Monday, May 18, 2009

How Much do You Thirst

coreopsis

God, You are my God; I eagerly seek You.
I thirst for You;
my body faints for You
in a land that is dry, desolate, and without water.

Psalm 63: Holman Christian standard version.



Only in Leisure

National Park officials welcome 250 million people to our treasured parks each year. Most visitors are day-trippers, coming to look and run. In 1983, the average time spent for all forty-eight national parks was four and one-half hours. For Isle Royale it was four days, perhaps due to its remoteness. Yosemite or Sequoia, Yellowstone or Glacier National Park in four and one-half hours? To so heatedly race in and out of these stunning temples of granite offers no time to pause, let alone stop and look, listen and smell the delights of mountains, rivers, and high country.

Unfortunately, prayer fares far worse than our National Parks. Though God invites us to sit and enjoy time in his presence, we hasten in and out of prayer like we do a fast-food establishment. Yet the more we pray, the more we enjoy it and receive from it. When we rise from prayer we are always more keen for it than when we first knelt. God’s answers come to all who seek his presence. He doesn’t time the length of our prayers, but it is for our own soul’s delight that we spend time with him, finding in spiritual leisure the grace that haste denies.

Speaker's sourcebook of new illustrations


Do you thirst Enough for God to spend time with Him? Or do you — like me — often hurry through your time with Him and say to yourself, "Been there, done that," and move on to other things.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Understanding

Understanding is a wellspring of life unto him that hath it. — (Proverbs 16:22)




Understanding is the reward of faith. Therefore seek not to understand that thou mayest believe, but believe that thou mayest understand. — St. Augustine

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Pray for each other

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. — James 5:16 NIV




Prayer is the world in tune,
A spirit voice, And vocal joys,
Whose echo is heaven's bliss.

Henry Vaughan: The Morning Watch


Check out my blog on Wildflowers Ohio Wilflowers

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Who

portulaca

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?"
And I said, "Here am I. Send me!"

Isaiah 6:8 NIV



WOW!  What commitment and zeal from Isaiah.  Hear I am - I'll do it.  Send me.  Through the ages and still continuing today a multitude of missionaries have also exhibited the same zeal.  When called by Him to serve in that capacity they have enthusiastically taken up the call. 

Here are some prayers of those called to the mission field:
GEORGE WHITEFIELD, famous English evangelist, said, "O Lord, give me souls, or take my soul."
DAVID BRAINERD, missionary to the North American Indians, 1718-1747, declared, "Lord to thee I dedicate myself. Oh, accept of me, and let me be Thine forever. Lord, I desire nothing else; I desire nothing more."
THOMAS À KEMPIS, 1349-1471, said, "Give what Thou wilt, and when Thou wilt. See me where Thou wilt, and deal with me in all things as Thou wilt."
JOHN MCKENZIE prayed as a young missionary candidate as he knelt on the banks of the Lossie: "O, Lord, send me to the darkest spot on earth."
MOTHER TERESA of Calcutta, "Do you want my hands, Lord, to spend the day helping the sick and the poor who need them Lord? Lord, today I give you my hands."


HENRY MARTYN, missionary, cried as he knelt on India's coral strands, "Here let me burn out for God."


Friday, May 8, 2009

The Master's Card

You have probably seen the catchy television commercials for MasterCard. They start by identifying some things that people can buy with their MasterCard, then show a moment that is priceless and end by saying, "There are some things money can't buy, for everything else there's MasterCard."

I'm here to advertise my credit card. I'm a card carrying representative for the Master's Card. That's right, the MASTER'S CARD. Let me tell you about it.

There are no finance charges, no payments due. My bill has already been covered . . . it's a prepaid deal. I couldn't afford the price. Jesus paid it for me and you.

It is accessible twenty-four hours a day from anywhere in the world. The MASTER'S CARD has so many benefits it's hard to list them all. Let me share some of them with you . . .

Just for starters there is unlimited grace. Apply for the MASTER'S CARD.

Looking for love in all the wrong places? Apply for the MASTER'S CARD.

Want real joy despite the difficulties of life? Apply for the MASTER'S CARD.

Want a lasting peace? Apply for the MASTER'S CARD.

How do you obtain the MASTER'S CARD? Dial 1-800-BeSaved for the following messages: Romans 10:9 "That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Matthew 10:22 "All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved."

Jesus is standing by right now to take your call. Don't delay. This great offer won't last forever.

There are some things money can't buy. For those things, there's the Master's Card.

- Author Unknown, Edited by Richard Wimer

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Love your enemies

"But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you"

Matthew 5:44 NASB


But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

Matthew 5:44 NIV



These Christians love each other even before they are acquainted.

Saint Celsus

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Not Defeat

Two Egrets in mangrove


But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:5



Not Defeat

Long before the day of the telegraph, a new method for dispatching news had been set up in England. It consisted of towers set on high places in several different directions from London, and on these towers was a system of wooden arms, called semaphores, that could be moved to spell out sentences. The messages were sent from semaphore to semaphore. This system was in use at the time of the Battle of Waterloo. The people knew that a great battle was being fought, and great crowds of them kept watching the semaphores for news. At last the semaphores spelled out the words, "Wellington defeated." 

Then great banks of cloud obscured the towers on which the semaphores were erected. The region for miles was in deep gloom. But after some time the fog lifted and the sentence was completed: "Wellington defeated the enemy." Gloom was changed into joy. 

So when the two from Emmaus were walking home, the unrecognized Jesus asked them why they were so sad. But in a little while they recognized the risen Lord, and their hearts burned
within them for joy.

– Choice Illustrations - W. W. Clay

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Way

Rainbow six mile cypruss slough


"Jesus told him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me." — John 14:6


Many people are put off by the exclusivist of Christianity. They are angered that Jesus is the only way. God sent His only Son to die the death of a criminal. The Son took all the sins of the world upon Him as he died on the cross. God the father, dearly loved this only son. If there had been another way, would God not have chosen that way. We cannot diminish the sacrifice of God’s Son, Jesus. His sacrifice was for us. His sacrifice was the only way. Salvation is through Jesus alone. "No one can come to the Father except through [Jesus.]"

I am reminded of a story told by J. Vernon McGee. He spoke of his love for school at an early age. He quickly learned to read. Math was another subject he enjoyed. He learned that 2 + 2 = 4. This was one simple law of math. The teacher would accept no other answer for the question. 2 + 2 always equals four. The teacher would not accept 3.99. 4.01 was not acceptable. The answer for 2 + 2 was always four and only four. As he grew older, the answer did not change. The answer for 2 +2 was the only answer accepted. When he balanced his checkbook, the bank only accepted this answer. When he filed his income tax, the IRS only accepted 2 + 2 = 4. There is no exception. The exclusive answer to 2 + 2 is 4. It is true, 2 + 2 = 4 and only 4. It is the truth and it is exclusive.

The truth is exclusive. If it is the truth, if it is a fact – there is one exclusive answer. Jesus is THE answer. He is THE way, THE truth and THE life. No one go to the Father except through Jesus. There is nothing wrong with being exclusive. The way to God is a fact. It is an absolute. Believe it, it’s true. You wouldn’t want it any other way. Jesus is not A way but the true and ONLY way. We cannot be ashamed, or surprised, by the exclusiveness of this truth. We cannot afford to allow ourselves to believe differently. We cannot risk letting our friends and family believing anything short of this truth. We must boldly proclaim this fact – this truth, Jesus is the only way to the father. Just as 4 is the exclusive answer for 2 + 2, Jesus proclaimed himelf as the only way to the Father and eternal life.

If you have not accepted Jesus as the Way, the Truth, and the Life, why not do so now. Enjoy your first breath as a new creation. Take your first joyful breath in eternal life in Jesus.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Weaver

Fern fronds


He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That's why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. Romans 8:27-28 (MSG)


The Weaver

My life is but a weaving,
between my God and me.
I do not choose the colors,
He worketh steadily.

Offtimes He weaveth sorrow,
and I in foolish pride,
Forget He sees the upper,
and I the underside.

Not 'til the loom is silent
and the shuttles cease to fly
Will God unroll the canvas
and explain the reason why.

The dark threads are as needful
in the weaver's skillful hand
As the threads of gold and silver
in the pattern He has planned.

Author Unknown

Monday, March 23, 2009

Believe

Fall frost on Dogwood leaves and buds


Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. — John 20:29 KJV



Seeing is not necessarily all that is needed to believe. Some people are sure that if they could just actually see Jesus, they would believe. If we cannot believe with the words of the Bible, and the testimony of other believers, actually seeing Jesus would not make Him any more real to us.



Belief is a truth held in the mind; faith is a fire in the heart. — Joseph Fort Newton

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Commanded to LOVE

opening soon


My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. ~ John 15:12 NIV


If you allow someone to love you, that love will take you to painful places. - Henri Nouwen, Leadership, Vol. 3, no. 1.


Love isn't easy, but it is a requirement. Love has "everything" to do with it. Christ loved us - look at how much pain he endured because of it. Are we willing to love someone this much. Are we willing to love Him this much.

Friday, March 20, 2009

God is Near


Be at rest once more, O my soul,
for the LORD has been good to you.
For you, O LORD, have delivered my soul from death,
my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling,
that I may walk before the LORD
in the land of the living.— Psalm 116: 7-9 NIV






God is always near to us. We can depend on him to deliver us in all situations.
Even in death God is with us, and will deliver us.




I do not know how the loving father will bring out the light at last, but he knows and he will do it.— David Livingstone

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Astonishment!

At this they were seized with astonishment. Full of awe, they gave praise to God, saying, `We have seen incredible things today! — Luke 5:26





What awesome things we have not seen and heard because we take so much for granted. When one of my sons called me long-distance and told me he had been in an accident, it was at that moment I realized how much I cherish him. But why does it take such gut-tearing news for us to realize this? Can't we praise our God and treasure our loved ones now, at this very moment?

The miracle is already here. We see and hear stirring things every day. Nature is filled with visual and auditory delights, and our homes are havens of delight and security. We hear sobs, too, for these are the compensations of life, strange as that sounds. Our lives report wonders already, while we wonder why we are filled with wanderlust and a constant search for the Incredibles of life.

In this verse these people saw Jesus tell a lame man to get up and go on with life, and they were amazed. Is it any less amazing that he tells us to get up and go about our daily duties--and while doing so, to see and hear his daily miracles?

– Lk 5:17-26 Is 35:1-10 1 Thes 5:18 Jb 9:10 Mk 6:5,6 - Pat Nordman

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Helping Others

Share with God's people who need help. Bring strangers in need into your homes. - Romans 12:13 NCV





Success does not mean standing victoriously over a fallen enemy. It is standing side by side with persons you have helped. Success is a matter of raising not only your own water level but the water level of all around you so that all the ships in the harbor can embark on prosperous voyages. — Denis Waitley – Timing is Everything Adams

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Affliction - life is a miracle.

For hardship does not spring from the soil,nor does trouble sprout from the ground.Yet man is born to troubleas surely as sparks fly upward. — Job 5:6-7 NIV





By affliction God is spoiling us of what of what otherwise might have spoiled us. –When he makes the world too hot for us to hold, we let it go. — Sir John Powell





Life is a Miracle


Life is a miracle, don't let it slip away,
Open your heart to others; give of yourself each day.

See the beauty in everyone regardless of where they've been, Some have a difficult journey and really need a friend.

Share your gifts and talents; listen with your heart.
Do the things you dream about but don't have time to start.

Pick a bouquet of flowers; show someone that you care,

Be gracious and forgiving; life is never fair.
Hold on to your courage, you may need it down the road,

We all have a cross to bear; it could be a heavy load.

If you practice all these things no matter where you roam,

You may find both sun and rain, but you'll never feel alone!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Some thoughts on Easter


Morning Sanibel beach, originally uploaded by Ransome.

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

Isaiah 53:5

Opened By a Seed 


In a cemetery in Hanover, Germany, is a grave on which were placed huge slabs of granite and marble cemented together and fastened with heavy steel clasps. It belongs to a woman who did not believe in the resurrection of the dead. Yet strangely, she directed in her will that her grave be made so secure that if there were a resurrection, it could not reach her. On the marker were inscribed these words: "This burial place must never be opened." In time, a seed, covered over by the stones, began to grow. Slowly it pushed its way through the soil and out from beneath them. As the trunk enlarged, the great slabs were gradually shifted so that the steel clasps were wrenched from their sockets. A tiny seed had become a tree that had pushed aside the stones.

The dynamic life force contained in that little seed is a faint reflection of the tremendous power of God's creative word that someday will call to life the bodies of all who are in their graves. He will also bring back every person drowned at sea, cremated, or destroyed in some other way. This is no problem to the One who made something out of nothing when He spoke the universe into existence. Unbelief cannot deter the resurrection. But faith in the risen Christ opens the door to blessings that His resurrection guarantees – a glorious new spiritual body and a home in heaven. In new bodies we will be reunited with saved loved ones to live with Jesus throughout all eternity. – Unknown


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Experience God




Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! Psalm 34:8 (ESV)


Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see— how good God is. Blessed are you who run to him. — Psalm 34:8 (MSG)

By experience you will see that the Lord is good; happy is the man who has faith in him. Psalm 34:8 (BBE)





A young boy went to the local store with his mother. The shop owner, a kindly man, passed him a large jar of suckers and invited him to help himself to a handful. Uncharacteristically, the boy held back. So the shop owner pulled out a handful for him.

When outside, the boy's mother asked why he had suddenly been so shy and wouldn't take a handful of suckers when offered.

The boy replied, "Because his hand is much bigger than mine!"

Citation: Brian Harris; Mt. Roskill, Auckland, New Zealand

God's hands are much bigger than ours. We cannot even begin to conceive of His greatnes and His love for us. Just taste Him and see how good He is. You will be blessed more than you can imagine.





This is a warm invitation: "Try this; I know you'll like it." When we take that first step of obedience in following God, we cannot help discovering that he is good and kind. “You have taste buds in your soul for tasting, for experiencing spiritual things. Taste and experience that God is good!” As we trust him daily, we experience how good he is.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Don't be Anxious

Luke 12:27, originally uploaded by Ransome.

Look at the wildflowers in the field. Not one of them ever picked up needle and thread to make beautiful clothes for themselves, Jesus pointed out. Yet who has clothing as beautiful as theirs? Not even the fabulously rich Solomon!  1 Kings. 10:4-6, 23  What is going to happen to these beautiful flowers? They will dry up and be burned for fuel in a day or two. If God does such an elaborate job for such fleeting flowers, what will he do for you? You are worth so much more than fragile flowers. Where is your faith? Trust God for what you need. Quit worrying! -  Holman New Testament Commentary – Luke.



The word "worry" is derived from an old Anglo-Saxon word meaning to strangle or to choke. How well-named the emotion it has been demonstrated again and again in persons who have lost their effectiveness due to the stultifying effect of anxiety and apprehension. A certain well controlled carefreeness may well be an asset. Normal sensible concern is an important attribute of the mature person. But worry frustrates one's best functioning.    
 — Norman Vincent Peale

Friday, March 6, 2009

God is Near

Be at rest once more, O my soul,
for the LORD has been good to you.
For you, O LORD, have delivered my soul from death,
my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling,
that I may walk before the LORD
in the land of the living.

Psalm 116: 7-9 NIV

goldbar.gif (418 bytes)


God is always near to us. We can depend on him to
deliver us in all situations.

Even in death God is with us, and will deliver us.



goldbar.gif (418 bytes)


I do not know how the loving father will bring out the light at last, but he knows and he will do it. — David Livingstone




Thursday, March 5, 2009

Life Passes Quickly

From In My Garden



The length of our days is seventy years–or eighty, if we have the strength;yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away. — Psalm 90:10 NIV



"What is life? It is a flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset." ~ Crowfoot

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Isaiah 40:28



God is the source of strength, power, and refreshment. They all come from our relationship with God, He gives them to us as a gift of His grace.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Motive

People may be pure in their own eyes,
but the LORD examines their motives. - Proverbs 16:2




Cookie Jars

A little boy told a salesclerk he was shopping for a birthday gift for his mother and asked to see some cookie jars. At a counter displaying a large selection the youngster carefully lifted and replaced each lid. His face fell as he came to the last one. 'Aren't there any covers that don't make any noise?" he asked. . . Right motives should accompany right actions.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Do not Lose Heart

New England Aster


Isaiah 55:12, originally uploaded by Ransome.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
2 Corinthians 4:16 



Christianity is not devotion to work, or to a cause, or a doctrine, but devotion to a Person, the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul refused to take anything or anyone seriously but Jesus Christ. — Oswald Chamber

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Love your enemies

But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. — Matthew 5:44- 45 (NIV)




President Lincoln was once taken to task for his attitude toward his enemies. "why do you try to make friends of them?" asked an associate. "You should try and destroy them."

"Am I not destroying my enemies," Lincoln replied gently, "when I make them my friends?




These Christians love each other even before they are acquainted. —Saint Celsus

Friday, February 20, 2009

You did it for Me

more wild sunflower

The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me. ~ Matthew 25:40



How is it to be explained - the very heart and mystery of the Christian faith? To soothe those battered old heads, to grasp those poor [leprous] stumps, to take in one's arms those children consigned to dustbins, because it is his head, as they are his stumps and his children, of whom he said that whosoever received one such child in his name received Him. — Malcolm Muggeridge

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Loved by God

Rhododendron


"I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me."      ~  Galatians 2:20 (NASB)

____________


When one has been saved by grace, through faith, through Christ alone — they become a new person.  Their old person is dead. Their sinful life was crucified on the cross with Christ. They become a new creation. They are no longer condemned by the Law. The self-centered self now becomes the Christ-centered self.   Through Christ alone they live — enjoy a present life,  and have the hope of future glory.

_____________

It is difficult to make a man miserable while he feels he is worthy of himself and claims kindred to the great God who made him.
~ Abraham Lincoln

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Filled with the Spirit

Butterflyweed-s, originally uploaded by Ransome.


Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
~ Ephesians 5:18-20 NIV ~






This verse does not give us a song to sing -- but it tell us to keep on singing. When we are filled with the Spirit will be filled with JOY. We can express this joy in song. Thankfully, we don't have to sing well -- just sing. Perhaps you are not the type to become so dramatic and expressive in you faith. Everyone is different. It is not so terribly important how much Holy Spirit you have. It is important how much the Holy Spirit has of you.






Never mind how beautiful or pitiful you may sound. Sing loud enough to drown out those defeating thoughts that normally clamor for attention. Release yourself from that cage of introspective reluctance --SING OUT! You are not auditioning for the choir, you are making melody with your heart.

If you listen closely when you're through, you may hear the hosts of heaven shouting for joy. Then again, it might be your neighbor ... screaming for relief.

~ Charles Swindoll, Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life




God's Love

Forsythia blossom

Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. — Romans 8:38 – 39

_________
One time a father wanted to teach his son the lesson of God’s great goodness. He took him to the top of a high hill and pointed northward over Scotland, southward over England, eastward over the ocean, westward over the hill and valley, and then sweeping his arm around the whole circling horizon, he said "Johnny, my boy, God’s love is as big as all of that." 
"Why father," the boy replied with sparkling eyes, "then we must be right in the middle of it." 
– Earnest Worker
_________
 We are right in the middle of God’s love – and NOTHING can separate us from this undeserved, unlimited love.
____________

When it is said that God loves man this is not a judgment on what man is like, but on what God is like. — Anders Nygren, Agape and Eros, 1953