On Wings Of Eagles

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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Sharing God's Love

1 Timothy 5:8 (NIV)
Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

Solomon Rosenberg, his wife, his 2 sons, and his mother and father were arrested and placed in a Nazi concentration camp during the Holocaust of WWII. It was a labor camp and the rules were simple: "As long as you can do your work, you are permitted to live. When you become too weak to do your work, then you will be exterminated."

Rosenberg watched his mother and father being marched off to their deaths when they became too weak to work. He knew that his youngest son, David, would be next because David had always been a frail child.

Every evening when Rosenberg came back into the barracks after his hours of labor, he would search for the faces of his family. When he found them, they would huddle together, embrace one another, and thank God for another day of life.

One day Rosenberg came back, but he didn’t see those familiar faces. He finally discovered his oldest son, Joshua, in a corner, huddled, weeping, and praying. He said, "Josh, tell me it’s not true." Joshua turned and said, "It is true, Poppa. Today David was not strong enough to do his work, so they came for him."

"But WHERE is your mother?" Asked Mr. Rosenberg.

"Oh Poppa," he exclaimed. "When they came for David, he was afraid and he was crying. Momma said, ‘There is nothing to be afraid of, David,’ . . . . And then she took his hand and went with him."

There are few things as strong as the love of a parent for their children – a love so strong that it would choose to give up life so their child can be comforted.

The love of Mrs. Rosenberg pictures the sacrificial love Jesus has for us. In order to take away our fear of death, He went before us (Hebrews 2:14-15). He met death "head on" – in fact, He died for us so that we might have the forgiveness of sins and the hope of eternal life (Ephesians 1:7; 1 Thessalonians 5:10). Jesus was buried but emerged from the grave victorious, so that we might have hope in the Resurrection. "O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory? Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Cor. 15:55, 57).

The victory belongs to those who submit their lives to Christ: believing in Him (Acts 16:30-31), turning from sin in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confessing Him before men (Romans 10:9-10), and being baptized (immersed) for the forgiveness of our sins (Acts 2:38). Victory will continue to be enjoyed by those who continue to follow Jesus faithfully for the rest of their lives (1 John 1:7).

Today is a good day to share that love not only with your children but to those He brings into your life.

Dear Lord, help us show your love to all those that come in our path today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Consider Back Pain Real Joy?

James 1:2-4 (NIV)
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

During the past months we have received reports from my doctors that in the human mind are hard to understand. Today’s verses have been a real encouragement.  No life is free from encounters with pain, disappointment, struggles, and temptations. We all go through storms and through them, we either become better, or we become bitter.

If we choose to focus on our misery during these storms, our love for God can grow cold. We will question His sovereignty: “Where was God when I needed Him? How could He allow this to happen to me?” Our passion and fervor for God begin to wane, and though we pray or attend church, there is now an invisible wall between us and God.

Although enduring storms is never easy, we can often look back on them as some of the more intense periods of growth in our lives. If we choose to depend on God in the midst of our storms, we will come through them with greater faith, commitment, and effectiveness for Christ. Sometimes it is in our darkest and most turbulent storms that we see our greatest victories.

Let’s pray for each other as we all go through the trials of life that we may be strong and receive the victory that God has for each one of us.

Dear Lord, as we go through  the storms in life we pray that we would stay focused on You.  We pray that we would allow the difficult time to grow and become more like You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Love Wrapped Around Like a Shirt.

1 John 4:9-11 (NIV)
9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

Growing up one of the things I remember about vacation was that mom would spend weeks before getting ready to leave.  By getting ready I mean she would sew each days outfits. Yes each and every day we would match as the 5 of us traveled across the great USA. As I read this story it reminded me of this great memory.

"Do you like my dress?" She asked of a passing stranger. "My mommy made it just for me." She said with a tear in her eye.

"Well, I think it's very pretty, so tell me little one, why are you crying?"

With a quiver in her voice the little girl answered.

"After Mommy made me this dress, she had to go away."

"Well, now," said the lady, "with a little girl like you waiting for her, I'm sure she'll be right back."

"No ma'am, you don't understand," said the child through her tears, "my Daddy said that she's up in heaven now with Grandfather."

Finally the woman realized what the child meant, and why she was crying. Kneeling down she gently cradled the child in her arms and together they cried for the mommy that was gone. Then suddenly the little girl did something that the woman thought was a bit strange. She stopped crying, stepped back from the woman and began to sing. She sang so softly that it was almost a whisper. It was the sweetest sound the woman had ever heard, almost like the song of a very small bird. After the child stopped singing she explained to the lady,

"My mommy used to sing that song to me before she went away, and she made me promise to sing it whenever I started crying and it would make me stop." "See," she exclaimed, "it did, and now my eyes are dry!"

As the woman turned to go, the little girl grabbed her sleeve,

"Lady, can you stay just a minute? I want to show you something."

"Of course," she answered, "what do you want me to see?"

Pointing to a spot on her dress, she said,

"Right here is where my Mommy kissed my dress, and here,"

pointing to another spot,

"and here is another kiss, and here, and here," "Mommy said that she put all those kisses on my dress so that I would have her kisses for every boo-boo that made me cry."

Then the lady realized that she wasn't just looking at a dress, no, she was looking at a Mother who knew that she was going away and would not be there to kiss away the hurts that she knew her daughter would get. So she took all the love she had for her beautiful little girl and put them into this dress that her child now so proudly wore. She no longer saw a little girl in a simple dress, she saw a child wrapped in her Mother's love.

What a great example of God’s love. He wraps each of us in His love to protect and guide us. Take the time today to share that love.

Dear Lord, thank You that You wrap us in Your great love. Help us share that love today by wrapping our arms around someone today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Are You Setting and Example to Others?

Titus 2:7-8 (NIV)
7 In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness 8 and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.

Anthusa lived from 330 to 374 A.D. in Antioch. Widowed at the age of 20, she is remembered for her influence in the life of her son, John Chrysostom, one of the greatest preachers and leaders of the 4th-century church. Her contemporaries described Anthusa as cultured, attractive, and from a wealthy family. Yet she chose to not remarry after her husband's death, deciding instead to devote herself to rearing her two children, John and his sister.

Anthusa provided for John the ablest teachers. Her Christian example made such an impression on one of her son's teachers that he exclaimed: "What wonderful women are found among Christians!'" John later wrote that his mother not only taught her children to know and love the teachings of the Bible, but also that her very life was a model of biblical teaching.

A student of law, rhetoric and the Scriptures, John was ordained by Bishop Meletius and later became bishop of Constantinople. A zealous missionary himself, he inspired numerous others to serve as missionaries. And he always emphasized that a crucial factor to effective evangelism is for Christians to be living examples of Christ-centeredness. A lesson he had learned from his mother Anthusa.

People are watching you to see if Jesus Christ DOES make a difference in your life.

Are you setting an example to others?

Dear Lord, we pray that we would be the Christian example to those around us today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Love at Home

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

If we live in a house of spotless beauty with everything painted and in its place, but have not love, we are a housekeeper-not a homemaker.

If we have time for mowing the yard, washing the car, and painting, but have not love, our children learn cleanliness-not godliness.

Love leaves the dirt on the car in search of a child's laugh. Love smiles at the tiny fingerprints on a newly cleaned window.

Love wipes away the tears before it wipes up the spilled milk.

Love picks up the child before it picks up the toys. Love is there through the trials.

Love reprimands, reproves, and is responsive. Love crawls with the baby, walks with the toddler, runs with the child, and then stands aside to let the youth walk into adulthood.

Love is the key that opens salvation's message to a child's heart.

Before I became a father I took glory in the fact that the house was in prefect condition.

Now I glory in God's perfection of my child. As a father, there is much I must teach my child, but the greatest of all is love.

Dear Lord, help us have our priorities right as we raise the children that You have given to us. Help our lives be filled with love as we teach and train our children. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Are You Helping Your Children to Know the Lord?

Proverbs 22:6  (NIV)
Start children off on the way they should go,
    and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

In the late 1880's, Benjamin B. Warfield, a professor at Princeton University, traced the known descendants of Jonathan Edwards. Edwards was the first president of Princeton and one of the key preachers in religious revival known as the "Great Awakening" during the eighteenth century. Warfield charted the 1,394 known descendants of Edwards. Of his known descendants there were 13 college presidents, 65 college professors, 30 judges, 100 lawyers, 60 physicians, 75 army and navy officers, 100 pastors, 60 authors of prominence, 3 United States senators, 80 public servants in other capacities including governors and ministers to foreign countries, and one vice-president of the United States.

Richard Dugdale, a sociologist and a contemporary of Warfield's, traced the known descendants of Max Jukes. Jukes was a Dutch immigrant that arrived in New York in the early 1700's. An alcoholic who couldn't hold a job, of the 903 descendants of Jukes, 300 were delinquents, 145 confirmed drunkards, 90 were prostitutes, and over 100 spent an average of 13 years in prison including seven were convicted for murder. The Jukes' family cost the taxpayers of New York over 1.2 million dollars. The descendants of Edwards never cost the government a single penny, instead making contributions of incalculable worth.

The best ministry parents can have is to train their children to know Jesus Christ. Are you helping your child to know the Lord?

Dear Lord, today we pray for our children. Help us to take the time to teach them to know You better. Help us prepare them with a good foundation so that they will become the person You want them to be. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Does Your Time Have to be Bought?

Deuteronomy 11:19 (NIV)
Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

As I laid in bed last night not being able to sleep I was reading some articles on parenting. I came across this story and wanted to share it.

With a timid voice and idolizing eyes, the little boy greeted his father as he returned from work, "Daddy, how much do you make an hour?"

Greatly surprised, but giving his boy a glaring look, the father said: "Look, son, not even your mother knows that". "Don't bother me now, I'm tired."

"But Daddy, just tell me please! How much do you make an hour, the boy insisted.

The father, finally giving up, replied: "Twenty dollars per hour."

Okay, Daddy? Could you loan me ten dollars?" The boy asked. Showing his restlessness and positively disturbed, the father yelled: "So that was the reason you asked how much I earn, right? Go to sleep and don't bother me anymore!"

It was already dark and the father was meditating on what he said and Was feeling guilty? Maybe he thought, his son wanted to buy something. Finally, trying to ease his mind, the father went to his son's room.

"Are you asleep, son?" Asked the father.

"No, Daddy. Why?" Replied the boy, partially asleep.

"Here's the money you asked for earlier, " the father said.

"Thanks, Daddy!" Rejoiced the son, while putting his hand under his pillow and removing some money. "Now I have enough!! Now I have twenty dollars!" The boy said to his father, who was gazing at his son, confused at what his son had just said. "Daddy, could you sell me one hour of your time?"

Whether you are a dad, mom, grandpa, grandma, brother or sister are you spending your time wisely with those you love?

Dear Lord, help us open our eyes today and see how we can spend our time wisely. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Do Your Desires Block God's Blessings?

Matthew 7:11 (NIV)
If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

A young man was getting ready to graduate from college. For many months he had admired a beautiful sports car in a dealer's showroom, and knowing his father could well afford it, he told him that was all he wanted. As Graduation Day approached, the young man awaited signs that his father had purchased the car. Finally, on the morning of his graduation, his father called him into his private study. His father told him how proud he was to have such a fine son, and told him how much he loved him. He handed his son a beautifully wrapped gift box. Curious, and somewhat disappointed, the young man opened the box and found a lovely, leather-bound Bible, with the young man's name embossed in gold.

Angry, he rose his voice to his father and said "with all your money, you give me a Bible?" And stormed out of the house.

Many years passed and the young man was very successful in business. He had a beautiful home and wonderful family, but realized his father was very old, and thought perhaps he should go to him. He had not seen him since that graduation day. Before he could make arrangements, he received a telegram telling him his father had passed away, and willed all of his possessions to his son. He needed to come home immediately and take care of things. When he arrived at his father's house, sudden sadness and regret filled his heart. He began to search through his father's important papers and saw the still gift-wrapped Bible, just as he had left it years ago.

With tears, he opened the Bible and began to turn the pages. His father had carefully underlined a verse, Matt.7:11, "And if ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Heavenly Father which is in Heaven, give to those who ask Him?" As he read those words, a car key dropped from the back of the Bible. It had a tag with the dealer's name, the same dealer who had the sports car he had desired. On the tag was the date of his graduation, and the words


How many times do we miss God's blessings because we can't see past our own desires???????

Dear Lord, thank You for all You do for us. Help u snot let our own desires get in the way of what You have for us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Are You Devoted to Your Children?

Deuteronomy 11:19 (NIV)
Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

I read a story that was told during a business training seminar. To illustrate motivation, the trainer asked one of the business executives in the audience to come forward.

The trainer said, "I want you to imagine that I have placed a wooden beam across the floor here and I would like for you to walk from one end of the beam to the other end. Would you do that for $20?"

The man said that he would.

Then leader continued, "Now, I want you to imagine that I take that same beam and raise it up to the top of a forty-story building and run it across the street to another tall building. Would you still walk across the beam for $20?"

This time the man answered that he would not.

"How about for a $100?"

"No!" The man emphasized.

The trainer forged ahead. "You have a child, right?"


"This time, what if I were to hold your child over the edge of the building and tell you that if you do not walk across the beam I will drop your child. Would you walk across?"

Surprisingly, the father hesitated for a beat, then smiled and asked, "Which child do you have?"

The trainer, of course, was right in assuming that a parent's devotion to a child is usually greater than almost any amount of fear associated with saving that child. Most parents love their children fiercely and would do anything possible to help them.

An eastern newspaper reported that a train in Bangladesh accidentally struck a calf elephant. The mother elephant apparently became upset over the incident, for a little while later another train came along and spotted the female standing in the middle of the track. Though the engineer blasted his horn, she would not budge. When the train came to a halt, she began butting it with her head! For fifteen minutes she hammered the engine, rendering it inoperable. Once satisfied, she walked off into the jungle, stranding two hundred passengers for five hours while they waited for a replacement engine! Someone should hang a sign around her neck that reads: DON'T MESS WITH MY KID!

Such a devotion to family is only natural in humans. And though many of us may never be in a position to actually have to save a child's physical life, we can channel our devotion into other, equally productive, areas.

1. Devote LOTS of time to your child. Quality time means nothing if it rarely occurs. Spend time reading, laughing, playing, exploring, learning, talking, and just sitting quietly together.

2. Devote LOTS of positive attention to your child. Let her know she is important by the way you speak and listen to her.

3. Devote LOTS of love to your child. He is one of the most important people you'll ever have the privilege of knowing.

4. Devote LOTS of energy to learning how to be the best parent possible. All of our children are different and require different skills from us.

5. Devote LOTS of yourself, and you'll never regret the valuable investment.

Dear Lord, thanks for the children You have given to us. We pray that no matter their age that we will be devoted to them. Help us to continue to be the guidance You want us to be for them. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Just Like My Dad

1 Corinthians 11:1 (NIV)
Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.

Matty Lovo is only nine years old, but the story of his level-headed daring deserves to be told. In the telling of his story, there is a line from the hero himself that should make all of us who are parents and grandparents take notice.

Matty's father drives one of those huge big-rig trucks that is part of American commerce. One week his semi was pulling two trailers loaded with lumber through St. Helens, Oregon. Matty was riding in the cab with him. He was enjoying the high-sitting ride and view. He liked the powerful sounds of the motor. He took pride in being with his dad. Then the unexpected happened.

Matthew Lovo Sr. Had a seizure of some sort. Doctors are still trying to figure it out. He lost consciousness at the wheel of his truck, and it veered into oncoming traffic and struck a utility pole. Matthew Lovo Jr. Didn't panic.

When he saw his father had collapsed, Matty called his name. When there was no answer, he smacked him to try to wake him up. Then he did what he had to do. He climbed across his dad and into the driver’s seat. He steered the big truck back into its lanes and had the presence of mind to get on the truck's C.B. radio to ask what he should do. Somebody heard his plea for help and told him to turn off the ignition key. He did that. The rig began to slow down.

At just that moment, the semi passed Christopher Howard. Driving the opposite direction on the highway, he saw that a child was at the wheel of the slow-moving vehicle. He stopped his car, jumped out, and chased down the truck on foot. He jumped aboard, climbed into the cab with Matty, and applied the brakes that a nine-year-old boy's legs could not reach while steering.

The St. Helens Police Department didn't ticket Matty. To the contrary, it made a public statement of support for his "cool demeanor" in an incident that could have ended tragically.

"I just did the stuff," said a humble Matty. "I thought, I should just do what my Dad does." He did. And he is a young hero for it.

Some of us Dads and Moms should think about this father-son story very deeply. Our children watch. They absorb. They take their cues about how to react to crises and joys, family and friends, God and man. You've heard all your life about how more lessons are caught than taught, haven't you? It is true!

"I should just do what my Dad does," thought Matty. And it served him well on that day to remember and imitate his father's habits in driving a truck. May it serve him well in a thousand other settings as well.

Make sure your actions are worthy of having your children copy. If you find yourself doing things that aren’t good for them to copy make today the day that you change what you do.

Dear Lord, Thanks for our fathers and for our children. May we be the examples our children need to follow today.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.   

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Just 5 More Minutes

Proverbs 17:6 (NIV)
Children’s children are a crown to the aged,
    and parents are the pride of their children.

While at the park one day, a woman sat down next to a man on a bench near a playground. "That's my son over there," she said, pointing to a little boy in a red sweater who was gliding down the slide.

"He's a fine looking boy," the man said. "That's my son on the swing in the blue sweater." Then, looking at his watch, he called to his son. "What do you say we go, Todd?"

Todd pleaded, "Just five more minutes, Dad. Please? Just five more minutes."

The man nodded and Todd continued to swing to his heart's content. Minutes passed and the father stood and called again to his son. "Time to go now?" Again Todd pleaded, "Five more minutes, Dad. Just five more minutes." The man smiled and said, "O.K."

"My, you certainly are a patient father," the woman responded. The man smiled and then said, "My older son Tommy was killed by a drunk driver last year while he was riding his bike near here. I never spent much time with Tommy and now I'd give anything for just five more minutes with him. I've vowed not to make the same mistake with Todd. He thinks he has five more minutes to swing. The truth is, I get Five more minutes to watch him play."

Life is all about making priorities, what are your priorities?

Dear Lord, thank You for those who You have put into our life. Help us take advantage of the time we have with them. Help us each value the time we have. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Perfect Father

Ephesians 6:4 (NIV)
Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

One of the criticisms of Christianity is that it is a crutch for the weak. Belief in God is considered by some to be nothing more than an illusion to satisfy unconscious needs. But Dr. Paul Vitz wondered the opposite: suppose it's the atheists who are engaging in unconscious wish fulfillment. To find the answer, Vitz scanned the last four centuries for patterns that distinguish the lives of atheists from the lives of theists.

After studying the lives of more than a dozen of the world's most influential atheists, Vitz discovered they all had one thing in common: defective relationships with their fathers. Vitz defines "defective" fathers as those who were dead, abusive, weak, or who abandoned their children.

Sigmund Freud wrote that his father was a sexual pervert. Thomas Hobbes's father was an Anglican clergyman who got into a fight with another man in the churchyard and, subsequently, abandoned his family. Ludwig Feuerbach, at age 13, was abandoned by his father, who openly took up living with another woman in a different town. Voltaire fought constantly with his father, causing him later to reject his surname.

Schopenhauer's father committed suicide when he was 16. Both Bertrand Russell and Nietzsche lost their fathers at the age of four. Sartre's father died before Sartre was born, and Camus was a year old when he lost his father. Hume also lost his father in early childhood. Hitler's father was a violent man who unmercifully beat Adolf, his mother, and even the family dog; he died when Adolf was 14. Stalin's father also administered brutal beatings to his son.

Obviously, much more evidence needs to be obtained on the "defective father" hypothesis. But the information already available is substantial; it is unlikely to be an accident.

Being a father means more than providing a paycheck. It is modeling what our Heavenly Father is.

Dear Lord, thank the Lord for being the perfect Father and example to each of us. Help each of us fathers to strive to be like You and share Your love as we raise the children You have given to us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Are You Caring For Your Family?

1 Timothy 5:4 (NIV)
But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God.

As baseball season 2014 winds down I want to share a story about one of my favorite ball players. Tim Burke was born on February 19, 1959 in Omaha, Nebraska. After attending the University of Nebraska, he entered professional baseball and began his Major League baseball career on April 8, 1985. In the early 1990's, Tim and his wife wanted to start a family, but then they discovered they were unable to have children. After much prayer, they decided to adopt four special-needs international children.

This led to one of the most difficult decisions in Tim's life. He discovered that the time on the road playing baseball was conflicting with the time his wife and children needed him to be a husband and a dad. Tim turned to the Lord and prayed and soon the decision became easy. After the 1992 season and eight years in the major leagues, he was going to retire from baseball to devote more time with his family. When he left the stadium for the last time, reporters asked why he was retiring at such an early age. He replied: "Baseball is going to do just fine without me. It's not going to miss a beat. But I'm the only father my children have. I'm the only husband my wife has. And they need me a lot more than baseball does."

One of the greatest ministries we can have is to your own family. It brings joy to your relatives and it is pleasing to God. Are you letting the things of this world get in the way of honoring and caring for your family?

 Dear Lord, we thank You for our family. We ask that You would show us today how we can be more loving and caring to each one of those I our family. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Bridging the Gap

John 3:16 (NIV)
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

There once was this turntable bridge which spanned a large river. During most of the day, the bridge sat parallel with the tracks, allowing ships to pass freely on both sides. At certain times each day a train would come along, and the bridge would be turned sideways across the river allowing the trains to cross. A switch man sat in a small shack on one side of the river where he operated the controls to turn the bridge and lock it into place as the train crossed.

One day as the switch man was waiting for the last train of the day to come, he looked off into the distance through the dimming twilight and caught sight of the train's light , he stepped to the controls and waited until the train was within prescribed distance when he was to turn the bridge into position. To his horror, he found that the locking control didn't work. If the bridge was not locked into position, securely, it would wobble back and forth at the ends when the train came onto it. This would cause the train to jump the track and go crashing into the river. It was a passenger train with many people aboard. He left the bridge turned across the river, and he hurried across the bridge to the other side where there was a lever he could use to operate the lock manually.

He could hear the rumble of the train now. He took hold of the lever and leaned backward to apply pressure to keep the mechanism locked. Many lives depended on this man's strength. Then, coming across the bridge from the direction of his control shack he heard a sound that made his blood run cold, "Daddy, where are you?" His four year old son was crossing the bridge to look for him. His first impulse was to cry out to the child, "RUN RUN" but the train was too close, and his tiny legs would never make it across the bridge in time. The man almost lifted the lever to run and snatch up his son, and carry him to safety, but he realized he could not get back to the lever in time. Either people on the train or his son must die.

He took only a moment to make his decision. The train sped safely and swiftly on its way, and no one aboard was aware of the tiny, broken body thrown mercilessly into the river by the rushing train, nor were they aware of the pitiful figure of a sobbing man still clinging tightly to the lever long after the train had passed. They didn't see him walking home more slowly than he had ever walked, to tell his wife how he had sacrificed her son.

Now if you can comprehend the feeling that which went through this man's heart you can understand the feeling of our heavenly Father when He sacrificed His Son to bridge the gap between us and eternal life.

How does God feel when we speed along through life without giving a thought to what was done for us through His Son, Jesus Christ? Can there be any wonder that He caused the earth to tremble and the skies to darken when His only Son died?

Remember that Jesus bridged that gap for us.

Dear Lord, thank You for bridging the gap for us. Help us remember the sacrifice that You made for us. Give us somebody to share that great gift today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Are You a Person of Your Word?

1 John 3:18 (NIV) 
Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

In 1989 an 8.2 earthquake almost flattened Armenia, killing over 30,000 people in less than four minutes.

In the midst of utter devastation and chaos, a father left his wife securely at home and rushed to the school where his son was supposed to be, only to discover that the building was as flat as a pancake.

After the traumatic initial shock, he remembered the promise he had made to his son: "No matter what, I'll always be there for you!" And tears began to fill his eyes. As he looked at the pile of debris that once was the school, it looked hopeless, but he kept remembering his commitment to his son.

He began to concentrate on where he walked his son to class at school each morning. Remembering his son's classroom would be in the back right corner of the building, he rushed there and started digging through the rubble.

As he was digging, other forlorn parents arrived, clutching their hearts, saying: "My son!" "My daughter!" Other well meaning parents tried to pull him off of what was left of the school saying:

"It's too late!"

"They're dead!"

"You can’t help!"

"Go home!"

"Come on, face reality, there's nothing you can do!"

"You're just going to make things worse!"

To each parent he responded with one line: "Are you going to help me now?" And then he proceeded to dig for his son, stone by stone.

The fire chief showed up and tried to pull him off of the school's debris saying "Fires are breaking out, explosions are happening everywhere. You're in danger. We'll take care of it. Go home." To which this loving, caring Armenian father asked, "Are you going to help me now?"

The police came and said, "You're angry, distraught and it's over. You're endangering others. Go home. We'll handle it!" To which he replied, "Are you going to help me now?" No one helped.

Courageously he proceeded alone because he needed to know for himself: "Is my boy alive or is he dead?"

He dug for eight hours...12 hours...24hours...36 hours...then, in the 38th hour, he pulled back a boulder and heard his son's voice. He screamed his son's name, 'ARMAND!" He heard back, "Dad!?! It's me, Dad! I told the other kids not to worry. I told 'em that if you were alive, you'd save me and when you saved me, they'd be saved. You promised, 'No matter what, I'll always be there for you!' You did it, Dad!"

"What's going on in there? How is it?" The father asked.

"There are 14 of us left out of 33, Dad. We're scared, hungry, thirsty and thankful you're here. When the building collapsed, it made a wedge, like a triangle, and it saved us."

"Come on out, boy!"

"No, Dad! Let the other kids out first, 'cause I know you'll get me! No matter what, I know you'll be there for me!"

Will you be there for your family, no matter what?

Dear Lord, we pray that today we would be parents of our word. Help us stand firm with the words that we say. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Promises, Promises

1 John 2:5 (NIV)
But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him:

Here are some guidelines for each of us regarding making promises.

1. Don't make a promise unless you are 100% sure you can follow through.
This mean you have to take the time to think the promise through thoroughly before you make it.

2. If you can't make the promise because you aren't sure, then be prepared to share your reasons for NOT promising.
It will happen that you don't always have all the facts, and when it does, it's better to NOT make the promise

3. If something arises that you can't keep the promise you already made, be prepared to share your reasons for NOT keeping that promise.
When you sit down and openly explain the reasons why you cannot keep your promise, it will go a long ways towards helping them to understand.

4. Be prepared to try and see things from the other’s point of view.
When this happens, make an effort to try and see things from their point of view, and if you can do so without compromising your own, take their ideas into consideration!

5. If you don't have a valid reason for not doing so, KEEP THAT PROMISE!

Once you've established yourself as one who keeps your promises, people will be much more likely to see you as someone they can trust, as someone they can come to when they need something, as someone they can come to when they are having problems. And, most importantly, when you teach them that God keeps all of His promises, they will believe you.

Dear Lord, help us to be very careful when we make a promise so that those that know us we see us as honest people and people of our word. So that when we share with them that You keep Your promises they will believe. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Children God's Gift

Proverbs 13:24 (NIV)
Whoever spares the rod hates their children,
    but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.

As we read stories in the news we can see the real need for discipline. In our day and age, discipline in families is on the decline. Instead of parents being the "big boss", more and more children rule their homes. This impacts all areas of their lives, from the classroom, to their social interactions, to their developing habits, to their decision making, and to their future lives.

Discipline is vitally important for the following reasons:

1. It teaches children the concept of right and wrong. If they are never disciplined, kids will never learn when their behavior is unacceptable. They will never learn the difference between right and wrong.

2. It teaches boundaries. Children who are not disciplined will never learn there are boundaries that must not be crossed. And if they never learn the concept of boundaries, they will never learn to set boundaries in their own lives!

3. It teaches a respect for authority. If your kids always get their way with you, they will learn that they are the "big boss", that they are the ones in control. It will become very difficult for them to accept other authority figures, such as teachers, pastors, even authorities of the law.

4. It teaches them to accept God's discipline. And God does discipline us! We are told to welcome God's discipline, but we will never be able to do so if we have never learned the concept of discipline!

5. It allows for discipline in schools. Without the concept of discipline being established at home, it is very difficult to have a disciplined classroom, which is a prerequisite for learning.

6. It teaches them good social skills. No one likes to be with someone who always insists on their own way.

7. It helps them to develop good habits. No concept of discipline makes temperance an impossible thing to learn. It leads to children who have no boundaries, children who easily fall into the traps of poor eating habits, poor personal hygiene, and the more deadly traps of drugs, alcohol and sex.

8. It helps them learn good decision making skills. You can't guide those kids into good decision making if what they say is the law, if they have no respect for your authority.

9. It sets the ground work for a mature, Godly adult. Remember, an undisciplined child grows up to be an undisciplined adult!

Remember our kids are a gift from God.  He puts them in our charge to lead and guide them to become the children of God that will bring honor to Him.

Dear Lord, we thank You for the children that You have given to us. Help us discipline them in love so that they will become the people You would have them to be. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Waiting on the Lord

Isaiah 40:31 (NIV)
But those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

Have you ever wondered how it would feel to be a bird, flying through the air with the wings of an eagle, so strong, so fast, so high? I love watching videos of eagles as they soar through the heavens. How they effortlessly dive out of the sky and snag their next meal. Would life have been better if we were eagles?

Sometimes I wish that I could fly as high as an eagle, and with good cause: eagles can fly above a storm. Eagles fly at great heights, flung upward by massive winds, soaring above it all. Picture it -- flying above a storm! So it is with us. With God's help, as we wait on Him, we can mount up with wings as eagles, and fly above the storm! We are helped by the storm's currents to escape the buffeting and fly above all the stressful commotions of this life. That sounds good to me.

There have been days that I just sit completely overwhelmed by the pain in my back. The storms of life are hard to endure, for they hurt us, not only physically, but also spiritually. We can feel  alone and afraid. But Jesus brings us good news! We can turn our hurts, our thoughts, our very souls towards the Lord and wait on Him. He is with us. In the quietness, we feel our souls refreshed and lifted high above it all. It won't be long before we can fly high above the hurt, soaring with joyful abandon above it all.

The Lord has promised never to leave us, never to forsake us. We read those encouraging words in Matthew 28:20, "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (NIV) Jesus' acceptance and love are so wonderfully healing that our souls are set free, and we are encouraged to try again. We are free of the burden of what happened. We can fly high, ever higher like an eagle, high above life's turmoil and pain. God's love is with us as we wait on the Lord patiently. His words encourage us. Each storm strengthens our faith, for it is God's promise that, as we wait on Him, we mount up like the eagle above the storms of life. We can face today.

Dear Lord, as we experience the pains of life help us hang on to You.  As we commit to You what is worrying us and hurting us in this life, may we fly high in Your love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Pain is Temporary

2 Corinthians 4:17 (NIV)
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

"If you look at the world, you'll be distressed. If you look within, you'll be depressed. But if you look at Christ, you'll be at rest."

What better person to pen these words than Corrie ten Boom since she was a survivor of World War II Nazi death camps. Her family helped many Jews escape Nazi Germany, but on February 28, 1944, they were all arrested for their crimes and shipped off to Scheveningen prison. Two of her family members-along with a nephew, were released immediately. One died 10 days later. Corrie and a remaining sister were shipped to another prison camp and then another where Corrie's sister died on December 28, 1944. Before dying, she related to Corrie, "There is no pit so deep that He [God] is not deeper still." Twelve days later, Corrie was released.

Corrie ten Boom's pain must have seemed everlasting and unbearable. Paul endured his share as well yet wrote, "For our present troubles are small and won't last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!" (II Corinthians 4:17)

Pain is no respecter of persons. We all endure it. Some for shorter periods of time. Others seem to be afflicted their entire life with physical pain. And still others seem never to escape emotional battles and brokenness.

I've learned to accept painful episodes-regardless of their nature, as coming from God. Though he doesn't send incidents that conflict with his nature, he at least allows them and uses them in some way for my good. My greatest life lessons have arrived through unpleasant affairs.

And as Paul relates, pain-whether spiritual, emotional, or physical, is temporary. It may appear to last forever, but God controls its duration. When I compare occurrences of tenderness with the joy and bliss of heaven, it's much easier to endure.

How are you responding to your outbreaks of pain?

Dear Lord, Thank You for guiding us through our chapters of pain and also for giving us the assurance that when compared with eternity they will be light and temporary. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.