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