During the month of March, GospeLines quietly celebrated our tenth anniversary.In the beginning we stated that it was a ministry which would be published “as the Spirit led” and as long as the Holy Spirit allowed us to continue.After more than a decade, we are still writing and publishing and will continue to do it until Jesus comes or until He says stop, and from where I sit there is no end in sight for our little ministry.
This is a good time to tell you, again, that you mean everything to this ministry.Without you we could not continue with the daily devotionals and the growing prayer ministry.We have seen lives altered forever through the prayers of our devoted Minister of Prayer and Praise and her dynamic Prayer Warriors.We are blessed!
The devotionals are reaching about 900 subscribers living on the continent of Africa, and they post them on bulletin boards, share them in their churches, and even hand them out on the streets!Never would we have imagined that God would allow us to touch people around the world in the way we have.
A New Addition to the Website:
Many of you know my dear friend, Brother Jerry Miller, but you may not know that his devotionals are now being published on his very own page on the GospeLines Website. Check it out.
My wife recently received a letter from Prayer Warrior Janet Benner:
“Here is just a little money to help your ministry.You have been a friend of mine that I know will always be there.You have helped me through tough times numerous times whether you know it or not.GospeLines has been a God-send to me.It seems that when I need spiritual help the most…the message is directed to me!The children we pray for seem like family and I cry when they suffer or when they go home.In fact, everyone we pray for has become family.Thank you for that.You, Tommy and the entire GospeLines Staff are amazing!”
Your encouragement is a joy and we know that with out your support we would quit every time we grow just a little bit weary.Then BAM, something like this happens and God just smiles at us as we take it up to the next level once again.
“God Moments 4 Kids” is Coming!
Speaking of the next level…we are adding still another page to the website, which will need your input.The page is called “God Moments 4 Kids!” and it will be composed of little stories you tell us about the children in your life.Please go to that new page on the website and take a look, www.gospelines.com/godtalk.html .Tell us about those endearing "God-talks" you’ve heard recently from our precious children.Please submit ONLY original quotes which you have heard personally or those which have been shared with you by your family. We won't publish old material which has been widely circulated on the internet. Send your Kid's "God Moments" to email@example.com.Include ONLY the first name of the child in the story, and please allow us to publish your name with it to give you proper recognition.A few examples have already been published on the new page to help us get started.
NEW DEVOTIONAL SERIES
I finished the 38th and final devotional of the Sermon on the Mount series last Friday.We will begin a new “Monday, Wednesday and Friday series” of devotionals on Wednesday, and Carla and Ron will continue writing on Tuesday and Thursday.
On a beautiful night in Texas, 27 of us embarked on a four hour cruise in Galveston Bay for a birthday celebration complete with dinner and dancing.
Our captain welcomed us, gave us information about the yacht’s capacity and, of course, safety instructions.He joked that “if the crew is getting into their life jackets, you may want to get one for yourselves.”Then he proceeded to tell us where they were located.After the formality, we settled in, mingling in the cabin or going out on the deck to have a different view – beautiful homes, the pier, other yachts and water craft of all types. We left at dusk and returned in the darkness of night.
Interestingly, most of us had no issues with the water and felt the yacht’s movement on occasion.But, that wasn’t true for all of the guests.A few felt uneasy on that much water; not afraid per se, just uneasy.
During most of the cruise, the winds and water were fairly calm; although, the winds would pick up on occasion. The most noticeable change was when speed boats went racing by and the waves would become choppy and the yacht would rock to and fro.If we were moving about, we became slightly off balance.Nothing of major concern to us, fortunately.I had faith in the experienced captain and crew.
I would imagine those who were uneasy felt somewhat out of control.Their comfort zone had been disturbed and our adventure was in someone else’s hands.Perhaps they could be compared to the Disciples in the boat – while Jesus peacefully slumbered.
Certainly, no storms rose against us while out in the Bay.But, that’s not always true in our everyday lives.We may be in the midst of storms, or just uneasy.We aren’t comfortable – in our jobs, financially, relationally, or in some other situation.Where is our faith?
It isn’t always easy relinquishing control to someone else; even God.I hear that from time-to-time and I experience that too.But, if we truly trust the Lord, then we know HE offers us a hedge of protection.HE hasn’t promised that we will live a life free of storms or that there won’t be periods of uneasiness.But the good news is that whether we’re sailing alone, or on a speed boat or a cruiser with others in this vast ocean, HE is our life jacket!
Gospelines Prayer:Father, thank You for those moments when You remind us who is really in control.Thank You for the privilege of being with Your children and the freedom to pray.Show us how to trust You and when we quiver, or we’re uneasy, surround us with Your word and Your love.
It’s clear sailing with You, Lord!
In His Love,
≈ Devotional for Wednesday, May 19, 2010
“Encountering Christ through the Gospel of John”
Through the gospels we learn about the life, witness and death of Jesus.For the next many weeks I will lead us in a study of key passages in the Gospel of John and we will encounter Christ through the eyes of the disciple called the Beloved.My hope is that you will anticipate the next devotional series in much the same way as I anticipate writing it.Let our hearts be open to seeing our Lord in a way that may completely change our lives.
How well do you know the author of this gospel?There are two stories about him which circulated throughout the early Church that give us insight into John the man, the author of the Fourth Gospel.
In The Ecclesiastical History, Eusebius tells a story he received from Clement of Alexandria.John was visiting one of his churches in Asia Minor and passed a tall and very nice-looking young man among the congregation.He instructed the Elder of the church to take in the young man, instruct him and give him direction to become a leader of the Christian church.So the Elder did as he was told, and in time the young man was baptized and became an active part of the church.But very soon afterward he became the leader of a gang who robbed and murdered the citizens, and lived in the mountains just outside the city.
John later visited the church and inquired about the young man’s progress, but learned of the terrible things he had done.“He is dead to God,” said the Elder.“He fell from grace and now leads a band of ruffians in the mountains.”Immediately John went to the mountains and deliberately allowed himself to be captured by the gang.They took him before the leader who recognized John and tried to run away.“My son, why are you running from your father?I am too old to chase after you.Stop!Christ has sent me to you.I will stand for you before the Lord Christ.If need be I will gladly die for you as He died for me.Stop, stay, believe!”
The appeal from John broke the heart of the young man, who threw down his weapons and went down the mountainside with John, became reunited with the church and began to serve God again.This story is a vivid illustration of the courage of John, author of the Fourth Gospel.
In another story…Jerome tells about the last words of John as he lay dying, surrounded by his disciples.They asked him if he had any message to leave them.“Little children,” he said.“Love one another.”He repeated the same thing over and over and over.The disciples said, “But is there anything ELSE you wish to tell us.”“That is enough,” he said, “for it is the Lord’s command.”
And that is part of what we know about this fiery man, a man of deep conviction, ambition, COURAGE, and in the end, gentle love.When we hear the words of this Fourth Gospel, give an ear to this man who lived and wrote with passion; listen with the same or greater passion as you engage in a brand new experience with Christ.
Today I read about the transformation of a man who had been bored with his life and “accidentally” found new meaning to everything through his hobby of gardening (Guideposts, May 2010).Then it hit me!There are so many Christians who are burned out and just plain bored with their walk with God; the idea of “going deeper into the Word” is about as exciting to them as watching paint dry.Listen to what the gardener said.“…all of a sudden my life was changed.There was no room in my brain for anything but plants.At some point in the past few months…I couldn’t pinpoint exactly…something had taken hold of me.Whatever life force bloomed in that (garden), making all those flowers so bright and beautiful, now it bloomed in me!I’m like a plant in new soil, growing and thriving under the loving care of the Master Gardener himself.”
That’s what I pray for you, that God’s Word will begin to bloom in you and it will change you forever!I look forward to our journey together as we both encounter Christ through the Gospel of John.
GospeLines Prayer:Master Gardener, thank You for caring about someone like me; and for nurturing, pruning, and watching over me through the drought and the storms.Thank you for the opportunity to bloom when I am planted deeply into the soil of Your Word, and for allowing me to grow up to be just like You planned.Amen and amen.
≈ Devotional for Thursday, May 20, 2010
Quiana Childress was recently featured as the “Person of the Week” on ABC.
Born into a family on the edge of poverty in Arkansas, she was one of ten children who sometimes went to bed hungry.There wasn’t enough.
At 16, she went to work as a nursing assistant to help her family and herself toward the ultimate dream of one day becoming a doctor.No matter how determined, her world was crumbling beneath her.
"I guess my mother felt like it was too much for her. The problems were too much," she recalled. "And I came home one day and the boxes were packed. And she came up to me and told me she was leaving and that I needed to find a place to stay."
Quiana was homeless at 16, sleeping in her only possession -- an old, used Pontiac. She couldn’t sleep, but “eventually I just learned to pray and close my eyes.”
Childress tried to keep working, taking on a second job while she was still in school. She would awaken at 3 a.m. to study.She didn’t want to be a burden or take advantage of any situation.Quiana wanted to be normal -- to have a roof over her head, to go to school, and to play basketball.Her life was anything, but normal.
She considered giving up and finding work wherever possible, but realized giving up on her patients would mean giving up on herself."I felt like they needed me. ... In a sense, they saved me." When she couldn’t believe in herself, she’d think of her patients.After a while, she asked for help, calling relatives in Little Rock who provided a place to live.
Despite moving to a new school and city, Childress rededicated herself to the dream of what she always hoped to be. Childress graduated this week from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, an historically black college, and she plans eventually to continue to medical school.
The commencement speech was given by First Lady Michelle Obama, who singled out Childress’ life experiences as inspiration to others to push through life's difficulties.
"Whenever you get discouraged," said Obama, "I want you to tell yourself that if Quiana Childress can go from being homeless to graduating with the highest GPA not just in the biology department, but in the entire School of Arts and Sciences, then surely you can overcome whatever adversity you face in your own life."
Quiana knows her life has a message, but she said it's not about the self, it's about others.
Childress said "What people can learn from my story is that there are a lot of ways to help people," she said. "Then you can make it through. Helping people heals us."
Prayer:Father, in a time when the media tends to spotlight the negative, thank You for this blessing.She held out hope and never lost sight of her goal and Your promise.Despite bleak circumstances initially, she was determined to rise and to help others, in turn helping herself.
Show us how to live up to her example and many others you’ve revealed to us over the course of our lifetimes, keeping in mind the words of the prophet, Isaiah 58:7-9.
Hope springs eternal.
Hope springs eternal in the human breast; Man never Is, but always To be blest: The soul, uneasy and confin'd from home, Rests and expatiates in a life to come.
Those magical first words from a baby come at around six months, depending upon the child, of course.With English speaking parents the first word from the baby is usually “da-da” which we Dads claim with great pride is “Daddy.”Whether they are the first words spoken by a little baby, or the last ones that a person will ever say on earth, words are important to us.The Apostle John said that the first WORD existed before the beginning of time, and that Word was Jesus!“In the beginning was the WORD, and the WORD was God.”
Have you ever been guilty of turning to the end of the book to read the last chapter before you had finished the rest of the book?Let’s be really daring and do that today…turn with me to the last book of the Bible, the Book of the Revelation, which tells in Chapter 19 about the return of Jesus on a white horse.In six verses (vv. 11-16click the hyperlink)His character is vividly described and He is called by these names:Faithful, True, King of Kings, Lord of Lords and Word of God!The author of the Gospel of John knew the end of the book…Jesus is known as the Word of God inRevelation 19:13, the same as He is inJohn 1:1.Our Bible text teaches three things about “Jesus, the Word.” It is no coincidence!
Our Bible text teaches three things about “Jesus, the Word.”
Jesus is the FIRST Word!(verses. 1-2)We live in a world that is consumed with getting the last word, but to John, FIRST is more important with Jesus.He was FIRST in life, just as He needs to be FIRST in your life, not an after-thought; not one of the many options you consider when making a decision, but FIRST!
Jesus is the CREATIVE Word!(verse 3)Before he paid it all He made it all.Everything in the earth, all the natural resources, every square inch of human existence was made by the hand of God.So, there are two ways we should respond to His creation/environment.First, we need to treat the world/environment as though it is important.Second, we must know that the world/environment is NOT God, but God manages His world through us.THE WORLD IS NOT HIS FIRST PRIORITY, we are!And neither should the world be our first priority.Our relationship to God is FIRST, and if we are doing that right, everything else works out as it should.When sin takes control it distorts everything in the world, including the environment.If you want to really “Go Green,” then go with God FIRST!
Jesus is the Word of ILLUMINATION!(verses 4-5)He brings light to the darkness.Evil exists in this world but the forces of darkness cannot stand against the light we receive from Him.Darkness cannot understand light and neither can it overcome the Light of the world.Now, Jesus has actually transformed us so that we can be the light of the world as well(Matt. 5:14-16).Hallelujah!
Beloved, I discovered something this week about the names of Jesus that overwhelmed my spirit and I must share it.In this writing, we have read about His names as the Word, Faithful, True, King of Kings and Lord of Lords.Now look at this!In the Revelation passage,verse 12,it says “He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself.”That verse yanked on my heart and I pleaded with God to explain its meaning to me.This is what God has shared with me:the character of Jesus is so amazing that it is impossible to explain Him totally, so words fail us!Just when we think we know everything about Him, He shows us another quality that is beyond our mortal comprehension.Some of my brothers and sisters say that praying or speaking in the Spirit is that way…we come to the point where there are no more words to truly describe Jesus, and we may give out utterances that “no one knows but he Himself.”Don’t think for a moment that you have the ability on this earth to completely describe everything about the character of Jesus.If you believe you can, then your God is too small.
GospeLines Prayer:Amazing God, why am I not surprised that you have done something like this?When you saw our attempt on earth to explain exactly who you are, you gave yourself a name which nobody knows but you, to show us that our mortal understanding will be imperfect until we live with you in a perfect Heaven.That is so like YOU!Amen and amen.