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

Monday, January 31, 2011

January 31, 2011 (the rest to God)

the rest to God
photo by Judy Hancock

"I believe in the miracles and gifts of possibility."

“Live simply. Love generously.
Care deeply. Speak kindly...
Leave the rest to God.”
- Ronald Reagan

Sunday, January 30, 2011

January 30, 2011 (as far as I seek)

as far as I seek

These three wise birds
traveled afar seeking sustenance.
I managed to catch them all
in basically the same pose.
I guess this could be another
in my series of "trinity" photos...
a trinity of turkeys... :)

“Only as high as I reach can I grow,
only as far as I seek can I go,
only as deep as I look can I see,
only as much as I dream can I be.”
- Karen Ravn

Saturday, January 29, 2011

January 29, 2011 (feeling guilty)

feeling guilty

“O tiger's heart wrapped in a woman's hide!”
- William Shakespeare

“There is no den in the wide world to hide a rogue. . .
Commit a crime, and the earth is made of glass.”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Get forgiveness now -
tomorrow you may no longer feel guilty”
- Author Unknown

Friday, January 28, 2011

January 28, 2011 (frozen with snow)

“Who said the darkness of the night
would never turn to day?
who said the winter's bleakness
would never pass away?
why should we ever entertain
these thoughts so dark and grim
And let the brightness of our minds
grown cynical and dim,
When we know beyond all questioning
that winter turns to spring
And on the notes of sorrow
new songs are made to sing.
No one sheds a teardrop
or suffers loss in vain,
For God is always there to turn
our losses into gain.....
And every burden borne today
and every present sorrow
Are but God's happy harbingers
of a joyous, bright tomorrow.”
- Helen Steiner Rice

"Hold fast to dreams,
For if dreams go,
Life is a barren field,
Frozen with snow”
- Langston Hughes

Thursday, January 27, 2011

January 27, 2011 (ice of cyncism)

“People grow old only by deserting their ideals…
Years may wrinkle the skin,
but to give up interest wrinkles the soul.
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.
In the central place of every heart
there is a recording chamber.
So long as it receives messages
of beauty, hope, cheer and courage,
so long are you young.
When your heart is covered
with the snows of pessimism
and the ice of cynicism,
then, and then only, are you grown old.”
- Douglas MacArthur

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

January 26, 2011 (faithful obedience)

faithful obedience

“Our need is not to prove God’s faithfulness
but to demonstrate our own,
by trusting Him both to determine
and to supply our needs according to His will.”
- John MacArthur

“The world defines success
in terms of what a person possesses,
controls, or accomplishes.
God defines success
in terms of faithful obedience to His will.”
- Ken Sande

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

January 25, 2011 (sanctification)


“I find I must borrow yet
another parable from George MacDonald.
Imagine yourself as a living house.
God comes in to rebuild that house.
At first, perhaps, you can
understand what He is doing.
He is getting the drains right
and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on:
you knew that those jobs
needed doing and so you are not surprised.
But presently he starts knocking the house about
in a way that hurts abominably
and does not seem to make sense.
What on earth is He up to?
The explanation is that He is building
quite a different house from the one you thought of –
throwing out a new wing here,
putting on an extra floor there,
running up towers, making courtyards.
You thought you were going
to be made into a decent little cottage:
but He is building a palace.
He intends to come and live in it Himself.”
- C. S. Lewis
(Mere Christianity)

Monday, January 24, 2011

January 24, 2011 (unlock the door)

unlock the door

“We should not shrink from opportunities
where our faith may be tried.
The more I am in a position to be tried in faith,
the more I will have the opportunity
of seeing God’s help and deliverance.
Every fresh instance in which He helps
and delivers me will increase my faith.
The believer should not shrink from situations,
positions, or circumstances
in which his faith may be tried,
but he should cheerfully embrace them
as opportunities to see the hand of God
stretched out in help and deliverance.
Thus his faith will be strengthened.”
- George Muller

“Prayer is the key to Heaven,
but faith unlocks the door.”
- Author Unknown

Sunday, January 23, 2011

January 23, 2011 (sanctity of human life)

(Sanctity Of Human Life Sunday)

“Conception, then is the act of God
whereby a person is created by God's sovereign will.
A soul is breathed into the living tissue by the Holy Spirit.
That soul's destiny is already known to God
and determined by Him
from before the foundation of the world.
Abortion then becomes a violent anti-God act.
It is not only a murder of the individual,
it is an affront to the Creator…
I believe abortion is the last official stand
of the defiant apostate against God.
It says, ‘God, you will not
determine who lives or dies – I will!’”
- John MacArthur

“Christ died that we might live.
This is the opposite of abortion.
Abortion kills that someone might live differently.”
- John Piper

“No human being…
is ever conceived outside God's will
or ever conceived apart from God's image.
Life is a gift from God
created in His own image.”
- John MacArthur

Saturday, January 22, 2011

January 22, 2011 (except through faith)

except through faith

"We fall from womb to tomb,
from one blackness and toward another,
remembering little of the one
and knowing nothing of the other ...
except through faith."
- Stephen King
(Danse Macabre)

“Faith is the strength
by which a shattered world
shall emerge into the light.”
- Helen Keller

“Now faith is being sure
of what we hope for
and certain of what we do not see.”
- Hebrews 11:1 NIV

Friday, January 21, 2011

January 21, 2011 (secure comfort)

secure comfort
photo by Erin Doyle

“Cats are connoisseurs of comfort”
- James Herriot

“For me, one of the pleasures
of cats' company
is their devotion to bodily comfort”
- Compton MacKenzie

“Life is made up,
not of great sacrifices or duties,
but of little things, in which smiles,
and kindnesses, and small obligations,
given habitually, are what win
and preserve the heart and secure comfort”
- Humphrey Davy

Thursday, January 20, 2011

January 20, 2011 (simple things in nature)

simple things in nature

“If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy,
if a blade of grass springing up in the fields
has power to move you,
if the simple things in nature
have a message you understand,
Rejoice, for your soul is alive.”
- Eleanora Duse

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

January 19, 2011 (will flow again)

will flow again

“You expected to be sad in the fall.
Part of you dies each year
when the leaves fell from the trees
and their branches were bare
against the wind and the cold, wintry light.
But you knew there would always be the spring,
as you knew the river
would flow again after it was frozen.”
- Ernest Hemmingway

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

January 18, 2011 (praising Him)

praising Him

“We praise what we enjoy
because the delight is incomplete
until it is expressed in praise.
If we were not allowed
to speak of what we value,
and celebrate what we love,
and praise what we admire,
our joy would not be full.
So if God loves us enough
to make our joy full,
He must not only give us Himself;
He must also win from us
the praise of our hearts –
not because He needs
to store up some weakness in Himself
or compensate for some deficiency,
but because He loves us
and seeks the fullness of our joy
that can be found only
in knowing and praising Him,
the most magnificent of all Beings.”
- John Piper

Monday, January 17, 2011

January 17, 2011 ("Do not be anxious for tomorrow.")

“Do not be anxious for tomorrow.”

“Future worry is overwhelming.
There’s a reason.
We don't have grace today for tomorrow.
One of Satan's simplest tricks
and most effective devices
is to draw our attention to things
we can do nothing about.
There’s nothing worse
than a crisis that can’t be fixed.
If our hours are spent
with thoughts of tomorrow’s problems,
which are not accessible today
and which we know we cannot touch
with today’s resources,
we are doomed to worry.
And worry wears us out…
[Yet] our calling is today.
It’s not that we don’t think of tomorrow,
but it must consistently
be filed under ‘future grace.’
The tide of confidence in God's sufficiency
must wash out worry.
In fact, it’s a command.
‘Do not be anxious for tomorrow.’
To go there is to disobey
a directive from the One
who holds every moment in His hand.”
- Bill Elliff

Sunday, January 16, 2011

January 16, 2011 (It is the only response.)

It is the only response.
photo by Ronnie Benner

“No man knows how bad he is
till he has tried very hard to be good.
A silly idea is current that good people
do not know what temptation means.
This is an obvious lie.
Only those who try to resist temptation
know how strong it is.
A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes
simply does not know
what it would have been like an hour later.
That is why bad people, in one sense,
know very little about badness.
They have lived a sheltered life by always giving in.
We never find out the strength
of the evil impulse inside us
until we try to fight it.”
- C.S. Lewis

“No conflict is so severe as his
who labors to subdue himself.”
- Thomas a Kempis

“To gain self-control, give God control.”
- Author Unknown

“[This] is the kind of totally committed response
the Lord Jesus called for.
A desire for Him at any cost. Absolute surrender.
A full exchange of self for the Savior.
It is the only response
that will open the gates of the kingdom.
Seen through the eyes of this world,
it is as high a price as anyone can pay.
But from a kingdom perspective,
it is really no sacrifice at all.”
- John MacArthur

Saturday, January 15, 2011

January 15, 2011 (frozen in defeat)

frozen in defeat
photo by Ronnie Benner

“It might be well if we stopped using the terms
‘victory’ and ‘defeat’
to describe our progress in holiness.
Rather we should use the terms
‘obedience’ and ‘disobedience.’
When I say I am defeated by some sin,
I am unconsciously slipping
out from under my responsibility.
I am saying something outside of me has defeated me.
But when I say I am disobedient,
that places the responsibility for my sin squarely on me.
We may, in fact, be defeated,
but the reason we are defeated
is because we have chosen to disobey.”
- Jerry Bridges

“We do not sin simply because of Satan
or because of social deprivation,
stressful situations, bad influences,
or any other external cause.
Those things may tempt us to sin
and make sinning easier,
but when we commit sin –
or even intend to commit sin –
it is because we decide to sin.
Sin is an act of the will.”
- John MacArthur

Friday, January 14, 2011

January 14, 2011 (in the bleak midwinter)

“In the bleak midwinter, frost wind made moan,
earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
in the bleak midwinter, long ago.”
- Christina G. Rossetti

“Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide;
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me.”
- Henry F. Lyte

Thursday, January 13, 2011

January 13, 2011 (loving actions)

loving actions

“Love is very much a matter
of actions rather than emotions.
However, although this emphasis
on acts of love is certainly necessary,
we can sometimes give the impression
that love doesn’t involve any emotion –
that it is entirely an act of the will,
of one’s duty, regardless of how one feels.
We can even promote the
‘I can love him but I can’t like him’ type of attitude.
The Bible does not support
such an unbalanced concept of love…
fervently, fondly, and affectionately
(are used in the Bible)
to describe the love Christians
ought to have for one another…
Obviously such a fervency of spirit
cannot substitute for loving actions,
but surely it should accompany them.
We dare not settle for less.”
- Jerry Bridges

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

January 12, 2011 (all we need)

all we need

“As Christians,
we find complete sufficiency in Christ
and His provisions for our needs.
There’s no such thing
as an incomplete or deficient Christian.
Our Savior’s divine power
has granted to us everything
pertaining to life and godliness.
Human wisdom offers nothing to augment that.
Every Christian receives all he and she needs
at the moment of salvation.
Each one must grow and mature,
but no necessary resource is missing.
There’s no need to search for something more.”
- John MacArthur

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

January 11, 2011 (On 1/11/11, who is number ONE?)

On 1/11/11
Who is number ONE in your home?

“The lifelessness experienced
in so many churches in our day
can be traced directly to the
multitudes of families in those churches
which contain Sunday-morning Christians only.
It is plain to see the cause
for such deadness when such individuals
are not consistently worshiping God in private.
Statistics reveal that only ‘11’ percent
of all professing Christians in America
read their Bible or some portion of it once a day.
If so few professing Christians
are spending time alone with God,
it should not be surprising
that family worship as a practice
among professing Christian families
is practically nonexistent.”
- Jerry Marcellino

Monday, January 10, 2011

January 10, 2011 (in the imagination)

in the imagination

Someone the other day on facebook
expressed their displeasure of winter
and wanted to know,
“Where are the daffodils?”

“Daffy-down-dilly came up in the cold,
Through the brown mould
Although the March breeze blew keen on her face,
Although the white snow lay in many a place.”
- Anna B. Warner

“The color of springtime is in the flowers,
the color of winter is in the imagination.”
- Terri Guillemets

Sunday, January 9, 2011

January 9, 2011 (second coming)

second coming

“More than a fourth of the Bible is predictive prophecy.
Approximately one-third of it has yet to be fulfilled.
Both the Old and New Testaments
are full of promises about the return of Jesus Christ.
Over 1,800 references appear in the Old Testament,
and seventeen Old Testament books give prominence to this theme.
Of the 260 chapters in the New Testament,
there are more than 300 references to the Lord’s return –
one out of every thirty verses.
Twenty-three of the twenty-seven New Testament books
refer to this great event.
Three of the four other books are single-chapter letters
written to individuals concerning a particular subject,
and the fourth is Galatians,
which does imply Christ’s coming again.
For every prophecy on the first coming of Christ,
there are eight on Christ’s second coming.”
- George Sweeting

Saturday, January 8, 2011

January 8, 2011 (greatness of God)

greatness of God

“If you don't see the greatness of God
then all the things that money can buy become very exciting.
If you can't see the sun
you will be impressed with a street light.
If you've never felt thunder and lightning
you'll be impressed with fire works.
And if you turn your back on the greatness and majesty of God
you'll fall in love with a world of shadows and short-lived pleasures.”
- John Piper

Friday, January 7, 2011

January 7, 2011 (gospel lens)

gospel lens
photo by Patrick Frey

“God does not want to remove your memories;
he wants to redeem them.
He wants to transform them into something good,
something that will make you more like Jesus.
Do you see the hope this offers Christians?
Your bad memories of your past sins -
even the worst ones -
can be opportunities for life-changing growth.
You do not need to avoid, run from,
cover over, or get rid of your past.
You can reinterpret it God's way.
God's goal is neither memory erasure
nor memory denial,
but memory redemption.”
- Robert D. Jones

“When (we) view our past
through a Christ-centered, gospel lens,
(our) lives are characterized
by a deepening repentance,
heightened gratitude,
and broader effectiveness
in helping others.”
- Robert D. Jones

Thursday, January 6, 2011

January 6, 2011 (a future without fear)

a future without fear
photo by Lee Keefer

“Understanding Bible prophecy
encourages in two unique ways.
First, it serves as a reminder
that God controls history.
When, you read from the pages of Scripture
how He keeps His promises,
your faith is strengthened…
By reflecting on the fulfilled promises of the past,
you can find great comfort
as you look toward the future.
Second, understanding God's promises
for the future provides a solid foundation
to which you can anchor your hope -
a sturdy shield with which you can deflect
your doubts and fears about tomorrow…
When you reflect on God's plans
and promises for you and for the world,
you can face the future without fear.”
- John MacArthur

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

January 5, 2011 (Holidays can be tiring)

Holidays can be tiring.
photo by Lee Keefer

How can we become refreshed?
Taking a nap can help but
spending time alone with God
will refresh us and allow us
to rest in Him.

“For Jesus, time alone with God was not an option…
The gospel of Luke tells us that
‘Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed’ (Luke 5:16)…
This is precisely where you and I
so often miss out on all that God has for us.
Unlike Jesus, we attempt to live life in our own energy.
We think we can keep giving out
without getting replenished.
Then, wearied and weakened
by the demands of life and ministry,
we become impatient and annoyed
with the very ones God has sent us to serve.
Rather than exhibiting a gracious, calm, joyous spirit,
we become uptight, frazzled, and frenzied [people],
resenting, rather than welcoming,
the people and opportunities God brings into our lives.”
- Nancy Leigh DeMoss

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

January 4, 2011 (I can't believe I'm doing this)

I can’t believe I’m doing this
photo by Lee Keefer

“All great deeds and all great thoughts
have a ridiculous beginning.”
- Albert Camus

“There is no greater joy
nor greater reward
than to make
a fundamental difference
in someone's life.”
- Sister Mary Rose McGeady

“Do not judge men by mere appearances;
for the light laughter that bubbles on the lip
often mantles over the depths of sadness,
and the serious look may be the sober veil
that covers a divine peace and joy.”
- Edward Chapin

Monday, January 3, 2011

January 3, 2011 (eternal Christmas)

eternal Christmas

“I feel a spirit of adventure
not just for the passing joys of Christmas,
but for an eternal Christmas,
a great story where—
as C. S. Lewis put it at the end of the Chronicles of Narnia—
every chapter will be better than the one before.”
—Randy Alcorn

Sunday, January 2, 2011

January 02, 2011 (to minister effectively)

to minister effectively

“Our challenge is to stay up with the time,
to serve our generation,
yet in no way alter the truths of His Word.
Styles and methods change and must be kept up to date.
But truth? It is timeless.
Not subject to change…
We are to be willing to leave the familiar
without disturbing the essentials.
To minister effectively the church must
wake up to what changes…and what doesn't…
The church that sits around frowning at the future,
doing little more than polishing yesterday's apples,
will become a church lacking in relevance and excitement.
At the same time, the church that softens its stand theologically
and alters Scripture to fit the future's style, will lose its power.”
- Charles Swindoll

Saturday, January 1, 2011

January 1, 2011 (move the world)

move the world

“The church is not a building made with stone.
It is a building made with living flesh.
We believers are living stones
in God’s temple (1 Pet. 2:5),
and when we come together
we constitute a place of worship
where God manifests Himself
in ways that He cannot manifest
Himself when we are alone.
Believers become the living temple of God,
offering to Him spiritual sacrifices
not possible anywhere other than
in the assembly of the redeemed church.”
- John MacArthur

“We do not want, as the newspapers say,
a church that will move with the world.
We want a church that will move the world.”
- G.K. Chesterton