The world’s highest suspension bridge was built in 1929, just outside Canon City, Colorado.The Royal Gorge Bridge was finished in seven months with no fatalities at a cost of only $350,000.Replacement cost would be over $10,000,000.When I first saw it outstretched across a massive granite gorge and the Arkansas River, I was 26 years old.It amazed me then and still leaves me breathless.It is supported by two cables which contain 2100 strands of galvanized wire in each one.The strands of wire, each smaller in diameter than a pencil, are wrapped together to form the support cables.The two cables with their 4200 strands of wire weigh 300 tons.
Separately, those pencil-sized strands would snap if put under the stress of motorists traveling across the river.But in concert with the rest, the cables support a bridge weighing over 1000 tons, and can accomodate traffic weighing in excess of two million pounds!How?By working together.
There is strength in numbers.Surround yourself with a large group of supportive Christians who share the same goals as you.The church of the 1st century knew the importance of community and sticking together.You, too, will become enriched by sharing the fellowship of a group of saints in Bible study and worship.
Prayer:Father, help me to guard against becoming too independent for my own good.Give me humility enough to share my heart with others, if not for my benefit, for the blessing I can be to someone else. Remind me that my song is twice beautiful when sung to You and shared with others.Amen and amen.
When you were a child did you feel invincible?Did you think you could do anything that older and larger children could do?Did you attempt to emulate your older siblings?Children often have a lot of confidence; something we sometimes lose as we age and have other experiences.But, I digress.Let’s consider the story of David’s defeat of Goliath.
I remember when I first heard it and subsequently read the story, it was with some disbelief.I couldn’t fathom how such a young man could defeat a huge adversary.Why was he unafraid when men older, bigger and stronger cowered at the mere thought of fighting the Philistine?
David, probably a teenager at the time, volunteered to fight.It took much convincing for King Saul to agree.Of course, the King provided his armor, etc., but it wasn’t comfortable to David.He dressed in his own garb, carried his slingshot and a pouch full of stones.He was already equipped with certain skills and everything he needed.
I can just imagine Goliath laughing at the sight of a young Israeli boy sent to do a man’s job and I’m sure he was insulted and insulting David as well.He may have thought the defeat of the Israelites would be a piece of cake.
Boy, was he wrong!Goliath had defied the armies of God and came after David with sword and spear, but David had the armor of God; recognizing the battle was truly the Lord’s.
David used his sling and stone and aimed at Goliath’s head.He found a hole in his armor and the stone lodged into Goliath’s forehead and he fell.David took Goliath’s sword and finished the job by cutting off his head.The Philistines ran after their leader was killed, but the Israelites pursued and finished them off too.
Several things are clear in this passage.David was equipped to fight a much bigger adversary and it was because God was the great equalizer.He didn’t need someone else’s tools as he had the confidence to know that God was with him and had already provided.
As I reflect on this passage now, I see it in a different light; in the context of daily living.What giants do you need to slay?Could it be fear -- of the unknown; a medical procedure; a new job or the impending elimination of a job; or the beginning or end of a relationship?Is your giant self-doubt or procrastination?
God has already equipped each of us with everything needed to defeat those “giants” in our lives.David had a faith that caused him to see things differently, from a Godly perspective.
What about us?Do we only see things through our natural eyes or from HIS perspective?Do we consult with other believers and ask them to pray with and for us?Do we pray for HIS guidance and strength?
Prayer:Father, it’s easy to think that I can’t conquer my “giants,” but I am able to defeat them because You are with me.No matter how small or large my adversary may be, it’s already handled.I don’t need any special tools, just communion with You.
When fear starts to take over, let me get on my knees and thank You for being in the midst and for handling it.May I be more like David and not waver.May I know that the only opinion that matters is Yours.
Thank You for being the great equalizer!
In His Love,
≈ Devotional for Wednesday, October 27, 2010
This semester I am teaching Systematic Theology at the university.My approach is to try to get the students not only to learn ABOUT theology, but learn to live it, too.
One of the assignments to meet that goal was to have them look for expressions of practical theology every day, especially in things they read like newspapers and magazines.
I got into the habit of reading the Readers Digest on those long family trips between Houston and Dallas when I was growing up.
Mama would spend the whole time reading.When she would come to something funny or interesting she would share it aloud with all of us.I found this little humorous story the first year we published GospeLines, many years ago…from the Readers Digest, of course.
As I was browsing through an old newspaper, I read aloud to my wife a news item about men losing their memory cells faster than women do.
"It must be true," she said."This is the second time you've read this article to me."(Readers Digest, March 2000)
Some things between husband and wife are worth repeating over and over again.
It doesn’t matter how much you repeat things such as, "I love you."And, it is OK to repeat, "I'm sorry" when you really mean it.Building relationships isn't all that difficult if it you don't keep score of who says those things the most often.Is there really a measurement that determines when we have said them enough?
GospeLines Prayer:"Father, I love you.And I am grateful that you never tire of hearing those words from me.Grant me the ability to share Your love with those closest to me today.Assist me to say 'I love you' to everyone, both by word and by deed, and may the world never grow tired of hearing this wonderful message." Amen and amen.
If we have given our hearts and minds to the Lord, we are children of God and nothing in all creation can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:38-39).But, if we have truly given our hearts and minds to the Lord, why do we continue to do things contrary to His Word?Why do I decide one way and then act another?Why, if we know His word, don’t we keep it?
The Apostle Paul shared these same frustrations in Romans 7:15-34 when he confessed, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?”Paul realized that we can't be trusted to figure out what is best for ourselves and then do it.No one can live the Christian life (alone) because we are blind and corruptible in the flesh.Thankfully, if we’ve given our hearts to Christ, we are not alone.
We’ll still make a plethora of mistakes; but, they’re mistakes made while serving God, not while serving our flesh.Many may say, “Your mistakes show that you’re service to God isn’t as good as it could be.”They’re right; it isn’t!
God knows that we’re not perfect (We’ll never be perfect this side of Heaven).He doesn’t want or expect perfection; He wants our love and our worship.We’re not perfect, just forgiven!
Praise God, our mistakes (past, present and future) have already been forgiven.Because we love our Lord, we’ll continue to try to remove the sin in our lives by drawing ever closer to Him.And, He has promised that as we come closer to Him, He will come closer to us (James 4:8).
Therefore, don’t fret over your mistakes - stop seeking perfection.Instead, seek the Kingdom of God and all the things you need to serve the Lord will be given unto you (Luke 12:22-31).
≈ Devotional for Friday, October 29, 2010
Have you ever felt like an outsider trying to fit in?
If so, then you will identify with Ruth the Moabitess from the Old Testament.She had several strikes against her.
In a time when people honored women who had children, she was childless.Women were dependent upon their husbands; she was a widow.Communities were close-knit; but she was a foreigner.The story of Ruth is about an outsider who was brought in, saved from poverty by Boaz, her kinsman-redeemer (Ruth 2-3), and rescued from desperate circumstances to find hope in a hopeless situation.
You may know people who have been shunned or bullied for one reason or another.Maybe it was because of their race or religion; maybe they were too smart, or too dumb; too skinny or too fat; too pretty or too ugly.In our world today it doesn’t take much to become a target.
Perhaps someone you know has been ostracized and ignored.Beloved, a soft word and a warm smile is more than a random act of kindness; it could be an invitation for someone to find Jesus.Extend the hand of Jesus’ love to everyone, even those who just don’t seem to fit into your circle.Honestly, Jesus loves those people just as much as He loves you.
GospeLines Prayer: Father of all nations, when I am tempted to give myself only to those who are just like me, and when I close my eyes to intolerance in the schools and workplace, and when I tend to stereotype foreign-born American citizens, remind me that I was born a Gentile and You were born a Jew.Amen and amen.