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, March 31, 2011

March 31, 2011 (His presence)

His presence

“God is a circle whose centre is everywhere
and circumference nowhere.”
- Timaeus of Locris

“Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?”
- Psalm 139:7 NIV

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

March 30, 2011 (obeying)

obeying the laws of Christ

“This commitment to total obedience does not
mean a mere negative avoidance of evil practices.
It also means positively obeying God’s commands.
We cannot say that someone is a true Christian
just because he is not a thief, liar, blasphemer,
drunkard, sexually immoral, arrogant, cruel or fierce.
He also has to be positively God-fearing,
humble, respectful, gentle, peaceful,
forgiving, merciful and loving.
Without these positive qualities,
he is not obeying the laws of Christ.”
- Jonathan Edwards

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

March 29, 2011 (I will not leave you)

I will not leave you

“The most terrible poverty is loneliness,
and the feeling of being unloved.”
- Mother Teresa of Calcutta

“Loneliness is the first thing
which God's eye named, not good”
- John Milton

“Loneliness accepted becomes a gift
leading one from a life dominated by tears
to the discovery of one's true self
and finally to the heart of longing
and the love of God.”
- Author Unknown

“… be satisfied with your present
[circumstances and with what you have];
for He [God] Himself has said,
I will not in any way fail you
nor give you up
nor leave you without support.
[I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not
in any degree leave you helpless
nor forsake nor let [you] down
(relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]
So we take comfort
and are encouraged
and confidently and boldly say,
The Lord is my Helper;
I will not be seized with alarm
[I will not fear or dread or be terrified].”
– Hebrews 13:5,6 AMP

“I will not leave you as orphans
[comfortless, desolate,
bereaved, forlorn, helpless];
I will come [back] to you.”
- John 14:18 AMP

Monday, March 28, 2011

March 28, 2011 (be all the more eager)

be all the more eager

“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.
But if anyone does not have them,
he is nearsighted and blind,
and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.
Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager
to make your calling and election sure.
For if you do these things, you will never fall,
and you will receive a rich welcome
into the eternal kingdom
of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
- 2 Peter 1:3-11 NIV

Sunday, March 27, 2011

March 27, 2011 (Proverbs 25:11)

A word aptly spoken

“A word aptly spoken
is like apples of gold
in settings of silver.”
- Proverbs 25:11 NIV

Saying the right word or words
at just the right time
is a thing of beauty.

When reading the Bible
ask the Holy Spirit
to guide you.
He will speak,
through God’s Word
to your unique
situation and need.

And when comforting (or
gently reproving) others
ask the Hold Spirit to guide
your words so they
may become a blessing
to the hearer.

Remember to…

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding.”
- Proverbs 3:5 NIV

Saturday, March 26, 2011

March 26, 2011 (parenting)


“If we measure our success as parents
solely by what our children become,
there is no inviolable guarantee in Scripture
that we will experience absolute success on those terms…
The true measure of success for Christian parents
is the parents’ own character.
To the degree that we have followed
God’s design for parenting,
we have succeeded as parents before God.”
- John MacArthur

“As a general rule,
parents who follow biblical principles
in bringing up their children
will see a positive effect
on the character of their children.
From a purely statistical point of view,
children who grow up
in Christ-honoring homes
are more likely to remain
faithful to Christ in adulthood
than kids growing up in homes
where the parents dishonor the Lord.
The truism of Proverbs 22:6 does apply.
We’re certainly not to think
that God’s sovereignty in salvation
means the way we raise our kids is immaterial.
God often uses faithful parents
as instruments in the salvation of children.”
- John MacArthur

Friday, March 25, 2011

March 25, 2011 (peace)


“Because peace is a fruit of the Spirit,
we are dependent upon the Spirit’s work
in our lives to produce the desire
and the means to pursue peace.
But we are also responsible to use
the means He has given us
and to take all practical steps
to attain both peace within
and peace with others.”
- Jerry Bridges

Thursday, March 24, 2011

March 24, 2011 (illumination)


“Only the Holy Spirit can show us spiritual truth.
Anyone can hear the facts,
study other people’s teaching,
and gain something
of an intellectual understanding
about the meaning of Scripture.
But apart from the Holy Spirit,
the Bible will utterly fail to penetrate
and transform the human heart.
With the Spirit of God comes illumination –
true understanding of what has been written.
Every believer has the Holy Spirit,
the One who inspired the writers of Scripture,
and without His illuminating ministry to us,
the truth of Scripture could not
penetrate our hearts and minds…
However, the Holy Spirit’s illuminating ministry
cannot replace conscientious study.
They work together.
We should keep in mind that God Himself
requires that we be diligent (2 Tim. 2:15).
As we explore Scripture carefully and thoroughly,
the Holy Spirit uses whatever tools we acquire,
whatever godly wisdom we expose ourselves to,
as the means to illuminate our hearts.”
- John MacArthur

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

March 23, 2011 (become bright)

become bright

“We need less posturing and more genuine charisma.
Charisma was originally a religious term,
meaning "of the spirit" or "inspired."
It's about letting God's light shine through us.
It's about a sparkle in people
that money can't buy.
It's an invisible energy with visible effects.
To let go, to just love,
is not to fade into the wallpaper.
Quite the contrary,
it's when we truly become bright.
We're letting our own light shine.”
- Marianne Williamson

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

march 22, 2011 (hidden mysteries)

hidden mysteries

I found this door to an abandon shed
directly across the street from a church
that I went to photograph.

“It is the most ungodly and dangerous business
to abandon the certain and revealed will of God
in order to search into the hidden mysteries of God.”
- Martin Luther

Monday, March 21, 2011

March 21, 2011 (satisfaction)


“The great danger facing all of us...
is not that we shall make an absolute failure of life,
nor that we shall fall into outright viciousness,
nor that we shall be terribly unhappy,
nor that we shall feel (that) life
has no meaning at all – not these things.

The danger is that we may fail
to perceive life's greatest meaning,
fall short of its highest good,
miss its deepest and most abiding happiness,
be unable to tender the most needed service,
be unconscious of life ablaze
with the light of the Presence of God –
and be content to have it so –
that is the danger.

That someday we may wake up
and find that always we have been busy
with husks and trappings of life
and have really missed life itself.

For life without God,
to one who has known
the richness and joy of life with Him,
is unthinkable, impossible.

That is what one prays
one's friends may be spared –
satisfaction with a life
that falls short of the best,
that has in it no tingle or thrill
that comes from a friendship
with the Father.”
- Phillips Brooks

Sunday, March 20, 2011

March 20, 2011 (infinitely better)

infinitely better

“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

Saturday, March 19, 2011

March 19, 2011 (sovereignty of God)

sovereignty of God

“No plan of God’s can be thwarted;
when He acts, no one can reverse it;
no one can hold back His hand
or bring Him to account for His actions.
God does as He pleases, only as He pleases,
and works out every event to bring about
the accomplishment of His will.
Such a bare unqualified statement
of the sovereignty of God would terrify us
if that were all we knew about God.
But God is not only sovereign,
He is perfect in love
and infinite in wisdom.”
- Jerry Bridges

“Lord, I am willing
to receive what You give,
to lack what You withhold,
to relinquish what You take,
to suffer what You inflict,
to be what You require.”
- Author Unknown

Friday, March 18, 2011

March 18, 2011 (looking for a job?)

looking for a job?

“‘Wanted: dedicated employee who will
faithfully proclaim messages of judgement
to people who will reject and despise you.
All efforts will produce little noticeable results
and will end in complete destruction.’
It’s unlikely that a job posting like that
would garner many applicants.
Yet that is essentially the job to which
the prophet Isaiah was called by God.”

- From Fascinating People of the Bible,
published by Barbour Publishing, Inc.
(used by permission)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

March 17, 2011 (An Irish Blessing)

An Irish Blessing

“I wish you not a path devoid of clouds,
Nor a life on a bed or roses.
Nor, that you might never need regret,
Nor that you should never feel pain.
No, this is not my wish for you.

My wish for you is:
That you might be brave in times of trial
When other’s lay crosses upon your shoulders.
When mountains must be climbed
and chasms crossed,
When hope scarce shines through.
When every gift God gave you
might grow along with you,
And let you give the gift of joy
to all who care for you.
That you might always have a friend
who is worth that name…
whom you can trust.
And hope will be, in times of sadness,
Who will defy the storms of life by your side.

One more wish for you:
That in every hour of joy and pain,
you may be close to God.
This is my wish for you
and those who are close to you.
This is my hope for you, now and forever.”
- Author Unknown

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

March 16, 2011 (to glorify Him)

a small group Bible study

As much as I pray that
the SonRays devotionals
are a blessing to many…
I also pray that
they are not enough.

I pray that they will be read
simply to ignite a desire
within you for more…
more intimate communion
with our Lord and Savior.

This intimate relationship
with our Father
is to glorify Him.

“The supreme motive in our redemption
is not for us to receive anything.
Rather, we have been redeemed
so that God may receive worship –
so that our lives might glorify Him.
Any personal blessing for us
is a divine response
to the fulfillment of that supreme purpose…
We are to seek to glorify God
before we seek to gain anything from Him.
To be concerned primarily with the blessings
is to experience salvation
in a shallow, self-centered manner.”
- John MacArthur

“I think we delight to praise what we enjoy
because the praise not merely expresses
but completes the enjoyment;
it is its appointed consummation.
If it were possible for a created soul
fully to ‘appreciate,’ that is,
to love and delight in,
the worthiest object of all,
and simultaneously at every moment
to give this delight perfect expression,
then that soul would be in supreme blessedness.
To praise God fully
we must suppose ourselves
to be in perfect love with God,
drowned in, dissolved by that delight which,
far from remaining pent up
within ourselves as incommunicable bliss,
flows out from us incessantly again
in effortless and perfect expression.
Our joy is no more separable from the praise
in which it liberates and utters itself
than the brightness a mirror receives
is separable from the brightness it sheds.
- C.S. Lewis

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

March 15, 2011 (created hope)

created hope

“First a howling blizzard woke us,
Then the rain came down to soak us,
And now before the eye can focus -
- Lilja Rogers

“The day the Lord created hope
was probably the same day
he created Spring.”
- Bern Williams

Monday, March 14, 2011

March 14, 2011 (nothing left)

nothing left

“Live life so completely that
when death comes to you
like a thief in the night,
there will be nothing left
for him to steal.”
- Author Unknown

Sunday, March 13, 2011

March 13, 2011 (future with Him)

Future with Him

“I frequently hear persons in old age,
say how they would live,
if they were to live their lives over again:
[I am] Resolved,
that I will live just so
as I can think I shall wish I had done,
supposing I live to old age. July 8, 1723.”
- Jonathan Edwards

“Our yesterdays present irreparable things to us;
it is true that we have lost opportunities
which will never return,
but God can transform this destructive anxiety
into a constructive thoughtfulness for the future.
Let the past sleep,
but let it sleep on the bosom of Christ.
Leave the Irreparable Past in His hands,
and step out into the Irresistible Future with Him.”
- Oswald Chambers

Saturday, March 12, 2011

March 12, 2011 (the signs of the times)

the signs of the times

“Nation will fight nation and
ruler fight ruler, over and over.
Famines and earthquakes
will occur in various places.
This is nothing compared to what is coming.”
- Matthew 24:7,8
(The Message)

"You have a saying that goes,
'Red sky at night, sailor's delight;
red sky at morning, sailors take warning.'
You find it easy enough to forecast the weather -
why can't you read the signs of the times?”
- Matthew 16:2,3
(The Message)

Friday, March 11, 2011

March 11, 2011 (guidance and trust)

Good girl

“Oh, teach me, dear God
To not rush ahead
But to pray for your guidance
And to trust you instead,

For you know what I need
And that I'm only a slave
To the things that I want
And desire and crave...”
- Helen Steiner Rice

“The cost of obedience is nothing
compared to the cost of disobedience.”
- Author Unknown

Thursday, March 10, 2011

March 10, 2011 (the church)

“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

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

March 09, 2011 (are you satisfied?)

are you satisfied?

“The eye is the lamp of the body.
So if your eye is sound,
your entire body will be full of light.
But if your eye is unsound,
your whole body will be full of darkness.
If then the very light in you
[your conscience] is darkened,
how dense is that darkness!”
- Matthew 6:22,23 AMP

“Open your eyes, look within.
Are you satisfied with the life you're living?”
- Bob Marley

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

March 08, 2011 (inside the terrarium)

Inside the terrarium

To build our enclosed terrarium
we needed the container,
some river rocks, activated charcoal,
sheet moss, potting soil,
plants, and a few ornaments.

We put the parts together but
the Lord provided the growth.

“So neither he who plants
nor he who waters is anything,
but only God,
who makes things grow.”
- 1 Corinthians 3:7 NIV

Monday, March 7, 2011

March 07, 2011 (love in your heart)

picnic in February

A couple of weeks ago,
my wife and I had a picnic.
It was still chilly
but had warmed up a bit.
Still, there was some snow patches
remaining in those areas
where shade did not allow much melting.

It was wonderful and we had our love
to keep us warm… that and a nice hot drink!

“Keep love in your heart.
The consciousness of loving and being loved
brings a warmth and richness to life
that nothing else can bring.”
- Oscar Wilde

Sunday, March 6, 2011

March 06, 2011 (be of good comfort)

“‘Be perfect, be of good comfort.’
- II Cor. 13:11

A glance at the words is enough
to make us feel how contradictory they are.
Be perfect —
that is a word that strikes us with despair;
at once we feel how faraway we are
from our own poor ideal,
and alas! how much farther
from God's ideal concerning us.
Be of good comfort —
ah, that is very different!
That seems to say,
‘Do not fret; do not fear.
If you are not what you would be,
you must be thankful for what you are.’
Now the question is this —
How can these two be reconciled?
It is only the religion of Jesus Christ
that reconciles them.
He stands in our midst,
and with the right hand of His righteousness
He pointeth us upward, and saith, ‘Be perfect.’
There is no resting place short of that.
Yet with the left hand of His love
He doth encompass us, as He saith,
‘Soul, be of good comfort;
for that is what I came to do for thee.’
- Mark Guy Pearse

Saturday, March 5, 2011

March 05, 2011 (the saving power of God)

the saving power of God

“There comes a time when God’s patience runs out
(Rom. 2:4-10; 2 Pet. 3:8-10; Jude 5).
Those living in continual disobedience
must not presume upon God's grace,
falsely assuming that God's kindness
means that He is winking at their sin.
Nor should we take God's forgiveness for granted.
We must not sin willfully,
thinking that by doing so
we are simply giving God another opportunity
to glorify Himself by showing forth His mercy.
As Paul would put it centuries later,
"Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?
By no means!" (Rom. 6:2).
To do so is to reveal
by one’s hardened disobedience
that the saving power of God
is not really in one’s life
(see Rom. 6:2b-14).”
- Scott Hafemann

Friday, March 4, 2011

March 04, 2011 (infinite space)

infinite space

“It may help us to the threshold of the truth
to say that God inhabits infinite space:
but when we look a little deeper
we see that space itself belongs to finite things
and that the notion of infinite space is without meaning.
God created space when He created finite things.
He Himself is beyond space.
There is no near and no far to Him.
Everything to Him is equally near.”
- J. Gresham Machen

Thursday, March 3, 2011

March 03, 2011 (ongoing process)

ongoing process

“The Bible teaches clearly
that the evidence of God’s work in a life
is the inevitable fruit of
transformed behavior (1 John 3:10).
Faith that does not result in righteous living
is dead and cannot save (James 2:14-17).
Professing Christians utterly lacking
the fruit of true righteousness
will find no biblical basis
for assurance they are saved (1 John 2:4).
Real salvation is not only justification.
It cannot be isolated from regeneration,
sanctification, and ultimately glorification.
Salvation is an ongoing process
as much as it is a past event.
It is the work of God through which
we are “conformed to the image of His Son”
(Romans 8:29, cf. Romans 13:11).
Genuine assurance comes from seeing
the Holy Spirit’s transforming work in one’s life,
not from clinging to the memory of some experience.”
- John MacArthur

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

March 02, 2011 (the misty future)

the misty future

“Faith isn't the ability
to believe long and far
into the misty future.
It's simply taking God at His Word
and taking the next step.”
- Joni Erickson Tada

“All I have seen teaches me
to trust the Creator
for all I have not seen.”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

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

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

March 01, 2011 (a certain kind of richness)

a certain kind of richness

“You can't force simplicity;
but you can invite it in
by finding as much richness as possible
in the few things at hand.
Simplicity doesn't mean meagerness
but rather a certain kind of richness,
the fullness that appears when we
stop stuffing the world with things.”
- Thomas Moore