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

Thursday, July 31, 2008

July 31, 2008

every good deed

"Grant, O God, that we may wait patiently,
as servants standing before their Lord,
to know thy will;
that we may welcome all truth,
under whatever outward forms it may be uttered;
that we may bless every good deed,
by whomsoever it may be done;
that we may rise above all party strife
to the contemplation of the eternal Truth and Goodness;
through Jesus Christ our Saviour."
- Charles Kingsley

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

July 30, 2008

one flock, one shepherd

"O God, you are the light of the world,
the desire of all nations,
and the shepherd of our souls:
let your light shine in the darkness,
that all the ends of the earth
may see the salvation of our God.
By the lifting up of your Cross
gather the peoples to your obedience;
let your sheep hear your voice
and be brought home to your fold
so that there may be one flock,
one shepherd,
one holy kingdom of righteousness and peace,
one God and Father of all,
above all, in all, and through all."
- W. E. Orchard

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

July 29, 2008

different these days
photo by Erin Doyle

"Mainstream Christianity glosses over the fact
that it isn't just a question of giving up sin,
but of doing something far more difficult -
giving up our right to ourselves.
The sin life in us must be transformed
into the spiritual life....
through sacrifice and obedience.
"She laughed with delight.'You're so different these days.'
He laughed with her.'I pray so,' he said."
- Jan Karon
(At Home in Mitford)

Monday, July 28, 2008

July 28, 2008

down the drain

"If we confess our sins,
He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins
and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
- 1 John 1:9 NASB

Our sins are washed away forever.

"When the love of God is poured out to us
through the cross of Christ,
it empowers us to do
remarkable things in God's name."
- Michael Dubruiel
(The Power of the Cross)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

July 27, 2008

Are You up there?

"I believe the question you want to ask is not,
'Are you up there?' but,
'Are you down here?'"
"God wouldn't be God if he were only up there.
In fact, another name for him is Immanuel,
which means 'God with us.'"
- Father Tim
(At Home in Mitford
by Jan Karon)

"Those who know your name will trust in you,
for you, LORD,
have never forsaken those who seek you."
- Psalm 9:10 NIV

"I know the Lord is always with me.
I will not be shaken,
for he is right beside me."
- Psalm 16:8 NLT

Saturday, July 26, 2008

July 26, 2008

encourage your hearts

"Count the garden by the flowers,
never by the leaves that fall.
Count your life with smiles
and not the tears that roll."
- Author Unknown

"May our Lord Jesus Christ himself
and God our Father,
who loved us and by his grace
gave us eternal encouragement and good hope,
encourage your hearts and strengthen you
in every good deed and word."
- 2 Thessalonians 2:16,17 NIV

Friday, July 25, 2008

July 25, 2008

help me gain the victory

"Yesterday I dared to struggle.
Today I dare to win."
- Charles DuBois

"All serious daring starts from within."
- Harriet Beecher Stowe

"O Lord God,
ruler of the heaven and of the earth,
creator of things visible and invisible,
giver of eternal life,
and consoler of the sorrowful,
make me to stand firm
in confession of your name
that as with your aid
I have begun the good fight,
so with your aid I may be deemed worthy
to gain the victory."
- Margaret of Antioch

Thursday, July 24, 2008

July 24, 2008

grow in His love

There are three central aspects of Christianity.
The first is the hope of eternal life,
which is the beginning and end of our faith.
The second is righteousness,
which is the beginning and end of judgment.
The third is joy,
which is the beginning and end of love.
Through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,
we have had a glimpse
of what is promised for all who are saved,
because he is the first fruits of the harvest of salvation.
Through the example of Jesus Christ in his life and work,
we understand righteousness,
and by following his example we can be sure
of favorable judgment.
Through the joy that Jesus mediates,
which originates in his perfect heart of love,
we want to share that joy and so grow in his love.
-The Epistle of Barnabas

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

July 23, 2008

curious but careful

"Curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning."
- William Arthur Ward


"Spend your time in nothing
which you know must be repented of."
- Richard Baxter

"Be careful how you live;
you will be the only Bible some people ever read."
- William J. Toms

"The important thing is not to stop questioning.
Curiosity has its own reason for existing.
One cannot help but be in awe
when he contemplates the mysteries
of eternity, of life,of the marvelous structure of reality.
It is enough if one tries merely to
comprehend a little of this mystery every day.
Never lose a holy curiosity."
- Albert Einstein
(bold print is mine)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

July 22, 2008

a "good" tradition
photo by Erin Doyle

Every year my wife makes this glorious, heavenly
orange coffee ring for Christmas morning.
It is a tasty tradition worth keeping
as long as one does not indulge too much at one sitting.

Tradition can be a "good" thing.

What we must be aware of and very carefully consider
is not allowing tradition to keep us in bondage
to false doctrine and empty ceremonies.

"So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord,
continue to live in him,
rooted and built up in him,
strengthened in the faith as you were taught,
and overflowing with thankfulness.
See to it that no one takes you captive
through hollow and deceptive philosophy,
which depends on human tradition
and the basic principles of this world
rather than on Christ."
- Colossians 2:6-8 NIV

Monday, July 21, 2008

July 21, 2008

Doubt is a pain.
photo by Erin Doyle

Sometimes we just have to see it and prove it.

But the Lord expects us to believe in Him and His word
without having to see Him.
This is faith... trust in Him.

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for
and certain of what we do not see."
- Hebrews 11:1 NIV

"Doubt is a pain too lonely to know
that faith is his twin brother."
- Kahlil Gibran

Sunday, July 20, 2008

July 20, 2008

photo by Erin Doyle

"Then Jesus told them this parable:
"Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep
and loses one of them.
Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country
and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?
And when he finds it,
he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home.
Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says,
'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.'
I tell you that in the same way
there will be more rejoicing in heaven
over one sinner who repents
than over ninety-nine righteous persons
who do not need to repent."
- Luke 15:3-7 NIV

Notice that the 99 are not left in the
safety of the fold
but are left unattended in the open country.

"That is far more descriptive of our heavenly Father...
Only God, exhibiting his risky, careless love,
would leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness
to look for the one who is lost."
- Fred Craddock
(professor of preaching and New Testament
at Candler School of Theology)

"Security is not the absence of danger,
but the presence of God,
no matter what the danger."
- Author Unknown

Saturday, July 19, 2008

July 19, 2008

Is this the season?

I don't know about you
but I've been thinking a bit more lately
about the Rapture.

Now none of us know when the Rapture will occur
(remember this if you ever hear
someone that has set a definite date
for they are surely false prophets)
and there is speculation from some as to whether
there will even be a "rapture" prior to
Christ's second coming.

Several of those who believe in a Rapture of the Church,
that I have talked to (or read),
seem to think this could be the "season"
(within this generation).
Reasons for this way of thinking
are based on events that seem to have already occured
and others that are occuring now.

Will we in "our generation" or our children's generation
experience the Rapture?

Of course, there have been, in the past,
those who felt it was "at the door"
during their stay on the earth,
only to be mistaken.

Which brings me to my point here.

The Rapture is rarely discussed, as I understand it,
in seminaries because it is too controversial
(and perhaps because of prior misguidings
and many false prophets)?
Hence therefore it is rarely preached in our pulpits.

It is written...
"No one knows about that day or hour,
not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son,
but only the Father.
So you also must be ready,
because the Son of Man will come at an hour
when you do not expect him."
- Matthew 24:36,44 NIV

Many are not watching anymore
and are not being told to watch.
The church is a little gun-shy
about explaining future prophecies?

Has this become the hour when you do not expect Him?

Perhaps this is the season...
Keep watch.

Friday, July 18, 2008

July 18, 2008

rising aloft

Let yourself be lifted up...
read God's Word.

"Great and wide as the world,
rooted in the abysmal depths of creation
and rising aloft into the blue mysteries of heaven...
sunrise and sunset, promise and fulfillment,
birth and death, the whole human drama,
everything is in this book.
It is the Book of Books, Biblia."
- Heinrich Heine
Ludwig Boerne (1840)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

July 17, 2008

Feeling a bit blue?

"...why are you doing this?
We too are only men, human like you.
We are bringing you good news,
telling you to turn from these worthless things
to the living God,
who made heaven and earth and sea
and everything in them."
- Acts 14:15 NIV

"God did this so that,
by two unchangeable things
in which it is impossible for God to lie,
we who have fled to take hold of the hope
offered to us may be greatly encouraged.
We have this hope as an anchor for the soul,
firm and secure."
- Hebrews 6:18,19 NIV

"But let us who live in the light be clearheaded,
protected by the armor of faith and love,
and wearing as our helmet
the confidence of our salvation."
- 1 Thessalonians 5:8 NLT

"So do not throw away your confidence;
it will be richly rewarded.
You need to persevere
so that when you have done the will of God,
you will receive what he has promised."
- Hebrews 10:35,36 NIV

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

July 16, 2008

exposed roots

As the ground seems to sink beneath your feet
exposing your earthly roots of support
make sure that your roots of faith grow deep
less you fall.

Job lost his earthly support... his earthly possessions
and his family were taken from him
but he did not curse God
even when the storms of accusation assalted him.
The roots of his faith in the Lord
grew deep.

"Then he fell to the ground in worship and said:
'Naked I came from my mother's womb,
and naked I will depart.
The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away;
may the name of the LORD be praised.'
In all this,
Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing."
- Job 1:20-22 NIV

"For this reason I kneel before the Father,
from whom his whole family
in heaven and on earth derives its name.
I pray that out of his glorious riches
he may strengthen you with power
through his Spirit in your inner being,
so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,
may have power, together with all the saints,
to grasp how wide and long and high and deep
is the love of Christ,
and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—
that you may be filled to the measure
of all the fullness of God."
- Ephesians 3:14-19 NIV

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

July 15, 2008


"Who loves the rain
And loves his home,
And looks on life with quiet eyes,
Him will I follow through the storm;
And at his hearth-fire keep me warm;
Nor hell nor heaven shall that soul surprise,
Who loves the rain,
And loves his home,
And looks on life with quiet eyes."
- Frances Shaw

"There is always music amongst the trees in the garden,
but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it."
- Minnie Aumonier

"Thou hast created us for Thyself,
and our heart is not quiet until it rests in Thee."
- Saint Augustine

"Only in quiet waters do things mirror themselves undistorted.
Only in a quiet mind is adequate perception of the world."
- Hans Margolius

"The LORD your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing."
- Zephaniah 3:17 NIV

"O LORD, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty;
Nor do I involve myself in great matters,
Or in things too difficult for me.
Surely I have composed and quieted my soul..."
- Psalm 131:1,2 NASB

Monday, July 14, 2008

July 14, 2008

service and discipleship

"Jesus did not say to make converts to your way of thinking,
but He said to look after His sheep,
to see that they get nourished in the knowledge of Him.
We consider what we do in the way of Christian work as service,
yet Jesus Christ calls service to be what we are to Him,
not what we do for Him.
Discipleship is based solely on devotion to Jesus Christ,
not on following after a particular belief or doctrine.

Today we have substituted doctrinal belief for personal belief,
and that is why so many people are devoted to causes
and so few are devoted to Jesus Christ.
People do not really want to be devoted to Jesus,
but only to the cause He started.
Jesus Christ is deeply offensive to the educated minds of today,
to those who only want Him to be their Friend,
and who are unwilling to accept Him in any other way.
Our Lord’s primary obedience was to the will of His Father,
not to the needs of people—
the saving of people was the natural outcome
of His obedience to the Father.
If I am devoted solely to the cause of humanity,
I will soon be exhausted and come to the point
where my love will waver and stumble.
But if I love Jesus Christ personally and passionately,
I can serve humanity,
even though people may treat me like a "doormat."

The secret of a disciple’s life
is devotion to Jesus Christ,
and the characteristic of that life
is its seeming insignificance and its meekness.
Yet it is like a grain of wheat that "falls into the ground and dies"—
it will spring up and change the entire landscape ( John 12:24 )."
- Oswald Chambers
(My Utmost For His Highest)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

July 13, 2008

all Your wonders

Students were asked by their teacher
to list the Seven Wonders of the World.
One little girl could not make up her mind
because she said there were so many.
The teacher asked her to tell the class
what she had so far and then maybe
all of them could help her.

The little girl hestitated for a moment
and then said...
"I think the Seven Wonders of the World are...
to see, to hear, to touch, to taste, to feel, to laugh or smile,
and most of all... to love."

"It is the sweet, simple things of life
which are the real ones after all."
- Laura Ingalls Wilder

"I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart;
I will tell of all your wonders."
- Psalm 9:1 NIV

Saturday, July 12, 2008

July 12, 2008

Our loads will be lightened.

"Answer me quickly, O LORD;
my spirit fails."
- Psalm 143:7 NIV

"Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God."
- Psalm 42:5 NIV

"In this time of sorrow
Help us remember and know
That if we simply turn to You
Our hearts will be comforted
Our loads will be lightened
Our souls will be understood."
- Jennifer M. Spencer

Friday, July 11, 2008

July 11, 2008

a rainy day

"Millions long for immortality
who don't know what to do with themselves
on a rainy Sunday afternoon."
- Susan Ertz
(Anger in the Sky)

Spread a little "Son"shine.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

July 10, 2008

behold the turtle

You can't spend a lifetime withdrawn
inside your own protective shell.

"Trust in the LORD and do good;
Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness."
- Psalm 37:3 NASB

"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity,
but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord..."
- 2 Timothy 1:7,8 NIV

"So do not throw away your confidence;
it will be richly rewarded.
You need to persevere
so that when you have done the will of God,
you will receive what he has promised.
For in just a very little while,
He who is coming will come and will not delay.
But my righteous one will live by faith.
And if he shrinks back,
I will not be pleased with him.
But we are not of those who shrink back
and are destroyed,
but of those who believe and are saved."
- Hebrews 10:35-39 NIV

"Behold the turtle.
He makes progress only
when he sticks his neck out."
- James Bryant Conant

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

July 9, 2008

Sin, a little thing?

"Christian, beware how you think lightly of sin.
Take heed lest you fall little by little.
Sin is a little thing? Is it not a poison?
Who knows its deadliness? Sin, a little thing?
Do not foxes spoil the grapes?
Does not the tiny coral insect build a rock which wrecks a navy?
Do not little strokes fell lofty oaks?
Will not continual droppings wear away stones?
Sin, a little thing?
Who knows its deadliness?
It girded the Redeemer’s head with thorns,
and pierced His heart.
It made Him suffer anguish, bitterness and woe.
Could you but weigh the least sin in the scales of eternity,
you would fly from it as from a serpent
and abhor the least appearance of evil.
Look upon all sin as that which crucified the Savior,
and you will see it to be 'exceeding sinful'".
- C. H. Spurgeon

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

July 8, 2008

can't be happy

"This is a great irony —
people who have every reason to be content seldom are.
Though happiness is their aim,
it seems always out of reach.
I wonder if gratefulness is the bridge from sorrow to joy,
spanning the chasm of our anxious striving.
Freed from the burden of unbridled desires,
we can enjoy what we have,
celebrate what we've attained,
and appreciate the familiar.
For if we can't be happy now,
we'll likely not be happy when."
- Philip Gulley
(Porch Talk)

Monday, July 7, 2008

July 7, 2008

glory in the church

"...I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,
may have power, together with all the saints,
to grasp how wide and long
and high and deep is the love of Christ,
and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—
that you may be filled to the measure
of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more
than all we ask or imagine,
according to his power that is at work within us,
to him be glory in the church
and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations,
for ever and ever!
- Ephesians 3:17-21 NIV

Sunday, July 6, 2008

July 6, 2008


"May the light of God illumine the heart of my soul.
May the flame of Christ kindle me to love.
May the fire of the Spirit free me to live
This day, tonight and for ever."
- A Celtic Benediction

Saturday, July 5, 2008

July 5, 2008

my five cents worth

"Depositing our faith in Jesus Christ
means God is now responsible for us,
because He has purchased us."
- Franklin Graham

"Most people I know who live free today
have experienced a serious stronghold
or hinderance they fought to overcome.
I rarely meet people
who have come to trust GOD fully
who haven't also painfully confronted the fact
that they can't trust themselves."
- Beth Moore


Friday, July 4, 2008

July 4, 2008

nature's fireworks


"Freedom has its life
in the hearts, the actions, the spirit of men
and so it must be daily earned and refreshed -
else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots,
it will wither and die."
- Dwight D. Eisenhower

"People demand freedom of speech
as a compensation for
the freedom of thought
which they seldom use."
- Soren Kierkegaard

"There are two freedoms -
the false, where a man is free to do what he likes;
the true, where he is free to do what he ought."
- Charles Kingsley

"Freedom is not procured
by a full enjoyment of what is desired,
but by controlling the desire."
- Epictetus

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.
Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves
be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
You, my brothers, were called to be free.
But do not use your freedom
to indulge the sinful nature;
rather, serve one another in love."
- Galatians 5: 1,13 NIV

Thursday, July 3, 2008

July 3, 2008

do not doubt
photo by Erin Doyle

Has the Holy Spirit been talking with you?
Are you at the point in your faith
where you have made the right choice,
but the temptations to look back to your old life
are just too great?

Don't be like Lot's wife...
increasing the world's salt supply is not worth it.

"There is a point at which everything becomes simple
and there is no longer any question of choice,
because all you have staked will be lost
if you look back.
Life's point of no return."
- Dag Hammarskjold

"...but he that endureth to the end shall be saved."
- Matthew 10:22 KJV

The Lord allows U-turns
but don't make yourself dizzy
going in circles
because at some point
you may fall.

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers,
whenever you face trials of many kinds,
because you know that the testing of your faith
develops perseverance.
Perseverance must finish its work
so that you may be mature and complete,
not lacking anything.
If any of you lacks wisdom,
he should ask God,
who gives generously to all without finding fault,
and it will be given to him.
But when he asks,
he must believe and not doubt,
because he who doubts
is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.
That man should not think
he will receive anything from the Lord;
he is a double-minded man,
unstable in all he does."
- James 1:2-8 NIV

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

July 2, 2008

simplicity of Your love

O Lord, keep us sensitive to the glory of your creation that surrounds us.
I pray that the familiar not be neglected but looked upon
with a newer insight so we may learn your ways
growing in wisdom and understanding...
finding peace and joy
in the simplicity
of Your love.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

July 1, 2008

no other purpose

"He works on us in all sorts of ways.
But above all,
He works on us through each other.
Men are mirrors,
or ‘carriers’ of Christ to other men.
But usually it is those who know Him
that bring Him to others.
That is why the Church,
the whole body of Christians
showing Him to one another,
is so important….
The Church exists for nothing else
but to draw men into Christ,
to make them little Christs.
If they are not doing that,
all the cathedrals, clergy, missions, sermons,
even the Bible itself,
are simply a waste of time.
God became Man for no other purpose.
It is even doubtful, you know,
whether the whole universe was created
for any other purpose."
- C.S. Lewis