The bumper of the car in front of me proudly displayed the words, "Generic Bumper Sticker."I have seen more offensive words on a bumper. I have had them threaten me, rebuke me, suggest where I could go, and coerce me to honk at them.Usually these little strips of paper announce something about the individual sporting them on their vehicles, letting me know something about that person and their passions.Not this one.It didn't say a word about anything and gave me no clue about the driver of that car.
Generic:"relating to a whole group; not protected by trademark registration."Maybe we have allowed ourselves to become generic Christians, not passionate about anything, unwilling to announce our beliefs to others, and so much like the status quo that what we think doesn't offend anyone anymore because we relate to a whole group of people who are no different than we are.If that is true, then we "are not protected by the trademark registration" of the Holy Spirit.Think about it.
GospeLines Prayer:"Father, I want to be different but I am afraid.What will my friends think of me?Lord, give me courage to be unique in my walk with You even if it sometimes means rubbing someone the wrong way."Amen and amen.
"Remember this saying, 'A few seeds make a small harvest, but a lot of seeds make a big harvest.'Each of you must make up your own mind about how much to give.But don't feel sorry that you must give and don't feel that you are forced to give.God loves people who love to give. God can bless you with everything you need, and you will always have more than enough to do all kinds of good things for others." Corinthians 9:6-8 (CEV)
It must be campaign time for a number of worthy organizations.Solicitors call my home several evenings a week.Because I have given before, my name is in their database.Some are new solicitations.
Depending on the status of my financial health, I may or may not commit to making a contribution at that time.(Seems like they have campaigns every few months...)
I am made to feel guilty when I politely decline the offer to contribute to their campaign.I admit their response can elicit an un-Christ like response from me.That’s not right, I know, but I strongly dislike their strong-armed tactics.
When there’s a personal appeal from someone, however, I am more inclined to rearrange my budget.This isn’t a 501(c)(3) organization and I won’t get a receipt for my gift from the IRS.But, is that the only reason I give?
GospeLines Prayer:Father, everything I have comes from You.Let me hear the cry of the needy.Let me respond to charitable requests from organizations and directly from Your children. It only takes one major financial setback and I may be in a similar situation.
And, when someone else is in want, let me be a cheerful giver.
Tiger Woods tried something different.He bleached his hair white!Soon after he made this shocking adjustment, he appeared at a banquet where golf legend Jack Nicklaus, the Golden Bear, was attending.
If you are not a golf fan, Tiger Woods has taken the golfing world by storm, and has been a terrific role model for kids, and an inspiration for everyone.Most of us remember the Bear as the man with blonde hair who could knock the golf ball farther and higher than anyone else on the course, until Tiger came along.
When Jack saw Tiger's new "Do" he walked up to him and said, "Tiger, I don't mind that you are trying to break all my old records.But are you going to try to look like me too?"
I am certain that that wasn't Tiger's intent, but it did bring to mind a spiritual truth.“Clothes do not a man make.”And, we could add hair color to that list as well.In fact, while God is looking intently at the heart of a person to examine character, we spend most of our time gazing at the extremities to determine value and worth.
Folks, it makes no eternal difference how you look, what you wear, or what you drive.What does matter is how well your heart matches up with the Heart of Christ.I doubt seriously that Jesus is going to meet us at Judgment Day with a list to see how many designer labels we have in our wardrobe!
Let us now live so that others will see past our flaws, and see in us the mind and heart of a Redeemer whose arms are open wide enough to welcome us all.Amen and amen.
I recently received an article supposedly written by Bill Cosby.I say supposedly because I cannot be absolutely sure of its origin.However, the words repeat the message Mr. Cosby has been telling all around the country and the world.No matter if they're direct quotes of Mr. Cosby, or just paraphrases someone put together from some of his speeches, they're no less true and worthy of repeating.
Bill states that many parents are not parenting.He says, "They're buying $500 sneakers but they won't spend $200 for Hooked on Phonics…?"He's referring to the parents who cry when their son or daughter is standing there in an orange suit (prison uniform).
Where were these parents when their child was 2?Where were they when he was 12?Where were they when he was 18 and how come they didn't know that he had a gun?
Bill goes on to say that people used to be ashamed if they had eight children with eight different "husbands."We used to be ashamed when a millionaire football player could not read or a million-dollar basketball player couldn't write two paragraphs. Bill says that black folks have to do a better job.However, that's too limited.We all have to do a better job.
We have to start holding each other to a higher standard.We cannot blame "them" or our circumstances any longer.Today's children - all colors - their education and their salvation, are our responsibility and God will hold us accountable if we do not "love our neighbor as ourselves." We have got to take back our children.
“…we can face Him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.”
Bill Cosby was born William Henry Cosby Jr. on July 12, 1937, in Philadelphia, USA.He quit school in the tenth grade but later joined the Navy and received his high school diploma.
He was honorably discharged from the Navy in 1961 and enrolled at Temple University.He later received an M.A (1972) and PhD in Education (1977) at the University of Massachusetts.
In 1965, Cosby was cast as Alexander Scott in the television show I Spy.He won three Emmy Awards for his performance.Cosby's television career continued with the Bill Cosby Specials (1968-1971, 1975), The Bill Cosby Show (1969-1971), The New Bill Cosby Show (1972-1973), and Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids (1972-1984). He also appeared on Sesame Street and The Electric Company. Cosby's most successful show was The Cosby Show (1984-1992), which portrayed the life of a successful doctor, his lawyer wife, and their children.
Since 1964 he has been married to Camille Hanks Cosby, who, like her husband, has a Ph.D. in education. Their son, Ennis, met an untimely and violent death while changing a tire on the Los Angeles freeway in January 1997. The Cosbys have four daughters to help them cope with this devastating loss; their ongoing work no doubt also helps.
Cosby’s most recent endeavor has been speaking out against the negative aspects in the African American community.He has cited juvenile delinquency, profanity, the victim mentality, and parenting as the causes.Cosby believes that the African American community can be renewed by giving children better choices, an education, and by taking personal responsibility.
≈ Devotional for Friday: May 18, 2007
"Small Steps to Big Miracles"
Mother’s Day was unique this year.Our Pastor gave us a sermon of a different kind when he left the discourse to his wife and his adult son, who happens to be autistic.Our pastor prefaced his son’s remarks by setting the stage – telling us how the doctors had said not to expect much from their son developmentally when the autism was originally diagnosed.Our pastor and his wife never accepted the doctors’ conclusion.They worked painstakingly, taking small steps, to help Jimmy learn to speak - one word per day, to be independent as possible, to do many things we normally take for granted.
Believe it or not, Jimmy has a driver’s license, has never had a ticket for any moving or other violation, has held jobs, has taken courses and has been successful in ways that were never anticipated.
Doctors don’t always know everything do they?Sometimes, God has other plans and takes small steps, using tons of sacrifice on our part and HIS might to make big miracles.
Our scripture that morning was Exodus 4:1-12, but Jimmy focused on another section, captured below.His message - on how people make excuses concerning what they [think] they can or can’t do - was eloquent and spoken in his own unique, simplistic style.I imagine he never anticipated an opportunity to speak before us, but there he was, in front of several hundred congregants telling us that excuses aren’t acceptable.God is with us and, in essence, will equip us with whatever we need, despite the odds.When he finished, I don’t think there was a dry eye among us.We were so proud!
"Moses replied, 'I have never been a good speaker. I wasn't one before you spoke to me, and I'm not one now. I am slow at speaking, and I can never think of what to say.' But the Lord answered, 'Who makes people able to speak or makes them deaf or unable to speak? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Don't you know that I am the one who does these things?Now go! When you speak, I will be with you and give you the words to say.'
Moses begged, 'Lord, please send someone else to do it.'
The Lord became irritated with Moses and said: 'What about your brother Aaron, the Levite?I know he is a good speaker.He is already on his way here to visit you, and he will be happy to see you again.Aaron will speak to the people for you, and you will be like me, telling Aaron what to say.I will be with both of you as you speak, and I will tell each of you what to do.Now take this walking stick and use it to perform miracles.'"(Exodus 4:10-17CEV)
Another story later that evening on CBS’s 60 Minutes, demonstrated how faith and perseverance can help one overcome severe obstacles.Ali Abbas’ home was bombed 12 days after the war in Iraq began four years ago.He lost his parents, brothers, 13 other family members and his arms.
The doctors there said he would never recover; his body ravaged from burns that defied imagination and that blackened most of his body and with no arms.Yet, God had other plans.
After three months in a Baghdad hospital, the US Marines took Ali to a state-of-the art hospital in Kuwait and “The Limbless Association” promised him new arms and a new life. That was four years ago.
Ali, now 16, is schooled in England, lives in an apartment with his uncle and a fellow Iraqi amputee named Ahmed. Ali so desperately wants to fit in at school that he has cosmetic arms put on in the morning so that he won’t stand out. It’s the only time he wears them.
Recently, he was one of hundreds of cyclists participating in a 60 mile ride from London to Oxford as a member of a team called the Baghdad Bikers.Keep in mind, he had never ridden more than 10 miles at any given time, yet he persevered and finished!
Ali has also become a storyteller. His drawings and writing have spawned a children’s book called "Emilio the Lion" about a lion who is a vegetarian.
In both examples, God has used small steps to make big miracles.While both of these individuals have gained much, there are still challenges to come.Each, in their own way, must still rely on others, and most importantly, must continue to rely on God.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, many of us have been like Moses in Exodus 4:13 begging, "Lord, please send someone else to do it."No matter what trials and tribulations we have experienced, we don’t want to go through them.We want things to come easy, we want things to be perfect.Yet, we know that there is no perfection, except through YOU.
We must remember that sometimes, God has other plans and takes small steps, using tons of sacrifice on our part and HIS might to make big miracles.