NEW YORK ~ Soon after Flight 1549 took off from LaGuardia Airport for Charlotte, NC, the pilot came over the loudspeaker and said, “Brace for impact.”The plane had no power and was gliding down toward the Hudson River at 170 mph.
Passenger Vallie Collins, wife and mother of three children, grabbed her phone and sent a text message to her family, “My plane is crashing.”There was no time to add the final three words she wanted to include:“I love you.”Miraculously, all 155 people aboard the plane survived.
(Some quotes are borrowed from an article by SAMANTHA GROSS, Associated Press Writer)
When Vallie Collins’ husband received the text message it was thirty agonizing minutes before he knew anything other than his wife’s plane was crashing.He must have thought those would be the last words he would ever hear from her.The number one thing on Vallie’s mind before the crash was her family but there was no time to say what was really on her heart.
At the end of every phone conversation, my wife and I will say, “I love you,” and then the other will quickly reply, “Love you, too.”It has almost become an automatic expression.But after reading this story about the plane crash, when our phone conversation ended today, I said, “Sherry!I really love you.”
Last words.They are so important that in a court of law, death bed statements are admissible as evidence even though they are unsworn and cannot be validated by the person who said them.
In our lives the last words we hear or speak before rushing out the door should be words of endearment, encouraging words, or words of blessing.But sometimes they are not… they are words of rebuke, or scolding; even words of anger and remorse.Don’t let your last words be words of regret, but let them be words someone would like to remember if they really were your last.
The last words of Jesus were powerful, but also full of love and encouragement.In response to a question about the restoration of the Kingdom, He first spoke a soft rebuke:“It is not for you to know the times or dates…”(Acts 1:7)
But just before Jesus left, He let us know what He expected of us, and that He trusted us to carry out the mission.In Acts 1:8, Jesus said, “And you will be my witnesses.”Wow!What an affirmation of love and trust!To be the witnesses of Christ, our words should always be empowering and loving.Even when it is necessary to rebuke or scold, the last thing a person should hear is that we love them and believe in them.
Guard your words carefully… you never know when your plane will crash.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, protect my relationships with others, not for my sake but for theirs.If a conversation with someone is unexpectedly my last, may the words I speak be a blessing instead of a curse; let there be no “what-ifs” or guilt in their minds because in a moment of haste I failed to speak from Your heart.Amen and amen.
WASHINGTON (January 14) – President-elect Barack Obama wants to conclude his inaugural oath with the words "so help me God," but a group of atheists is asking a federal judge to stop him.
~ Quoted from the Associated Press
COURTS (January 15) -Atheist Michael Newdow struck out in federal court Thursday when a judge denied his request to halt prayers at next Tuesday’s presidential inauguration.
This is the third time courts have rejected lawsuits filed by Newdow over inaugural prayers. His suits against the Pledge of Allegiance and the national motto, "In God We Trust," are now awaiting decisions in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. ~ Quoted fromWorldMag.com.
This lawsuit is just another attack upon Christianity in the United States of America.If our lawmakers are going to remain consistent in matters regarding religious freedom, Newdow’s lawsuits will eventually be successful.The Supreme Court and state & local governments have already agreed to alter public prayer in our schools.Some school districts will not allow students to bring their Bibles to school or wear Christian jewelry/clothes.
Where were the Christians when it was decided an unborn baby is called a fetus without legal rights to choose life?
The Freedom of Choice Act, legislation which Washington D.C. has debated for decades, will be passed and signed into law on January 22, 2009, not coincidentally the anniversary of the Row v. Wade decision.It will abolish the rights of states to control abortions on the local level, make it legal for any teenager to abort their babies without parental knowledge or consent, and require all hospitals to administer abortions regardless of their religious beliefs.Many of our faith-based hospitals will be negatively impacted by this federal law, and some are predicted to close rather than be bullied into these ungodly practices.
“It is an abomination and the reduction ad absurdum of this country’s principles, which flow not from the sovereignty of an eternal lawgiver, but from human autonomy and do-it-yourself religion, which has led to sheer and naked atheism.”(By Michelle Modesto, quoted from The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, TN, January 16, 2009)
Two thoughts come to me as we approach today’s inauguration.First, the law does not require a president to place a hand on the Bible, or to say “so help me God” in the oath of office.The inaugural oath is a promise to the people of the USA, so why is it necessary to include God?It isn’t.
Which brings me to my second thought, that the inclusion of “so help me God” elevates the recitation to an oath not only to the citizens, but it now becomes an oath to God.
And the Bible has something to say about that!
ØThe third commandment is not only a warning against cursing, but much more.Adding God’s name to an oath creates a lock-tight bond between the oath-sayer and God.To violate an oath is to trample upon the name of God.(Exodus 20:7)
ØWhen taking an oath, what you are about to say must be true; you must do what you are about to promise.(Numbers 30:2)
ØOaths spoken to God are acts of worship and should not be treated as trivial.(Matt. 5:33-37;23:16-22)
ØYou must keep your word, no matter how your personal circumstances or interests may change.(Psalm 15:4;24:4)Someone who is not prepared to stand steadfastly by what is promised, should not make an oath to God.
Here is the eternal truth.God is always a partner in EVERY transaction of life.To purposely include Him in the inauguration of the president of the USA is both sobering and vital to sustaining what is left of God’s influence in this nation’s government.Hopefully, it will send a strong message to the global community that while Christianity may be bruised from decisions made by the Supreme Court and congress, there is a remnant in the USA which still stands tall, and we will not go silently into the night without a fight to restore our Christian heritage.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, Give me wisdom to stand up, speak up and wake up the officials whom we have elected to run MY government; and I further promise that I will do everything I can to help restore our once-Christian nation, SO HELP ME GOD!Amen and amen.
Same game, two different newspapers:the headlines from The Tampa Tribune declared, “Offense Misses Point in Crunch Time.”Meanwhile, another BCS Championship article by the USA Today headlines said, “Defensive Teammates Didn’t Disappoint in Crunch Time.”
Anyone who has experienced the storm which comes just before a deadline knows all about crunch time.It’s that critical period of time after the next-to-last milestone which precedes the final deadline; it’s the time when the boss is pulling her hair out, screaming orders to everyone and no one simultaneously; it’s the do-or-die time, put up or shut up, get it right, don’t- you-dare-quit-until-it’s-done time!
So, you’ve been there, too?
I thought about crunch time the other day when I saw a large billboard at the intersection of three major highways in Memphis, TN, the busiest traffic exchange in the city. In peaceful colors of pink and light blue, the large letters asked simply, “Why Islam?” with their web address printed at the bottom. When I surfed their website, the first words said:
WHAT IS ISLAM?
Islam is much more than a formal religion: it is an integral way of life. In many ways it is more a determining factor in the experience of its followers than any other world religion. The Muslim ("One who submits") lives face to face with God at all times and will introduce no separation between his life and his religion, his politics and his faith. With its strong emphasis on the brotherhood of men cooperating to fulfill the will of God…
How different is that from Christianity? We believe that there is NO OTHER NAME under heaven, just as the Muslims do. We search for truth just as they do. What is the difference?
Our search ends in divine truth; the search of the Muslim ends in futility.
But there is another difference between Christianity and Islam. They are passionate about their doctrine and practice it faithfully. They are 100% invested in what they believe. I fear that, for the majority of Christians, we are not.
Beloved, these are treacherous times and we need to speak out about our Christian faith, but our voices are being scrambled by denominationalism and many other isms which I choose not to mention. It is time for more prayer for our world AS WELL AS something more than prayer. It is a time for action because it is CRUNCH TIME… it is the critical period of time which precedes the final deadline.Victory is at hand.Defeat is not an option.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, remind me that the “Game of Life” isn’t over until You say so.Give me courage to stand toe-to-toe with evil and to remain faithful until the end.Amen and amen.
Some of us may remember a radio program called “The Lone Ranger” and how we were elated when we heard, "Hi-ho, Silver!" with the music of the William Tell Overture playing in the background.Somewhere during the show, someone would always ask, “Who was that Masked Man?"
The Overture, the never-to-be-forgotten “Hi-ho, Silver!" or that perpetual question, “Who was that Masked Man?," always let us know which radio program was playing.Decades later, modern versions of the Lone Ranger still use that music and question because… it’s tradition!
Tradition has been an important factor in the lives of most of us.Tradition frequently determines the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the version of the Bible we read… and the way we approach the Lord.
Is your God an all-powerful being sitting up in heaven anxiously awaiting the chance to punish you when you falter?Is your God unapproachable – far above listening to sinners like us?Perhaps your God used to listen to you; but, He’s turned away because you continue to stumble and falter.Has tradition determined your relationship with God?Has that tradition caused you to know God in a way that doesn’t reveal Him as a merciful and loving father?If so, please allow God’s own words to establish a new tradition for you and those you love.
“Then came Peter to Him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Till seven times?Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, until seven times: but, until seventy times seven.”(Matthew 18:21-22 – KJV)
“Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28 – KJV)
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.” (Revelations 3:20 – NASB)
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16 – KJV)
This is the God of our fathers – the God of Abraham and Isaac, the God of David and the God of you and me.His own words tell us the kind of relationship He desires to have with each of us, the tradition He wants to establish.
Paul tells us in Colossians 2:8 (CEV) that we should not let anyone fool us by using senseless arguments.“These arguments may sound wise, but they are only human teachings.They come from the powers of this world and not from Christ.”If we’re going to follow tradition, let’s follow the tradition of Christ!
GospeLines Prayer:Father, we have kept and followed many traditions all our lives – some good, some not so good.Open our eyes Lord and grant us discernment between the traditions of man and the traditions of the Spirit.Help us to follow those things You have set before us and guide us by Your Holy Spirit into a closer walk – a closer and more intimate walk with You.
Peace.In the sixties it meant raising two fingers, spread apart, as a salute that everything was OK.Today it seems a little more complicated than that.How do you find peace in a tumultuous world?
Born in Portland, Oregon, Jim Elliott died in Ecuador.He and four other missionaries were murdered by the Huaorani Indians, the same group they were attempting to evangelize.Shortly before his death, Jim wrote these unforgettable words in his journal: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”
Those who knew him said he was a man who sought God at every level of existence.Jim spoke of the peace of God:
"I walked out on the hill just now.It is exalting, delicious, to stand embraced by the shadows of a friendly tree with the wind tugging at your coattail and the heavens hailing your heart, to gaze and glory and give oneself again to God--what more could a man ask?Oh, the fullness, pleasure, sheer excitement of knowing God on earth!I care not if I never raise my voice again for Him, if only I may love Him, please Him.... if only I may see Him, touch His garments, and smile into His eyes."
Isaiah 26:3-4:"You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord, is the Rock eternal."
GospeLines Prayer:Everlasting Father, let me bask in Your presence and know the Peace of Your countenance.Accept my humble offering of praise, and gratitude.Anoint Your servant with boldness and allow me to share Your grace with the multitudes.Amen and amen.