Wednesday, September 30, 2009

REBIRTH

I am emerging from an ocean of grief,
From the sorrow of many deaths,
From the inevitability of tragedy,
From the losing of love,
From the terrible triumph of destruction.
I am seeing the living that is to be lived,
The laughter that is to be laughed,
The joy that is to be enjoyed,
The loving that is to be accomplished.
I am learning at last
The tremendous triumph of life.

-- Marjorie Pizer in To You the Living

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

OUR REFUGE AND STRENGTH

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling." -- Psalm 46:1-3 (ESV)

God is not a deceiver, that He should offer to support us, and then, when we lean upon Him, should slip away from us.

-- St. Augustine


#2386

Monday, September 28, 2009

GOD'S WORK OF ART

"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." (Ephesians 2:10)

While on a trip to Paris, I visited the Louvre Museum. I stood speechless in the presence of so many priceless paintings. I saw the Mona Lisa, up close and personal. My mother and I stood in awe, whispering in hushed tones, "Can you believe we're looking at her? She's the real thing, not a cheap imitation!" Leonardo da Vinci had no idea when he painted the portrait that it would be a gift to the entire world -- a gift that inspires generation after generation.

God is the Master artist; all of the creation declares His handiwork. Each sunset is a stroke of the Master's brush. And you are His living masterpiece. Mona Lisa can't hold a candle to you. As God's work of art, you are not intended to hang on a wall in a museum, gathering dust. He created you with a purpose -- His purpose -- to do good works that reflect His artistry.

-- Lenya Heitzig and Penny Pierce Rose in Pathway to God's Treasure: Ephesians


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Friday, September 25, 2009

THE LORD IS IN THIS PLACE

The Bible says that God is Spirit, so technically, He doesn't dwell in three-dimensional space as we do. His presence is everywhere, but not His essence (that would be the heresy know as pantheism). God is no less present in one portion of the universe than any other. And He is no more present anywhere than where you are right now. In other words, anyone, anywhere in the universe might say, "The Lord is in this place." Wherever you are, God is right there, right now.

-- Bill Hybels in The God You're Looking For


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Thursday, September 24, 2009

YOUR IMPORTANCE

If only you could sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.

-- Fred Rogers, Mr. Roger's Neighborhood


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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

THE SOURCE OF POWER

"Lord, teach us to pray." (Luke 11:1)

He was a gifted Preacher, a powerful Person, a Man who drew people to Himself, yet search as you will, His disciples never ask Jesus how to preach or how to become a magnetic person. But they do ask Him: "Lord, teach us to pray." Somehow they realized that behind that magnetic and productive life lay a power unknown to them, a source untapped by them.

They had seen Him get up early in the morning [to pray]. They had known Him to stay up late at night [praying]. They knew He prayed as the need arose. More than once they caught Him in meditation. "Lord, teach us to pray." We, too, want to know the secret of a productive life. We, too, want to tap the source of power.

-- H.S. Vigeveno in Jesus the Revolutionary


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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

FINDING HOPE

"For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?" (Romans 8:24)

Did you know that you need hope? We all do. Swiss theologian M.L. Bruner said, “What oxygen is to the lungs, such is hope to the meaning of human life.” Just as our physical bodies would die without oxygen, our spirit will suffocate without hope!

In our culture, we hear a lot about love. We even hear a lot about faith. But we don’t hear that much about hope. Yet from the very beginning, God provided hope. After Adam and Eve sinned and plunged the planet into pain, God gave a promise for a redeemer, a savior. That hope is Jesus Christ! "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." (Luke 2:11)

What do you need hope for today? Physical pain? Disease? Addiction? Depression? Bad habits? A broken heart? Whatever your need, God’s plan is to give you a future and a hope. Jesus Christ was sent to conquer pain and death, and to give hope. He is your Redeemer… your hope. But just like the air you breathe, hope is an unseen promise.

Find your hope in Jesus Christ today.

-- Dr. Jack Graham in "PowerPoint" - 12/17/08


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Monday, September 21, 2009

PILGRIMAGE OF THE HEART

Faith is not the clinging to a shrine but an endless pilgrimage of the heart. Audacious longing, burning songs, daring thoughts, an impulse overwhelming the heart, usurping the mind -- these are all a drive toward [loving the One] who rings our heart like a bell.

-- Abraham Heschel


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Friday, September 18, 2009

A NEW THOUGHT OF GOD

"For it was You who formed my inward parts;
You knit me together in my mother’s womb." (Psalm 139:13)

Every child born into the world is a new thought of God, an ever-fresh and radiant possibility.

-- Kate Douglas Wiggin

Thursday, September 17, 2009

THE PATH TO FOLLOW

"All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work." (2 Timothy 3:16-17 NRSV)

To deviate from the truth can never be wise … The wisest course for the disciple is always to abide solely by the Word of God in all simplicity.

-- Dietrich Bonhoeffer


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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

THE GAMBLERS

"He risked his life for the work of Christ."

What a commendation by the Apostle Paul speaking of Epaphroditus in Philippians 2:30. That Greek verb for risk, parabouleuomai, can be translated: "to play the gambler." And it's that word and the example set by Ephaphroditus that inspired the Parabolani Brotherhood, aka the Gamblers. They gambled their lives by exposing themselves to contagious diseases and caring for the sick during the plagues.

Gambler for Christ. I like that terminology. I think it has an edge to it. And I think it's a reminder of our calling. While soldiers gambled for His clothing, Christ gambled His life on the cross for yours. And He didn't die just to keep us safe. He died to make us dangerous. What are you gambling for Christ?

-- Mark Batterson, from the Batterson Blog -- www.Evotional.com


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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

FOLLOWING THE LIVING ONE

You can begin at once to be a disciple of the Living One, by obeying Him in the first thing you can think of in which you are not obeying Him. We must learn to obey Him in everything, and so must begin somewhere. Let it be at once, and in the very next thing that lies at the door of our conscience.

-- George MacDonald


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Monday, September 14, 2009

BRINGING THE PEW TO CHRIST

The preaching for the present times, for all time, ought to be at once doctrinal and practical. Every sermon should have both these elements, well-balanced and aptly commingled. Above all, Christ is to be set forth in it as the grand idea and outcome of the whole. If the pulpit does not bring the pew to Him, it is recreant to its highest trust and fails in its chief value. Too much emphasis cannot be laid upon this thought. It must be present every moment, and uppermost as well as deepest in the mind, heart, and words of the preacher, if he would be a faithful and successful servant of his Lord.

-- Dr. James Strong, Drew Theological Seminary, in the Methodist Review, September 1890

Friday, September 11, 2009

DON'T CALL HIM PLEASANT

I once encountered an articulate, angry young Marxist at Speaker's Corner in Hyde Park, London. As we had come upon a small knot of people during an afternoon stroll, it had appeared that the young Communist had silenced a gentle Christian preacher by loudly proclaiming that Jesus Christ was "not a pleasant person!"

As he waved a New Testament under the nose of the abashed speaker, the assailant thought he was scoring an impressive point.

But then, another Christian in the audience spoke up: "Of course Jesus wasn't a pleasant person. You don't crucify nice guys!"

The Cross remains a stumbling block for all who encounter this Jesus. He is perhaps not the person we want Him to be, but He is surely the person we still -- desperately -- need.

-- John G. Stackhouse


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Thursday, September 10, 2009

YOUR CONCEPT OF JESUS

I would very earnestly ask you to check your conception of Christ, the image of Him which as a Christian you hold in your mind, with the actual revealed Person who can be seen and studied in action in the pages of the Gospels. It may be of some value to hold in our minds a bundle of assorted ideals to influence and control our conduct. But surely we need to be very careful before we give that “bundle” the name of Jesus Christ the Son of God.

-- J. B. Phillips

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

DOING SOMETHING ABOUT IT

Realize that if you have time to whine and complain about something then you have the time to do something about it.

-- Anthony J. D'Angelo


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Friday, September 4, 2009

BREAKING NEW GROUND

Back in 1957 the First Brethren Church of Sarasota, Florida had a groundbreaking ceremony. Instead of using a silver shovel for VIPs to dig up the first clump of dirt, they brought a one-horse plow [without the horse]. Two strong ushers were harnessed to the yoke to break up the fallow ground. But the plow didn't budge an inch. Next, Sunday School officers and teachers were strapped in, but still the plow was immovable. Finally, all the church members present took hold of the rope, tugging with all their might. With every member pulling together, the plow moved forward, the ground was broken, and the church was built.

Our Savior was born in a barn, not Buckingham Palace. He was a blue-collar carpenter, not a blue-blooded aristocrat. His friends were commoners: fishermen, farmers, and homemakers. Jesus broke new ground in ancient Israel by using common people to build an uncommon community, His church. He is our firm foundation. We are all on common ground as members of His church.

-- Lenya Heitzig and Penny Pierce Rose in Pathway to God's Treasure: Ephesians


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Thursday, September 3, 2009

DARKNESS AND LIGHT

Like most psychopaths, Satan is suave and charming. "He hath power to assume a pleasing shape," Hamlet said. He is a gentleman with civil manners and impeccable taste. He was highborn and therefore can insinuate himself into good company. He surrounds himself with beautiful people and makes their behavior -- even deviant and dangerous acts -- look good to us. We read about their lifestyles and "eat it up," as we say, not knowing that we are the ones who are about to be consumed. Satan is up to no good.

God, on the other hand, is up to nothing but good, and has nothing but good in store for us: "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." He is the Creator of light -- all that is good and true and beautiful -- and the One who gives us light. There are no shadows or darkness in Him, no double-dealing, no deceit, no duplicity. He is pure truth.

-- David Roper in Growing Slowly Wise


#2369

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A REVOLUTIONARY CHANGE

My story involves living with the mistaken notion as a kid that the only way I could gain God's acceptance and His approval was through striving. Mistakenly, I thought that if I could only earn more, merit more, or perform more, then God would be impressed with me.

When people ask me why I am so fired up about God, I tell them this: "There was a time in my life when I was absolutely certain that the only way to gain God's favor was to perform, achieve, and strive. But then I met the Son of God in a powerful way and learned that the only way to gain His favor is to accept His gift of grace. Almost immediately, it brought an overwhelming peace to my soul, an end to my useless striving, and a revolutionary change to my entire world."

On the day when Christ met me, the geological plates of my soul permanently shifted; that's where my passion comes from to help men and women on the front side of the cross have a dramatically different story on the back side -- that's about all that I want.

-- Bill Hybels in Just Walk Across the Room


#2368

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

LET THERE BE LIGHT

Where there is ignorance -- let there be knowledge;
Where hearts are blind and hard -- let there be sight;
Where there is falsity -- let there be truth;
Where evil casts its glow -- let there be light.

-- Unknown, from the wall of the Chapel of Peace, the International Peace Garden


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