Archive for the ‘September 2009’ Category

Story of the day:  Shaking up our roots

You have probably heard me say before that not too many people like change.  Change can be difficult, especially once we have gotten “comfortable” where we are.  It becomes easier to stay than to move.  I found a riveting story that Jan Riggenbach wrote about.  She says,

Giving new bedding plants some rough treatment at planting time,” she says, “may be the best thing you can do to help them survive in the garden.  When I was new to gardening, I tried to set tomatoes, petunias, and other bedding plants in the garden without disturbing their roots at all.  Nowadays, I’m much more ruthless…”

Riggenbach says she squeezes the bottoms of the flexible plastic pots to get the plants out of their container and then she inspects the soil ball.

“If the plant has been growing in its pot so long that the roots are circling the bottom,” says Riggenbach, “I jab my finger into the bottom of the soil and pull down to untangle the roots…If the whole pot is filled with circling roots, I have to be merciless.  I don’t worry if I break some of the roots; that’s better than allowing the roots to continue to circle when the plants are growing in the garden.  Most bedding plants shrug off this rough treatment.”

Christians often resemble rootbound plants.  We grow complacent and comfortable where we are.  Our roots circle around and around in the same small area, no longer reaching out for life and nourishment and growth.  The healthiest thing God can do for us is shake up our roots and put us in new soil.  [Riggenbach, Jan.  Midwest Gardening.  Daily Harold, 8 May 1994.]

Quote of the day:  Ralph Waldo Emerson

“People wish to be settled.  Only as far as they are unsettled is there any hope for them.”

Bible verse of the day:  John 15:2

“Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

I pray to be stirred up and moved around so that I don’t get comfortable where I am.  May my branches be pruned so that I may bear more fruit.  I pray to not circle as the plants do in the same area, but that I am reaching out for more soil and nourishment from Your Word and Your Grace.  I love You and thank You for this blessed day!

In Jesus Name I pray,

Amen

 

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Story of the day:  Are you Sodium, Chloride, or both?

Chemicals by themselves can be dangerous by themselves.  But when mixed with other chemicals, can be used for our common every day living.  Take Sodium for instance,

Sodium is an extremely active element found naturally only in combined form; it always links itself to another element.  Chlorine, on the other hand, is the poisonous gas that gives bleach its offensive odor.  When sodium and chlorine are combined, the result is sodium chloride–common table salt–the substance we use to preserve meat and bring out its flavor.

Love and truth can be like sodium and chlorine.  Love without truth is flighty, sometimes blind, willing to combine with various doctrines.  On the other hand, truth by itself can be offensive, sometimes even poisonous.  Spoken without love, it can turn people away from the gospel.

When truth and love are combined in an individual or a church, however, then we have what Jesus called, “the salt of the earth,” and we’re able to preserve and bring out the beauty of our faith. [Larson, Craig.  2007.  750 Engaging Illustration for preachers, teachers, and writers.  Baker Books Publishing. p.593.]

Quote of the day:  Martin Luther

“Peace, if possible, but the truth at any rate.”

Bible verse of the day:  Matthew 5:13a (NKJV)

“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses flavor, how shall it be seasoned?”

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

I pray to always use Your truth and love that is dwelling deep within to be the salt of the earth, reaching those that don’t know You as their Lord and Saviour.  Father bless this day as I meet people who I don’t know and witness to those around me, through Your Grace, Love, and Mercy.  Provide me with Your Words of Wisdom that anything that comes from my mouth, honors and blesses Your Holy Name.  Today I pray for those that are needing rest, those that are needing to be lifted because of things that may be happening in their life, and I pray for lives to be saved, changed, and restored all for Your Glory!  I thank You for this blessed day. 

In Jesus Name I pray,

Amen

 

 

Everything changed

Posted: September 28, 2009 in September 2009

Story and Quote of the day:  Everything changed

Campus Life magazine told the conversion story of singer Kathy Troccoli.  She grew up with an overprotective mother, and as Kathy got older, she rebelled, abusing alcohol and suffering eating disorders.

Says Kathy, “Maybe you’ve heard the phrase, ‘We are as sick as our secrets.’ I was real sick.”

While Kathy started out rebelling against an overprotective mom, she wound up rebelling against herself–and at the expense of her own health and self-esteem.  Into this swirl of rebellion and alcohol and unhappiness, Jesus came–in the form of a nerd.

At the time, Kathy was partying  with her friends and singing in clubs by night.

By day, she was working her summer job at a community pool, and Cindy was her prissy co-worker who read the Bible every day during lunch.

“She was the epitome of a girl that I would not hang out with.”  says Kathy.  “I hung out with harder girls.  Tougher.  Cindy was kind of frilly.  Pink–she was like a pink girl.  And when she started telling me about Jesus, I made fun of her.  And yet, somewhere deep down inside, I admired her.  I was intrigued by her boldness.  I liked it that she didn’t seem to care what people thought about her.  I even suspected she was right, and that I was on the wrong path.”

Kathy new the truth of Christianity hung by a thin thread called faith.  She knew there were unanswerable questions, and day after day she fired those questions at frilly Cindy, the Jesus nerd.  Finally, one answer, one statement from the pink girl got through.  “She said, ‘You now, Kath, Jesus is Lord whether you accept Him or not.’  I went home thinking about that,’ says Kathy.  “I did have this growing sense that if Jesus was real, I had to check Him out.”

Cindy obliged, giving Kathy a small New Testament.  “My other friends thought I was weird,” says Kathy, “because I was taking this Bible home, but I did, unapologetically.  I read the Gospel of John, plowing right on through, despite a few unanswered questions.  When I got to the end, I knew I had to make a decision.  If Jesus was who He said He was, I would have to respond.  Everything would have to change.”

On August 5th [1988], it did.

Everything changed.

Or rather, the changes began. [Jim Long, “Everything Changes,” Campus Life, October 1994, 30.]

Bible verse of the day:  2 Corinthians 5:17

“So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation:  everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!”

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank You so much for saving me from myself.  You have rescued me and because of Your Son Jesus, I have become new and my life continues to change daily.  My love for You grows each day and my desire to serve You is something that I can’t explain.  This passion to reach those that don’t know You as I do is burning in my soul.  Thank You for quenching me with Your Word and for sharing with me Your Grace and Mercy in all that I do.  I love You and thank You for the gift of my life and for this blessed day!

In Jesus Name I pray,

Amen

Funny Friday Quote:  You’re next! (Author Unknown)

When I was younger, I hated going to weddings.  Invariably, after the wedding and during the reception, my grandmothers, my aunts, and any other female relatives would come up to me and poke me in the ribs, cackling, “You’re next.”

They finally stopped after I started doing the same thing to them at funerals.

Bible verse of the day:  Psalm 93:4

“Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea–the LORD on high is mighty.”

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

You are so Mighty.  Mightier than anything greater than I can imagine.  I praise You this day and I lift up my song of worship to Your ears that it might bring joy to You my Father.  I give You all the glory for this beautiful day and all that it will hold.

In Jesus Name I pray,

Amen

Fighting the good fight

Posted: September 24, 2009 in September 2009

Story of the day:  fighting the good fight

In the book Healing the Masculine Soul, Gordon Dalbey says:

When Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit as the Helper, He uses a Greek word, Paraclete, that was an ancient warrior’s term.

Greek soldiers went into battle in pairs, so when the enemy attacked, they could draw together back-to-back, covering each other’s blind side.  One’s battle partner was the Paraclete.

Quote of the day:  Tom Tripp

“Our Lord does not send us to fight the good fight alone.  The Holy Spirit is our battle partner who covers our blind side and fights for our well-being.”

Bible verse of the day:  John 14:16 (NIV)

“And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever.”

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank You for sending the Holy Spirit, my Helper, Whom is always there ready to be my battle partner in this good fight.  May I never get the attitude that I can do anything on my own, for I know that all that I have and do comes from You.  I love You and thank You for this blessed day!

In Jesus Name I pray,

Amen

Story of the day:  Getting dirty, requires getting in the dirt.

I love to work in the yard.  There’s something about putting your hands into the dirt that truly signifies something beautiful growing in and out of something that can leave you looking worn and tattered.  Have you ever planted your seed into the ground, covered it with the dirt, and after doing so couldn’t remember exactly where you planted it?  Probably not. Once the seed is planted, it’s planted and is ready to be watered so that the process of growth may begin. 

In the same manner, when we are dealing with the lost, we are going to have to get a little dirty.  Sometimes that requires us to leave our area of comfort and to meet them where they are.  That’s exactly what Jesus did.  Matthew 4:23 says, Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.3  Jesus didn’t find the spots that looked the cleanest, and He certainly didn’t always wait for people to come to Him.  Instead, He went where they were and evangelized where they were, sharing the Truth regardless of where it was or whom it was with.  Jesus was working in the dirt doing what He was supposed to do, and that was to evangelize.

Doing any sort of yard work is going to get our hands dirty, leave us sweating, and maybe just a little uncomfortable.  The same is true with evangelism.   It requires us to leave our comfort zone and plant in areas that we aren’t even sure will produce fruits.  It is our job to plant seeds by loving people toward Jesus with small acts of kindness in the name of Jesus. Just like the seeds that we plant, we may not be able to find that seed again, but know this, the seed that you plant, may still be the seed that eventually produces fruit in their life.2  And once the seeds have been planted in people, it is then up to God to take over and create within them some of the most amazing harvests. 

Quote of the day:  James Strachan

“Saving knowledge is diffused over the earth, not like sunlight but like torchlight, which is passed from hand to hand.”

Bible verse of the day:  Matthew 4:23

“Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.”

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

It is sometimes easier to be comfortable than to get dirty.  Today as I head out into my day, I pray that I share Your Truth with those that I meet.  I pray for the right words to say and that the words of Truth will be planted in their lives.  I thank You for sharing with me this Word today and for teaching me that it’s okay to get dirty.  I thank You for this blessed day!

In Jesus Name I pray,

Amen

[1] McRaney, Will.  The Art of Personal Evangelism.  Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2003. (p.46).

[2] Fay, William.  Share Jesus Without Fear.  Nashville:  B & H Publishers, 1999.  (pgs. 11-12).

[3] Holy Bible, NIV.  Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishers. (p. 1490).

Turn them loose

Posted: September 22, 2009 in September 2009

Story of the day:  Turn them loose

Charles Simpson, in Pastoral Renewal writes:

I met a young man not long ago who dives for exotic fish for aquariums.  He said one of the most popular aquarium fish is the shark.  He explained that if you catch a small shark and confine it, it will stay a size proportionate to the aquarium.  Sharks can be six inches long yet fully matured.  But if you turn them loose in the ocean, they grow to their normal length of eight feet.

That also happens to some Christians.  I’ve seen the cutest little six-inch Christians who swim around in a little puddle.  But if you put them into a larger arena–into the whole creation–only then can they become great.

Quote of the day:  Charles Swindoll

“How many people stop because so few say, “Go!”

Bible verse of the day:  Hebrews 10:24 (NIV)

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank You for the opportunity to serve You with all that I am.  Father, today I will search for ways to be a positive influence in the lives of those around me.  I pray for words of encouragement to leave my lips and bounce into the lives of my family, friends, and those that I may meet.  I thank You for this blessed day!

In Jesus Name I pray,

Amen