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

Monday, June 30, 2008

June 30, 2008

look away to the Perfect One

"I have a great need for Christ;
I have a great Christ for my need."
- Charles Haddon Spurgeon

"Tozer once said,
'Like the eye which sees everything in front of it
and never sees itself,
faith is occupied with the Object upon which it rests
and pays no attention to itself at all.
While we are looking at God,
we do not see ourselves- blessed riddance.
The man who has struggled to purify himself
and has had nothing but repeated failures
will experience real relief
when he stops tinkering with his soul
and looks away to the Perfect One.
'Faith sees the invisible, believes the unbelievable
and receives the impossible."
- Corrie Ten Boom

Sunday, June 29, 2008

June 29, 2008

conscience free
photo by Erin Doyle

The greatest reward is God's peace.

"Therefore,
since we have been justified through faith,
we have peace with God
through our Lord Jesus Christ..."
- Romans 5:1 NIV

"I have to live with myself, and so,
I want to be fit for myself to know;
I want to be able as days go by,
Always to look myself straight in the eye;
I don't want to stand with the setting sun
And hate myself for the things I've done.

I don't want to keep on a closet shelf
A lot of secrets about myself,
And fool myself as I come and go
Into thinking that nobody else will know
The kind of man I really am;
I don't want to dress myself up in sham.

I want to go out with my head erect,
I want to deserve all men's respect;
But here in this struggle for fame and pelf,
I want to be able to like myself.
I don't want to think as I come and go
That I'm for bluster and bluff and empty show.

I never can hide myself from me,
I see what others may never see,
I know what others may never know,
I never can fool myself -- and so,
Whatever happens, I want to be
Self-respecting and conscience free."
- Edgar Guest
(Myself)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

June 28, 2008 (kept in simplicity)

kept in simplicity

"Simplicity is the secret to seeing things clearly.
In intellectual matters you can think things out,
but in spiritual matters you will only think yourself
into further wandering thoughts and more confusion.
Bring all your "arguments and . . .
every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ"
regarding the matter,
and everything will become as clear as daylight to you
( 2 Corinthians 10:5 )
...reasoning is not how we see.
We see like children,
and when we try to be wise we see nothing
(see Matthew 11:25 ).
Even the very smallest thing that we allow in our lives
that is not under the control of the Holy Spirit
is completely sufficient to account for spiritual confusion,
and spending all of our time thinking about it
will still never make it clear.
Spiritual confusion can only be conquered through obedience.
As soon as we obey, we have discernment....
when our natural power of sight is devoted
and submitted in obedience to the Holy Spirit,
it becomes the very power by which we perceive God’s will,
and our entire life is kept in simplicity."
- Oswald Chambers
(My Utmost For His Highest)

Friday, June 27, 2008

June 27, 2008

keeping watch

Prophecy?
The Rapture... the second coming of Christ?
We don't know when but we do know this...

1. More and more signs point to soon.
2. Right this minute, it is closer than it was a minute ago.

Be ready and keep watch.

"See, the former things have taken place,
and new things I declare;
before they spring into being
I announce them to you."
- Isaiah 42:9 NIV

Thursday, June 26, 2008

June 26, 2008

the back porch
(perhaps the best secular investment
we ever made)

In the past it was the front porch
now the back porch separates us
from the hustle and bustle,
and the noise, of the automobile.

Many an evening in the summer
is spent on our back porch.
We talk and we read,
we pray and we meditate.
Friends are invited to eat with us
and stories, laughter, and wisdom are shared.

"All manner of lessons were learned on the front porch.
When the porches went,
so did the stories and the wisdom with them."
- Philip Gulley
(Porch Talk)
(Quaker author and pastor)

Always find some time
from your hectic schedule
to enjoy a bit of the simple life.
Slow down, keep the TV off,
spend some time enjoying life
rather than being so busy
trying to live the "good?" life.

"It is always the simple things that change our lives.
And these things never happen
when you are looking for them to happen.
Life will reveal answers at the pace life wishes to do so.
You feel like running, but life is on a stroll.
This is how God does things."
- Donald Miller
(best-selling American author and public speaker...
who focuses on Christian spirituality
as "an explanation for beauty,
meaning, and the human struggle")

"Whoever of you loves life
and desires to see many good days,
...seek [God's] peace and pursue it."
- Psalm 34:12-14 NIV

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

June 25, 2008

God is there.

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

"Therefore I tell you,
do not worry about your life...
See how the lilies of the field grow.
They do not labor or spin....
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life....
O you of little faith?
...your heavenly Father knows [what you need]
....seek first his kingdom and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given to you as well.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow,
for tomorrow will worry about itself.
Each day has enough trouble of its own."
- Matthew 6:25-34 NIV

"Some of your hurts you have cured,
And the sharpest you still have survived,
But what torments of grief you endured
From the evil which never arrived."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Do not be afraid of tomorrow;
for God is already there."
- Author Unknown

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

June 24, 2008

radiant quilt
photo by David Keller

Sometimes we agree and sometimes we disagree
on things religious as well as secular.
This should in no way affect our friendship,
or our brother/sister (in Christ) relationship.

Even if we continue to disagree on some things,
we can learn from each other, we can grow,
and we can make necessary changes
to our way of thinking by listening
with a heart turned toward gentleness.

"Maybe that's what God has in mind
when He brings different folks together-
that we each bring our scrapes of truth
and piece them together
into this radiant quilt
that is so much finer than anything
we could have ever made alone."
- Phillip Gulley
(Home Town Tales)

Monday, June 23, 2008

June 23, 2008

Trust completely in the Lord.
photo by Bob Johnson

"Look at the birds of the air;
they do not sow or reap or store away in barns,
and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are you not much more valuable than they?"
- Matthew 6:26 NIV

Sunday, June 22, 2008

June 22, 2008

Read the Word of God
over and over again.


Each time you read the Bible,
whatever your age
and wherever you are
in your daily walk with Him,
you can find new treasure
even within the same verse.

Treats await the one
that takes the Word of God in hand
and carefully moves from verse to verse
seeking sweet morsels of life
to feed upon.

"My son, if you accept my words
and store up my commands within you,
turning your ear to wisdom
and applying your heart to understanding,
and if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding,
and if you look for it as for silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure,
then you will understand the fear of the LORD
and find the knowledge of God.
For the LORD gives wisdom,
and from his mouth
come knowledge and understanding."
- Proverbs 2:1-6 NIV

Your cup will runneth over.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

June 21, 2008

like a little child

"A complete life is the life of a child.
When I am fully conscious of my awareness of Christ,
there is something wrong.
It is the sick person who really knows what health is.
A child of God is not aware of the will of God
because he is the will of God.
When we have deviated even slightly from the will of God,
we begin to ask, 'Lord, what is your will?'
A child of God never prays to be made aware
of the fact that God answers prayer,
because he is so restfully certain
that God always answers prayer."
- Oswald Chambers
(My Utmost For His Highest)

"But Jesus called the children to him and said,
'Let the little children come to me,
and do not hinder them,
for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
I tell you the truth,
anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God
like a little child
will never enter it.'"
- Luke 18:16,17 NIV

Friday, June 20, 2008

June 20, 2008

from death

"But your dead will live;
their bodies will rise.
You who dwell in the dust,
wake up and shout for joy.
Your dew is like the dew of the morning;
the earth will give birth to her dead."
- Isaiah 26:19 NIV

"I will ransom them from the power of the grave;
I will redeem them from death."
- Hosea 13:14 NIV

Thursday, June 19, 2008

June 19, 2008

be that life

"There is only one relationship that really matters,
and that is your personal relationship
to your personal Redeemer and Lord.
If you maintain that at all costs,
letting everything else go,
God will fulfill His purpose through your life.
One individual life may be of priceless value to God’s purposes,
and yours may be that life."
- Oswald Chambers
(My Utmost For His Highest)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

June 18, 2008

pray

If you took the time to look at this
with the intent of reading a devotional
then, instead, take the time
to say a short prayer to the Lord...
thanking Him for loving you
and all of us... so much.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

June 17, 2008

loved by Him
(photographer unknown)

"Consider the mysteries of love,
and you will then have a vision
of the bosom of the Father,
whom the only-begotten God alone
has declared.
God Himself is love,
and for the sake of this love
He has made Himself known."
- St. Clement of Alexandria

"If we truly love Christ,
we shall care for those
who are loved by Him."
- Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Monday, June 16, 2008

June 16, 2008

like dead leaves

"You will find it less easy to uproot faults
than to choke them by gaining virtues.
Do not think of your faults, still less of other's faults.
In every person who comes near you
look for what is good and strong;
honor that; try to imitate it,
and your faults will drop off
like dead leaves when their time comes."
- John Ruskin

Sunday, June 15, 2008

June 15, 2008

Father

"The Greek word in the Bible for father is "pater"
which means: one who has infused his own spirit into others,
who actuates and governs their minds;
one who stands in a father's place
and looks after another in a paternal way."
- The New Testament Greek Lexicon

"Our Father, which art in Heaven..."
- The Lord's Prayer

"Father!
- to God himself
we cannot give a holier name.
- William Wordsworth

Saturday, June 14, 2008

June 14, 2008

give me a drink

"Water is also one of the four elements,
the most beautiful of God's creations.
It is both wet and cold, heavy,
and with a tendency to descend,
and flows with great readiness.
It is this the Holy Scripture has in view when it says,
"And the darkness was upon the face of the deep.
And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
"Water, then, is the most beautiful element
and rich in usefulness,and purifies from all filth,
and not only from the filth of the body
but from that of the soul,
if it should have received the grace of the Spirit."
- John of Damascus
(Exposition of the Orthodox Faith)

"We never know the worth of water till the well is dry."
- Thomas Fuller

"Every man you meet is your son.
Every woman is your daughter.
Go find someone who's thirsty,
And give them water."
- Butch Hancock
(Give them Water, War and Peace, 2006)

"If you knew the gift of God
and who it is that asks you for a drink,
you would have asked him
and he would have given you living water."
- John 4:10 NIV

Friday, June 13, 2008

June 13, 2008

time to reap

"I looked, and there before me was a white cloud,
and seated on the cloud was one "like a son of man"
with a crown of gold on his head
and a sharp sickle in his hand.
Then another angel came out of the temple
and called in a loud voice
to him who was sitting on the cloud,
"Take your sickle and reap,
because the time to reap has come,
for the harvest of the earth is ripe."
So he who was seated on the cloud
swung his sickle over the earth,
and the earth was harvested."
- Revelation 14: 14-16 NIV


Thursday, June 12, 2008

June 12, 2008

under the cross

"We do not put an obstacle in anyone's way.
Otherwise, fault may be found with our ministry.
Instead, in every way we demonstrate
that we are God's servants
by tremendous endurance
in the midst of difficulties, hardships, and calamities;
in beatings, imprisonments, and riots;
in hard work, sleepless nights, and hunger;
with purity, knowledge, patience, and kindness;
with the Holy Spirit,
genuine love, truthful speech, and divine power;
through the weapons of righteousness
in the right and left hands;
through honor and dishonor;
through ill repute and good repute;
perceived as deceivers and yet true,
as unknown and yet well-known,
as dying and yet—as you see—very much alive,
as punished and yet not killed,
as sorrowful and yet always rejoicing,
as poor and yet enriching many,
as having nothing
and yet possessing everything."
- 2 Corinthians 6: 3-10 ISV

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

June 11, 2008


What is it to be poor?
photo by David Keller
(trip to Peru)

Some place, perhaps several places,
I have heard adults
make the comment that they never knew
that they were poor when they were young.
Their parents never said that they were poor.

Their needs were met
and they were all very happy together...
contented.

Now I realize the difference between being poor,
living in poverty, and not having needs being met.
Here I'm referring to having the basics
without all the frills that most of us have...
TV sets, cars, etc.

I would bet that even some reading this
would say...hey... cars and TV sets are needs.

Perhaps it is somewhat relative dependent
on how well off we are and what we classify as our "needs",
but I'm talking about basic needs...
food, water, clothing, and a roof over our heads.

"It is not the man who has too little,
but the man who craves more, that is poor."
- Seneca

...to love and to be loved... neither one is poor

"I met in the street a very poor young man who was in love.
His hat was old, his coat worn,
his cloak was out at the elbows,
the water passed through his shoes, -
and the stars through his soul."
- Victor Hugo

"Who, being loved, is poor?"
- Oscar Wilde

"Content makes poor men rich;
discontent makes rich men poor."
- Benjamin Franklin

"You have been a refuge for the poor,
a refuge for the needy in his distress,
a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat."
- Isaiah 25:4 NIV

What It Means To Be Poor

"One day a father of a very wealthy family
took his son on a trip to the country
with the firm purpose of showing his son
how poor people can be.
They spent a couple of days and nights
on the farm of what would be considered
a very poor family.

On their return from their trip,
the father asked his son,
"How was the trip?"
"It was great, Dad."
"Did you see how poor people can be?"
the father asked.
"Oh Yeah" said the son.
"So what did you learn from the trip?"
asked the father.

The son answered,
"I saw that we have one dog and they had four.
We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden
and they have a creek that has no end.
We have imported lanterns in our garden
and they have the stars at night.
Our patio reaches to the front yard
and they have the whole horizon.
We have a small piece of land to live on
and they have fields that go beyond our sight.
We have servants who serve us,
but they serve others.
We buy our food,
but they grow theirs.
We have walls around our property to protect us,
they have friends to protect them."

With this the boy's father was speechless.
Then his son added,
"Thanks dad for showing me how poor we are."
- Author Unknown

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

June 10, 2008

writer's block

Have you ever reached a stage in your writing...
your devotionals, your blog posts,
your comments, or your thoughts...
where you find it more difficult
to say what you want to say?

That should be...
to say what the LORD wants you to say.

Perhaps that is the problem.
We concentrate so much on what
we want to say
that we forget we should be saying
what He wants us to say.

The fact that you are having this difficulty
is almost a sure sign that the Lord
is working within you.

Is it simply a matter of priorities?
Actually it is more than that.
Having priorities implies
a self made list of what (or who) comes first.
Instead we should be so in tune with God
that we don't have to keep a list.

If our hearts are right with God (within us)
then out of us will naturally flow
the spirit of Christ.

It is hard for us to stop trying to think our way
to spirituality (which cannot be done)
and instead to give Him total control
to be used by Him for His glory.

By yielding to Him completely
we will become more free from things worldly
and find His peace.
He will alter our character (changing our direction and focus)
while we retain our individual personality.

This is what is meant to die to self
and be reborn...
to cast off the old man
and be made anew.

Rely not try.
Allow the Holy Spirit
to work within you
and trust completely in Him.

Monday, June 9, 2008

June 9, 2008

enough time?

"Not enough time in a day?
You work hard, without complaining and
you do quite a few service/volunteer projects
in the community and at church.
You always try hard to be useful and helpful.

Every so often you find a little free time but
not near enough to maintain even the simplest of hobbies.
Reading a good novel regularly
without forgetting what you have already read
the last time you were able to pick the book up
is futile.

What's a vacation... haven't had time for one of those
in a 'heck' of a long time have you?

Don't you deserve more out of life?

Save some of that precious time...
skip reading the Bible
and saying all those prayers every day.
You are doing God's work anyway...
I'm sure He will understand. Right?"

signed: Satan

(The above was based on a sermon
by Pastor Kevin King)

Sunday, June 8, 2008

June 8, 2008

look through nature

Lessons from God are found throughout nature...
His creation.
Look closely and learn.

"Let children walk with Nature,
let them see the beautiful blendings
and communions of death and life,
their joyous inseparable unity,
as taught in woods and meadows,
plains and mountains and streams
of our blessed star,
and they will learn that death is stingless indeed,
and as beautiful as life."
- John Muir

"It is a wholesome and necessary thing
for us to turn again to the earth
and in the contemplation of her beauties
to know of wonder and humility."
- Rachel Carson

"Look through nature up to nature's God."
- Alexander Pope

Saturday, June 7, 2008

June 7, 2008

loves us unconditionally
(photo by Bob Johnson)

Accepting others can be difficult
but sometimes it is even more difficult
to accept ourselves.

"The great freedom Jesus gives us is to be ourselves,
defined by His love
and our inner qualities and gifts
rather than by any kind of show
we put on for the world.
We are freed, like uncaged birds,
because God loves us unconditionally--
without degrees, promotions, elected offices,
or a cool crowd surrounding us."
- Leslie Williams

Friday, June 6, 2008

June 6, 2008

God through us sends rivers of blessings.

"If anyone is thirsty,
let him come to me and drink.
Whoever believes in me,
as the Scripture has said,
streams of living water will flow from within him."
- John 7:37,38 NIV

"Beware of anything that competes with loyalty to Jesus Christ.
The greatest competitor of devotion to Jesus is service for Him.
It is easier to serve than to pour out our lives completely for Him.
The one aim of the call of God is the satisfaction of God,
not a call to do something for Him.
We are not sent to battle for God,
but to be used by God in His battles.
Are we being more devoted to service than to Jesus Christ?"
- Oswald Chambers
(My Utmost For His Highest)

Thursday, June 5, 2008

June 5, 2008

enjoy safe pasture

"Depend on it.
God's work done in God's way
will never lack God's supply."
- J. Hudson Taylor

"The safest place to be is within the will of God.
God's answers are wiser than our prayers."
- Author Unknown

"The blessed Savior is my guide,
With Him I can not stray;
My every need is well supplied,
Through every passing day."
- Edgar Cooper Mason
from: Satisfied

"Trust in the LORD and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture."
- Psalm 37:3 NIV

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

June 4, 2008

do our best
in season and out of season

"Preach the Word;
be prepared in season and out of season;
correct, rebuke and encourage—
with great patience and careful instruction."
- 2 Timothy 4:2 NIV

"Many of us suffer from the unbalanced tendency
to "be ready" only "out of season."
The season does not refer to time;
it refers to us.
This verse says, "Preach the Word!
Be ready in season and out of season."
In other words, we should "be ready"
whether we feel like it or not.
If we do only what we feel inclined to do,
some of us would never do anything.
There are some people who are
totally unemployable in the spiritual realm.
They are spiritually feeble and weak,
and they refuse to do anything
unless they are supernaturally inspired.
The proof that our relationship is right with God
is that we do our best
whether we feel inspired or not."
- Oswald Chambers
(My Utmost For His Highest)

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

June 3, 2008

totally insignificant

The things that are the most real
are the things we cannot see...
the unseen, the things we cannot buy,
the things that are freely given by God,
the things of eternity.

"It's sobering to contemplate how much time,
effort, sacrifice, compromise, and attention
we give to acquiring and increasing
our supply of something
that is totally insignificant in eternity."
- Anne Graham Lotz

Monday, June 2, 2008

June 2, 2008

united in Christ

We are the Body of Christ.

We are a very diverse group... we Christians...
each of us bring to the Body our own
personality and our own personal insight.

We all are commanded
to encourage and support each other...
o offer each other our thoughts and,
if needed to gently correct through a sincere
and helpful attitude...
in summary...to grow with each other.

In these current times we must all
be aware of identity theft...
a certain amount of privacy is needed.

We must be careful not to give out
certain information and make it public.

However we, as the Body of Christ,
must also be careful of what C. S. Lewis calls
"selfish privacy".

"The sacrifice of selfish privacy
which is daily demanded of us
is daily repaid a hundredfold
in the true growth of personality
which the life of the Body encourages."
- C. S. Lewis

"There is no warrant for the‘Lone Ranger Christian Syndrome’
so popular... these days."
- James R. White

Sunday, June 1, 2008

June 1, 2008

Virginia bluebells

The prolific presence of the bluebell
in a woods is sometimes called a
bluebell woods.
It is an area of serenity and peace
where the bluebells humbly bow their heads
and silently ring out a call to worship.

"If we are children of God,
we have a tremendous treasure in nature
and will realize that it is holy and sacred.
We will see God reaching out to us
in every wind that blows,
every sunrise and sunset,
every cloud in the sky,
every flower that blooms,
and every leaf that fades,
if we will only begin to use
our blinded thinking (our starved imagination)
to visualize it."
- Oswald Chambers
(My Utmost For His Highest)