Thursday, April 30, 2009
A horrible thing happened to me today.....a thief broke into my house. It
happened shortly after I awoke this morning. I got up and began rushing
about. I had a thousand things on my list and was already running behind.
Quickly, I gulped down breakfast, took a shower and got ready for work.
In my rush, I forgot to turn the security system on at my house. It was just
about a half an hour later that the thief broke in. Of course, he didn't
make a sound. Just kind of snuck inside, not drawing any attention to
himself. In fact, none of the neighbors ever saw him.
But, I did.
You see, I WAS HOME when the thief broke in.
He naturally startled me, as I was unprepared for his visit. He, of course,
didn't announce that he was coming and I certainly had not invited him over.
And yet, I found myself face to face with danger and I felt so powerless. I
also felt so very stupid, because this whole incident could have been
avoided if I had just taken the time to turn the security system on.
You better believe I'll be turning it on tomorrow morning! I thought I'd
warn you about this guy, because he's still on the loose. Chances are, he's
in your area. Possibly even headed for your house.
His name? His name is Satan. You see, this morning when I jumped up in my
haste to get started on my busy day, I skipped my prayer time - opting to
"pray later today." In other words, I DIDN'T TURN ON THE SECURITY SYSTEM. My
defense wasn't on, my guard was dropped ..... and when the thief came into
my home to attack me, I was unprepared to do battle. He tempted me and I
felt powerless. Like I said, I also felt so very stupid, because I could
have avoided the incident if I had just taken the time to pray.
My friend, the thief has come to "steal, kill and destroy." And, as a Child
of God, you are on his "hit list." He'll probably pop over to your house
today. He may be lurking outside your door right now, just waiting to catch
you off guard.
Take time to pray this morning. Ask God to bind Satan from your very
presence, to protect you and empower you to do battle. In short ..... don't
forget to turn your security system on.
-- Author Unknown
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
One day, an expert in time management was speaking to a group of business
students and, to drive home a point, used an illustration those students
will never forget. As he stood in front of the group of high-powered
overachiever s he said, "Okay, time for a quiz" and he pulled out a
one-gallon, wide-mouth mason jar and set it on the table in front of him.
He also produced about a dozen fist-sized rocks and carefully placed them,
one at a time, into the jar. When the jar was filled to the top and no more
rocks would fit inside, he asked, "Is this jar full?"
Everyone in the class yelled, "Yes." The time management expert replied,
"Really?" He reached under the table and pulled out a bucket of gravel. He
dumped some gravel in and shook the jar causing pieces of gravel to work
themselves down into the spaces between the big rocks. He then asked the
group once more, "Is the jar full?"
By this time the class was on to him. "Probably not," one of them answered.
"Good!" he replied. He reached under the table and brought out a bucket of
sand. He started dumping the sand in the jar and it went into all of the
spaces left between the rocks and the gravel. Once more he asked the
question, "Is this jar full?"
"No!" the class shouted. Once again he said, "Good." Then he grabbed a
pitcher of water and began to pour it in until the jar was filled to the
brim. Then he looked at the class and asked, "What is the point of this
One eager beaver raised his hand and said, "The point is, no matter how full
your schedule is, if you try really hard you can always fit some more things
in it!" "No," the speaker replied, "that's not the point.
The truth this illustration teaches us is:
If you don't put the big rocks in first, you'll never get them in at all."
What are the 'big rocks' in your life, time with your loved ones, your
faith, your education, your dreams, a worthy cause, teaching or mentoring
others? Remember to put these BIG ROCKS in first or you'll never get them
in at all.
So, tonight, or in the morning, when you are reflecting on this short story,
ask yourself this question: What are the 'big rocks' in my life?
Then, put those in your jar first.
-- Author Unknown
Monday, April 27, 2009
At the moment we were born, a countdown began on our lives. Every tick of the clock brings us one step closer to our inescapable appointment with God. Each of us will stand before Him as we are about to enter our eternal destination.
Tragically, there will be shocking disappointment for some. Jesus Himself warned, "Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name . . . ?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness" (Matt. 7:22-23).
The only way to eternal life is through faith in Jesus. Truly, our sin has separated us from the Father. But God's Son provided the solution to this universal problem: Christ lived a perfect life and then died a sinner's death on the cross to pay the penalty each of us owed (Rom. 6:23). After three days, He rose from the grave, defeating death and evil. By accepting His sacrifice on our behalf, we no longer have to live apart from God.
To receive this amazing gift, we must simply believe in Jesus and what He did. As a result, we become new creations (2 Cor. 5:17), are adopted as God's children (Eph. 1:5), and enter into a never-ending personal relationship with our Father.
Do you have confidence about where you will spend eternity? You may assume you have time to figure out this important issue, but let me give you some wise advice: Don't wait another minute to settle the matter, because "later" may never come. Repent of your sin today, and follow Jesus.
My brother-in-law opened the bottom drawer of my sister's bureau and lifted
out a tissue-wrapped package.
"This," he said, "is not a slip. This is lingerie." He discarded the
tissue and handed me the slip. It was exquisite; silk, handmade and trimmed
with a cobweb of lace. The price tag with an astronomical figure on it was
still attached. "Jan bought this the first time we went to New York, at
least 8 or 9 years ago. She never wore it. She was saving it for a special
occasion. Well, I guess this is the occasion." He took the slip from me and
put it on the bed with the other clothes we were taking to the mortician.
His hands lingered on the soft material for a moment, then he slammed the
drawer shut and turned to me. "Don't ever save anything for a special
occasion. Every day you're alive is a special occasion."
I remembered those words through the funeral and the days that followed when
I helped him and my niece attend to all the sad chores that follow an
unexpected death. I thought about them on the plane returning to California
from the Midwestern town where my sister's family lives. I thought about all
the things that she hadn't seen or heard or done. I thought about the things
that she had done without realizing that they were special.
I'm still thinking about his words, and they've changed my life. I'm reading
more and dusting less. I'm sitting on the deck and admiring the view without
fussing about the weeds in the garden. I'm spending more time with my
family and friends and less time in committee meetings. Whenever possible,
life should be a pattern of experience to savor, not endure. I'm trying to
recognize these moments now and cherish them. I'm not "saving" anything; we
use our good china and crystal for every special event-such as losing a
pound, getting the sink unstopped, the first camellia blossom. I wear my
good blazer to the market if I like it. My theory is if I look prosperous, I
can shell out $28.49 for one small bag of groceries without wincing. I'm
not saving my good perfume for special parties; clerks in hardware stores
and tellers in banks have noses that function as well as my party-going
friends. "Someday" and "one of these days" are losing their grip on my
vocabulary. If it's worth seeing or hearing or doing, I want to see and hear
and do it now.
I'm not sure what my sister would've done had she known that she wouldn't be
here for the tomorrow we all take for granted. I think she would have called
family members and a few close friends. She might have called a few former
friends to apologize and mend fences for past squabbles. I like to think she
would have gone out for a Chinese dinner, her favorite food. I'm guessing -
I'll never know.
It's those little things left undone that would make me angry if I knew that
my hours were limited. Angry because I put off seeing good friends whom I
was going to get in touch with - "someday". Angry because I hadn't written
certain letters that I intended to write - one of these days. Angry and
sorry that I didn't tell my husband and daughter often enough how much I
truly love them.
I'm trying very hard not to put off, hold back, or save anything that would
add laughter and luster to our lives. And every morning when I open my
eyes, I tell myself that it is special.
Every day, every minute, every breath truly is... a gift from God.
If you've received this it is because someone cares for you. If you're too
busy to take the few minutes that it would take right now to forward this to
ten people, would it be the first time you didn't do that little thing that
would make a difference in your relationships? I can tell you it certainly
won't be the last. Take a few minutes to send this to a few people you care
about, just to let them know that you're thinking of them.
May God litter your life with blessings!
"You've got to dance like nobody's watching, and love like it's never going
"People say true friends must always hold hands, but true friends don't need
to hold hands because they know the other hand will always be there."
-- Author Unknown
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Our culture is obsessed with youth. The marketplace is flooded with products promising better health, fewer wrinkles, and trim physique. However, these will only touch the surface of our aging problem. Unless death intervenes, growing old is inevitable. Living old, however, is a choice.
We each have to decide if we are going to flourish or dry up, grow strong or become weak. Physically, we may have no choice in the matter, but we can be young in soul and spirit, regardless of our chronological age.
When a righteous man is firmly planted in the Lord, he'll become fruitful in things that will last into eternity. We are never to retire from bearing fruit. Rather, God wants us to abide continually in an intimate connection with Him. In that way, we can do the work He has given us to accomplish (John 15:4).
A righteous man will grow strong in the Lord like a cedar of Lebanon (Psalm 92:12). These trees can grow to a height of 120 feet with a girth of 40 feet. That is one strong tree! As we walk with Christ into our latter years, we can have the confidence and stability that come only from growing strong in faith. Each year is an opportunity to trust God more and rely wholly on His Word.
Staying young while growing old begins with your mind. Never stop listening to the Lord and learning from His Word. Allow godly thinking to shape your attitudes. Be thankful, keep laughing, and rejoice in your Lord. Above all, keep believing and loving Him with all your heart.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
If you put a buzzard in a pen that is 6 feet by 8 feet and is entirely open
at the top, the bird, in spite of its ability to fly, will be an absolute
prisoner. The reason is that a buzzard always begins a flight from the
ground with a run of 10 to 12 feet. Without space to run, as is its habit,
it will not even attempt to fly, but will remain a prisoner for life in a
small jail with no top.
The ordinary bat that flies around at night, a remarkable nimble creature in
the air, cannot take off from a level place. If it is placed on the floor
or flat ground, all it can do is shuffle about helplessly and, no doubt,
painfully, until it reaches some slight elevation from which it can throw
itself into the air. Then, at once, it takes off like a flash.
A bumblebee, if dropped into an open tumbler, will be there until it dies,
unless it is taken out. It never sees the means of escape at the top, but
persists in trying to find some way out through the sides near the bottom.
It will seek a way where none exists, until it completely destroys itself.
In many ways, we are like the buzzard, the bat, and the bumblebee. We
struggle about with all our problems and frustrations, never realizing that
all we have to do is look up! That's the answer, the escape route and the
solution to any problem! Just look up!
Sorrow looks back, Worry looks around, but faith looks up!
Live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly, and trust in our
Creator who loves us.
-- Author Unknown
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
By now 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
For example, in one such commercial there is a man and his young son headed
to the baseball park. The commercial shows the dad buying his son a hot dog
and you hear the words, "Hot dog at the big league game...$3.00. "
The next scene shows the dad buying a game program and the words,
"Program...$ 6.00." Then, one of those large, orange hands with the fingers
forming a #1 is shown and you hear something like, "Large, orange
hand...$15.00. " The commercial finishes by showing the father explaining
some important aspect of the game to his son, who is listening intently as
he looks up at his father with excitement in his eyes, "Meaningful
conversation between a father and a son... priceless."
"There are some things money can't buy, for everything else there's
Friends, I'm not unlike those agencies promoting their favorite credit card.
I'm here to advertise. You see, my life is a commercial for others to see.
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, so Jesus stepped in and paid it for me. My Name
is written on the card for all to see.
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...you might want to apply for a personal card
yourself. Just for starters there is UNLIMITED GRACE. That's right, there is
no preset limit to the amount of grace you receive from the MASTER'S CARD.
Have you been looking for love in all the wrong places? Then, look no
farther than the MASTER'S CARD. It offers the greatest rate on love that has
ever been offered.
The MASTER'S CARD gives you access to many "members only" benefits. Want
real joy despite the difficulties of life? Apply for the MASTER'S CARD. Want
a lasting peace? 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. Looking for something you
can always rely on in a jam? The MASTER'S CARD is perfect for you.
Another great thing about the MASTER'S CARD is that it never expires. Once
you're a member, you're a member for life...eternal life, that is.
Membership has its privileges, you know.
How do you receive the MASTER'S CARD. Dial 1-800-ROMANS10: 9 "if thou shalt
confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that
God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." Jesus is standing
by right now to take your call. Don't delay. This great offer won't last
forever. Peace, joy and hope: Invaluable. Faith, contentment and assurance:
Inestimable. Salvation: Priceless.
There are some things money can't buy. For those, there's the Master's Card.
Christian, why not be an advertisement for the MASTER'S CARD. Let your life
be a commercial today for Jesus Christ.
-- Author Unknown
They tell the story of a mountain climber, who desperate to conquer the
Aconcagua, initiated his climb after years of preparation. But he wanted
the glory to himself, therefore, he went up alone. He started climbing and
it was becoming later, and later. He did not prepare for camping but
decided to keep on going. Soon it got dark...
Night fell with heaviness at a very high altitude. Visibility was zero.
Everything was black. There was no moon, and the stars were covered by
clouds. As he was climbing a ridge at about 100 meters from the top, he
slipped and fell. Falling rapidly he could only see blotches of darkness
that passed. He felt a terrible sensation of being sucked in by gravity.
He kept falling....and in those anguishing moments good and bad memories
passed through his mind. He thought certainly he would die. But then he
felt a jolt that almost tore him in half. Yes!! Like any good mountain
climber he had staked himself with a long rope tied to his waist.
In those moments of stillness, suspended in the air he had no other choice
but to shout, "HELP ME GOD", "HELP ME!"
All of a sudden he heard a deep voice from heaven..."What do you want me to
"Do you REALLY think that I can save you?"
"OF COURSE, MY GOD"
"Then cut the rope that is holding you up."
There was another moment of silence and stillness. The man just held tighter
to the rope.
The rescue team says that the next day they found, a frozen mountain climber
hanging strongly to a rope... TWO FEET OFF THE GROUND.
How about you? How trusting are you in that rope? Why don't you let it go?
I tell you, God has great and marvelous thing for you.
CUT THE ROPE AND SIMPLY TRUST IN HIM...
-- Author Unknown
After a few of the usual Sunday evening hymns, the church's pastor once
again slowly stood up, walked over to the pulpit, and gave a very brief
introduction of his childhood friend. With that, an elderly man stepped up
to the pulpit to speak, "A father, his son, and a friend of his son were
sailing off the Pacific Coast," he began, "when a fast approaching storm
blocked any attempt to get back to shore. The waves were so high, that even
though the father was an experienced sailor, he could not keep the boat
upright, and the three were swept into the ocean."
The old man hesitated for a moment, making eye contact with two teenagers
who were, for the first time since the service began, looking somewhat
interested in his story. He continued, "Grabbing a rescue line, the father
had to make the most excruciating decision of his life....to which boy he
would throw the other end of the line. He only had seconds to make the
The father knew that his son was a Christian, and he also knew that his
son's friend was not. The agony of his decision could not be matched by the
torrent of waves. As the father yelled out, 'I love you, son!' he threw
the line to his son's friend. By the time he pulled the friend back to the
capsized boat, his son had disappeared beyond the raging swells into the
black of night. His body was never recovered."
By this time, the two teenagers were sitting straighter in the pew, waiting
for the next words to come out of the old man's mouth. "The father," he
continued, "knew his son would step into eternity with Jesus, and he could
not bear the thought of his son's friend stepping into an eternity without
Jesus. Therefore, he sacrificed his son. How great is the love of God that
He should do the same for us." With that, the old man turned and sat back
down in his chair as silence filled the room.
Within minutes after the service ended, the two teenagers were at the old
man's side. "That was a nice story," politely started one of the boys, "but
I don't think it was very realistic for a father to give up his son's life
in hopes that the other boy would become a Christian."
"Well, you've got a point there," the old man replied, glancing down at his
worn Bible. A big smile broadened his narrow face, and he once again looked
up at the boys and said, "It sure isn't very realistic, is it? But I'm
standing here today to tell you that THAT story gives me a glimpse of what
it must have been like for God to give up His Son for me."
"You see....I was that father, and your pastor was my son's friend."
-- Author Unknown
My Mother's father worked as a carpenter. On this particular day, he was
building some crates for the clothes his church was sending to orphanages in
China. On his way home, he reached into his shirt pocket to find his
glasses, but they were gone. When he mentally replayed his earlier actions,
he realized what had happened; the glasses had slipped out of his pocket
unnoticed and fallen into one of the crates, which he had nailed shut. His
brand new glasses were heading for China!
The Great Depression was at it's height and Grandpa had six children. He had
spent $20 for those glasses that very morning. He was upset by the thought
of having to buy another pair. "It's not fair," he told God as he drove home
in frustration. "I've been very faithful in giving of my time and money to
your work, and now this."
Months later, the director of the orphanage was on furlough in the United
States. He wanted to visit all the churches that supported him in China, so
he came to speak one Sunday at my grandfather' s small church in Chicago. The
missionary began by thanking the people for their faithfulness in supporting
the orphanage. "But most of all," he said, "I must thank you for the glasses
you sent last year. You see, the Communists had just swept through the
orphanage, destroying everything, including my glasses. I was desperate.
Even if I had the money, there was simply no way of replacing those glasses.
Along with not being able to see well, I experienced headaches every day, so
my coworkers and I were much in prayer about this. Then your crates arrived.
When my staff removed the covers, they found a pair of glasses lying on top.
The missionary paused long enough to let his words sink in. Then, still
gripped with the wonder of it all, he continued: "Folks, when I tried on the
glasses, it was as though they had been custom made just for me! I want to
thank you for being a part of that."
The people listened, happy for the miraculous glasses. But the missionary
surely must have confused their church with another, they thought. There
were no glasses on their list of items to be sent overseas. But sitting
quietly in the back, with tears streaming down his face, an ordinary
carpenter realized the Master Carpenter had used him in an extraordinary
There are times we want to blame God instead of thanking him! Perhaps it is
something we ought to try more often, "Thank you God for not allowing my car
to start this morning." He may have been saving your life from a car
accident. "Lord Jesus, thank you for letting me lose my glasses; I'm sure
they'll be put to good use or there is a lesson to be learned."
-- Author Unknown