Michael Caine is one of the most accomplished actors of this generation.In a recent interview, when he was asked to describe what acting really is, he said, "Some actors hold up a picture and say look at me.I hold up a mirror and say look at you."
Those teachers in my life who influenced me were not always the most intelligent or the ones with the most wit.My life has been molded by those gifted people who taught me to look at myself.They didn't berate me with rules I couldn't follow, or demands which I might learn to despise.What they did was hold up a mirror to show me my life as others saw it, and allow me to see the desperate need I had to become more than I was.
Your greatest hour will come when you enable someone to grow by using a mirror instead of a rod of discipline.This takes superior grace and wisdom.It is precisely the method of teaching Jesus used in the parables, helping his audience to SEE and FEEL who they really were.
GospeLines Prayer:Heavenly Father, make me less apt to lecture and more prone to love my neighbor as myself; less critical and more Christ-like; less haughty about my elevated spiritual stature and more humble in my witness.Amen and amen.
How often do we hear of random acts of kindness?Newspapers and news programs often have more negative stories than anything else.Recently, I witnessed a slight change.
Over the Christmas holidays, a man’s identity was revealed after having given millions of dollars away each holiday over a 26-year period to complete strangers to make their Christmas brighter.Larry Stewart, 58, the Secret Santa (http://www.secretsantausa.com/), was born poor, briefly was homeless, dropped out of college and had been fired from jobs several times over his career.His story came to life when thirty-five years ago, a cold, hungry, and homeless young man walked into the Dixie Diner in Houston, Mississippi with no money in his pockets.He concocted a plan of petty crime to get something to eat and then pretended he had lost his wallet. He had no idea what was in store for him.
A single act of kindness by a man named Ted Horn, the owner of the diner, changed this young man's life forever.Larry was that young man and by the Grace of God came face to face with one of God’s Angels. As he was leaving town he said a prayer of thanks and vowed to God that if HE ever put him in the position to help others he would do so, allowing people to keep their dignity. He never forgot that day, and he never forgot HIS Angel, Ted Horn.
Larry revealed his identity this Christmas after learning he has terminal cancer.He needs some Angels to pray for him and to continue HIS mission.
Several days ago, Cameron Hollopeter, 19, suffered a seizure on a subway platform in New York and fell onto the tracks.A quick thinking good samaritan, 50-year-old Wesley Autrey, attempted to pull him off the tracks before the train arrived, to no avail.Finally, he jumped on top of Cameron, held the two of them down with a few inches to spare as the train rolled over them before making an emergency stop.
Both lived and Cameron was taken to a hospital with minor injuries.Wesley’s young daughters, who witnessed the scenario, were relieved that their father was okay.While he doesn’t consider himself a hero, he has been called the “hero of Harlem” and received the city's highest award for civic achievement, the Bronze Medallion.(Past recipients of this honor include Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Martin Luther King Jr., Muhammad Ali and Willie Mays.)Wesley set an example for his daughters and all of us.
If you were in a similar situation, what would you do?
God gave his only son to save us from our sins.HE made the ultimate sacrifice.While God may not require us to make the same type of sacrifice found in these stories, HE does require us to put the needs of others ahead of our own.What a living testimony to HIS love when we do.There are numerous ways to get and stay involved… to heed God’s call to service.Hear God’s word…
Matthew 6:1-3 (The Message)
The World Is Not a Stage
1 "Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don't make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won't be applauding. 2-4"When you do something for someone else, don't call attention to yourself. You've seen them in action, I'm sure - 'playactors' I call them - treating prayer meeting and street corner alike as a stage, acting compassionate as long as someone is watching, playing to the crowds. They get applause, true, but that's all they get. When you help someone out, don't think about how it looks. Just do it - quietly and unobtrusively. That is the way your God, who conceived you in love, working behind the scenes, helps you out.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, thank you for these examples of Your love.Thank you for providing opportunities to serve and honor You through simple acts of kindness.We need not be rich or powerful to give of ourselves.
It was just one of those particularly difficult days at work!I walked outside to take a deep breath (and count to ten).Hands on hips, I leaned back to look at the thunderstorms overhead, and there it was, painted in the northwestern sky by the hand of a gracious God.He gave me a rainbow at the very moment I needed it.
“I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind.Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”Genesis 9: 15, 16
No matter how deep the waters of my own personal travail may become, there is a God of hope standing nearby, telling me that the worst situation I face will not destroy my most precious possession, my relationship with the Father.The evil of this world may disappoint me, bankrupt me financially, and it may even take my life.But evil can never win out over God’s promise of eternal life.Amen and amen.
Have you ever been to a party or in a group when the conversation simply stopped?What an awkward moment.We can share opinions on any topic; but, for the conversation to continue there must be some central basis around which we can build our discussions.
When we talk about golf, our conversation is guided by the PGA rules.If we talk about football, our discussions must be within the context of the rules of the game.Cooking, sewing, tennis, gardening… any topic that we can imagine always has at its core some basic set of rules or regulations that control or guide the conversation.
For the Christian, the basis of our conversations about God is the Bible. However, that very statement leads to the most important discussion in all Christianity: Is the Bible true?
If it's true, if everything contained in its pages is true; then, for those who live according to its words, their faith is justified and their salvation is assured.So, "How can we know that it is true?"
There are literally thousands of historical facts and details that point to the truth of the Bible with scientific certainty.The Bible has multiple writers, spread over thousands of years, multiple languages and cultures; and yet, there are no contradictions or discontinuities.Unlike any document ever written, the Bible has survived thousands of translations into hundreds of languages without any significant errors.Places, dates and people, thought to be fictitious or described in error have proven to be correct.We could go on and on… However, these facts are not how Christians know that the Bible is true.
"Lift up your eyes to the heavens, look at the earth beneath; the heavens will vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment and its inhabitants die like flies.But my salvation will last forever, my righteousness will never fail.Hear me, you who know what is right, you people who have my law in your hearts... " (Isaiah 51:6-7)
"You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts." (2nd Corinthians 3:2-3)
"Those who obey His commands live in Him, and He in them. And this is how we know that He lives in us: We know it by the Spirit He gave us." (1st John 3:24)
"This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned." (1st Corinthians 2:13-14)
"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God."(1st Corinthians 1:18)
Brothers and Sisters, we know the Word of our Lord is true because it is written on our hearts by the very hand of the Living God in Whose image we are created.
When people may say, "You haven't shown me enough physical evidence," we may continue to show more and more reasons in an effort to convince them (in the flesh) why the Bible should be believed.However, we know that, "It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man (or his physical evidence)." (Psalms 118:8)
We know the Bible is true because it is written on our hearts; because He is alive in us and we know Him.God could show the world His power and might; He could bring all mankind to its knees in an instant with absolute proof that He is the Great I AM.However, that would bring people to Him out of fear and awe, not out of love.He wants us to come to Him because we freely choose to be His children, not because He gives us no other choice.
Still, He does make it easy - He puts His words and His very spirit in our hearts.That is why Jesus could say "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." (Matthew 11:29)
Stop trying to show physical, worldly evidence that the Bible is true.Stop asking people to open their minds to the evidence, ask them to open their hearts.They can know the Bible is true the same way we do.We know that the Bible is true because… He lives in us!Amen and Amen!
“…we can face Him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.”
My youngest son grimaced with pain as the anesthesiologist probed deeply into his flesh in search of a vein.The nervous pre-surgery laughter we had enjoyed moments before now turned to coping with the needle being placed in his hand.Our conversation centered on the painful struggle for the five previous weeks, when walking became a challenge because of the torn cartilage in his knee.We decided upon this surgery because there is no glory in pain.
Mary watched as Jesus suffered the agony of the cross.We do not celebrate our Lord's pain.Joy comes on the morning of the third day, not from the physical suffering itself, but from the reason for the suffering: everlasting hope!
Sometimes our spiritual growth has a painful price, but it also has a reward.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, help me to be patient thru the struggle, so that I may taste the sweet reward you are preparing for me.Amen and amen.