People in our world are hungry.Starvation has taken the lives of too many in Malawi, Africa. During the crisis of 2002 and again in 2005, men were seen gathering dirt to eat! They said it filled their stomachs so that they would not feel as hungry. The reports from there tell of families who watched their children die from malnutrition, and mothers preparing porridge from corn husks, which is usually fed to the animals. But things have improved and those who had little a few years ago rejoice that they can now feed those who have nothing.
Emilie Chawala said, “Happy, happy, happy… I am very happy now; I can even look after two orphans.I have enough food and I am ready to take in more orphans.”
There are hungry people everywhere. Perhaps not for food to fill their stomachs, but for bread of a different kind. "Jesus declared, I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty." (John 6:35) It occurred to me today that when people experience spiritual hunger, they will look for a way to fill that emptiness until they find something which satisfies. Rather than have them eat the "dirt" of the world, why not share the bread of life with them?
Beloved, when people are hungry they are receptive to someone who cares. Someone like you.But if not you, they will feed from the hand of anyone who offers them a ray of hope, whether Christian or not.Let us not lose the race to those who offer an alternative message because we never began to run.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, teach me to live in such a way that those who hunger will want to be filled with the bread of life. And forbid that I will hear on Judgment Day, "I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat." Amen and amen
Diane Rose is a quilter from Waco, TX.She discovered her talent one day when she threw up her hands and said, “God, what do you want me to do?What is my talent?”Just then she felt warmth in her hands all the way down to her elbows.She asked, “In my hands?You want me to use my hands to serve you?”
Since that day she has made over 500 quilts, some for clients and others as keepsakes.And she has never seen any of them because she is blind!They are all made by her hands not by sight!
The question we receive most often from our GospeLines Ministries subscribers is “How can I know God’s purpose for my life?”And the answer is always the same:“What has God asked of you already?What do you enjoy doing right now more than anything else in this world?”God never asks anything of us without providing the ability and desire to do it.Diane may be challenged by blindness but she doesn’t lack the willingness to do something for God.
Too many times we hear the calling of God and respond (often without thinking), “I can’t do that!I’m too old…too young.There isn’t enough time in the day for me to do another thing.”So an opportunity passes us by, not because God hasn’t offered but because we have chosen not to be open to His idea.When God provides a place of ministry He has already considered our limitations and knows our arguments before we speak them.The plans He has made for us have already transcended our physical weaknesses.To reject His leadership of purpose is cowardice borne from impotent faith.
When God gives you the chance to minister to others your refusal will result in two missed blessings.In the first place, you will invalidate any grace which would have resulted from following His plan for your life.And, secondly, the recipient of your shared talent will lose the chance to see the Lord in your handiwork.Not everyone is called to quilting…but we are all called to do something!What does God have in store for you?
GospeLines Prayer:Father, quilting is not my thing!But if that is what You think I should do, prepare me for the task and I will trust You to shower your blessings upon Your children as the divine result.Use my life any way You see fit to minister to this world because my sight is limited and I cannot see in me what You see.Amen and amen.
This is a story about the beginning of a journey into ministry.Last fall a student in my university theology class delivered a presentation which knocked my socks off.After class I asked Ryan if he had ever considered entering the ministry after graduation but his response was less than serious.We stayed in contact by email.
A couple of weeks ago Ryan told me that he and The Father had been talking and that the next Sunday he was going to share with his church that he was giving his life to full time ministry.He asked if Sherry and I would attend.It was a tearful, joyous service which I will not forget.The story below is somewhat of a diary of Ryan’s beginning.
On the way home from school, quite often, I see a homeless man on the corner of Lamar and American Way. There were a couple of times that I would try to help, but something would get in my way, namely large 18-wheelers in the lane next to me. Anyway, this event occurred last Thursday.
I’m on my way home when I spy a homeless man on a busy street corner. He’s bundled in the warmest clothes he has, which consists of a heavy jacket, a pair of jeans, and a cotton beanie. Your standard picture of a homeless man, he is rather burly, has a wiry beard, and is begging for help from anyone that has enough room in their heart to spare a bit of change. Several days I have passed this man by, a couple of times attempting to help, but circumstance would cut me off, i.e., the man looking the other way and me not having power windows, to a semi pulling up to the light next to me, blocking him from view, their seemed to be no luck.
But this day, this day was different. Today, rather than just walking around with his small cardboard sign, I could see the disappointment mounting. As dozens of cars pass without so much as a glance toward the man, He drops his sign to his side in frustration of the indifference of his fellow human beings.
I decided I would make a difference this day. While waiting for the light to change, I fumble through my jacket in the seat next to me and pull out some money, around $8, enough for a meal or two at a nearby McDonald’s, and I place it into a small pocket version New Testament bible. The light turns green, I continue down the road, find a place to turn around, and go back. As I get in the lane to enter the turning area, the median of which this man stands on, several cars get behind me off of the 240 exit.
I pull as close to the median as I can, roll down my window, and wave the others around.I shout to the man who is on the other side of the median, looking the other way. He spins on his heels and slowly walks toward me. As he draws closer, I can see an obvious fear in his eyes. This man, that already has almost nothing at all, is fearful of losing what little he has left. I reassure him that it’s ok, and tell him I just want to give him something, as I extend the bible toward him. I tell him that there is a little money in the back and I just wanted to give him the two objects of hope. The man smiles at me, unsure of what to say. I tell him that I saw him standing there upset as everyone just drove by without care, and I just wanted to help.
His eyes begin to water in the corners as he thanks me and tells me that he lost his Bible a while ago. He accepts the gift; I tell him “God bless you, man.” And we part ways. All the way home I can’t help but smile as my heart is filled with joy that I could help someone in need. That night, I pray that the small portion of money I was able to offer, and the Bible will be a blessing to him. I also pray that God protects the man all the days of his life.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, we need more “Ryans” in this world to lead the way.We need boldness, men and women who are risk-takers, who dare to live like Jesus wants them to live.Bless Ryan in his journey to be more like You while teaching others to love You as much as he does.Amen and amen.
≈ Devotional for Thursday, February 3, 2011
So your Life is Great…then What?
Although the sub-title of Sean Stephenson’s book is less provocative, it clearly directs the prospective reader to reflect upon what might be an interesting read:Get off your “But” ~ How to End Self-sabotage and Stand up for Yourself.
Born with Osteogenesis Imperfecta, commonly known as brittle bone disease, Sean wasn’t expected to live more than 24 hours.His passage through the birth canal left his little body with more broken bones than good ones.The doctors didn’t give him much of a chance to survive.Admittedly he has beaten all the odds for a person in his condition; three feet tall, limited to a wheel chair to get around, he has become the friend of a president, a hypnotherapist, he has written four books and he is an international speaker.
If I wanted to know how to get the most out of this life only, I would listen do someone like Sean Stephenson, a man who has certainly learned how to pull himself up by his own bootstraps.I commend him for overcoming his personal problems and moving forward.But I would like to ask him a question.
“Mr. Stephenson, I am so impressed that you have accomplished much in this life and that you have taught others the ‘secret’ of making the most out of ‘what life has dealt you.’You have earned the applause of the world and I know you will continue in happiness until you die.But I want to ask you, sir…what then?”
From the portion of his book which I read, it says nothing about eternity; it is void of references to living a full life now as well as in heaven.Instead of celebrating the victorious life which is to come, he says what all humanists recommend…enjoy what you have NOW!Learn to overcome the bad things that happen to you.Be who you are and let the god within you take over your life.Grow stronger in your mind.View the glass as half-full, not half-empty.Rightfully so, Sean Stephenson is praised as an encourager, a “positive-mental-attitude” kind of guy who can really make you feel good about your circumstances.He, like Tony Robbins (motivational speaker), L. Ron Hubbard (founder of Scientology) and dozens of others, only teach how to overcome in THIS life but they leave out the good stuff.
I wish Stephenson would have said:
·“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
·“Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for God is with me.”
·“Know that the Lord is God.It is he who made us, and we are His.”
·“Rejoice in the Lord always.I will say it again:Rejoice!”
If he had written a book like that, I would read it because it would have eternal value.
Be careful what you read because it will become a part of who you are and what you believe.If the author tells you that you can become anything you want to be and omits “with God’s help,” RUN from it because it is a lie.This life is nothing without the hope of tomorrow.Live today as though your soul depends upon it because it does.Our destiny in Jesus is signed, sealed and delivered…and it is THAT truth which gives this life real meaning, nothing else.
People are still talking about Debra Saylor's five minutes of quiet glory."My hair was standing straight up when she played Clair de lune," says Ron Roberts, a Huntsville, Ala., cyber-librarian who, along with Ms. Saylor, played in the 2000 International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs in Fort Worth."I could not breathe when she finished."
Claude Debussy's dreamy little piece is one of the best-known in the piano repertory.But Ms. Saylor made it unimaginably new – daringly slow, extravagantly free, as if made up on the spot.At the end, the audience in Texas Christian University's Ed Landreth Auditorium sat in stunned silence, and then hands were divided between explosive applause and dabbing at moist eyes.
This transcendent performance of a piece about moonlight came from a woman who has never seen it.The audience gasped when she tapped her way to the piano with a cane and ran her hands over the keys before playing.
Ms. Saylor is blind. She's been blind since birth, 40 years ago."There was not enough energy getting to the optic nerve," she says."Something was blocking the nerve.They don't know why, and the optic nerve is the least researched in the body.
"But that's OK, because I wouldn't care to see anyway." (Source: Scott Cantrell/The Dallas Morning News, June 4, 2002)
Ms. Saylor has successfully challenged the odds and fought life's battles in the darkness for 40 years.
During the time David was King of Israel, his greatest battles were against the dreaded Philistines. Had it not been for the courage of Abishai, David would have been struck down by Ishbi-Benob. After that close encounter, David's army spoke to him saying, "Never again will you go out with us to battle, so that the lamp of Israel will not be extinguished." (2nd Samuel 21:17)
Although they regarded him as the "Lamp of Israel," David knew better. He knew that without the favor of Jehovah, Israel's greatest king would lead blindly and rule without power. "You are my lamp, O Lord; the Lord turns my darkness into light," he said. (2nd Samuel 22:29) Beloved, you need not walk through life blindly. Seek the Lord and He will direct your path and enlighten you. Then you will experience the awesome favor of God as did King David.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, open my eyes so that I can see clearly; I delight in Your ways, O Lord. Give me Your shield of victory; destroy the foe of doubt and fear. "Arm me with strength and make my way perfect," not to receive the applause of men, but to walk with You now and forevermore.