Some are boring, some interesting, some obnoxious… but signs are everywhere!My license plate here in Texas proudly supports the environment of this great state with the motto of our anti-littering campaign, “Don’t Mess With Texas!”
Those of us, who are old enough to remember the Burma Shave signs posted along Highway 75 in Central Texas, recall the humor of that advertising campaign in a nostalgic sort of way:
A car wide open
Is not thinkin’
He’s just hopin’
For laughs alone
The face they save
May be your own
One sign I saw on the back of a car said, “When it’s all over, the one with the most toys wins!” I really wonder about the theology of that announcement, but I will save it for a later article.
Nestled prominently in the gospels of Matthew and Luke is a brief word from Jesus regarding the Sign of Jonah:
“As the crowds increased, Jesus said, ‘This is a wicked generation. It asks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah. For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so also will the Son of Man be to this generation.”
In this setting, Jesus had just dealt with demonic spirits, proving once again that He was greater than any evil force which can come against the world.Sadly enough, those mighty works were not enough to convince the crowds of His superiority. He said to them in verse 23, “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me, scatters.”Because of their unbelief, the multitudes demanded more proof of His deity. A woman from the crowd cried out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.”Jesus admonished her by saying, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!”
Would they never get the point? He is the Messiah, the King of kings, the Son of Man all prophesied in the Old Testament and fulfilled before their very eyes. What else is needed for this perverse generation?
Beloved, I hear the voice of God today saying the same words to us as He spoke in that time. There is only one sign needed for us to believe. Even as Jonah was delivered after three days from the belly of the fish, so Jesus said, “I give you a climactic sign of who I am, and it is the only one you will get from me. I will be crucified for your sins, and after three days in the jaws of hell I will be resurrected for your salvation!”
Christians, will you be raised up in these last days as a mighty army of God? Will you suit up in the armor of the Lord to battle the forces of evil? Join me today in spreading the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to your family and friends.He alone can overcome the world. Don’t mess with the message that remains unchanged from the beginning of time. There is no other way to heaven except through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
GospeLines Prayer:Heavenly Father, prepare your army to fight against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil. As we stand before the enemy shod in the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and our feet shod with the gospel of peace… command us, Lord, to march forward with the sword of the Spirit in our hand, claiming the victory that is already yours! Amen and amen.
O Lord, the God who saves me, day and night I cry out before you.
2 May my prayer come before you; turn your ear to my cry.
3 For my soul is full of trouble and my life draws near the grave.
4 I am counted among those who go down to the pit; I am like a man without strength.
5 I am set apart with the dead, like the slain who lie in the grave, whom you remember no more, who are cut off from your care.
Psalm 88:1-5 (New International Version)
A very disturbing report has been featured on CNN.com regarding the plight of some 40 million widows in India, particularly the 15,000 who live in the holy city of Vrindavan waiting to die.
These Hindu widows, the poorest of the poor, are shunned from society when their husbands die, not for religious reasons, but because of tradition - and because they're seen as a financial drain on their families.They cannot remarry. They must not wear jewelry. They are forced to shave their heads and typically wear white. Even their shadows are considered bad luck.
Seventy year old Rada Rani Biswas commented, "Now I have to loiter just for a bite to eat." Biswas speaks with a strong voice, but her spirit is broken. When her husband of 50 years died, she was instantly ostracized by all those she thought loved her, including her son."My son tells me: 'You have grown old. Now who is going to feed you? Go away,' "she says, her eyes filling with tears."What do I do? My pain had no limit."
As I read this story, my eyes fill with tears as well.I immediately researched some of the basic beliefs of Hinduism and one particularly seems very contradictory to me, given this practice.It says –
·Hindus believe that all life is sacred, to be loved and revered, and therefore practice ahimsa, noninjury, in thought, word and deed.
If this is one of their basic beliefs, how could a child treat his mother with such disdain?It defies my imagination that someone could discard another human being as though they are dirt beneath their feet.And, if that is their belief, every woman should be scared to death… for whether she’s 14 and a widow or 74, her life will never be the same.She, in essence, becomes worthless.
Dr. Mohini Giri, a widow herself, is working for change. Seven years ago, she formed an organization called the Guild of Service, which helps destitute women and children.(Giri's mother was widowed when Giri was 9 years old, and she saw what a struggle it was. Then, Giri lost her husband when she was 50, enduring the social humiliation that comes with being a widow.)Her organization has provided one home for some of those widows and is in the process of opening a second home.But, it doesn’t make a dent with the sheer number of women needing refuge.
Dr. Giri goes on to say that "Generally all widows are ostracized.""An educated woman may have money and independence, but even that is snatched away when she becomes a widow. We live in a patriarchal society. Men say that culturally as a widow you cannot do anything: You cannot grow your hair, you should not look beautiful."
She adds, "It's the mind-set of society we need to change - not the women."
GospeLines Prayer:Abba, Father, I sit here in quiet contemplation and yet rage swells within me that we, as human beings, could treat each other as chattel.They say… as we do… that life is sacred and to be loved and revered, and yet we treat others as scum… swine couldn’t be any lower.
Please forgive us, Father, for being so uncaring, so selfish, to those who have loved us and provided for us; those you entrusted our care to when we had nothing!
Father, we know You are able to lift us out of the grave we have dug for ourselves.We have no right for that expectation, but You are a loving and forgiving God.
Father, save us from ourselves and each other...
Your love has no limit!
In His Love,
≈ Devotional for Wednesday: August 29, 2007
"Getting a Tune-up"
Every day the old Wisconsin shepherd would take his sheep to the fields, carrying with him his violin and his battery-powered radio. He would tune his radio to the classical music station and play along with the great orchestras directed by the master conductors of the day. He wrote a letter to the most noted maestro of his time, asking that in the next concert, to play one note, an A, so that he could adjust his old violin, which, over time, had fallen out of tune. The world-renowned conductor had his orchestra pause in the midst of that concert to play that note for the shepherd, to get him back in tune.
GospeLines Prayer:Master Conductor of the universe, I am grateful that in the midst of all you do, you have time to get me back into harmony with your master plan. Grant that my music will be sweet to Your ears and a blessing to others who might hear your voice in me. Amen and amen.
When Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John the Baptist, John tried to deter him saying, "I need to be baptized by you..." (Matthew 3:13)
Job said, "I need someone to mediate between God and me, as a person mediates between friends." (Job 16:21 - NLT)
David said "Bend down, O Lord, and hear my prayer; answer me, for I need your help" (Psalm 86:1 - NLT).However, at another time, David said "The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need." (Psalm 23:1 - NLT)
What do you need from the Lord?Before you answer, remember the words of our Savior, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you... If you, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!" (Matthew 7:7, 11)
We frequently tell the Lord of our needs, only to find that He has already answered our prayers...
I need... a purpose: "Bring My salvation to the ends of the earth." (Isaiah 49:6 - NIV)
I need... His help to fulfill my purpose: "The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; Your love, O Lord, endures forever - do not abandon the works of Your hands." (Psalm 138:8 - NIV)
I need... to know His Word is true: "I am watching to see that My word is fulfilled." (Jeremiah 1:12 - NIV)
I need... a standard for His truth: "You have set up a banner for those who fear and worshipfully revere You, a standard displayed because of the truth." (Psalm 60:4 - AMP)
I need... to know He loves me: "This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at My word." (Isaiah 66:2 - NIV)
He knows your every need and has promised: "I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me - just as the Father knows me and I know the Father - and I lay down my life for the sheep." (John 10:14-15 - NIV)
I need... Jesus!
"…we can face Him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world."
"Even when you are old, I will be the same.Even when your hair has turned gray, I will take care of you.I made you and will take care of you.I will carry you and save you."(Isaiah 46:4)
Aging isn't a secret that God surprises you with at the last minute. We are growing older by the day, and that's a fact. There are changes which come with aging, some wonderful and some not so good. But we have ample opportunity to get ready for the inevitable.
As Max Lucado says, "Your last chapters can be your best. Your final song can be your greatest. It could be that all of your life has prepared you for a grand exit. God's oldest have always been among his choicest."
GospeLines Prayer:Gracious Lord, may our last days be faced with as much enthusiasm as our first.As I grow older may my vision improve, not my vision of this world but my vision of heaven.Amen and amen.