Growing together in the Spirit of Jesus Christ...

"Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching." - Hebrews 10:25 NIV

Saturday, May 31, 2008

May 31, 2008

The coat of faith

What is more likely to cause a Christian
to forget God and/or abandon Him?

Have you ever been told by someone
that is it is easy for you
to believe and trust in the Lord
because you haven't experienced their woes...
their trials and their tribulations?

The idea being that it is easy to have faith
when everything is going so well for you.

I submit that it is far easier,
and more subtle, for man
to leave God's presence,
ignore, and even forget Him
when he grows to feel less "needing"
and more self-sufficient.

The Bible is filled with such stories.

In the Aesop fable about the dispute
of who was more powerful...
the North Wind or the Sun...
it was the North Wind that brought to bear
all of his stormy weather
against the man
in an attempt to remove his coat.

All that the North Wind did
was to cause the man to wrap his coat
more tightly around himself.

If we let the man's coat be a symbol
(and represent) his faith,
the same can be said
for the effect of the storms of life on us.

Those trials and tribulations,
while causing some to curse
and/or to question God,
most often cause us
to more tightly cling to our faith
even as we are brought to our knees.

In the same Aesop fable,
it was the sun that proved more powerful.
Bestowing sunshine and warmth
upon the man caused him to
"voluntarily" remove his coat.

We must always be very careful of allowing
our highly blessed and worldly successful selfs
from becoming too self reliant
and thus less needful of God.

We must completely die to self,
be ever mindful of Him,
and allow Him to take
permanent command of our lives,
trusting Him, praising Him,
and thanking Him
for all of His love and His grace.

"For therein is the righteousness of God
revealed from faith to faith:
as it is written,
The just shall live by faith."
- Romans 1:17 KJB

"Therefore being justified by faith,
we have peace with God
through our Lord Jesus Christ:"
- Romans 5:1 KJB

Friday, May 30, 2008

May 30, 2008

Making life complicated?

"To throw a perfume on the violet...
Is wasteful and ridiculous excess."
- William Shakespeare

"Sometimes the questions are complicated
and the answers are simple."
- Dr. Seuss

"All the great things are simple,
and many can be expressed in a single word:
freedom; justice; honor; duty; mercy; hope."
- Winston Churchill

"When the solution is simple, God is answering."
- Albert Einstein

Thursday, May 29, 2008

May 29, 2008

The peace of God
photo by David Keller
(trip to Peru)

Years ago at the school where I taught,
I said hi, in the hall, to one of the other teachers
and asked him how he was doing.

His response was...
"Much better than I have any right to be."

At the time I thought it a rather unusual and odd remark.
Thinking about it much later
I can see now that there is a lot
of truth in that remark
for all of us redeemed Christians.

Without God's grace we would all be lost,
for we are undeserving
and unable to save ourselves.

"Praise the LORD, O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits-
who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion..."
- Psalm 103:2-4 NIV

"Do not be anxious about anything,
but in everything, by prayer and petition,
with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
And the peace of God,
which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
- Philippians 4:6,7 NIV

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

May 28, 2008

the church picnic

"They broke bread...and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,
praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.
And the Lord added to their number daily
those who were being saved."
- Acts 2: 46,47 NIV

"The primary joy of life is acceptance, approval,
the sense of appreciation
and companionship of our human comrades.
Many men do not understand that the need for fellowship
is really as deep as the need for food,
and so they go through life
accepting many substitutes for genuine, warm, simple."
- Joshua Loth Liebman

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

May 27, 2008

genuine loveliness

"The true character of the loveliness that speaks for God
is always unnoticed by the one possessing that quality.
Conscious influence is prideful and unchristian.
If I wonder if I am being of any use to God,
I instantly lose the beauty and the freshness
of the touch of the Lord.
"He who believes in Me . . .
out of his heart will flow rivers of living water" ( John 7:38 ).
And if I examine the outflow,
I lose the touch of the Lord.
Who are the people who have influenced us most?
Certainly not the ones who thought they did,
but those who did not have even the slightest idea
that they were influencing us.
In the Christian life,
godly influence is never conscious of itself.
If we are conscious of our influence,
it ceases to have the genuine loveliness
which is characteristic of the touch of Jesus.
He produces in the commonplace
something that is inspiring."
- Oswald Chambers
(My Utmost For His Highest)

Monday, May 26, 2008

May 26, 2008

loved by the King

Are you a silent ambassador for Christ?

He expects you to stand before others
and proclaim your faith.
Share your testimony, your enthusiasm,
your special insight, and
your hopes and dreams.

Support and encourage others to do the same.

"There seems to be a chilling fear
of holy enthusiasm
among the people of God.
We try to tell how happy we are -
but we remain so well-controlled
that there are very few waves of glory
experienced in our midst."
- A. W. Tozer

"How can I keep from singing Your praise?
How can I ever say enough
How amazing is Your love?
How can I keep from shouting Your name?
I know I am loved by the King
And it makes my heart want to sing."
How Can I Keep From Singing

Sunday, May 25, 2008

May 25, 2008

The dash of life.

While taking a walk through a cemetery
I noticed that several of the tombstones (headstones)
gave the date of birth followed by a dash
and then the date of death.

It hit me that the dash represents
all those years inbetween...
the years of earthly life...
over before we realize it.

What are you doing with your dash through life?
Has it, among other things,
been a period of spiritual growth?
What kind of legacy are you going to leave behind?
Don't just be an example of"what not" to be.

Everyone can grow in Christ
by making the right choices...
that is giving yourself completely to Him
and trusting completely in Him.
Following His will for His glory
results in the greatest legacy
you can leave behind
and makes your dash through life meaningful.

"Our days are numbered.
One of the primary goals in our lives
should be to prepare for our last day.
The legacy we leave is not just in our possessions,
but in the quality of our lives.
What preparations should we be making now?
The greatest waste in all of our earth,
which cannot be recycled or reclaimed,
is our waste of the time
that God has given us each day."
- Billy Graham

Saturday, May 24, 2008

May 24, 2008

brings out the best in me
photo by David Keller
(trip to Peru)

"Now friendship in those days
was a bit different from what it is today;
friends did not have to agree on everything
and often agreed on practically nothing.
They were people with whom you could argue all day
and yet never get irritated or angry at all.
In today's world we seem to have lost
the real meaning of friendship.
If someone disagrees with us,
it is fashionable today to dislike them for it.
This is silly and robs us
of the best kind of friends we could find,
for if we are always agreed with,
we can never really have a serious conversation;
we cannot learn from someone who agrees with what we say."
- Douglas H. Gresham
(from Jack's Life: A Memory of C.S. Lewis)

"A friend is a person with whom I may be sincere.
Before him I may think aloud."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"My best friend is the one who brings out the best in me."
- Henry Ford

Friday, May 23, 2008

May 23, 2008

playing by the same rules

Have you ever played a game with someone
who makes up the rules (or changes the rules) as you play?
The Lord doesn't play those kind of games
and the rules (laws) that He has given us
never change.

He never changes either.

"We're never so vulnerable than when we trust someone -
but paradoxically, if we cannot trust,
neither can we find love or joy."
- Walter Anderson

We can trust in Him.

"The law of the LORD is perfect,
reviving the soul.
The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.
The precepts of the LORD are right,
giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the LORD are radiant,
giving light to the eyes.
The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever.
The ordinances of the LORD are sure
and altogether righteous."
- Psalm 19: 7-9 NIV

Thursday, May 22, 2008

May 22, 2008

circinate vernation

"The fiddlehead, or circinate vernation,
unrolls as the fern matures and grows
due to more growth in the inside of the curl.
At this stage it is called a crozier (after the shepherd's crook)
or fiddlehead (after the scrollwork at the top of a violin)."
- taken from Wikipedia

Once we accept Jesus Christ as our savior
we begin to grow from the inside out
and slowly unfurl... maturing in the spirit...
as we grow toward the light.
It is also interesting to point out the reference to a crozier.

"The traditional explanation for the form of Western croziers,
beyond the obvious reference to the bishop
as a shepherd to his flock,
is this:
the pointed ferrule at the base
symbolizes the obligation of the prelate
to goad [gently and with sensitivity] the spiritually lazy;
the crook at the top,
his obligation to draw back those who stray from the faith;
and the staff itself
his obligation to stand as a firm support for the faithful."
- taken from Wikipedia

Isn't it all our obligation (a command directly from God)
to be shepherds for each other...
even to those who are given a position of authority
and offer us instruction and guidance?

"Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin,
you who are spiritual should restore him gently.
But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.
Carry each other's burdens,
and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing,
he deceives himself.
Each one should test his own actions.
Then he can take pride in himself,
without comparing himself to somebody else,
for each one should carry his own load.
Anyone who receives instruction in the word
must share all good things with his instructor.
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked.
A man reaps what he sows.
The one who sows to please his sinful nature,
from that nature will reap destruction;
the one who sows to please the Spirit,
from the Spirit will reap eternal life.
Let us not become weary in doing good,
for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Therefore, as we have opportunity,
let us do good to all people,
especially to those who belong to the family of believers."
- Galatians 6: 1-10 NIV

"Dear friends, since God so loved us,
we also ought to love one another.
No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another,
God lives in us and his love is made complete in us."
- 1 John 4:11,12 NIV

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

May 21, 2008

The SonRays daily devotionals
(two years old today)

I pray that they have been and will continue to be
helpful, inspirational, supportive, and encouraging
as you walk with Him and grow in Him.

I ask for your prayers in this simple ministry.
If you find them beneficial to you or you know of someone
who may benefit from them,
please pass them on for His glory.

God bless!

"May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ,
and the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit
be with you all."
- 2 Corinthians 13:14 NIV

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

May 20, 2008

what His hands have made

"I pray also that you will have
greater understanding in your heart
so you will know the hope to which he has called us
and that you will know how rich and glorious
are the blessings God has promised his holy people.
And you will know that God's power
is very great for us who believe."
- Ephesians 1:18,19 NCV

"I love you, Lord,
not doubtingly but with absolute certainty.
Your Word beat upon my heart
until I fell in love with you
and now the universe and everything in it
tells me to love you..."
- St. Augustine

"The heavens tell the glory of God,
and the skies announce
what his hands have made."
- Psalm 19:1 NCV

Monday, May 19, 2008

May 19, 2008

too small to be made into a burden

When the sky gets dark, and the storm comes with its rain
the tree branch becomes so burdened and heavy laden
with water that it bends down to the ground.
But when the sun comes out,
as it always does,
the water evaporates and the branch once more
reaches up toward the light.

"Hope is like the sun, which, as we journey toward it,
casts the shadow of our burden behind us."
- Samuel Smiles

"A sacred burden is this life ye bear:
Look on it, lift it, bear it solemnly,
Stand up and walk beneath it steadfastly.
Fail not for sorrow, falter not for sin,
But onward, upward, till the goal ye win."
- Frances Anne Kemble

"Worry, doubt, fear and despair are the enemies
which slowly bring us down to the ground..."
- Douglas MacArthur

"Do not anticipate trouble
or worry about what may never happen.
Keep in the [Son]light."
- Benjamin Franklin

"Any concern too small to be turned into a prayer
is too small to be made into a burden."
- Corrie ten Boom

Sunday, May 18, 2008

May 18, 2008

searching for the truth
Faith and they clash?
(part 2)

Jesus Christ was a carpenter by trade.
As a young man Jesus learned to work with wood
eventually developing His own style.
It is quite possible that when finished with a piece,
others who were familiar with His style would be able to say,
"that was made by Jesus Christ...
see how He formed the... "

I'm not saying that God necessarily has a particular style
that He used throughout His creation
but He did create all the "laws" of nature and the universe.
And God doesn't change...
His Laws and His Word are the same now
as they always were. He works with strict
adherance to His own Laws that He created.

In the old testament a pure sacrifice was needed as a sin offering.
God in His great mercy did not
provide another "way out" for man...
He abided by His own Law.
A sacrifice was needed that was pure (without sin)
and had to be of such a magnitude that would show
God's inifinite love and one that would
wash away all the sins of all mankind.
Now I don't propose to know how
God made a pillar of fire (spontaneous combustion?)
or how Jesus walked on water (saline density?)
or any of the other "miracles" of God and Jesus,
but I do know that nothing
is beyond His capability
to accomplish His plan and to do His will.

And I can't help but believe that He accomplishes His "miracles" within
the boundaries of His created Laws.
Afterall, He could have simply picked up the Israelites and set them down again...
He could have simply appeared on the boat
instead of walking across the water to get there.

But, then again, the Lord does nothing without a purpose...
without it fitting into His plan for man...
there are now, and has been,
many lessons for man to learn.
So when man gleans a little more
of the mysteries of life and the universe...
and they lead to a plausible explanation
of how a "miracle" may have been accomplished,
it doesn't dimish our God...
it makes Him more awesome.

Instead of saying... "there goes another miracle to science",
we should be saying how privileged we are to have learned
a tiny bit more of how God has worked (and is working)
within His creation... giving Him the glory
and not us.

All those miracles...
such as the age old miracle of birth...
is not any less of a miracle to me
just because I know the scientific process of birth.

Science for me is the study of God's creation
not the glorious accomplishments of man.
I, for one, am looking forward to learning more...
at the Master's feet.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

May 17, 2008

searching for the truth
Faith and they clash?
(part 1)

The more we learn and discover through science...
does it take away from the miracles of the Lord?
This, and other similar questions, seem to point to
a rivalry between science and religion...
things seen vs things unseen...
things we have figured out vs things we don't understand.

Let us consider...

1. We will never know all of God's ways.

We cannot begin to understand
even the smallest portion of why
He does things the way He does
or how He has, and continues to do, His "miracles".

Man has a tendency to classify anything
he doesn't understand as a miracle
as if we are so superior that if we can't understand it,
it must really be something.
Once we learn a tiny, little bit more,
all of a sudden we are so much wiser
and the "miracles" seem so much more
"explainably" commonplace.

The saying, "a little knowledge hath made him mad" comes to mind.
How arrogant and self-serving we humans are.
Early man didn't know much of what we know today,
hence, "miracles" then abounded.

2. God's ways are not our ways.

"' cannot see my face,
for no one may see me and live.'
Then the LORD said,
'There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock.
When my glory passes by,
I will put you in a cleft in the rock
and cover you with my hand
until I have passed by.
Then I will remove my hand
and you will see my back;
but my face must not be seen.'"
- Exodus 33:20-23 NIV

One of the implications here is that we may see
what God has done (where He has been)
but we cannot see Him as He is.
Even seeing what He has done
we can rarely understand how He has done it.

"'For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,'
declares the LORD.
'As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
As the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower
and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose
for which I sent it.'"
- Isaiah 55:8-11 NIV

So even if a rivalry does exist
between science and religion,
be assured that your faith
(even if based only on "miracles")
will still be intact till the end of time.

Friday, May 16, 2008

May 16, 2008

yield to its allurements?

The mayapple's flower may be very alluring
but it is poisonous.
In fact all of the mayapple plant
(the root, leaves, seeds and even the "unripe" fruit)
are poisonous.
Only the fully mature fruit is not poisonous.

To encourage children to stay away from the poisonous mayapple,
(in the past) their elders traditionally taught them
that it was tended by the devil.

"Though Satan instills his poison,
and fans the flames of our corrupt desires within us,
we are yet not carried by any external force
to the commission of sin,
but our own flesh entices us,
and we willingly yield to its allurements."
- John Calvin

Thursday, May 15, 2008

May 15, 2008

blooming the same colors

Let your mind entertain pure thoughts.

The true test of character
is how you act when no one is watching...
the choices you make when you are all alone.

"For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life."
- 1 Thessalonians 4:7 NIV

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble,
whatever is right, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable
—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—
think about such things.
Whatever you have learned
or received or heard from me, or seen in me—
put it into practice.
And the God of peace will be with you."
- Philippians 4:8,9 NIV

"Purity of heart is blooming the same colors
in the middle of the wilderness
when no one sees you."
- Vanna Bonta

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

May 14, 2008

seek to soar
photo by Bob Johnson

"I was thinking that I might fly today.
Just to disprove all the things you say...
please be careful with me,
I'm sensitive, and I'd like to stay that way."
- Jewel

"Do not confuse peace of mind
with spaced-out insensitivity.
A truly peaceful mind
is very sensitive, very aware."
- Tenzin Gyatso
(the 14th Dalai Lama)

Sensitivity (perhaps a better word is sensibility)
can make us very vulernable,
for to be so, opens us up to an acuteness of feeling
which can invoke pain as well as pleasure.
It opens our heart and it makes us
susceptible to all sorts of things.
To be sensitive is usually associated
with the female gender and
is not considered manly by human standards.

Many women wish to shed this implied sensitivity
in order to make themselves less vulnerable...
many men to avoid being labeled
something less than a man...
in some ways a tribute to
egotism or concentration on self.

Consider this...
1. Sensibility is directly related to discernment.
2. Sensibility is directly related to the capacity for love.
3. Sensibility will allow you to see things
that you would never have noticed before.
4. Sensibility will allow you to be more creative.
5. Sensibility allows you to make the most
of your God given talents.
6. Sensibility will allow you to grow.
7. Jesus Christ (God in human form... a man)...perfect...
was the most sensitive man ever born.

Consider for yourself what you,
as a Christian, want to be like...
and then consider the alternative.

"And the day came when the risk
to remain tight in a bud
was more painful than the risk
it took to blossom."
- Anais Nin

"God finds a low branch for the bird that cannot fly."
- Turkish Proverb

This, Turkish proverb, not only implies
God's great grace for all mankind...
it also implies the intended rewards
He will give His children.

Therefore... the same can be said of the human
unwilling to fly their highest.

Seek to SOAR (by being sensitive and trusting our Lord)...
don't just settle for a low branch.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

May 13, 2008

(a baby Eastern gray squirrel that, abandoned,
was attracted to some friends
proceeding to climb up pant legs for security)
photo by Michele Spencer

"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth,
whatever you did not do for one of the least of these,
you did not do for me.'"
- Matthew 25:45 NIV

The reference here was for the least of mankind
but all of nature has been put into man's care.

These "adopted parents" took the time,
out of an extremely busy schedule,
and did the research on how to care for
their little friend until it was old enough
and then followed instructions on the proper way
to prepare it and return it to the wild
once it was big enough to fend for itself.

A great "act of caring"
and a fantastic learning experience
for young and old alike.

"For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities
—his eternal power and divine nature—
have been clearly seen,
being understood from what has been made,
so that men are without excuse."
- Romans 1:20 NIV

Monday, May 12, 2008

May 12, 2008

splash of happiness
photo by Patrick Frey

"Christ wants us to share His happiness,
to live happily ever after.
Until then, He gives us a sudden
splash of happiness
here and there so we can wet our toes
in what we'll be swimming in for all of eternity!"
- Beth Moore

Sunday, May 11, 2008

May 11, 2008


"Don't go through life, grow through life."
- Eric Butterworth

"When we love - we grow"
- Author Unknown

"Learn and grow all you can;
serve and befriend all you can;
enrich and inspire all you can."
- William Arthur Ward

Saturday, May 10, 2008

May 10, 2008

walk in grace
photo by Bob Johnson

"Don’t buy the lie
that cultivating condemnation and wallowing in your shame
is somehow pleasing to God,
or that a constant, low-grade guilt
will somehow promote holiness and spiritual maturity.
It’s just the opposite!
God is glorified when we believe with all our hearts
that those who trust in Christ can never be condemned.
It’s only when we receive his free gift of grace
and live in the good of total forgiveness
that we’re able to turn from old, sinful ways of living
and walk in grace-motivated obedience."
- C.J. Mahaney

Friday, May 9, 2008

May 09, 2008

turn around
photo by Bob Johnson

"Even if you find yourself out on a limb,
and you move slowly,
it is imperative that you are headed in the right direction."

It's not always a good idea to follow the crowd.

"Start where you are."
- Edgar Cayce

"Where you are headed is more important
than how fast you are going.
Rather than always focusing on what's urgent,
learn to focus on what is really important."
- Author Unknown

Thursday, May 8, 2008

May 08, 2008

The dandelion.

A beautiful sunburst of flowering color with a very deep tap root.
Despite being a common weed that home owners detest in their yards
this plant is very useful in several ways.
No one can deny its ability to survive and propagate itself far and wide.

"The happiness which brings enduring worth to life
is not the superficial happiness
that is dependent on circumstances.
It is the happiness and contentment that fills the soul
even in the midst of the most distressing circumstances
and the most bitter environment.
It is the kind of happiness that grins
when things go wrong and smiles through the tears.
The happiness for which our souls ache
is one undisturbed by success or failure,
one which will root deeply inside us
and give inward relaxation, peace, and contentment,
no matter what the surface problems may be.
That kind of happiness stands in need of no outward stimulus."
- Billy Graham

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

May 07, 2008

get ready to spread your wings
photo by Bob Johnson

"It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird:
it would be a jolly sight harder
for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg.
We are like eggs at present.
And you cannot go on indefinitely
being just an ordinary, decent egg.
We must be hatched or go bad."
- C.S. Lewis

"The reason birds can fly and we can't
is simply that they have perfect faith,
for to have faith is to have wings."
- James Matthew Barrie
(Peter Pan)

"In almost everything that touches
our everyday life on earth,
God is pleased when we're pleased.
He wills that we be as free as birds to soar
and sing our maker's praise without anxiety."
- A. W. Tozer

"No one can prepare you for what heights you will soar
until you spread your wings."
- Author Unknown

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

May 06, 2008

We, as Christians,
need to grow "together".

Each of us can provide valuable insight,
our own unique perspective,
as it relates to our faith.
Our experiences are as different and as unique
as we are from each other.
The Body of Christ is all of us...
each a part of the whole.

Sharing together our experiences,
our hopes, our prayers, and our praise...
helping, supporting,
and encouraging one another...
this is what forms the brotherhood/sisterhood
of Christian believers...
this is what enables us to grow...
this is what we are expected to do
as per the Lord's command to love one another.
"A new command I give you:
Love one another.

As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
By this all men will know that you are my disciples,
if you love one another."
- John 13:34,35 NIV

And what is love as found in the dictionary?

"A deep, tender, ineffable feeling
of affection and solicitude toward a person,
such as that arising from kinship,
recognition of attractive qualities,
or a sense of underlying oneness."

How is love defined in the Bible?

"Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil
but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts,
always hopes, always perseveres."
- 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV

Do not be so shy, so reserved (reticent)
that you cannot (or will not)share your faith,
your own unique insight,
your experiences (testimony),
your support, your encouragement,
yes... your love for each other.

Monday, May 5, 2008

May 05, 2008

dig up the soil

"He who knows no hardships will know no hardihood.
He who faces no calamity will need no courage.
Mysterious though it is,
the characteristics in human nature which we love best
grow in a soil with a strong mixture of troubles."
- Harry Emerson Fosdick
(American clergyman)

"In this you greatly rejoice,
though now for a little while
you may have had to suffer grief
in all kinds of trials.
These have come so that your faith...
may be proved genuine
and may result in praise, glory and honor
when Jesus Christ is revealed."
- 1 Peter 1:6,7 NIV

"Trials teach us what we are;
they dig up the soil,
and let us see what we are made of;
they just turn up some of the ill weeds
on to the surface."
- Charles H. Spurgeon
(British Reformed Baptist preacher)

Sunday, May 4, 2008

May 04, 2008

blushing for shame

Legend of the dogwood

"At the time of Crucifixion
the dogwood had been the size of the oakand other forest trees.
So firm and strong was the tree
that it was chosen as the timber for the cross.
To be used thus for such a cruel purpose
greatly distressed the tree,
and Jesus nailed upon it, sensed this.
In His gentle pity for all sorrow and suffering
Jesus said to the tree:
'Because of your regret and pity for My suffering,
never again shall the dogwood tree
grow large enough to be used as a cross.
Henceforth it shall be slender and bent and twisted
and its blossoms shall be in the form of a cross
--two long and two short petals.
And in the center of the outer edge of each petal
there will be nail prints,
brown with rust and stained with red,
and in the center of the flower will be a crown of thorns,
and all who see it will remember.'

The pink dogwood is said to be blushing
for shame because of the cruel purpose
which it served in the Crucifixion.

The weeping dogwood further symbolized the sorrow.

The red dogwood, called the Cherokee, bears
the color to remind us of the blood shed by our Savior."
- Author Unknown

Saturday, May 3, 2008

May 03, 2008

quiet courage, patient hope,
and unshaken trust

"Grant unto us, Almighty God,
in all time of sore distress,
the comfort of the forgiveness of our sins.
In time of darkness
give us blessed hope,
in time of sickness of body
give us quiet courage;
and when the heart is bowed down,
and the soul is very heavy,
and life is a burden,
and pleasure a weariness,
and the sun is too bright,
and life too mirthful,
then may that Spirit,
the Spirit of the Comforter,
come upon us,
and after our darkness
may there be the clear shining
of the heavenly light;
that so, being uplifted again by Thy mercy,
we may pass on through this our mortal life
with quiet courage, patient hope, and unshaken trust,
hoping through Thy loving-kindness and tender mercy
to be delivered from death
into the large life of the eternal years.
Hear us of Thy mercy,
through Jesus Christ our LordAmen."
- George Dawson

Friday, May 2, 2008

May 02, 2008

tune in to nature

"The best remedy for those who are afraid,
lonely or unhappy is to go outside,
somewhere where they can be quiet,
alone with the heavens, nature and God.
Because only then does one feel
that all is as it should be
and that God wishes to see people happy,
amidst the simple beauty of nature."
- Anne Frank

"God writes the gospel not in the Bible alone,
but on trees and flowers and clouds and stars."
- Martin Luther

"I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station,
through which God speaks to us every hour,
if we will only tune in."
- George Washington Carver

Thursday, May 1, 2008

May 01, 2008

bleeding heart

O for a Heart to Praise My God

O for a heart to praise my God,
A heart from sin set free,
A heart that always feels Thy blood
So freely shed for me.

A heart resigned, submissive, meek,
My great Redeemer's throne,
Where only Christ is heard to speak,
Where Jesus reigns alone.

A humble, lowly, contrite, heart,
Believing, true and clean,
Which neither life nor death can part
From Christ who dwells within.

A heart in every thought renewed
And full of love divine,
Perfect and right and pure and good,
A copy, Lord, of Thine.

My heart, Thou know'st, can never rest
Till Thou create my peace;
Till of mine Eden repossest,
From self, and sin, I cease.

Thy nature, gracious Lord, impart;
Come quickly from above;
Write Thy new name upon my heart,
Thy new, best name of Love.

- Music by: Thomas Haweis (1792)
- Words by: Charles Wesley (1742)