Some shortcuts can be helpful, but most can lead to disaster.
The city of Houston, TX, is crisscrossed with railroad tracks running east and west, north and south.In some places, two tracks run parallel to each other.It was about 9 A.M. on a workday, traffic was heavy, and the red lights began to flash at the intersection of one of those dangerous “two-parallel-track crossings,” warning of an oncoming train.I slowed to a stop behind five cars in my lane and watched the barriers fold down while the southbound train approached on the track nearest me."This will make me late for my appointment," I muttered to myself.
As the rail cars on the first track were coming to an end, I noticed the car ahead of me begin to pull out of the lane of traffic.I knew that he was going try an ill-advised maneuver by driving around the barricade as soon as the train passed, just to get a jump on the rest of the traffic.But he didn't see the locomotive speeding down the track from the other direction on the northbound side of the railroad tracks.The shortcut met with disastrous results.He never made his appointment.
Life offers many temptations for shortcuts.Most never work out.Dr. Roger A. Rhoades, psychologist, said: "The best way to avoid these shortcut disasters is to make a commitment to healthy growth and development.TIME, WORK, and FAITH are the three main ingredients of this process.In a world that continues to bombard you with the ideas that time is your enemy, hard work is for the brainless and faith is a crutch for those who are not strong enough to make their own breaks, it is very difficult to stay committed to (a task, relationship, work) that needs all three ingredients."
GospeLines Prayer:Father, I pray that TIME will never become my adversary, that WORK will always be a blessing, and that FAITH will forever keep me from taking too many shortcuts.Amen and amen.
"Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for I pray to no one but you.Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord.Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly.O God, you take no pleasure in wickedness; you cannot tolerate the sins of the wicked."Psalm 5:2-4 (NLT)
Have you waited for a phone call to come or a package to arrive, only to find that it doesn’t come when you expect it or in the way anticipated?We’ve all been anxious for things to be a certain way.In fact, we probably have planned our lives and responses based on certain “expectations.”We are disappointed with the results and have set ourselves up for the worst possible scenario.
I’m sure the parents of Patrick Henry Hughes had a different expectation at the birth of their son 18 years ago.This young man was recently featured on ABC’s World News Tonight.
What’s unique about this freshman at the University of Louisville is the fact he can’t see or walk.Yet, he is a college student and in the marching band!
When interviewed, he was such a joyous young man.While God didn’t give him the ability to see or walk, he said “God gave me the talent to play the piano, the trumpet and all that good stuff!”
If you didn’t see the segment, you may wonder how he’s able to accomplish these feats.You see, God gave him another gift, his family, but especially his devoted father, Patrick John Hughes.
His father works the night shift so that he can function as his son’s eyes in the classroom and his legs on the field.His father has to learn all of the band’s routines and you should see him maneuver that wheelchair – truly a sight to behold.In all things, he’s got his son’s back!
GospeLines Prayer:Father, thank You for reminding us that we can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens us.
When we are having our own pity party, let us look to this story and other miracles You perform daily.May we always realize we are where You want us to be to learn “the lesson.”
Lord, I’m thankful you’ve got my back and may I expect the unexpected!!!
Eleven year old Brenden Foster said he wanted to make a difference before his time came.Three years ago he was diagnosed with leukemia.He lost the battle on November 21, 2008, but not before leaving a legacy that will never be forgotten.
His dying wish was to help the homeless by sharing food and water with them. “I was coming home from one of my clinic appointments and I saw this big thing full of homeless people and then I thought, I should just get them something.”And the nation responded by donating tens of thousands of dollars and tons of food on Brenden’s behalf.
His darkest hour was his brightest light.
This is the Thanksgiving season here in the United States, a time of family and fellowship, lots of games, laughter and food.When Thursday comes around I’m sure I will eat more than my share of turkey and dressing, and I am drooling over that pecan pie my wife has promised.But my heart is melancholy right now, thinking about Brenden’s homeless, and my starving friends in Zimbabwe.My heart goes out to all of them. Oh, how I wish I could make a difference!
What would be your dying wish if your doctor said, as he did to Brenden, “You have only two weeks to live!”
Many might wish for an expensive vacation around the world, or an opportunity to visit a famous person.A child might dream about going to a fire station and sounding the siren.I would hope my last wish would not be a frivolous one.
My prayer is that in my final hour my heart would turn to my family, my friends… those whom I know that are still starving to death because they have not tasted of the Bread of Life nor drank from the cup of Living Water.The greatest gift I can offer to anyone is a morsel from the Lord’s Table of Bountiful Blessing.
Give someone that priceless treasure of Everlasting Life!
GospeLines Prayer:Father, many times you have spread Your table before me and I have partaken without sharing it with others.My desire is that You will give me a moment in time when I will not only be able to share, but that they will receive, as well.Please, Lord, these are the people I love dearest of all.Help me make a way for them to find You before it is too late.Amen and amen
Four years ago today, I talked to my Dad.He was 84 years old and in my mind he would live forever.My wife spoke with him and one of my daughters as well.The conversation lasted almost an hour and ended with the usual statements of: "I love you”; “We'll talk again soon”; and, “Let's get together real soon."
The next day my Step-Mom called to say Dad had gone home...
However, when I think back to that Thanksgiving Day, the memories are far more about God’s love than of sadness.I remember how God wiped away the tears and poured joy into my life.
On the way to Dad's funeral, Dr. Tommy called and invited me to become one of GospeLines writers.That gift has allowed me to serve God in ways I never dreamed of before; and, it has been a blessing to my family and me that continues to this day.
Since that fateful day, my younger sister and I have become closer than we ever imagined possible.We have been drawn together by this common bond of earthly grief and Heavenly love.
God’s hand was in everything that happened during those days four years ago and those events drew me closer to my family, closer to my friends and closer to Christ.
Paul’s words in 1st Thessalonians 5:16-19 give both direction and reason for times such as those: "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.Do not put out the Spirit's fire..."
No matter what our earthly circumstances, we are blessed by our Heavenly Father in ways beyond description.We have eternal life with Christ Jesus.We have the favor of God and the joy and peace He gives us.We have His grace and His forgiveness.Most of all, we have His love.What more could we want?What circumstances could possible take away from the joy given to us by the Lord?
This year, as you mark another day of Thanksgiving, go into a private place and share with the Lord your wonder, your joy and your thankfulness for the many blessings He has given you.Most of all, thank Him for the Holy Spirit which burns brightly inside each of His children with a fire that cannot be quenched by the darts and arrows of this world.
"When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you." (Deuteronomy 8:10 - NIV)
“…I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father,but byMe.”
- John 14:6 (KJV)
≈ Devotional for Friday, November 28, 2008
“Strength in Numbers”
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 which had been gouged into the landscape by 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 accommodate 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.
GospeLines 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.