Friday, September 18, 2015

My Source of Help

Bowman's Beach, Sanibel Island, Florida
A little sand between your toes
always takes away your woes.
~unknown

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Note: Although I do love going to the beach to relax, it isn't the sand that takes away my woes. It's this assurance found in God's Word, which I've paraphrased just a bit to help me realize this awesome truth applies to me--as well as to those to whom the words were originally addressed. 

My help comes from the LORD
Who made heaven and earth.
He will not allow my foot to slip;
He who keeps me will not slumber.
Based on Psalm 121:2,3

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Tomorrow

Sunset at Fort Bragg, California
God knows all about tomorrow.
He holds it in His hands.

~unknown

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Greatest Truth


John 3:16 and following

An outstanding Bible scholar was asked, "What is the greatest truth you've discovered in all of your years of studying the Bible?"

Without a moment's hesitation, he said, "Jesus loves me; this I know. For the Bible tells me so."

Indeed! The Bible is filled with assurances that we are loved more than we can imagine. For example, in John 3:16, Jesus affirms the great love He and His Father have for us:
For God so loved the world, 
that He gave His only begotten Son, 
that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, 
but have eternal life.

In John 14:21, Jesus gives yet another affirmation of His love and God's love: 
He who has My commandments and keeps them, 
he it is who loves Me; 
and he who loves Me 
shall be loved by My Father, 
and I will love him, 
and will disclose [reveal, manifest] Myself to him.
John 14:21

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Brokenness



The LORD is near the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
~Psalm 34:18


Monday, September 14, 2015

Declare!



The heavens declare the glory of God, 
and
the sky proclaims the work of His hands.
~David, in Psalm 19:1





Sunday, September 13, 2015

Quiet and Peaceful--Without and Within


I could never stay long enough on the shore; the tang of the untainted, fresh, and free sea air was like a cool, quieting thought.
~Helen Keller

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...make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business...
1 Thessalonians 4:11


Saturday, September 12, 2015

Friday, September 11, 2015

Luminaries Needed




One Internet website invites certain people, usually those whose names are widely recognized, to share (in 500 words or less) some wisdom they'd like to pass on to others. As I reflected on that challenge issued to those referred to as "luminaries," I recalled having attended a local Relay for Life event. As dusk descended that Friday evening, volunteers placed lunch-size paper bags all around the perimeter of the walking track where the event was being held. On each bag was written the name of (1) a person who had battled or was still battling cancer and (2) the person who had purchased the luminary in honor of or in memory of the cancer patient. 

The darker the night became, the brighter the candlelight shone through the bag. As I strolled around the track, I read the names on each bag. I recognized some of them. Several I knew well, including my mother, my mother-in-law, and one of the charter members of the camera club to which I belonged. I thought about how they had inspired me in so many ways. I thought about their courage, their faith, their endurance... Truly, they were (and still are) luminaries in my life!

I recalled that the Bible says there's a noticeable difference in people who are filled with a God-given inner light and in those who are not:
Do all things without grumbling or disputing,
that you may be blameless and innocent,
children of God
without blemish 
in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation,
among whom you shine as lights in the world, 
holding fast to the word of life... 
Philippians 2:14-16a

I also remembered a song I've known since childhood: This Little Light of Mine by Harry D. Loes. As I sang the words, I recommitted to letting my little light shine. Will you, Dear Reader, do the same? Even a little light is obvious in the darkness.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Launch Out!

Nevada

Each day 
we're given 
an opportunity
 to put our boat in the water. 
Take it!
~Gail Lynne Goodwin

And when Jesus had finished speaking, 
He said to Simon, 
"Launch out into the deep water
 and let down your nets for a catch."
Luke 5:4


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

God's Word



Taken in California in the late afternoon.


I noticed these words on a sign at a church that's beside a road I frequently travel:
The Bible will keep you from sin.
Sin will keep you from the Bible.

I remembered those words the day my daily Bible reading brought me to these words in Psalm 119:9-16:

How can a young man keep his way pure?
By guarding it according to Your word.

With my whole heart I seek You;
let me not wander from Your commandments!

I have stored up Your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against You.

Blessed are You, O LORD;
teach me Your statutes!

With my lips I declare
all the rules of Your mouth.

In all the way of Your testimonies I delight
as much as in all riches.

I will meditate on Your precepts
and fix my eyes on Your ways.

I will delight in Your statues;
I will not forget Your word.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Let It Out!

June 2009 in Idaho
When someone asked Charles Spurgeon (famous British preacher and author, 1834-1892) how he responded to criticisms of the Bible, he said, "I defend the Bible the same way I defend a lion. I simply let it out of its cage."

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Exemplary Lives


This award is presented  annually to the photographer who earned the most ribbons in the "Advanced Division" during the competition, which is held each October.
One morning during my shift as a “Pink Lady” at our local hospital, I accepted a beautiful arrangement of flowers from a delivery person, who said, “Will you see that [name] gets these? She works in the dietary department.”
I hurried to the elevator, eager to do my small part in bringing delight to the recipient. When I exited, I saw the cafeteria manager standing in the hallway that led to the cafeteria. “Steve,” I said, “these are for [name], but I have no idea who she is or where I might find her.”
“I’ll be glad to take them to her. She’s washing pots and pans for us today.” He smiled. “She’s happy wherever she’s assigned, but these flowers will make her day. I’m glad someone sent them, for she deserves this special surprise. She’s one of the best employees I have.  Always arrives early for work. Does a really good job wherever we need her. And she gets along well with everyone.”
With a courteous nod, he headed off to deliver them. I was sorry I couldn’t go along and meet the exemplary employee—and see her happy face.
That experience came to mind a few weeks later as I listened to an online Bible study of the book of Titus. The teacher, Dr. Howard Hendricks, emphasized that every Christian has a ministry even if he is not serving on a church staff. No matter where we live and work, we are to be persons of integrity—living exemplary lives, and speaking and conducting ourselves in ways that honor our Lord.
A Christian should be the best employee that a company has, whether he holds a high or low position. That doesn’t necessarily mean he must be the most skilled or receive the most recognition, but it does mean his character should be the finest of anyone in that environment. Or, to borrow the phrase used in Titus 1:6, 7, a Christian should be “above reproach.” In other words, people should find no fault, no flaw, in his character.
As I reflected on that, I recalled a similar truth found in Proverbs 31, a Bible passage that describes an excellent wife. “She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life” (vv. 10b-12).
The writer of that passage then mentions some of the ways she ministers to/serves her husband and their family. While faithfully doing her work well, she displays strength, dignity, wisdom, kindness, etc.
Thus, “Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all’” (Proverbs 31:29-30a).
Because of her character, her commitment to excellence, and her faithfulness in serving others, she provides an excellent example for us as we relate to our employer, our co-workers, our family, and our friends.
Wherever we are, we have opportunities to show others that, having been born again/anew, we are indeed a new creation; the old things (old ways) have passed away and new ways have come. And now, we’ve been given the awesome privilege of serving as ambassadors for Christ. (See 2 Corinthians 5:14-21.)
Let’s be good ones—VERY good ones!

Note: This article was submitted for publication in the Sept. 2015 issue of Chapel Hill News and Views, a magazine that's published monthly in the Douglasville, Georgia, area. I've been a columnist for that magazine since Feb. 2008.
                 Happy Labor Day!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Purposes

A ship is safe in the harbor, 
but that is NOT what it was built for.

The thought above is attributed to various people, including Theodore Roosevelt, John Augustus Shedd, and Theodore Roosevelt. Regardless of the source of that sentence, it is, indeed, a true one.

We, like boats, have been created for a purpose. For example, God said to His people through His prophet, Jeremiah," For I know the plans I have for you...They are plans for good and not for disaster,to give you a future and a hope" (Jeremiah 29:11, NLT).

And to Pharaoh, ruler of Egypt many centuries ago, God said, "I have appointed you for the very purpose of displaying My power in you and to spread My fame throughout the earth" (See Exodus 9:16 and Romans 9:17.) 

According to Acts 13:36, "When King David had served God's purpose in his own generation, he died..."

God has purposes not only for royalty but also for everyone else. For example, Ephesians 2:10 says: "For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned in advance as our way of life." 

While reflecting on the above, I recalled the song, "Take My Life, Lead Me, Lord," which was written by R. Maines Rawls in 1968. As I read all the words in the song, I noticed that all the requests (take my life; teach me, Lord; send me, Lord; etc.) were made for this purpose: "Make my life useful to Thee."

Oh, Dear Reader, may you and I be willing to let God use us according to His plans and purposes!






Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Welcome Jesus Into Your Boat!

O, God, Thy sea is so great,
and my boat is so small.
~unknown

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Then His disciples were eager 
to let Jesus into their storm-tossed boat, 
and immediately 
they arrived at their destination.
John 6:21









Memories


Our memories of the ocean will linger on,
long after our footprints in the sand are gone.
~Anonymous


After reading the above quote, I felt led to add these words:
Likewise, our memories of loved ones linger on,
long, long after they from this life have gone.

Then, I recalled these words, found in Proverbs 10:7:
The memory of the righteous is a blessing....


Those words reminded me of a song I've loved for years:
Precious mem'ries, how they linger,
How they ever flood my soul.
In the stillness of the midnight,
Sacred scenes unfold.
J. B. F. Wright, 1925