Just Sayin’

30 05 2015

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Hope itself is like a star—not to be seen in the sunshine of prosperity, and only to be discovered in the night of adversity.

God often takes away our comforts and our privileges in order to make us better Christians.

Prayer is the forerunner of mercy.

Anything is better than the dead calm of indifference.

Oh, to love the Savior with a passion that can never cool

Charles Spurgeon

Take up the cross, and follow Me.
Mark 10:21

He is precious
1 Peter 2:7

Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall
1 Corinthians 10:12

“Fear of God” is another way of saying that we take God seriously!

It’s not what we are, but what we are becoming, that communicates Christ.

Love without discipline encourages a self-indulgent life. But discipline without love encourages bitterness and rebellion.

365-Day Devotional Commentary

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Failures

16 05 2015

I do not have a source for this quote that I copied and taped to the wall in back of my desk. I just know that I need to be reminded of its truth.

Pastor Dave

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  • Even those with great faith can fail. Let’s not be shocked at our own or at others’ weaknesses.
  • Personal failures affect others. What we do and are always has its impact on those around us.
  • Only God can redeem our failures. Never let guilt or shame turn you away from God. He is the only One who can help.
  • God does not abandon us when our weaknesses betray us. God can and will intervene for us when we turn to Him.




Shine on Me

30 04 2015

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More Americans died in the Civil War than in all the other wars in which the United States has been involved, combined. Families lost husbands, fathers, and sons. Some 26 percent of the men in the South perished in the struggle, and by the end of the war many women and children there were literally starving. Those years, 1861-1865, were marked by intense suffering all over the United States.
Yet during the war the South, and particularly its army, was swept by revival, as many thousands came to know Christ. Against the background of suffering and spiritual renewal, a letter found on the body of a Confederate soldier shows how, in the darkest times, the light of God shines on us.

I asked for strength that I might achieve.
He made me weak that I might obey.
I asked for health that I might do greater things.
I was given grace that I might do better things.
I asked for riches that I might be happy.
I was given poverty that I might be wise.
I asked for power that I might have the praise of men.
I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things that I might enjoy life.
I was given life that I might enjoy all things.
I received nothing that I asked for.
All that I hoped for.
My prayer was answered.

365-Day Devotional Commentary





Jumping to Conclusions

26 04 2015

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Christianity is more than optimism, but we have much to be optimistic about! When God enters an equation, the odds of success/failure are thrown out the window. Don’t give up dear child of God, just surrender your five smooth stones to the One who can conquer giants.

Pastor Dave

by Charles R. Swindoll

Exodus 14–15

THE OPERA AIN’T OVER . . . ‘TIL THE FAT LADY SINGS. It was a banner hung over the wall near the forty-yard line of Texas Stadium. The guys in silver and blue were struggling to stay in the race for the playoffs. So some Cowboy fan, to offer down-home encouragement, had splashed those words on a king-size bedsheet for all America to read. It was his way of saying, “We’re hangin’ in there, baby. Don’t count us out.”

Sure is easy to jump to conclusions, isn’t it? People who study trends make it their business to manufacture out of their imaginations the proposed (and “inevitable”) end result. Pollsters do that too. After sampling 3 percent of our country (or at least they say that’s what it equates to), vast and stunning statistics are announced.

Every once in a while it’s helpful to remember times when those preening prognosticators wound up with egg on their faces. Like when Truman beat Dewey, and England didn’t surrender, and the Communists didn’t take over America by 1975.

Yes, at many a turn we have all been tempted to jump to “obvious” conclusions, only to be surprised by a strange curve thrown our way. God is good at that.

Can you recall a few biblical examples?

Like when a young boy, armed with only a sling and a stone, whipped a giant over nine feet tall. Or the time an Egyptian army approaching fast saw the sea open up and the Hebrews walk across. Or how about that dead-end street at Golgotha miraculously opening up at an empty tomb three days later?

Anybody—and I mean anybody—near enough to have witnessed any one of those predicaments would certainly have said, “Curtains . . . the opera is over!”

Unless I miss my guess, a lot of you who are reading this page are backed up against circumstances that seem to spell THE END. Pretty well finished. Apparently over. Your adversary would love for you to assume the worst, to heave a sigh and resign yourself to the depressed feelings that accompany defeat, failure, maximum resentment, and minimum faith.

But take heart. When God is involved, anything can happen. The One who directed David’s stone and opened that sea and brought His Son back from the dead takes delight in the incredible.

In other words, don’t manufacture conclusions. There are dozens of fat ladies waiting in the wings. And believe me, the opera ain’t over!

God delights in mixing up the odds as He alters the obvious
and bypasses the inevitable.





Christians are the Worst!

24 04 2015

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by Caroline
Christians are so screwed up that…that they know they are screwed up! The only difference between a believer and a nonbeliever is that a Christian KNOWS THAT THEY NEED JESUS! Period.
Good works do not make someone a Christian. Going to church, serving the community, or reading the Bible does not make someone a Christian. Bowing at the feet of Jesus is the answer. The only answer.
In fact, look at the Bible, the righteous man, the good man, and the men of the church are condemned. The prostitute begging forgiveness, the sinner in repentance, they are saved.
Christians, more often than not, are the really big sinners.
This is not what the world thinks, but it is what Jesus says.





Faith

17 04 2015
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By Frederick Buechner

When God told Abraham, who was a hundred at the time, that at the age of ninety his wife, Sarah, was finally going to have a baby, Abraham came close to knocking himself out—”fell on his face and laughed,” as Genesis puts it (17:17). In another version of the story (18:8ff.), Sarah is hiding behind the door eavesdropping, and here it’s Sarah herself who nearly splits a gut—although when God asks her about it afterward, she denies it. “No, but you did laugh,” God says, thus having the last word as well as the first. God doesn’t seem to hold their outbursts against them, however. On the contrary, God tells them the baby’s going to be a boy and they are to name him Isaac. Isaac in Hebrew means “laughter.”

Why did the two old crocks laugh? They laughed because they knew only a fool would believe that a woman with one foot in the grave was soon going to have her other foot in the maternity ward. They laughed because God expected them to believe it anyway. They laughed because God seemed to believe it. They laughed because they half believed it themselves. They laughed because laughing felt better than crying. They laughed because if by some crazy chance it just happened to come true, they would really have something to laugh about, and in the meanwhile it helped keep them going.

Faith is “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen,” says the Letter to the Hebrews (11:1). Faith is laughter at the promise of a child called Laughter.

Faith is better understood as a verb than as a noun, as a process than as a possession. It is on-again-off-again rather than once-and-for-all. Faith is not being sure where you’re going, but going anyway. A journey without maps. Paul Tillich said that doubt isn’t the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith.





Faces

13 04 2015
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So many people, each one with a story, each one loved by the God who created them. I live in a town of about 50,000 faces. I need to pay more attention to them and be reminded that they are all people for whom Christ died. I think you will like what Frederick Buechner has to say.  Pastor Dave

By Frederick Buechner

Faces, like everything else, can be looked at and not seen, Walking down a sidewalk at rush hour or attending the World Series, you’re surrounded by thousands of them, but they might as well be balloons at a political rally for all you notice them individually. Here and there one of them may catch your eye for a moment, but in another moment you’ve forgotten it. They are without personalities, without histories. There is nothing to remember them by. They are anonymous strangers. As far as you are concerned, they simply don’t matter. They are too much to take in.

But the odds are that for at least one other person somewhere in the world, each of them—even the unlikeliest—matters enormously, or mattered enormously once, or someday, with any luck, will come to matter. The pimply boy with the beginnings of a mustache, the fat girl eating popcorn, the man with no upper teeth, the suntanned blonde with the disagreeable mouth—if you set your mind to it, there’s hardly a one of them you can’t imagine somebody loving even, conceivably even yourself. If the fat girl were your kid sister, for instance. Or the pimply boy to grow up to be your father. Or the toothless man to have been your first great love. Each face you see has, or used to have, or may have yet, the power—out of all the other faces in creation—to make at least some one other person’s heart skip a beat just by turning up in an old photograph album, maybe, or appearing unexpectedly at the front door.

Needless to say, it’s easier to imagine it with some than with others. For all her good looks it’s harder with the suntanned blonde than with the sweaty truck driver shooting a squirt of cut plug, but even with her you can probably manage it in the end. There’s hardly a face coming at you down the supermarket aisle or up the subway escalator that you can’t manage it with, given the right set of circumstances, the right pair of eyes. You can see even the bitter faces in terms of what probably made them that way. You can see even the hostile, ugly faces in terms of what they must have been once before the world got to them, what they might have become if they’d gotten the breaks.

Every now and again, however, you come across faces that are too much for you. There are people it’s impossible to imagine loving if only because they look so much as though they wouldn’t let you even if you could. If there are faces of the blessed to be seen in this world, there are also faces of the damned. Maybe you can love them for precisely that reason then. Maybe you’re the one who has to love them because nobody else ever has.

In any case, the next time you find yourself in a crowd with nothing better to do, it’s a game worth playing.

 

~originally published in Whistling in the Dark and later in Beyond Words