On Wings Of Eagles

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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Is God's love homogenized in you?

Hebrews 13:15 (NIV)
Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.

In homogenized milk, the fat-rich cream molecules are dispersed throughout the skim milk so that the liquid is all the same. Knowing God's wide, deep, high, and long love, made available to us by Jesus, is the rich cream of our life. God does not want us to allow the cream of His love and presence to rise to the top, just to be seen by others. He wants us to keep the richness of His love homogenized into everything that we say and do — all the same thing.

We are called to use our lips to openly and continually "speak the same thing" as Jesus' dignity, authority, rank, majesty, power, excellence, and tender, cherishing, compassionate, loving-kind, merciful character. This implies being "on the same wavelength" as Jesus, or being kindred spirits with Him.

Are you homogenized with God?

Dear Lord, help us keep You love throughout our life evenly. Help us not let Your love just rise to the top but have it be seen throughout everything we do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.  

Friday, February 27, 2015

Things to learn from a strawberry.

1 John 4:7-8 (NIV) 
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

Today we had are annual day at the Florida Strawberry Festival. It is always a fun filled day as a family doing the things you do at a fair. The bonus is that it is centered around strawberries.

Isn't it exciting to know that God can show us lessons if we keep our eyes and hearts open. I learned two lessons today.

First as you look at a strawberry you notice it kind of looks like a heart.  We will often tell people that we love them “with all our heart.” God wants us to love Him with all of our heart! He also wants us to love others the same way.

The strawberries we ate today were sweet and delicious. It reminds us of the fact that God’s love is sweet, and that He wants us to be sweet and loving to those that are around us.

Secondly I read a sign talking about the process for the successful strawberry harvest. They start by cultivating the soil and making special, raised beds for the strawberries. They then lay a thin sheet of black plastic over the beds before they plant the strawberries. The purpose is to keep the strawberries clean prior to harvesting.  As we bear fruit in Christ are we keeping our fruit clean?

Dear Lord, thank You for the strawberries that You have provided for us to enjoy. As we think about them help us remember to keep our fruit clean as we live our life for You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

God's miracle

Genesis 1:27 (NIV)
So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.

Tundra, Glacier and Juneau sit atop a white furry rug tucked into an old fashioned red baby sleigh. These beautiful Inuit babies, all snug in their beaded, fur trimmed parkas, pants and boots look and feel just like the real thing even though they are only dolls. Designed and handmade by an artist from Alaska they radiate pride of workmanship, love and skill. Each one is so uniquely different from the other, yet so much alike with their liquid brown eyes, tawny skin and thick black hair. What a wonderful gift to be able to create such lifelike models of the real thing, what a feeling of fulfillment and joy each one must have brought to the heart of their craftsman.

As you look at those three dolls it reminds us of the fact that each and every one of us is a miracle. A miracle meant to radiate the pride of workmanship, love and skill emanating from the likeness of God within us. I am awed by the thought of how God must have felt when He created the first man and woman, and how He must rejoice and be glad beyond compare each and every time a new baby is conceived, carried to term and born. For He who created our inmost being, He who knit us together in our mother’s womb, He who viewed our frame when we were being made in the secret place, He is the one who loves us more than life itself. Therefore should it not make sense that when we who are created by the Lord God of all creation, choose to accept and love ourselves for the wonderful miracle which we are, should this not be one of the greatest praises of all which we can offer up to our Heavenly Father? And yet how often do we despise our humanity, our failures, our bodies, our minds, our personalities and our genetic make- up? How often do we forget that it was for this our Savior died; for fallen, fragile, yet still gloriously god-like humanity?

Today we each have a brand new opportunity to share in a miracle: the miracle of the creation of us. We have a fresh start to offer God the highest of praises as we choose to embrace the joy He feels in each and every one of us, with whom He shares his life giving breath. Today we get another chance to praise or reject the workmanship of our creator’s hand. Let us choose wisely.

Dear Lord, thank You for the way You fearfully and wonderfully made each one of us. Give us joy in the life you have breathed into us, that we might in loving both You and ourselves learn to love our neighbors with the same love You have for them. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

How would you do if your faith were put to the test?

Colossians 1:4 (NIV)
Because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people—

The Rev. and Mrs. Robert Porteous were missionaries with China Inland Mission beginning in the 1920's. They ministered in Jianxi Province and they began an intensive Bible school. Beginning in the late 1920's, communist troops rose to power and began disrupting life in the province.

In 1931, the Porteous family was taken prisoner by the communists. They were led to a lonely spot on top of a hill where they were to be executed. The leader said, "This is the place." The executioner took a long knife from its holder and raised it above the necks of the courageous couple. Certain death seemed imminent.

However, instead of cringing and begging for mercy, the couple began to sing. The bandits stared open-mouthed as they heard this hymn. "Face to face with Christ, my Savior, Face to face-what will it be? When with rapture I behold him, Jesus Christ who died for me."

These two were ready for death and thought that would be their last song. But, no order was given for their execution. The executioner returned the knife to its place, and the couple was released and enjoyed another 40 years of ministry.

How would you do if your faith were put to the test?

Dear Lord, thank the You that with Your strength, we can have enough faith for whatever comes our way today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Praise God in the worst of times.

Psalm 103:2 (NIV)
 Praise the Lord, my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits—

There is a plaque on a wall at Staunton Harold Chapel in Leicestershire, England that reads: "In the year 1653, when all things sacred throughout the land were either demolished or profaned, Sir Robert Shirley built this church. His singular praise is this: To have done the best of things in the worst of times."

In 17th century England it was the worst of times. King Charles I had been tried for treason and been beheaded. Injustice was reigning throughout the England. The churches were harassed and many were closed.

Sir Robert was a traveler and adventurer. As he traveled to Persia and throughout Europe, he understood that the world was a dark place. But on the edge of a beautiful lake, Sir Robert decided to build a church to bring praise and glory to God. The building is remarkable for being one of the few churches built in, and surviving from, the Commonwealth Period. It is decorated with brass candlesticks and beautiful, purple velvet cushions.

What is more remarkable is that this beautiful building was built as Sir Robert while he languished in prison in the Tower of London. It was during his own “worst of times” that Robert desired to bring praise and glory to God. He died in prison three years after the beginning of the church, never seeing its completion.

Are you remembering to praise Christ even during your “worst of times?”

Dear Lord, no matter what circumstance we find our self in help us praise You. Help us not get wrapped up in the bad but always look to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Lip Service

 Psalm 34:1 (NIV) 
I will extol the Lord at all times;
    His praise will always be on my lips.

Oh, the pressures that a lip-conscious girl has to deal with! First of all, you have to have lipstick in shades to match every outfit. On top of that, for some reason no one really understands, all those colors are required to have names that make you feel really ridiculous. Like "Passion Perky Pink," "Vixen Tart Wine," "Mysteriously Misty Mauve"--you have to hide the label while you're putting them on. You don’t want to be caught rubbing "Vixen Tart Wine" on your lips, even if it is the only shade that goes with your purple suit.

On top of it all, you have to be careful that you never pull out the wrong thing to put on your lips. For example you reach for Chapstick and accidentally grabbed a GLUE STICK instead. Maybe that would be the answer for gossip? Your lips would be sealed, just thinking.

God gives us lip instruction that doesn't involve color. Or glue. These lips were made for praising him and for building up the people he loves. When we're using our lips in the right way, it's really the very best 'lip service"--whether you're bare-lipped or covered with Passion Perky Pink.

Dear Lord, help us use our lips in a way that brings honor and praise to You. Bring somebody into my path today that I can build up and share Your love with. I Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

We have a reason to praise

Psalm 117:1-2 (NIV)
1 Praise the Lord, all you nations;
    extol him, all you peoples.
2 For great is his love toward us,
    and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.
Praise the Lord.

Australian singer and songwriter Darlene Zschech gained international recognition in 1998 for her song "Shout to the Lord," which was nominated for the Dove Award for Song of the Year. In 1999, Darlene received the International Impact of the Year Award from the American Gospel Music Association in Nashville. But Darlene's life wasn't always as together as we see it now.

As newlyweds, Mark and Darlene struggled financially. Darlene earned small change singing commercial jingles for Kentucky Fried Chicken, Diet Coke and McDonald's. Mark struggled to keep their motorcycle parts business afloat to support Darlene and their two young children. It was then that Darlene decided to praise God through the struggle.

"I learned we'll never find hope looking at our circumstances," she says. "It's only found by fixing our eyes on Jesus who doesn't change and who's always faithful." In 1990, the Zschechs left their home and church in Queensland, and moved to Sydney in New South Wales, where they became a part of the music team at Hills Christian Life Center. From there, the Lord started using Darlene to bring glory to Him.

Darlene Zschech commented that praise is "thanking God for things even though they're not there yet," Darlene says. "It's appreciating Jesus not [just] for what He can do, but for being your Savior. And there's power in that."

The Lord isn't just faithful some of the time; He is faithful in the past, present and the future.

We have a reason to praise Him; for His mercy endures forever.

Dear Lord, thank the You for Your faithfulness that endures forever. Help us put our trust in You today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Our real home cannot be found on any GPS

John 17:14-16 (NIV)
14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.

At a Spanish church a lady that recently underwent cancer surgery came to church and sang a song of God's goodness with her husband. After the song she witnessed about how our loving Father had been her strong tower during these difficult times and that she truly had nothing to fear. She also gave her heartfelt thanks to her "fan", the one who had always been at her side throughout it all: her daughter.

The Sunday after January 12, 2010, the day Haiti was decimated by the 7.0 earthquake, one of the members who had still many family members and friends in his home country stepped forth and sang in front of the congregation: "C'est merveilleux, c'est admirable" (How wonderful, how marvelous), praising God with all of his heart, for God is truly bigger than all of the circumstances.

Two testimonies, from people born in two different parts of the world, but both having the same message: Our God is faithful even amidst our worst circumstances.

"Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul." (1 Peter 2:11 NIV)

We are on a mission and our real home cannot be found on any GPS location on this planet. If we face death, fear does not fill our soul. On the contrary, we become excited! We are going home, where our heart belongs!

"For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body." (Phil 1:21-24 NIV)

This hope that awaits us motivates us, and no circumstances, no matter how grim they may be, will keep us from praising the One who always stands at our side.

What do we really have to lose?

Dear Lord, thank You that no matter the circumstance You are faithful and we can fully trust in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Friday, February 20, 2015

What is you perspective?

John 14:17 (NIV)
The Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.

Sand particles are tiny and easily slips through our hands. Combined though, they can become quite powerful. Take, for example, glass, which is made out of sand particles. It protects us from the elements, it gives us light, and helps us to see the unknown universe and the unseen tiny world of the living.

A glass lens is nothing more than a bent piece of glass, but that curved piece of glass changes the way we perceive the world. It all started in 1608, when a Dutch spectacle maker named Hans Lippershey put two lenses behind one another and was astonished to see a close-up view of a distant steeple. Wow!

Soon, people all over Europe were putting lenses into all kinds of devices. Spy glasses became a fad. An Italian scientist named Galilelo went a step further and created what we now know as the telescope, which is a more elaborate version of a spy glass, and helps us study of the stars.

In 1764 a Dutch naturalist named Antonj van Leeuwenhoek built the most powerful microscope of his time. He discovered that a simple drop of water could teem with abundant microscopic life, unseen to the naked eye. Our universe is filled with wonders that are unseen!

David, a man after God’s own heart, also believed in the unseen. Sadly, most people in his time preferred to believe in the visible rather than in what they could not see. Take, for example, the time when a giant named Goliath defied the armies of Israel and challenged one of their rank to a duel to the death. Who in his right man would face a man measuring 2.9 meters (9 feet, 6 inches)? It’s no wonder that no one in the army of Saul took the challenge. Instead “all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified.”

A bunch of chickens we may think, but would we have done any better? That giant was more than half again my height, and he was solidly muscled!

Still, aren’t those of us who are in God’s army supposed to be fearless? What happened here? Sadly the soldiers of Saul’s army became distracted by what they saw instead of relying on the invisible.

One day, young David came to visit his brothers in the army. He came just as Goliath was defying the Lord’s army. David was completely shocked when Saul’s soldiers “all fled from him in great fear.”

But David didn’t flee. No way! Instead he stood firm and cried out: “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?” I can imagine the soldiers around him all telling him to be quiet.

But he didn’t stop here. Despite the fact that he wasn’t even of army age, he went directly to King Saul and convinced him that he would take Goliath’s challenge.

Why? Because he put his faith in the unseen and discarded the visible threat. To him, Goliath was only a tiny annoyance, and this was nothing more than an opportunity to show that God is way bigger than a 2.9 meter giant! He declared: “The LORD who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine”
David took his staff and picked up five smooth stones from the stream, and with them in his pouch and his sling in his hand, he confronted his enemy. Wasn’t God’s enemy his enemy as well?

The giant was astonished that the one taking this challenge “was little more than a boy . . .” He mocked David, seeing him as easy prey, nothing more than a tiny mosquito that could be squashed easily. He wondered out loud: “Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?”
Unfazed, young David spoke boldly forth the following words: “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head.”

The rest is history. Goliath was struck by one of David’s stones. The mighty was vanquished by what seemed to be a weakling: “For when I am weak, then I am strong.” The seen was conquered by the unseen!

We, too, can face anything when we don’t focus on appearances. It’s all a question of perspective. After all, the unseen is far more powerful than the seen!

Just like the tiny particles of sand, which eventually turned the world upside down! We may be weak, but when we rely on the Unseen One, the One who is beyond power, we, too, can become powerful!

Dear Lord, thank You for the power that You give to each of us. Help us use that power to change the world for You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Trust God even when the odds seem impossible.

2 Corinthians 12:10 (NIV)
That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Israel was facing impossible odds: 900 iron chariots against men on foot (See Judges 4:3), experienced warriors against 2 women with no experience at all in warfare. In now-a-days terms we could compare this to indigenous people from the Amazon coming up against modern tanks, machine guns, airplane bombers, etc., with a simple bow and arrow.

There was no way Israel could win, and even less with inexperienced women leading the attack!

When Deborah gave the order (verse 6), doubt naturally arose (verse 8). Even though she had never fought before, she lead the way. She knew without a doubt that with God on her side, she truly had nothing to fear!

What happened next was completely unexpected: the mighty warmongers were defeated by the inexperienced (See verse 15). The battle turned out as prophesied: "Has not the Lord gone ahead of you?" (Judges 4:14 NIV)

Unfortunately however, the commander in chief, Sisera, archenemy of Israel, succeeded in escaping. Still there was no need to worry: God was STILL in charge!

Sisera fled to a nearby tent, where Jael (The 2nd woman in our story), wife of Heber the Kenite, supposedly an ally of Sisera's army, was there to greet him. (See verse 17). Without hesitation she led him inside her tent and covered him up. A strange way to hide from your enemy, don't you think! But then when the tide turns against us, we, too, act irrationally!

Now Jael only had a tent peg and a hammer with which to protect herself. What could she do with these? I know what I would do: I would look at these two items for hours, wondering what good they could be to me. Until the hammer fell on my foot that is . . .

But Jael knew what to do with them, and she used these two useless items to defeat the enemy of Israel (See verse 21). Who would have thought that a mighty warrior could be brought down by a tent peg and a hammer! But then, with God nothing is impossible!

In more recent history, the Allies were facing impossible odds as well. The Germans had built a long wall, called the Atlantic wall, that stretched from Norway to the French-Spanish border, and there they entrenched bunkers, heavy batteries, landmines, and a myriad of other destructive devices. They were literally impenetrable.

On August 1942, more than 6100 troops, consisting of 4,963 Canadians, 1,005 British commandos, 50 US rangers and 15 Frenchmen landed on the beaches of Dieppe, France. Only too late did they realize that the Atlantic wall was truly impenetrable. A total of 3,369 men were killed or wounded and 1,946 were taken prisoner. The war started to look grimmer and grimmer.

Did the Allies ever abandon all hope? Never!

On June 6, 1944, two years later, the Allies attacked the enemy on the beaches of Normandy.

The Germans expected the ally invasion to happen, and they were watching. They surmised that the allies would attack on a clear sunny day, during the daytime, and at high tide, and all of their warmonger traps were set for a high tide invasion. These became useless the day the allies came in, in the fog, at low tide, really early in the morning. The Nazis didn't realize they were there until they were too close for comfort. They quickly tried to reach their Fuhrer for directions, but he was fast asleep, and due to his extravagant temper, no one dared wake him up. And the rest is history!

Hilarious odds can be expected when our hope is in God! We will hopefully all learn sooner or later. We may be facing unimaginable odds, but if we rely on God, we will truly have nothing to fear. Those iron chariots or German booby traps, as well as all the other warmongers from Satan, are nothing compared to the power of God! Doubt will lead to utter defeat as well as depression, but faith will lead us to victory.

What are you waiting for? Trust God and let Him guide!

Dear Lord, help us fully trust You today. Help us not let the circumstances around us control us but the fact that You are in control lead and guide us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

He is there in the storm.

Psalm 107:29 (NIV)
He stilled the storm to a whisper;
    the waves of the sea were hushed.

I recently read a story told by Gail Mummert about her remarkable testimony of protection during a stormy moment in Lancaster, Texas:

As we were driving home in threatening weather, my husband, Gene, turned on the radio for a local report. Funnel clouds had indeed been spotted nearby. After arriving home, things grew strangely calm.

In a short while, the wind started to blow fiercely. Trees were bent over and the very walls of the house began to flutter. Windows rattled and hail beat on the car port.

"Get into the hall and close the doors," my husband shouted. "Get pillows, blankets and a flashlight." "Nana, I'm scared," cried our five-year-old grandson, William.

"Jesus will take care of us. Don't be afraid," I told him. Suddenly sirens began to go off in our small town. The walls moved as though they weren't anchored to anything. "If we're not in a tornado, we're close," shouted Gene as he ran into the hall.

"Link arms and sit on the floor," I said.

"I love you," Gene said to us as he surrounded us with blankets and pillows, covered us with his body and enveloped us with his arms.

A mighty rushing wind was all around us and sucked us together into a ball. "Pray! Keep praying," he said.

"God Almighty, help us!" We screamed.


Windows shattered, glass flew everywhere. Another explosion. The walls caved in. Debris shot everywhere like arrows toward their target.

"Jesus, help us! You are our Savior! You are our King!" My voice cried. I looked up-the roof was falling on us. A ladder crashed down on my husband's back.

"Now start praising Him," Gene shouted through the wind. The next blast was the worst. There was nothing we could do. Only He could help us. Everything was out of control, but we knew the sovereignty of God. We knew we were at the point of death but we shouted, "Thank you, Jesus! Thank you, Lord!"

Suddenly, peace filled me like a flood. A sweet voice filled my heart, "I've heard your cry for help. I've bent the heavens for you. No matter what happens around you, I'm here protecting you." Tears flooded my face and I knew Jesus was protecting us. It seemed His arms had surrounded us. I knew we would be safe.

The tornado was over. The rain beat down on us with a force I had never felt before. We were safe. "Mama, I see the sky," little William said.

"William, that's because the roof is gone. We probably won't have any walls, either," Gene informed him. "I'm so thankful we're okay," our daughter Wendy cried. "Jesus protected us, didn't He?" Though buried under tons of debris, our hair covered with insulation and glass, we were okay. Just a few minor injuries.

Talk about walls of protection! Several people were killed and many injured in that devastating tornado, but the everlasting arms of the Lord protected the Mummert family. Gail was privileged to share her entire story with The Dallas Morning News. The newspaper even printed her testimony about the protection of the Lord.

When faced with the storms of live remember that God is in control. Cry out to Him and He will answer in ways that we don’t always know or understand.

Dear Lord, thank You for being there and protecting us in lives storms. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Divided we fall BUT united we stand.

Mark 3:24-25 (NIV)
24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.

July 2, 1863, would become an unforgettable day for Colonel Joshua L. Chamberlain’s 20th Maine regiment. Union scouts realized that no one was defending Little Round Top, the end of the Union line, against the Confederate army. If the Confederates were to conquer Little Round Top, it would allow them to attack the Union rear and force Union evacuation of Cemetery Ridge. This would ensure a Confederate stronghold in the north, and could potentially swing the Civil war in favor of the Confederate army.

Colonel Strong Vincent quickly took it upon himself to place four regiments in the area. One of these regiments was the 20th Maine. Vincent’s orders to Chamberlain were: “Hold the ground at all cost!” And that is what Chamberlain did. He encouraged his soldiers to stand strong, no matter what, and to cover for one another. Fortunately for him, the soldiers were fond of their leader. They had no idea, however, that the enemy was just a few minutes away.

The 20th Maine had no time to prepare themselves for the onslaught. Nonetheless, they remembered the importance of standing as one, for if they were not united, they would be easily overcome. For more than an hour, waves of Alabamian Confederates repeatedly stormed the hillside from below, but each time they were repelled. Despite the immense cost to their numbers, the Union line held. It was so bad that puddles of blood could be seen everywhere. Even Colonel Strong Vincent was fatally injured.

To the horror of the 20th Maine, it was soon discovered that they were running out of ammunition. How could they keep on withholding attack after attack without bullets? Desperate, Colonel Chamberlain ordered a bayonet charge. Fortunately for them, the Confederates were also running low on ammo, and the 20th Maine succeeded in driving them back for good. The union left flank remained secure, all because Union soldiers stayed focused on their task, ready to die for the cause. They never gave in to discouragement.

Colonel Chamberlain, a professor before war, was awarded the Medal of Honor. Eventually he was elected Governor of Maine.

United we are truly much stronger than divided. In fact, division always leads to defeat! Yet somehow, many churches have gone to the path of disunity. Very few hold on to the truth, “That all of them (those believing in Jesus, the Christ) may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.” (John 17: 21). We are completely missing the point! It is not about ourselves, it’s about God who came to lead us to genuine unity, such as was evident in the first century church: “All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.” (Acts 4:32)

In all honesty, who were closer to God? The first century church? Or the one of the 21st century?

Imagine what would happen if we stopped clinging to our denominations, and instead, began to cling to Jesus? As genuine love would become the norm, denominational lines would begin to fade, and we would find our churches beginning to resemble the church of the first century!

Still, we have another stumbling block in our way. Even within our church walls, however, many members are not united. Everyone tends to think only about themselves!

If we would focus only on Jesus and Him alone, things would change. “Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!” (Heb 12:2-3)

Just like the men of the 20th Main, standing strong in unity and focusing on their leader, Colonel Chamberlain, held off the Confederate army, these stumbling blocks in our churches can also be overcome. But only if we focus on our commander of faith, Jesus Christ!

Imagine what would happen to this world. Jesus would become real on planet Earth, as there would be no denying that He is real. Poverty would be a thing of the past because our priorities would change from looking out for ourselves to reaching out to others. We would love what God loves. We would literally become His hands and feet, proclaiming the Good News everywhere we could.

Victory is ours...But only if we stand united.

Dear Lord, we pray that we would stand united in You. Help us not become tied up with denominations and the things of this world instead help us to focus on You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Poisonous or Propitious?

Matthew 13:33 (NIV)
He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.”

As you search the internet you can find that many poisonous substances can be used as cures. Cures are being developed as we read this based on these toxins. Take for example a viper’s venom, deadly to anyone. But it can be part of a potent anti-clotting medicine that helps blood keep on flowing instead of clumping up.

The tetrodotoxin of a pufferfish is deadly, causing fatal paralysis of the heart and the lungs. Still this toxin can also treat chronic pain. It has been discovered that it is 3,000 times more powerful than morphine, and it doesn't have the side-effects of addiction or nausea.

None of us rejoice when finding a tick, especially when in buries itself into our flesh. Recently it was discovered that the tick’s spit helps blood flow easily without any hindrances. A prospective medicine is on the way using tick saliva that is seventy times more powerful than the blood-thinning agent in human blood.

We too used to be quite poisonous, through our words, actions and thoughts. How many people do we hurt with the simple use of our tongue?

Still God did not give up on use. Like yeast that is so small, so small that a single seed of it would be unnoticeable, once mingled into dough it raises the hard lump and turns it into a delicious meal. God’s yeast works in us the same way, it transforms us from a self-centered individual to one that hungers to help out others.

Once God’s yeast reaches our hearts, it mixes into our souls and starts to grow and grow, leading us to complete freedom. Gone are the addictions. Alcoholics become sober. Drug addicts find freedom. Selfishness is morphed into wanting to help others. Strangely enough, once we experience God’s transforming power, we consider our pasts to be rubbish! We have found something better, something that brings meaning to our lives.

We have been transformed from poisonous to prosperous, from selfish to loving others way more than ourselves. God, after all, is love, and once His love enters our lives, it will change us radically for the good of all people.

Dear Lord, we pray that Your yeast would grow in us today so that we can be more like You and that You can use us in a mighty way. I Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Rely on God's power

Nahum 1:3 (NIV)
The Lord is slow to anger but great in power;
    the Lord will not leave the guilty unpunished.
His way is in the whirlwind and the storm,
    and clouds are the dust of his feet.

In 1930, Haile Selassie became the Emperor of Ethiopia. The Christian ruler was the 111th emperor in succession of King Solomon. Upon assuming power, Selassie sought to modernize the nation. He built schools and universities, established newspapers, expanded electricity and telephone service and increased public health services.

Then in October 1935, Italian forces under the orders of Benito Mussolini invaded Ethiopia. Selassie's forces were no match for the Italian army and in May 1936, he went into exile. He appealed for help to the League of Nations, saying:

"Apart from the Kingdom of the Lord there is not on this earth any nation that is superior to any other. Should it happen that a strong Government finds it may with impunity destroy a weak people, then the hour strikes for that weak people to appeal to the League of Nations to give its judgment in all freedom? God and history will remember your judgment."

The League did not help and for the next five years Selassie remained in Britain trying to garner world support against Italy with little results.

One day, British field marshal Sir William Edmund Ironside asked Emperor Selassie what he was going to do now? Selassie, known as "The Lion of Judah" replied: "After all, there is God!"

In May of 1941, Selassie's faith in the power of God was rewarded as he re-entered Ethiopia and remained Emperor until 1974.

Is there an "impossible situation" in your life? Rely on God’s power to overcome the situation.

Dear Lord, help us always look to Your power as we face each situation. Thank You for always being there for us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

God's Valentine to us.

1 John 4:7 (NIV)
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.

February 14th… it’s Valentine’s Day once again and the red roses are pouring out the doors of the florists, the Hallmark cards are flying off the shelves, heart shaped boxes of chocolates are purchased, and restaurants are booked weeks in advance so that people can find ways to express their love on this one day of the year.

It seems foolish in many ways to put so much emphasis on one single day to show love when in reality we should love one another every day of the year and not just wait until February 14th. It is nice to think and hear about love instead of all the doom and gloom on the media channels… but why DO we focus on this one day?

The history of the holiday is shrouded in mystery mixed with historical events about several different men named Valentine from Rome to Africa who were martyred within the 2nd to 4th century during periods of civil and religious persecution. The most familiar story was about a priest in the Catholic Church who ministered during a difficult time in history. Some stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons where they were often beaten and tortured. Another tells us that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men so they could serve in his military without distraction. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, chose to ignore Claudius’s decree and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine's actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death. Before the sentence was carried out, Valentine sent the first "valentine" greeting thus giving birth to our tradition of sending “valentines”. While in prison, it is believed that Valentine fell in love with a young girl — who may have been his jailor's daughter — who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter on a heart shaped piece of paper, which he signed "From your Valentine," an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories certainly emphasize his appeal as a heroic AND romantic figure.

As much as we can admire the courage of this man on this annual event, we must always consider that GOD is the Author and Finisher of Love, and as His children, we must always remember to share His love to others. God showed the world the most amazing example of LOVE when He gave His only Son to die on the cross to take away our sins. John 3:16 is repeated so often that we sometimes speed through these familiar words and miss the intent of God’s Heart, so on this Valentine’s Day, let us realize that GOD sent us a Valentine when He sent Jesus to earth. God loves you so much, and wants to show you His love 365 days of the year, not with chocolates and cards but with His gift of eternal life so that we can be with him forever in His loving Arms. In the Bible, “love” is mentioned 697 times, so get the message… GOD LOVES YOU! Open your hearts and receive His love in a fresh way today, then find ways to share that love with those that God places in your life journey.

GOD’s Valentine to the world, and to you and me!
Jesus said: 
"For God so loVed the world
       That He gAve
             His onLy
                      That whosoever
        Believes In Him
             Shall Not perish,
       But have Everlasting life."

Dear Lord, we thank You for Your love. We thank You that You are the author and finisher of love. Help us show Your love through out the year. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Faith that moves a bridge?

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

A well-built highway bridge is there to stay. For a lifetime at least. Unless a war breaks out, who would ever think that such a bridge could be instantly broken up! Impossible!

Maybe we have problems with faith because we do not really believe in the impossible!

On July 9, 2011, a glacial flood, seemingly out of nowhere, came upon highway No.1 in south Iceland, by the river Múlakvísl on Mýrdalssandur. The flood was thought to be the result of a tiny eruption underneath the icecap of the Mýrdalsjökull glacier, probably in the crater of the Katla volcano. The eruption melted the ice on the bottom of the glacier, sending flood waters cascading onto the plain where the racing water tore out the highway bridge across the Múlakvísl. One moment the bridge was there, the next it was-gone!

If immense, solid bridges can be so easily moved, imagine what can be moved by faith that is anchored in our Father in Heaven!

Jesus, the One who had mountain moving faith, explained why moving mountains was possible: "Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves." (John 14:10-11 NIV)

Jesus was literally anchored in the Father, so much that His words were "not just His own". His words came from the Father, who was "doing His work".

Just like Jesus. We are "in the Father, and the Father is in us". God's very Spirit lives in us! The problem is, we rarely tap into that Power! If we did, the impossible would become possible, just as Jesus declared:

"I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it." (John 14:12-14 NIV)

Faith that moves mountains is only possible if it is placed on the One who showed us this kind of faith!

Yes, solidly-built bridges can be moved. Yes, Jesus still heals, still frees those in bondage, and still comes to the aid of those in distress. Nothing is too difficult to God! We have reason to believe in the impossible. To make this possible we need to acquaint ourselves with the Miracle Maker. Only a strong, intimate relationship with Him will open doors that never could be opened before. Only such a relationship will comfort the broken-hearted and sustain us amidst adversity. The key of mountain-moving-faith is in one person, the One who paid the price to make this possible.

"Where's our bridge? It was just there last week?"

If bridges can be moved, imagine what would happen if we tapped into faith!

Dear Lord, help us to have the faith that can move mountains. Help us not waver in the things that we believe but completely trust in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Are you fully dependent on the Lord for your resources?

Luke 21:4 (NIV)
All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.

In the 1920s and 1930s many Chinese Christians broke away from the traditional denominations and formed their own groupings. The most successful of these was the "Jesus Family" begun by Jing Tianying in Shandong in 1927.

Shandong is China's third most populous province with approximately 100-120 million people. The Jesus Family originated in the village of Mazhuang when Shandong was racked by poverty and war. A man by the name of Jing Dianying organized the villagers and established a cooperative silk factory in 1927 that became known as the "Jesus Family". Although, it is estimated that this movement had no more than 12,000 total believers involved in it throughout China, several believe that this group had significant impact on the "House Church" movement in China.

In 1942 there was a tremendous drought in northern China. Aid began to pour in from the outside to help those people who were starving. The "Jesus Family" refused to take the aid. They continued to feed their people--not only that, but to give away the harvest. They worked up from 10 percent to 20 percent, and finally they worked up to where they gave away 90 percent of what they harvested. They supplied the food for five hundred people from forty-three acres of land. The Communists could supply less than half that amount per acre.

Somebody asked the "Jesus Family" leader: "Why would you refuse aid when others were starving?" He replied: "Those foreign churches would have robbed us of our anchor. It is our financial needs that drive us to our knees and force us to cry to Him."

Are you fully dependent on the Lord for your resources?

Dear Lord, thank the You for all that You have blessed us with.  Help us to show Your love to others and give help the needs of others.to those in need. In Jesus’ Name. Amen. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Hey You!

Jeremiah 1:5 (NIV)
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew[a] you,
    before you were born I set you apart;
    I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

"Hey you, come here!"

"Why should I?"

"Because I want you to."

"You don't even know my name! Why should I even care?"

The life of a teacher isn't always that easy. How is this poor person supposed to remember the names of all the students at his/her school? There was one teacher who found the solution to this problem. He gave nicknames to all of his students. For some reason he could remember these nicknames better than the children's real names!

But can you imagine being born without a name? Everyone around you would have no choice but to call you "Hey you!" Not very personal! In such circumstances I would prefer to have a nickname. Hopefully it would be a flattering one!

When at Moody Bible Institute a friend of mine met someone one  who did not have a first name for the first five years of his life.

How could that be?

To the horror of my friend, he explained that many new babies in Kenya do not receive a given name until they are 5 years old. The reason? The infant mortality rate is so high that some parents feel it is too painful to give something as personal as a name to a child during the first five years of his or her life!

Unlike many children under five in Kenya, the man my friend met survived, thanks to the intervention of a Christian charitable organization.

We Christians have the responsibility to bring hope to the hopeless, help to the helpless, victory to the defeated, and purpose to those who are lost. Love changes everything. Ask those nameless children who receive a name in the name of the Lord!

"Hey you! What will you do to bring meaning in this world?"

Dear Lord, open our eyes again today so that we may see how we can reach out to someone in need and show them that they are loved. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.