April 2010

Persevering to the end.

Story of the day: Persevering to the end.

It was a fog-shrouded morning, July 4, 1952, when a young woman named Florence Chadwick waded into the water off Catalina Island. She intended to swim the channel from the island to the California coast. Long-distance swimming was not new to her; she had been the first woman to swim the English Channel in both directions.

The water was numbing cold that day. The fog was so thick she could hardly see the boats in her party. Several times sharks had to be driven away with rifle fire. She swam more than fifteen hours before she asked to be taken out of the water. Her trainer tried to encourage her to swim on since they were so close to land, but when Florence looked, all she saw was fog. So she quit…only one-half mile from her goal.

Later she said, “I’m not excusing myself, but if I could have seen the land, I might have made it.” It wasn’t the cold or fear or exhaustion that cause Florence Chadwick to fail. It was the fog.

Many times we too fail, not because we’re afraid or because of peer pressure or because anything other than the fact that we lose sight of the goal. Two months after her failure, Florence Chadwick walked off the same beach into the same channel and swam the distance, setting a new speed record, because she could see the land. [Larson, Craig. 750 Engaging Illustrations. Grand Rapids: Baker Books Publishing. 1996. pg.198-199]

Quote of the day: Author Unknown

“When the world says, ‘Give up,’ Hope whispers, ‘Try it one more time.'”

Bible verse of the day: Philippians 3:14 (NKJV)

“I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

Whatever my fog may be in my life, I pray to continue on no matter if I can see the finish line with my eyes or not. My faith is placed solely in You even in the things that I can’t see, and because of this, I will press toward the goal that You have set before me. When I get tired and I am wanting to throw in towel, it is Your Strength that sees me through and helps me to complete the small tasks leading up to the greater prize of Your Calling through Your Son Jesus. Thank You for this blessed day!

In Jesus Name I pray,

Amen

October 2009

Everyday Stresses

Story of the day:  Everyday Stresses

Stress can come in a variety of different forms.  It can range from money, finances, or even doubt. 

Doubts assail like gale-force winds, tossing us this way and that.  We wonder what to do, which way to turn, what direction to take.  We may even question our faith, doubting God’s goodness or even that He is there.  Like night storms, difficult circumstances terrify us, confuse us, and fill us with anxiety.  But God’s truth cuts through the darkness like the powerful beam from a lighthouse, providing warning, direction, security, and hope.

We aren’t abandoned to our doubts and uncertainties; God tells us to ask Him for wisdom, and He will answer…”gladly.”

Do you want to know what to do?  Do you desire to follow God’s way?  Do you need his wisdom for the decisions you face?

Just ask in faith.  He promises to give you His wisdom [Living Water:  for those who thirst, 2000.  Tyndale Publishing, pgs. 220-221]

Quote of the day:  Galileo

“I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forego their use.”

Bible verse of the day:  James 1:5 (NKVJ)

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

The day can sometimes be a little stressful.  I pray for wisdom in knowing the right way to handle the stresses that may come my way.  I pray to be prayed up at all times so that the manner in which I handle things is done through patience and even out of love.  I thank You for this blessed day!

In Jesus Name I pray,

Amen

June 2009

By Faith

Story of the day:  By Faith

     It’s not a coincidence that words are used more than one time in the Bible.  Are they placed there just because, or is there something more?  With me, I choose to  believe that there is so much more.  

    When God repeats things, we should take note, because the things He says are of great importance.  One phrase that is used many times in the Bible and can be found multiple times is in Hebrews 11:1-40.  When I read through these verses, I counted at least 28 times where the word faith was used. 

     Hebrews describes some of the most tried people, who by faith, set this word as their firm foundation under everything in their life.  They did this because they believed that their life was worth living.  The people that Hebrews speaks about had so much faith in something that couldn’t be seen and that set them apart from everyone else.  This same faith is ours today if we would just take hold of it and embrace it the way our ancestors did many years ago.  And yes, there will be times where your faith will be tested, but it is during these times that God will help you to overcome, protecting you from fire, swords, and any battles that you may encounter.  By faith, we can be made whole.

Quote of the day:  Nancy Guthrie

“Our faith keeps us from being swallowed in despair.”

Bible verse of the day:  Hebrews 11:3 (The Message Bible)

“By faith, we see the world called into existence by God’s Word, what we see created by what we don’t see.”

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

I pray that my faith increases daily.  Father, through trials and tribulations, I know that I will be tested.  My prayer is that I don’t get caught up in the things that will drive me bananas, but that my faith, hope, and trust lies wholly in You.  Thank You for Your loving, guiding, and strengthening me through things that I can’t handle on my own.  I thank You for this blessed day!

In Jesus Name I pray,

Amen

May 2009

From Discouragement to Hope

Quote of the day:  From Discouragement to Hope

There are so many words that come to mind when I think of the word discouragement.  Some that I thought of immediately were:  sadness, despair, melancholy, loss of confidence, the blues, and pessimism.  There are many reasons that people become discouraged.  I was reading an excerpt from Billy Graham, and I found some of the reasons that he lists to be important.  He writes:  

Perhaps you are discouraged because you think you aren’t making enough money (and you aren’t convinced God can supply your needs.) Or you are frustrated in your job (and refuse to believe God can help you be content.)  Or maybe you are worried about health problems (and you don’t even stop to consider that your life is in God’s hands).

Discouragement is a large cloud that, like all clouds, obscures the warmth and joy of the sun.  In the case of spiritual discouragement the Son of God, the Lord Jesus, is eclipsed in our lives.  Discouragement blinds our eyes to the mercy of God and makes us perceive only the unfavorable circumstances.

There is only one way to dispel discouragement, and it is not with our own strength or ingenuity.  It is to turn in faith to God, believing that He loves us and is in control of the future. 

When we turn to God in our time of discouragement, not only does He provide strength for our situation, but He also turns our times of discouragement into hope.  And, when I think of the word hope, I find far more words that are used to describe it and I find them more encouraging.  They are:  achievement, anticipation, aspiration, belief, confidence, desire, endurance, FAITH, hopefulness, optimism, promise, and reward.

Quote of the day:  Ben Patterson

 “Hope delivers us from the despair that nothing we do matters, and enables us to tackle even the most menial job with vigor.”

Bible verse of the day:  Psalm 27:14  

“Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!”

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

Although there are many words that describe the word discouraged, there are so many that cancel it out with hope.  I am thankful for hope, because it has given my faith a springboard to jump back from after I have been discouraged.  I am grateful to You for teaching me at the first signs of my discouragement how to come straight to You in prayer.  My prayer is for those that may be experiencing some discouragement in their life right now.  I ask that they too will stop where they are and come to You in prayer and that You will show them the greatness that comes from seeking You first.  I thank You for this day!

In Jesus Name I pray,

Amen

November 2008

Thankfulness

Story of the day:  Thankfulness

“Thankfulness sharpens us.  It reinforces our understanding of God’s goodness.  If there’s a situation that we don’t quite understand what God’s doing, then we thank Him for it.  Jesus often thanked His Heavenly Father.  As we follow in His steps, we too will walk in total thankfulness.” Nick Harrison

Quote of the day:  John Henry Jowett

“Life without thankfulness is devoid of love and passion.  Hope without thankfulness is lacking in fine perception.  Faith without thankfulness lacks strength and fortitude.  Every virute separated from thankfulness is maimed and limps along the spiritual road.”

 Bible verse of the day:  Colossians 2:7

“rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.”

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

I come today in Your presence, with thanksgiving in my heart, and I give You praise.  I pray to be sharpened this day and everyday by my thankfulness.  I pray as I walk in Your steps, that I will walk in total thankfulness.  I thank You for this day!

In Jesus name I pray,

Amen

October 2008

“Dead Men Walking”

Story of the day:  “Dead Men Walking”

     I love what Dr. Tony Evans had to say in a letter that he sends out as part of a ministry outreach.  He says, “One of the most powerful stories about Jesus comes to us by way of a dead man.

     Lazarus, a close friend of Jesus, had died.  Lazaurs’ sisters were grieving not only his death, but the fact that Jesus had not showed up earlier and healed him.

     That’s the way we are sometimes.  We have God on our side and His power to change the situation, but we’re complaining about what didn’t happen!

     Thankfully, that’s not the only lesson to take away from this story, nor is it just a great story about Jesus and His power.  It’s a life lesson for every believer…and about the power of God in us!

     In John 11:43-44, Jesus spoke to Lazarus directly, whom was dead and wrapped from head to toe, with a kerchief over his face, and said, “Lazarus, come forth!” 

     What happened to Lazarus is what God is asking of us still today.  Look around you.  There’s a world filled with “dead men walking.” People are bound by sin, trapped by religion, wrapped up in their circumstances, depressed by their lives, distressed by their families; many are thinking “it’s over.”  Their lives are in a rut just “grave” with both ends kicked out.

     But God can change their entire situation as we speak the Word and help set them free!  That’s the call on this ministry and the call on my life… and yours.  He has called us to carry out Kingdom plans and purposes on earth.

     Serving God is not about keeping religious practices to carry out some set of rules.  It’s about giving and living a life of spiritual freedom that reflects God’s glory, letting your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven (Matthew 5:16)

     Who is in a “grave” situation near you?  Who can you speak a word of life to today?  Or let me put it this way…if you feel You are in a tough situation, I’m here to speak a word of life, hope, and encouragement into You.  God can turn it around for you, and when He does, give Him the thanks and praise He deserves.”

Quote of the day:  Vonette Bright

“Through our service to others, God want to influence our world for Him.”

Bible verse of the day:  John 11:40

“Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?”

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

You have called my family into ministry and as I share Your Word with others, I pray that lives may be changed, and all for Your Glory.  Father, the time that we are living in right now, is rough, there are some that can’t make ends meet, some are losing their homes, and are distressed. Father, I pray for revival to sweep our nation, that You may be glorified and lives can be transformed.  I continue to pray for those that don’t know You, that they hear Your voice when You say to them, “come forward and ask me to be a part of your life.”  I thank You for Your faithfulness in my life, for this day, and the hope for tomorrow! 

In Jesus Name I pray,

Amen

April 2008

God, I’m still here.

                                                                                                                 Story of the day:  God, I’m still here.

   “A young man, who was obviously worried, stepped into an elevator to go to the second floor of a hospital where his father was in the intensive care unit.  Although the button labeled “2” was already lighted, he pushed it again and again.  A doctor standing behind him said, “Pushing the button someone has already pushed is like reminding God you’re still there when he hasn’t answered your prayer immediately.”

   As the man thought of his father in the intensive care, it was comforting to know that God does encourage believers to continue to pray the same prayers until he answers.”

Quote of the day:  Eugene Peterson

“In prayer, we are aware that God is in action and that when the circumstances are ready, when others are in the right place, and when are hearts are prepared, he will call us into the action.  Waiting in prayer is a disciplined refusal to act before God acts.”

Bible verse of the day: Matthew 7:7

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank You that You answer prayers.  Thank You for showing Yourself to us by answered prayers.  Father may the words that I pray to You be a sweet sound to Your ears and as I praise You for all that You do, may I be humbled by the way that You do things.  I stand amazed ever single day, because You are so Loving, forgiving, and full of so much Grace.  You bless me daily by the people that You have placed in my life.  As I continue on this life’s journey, may I be reminded daily of the great sacrifice that You made for me by allowing Your one and only Son Jesus to die on a cross.  It was because of Your great LOVE that I am now able to live.  I thank You for this day!

In Jesus Name I pray,

Amen 

April 2008

Feed me, change me, love me

                                                                                                            Story of the day:  Feed me, change me, love me

   From the time we are born, we rely on people to feed us, change us, and love us.  We are all born with a “me” need that needs to be met.  As a baby that is totally understandable.  The baby needs these things in order to survive, because the baby can’t take care of himself.   But as we grow we are given the tools that we need in order to feed and change ourselves.   The I mentality should diminish as we get older, but because we have been given so much, sometimes we don’t know how to change that.  

   A caring, selfless nature isn’t built into us.  Human beings are born with a selfish desire that needs to be met and as we grow some individuals take on an ego that is filled with pride and self.  As we become Christians, we should be maturing every day.  We should stop drinking all of that formula (which is fed to us) and start eating the meat that is placed before us.  The spiritual food that is given to us and the transformation that Christ starts in us, can then lead to us putting on Christ’s attributes of faith, hope, and love.  We should put these on and do so with a Christ mindset.   But this can only be done once we let go of pride and self.

   “The story is told of a laborer who was a mature Christian and gave a solid testimony before all who knew him.  His boss came to him one day and said, “You know, whatever you’ve got, I want.  You have such peace and joy and contentment.  How can I get this?”

   The laborer said, “Go to you home, put on your best suit, come down here, and work in the mud with the rest of us–and you can have it.”

   “What are you talking about?  I could never do that.  I’m the boss, you’re the worker.  I can’t do that.  That’s beneath my dignity.”  The boss came back a couple of months later and said, “I ask you again, what is it that you have and how can I get it?”

   “I told you, go put on your best suit, come down and work in the mud with us, and you can have it.”  Again, the boss became furious and walked off.

   Finally in desperation he came back to the laborer and said, “I don’t care what it takes!  I’ll do anything.”  The laborer said, “Will you put on your best suit and come down and work in the mud?”  The boss agreed that he would even do that.  Then the laborer said, “You don’t have to.”

   Do you see the point?  The laborer knew what was standing between the boss and Christ–pride and self.”

Quote of the day:  Buddy Robinson  

“Pride is the only disease known to man that makes everyone sick except the person who has it.”

Bible verse of the day:  1 Corinthians 13:11

“When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

Today as I marvel in the things that You have done for me, I pray to put away any pride that may be lurking in my closet.  May I put on the mindset of Your Son and live a life that only pleases You.  Search my heart for areas that need to be changed and give me wisdom and knowledge from Your Word on how to change these areas in my life.  I thank You for this day!

In Jesus Name I pray,

Amen

February 2008

Walking in Freedom

ca0xu3gh.jpg Story of the day:  Walking in Freedom

There are no limits to what children can accomplish for the Kingdom of God.  If they have those seeds of faith, love, or hope planted at a young age, there is nothing that they can’t do.  I was reading this inspiring story today and I thought about how much love, faith, and hope can play in determining one’s desire to be motivated.  The story is by Arthur Gordon and was found in A Touch of Wonder.

He relates a story of a man who had been stricken with polio at age three, and his parents probably Depression-poor and overwhelmed, had abandoned him at a New York City hospital.  Taken in by a foster family, he was sent to stay with their relatives in Georgia when he was six, in hopes that the warmer climate would improve his condition.  What improved his condition, though, was Maum Jean, an elderly black woman who took that  “frail, lost, lonely little boy” into her heart.  For six years, she daily massaged his weak legs; administering her own hydrotherapy in a nearby creek; and encouraged him spiritually with her stories, songs, and prayers.  Gordon writes:

Night after night Maum Jean continued the massaging and praying.  Then one morning, when I was about 12, she told me she had a surprise for me.

She led me out into the yard, placed me with my back against an oak tree; I can feel the rough bark of it to this day.  She took away my crutches and braces.  She moved back a dozen paces and told me that the Lord had spoken to her in a dream.  He had said that the time had come for me to walk.  “So now,” said Maum Jean, “I want you to walk over to me.”

My instant reaction was fear.  I knew I couldn’t walk unaided; I had tried.  I shrank back against the solid support of the tree.  Maum Jean continued to urge me.

I burst into tears.  I begged.  I pleaded.  Her voice rose suddenly, no longer gentle and coaxing but full of power and command.  “You can walk, boy!  The Lord has spoken!  Now walk over here.”

She knelt down and held out her arms.  And somehow, impelled by something stronger than fear, I took a faltering step, and another, and another, until I reached Maum Jean and fell into her arms, both of us weeping.

It was two more years before I could walk normally, but I never used crutches again…

Then the night came when one of Maum Jean’s tall grandsons knocked on my door.  It was late; there was frost in the air.  Maum Jean was dying, he said; she wanted to see me.

The old cabin was unchanged:  floors of cypress, windows with wooden shutters-no glass, roof of palm thatch mixed with pitch.  Maum Jean in bed surrounded by silent watchers, her frail body covered by a patchwork quilt.  From a corner of the room, a kerosene lamp cast a dim saffron light.  Her face was in shadow, but I heard her whisper my name.  Someone put a chair close to the bed.  I sat down and touched her hand.

For a long time, I sat there…Now and then Maum Jean spoke softly.  Her mind was clear.  She hoped I remembered the things that she had taught me.  Outside, the night stirred with a strong wind.  In the other room the fire snapped, throwing orange sparks.  There was a long silence; she lay with her eyes closed.  Then the old voice spoke, stronger suddenly, “Oh,” said Maum Jean, with surprising gladness. “Oh, it’s so beautiful!”   She gave a little contented sigh, and died…

All that happened a long time ago.  I now live in another town.  But I still think of Maum Jean often, and the main thing she taught me: nothing is a barrier when love is strong enough.  Not age.  Not race.  Not disease.  Not anything.”

Have you been standing against that oak tree most of your life, waiting for the right moment and have become afraid to move away from it?  Right now, my prayer for you is that those crutches and braces are removed, because it is now time for you to walk.  If God has spoken to You, then you need to take that first faltering step and move forward not out of fear, but of hope, love, and faith so that God’s impelling love can be moved throughout your entire being and thrust into a life that has been in bondage.  That bondage that is holding you up against that oak tree is nothing, because God’s love much stronger and is enough to get you moving forward. You just have to let go and put one foot forward, then another, then another, and pretty soon you will be walking in freedom.

Quote of the day:  Augustine

“Hope has two beautiful daughters.  Their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are.”

Bible verse of the day:  Isaiah 26:3

“You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in you.”

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,

Today as people start to move away from that Oak Tree and start walking forward, I pray that they find peace that can only come from knowing You.  Whatever it is that has held them in bondage to that Oak Tree, I pray is released today so that they can see with “surprising gladness just how beautiful it is.”  I pray for souls to be saved and lives to be transformed and done in a way that they know can only from You.  I pray for wisdom this day, time management, and to be a light to those around me and those I meet this day.  Thank You for this blessed day.

In Jesus Name I pray,

Amen