"'When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'" Matthew 25:38-40 (NIV)
While I don’t find war justifiable unless provoked, I do support our comrades in arms; those soldiers on the front lines protecting our religious freedoms and the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Often times, our soldiers return home to find a less than hero’s welcome and despite what’s promised, don’t always receive the medical care and support needed. “Helping a Hero” is an organization that provides a bridge over troubled water -- emotional and financial support for our severely wounded and disabled War on Terror Veterans, and their families.
Recently, my spouse and I joined some good friends to thank a few of these heroes through a charity ride from the inner-city of Houston to Seabrook, a small suburb.
You had to have witnessed police escorts blocking off on-ramps to both Highway 59 and I-45 as 500 motorcycles, two abreast, made their way to salute our service men and women. Each motorcycle proudly displayed the American Flag waving in the wind and many folks … waiting for us to pass…waved at us and we responded in return.
When we arrived, we were able to personally thank a number of heroes for their service and for making a sacrifice for us. There was plenty of food and camaraderie and in addition to our entry fee to ride, more money was raised from t-shirt sales and other items. Every dollar we raised was needed and more.
Saying “thank you” for the sacrifice of others is non-political, but it is biblical in scope. How can we say thank you for those who stand in harm’s way for us? Hear HIS Word and discover ways to let the grace and gratitude of our Heavenly Father minister to others.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, thank You for showing us how to love unconditionally through the sacrifice of your only son, our Lord and Savior. When we are weary, feeling small, when tears are in our eyes, You dry them all; You’re on our side. When times get rough and friends can’t be found, You’re our ‘bridge over troubled water.’ When we’re down and out, when we’re on the street, when evening falls so hard, You comfort us and take our part. When darkness comes and pain is all around, YOU ARE our ‘bridge over troubled water. (based on lyrics by Paul Simon)
When we list Old Testament women who knew the heart of Yahweh, there is none more noteworthy than Hannah (“Grace”), the wife of Elkanah. They had no children so she prayed and prayed to God for the blessing of a male child. God heard her cries and Samuel (“God hears”) was born. She promised that her son would be dedicated to the Lord, so when he was weaned she placed him in the care of Eli to be trained as a prophet.
Her extraordinary devotion to God can be heard in her prayer song (1st Samuel 2:1-10) “There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.” (V.2.) Wherever she walked, the ground was holy. When she went to Shiloh with her husband for the annual sacrifice, the utensils of worship and the temple where she prayed were holy.
Now here is the question I raise. What caused the places where she walked and the objects which Hannah touched to become holy? The place where you are sitting at this very moment, whether in your office at your place of employment, or at your computer in your home, or on the street corner where someone has handed you a printed copy of this devotional, it can be called a holy place (Exodus 3:5).
Of course, Hannah might be called a good person, maybe even a great woman. And you may be a wonderful husband, a devoted wife, or, by the world’s standard, even a great person. Beloved, humankind does not possess the ability to make a place, object or a person holy.
The essence of Holiness is ascribed to a person, place or object because of the character of God. True holiness comes to a place, person or object because it reflects the righteousness, love AND presence of God.
Someone asked me last week to define the word “saint” as it is applied to an individual. I said that a saint is a person who is “different” in character and attributes, made so by the infilling of God’s Spirit, not by any human blood line or prominent position in a church. The difference is the distinctive Holiness of God which permeates the heart, soul and actions of that person, everyday, 24-7.
Oh, to be like that all the time! I yearn to know that kind of walk with my Heavenly Father. Does your heart burn within you this very moment to be like that?
GospeLines Prayer:My Lord and my God, to whom I owe the gift of this day, give me the spirit to use it as I ought. Forbid that I should stain the glory of this morning with any evil thought or darken the afternoon with shameful deed. Allow the Holiness of your Spirit to breathe into my heart the purity of your heavenly desires. O, Father, I beseech you to inform my mind each moment with your truth. Let your justice and righteousness form a throne within me to rule my will. Cast away all the forces of evil and defeat all selfishness and worldly mindedness, and carry out your perfect plan in my life today. Amen and amen.
George W. Bush was walking through an airport shaking hands and speaking to the crowd, when he saw a barefoot man who was dressed in a robe, and carrying a tablet of stone with writing chiseled in it. The president asked the man, "Are you Moses?" but was impolitely ignored. This happened three times until Mr. Bush said, "If you are Moses, you certainly are behaving rudely."
The man answered, "The last time I spoke to a bush I spent 40 years in the wilderness!"
You may not meet Moses in an airport, but you could certainly meet God there, or anyplace else you wanted to. Meeting God changes the place where you are from ordinary to divine.
God spoke to Moses from the burning bush: "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground." (Exodus 3:5)
This scene didn't take place in a temple or church, not even at an altar or in a home. It was in a desert place with no one else around. What made it special was that God was there. Wherever you meet God is a place of holiness, made so, because of His presence. Take advantage of those wonderful times you spend alone with your Creator, wherever it may be. Even now, at the moment you read these words, you can have an encounter with God and make the place where you are sitting "holy ground," simply by whispering an "amen" to the Lord, or saying to Him, "I love you, Father."
GospeLines Prayer:Father, in this moment someone you love is agreeing with me in prayer, that they are on Holy Ground. May Your presence and power saturate his/her soul, so that this day will be special, unlike any other Monday he/she has ever known! Hallelujah! Amen and amen.
Murphy's Law states that "Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong." Sometimes Murphy wins. Sometimes, no matter how hard we try, things just don't go our way. And, sometimes, those "things" are pretty hard to overcome.
A wife is devastated because after years of marriage, a husband leaves her for another woman. A husband finds out that his wife is having an affair. A child, a spouse or a parent dies. Cancer! Heart attack! AIDS! War! Terrorism!
All these "things" are devastating and debilitating. These are the things that stop us in out tracks and make us wonder if life is worth living. And, they're usually outside of our control.
Other "things" are less traumatic; but, these littler things can be just as frustrating and confusing.
Someone at work or at church made a decision that we don't agree with. Our child has poor study habits and is struggling in school. We're overweight. A check just bounced. On and on it goes…
Even though some of these "little things" are in our control, they can nonetheless make life far less enjoyable.
Trouble! Tribulations! The things the world is made of…
Jesus said, "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)
He also said, "But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." (John 14:26) "I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it." (John 14:12-14)
So, take heart! Jesus overcame the world and, by His own words, so can you! "…Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." (John 14:27)
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” - Philippians 2:5