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, January 31, 2010

January 31, 2010

thankfulness

“The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts.
No Americans have been more impoverished
than these who, nevertheless,
set aside a day of thanksgiving.”
- H.U. Westermayer

“God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today.
Have you used one to say "thank you?"
- William A. Ward

“O Lord that lends me life,
Lend me a heart replete with thankfulness!”
- William Shakespeare

Saturday, January 30, 2010

January 30, 2010

there is still time

“For all sad words of tongue and pen,
The saddest are these,
'It might have been'.”
- John Greenleaf Whittier

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation
for those who are in Christ Jesus,
because through Christ Jesus
the law of the Spirit of life set me free
from the law of sin and death.”
- Romans 8:1,2 NIV

Friday, January 29, 2010

January 29, 2010

sanctify you

“Whereas previously their behavior
bore witness to their standing in the world
in separation from God,
now their behavior should bear witness
to their standing before God
in separation from the world.”
- Author Unknown

“May God himself, the God of peace,
sanctify you through and through.
May your whole spirit, soul and body
be kept blameless
at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
- 1 Thessalonians 5:23 NIV

Thursday, January 28, 2010

January 28, 2010

clean water
photo by Erin Doyle

“I will sprinkle clean water on you,
and you will be clean;
I will cleanse you from all your impurities
and from all your idols.”
- Ezekiel 36:25 NIV

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

January 27, 2010

keep watch but…

Remain watchful for His return
but attentive to our mission.

We must continue in our work
while we maintain our vigil
and at all times be ever mindful
of Him and do His will.

Place your trust and focus your life
on living in Him.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

January 26, 2010

of all members

“As natural as it is
for each member of my body
to be ready every moment
to do what is needful
for the welfare of the whole,
even so, where the Holy Spirit
has entire possession,
the consciousness of the union
with Christ will ever be
accomplished by consciousness
of the union and the joy
and the love of all members.”
- Andrew Murray

Monday, January 25, 2010

January 25, 2010

I Needed the Quiet

“I needed the quiet so he drew me aside
Into the shadows where we could confide,
Away from the bustle where all the day long
I hurried and worried when active and strong.
I needed the quiet tho at first I rebelled,
But gently, so gently my cross he upheld,
And whispered so sweetly of spiritual things,
Tho weakened in body, my spirit took wings
To heights never heard of when active and gay,
He loved me so greatly he drew me away.
I needed the quiet, no prison my bed,
But a beautiful valley of blessings instead –
A place to grow richer in Jesus to hide
I needed the quiet so he drew me aside.”
- Alice H. Mortenson

Sunday, January 24, 2010

January 24, 2010

for the wide world’s joy
photo by Lee Keefer

“The sun does not shine for a few trees and flowers,
but for the wide world's joy.”
- Henry Ward Beecher

"For God so loved the world
that he gave his one and only Son,
that whoever believes in him
shall not perish but have eternal life.”
- John 3:16 NIV
(emphasis mine)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

January 23, 2010

into every cottage window

“…just as there comes a warm sunbeam
into every cottage window,
so comes a lovebeam of God's care
and pity for every separate need.”
- Nathaniel Hawthorne
(The House of Seven Gables)

Friday, January 22, 2010

January 22, 2010

it is in giving that we receive
photo by Lee Keefer

“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;
O Divine Master, grant that I may not
so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.”
- St. Francis of Assisi

“The goal of spiritual practice is full recovery,
and the only thing you need to recover from
is a fractured sense of self.”
- Marianne Williamson

Thursday, January 21, 2010

January 21, 2010

photo by Rick Stahl

“The cross that Jesus commands
you and me to carry
is the cross of submissive obedience
to the will of God,
even when His will includes
suffering and hardship
and things we don’t want to do.”
- Anne Graham Lotz

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

January 20, 2010

“When evening comes, you say,
‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’
and in the morning,
‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’
You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky,
but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.”
- Matthew 16:2,3 NIV

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

January 19, 2010

the attention of God
photo by Lee Keefer

God is every moment totally aware of each one of us.
Totally aware in intense concentration and love…
No man passes through any area of life,
happy or tragic,
without the attention of God with him.
- Eugenia Price

Monday, January 18, 2010

January 18, 2010

is in all our simple deeds

“Keep reminding God in our times of private prayer
that we mean every act for His glory;
then supplement those times
by a thousand thought-prayers
as we go about the job of living.
Let us practice the fine art
of making every work a priestly ministration.
Let us believe that God
is in all our simple deeds
and learn to find Him there.”
- A. W. Tozer

Sunday, January 17, 2010

January 17, 2010

for ever and ever

“Thus it is in hell;
they would die, but they cannot.
The wicked shall be always dying but never dead;
the smoke of the furnace ascends for ever and ever.
Oh! who can endure thus to be ever upon the rack?
This word ‘ever’ breaks the heart.
Wicked men now think the Sabbaths long,
and think a prayer long;
but oh! how long will it be
to lie in hell for ever and ever?”
- Thomas Watson

Saturday, January 16, 2010

January 16, 2010

to know our place

”In their Christian graces
no one virtue should usurp the sphere of another,
or eat out the vitals of the rest for its own support.
Affection must not smother honesty,
courage must not elbow weakness out of the field,
modesty must not jostle energy,
and patience must not slaughter resolution.
So also with our duties,
one must not interfere with another;
public usefulness must not injure private piety;
church work must not push family worship into a corner.
It is ill to offer God one duty
stained with the blood of another.
Each thing is beautiful in its season, but not otherwise.
…We must take care to know our place,
take it, and keep to it.
We must minister as the Spirit has given us ability,
and not intrude upon our fellow servant's domain.”
- Charles H. Spurgeon

Friday, January 15, 2010

January 15, 2010

do not fear

“Strengthen the feeble hands,
steady the knees that give way;
say to those with fearful hearts,
‘Be strong, do not fear;
your God will come…’”
- Isaiah 35:3,4 NIV

“And the God of all grace,
who called you to his eternal glory in Christ,
after you have suffered a little while,
will himself restore you
and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”
- 1 Peter 5:10 NIV

Thursday, January 14, 2010

January 14, 2010

stand firm

“The Christian experience
begins with sitting
and leads to walking,
but it does not end with these.
Every Christian must learn to STAND!”
- Manley Beasley

“Permanence, perseverance, and
persistence in spite of all obstacles,
discouragements, and impossibilities:
It is this, that in all things distinguishes
the strong soul from the weak.”
- Sir Francis Drake

“Stand firm therefore,
having girded your loins with truth…”
- Ephesians 6:14 NASB

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

January 13, 2010

“I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven.”
- Acts 26:19 NIV

“If we lose the vision, we alone are responsible,
and the way we lose the vision is by spiritual leakage.
If we do not run our belief about God into practical issues,
it is all up with the vision God has given.
The only way to be obedient to the heavenly vision
is to give our utmost for God's highest,
and this can only be done by
continually and resolutely recalling the vision.
The test is the sixty seconds of every minute,
and the sixty minutes of every hour,
not our times of prayer and devotional meetings.”
- Oswald Chambers
(My Utmost for His Highest)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

January 12, 2010

be led forth in peace
photo by Lee Keefer

You are in a place somewhat sheltered,
with, what appears to be,
a firm support beneath you.
Stopping here for awhile,
You look ahead.
Hazardous conditions may be in your future
and who knows what lies ahead around
the next curve?

Staying put will never get you
to where you want to go
and your current protection
and support may soon
be a thing of the past.

Trusting in God and letting Him be your guide,
dangerous and painful as it may be,
will provide you with beauty,
blessings, and rewards
that you would have never anticipated
when acting under your own strength
and wisdom.

Follow Him to a place of
eternal joy and peace.

“You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.”
- Isaiah 55:12 NIV

Monday, January 11, 2010

January 11, 2010

let no sin rule over me

I love coffee and
I have three favorite mugs.

I would have more favorite mugs
but my wife tells me
”we don’t need any more mugs”.
She tells me that but
what she really means is
that I don’t need any more mugs.

I usually have two to three mugs
of coffee each day…
sometimes a mug or two more.
Coffee doesn’t keep me awake…
the caffeine no longer
seems to have any effect
as I can fall asleep within five minutes
after a full mug.

Sin works that way too.
If we keep pursuing
a given sin we become
so used to that sin
that we no longer notice
any effect as our heart
becomes increasingly hardened.
Before long we become in bondage
to our sin.

“The evil deeds of a wicked man ensnare him;
the cords of his sin hold him fast.”
- Proverbs 5:22 NIV

Trust in the Lord and let Him
be your guide.

“Direct my footsteps according to your word;
let no sin rule over me.”
- Psalm 119:133 NIV

Sunday, January 10, 2010

January 10, 2010

the last rose
photo by Lee Keefer

"…each time we make a difference
in someone else's life,
no matter how small,
it will encourage them
to do the same for others.
And each time that happens,
we all become
a stronger force for good."
- Thomas E. Pierce
(from: The Last Rose)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

January 9, 2010

to obey Him

“Year passes after year silently;
Christ’s coming is ever nearer than it was.
O, my brethren, pray Him to give you
the heart to seek Him in sincerity.
Pray Him to make you in earnest.
You have one work only,
to bear your cross after Him.
Resolve in His strength to do so.
Resolve to be no longer beguiled
by ‘shadows of religion,’ by words,
or by disputings, or by notions,
or by high professions, or by excuses,
or by the world’s promises or threats.
Pray Him to give you what Scripture calls
‘an honest and good heart,’
or ‘a perfect heart,’
and, without waiting,
begin at once to obey Him
with the best heart you have.
Any obedience is better than none…
Any religion which does not
bring you nearer to God is of the world.
You have to seek His face;
obedience is the only way of seeking Him.
… and to do what He bids is to obey Him,
and to obey Him is to approach Him.
Every act of obedience is an approach,
- an approach to Him who is not far off,
though He seems so,
but close behind this visible screen of things
which hides Him from us.”
- Cardinal Newman

Friday, January 8, 2010

January 8, 2010

growth and power
photo by Erin Doyle

"Many Christians backslide...
They are unable to stand
against the temptations of the world,
or of their old nature.
They strive to do their best
to fight against sin, and to serve God,
but they have no strength.
They have never really grasped the secret:
The Lord Jesus will every day from heaven
continue His work in me.
But on one condition -
the soul must give Him time each day
to impart His love and his grace.
Time alone with the Lord Jesus each day
is the indispensable condition of growth and power."
- Andrew Murray

Thursday, January 7, 2010

January 7, 2010

like an arch
photo by Lee Keefer

“Back of every creation,
supporting it like an arch, is faith.
Enthusiasm is nothing: it comes and goes.
But if one believes, then miracles occur.”
- Henry Miller

“And those whose faith
has made them good in God's sight
must live by faith,
trusting Him in everything.”
- Hebrews 10:38 TLB

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

January 6, 2010

return of that simple faith

“Our Father, remove from us
the sophistication of our age
and the skepticism that has come,
like frost, to blight our faith
and to make it weak.
We pray for a return of that simple faith,
that old fashioned trust in God,
that made strong and great
the homes of our ancestors
who built this good land
and who in building left us our heritage.
In the strong name of Jesus, our Lord,
we make this prayer, Amen.”
- Peter Marshall

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

January 5, 2010

the rest we take
photo by Erin Doyle

”Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day
is the rest we take between two deep breaths,
or the turning inwards in prayer for five short minutes.”
- Etty Hillesum

Monday, January 4, 2010

January 4, 2010

We get one story.
photo by Erin Doyle

“So soon you will be in that part of the book
where you are holding the bulk of the pages in your left hand,
and only a thin wisp of the story in your right.
You will know by the page count,
not by the narrative,
that the Author is wrapping things up.
You begin to mourn its ending,
and want to pace yourself slowly toward its closure,
knowing the last lines will speak of something beautiful,
of the end of something long and earned,
and you hope the thing closes out like last breaths,
like whispers about how much
and who the characters have come to love,
and how authentic the sentiments feel
when they have earned a hundred pages of qualification.

And so my prayer is that your story
will have involved some leaving and some coming home,
some summer and some winter,
some roses blooming out like children in a play.
My hope is your story will be about changing,
about getting something beautiful born inside of you,
about learning to love a woman or a man,
about learning to love a child,
about moving yourself around water,
around mountains, around friends,
about learning to love others more than we love ourselves,
about learning oneness as a way of understanding God.
We get one story, you and I, and one story alone.
God has established the elements,
the setting and the climax and the resolution.
It would be a crime not to venture out, wouldn't it?"
- Donald Miller
(Through Painted Deserts:
Light, God, and Beauty on the Open Road
)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

January 3, 2010

Christmas Cantata

“It is good to praise the LORD
and make music to your name, O Most High.”
- Psalm 92:1 NIV

“Through Jesus, therefore, let us
continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise -
the fruit of lips that confess his name.”
- Hebrews 13:15 NIV

Saturday, January 2, 2010

January 2, 2010

His Will be done
photo by Ronnie Benner

“I have seen something else under the sun:
The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong,
nor does food come to the wise
or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned;
but time and chance happen to them all.”
- Ecclesiastes 9:11 NIV

“’Not by might nor by power,
but by my Spirit,' says the LORD Almighty.”
- Zechariah 4:6 NIV

“Fellow Christians,
the will of God concerning us
is not only the wisest
and best thing in the world;
it is also the tenderest and the sweetest.
God’s will for us
is not only more loving than a father’s;
it is more tender than a mother’s.
It is true that God does oftentimes
revolutionize utterly our life plans
when we surrender ourselves to His will.
It is true that He does sometimes
require of us things that to others seem hard.
But when the will is once surrendered,
the revolutionized life plans
become just the plans
that are the easiest and most delightful.
Do not let Satan deceive you
into being afraid of God’s plans for your life.”
- R. A. Torrey

Friday, January 1, 2010

January 1, 2010

Keep the flame of faith burning.

“Glory to God in highest heaven,
Who unto man His Son hath given;
While angels sing with tender mirth,
A glad new year to all the earth.”
- Martin Luther