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, November 30, 2008

November 30, 2008

loves us still

“Nothing humbles the soul
like sacred and intimate communion with the Lord;
yet there is a sweet joy in feeling that He knows all,
and, notwithstanding, loves us still.”
- J. Hudson Taylor

Saturday, November 29, 2008

November 29, 2008

this adventure called faith

“God has some extremely exciting things
in mind for His children.
For some it may happen tomorrow.
For some it may happen next month
or next year or five years down the road.
We don’t know when.
For some… it could happen today.
But the beautiful thing about this adventure called faith
is that we can count on Him
never to lead us astray.
He knows exactly where He is taking us.
Our job is to obey.”
- Charles Swindoll

Friday, November 28, 2008

November 28, 2008

We are forgiven.

“God gives us permission to forget our past
and the understanding to live our present.
He said He will remember our sins no more.
(Psalm 103:11-12)”
- Serita Ann Jakes

“What makes a Christian a Christian
is not perfection
but forgiveness.”
- Max Lucado

Thursday, November 27, 2008

November 27, 2008

We Thank You, Lord

We thank You, Lord, and worship You with gladness;
We praise Your Name and lift our hearts in song;
For You are good, Your love endures forever,
Your faithfulness continues all day long.
You’ve lavished us with every spiritual blessing;
We thank You, Lord, and praise You now in song.

We thank You, Lord, for everyday provisions,
For daily food, for clothes and shelter too,
For health and strength and grace for every trial,
For this free land where we can worship You.
You crown each day with Your abundant goodness;
We thank You, Lord, and lift our praise to You.

We thank You, Lord, for giving us salvation.
You sent Your Son that we might be forgiv’n.
Far as the east from west, our sins have vanished;
Now justified, we’re citizens of Heav’n.
You’ve sealed us with Your promised Holy Spirit;
We thank You, Lord, for love so freely giv’n!

We thank You, Lord, for giving us the Bible
To guide our steps, if we’ll but hear and read,
And for Your Church, a worldwide living body,
That gives sweet fellowship and meets our need.
We are encouraged, and we worship gladly;
We thank You, Lord, You’ve made us rich indeed!

Words: Su­san H. Pe­ter­son
Music: Fin­land­ia, Jean Si­bel­i­us

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

November 26, 2008

holding onto the old ways

Even through the storms of life
many still hold onto their secular ways
although they are dead and lifeless in spirit.

The only way to find peace and joy
is to let go of that old life
so that we may be born anew.

We cannot “die to self”…
by that I mean we cannot do it
by our self.

Only by accepting Jesus Christ
as your Savior and acknowledge
that He died for your sins
and was resurrected from the dead
can we be dead to self.

“For we know that our old self
was crucified with him
so that the body of sin
might be done away with,
that we should no longer be slaves to sin—
because anyone who has died
has been freed from sin.”
- Romans 6: 6,7 NIV

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

November 25, 2008

sunny disposition

Every day is a priceless gift from God.
Spend it with a smile and be joyful.

"Developing a cheerful disposition
can permit an atmosphere
wherein one's spirit can be nurtured
and encouraged to blossom and bear fruit.
Being pessimistic and negative about our experiences
will not enhance the quality of our lives.
A determination to be of good cheer
can help us and those around us
to enjoy life more fully."
- Barbara W. Winder

"A cloudy day is no match for a sunny disposition."
- William Arthur Ward

Monday, November 24, 2008

November 24, 2008

Christians

“The Scripture gives four names to Christians,
taken from the four cardinal graces
so essential to man's salvation:
saints for their holiness,
believers for their faith,
brethren for their love,
disciples for their knowledge.”
- Thomas Fuller

Sunday, November 23, 2008

November 23, 2008

Just hanging around?
Nothing better to do?

“I know that there is nothing better for men
than to be happy and do good while they live.”
- Ecclesiastes 3:12 NIV

“Serenity and inner beauty come
when we wait upon God.
'Waiting' like that
is not merely wasting time.”
- Eva Burrows

“Life is short,
don't waste time worrying
about what people think of you.
Hold on to the ones that care,
in the end they will be the only ones there.”
- Author Unknown

Mary listens while Martha labors.
(Luke 10: 38-42)

Nothing better to do?
Actually… no

Saturday, November 22, 2008

November 22, 2008

get the message

The storms of life are one way the Lord
uses to get our attention.
Everything else is reduced in importance,
blotted out, and then in the immense silence
that so often follows,
our thoughts are finally turned to Him.

“God whispers to us in our pleasures,
speaks to us in our conscience,
but shouts in our pains:
It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world”
- C. S. Lewis

God is still speaking and is always
trying to get our attention…
the “storms of life”may be the most obvious
and the loudest
but He speaks to us constantly
in much more subtle ways.

It is possible too, that His communication to us
is so obvious that we miss it…
similar to searching for the hat
which has been upon our head all along.

“Every happening, great and small,
is a parable whereby God speaks to us,
and the art of life is to get the message.”
- Malcolm Muggeridge

Friday, November 21, 2008

November 21, 2008

Do you really think so?

Perhaps the dog doesn’t know the answer
but she is a good listener
and will offer her love unconditionally.

Be a good listener.

“One of the greatest gifts God can give to an individual
is the gift of being a good listener.
If one is a good listener,
he or she can have a positive effect
on countless number of people,
and end up bringing help and hope to others.
The best gift one can give to others
is the gift of being a good listener.

A good listener is "other focused."
He centers his life on other people.

I pray that I will be a good listener every day
and that others will see in me
empathy, openness, focus and reflective listening.
Help me be a good listener I pray.”
- Ed Ostrom

Thursday, November 20, 2008

November 20, 2008

following Him

“…He leads them; He goes before them,
and they follow Him.
He always has a purpose in His leading.
He knows where the bits of green pasture are,
and He would lead his flock to these.
The way may be rough,
but it is the right way to the pasture.
'Paths of righteousness' may not be straight paths;
but they are paths that lead somewhere –
to the right place.”
- J. R. Miller

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

November 19, 2008

Search the pattern of your life
and seek the knowledge of God.

“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

“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.”
- Proverbs 2:1-5 NIV

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

November 18, 2008

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

Monday, November 17, 2008

November 17, 2008

"The name of the Slough
was Despond."
- John Bunyan
(Pilgrim’s Progress)

“The old grey donkey, Eeyore
stood by himself
in a thistly corner of the Forest,
his front feet well apart,
his head on one side,
and thought about things.
Sometimes he thought sadly to himself, "Why?"
and sometimes he thought, "Wherefore?"
and sometimes he thought, "Inasmuch as which?"
and sometimes he didn't quite know
what he was thinking about.”
- A. A. Milne

“When I despair,
I remember that all through history
the way of truth and love has always won.
There have been tyrants and murderers
and for a time they seem invincible
but in the end, they always fall --
think of it, ALWAYS.”
- Mahatma Gandhi

“The righteous cry out,
and the LORD hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
A righteous man may have many troubles,
but the LORD delivers him from them all.”
- Psalm 34:17-19 NIV

Sunday, November 16, 2008

November 16, 2008

no secrets are hid

“Grant us, our Father, your grace, that,
seeing ourselves in the light of your holiness,
we may be cleansed of the pride
and vain glory which obscures your truth;
and know that from you no secrets are hid,
we may perceive and confront those deceits
and disguises by which we deceive ourselves
and our fellowmen.
So may we worship you in spirit
and in truth and in your light. Amen.”
- Reinhold Niebuhr

Saturday, November 15, 2008

November 15, 2008

He knows my name

“I have a Maker
He formed my heart
Before even time began
My life was in His hand
He knows my name,
He knows my every thought,
He sees each tear that falls
And hears me when I call.
I have a father,
He calls me His own,
He'll never leave me
No matter where I go.”
- Tommy Walker

Friday, November 14, 2008

November 14, 2008

frightening

“We live in the midst of alarms;
anxiety beclouds the future;
we expect some new disaster
with each newspaper we read.”
- Abraham Lincoln

“God is unchanging in His love.
He loves you. He has a plan for your life.
Don't let the newspaper headlines frighten you.
God is still sovereign;
He's still on the throne.”
- Billy Graham

Thursday, November 13, 2008

November 13, 2008

enlightenment

“In tribulation immediately
draw near to God with confidence,
and you will receive strength,
enlightenment, and instruction.”
- St. John of the Cross

“God Himself is what enlightens
understanding about everything else in life.
Knowledge about any subject is fragmentary
without the enlightenment that comes
from His relationship to it.”
- Beth Moore

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

November 12, 2008

inner strength

“I know somehow that time will heal this sorrow,
This bitter grief, and that the years will bring
Forgetfulness and peace, that some tomorrow
Will hold no memory of my suffering.
And I believe that there will be a blurring
Of the jagged edges of the wounds I bear,
And in my heart again will be the stirring
Of laughter that has long been absent there.
I know all this, yet still cannot remember;
I cannot see beyond this wall of tears.
Yet as the falling ashes cool an ember,
So will my heart find comfort through the years.
I know--but God, dear God, my need is great!
Give me the inner strength this day to wait.”
- Grace Noll Crowell

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

November 11, 2008

God’s Gift

“I don't care how poor a man is;
if he has family, he's rich.”
- Dan Wilcox and Thad Mumford
"Identity Crisis," M*A*S*H

“When you look at your life,
the greatest happinesses
are family happinesses.”
- Joyce Brothers

“You don't choose your family.
They are God's gift to you,
as you are to them.”
- Desmond Tutu

Monday, November 10, 2008

November 10, 2008

lacking wisdom?

“It seldom happens
that a man changes his life
through his habitual reasoning.
No matter how fully he may sense
the new plans and aims
revealed to him by reason,
he continues to plod along in old paths
until his life becomes
frustrating and unbearable –
he finally makes the change only
when his usual life
can no longer be tolerated.”
- Leo Tolstoy

“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.”
- James 1:5 NIV

Sunday, November 9, 2008

November 9, 2008

dream a new dream
photo by Erin Doyle

“To accomplish great things,
we must not only act,
but also dream;
not only plan,
but also believe.”
- Anatole France

“God gives us dreams a size too big
so that we can grow in them.”
- Author Unknown

“You are never too old
to set another goal
or to dream a new dream.”
- C. S. Lewis

Saturday, November 8, 2008

November 8, 2008

which way?

Not sure what direction your life is taking you?

“You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
in any direction you choose.”
- Dr. Seuss

“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart;
and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge him,
and he shall direct thy paths.”
- Proverbs 3: 5,6 KJV

Men give advice; God gives guidance.
- Leonard Ravenhill

Friday, November 7, 2008

November 7, 2008

God has given us all so much…
so many wonders and beauties
to see, to learn about, and to enjoy.

We cannot begin to repay Him
for all He has done for us.

All He asks is to let Him love us,
and to love Him in return…
an intimate relationship.

We can show our love to Him
by loving others
as we praise His name
and give Him the glory for all we do.

Open your heart, let Him in,
and let His love flow through you,
and from you, to others…
all the while trusting in Him.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

November 6, 2008

"While we sometimes speak of grace
as an inherent quality,
it is in reality the active communication
of divine blessings
by the inworking of the Holy Spirit,
out of the fullness of Him
who is "full of grace and truth."
Rom. 3:24; 5:2, 15; 17:20; 6:1; I Cor. 1:4; II Cor. 6:1; 8:9;
Eph. 1:7; 2:5, 8; 3:7; I Pet. 3:7; 5:12.”
- Louis Berkhof
Systematic Theology
(Grand Rapids, 1949), pp. 426-27
(on the Biblical use of the term “grace”)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

November 5, 2008

be different,
make a difference

“Be daring, be different, be impractical,
be anything that will assert integrity of purpose
and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers,
the creatures of the commonplace,
the slaves of the ordinary.”
- Cecil Beaton

"We must not,
in trying to think about how
we can make a big difference,
ignore the small daily differences
we can make which, over time,
add up to big differences
that we often cannot foresee."
- Marian Wright Edelman

Look, see, imagine, dream, dare to be different...
dare to "make a difference".

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

November 4, 2008

I ain’t dead yet

“Time was I used to worry
and I’d sit around an’ sigh,
And think with every ache I got
that I was goin’ to die,
I’d see disaster comin’ from
a dozen different ways
An’ prophesy calamity
an’ dark and dreary days.
But I’ve come to this conclusion,
that it’s foolishness to fret;
I’ve had my share o’ sickness, but
I Ain’t Dead Yet!

Wet springs have come to grieve me
an’ I’ve grumbled at the showers,
But I can’t recall a June-time
that forgot to bring the flowers.
I’ve had my business troubles,
and looked failure in the face,
But the crashes I expected
seemed to pass right by the place.
So I’m takin’ life more calmly,
pleased with everything I get,
An’ not over-hurt by losses, ’cause
I Ain’t Dead Yet!

I’ve feared a thousand failures
an’ a thousand deaths I’ve died,
I’ve had this world in ruins
by the gloom I’ve prophesied.
But the sun shines out this mornin’
an’ the skies above are blue,
An’ with all my griefs an’ trouble,
I have somehow lived ‘em through.
There may be cares before me,
much like those that I have met;
Death will come some day an’ take me, but
I Ain’t Dead Yet!”
- Edgar A. Guest

Sunday, November 2, 2008

November 3, 2008

in the way you should go

As we grow we encounter many choices...
these ultimately lead us on different paths of life.
Hopefully we will have the guidance,
the wisdom, and the discernment,
to make the correct choices
that provides for fulfillment of the soul.

Let the Holy Spirit be your guide
as you walk with Jesus
and do the will of the Father.

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you and watch over you.”
- Psalm 32:8 NIV

November 2, 2008

for the common good

This lichen is a pioneer plant.
It can grow under very harsh conditions
like bare rocks and outcroppings.

In order to accomplish this feat,
the lichen is commonly a combination
of fungi and algae.

We need each other’s love, support, and encouragement
as we continue to grow in the Spirit of Christ.

No habitat is too harsh to support growth of the spirit
if we rely on God and have at least one other person
with which to grow.

“No Christian should ever think
that he is totally independent
and doesn't need help from others,
and no one should feel excused
from the task of helping others.
The body of Christ the church
functions only when all the members
work together for the common good.”
- David H. Ahl
(bible study on Galatians)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

November 1, 2008

Ecological succession

“The gradual and orderly process of change in an ecosystem
brought about by the progressive replacement
of one community by another
until a stable climax is established”
- web definitions

Once we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior,
our spiritual growth begins
and we are then molded by the Father
into the likeness of Jesus.

This change continues throughout our lifetime
and is a gradual process.

Spiritual growth is summarized here…

“His divine power has given us
everything we need for life and godliness
through our knowledge of him
who called us by his own glory and goodness.
Through these he has given us
his very great and precious promises,
so that through them
you may participate in the divine nature
and escape the corruption in the world
caused by evil desires.
For this very reason,
make every effort to add to your faith goodness;
and to goodness, knowledge;
and to knowledge, self-control;
and to self-control, perseverance;
and to perseverance, godliness;
and to godliness, brotherly kindness;
and to brotherly kindness, love.
For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure,
they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive
in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
- 2 Peter 1: 3-8 NIV