My Pastor died a few years ago. He blessed my life and molded my theology more than anyone.
Brother Jimmy loved telling the story about the son, estranged from his family, who wrote to say he would be on the train which ran behind the house his parents owned at the edge of town. The son begged forgiveness for his errors of judgment, and asked if they would accept him back. If they would, he asked them to tie a yellow ribbon on the tree which grew near the railroad tracks. If the ribbon was there when he passed by, he would get off the train. If not, he would continue on his way. As the train approached his parents' property, he fearfully looked for the tree, hoping to see a sign of forgiveness. There it was, not one ribbon, but every branch was covered with yellow ribbons his parents painstakingly tied on the tree.
Forgiveness doesn't always come easily. The Pharisees despised Jesus because He rewrote the meaning of their flawed theology with a new concept of unconditional forgiveness. "Jesus didn't follow a forgiveness formula... Jesus forgave in a way that was much more direct and much more in the present moment. He broke open His own being and within Him was enough to feed the entire world so that no one, absolutely no one, who eats of this bread will ever hunger again."(The Cleavers Don't Live Here Anymore, p. 113.)
GospeLines Prayer:Father, remind us that carrying grudges and harboring bitterness seldom brings redemption to the one we feel betrayed us. Let us not be judged as we judge, forgiven as we forgive, loved as we love; rather, let us discover a heavenly way of dealing with our adversaries so that your redemptive joy will flood our souls. Amen and amen!
“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.”
I am not a big soap opera fan, but I learned something about life imitating art, or maybe it should be art imitating life…Did you know Irna Phillips was the mastermind behind soap operas? (aptly named because of the long-time sponsorship by Proctor & Gamble)
Irna had no shortage of drama in her life and as the youngest of 10 children, often constructed elaborate lives for her baby dolls, seeing herself as “a plain, sickly, silent child, with hand-me-down clothes and no friends.”While she had dreams of being a movie actress, she was told that she was too plain, so after a teaching stint, she found work as an actress and writer on radio.
Phillips found strength, in difficult times, through the soothing radio ministry of Chicago preacher Preston Bradley.She constructed The Guiding Light as a tribute to him through the fictional character, Reverend John Ruthledge.‘Rev. Ruthledge always left a lamp burning in his study overnight, as a beacon or “guiding light” for friends, families, and strangers.’
Irna was the guiding force behind a number of soaps including These Are My Children, As the World Turns, and Days of Our Lives.Despite all of the success, Daytime Emmy nominations and earning millions of dollars, she told Time in 1940, “I’d give it all up if the right man came along.”Unfortunately, he never did.
I have also thought about the reference to “light” in various scriptures and in songs. Do you remember the song by Debbie Boone that was sung at weddings, receptions and now is hummed in elevators… “You light up my life?”
The chorus went…
You light up my life
You give me hope to carry on
You light up my days
You fill my nights with song
It is quite the love song. If I were to call into a radio show to request a song to the one I love, the chorus referenced would be my dedication to God.
I need to let the world know I give thanks to Him for giving me hope to carry on when the storms of life were raging; to thank Him for giving me a joyous song to sing at night or otherwise. I usually start my days singing while getting ready for work and while driving…
In fact, Mary Gardiner Brainard may have said it best – “I would rather walk with God in the dark than go alone in the light.”
GospeLines Prayer: Father, some aspects of our lives may have been similar to a soap opera from time-to-time. Often we are surrounded by material excesses, but true happiness eludes us.We hold out hope that things will somehow be different, but haven’t a clue that You are the source.
But, with Your love and Your light, my heart rejoices. I am thankful to walk with You.
Thank You for leaving the light on for me.You truly do, light up my life!
In His Love,
≈ Devotional for Wednesday, June 25, 2008
An “out-take” is a scene photographed for a movie or television program which is not included in the shown version. Reasons for removing the material include forgotten lines, mistakes, poor acting, uncontrollable laughter, etc. The producer makes the decision that the final product will be better if that portion is removed.
There are times in my life when I wish I could hit the rewind button, go back and edit something I said or did to hurt someone or embarrass myself. But those options only occur in Hollywood. In the real world, if we say it, we live with it. Have you been in that situation before? If my words or actions have offended someone, it's easy enough to ask that person to forgive me. But the difficult task is forgiving me. We spend too much time beating ourselves up over past sins. Stop carrying the burden of the "out-takes" in your life and enjoy the forgiveness God has already given you. (1st John 1:9)
GospeLines Prayer:Father, deliver me from the baggage of my past and help me to enjoy the freedom of forgiveness. Amen and amen.
Nancy Atkinson, a free-lance writer/journalist, asked an interesting question in her March 4th, 2008 article for Universe Today: “Will humans ever reallygo to Mars?”She then added. “Let’s face it, the obstacles are quite daunting.”Great question and interesting observation; but, Ms. Atkinson isn’t the first to express such thoughts…
“Will humans ever really sail around the world?”Let’s face it; the obstacles were quite daunting.
“Will humans ever really fly?”Let’s face it; those obstacles were also quite daunting.
Throughout history, people have questioned things beyond their understanding – things that they could not see clearly at the moment.
Magellan sailed around the world because he believed it could be done.The Wright brothers succeeded because they believed they would.
“Will the curse of sin and death ever really be lifted from mankind?” Let’s face it, the obstacles are quite daunting – beyond anything we can even understand.
None of us understand how God, manifest as Jesus the Messiah, could redeem us to Himself by dying on the cross 2,000 years ago.None of us understand how God could love the world so much that He would gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Mankind will reach Mars if we believe that we can – if we have faith!Each of us will reach heaven if we believe in our Lord and Savior Jesus – if we have faith.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, help us accept that our salvation isn’t based on our understanding but on Your grace and mercy.Help us believe Your unchanging and everlasting Word – help us draw ever closer to You through ever increasing faith in Your Son, our Savior, Jesus the Christ.Amen and amen!
In 1987, overlooking the Berlin Wall, U.S. President Ronald Reagan demanded that Soviet leader Gorbachev "tear down this wall." And on Nov. 9, 1989 the German people did just that. Citizens scaled and began demolishing sections of the Wall that had divided Germany for nearly 30 years. In that terrible time of separation, more than 170 people died trying to cross it, but in the end the Wall was unable to hold back freedom.
Within six months after opening the border, over 220,000 East Germans had passed over to the West because they were seeking freedom.
From 1961 until 1989, the city of Berlin was divided. The Wall cut through 197 streets and West Berlin survived with federal aid. It didn't disappear immediately; not until November 1991 did the last concrete blocks, which were crushed to make roads, come down. Today the wall is barely visible. Where it stood has been marked by a red line or a few cobblestones here and there, kept as memorials. German writer Peter Schneider admitted, "demolishing the Wall in the head will take longer than it will take for a demolition firm to do the same job."
Walls of concrete and steel are not the only ones which confront our freedom. We build walls of anger, walls of rage, and walls of hatred. These are more formidable then those torn down in Berlin.
Our walls separate us from love relationships with family, friends, even God. We have entrapped ourselves behind them for so long that we forgot why they were built in the first place. But be honest about it. Do your walls keep out the pain and hurt?
Beloved, no one can take down your walls but you and God. Isn't it time to remove those barriers and remember what it's like to be free? Maybe you had what you thought was a good reason to build your walls, but I believe that God wants you to tear them down. Will you let Him?
GospeLines Prayer:Father, give me strength to tear down the walls around my heart, the courage to overcome the situation which caused me to shut others out of my life. And let me taste the sweet freedom that comes from swallowing pride and extending the olive branch of forgiveness. Amen and amen.