We are on Holiday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
≈ Devotional for Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Once upon a time in a land far away, Cinderella met her Prince Charming and fell in love with the promise to live happily ever after.
Fairy tales make great stories don’t they? Reality is often another matter. The likelihood of a Prince riding to the rescue on a white horse is as improbable as living a perfect life.
Depending on our age, most of us come with baggage and histories as we enter each relationship. We believe we made the right choice despite the signs that the story may not end the way we envision.
Several questions come to mind…
·Did we bring God in the picture when we were courting?
·Have we seen Him since the wedding?
·Do we pray together at times other than the dinner table… if then?
When the going gets tough, some of us choose to find an escape route – often times turning to drugs, drink, or some other diversion; always looking outward rather than at the person in the mirror.
But alas, God can bring us that peace and fulfillment that we desire. We need nothing else!
GospeLines Prayer: Father, often times we think it is easier to hide from You and ourselves. We look to others to complete us – when we need only look to You. We thank You for Your wisdom according to Proverbs 28:11-13 (Amplified Bible)
“The rich man is wise in his own eyes and conceit, but the poor man who has understanding will find him out.When the [uncompromisingly] righteous triumph, there is great glory and celebration; but when the wicked rise [to power], men hide themselves.He who covers his transgressions will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes his sins will obtain mercy.”
There was a school with a class of students that no teacher had been able to handle. Two or three teachers had been run off from this school in one year by the unruly students. A young man, just out of college, heard about the class and applied to the school.
The principal asked the young man, "Do you know what you are asking for?
No one else has been able to handle these students. You are just asking for a terrible beating. After a few moments of silent prayer, the young man looked at the principal and said, "Sir, with your consent, I accept the challenge.Just give me a trial basis."
The next morning the young man stood before the class. He said to the class, "Young people, I came here today to conduct school. But I realize I can't do it by myself. I must have your help.”
One big boy, they called Big Tom, in the back of the room whispered to his buddies, "I won't need any help. I can lick that little bird all by myself."
The young teacher told the class that if they were to have school, there would have to be some rules to go by. But he also added that he would allow the students to make up the rules and that he would list them on the blackboard.
This was certainly different, the students thought!
One young man suggested "NO STEALING." Another one shouted "BE ON TIME FOR CLASS." Pretty soon they had 10 rules listed on the board. The teacher then asked the class what the punishment should be for breaking these rules.
"Rules are no good unless they are enforced," he said. Someone in the class suggested that if the rules were broken, they should receive 10 licks with a rod across their back with their coat off. The teacher thought that this was pretty harsh, so he asked the class if they would stand by this punishment.
The class agreed.
Everything went along pretty good for two or three days. Then Big Tom came in one day very upset. He declared that someone had stolen his lunch.
After talking with the students, they came to the conclusion that little Timmy had stolen Big Tom's lunch. Someone had seen little Timmy with Big Tom's lunch!
The teacher called little Timmy up to the front of the room. Little Timmy admitted he had taken Big Tom's lunch. So the teacher asked him, "Do you know the punishment? Little Timmy nodded that he did. "You must remove your coat," the teacher instructed. The little fellow had come with a great big coat on.
Little Timmy said to the teacher, "I’m guilty and I’m willing to take my punishment, but please don't make me take off my coat.” The teacher reminded little Timmy of the rules and punishments and again told him he must remove his coat and take his punishment like a man.
The little fellow started to unbutton that old coat. As he did so, the teacher saw he did not have a shirt on under the coat. And even worse, he saw a frail and bony frame hidden beneath that coat. The teacher asked little Timmy why he had come to school without a shirt on. Little Timmy replied, "My daddy's dead and my mother is very poor. I don't have but one shirt, and my mother is washing it today. I wore my big brother's coat so that I could keep warm."
That young teacher stood and looked at the frail back with the spine protruding against the skin, and his ribs sticking out. He wondered how he could lay a rod on that little back and without even a shirt on. Still, he knew he must enforce the punishment or the children would not obey the rules. So he drew back to strike little Timmy.Just then Big Tom stood up and came down the aisle.
He asked, "Is there anything that says that I can't take little Timmy's whipping for him?" The teacher thought about it and agreed. With that Big Tom ripped his coat off and stooped and stood over little Timmy at the desk.
Hesitatingly the teacher began to lay the rod on that big back. But for some strange reason after only five licks that old rod just broke in half.
The young teacher buried his face in his hands and began to sob. He heard a commotion and looked up to find not even one dry eye in the room. Little Timmy had turned and grabbed Big Tom around the neck apologizing to him for stealing his lunch. Little Timmy begged Big Tom to forgive him. He told Big Tom that he would love him till the day he died for taking his whipping for him.
Aren't you glad that Jesus took our whipping for us. That He shed His precious blood on Calvary so that you and I can have eternal life in Glory with Him? We are unworthy of the price He paid for us, but aren't you glad He loves us that much?
≈ Devotional for Thursday, January 21, 2010
Jesus weeps for us.He weeps that we could have freedom if we would follow His commandments… but we don’t. (Psalm 119:44-46)
Jesus weeps for us because we could be forgiven if we would repent and accept Him… but we don’t. (Acts -39)
Jesus weeps for us because we could be healed if we would believe in Him, have faith, and accept His mercy… but we don’t. (Acts 4:9-11; James 5:16; Isaiah 53:5; 1st Peter 2:24)
Jesus weeps for us because we could have eternal life if we only believed in Him and in His Word… but we don’t. (John 3:16; John 5:24)
Jesus weeps for us because our children could be clean and holy if at least one parent believed… but we don’t. (1st Corinthians 7:14)
Jesus wept for Lazarus; but, then He said in a mighty voice, “Lazarus!Come forth!” and Lazarus came out of the tomb.Would you like to come out of your tomb?
Everything that is written in the Bible is there so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name. (John 20:30-32) “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved – you and your household.” (Acts 16:30-32)
Why not let the Bridegroom rejoice over His bride? (Isaiah 62:4-6)Know that: “The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save.He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing." (Zephaniah 3:17)
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)
Believe in the Love of God and in the resurrection of His only Son (John ); know Him (1st John 2:3); and keep His commandments (John ).Then Jesus will not weep for you, but there will be rejoicing! (Luke 15:8-10)
“…we can face Him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.”
Just a few weeks ago I had a strange visitor. This is how it happened. I had just finished the household chores for the night and was preparing to go to bed when I heard a noise in the front of the house. I opened the door of the front room, and to my surprise, a special visitor stepped out from behind the Christmas tree.
He placed his fingers over his lips so I would not cry out. "What are you doing?" I started to ask, but the words choked up in my throat as I saw that he had tears in his eyes. He then answered me with the simple statement of "Teach the children."
I was puzzled. What did he mean? He anticipated my question and with one quick movement, brought a miniature toy bag from behind the tree. As I stood there in my night shirt bewildered, the visitor said again, "Teach the children."
My perplexed expression still showed in the near darkness.
"Teach them the old meaning of Christmas - the meaning that Christmas now-days has forgotten."
I started to say, "How can I?" when the visitor reached into the toy bag and pulled out a brilliant shiny star. "Teach the children the star was the heavenly sign of promise long ago. God promised a Savior for the world and a sign of the fulfillment of his promise. The countless shining stars at night - one for each man - now show the burning hope of all mankind."
The visitor gently laid the star upon the fireplace mantle and drew forth from the bag a glittering red Christmas ornament. "Teach the children red is the first color of Christmas. It was first used by the faithful people to remind them of the blood which was shed for all people by the Savior. Christ gave his life and shed his blood that every man might have God's gift to all - eternal life. Red is deep, intense, vivid - it is the greatest color of all. It is the symbol of the gift of God."
As the visitor was twisting and pulling another object out of his bag, I heard the kitchen clock begin to strike twelve. I wanted to say something but he went right on. "Teach the children," he said, as the twisting and pulling suddenly dislodged a small Christmas tree from the depths of the toy bag.
He placed it before the mantel and gently hung the red ornament. Here was the second color of Christmas. "The pure color of the stately fir tree remains green all year round," he said. "This depicts the everlasting hope of mankind. Green is the youthful, hopeful, abundant color of nature. All the needles point heavenward-symbolic of man's returning thoughts toward heaven. The great, green tree has been man's best friend. It has sheltered him, warmed him, made beauty for him, formed his furniture." The visitor's eyes were beginning to twinkle now as he stood there.
Suddenly I heard a soft tinkling sound. As it grew louder, it seemed like the sound of long ago. "Teach the children, that as the lost sheep are found by the sound of the bell, so should it ring for man to return to the fold-it means guidance and return. It further signifies that all are precious in the eyes of the Lord. Who is there among you if his son ask for bread would give him a stone?"
As the soft sharp sound of the bell faded into the night, the visitor drew forth a candle. He placed it on the mantle and the soft glow from its tiny flame cast an eerie glow about the darkened room. Odd shapes in the room slowly danced and weaved upon the walls. "Teach the children," whispered the visitor, "that the candle shows man's thanks for the star of long ago; it's small light is the mirror of the star light. At first candles were placed on the Christmas tree - they were like many glowing stars shining against the dark green. Safety now has removed the candles from the tree and the colored lights have taken over in that remembrance."
The visitor now had turned the small Christmas tree lights on and picked up a gift from under the tree. He pointed to the large bow ribbon and said, "A bow is placed on a present to remind us of the spirit of the brotherhood of man. We should remember that the bow is tied as man should be tied - all of us together, with the bonds of good will toward each other. Good will forever is the message of the bow."
Now my mind began to wonder what else the visitor might have in his bag. Instead of reaching in his bag, he slung it over his shoulder and began to reach up on the Christmas tree. I thought he was hungry as he reached for a candy cane purposely placed high on the tree. He unfastened it and reached out toward me with it."Teach the children that the candy cane represents the shepherd's crook. The crook on the staff helps bring back the strayed sheep of the fold. The candy cane is the symbol that we are our brother's keepers."
The visitor then paused. He seemed to realize that he should be on his way. As he looked about the room a feeling of satisfaction shined on his face. He read wonderment in my eyes and I am sure he sensed my admiration for this night. He was his old self as he approached the front door. The twinkle in his eyes gave the visitor away. I knew he wasn't through yet. He reached into his bag and brought forth a large holly wreath. He placed it at the door and said, "Please teach the children the wreath symbolizes the eternal nature of love; it never ceases, stops, or ends. It is one continuous round of affection. The wreath does double duty. It is made of many things and in many colors. It should remind us of many things of Christmas. Please teach the children."
I pondered and wondered and thrilled with delight as I sat and viewed all those symbols that night. I dozed as I sat in the soft candle light, and my thoughts were of the visitor and all he made right.
To give and to help, to love and to serve, are the best things of life, all men can deserve. Jesus the Christ Child as small as an elf, is the very best symbol of Christmas itself. He's the sign of the gift of love and of life, the ending of evil, the ceasing of strife.
The message to me on that pre-Christmas night has opened a treasure of deepest insight. The one thing on earth we all ought to do, is the teaching of children the right and the true.