Thursday, May 31, 2012


"Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me....
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see."  (John Newton)

Until the time of his death at the age of 82, John Newton never ceased to marvel at the grace of God that transformed him so completely from a slave trader to a minister of the Lord.  Shortly before his death he is quoted as proclaiming with a loud voice during a message, “My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things:  That I am a great sinner and that Christ is a great Savior!”  What amazing grace!

-- Unknown


Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Behind the words of Jesus and the memories about Him, there shines forth a self-authenticating portrait of a real person in all His human uniqueness, an impression which is accessible alike to the layman and to the expert, to believer and non-believer.  No reader of the gospel story can fail to be impressed by Jesus' humble submission to the will of His God on the one hand, and His mastery of all situations on the other; by His penetrating discernment of human motives and His authoritative demand of radical obedience on the one hand, and His gracious, forgiving acceptance of sinners on the other.  There is nothing, either in the Messianic hopes of pre-Christian Judaism or in the later Messianic beliefs of the early Christian Church to account for this portrait.  It is characterized by an originality and freshness which is beyond the power of invention. 

-- Reginald Fuller in The Book of the Acts of God


Tuesday, May 29, 2012


We are to administer, or "dispense," God's grace... The image brings to mind one of the old-fashioned "atomizers" women used before the perfection of spray technology.  Squeeze a rubber bulb, and droplets of perfume come shooting out of the fine holes at the other end.  A few drops suffice for a whole body, a few pumps change the atmosphere in a room.   That is how grace should work, I think.  It does not convert the entire world or an entire society, but it does enrich the atmosphere.

Now I worry that the prevailing image of Christians has changed from that of a perfume atomizer to a different spray apparatus: the kind used by insect exterminators.  There's a roach!  Pump, spray, pump, spray.  There's a spot of evil!  Pump, spray, pump, spray.  Some Christians I know have taken on the task of "moral exterminator" for the evil-infested society around them.

I share a deep concern for our society.  I am struck, though, by the alternative power of mercy as demonstrated by Jesus, who came for the sick and not the well, for the sinners and not the righteous.  Jesus never countenanced evil, but he did stand ready to forgive it.  Somehow, he gained the reputation as a lover of sinners, a reputation that followers are in danger of losing today.  As Dorothy Day put it, "I really only love God as much as I love the person I love the least."

-- Philip Yancey in What's So Amazing About Grace?


Friday, May 25, 2012


The greatest need of any person is to be known and loved. The cry is strong; the human desire is deep. "I want to be somebody. I want my life to count." Closely related to the feeling of worth is the perception of who we are. When we esteem something or someone, we highly value it or the person. To esteem ourselves is to have high regard for ourselves. Many of the problems in human relations stem from a person's lack of self-esteem.

[However,]... our worth and value is given. We are called not to muster it up within ourselves, but to receive the gift given to us, a gift of the grace of God in Jesus Christ. God has declared our value. Our value is not rooted in self-esteem, based only on ourselves. Our value is discovered in grace, which is rooted in the greatness and graciousness of God...

God's love makes it possible to know we are valued. We cannot put ourselves down or debase ourselves. We can know our true worth because we are children of God. Our esteem is rooted in the amazing grace of God. Our esteem is grace-esteem.

-- H. Eddie Fox in Grace-Esteem


Thursday, May 24, 2012


Be assured, if you walk with [Christ] and look to Him and expect help from Him, He will never fail you.  As an older brother who has known the Lord for forty-four years, who writes this, says to you for your encouragement that He has never failed him. In the greatest difficulties, in the heaviest trials, in the deepest poverty and necessities, He has never failed me; but because I was enabled by His grace to trust [Christ] He has always appeared for my help.  I delight in speaking well of His name. 

-- George Mueller in Streams in the Desert


Wednesday, May 23, 2012


I invite you to consider two alternatives and their consequences. One of them, to paraphrase atheist Bertrand Russell, is "You are the product of causes that have no purpose or meaning. Your origin, your growth, your hopes, fears, loves, beliefs are the outcome of accidental collections of atoms. No fire, heroism, or intensity of thought or feeling can preserve your life from beyond the grave. All the devotion, all the inspiration, all the labor of all the ages are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system. The whole temple of human achievement must inevitably be buried in the debris of a universe in ruins. That's what we're all headed for."

Or you can choose this: "You are the uniquely designed creation of a thoroughly good and unspeakably creative God. You are made in His image, with a capacity to reason, choose, and love that sets you above all other life forms. You will not only survive death, but you yourself were made to bear an eternal weight of glory you cannot now even fathom and you will one day know."

 -- John Ortberg in Faith & Doubt


Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Last spring I had a memorable day. My daughter graduated from college, I turned fifty years old, and I spoke at her commencement -- all on the same day. But the most memorable line of the day involved none of that. A man named David Winter had been president of her school for over a quarter of a century. Toward the end of his term, as he was looking forward to retirement, he suffered a disease that over a period of three weeks robbed him of his sight. As we processed up to the graduation platform, he had to hold the arm of another to guide him. And in his words of greeting to the students and parents, he said, "Never doubt in the darkness what God has shown you in the light."

-- John Ortberg in Faith & Doubt


Monday, May 21, 2012


We may think the burning issue of life presently is to get our marriage in order. Or get on the right career path. Or get our finances straightened out. But as important as these pressing issues are, our greatest need must be to become absorbed with the glory of God. Why? Because only those who are consumed with God will be internally changed and, as a result, see their marriages, work, and finances put right.

-- Steven J. Lawson in Heaven Help Us!


Friday, May 18, 2012


"[Jesus] said to him the third time, 'Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?' Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, 'Do you love Me?' And he said to Him, 'Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.' Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.' "  (John 21:17 NKJV)

I wish they would remember that the charge to Peter was "Feed my sheep", not "Try experiments on my rats", or even "Teach my performing dogs new tricks". 

-- C. S. Lewis (1898-1963)


Thursday, May 17, 2012


"So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." (John 8:36 NIV)

I am entirely ready to have the chains that keep me bound be broken.  I am entirely ready for the walls I've built around myself to be torn down.  I am entirely ready to give up my need to control every situation.  I am entirely ready to let go of my resentments.  I am entirely ready to grow up. 

-- Macrina Wiederkehr


Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Greed is really an attitude, which means it is possible for anyone to be greedy. Whether you have a lot or a little, you will always want more. Credit only becomes the vehicle for fueling our greed. At its root is a lack of contentment with the provisions of God. Unlike the apostle Paul, we have not become good at being content in whatever state we find ourselves. 

-- Bruce Howard, Chair of Wheaton College's Business and Economics Department, in


Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Finding words to adequately define the promptings of the Holy Spirit is no easy feat.  Promptings are mystical.  They are phenomenal.  They are intangible.  And they're real.  In fact, promptings have been present in the lives of Christ-followers since Jesus left his bodily form on earth and ascended to heaven.  Remember?  That was the day when He sent the Spirit of God to take up residence in the heart of every believer.  "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you," He said. (It should clue us in to the challenging nature of our mission that Christ would need to send a permanent source of supernatural power to assist us.)
But what exactly was this power all about?  The rest of the story from Acts 1:8 explains that Christ-followers have a mission while here on earth.  They are to be Christ's witnesses all over this planet.  It's as if Christ said, "Think you're missing the book smarts, the street smarts, the looks, the talent, or the speaking ability to accomplish this mission?  Don't be concerned with those things, because you have my mountain-moving, life-transforming, death-defying power on your side." 

-- Bill Hybels in Just Walk Across the Room


Monday, May 14, 2012


"Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world." (Psalm 46:10 NLT)

Our Adversary majors in three things: noise, hurry and crowds.  If he can keep us engaged in "muchness" and "manyness," he will rest satisfied. 

-- Richard J. Foster


Friday, May 11, 2012


"...a woman who honors the Lord deserves to be praised." Proverbs 31:30 (CEV)

The Bible is filled with the accomplishments and witness of mothers who honored the Lord by devoting themselves to God, as they sacrificed, took risks, experienced heartache and loss, as well as the joy that comes from putting trust and hope in the Lord God.

Sarah and Elizabeth became mothers at an advanced age; Hagar served as a surrogate mother; Naomi became a grandmother following a time of hardship and family distress; Hannah promised that she would dedicate her child to the Lord; the events surrounding the birth and ministry of Jesus show His mother, Mary, at His side; unnamed mothers made bold requests on behalf of their children...

Two women who are great examples of passing on the gift of faith are Lois and Eunice, the grandmother and mother of Timothy, who then spread the faith throughout his life as a companion of Paul. It was these two women who instilled in Timothy the power of God by who they were and how they lived. Timothy's upbringing was grounded in the Holy Scriptures.

Therefore, on this Mother's Day, let us praise remarkable women of faith -- those from Scripture and those we have known face-to-face. It is because of them that we have been brought to a knowledge of life well-lived in the Lord.  

-- Rev. Dr. Paul Irwin, President, American Bible Society


Thursday, May 10, 2012


When my children were very young I came across a biography of Susanna Wesley, mother of John and Charles Wesley. I was thinking about this book the other day, and how that when I read of her life I was truly inspired. Susanna birthed possibly nineteen children, schooled them all herself, (homeschooled) and raised her children to be devout Christians. She kept a well-run household by herself, without the help of servants, (if I remember correctly). She ran this household strictly and orderly with the older children helping with the younger ones and each given responsibilities as soon as they were able. The children made bread, sewed and learned to do many other necessities from an early age. This was all done in the days of growing and preserving their own food, making everything from scratch, making their own candles for light, making their own clothing, usually after making their own cloth! All without modern conveniences, of course!

John and Charles Wesley, as adults, gave much credit to their mother as the molder of their character and of their souls. It is said that John and Charles Wesley together won tens of thousands to the Lord, preaching the gospel of the grace of God. And thus, Susanna Wesley lived to see the fruit of her labor.

Proverbs 31:28 says of the virtuous woman, "Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her."  

-- Mary Atwood


Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Belonging to a learning faith community provides companionship that sustains us through difficult experiences. Nothing is as disheartening as a lonely struggle. Many communities and congregations are too large for people to know others well, and so it's in the intimacy of small groups - classes, Bible studies, choirs, prayer groups – that we learn each others' names, pray for one another, and learn to care for one another. Christian companions become the people God uses to sustain us through the ordinary ups and downs of living, and also through those times of extraordinary darkness and grief. 
-- Robert Schnase in Five Practices of Fruitful Living


Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Don't think that in Heaven we will be lying back on a bed of clouds, plucking harps, adjusting our halos, and singing "Kum Bah Ya." Personally, that sounds pretty boring to me. Heaven is an exciting place! A place of dynamic ministry, stimulating activity, and expanded horizons.

-- Steven J. Lawson in Heaven Help Us!


Monday, May 7, 2012


NOTE: Family and friends celebrated my Dad's 90th birthday with two parties over the weekend. As friends and family gathered what came to mind was that he has been blessed, over nine decades, to be a blessing -- to his family, to his friends, to his church, to his work, to his country (serving in WW2). Blessings on my Dad, Don Wilkinson.


To lay down our lives sometimes means that we are to surrender the littleness of who we think we are in order to be the greatness God created us to be. All the blessings in life happen to us as they happen through us.  Be the blessing, so that the blessings can increase, develop and grow. "Today, I consciously bless everyone I meet."  

-- Mary Manin Morrissey


Friday, May 4, 2012


Emily in Our Town who signs her address as:
            Grovers Corners
            New Hampshire
            United States of American
            Western Hemisphere
            Planet Earth
            Solar System
            The Universe
            Mind of God
            In the mind of God… that's about as significant as you can get, whether you sit at a typewriter, behind the wheel of a bus, at the desk in a classroom, in a chair by your kitchen table… or lay in bed and pray.  Your life is hidden with Christ.  You enrich His inheritance.  You are His ambassador.  In Him your life has depth and meaning and purpose, no matter what you do.
            Peter Kreeft has said, "The point of this life…is to become the person God can love perfectly, to satisfy His thirst to love.  Being counts more than doing, the singer more than the song.  We had better stop looking for escape hatches, for this is our hatchery."
            It's my prayer that… you will discover the significance that has been yours all along as a child of the King.  You may not be able to know the meaning of every event, but you can know that every event is meaningful.
            And you are significant.

-- Joni Earkeckson Tada in Glorious Intruder


Thursday, May 3, 2012


Why should we expend the energy to pray?

I found there are several reasons – but the first is all we really need to know.  God has told us to pray.  It is a commandment, and if we love Him, we obey His commands.

But there is a second reason: We pray because Jesus prayed.  Sometimes people will say the only reason for prayer is that we need to be changed.  Yes, we do need to change, but that's not the only reason to pray.  Jesus didn't need to be changed or be made more holy.  When He prayed He was communing with His Father.  He thanked God.  He praised Him.  He asked for things.  He requested power.  He prayed on behalf of others.  He asked that the devil be bridled.  He asked His Father to prevent what was about to take place.  He made clear His own will.  He prayed as though His petitions had a definite effect on God's design.

In light of God's clear commands and our Lord's unmistakable example, it's obvious we believers "should always pray and never give up" (Luke 18:1).  God does not want us to shrug our shoulders, shuffle our feet, and mutter, "Que sera, sera, whatever will be, will be."  On the contrary, Scripture makes it plain that we are involved with this life of ours -- and the lives of others as well.  Certain things simply will not happen… unless we pray.

-- Joni Earkeckson Tada in Glorious Intruder


Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Remember that . . . the journey of growing in Christ never ends.  It is a journey that will take us through this life and the next, a road that takes us ever deeper into that love that came down at Christmas until, as Charles Wesley put it, we are "lost in wonder, love and praise."  

-- Larry R. Kalajainen in An Advent Journey  (Nashville, Tenn.: Upper Room Books, Used with permission)


Tuesday, May 1, 2012


George Frederick Handel's Messiah was first performed in London, England, on March 12, 1743.  The king of England was present for the premier, and he was deeply moved by the time the performance reached its climax with the "Hallelujah Chorus."  At the words, "For the Lord God omnipotent reigneth," the king could not contain himself any longer. Overwhelmed by the music and lyrics, he rose to his feet, and the entire audience joined him.  They remained standing throughout the remainder of the chorus.

From that time on, it became the custom for audiences to stand whenever the chorus was performed.  Queen Victoria, however, was advised shortly after she ascended the throne, not to stand when she went to hear Messiah.  Her advisers explained that the appropriate protocol was for her to remain seated, regardless of what other monarchs may have done in the past.

As the chorus began and the singers were proclaiming, "Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth," Queen Victoria remained seated, with great difficulty.  Then, as the chorus began to proclaim Him the "King of kings and Lord of lords" she rose suddenly and stood with bowed head, as if she desired to take her own crown from her head and cast it at His feet.

In the presence of the King of kings and Lord of lords we can do nothing less than stand in awe and praise at His majesty and bow before Him in worship.  The glory of the Lord cannot be compared.  It cannot be fathomed.  It is higher, more awesome, more wonderful, more majestic than anything we can comprehend with our finite mind and limited senses.  The glory of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting.

Once we catch a glimpse of who is making a way for us out of our time of trial, all else will fade away.  The more the Lord becomes the focus of our desire and our praise, the more our problems seem to dissipate.

from God will make a Way… Stories of Hope