Friday, October 29, 2010

WANTED: COURAGEOUS PEOPLE

Courage instills confidence in a person... A person without courage cannot be an encourager. This is one of the reasons so many people today are so discouraged; few courageous people exist to encourage them.

-- Ronnie W. Floyd in The Meaning of a Man


#2643

Thursday, October 28, 2010

GIVING TO GOD

Rather than giving God our ability, He wants our availability.

-- Unknown


#2642

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

ENJOYING THE ROSES

One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon -- instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today.

-- Dale Carnegie


#2641

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

GIVING GOD CREDIT

My life isn't good because I'm a football player; I'm a football player because my life is good. Jesus Christ has made my life good. His grace and His forgiveness have changed me…

There's no way I would have gotten to the NFL without becoming a Christian. I was on the road to destruction. A lot of people want to hear how hard I've worked. That's part of it. But without God's provisions, the road I've traveled doesn't happen. I laugh at people wanting to give me credit.

-- Jon Kitna, NFL Quarterback, from Sports Spectrum


#2640

Monday, October 25, 2010

TRUTH WILL PREVAIL

Truth never yet fell dead in the streets. It has such an affinity for the soul of man, the seed however broadcast will catch somewhere and produce its hundredfold.

-- Theodore Parker


#2639

Friday, October 22, 2010

LIVING ON

These are the concluding words of A Way to Die, the book that Rosemary and Victor Zorza wrote about their daughter Jane, who died from cancer when she was twenty-five:

When we went back to Washington at the end of the summer, we became aware of a change in ourselves. We were thinking far more than ever before about what really matters in life, about feelings, about the more abiding human values, about people – people as individuals. Jane talked of all these matters in her last weeks, and she made them more real to us than they had been. She also took pleasure in passing on her more cherished possessions to her friends. She gave a lot of thought to it. She liked to see them walk away with something she had given them, after they had said goodbye.

"I don't need a 'thing' to remember Jane by," said one of her friends. "Jane taught me how to make bread. Whenever I make bread, I think of her."

Before she died, we had talked of how people live on in what they do, in their actions, in the memories of those they have influenced. That was how Jane hoped she would live on. And she will.


#2638

Thursday, October 21, 2010

LIFE'S WORK OF ART

All of us are engaged daily with works of art, even if we are neither professional nor amateur artists. We read books, we listen to music, we look at posters, we admire flower arrangements. Art, as I am using the word, does not include just "high art," that is, painting, sculpture, poetry, classical music, but also the most popular expression -- the novel, the theater, the cinema, popular music and rock. In fact, there is a very real sense in which the Christian life itself should be our greatest work of art. Even for the great artist, the most crucial work of art is his life.

-- Francis A. Schaeffer in Art & the Bible


#2637

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

MAKING THE RIGHT CHOICES

"Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve,… But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD." (Joshua 24:15)

Making the right choices about faith -- like making good choices for life in general -- does not seem to rest primarily on IQ. Smart people mess up as easily as the rest of us.

Three men are in a plane: a pilot, a Boy Scout, and the world's smartest man. The engine fails, the plane is going down, and there are only two parachutes. The smart man grabs one. "I'm sorry about this," he says, "but I'm the smartest man in the world. I have a responsibility to the planet," and he jumps out of the plane. The pilot turns to the Boy Scout and speaks of how he has lived a long, full life and how the Boy Scout has his whole life in front of him. He tells the Boy Scout to take the last parachute and live. "Relax, Captain," the Boy Scout says. "The World's smartest man just jumped out of the plane with my backpack."

Our world is full of smart people jumping out of planes with backpacks. One of the paradoxes of faith and doubt is that it is the ultimate intellectual challenge, yet simple and uneducated people may live with great wisdom and PhDs may choose folly.

One thing is for sure: sooner or later the plane is going down. We all are on the same plane. Smart guys and Boys Scouts alike: everybody has to jump. Everybody has to choose a parachute. No one will know who chose wisely until after they jump.

-- John Ortberg in Faith & Doubt


#2636

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

HUMBLE SERVICE

"If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all," Jesus told His disciples…

For most of his life Albert Einstein had the portraits of two scientists, Newton and Maxwell, hanging on his wall as role models to inspire him. Toward the end of life, however, he took them down and replaced them with portraits of Albert Schweitzer and Mahatma Gandhi. He needed new role models, he said -- not of success, but of humble service.

-- Philip Yancey in Christianity Today, 12/4/2000


#2635

Monday, October 18, 2010

THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD'S LOVE

The greatest honor we can give almighty God is to live gladly because of the knowledge of His love.

-- Julian of Norwich


#2634

Friday, October 15, 2010

WHAT IS WORSHIP?

You will find throughout the Word, and then continued throughout history, that when a human heart truly encounters the love of God -- in essence when the created connects with the Creator -- the response is worship, or worth-ship, as we often say. Worship as a response to revelation is displayed through consecrated lives (Romans 12), through wholehearted songs of love and devotion (the Psalms), and by living lives of love and justice (Micah 6:8). Worship is required not in perfection by man's standards, but in truth, by God's standards. He has never been impressed by offerings that look good, but offerings that are good. As the worship of God continues to gather momentum across the earth, so too does the awareness of His power and presence, along with the understanding of the authority that comes with exalting the name of Jesus over all things.

And whether we follow or lead, the ultimate goal of all we pursue in worship is His honor… As Pastor Jack Hayford says, "Where worship is released, God's presence comes to dwell, and where God's presence abides, there will be power." Let's be committed to seeing the fullness of this word "worship," so that it may reach its potential on earth as it is in heaven.

-- Darlene Zschech in The Worshiper Magazine, Summer 2008


#2633

Thursday, October 14, 2010

MEETING GOD ONE-ON -ONE

One of the most difficult things Christian parents face is relinquishing their child to God, knowing that "God has no grandchildren, only children." Each of us must come to God on our own… We know God deals with us individually, but sometimes we are tempted to wish our children could just slide into God's kingdom on our coattails and be spared the struggle. But if we look back through time, we see a record of individuals and their God. Parents can set godly examples, whet their children's appetites for the things of God. But throughout Scripture, the quest to know God is a solitary one.

"Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling", Paul admonished in Philippians 2:12. It's not that we earn salvation, negating Christ's work of grace on the cross….

At some time in our lives, we must meet God one-on-One.

-- William and Nancy Carmichael in Lord Bless My Child


#2633

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

GOD'S POWERFUL WORK

Do you want something more in your Christian life? You want your life to make a difference for God? Do you want to experience, in a deep and unmistakable way, exactly what Jesus meant when He announced: "I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly" (John 10:10 NASB)? You know you have life in Christ -- that's a gift! What you are hungry for is the abundantly part. Are you really fed up with being part of a Christianity that claims to be life transforming but too often looks like nothing more than a religious subculture that promises much but delivers little?

It's time for holy ambition. It's time for Christians who will live up to their claims and live out their calling. For a church that shakes the world. For a people of God who make a difference. It's time for us to be what God wants: people who will let Him do a powerful work in them and through them!

-- adapted from the introduction to Holy Ambition by Chip Ingram


#2631

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

CHANGING SEASONS OF LIFE

I cannot say whether things will get any better if they change;
what I can say is that they must change if they are going to get better.

-- G. C. Lichtenberg


#2630

Monday, October 11, 2010

ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTION

Cowardice asks, Is it safe?
Expediency asks, Is it politic?
Vanity asks, Is it popular?
But conscience asks, Is it right?

-- William Morley Punshon, quoted in Parenting with Values


#2629

Friday, October 8, 2010

THE TRUTH CHANGES US

"Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in Him, ‘If you continue in My word, you are truly My disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.'" (John 8:31-32 NRSV)

We don't change the truth, the truth changes us.

-- Unknown

Thursday, October 7, 2010

NOTHING BUT GOOD

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


#2627

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

THE EXISTENCE OF LOVE

I had thought that your death
Was a waste and a destruction,
A pain of grief hardly to be endured.
I am only beginning to learn
That your life was a gift and a growing
And a loving left with me.
The desperation of death
Destroyed the existence of love,
But the fact of death
Cannot destroy what has been given.
I am leaning to look at your life again
Instead of your death and your departing.

-- Marjorie Pizer in To You the Loving


#2626

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

HOPE BEYOND OURSELVES

Faith -- like doubt -- grows in unexpected places. A few months ago I received an email requesting a thousand copies of a book I had written. That was an unprecedented request from anyone besides my mother, so I was curious about the story.

It was from a young man named Kirk, a high-functioning corporate type, father of three young daughters with a brilliant future before him, who found out one year ago that he had ALS -- Lou Gehrig’s disease.

But Kirk was convinced that in the midst of tragedy faith was his only hope. And he decided to use his final months to invite the people he loved deepest to reflect on what mattered most.

The doctors told him he had two to five years to live, but he died in nine months. I write these words on a plane returning home from a dinner that his family sponsored, with hundreds of people, where we saw a videotape of Kirk, in a wheelchair, fighting for breath, speaking of his faith in God as the only force that could sustain him.

Kirk’s dad drove me to the airport. He told me of difficulties in his life -- how his mother had died when he was four, how now in his seventies he had lost his son. He told me of how he had once been an agnostic, and how he had come to believe.

I do not know why tragedy, which destroys faith in some people, gives birth to it in others. Suffering both raises unanswerable questions and tells us that our only hope must be a hope beyond ourselves.

There is a mystery to faith, as there is to life, that I don't fully understand.

-- John Ortberg in Faith & Doubt


#2625

Monday, October 4, 2010

SECOND CHANCES

"Lord, You are kind and forgiving and have great love for those who call to You." (Psalm 86:5)

It's never too late to get a second chance with God. It's never too late! Think about Paul - - he had been a murderer and a blasphemer. He had to look into the faces of people whose fathers he had persecuted, whose children he had killed. He could have spent his life looking at yesterday, but he didn't do that. He started life over again in the confidence of His forgiveness.

-- Max Lucado


#2624

Friday, October 1, 2010

TALK AND WALK

"Be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves." (James 1:22 NRSV)

My conduct is the only trustworthy indicator of what I truly value. It is the difference between Christianity as talk and as walk. All of us value evangelism, but when was my last spiritual conversation with a person in need of faith in Christ? All of us value unity, but when was the last time I resisted the urge to say something negative about a peer? All of us value our families, but when was the last time I took a day off just to be with them (and turned off my cell phone)?

-- Dr. Earl Creps in the United Methodist Reporter, January 7, 2010


#2623