Anthony Davis tells about running out of gas on a lonely stretch of highway and being told by a motorist that there was a gas station a half-mile away. So he took the gas can from the trunk and trudged the distance in the sweltering sun. The attendant filled the two-gallon can and Anthony lugged it back and poured the gas into the tank. But when he tried to unlock the door it wouldn't open. It was then that he noticed an identical car parked a short distance away. THAT was his car; he had filled a stranger's tank.
Too many Christian's are so busy trying to fill the other person's tank that they neglect their own spiritual needs. (Pastors are too often guilty of this. Ask how I know?) Consequently, they find themselves slipping into slothful lifestyles or spiritual poverty because they have no energy for refueling. Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. I pray that you will take the time needed for replenishing your own spiritual and physical resources, thereby gaining more strength for dedicated service in the future.
GospeLines Prayer:"O, Lord, in the morning you refresh me from a restful night's slumber. At night you comfort me with kudos from a successful day of serving You, and watch over me while I sleep. Throughout the day, you walk with me and whisper promises of encouragement in my ear. How tireless your mercy is toward me. My heart is overflowing with praise for your endless love and watchcare over me. I praise you for caring about me twenty-four seven, even when I cannot slow down to care about myself." Amen and amen.
"For this reason I am telling you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe (trust and be confident) that it is granted to you, and you will [get it]. And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him and let it drop (leave it, let it go), in order that your Father Who is in heaven may also forgive you your [own] failings and shortcomings and let them drop." Mark 11:24-25 (Amplified Bible)
Evangelist Joyce Meyer was here in Houston at Lakewood Church recently. I had the opportunity to attend to hear God’s word through her. During her discourse, I learned a few things about faith.
Faith is active, not passive.
While exercising faith to have a need met, you must “walk in love.” Galatians 5:6.
Faith can be a defensive and an offensive weapon.
Faith grows and must be stretched. Stretching beyond our comfort zone hurts.
Faith also requires forgiveness.
Most of us will not experience the unspeakable pain of a Columbine, the Amish or Platte Canyon school shootings. What horrific acts that we may never understand.
As I watched the circumstances unfold on TV in the Platte Canyon case, I was moved by the victim’s parents’ compassion and their ability to turn such a tragedy into “random acts of kindness” in such a short time. In the midst of their anguish, they live a faith that is almost unfathomable to me.
These parents have stretched beyond anyone’s expectations. Most of us would probably have remained sequestered for a period of time, only letting a few witness our private grief while we go through the motions. But, they have witnessed to the world in a most public way.
How precious is the time we have with our loved ones. We don’t know when we’ll be called home or under what circumstances. This family has shown us, by their example, that the “Kingdom of God is in us” despite our circumstances.
Whatever pain we’ve experienced is miniscule compared to their loss. All of the misunderstandings, the hurtful words, and the emphasis placed on such unimportant “things” – how shallow we are as human beings!
We have a great capacity to “walk in love,” but have let the evil one take hold of our thoughts and actions and we have missed so many blessings.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, help me put on love. Give me the courage to have grace under pressure. Your grace and love are more than sufficient. Whenever my steps begin to falter, help me remember Ephesians 6:16-8 (The Message)--
"Be prepared. You're up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it's all over but the shouting you'll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You'll need them throughout your life. God's Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other's spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out."
"If you hold to my teaching,
you are truly my disciples. Then you will
know the truth and the truth will set you free." John 8:31-32
Our opponents, as were Jesus' enemies, are annoyed by our freedom claims. Most of the world sees a shackled Christian, burdened with rigid demands and negative restraints. Jesus proclaimed that discipleship brings four freedoms.
It brings us freedom from fear! We never walk alone because we are always in the company of Jesus. Some children are burdened with unspeakable fears about all sorts of things. I was one of those kids, very sensitive, and needed an extraordinary amount of reassurance about almost everything. When there was a death in the family, all I could think about for over a year was the fear of dying. I had no one (I thought then) that I could talk to about it and would quietly cry myself to sleep in the night, wondering if I would wake the next day. Maturity in the faith will take away all fears! PTL.
It brings us freedom from self! Many have struggled with who they are. In Jesus' care, He is able to recreate us until we are brand new. We don’t have to behave the way others think we should. Sometimes it is worth the risk to break out and live the way WE think Jesus would have us live! Living on the edge with our Lord is quite an adventure.
It brings us freedom from other people! A disciple no longer cares what others think because he only seeks to please Jesus. (Can I say “AMEN” to that?) I am experiencing a painful situation right now with someone I hold very dear to my heart. This person is disappointed in some of my choices and has held those things against me for 18 months. Although I cherish the love of this one about whom I speak, there is nothing I can do to recover that relationship while they hold onto that root of bitterness. As long as I am in the center of God’s will, forgiven by the Grace of God, I am covered by His love and that is enough!
It brings us freedom from sin! We all know our own sins which overpower us and bring us personal shame. Only in Jesus are we able to break free from that captivity. What a magnificent truth that is! (I John 1:9) Jesus alone has the power over the shackles of our past. And He is the One to whom we place our trust everyday. Hallelujah! I no longer enable the world to dictate how I feel and I do not have to be affected by their judgment of my life. I will take my chances with the judgment of God who knows my heart better than anyone.
GospeLines Prayer:Righteous Father, I am grateful that you have not allowed others to judge me, for if they could, they would cancel the freedom You have given and hold me accountable for the sins I have confessed to You. I stand before You as a sinner, imperfect, faulty in my behavior, careless in my attitude, but corrected by your righteousness. To You ONLY do I confess my unworthiness, and ask forgiveness for all my sins. Restore me to your Holy presence. Hallelujah for Your love and grace to all of us! Amen and amen.
Although the Coca Cola1 Company didn't invent the soft drink, the combination of good management, creative marketing and an excellent distribution system has allowed them to become extremely successful. They've been so successful that one might wonder why they would ever change anything. The answer is that without change, the organization (or the person) becomes stagnant - And stagnation leads to death.
However necessary change may be to remain viable and growing, the change must be well planned or it may move us in the wrong direction.
Coca Cola's biggest competitor is Pepsi2 - a sweeter, less "tart" soft drink. As the market became crowded with multiple soft drinks all competing for our grocery dollar, Coca Cola made the strategic decision to go after the Pepsi market and released "New Coke" in 1985.
The younger generation seemed to prefer the sweeter taste and Coke feared they were being left behind; so, they didn't simply release an additional option, they changed 100% to the new product.
Yes, they picked up a few new customers; but, for the most part, Pepsi customers stayed with Pepsi. However, the loyal Coke drinkers began to leave because the flavor that attracted them in the first place was gone.
After several months and many failed attempts to remarket and repackage "New Coke," Coca Cola released "Classic Coke" - Their original product with a new name. Not too long after that, "New Coke" disappeared altogether.
What can you and I learn from Coke's experience? Change is to be sought after; new experiences, new knowledge and new information keep us alive and invigorated. However, change doesn't mean we have to throw out the old. Change requires planning, understanding and wisdom. But, more than anything, change requires a willingness to reverse when a new direction doesn't work.
Coke had the wisdom not to stubbornly hang on to a product that wasn't selling. We need to learn to examine our own lives and keep what works, what brings us closer to God; but, to let go of those things that cause division or that move us away from His presence.
"A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." (Proverbs 18:24)
If your good friend or your good situation is bringing glory to God, be slow to change.
"Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry..." (James 1:19)
Listen to the counsel of the righteous, speak slowly and do not take offense when you're rebuked.
"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things." (Philippians 4:8)
It doesn't matter if it's "New Coke," a new relationship, a new job, or any new circumstances, restrict your changes to those things praiseworthy - worthy of offering to our Lord in praise.
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” - Philippians 2:5
Every day the old Wisconsin shepherd would take his sheep to the fields, carrying with him his violin and his battery-powered radio. He would tune his radio to the classical music station and play along with the great orchestras directed by the master conductors of the day. He wrote a letter to the most noted maestro of his time, asking that in the next concert, to play one note, an A, so that he could adjust his old violin, which, over time, had fallen out of tune. The world-renowned conductor had his orchestra pause in the midst of that concert to play that note for the shepherd, to get him back in tune.
GospeLines Prayer:Master Conductor of the universe, I am grateful that in the midst of all you do, you have time to get me back into harmony with your master plan. Grant that my music will be sweet to Your ears and a blessing to others who might hear your voice in me. Amen and amen.