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

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

August 31, 2010 (persevering faith)

persevering faith

“Another guarantee of our inheritance
is our persevering faith.
Peter said we are protected
by God’s power through faith (1 Pet. 1:5).
Faith is God’s gift to us;
we don’t generate it
on our own (Eph. 2:8-9; Phil. 1:29).
Faith is aroused by grace,
upheld by grace, and energized by grace.
Grace reaches into the soul of the believer,
generating and maintaining faith.
By God’s grace alone we trust Christ,
and by grace we continue to believe.”
- John MacArthur

Monday, August 30, 2010

August 30, 2010 (soul quencher)

“Jesus answered,
‘Everyone who drinks this water
will be thirsty again,
but whoever drinks the water
I give him will never thirst.
Indeed, the water I give him
will become in him a spring of water
welling up to eternal life.’”
- John 4:13,14 NIV

Sunday, August 29, 2010

August 29, 2010 (things to save)

things to save

“I counted dollars, while God counted crosses;
I counted gains, while God counted losses.
I counted my worth, my things gained in store;
And He sized me up by the scars that I bore.
I counted honors and sought degrees,
He counted the hours I spent on my knees.
I never knew until one day by the grave
How vain are the things that we spend life to save.”
- Author Unknown

Saturday, August 28, 2010

August 28, 2010 (large expectations)

large expectations
photo by Ron Warner

“God is wonderful in His design
and excellent in His working.
Believer, God overrules all things for your good.
The needs-be for all that you have suffered,
has been most accurately determined by God.
Your course is all mapped out by your Lord.
Nothing will take Him by surprise.
There will be no novelties to Him.
There will be no occurrences
which He did not foresee,
and for which, therefore,
He has not provided.
He has arranged all,
and you have but to patiently wait,
and you shall sing a song of deliverance.
Your life has been arranged
on the best possible principles,
so that if you had been gifted
with unerring wisdom,
you would have arranged a life for yourselves
exactly similar to the one
through which you have passed.
Let us trust God where we cannot trace Him.”

“God has great things in store for His people;
they ought to have large expectations.”
- C.H. Spurgeon

Friday, August 27, 2010

August 27, 2010 (not the thing itself)

not the thing itself

“God has, as it were,
placed Himself on display
in the art gallery of the universe.
He beckons His people, you and me,
to stand in awe
as we behold the symmetry of His attributes,
the harmony of His deeds,
the glory of His goodness,
the overwhelming and unfathomable grandeur
of His greatness; in a word, His beauty.
God is infinitely splendid
and invites us to come and bask
in His beauty that we
might enjoy Him to the fullest.”
- Sam Storms

“The books or the music
in which we thought the beauty was located
will betray us if we trust to them;
it was not in them, it only came through them,
and what came through them was longing.
These things – the beauty,
the memory of our own past –
are good images of what we really desire;
but if they are mistaken for the thing itself,
they turn into dumb idols,
breaking the hearts of their worshippers.
For they are not the thing itself;
they are only the scent of a flower we have not found,
the echo of a tune we have not heard,
news from a country we have never yet visited.”
- C. S. Lewis

Thursday, August 26, 2010

August 26, 2010 (when reason consents)

“St. Augustine teaches us that there
is in each man a Serpent,
an Eve, and an Adam.
Our senses and natural propensities are the Serpent;
the excitable desire is the Eve;
and reason is the Adam.
Our nature tempts us perpetually;
criminal desire is often excited;
but sin is not completed till reason consents.”
- Blaise Pascal

“No matter where it ends,
sin always begins
when an evil thought
is sown in the mind and heart.”
- John MacArthur

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

August 25, 2010 (delivered from a worldly spirit)

delivered from a worldy spirit

“The ways, and fashions, and amusements,
and recreations of the world
have a continually decreasing place
in the heart of a growing Christian.
He does not condemn them as downright sinful,
nor say that those who have
anything to do with them are going to hell.
He only feels they have a constantly diminishing hold
on his own affections and gradually seem
smaller and more trifling in his eyes.”
- J.C. Ryle

“To be in the world, and yet not of the world;
to use it for our temporal necessities,
and yet not to abuse it for carnal purposes,
is a high Christian attainment.
May we be graciously delivered from a worldly spirit,
which can assume a thousand forms
to allure and to deceive.”
- Thomas Reade

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

August 24, 2010 (sweetest things in life)

sweetest things in life
photo by Lee Keefer

“The ability to simplify
means to eliminate the unnecessary
so that the necessary may speak.”
- Hans Hofmann

“The best things in life are nearest:
Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes,
flowers at your feet, duties at your hand,
the path of right just before you.
Then do not grasp at the stars,
but do life's plain, common work as it comes,
certain that daily duties and daily bread
are the sweetest things in life.
- Robert Louis Stevenson

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
- Jesus (Matthew 6:21 NIV)

Monday, August 23, 2010

August 23, 2010 (Jonny Appleseed)

Johnny Appleseed
(John Chapman)
cross-stitch by Faye

“One very extraordinary missionary continued to exert,
for the spread of divine truth,
his modest and humble efforts,
which would put the most zealous member to blush.
We now allude to Mr. John Chapman,
from whom we are in habit of hearing frequently.
His temporal employment consists
in preceding the settlements,
and sowing nurseries of fruit trees,
which he avows to be pursued for the chief purpose
of giving him an opportunity of spreading
the doctrines throughout the western country.”
- Swedenborgian Church

“Remember this:
Whoever sows sparingly
will also reap sparingly,
and whoever sows generously
will also reap generously.
Each man should give what he
has decided in his heart to give,
not reluctantly or under compulsion,
for God loves a cheerful giver.
And God is able to make
all grace abound to you,
so that in all things at all times,
having all that you need,
you will abound in every good work.
As it is written:
‘He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever.’
Now he who supplies seed to the sower
and bread for food will also supply
and increase your store of seed
and will enlarge the harvest
of your righteousness.
You will be made rich in every way
so that you can be generous on every occasion,
and through us your generosity
will result in thanksgiving to God.
This service that you perform
is not only supplying the needs
of God’s people but is also overflowing
in many expressions of thanks to God.
Because of the service by which
you have proved yourselves,
men will praise God for the obedience
that accompanies your confession
of the gospel of Christ,
and for your generosity in sharing with them
and with everyone else.
And in their prayers for you
their hearts will go out to you,
because of the surpassing grace
God has given you.
Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!”
- 2 Corinthians 9:6-15 NIV

Sunday, August 22, 2010

August 22, 2010 (down from heaven)

down from heaven

“Love and faithfulness meet together;
righteousness and peace kiss each other.
Faithfulness springs forth from the earth,
and righteousness looks down from heaven.
The Lord will indeed give what is good,
and our land will yield its harvest.
Righteousness goes before him
and prepares the way for his steps.”
- Psalm 85:10-13 NIV

Saturday, August 21, 2010

August 21, 2010 (anchored assurance)

“Hope in God's promises, therefore,
is not a wishful longing
but a faith-filled confidence for the future.
It is simply impossible to trust one of God's promises
and not anticipate its coming true.
To know God is to trust Him.
And to trust God is to trust His promises.
And to trust God's promises
is to be sure of their fulfillment.
This assurance concerning the future,
anchored in God's promises,
is what the Bible calls ‘hope.’”
- Scott Hafemann

Friday, August 20, 2010

August 20, 2010 (God's decision)

God’s decision depends on your choices.

Stubborn, stiff necked, impossible to deal with…
how does God know you?

Or will He say that you
are a man/woman after His own heart.

Do you walk with Him?

Will He say…
”Welcome, good and faithful servant.”

Or will He say…
“Depart from me for I know you not.”

Thursday, August 19, 2010

August 19, 2010 (fruit of the vine)

fruit of the vine

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love,
joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”
- Galatians 5:22,23 NIV

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Auhust 18, 2010 (How is it shared?)

how is it shared?

“Remember to be gentle with yourself and others.
We are all children of chance
and none can say why some fields will blossom
while others lay brown beneath the August sun.
Care for those around you.
Look past your differences.
Their dreams are no less than yours,
their choices no more easily made.
And give, give in any way you can,
of whatever you possess.
To give is to love. To withhold is to wither.
Care less for your harvest
than for how it is shared
and your life will have meaning
and your heart will have peace.”
- Kent Nerburn
(American Author, Sculptor,
Theologian and Educator.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

August 17, 2010 (love, seek, see...)

love, seek, see, listen,
understand, obey, trust

Love the Lord with all your strength,
all your heart, all your mind, all your soul.

Seek Him everywhere and in everything.

See, don’t just look.
Listen, don’t just hear.

Pray for wisdom and understanding.

Once you understand, then obey.

Finally… trust in the Lord your God.

"The Christian is not one who has
gone all the way with Christ.
None of us has.
The Christian is one
who has found the right road."
- Charles L. Allen

Monday, August 16, 2010

August 16, 2010 (See the bunny?)

See the bunny?

This bunny made a hollowed out nest for itself
under my “October Skies” blue aster…
probably the same bunny that had been eating
all the new growth from several other of my
surrounding native plants.

The surprise is that, lately, it hasn’t touched
any of the plants on which he had been feeding.

I guess it was ok to “chomp down”
the plants when it wasn’t near where it lived.
Kind of reminds me of those
who can ravage the landscape for profit
as long as “they” don’t have to live near it.

Perhaps it was performing a service
by pruning the new vegetative growth until
the root system of the new plants
became stronger and more established.

Whether good intent or not,
it was raining when this photo was taken
and I just didn’t have the heart
to scare it away.

“Some people, in order to discover God, read books.
But there is a great book:
the very appearance of created things.
Look above you! Look below you! Read it.
God, whom you want to discover,
never wrote that book with ink.
Instead He set before your eyes
the things that He had made.
Can you ask for a louder voice than that?”
- St. Augustine

Sunday, August 15, 2010

August 15, 2010 (infinite joy)

infinite joy
photo by Lee Keefer

“If there lurks in most modern minds
the notion that to desire our own good
and earnestly hope for the enjoyment of it
is a bad thing,
I submit that this notion has crept in
from Kant and the Stoics
and is no part of the Christian faith.
Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises
of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards
promised in the Gospels,
it would seem that Our Lord
finds our desires not too strong,
but too weak.
We are half-hearted creatures,
fooling around with drink and sex and ambition
when infinite joy is offered us,
like an ignorant child who wants
to go on making mud pies in the slum
because he cannot imagine what is meant
by the offer of a holiday at the sea.
We are far too easily pleased.”
- C. S. Lewis

“Jesus knew that all mankind
were in the pursuit of happiness.
He has directed them in the true way to it,
and He tells them what they must become
in order to be blessed and happy.”
- Jonathan Edwards

Saturday, August 14, 2010

August 14, 2010 (seeing the light)

seeing the light
photo by Ronnie Benner

What is the truth?

I know it… I say it…
but do I feel it and live it?

“If you hold to my teaching,
you are really my disciples.
Then you will know the truth,
and the truth will set you free.”
- John 8:31,32 NIV

Friday, August 13, 2010

August 13, 2010 (Where are you Lord?)

Where are you Lord?
photo by Ronnie Benner

Better ask yourself…

“Heavenly Father, I know that
I have sinned against you
and that my sins
separate me from you.
I am truly sorry.
I now want to turn away
from my past sinful life
and turn to you for forgiveness.
Please forgive me,
and help me avoid sinning again.
I believe that your son, Jesus Christ,
died for my sins,
was resurrected from the dead,
is alive, and hears my prayer.
I invite Jesus to become the Lord of my life,
to rule and reign in my heart
from this day forward.
Please send your Holy Spirit
to help me obey You,
and to do Your will
for the rest of my life.
In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.”

Thursday, August 12, 2010

August 12, 2010 (to the ends of the earth)

photo by Ronnie Benner

"You can give without loving.
But you cannot love without giving."
- Amy Carmichael
(missionary to India)

"If missions languish, it is because
the whole life of godliness is feeble.
The command to go everywhere
and preach to everybody
is not obeyed until the will
is lost by self-surrender in the will of God.
Living, praying, giving and going
will always be found together."
- Arthur T. Pierson

"'Go ye' is as much a part
of Christ's Gospel as 'Come unto Me.'
You are not even a Christian
until you have honestly
faced your responsibility
in regard to the carrying of the Gospel
to the ends of the earth."
- J. Stuart Holden

"If you found a cure for cancer,
wouldn't it be inconceivable to hide it
from the rest of mankind?
How much more inconceivable
to keep silent the cure
from the eternal wages of death."
- Dave Davidson

"The gospel is only good news
if it gets there in time"
- Carl F. H. Henry

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

August 11, 2010 (passionate splendor)

“I love you, O God, my love,
my Warmth, my Solace, my Fulfillment.
All that I am, all that I do finds
meaning and purpose in you.
Fill me with the full force of your Love
and its passionate splendor,
so that I might hold and heal
all those who are crying out for love.
Love through me all the unreconciled
whose homes and hearts are broken,
and let them know I am able to love
because you have first loved me.”
- Miriam Therese Winter

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

August 10, 2010 (as young as your faith)

as young as your faith

“As a white candle In a holy place,
So is the beauty Of an aged face.”
- Joseph Campbell

“You never grow old -
you become old
by not continuing to grow”
- Author Unknown

“You are as young as your faith,
as old as your doubt;
as young as your self-confidence,
as old as your fear;
as young as your hope,
as old as your despair.”
- Author Unknown

Monday, August 9, 2010

August 9, 2010 (He never fails)

He never fails

“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.”
- Hugh Thomson Kerr

“And this is the confidence
(the assurance, the privilege of boldness)
which we have in Him:
[we are sure] that if we ask anything (make any request)
according to His will (in agreement with His own plan),
He listens to and hears us.
And if (since) we [positively] know
that He listens to us in whatever we ask,
we also know [with settled and absolute knowledge]
that we have [granted us as our present possessions]
the requests made of Him.”
- 1 John 5:14,15 AMP

Sunday, August 8, 2010

August 8, 2010 (glorious appearing)

glorious appearing

“For the grace of God
(His unmerited favor and blessing)
has come forward (appeared)
for the deliverance from sin
and the eternal salvation for all mankind.
It has trained us to reject and renounce
all ungodliness (irreligion)
and worldly (passionate) desires,
to live discreet (temperate, self-controlled),
upright, devout (spiritually whole) lives in this present world,
Awaiting and looking for the
[fulfillment, the realization of our] blessed hope,
even the glorious appearing
of our great God and Savior
Christ Jesus (the Messiah, the Anointed One),
Who gave Himself on our behalf
that He might redeem us
(purchase our freedom) from all iniquity
and purify for Himself a people
[to be peculiarly His own, people who are]
eager and enthusiastic about
[living a life that is good
and filled with] beneficial deeds.”
- Titus 2:11-14 AMP

Saturday, August 7, 2010

August 7, 2010 (wild and beautiful)

wild and beautiful
photo by Ron Warner

“I am often asked
if I am not lonely on my solitary excursions.
It seems so self-evident
that one cannot be lonesome
where everything is wild and beautiful
and busy and steeped with God
that the question is hard to answer.”
- John Muir

“There are only two ways to live your life.
One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
- Author Unknown

Friday, August 6, 2010

August 6, 2010 (doorway to life)

“You must not for one instant
give up the effort to build
new lives for yourselves.
Creativity means to push open
the heavy, groaning doorway to life.”
- Daisaku Ikeda

Thursday, August 5, 2010

August 5, 2010 (A bit of wisdom)

A bit of wisdom
photo by Ron Warner

“In this life
Be kinder than necessary,
for everyone you meet is
fighting some kind of battle.

Live simply,
Love generously,
Care deeply,
Speak kindly...

Leave the rest to God.
Life isn't about waiting
for the storm to pass.
It's about learning
to dance in the rain.
Choose this day to not
simply be alive but to LIVE."
- Author Unknown

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

August 4, 2010 (no shining splendor)

“For the Lord God helps Me;
therefore have I not been ashamed or confounded.
Therefore have I set My face like a flint,
and I know that I shall not be put to shame.
He is near Who declares Me in the right.
Who will contend with Me?
Let us stand forth together!
Who is My adversary?
Let him come near to Me.
Behold, the Lord God will help Me;
who is he who will condemn Me?
Behold, they all will wax old
and be worn out as a garment;
the moth will eat them up.
Who is among you who [reverently] fears the Lord,
who obeys the voice of His Servant,
yet who walks in darkness and deep trouble
and has no shining splendor [in his heart]?
Let him rely on, trust in,
and be confident in the name of the Lord,
and let him lean upon
and be supported by his God.”
- Isaiah 50:7-10 AMP

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

August 3, 2010 (wide open)

wide open

“We are each gifted in a unique and important way.
It is our privilege and our adventure
to discover our own special light.”
- Mary Dunbar

“Turn your face to the sun [Son]
and the shadows fall behind you.”
- Maori Proverb

“The windows of my soul I throw
Wide open to the sun [Son].”
- John Greenleaf Whittier

Monday, August 2, 2010

August 2, 2010 (calm assurance)

calm assurance
photo by Ron Warner

“True spiritual peace is completely different
from the superficial, ephemeral, fragile human peace.
It is the deep, settled confidence
that all is well between the soul and God
because of His loving, sovereign control
of one’s life both in time and eternity.
That calm assurance is based on the knowledge
that sins are forgiven, blessing is present,
good is abundant even in trouble, and heaven is ahead.
The peace that God gives His beloved children
as their possession and privilege
has nothing to do with the circumstances of life.”
- John MacArthur

Sunday, August 1, 2010

August 1, 2010 (usefullness above reputation)

usefulness above reputation

“Humility does not mean
thinking less of yourself than of other people,
nor does it mean
having a low opinion of your own gifts.
It means freedom
from thinking about yourself at all.”
- William Temple

“Lord, where we are wrong,
make us willing to change;
where we are right,
make us easy to live with.”
- Peter Marshall

“It is always the secure [in Christ] who are humble.”
- Gilbert Keith Chesterton