On Wings Of Eagles

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Monday, June 30, 2014

The Helmet

Ephesians 6:17 (NIV)
Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

I have almost never worn a hat but both my sons love wearing hats.  I have never had the desire to wear a hat especially a helmet, they are too heavy for my taste, but boy, they sure were useful during a battle in Roman times! Helmets were usually made of leather, with plates of metal sometimes strategically placed at the temples and forehead. It was used as a softening device against blows to the head during hand-to-hand combat. They were also practical if you fell from your horse! A bit like the hockey helmets we use today.

Protecting one's head is of extreme importance. One blow against the head can not only paralyze an individual or cause extreme brain injury, but may kill him as well! Our minds are also extremely important to protect, for it is here that you find the battle ground between good and evil.

"For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." (2 Cor 10:3-6 NIV)

Many of us have no idea what is happening in our heads. Many times we are ashamed by sudden thoughts that flood our minds. While at times these can initiate from our own thoughts, they can also be planted there, by demons straight from hell!

If we don't consciously decide to stand up for the truth, we will end up like burned toast, if you know what I mean. We need to constantly remember (Just like we parents remind our kids to wear helmets even though they will grunt and complaint) who our deliverer is, and firmly believe in His promises, for unlike us, He keeps them! He is the only One who can assure us a God-pleasing life. "But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Cor 15:57 NIV)

Only by claiming His promises and being 100% convinced that He will come through for us, will we be filled with anticipation: There is something better just ahead. God is in control, even though our senses may tell us otherwise!

"Don't be afraid. Stand firm and watch God do his work of salvation for you today." (Ex 14:13)

Anticipate His deliverance and watch His power unfold for you.

Dear Lord, may we protect our minds with the promises You have given to us.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.  

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Stalked By God

Psalm 23:6 (NIV)
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord

Stalking, we have all seen it on television, heard about it on the news and watched it at the movies.

Stalking is an age old practice of animals and humans. Predatory animals like bears, wolves and those from the large cat family stalk their quarry. Ambling right up to a food source would only result in it running away. So they stalk. Cats crouch, wolves run in packs and bears suddenly appear and pounce. Regardless of the method, it's preceded by stalking. Human stalkers often act with typical animal behavior. Victims are selected, followed, observed, often contacted and sometimes assaulted and even murdered.

David's sheep were stalked by wild animals, but David was hounded by God's goodness and mercy: "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life".

God stalks his children with goodness and mercy. He even stalks those who want nothing to do with him. God's common grace-in the form of sunshine, rain and other blessings, falls on those who love him and those who don't. But those who worship God receive extra measures of goodness and mercy. They also appreciate and channel it.

God's goodness and mercy are unconditional and unending. We don't deserve either, but he gives them nevertheless. These virtues stalk us when we're good and when we're not so good. We can't work for them but only receive and enjoy them. God stalks us when we're stagnant so we'll grow. He stalks us when we're growing spiritually so we'll grow more. And he stalks when he's ignored to get the attention of those ignoring him. His love won't allow him to do less. God does the stalking but it's our responsibility to determine his purpose.

Dear Lord, we thank You for being a merciful God. We thank You for stalking us with virtues that we don't deserve. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

A real Life Example of Showing Kindness.

Ephesians 4:32 (NIV)
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Earlier this week I read a story that showed real kindness. As you read the story think about a way you can show kindness not only today but every day.

If you had to choose one word to describe Kevin, it might be "slow." Kevin didn't learn his ABCs as fast as other kids. He never came in first in the schoolyard races. However, Kevin had a special rapport with people. His bright smile and big heart won him plenty of friends.

When Kevin discovered that the pastor at his church, Randy Jessen, was putting together a boys basketball team, his mother let him participate. And soon basketball became a center of Kevin's life. He worked hard at practice. While the other boys practiced dribbling and lay-ups, Kevin shot baskets. He had a special spot near the free throw line. He threw and threw the ball, and it occasionally went in! When that happened, Kevin raised his arms and shouted, "Look at me, Coach!"

The day before their first game, Coach Randy gave each player a bright red jersey. Kevin was number 12. He scrambled himself into the sleeves and wore that jersey almost every day. One Sunday morning, the church service was interrupted by Kevin's excited voice. "Look, Coach!" He lifted his gray wool sweater to reveal the red jersey underneath with number 12 on the front. Nobody minded the interruption; the church knew Kevin and loved him.

I'd like to be able to tell you that the team did well. Actually, they never won a game that season -- except for the night it snowed and the other team never showed up. At the end of the season, the boys played in the church league's tournament. As the last-place team, they drew the unfortunate spot of playing against the first-place team -- boys who had never lost a game all year.

The game went as expected, and near the end of the fourth quarter Kevin's team stood nearly 30 points behind. It was then that one of the boys called timeout. "Coach," he said, "this is our last game and Kevin's never made a basket. I think we should let him make a basket." The team agreed. Kevin was instructed to stand at his special place near the free throw line and wait. He was told that when he was given the ball, he should shoot.

Kevin was ecstatic. He ran to the floor and waited. When the ball was passed to him he shot -- and missed. Number 17 from the other team snatched the rebound, dribbled down the court for an easy lay-up. But a moment later Kevin got the ball again. He shot -- and missed. Number 17 repeated his performance for another two points. Kevin shot a third and fourth time with the same result.

But then the other team seemed to figure out what was going on and the next time they snatched the rebound, they threw it to Kevin! Kevin shot...and missed. But now every rebound came to him and he threw and threw toward the basket.

BOTH teams had circled Kevin by this time and all of the boys were shouting, "Kevin! Kevin!" The crowd took up the chant. Soon everyone in the gym was shouting for Kevin! Coach Randy was sure the game should have been over by this time and he glanced at the clock. It was stopped at 4.3 seconds! The timekeepers were standing by their table shouting with the crowd, "Kevin! Kevin!" The world had stopped for Kevin. He shot and shot and finally one of his shots took a crazy bounce on the rim and...went in! Chaos reigned! Everyone stood and cheered as if one boy had single-handedly won a world championship. Kevin's arms sprang up in the air and he shouted, "I won! I won!" His team escorted him off the court, the clock ticked down and the game was over.

That day an undefeated team retained their perfect record. But everybody won. Everybody! Because everybody had participated in a crazy conspiracy of kindness, a simple act of mercy, that was so compelling, so powerful, that I'm sure all of heaven rejoiced!

How can you show kindness today?

Dear Lord, we pray that our eyes and hearts will be open today so that we can see how and where we can show kindness. Let Your love show through us today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Do You Need A Mulligan?

Ephesians 1:7-8 (NIV)
7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding.

Have you ever wondered what would happen if certain Bible characters sent letters of application for ministry positions in a church? Would the Thursday night search committee meeting sound something like this?

"Let's talk about this Adam."

"Well, he seems like a good man, but he takes bad directions from his wife. And you don't even want to know what he wears in the woods."

"How about Noah?"

"He's prone to taking on huge building projects without a permit. He's a pessimist too."

"What about Joseph?"

"Brags too much. Has a prison record. He's even been accused of adultery."

"And Moses?"

"Are you kidding? He's a lousy communicator. He stutters and stammers. He has a bad temper and has been known to hit things with a stick."

"So he's a golfer then?"

"That's another of his shortcomings."

"What do you know about Job?"

"Well, he's loaded, so he won't need a salary. But he's pretty gloomy. He complains too much."

"David looks like he has promise."

"Yes, but his kids are out of control, and his wives are a handful. To make matters worse, he's a strong proponent of instrumental music in worship."

"Tell me about Solomon."

"Well, he has a good head on his shoulders, but he's got problems when it comes to building projects. It took him seven years to complete the temple and thirteen years to build his palace. I guess he was trying to please all those wives."

"What about Elijah?"

"No way. Prone to depression. Collapses under pressure. Spends too much time by himself in the wilderness."

"And Samson?"

"Hair's too long."


"Good runner, but he makes up big fish tales. Has been disobedient to God."


"Not a chance. Works for the IRS."

"What about this John the Baptist?"

"He sure doesn't dress like a Baptist. Strange diet. Makes the Pharisees mad."

"And Peter?"

"Bad temper. Curses sometimes. Claims to have visions."


"Powerful preacher and a good leader. But he's short on tact and has been known to preach all night. Puts people to sleep. Controversial on women's issues. He's single too."

"What about these others on the list?"

"Lazarus is dead."

"Zacchaeus is too short."

"Timothy is way too young."

"Methusaleh is too old."

"Sarah laughed too much."

"What about Judas?"

"Well, let's talk about him. He comes with good character references. Good connections. He's conservative, so he won't rock the boat. Handles money well. Maybe he's the one."

Aren't you glad God in His mercy chose to use the likes of these? They literally shaped the course of human history. And He will do it again through you.

All of us have sinned. But we don't have to live with the guilt. When we truly repent, God forgives and restores us to favor.

Dear Lord, we thank You for being a forgiving God.  We love to see how even though the people in the Bible failed You forgave them and used them. We ask You today to forgive us and to use us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Face of Mercy

Mark 11:25 (NIV)
And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.

I read this statement recently: "To err is dysfunctional, to forgive co-dependent." I sometimes wonder if we believe that. True forgiveness is still one of the most remarkable traits a human can possess!

A few years ago, Hildegard Goss-Mayr of the "International Fellowship of Reconciliation" told this true story.

In the midst of tragic fighting in Lebanon in the 1970s, a Christian seminary student was walking from one village to the next when he was ambushed by an armed Druze guerrilla fighter. The Druze ordered his captive down a mountain trail where he was to be shot.

But an amazing thing happened. The seminarian, who had received military training, was able to surprise his captor and disarm him. Now, the table was turned, and it was the Druze who was ordered down the trail.

As they walked, however, the student of theology began to reflect on what was happening. Recalling the words of Jesus, "Love your enemies; do good to those who hate you; turn the other cheek," he found he could go no further. He threw the gun into the bushes, told the Druze he was free to go and turned back up the hill.

Minutes later, he heard footsteps running behind him as he walked. "Is this the end after all?" He wondered. Perhaps the Druze had retrieved the gun and wanted to finish him off. But he continued on, never glancing back, until his enemy reached him, only to grab him in an embrace and pour out thanks for sparing his life.

Mercy often wears the face of forgiveness. And though it usually isn't an enemy in uniform that we are challenged to forgive, we have opportunities for mercy every day. Family members and friends, co-workers and neighbors and even strangers have need for our forgiveness. You know who they are.

Dear Lord, gives us a heart of forgiveness. Help us forgive those around us so that they may see Your love though us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Power of Forgivness.

Hosea 6:6  (NIV)
For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.

A few years ago a tragic accident happened on the back roads. A Christian man, a humble servant of the Lord, a sweet husband to his devoted wife, and a terrific dad to a couple of dynamic tweens, was hit head-on by a drunk driver. He died on impact.

The drunk survived the ordeal and was facing heavy criminal charges. Public opinion was that this guy should rot in prison. No mercy for such an offence!

The mourning family, however, was not a normal, every-day typically common kind of family. They were close to one another through an invincible bound called divine love. They got together and pondered out loud: What would Jesus do in our circumstances?

One thing they knew for certain was that their Master would not linger in self-pity and unforgiveness. They were convinced they had to reach out somehow to the guilty drunkard. Early one morning, the son and daughter of the victimized dad went down to the prison to visit the drunk. To the utter amazement of the guards, although both son and daughter were deep in grief, they hugged the man and forgave him for his actions.

The surprised criminal couldn't stop his emotions from overcoming him. He crumbled to his knees and started to cry. Instead of a fist in his face, which is what he expected and knew he deserved, he received mercy. He received love instead of utter contempt. He received divine grace instead of condemnation.

Surprisingly, both the son and daughter visited that prisoner regularly. They had truly forgiven the one who had killed their dad.

"For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings." Hosea 6:6

One of God's greatest desires is that we show mercy towards one another. Although important, sacrifices, offerings and going to church are inconsequential if mercy is not part of our lives.

How would I react if this true episode had happened to me? How would I face the one who murdered my mom, my wife or my son?

Dear Lord, we pray that we would have the heart of forgiveness. Help our hearts be filled with Your love and forgiveness so that we can show it to others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Are You Maturing In Christ Today?

Ephesians 4:15 (NIV)
Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.

Roy Robertson was a soldier at Pearl Harbor in 1941: "My ship, , docked at Pearl Harbor on the evening of December 6, 1941. A couple of the fellows and I left the ship that night and attended a Bible study. About fifteen sailors sat in a circle on the floor. The leader asked us to each recite our favorite Scripture verse. In turn each sailor shared a verse and briefly commented on it.

I sat there in terror. I couldn't recall a single verse. I grew up in a Christian home, went to church three times a week, but I sat there terrified. I couldn't recall a single verse. Finally, I remembered one verse - John 3:16. I silently rehearsed it in my mind. The spotlight of attention grew closer as each sailor took his turn. It was up to the fellow next to me. He recited John 3:16. He took my verse! As he commented on it I sat there in stunned humiliation. In a few moments everyone would know that I could not recall from memory even a single verse. Later that night I went to bed thinking, 'Robertson, you're a fake.'

At 7:55 the next morning I was awakened by the ship alarm ordering us to battle stations. 360 planes of the Japanese Imperial Fleet were attacking our ship and the other military installations. My crew and I raced to our machine gun emplacement, but all we had was practice ammunition. So for the first fifteen minutes of the two-hour battle, we only fired blanks hoping to scare the Japanese airplanes.

As I stood there firing fake ammunition I thought, 'Robertson, this is how your whole life has been - firing blanks for Christ.' I made up my mind as Japanese bullets slammed into our ship, "If I escape with my life, I will get serious about following Jesus." Roy Robertson did get serious. He became the first missionary of "The Navigators" and did a lot of work with Billy Graham as well.

Are you growing mature in the Lord or are you firing blanks for Christ?

Dear Lord, help us examine our walk with You today. Help us to seek to grow deeper in maturity with You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Are You Focused on Your Eternal Reward?

1 Peter 1:3-5 (NIV)
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.

What would you do if you won a large sum of money? Now if you are like me I am sure you dreamed about what you would do with millions of dollars.

Have you ever wondered what happened to those who did win the lottery? Here are a few examples as reported by *Richard O'Connor: Ken Proxmire was a machinist when he won $1 million in the Michigan lottery. He moved to California , went into the car business with his brothers and within five years, filed for bankruptcy. Willie Hurt of Lansing , Michigan won $3.1 million in 1989; two years later he was broke and charged with murder. Missourian Janite Lee won $18 million in 1993; eight years later she filed for bankruptcy and had $700 left to her name. William Post won $16.2 million in the Pennsylvania lottery in 1988 but now lives totally on his Social Security ($450 a month). Evelyn Adams of New Jersey won the state lottery not once, but twice (’85, ’86). Her winnings totaled $5.4 million dollars. In 2004 the money was all gone and she was living in a trailer! Adams is quoted as saying, "I won the American dream, but I lost it, too." Post said, "I wish it never happened. It was a total nightmare." Another winner stated, "It was NOT the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow."

As we see, winning – especially winning the lottery – isn’t everything!

Jesus said, "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your TREASURE is, there your HEART will be also" (Matthew 6:19-21).

Why not store up treasures on earth? Because Jesus warned us that earthly treasures are subject to rust, decay, and theft. In fact, this WORLD and ALL of its possessions will one day be GONE (2 Peter 3:10)!

But, again quoting Richard O’Connor: "if your HEART is in heaven, you’ll never be heart broken, because your TREASURES will never grow old, they’ll never fade away, and no thief can steal them from you" (see also 1 Peter 1:3-5; Revelation 21).

An ETERNAL inheritance awaits the faithful child of God....

To become a child of God, one must: believe in Jesus, God’s Son (Acts 16:30-31), repent of sin (Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and be baptized (immersed) in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38). Then, the child of God must continue to live faithfully to the Heavenly Father (1 John 1:7; Revelation 2:10).

Winning isn’t everything when it comes to the material things of this earth. Several lottery winners have proven that! Winning IS everything when it comes to the ETERNAL reward of Heaven! Christ WON the victory in His death, burial, and resurrection. WE must align ourselves with Him in order to enjoy His reward!

Dear Lord, thank You that You won the victory over death. Our prayer today is that we would focus on the eternal reward in heaven rather than the things of this Earth. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Window or Mirror?

1 Timothy 6:9-10 (NIV)
9 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

A rich but miserable man once visited a rabbi seeking understanding of his life and how he might find peace. The rabbi led the man to a window and said, "What do you see?" "I see men, women, and children," answered the rich man. The rabbi then took the man and stood him in front of a mirror. "Now what do you see?" he asked. "I see myself," the rich man replied.

"Yes," said the rabbi. "It is a strange thing, is it not? In the window there is a glass and in the mirror there is a glass. But the glass of the mirror is covered with a little silver, and no sooner is the silver added than you cease to see others, and see only yourself."

Someone has well said: "Money is a good servant - but a poor master. The lure for gold is stronger than the human will, and with many a man it stands between his SOUL and his GOD. Someday it will be discovered that the bars that shut MANY out of the kingdom of heaven are forged of silver and gold!"

The Scriptures warn: "People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows" (1 Tim 6:9-10).

Unfortunately, many do not see God and His will for their lives because they have allowed their vision to become clouded by "a little silver."

Their WINDOW has become a MIRROR!

What do YOU see? Do you see a "temporary reflection" of YOURSELF in a glass containing silver?

Or, are you able to see THROUGH the glass -- beyond yourself -- to LIFE that beckons from the other side?

Dear Lord, help us have our focus on the things You want for us. Help our glass not be cover but be clear.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

A Lesson Learned from a Putter

Matthew 6:19 (NIV)
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.

Jesus cautions us about setting our hearts on material things, which will eventually rust and decay. I read a story about a man that moved his family from Scotland that illustrates that. Check out his story.

When we first came over from Scotland, our family brought many cherished personal belongings that reminded us of the "auld country". Amongst these treasures was an old hickory-shafted putter that I had owned since I was a child. I bought it at a flea market for about five shillings. Whenever and wherever I played golf, I took the putter with me.

I was much too busy to play golf on a regular basis when I arrived in North America, so eventually I stored my golf clubs in the shed at the bottom of the garden. I thought they would be safe there, because I kept them under lock and key.

Several years passed by, and then I was invited to take part in a golf tournament for a local mission. The organizers were trying to raise money for homeless people. I suggested that they could put up my Scottish putter, which had been hand-made in St. Andrews, as a special prize. They were delighted with the offer, for they believed it would help raise a lot of money.

I went back to the shed and unlocked the door. I looked for the putter in the golf bag, but it wasn't there. I turned the bag upside down, and suddenly the steel head of the putter clanged on the ground. The hickory staff had been completely eaten by termites. My cherished Scottish putter was no more!

As I said earlier Jesus cautions us about setting our hearts on material things, which will eventually rust and decay. They have no eternal value, whereas life with Him is everlasting. That's where our real treasure lies, and if we cherish God's kingdom while we live here on earth, we will have riches above and beyond all that we can ever own or compare.

Dear Lord, help us to value those sacred treasures that can never be diminished nor destroyed. Teach us to cherish Your words and ways, Your life and love, which last eternally. Grant us the ability to share these treasures with all whom we love and know. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Keeping Your Eyes on Christ

Matthew 16:26 (NIV)
What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?

Patrice Moore was a collector. He kept everything. Moore lived a reclusive life in a 10-by-10 foot room where he compulsively saved newspapers, magazines, books, catalogs, and junk mail.
On December 27, 2003, it all came crashing down on him-literally. An avalanche of Moore's stuff trapped him, standing up, in his room for two days before neighbors heard him moaning and called the fire department. He was rescued by police, three companies of firefighters, and officials from New York City's Office of Emergency Management.

Neighbors heard Moore moaning through his front door, which had been barricaded shut by the weight of all that paper. Neighbors and firefighters hauled out 50 garbage bags of paper for an hour just to reach him.

Interviewed in the hospital where he was recovering from leg injuries suffered when his collection collapsed on him, he said: "I had to squeeze inside my apartment," he said of his 10-by-10-foot room, which rents for $250 a month. "I don't know how I lived that way."

Ron Alford a New York City counselor and author of "Disposophobia: The Fear of Getting Rid of Stuff" said: "It's an affliction, it's really a disease;" Alford said. "It starts in the head of the people and manifests somewhere on the floor and on horizontal surfaces in their dwelling units."

The love of things can kill us. We need to say "No!" to earthly things and keep our eyes on Christ.

Dear Lord, help us seek after and keep our eyes on the things that last eternally. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Sacrificial, Committed Love is the Rule.

1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV)
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Her grandparents were born in Sweden. She had the typical Scandinavian look - Long blond hair, blue eyes, long slender legs, soft blemish-free skin, high cheek bones. She was gorgeous - she was beautiful.

In fact, a professional international photographer in her hometown thought she was so pretty that he used a photograph of her to advertise his business.

But that was not her real beauty. She was raised by some wonderful Christian parents and had become a Christian at an early age. Integrity, honesty and sweetness were just a few of her characteristics. In fact, at her engagement party, her sister, who knew her better than anyone, said that she had never heard her tell a lie. All of her friends said the same thing about her: She was the sweetest girl they knew. She would never speak a harsh word about anyone. Everyone loved to be around her.

A young man she met in her freshman year started dating her and fell in love with her - both her exterior photographic beauty and the wonderful godly character of her inward beauty. She fell in love with him and they spent every free moment they could with each other over the next four years. They were committed to each other and they believed in waiting long before the True Love Waits Campaign ever existed.

One week after they graduated from college, they got married. They loved each other's company. They would walk together, exercise together, go on bike rides together, chaperon youth trips together - go to movies, watch TV, eat pizza, travel - all the things any normal couple would love to do together. They were so much in love.

She taught school for a year and then became a bookkeeper for a surgical supply company. One day while she was working, for no apparent reason she lost her balance and fell on the floor. She was later able to get up and went to see a doctor that night. He set her up to see a Neurologist. The following day, it happened again. For no apparent reason, she lost her balance and fell. This time, though, she couldn't get up. She had lost all feeling in her legs. They wouldn't move. Her husband had to come to the office and picked her up in his arms and carried her to the hospital. After six days in the hospital, the doctor gave this beautiful, active young lady the dreadful news. She had Multiple Sclerosis and she would continue to deteriorate.

This young couple, who had now been married only 18 months - who loved to go everywhere together and do everything together - would now face some new challenges. All their future plans would change, everyday life would change. They would change.

For the next 20 years, this young lady did deteriorate. She had to take steroids (not the kind athletes use), but anti-inflammatory steroids. Her bones became brittle, breaking easily. Her face became puffy and bloated and she could not even put on make-up. Her body was a mess. She went from a walker, to a scooter, to a wheelchair. She could no longer feed herself, write her name, or control her own bodily functions. She now had to have someone stay with her 24 hours a day.

Folks, if that couple had not had the kind of committed love that's based first on a personal relationship and a commitment to Jesus Christ, and second on a love that's based on a commitment to each other, the marriage never would have lasted. In fact, most of the marriages where a spouse has MS, the other spouse leaves them. The other spouse won't stay committed to the constant care and the continual physical, psychological and mental changes that continue to occur.

Hear me carefully, folks, those two people are not heroes. They are not super saints or super Christians. They will be the first to tell you that they are not super Christians. Those two people are normal, ordinary people, empowered by the Love of God and a love for each other, doing what the world considers beyond normal and extraordinary. I know that for a fact. Because that woman, that beautiful young lady who will never walk again, who can't even feed herself, is Lynda Langerfeld - my wife. She's not a hero - I'm certainly not a hero. We're just children of God, doing what the children of God are supposed to do. Doing what His children are called to do. Doing what God expects of every man and every woman who make a vow before God on their wedding day.

Several years ago, there was a film sweeping the nation by storm, about the disaster surrounding the maiden voyage of the Titanic. There is a beautiful story painted about a man who goes down with the ship out of a love for his wife. In the world's eyes, he's a hero. In God's eyes, he's an ordinary man making an extraordinary sacrifice that every Christian who's committed to his spouse ought to make.

Sacrificial, Committed Love is the rule, not the exception. We're not super-saints, we're not heroes when we're being faithful and committed to our mates. We're just doing what God has called every husband and every wife to do since the beginning of time.

Dear Lord, thank You for example of love. We pray that we follow your example and love our spouse as you showed us to love.  Also help us those around us so they see Your love through us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Are You Ready?

Luke 12:39-40 (NIV)
39 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. 40 You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”

In October 2003, a string of Southern California wildfires eventually claimed two-dozen lives. The flames moved at a speed faster than people could flee. Responding to complaints that some residents did not receive enough warning, Sgt. Conrad Grayson said, "We're begging people to leave, and they don't take us seriously. They want to pack some clothes, or fight it in the backyard with a garden hose. They don't seem to understand that this is unlike any fire we've seen. If people don't move fast, they're going to become charcoal briquettes."

In rural East San Diego County, the fast-moving Cedar fire, sparked by a lost hunter, surprised fire officials by how fast it spread. Jon Smalldridge was in East San Diego County, and was warned by his dog. He soon began to frantically warn his neighbors, only to have some disregard him or respond too casually.

He told of those who tried to save their televisions and computers before escaping. "They looked like they were packing for a trip. The ones who listened to me and left the area, lived. The ones who didn't, died."

The Lord is not slow, but patient, wanting everyone to be saved. But at the end of His patience, He will come again.

Dear Lord, we thank You that You are return is soon.  We pray that we would work diligently to help others be prepared. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

What are Your Priorities?

Hebrews 12:1 (NIV)
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

Jules Verne's novel The Mysterious Island, he tells of five men who escape a Civil War prison camp by hijacking a hot air balloon.

As they rise into the air, they realize the wind is carrying them over the ocean. Watching their homeland disappear on the horizon, they wonder how much longer the balloon can stay aloft. As the hours pass and the surface of the ocean draws closer, the men decide they must cast overboard some of the weight, for they had no way to heat the air in the balloon. Shoes, overcoats, and weapons are reluctantly discarded, and the uncomfortable aviators feel their balloon rise. But only temporarily.

Soon they find themselves dangerously close to the waves again, so they toss their food. Better to be high and hungry than drown on a full belly! Unfortunately, this, too, is only a temporary solution, and the craft again threatens to lower the men into the sea. One man has an idea: they can tie the ropes that hold the passenger car and sit on those ropes. Then they can cut away the basket beneath them. As they sever the very thing they had been standing on, it drops into the ocean, and the balloon rises.

Not a minute too soon, they spot land. Eager to stand on terra firma again, the five jump into the water and swim to the island. They live, spared because they were able to discern the difference between what really was needed and what was not. The "necessities" they once thought they couldn't live without were the very weights that almost cost them their lives.

Every day and in every way, keep Jesus Christ first in your life. He is the Savior of your soul!

Dear Lord, thank the You that You are all that we need throughout eternity. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Monday, June 16, 2014

A Lesson From an Albatross

Exodus 20:4 (NIV)
You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.

In 1991, the Japanese government sought a way to attract endangered albatrosses to the small Izu islands to breed and reproduce. The Yamashina Institute of Ornithology came up with the idea of placing some 100 wooden albatross decoys in the water to help attract the birds to the islands that are some 375 miles south of Tokyo.

The project for the most part worked well and the endangered birds have landed on the islands and breeding has increased.

But for Deko, a 5-year-old albatross, the experiment went awry. For two years he has been trying to woo what he believes to be the love of his life. He's built her fancy nests, fought off rival suitors, and spent countless days standing faithfully by her side. But his one-and-only is a man-made decoy -- and despite the blank stare and wooden personality, he didn't catch on.

Institute researcher Fumio Sato worries that Deko's infatuation with the decoy is keeping him from meeting a mate. "He seems to have no desire to date real birds," Sato observed.

The lesson we can learn from the albatross is too often people begin loving and idolizing things instead of having a relationship with the real God.

Dear Lord, thank You that you want to have a relationship with us. We pray that we would seek to know You more every day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

God Created Fathers

Malachi 4:6 (NIV)
He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.”

In Sunday school today I had some of the leaders share some of their special memories of their father. It was a blessed time as we shared with the young people the good times and the bad. Our prayer was that each of them would see that God had given them each a gift, whether it is a biological father or someone special that has stepped I as a father to them.

As I was reading the other day I came across the following story from one of Erma Bombeck posts.

When the good Lord was creating Fathers he started with a tall frame. And a female angel nearby said, "What kind of Father is that? If you're going to make children so close to the ground, why have you put Fathers up so high? He won't be able to shoot marbles without kneeling, tuck a child in bed without bending, or even kiss a child without a lot of stooping." And God smiled and said, "Yes, but if I make him child-size, who would children have to look up to?"

And when God made a Father's hands, they were large and sinewy. And the angel shook her head sadly and said, "Do you know what you're doing? Large hands are clumsy. They can't manage diaper pins, small buttons, and rubber bands on pony tails or even remove splinters caused by baseball bats." And God smiled and said, "I know, but they're large enough to hold everything a small boy empties from his pockets at the end of a day...yet small enough to cup a child's face in his hands."

And then God molded long, slim legs and broad shoulders. And the angel nearly had a heart attack. "Boy, this is the end of the week, all right," she clucked. "Do you realize you just made a Father without a lap? How is he going to pull a child close to him without the kid falling between his legs?" And God smiled and said, "A mother needs a lap. A father needs strong shoulders to pull a sled, balance a boy on a bicycle, and hold a sleepy head on the way home from the circus."

God was in the middle of creating two of the largest feet anyone had ever seen when the angel could contain herself no longer. "That's not fair. Do you honestly think those large boats are going to dig out of bed early in the morning when the baby cries? Or walk through a small birthday party without crushing at least three of the guests?" And God smiled and said, "They'll work. You'll see. They'll support a small child who wants to ride a horse, or scare off mice at the summer cabin, or display shoes that will be a challenge to fill."

God worked throughout the night, giving the Father few words, but a firm authoritative voice; eyes that saw everything, but remained calm and tolerant. Finally, almost as an afterthought, he added tears. Then he turned to the angel and said, "Now, are you satisfied that he can love as much as a Mother?" The angel shuteth up.

Dear Lord, we thank You for our fathers. We pray that You will strengthen them and give them the wisdom they need as they strive to be the men you want them to be. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Are Your Priorities Straight?

Hebrews 12:1 (NIV)
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

Jules Verne's novel The Mysterious Island, he tells of five men who escape a Civil War prison camp by hijacking a hot air balloon.

As they rise into the air, they realize the wind is carrying them over the ocean. Watching their homeland disappear on the horizon, they wonder how much longer the balloon can stay aloft. As the hours pass and the surface of the ocean draws closer, the men decide they must cast overboard some of the weight, for they had no way to heat the air in the balloon. Shoes, overcoats, and weapons are reluctantly discarded, and the uncomfortable aviators feel their balloon rise. But only temporarily.

Soon they find themselves dangerously close to the waves again, so they toss their food. Better to be high and hungry than drown on a full belly! Unfortunately, this, too, is only a temporary solution, and the craft again threatens to lower the men into the sea. One man has an idea: they can tie the ropes that hold the passenger car and sit on those ropes. Then they can cut away the basket beneath them. As they sever the very thing they had been standing on, it drops into the ocean, and the balloon rises.

Not a minute too soon, they spot land. Eager to stand on terra firma again, the five jump into the water and swim to the island. They live, spared because they were able to discern the difference between what really was needed and what was not. The "necessities" they once thought they couldn't live without were the very weights that almost cost them their lives.

Every day and in every way, keep Jesus Christ first in your life. He is the Savior of your soul!

Dear Lord, thank the You that You are all that we need throughout eternity. Give us someone today to share that great news with today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Are We Living a Life of Complacency ?

Colossians 1:4-5 (NIV)
4 because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people— 5 the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel

If you have ever visited Watkins Glen State Park in New York State, you were likely astounded by the sheer beauty surrounding you. Everything, from the gorge itself, to the plant life, to the numerous waterfalls, to the plentiful pools, speaks of unsurpassed splendor. Geologists call the park a "hanging valley". I think it should be called the "Hanging Gardens" of New York State.

The numerous pools, created by rock and sand tumbling through the fast moving waters, look so inviting. What better place could there be to refresh yourself and enjoy summer to the fullest! Warning signs forbid visitors from even contemplating such a thing, however. Hidden dangers have cost the lives of more than one person who chose to ignore the warning. The strong undertow can quickly turn your "safe haven" into a pool of death.

Ironically, a railroad trestle spanning the top of Watkins Glen until 1935, was washed out by an unforeseen flood. It would seem that the warnings are warranted! That this "idealistic" garden is far from being safe after all!

Nevertheless, on a hot summer's day, I can just imagine myself relaxing in one of those pools. Though the consequences could be lethal, they sure do look inviting!

But then, don't we routinely tend to relax in surroundings that seem "idealistic" but are really lethal?

As believers, we tend to take comfort in the fact that we attend church regularly, we get involved with church activities, and we receive the reassurance that we are doing well. But are we really? Are we really heading for heaven, or have we lost our true purpose? Has a strong undertow caught us off guard and driven us away from our real hope?

If we are heading heavenward, why do we tend to concentrate most of our attention on our puny, temporal existence? If we believe we are saved, why don't we talk more about our Savior? More about Heaven itself? If we pretend to be Christians, why are we not consumed with spending time with our Lord? Why don't we put our energies into planning our soon arrival in heaven?

Is it possible we have lost our hope?

So many of us go through life's ups and downs, getting excited by the most mundane things, but becoming indifferent to talk about Spiritual things. Have we lost our excitement at the prospect of spending eternity with our Maker? Have we somehow wondered off the path?

Richard Wurmbrandt was persecuted in Romanian prisons for years because of his faith. When he was finally released, he found shelter in the Western World. His first remarks about North America were far from being flattering: "You don't have communism here, you have something far worse. You have materialism!"

Have we been lulled to sleep by the comforts of our material world? Is this possibly why divorce rates, even among Christians, are on the rise? Is this why so many lead defeated lives, even though Jesus has set us free?

Is Jesus still our focus? Is He still the only One who can excite us to the core? Is He the One we still long to spend time with? Has something come between us? Have we been towed away from our Loved One by the deadly undercurrents of our materialistic world? Is it any wonder that depression has invaded our ranks? Have we completely lost our focus?

Don't relax in an environment that is filled with dangers! Complacency is deadly! Our home is in heaven! Let's head that way!

Dear Lord, help us not lose our focus and get complacent with the world around us. Protect us from the dangers that this world had to offer. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.