Doris Dillon dreamed all her life of being a teacher. She not only made it, she was one of those wondrous teachers who could wring the best out of every single child.One of her fellow teachers in San Jose, Calif., said "she could teach a rock to read."
Suddenly she was stricken with Lou Gehrig's disease, which is always fatal, usually within five years. She asked to stay on the job-and did.When her voice was affected she communicated by computer.
Did she go home? She is running two elementary school libraries. When the disease was diagnosed, she wrote the staff and all the families that she had one last lesson to teach - that dying is part of living. Her colleagues named her Teacher of the Year.
The old saying, "He has one foot in the grave," is an unkind description of elderly people or someone who might be terminally ill.I have never been in a life-threatening situation, so I don't really know how I would deal with it. But I would hope that I could be courageous, as when David faced Goliath; and faithful, as the woman who sneaked through the crowd to touch the hem of Jesus' garment.
To face my own mortality is humbling.No one knows the hour when we shall breathe our final breath, or give that last hug to a child, or say that last "I love you."God wants us to know that dying is a part of living, yes, but He wants me to live, REALLY LIVE every day!The greatest testimony of a dying saint is that he/she lived until he died!
GospeLines Prayer:Father, my greatest fear is not that one day my soul shall pass from this mortal body into Your presence.My greatest fear is that I might die before I live.Let it not be, O Lord.Teach me how to live life to the fullest in the power of Your Spirit!
18Lord, who is a God like you? You forgive sin. You forgive your people when they do what is wrong. You don't stay angry forever. Instead, you take delight in showing your faithful love to them. 19Once again you will show loving concern for us. You will completely wipe out the evil things we've done. You will throw all of our sins into the bottom of the sea.
Micah 7:18-19 (New International Reader's Version)
When someone robs your house or steals a family heirloom or maims or kills a loved one, can you forgive them?When someone robs you of your joy, betrays your trust and kills your spirit, can you forgive them?
As you read the scripture above, do you acknowledge that God forgives us time and time again only to show us His love and compassion?I know we, as fragile human beings, struggle with the same concept don’t we?
Not forgiving keeps us shackled to our sins.Sometimes, we honestly admit to God that “I don’t choose to forgive.”“Lord, that person has taken something precious from me and I can’t let it go; I can’t forgive.”
But, oh, Lord, I just need to look in the mirror.How many times have I disobeyed your commandments?How many times have I forsaken my commitments made before you?How many times have I done my will and not Your will?How many times have I made other priorities more important than spending time with You?How many times have I betrayed You?
Yes, Lord, I don’t want to openly admit it.I’ve done all of those things at some time or another.But, You are a God of second chances.(In my case, I need to increase the number of chances significantly…)
Oh, God, I’ve been on my knees and openly wept because I know I don’t deserve Your loving kindness.My life has been shattered, sometimes through my own excesses; and sometimes because of others.The words of the song below, A God of Second Chances seem to say it best --
Vs 1 I serve a God who forgives the moment my mouth shapes the words,
When my heart yearns for His forgiveness, His heart is stirred.
He stands nearby with His arms wide open to welcome me back again,
If I fall, let me fall towards Him, let Him remove my sin.
I serve a God of 2nd chances, whose love has covered all of me.
I serve a God whose firmest stance is, "My dying has made you free."
And for all eternity He'll be, the God of 2nd chances.
If the words of this song have reached you, deep within your soul,
Just let Him have your broken pieces and make them whole.
Just put them in His hands of mercy and let your heartbreak go
Let His love and His grace o'ertake you, let His compassion flow.
Words and Music by Keith Caldwell, BMI & Clayton B Howell, BMI
Words and Music copyright 2007 by KCCH Music Publishing Company
All Rights Reserved both domestic and foreign.Used by permission.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, thank You for being the God of second chances (and many more…)Thank You for putting me back together after I’ve come unglued.And for covering me with Your love when I know I am not deserving.
But, oh Father, let me follow Your example.Let me give others second (multiple) chances even when it’s hard to do so.Help me to forgive and not remain angry.
Please throw all of my sins into the bottom of the sea and please forgive me!
In His Love,
≈ Devotional for Wednesday, April 23, 2008
If you want to know about the depths of God's love for you, look again at John chapter eleven.This story of Lazarus has haunted me for the past few weeks because it stresses the value Jesus places on human life.
Lazarus was very sick and Jesus got there too late to save him.Oh, how Jesus loved this family!Jesus didn't want Lazarus to die.He agonized over their grief and mourning.Mary, the sister of Lazarus, wailed to the Lord, "If you had been here…"Jesus saw her weeping, and the others who had come with her were also weeping.The apostle John saw this poignant moment and recorded that Jesus was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. (John 11:33) When they led Him to the family burial place, it was more than even God-man could deal with emotionally."Jesus wept!"As our Lord stepped up to the opening of the tomb his emotions showed again:"Jesus, once more (was) deeply moved."
Beloved, when you have reason to doubt that Jesus cares about you; when you wonder if it matters whether you live or die; when you feel as though your prayers do not reach beyond the sound of your own voice, listen to the pain in Jesus' voice at Bethany!He went where he didn't have to go.He could have spoken a word without taking the journey, and Lazarus would have been healed.He risked his life and the lives of the disciples by going to Bethany.Our Lord became personally and emotionally involved because he valued the life of one person, just as He values your life.
You are in this world because God uniquely and fabulously created you.He cares about your physical and spiritual well-being.Never doubt the integrity of your Creator, who has snatched you out of the jaws of hell, planted your feet upon holy ground, and guaranteed your security by offering the precious gift of His own Son.Jesus wants you alive, living and loving, going and growing, praising and praying, working and witnessing, until He comes again!
GospeLines Prayer:O, my Holy, Living God, who keeps me going when I want to give up; who heals my broken heart when others disappoint me; who showers me with comfort when my pain has outgrown my capacity to cope; and who carries me through the day when I cannot take another step on my own.I rejoice that you have overcome the mystery of death, yet I am overwhelmed that you care so much about how I live right now.Amen and amen.
Several years ago my wife and I were driving to upper Michigan to go skiing.Somewhere along the way, it started to snow – really snow.After only a few minutes, we were in “white-out” conditions.We couldn’t see the road and were faced with a decision: stop and miss our reservation or keep going and risk an accident.
At that moment, we were passed by a large truck.As he pulled away from us, we realized that we could still see his tail lights.I speeded up so we could keep his tail lights in sight.
For the next few hours we followed that truck; or, more accurately, we followed his tail lights.We made the decision to trust that truck driver with our very lives.Maybe it was because we really wanted to get to the ski resort; but, primarily, it was because we knew he was a professional and that his very reason for being on the road was to reach the destination and deliver his cargo.
Many of us are driving through life in “white-out” conditions.We may know where we want to go (heaven); but, we can’t see the way.
Take heart, a Professional has come to show you the way.His sole purpose for coming was to lead you to the correct destination – to deliver His Father’s precious cargo, His children, to their home in Glory.
He says, “My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me.”When your life’s in a “white-out” condition and you can’t see your way, don’t stop seeking the One who came to save you; and, don’t risk an “accident” by trying to find your own way or by following another who is also lost in the same snow storm.Follow the Professional…
Do not let your hearts be troubled. You trust in God; trust also in Him… (John 14:1)
"…we can face Him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world."
What prompts a man to choose death over life?Hundreds of Al- Qaeda and Taliban fighters in Afghanistan have readily made that choice.(REUTERS News quote follows)
"The battle was very intense at times. There was mortar fire, machine-gun fire. The enemy has heavy weaponry," U.S. Maj. Bryan Hilferty told Reuters at Bagram Air Base north of Kabul, where much of the U.S. ground force has been shifted to support the assault."This battle is going to go on until they all surrender or die."
The chilling story of Saul the persecutor demonstrates the righteousness of Almighty God."As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, 'Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" (Acts 9:3-4)In that brief attention-grabbing moment, Saul made a decision.He could rebel against this powerful force and die, or he could surrender and live.It is a battle we face daily.
The Christian witness is one sin away from disaster.Make a deliberately wrong choice and you destroy your testimony.On the other hand, complete and total surrender brings life to you and to countless souls around you who read your life as they would the Bible.Godliness is something we choose.It isn't a title easily bestowed, as we might receive a gold star for perfect attendance.You don't earn it, you surrender to it.That awesome decision is the difference between a dynamic Christian testimony and an anemic churchgoing failure.We must choose - surrender or die.
GospeLines Prayer: Father, I choose to surrender to Your will for my life, even though sometimes I don't even know what it is.Let my testimony be a blessing and not a curse, heaven sent rather than hell-bent, accepting more than rebellious, and uplifting instead of discouraging.Amen and amen.