3 It gave me great joy to have some brothers come and tell about your faithfulness to the truth and how you continue to walk in the truth. 4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.
5 Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers, even though they are strangers to you.3rd John 1:3-5 (NIV)
Imagine having part of your face and ear mauled off by a vicious dog as an infant. (Of course, you have no recollection of the event, but you know you aren’t like the other children.) Imagine being left in a trash dumpster.
Daniel Wachira, from Kenya, has been taken in by a loving couple from Oklahoma, Frances and Larry Jones. The Jones’ started the abandoned baby center in Kenya, which took Daniel in after the attack. They also head “Feed the Children,” a Christian, international nonprofit relief organization that delivers food, medicine, clothing and other necessities to individuals, children and families who lack these essentials due to famine, war, poverty, or natural disaster. Mr. and Mrs. Jones are seeing to it that this now 6-year-old gets the best medical care In Houston.
His story has appeared on a local TV station in Houston several times – reporting the milestones. This particular day, it revealed the ear the doctors were able to create from Daniel’s cartilage. He had never seen himself with an ear and was so excited! “I wanted that ear back,” Daniel said.
Part of the skin on his face was grafted from his back and surgeons have already rebuilt much of his cheek and centered his nose and mouth.
Despite the pain of many surgeries (and more to come) and all he has endured, he is one rambunctious first grader with an infectious smile and plenty of personality.
He isn’t overly concerned about how he looks; he’s just a normal boy, trying on sunglasses so he can be “cool.” He finally has two ears so the arms of the sunglasses have somewhere to rest.
Daniel possesses an inner strength and beauty that we, as adults, could emulate. He takes nothing for granted. Do you?
He has joy despite outward appearances. But he’s worried at times too. He’s still worried about being abandoned; fearing that he will lose those who love him.
GospeLines Prayer: Father, we’re just like Daniel. Despite the tough exterior we project, with or without visible scars, we’re afraid. We’re afraid that we will be abandoned in one way or another.
But, Father, when we are anxious, we need to remember Your word found in:
6 So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.(Deuteronomy 31:6 - NLT)
Father, often times we don’t feel strong or courageous, and if we have physical or emotional pain, we wonder how we can ever heal. But, we have assurance that You are with us and I take comfort in Your word. We are destined to be together!
In His Love,
≈ Devotional for Wednesday, September 16, 2009
"Enough is Enough"
Someone is certain to raise a righteous eyebrow when I ask this question, "How much is enough?" So much of our time (and too much of our preaching) is spent dreaming of more, wishing that we were richer than we are, scheming of ways to make one more dollar. We forget that wealth is not attached to money. Hear the words of a wise man on this subject:
SAYINGS OF AZUR
"Two things I ask of you, O Lord;
do not refuse me before I die:
Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread,
Otherwise, I may have too
much and disown you
and say, 'Who is the Lord?'
Or I may become poor and steal,
and so dishonor the name of my God."
GospeLines Prayer:Father, help me to know when I have had enough, in my leisure and in my labor, in my spending and in my wanting. I want to learn how to say "Yes, but...," and when to say "No!" Give me the maturity to realize that more is not always better for me. Amen and amen.
When you live in a desert and the summer heat gets above 115° F, getting away to cooler places is a special treat.Our "getaway" is a quaint little town called Prescott, Arizona.It's above 5,000 feet in elevation so the summers there are very pleasant.
During a recent "getaway," I was taking a leisurely stroll around the town square when a man ran up to me and screamed, "Repent now or burn in hell!"Then he ran to the next person and again screamed, "Repent now or burn in hell!"He was frantic and seemed so consumed with his message he didn't notice that he was scaring people... they were running from him in fear.They weren't fearful of his message, they were fearful of the messenger.
None of us run around screaming God's message; but, our actions and our attitudes can sometimes accomplish the same thing.We may be scaring people away (from God's truth) because we're acting like the Pharisees.
Jesus said of them: "You give a tenth... but you neglect the more important matters - justice, mercy and faithfulness...you strain out a gnat but swallow a camel... you're clean on the outside, but inside you're full of greed and self-indulgence... on the outside you appear righteous but on the inside you're full of hypocrisy and wickedness."(Matthew 23:23-28 NIV)
The Pharisees actions and attitudes were almost literally screaming that they were better than everyone else; that they had all the answers and were the source of all righteousness.Jesus called them snakes and a brood of vipers.He asked, "How will you escape being condemned to hell?"They were scaring people away (from God) with their arrogance and pride.They may have been more successful if they had used the screaming Prescott man's method.
We need to scream!But, we need to scream to the Lord in prayer.We need to be frantic and consumed with God's message!But, we need to share it with humility and compassion.People may be scared by God's message but the fear shouldn't come from us.If fear comes, let it come by conviction from the Holy Spirit.
GospeLines Prayer:Lord God, thank You for being gentle with us when we deserve Your wrath.Fill us with urgency, but temper our urgency with compassion and humility.Give us ways to scream your message of salvation to the world without chasing them away - let our screams be soft and filled with your love in Jesus' name.
"Be made new in the attitude of your minds and have the same attitude, purpose and humble mind that was in Christ Jesus."(Ephesians 4:22-24; Philippians 2:4-7)
At the age of six, Curtis Pride played one T-ball game and then said, "I'm going to be a baseball player." Twelve years later, he signed a contract to play for the major league New York Mets. In the intervening years, he was: (1) an outstanding high school athlete excelling in baseball, soccer, basketball, wrestling, swimming, track, and gymnastics; (2) named as one of the top 15 youth soccer players in the world (the only American) and a member of the U.S. National All-Star Soccer Team which traveled to China to compete for the 1985 Junior World Cup; (3) a "Parade Magazine" high school basketball All-American and a four-year starter as point guard on the College of William and Mary basketball team.
As the lead-off hitter, he batted over 300 for the Montreal Expos of the National League and played right field.
Curtis Pride is 95% deaf.
People often use adversity as an excuse for mediocrity. But Christians have every reason to approach difficulty with hope, setting aside the fear of failure and pressing onward in the strength of the Lord. The mark of spiritual maturity is to walk boldly ahead even when our cup is half-full, with no thought that we may not reach our desired goal.
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." (Hebrews 12:1)