A popular and long-running television game show, "The Price is Right", hails its contestants from the audience by calling, "Come on dowwwwwwwn!" Each participant then runs recklessly to the floor and bids on the items to determine who can guess the price the closest.
Jesus has called us to repentance, to reverse the direction we are going. But a mere reversal is not enough. To believe is to move with full speed and reckless abandon in a new direction. Elton Trueblood puts it in terms of an eternal gamble... "To be a Christian is to bet your life that Christ is right."
Right or wrong, deserved or not, we were bought with a price! The blood of Jesus was spent to redeem us from the jaws of hell.
GospeLines Prayer:God help me to live in such a way that I will show eternal gratitude for the gift of everlasting life. Amen and amen.
“You said, 'Listen now, and I will speak. I will ask you questions, and you must answer me.'My ears had heard of you before, but now my eyes have seen you.So now I hate myself; I will change my heart and life. I will sit in the dust and ashes."
Job 42:4-7 (New Century Version)
Maya Angelou’s “Still I Rise” is one of my favorite poems. I can relate to her defiance and yet resolve; her joy despite the pain; just knowing her dreams are not to be denied…
This has been a year of change and contrasts. I started the year knowing that my marriage had long ago ended; all that remained was the legal formality. I tried to put on the brave face, but change had come.
Just like moons and like suns, With the certainty of tides, Just like hopes springing high, Still I'll rise.
Did you want to see me broken? Bowed head and lowered eyes? Shoulders falling down like teardrops. Weakened by my soulful cries. ~ excerpted from “Still I Rise”
A short time later, my newest granddaughter was born with such joy and anticipation. She had some difficulties and required major surgery and my faith briefly came into question. Talk about contrasts… God still answered my prayers. We do not know if she is totally out of the woods, but we have spoken the word of total healing.His unchanging hand is with us as we are part of His family.
Unbeknownst to me, I had a previously undiscovered growth requiring major surgery too. I turned it over to God and out of the ashes, “still I rise.”
Through these trials, the old Carla now has a renewed sense of purpose according to His word. I am comforted knowing that God has continued to open doors of fulfillment at my job through growth and development of additional skills. I am also continually encouraged by like-minded Christians who have poured out their love for me during good and my trying times.
Longtime friends have undergirded me in ways I could not fathom; reminding me that I am strong, resilient and caring. I need not dwell on what others think of me or the way I allowed myself to feel given past circumstances. God is not through with me yet. “Still, I rise.”
Today, I stood to witness our precious grandbaby’s dedication to the Lord. I awakened early in joyful anticipation as her parents presented her before the body of Christ.
Out of the ashes, much good has been given and I rejoice in His favor. There has been change and some pain, but it is a new day. This is the day the Lord has made, and I rejoice in it.
I am taking small steps finding my way back to His place and plan for me. I look forward, with renewed optimism as I embark on another part of the journey.
Out of my love for the Lord and He for me…
“Still, I rise.”
In His Love,
≈ Devotional for Wednesday, October 22, 2008
"Winning Against Goliath"
A small lake behind my workplace is hidden by a grove of trees. High in the tallest tree a chicken hawk has made his nest. Every day he can be seen hunting for his prey, soaring with proud wings through the air, patiently waiting for the right moment to fall silently from the sky and snatch his victim with viselike claws
Yesterday, a tiny mockingbird fell from its nest, helplessly crying for something or someone to rescue him.
Nearby, the parent mockingbird heard the distress call and flew straight at the menacing claws of the hawk. Fearlessly, the smaller bird dove time and again at the beast, pecking at its back, squawking loudly, risking its life for the fallen baby. Because he was unable to maneuver as quickly as the mockingbird, or maybe deciding that it wasn't worth the fight, the mighty hunter left the area to find dinner elsewhere.
We often find ourselves facing Goliath-like foes in the workplace, in our social groups and among our peers. While it may seem the enemy or temptation is bigger than life we will never know until we make the attempt to overcome our adversary. God is able to instill courage beyond our means and strength far above our capabilities if only we will risk the fight instead of giving up.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, I am weak but you are strong; I am cowardly but you are brave; I am afraid but you are fearless. NOW, LET'S GO OUT AND FACE GOLIATH TOGETHER! Amen and amen.
“If God really existed, I doubt He would allow children to suffer…”
“I doubt a loving God would create an eternal hell…”
“The story of creation (in Genesis) doesn’t fit with modern science; so, I doubt…”
The phrase "Doubting Thomas" has been used for centuries to describe someone who refuses to believe something without visual and physical evidence.These “Doubting Thomases” are suspended between conflicting situations because the information they have (or the information they understand) does not support what they are being asked to accept (or what they want to accept).They’re skeptical...
“Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ Immediately Jesus reached out His hand and caught him. ‘You of little faith,’ He said, ‘why did you doubt?’" (Matthew 14:30-32 - NIV)
Peter had seen many miracles so he knew they were possible.Most think Peter doubted that he could continue to walk on water in the face of the raging storm.However, the NLT translation sees Peter’s doubt in a different light:
“You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt Me?”
It wasn’t about Peter or the storm or even the miracles – it was about Jesus!
Sometimes we need to ask ourselves, “What do we doubt?”Do we doubt that He loves children or that hell exists?Do we doubt that He created the universe and everything in it?Or, are those just subtle shadows of the real question?Do we doubt Him?
My friends, God either exists and everything Jesus said is true; or, He does not exist and everything He said is a lie.What does your experience tell you?What does your heart tell you?
Are you skeptical?Then maybe you should be like “Doubting Thomas”in another way… Ask!Jesus said “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7 – NIV)
But when you ask, do it believing that God hears and will give generously to all without finding fault because “he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord…” (James 1:5-7)
Don’t doubt!Take the hand of the Lord of Creation… and walk on the water…
“…I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father,but byMe.”
- John 14:6 (KJV)
≈ Devotional for Friday, October 24, 2008
"Adoption is Final"
My adopted son was born with a heart murmur.After a thorough evaluation he was given a guarded report and there was high optimism that through prayer and determination he would grow out of it.That was thirty plus years ago!
Several months after the hospital visit, it was time to finalize the adoption in family court.The judge explained the laws regarding adoption and said that there would never be another opportunity to change what was about to take place.The papers were signed and my son’s name was officially, Daniel Thomas Harrison.
Adoption is a blessed event in the family of God.It happens because we are chosen, hand picked, loved and nurtured.It can never be undone.Even if we disappoint our Father to the point of tears and frustration, we are still His, because adoption is final.
"For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will."Ephesians 1:5
GospeLines Prayer:Father, I was an orphan ten years old when You looked into eternity and picked me to become Your child, to enjoy all the privileges that go with being in Your family.You could have chosen someone more handsome, more talented, and less stubborn, but you didn't… You chose me!You make me feel so special.Thank you, Lord.Amen and amen.