In the supermarket was a man pushing a cart that contained a screaming, bellowing baby. The gentleman kept repeating softly, "Don't get excited, Albert; don't scream, Albert; don't yell, Albert; keep calm, Albert." A woman standing next to him said, "You certainly are to be commended for trying to soothe your son Albert." The man looked at her and said, "Lady, I'm Albert."
"Too Blessed to be Stressed"
I refuse to be discouraged or to be sad and cry. I refuse to be downhearted and here's the reason why: I have a God who is almighty; who is sovereign and supreme; I have a God who loves me, and I am on his team. He is all wise and powerful; Jesus is His Name; though everything else is changeable, My God remains the same. I refuse to be defeated. My eyes are on my GOD. He has promised to be with me, as through this life I trod. I am looking past my circumstances, to heaven's throne above. My prayers have reached the heart of God. I am resting in His love. I give thanks to Him in everything. My eyes are on His face. The battle is His; the victory is mine; He will help me win the race.
-- Author Unknown
GospeLines Prayer: Father, everyday there seems to be something that knocks me a little off the track. Give me grace to know how to face life's interruptions without anger, strength to endure them with godliness, and wisdom to learn from every trial. Amen and amen.
≈ Devotional for Wednesday, June 9, 2010
“The divide continues to widen...”
“…Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, because the time is near.Let him who does wrong continue to do wrong; let him who is vile continue to be vile; let him who does right continue to do right; and let him who is holy continue to be holy.Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.” (Revelation 22:10-12 - NIV)
Did he say let him doing evil continue…? That the divide between good and evil will continue to widen and gain speed...?
There has always been a division between good and evil; but, in today’s world, that division is increasing... and accelerating.There is extreme pressure today to take a stand for one side or the other - we can no longer hide in the background and remain unspeaking and neutral.
Those who are procrastinating, those who are liberal relative to His Word, and those seeking to “sugar-coat” scripture are at a crossroad... they have to make a decision. As the “you’re ok; I’m ok” post-modern society and the “politically correct” crowd increase in power and influence, the safe “middle ground” is disappearing. But, even when you thought the middle ground was safe, Jesus was admonishing you to choose: “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot.I wish you were either one or the other!So, because you are lukewarm - neither hot nor cold - I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” (Revelation 3:15-17 - NIV)
The forces of light and darkness are going to continue their rapid separation; and, during that separation, many false prophets will appear and deceive many people by offering a safe, politically correct, middle ground.But, because of the increase of wickedness (darkness) that is acceptable today, the love of most (for God and His Word) will slowly grow colder until they are in total darkness (Matthew 24:11-12).Will you be one of those deceived or will you remain true to our Lord and Savior and true to His Word?
Let’s keep our lamps lit and keep extra oil in our jars because we do not know the day or the hour of our Lord’s return (Matthew 25:1-13).
Let’s make the choice to stand for the light because: “…he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 24:13 - NIV)
≈ Devotional for Thursday, June 10, 2010
“Gone, but Not Forgotten”
Recently, Memorial Day was celebrated in the U.S. and like many, there was a time when I saw it primarily as a day away from the office.For some, they celebrated the day with get-togethers, picnics, and barbecues and for others, it was a time of reflection and visits to cemeteries.
Of course, as I’ve matured, I realized that Memorial Day is so much more than a day away from the office.It is a time of thanksgiving for the service by members of our armed forces whose sacrifice has enabled our many freedoms.
A recent article about the Flag Lady, Andrea Doherty, highlights her thanks to our service men and women through a simple gesture -- giving a second life to Old Glory --through a plastic slip that holds a single star cut from an American flag that once flew over Tennessee, and a business card with a drawing of the flag and the following message:
"... I can no longer fly. In the sun and the wind,
I have been tattered and torn but not forgotten.
"You are not forgotten!
"Please carry me as a reminder."
As I continued to read the article, it reminded me of a few men I’ve known who personally defended our country, particularly my Father.I wonder if anyone thanked him for his service.I know I didn’t think about it.It seemed so long ago and so far, far away.And, in truth, it was.You see, my father served from 1914 to 1919 in World War I.
It was only clearly brought to my mind the day he was funeralized and the coffin was draped in the American Flag as a tribute to his service.The funeral home folded it properly and put it in a plastic case for protection and for me to hold dear from that day forward.A few months later, a letter came from then-President Ronald Reagan; a reminder of a remarkable journey; one that was never questioned and never discussed.He, along with countless other men and women, did what they were called to do.We can never repay them for their sacrifice.
Prayer:Abba, as Father’s Day fast approaches, I’m acknowledging my father’s service to our nation so I can worship You without fear.He was in harm’s way long before I was part of Your plan for his life.While there was distance between us in numerous ways, I thank You for allowing him to be a father.Thank You for all of those men who have stepped up to the plate as Dads, Fathers in whatever capacity they have served to love and protect Your children.Some relationships have been tattered and torn too, but You’ve given many a second chance.
Thank You for being my protector.We can never repay You, Lord, for the sacrifice of Your Son so that we may live an abundant life.
Just like Your Son, Dad may be gone, but not forgotten!I carry both in my heart…
We know a lot about this man who came by night to speak with Jesus.First, we know that Nicodemus was a good man.When Jesus was crucified he offered provisions for our Lord’s funeral which made it something fit for a king.Only a good man would do something like that.We are created for performing good works “unto Christ,” (Ephesians 2:10) and we also know that faith without action is impotent (James 2).
Nicodemus was a rich man.The mixture of myrrh and aloe he gave for anointing the crucified body of Jesus was something only a rich man could provide. The Bible doesn’t warn about the deceitfulness of poverty, but it does say that riches can hinder a man from knowing God(Matthew 19:23).
Nicodemus was a religious man.There were only 6,000 Pharisees in the whole country, and in many ways they were the most religious people alive.In order to become a Pharisee, Nicodemus had to take a pledge before three witnesses that he would spend his entire life following the rules of the scribal law.He believed the law was the perfect Word of God.However, dedication to the rules became the greater religion, far above their devotion to the perfect Word of God.
Nicodemus was an important man in the eyes of his peers.He was a member of the 70 member supreme court of the Jews, the Sanhedrin; one of his duties was to deal with anyone suspected of being a false prophet.Although Nicodemus may have been sympathetic to Jesus, it was the Sanhedrin which condemned the Lord for claiming to be God.
Nicodemus was also a puzzled man.In spite of all the honors he had received and the many fine qualities he possessed, he was still seeking something which he did not have and he didn’t know what it was.He came to Jesus in the darkness of night in the hope that he would find the light.
Nicodemus was a lost man.Even though he was a good man, a rich man, a very religious man, and a man of popularity and prestige, he was an unbeliever, a man who was doomed to spend an eternity without Christ. Like the Pharisees, many people today stake their claim to heaven upon bogus qualifications.Some say they will go to heaven because they are good; others point to their religion and say that attending church once in awhile will get them to heaven when they die.There are still others who think they can buy their way through the Gates of Pearl.But Jesus said to Nicodemus, as He says to us:“Unless a man is born again, He will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven!Whoever believes in Jesus will have eternal life!”(John 3:7-16)
We will not see God after we die unless we have been transformed by Him.Do not be confused by others who will tell you how easy it is to go to heaven; it is ONLY by spiritual rebirth that we can be assured of our eternal reward.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, I would rather live as an outcast because of my faith than to miss a single moment with you in Heaven when I die; I gladly exchange poverty on earth for riches in heaven; and I can survive without recognition here, as long as You will know me when I get there.Amen and amen.