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Sunday, July 5, 2009
Greatest Cathedrals - Lt. Col. Larkin Spivey
“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.” John 4:23
Chaplains serving in combat zones during World War II seldom saw the inside of church buildings. A lot of ingenuity was required to get their special work done. One combat chaplain described his places of worship:
During these months I held services in every conceivable location—on the open deck, in the men’s mess hall, aboard ship, on the cargo hatch of a sunken Liberty ship, aboard a floating pier, ashore, in the open, in the rain, and under tarpaulined shelter…These services were in many ways far more real than those held in the greatest cathedrals.
During my military career I marched in countless ceremonies. The ultimate in pageantry was an evening parade under spotlights on the White House lawn. I also vividly recall another parade of the same military format, but devoid of pageantry. On Okinawa, where my Marine ancestors fought during World War II, I marched in a combat review with other Marines about to deploy for combat. This parade featured helmets, packs, weapons, and camouflage. There was no band and no audience, and it was still one of my most moving experiences.
The common denominator of these stories is found in the attitude of the participants. When soldiers or saints face the urgency of their mission and realize their vulnerability, their ceremonies become intensely meaningful. At the same time, the outward form loses significance. When we know what we have to do, and we realize that the capacity to do it can only come from God, worship becomes urgent and real. This is the attitude we need every time we come before his altar. It makes no difference whether that altar is in a tent or a cathedral.
Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. (John 4:23)
Larkin Spivey is a decorated veteran of the Vietnam War, a retired Marine Corps officer, and former military professor at The Citadel. He became a Christian at age 53 and from his conversion came an intense curiosity about God’s providential hand and the power of faith during war. His first books include God in the Trenches
and Miracles of the American Revolution
. His latest release, Battlefields & Blessings: Stories of Faith and Courage from World War II
, is a 365 day devotional combining individual stories, Scripture, and historical overviews of key campaigns of World War II.
Larkin is an active member of Trinity Episcopal Church in Myrtle Beach, SC, and is actively involved in the Luis Palau Evangelistic Association. He has appeared on numerous nationwide radio and television programs and speaks frequently to civic, veteran, and church groups.
Labels: attitude, independence, larkinspivey
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Branded - Jocelyn Green
“I bear on my body the brand-marks of Jesus.”Galatians 6:17 NASB
“Hi, I’m Jocelyn.” I was one of several new Coast Guard wives being welcomed to the unit with a potluck luncheon. Already unsure of myself in this new military world, I was completely taken aback when my introduction of myself was countered with, “Oh, don’t bother telling us your name. You’re the XO’s [Executive Officer] wife, and that’s all you’ll ever be to us.”
My husband’s title had just branded me for the duration of my time in this tiny town of Homer, Alaska. Perhaps I should have expected it, but I was frustrated. I wanted to be identified for who I was, not for what Rob did for a living.
And then I realized something else: instead of seeking to declare my identity as an individual, I really should have been more concerned with staking my identity in Christ. What truly matters is who I am—who we are—in Christ.
National Guard wife, Amy MacLeod, says, “Although it is not always easy, I must see myself through the lens of Jesus. His blood has washed me, and I am a new creation fully pleasing to God. I have a purpose and I am well equipped for the task.”
Our goal should be to become so firm in our identity with Christ that our love and service for him is unmistakable to those who see us. Exodus 21 says that if, at the end of six years, a Hebrew slave decides he loves his master and chooses not to be set free, “then his master shall bring him to God, then he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost. And his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him permanently.” The pierced ear identified him as a bondslave for the rest of his life. It was a reminder both to him and to all who met him.
When Paul says that he bears brand-marks for Jesus, some theologians say he is identifying himself as Christ’s willing bondslave for life. No matter who we are, where we are stationed, or what our husbands do, may we strive to make our most defining, identifiable characteristic that of willing service to Jesus Christ. Won’t you do the same?
Jocelyn Green is an award-winning freelance writer and author of Faith Deployed: Daily Encouragement for Military Wives (www.faithdeployed.com
), from which this devotional was adapted. She and her husband Rob live with their two children in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
Labels: attitude, jocelyngreen
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Surprise Package - Andrea Merrell
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” II Corinthians 4:7 NIV
Do you love surprises? Many people are put off by anything new and different. They’re comfortable with consistency – stability – the status quo. Others thrive on anything out of the ordinary. They love the adventure and the thrill of “the find.”
Surprises can appear in many sizes and shapes. They can be long awaited and come after much anticipation, or they can catch us totally off guard. Sometimes when we least expect it, God takes an ordinary happening and turns it into a tremendous life-lesson. Such is the case with a new face and voice that has appeared recently on YouTube, made the news, and is fast becoming a household name. That face and voice belong to Susan Boyle.
Who is Susan Boyle? A surprise package of incredible talent that was opened before millions, rocked the world, and crumbled our pre-conceived ideas and perceptions of what a gifted singer “looks” like. As Susan stepped up to perform for the judges and audience, eyes rolled, arms folded and tongues wagged. Disdain and contempt poured from the onlookers until approximately three seconds into her song. With a voice strong, beautiful and passionate, Susan delivered her message loud and clear and shocked every listener. People sat mesmerized until the final note rang out.
How many times have we, as Christians, judged a book by its cover, not willing to open it and see the treasure inside? God gives gifts, talents and abilities to men and women and wraps them however He chooses. The bright, flashy, expensive looking packages with the biggest bows might be a huge disappointment. Some say good things come in small packages. God says good things come in all packages – all we have to do is open them, look inside and give them a chance. We simply have to think about it—believe it in our mind and our heart.
If you want others to see the best in you – the heavenly treasure hidden inside a jar of clay – take the first step. Make up your mind to look for the treasure in others, and you’re sure to find it.
Andrea Merrell is a freelance writer with a passion to help others see God’s Word as practical and relevant for ordinary, everyday life. She has written material for ladies’ groups, marriage retreats, skits, websites, and brochures, and is currently working on three novels and countless devotions. Andrea is a staff writer and copy editor for www.ChristianDevotions.US and lives in South Carolina with her husband (and best friend), Charlie.Read Andrea's devotions.
Labels: andreamerrell, attitude
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Bad Hair Day - Sauni Rinehart
“I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Psalm 139:14a
It’s a bad hair day. To be honest, it’s a bad hair, face, and body day. I woke this morning, and wondered, as I often do, whether I could even get out of bed.
I live with a couple of chronic health issues that cause significant pain and fatigue and, on the bad days, I question the words of Psalm 139:14. I get the “fearfully” part. Some synonyms for “fearfully” are awfully, frightfully, horrendously. And yes, I feel pretty horrendous at times. And so frightful that I could probably scare small children. But then I have to remember, another synonym is “awesomely.” Awesome. Worthy of awe. God sees me as His awesomely, wonderfully created daughter.
That gives me pause.
Do I really believe that? I say I believe in God and that His word is truth. And if that’s so, then I have to believe He sees me as an awesome, wonderful woman. He sees me as worthy of awe. It’s not easy to remember this. I often feel very far from worthy. I allow the events of the day (or week or month or year) to color my thoughts and cloud my mind. I begin to whine and complain (is there a spiritual gift of whining?), and then, like a shot in the arm (or a thump upside the head), I hear the Lord remind me of how much He loves me. It’s at those times when I feel most unworthy that I must trust God and His word.
I’m worthy in His eyes. You are worthy in His eyes.
Stop a moment, and repeat these words, “I am an awesomely, wonderfully created child of God.” Say them until you believe them. Write these words of promise on a sticky note—maybe on a lot of sticky notes. Post them all around to remind you of God’s love for you.
And when you have those bad hair, face, and body days, remember who you are—God’s awesomely, wonderfully created child.
I’ll try to do the same.
Sauni Rinehart is a speaker, vocalist, and writer through Triple-E Ministries (www.saunirinehart.com
) or visit her blog at http://saunirinehart.blogspot.com
. She is also involved in worship arts and women's ministries at her home church. She and her husband make their home in Eastvale, California.
Labels: attitude, saunirinehart
Monday, May 11, 2009
God's Best - Terri Cullins
“For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you.” Jeremiah 29:11
When your plans don’t include God, they often get changed. I recently self-published a children’s book about mental retardation, and I asked God to open new doors for me to walk through and present my work. As new doors begin to open, I found myself complaining about having so many events to attend. Instead of complaining, I should have said thank you to God for answering my prayers and showing me his favor.
I often ask for God’s will in my life. Yet when he reveals to me his will, at times I find it difficult to accept. Jeremiah tells us, “For I know the plans that I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you.” I’ve learned God doesn’t need my help to fulfill his will in my life. He wants me to trust him.
Learning to embrace and accept the will of God in my life is hard. Yet when I began to let God have his way, He carried me through. I began to see His blessings flow. God blesses his children to be a blessing to others.
For the past several months, I’ve searched for employment working with children. I prayed for to God’s guidance, direction, and asked for His will to be done. I assumed I would be blessed with a job working with children. Instead, I was offered a job working with adults who are chronically homeless. Although, I asked for God’s will to be done I had hoped His will included working with children. My desires weren’t aligned with his plan or purpose for me. As I accepted the position, I learned to trust God would lead me to prosperity of the heart.
How do we accept God’s will in our life? What if our desires are different than what God wants? I have to trust God to be God and let Him take me to levels beyond my imagination. I must armor myself with His word and know in my heart God will never leave me.
God’s serendipity allows us to receive better rewards than we would have received had we obtained the goals and plans we designed for ourselves. Our goals have a finish line and an ending point, but God love for us and his plans are eternal. Seek His Heart.
Terri Cullins is a native of Orange County, California. She has been married 18 years and has recently moved to Orange where she will retire at the end of the school year from her Home School Facilitator position. She has a high school age daughter and a junior high school age son. She plans to devote more time to writing and getting her craft ideas out of her head and into real objects.
We encourage you to purchase books by Christian authors that teach God's Word, lift, inspire, entertain and enlighten.
What Happened to Sam?
by Terrienna L. Cullins
Labels: attitude, terricullins
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Identity - Soul Searching -- Linda Bernson-Tang
“If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you.” Exodus 33:13
From the rearview mirror, I watched the building that housed my career, shrink. With each passing mile, I, too, seemed to be reducing in size. I had resigned from my job to be with my new baby and had backed out from my parking spot at work for the final time. Because I believed my identity came from my career, that was gone from the horizon as well.
Who am I and where did I go? These were questions I asked daily. I wondered whether Moses asked these questions after killing an Egyptian for beating a Hebrew slave and fleeing to Midian.
I kept asking, “Who am I Lord?” Instead my question needed to be, “Who are you?” Through daily time spent in God’s word, He began re-establishing my identity. My attitudes and habits changed. Convictions hit. Corrections occurred. “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord’.”
The bar was set higher. My identity started to look more like God’s—my eyes focused on my gifts and blessings rather than my accomplishments at a job. I began to see the soul of Christ and search my own.
If my identity is dependent on my job, what happens when the job changes? If I’m out of a job, am I out of an identity? Not as God’s child. He changes us. We can be surprised when led to serve in an area we normally wouldn’t serve, exercise self-control when the tendency is to react, or smile at someone who wronged us instead of walking past.
My identity does not originate from a career, title nor parent, but from being God’s child. At the end of each day and for eternity, that’s the best identity one could have. Identity begins with God and develops through prayer and time in his word. Are you submitting to God daily? Do you look like Him?Before becoming a full-time mother, Linda Bernson-Tang was assistant advertising and marketing director for KABC TalkRadio in Los Angeles and handled publicity for KLOS, ESPN and Radio Disney ABC owned stations. She is a freelance writer and author of a YA novel entitled, Picture Perfect. She lives in Thousand Oaks, CA with her husband, two daughters, and her God-based identity.
Labels: attitude, lindabernson-tang
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Sons of Adam - Ariel Allison
“The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the LORD God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die." Genesis 2:15-17
I watched my children play in our back yard - the entire glorious, fenced in, half acre. For two little boys, you couldn't ask for a better yard. We have a huge pecan tree that spreads its heavy laden branches over the house and most of the yard. In the corner is a swing enticing little boys who think they can fly. We have piles of dirt and newly fallen leaves. Wagons. Tractors. Scooters. Little shovels just their size. Piles of pecans to be thrown, stacked, or eaten. Rocks. Bugs. Bushes with little red berries that turn into paint when you squish them on the fence. On most days they spend hours exploring their little world.
And yet, there are a handful of things they must not do while they are outside. They must not play with Daddy's grill. They must not throw rocks over the fence at the neighbor’s car. And they must not climb on the metal pipes connected to the air conditioner.
Today my children abandoned their glorious freedom in exchange for the forbidden. I went outside and found them throwing rocks. I went outside and found Daddy's grill smoking as it singed dry leaves. I found them swinging like monkey's on the metal pipes of our air conditioner. And they experienced the cost of disobedience.
On my third trip outside I was reminded by my Father, that all of His children sin. I was reminded of two people in a garden long ago that chose the only forbidden thing in their paradise. And I was reminded that my children are sons of Adam - just as I am a daughter of Eve.
And in that moment I remembered my responsibility is not just to punish the wrong but to encourage the right. It is to help my boys make good choices from having a Godly mind that desires to do good, to obey because it is the right thing to do.
I must help them find pleasure in their freedom, and protect them from what brings harm. And I must help them understand that God is not the great cosmic kill-joy that many people would have us believe, but the kind Father that longs to see them enjoy the things that bring life.Ariel Allison is learning to trust God as she wanders through the desert. When not writing, she is surrounded by a gaggle of little boys, one blue-eyed husband, and a neurotic dog. She explores the issue of greed in her new novel, Eye of the God, due out from Abingdon Press in October. To read a visit her online at www.arielallison.com
Ariel is also featured in Christian Devotions new book, Spirit and HEART
: A Devotional Journey.
Labels: arielallison, attitude
Monday, February 2, 2009
Learning to Be a Good Member of the "Cane Crowd" - Sue Falcone
"This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases." Matthew 8:17
Did you know there are 49.2M people who have some type of disability in the United States? That is 19% of our population!
How does one handle having limitations? Recently having to face this situation, I must admit it was not what I would have chosen or been thankful in receiving.
Jesus has authority over all earthly diseases and illness, and does heal, so I expected that to happen for me. I have great doctors and have been blessed with great health for many years, so my expectation was that I would be back to normal in no time.
But that was not the path God had chosen for me to take at this time. The words, "there are many more people worse off than you, so just get a grip and move on," were not what I wanted to hear. I was focused on what I didn't have or couldn't do, not on who I am in Christ and what He wanted to do through me.
No one really likes any kind of limitation or disability, but God has a plan and purpose for it. I saw that I had not really noticed or paid attention to those with limitations until I became one of them. God showed me I would have to learn to be a good member of the "Cane Crowd" so I could help others see past their limitations and become all that God meant for them to become and do, even with their limitations.
What are you facing today? Do you have limitations, or do you need to see how you can help those who do? Ask God to show you His plan and know that He is in control and has not left you.
One day when all sickness and disease are no more in our heavenly home we will see the total healing of our Lord. But until then, as Joni Eareckson Tada shares, "my wheelchair has shown me the way HOME by heart." I, too, know that my heavenly HOME will be much better than here, but on the way there God has shown me His heart, so I can share it with you!Sue Falcone is a gifted speaker and teacher. God has called Sue to use her unique presentation of encouragement and humor to help others overcome their fears. Skilled as a former "corporate America" manager, Sue is a graduate of Dale Carnegie and is a speaker for Stonecroft Ministries - Christian Women's Clubs.
Labels: attitude, suefalcone
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Embedded Rocks -- Joryln Grasser
“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26
The lighthouse winks periodically, its blaring horn warns ships. Lake Michigan’s water laps over the shores’ round rocks. I am having a rare playtime with my dad. He lets me wander, watching as I chase waves and then laughing as waves chase me. Dusk begins to settles. When I leave I carry a few, small rocks in my pocket as a trophy of our day.
Like my pocket rocks, rocks in the Bible play an important role in God’s story of His people. Abraham prepared to sacrifice his son, Isaac, on a rock alter, but God intervened. They reinforced with a huge stone the rock-hewed grave in which they buried Jesus. God intervened again and rolled it away. God’s plans for Moses changed when he disobeyed and struck the rock numerous times. The significance of each story teaching us today.
Since Bible times each year as the farmer prepared his field he encountered new rocks once deeply embedded. They broke loose and rose to the surface. These must be dealt with before planting can begin.
As the farmer prepares the field, even so God must prepare us. As believers, we must not allow sin to become embedded, its presence so obscure we refuse to acknowledge it. Bitterness and anger create rock solid formations. These refuse to diminish as we attempt to shovel aside the failures they create.
God is our only help. Forgiveness comes as we acknowledge Him as the cleansing source. He attacks sin one shovel full at a time, removing and tossing it beyond our reach.
Embedding our lives in Biblical truths creates deep craters of assurance. God’s Word provides peace. Each truth nugget builds confidence-sustaining stability. Our heavenly Father smiles as we test His promises. He honors our desire to embed His Word within. Soon, trophy verses become life’s stepping stone, each a solid rock we hold precious.
Daily living embedded in God’s Word provides solid footing when life’s waves lash against us. Our faith stands strong, as His Word becomes a “lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path”. (Psalm 119:105)
Jorlyn A. Grasser is a freelance writer living in Knightdale, North Carolina. She has been published in Secret Place, Horizons, Seek, Evangel and other publications. She enjoys playing the piano and spending time with her grandchildren.
Labels: attitude, jorylngrasser
Monday, January 12, 2009
The Master Teacher -- Irene Brand
“He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Luke 8:8b
Jesus has been called the Master Teacher, and we see an example of His teaching ability in the parable of the sower recorded by Luke. Much of what Jesus had to say in this parable encouraged me as I taught for twenty-three years in a public school, and many more years of teaching in our local church. Teaching is often discouraging because we don’t always see immediate results from our labor.
Discouragement is a major threat to all of us. Who among us hasn’t had failures? As a teacher I’ve often looked back and wondered if I should have taken a different approach to a problem. Teachers in the public school are told that unless the pupil learn, there hasn’t been any teaching, an assumption that sometimes made me feel like a failure. Jesus taught, however, that learning is a two-way street. Students must have a receptive mind for learning to occur.
Jesus mentioned four kinds of soil where the seed of the Word might have landed. Unyielding ground where the seed couldn’t take root. In shallow soil, it would sprout and soon wither and die because of lack of moisture. Palestine’s soil was also full of thistles and brambles. If the seed fell among those aggressive plants, the young plant would soon be crowded out. Only seed nurtured in good soil produced a noteworthy crop, and this principle also applies to teaching.
I often had students in public schools whose family background prevented their reception of my teaching. One mother sent an excuse saying that her son had been absent from school the previous day to stay home with his father who was leaving the next day to spend twenty years in prison. I remember another student, whose father was molesting the boy’s younger sisters, and the mother wouldn’t interfere. In situations like these, learning can seldom take place because the students’ family problems crowded out the seed I was sowing.
Christians have the opportunity to sow the seed of the Good News wherever we are. In reality, we are all teachers by example whether or not we’ve ever set foot in a classroom. We are responsible for teaching the Word, not for the response. But how wonderful to praise God when we’ve planted the seed and it has produced an abundant crop in the lives of those who listened!Irene Brand began writing inspirational novels in 1984. Forty-five books and over 2 million copies in print, Irene still holds to her grass roots, of faith, family and friends.
Irene and her husband live in rural West Virginia. Her newest book,
Love Finds You in Valentine, Nebraska is available in bookstores now.
Labels: attitude, irenebrand
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Respond, Your Life Depends on It -- Pat Patterson
As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” Mt 4:18-19
Imagine if you called for help and nobody responded. How terrified would it make you feel to realize you were all alone? Well what I’m speaking of here is far more important than that.We’re speaking of eternity. I’m talking about someone’s life…
“C’mon, partner, we need to go!”
“Unh uh, I’m not going.”
“Right. Put your boots on, man. I’ll be in the truck.”
“I’m serious. I wanna see the end of this game.”
His partner gazed at him, incredulous, as if trying to see the humor in a sick joke without a punchline. At first his face revealed confusion, and then a small degree of anger, and then outright disbelief.
“I want to see this game.”
“Medic-seven?” the dispatcher exclaimed. The station radio crackled as if to emphasize the frustration in her voice. “Are you en route yet?”
“Don’t answer her.”
“What? We can’t just ignore this, man. We have to go!”
“Look, I’m not wasting my time on another silly call. It’s a cardiac arrest for crying out loud. There’s nothing we can do for the poor guy anyway.”
The radio crackled again. “Medic-seven?”
“Seven to dispatch—stand by please.” His partner’s expression deepend. A stern frown soured his face.
“Are you insane? Do you realize what you’re doing?”
“Sure I do.”
“Seven,” his partner answered, his voice revealing total confusion.
“I-I’m sorry, but you’ll have to send another unit. It’s my partner, he’s…well he’s refusing to take this call.”
A few seconds of uncomfortable silence passed before the radio erupted in a swarm of heated responses. The dispatcher, their supervisor, the fire department squad unit already en route to the scene—everyone fighting for radio space trying to understand the madness taking place. His partner stared at him dumbfounded.
“I can’t believe this, man! Someone’s life is on the line and you’re just gonna sit there and watch that game?”
"Sit down and relax. Ignore it. It’ll go away."
Sound ridiculous? Well sure it does. But what if it really happened? I meanwhat if you dialed 911 and nobody came? Be pretty scary, huh? Well don’t worry, no serious first responder would ever consider ignoring an emergent call. In fact, as a whole, EMS personnel are some of the most dedicated people I know. They jump into action whenever the tones sound, regardless of the weather, or the time of day, or of how crummy they might be feeling at the moment. They jump, and as a result lives are changed. Many are saved. And yet I wonder, do these people care as much for themselves as they do for others?
You guys understand what I’m talking about. All of you firefighters. You police officers and paramedics. And all you ER nurses and doctors. You understand the importance of diligence. That another’s life may hang in the balance each time you’re called to act. You do it because you care. But I have a question for you—what about you?
Jesus said, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock.”
Will you dare to answer it? Will you respond with the same diligence that you would an everyday call? I mean, listen! This is the call of your life! It will determine your ultimate destiny. Where you’ll spend eternity. So will you open the door? Answer Christ’s call and let him in? Or will you sit there and ignore him and hope he simply goes away?
When Peter and Andrew heard Christ’s call they jumped. They followed him. And on their backs Christ built his church. If Jesus Christ is knocking on the door of your heart today, please don’t ignore him. Do as they did. Respond to his call. You must, for someone’s life depends on it…
Pat Patterson is a novelist, a paramedic, and an instructor of Emergency Medical Science. His stories are true, based on real experiences from the streets of Durham, North Carolina where he has served as a paramedic since 1992.
Labels: attitude, patpatterson
Sunday, January 4, 2009
Diligence -- Jane Hampton Cook
“Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will serve before kings; he will not serve before obscure men.” PROVERBS 22:29
When the young Quaker businessman rolled his wheelbarrow through the streets of colonial Philadelphia in the 1730s, he hoped people would take notice. Benjamin Franklin wasn’t merely showing off his wheels. He wanted his neighbors to observe his hands on the handlebar. They were symbols of something close to his heart: his diligence. After all, if people saw him working hard, then they might trust him with their business. Here’s how Franklin described it:
“To show that I was not above my business I sometimes brought home the paper I purchas’d at the stores thro’ the streets on a wheelbarrow. Thus being esteem’d an industrious, thriving young man, and paying duly for what I bought, the merchants who imported stationery solicited my custom; others proposed supplying me with books, and I went on swimmingly,” he reflected years later.
Franklin learned his diligent work ethic from his father, who frequently cited Proverbs 22:29 (KJV): “Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.”
Franklin took his father’s philosophy to heart and turned it into a motto. “I from thence considered industry as a means of obtaining wealth and distinction, which encourag’d me, tho’ I did not think that I should ever literally stand before kings, which, however, has since happened; for I have stood before five, and even had the honor of sitting down with one, the King of Denmark, to dinner,” Franklin wrote in his memoirs.
With his conscientious compass set, Franklin became a print-maker and a postmaster. In addition, this entrepreneur was always tinkering with new inventions. He was so mindful about paying off his debts, especially his printing house mortgage, he wore the wardrobe of a saver, not a spender. “In order to secure my credit and character as a tradesman, I took care not only to be in reality industrious and frugal, but to avoid all appearances to the contrary. I drest plainly,” he wrote.
Franklin also avoided any appearance of laziness. “I was seen at no places of idle diversion. I never went out a fishing or shooting; a book, indeed, sometimes debauch’d me from my work, but that was seldom, snug, and gave no scandal,” he jested.
His hard work and reading made him a renaissance man, accomplished in science, literature, business, politics, and diplomacy. Diligence was possibly Benjamin Franklin’s strongest character trait throughout his eighty-four years. And while not every hardworking person meets five kings, diligence and conscientiousness are still valued today by the King of kings.
PRAYER Give me the strength today to work diligently as if for a king. And although my labor may not bring me recognition by others, help me take satisfaction in knowing that you value hard work.Bestselling author and columnist Jane Hampton Cook, www.janecook.com, is known for making history both memorable and relevant to today’s news, political events, and issues of faith. A former webmaster for President George W. Bush (1998-03), Jane is the author of Stories of Faith and Courage from the Revolutionary War, a 365-day devotional chronicling the story of the nation’s founding from the viewpoints of 20 key players.
Publisher: Living Ink Books
Release Date: October 2007 BUY Now
©Jane Hampton Cook, used with permission.
Stories of Faith and Courage from the Revolutionary War is a 365-day devotional of America’s quest for independence. One book reviewer noted: “Amazingly I was caught up in the sights, sounds, conversation and convictions of the colonists in such a manner that I thought I was there.” With the pace of a novel, the book reveals the miraculous story of the American Revolution, its political struggles, military strategy, and pulpit perspective from the viewpoints of George Washington, John Adams, Abigail Adams, John Witherspoon and others who lived loudly for liberty.
Labels: attitude, janehamptoncook
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
New Year Exuberance -- Sue Payne
"The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance." Psalm 16:6
I used to pretend that I was Julie Andrews in the movie, “The Sound of Music”. Behind our little cabin in the woods, where my family spent many weekends and vacations in the Endless Mountains of Pennsylvania, was a steep hill that led up to a high open field. I would run to the highest point where I could see the beauty of the countryside in all directions. There I would break out in song with my arms wide open, turning in circles, and my head lifted to the skies, just like the scene in the movie. Forty-some years later, I still can recall the feeling of freedom and exuberance in those moments as I delighted in the beautiful place God had chosen for me to be.
From where I stand today as I look out over the prospects of the new year, I can see many possibilities and opportunities. Some I will approach with exuberance, while others hold a certain kind of trepidation. I know each day may hold gifts as well as challenges, joys as well as sorrows, surprises and disappointments. But they will all be given within the boundary lines my awesome God has set for me. He knows the song and the desires of my heart and sets each moment into motion with me in mind.
I want to be ready, but I know I will need help. I want to be able to run into the new year with a sense of excitement. With arms wide open I want to welcome the adventures God has in store for me. I realize that I will not always have a clear view of what is to come and will need to lift my eyes heavenward for Divine guidance. And Divine guidance only comes to prepared hearts.
Seeking God’s will first and consistently trying to see life from His point of view enables us to move ahead confidently within the boundary lines He has established for each of us. Navigating in this world is not easy so remember that His Word is our map for life showing us the way. And in all things, give God praise! He is worthy!
Are you ready to step into the new year with exuberance? Do you know the freedom that comes from having a relationship with Christ? Run with praise to the heights of your heart with arms wide open. Receive and be delighted in the beauty of each new day and the possibilities it holds! Walk humbly and in faith. Sing with abandon!Sue Payne is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in home schooling newsletters and church news bulletins. She is experienced in curriculum planning and design and uses her writing skills to encourage and teach others. Sue lives in Delaware, is married, and has two boys whom she home schooled for a total of fourteen years.
Labels: attitude, suepayne
BUSINESS-AS-USUAL -- Andrea Merrell
"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalms 46:10
For most of us, our day is essentially planned before we ever get out of bed. Once our feet hit the floor, we start our daily routine with personal hygiene, breakfast, and the newspaper. Then we might feed the cat, walk the dog, and take out the trash. When all is said and done, we send the kids off to school, and rush out the door to work. We can become such creatures of habit, we never take a different route to our destination, hesitate to try new and different foods and spend all our free time with the same few friends. We watch the same TV programs and movies over and over, and wear our favorite outfits once a week. Basically opposed to change, we get so comfortable that we do things automatically, without thought. Nothing new and different about today – it’s strictly business-as-usual.
Consider this: are we willing to allow God access into our everyday existence, giving Him permission to interrupt our routine and busy schedules? There are many God-moments in the midst of an ordinary day if we simply look for them. God is always at work in and around us. He has many unique and creative ways to bless us, and bless others through us. He constantly wants to wrap us in His presence, and show us His love, His power and His grace.
Being still (and quiet) is one of the hardest things to do, but we must give God something to work with. We have to set aside our agenda for His and allow Him to help us set our schedules and prepare our to-do lists. When we’re rigid and inflexible, not willing to “stop and smell the roses,” we miss opportunities for God to manifest Himself in our lives. We need to look for the divine in the common and miracles in the mundane. Sometimes God’s presence will show up and overtake us when we least expect it. Moses found that to be true when he happened upon the burning bush.
One word or encounter with God can change your life forever, so be ready. Listen to the birds sing. Watch a sunset. Take a walk on the beach. Look deep into the eyes of a child. Or, simply reach out to someone in need.
Can you see Him?
God is there in the midst of the opportunity, and He’s waiting for you.Andrea Merrell is a freelance writer with a passion to help others see God’s Word as practical and relevant for ordinary, everyday life. She has written material for ladies’ groups, marriage retreats, skits, websites and brochures, and served as both columnist and editor for Pan Am Bank Notes in Tampa, Florida. She loves Christian fiction and is currently working on three novels, along with countless devotions.Andrea (a new “grandma” with two more on the way) has been married to her husband and best friend, Charlie, for 37 years and lives in South Carolina.
Labels: andreamerrell, attitude
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Birthday Blues -- Andrea Merrell
"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
Over the last decade, I have developed a love/hate relationship with birthdays. A constant reminder that I am getting older, they present another milestone that makes me look back at all the things I have failed to accomplish. They cause me to look a little closer in the mirror, searching for new wrinkles, gray hairs, and age spots.
Birthdays are bittersweet. Along with the unwanted feelings and regrets, they bring lots of smiles, laughter, and time spent with friends and family. Cards, cakes, and gifts always seem to make an appearance. Even e-cards and text messages are welcome surprises. Birthdays are a time to celebrate and recognize the difference one life can make in this world.
Children love parties, ice cream, and all the hoop-la that comes with birthdays, but I’ve noticed when you pass forty, then fifty, and start inching toward the sixty mile marker, you want less fanfare and more time for quiet reflection. You begin to take inventory of your life – what it means – what you’ve done – what you still have left to do. Someone once said, “I love birthdays because the more I have, the longer I live.” A true statement, but maybe we could add, “The longer I live, the more I appreciate the time I have.”
The truth is, age, like everything else, is relative. If we constantly compare ourselves to others or despair over our lost youth, we miss the peace, joy, and fulfillment of living one day at a time, looking forward to the experiences and opportunities God brings our way.
Life is truly a gift. We were given breath because God has a wonderful plan and purpose for each of us. We can take that gift for granted, or embrace it and determine in our heart to become all God created us to be, savoring every moment and living life to the fullest.
With that attitude, we can boldly say, “Birthdays don’t bother me – bring ‘em on!”Andrea Merrell is a freelance writer with a passion to help others see God’s Word as practical and relevant for ordinary, everyday life. She has written material for ladies’ groups, marriage retreats, skits, websites and brochures, and served as both columnist and editor for Pan Am Bank Notes in Tampa, Florida. She loves Christian fiction and is currently working on three novels, along with countless devotions.Andrea (a new “grandma” with two more on the way) has been married to her husband and best friend, Charlie, for 37 years and lives in South Carolina.
Labels: andreamerrell, attitude
Monday, December 15, 2008
Divine Opportunities -- Cathy Bryant
"Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone"
. ~Colossians 4:5-6
She and I were so different from one another. I was educated; she wasn’t. I was employed; she couldn’t work. I was healthy and whole; she was an invalid. I struggled with the decision to reach out to her. We had so little in common. Or so I thought.
The truth is that we were more alike than I could have ever imagined. Both moms of boys—the love we felt for them fierce and undying. Both women full of questions of how to best survive the daily rat race. Both children of a God who lavishes His grace on us in ways we can’t even begin to comprehend. But the biggest and best lesson was that by reaching out to bless others, I was blessed.
Everyday we are faced with innumerable opportunities to make a difference. Just as God purposely set Peter and John at the temple as a crippled man was being carried to the temple gate, He also places us at different places around the globe, where someone needs a touch from God. It’s so easy for us to view our daily lives as mundane and routine, ordinary and unimportant. But God’s truth is that He uses ordinary circumstances and ordinary people like you and me to bring about extraordinary results.
The challenge for us is that we would see each day, each encounter, as an opportunity and a divine appointment. When we are the hands and feet of Jesus, it often opens the door to becoming His mouthpiece. Who knows what impact we can make for the Kingdom by living our lives with an opportunity-seeking mindset?
My prayer is that as we go about our daily lives, God will help us to seek out the opportunities He gives us to make a difference in the lives of others.C.J. Bryant lives in a small Texas town with one amazing husband, two spoiled cats, and a garden-full of flowers, hummingbirds and butterflies. Her desire is to turn her God-given abilities and opportunities into an offering back to Him, in order to make Him known. She is currently working on learning more about the craft of writing and is testing her writing wings.
Labels: attitude, cahtybryant
Monday, December 8, 2008
10 Laps Down -- Sue Falcone
"However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me--the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace
." Acts 20:24
Now I know how race drivers feel when they cannot keep up and find themselves "laps down." But they continue on and finish even though they may come in last place. Why? Because they know their hard work will show them how to improve and become even better winners in the next races!
I recently accepted the challenge to walk in a 5k race/walk at our church. Normally this would not have been a great feat for me to do. I had loved power walking all my life.
However, this would be the first time since my car accident that I had even considered doing such a thing. I was now a good member of the "Cane Crowd" and walking can be very difficult at times.
But I realized this was something I must do. I had to know that no matter what my limitations are I can still finish well. I knew I wanted to be a light to the many that also face this situation and be able to help them through it—God’s way.
So I signed up and also invited my two youngest Grand Girls, Kenzie and Kaelyn to join me. We would get a T-Shirt and lunch too.
Did I realize this was going to be a great test for me? No, but it turned out I had not planned on everyone to be miles ahead of me in such a short time. I was alone in my walk. I was even given the opportunity to "cheat" and still receive all the benefits.
But I am not a "quitter" and that no matter how long this took I would finish the right way and give God all the glory for being able to do so. Finally arriving at the finish line I saw my Grand Girls waiting for me. They rushed up to me to tell me they had waited to eat lunch until I returned. They knew I would finish and were willing to wait.
I now know the benefits of not ever quitting, and giving up on God. He is still in control and has a plan for each of us. He wants to help us finish our race, His way.
Where are you in your race of life? Are you focused on God first, or have you given in and quit thinking your race can ever be completed the way you would like it to be? God is waiting for you to come and want to begin again. He has the path all ready for you, are you ready to be the real "winner?" Come to Him and He will show you how!Sue Falcone is a gifted speaker and teacher, God has called Sue to use her unique presentation of encouragement and humor to help others overcome their fears. Skilled as a former "corporate America" manager, Sue is a graduate of Dale Carnegie and is a speaker for Stonecroft Ministries -- Christian Women's Clubs.
Labels: attitude, suefalcone
Monday, December 1, 2008
You're Late Again -- Polly Boyette
"We put no stumbling block in anyone's path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses...
" 2 Corinthians 6:3-4
When you wake up in the morning and you’re running late you should immediately spring out of bed. Don't stop to assault the clock with your shoe or to check the calendar to see if it's the right day. Proceed immediately to the bathroom, grabbing your housecoat, towel, wash cloth and clean underwear with one great swoop. If possible, try to turn on the shower while, at the same time, ripping off your pajamas. Jump into the shower, taking great care not to slip and fall. (Falling is a great waste of time). Rub soap over your entire body, or at least those parts that will be showing during the day. At the same time, dump shampoo onto your hair. Scrub your hair and body simultaneously. Turn off the shower and wrap the towel around your head, leaving the rest to drip dry. Try brushing your teeth while putting on your deodorant at the same time.
Now you are ready to get dressed. As you run out the of bathroom, glance over at the clock to see how you're doing. You must never stop to cry or kick things. Step into your shoes while you are doing your hair. If you are really late, don't bother to blow dry your hair. You can do this by hanging your head out of the car window on your way to your destination. You can also put your make-up on in traffic jams or at stop lights. As you run out the door, take one more look in the mirror to make sure you haven't forgotten anything, like your skirt.
Sometimes we find ourselves running late in our walk with God. We’re always running out of enough hours in the day when it comes to spending time with Him. Eventually this habit leaves a question mark on God’s priority in your life. 2 Corinthians warns us, “Don’t put it off; don’t frustrate God’s work by showing up late, throwing a question mark over everything we’re doing. Our work as God’s servants gets validated—or not—in the details. People are watching us as we stay at our post, alertly, unswervingly …in hard times, touch times, bad times.
Wait! Is that the time? Sorry, I’ve got to get going. I don’t want to be late again.
Polly Boyette is the author of “Life is a Buffet So Save Room for Dessert,”. She was born and raised in Virginia where she still lives today. Her friends will tell you she has a strong sense of humor and a gift for telling stories. Polly has worked in Russia with orphans providing humanitarian aid and giving them hope through the gospel of Christ.
Labels: attitude, pollyboyette
Thursday, October 30, 2008
God, Shed Your Light on Thee - Sue Payne
Listen to God, Shed Your Light on Thee-"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
" Philippians 4:8
The brilliant colors of changing leaves were the attraction as my brother Jim, my Dad and I spent last weekend together. Walking through the woods we took notice of how the fallen leaves had given way to the light revealing so much more of the forest. The depth at which we could peer into the once thick brush was amazing. Air circulated through the trees as it found freedom to move among the bare branches.
Spying otherwise hidden treasures such as deer grazing in the far field, bright red cardinals standing out against the back drop of a blue sky, and kicking up grouse nestled low in the groundcover gave proof of the abundant and colorful life living right under our noses.
It is remarkable how clearly one can see when the proper light is present and overgrown debris is cleared away. It is easy to miss the true sense of what is right in front of us when we are distracted by twisted truths, dried out ideas, tangled philosophies, and unfulfilled promises.
Perception and perspective improve as we begin to really see and understand what is true, noble, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy.
During this time in which our country is ailing economically and we approach a historic presidential election, we are prone to focus on the negative. Like the fall leaves accumulating on the floor of the forest, attitudes, opinions and wasted words fall around us creating piles of needless information. Seeing the “forest for the trees” is often difficult.
When it comes right down to it, seeing through to the abundant, colorful life that awaits each of us requires putting less stock in what the world is doing and thinking and more in getting right with God.
Instead of crowding our heads with arguments and differences, we should fill it with the truth from knowing God’s Word. Replace negative input with things possessing noble character. Seek what is right, good, and pure by listening to the Spirit through prayer. Choose the lovely, the admirable, the excellent and the praiseworthy and dwell on those things.
Are you having a hard time seeing the truth? Treasure awaits those who can. Maybe it’s time to clear out the debris, let the spirit circulate, and allow God to shed His light for thee.
Sue Payne is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in home schooling newsletters and church news bulletins. She is experienced in curriculum planning and design and uses her writing skills to encourage and teach others. Sue lives in Delaware, is married, and has two boys whom she home schooled for a total of fourteen years.
Labels: attitude, suepayne
Friday, December 21, 2007
I'm A Nut
“They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.” Isaiah 61:3
I’ve never been able to sit down at the beginning of a new year and write out goals. I find myself looking at the hopes and dreams of my family rather than myself. I want to be sure they have all they hope for. It’s a mom thing, I suppose.
I sat through a well known motivational seminar some years ago and took page after page of notes on having a winning attitude and setting goals, but when it came down to actually putting my own goals on a sheet of paper – I went blank. The speaker walked past each of us glancing over our shoulders and reading what was on our papers. When he glanced over my shoulder, he patted me on the back and said, “Honey, are you struggling?” A bit embarrassed, I smiled. He laughed a jolly laugh and remarked. “You’re a nut.” A bit confused I stared at him with a glazed look. “You’re a nut. You are a nut, waiting to become a mighty oak.” I jotted that tidbit down and it hangs by my computer to this day as a reminder that I am someone special in the making.
I’ve often wondered why it is so hard, especially for women, to feel deserving of more than we allow ourselves. Some say it is our deserve level, while others say it is the fear of success. I suppose there are a lot of good physiological reasons why, but one really sticks with me. It’s humility. Of course, we want for ourselves. For me, I work daily to achieve the dreams I have, but more than my own wants, is the desire to see those around me achieve their hopes and dreams as well.
Our Father has blessed us with much. He’s given us individual talents, abilities and desires and though He offers us abundance, I have to think that it’s not all about me and what I can achieve. In the realm of successful thinking, I’m sure to be called a failure because I don’t climb kicking and shouting over others to achieve my dreams. Some of us just have a dream of happiness for ourselves and for others. There is nothing wrong with that desire. On a daily basis, I write. I make efforts to improve my skill and I hope for a book contract someday. However, on the other side of the coin – I want others to find happiness and peace in the joy of the Lord.
Call it what you like. Label it with some physiological name, but I prefer to agree with the motivational speaker. “I’m a nut, waiting to become a mighty oak” and when I spread my limbs, hopefully it will bear the leaves of others who have been an inspiration to me and those who I may have inspired as well. We are a blessed people, given to abundance. How do you use yours?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, may we always place You in the forefront of any of our desires. May we always share Your abundance with others. Make us a mighty Oak.
Labels: attitude, Cindy
Christian Devotions SPEAK UP!
Join us this week on Christian Devotions SPEAK UP! when host Scott McCausey interviews Chaplain Eric Dollyhigh. Eric is a graduate of Texas A&M University where he obtained a Bachelor of Science in Agribusiness. He is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary, earning a degree in Pastoral Ministry and Bible Exposition. He has been married to Amy for four years and enjoys their ten-month old son, Drew. Upon his graduation, he took a job as Assistant Chaplain of Interstate Battery. Interstate Battery is a Christian-operated company whose mission statement is unique: To glorify God as we supply our customers worldwide with top quality, value-priced batteries, related electrical power-source products and distribution services. Eric's work exemplifies this statement. One of the duties Eric performs is teaching Bible studies for Interstate team members. He also organizes ministry luncheons, heads a prison ministry and leads the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program for Interstate. The Chaplains' Department not only serves the Interstate employees, but organizes mission trips, raises support for Christian camps, and creates commercials to promote God's love.
To learn more about Interstate Battery and its company philosophy.
Devotions SPEAK UP! is a live call-in show. Call-in
Number: (347) 884-9367. If you know someone
who would be a great guest on the show contact Scott
Coming up on Christian
Devotions SPEAK UP!
April 27, Brad Stine, Christian Comedian
May 11 - Curt and Marybeth Whalen, Authors
May 18 - Live from Ridgecrest
May 25 - Phil Beavers, Vice President of Institutional Advancement
Tuesday evenings from 6:00 PM. to 7:00 PM.
Catch Christian Devotions Ministry at these events in 2010:
January 19, 2010, Writers Panel Discussion, Blue Mountain College, Mississippi
February 26-27, 2010 - Write2Ignite! Christian Children's Writers Conference, North Greenville University in Greenville, South Carolina. Terri Kelly/DevoKids
March 17, 2010 - The Western North Carolina Christian Writer's Fellowship, Waynesville, NC
March 24 - MOPS, at Mud Creek Baptist Church, Hendersonville, NC - Terri Kelly
March 26 - St. James School, Ormond Beach, FL - Terri Kelly
April 16, 17, 18, 2010 - FCC Annual Women's Spring Retreat, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
May 12-15, 2010 - Colorado Christian Writers Conference, YMCA Estes Park Center
North West of Denver
May 16-20, 2010 - The Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, Lifeway Conference Center, Ridgecrest, North Carolina
June 9-12, 2010 - Write
To Publish Wheaton College, Wheaton, Ill., a Chicago suburb
June 11-12, 2010 - Kentucky Christian Writers Conference, Elizabethtown, KY, - Andrea Merrell, Associate Editor
August 12-14, 2010 - The Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference, 200 Manor Avenue, Langhorne, PA 19047
If you would like more information on when and where we'll be appearing or if you would like the staff of Christian Devotion Ministry to speak to your group
contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Faith & FINANCES: In God We Trust, A Journey to Financial Dependence - turning the hearts of a nation back toward God one paycheck at a time. Learn more!