"A sluggard does not plow in season; so at harvest time he looks but finds nothing.The purposes of a man's heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out.Many a man claims to have unfailing love, but a faithful man who can find?"(Proverbs 20:4-6 - NIV)
Appearances can be deceiving.Sometimes, a person appears very calm on the exterior, but they are more complex on the interior.The same holds true for some bodies of water – the surface may appear calm, but deep water often has increasingly strong currents, the deeper you dive.
There was a recent 60 Minutes segment on Christians living in Iraq since Saddam Hussein's regime was toppled.
The segment showed mostly women and children, but very few men, practicing their faith in a secret location.The last surviving church is headed by an Anglican priest, Rev. Cannon Andrew White, who suffers from Multiple Sclerosis.The reporter asked Rev. White about the whereabouts of the men.Rev. White responded that most Christians are being hunted, murdered and forced to flee - persecuted on a biblical scale in Iraq's religious civil war.
Even though Christians had lived in Iraq over 2,000 years, it's never been as bad as it is now.The reporter noted that one would "have to be mad to hold a Christian service in Iraq today."
As the women and children line up to be fed the Lord's Supper, things appear calm, but still waters run deep.Even when they stood in line for a hot meal (the only one they may have during any given week), things were not as tranquil as they appeared.Any moment they could be discovered and killed!
Imagine not being able to practice your faith openly.Imagine taking a chance on being captured and killed for being a member of the minority religion.
Some families have fled to nearby countries, fearing for their lives and the lives of their children.Many have no idea where their husbands are; if dead or imprisoned.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, your children are scattered like seeds amidst the rocky, barren land.But, through it all, they have Your light and love.I admire them for having the courage and conviction to continue to have faith and to know that whatever the situation, You are with them.
Still waters run deep…
In His Love,
≈ Devotional for Tuesday, December 18, 2007
"Too Much Pride Causes Trouble…"
"The lamp of a good person keeps on shining; the lamp of an evil person soon goes out.Too much pride causes trouble.Be sensible and take advice.Money wrongly gotten will disappear bit by bit; money earned little by little will grow and grow."(Proverbs 13:9-11 - Contemporary English Version)
The Mackinac Bridge, located off of I-75 between St. Ignace on the north and Mackinaw City on the south, connects those two peninsulas of Michigan at the Straits of Mackinac.
Completed in 1957, it is now the third largest suspension bridge in the world at five miles long.Forty-two thousand miles of wire were used in each main cable; tension of each cable is 16,000 tons and the bridge’s total weight is 1,024,500 tons.Unfortunately, several workers fell to their death while the bridge was under construction.
One massive undertaking is planned starting in 2008 through its completion – to strip all coats of paint down to the raw metal and to reapply primer and surface paint. Layers and layers of paint are on that bridge – some places have chipped and others have rusted away.
Listening to the ongoing projects in the story, it reminded me of the importance of maintaining our own health – physically, emotionally and spiritually.
The story highlighted the fact that it will take years to get the many layers of paint off the bridge to expose the naked metal.
If we’re honest with ourselves and God, we too, have many layers to strip away to get to the truth of who we are and whose we are.Often, we don’t choose to do that; we continue to pile on more and more paint.As a result, others don’t really know us and we often don’t recognize ourselves.
We may think we’re protecting ourselves or that we’re being considerate of others, but it’s far from the truth.Very few of us have pristine pasts.
Some ‘think’ they are the master of disguise and pride is the primary conduit of deception.“I’m too proud to tell you the truth.Really, it’s my business anyway.I don’t love and respect myself enough to reveal myself to you.Better to throw you crumbs… and pretend that all is well.”As the adage goes, “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.”
We’ve hidden so many parts of ourselves beneath the layers.And, it takes more each time… more booze, more drugs, more sex, more food, or whatever the addiction is to ease the pain.It’s a very slow death that doesn’t particularly go down easy.Satan may convince you it’s a rosy picture, but we know better, don’t we?
GospeLines Prayer:Father, I’m on my knees asking You to dissolve the bondage I have to whatever sin.Strip me clean of my various disguises and equip me to bare my truth.Remove the various layers wherein I’ve hidden the real me.Help me to shine Your light and to escape the darkness.
It isn’t a pretty picture, Lord, but I want to live in truth as found in 1st John 2:7-9 (Amplified Bible):
"Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the message which you have heard [the doctrine of salvation through Christ].Yet I am writing you a new commandment, which is true (is realized) in Him and in you, because the darkness (moral blindness) is clearing away and the true Light (the revelation of God in Christ) is already shining."
In His Love,
≈ Devotional for Wednesday, December 19, 2007
"Please excuse our dust..."
Our family was recently on vacation in Florida and stayed at a Daytona Beach resort.Unknown to us when we made the reservation, the resort was in the middle of an extensive remodeling project.When we got off of the elevator on the first day, we saw a sign that read:
"Please excuse our dust.We're remodeling to serve our favorite person better... and that person is You!"
After reading that sign, all the construction and inconvenience didn't seem like such a problem... after all, they were making these improvements for me!
I also found it interesting that they chose not to close down any of the facilities during the renovations - even those that were not 100% completed.Although there were some inconveniences, they stayed open and did their very best to serve their "favorite person" anyway.
If you love someone with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength (Mark 12:30), that person's probably your "favorite person."
If you have received Christ as your Lord and Savior (if He is your "favorite person"), your body is His "Daytona Beach Resort.""Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, Who is in you, Whom you have received from God." (1st Corinthians 6:19).He lives in you!Does your "resort" need remodeling?
When one of your friends come to your home, you pick up... a little.When, your parents come to visit, you might clean for a day or two.If the King (or President) were to schedule a visit, you might hire a maid and a gardener; you might consider some painting or some new furniture - You'd go all out to make sure your "resort" was in the best condition possible - the best you could make it.
What would you do for the King of Kings?Is your body (His temple) in the best condition possible?If not, why not?Are your friends, parents or even the President more important that the Holy Spirit?
If you aren’t all you should be - all you're capable of being - don't give up; just put up a sign and go to work:
"Please excuse our dust.We're remodeling to serve our favorite person better... and that person is Jesus!"
By the way, He loves you so much that if you'll ask, He'll help you with the remodeling.And remember, He doesn't expect you to be perfect - just all you can be with His help...
"…we can face Him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world."