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

Sunday, August 31, 2008

August 31, 2008

gift from the sea

"The sea does not reward those who are too anxious,
too greedy, or too impatient.
One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach -
waiting for a gift from the sea."
- Anne Marrow Lindbergh

Saturday, August 30, 2008

August 30, 2008

serving two masters

Amphibian: A cold-blooded vertebrate
that spends part of its life in water
and part of its life on land.

"Scientists now fear
that the largest species mass extinction
since the dinosaurs
will likely happen in our time
and among the most endangered
are amphibians including frogs..."
- Author Unknown
(listed in "Science")

If true, perhaps, there is a message here for us.
We must stop trying to serve two masters
and decide whether to serve the Lord completely
or to remain with part of our soul still submerged
and linked to worldly pursuits.

"Humans are amphibians -
half spirit and half animal.
As spirits they belong to the eternal world,
but as animals they inhabit time."
- C. S. Lewis

"No one can serve two masters.
Either he will hate the one and love the other,
or he will be devoted to the one
and despise the other."
- Matthew 6:24 NIV

Friday, August 29, 2008

August 29, 2008

groan/grown inwardly

The Monarch caterpillar, like all caterpillars,
seek to grow by constantly feeding.
Eventually, when the time is right,
the caterpillar will enter a resting state.
It is during this resting stage that the caterpillar's
body will be transformed and it will get a new body...
one that is gloriously beautiful and has the ability to fly.

At this stage of our earthly existence
we too must feed on the Word of God,
and if we accept Jesus Christ
as our savior and redeemer,
we too will someday
enter a resting state only to eventually
be transformed... with a new more glorious body,
and like Jesus, will ascend,
to be with Him throughout eternity.

"However, not only the creation,
but we who have the first fruits of the Spirit
also groan inwardly as we eagerly await our adoption,
the redemption of our bodies."
- Romans 8:23 ISV

Thursday, August 28, 2008

August 28, 2008

Do not fear to live or love.

"A lovely rose with petals soft
A scent so sweet and light
So beautiful a flower
With colors shining bright.
But something not so savory
About the fragrant rose -
The thorns, so sharp upon the stem,
That sharpen as it grows.
Yet still lovely is the flower
Despite the thorns that prick
Just as life and love are sweet
They too have thorns that stick.
But do not fear to live or love,
Life's not exempt from pain -
So pick a rose, you may get hurt,
But you will also gain!"
- A Rose
by Elizabeth

"The best rose-bush, after all,
is not that which has the fewest thorns,
but that which bears the finest roses."
- Henry Van Dyke

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

August 27, 2008

add depth

"We are commanded to stop (literally)...
rest, let go, and make time for God.
The scene is one of stillness and quietness,
listening and waiting before Him.
Such foreign experiences in these busy times!
Nevertheless, knowing God
deeply and intimately
requires such discipline.
Silence is indispensible if we hope
to add depth to our spiritual life."
- Charles R. Swindoll

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

August 26, 2008

time will reveal

"If we could push ajar the gates of life,
And stand within, and all God's workings see,
We could interpret all this doubt and strife,
And for each mystery could find a key.
But not to-day. Then be content, poor heart!
God's plans, like lilies pure and white, unfold;
We must not tear the close-shut leaves apart,
Time will reveal the calyxes of gold."
- Mary Riley Smith

Monday, August 25, 2008

August 25, 2008

made new

"God's expertise is reconstruction.
Afterall Christ was a carpenter by trade.
Nothing has ever been allowed to crumble
in a Christian's life or heritage
that God can't reconstruct and use."
- Beth Moore

"You were taught,
with regard to your former way of life,
to put off your old self,
which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;
to be made new in the attitude of your minds;
and to put on the new self,
created to be like God
in true righteousness and holiness."
- Ephesians 4:22-24 NIV

Sunday, August 24, 2008

August 24, 2008

joy of living

In this hour opportunity begins, a fresh chance to start again.
I don't want to waste the minutes and hours
That have been given to me.
I want to be alive to every experience,
In conversation, in moments of relaxation
I want to find joy in living.
Lord of life, help me.

Lord, help me to enjoy the common things of my everyday life.
I often find myself saying that nothing happened today,
But, in fact, the ordinary events of my life make a rich pattern,
But they're so familiar, I hardly notice them.
Things like cups of tea and coffee
Or the smile of the woman behind the shop counter,
The therapy of being lost in a good book or a radio play
Or my favourite music.
[Your glorious creation]
The days are rich in pleasing moments that I take for granted.
Lord of life,
help me to realise the joy of living.

Lord of life, when I come to the end of this day
Help me to remember the big problems
That turned out to be little ones
And the things I worried about that never happened.
Lord of laughter and joy,
Help me to experience and to treasure every good moment.
Lord of life, help me.
- Frank Topping

Saturday, August 23, 2008

August 23, 2008

It's in the seed

"Everyone who enjoys thinks
that the principal thing to the tree is the fruit,
but in point of fact
the principal thing to it is the seed."
- Friedrich Nietzsche

"The smallest seed of faith is better
than the largest fruit of happiness."
- Henry David Thoreau

"Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap,
but by the seeds you plant."
- Robert Louis Stevenson

"You must give to get,
You must sow the seed,
before you can reap the harvest."
- Author Unknown

"The blessing is in the seed."
- Author Unknown

Friday, August 22, 2008

August 22, 2008

pattern of living
(closeup of a hornet's nest)

As we grow we add to the pattern of our life.
Our thoughts dictate our actions
and it is what we think,
and what we nurture
deep within our heart on a regular basis,
that builds our life pattern.

"Anyone can live heroically and successfully for one day.
The man who achieves a high purpose
makes that day the pattern
for all the days of his life."
- Author Unknown

"We sleep, but the loom of life never stops,
and the pattern which was weaving
when the sun went down
is weaving when it comes up in the morning."
- Henry Ward Beecher

"Your self image is your pattern!
Every thought has an activity visualized.
Every activity belongs to a pattern.
You identify with your pattern or thought.
Your patterns leads your life."
- J. G. Gallimore

"As long as habit and routine
dictate the pattern of living,
new dimensions of the soul will not emerge."
- Henry Van Dyke

Thursday, August 21, 2008

August 21, 2008

Serve the Lord

"Home ought to be our clearinghouse,
the place from which we go forth lessoned and disciplined,
and ready for life."
- Kathleen Norris

"...but as for me and my house,
we will serve the LORD."
- Joshua 24:15 NASB

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

August 20, 2008

most powerful influence
photo by Erin Doyle

"Am I fulfilling this ministry of intercession
deep within the hidden recesses of my life?
There is no trap nor any danger at all
of being deceived or of showing pride
in true intercession.
It is a hidden ministry that brings forth fruit
through which the Father is glorified.
Am I allowing my spiritual life to waste away,
or am I focused,
bringing everything to one central point—
the atonement of my Lord?
Is Jesus Christ more and more dominating
every interest of my life?
If the central point,
or the most powerful influence,
of my life is the atonement of the Lord,
then every aspect of my life will bear fruit for Him.

We must make a determination to limit
and concentrate our desires and interests
on the atonement by the Cross of Christ.

The disciple who abides in Jesus
is the will of God,
and what appears to be his free choices
are actually God’s foreordained decrees."
- Oswald Chambers
(My Utmost For His Highest)

Please pray that it is so for all of us.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

August 19, 2008

newness of life

"Lord Jesus, we come to Thee now as little children.
Dress us again in clean pinafores;
make us tidy once more
with the tidiness of true remorse and confession.
Oh, wash our hearts,
that they may be clean again.
Make us to know the strengthening joys of the Spirit,
and the newness of life which only Thou can give.
Amen."
- Peter Marshall

Monday, August 18, 2008

August 18, 2008

Make me Yours

"Don't make me good, Lord.
Make me yours.
If all I am is good
And I give it,
Then I give myself only.

But if I'm yours
when I give myself,
I give you.

And those I love
don't need me, good or bad.
They need you.

So, make me yours."
- John B. Coburn

Sunday, August 17, 2008

August 17, 2008

wilderness trek
photo by Erin Doyle

"God puts us into the wilderness to test us,
to stretch our spiritual muscles.
Our earthly wilderness experiences
are designed to develop us into
men and women of faith.
Let's face it, our spiritual roots
grow deep only when
the winds around us are strong.
Take away the tests,
and we become spiritual wimps.
But bring on the wilderness winds,
and it's remarkable how we grow,
as our roots dig firmly into faith."
- Charles R. Swindoll

Saturday, August 16, 2008

August 16, 2008

Lord, help me

Have you ever felt like throwing in the towel
and giving up?
Not sure if others read or hear your message?
Not sure, even then, if they have taken the time
to reflect on what was said
or received any spiritual blessing?
Not sure if even God hears you
when you pray for understanding and wisdom?

DO NOT GIVE UP.

Think about the blessing you receive
every time you pray, every time you reflect,
every time you research,
and every time you compose a message.

God hears, God will continue to speak to your heart,
and God will inspire you for His purpose.
You have no idea the effect your message has on others
and upon yourself.
Keep the faith and trust in Him.

You do His will and plant the seed
leaving the harvest entirely to Him.

"Lord help me persist although I want to give up.
Lord help me to keep trying
although I can't see what good it does.
Lord, help me to keep praying
although I'm not sure you hear me.
Lord, help me to keep living
in ways that seek to please You.
Lord, help me to know when to lead
and when to follow.
Lord, help me to know when to speak
and when to remain silent.
Lord, help me to know
when to act and when to wait."
- Marian Wright Edelman
(American activist for the rights of children...
president and founder of the Children's Defense Fund)

Friday, August 15, 2008

August 15, 2008

add depth

"We are commanded to stop (literally)...
rest, relax, let go, and make time for Him.
The scene is one of stillness and quietness,
listening and waiting before Him.
Such foreign business in these busy times!
Nevertheless, knowing God deeply and intimately
requires such discipline.
Silence is indispensable
if we hope to add depth to our spiritual life."
- Chuck Swindoll
(Intimacy with the Almighty;
Encountering Christ in the secret places of your life
Word Publishing, 1996)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

August 14, 2008

spread His Gospel

There's a pretty little legend
That I would like to tell
Of the birth and death of Jesus
Found in this lowly shell.

If you examine closely,
You'll see that you find here
Four nail holes and a fifth one
Made by a Roman's spear.

On one side the Easter lily,
Its center is the star
That appeared unto the shepherds
And led them from afar.

The Christmas poinsettia,
Etched on the other side
Reminds us of His birthday,
Our happy Christmastide.

Now break the center open,
And here you will release
The five white doves awaiting
To spread Good will and peace.

This simple little symbol,
Christ left for you and me
To help us spread His Gospel
Through all eternity.
- Legend of the sand dollar

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

August 13, 2008

mission on earth

"'Our citizenship is in heaven.'
But let's never forget that our involvement
is on earth."
- Charles Swindoll

"I would rather die a meaningful death
than to live a meaningless life."
- Corazon Aquino
11th President of the Philippines
(She is a world-renowned advocate of democracy,
peace, women's empowerment,
and religious piety.)

"Here is your test to find out if your mission on earth is finished:
if you are alive it isn't."
- Richard David Bach

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

August 12, 2008

those with pure hearts

"God of our life, through all the circling years,
We trust in Thee;
In all the past, through all our hopes and fears,
Thy hand we see.
With each new day, when morning lifts the veil,
We own Thy mercies, Lord, which never fail.

God of the past, our times are in Thy hand;
With us abide.
Lead us by faith to hope’s true promised land;
Be Thou our Guide.
With Thee to bless, the darkness shines as light,
And faith’s fair vision changes into sight.

God of the coming years, through paths unknown
We follow Thee;
When we are strong, Lord, leave us not alone;
Our Refuge be.
Be Thou for us in life our daily Bread,
Our heart’s true Home when all our years have sped."
- Hugh T. Kerr
(God of Our Life)

"The righteous will move onward and forward,
and those with pure hearts will become stronger and stronger."
- Job 17:9 (Life Recovery Bible NLT)

Monday, August 11, 2008

August 11, 2008

joy and gladness

"Yet we must admit that we spend more of our time
concentrating and fretting over the things
that can’t be changed
than we do giving attention
to the one that we can change,
our choice of attitude.
Let’s choose each day and every day
to keep an attitude of faith and joy
and belief and compassion."
- Charles Swindoll

"Do you wonder where you can go
for encouragement and motivation?
Run to Jesus."
- Max Lucado

"Make me to hear joy and gladness..."
- Psalm 51:8 NASB

Sunday, August 10, 2008

August 10, 2008

each honest worker

"Thank God every morning when you get up
that you have something that must be done,
whether you like it or not.
Work breeds a hundred virtues that idleness never knows."
- Charles Kingsley

"I long to accomplish a great and noble task,
but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks
as though they were great and noble.
The world is moved along,
not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes,
but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes
of each honest worker."
- Helen Keller

Saturday, August 9, 2008

August 9, 2008

the test of our faithfulness

"It is only a faithful person who truly believes
that God sovereignly controls his circumstances.
We take our circumstances for granted,
saying God is in control,
but not really believing it.
We act as if the things that happen were completely controlled by people.
To be faithful in every circumstance
means that we have only one loyalty,
or object of our faith—
the Lord Jesus Christ.

God may cause our circumstances to suddenly fall apart,
which may bring the realization of our unfaithfulness to Him
for not recognizing that He had ordained the situation.
We never saw what He was trying to accomplish,
and that exact event will never be repeated in our life.
This is where the test of our faithfulness comes.
If we will just learn to worship God
even during the difficult circumstances,
He will change them for the better very quickly
if He so chooses.

Being faithful to Jesus Christ
is the most difficult thing we try to do today.
We will be faithful to our work,
to serving others, or to anything else;
just don’t ask us to be faithful to Jesus Christ.
Many Christians become very impatient
when we talk about faithfulness to Jesus.
Our Lord is dethroned more deliberately by Christian workers
than by the world.
We treat God as if He were a machine
designed only to bless us,
and we think of Jesus as just another one of the workers.

The goal of faithfulness is not that we will do work for God,
but that He will be free to do His work through us.
God calls us to His service
and places tremendous responsibilities on us.
He expects no complaining on our part
and offers no explanation on His part.
God wants to use us as He used His own Son."
- Oswald Chambers
(My Utmost For His Highest)

Friday, August 8, 2008

August 8, 2008

turtle hug
photo by Erin Doyle

It's hard to give a really good hug
while remaining sheltered and confined
within your self-made shell.

Sure your shell seems to provide you
some false sense of security
but it limits your understanding,
your spiritual growth, and your ability to love.
Much better to open up and allow God to use you,
following His way for His glory.
Trust in the Lord through His Holy Spirit
for your growth "and" your security.
This will lead to increased wisdom, understanding,
discernment and His everlasting peace.

"Your pain is the breaking of the shell
that encloses your understanding."
- Kahlil Gibran

"The jewel of the soul is priceless,
and yet it is being squandered like this,
in exchange for a mere shell."
- Sri Guru Granth Sahib

Come out of your shell.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

August 7, 2008

hoped to hear

"You can't, in most things, get what you want
if you want it too desperately:
anyway you can't get the best out of it...
'Now! Let's have a real good talk' reduces everyone to silence...

And so, perhaps, with God.
I have gradually been coming to feel
that the door is no longer shut and bolted.
Was it my own frantic need that slammed it in my face?
The time when there is nothing at all in your soul
except a cry for help
may be just the time when God can't give it:
you are like the drowning man who can't be helped
because he clutches and grabs.
Perhaps your own reiterated cries
deafen you to the voice you hoped to hear."
- C. S. Lewis
(A Grief Observed)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

stand by His cross

"This is the will of God which Christ both did and taught:
humility in conversation; steadfastness in faith;
modesty in words; justice in deeds;
mercy in works; discipline in morals;
inabilty to do a wrong, and ability to bear a wrong done;
to keep peace with the brethren; to love God with all our hearts;
to love Him as a Father; to fear Him as God;
to prefer nothing above Christ
(because He did not prefer anything above us);
to adhere inseparably to His love;
and to stand by His cross bravely and faithfully."
- St. Cyprian (c. 200-258)
Bishop of Carthage and Martyr

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

perfect contemplation

"True recollection has characteristics by which it can be easily recognized.
It produces a certain effect which I do not know how to explain,
but which is well understood by those who have experienced it. . . .
It is true that recollection has several degrees,
and that in the beginning these great effects are not felt,
because it is not yet profound enough.
But support the pain which you first feel in recollecting yourself,
despise the rebellion of nature,
overcome the resistance of the body, which loves a liberty which is its ruin,
learn self-conquest, persevere thus for a time,
and you will perceive very clearly the advantages which you gain from it.


As soon as you apply yourself to orison [prayer],
you will at once feel your senses gather themselves together:
they seem like bees which return to the hive
and there shut themselves up to work at the making of honey:
and this will take place without effort or care on your part.


God thus rewards the violence which your soul has been doing to itself;
and gives to it such a domination over the senses
that a sign is enough when it desires to recollect itself,
for them to obey and so gather themselves together.


At the first call of the will,
they come back more and more quickly.
At last, after countless exercises of this kind,
God disposes them to a state of utter rest
and of perfect contemplation."
-Teresa of Avila

Monday, August 4, 2008

August 4, 2008

fountains of His love

"Love is not premeditated— it is spontaneous;
that is, it bursts forth in extraordinary ways.
There is nothing of precise certainty in Paul’s description of love.
We cannot predetermine our thoughts and actions by saying,
'Now I will never think any evil thoughts,
and I will believe everything that Jesus would have me to believe.'
No, the characteristic of love is spontaneity.
We don’t deliberately set the statements of Jesus
before us as our standard,
but when His Spirit is having His way with us,
we live according to His standard without even realizing it.
And when we look back,
we are amazed at how unconcerned we have been over our emotions,
which is the very evidence that real spontaneous love was there.
The nature of everything involved in the life of God in us
is only discerned when we have been through it
and it is in our past.

The fountains from which love flows are in God, not in us.
It is absurd to think that the love of God is naturally in our hearts,
as a result of our own nature.
His love is there only because
it 'has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit . . .'
( Romans 5:5 ).

If we try to prove to God how much we love Him,
it is a sure sign that we really don’t love Him.
The evidence of our love for Him
is the absolute spontaneity of our love,
which flows naturally from His nature within us.
And when we look back,
we will not be able to determine why we did certain things,
but we can know that we did them
according to the spontaneous nature of His love in us.
The life of God exhibits itself in this spontaneous way
because the fountains of His love are in the Holy Spirit."
- Oswald Chambers
(My Utmost for His Highest)

Sunday, August 3, 2008

August 3, 2008

keep the light

Let your faith be so deeply rooted in the Word of God
that your light shines even in the darkest of places
and the darkest of times.

"Deep in their roots all flowers keep the light."
- Theodore Roethke

Saturday, August 2, 2008

August 2, 2008

he who believes

"The human spirit will not even begin
to try to surrender self-will
as long as all seems well with it.
Now error and sin both have this property,
that the deeper they are
the less their victim suspects their existence;
they are masked evil.
Pain is unmasked, unmistakeable evil;
every man knows something is wrong when he is being hurt...
And pain is not only immediately recognisable evil,
but evil impossible to ignore.
We can rest contentedly in our sins
and in our stupidities;
and anyone who has watched gluttons
shovelling down the most exquisite foods
as if they did not know what they were eating,
will admit that we can ignore even pleasure.
But pain insists upon being attended to.
God whispers to us in our pleasures,
speaks in our conscience,
but shouts in our pain:
it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world."
- C. S. Lewis
(The Problem of Pain)

"The troubles of my heart have multiplied;
free me from my anguish.
Look upon my affliction and my distress
and take away all my sins."
- Psalm 25: 17,18 NIV

"But thanks be to God!
He gives us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ."
- 1 Corinthians 15:57 NIV

"...for everyone born of God overcomes the world.
This is the victory that has overcome the world,
even our faith.
Who is it that overcomes the world?
Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God."
- 1 John 5:4,5 NIV

Thru belief comes submission.
When you die TO self
you are allowing God to fill you with the Holy Spirit.
The dying OF self is a continual process
as the Holy Spirit works within you,
refining and purifying your soul.

Throughout this process (dying OF self)
we starve self of those things
that are not good for it.

"I don’t mean to say
that I have already achieved these things
or that I have already reached perfection.
But I press on to possess that perfection
for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.
No, dear brothers and sisters,
I have not achieved it,
but I focus on this one thing:
Forgetting the past
and looking forward to what lies ahead,
I press on to reach the end of the race
and receive the heavenly prize for which God,
through Christ Jesus,is calling us."
- Philippians 3:12-14 NLT

Friday, August 1, 2008

August 1, 2008

take heart
photo by Erin Doyle

"We are pressed on every side by troubles,
but we are not crushed.
We are perplexed, but not driven to despair.
We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God.
We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.
Through suffering,
our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus
so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies."
- 2 Corinthians 4:8-10 NLT

"I answer that suffering is not good in itself.
What is good in any painful experience is,
for the sufferer,
his submission to the will of God."
- C. S. Lewis
(The Problem of Pain)

"I have told you these things,
so that in me you may have peace.
In this world you will have trouble.
But take heart! I have overcome the world."
- John 16:33 NIV