When Marcus Houston was a junior in high school, twelve of the members of his football team were flunking classes and lost their eligibility. He was concerned by their failure and started a program called "Just Say KNOW." He went to 8th graders and talked to them about success, offering prizes for essays written about doing something with their lives. Now that Marcus is a freshman in college, he has taken his message to the Big XII athletic conference and hopes to see it spread nationally. He asks in his promotional brochure, "Is your character rich enough so that people will want to invest in your dreams?" (SPORTS ILLUSTRATED and READER'S DIGEST)
How big are your dreams? The most important thing you can pass on to someone is your faith-knowledge. A mind will be filled with something, whether it is the philosophy of the world or the Truth of the Word. Paul admonished us: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ" (Colossians 2:8). Encourage others in the knowledge of Jesus Christ... Just Say KNOW.
GospeLines Prayer:"Father, bind my spirit of timidity; overcome my slothful spirit. Create urgency within my soul to feed the hungry world with the Bread you have given me." Amen and amen.
Function: transitive verb Inflected Form(s): re·tread·ed; re·tread·ing 1: to bond or vulcanize a new tread to the prepared surface of (a worn tire) 2: to make over as if new <retread an old plot>
Are you a retread? Do you replay recent events over and over in your mind, especially if they are negative? Do you replay every real or imagined offense? Do you dread tomorrow, even though it hasn’t arrived?
If so, you aren’t alone. Many of us regurgitate negative experiences. Even more alarming is our tendency to anticipate the worse…perhaps an impending layoff, the results of medical tests, or some other fate that’s bound to happen. But there’s an expectancy we should have if God grants us tomorrow and it isn’t impending gloom and doom.
God is in control of everything. We need to acknowledge and repent for those things we did wrong yesterday, but otherwise, yesterday is over and done. Today is a new day and God’s grace and mercy is available to us. And, IF we are fortunate enough to see tomorrow, we need to heed the words found in:
"Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life." Philippians 4:6-7 (The Message)
GospeLines Prayer: Father, we humans are complex beings comprised of many intricate layers that make us unique. Let me not be the definition of a retread – “a worn tire made over as IF new.” Let me live the words found in
"Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new. 18God has done it all! He sent Christ to make peace between himself and us, and he has given us the work of making peace between himself and others." 2nd Corinthians 5:17-18 (Contemporary English Version)
Fix me Jesus, Fix Me!
In His Love,
≈ Devotional for Wednesday, May 27, 2009
"Making Music With What You Have"
On Nov. 18, 1995, Itzhak Perlman, the violinist, came on stage to give a concert at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City. If you have ever been to a Perlman concert, you know that getting on stage is no small achievement for him. He was stricken with polio as a child, and so he has braces on both legs and walks with the aid of two crutches. To see him walk across the stage one step at a time, painfully and slowly, is an awesome sight. He walks painfully, yet majestically, until he reaches his chair. Then he sits down, slowly, puts his crutches on the floor, undoes the clasps on his legs, tucks one foot back and extends the other foot forward. Then he bends down and picks up the violin, puts it under his chin, nods to the conductor and proceeds to play.
By now, the audience is used to this ritual. They sit quietly while he makes his way across the stage to his chair. They remain reverently silent while he undoes the clasps on his legs. They wait until he is ready to play. But this time, something went wrong. Just as he finished the first few bars, one of the strings on his violin broke. You could hear it snap - it went off like gunfire across the room. There was no mistaking what that sound meant. There was no mistaking what he had to do.
People who were there that night thought to themselves: "We figured that he would have to get up, put on the clasps again, pick up the crutches and limp his way off stage - to either find another violin or else find another string for this one."
But he didn't. Instead, he waited a moment, closed his eyes and then signaled the conductor to begin again. The orchestra began, and he played from where he had left off. And he played with such passion and such power and such purity as they had never heard before.
Of course, anyone knows that it is impossible to play a symphonic work with just three strings. I know that, and you know that, but that night Itzhak Perlman refused to know that. You could see him modulating, changing, re-composing the piece in his head. At one point, it sounded like he was de-tuning the strings to get new sounds from them that they had never made before.
When he finished, there was an awesome silence in the room. And then people rose and cheered. There was an extraordinary outburst of applause from every corner of the auditorium. We were all on our feet, screaming and cheering, doing everything we could to show how much we appreciated what he had done.
He smiled, wiped the sweat from this brow, raised his bow to quiet us, and then he said - not boastfully, but in a quiet, pensive, reverent tone - "You know, sometimes it is the artist's task to find out how much music you can still make with what you have left."
What a powerful line that is. It has stayed in my mind ever since I heard it. And who knows? Perhaps that is the definition of life - not just for artists but for all of us. Here is a man who has prepared all his life to make music on a violin of four strings, who, all of a sudden, in the middle of a concert, finds himself with only three strings; so he makes music with three strings, and the music he made that night with just three strings was more beautiful, more sacred, more memorable, than any that he had ever made before, when he had four strings.
So, perhaps our task in this shaky, fast-changing, bewildering world in which we live is to make music, at first with all that we have, and then, when that is no longer possible, to make music with what we have left.
·Article by Jack Riemer, Houston Chronicle, February 10, 2001
≈ Devotional for Thursday, May 28, 2009
"Running in the Dark"
I love downhill skiing!I was almost 40 when I first tried skiing; but, now (let's not talk about how many years later) I absolutely love the sport.I'm not a great skier, maybe not even a good skier; but, I'm willing (even eager) to ski down almost anything.
A few years after I began skiing, a friend asked me to help him teach a small group of people who wanted to learn to ski.Without giving it too much thought, I said "Sure, I'll help."Wow, was I in for a surprise.
I was a little late getting to the spot on one of the more aggressive slopes where we were supposed to meet.As I arrived, a standard "Ski School" line of people were intently listening to my friend as he discussed making "snow-plow" turns.There were about 10 students and they appeared to range in age from early teens up to two or three who appeared to be in their fifties.It was somewhat surprising to see such a mix of ages in one group…?For a quick moment I wondered what they could possibly have in common.
When my friend finished talking, he skied over to me and said, "Your job is to follow behind the students and blow this whistle any time someone gets too close to the edge of the run.It's a special whistle that tells them to stop immediately."
I noticed that he had a whistle as well; so, I asked what his was for."Oh, that's to tell them to turn.One toot means turn right; two toots means turn left."You see, my friend forgot to tell me that all of these students were blind.
With a bit of effort, most of us can imagine walking in the dark.Running in the dark is almost impossible to comprehend.But skiing downhill… No amount of imagination can make this a reality for a sighted person.Well… maybe that's not totally true…
Christians walk (with the Lord) by faith, not by sight. "We regulate our lives and conduct ourselves by our conviction or belief respecting man's relationship to God and divine things, with trust and holy fervor; thus we walk not by sight or appearance." (2nd Corinthians 5:7 - AMP)"We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." (2nd Corinthians 4:18 - NIV)
So, maybe running (or skiing) in the dark, trusting the person with the whistle, isn't as difficult as we first thought if we compare it to hearing the voice (whistle) of the Lord who's also telling us when to turn and when to stop.
"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me…" (John 10:27 - KJV)
Trust the Lord!Listen for His whistle...
“…I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father,but byMe.”
Peace. In the sixties it meant raising two fingers, spread apart, as a salute that everything was OK. Today it seems a little more complicated than that. How do you find peace in a tumultuous world? Jim Elliott, a martyred missionary, told how he discovered peace:
"I walked out on the hill just now. It is exalting, delicious, to stand embraced by the shadows of a friendly tree with the wind tugging at your coattail and the heavens hailing your heart, to gaze and glory and give oneself again to God - what more could a man ask? Oh, the fullness, pleasure, sheer excitement of knowing God on earth! I care not if I never raise my voice again for Him, if only I may love Him, please Him... if only I may see Him, touch His garments, and smile into His eyes."
"You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord, is the Rock eternal." (Isaiah 26:3-4)
"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." (Isaiah 9:6) GospeLines Prayer:Everlasting Father, let me bask in Your presence and know the Peace of Your countenance. Accept my humble offering of praise, and my gratitude for this Holy Season. Anoint Your servant with patience and allow me to share Your song with the multitudes: "Joy to the world, the Lord has come. Let earth receive her King!"