All the way home from the grocery store last night I had a feeling that something was missing. As I sat momentarily in the darkness of my driveway, it hit me. My checkbook! I reached for the flashlight and probed the beam in every place I thought it might be, but no luck. Now I was getting nervous. I hurried back to the courtesy booth at the store and asked if it had been returned. My heart began to beat more slowly when the kind lady retrieved it from behind the counter and handed it back to me.
Sometimes we get so busy with life that we donít realize something important is missing until we are surrounded by absolute darkness and chaos. We try to pull ourselves out of the mess by using our best humanistic bootstrap philosophy but it doesnít work. Our light isnít bright enough to solve our own problems. It just seems to get darker and darker. Sound familiar?
Whatís missing from your life? Beloved, we serve a wonderful God who wants to brighten our days and nights with his Shekinah glory! Surrender to Him and feel the warm assurance He will bring to your situation with His penetrating, healing Light! There is nothing He would rather do than to fill your life with whatever it is that you are lacking. Trust the Lord to come to your assistance in your time of trouble! Amen and amen.
11ďFor I know the plans I have for you,Ē declares the LORD, ďplans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.Ē
Jeremiah 29:11 (New International Version)
When you were a young adult, did you have lots of plans for your life? Perhaps you planned to backpack in Europe; to study abroad; to marry the star quarterback on the football team; to have a high-powered job on Wall Street; to be a stay-at-home mother or to be a successful politician.
Where are you now? Did your plans materialize? According to Proverbs 19:21(NIV),
ďMany are the plans in a manís heart, but it is the Lordís purpose that prevails.Ē
Many of us didnít realize until much later that God has the perfect plans for our lives, but we have to do our part to accomplish them. As Rev. Mia Wright pointed out recently, our ďattitude determines our altitude.Ē
There are several steps needed to adjust our attitudes. We must Ė
1.have an open mind to accept Godís will
2.have a discerning spirit
3.have determination to see the best despite a bad situation
4.completely trust God
Some of us have taken detours along the path of life; some because of our own choices and some situations that God has used for His purpose. Things havenít always gone as planned.
Rev. Wright made that message apparent when she highlighted the excuses given to Jesus by the invalid at the pool of Bethesda. The man explained that he had been waiting for someone to help him into the pool for 38 years. People always jumped in ahead of him. He chose to be a victim. (John 5:1-9)
In another example, Jesus healed the infirmity of a crippled woman, bent over for 18 years, who gave no excuses. She was set free because of her obedience to God. (Luke 13:10-13)
Different situations for the two examples, but both gave praises and thanks and told others.
Which one are you; a victim or a victor? Are you crippled by sin? Are you on the same Ferris wheel? Canít go forward and canít go back? If so, God wants to deliver you from your rut.
Many of us have demons to be conquered. Itís a fact that we will always be in a spiritual battle. But, hear Godís promise in Malachi 3:6-7
6-7"I am God - yes, I Am. I haven't changed. And because I haven't changed, you, the descendants of Jacob, haven't been destroyed. You have a long history of ignoring my commands. You haven't done a thing I've told you. Return to me so I can return to you," says God-of-the-Angel-Armies.
GospeLines Prayer:What a mighty word, Lord, I havenít been destroyed and Your unchanging hand is still there for me!
Help me to reposition myself to serve You and to continually sing your praises. I am not a victim; I am a victor!
Help me to stop ignoring Your commands and to start working Your plan! I have a hope and future with you.
In His Love,
≈ Devotional for Wednesday, October 7, 2009
"Say NO to Segregation"
As a teenager, and then young adult in the 60's, I learned well the meaning of the words "integration and segregation." Their usage was descriptive of education and society as we knew and lived it. I remember watching the "Colored" water fountain at Sears and Roebuck to see what color the water would be when it flowed out.
Christians often attempt to segregate their spiritual life from their daily life, as though they are totally unrelated. We may execute all the spiritual disciplines- Bible reading, prayer, church attendance- but if we don't translate those things into daily living, we are doomed to an ineffective spiritual life.
We must see our spiritual life as the first link in everything we do, not as some independent activity we perform which is unrelated to the details of daily living. Our motto should be, "ONE LIFE, ONE WAY." All of life is spiritual.
GospeLines Prayer:"Father, I no longer want to live a segregated life. Show me how to include you in the minute details of everything I do." Amen and amen.
The Boy Scouts have been around since 1907; and, if you've ever been in the Scouts or know anyone who has, you know that the biggest dream of any Scout is to attend at least one World Scout Jamboree. The 2007 World Scout Jamboree was held at Hylands Park country house in Chlemsford, Essex, England, the birthplace of Scouting.
40,000 Scouts from all over the world converged on this 574 acre park from July 27 until August 8, 2007. Attendees saw all sorts of Scouts from countries all around the world. There were Tenderfoots, Second and First Class Scouts, Star and Life Scouts and many Eagle Scouts. Some had all 120 available merit badges; some had only a few. However, they all shared one thing in common. Each has agreed to live by the Scout Oath.
On my honor, I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country
And to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong,
Mentally awake, and morally straight.
That "Scout Law" the Oath refers to requires each Scout to do his best to embrace these characteristics at all times. The Scout must be: trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.
Scouts are all different - from different places, speaking different languages. They have different levels of achievement (within Scouting) and they are all different ages (and at their age, 11-17, 6 years is very significant). Yet, in spite of these differences, they get along.
They don't argue over which Merit Badges are the most important or which reward level demands the most honor. They work together without complaint and they trust and respect their Scout Leaders.
Why can't Christians do the same thingÖ?
Christians from all over the world don't come together. But if we did, we'd spend all our time arguing over our differences. Some would argue over baptism: does baptism save or is baptism what saved people do? Some would argue over communion: Should we have communion every time we meet or only on special occasions. Others would argue over Spiritual Gifts: are they for today or only for the first century. The list, and the arguments, would go on and on and on... We'd find so much to argue about that we'd never stop to look at our similarities.
Four times in the NIV New Testament, men asked, "What must I doÖ?" In Mark 10 and Luke 18, Jesus answered that question by replying, "Come, follow Me." He answered it in Luke 10 by telling a story about a Good Samaritan who showed mercy to a stranger and then saying, "Go and do likewise."
Paul and Silas told the Jailer in Acts 16 who asked what he must do to, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved - you and your household."
"Believe in Jesus; show mercy to each other; follow Jesus." What could we accomplish if there were a "World Christian Jamboree" where we came together to celebrate these simple commands while setting aside our differences?
Maybe then we could have another thing in common with the Scouts - Their Motto:
Except in our case, the thing we would be prepared for would be imminent Christ's return.
"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)
My youngest son grimaced with pain as the anesthesiologist probed deeply into his flesh in search of a vein. The nervous pre-surgery laughter we had enjoyed moments before now turned to coping with the needle being placed in his hand. Our conversation centered on the painful struggle for the five previous weeks, when walking became a challenge because of the torn cartilage in his knee. We decided upon this surgery because there is no glory in pain.
Mary watched as Jesus suffered the agony of the cross. We do not celebrate our Lord's pain. Joy comes on the morning of the third day, not from the physical suffering itself, but from the reason for the suffering: everlasting hope!
Sometimes our spiritual growth has a painful price, but it also has a reward.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, help me to be patient thru the struggle, so that I may taste the sweet reward you are preparing for me. Amen and amen.