Before the demise of the Southwest Conference, in the fall of 1964, Darrell Royal (University of Texas football coach) held a post game press conference after one of the most sour defeats of his career. Arkansas had knocked off No. 1 Texas, unbeaten in its last 15 starts.
Frank Broyles (University of Arkansas football coach), and his Razorbacks had boarded their charter plane and were heading home when Royal began fielding questions. Frank's parting words were: "Sorry I can't stay for the press conference, fellows, but anything Darrell says goes for me."
Asked about a friendship that had stood the best and worst of times, Royal momentarily shed the agony of a 14-13 loss, and replied: "We've had a good rivalry. Anything Frank tells me, I know to be true. I trust him and have confidence in him." (Houston Chronicle, 08-14-02)
Do you have someone you can trust like that? I have a friend in Ft. Worth whom I have known for more than 50 years. Robert called me recently and we talked for an hour. When it was time to say our goodbyes, he said, "I love you, bud." Robert is a dear and trusted friend. We have a history and friendship that transcends differences and long periods of silence between us. He is there for me, and I am here for him...it will always be that way.
Beloved, be encouraged that you have a best friend. His name is Jesus! Through trials and difficulties, on the mountaintops and through the valleys, in victory or in defeat...He is there for you. Be reminded today that He loves you unconditionally, He will be your light in darkness, your safe harbor through the storms you face, and He is the first to congratulate you in your successes and your triumphs. Glory!
GospeLines Prayer: Father, I love You for all Your God-like qualities, but I don't know if I have ever told You how much I cherish our friendship. You have stood up for me in difficult situations, chastised me when I was wrong, cried with me when my heart ached, bandaged me when I stumped my toe, and stayed with me through sleepless nights. Thank you for being the very best Friend I have ever had. Amen and amen.
As a young person, one of my favorite times in church was listening to the testimonies of the elderly members. I heard their words so many times that I could have shared them myself, but without the same passion and fervor of those who lived it. Some things never change. As I grow older, I wonder if my life testimony will be appreciated in the same way. How will your life be regarded by those who knew you and witnessed your service to God? This thought came to me when I read a story about a very personal quilt.
Every now and then I get the quilt out from the closet and spread it across my lap. This quilt is different than any I have seen. When my wife passed on from cancer an idea came to me. I asked my aunt who stilled lived on the farm if she could do something for me. Take my wife's dresses that I gave her and make it into a quilt.
The result was astonishing. I trace my hands here on the blue/white area of the quilt over the dress she wore when we were married. On the edge is the dress she wore on our first date, towards the top is the dress worn at our wedding party. Memories, memories sown by the magic hands of my aunt. Now that my aunt is past, I hold the quilt and trace the memories of my loving wife and that of my aunt. This treasure, this treasure of love is priceless.(B. J. Cassady)
GospeLines Prayer: Father, when the day is over, and the memories of my "quilt" are all that remains, I ask that the treasure of Your priceless love will warm the hearts of those who are covered by it. Amen and amen.
I was parked in front of the mall wiping off my car.I had just come from the car wash and was waiting for my wife to get out of work.Coming my way from across the parking lot was what society would consider a bum.From the looks of him, he had no car, no home, no clean clothes, and no money.There are times when you feel generous but there are other times that you just don't want to be bothered.This was one of those "don't-want-to-be-bothered" times.
"I hope he doesn't ask me for any money," I complained under my breath.
He came and sat on the curb in front of the bus stop, but he didn't look like he could have enough money to even ride the bus.
After a few minutes he spoke.
"That's a very pretty car."
He was ragged but he had an air of dignity about him.His scraggly blonde beard keeps more than his face warm.I said, "Thanks," and continued wiping off my car, hoping he would notice my lack of interest.
He sat there quietly as I worked. The expected plea for money never came.As the silence between us widened, something or someone inside said, "Ask him if he needs any help."I was sure that he would say "Yes" but I held true to the inner voice.
"Do you need any help?"
He answered in three simple but profound words that I shall never forget.
"Don't we all?"
We often look for wisdom in great men and women. We expect it from those of higher learning and accomplishments.I expected nothing but an outstretched grimy hand.He spoke the three words that shook me.
I was feeling high and mighty, successful and important, superior to a bum in the street, until those three words hit me like a twelve gauge shotgun.
"Don't we all?"
I needed help.Maybe not for bus fare or a place to sleep, but I needed help.I reached in my wallet and gave him not only enough for bus fare, but enough to get a warm meal and shelter for the day.Those three little words still ring true.No matter how much you have, no matter how much you have accomplished, you need help too.No matter how little you have, no matter how loaded you are with problems, even without money or a place to sleep, you can give help.Even if it's just a compliment, you can give that.
You never know when you may see someone that appears to have it all.They are waiting on you to give them what they don't have; a different perspective on life, a glimpse at something beautiful, and a respite from daily chaos, which only you through a torn world can see.
Maybe the man was just a homeless stranger wandering the streets.Maybe he was more than that.Maybe he was sent by a great and wise God, to minister to a soul too comfortable in himself.
Maybe God looked down, called an Angel, dressed him like a bum, and then said, "Go minister to that man cleaning the car, that man needs help."
We normally don't present devotionals whose author is unknown; but, sometimes the message is so powerful that we make exceptions.
We all need help.We needed help when Jesus walked the earth and we need help today.
"When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." (Matthew 9:36)
When Jesus sees us today, He is moved with sympathy for us, because we are bewildered, distressed and dejected, like sheep without a shepherd; and, if we will let Him into our hearts, He will take our hand and help us.
"Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus."
- Philippians 2:5
October 6, 2005
"I'm your Friend"
I'll be your friend if...I'll always be your friend unless...I'll be your friend until you...I'll be your friend when...I'd be your friend except...
Conditions!Lots and lots of conditions!
Is real friendship conditional?I recently heard someone say that friends are those people who come to you when everyone else is running away from you.
Almost two years ago, the Spirit of God touched my heart and I heard Jesus speak these words to me from the Michael W. Smith song Draw Me Close:
"Draw Me close to you.Never let Me go.I’d lay it all down again to here you say that I'm your friend.”
Jesus said He’d go to the cross again just to hear me say He is my friend... my friend!He wants my friendship!Brothers and Sisters, He wasn't just speaking to me that day... He was speaking to us all.
Jesus comes to us when everyone else is running away.He loves us when we're mired in sin; when we're ignoring His commands; and even when we've turned away from Him completely.His love for us is so totally unconditional that He died for us while we were still sinners.
What about our love for Him?
Do we go to Him when the world is running in the other direction; when it's not "politically correct" to stand up for Jesus?Even Peter denied being His friend when the cost became high.Is our love for Him conditional?
Jesus said, "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13) and He commanded us to: "Love each other as I have loved you." (John 15:12)
How can we love each other if we can't be friends without conditions?How can we love Jesus if we can't be His friend without conditions?Do we run to our friends when everyone else is running away?Do we run to them even when they're running away from us?
Jesus came to us and offered to be our friend and we drove nails into His hands.Still, He did not go away.We continue sinning and disobeying His commands; but, He continues to offer His friendship, love and forgiveness.
It's time for us to run to Him and say, "We don't care about the cost.We don't care about 'political correctness.'We don't care what people of the world think.We love You and... You are our friend!"
"Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus."
- Philippians 2:5
October 7, 2005
"When the Spirit touches you"
"The revelation of the Holy Spirit, which God gave to show his servants what power is available to those who believe.He made it known to his servant Ron, who testifies to everything he experienced - that is, the touch of the Spirit of God.Blessed is the one who reads these words and takes to heart what is written, because the Holy Spirit was sent for those who believe."
The Apostle John's words from Revelations 1:1-3 (highly paraphrased).
Dr. Morris Massey of the University of Colorado suggests the way we see life is determined in large part by the experiences we have and what we learn from those experiences.Massey refers to the “Significant Emotional Events” in our lives - those circumstances that shake us to our souls - not allowing us to ever be the same again; events that literally cause us to see the world through new eyes.
I recently had a “Significant Emotional Event” and will testify to my revelation so that you too may see the world through new eyes.
I recently had the privilege of leading an ordination ceremony for four new ministers.The ceremony included the laying on of hands, anointing with oil and prayer for each ordination recipient.Because I had never done this before, I was a little nervous (My wife would say very nervous).My greatest concern was over the prayer.I did not have sufficient personal knowledge of these recipients to know what to pray.What part of their lives needed to be touched by the Lord?What burdens needed to be lifted?What gifts had God placed within each of them that needed to be called forth and set free?How could I know; what was I to say.As the moment drew closer and closer, I became more and more anxious - to the point that I questioned whether I should even be a participant in the ceremony.I was near panic...
The ceremony was about to start and I was still in doubt; what was I to do?"Father, in Jesus' name, please help me!Tell me what to do!Let me speak Your words; not mine - This is all about You!"This cry to our Father shot through my mind so fast I didn't have time to consciously think of the words - They came from the only place they could - The only place that wasn't panicking - My spirit.He answered, in a way that has changed my life.He touched me...
We started and my words came like a flood from a bursting dam - They were fast, confident and focused on each individual as the ceremony progressed.It was as if I was watching someone else perform the ceremony.The words were coming from my mouth, things pertinent to each individual; but, things I didn't know.The Holy Spirit had taken over - My spirit cried out to Him and embraced Him - like a child who had been lost would embrace its mother.The presence of the Holy Spirit was unlike anything I've ever experienced - I could touch Him - and I knew it was the Spirit of God.I wanted to fall to my knees - I wanted to run - I wanted to cry out in worship; but, instead, we continued - The Spirit and me - We finished the ceremony together.
I became aware that tears were flowing from everyone - tears of joy, hope and love - gifts brought to us by the Holy Spirit.
It was finished and I could barely speak.I was visibly trembling; but, so awed by His presence that I asked for a short delay the service so we could spend a few minutes just praising and worshiping our Father.I've had close, personal encounters with our Lord before; but, this was a “Significant Emotional Event” that I will never forget.Jesus' words: "...do not worry about what to say or how to say it.At that time you will be given what to say" will always be with me.
I pray that each of you will be touched by this testimony.His Spirit is with us and will help and guide us any time we call; and, sometimes, in ways we would never expect.God said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."(Hebrews 13:5)Our Father is anxious to help His children.Please, never be afraid to ask.
"Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him."Let Him show Himself to you...