Angell and Alyssa are 13 year-old, bi-racial, twin girls. They're in the 7th grade and they're both very smart and very beautiful. They're also the daughters God entrusted into the care of my wife and me... our "talents."
"A man was going on a journey; so, he called his servants and entrusted his property to them.To one he gave five talentsof money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey."
Jesus left us and went to Heaven for a time; and, while He is gone, He entrusts His most precious property to His servants... us. He entrusts us with children. To some He gives five children, to others two, and to others one, each according to their ability.
"After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The men who had received five and two talents brought them to their master. "Master," they said, "you entrusted us with these talents and see, we have doubled them."
Their master replied, "Well done, good and faithful servants! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!"
Then the man who had received the one talent came. "Master," he said, "I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed.So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you."
His master replied, "You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed?Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest."
Jesus will ask us someday, "What did you do with the children I gave you? Did you help them grow into children of God and lead them to bear fruit for My Father's Kingdom?" What will we say?
Angell and Alyssa are the "talents" God gave my wife and me. Your children are your "talents." Everyone and everything God entrusts to our care is a "talent" and He expects a return of Kingdom fruit.
Father... in Jesus name, grant us the wisdom and knowledge to care for the talents you have entrusted to us. Help us to nurture those talents as You direct and to deliver back to You fruit for Your Kingdom. Make us bold Father so we will not hide those talents; but, help us to lift them up to You and we obey Your commands. Thank You Father for Your grace, Your mercy and Your trust. Help us to be worthy to be called Your children. Amen!
While searching through the archives of GospeLines devotionals, I found one I had written entitled "Alligators on Cheap Shirts," which received a few interesting responses.
The emphasis in the article was that Christians should put on the armor of God rather than wear a cheap knock-off which is, at best, a mere shadow of the real thing. One testimony which came from the responses literally knocked my alligator socks off! Let me share it with you:
"What a great message today! This one hits home. When I was in high school the Izod fashion was in style. Many of 'us' tried to copy the shirts and/or wear the socks, watches, belts, etc. instead of the pricey shirts. If we only realized then that fitting into the preppy crowd was not as important as it seemed. I found out recently that the ring leader of the preppy group for the class of '87 has been in prison for several years....for racketeering. And the vice-leader of this group was sentenced to life in prison for murdering his wife early last year. What leaders! Glad that Jesus lead me in the right direction even at an earlier age-despite many attempts, I couldn't afford the fashion that was required to be a member of this elite group of students who sat at the cool table in the cafeteria... thank God! Literally."
GospeLines Prayer: Father, when I cry because I cannot afford to let my children wear $200 shoes and $100 shirts; and, when I hurt because my kids are ""outcasts"" in their schools, comfort me with the knowledge that they are robed in righteousness and clothed in the garments of salvation. Amen and amen!
The church had just gone through the persecution at the hands of Nero. John, the only surviving apostle, continued his ministry to a small group of Christians near Ephesus. They were distraught and disillusioned about their faith, not sure if what they believed was the cure for their woes or the cause of their persecution.
It was in that setting that John said, "I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may KNOW that you have eternal life." (1st John 5:13)I am constantly amazed at the spiritual depth of my wife, Sherry. Her testimony is rich with examples of God's ability and her trust in Him to come through for her. Sometimes I am almost jealous of her… well, not really. I am proud that she walks so closely with our Lord. But after all, I am the one with the seminary education, and the Bible scholar who has studied Greek and Hebrew! Yet, the things she comes up with are astounding, learned not from a college or school, but from the feet of her Master.
I will say, "Honey, how do you know that?" And her response is often, "I just know in my know-er!"
There are times when we just need to know! This timeless verse from the pages of 1st John speaks an indelible word of truth for today as well as it did in the first century. No one is able to snatch us from the hand of God. Our salvation is secure in the one who gave His life for us. How do I know that? I just know it in my KNOW-ER!
Early in the morning of June 6, 1944, a small group of British airborne troops crossed the English Channel in gliders towed by bombers. The troops on board the gliders kept their spirits high by singing (and chain smoking). At 7:00 AM, the lead glider crossed the coast - The Normandy invasion had begun and the gliders were leading the way. As the gliders prepared for landing, Major John Howard ran his orders through his mind: "Your task is to seize the bridges over the river Orne and hold until you are relieved. They did.
Just over six months later, on December 16, 1944, the Germans launched an offensive through the Ardennes Forest. Allied Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower ordered The 101st Airborne Division to occupy and hold at all cost the vitally important town of Bastogne.
The 327th Regiment of the 101st arrived at Bastogne on December 19th and assumed a defensive position south of the town. By December 22nd the Germans had completely surrounded Bastogne and on the 23rd the German Commander offered terms of surrender to General McAuliffe, the Regiment Commander.
His reply was "Nuts." Although encircled and outnumbered, these brave men withstood all attempts to overrun their positions. Despite suffering heavy causalities, the 327th held for nine days, until relieved by the 4th Armored Division. They held until relieved.
Brothers and sisters, can (should) we do any less? Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples." (John 8:31) We are told to "hold firmly to the word" (1st Corinthians 15:2); "stand firm and hold to the teachings" (2nd Thessalonians 2:15); "hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught" (Titus 1:9); and, "hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first" (Hebrews 3:14).
Peter tells us that there are false prophets and false teachers among us. They will introduce destructive heresies and deny the Lord. Many will follow them and bring the Gospel into disrepute. In their greed these false teachers will exploit us with false stories. (2nd Peter 2)
However, those who have accepted our Lord Jesus as savior are under His cover and, through the power of the Holy Spirit, have the ability to hold until that day. God did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but He protected Noah. He condemned Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, but He rescued Lot. The Lord knows how to rescue His children from their trials and He will protect us.
"Only hold on to what you have until I come" (Revelation 2:25)
Hold until relieved...Your servant,
"Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus." - Philippians 2:5
The following letter is in response to a request from a reader who wants to know, "How may I find peace in all that I do?"
Your request is awesome... "Peace." When the apostle Paul would write a letter to one of his groups, he always began it the same way... "Grace and peace be to you"... For years, I read that hurriedly thinking it was nothing more than a greeting to begin the letter. Then, I looked more closely. "Grace" always precedes "peace" in each one of his writings. So, I studied the two words and this is what I learned.
GRACE - God's unconditional love to us, undeserved, unmerited in any way. It is all Him, not us, but His act which has given us everlasting life. That must come as the first message in the morning when we awaken, and the last one we hear as we go to sleep at night. Once we fully comprehend the depths of His love, His ability to give us His most precious gift, His own flesh and blood, then everything else pales in comparison. So, it is possible for us to find...
PEACE - More than a state of mind; it is a way of life. And it comes to us because our circumstances do not matter as much anymore, certainly not as much as giving your only child up on the altar of sacrificial love, as our Lord did.
Life will always be hectic, and sometimes out of control. But God's grace will help us to rise above the mundane activity and find meaning to everything that happens to us, both good and bad. It will not always be peaceful around the Christian, but the Christian will always be at peace. Amen and amen.