The mother of a young boy who was dying of cancer taught him the Twenty-third Psalm, having him repeat “the Lord is my shepherd” by counting these five words with his fingers starting with the thumb.His ring finger was the word “my.”When he got to that word, his mother taught him to hold that finger in his fist, symbolizing the personal relationship which Jesus had for him.When the boy died, he was found holding his ring finger.He died in the Shepherd’s arms.(The Communicator’s Commentary, Psalms 1-71, Donald M. Williams, p. 183)
The God of David is the God of Israel, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.Likewise, He is the God of all Christians everywhere.We should carefully note the word “my.”He is not our God by some tribal or communal designation, but the God of the Bible is known by His personal relationship.All of us should strive for that moment when we can say the Lord is “my Shepherd.”David’s Shepherd is MY Shepherd, who provides rest, direction, protection and restoration.“Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil,” because MY Shepherd is with me.
GospeLines Prayer:Everlasting Shepherd, when I stray, correct me with your rod of discipline; when danger crosses my path, guard me with your staff of protection.Feed me when I hunger, lift me up when I fall, refresh me when I faint.And I shall abide in your presence forever and ever.Amen and amen.
≈ Devotional for Tuesday, August 24, 2010
"It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see."
~ Henry David Thoreau
Imagine answering your doorbell to find several members of your favorite professional sports team standing on your front porch.You’d probably be shocked and wonder what the heck was going on!
This scenario actually happened recently to Jane Lang, a 67-year-old Morris Plains, NJ resident who has attended nearly 300 Yankee games over the last decade.What makes her story unique?Jane has been blind her entire life and made this incredible feat with the aid of Laramie, her previous seeing-eye dog and more recently, accompanied by Clipper, her 4-year-old golden retriever.
As part of the Yankees’ HOPE (Helping Others Persevere and Excel) Week, “it morphed into something even more, a remarkable commute of compassion and a touching tribute to a spirited, sightless woman.”(HOPE was designed by the Yankees to bring to light remarkable stories, which are intended to inspire individuals into action in their own communities.)
Dressed in her HOPE t-shirt and Yankee earrings, Jane had more than Clipper to escort her to the game that day.Several Yankees players and their manager joined the trip, along with her three children, friends and other family members.Even the Mayor of Morris Plains got into the act.Half the population of Morris Plains knew the secret and came streaming from houses, walking, recording the event and cheering her on.
On the trip to the stadium, she recounted her first game and that she slept with the tickets under her pillow.Joe Girardi, Yankees manager, said “She hasn’t let what she has to deal with in her whole life ever stop her.”Someone else inquired as to how she could enjoy a game she couldn’t see.She remarked that the radio broadcasts bring the game to life.“You don’t have to see it with your eyes.There’s a whole lot of other stuff you can go by,” Jane said.
She also talked about how her dogs have taught her about love and trust.Her husband of 45-years, Pete, commented that “She doesn’t want to wait for anybody or depend on anybody.”(Pete is an instructor at The Seeing Eye in Morristown, NJ, the oldest dog-guide school in the world.)
When the day was over, she commented “It’s been one of the best days of my life.”
Prayer:Father, what a beautiful testimony to perseverance as found in Your word in Romans 5:3-5.Jane epitomizes faith, hope and love and we thank You for allowing us to witness another of Your miracles.
When we sit in our pity parties because something doesn’t go our way, let us remember that we have much to be thankful for.In fact, every day You grant us Lord, should be “one of the best days of our lives!”
Thank You for her boundless hope, for giving us hope, and for Your unconditional love.May we know that we can always depend on You!
A public service radio spot presents a touching dialogue between a husband and wife.He has just arrived home from work, tense and out of breath.On his way from the office, the barrier was down at the railroad crossing he had passed hundreds of times.Instead of waiting cautiously, he started around the flashing barrier into the path of an oncoming train, which he was certain he could beat.At the last moment he changed his mind, realizing he had misjudged the speed of the locomotive and narrowly missed being crushed under tons of speeding steel.It was a moment of fear and joy as the two embraced, thankful for another chance to be alive.
The announcer then warns the audience about the dangers of taking risks at railroad crossings.He concludes his remarks by warning, “Look, listen and live!”
What a timely message that is to all of us!Whether we are racing a locomotive or just racing headlong through life, scurrying to get to work on time, pushing and shoving in the crowds at the malls, or just trying to balance everything at home, it can get pretty hectic.
1.LOOK at the life and work of Jesus.He is our eternal hope.
Despair is the destroyer of the human spirit!One of Jesus' greatest tasks was to continually encourage his disciples to stay the course when things looked bleak and they wondered if they had made the right choice.Beloved, Jesus is not only the best choice, He is the only choice.
2.LISTEN to the words of our Messiah.The message is wisdom for the ages.
God said to Jeremiah, "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness." (Jer. 31:3)And Jesus prayed for us, saying:"Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world." (Jn. 17:24)Hallelujah!
3.LIVE a godly life.Flirting with evil is not worth the risk.
We have a choice.We can live to please Christ or we can live as we please.In his letter to Rome, Paul said:"The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace."(Rom. 8:6) Ignoring warning signals can be physically hazardous, but ignoring God's laws has eternal consequences.
GospeLines Prayer:“Father, protect me from evil, even when that sometimes means protection from me.Don’t make me smarter, make me wiser, so that my risks will not be deadly ones.I will meditate on your words day and night, and embrace the results of my toil with joy and thanksgiving.”Amen and amen.
≈ Devotional for Thursday, August 26, 2010
“Are You Persuaded?”
A cartoon was flashed around the internet recently showing a protester carrying a sign which read, “God Hates Homosexuals”.There have been many others touting the idea that God hates everything from abortionists to Catholics, from child molesters to the military.If you look long enough, you’ll find someone who will tell you that God hates just about anything and everything.
Does God hate anything?
Remember that God’s thoughts and actions are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9).His plans and His purposes rule the universe (Psalm 33:11).We cannot question His judgments or give Him counsel (Romans 11:33-36), we can only obey His will.God’s Word tell us that His “[holy] wrath and indignation are revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men” (Romans 1:18 - AMP) and that our carnal minds are enmity (hatred) toward God (Romans 8:7 - KJV).God hates sin so much that He commands us to turn from it or be forever separated from Him.
He hates“haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.”(Proverbs 6:16-19)
Note that He doesn’t hate everyone who sins; He knows that we all sin and fall short because we’re human.Those who love Christ and obey His commands are justified by His grace and loved by God(Romans 3:22-24; John 14:15, 23).He hates those who love sin - those that devise wicked schemes and are quick to rush into evil.Yes, God does hate; but, God’s righteous hatred and wrath can be averted.He loves us so much that He sent his Son to bear our sins so we could be made righteous and be in His presence for all eternity... if we so choose.
God has given us all a free gift - salvation through Jesus the Christ.But, He also gave us free will - the freedom to choose.Reject His free gift and stand condemned (John 3:18; Hebrews 10:26-27); or, make the decision to trust and accept Jesus as your Savior, putting your faith in Him (John 3:16-17) and have eternal life.
Do you feel persuaded to make that decision?The following is beautiful hymn that has convinced many not only to make that decision now; but, they have chosen to continually make the decision to follow Christ.It’s entitled “Almost Persudaded” by Phillip P. Bliss, pub. 1871.
“Almost persuaded” now to believe; “Almost persuaded” Christ to receive; Seems now some soul to say, “Go, Spirit, go Thy way, Some more convenient day On Thee I’ll call.”
“Almost persuaded,” come, come today; “Almost persuaded,” turn not away; Jesus invites you here, Angels are ling’ring near, Prayers rise from hearts so dear; O wand’rer, come!
“Almost persuaded,” harvest is past! “Almost persuaded,” doom comes at last! “Almost” cannot avail; “Almost” is but to fail! Sad, sad, that bitter wail— “Almost,” but lost!
The choice is yours; the time is short... are you persuaded?
≈ Devotional for Friday, August 27, 2010
“The Sparrow’s Song”
I've told you about the bird feeder in my backyard.It will come as no surprise, then, that much of my morning quiet time is spent listening and watching my feathered friends.
A sparrow's song was my delight this Sunday morning past.I could hear it but could not find the chorister, and spent several moments quietly positioning myself to find the source of this cherub-like music.There he was!Tiptoeing around the yard, I could both see and hear the little fellow.When he noticed me, he stopped chirping momentarily, and scurried out of sight of the unwelcome audience, then began his song again.He certainly wasn't singing to me!
This little dance went on for several more minutes.I would strain to find him, the singing would stop, then once out of sight, he would start up again.
Why was he singing this day, so beautifully?Was he singing for the other birds in the neighborhood?Why did he want to be alone?Or, was the little bird singing to the heavens in honor of his creator?
There are times when we all want (and need) to sing alone.I don't know about you, but I cherish my quiet times.I am not lonely during those precious moments, and the truth is, I am not alone, either.Just me and my Father, sharing, laughing, crying, and singing!Glory!
GospeLines Prayer:Father, teach me more about being a sparrow, singing my heart of praise to You.Thank You for meeting me this morning in my quiet place.See You there again, tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow!"Amen and amen.