I cannot imagine what it would be like to live in a place where my faith could make me a target for persecution and death. It was that kind of climate in which the author of Hebrews wrote these encouraging words:
“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through that curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. LET US HOLD UNSWERVINGLY TO THE HOPE WE PROFESS,
FOR HE WHO PROMISED IS FAITHFUL.” (Hebrews 10:19-23)
GospeLines Prayer: Father, I don’t know if you could trust me with persecution.Everyday I give you thanks that the worst I have seen is ridicule of my faith from my coworkers. Recently, my concern is that they have not ridiculed me enough.Renew my testimony, O Lord, that I will not be ashamed to live as though you matter more to me than popularity and friendship. Enrich my love for you, that it will be greater than my love of this world. Amen and amen.
Barrington Irving, had a dream, only he didn’t know it until a Jamaican airline pilot, Captain Gary Robinson, invited him to the airport to see the cockpit of the Boeing 777 jet he piloted for United Airlines. That day changed this young man’s life forever.
Who is Barrington Irving?Irving, a 23-year old senior majoring in aerospace at Florida Memorial University, climbed into a single-engine plane called "Inspiration" and embarked on a 26,800-mile, round-the-world flight on March 23, 2007. Upon his return to Miami on June 27th, he was heralded for setting two world records: as the first person of African descent and the youngest person ever to fly solo around the globe.All was accomplished because someone took an interest in him and set him on his path.
Prior to his introduction to Captain Robinson, the Jamaican native who was raised in inner-city Miami, thought his good grades and a football scholarship were his ticket out of the inner-city.
But at 15 he had found his passion - spending afternoons and weekends at the airport, washing planes for private aircraft owners in exchange for half-hour flights or money he could use for flying lessons. Every evening he practiced flying on his own using $40 Microsoft Flight Simulator software. Focused on the dream of becoming a pilot, he turned down college football scholarships and enrolled in a community college where his tuition was partly covered by a Florida Bright Future Scholarship based on his high marks in high school.
In 2003, Barrington enrolled in Florida Memorial University where he excelled in both academic and flight training courses. Over the next few years, he continued his volunteer work as he earned his Private, Commercial Pilot, and Flight Instructor licenses as well as his Instrument Rating.
In 2005, the young pilot also decided to give back to his community, founding a nonprofit organization, Experience Aviation, Inc., to address the significant shortage of youth pursuing careers in aviation and aerospace.
Barrington’s goal to fly around the world was his way to inspire other young people to resist the negative influences of the streets and to encourage them to leave their fears behind and reach for the stars.
I had the opportunity to meet Barrington in person and to hear his story.This very personable young man held his audience captive.Two things impressed me - his humility and giving God the credit for bringing him through this remarkable journey.There were so many times, he said, that he didn’t know if he would make it; his mind played tricks on him… especially after hours and hours alone without radar and with some language difficulties abroad or because of weather conditions and turbulence.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, We give You thanks for our dreams, for making a way out of no way and for instilling a sense of hope when situations seem bleak.Thankfully, this young man knows You and entrusts his life to You; he does not depend on his human strength.He does not trust in man… as Your word says in Jeremiah 17:5-6 (New International Reader's Version):
5The Lord says, those who trust in man are under my curse.They depend on human strength.Their hearts turn away from me.6They will be like a bush in a dry and empty land.They will not enjoy success when it comes.They will live in dry places in the desert.It is a land of salt where no one else lives.
Our journeys Lord, are vastly different than Barrington’s, but You have a vested interest in us and You have set us on our path.We need only heed Your direction.
We thank You Lord for giving us the vision and perseverance to be what You say we are.Please remain with us when we embark on this journey called life.
Help us to leave our fears behind and to reach for the stars!
In His Love,
≈ Devotional for Wednesday, September 26, 2007
"Make a Holy Difference"
The apostle Paul said to Timothy: "...join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God Who has saved us and called us to a HOLY LIFE..."(2nd Timothy 1:8-9).
To our non-believing friends, they would call us "weird." And that isn't far away from the meaning of "holy" in the New Testament Greek language.The root meaning of the word is "different, set apart for a special purpose, consecrated."
In our efforts to befriend others, it is tempting to blend in with the world to be sure that we don't stand out obtrusively. And many of us have become so successful at it, that few would even guess that we are a Christian!
Let us dare to be different! A world that is shaped by a population of lookalikes is one that begs for a touch of holiness. Your testimony is desperately needed in your workplace, your school and your home. Don't be afraid to stand apart from the crowd a little bit. Be holy... be different! Amen and amen.
Paul said in 1st Corinthians: "I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought."
He rebuked them because, "One of you says, "I follow Paul"; another, "I follow Apollos"; another, "I follow Cephas"; still another, "I follow Christ."All of these people were believers - followers of Jesus - but they had become too focused on their differences.
Today we say "I'm a Baptist"; another, "I'm a Pentecostal"; another, "I'm a Catholic."Paul asked the Corinthians as he asks us today: "Is Christ divided?"(1st Corinthians 1:13)
Paul loved the people at Corinth and wanted them to focus on their love for Christ rather than on their differences.That same message of love applies to all of us today - let's focus on our love for Christ and our love for each other rather than on their differences.
God's people - Christians... all Christians - must stand united in the truth of His Holy Word - We must hold fast against the world's "feel good" ideology and watered down morality that only serves to placate the lusts of the hour.
Truth, not spoken in love, will fall lifelessly to the ground. Love, not supported by truth, is not real - it's a compromise and a lie.
Hope and salvation are found in the Jesus Christ.We must love the world enough to tell the world that Christ alone is the way, the truth, and the life; no one can come to the Father without Him (John 14:6).That's how we show Christ love and that's how we become "perfectly united in mind and thought."
"…we can face Him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world."
You work with them, live with them, breathe the same air they do, drink the same water. They are all around you. No matter what you say to them, their response is always going to be negative!
“What a beautiful day!”
“Yeah, but it’s supposed to start raining again toward the end of the week,” they reply.
They even warn you about themselves. “I got up on the wrong side of the bed today.”
“It’s just my nature to be cautious.”
“I am one of those who say, ‘I’ll believe it when I see it.’ ”
These people make a point of raining on your parade every chance they get.
Then you have those self-named “Bible scholars” today who dutifully warn us that to mix the “Positive Mental Attitude” culture with the teachings of the Bible comes straight from the occult or the New Age Movement. So, I guess it’s ok to be negative all the time? NOT!
Jesus didn’t call it PMA (Positive Mental Attitude), but He sure practiced seeing the best in everything and everyone when He could. Who would have thought that He would offer Living Water to a prostitute in the wicked, haphazard society of Samaria? But He did. And what did He say about moving mountains? It takes a LITTLE bit of faith, not a lot.
Look at that band of twelve He threw together to change the world: publicans and sinners, tax collectors, smelly fishermen, and some plain old common folk. Oh, and we have to throw in one doctor, too (Luke). But Jesus saw something good in all of them that our untrained eye could not see. He saw it because He WANTED to see it. Jesus practiced having a positive attitude toward life and death. He was POSITIVELY CONVINCED that on that third day after they murdered Him that He would rise again.
So, what do you say to someone who “blesses” your day with a negative attitude? You can’t shoot them, and you MUST work with them (and in some cases, LIVE with them). Why don’t I share a few PMA verses with you from the Word of God?These are some that you may want to commit to memory for just the right occasion.
Verses to Remember:
"…for the joy of the Lord is your strength."(Nehemiah 8:10 - NIV)
"Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart." (Psalm 37:4 - NIV)
"…no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you."(Isaiah 54:17 - NIV)
"Jesus looked at them and said, 'With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.'” (Matthew 19:26 - NIV)
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." (Romans 15:13 - NIV)
"I can do everything through him who gives me strength." (Philippians 4:13 -NIV)