A visiting preacher on Robert Schuller's television program shared something that is worth remembering. It is a new insight into an old story.
The disciples said to Jesus, "Your friend, Lazarus, is very sick. They want you to go to him."
"He's not sick enough," Jesus replied.
"Lazarus is dead, now. They really need you there," they pleaded.
"He's not dead enough!" said Jesus.
A few days later, the disciples declared, "Lazarus has been dead four days. Now it is too late."
Jesus said to the bewildered disciples, "Sometimes I must wait until it is too late. Now it is time to go."
Wow! Isn't it just like Jesus to remind us that it is never too late for a miracle? By human standards we may procrastinate until our moment in history has passed, but in the mind of Jesus, it is never too late. Others may give up on that child, thinking that no earthly good will ever come out of him. But Jesus reminds us that it is never too late! Your marriage may be on the edge of collapse, or, your career could be going down the drain. Beloved, IT IS NEVER TOO LATE!
GospeLines Prayer:My Lord and my God, deliver me from procrastination which is the birthplace of failure. Set my feet in motion and rekindle the fires of faith, so I may know that as long as there is breath (and even when there is not), it is never too late for a miracle. Amen and amen.
“Your life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God.It cost God plenty to get you out of that dead-end, empty-headed life you grew up in.He paid with Christ's sacred blood, you know.He died like an unblemished, sacrificial lamb.And this was no afterthought.Even though it has only lately - at the end of the ages - become public knowledge, God always knew he was going to do this for you.It's because of this sacrificed Messiah, whom God then raised from the dead and glorified, that you trust God, that you know you have a future in God.”
1st Peter 1:18-20 (The Message)
Have you noticed any “I survived Ike” t-shirts lately?It should be big business if someone has branded our recent misfortune along the Gulf Coast and the devastating path of Hurricane Ike.
Many in the Houston area suffered damage; some sustained more damage than others.Toppled trees, broken fences, damaged roofs, flooded streets, were the norm.Over 2 million were without power at a time when even ice, water and gasoline were scarce commodities.
But nothing we endured came remotely close to the devastation in Galveston, Kemah, Surfside or other communities directly on Ike’s path.Some lost their vacation homes, some lost their primary residence and some lost their lives as a result.A large percentage of people in those areas haven’t been able to return to recover any belongings that may be salvageable.What a painful experience it must be.
There are many such stories in the naked city, but one, in particular, garnered my attention – the story of Galveston’s historic Reedy Chapel AME.Reedy Chapel was the first African Methodist Episcopal church in Texas.Land was purchased in 1848 for slaves to worship (outdoors initially until a building was constructed…) Freed blacks were transferred ownership after the Civil War.
Reedy has had a tortured past.The first church edifice was destroyed in the 1885 Galveston fire.After rebuilding in 1887, it was severely damaged in the Great Storm of 1900. Again, it was rebuilt.
As co-pastor Salatheia Bryant-Honors remarked, “This grand structure has endured its share of hardships and always found her way back.It has survived hurricanes and fire to remain a constant shelter from the storms of life for those in need of a spiritual haven.”
The church recently celebrated its 160th anniversary.Luminaries, members, friends and families entered the sanctuary at that service singing “We’ve come this far by faith, leaning on the Lord.Reedy Chapel has miles to go on her journey.”
GospeLines Prayer:Father, I whined along with others after being without power for a week.It wasn’t always comfortable.Considering the Hurricane’s wrath, thank You for sparing me, my family and friends.I honestly didn’t have anything to complain about, but a minor inconvenience.
As I experienced the magnitude of the storm hunkered down at home with Ziggy, my cat, I prayed the Blood of the Lamb would protect and cover us.And, You Lord, answered my prayer!
I slept well most nights knowing that You would provide and as Pastor Bryant-Honors reminds us - “Our faith is about the worst thing happening to us, but not overcoming us.”
No matter the storm, You continue to see us through!
In His Love,
≈ Devotional for Wednesday, September 24, 2008
"Finish What You Start"
The Boston Marathon attracts the world's fastest runners, as well as the slowest. Every race is remembered by dedicated marathoners as something special. But the November 1986 race has been cited for the person, who finished in last place, crossing the line in four days, two hours, 48 minutes and 17 seconds. His name was Bob Wieland, a forty year old from California who had his legs blown off on a battlefield in Vietnam. He ran the race using only his arms. One of the reasons he participated was to call attention to his Christian faith. He said, "Success isn't based on where you start, it's where you finish, and I finished. The first step was the most difficult, after that, we were on our way home. The joy has been the journey."
GospeLines Prayer:O Lord, the next time I come whining to you about the difficulty of my journey, remind me that I am still standing on my own two legs! If success is truly based on where I finish the race, don't let me stop one second before the end, so that my epitaph may be stamped with diligence and perseverance. Amen and amen.
Hell is in Michigan (There really is a town there by that name).However, the temperatures in Arizona seem to be more conducive to the name…
We recently moved to Arizona and are trying to get through all the changes necessary to settle down in our newly adopted State (and adjust to the heat).Notifying every one of our new address and phone number; changing schools for our girls and changing jobs has completely occupied our time for the past several days.One of the many items that had to be changed is the license plate for my car.
My current (Michigan) plate is 1JN417 – “In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him.”Prior to that, it was PHIL25 –“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus”
Since these plates were easy to get, I assumed that the same would be true in Arizona.Wow!What a surprise.
The first plate I tried was JOHN146 (John 14:6); but, it was taken.Next I tried JOHN316 – taken.Then I tried PHIL25 – also taken.Within a very short time, I went through the following with no success:
HEISRSN(He is Risen)
JESUS4U(Jesus for you)
It seems the people in Arizona want to show everyone that they are children of the Most High (MOSTHI was also taken).Perhaps I should have been disappointed that so many of my choices were already taken; but, I was not.My entire family was ecstatic to learn that so many of our new neighbors were willing to show their love for the Lord in such a public way.
Do we always look for ways to show the world our allegiance to Christ our Savior?A license plate is a minor thing; but, each and every day, we are given opportunities to stand up for Christ.Jehovah-Nissi is our banner; let’s be His…
Everyone remembers at least one funny incident about falling asleep in church. A Sunday school teacher asked the children just before she dismissed them to go to church, "And why is it necessary to be quiet in church?" Annie replied, "Because people are sleeping."
We chuckle at the idea and say that we would never do it! However, I am referring to spiritual sleep, the act of merely going through the motions as a disciple, and the pretense of vigilance when, in fact, we are asleep. Spiritual sleepwalking! The encyclopedia describes it perfectly:
"...a dissociative mental state in which the individual rises from sleep, with little awareness of surroundings, to perform what appear to be conscious motor activities... The condition is most frequent among adolescents, although adults may be affected as well."
GospeLines Prayer:Father, let this day become a wake-up call to the body of Christ! Wipe away the sleep from the souls of your saints and sound the trumpet of reveille in your Church. Remove the stress and turmoil in our lives which has placed your people in a trance and let us return to Your work with renewed vigilance. Amen and amen.