Richard O. Watkins was the first protestant minister to be licensed and ordained in the state of Texas. He was my great-great-grandfather. In 1841, he was pastor of a Presbyterian congregation in East Texas, and held a camp meeting near Nacogdoches, Texas, where many skeptical army officers and professional men lived. They had stubbornly resisted religion all their lives.
One was Captain Caddell. In Watkins’ unpublished autobiography, he said that the Captain was a true Texan, important in all the battles of the revolution, and witnessed the capture of Santa Anna. On a particular night of the camp meeting, my grandfather asked Caddell about his relationship with God. The Captain answered that he did not see or feel the need of anything more than he had. Woefully, the preacher accepted the answer but shared the message of salvation anyway, and asked him to think about it for the night.
Early next morning the Captain came to his pastor and said: “Sir, it is a truth, when I was a boy and up until I was a man I felt the very things you spoke of, resisted and took pleasure in sin; and I feel this morning that I am a wretched sinner justly doomed; is there hope for me?” My grandfather inquired, “Do you really want to be saved?”
“OH, YES, I would give all the world for pardon.” And in that moment a rugged soldier found God.
Beloved, will you know and share the good news that there is hope for everyone?The gospel of the 1800’s is as relevant now as it was then. And the unconditional love of God is unchanged. GLORY!
GospeLines Prayer:God of Redemption, speak to the hearts of each person who will read these words. It is never too late, as long as there is life in our bodies. You are the everlasting Voice of Pardon and Hope. Redeem us from the power of Satan and save us unto eternal life. Amen and amen.
A few weeks ago, I had the bright idea to purchase a colorful bird feeder for the red bird, doves and other species that are found in and around the house.
My spouse mounted the bracket on the side of the house and attached the feeder where I could view the birds from any vantage point off the living room or the breakfast nook.
I was so excited to see so many of God’s creatures coming to feed.However, I wound up with an unexpected surprise!
Two squirrels found their way across the roofline, would climb down the side of our brick house and use the feeder too!The squirrel seems to eat most of the food and the poor birds get little.
After a lot of thought, my spouse had another bright idea.He’d buy some PVC pipe; attach a tee to it, some wood to then attach the bracket.It was moved into the yard away from the house and we had a foolproof plan, so we thought!
We looked up and the squirrel was climbing the pole with little difficulty.He then perched himself on the feeder until we shooed it away.
That squirrel is determined to get food, despite the obstacles we put in its way.If he can’t climb the pole, he eats the leftovers the birds scatter on the ground.
His tenacity reminds me of the parable of the seed found in Mark 4:13-20 (New Century Version)
Jesus Explains the Seed Story
13Then Jesus said to his followers, "Don't you understand this story? If you don't, how will you understand any story? 14The farmer is like a person who plants God's message in people.15Sometimes the teaching falls on the road. This is like the people who hear the teaching of God, but Satan quickly comes and takes away the teaching that was planted in them.16Others are like the seed planted on rocky ground. They hear the teaching and quickly accept it with joy.17But since they don't allow the teaching to go deep into their lives, they keep it only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the teaching they accepted, they quickly give up.18Others are like the seed planted among the thorny weeds. They hear the teaching, 19but the worries of this life, the temptation of wealth, and many other evil desires keep the teaching from growing and producing fruit in their lives. 20Others are like the seed planted in the good ground. They hear the teaching and accept it. Then they grow and produce fruit - sometimes thirty times more, sometimes sixty times more, and sometimes a hundred times more."
GospeLines Prayer:Father, there are no foolproof plans in life.We don’t have that kind of power, but You have the perfect plan!
May we have the tenacity of the squirrel… always seeking, pushing onward to know You and to feed on Your word.Despite the obstacles that may come our way, we can be only be fruitful when we are rooted firmly in You.
Thank You, Lord for being merciful and for providing the food to sustain us.We know we are “not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under Your table. But thou art the same Lord.”
In His Love,
≈ Devotional for Wednesday, November 28, 2007
"If I Should Die Before I Live"
Doris Dillon dreamed all her life of being a teacher. She not only made it, she was one of those wondrous teachers who could wring the best out of every single child.One of her fellow teachers in San Jose, Calif., said “she could teach a rock to read.”
Suddenly she was stricken with Lou Gehrig’s disease, which is always fatal, usually within five years. She asked to stay on the job and did. When her voice was affected she communicated by computer.
Did she go home? She continued running two elementary school libraries. When the disease was diagnosed, she wrote the staff and all the families that she had one last lesson to teach - that dying is part of living. Her colleagues named her Teacher of the Year.
The old saying, “He has one foot in the grave,” is an unkind description of elderly people or someone who might be terminally ill. I have never been in a life threatening situation, so I don’t really know how I would deal with it. But I would hope that I could be courageous, as when David faced Goliath; and faithful, as the woman who sneaked through the crowd to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment.
To face my own mortality is humbling. No one knows the hour when we shall breathe our final breath, or give that last hug to a child, or say that last “I love you.” God wants us to know that dying is a part of living; yes, but He wants me to live, REALLY LIVE every day! The greatest testimony of a dying saint is that he/she lived until he/she died!
GospeLines Prayer:Father, my greatest fear is not that one day my soul shall pass from this mortal body into Your presence.My greatest fear is that I might die before I live.Let it not be, O Lord.Teach me how to live life to the fullest in the power of Your Spirit!Amen and amen!
"...if My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." (2nd Chronicles 7:14)
"My People Turn"
Many people have asked, "How do I know that I'm saved?"Although there may be many ways to answer this question, one of the best ways to understand our salvation is to understand the process by which our Lord brings us into His family.
When we're saved - adopted into the family of Christ - God declares us to be righteous (right-standing before Him) and removes the guilt & penalty of our sin.This occurs the moment we trust Christ - not because we've done anything to deserve it, but because of His limitless grace.
Those God declares righteous begin the process of living a Christina life - learning to think, speak and act more and more like Christ each day.As we grow in Christ, God begins working in us to remove the growth and power of sin.Will we continue to sin?Absolutely!"...all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23)
When we were saved - declared righteous by our Lord and Savior when we submitted ourselves to Him - we stopped living according to our sinful nature and started living according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:2-4)
We started running "in such a way as to get the prize." (1st Corinthians 9:24)
Are you running in such a way as to win the prize?Are youturning from your wicked ways as the growth and power of sin are being removed from your life as your walk with the Lord continues from day to day?If so, your salvation is assured.If not, "Get up! Pick up your mat and walk." Because the same Lord that healed the man in John 5 is faithful and true to heal you if you only believe.Amen and Amen!
"Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus."
- Philippians 2:5
≈ Devotional for Friday, November 30, 2007
"I Have a Dream"
(The third Monday of February is celebrated as President’s Day in honor of two of our greatest leaders, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, whose birthdays fall during the month of February. February is also Black History Month.)
No single man has influenced American History in my lifetime more than Martin Luther King, Jr. On the steps at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, August 28, 2963, Reverend King reached out to his embattled race and challenged a nation embroiled in heated controversy. He said:
“I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.’ “
Beloved, I have a dream that our nation will again embrace the godly principles which caused our forefathers to leave the security of their land, sail across a treacherous ocean, and establish a nation of their own, founded upon religious freedom. Let this day be a sober reminder that America is great, not because of our elite military forces, or our tremendous wealth. We are great because there has always been a remnant who knows that true greatness comes when we pray!
In February, 2002 our president said,
“Since we met last year, millions of Americans have been led to prayer. They have prayed for comfort in time of grief; for understanding in a time of anger; for protection in a time of uncertainty. Many, including me, have been on bended knee... My family and I have been blessed by the prayers of countless Americans. We have felt their sustaining power and we’re incredibly grateful. Tremendous challenges await this nation, and there will be hardships ahead. Faith will not make our path easy, but it will give us strength for the journey.” - President George W. Bush, National Prayer
Will you humble your heart with me today, and join me in sincere prayer for our presidents, past, present and future? Likewise, will you share my dream and pray that we may soon celebrate equality among the races in our pluralistic society, and that strife between brothers will end? It all begins with you and me.
GospeLines Prayer:God of the universe, Father of all nations, what will it take to bring America to her knees of faith? You see our strife and bigotry... You witness our flippant attitude about prayer, yet You have been patient with us for a very long time. Deliver us from the cocky precept that we don’t need You as we once did. Give us humility so that we may rise from the dust of apathy and renew a right spirit with You. Amen and amen.