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, September 30, 2010

September 30, 2010 (too much too fast)

too much too fast

It is raining here (already have 3 inches
in the rain gauge) with more to come…
this after a period of little to no rain.

It has been keeping me busy
unclogging the storm drains
in front of our house.

This mini-pond started to form
out back next to the storage shed.

Just remember that God has everything under control.

“God didn't promise days without pain,
laughter without sorrow, sun without rain,
but He did promise strength for the day,
comfort for the tears, and light for the way.”
- Author Unknown

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

September 29, 2010 (Real Quiet)

Real Quiet

Real Quiet, the slightly built colt
who in 1998 won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness
and missed the Triple Crown by a nose,
has died at 15 yesterday... 9/28/2010.
This is a photo I took of him in 2005...
always my favorite race horse.

“Do you not know that
in a race all the runners run,
but only one gets the prize?
Run in such a way as to get the prize.
Everyone who competes in the games
goes into strict training.
They do it to get a crown
that will not last;
but we do it to get a crown
that will last forever.”
- 1 Corinthians 9:24,25 NIV

“Not that I have already obtained all this,
or have already been made perfect,
but I press on to take hold of that
for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
Brothers, I do not consider myself
yet to have taken hold of it.
But one thing I do:
Forgetting what is behind
and straining toward what is ahead,
I press on toward the goal
to win the prize for which
God has called me heavenward
in Christ Jesus.”
- Philippians 3:12-14 NIV

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

September 28, 2010 (network of fabrication)

“Satan is the prince of this world,
and since he not only is a liar himself
but also "the father of lies" (John 8:44),
it should not be surprising that
the system he heads is characterized by lying...
Our whole society is largely built
on a network of fabrication, of manufactured ‘truth.’
We shade truth, we cheat, we exaggerate,
we misrepresent income tax deductions,
we make promises we have no intention of keeping,
we make up excuses, and betray confidences –
all as a matter of normal, everyday living.”
- John MacArthur

“In their consciences men know
that truth is right and essential.
That is the one reason they go to such lengths
to make what they say appear to be truthful.
Our problem is in being truthful.”
- John MacArthur

Monday, September 27, 2010

September 27, 2010 (WOW! What a ride!)

original photo by Ronnie Benner

“Life is not a journey to the grave
with intentions of arriving safely
in a pretty well-preserved body,
but rather to skid in broadside,
thoroughly used up, totally worn out
and loudly proclaiming ...
WOW! What a ride!”
- Author Unknown

Sunday, September 26, 2010

September 26, 2010 (all things are possible)

photo by Ronnie Benner

“Keep your dreams alive.
Understand to achieve anything
requires faith and belief in yourself,
vision, hard work, determination, and dedication.
Remember all things are possible for those who believe.”
- Gail Devers

Saturday, September 25, 2010

September 25, 2010 (stand firm)

do not enter but stand firm

“For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood
[contending only with physical opponents],
but against the despotisms, against the powers,
against [the master spirits who are]
the world rulers of this present darkness,
against the spirit forces of wickedness
in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere.
Therefore put on God's complete armor,
that you may be able to resist
and stand your ground
on the evil day [of danger],
and, having done all [the crisis demands],
to stand [firmly in your place].”
- Ephesians 6:12,13 AMP

Friday, September 24, 2010

September 24, 2010 (legitimate enjoyment)

Just another native aster...
but one I grew in my little native garden.
The rabbits impeded the growth
of two of the three native species
of asters I tried to grow
but this one species...
the rabbits didn't bother with...
except one rabbit did build itself
a nice "nest-like" depression/hideout
under its canopy of vegetation.
There are literally hundreds
of blooms on this one plant.
I think I will plant more
of this species next year.
It is called "October Skies"... Aster oblongifolius.
The butterflies and particularly the bees love it.

"Let’s get rid of the inhuman philosophy
which only allows necessities.
Not only does it wrongly deprive us
of legitimate enjoyment of God’s generosity,
but it cannot be effected
without depriving man of all his senses,
reducing him to a block."
- John Calvin

Thursday, September 23, 2010

September 23, 2010 (in drought and in dry places)

“And if you pour out that
with which you sustain your own life
for the hungry and satisfy
the need of the afflicted,
then shall your light rise in darkness,
and your obscurity and gloom
become like the noonday.
And the Lord shall guide you continually
and satisfy you in drought
and in dry places
and make strong your bones.
And you shall be like a watered garden
and like a spring of water
whose waters fail not.”
- Isaiah 58:10,11 AMP

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

September 22, 2010 (blessings and joy)

“The weight of so many
responsibilities and distractions
- even the worthwhile ones -
has a crushing effect
on a person's relationship with Christ.
It ruins our taste for spiritual things.
It suppresses our exuberance for spiritual service.
It suffocates our passion
for pursuing Christ
and the intimate relationship He offers.
It all grinds away at our soul.
Eventually, following Jesus starts to lose its luster.
The blessings and joys of walking with Him
are crowded out by
myriad tiny details of life.”
- John MacArthur

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

September 21, 2010 (glory revealed)

“The design of the universe...
is very magnificent and shouldn’t be taken for granted.
In fact, I believe that is why Einstein
had so little use for organized religion...
He must have looked at what the preachers said about God
and felt that they were blaspheming.
He had seen much more majesty
then they had ever imagined,
and they were just not talking about the real thing.
My guess is that he simply felt
that religions he’d run across
did not have proper respect...
for the author of the universe.”
- Charles Misner

Monday, September 20, 2010

September 20, 2010 (and the flowers fall)

The grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of our God stands forever."
- Isaiah 40:8 NIV

Sunday, September 19, 2010

September 19, 2010 (virtue of the storm)

“[Faith] is the virtue of the storm,
just as happiness is the virtue of sunshine."
- Ruth Benedict

Saturday, September 18, 2010

September 18, 2010 (recognition of human sin)

recognition of human sin

“In all of the laments and reproaches
made by our seers and prophets,
one misses any mention of “sin,”
a word which used to be
a veritable watchword of prophets.
It was a word once in everybody’s mind,
but now rarely if ever heard.
Does that mean that no sin
is involved in all our troubles –
sin with an “I” in the middle?
Is no one any longer guilty of anything?
Guilty perhaps of a sin that could be
repented and repaired or atoned for?
Is it only that someone may be stupid
or sick or criminal – or asleep?
Wrong things are being done…
But is no one responsible,
no one answerable for these acts?
Anxiety and depression we all acknowledge;
and even vague guilt feelings;
but has no one committed any sin?”
- Karl Menninger

“Man, in his own wisdom,
has developed a vast number
of philosophies and theories
seeking to explain one’s
thoughts, words, and actions.
In doing so, man has pridefully
sought to deny his own sinfulness
and has confused any clear definition
of God’s standards of right and wrong.”
- Biblical Counseling Foundation

“The overwhelming recognition of human sin
controls the Old Testament
and the New Testament alike,
and no understanding of our Lord's words
and actions is possible
if we persist in denying it.”
- Sir Edwyn Hoskyns

Friday, September 17, 2010

September 17, 2010 (glory of His mercy)

glory of His mercy

“In our redemption by Christ
we have the fullest, clearest,
and most delightful manifestation
of the glory of God
that ever was or shall be in this life.
All the declarations and manifestations
that we have of His glory
in the works of creation and common providence,
are but dim and obscure
in comparison with what is here.
Indeed the glory of His wisdom,
power, and goodness,
is clearly manifested in the works of creation.
But the glory of His mercy and love
had lain under an eternal eclipse
without a Redeemer.”
- Thomas Boston

Thursday, September 16, 2010

September 16, 2010 (prayerfully meditate)

prayerfully meditate

“The challenge before us then
is not merely to do
what God says because He is God,
but to desire what God says
because He is good.
The challenge is not merely to pursue righteousness,
but to prefer righteousness.
The challenge is to get up in the morning
and prayerfully meditate on the Scriptures
until we experience joy and peace in believing
“the precious and very great promises” of God
(Rom. 15:13; 2 Peter 1:4).
With this joy set before us
the commandments of God
will not be burdensome (1 John 5:3)
and the compensation of sin
will appear too brief
and too shallow to lure us.”
- John Piper

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

September 15, 2010 (filled with the spirit)

filled with the Spirit

"Nothing in Scripture teaches
that the filling of the Spirit
is accompanied by
ecstatic experiences
or external signs.
To be sure,
being filled with the Spirit
does bring the believer
tremendous exhilaration and joy,
but the New Testament epistles
reveal that being filled
with the Spirit
brings forth the fruit
of the Spirit,
not the gifts of the Spirit."
- John MacArthur

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

September 14, 2010 (habitual acts)

-I'm your permanent companion.
-I can be your best assistant or your largest burden.
-I will drive you forward or force you down to failure.
-I'm entirely at your disposal.
-Half the things you do, you might just as well present to me.
-I will do them quickly and effortlessly.
-I'm easily managed.
-You must simply be firm with me.
-Show me how you want something done.
-After a few practice lessons I will do it automatically.
-I'm a servant to all great individuals and to all unsuccessful people as well.
-Those who become successful, I made successful.
-Those who become failures I made failures.
-I'm not a machine although I work with the precision of one.
-I work with the intelligence of a human.
-You can work me for profit or work me for ruin.
-It really makes no difference to me.
-By taking me, developing me and being firm with me.
-I will place the world at your doorstep.
-By taking me, training me and being loose with me.
-I will take you to the depths of destruction!
What am I? I am called...YOUR HABIT...!
- Author Unknown

"The strength of a man’s virtue
should not be measured
by his special exertions,
but by his habitual acts."
- Blaise Pascal

Monday, September 13, 2010

September 13, 2010 (such seems your beauty still)

It had rained all night and this morning (Sunday)
was still misting when I took this photo.

"To me, fair friend, you never can be old,
For as you were when first your eye I eyed,
Such seems your beauty still."
- William Shakespeare

“The very happiest persons I have ever met with
have been departing believers.
The only people for whom I have felt any envy
have been dying members of this very church,
whose hands I have grasped in their passing away.
Almost without exception I have seen in them
holy delight and triumph.
And in the exceptions to this exceeding joy
I have seen deep peace,
exhibited in a calm and deliberate readiness
to enter into the presence of their God.”
- C.H. Spurgeon

Sunday, September 12, 2010

September 12, 2010 (to enjoy is to glorify)

“The Scotch catechism says
that man's chief end
is 'to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.'
But we shall then know
that these are the same thing.
Fully to enjoy is to glorify.
In commanding us to glorify Him,
God is inviting us to enjoy Him.”
- C. S. Lewis

Saturday, September 11, 2010

September 11, 2010 (peace amid the storm)

“Serenity is not freedom from the storm,
but peace amid the storm”
- Author Unknown

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.
I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled
and do not be afraid.”
- John 14:27 NIV

Friday, September 10, 2010

September 10, 2010 (firmly and fearlessly)

firmly and fearlessly

"It is not difficult to get away into retirement;
and there live upon your own convictions;
nor is it difficult to mix with men
and follow their convictions;
but to enter into the world;
and there live firmly and fearlessly
according to your own conscience;
that is Christian greatness."
- Author Unknown

“Then, without realizing it,
you try to improve yourself
at the start of each new day;
of course, you achieve quite a lot
in the course of time.
Anyone can do this,
it costs nothing and is certainly very helpful.
Whoever doesn't know it must learn
and find by experience that
a quiet conscience makes one strong.
- Anne Frank

“The torture of a bad conscience
is the hell of a living soul.”
- John Calvin

Thursday, September 9, 2010

September 9, 2010 (secret of abiding gladness)

secret of abiding gladness

“In trial and weakness and trouble,
He seeks to bring us low,
until we learn that His grace is all,
and to take pleasure in the very thing
that brings us and keeps us low.
His strength is made perfect in our weakness.
His presence filling and satisfying our emptiness,
becomes the secret of humility that need never fail.
The humble man has learned
the secret of abiding gladness.
The weaker he feels, the lower he sinks,
and the greater his humiliations appear,
the more power and the presence
of Christ are his portion.”
- Andrew Murray

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

September 8, 2010 (evidence of new birth)

evidence of new birth

“I might preach to you forever.
I might borrow the eloquence of Demosthenes or of Cicero,
but you will not come unto Christ.
I might beg of you on my knees, with tears in my eyes,
and show you the horrors of hell and the joys of heaven,
the sufficiency of Christ, and your own lost condition,
but you would none of you come unto Christ of yourselves
unless the Spirit that rested on Christ should draw you.
It is true of all men in their natural condition
that they will not come unto Christ.”
- C. H. Spurgeon

“Faith is the evidence of new birth,
not the cause of it.”
- John Piper

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

September 7, 2010 (full of grace)

Full of Grace

“If all of the strength
And all of the courage
Come and lift me from this place
I know I could love you much better than this
Full of grace
Full of grace”
- Sarah McLachlan
from: “Full of Grace”

Monday, September 6, 2010

September 6, 2010 (keep us from rusting)

keep us from rusting

“It is only the constant exertion
and working of our sensitive,
intellectual, moral, and physical machinery
that keep us from rusting,
and so becoming useless.”
- Charles Simmons

“What the country needs
are a few labor-making inventions.”
- Arnold Glasow

“God give me work, till my life shall end
And life, till my work is done.”
- Epitaph of Winifred Holtby

Sunday, September 5, 2010

September 5, 2010 (be gentle, but be firm)

be gentle, but be firm

“You cannot control your children, you say.
Then the Lord have mercy on you!
It is your business to do it, and you must do it,
or else you will soon find they will control you.
No one knows what judgment will come from God
upon those who allow sin in children to go unrebuked.”
- C.H. Spurgeon

Saturday, September 4, 2010

September 4, 2010 (not by your feelings)

not by your feelings

“You are certainly not to order your life
according to your feelings.
A conscience fixed on feelings becomes unreliable.
If you are subject to depression and melancholy,
you of all people should not allow
your conscience to be informed by your feelings.
Despondent feelings will provoke
unnecessary doubts and fears in the soul
when not kept in check by a well-advised conscience.
The conscience must be persuaded by God’s Word,
not by your feelings.”
- John MacArthur

Friday, September 3, 2010

September 3, 2010 (resigns some pleasures)

resigns some pleasures

“[This desire for happiness is] insuperable,…
never can be changed…never can be overcome,
or in any way abated.
Young and old love happiness alike,
and good and bad, wise and unwise.
- Jonathan Edwards

“They certainly are the wisest men
that do those things
that make the most for their happiness,
and this in effect is acknowledged
by all men in the world,
for there is no man upon the earth
who isn’t earnestly seeking after happiness,
and it appears abundantly by the variety
of ways they so vigorously seek it.”
- Jonathan Edwards

“Let it not be imagined
that the life of a good Christian
must be a life of melancholy and gloominess;
for he only resigns some pleasures
to enjoy others infinitely better.”
- Blaise Pascal

Thursday, September 2, 2010

September 2, 2010 (comes to the rescue)

comes to our rescue

“Intellect takes us along
in the battle of life to a certain limit,
but at the crucial moment it fails us.
Faith transcends reason.
It is when the horizon is the darkest
and human reason is
beaten down to the ground
that faith shines brightest
and comes to our rescue.”
- Mohandas Gandhi

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

September 1, 2010 (danger of morality)

danger of morality

“Jesus had little trouble reaching the harlots,
the thieves, robbers, criminals,
outcasts, and sinners of society,
including the tax collectors and the extortionists,
but He had an almost impossible time
reaching the religious, self-righteous,
moral people who were under the illusion
and self-deception that because of their goodness,
everything was OK between them and God.
They recognized no sin, so they needed no Savior.
That is always the danger of morality.
Morality creates an illusion of safety
when in fact the person who is moral
may be in the greatest danger of all.”
- John MacArthur

“Immoral people didn’t blaspheme
and cry for Christ’s death.
Immoral people didn’t plot His execution.
The harlots, thieves, and murderers didn’t do it;
the religious people did it.
That's the curse of morality –
moral, religious, self-righteous people,
confident they are holy in themselves,
are utterly deceived into believing
that Satan has nothing to do with them,
and they have no vigilance or protection,
and they can be swarmed
by demonic hosts [see Matthew 12:45].”
- John MacArthur

“Morality is a neat cover for foul venom,
but it does not alter the fact
that the heart is vile,
and the man himself is under damnation.
Men will be damned with good works
as well as without them,
if they make them their confidence
(rather than Jesus Christ).”
- C. H. Spurgeon