On Wings Of Eagles

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Monday, February 29, 2016

Leap Day thought

Luke 6:23 (ESV)
Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.

The Scottish preacher John McNeill liked to tell about an eagle that had been captured when it was quite young. The farmer who snared the bird put a restraint on it so it couldn't fly, and then he turned it loose to roam in the barnyard. It wasn't long till the eagle began to act like the chickens, scratching and pecking at the ground. This bird that once soared high in the heavens seemed satisfied to live the barnyard life of the lowly hen. One day the farmer was visited by a shepherd who came down from the mountains where the eagles lived. Seeing the eagle, the shepherd said to the farmer, "What a shame to keep that bird hobbled here in your barnyard! Why don't you let it go?" The farmer agreed, so they cut off the restraint. But the eagle continued to wander around, scratching and pecking as before. The shepherd picked it up and set it on a high stone wall. For the first time in months, the eagle saw the grand expanse of blue sky and the glowing sun. Then it spread its wings and with a leap soared off into a tremendous spiral flight, up and up and up. At last it was acting like an eagle again.
On this February 29 2016, Leap Day will you like the eagle take the leap to become what God has for you to be?

Dear Lord, give us the courage and strength to take the leap to become what You have designed for each one of us. Help us not to just sit back. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Sunday, February 28, 2016


1 Thessalonians 5:10-12 (ESV)
10 who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. 12 We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dear Lord, we pray that our reaction to things would be in line with what You would have for us. Help our actions bring honor to You. In The Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Saturday, February 27, 2016

We can make a difference!

Mark 12:43-44 (ESV)
43 And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. 44 For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

There is something unique about the poor. When they give, even though their offering might be labeled “insignificant” according to the world’s standards, they give way more than the ones who live quite comfortably. God sees that and acknowledges them. These are the ones God remembers!

These poor also accomplish things that the ones who live comfortably may never even consider. Take, for example, Laura Ingersoll Secord, a poor woman who lived in Queenston, Ontario, Canada. Early on in the war of 1812, her husband, James, had been wounded in the battle of Queenston Heights and was rescued by his wife, his heroine.

The following summer, on June 21, 1813, Laura overheard that the enemy was planning a surprise attack at Beaverdams. Someone had to warn the garrison located there, and the next morning, Laura set out on a twenty mile trek to warn that military base, taking a roundabout path to avoid encountering enemy soldiers.

Through fields and woods, she followed the general course of Twelve Mile Creek. That evening she unexpectedly encountered an Indian encampment and fear filled her. The chief however, listened to what she had overheard from the enemy, and he took her directly to the officer in charge of the garrison in Beaverdams, Lieutenant James Fitzgibbon.

Two days later the enemy attack wasn’t a surprise, as they were the ones ambushed by 400 Indians and Fitzgibbon’s 50 men. 462 enemy soldiers surrendered, all thanks to the information that Laura had brought to the garrison.

Interestingly however, no mention of Laura Secord was made in the official report. Only when she was 85-years-old did the Prince of Wales (Future Edward VII) learn about the heroic twenty mile trek performed by Laura Secord. She became a heroine overnight, and she even had a famous brand of chocolate named after her. And all that because she never hesitated to leave her poor home and trek through enemy territory to warn the troops.

We, the comfortable ones can make an impact on society as well, if we so wish. Imagine what would happen if, instead of giving the minimum, we started to give much, much more. Imagine the consequences on our society! Poverty would become nonexistent, and all that because we love our neighbors as Jesus tells us to. The world would be revolutionized. It’s within our power, but something holds us back. As long as we sit on the fence, this revolution of love will never occur. May we go beyond sitting on the fence and bless humanity just like that poor woman that attracted Jesus’ attention. We, too, can go out of our way to make a difference, if we so wish.

We can make a difference!

Dear Lord, help us make a difference today. No matter how small the deed help our hearts be willing. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Friday, February 26, 2016

What did you plant?

Matthew 25:29  (ESV)
For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.

A young reporter wanted to get a feel for agriculture, so he called upon a farmer and said, "How's your wheat coming along?"

The farmer replied, "I didn't plant any."

"Really?" Asked the reporter. "I thought this was supposed to be wheat country."

"Some say it is," came the reply. "But I was afraid we might not see enough rain this year."

"Well, what about your corn. How is it doing?" The young man inquired.

"Didn't plant corn this year," the farmer said. "I was afraid of corn blight."


"Nope. Afraid the price might drop."

"Well, then," asked the reporter, "what did you plant?"

"Nothin'," the farmer said. "I just played it safe."

Sir High Walpole advised, "Don't play for safety -- it's the most dangerous thing in the world." Of course, unnecessary risk-taking is foolish. But if life is to be lived fully, then saying NO to fear and taking that risk may be a necessary step to success.

It takes courage to do what you've never done and go where you've never been. Whatever huge decision looms before you, your best solution will likely be made from the side of courage, rather than fear, for in the end, a fearful decision is a dangerous decision.

Alan Alda puts it like this: "You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. You can't get there by bus, only by hard work, risking, and by not quite knowing what you're doing. What you'll discover will be wonderful -- yourself."

Does that sound like a place you want to go?

Dear Lord, help us to continue to work hard no matter the risk. Thank You that You are there to lead and guide us along the way. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

The biggest risk

Luke 6:38 (ESV)
Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.

Merrie Harris of Manhattan is a risk taker.

No, she doesn't bet on the horses, nor does she make frequent trips to Vegas. Merrie Harris does something which most of us would think is far more risky.

Recently, when a homeless man came up to her and asked for some money to buy vitamin water and a pack of cigarettes, Ms. Harris was cash poor. But she did have a Platinum American Express Card.

She handed her card over to the man, and the man promptly disappeared.

The man was gone for five minutes, ten minutes, fifteen. During that quarter-hour Merrie Harris' friends made fun of her. The longer the man and card were gone, the more fun those friends had.

Well, the man did return and he did hand back Ms. Harris' card. I'm glad Ms. Harris' faith in humankind wasn't shot down -- at least on that day. Her risk had paid off.

But it occurs to me the Lord did something far more risky. He sent His Son into this world to save humanity. From start to finish Jesus risked Himself. He even sacrificed Himself for us. Jesus risked everything so that all who believe on Him might be saved.

Scripture records how little His work was appreciated while He was here. Since His ascension into heaven, history tells us things haven't gotten much better. Far too many souls despise Jesus, ignore Jesus, and disregard His great sacrifice.

So was Jesus' life, death, and resurrection a bad risk?

God would say to Himself, "I'm glad I did what I did. It has all been worthwhile."

Dear Lord, looking at this sinful world must sometimes be a sad thing for You to do. You gave humanity so much, and we have appreciated Jesus so little. Today, and every day, make my life one of gratitude and thanksgiving. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Carry our your dreams

Psalm 119:28 (ESV)
My soul melts away for sorrow;
    strengthen me according to your word!

The first time anything new and creative is proposed, it gets labeled. And the label put on these novel things is likely to be "risky." Can't you just hear it?

"Let me get this straight, Orville. You and Wilbur are building a machine that will do what? Heavier-than-air flying machines are the riskiest hoax anybody ever palmed off on two gullible boys like you Wrights. Get a real job!"

Or maybe it was somebody's harebrained idea of taking pictures, black and white children attending the same school, or people walking on the moon. More than one person was berated simply for giving voice to such "silly" ideas.

It turns out that some of the people who dared to propose such outlandish possibilities are now regarded as geniuses - revolutionaries - heroes. And it was only because they dared to question others and to question themselves. They challenged the limitations others were willing to take for granted.

There is something in your profession or business, your family or church that could be done better. A situation could be more productive. A relationship could be healthier. An objective could be clarified. Some lofty ideal to which all in the group give lip service could actually be implemented. But I warn you up front: Like restoring a car or house, it will take twice as long as you thought, cost far more than you anticipated, and strain every important relationship in your life!

Only you can decide if it will be worth it to undertake something so ambitious and costly. There will be false starts. There will be embarrassing mistakes along the way. But the potential outcome could be as important to your personal situation as the achievements of the Wright brothers, Rosa Parks, and Neil Armstrong were to their time and place.

The problem with our world is not that there are no more frontiers to challenge and conquer. It's that there are too few explorers. There are too few people willing to ask the obvious questions and challenge the traditional wisdom. In a word, too few of us want to take the risks that could make us look stupid.

If you are fortunate enough to have a dream in your heart, be willing to make mistakes in pursuit of it. Be a risk-taker. You just might change the world. Remember that God is there to give you the strength to carry out your dream.

Dear Lord, help us to go forth with your dreams knowing that You are there to give us strength to accomplish those dreams. In The Name of Jesus, Amen.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Cracked pot

Jeremiah 18:6 (ESV)
 “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the Lord. Behold, like the clay in the potter's hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.

“Hmmm, this flower should be growing like crazy, with all this rain lately”. Sure enough, it had been raining and raining, so with plenty of summer sunshine to go with it, the plant should be doing great. But it was not. It was a nice clay pot with a nice green plant and no flowers. Sorta like a nice tree with lots of leaves, and no fruit.

 “Bet it needs more dirt in that pot; probably didn’t have enough topsoil”. When picked it up, you could see the bottom was a darker shade of terra cotta. Upon closer inspection, you could make out a thread-like line. The clay pot was not visibly leaking. However it was leaking enough to discolor the bottom of the pot. And apparently it was losing enough water through the crack, taking soil nutrients with it, to hinder the plant from blooming.

Sometimes I feel like a cracked clay pot. As I think about the  flowerpot, I thought of the story in Jeremiah where the Lord sent him down to the home of someone who made clay pots. (Jeremiah 18:1-6)

Sometimes we get cracked, and sometimes we leak. The good news is God made us, and He can seal the cracks we have. He can, and will, fill us again- and we’ll flower! More good news!

Dear Lord, help us take inventory to see if there’s a leak, if there is help us to come to You to repair and take care of it. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Monday, February 22, 2016

Lie down in green pastures

Psalm 23:2 (ESV)
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.

It started out with a simple CT scan that showed a small nodule on my thyroid.  From there came another CT scan that showed the nodule was still there. After the doctor’s evaluation the CT scan she said that the nodule was bigger than she thought and recommended a needle biopsy. After multiple tests on the biopsy we decided to have my thyroid taken out.  Much to our surprise the pathology report came back with two kinds of cancer.  Which lead to a high dose of radioactive iodine treatment.  In prep for the treatment I had to go on a low iodine diet and stop taking my thyroid meds. This sent my body into turmoil.

It is at times like these that the body just wants to rest. It just wants to lie there, drift off to sleep, and awaken to drink some water, in order to keep from becoming dehydrated. But it is in the quiet times, in moments like these, when not being able to do anything but just lie in bed, that we hear God speaking ever so softly, if we listen. In my case, God brought to remembrance David's beloved psalm that was written thousands of years ago and which still rings true to us today.

Psalm 23 (ESV)
1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2     He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
3     He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
    for his name's sake.
4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
    I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
    your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord

As I laid on the couch in isolation I read those verses. It made me think that lying in bed as I recovered was like God making me to lie down in a green pasture to restore my soul.

Take the time to lay down in green pastures.

Dear Lord, sometimes You make us to lie down in our beds in order to restore our bodies and souls. Thank You for the words of David to remind us. In the Name of Jesus,  Amen.

Sunday, February 21, 2016


Exodus 19:5  (ESV)
Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine;

In the eleventh century, King Henry III of Bavaria grew tired of court life and the pressures of being a monarch. He made application to Prior Richard at a local monastery, asking to be accepted as a contemplative and spend the rest of his life in the monastery. "Your Majesty," said Prior Richard, "do you understand that the pledge here is one of obedience? That will be hard because you have been a king."

"I understand," said Henry. "The rest of my life I will be obedient to you, as Christ leads you."

"Then I will tell you what to do," said Prior Richard. "Go back to your throne and serve faithfully in the place where God has put you." When King Henry died, a statement was written: "The King learned to rule by being obedient." When we tire of our roles and responsibilities, it helps to remember God has planted us in a certain place and told us to be a good accountant or teacher or mother or father. Christ expects us to be faithful where he puts us, and when he returns, we'll rule together with him.

Dear Lord, we pray that we would learn to be obedient to You today. Help that be what guides our decisions each day. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Saturday, February 20, 2016

We need anguish not anger

James 1:20  (ESV)
For the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

Will Rogers was known for his laughter, but he also knew how to weep. One day he was entertaining at the Milton H. Berry Institute in Los Angeles, a hospital that specialized in rehabilitating polio victims and people with broken backs and other extreme physical handicaps. Of course, Rogers had everybody laughing, even patients in really bad condition; but then he suddenly left the platform and went to the rest room. Milton Berry followed him to give him a towel; and when he opened the door, he saw Will Rogers leaning against the wall, sobbing like a child. He closed the door, and in a few minutes, Rogers appeared back on the platform, as jovial as before.

If you want to learn what a person is really like, ask three questions: What makes him laugh? What makes him angry? What makes him weep? These are fairly good tests of character that are especially appropriate for Christian leaders. I hear people saying, "We need angry leaders today!" or "The time has come to practice militant Christianity!" Perhaps, but "the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God" (James 1:20).

What we need today is not anger but anguish, the kind of anguish that Moses displayed when he broke the two tablets of the law and then climbed the mountain to intercede for his people, or that Jesus displayed when He cleansed the temple and then wept over the city. The difference between anger and anguish is a broken heart. It's easy to get angry, especially at somebody else's sins; but it's not easy to look at sin, our own included, and weep over it.

Dear Lord, help our hearts be broken for those around us.  Help us not get angry but have a anguish for those we meet each day. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.  

Friday, February 19, 2016

It's better higher up

Hebrews 12:2  (ESV) 
Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

The famous preacher D.L. Moody told about a Christian woman who was always bright, cheerful, and optimistic, even though she was confined to her room because of illness. She lived in an attic apartment on the fifth floor of an old, rundown building. A friend decided to visit her one day and brought along another woman -- a person of great wealth. Since there was no elevator, the two ladies began the long climb upward. When they reached the second floor, the well-to-do woman commented, "What a dark and filthy place!" Her friend replied, "It's better higher up." When they arrived at the third landing, the remark was made, "Things look even worse here." Again the reply, "It's better higher up." The two women finally reached the attic level, where they found the bedridden saint of God. A smile on her face radiated the joy that filled her heart. Although the room was clean and flowers were on the window sill, the wealthy visitor could not get over the stark surroundings in which this woman lived. She blurted out, "It must be very difficult for you to be here like this!" Without a moment's hesitation the shut-in responded, "It's better higher up." She was not looking at temporal things. With the eye of faith fixed on the eternal, she had found the secret of true satisfaction and contentment.

Dear Lord, help our eyes be on the You and heaven no matter the circumstances. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Thank you for my hurting

Romans 5:3-5  (ESV)
3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

David, a 2-year old with leukemia, was taken by his mother, Deborah, to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, to see Dr. John Truman who specializes in treating children with cancer and various blood diseases. Dr. Truman's prognosis was devastating: "He has a 50-50 chance." The countless clinic visits, the blood tests, the intravenous drugs, the fear and pain--the mother's ordeal can be almost as bad as the child's because she must stand by, unable to bear the pain herself. David never cried in the waiting room, and although his friends in the clinic had to hurt him and stick needles in him, he hustled in ahead of his mother with a smile, sure of the welcome he always got. When he was three, David had to have a spinal tap--a painful procedure at any age. It was explained to him that, because he was sick, Dr. Truman had to do something to make him better. "If it hurts, remember it's because he loves you," Deborah said. The procedure was horrendous. It took three nurses to hold David still, while he yelled and sobbed and struggled. When it was almost over, the tiny boy, soaked in sweat and tears, looked up at the doctor and gasped, "Thank you, Dr. Tooman, for my hurting."

Dear Lord, thank You for the times we hurt. Thank You that You use those times to help us grow. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Sometimes the struggle is exactly what we need.

James 1:12 (ESV)
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

A man found a cocoon of the emperor moth and took it home to watch it emerge. One day a small opening appeared, and for several hours the moth struggled but couldn't seem to force its body past a certain point.

Deciding something was wrong, the man took scissors and snipped the remaining bit of cocoon. The moth emerged easily, its body large and swollen, the wings small and shriveled.

He expected that in a few hours the wings would spread out in their natural beauty, but they did not. Instead of developing into a creature free to fly, the moth spent its life dragging around a swollen body and shriveled wings.

The constricting cocoon and the struggle necessary to pass through the tiny opening are God's way of forcing fluid from the body into the wings. The "merciful" snip was, in reality, cruel. Sometimes the struggle is exactly what we need.

Dear Lord, thank You for the struggles that come our way that help make us strong. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Grace shows up in unimaginable places

Romans 5:20-21 (ESV)
20 Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The law shows us all of our shortcomings. We cannot hide from it, for it reveals who we truly are. Quite discouraging, don't you think?

However, amidst this abundance of selfishness, God's grace came through, through His Son Jesus, the Christ. He willingly died for us on a cross, paying our penalty, so that we could live for eternity with our Heavenly Dad. Imagine meeting Jesus in person, once we reach heaven. This thought fills me truly with adrenaline!

God's grace overshadows our sins, so that we can be considered righteous, even though we aren't really. That's love my friends, divine love.

His manifestation can be seen even amidst the worst scenarios on our planet earth. Imagine brothers turning against brothers for some political ideology. The American Civil War was just that. One day they are friends, the next day they were trying to kill one another.

During the Battle of Gettysburg, at the base of Oak Hill, it was suspected that some Confederate sharp shooters had lodged themselves in the McClean barn. They had to be flushed out! Elements of the 45th regiment of the New York Infantry surrounded that storehouse.

Amongst these soldiers was a corporal named Rudolph Swartz, an immigrant from Germany. As Rudolph entered the barn, he recognized one of the Confederate prisoners being taken to the rear. It was his own brother, dressed in a Confederate uniform. Immediately these two men embraced. This would be their last embrace, as later on that same day, Rudolf Swartz, the Union corporal, was killed in action.

Grace showed up that day. These brothers had the opportunity to say farewell to one another. An unimaginable task amidst the thick of a battle, but it still happened. God had known how important it would be for these two brothers to meet up this last time.

All of us, if we take the time, have stories about times when grace showed up in unimaginable places. Sadly we often forget about these, not realizing that God had come through for us. And He sure did come through when our sins were forgiven on Golgotha. Accepting His grace opened the doors wide to experience Him fully.

Take a minute today to recognize how God showed up in your life today.

Dear Lord, thank You for the grace you have showed upon each one of us. Help us to take the time to thank You for it. In The Name of Jesus we pray, Amen. 

Monday, February 15, 2016

Under construction

James 5:11 (ESV)
Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.

Glenn Olds was born in Sherwood, Oregon, in 1921 and was a "magna cum laude" graduate of Williamette University in Salem, Oregon. He received his bachelor of divinity degree from Garrett Theological Seminary and his Master of Arts degree in philosophy from Northwestern University. In 1948 he received his Ph.D. from Yale University and was appointed a member of the DePauw University faculty. He is the former President of Kent State University.

Dr. Olds recalled the sight of Mt. Rushmore as he hitch-hiked cross-country in 1941 during his junior year at Garrett. From 10 miles back, he recognized Washington and Lincoln. But in the middle was a figure that looked like Adolf Hitler.

Once close, instead of hair combed over a forehead, the young man saw guy wires, instead of a moustache, he saw scaffolding. The image stuck, and he made a note in his journal. "What was Adolf Hitler at 10 miles away was Thomas Jefferson under construction," he said. The experience became a parable: "Almost every major problem at a distance looks bad. When you get up close, you can see it's something terribly important under construction."

We are all under construction, becoming more like Christ. Through the pain of this world, the Lord is constructing something beautiful of our lives.

Dear Lord, we praise You for any difficult circumstances we find ourselves in and thank You that we are under construction to become what You want us to be. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Happy Valentines Days 2016

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

God showed us what true love is. This Valentine’s day here are 21 ideas to show your love to the love of your life.

1. Make a homemade card with a picture of the two of you on the cover. Get ideas for a verse by spending a few minutes browsing through a card shop.

2. Write a poem. It doesn't have to rhyme.

3. Send a love letter listing the reasons "Why I love you so much."

4. Pledge your love for a lifetime. Write it on calligraphy or design it on a desktop computer and print it out on parchment paper and have it framed.

5. Plan a surprise lunch, complete with picnic basket, sparkling grape juice and goblets.

6. Bake a giant cookie and write "I love you" with heart shaped red-hots or frosting. 

7. Make a coupon book and include coupons for a back rub, a compromise when about to lose an argument, a listening ear when needed, and doing the dishes when the other cooks.

8. Kidnap the car for a thorough washing and detailing.

9. Design your personal crest combining symbols that are meaningful to both of you.

10. Compose a love song.

11. Arrange for someone to sing a favorite love song to you and your love when you're together.

12. Call a radio station and have them announce a love message from you and make sure your love is listening at the right time.

13. Make a big sign such as: "I Love You, Kristi. Love, Joe" and put it in front of your house or her apartment complex for the world to see.

14. Buy favorite fruits that aren't in season, like a basket of strawberries or blueberries.

15. Hide little love notes in the car, a coat pocket, or desk.

16. Place a love message in the "personal" section of the classified ads in your local paper.

17. Florist flowers aren't the only way to say "I love you." Pluck a single flower and write a message about how its beauty reminds you of your love. For greater impact, have it delivered at work.

18. Prepare a surprise candle light gourmet low-calorie dinner for two.

19. Write the story of the growth of your relationship from your perspective, sharing your emotions and your joys. What a treasure!

20. Make a paperweight from a smooth stone, paint it, and write a special love message on it.

21. Promise to change a habit that your love has been wanting you to change.

Dear Lord, we thank You for loving us so much You died on the cross so that each of us can experience everlasting life.   In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

What would He want me to do?

Revelation 3:17  (ESV)
For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.

In Christchurch, New Zealand, there is a slimy pond, covered with algae and duck-weed, and not attractive at all by human terms. To most it looks more like a mud pool than anything else. In fact, it looks so awful that no one want to approach it. Better ignore it, as if it didn't exist! Maybe that will make it disappear!

Strangely enough, that waterway is filled with life. It is the home to water fleas, water boatmen, back swimmers, bloodworms and many other diverse nymph stages of insects. They are quite useful, as they feed on the algae, and in return, they provide food for larger organisms such as fish.

Everything on our planet has a purpose. But what happens if we lose our purposefulness and become complacent and indifferent? We become worse than that yucky pond, for that pond at least still has a vital purpose!

How can believers become so complacent that their influence on society has become more deadly than refreshing? How can believers stop being the salt of the world?

A church with a rich attitude can easily become stagnant, for they seemingly have no needs, and they depend solely on the dollars of their members. Don't like the current loudspeakers? Let's buy new ones! The members will pay for it. Don't like the building? Let's build a new one more to our liking. The members will come through.

One little problem . . . What about the poor, the unreachable, the addicted . . . ? If our focus is only on ourselves, we have lost our ability to be a refreshing influence on society, and if we have no impact on our surrounding society, we are completely worthless!

Improving the structure of our church can be welcomed with open arms, but unless it is really necessary, is it really worthwhile? What would Jesus do in our circumstances?

Laodicea used to be quite an influential city. When an earthquake destroyed parts of the town in 61 A.D., the city refused any help from the Roman Empire. They used their own resources to rebuild what needed to be rebuild. After all, this city was a mecca to wealthy retirees. As these rich people had retired, they considered they had served their purpose in society and thus, had reached their goal. As a consequence, they were completely indifferent to any social issues. They had become utterly complacent!

We can become like that quite easily, even if we are not wealthy, or even if we are not retirees. Are we individually making a difference in our neighborhood, or are we going to church for our own purposes? If we are not living stones, we are nothing but dead bricks that crumble into nothingness.

A rich attitude, which can be present even in less than influential citizens, will lead us to complacency. We need to constantly ask ourselves: Are we doing everything in honor of our Heavenly Farther? What would He want me to do?

Dear Lord, we pray today that our attitude would be in line with what brings glory and honor to You. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Friday, February 12, 2016

Rich are those who care for one another!

Matthew 25:40 (ESV)
And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

Carl Sylvius Volkner was a German missionary in New Zealand. His ministry began in August, 1861, and he worked with the Whakatohea natives. Under his leadership, a church and a school were built for the local people.

Unfortunately, he was not welcomed by everyone with open arms. The followers of a new religion named Pai Marire absolutely hated him, and in January, 1865, while in Auckland, he was warned to never come back to Opotiki.

Volkner loved these people, however, and he could not just vanish from sight to please those who hated him. Two months later he was back with his beloved people, but his enemies were waiting for him. He was arrested for treason, he was hung from a willow tree near his church, and then he was beheaded. His murderers then drank his blood and smeared it on their faces, and as a last affront, the leader, Kereopa Te Rau swallowed Volkner’s eyes, earning for himself the name of “eye eater”.

Though Kereopa Te Rau was the one who robbed others of their sight, Volkner was the one who brought sight to those who were blind.

Two centuries later, the eye eater was eventually forgotten. Volkner, however, was not. His heroics and love for God and for these people motivated the natives to name an island after him: The Volkner Rocks.

Volkner was one of those who was truly rich, even though it cost him his life. He shared what was most precious to him, and in so doing, he brought many who were poor in spirit to the kingdom of God.

Richness means nothing if we cannot sh
\are it with others. What are we willing to do to share the Kingdom?

Dear Lord, help us take the things that You give and share them with those around us that are in need. In The Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Millions don't promise happiness but God does.

Matthew 6:19-21 (ESV)
19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust[a] destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Remember reading about the record setting $640 million mega millions jackpot? Many Americans were gobbling up tickets for a chance to win. The lucky winner stands to win a lump sum of $462 million before taxes using the cash option.

However, as Fox News reports, “winning the Big One isn't a guaranteed ticket to the good life, as these previous winners can attest”:

Jack Whittaker: This West Virginia businessman won $315 million in the Powerball lottery in 2002, the largest jackpot ever from a single ticket in American history at the time. After being robbed of $545,000 in cash while at a strip club, Whittaker's granddaughter and daughter were later found dead, and Whittaker was sued by Caesars Atlantic City casino for bouncing $1.5 million worth of checks to cover gambling losses.

Juan Rodriguez: This New York City parking attendant was earning less than $30,000 in 2004 when he won $149 million in a Mega Millions drawing. But soon after taking the lump sum option of $88 million, his wife filed for divorce and was awarded half of his winnings.

Fred Topous, Jr.: Topous won $57 million, the seventh-largest jackpot in Michigan state history in June 2008, but eventually took a $33 million lump sum. The convicted sex offender, who was released from prison in 2006, needs to register as a sex offender until 2024.

Billy Bob Harrell, Jr.: This preacher working as a stockboy at Home Depot struck it rich in 1997, winning $31 million in Texas' lottery. Some 20 months later, after divorcing his wife and buying a half-dozen homes for relatives, he committed suicide using a shotgun.

Jeffrey Dampier: In 1996, Dampier and his wife won $20 million in Illinois' lottery and used the money to buy relatives homes and to start a gourmet popcorn shop in Florida. Nine years later, Dampier was kidnapped and killed by his sister-in-law and her boyfriend who targeted him for money.

No, “winning the Big One isn't a guaranteed ticket to the good life,” because money is not the key to the good life, much less eternal life!

Jesus said, "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also"

WHY NOT not store up treasures on earth? Because Jesus warned us that earthly treasures are subject to rust, decay, and theft. In fact, this WORLD and ALL of its possessions will one day be GONE!

The GREATEST Treasure is to recognize that Jesus Christ paid the debt for our sin by dying on the cross for our behalf and to accept His offer of salvation and eternal life on His terms.

Jesus will save those who place their faith and trust in Him, turn from their sins in repentance, confess Him before men, and are baptized  in His name for the forgiveness of sins.

The odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot are 1-in-176 million. The odds of those millions satisfying your deepest longings and keeping those millions for eternity is ZERO!

However, the Greatest Treasure – the One that truly satisfies and gives eternal life – is available to you today FREE OF CHARGE if you will accept His offer on His terms.

Dear Lord help us share the goodness of what You offer for each and every one. We thank You there is nothing we can do to earn it but that it is a free gift to all. In The Name of Jesus, Amen. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Where is your treasure?

Proverbs 23:4-5 (ESV)
4 Do not toil to acquire wealth;
    be discerning enough to desist.
5 When your eyes light on it, it is gone,
    for suddenly it sprouts wings,
    flying like an eagle toward heaven.

How can a town of 15,000 people disappear within 3 years? Is that even possible?

Here is a story of a city named Pithole.  Quite unusual, isn't it? I can't even imagine who would like to live in a town with such a name, but exist it did, in 1865, in the midst of the Alleghany National Forest in North-Eastern Pennsylvania.

It all started with the discovery of oil, precious oil. Not for automobile fuel, as cars didn't exist back then, but oil that could be used to light homes. Soon thousands of people, all seeking a get-rich-quick scheme, moved to Pithole.

The town was quickly built up to cater to the needs of 15,000 people. Hotels (over fifty of them!), shops, banks, bars, drug stores and even a post office, a theater, and a prison quickly appeared, seemingly out of nowhere. And even more were planning to move there, all in the name of the almighty buck!

However nothing lasts forever and that oil ran out quickly. Without oil, the town couldn't sustain itself, and within three years, Pithole was little more than a ghost town, with only a few die-hards who were persistent enough to try to coax oil from those dry fields.

In 1878 the land that had once been valued at two million dollars was sold to Venango County Commissioners for the meager sum of $4.37. There are no buildings remaining on the town site now, and nature has completely taken over the exploits of men. Only relics of the past still remains, like rusting machinery.

The same thing can happen to any of us. Some of us think that credit cards are the answer to all of our problems: I am rich! But sooner or later we will have to pay it all back, with hefty interest.
There is no security in earthly possessions. This is why Jesus encouraged all of us: "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matt 6:19-21)

Dear Lord, help us have our eyes on the treasures of heaven. Help our focus not be on the treasures of this earth but instead how we can use them to further Your Gospel. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.