One of the most dangerous jobs in war during the early 1900’s was that of artillery observation officer.His duty was to go up in a captive balloon, mark where the shells from the guns fell, and indicate to the gunners whether the shells fell short of or over the mark.The balloon was a sitting target and there was no way to dodge the guns or planes of the enemy.It was said of one soldier, "Every time he went up in that balloon he was sick with nerves but he wouldn't quit."That's the highest form of courage.
If there is no fear, the task is easy.Real courage means being perfectly aware of the worst that can happen, being terribly afraid of it, and yet doing the right thing.No one should ever fear being afraid.But never let fear stop you from doing what you know is the right thing to do.
When Jesus insisted that He and the disciples return to Judea, where a short time before the Jews had tried to stone Him, Thomas said, "Let us also go, that we may die with him."Let us do the right thing, not because we are unafraid, but in spite of our fears, we press onward.Your life is pregnant with daily opportunities to reach a little farther, or to stretch your capacity more than you have in the past.In the Name of Jesus, we owe it to our courageous Lord to overcome our fears and walk where we have never walked before.Godly possibilities which go unexplored are missed chances to experience another miracle.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, when spiritual warfare is exploding all around me, grant that I will be able to hear Your voice and accept the next challenge with determination and confidence; encourage me to live above my humanity; to receive the rich blessings which come from stepping out blindly, not because I am courageous but because I embrace my fear with faith.Amen and amen.
1Mortals make elaborate plans, but God has the last word. 2 Humans are satisfied with whatever looks good; God probes for what is good. 3 Put God in charge of your work, then what you've planned will take place.
We welcomed a beautiful new addition to our family two weeks ago.A beautiful baby girl joined two older sisters and all was well with the world.It is no coincidence that her chosen name means “purpose.”According to God’s perfect will, He has a “purpose” for this bundle of joy.
God showed up…
Imagine, however, that you’re the parents, grandparents and sisters of this darling baby and after an easy pregnancy and delivery, you are focused on her future and that future comes into question?Imagine receiving the news, 10 days after her birth, that there’s a problem?Just imagine hearing the words, “you’re baby has a heart murmur and needs to see a cardiac specialist as soon as possible?”
God showed up…
After getting over the initial shock, Grandpop and I (a/k/a Grammie) took our daughter and the baby to the specialist for a 9:30 a.m. appointment the next day.After a thorough examination and an echocardiogram, the mother and child were transported to Texas Children’s Hospital via the Kangaroo Crew (the hospital’s fully staffed and equipped ambulance).My son-in-law followed behind in their car and Grandpop and I picked up the older siblings from school and took them to the hospital with us.
To say that our faith was being tested is an understatement.Most people would question how a 10-day old baby could be in such a situation with no forewarning.Instead, I was thanking God for His eyes and ears through the pediatrician and the cardiac specialist.Of course, I reminded myself that even IF I only had the faith of a tiny mustard seed, I knew my God could/would do the rest!
God showed up…
Tons of tests, another echocardiogram, and a CT scan later that evening confirmed a problem with the aortic valve being too narrow at one particular point which made her heart work too hard trying to pump her blood throughout her tiny body.Notice was given that surgery would be performed the next morning.Between text messages and emails, prayer requests were going around the country in support of this darling baby and God’s Angels responded in our time of need.
I’m not sure if my daughter and son-in-law slept the night before the surgery, but I slept well in the comfort of God’s love and belief that HE would answer our prayers.
God showed up…
Arriving early Saturday morning, we were surrounded by family members and several friends.I was fortunate to be in the room when the surgeon and several of his staff came to explain the procedure and his expectations.We were told by several, including our pediatrician, that Dr. Frazier was one of the best.His nurse assured us we would get progress reports about every hour or so while our baby was in surgery.
God showed up…
After about two and a half hours, Dr. Frazier came by with great news!She had made it through with flying colors and he expected this surgery would correct the problem and anything else he noted on the scan the previous night would heal over time.It was a Praise God moment!
God showed up…
A little later, we could go to the Cardiac ICU to see her.A few tubes and IVs remained, but it was already apparent, the surgery had changed the picture dramatically.Her chest wasn’t going up and down at such a frantic rate; it was more calm.We were more calm…She looked good and was sedated, but peaceful.The nurse assigned to her put a little yellow bow in her hair… my daughter and I just beamed.
God showed up…
Yesterday was the day that really touched our hearts.Our baby was removed from the ventilator, gradually weaned off the sedative, the chest x-ray showed that things were looking great, and they fed her some Pedialyte.Realizing it wasn’t enough, they decided to secure a bottle of her mother’s milk and she quietly slumbered after she FINALLY had some nourishment!
As a friend of mine said, “God showed up and is showing out!”
Who could have imagined that less than 24 hours later, she would be making this kind of progress?!?At this rate, our baby may go home sooner than we first thought.I wouldn’t be surprised if she joins her sisters at home within a week!
GospeLines Prayer:Father, how can we possibly thank You for this gift from heaven?We know it is not by coincidence that her name is Nia and that You have a “purpose” for her life and ours.You brought our family back together in love and celebration, in time of great concern and in thankfulness.
We may have experienced a myriad of emotions over these past days, but one thing is clear… You showed up!We had no idea just how sick our baby was, but You are still in charge and You are showing us that miracles occur every day!
I give You ALL the praises and I am thankful that You have the last word.
In His Love,
≈ Devotional for Wednesday, May 7, 2008
"I'm Not a Bad Boy"
The older I become the less I dream, or so it seems.Most of my dreams in recent years have come during my waking hours.Anymore, I savor those rare moments when God wakes me up in time to capture one in its entirety.
My favorite dreams are those in which I am cast in a role as though I were a character in a play.Such was the case when I became the headmaster of a school for older children of wealthy citizens in a small community on the edge of a large city.It was during the days of corporal punishment when paddling the offender was not only permitted but often expected.
Most children knew that getting into trouble at school meant Mom or Dad would add to their discipline when they got home.
Three young boys were caught breaking the rules and sent to my assistant for discipline.After hearing their story the punishment was decided… three "pops" each with a wooden paddle, to be carried out by the assistant head master.Parents were asked to be present for the sentencing.This was nothing new for two of the boys, and their parents did not accompany them to school that day.
The third child, age 12, had never been in trouble before so his dad came with him to observe the paddling.Just before the sentence was carried out, the boy asked to talk to me.He stood before me with his father, tears steaming down his face, and said meekly, "I'm not a bad boy."
"Let's go for a walk," I said to him.
"You are not being punished because you are a bad boy, but because your actions were bad.
Long after the pain of this day is forgotten, you will remember two things...your father still loves you, and for every wrong action there is a consequence."
Oh, my Beloved Children of the King!How we would love to wipe away every punishment for the sins of our loved ones.If we could we would take all their pain upon ourselves and shelter them from the stumped toes and scraped knees.Gladly we would exchange places to protect them from all their mistakes, but we cannot!
Therefore, since we are not the answer for their sins, nor the provision for their eternal security, do not let the sun set this day before we tell them about the only One who can offer that kind of love."For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life."John 3:16
GospeLines Prayer:Oh, my God, my God… deliver my loved ones from the consequences of their wrong doings!Place their stripes upon my back; allow me to be chastised and beaten in place of them.I would rather stand in their stead to protect them, but if I cannot, then I beseech you to deliver them from the evil one.Though they may suffer for their actions, place a hedge of protection around their souls and give them what they need more than physical safety.Breathe into my loved ones the gift of eternal life with you.Amen and amen.
A dear friend made a terrible mistake many years ago – he stole a car.He was caught, convicted and sentenced to probation and a fine.Unfortunately, the crime placed a felony conviction on his record that has haunted him to this day.No matter how long it’s been or what he has done since, the world still looks on him as a “felon.”
Thirty years ago, a neighbor was caught in an intimate relationship with his girlfriend – he was 16, she was 15.The girls’ parents pressed changes and he was convicted of (statutory) rape.Today he’s a successful businessman with a family.Unfortunately, he’s still listed as a “sex offender.”
Statistically, fifty percent of marriages in the US end in divorce – even among Christians.Most of these people get their lives back together and go on to have wonderful, happy (second) marriages.Unfortunately, some churches forever brand them with a big red “D,” refusing to allow them to take communion or do anything except attend services – they’re ostracized.
We sometimes forgive; but, we rarely forget.
If you’ve ever told a lie, are you forever a liar?If you’ve ever taken something that wasn’t yours, are you forever a thief?Maybe… maybe not…
Jesus said, “Behold, I make all things new.” (Revelation 21:5)
What beautiful words of hope.Words that say, “You can start over, you can move beyond the past and make a new start.”If you’re in Christ, you’re a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (2nd Corinthians 5:17)
In Jesus, you can put on a new self and have a new attitude that He will create in you so that you can be more and more like Him every day (Ephesians 4:22-24).You can have a new birth into a living hope through His resurrection (1st Peter 1:3).
The world may not forgive or forget; but, through Christ, you have the opportunity to change your heart; to start walking in His ways and keeping His commandments. Ask Him to hear your prayers and come into your heart.Jesus will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; He will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:26)
Jesus does not offer condemnation, He offers forgiveness.He says the same thing to us today that He said the woman caught in adultery almost 2,000 years ago, "Go now and leave your life of sin." (John 8:1-11)
“Behold, He makes all things new.”
"…we can face Him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world."
Winston Churchill stood to address the victorious British army following a strategic battle. Known for his inspirational brevity, he was no disappointment in this speech to his battle-weary soldiers."This isn't the end.It isn't the beginning of the end.But perhaps it is the end of the beginning!"
Much of life places us at similar crossroads.Experiencing a spiritual victory, or a loss, does not end the race.We are involved in a life-long journey which enables us to treat each event as a new beginning.Use your defeats and your victories as opportunities to begin again... again!
GospeLines Prayer:Well, Lord, here I am again… again.It feels as though we just had this talk yesterday, but here we go again… again.I am weary, Father.I'm tired of this dance, two steps forward and three backward!It isn't a new partner I seek; please, just fix me so that I can get it right a little more often.Enable me to know the difference between victory in a skirmish and winning the war, and help me to be faithful till the end.Amen and amen… again!