September 2008

Help me!

Story of the day:  Help me!

     Billy Graham writes about how “once a poor Chinese woman went up to the foothills to cut grass.  Her baby was tied to her back and a little child walked beside her.

     Just as she reached the top of a hill, she heard a roar.  Frightened, she turned and saw a mother tigress springing at her, followed by her two cubs.

     The illiterate Chinese woman had never attended school or church, but a missionary once told her about Jesus, “who is able to help you when you are in trouble.”  As the tiger’s claws tore into her arm, the woman cried out, “O Jesus, help me!”  The tiger, instead of attacking again, suddenly turned and ran away.

     What “beasts” are attacking you?  Chances are you will never be attacked by a wild tiger, but you may be attacked by doubts, fears, worry, loneliness, or despair.

     Cry out to Jesus and He will answer you just as surely as the Chinese woman’s desperate cry was heard and answered.”

Quote of the day:  Bill Bright

“Prayer accomplishes more than anything else.”

Bible verse of the day:  Psalm 91:11

“For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.”

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank You for sharing Your Word with me daily.  It is Your Word that sustains me in all aspects of my life.  Father, just as this Chinese woman cried out to You and You heard her cry, my prayer for today is for someone that is experiencing their own tiger attacks.  Whether it be doubt, fear, worry, loneliness, or despair, Father, I pray that they too will cry out and see for themselves how quickly You come to them and how much You love them.  There is nothing out there too big for You to handle, and once we give it over to You, things always go smoother.  I thank You for this beautiful day!

In Jesus Name I pray,

Amen

September 2008

Unconditional Love

Story of the day:  Unconditional Love

     One Sunday a little boy looked up at his dad and asked, “Daddy, how does God love us?”  His father answered, “Son, God loves us with an unconditional love.”

     The lad thought for a moment and then asked, “Daddy, what kind of love is unconditional love?”  After a few minutes of silence his father answered, “Do you remember the two boys who used to live next door to us and the cute little puppy they got last Christmas?” “Yes.”  “Do you remember how they used to tease it, throw sticks and even rocks at it?”  “Yes.”  “Do you also remember how the puppy would always greet them with a wagging tail and would try to lick their faces?”  “Yes.”  “Well, that puppy had an unconditional love for those two boys.  they certainly didn’t deserve his love for them because they were mean to him.  But, he loved them anyway.”

     The father then made his point:  “God’s love for us is also unconditional.  Men throw rocks at his Son, Jesus, and hit him with sticks.  They even killed him.  But, Jesus loved them anyway.”

Quote of the day:  Vonette Bright

“You can be sure you are abiding in Christ if you are able to have a Christlike love toward the people that irritate you the most.”

Bible verse of the day:  Romans 13:10

“Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

I have been praying to open my heart to love others the way that You love me.  The love that You have shared with me to give to others is beyond what I could ever imagine.  Thank You for loving me this much.  The Love that You have is so great that even when one drop spills over from Heaven, it has saturated my life and touched me to my very core.  I can’t express how grateful I am to You for it.  I pray that the love that I have will spill over into compassion that I show towards others while doing Your Will.  Open the eyes of my heart, that I may see others the way that You do, and that is with eyes of Love.  I thank You for this day!

In Jesus Name I pray,

Amen

Funny Friday Picks, September 2008

Funny Friday Quote: Daylight Savings Time

Funny Friday Quote:  Daylight Savings Time

 “On Sunday, the first day of daylight saving time, a sleepy-eyed congregation watched the young pastor ascend the pulpit in Washington church.  Not looking to wide-awake himself, he began, “As you all know, we lost an hour last night because of daylight-savings time.  I don’t know which hour you lost, but I lost the hour in which I usually write my sermon.”

He returned to the pulpit and continued the service.

Bible verse of the day:  Psalm 89:8

“O LORD God of hosts, Who is mighty like You, O LORD?  your faithfulness surrounds You.”

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank You for a blessed day.  Thank You that Your Will is done and not mine.  I will praise You with all of my heart.  Thank You for providing me with all that I have, loving me for who I am, and guiding me in my life.  I find hope in Your Word.  I thank You for my life, this day, and all that it holds!

In Jesus Name I pray,

Amen

September 2008

On the same page

Story of the day:  On the same page

     Dr. Tony Evans, a pastor in Dallas, Texas writes:  “There was one assignment in seminary that I’ll never forget.

     A professor known for his high standard asked us to write a paper.  I took this challenge seriously and set a goal to impress him with my knowledge of the subject, my research and writing.  I was going to give every effort to this so there would be NO way he couldn’t give me an “A”.

     But when I got the paper back, I was stunned to see an “F,” marked at the top.  I was confused, even angry.  I couldn’t comprehend why he just wrote off my efforts like that!  Then I saw his comment, “Great effort, but you answered the wrong question!”

     It wasn’t that I didn’t work hard or that I wasn’t sincere about the assignment.  I simply missed what the professor wanted from me.  As the old saying goes, “We weren’t on the same page.”

     That experience–although I failed the assignment–gave me one of the greatest lessons I have learned, one I continue to share with Christians about living for God.

     Many believers are working hard at the Christian life–coming to church, reading their Bible, saying prayers and trying to live better each day–but are ultimately failing because they are answering the wrong question.

     It’s not that they lack sincerity or honesty or the drive to please God.  But the real question to ask is, “Do you understand what God is asking of you?”

     Ultimately, God’s purpose in you is not about trying harder; it’s about the image of Jesus shining through your life.

     If I could only give you two verses from the Bible to help guide you along your spiritual walk, I would start with the encouraging words of Romans 8:28 (KJV), And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.  We get excited about God’s promise to work through the good and the bad in our lives…but we often miss the fact that He is working for His purpose.  That purpose is found in Romans 8:29 (KJV), For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.  (That’s you and me!)

     We can dream up a lot of purposes in our lives and ask God to bless them, but they might not have anything to do with His purpose in our lives.  It’s God’s priority to make a whole community of people who look just like His Son.

     That is His purpose, His driving force and the only assignment He grades.  It’s the only place He’s going; if you’re not going there, you’re not on the same page as God.  You can spend a whole lot of time trying to get God to bless your “page” when that was not God’s purpose for you at all.  And since He’s the “Professor” and we’re in His class, He gets to make the assignment!”

     The good news is that we ARE equipped to make the grade, complete the assignment and hear a “well done” at the end of the journey.  That’s because when we gave our lives to Christ, God put His DNA is us.  We have been given the ability to carry out the assignment…to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ, and to reflec that growth as we live out our lives for Him.  His main assignment is to see us conformed to the image of Jesus, and live life as He intended.”  Are you on the same page?

Quote of the day:  Pastor Jeff Burke

“It’s not a lifestyle, it’s my life.”

Bible verse of the day:  Luke 22:42

“saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.”

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank You for teachers and preachers that bring  us messages so humbling, yet powerful.  I thank You for Dr. Tony Evans and the things that He has shared with us today.  He says it best, “I pray to be more like You every day, not by the things I am doing, the promises that I make to be better, or the will power that I think I have, but by Your Holy Spirit that lives within me.  Father, I pray that Your purpose becomes my purpose and that is to be conformed to the image of Christ.”  I thank You for this day and Your Will to be done.

In Jesus Name I pray,

Amen

September 2008

Play on the one string we have

Story of the day:  Play on the one string we have

     Chuck Swindoll writes:  “The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.  Attitude, to me, is more important than facts.  It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do.  It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill.  It will make or break a company…a church…a home.  The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day.  We cannot change our past…We cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way.  We cannot change the inevitable.  The only thing we do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude….I am convinced that life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how to react to it.  And so it is with you.  We are in charge of our attitudes.”

Quote of the day:  William J. Bennett

“There are no menial jobs, only menial attitudes.”

Bible verse of the day:  Ephesians 4:23

“and be renewed in the spirit of your mind,”

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

My attitude sets up the outcome of circumstances in my life.  Father,  I pray to have a good attitude towards things or people that I come across.  Soften my heart that I may treat others the way that You treat me.  Father, I know that I have the choice to either have a good attitude or a bad one, and I ask for wisdom in choosing the one that is good.  I thank You for this day!

In Jesus Name I pray,

Amen

September 2008

Don’t be so quick to judge!

Story of the day:  Don’t be so quick to judge!

     Since we have moved to Dallas, the traffic has by far, become challenging.  People will swerve into your lane without looking back to see how close you are, knowing that if you hit them from behind, it’s your fault.  As my frustration on the road begins, I try to empathize with other drivers, but sometimes, how close people get to hitting me and my kids, gets me all worked up.  Could I be wrong?  Is there something that I am doing or not doing while driving?  Is it always the other drivers?  How I respond in this situation could have either a positive or negative outcome.  Either way, it is my choice to decide how I am going to react.  Trust me, it’s real easy to want to get upset!  But why?  What will my getting angry do for me?

     Dave Egner writes:  “Some of us are quick to find fault with our fellow believers.  In the name of “encouraging” or “exhorting,” we point out the sins and shortcomings of our brothers and sisters in Christ without seeing our own failures or guild” (Luke 6:37-42).  My need to get somewhere in a hurry, may lead me to act either hastily or in a way that will find fault with others.  But again, it’s a choice that I make in that instant.

     I am reminded of a similar situation about a woman by the name of “Denise McKinney.  She was driving through the streets of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, late one evening when an oncoming car turned left in front of her.  She honked her horn to let the person know he had nearly caused an accident by his carelessness.

     When she parked her car a few minutes later, the same car pulled up beside her and the driver got out.  “The next time you honk your horn at someone,” he said, “maybe you should make sure your headlights are on.”  Sure enough, in her haste she had forgotten to turn on her lights.  She had been so convinced he was in the wrong that she never saw her own error.  She was the one who had almost caused an accident.

     We often act in a similar way.  We’re quick to judge the behavior of others and point out their error.  Jesus prefers that we examine our own lives and be quick to say, “I was wrong.  Please forgive me.”

Quote of the day:  Bosch

“Be quick to judge yourself and slow to judge others.”

Bible verse of the day:  Luke 6:42

“Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the plank that is in your own eye?  Hypocrite!  First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother’s eye.”

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

It is easy to find fault with others, especially when we, as the Word so greatly says, can’t see through the plank that is in our eye.  Father, I pray that in the split decision that I have to either be upset or let it roll off my back, that I choose the later.  Father, I don’t get anything from being upset.  It just makes things worse.  Father, I pray for wisdom to make good choices, choices that bring Glory to Your Kingdom, in all areas of my life.  I thank You for this day!

In Jesus Name I pray,

Amen

September 2008

Flip this castle

Story of the day: Flip this castle

     Jeff and I like to watch home renovation shows.  One of our favorites is Flip this house.  I love seeing the demolition of the house and in a certain time period, the finished product. 

     David McCasland writes in Home Improvementabout just that.  He says, “Have you ever wanted to live in a castle, than this is your chance.  The state of Saxony in eastern Germany has a dozen castles for sale, each priced at one German mark (which is just over half a US dollar.)

     There is a catch, however.  According to a New York Times article, the historic structures are in advanced stages of disrepair, and buyers must restore each property “consistent with its historical architecture.”  Estimates for restoration run from $7 million to $60 million per castle.

     It has occurred to me that buying a fixer-upper’s nightmare gives us a picture of what God has done for each of us in Jesus.  Ephesians 2:1 bluntly states our condition without Christ–“dead in trespasses and sins.”  But the hopelessness of the human condition never deters God’s love.

     The renovation and renewal the Father carries out in all who receive His Son begins with new life.  “But God,…even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ” (v.4-5).  And what God purchased at the great cost of His only Son, He gives to us freely. (v.5-9)

     Like derelict castles restored far beyond their former glory, our transformed lives point others to God, who is rich in mercy, grace, and love.”

Quote of the day:  Anonymous

“When we receive Christ, God’s work isn’t over–it has just begun.”

Bible verse of the day:  Ephesians 2:10

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank You for taking my old body and renovating it, making it new.  Thank You for being rich in mercy and love, because I was once dead in my sins and am now made alive in Christ.  Father, I pray as Your workmanship to walk in Truth and Love as Your Son did.  I thank You for this day!

In Jesus Name I pray,

Amen