him the steward over his whole household. One day Proculus took Paulus with him to the slave market to buy some new workers. Before the bargaining began, they examined the men to see if they were strong and healthy.

Among the slaves stood a weak, old man. Paulus urged his owner to buy this slave.

Proculus answered, "But he is good for nothing."

"Go ahead, buy him," Paulus insisted.

"He is cheap. And I promise that the work in your household will get done even better than before."

So Proculus agreed and purchased the elderly slave. And Paulus made good on his word. The work went better than ever. But Proculus observed that Paulus now worked for two men. The old slave did no work at all, while Paulus tended to him, gave him the best food, and made him rest.

Proculus was curious, so he confronted Paulus, "Who is this slave? You know I value you. I don't mind your protecting this old man. But tell me who he is. Is he your father who has fallen into slavery?"

Paulus answered, "It is someone to whom I owe more than to my father."

"Your teacher, then?"

"No. Somebody to whom I owe even more."

"Who then?"

"This is my enemy."

"Your enemy!"

"Yes. He is the man who killed my father and sold us, the children, as slaves." Proculus stood speechless. "As for me," said Paulus, "I am a disciple of Christ, who has taught us to love our enemies and to reward evil with good.""

Do you love your enemies?

Dear Lord, we pray for our enemies today that they may follow you. Help us be the light that they need to see You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Do You Show Love by Respecting Others?

1 Corinthians 13:4 (NIV)
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

I read this story about a new nurse. Here is how she recounts her story.

I was given the report on my patient's condition for the day. I was warned by the seasoned nurses about his anger. When I made my rounds, I approached his room with caution. I was nervous and my guard was up, wondering what to expect. Before entering the room, I gently knocked on the door.

I was greeted with a reserved, "Thank you for knocking."

As I made my assessment of his condition, I talked with this older gentleman. He explained that he didn't like the way people came in and out of his room with no respect for his feelings. My knock on the door let him know that I respected his privacy. After this, throughout my shift, I did my best to service him in ways that showed him respect.

I knocked before each entrance to his room; I carefully explained each procedure before it was performed; and I listened as he talked about his life. By the end of the day, he began to open up to me about his true feelings regarding his illness.

The next day when I entered his room, he was very chipper. "I have something for you, "he exclaimed. Then he gently handed me a clipping from the newspaper that read: Love is. . . respect. He had personalized the message to me by placing my name at the top and his at the bottom. This new nurse was given a big lesson, through this patient.

I kept that clipping and I hung it on my bedroom mirror. Each day as I looked in my mirror, it served me as a daily reminder to respect others.

What a great lesson for each of us. We all need a reminder of what love is. That is why the apostle Paul wrote 1 Corinthians, chapter, 13 It is known as the 'Love Chapter' of the Bible. There Paul lists the various actions that love consists of. He does not say love is an emotion, but as you read the list, you see that love is an action performed by a motive to do the right thing. I like to read this chapter often, to remind myself how to treat others.

Her simple action of knocking on her patient’s door showed that she respected him. Who would have ever thought that such a simple action would bring about a powerful change?

Do you show love by respecting others?

Dear Lord, help us show the respect to those around us.  Help them see our love through our respect. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Is Your Love Visible?

Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV)
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

"Who is responsible for this?" the Pastor asked. "I can't believe that no one has taken care of it. I have been getting phones calls for two days. I didn't know what to tell them."

For longer than anyone can remember the old Gospel Church atop the hill in Reddington Valley served as a beacon for those who were lost. Not just spiritually but even as a land mark for giving directions.

"Turn down Main Street and head toward the brightest star in the sky. You can't miss it," a traveler would hear.

You see, on top of the old church steeple was a big bright star. It was all one piece and lighted by a huge light bulb. They actually had placed it up there as part of a Christmas display and never took it down.

One day the bulb burned out. The entire town was lost without it. It seemed that the locals were all turned about at night. The confusion started when someone passing through happened to stop the mayor to ask for directions.

"I looked up and pointed to the star. It wasn't there. Thinking I was facing the wrong way, I turned around looking for it but couldn't find it," he said. "I think that guy is still riding around town."

Soon the phone started ringing at the Old Gospel Church. People wanted to know what happened. The problem was, even the Pastor didn't know. That star was just always there. He had no idea who kept it lit or where the light bulbs were. That is until the phone rang late that afternoon.

"Pastor. I'm hoping you can help us," the man said. "This is Chief Robertson. We just got back from the Delaney house. We found old Jim Delaney dead. It seems he's been dead about two days."

"I'm sorry. I must tell you that I'm not familiar with the man," the Pastor said. "No one seems to be," the Chief replied. "There are no known relatives or friends available." "Well, if it's a burial service you are looking for, I'd be pleased to do it," said the Pastor. "That would be great. But there is something else. I'd like for you to come by in about an hour if you can. The house is up the dirt road on Bishop's Hill across the valley from your church." "I'll be there," he replied.

The Pastor arrived just as Chief Robertson pulled in. "What is it you wanted me to see, Chief?"

"Come inside. I think you'll need this stuff."

As they entered the home you could see stacks of unopened mail along with various books scattered about.

"Over here, Pastor. I believe this is for you."

There on the mantle of the fireplace was a box with a small white envelope attached. It said "From the star keeper to The Gospel Church"

The note inside it read:

"To whom it may concern:

Back in 1950 my beautiful wife Mildred became ill. We could not afford to place her in a home so for her remaining months on this earth, I took care of her. Before her illness she attended your church every Sunday. It was so very frustrating for her not to be able to attend, once she got sick. But every Sunday I would position her on the front porch so that she could see the church across the valley. It was that Christmas someone placed a star on the steeple. Every night Mildred would say her prayers while gazing out at that star. I had just pushed her chair over to the window that night. She was barely able to breathe. As I pulled the shade up I heard her quietly say, "The star. The star is gone." As I turned around she slumped over with one last sigh. The star indeed was not lit that night.

After her burial I approached the Pastor and made a deal with him. I agreed to keep the star lit for as long as I am alive as a memorial to my wife. So many people had loved that image during the holidays that he agreed to it.

I am near my journey's end. The church can sell my property and all I own in exchange for a favor. I have provided enough light bulbs in this box to keep the star lit a few more years. The key to the church door is inside this envelope. Please find someone who can take on the task of keeping the star lit after my death. I loved my wife so very much. I want that star to serve as an example of what love can be.

You can say you love someone but it is not until you show it that love is made visible."

"When did you say he died, Chief?" "Two days ago according to the coroner." "That's when the star burned out, Chief."

"Consider it done, Mr. Delaney. Consider it done," said the Pastor.

Do you take the opportunity to share love for someone. Do you go out of the way to do something that shows your love. Jesus did that many years ago for each of us.  If You haven’t accepted God’s gift of love why not take it today.

Dear Lord, we thank You for sharing Your love with us today. Help us take that love and spread it to those that come into our life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Are You Melting the Ice?

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

Great love for Christ is one of the quickest ways to ascend to a mastery of life. One such master is Bishop Victor Belikh, a Ukranian Christian from Kishinev. He had spent twenty-four years in Communist jails. The first twenty he passed in solitary confinement without ever knowing anything about his family and friends. He was allowed no family visits and no correspondence.

Every evening a straw mattress was put in the cell for him to sleep on for seven hours. In the morning it was taken away. The rest of the time he was not allowed to lie down even on the cold concrete, nor was he allowed to sit or stand still on it. For seventeen hours a day he had to walk around his cell uninterruptedly, as horses do in a circus. He was surveyed by jailers through the peephole in the cell door. If he stopped or broke down, they threw buckets of water on him or beat him and he was forced to continue. After twenty years of such a regime, he was sent for another four years to forced labor in northern Siberia, where the ice never melts.

He was asked, "How could you bear this suffering after the years in solitary confinement and a starvation diet?" He replied by singing a song he composed: "With the flames of love's fire that Jesus kindled in my heart, I caused the ice of Siberia to melt. Hallelujah!" His face shone. The Bible writes that the face of Stephen, first martyr of Christianity, shone when he was sentenced to death.

God has given us each the possibility is given to each of us to become such conquerors of life. This is not only the grace of God but also assiduous work on your own character. It is as if at birth we are given a block of marble, a hammer, a chisel, and are told, "You can hew out of this the image of an emperor." Jesus does not wish to be the only most holy Person, but the first among many brothers and sisters of the same kind. We are all called to be holy.

Men put into Belikh's situation are rare, but many men in deportation, in labor camps, in places devastated by war and revolution, even many poor in rich countries, have no shelter from the cold. But there is another kind of cold. It is often icy cold in well-to-do homes. Love has grown cold. There is no longer a smile or pleasant gesture for those who were once loved. Spouses, parents, children, friends have become alienated from each other.

In Jesus' time there was no electricity. The smallest light had to be kept burning. There were not even matches to kindle a fire. One had to be very thrifty. Jesus says about himself that "He will not quench a smoking flax."   If everyone around you is icy, don't despair. Ice can be made to melt if the fire of Jesus' love burns in your heart.

Dear Lord, help us be the light and fire that the world needs.  Help Your fire burn brightly in us today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Power of Love

Romans 5:8  (NIV)
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Consider this: 78-year-old Aleida Huissen of Rotterdam has been smoking for 50 years. For almost 50 years Huissen has been trying to give up the habit.

Like so many, Huissen had failed time and again. She kept failing, that is, until recently. Today she has given up her cigarettes, her cigars, and her pipes.

Would you like to know the secret of her success? I'll share it, although it probably won't be of help to anyone else. Her secret weapon against smoking is Leo Jansen.

That's right, Leo Jansen, age 79.

Jansen asked Huissen to marry him, but he refused to tie the knot until his true love stopped smoking.

Huissen says, "Willpower never was enough to get me off the tobacco habit. Love did it."

Chalk up another victory for love. Love has seen many other such victories over the centuries. Love has ended wars. Love has made life bearable for millions. Love can transform our days from something bearable to something wonderful.

And -- lest we forget -- the power of love is active every day and not just on the day named after the Christian martyr, Valentine.

Of course, when we talk of love, we'd be terribly remiss if we didn't point to the greatest love this is the love humanity has received from the Triune God.

The Lord's love is incredibly unique.

God's love gives when people don't want it. God's love gives when people feel they don't need it. God's love is self-starting, self-maintaining, and self-sufficient. God's love reaches out to those who are unwanted, uncared for, and physically unattractive. God's love is not stopped by political boundaries, by the clock's ticking, or even by the grave.

God's love is personified in Jesus, and it comes to us by the Holy Spirit's power.

And when God's love finds a place in sinful hearts, it forgives, transforms, and restores.

Dear Lord, we pray today that we take the chances that are before us to show Your love. Thank You for Your love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Your Last Day

Proverbs 27:1 (NIV)
Do not boast about tomorrow,
    for you do not know what a day may bring.

"This is to inform you that today will be your last day. Please make every effort to get your affairs in order and take care of all last minute contacts."

He knew it was coming, but still he was shocked.

"Time seemed to fly by," he thought to himself. "I had so many great things going. I don't understand why this should happen now."

But often this happens with no particular explanation, rhyme or reason.

He was angry, confused and saddened by it all. But after some reflection and a few tears he began gathering his belongings.

Then pulling out his address book he started with the "A's" and made his final phone calls.

"I've always enjoyed my conversations with you, Jim. I just wanted to tell you that I think you have some great talent. Don't waste a moment of time. Keep working as hard as you do and you'll make it," he told one person.

"You've been my strength, my inspiration through all of these years. If I haven't told you enough, I hope you know how much I love you and your family," he said to another.

In just a few short hours he was able to reach most everyone he wanted to talk to. He even contacted some of the people on his email list with whom he had casual contact over the past few years.

On the way home he stopped by his barber to say thanks for the great job she did. "It took some magic to make me look good," he joked with her. They hugged, shed a few tears and he continued on.

Arriving at home, he wrote out a few personal note cards he wanted to leave for the mailman, the mechanic who kept his car is such great shape, the woman behind the meat counter at the market. "You always gave me such great service and you have such a beautiful smile," he wrote to her.

Before his family arrived he decided to take a walk around the neighborhood. Along the way he smiled and greeted everyone with a cheerful, "Great day, isn't it?"

Passing by the park he succumbed to his child-like desires and spent a few minutes on the swings and sliding board. Laughing and giggling, he drew the attention of some of the parents. Seeing the joy on his face, they joined in.

As he continued around the neighborhood he stopped by the local flower shop and bought all the daisies they had. Taking this walk full circle he handed a flower to everyone who passed by. "Take time to enjoy the beauty of the world. You are so much a part of it!" He told each one.

Yes, it seemed like this last day might very well be his best day.

He returned home to the comfort and love of his family. They talked for hours about the wonderful times they shared and how grateful they were to him for all he had done for them.

Then in the early morning hours, as he lay in the arms of his loving wife, surrounded by his children, he breathed his last breath on his last day.

The reality is we never do get that notice. Few ever have the time to get all of their affairs in order. We may not have that last chance to tell those we love how much they mean to us. We don't have the 24 hours to thank the people in our lives, give encouragement to those who need it, appreciate the kindness of those who touch our lives daily or give the gift of hope to perfect strangers.

How wonderful it would be if we could.

You can, you know. Live each day as if it were your last.

Live life in love and on your last day, you'll leave in peace.

Dear Lord, help us take the time to appreciate the things that You have given to us. Help us enjoy the people that You bring into our life and let them know what they mean to us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Does Your Faith Move Mountains?

Matthew 17:20 (NIV)
He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

She started as a simple children minister, this friend of mine. Her heart was set on making a difference in their young lives. She was good at it, especially since she invested so much time in children and believed earnestly that God would move mountains like never before. Open to God's Holy Spirit, she felt impressed to approach the local public elementary schools; for she noticed that many children came to school hungry. She introduced breakfast clubs in many of these public schools of that city, relying solely on God for volunteers and donations. Not once did she beg for money.

Her love did not stop there. Many of these poor kids would never experience a proper Thanksgiving dinner not a Christmas dinner. God enlarged her territory as she touched these lives with her tender care.

When one door opens, others soon open as well. Noticing that many young children were wandering the streets, she suggested a weekly after-school program, where youngsters could learn trades of interest, such as sewing, cooking, woodworking, playing drums, guitars… It became a huge success. Lots of kids took advantage of this program and experienced firsthand that love sure makes a difference.

She eventually adapted a whole downtown street of her city, a street far from desirable for the middle class, as vandalism was the norm. With her volunteers and her love, she touched many lives in that street through the programs she was offering, and with hope in the horizon, people changed.

She was officially recognized by the Board of Education. Funds were offered to her through companies, the city, and even the government. She had done what many considered impossible. All because of faith and extreme love.

There are still many churches out there that hunger to have the opportunity to serve in a public school, but their agendas are more important than fulfilling the real needs. Public schools in the surrounding cities of this dynamic children's ministry started to contact their local churches to encourage them to begin similar programs, especially related to feeding the hungry. But the local churches turned them down. They did not have the volunteers, the finances, the facilities … However churches were willing to come to the schools with their own agendas.

Sadly, these public schools were left wanting, wondering if there is any love out there.

We may have faith issues that hamper us from experiencing the supernatural.

"Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." (Matt 17:20 NIV)

But we face even larger obstacles if we don't know how to love.

"If I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing." (1 Cor 13:2 NIV)

Faith and a willingness to love are the key ingredients to moving mountains. Without these, we will be pushing along, without any results, for a long, long time.

Remember nothing is impossible if we have love from above!

Dear Lord, we pray that as we strive to serve You that we would have the love that You give to each of us. Help the things that we do bring honor to you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Are You Doing What Jesus Ask You to Do.

Matthew 5:43-44 (NIV)
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

Patrick Greene is an atheist.

Patrick Greene is the kind of atheist who believes in taking a stand when something rankles him. The fact that Henderson County, Texas, a place five hours north of his San Antonio home, put a nativity set on a courthouse square rankled Patrick Greene a lot.

Believing a religious Christmas symbol didn't belong on government property, Greene went to Henderson County, promised to lead a rally, and file a lawsuit if things didn't change.

Well, things changed.

Mr. Greene backed out of his threats when he found he had a detached retina and was going blind. He had to quit his job as a taxi driver and had to figure out how to make ends meet. Making ends meet was especially troublesome since he had no health insurance, and his disability hadn't come through.

The news about Mr. Greene made Jessica Crye, a member of San Springs Baptist Church, give thanks to the Lord. No, she wasn't thanking God the threatened lawsuit had been dropped. She was thanking God the Christian community had been given a chance to show the kind of stuff the Savior's people do.

She, with her church, organized a fundraiser. Hundreds of dollars were sent to Patrick Greene. It was enough to put food on his table 'til assistance arrives. Other Christians offered to pay for his surgery, a gift Greene declined since the success of the surgery was not a guaranteed proposition.

As Pastor Erick Graham said, "We don't discriminate on who we help, whether they are Christians or non-Christians, church members or not, we just help those with a need."

I think those gifts and donations must have made the Savior smile. Somebody understood what He meant when He said we should "love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us." Indeed, Jesus did more than say those words: He lived those words.

He was born into a world that didn't want Him; He was misunderstood and hated by those whom He had come to save. He was deserted by His church, let down by His government, betrayed by a disciple, and deserted by His friends. Yet, never was there a time when Jesus didn't love His enemies or pray for those who persecuted Him.

This is why we, who are the beneficiaries of His life, love and sacrifice, should do the best we can to reflect His Spirit to others. It can make a difference.

Dear Lord, help us to reflect Your love to others, so they might see the greatness of Your grace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Piggy Bank and a Miracle

Mark 16:20  (NIV)
Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.

Sally was only eight years old when she heard Mommy and Daddy talking about her little brother, Georgi. He was very sick and they had done everything they could afford to save his life. Only a very expensive surgery could help him now . . . and that was out of the financial question. She heard Daddy say it with a whispered desperation,

"Only a miracle can save him now."

Sally went to her bedroom and pulled her piggy-bank from its hiding place in the closet. She shook all the change out on the floor and counted it carefully. Three times. The total had to be exactly perfect. No chance here for mistakes. Tying the coins up in a cold-weather-kerchief, she slipped out of the apartment and made her way to the corner drug store.

She waited patiently for the pharmacist to give her attention . . but he was too busy talking to another man to be bothered by an eight-year-old. Sally twisted her feet to make a scuffing noise.

She cleared her throat. No good. Finally she took a quarter from its hiding place and banged it on the glass counter. That did it!

"And what do you want?" the pharmacist asked in an annoyed tone of voice. "I'm talking to my brother."

"Well, I want to talk to you about my brother," Sally answered back in the same annoyed tone. "He's sick . .. . and I want to buy a miracle."

"I beg your pardon," said the pharmacist.

"My Daddy says only a miracle can save him now . . . so how much does a miracle cost?"

"We don't sell miracles here, little girl. I can't help you."

"Listen, I have the money to pay for it. Just tell me how much it costs."

The well-dressed man stooped down and asked, "What kind of a miracle does you brother need?"

"I don't know," Sally answered. A tear started down her cheek. "I just know he's really sick and Mommy says he needs an operation. But my folks can't pay for it . . . so I have my money.

"How much do you have?" asked the well-dressed man.

"A dollar and eleven cents," Sally answered proudly. "And it's all the money I have in the world."

"Well, what a coincidence," smiled the well-dressed man. A dollar and eleven cents . . . the exact price of a miracle to save a little brother.

He took her money in one hand and with the other hand he grasped her mitten and said "Take me to where you live. I want to see your brother and meet your parents."

That well-dressed man was Dr. Carlton Armstrong, renowned surgeon. . specializing in solving Georgi's malady. The operation was completed without charge and it wasn't long until Georgi was home again and doing well. Mommy and Daddy were happily talking about the chain of events that had led them to this place.

"That surgery," Mommy whispered. "It's like a miracle. I wonder how much it would have cost?

Sally smiled to herself. She knew exactly how much a miracle cost... one dollar and eleven cents... plus the faith of a little child.

Do you have the faith that God will perform the miracle you need? Trust Him today just as Sally trusted for the miracle that her brother needed.

Dear Lord, we thank You that You are the God of miracles. Help us to believe when we ask that You will take care of it, and when You helps us to remember to thank You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Friday, March 21, 2014

What’s per..spek...tuv?

Hebrews 12:2-3 (NIV)
2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

A man explains to his young grandson why people view time differently.

"I'm bored!" The young child said.

"Bored? Why are you bored?" Grandpa asked.

"The day is dragging by," the child replied. "I can't believe how slow the time is moving. I want to go on vacation to the shore and that's not until August."

"Time for me is moving too fast. It seems like just yesterday your daddy was your age. Now he's grown with his own child," the old man said. "Grandpa, how can time move slow for me and fast for you?" The old man sat up in his chair, reached into his pocket, and pulled out his pocket watch. It was a classic engraved timepiece, a gold one that would catch the fancy of any young child. "Grandpa, that's awesome!" The young boy said.

"Awesome, indeed!" He said. Then leaning toward the child he whispered, "And it's magical."

"Magical? What can it do?" The child asked.

Grandpa smiled and said, "Put things into perspective!"

"What? What’s per..spek...tuv?"

"Perspective." He said correcting him. "Look." The old man leaned closer to the child. "Watch the hands. In particular watch the second hand." The two of them sat nearly head to head watching the hand clicking off the seconds.

"What's it doing?" The child asked.

"One, two, three, four, five, six...." the old man counted. "Now, you hold it." The old man carefully placed the watch in his hand. To a child his age, it was like holding a golden toy, one of those forbidden "things he should never touch." "Tell me what you see," Grandpa said.

The child, trying as hard as he could to see the magic, the "per...spek...tuv," stopped looking in frustration. "Grandpa, I don’t see anything," he said.

"Look again, count the clicks," he urged the child.

"One, two, three, four, five...."

"Keep going," Grandpa said.

"Six, seven, eight, nine, ten..."

"Don't stop!"

"This is boring!" The young child said.

"It's moving too fast," Grandpa said.

"It's not," the child told him. "It's the same as when you counted it."

The old man sat up and smiled.


The young boy looked at him for a few seconds, then back down at the watch. "I don't get it," he said.

"Because I am older, I see the hand on the watch sweeping past the numbers. Because you are young, you see them clicking slowly by. Time is how you see it, how much you value it, how long you've lived it. You see all the time in the world. I want to see all the world in the time I have left."

"But it's the same time," said the boy.

"Perpective," the grandfather said as he reached over to hug the child.

It would be a few years later, long after that moment was forgotten by the young child, that the old man passed away. Sitting at home with his parents after the funeral that day, the boy, now in his early teens, sat quietly at the dinner table.

His father walked in and placed a small box in front of him.

"What's this?" He asked.

"Grandpa told me to give this to you."

A chill washed over the young man as he sat up and held the small box.

"He said you would appreciate it. He said it was magical," his mother added.

Now fumbling nervously to open the box, he unwrapped the faded white tissue paper.

"Oh, Pop," he whispered.

"Open it up," Dad urged.

It all came rushing back to him. There on the inside cover he discovered an engraving that hadn’t been there before.

"Do you understand what it means, because I don't," said his dad.

"Per...spek...tuv," he read.

Tears that little boys shed and young men won't acknowledge slipped slowly down his cheeks.

"Come here, Dad. Sit next to me and I'll show you the magic."

Time passes, but love never dies.

Dear Lord, help us keep the things in life in perspective.  Help us not forget the important things. Help us to always take the time to show love.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

He Did It For You

2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV)
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

James and Kati Kim left San Francisco to travel to Seattle for Thanksgiving. With the holiday over, they started home. There was to be a night at an expensive lodge on November 25. But they missed their turnoff from Interstate 5 and, after checking a road map, decided to get off and travel a secondary road to their destination at Gold Beach, Oregon.

With their daughters, four-year-old Penelope and seven-month-old Sabine, they drove for about a dozen miles. Then, in what would prove to be a terrible mistake, they took a fork to the right and started down the road where they would soon be stranded. Because of the danger of that route during winter, there is a locked metal gate to keep people from going that way. It was secured against traffic November 1. But a vandal had cut the lock and done away with the barrier!

Thus four people came to be stranded in rugged territory. They couldn't get a cell phone signal. All they could do was try to survive until either they could figure a way out of the remote area or search teams could find them.

Dwindling gasoline meant they could warm their car only occasionally. They found some wood to burn and then burned their car tires. When they exhausted their baby food and bottled water, they melted snow. Kati nursed the two girls. Stranded for more than a week now, James knew he had to do something. On Saturday, December 2, he started out on foot in the direction he and Kati believed the nearest help could be found. He walked for more than ten miles in the snow before dying of exposure and hypothermia.

Searchers found and saved Kim’s wife and daughters on Monday, December 4. His body was found two days later. There would be no fairy-tale ending to the story. People around the world have grieved with the 35-year-old man’s family.

The story is a moving testimony to one man’s love for his family. For many Christians, it is yet another metaphor for the mission of the one whose birth we celebrate in the Christmas season. In a world that headlines crime and abuse, terrorism and violence, indifference and turning away, love still exists. Great sacrifices are still made. Humans created in God’s very image are capable of imitating his own self-giving love.

James Kim’s desperate attempt to save them is a testimony to one man’s love for his family. As one person put it, he leaves them this legacy: “I did it for you!”

If you’re struggling to find your way, Jesus has been trying to get through to you since Bethlehem. It was so perilous a mission that it cost him his life. The gospel says he did it for you. And – in case you've wondered – yes, he’d do it all again.

Dear Lord, Thank You for what You did for us. Help us never forget the great love You showed by giving your Life so that we may have eternal Life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

How Come?

Ephesians 5:14-17 (NIV)
14 This is why it is said:
“Wake up, sleeper,
    rise from the dead,
    and Christ will shine on you.”
15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.

How come we are so quick to forward emails defaming presidential candidates, but we are so indifferent towards the plight of the oppressed?

How come we cry "wolf" when confronted with homosexuality, but bury our heads when other parts of the world are facing ethnic cleansing?

How come we complain so much about gas prices, but ignore the fact that so many homeless live in the streets of our city?

How come we blow up when we don't receive a pay raise, but we forget about those who don't even have enough money for one meal a day?

How come we become outraged when taxes increase, but close our ears towards the cries of our persecuted brothers and sisters?

Have we forgotten our priorities?

Have we forgotten how Jesus urges us to love one another?

It is only by loving others that we will we be able to reach out to them. Indifference and selfishness close the doors of opportunity, while love, when propelled by God's Spirit, opens the gates of Heaven!

One man left His entire realm behind. He forsook His fortune. He relinquished His position. He said goodbye to His family and friends. He fixed His focus on the oppressed and the abandoned as well as the homeless and the widowed. "I have come to set you free" became his motto. "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." (Luke 4:18-19 NIV) Our salvation was at the core of His heart. Our eternity was His purpose. He died a cruel death to pay the price which would set us free, if only we accept His offer.

Have we forgotten to walk in His footsteps? Has His interest really become our main focus in life? Have we let His love truly invade our soul? Are we fighting for the plight of the underprivileged? Are we broadcasting the freedom obtained by our Lord and Master?

Or do we prefer to sit comfortably in front of our media center, echoing the complaints of this world?

Is it possible that we may be serving a different master? Do we truthfully believe in the message of hope proclaimed in the gospel?

Let's not lose sight of who we are in Christ. Let's not lose sight of the One we are supposed to be following.

Dear Lord, help us not lose sight of You.  Help us not serve two masters. Thank You for loving us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A Lesson Taught Through Tilley

Hebrews 13:1-2 (NIV)
1 Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. 2 Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.

She walked slowly into the beautiful church. She had dressed in her best dress and her favorite hat. A slight smile touched her lips. She was in God’s house, and she was so happy. She had no idea that her coat smelled of moth balls and the hat was stained.

Heads turned toward her and whispers were going strong in the congregation.

Tilley put her head down and walked to a pew to sit down. When she sat down, a couple got up and moved. It was as if everyone in the place was looking at her. How she wished Sharon would hurry up.

Sharon walked into the church with a warm smile that soon faded. She saw Tilley sitting alone in a pew with tears rolling down her cheeks. Sharon sat down and put her arm around Tilley and held her close.

She whispered to Tilley, “We can leave if you want. We don’t need to stay here.”

Tilley shook her head. She had dressed up and come to church and she was going to stay.

By now the pastor noticed the stir in the church and looked around. He soon became well aware of what was going on. He walked to the back of the church to welcome both Tilley and Sharon.

He leaned over and asked Tilley, “Would you ladies do me the honor of sitting in the front pew with me?”

A shine entered into Tilley’s eyes and she nodded.

The music had started and it was just beautiful. Tilley was now so glad she had stayed.

After the music stopped, Sharon leaned over to ask the Pastor a question.

He smiled and said, “Please do.”

Sharon stood in front of the church and squared her shoulders. “Today is a very special day for Tilley, it is her birthday and she is 90 years young. All she wanted for her birthday was to go to church. We picked this one out for it is lovely. I want to personally thank each of you for your kindness.”

One could have heard a pin drop.

The Pastor stood and walked to the pulpit. He looked over the congregation and said, “I had a sermon all ready for today but I do believe I need to change it. Today we need to go to Hebrews 13:1&2.

He read the Scripture loud and clear. Once again he looked at the congregation and said, “I hope each and every one of you go home and think on not only this Scripture but how Christ-like you acted today. May God go with you all.”

Sharon and Tilley stood to leave and he walked over to them and gave each of them a hug. “Tilley, I pray that you have a blessed birthday and I so thank you for coming here and sharing your day with us. I also thank you for showing all of us a hard lesson, one we needed to learn.

Dear Lord, We pray that we would show Your love to all those around us whether it be friends or strangers. Help us be a blessing to all those around us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.