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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Learning from a Flock of Geese

-  Geoff Wilson

We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.
 If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. 
Romans 12:6-8 (NIV) 

You have probably heard someone call another person who has done something foolish, "A silly goose!" 
Well, I can tell you that geese are not silly. We can learn a lot from the goose.
 For example, I am sure that most of you probably know that when geese fly, they fly in a "V" formation. Have you ever wondered why the geese fly in a "V" formation?

Recent scientific studies have given us the answer. It has been learned that as each goose flaps its wings, it gives a lift to the one immediately following. It has been determined that flying this way gives the geese about 70% more flying range. Of course, that means that the lead goose is working harder.
 When the lead goose gets tired, he falls back into the formation and another takes his place. Now, that's team work!

If you have ever seen a flock of geese flying, you have also noticed that all the time they are flying, the geese are"honking." They do this to encourage one another. It is always easier to do something difficult when you know you aren't flying alone, isn't it?

Sometimes, a goose becomes sick or is injured and falls to the ground. When that happens, two other geese go down and stay with it until it is well. If it dies, they join another formation and continue on their journey.

Do you think the geese are silly? 
It sounds to me like they are pretty smart!
What lessons do you think we could learn from the geese?
We could learn that it is important for all church members to share the responsibility within the church rather than letting the same loyal ones work until they drop! We could learn that it is important to "honk" encouragement to other workers in the church. We could learn that it is important for us to look after those who are sick or in need.

Dear Jesus, help us to use the gifts that you have given us to serve and encourage others. Amen. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

You Reap What You Sow

"Good morning," said a woman as she walked up to the man sitting on the ground. The man slowly looked up. This was a woman clearly accustomed to the finer things of life. Her coat was new. She looked like she had never missed a meal in her life. His first thought was that she wanted to make fun of him, like so many others had done before.

"Leave me alone," he growled. To his amazement, the woman continued standing. She was smiling -- her even white teeth displayed in dazzling rows. "Are you hungry?" she asked. "No," he answered sarcastically. "I've just come from dining with the president. Now go away." The woman's smile became even broader. Suddenly the man felt a gentle hand under his arm. "What are you doing, lady?" the man asked angrily. "I said to leave me alone. Just then a policeman came up. "Is there any problem, ma'am?" he asked.

"No problem here, officer," the woman answered. "I'm just trying to get this man to his feet. Will you help me?" The officer scratched his head. "That's old Jack. He's been a fixture around here for a couple of years. What do you want with him?" "See that cafeteria over there?" she asked. "I'm going to get him something to eat and get him out of the cold for awhile." "Are you crazy, lady?" the homeless man resisted. "I don't want to go in there!" Then he felt strong hands grab his other arm and lift him up. "Let me go, officer. I didn't do anything."

"This is a good deal for you, Jack," the officer answered. "Don't blow it." Finally, and with some difficulty, the woman and the police officer got Jack into the cafeteria and sat him at a table in a remote corner. It was the middle of the morning, so most of the breakfast crowd had already left and the lunch bunch had not yet arrived. The manager strode across the cafeteria and stood by his table. "What's going on here, officer?" he asked."What is all this, is this man in trouble?" "This lady brought this man in here to be fed," the policeman answered.

"Not in here!" the manager replied angrily. "Having a person like that here is bad for business."
Old Jack smiled a toothless grin. "See, lady. I told you so. Now if you'll let me go. I didn't want to come here in the first place." The woman turned to the cafeteria manager and smiled. "Sir, are you familiar with Eddy and Associates, the banking firm down the street?" "Of course I am," the manager answered impatiently.

"They hold their weekly meetings in one of my banquet rooms." "And do you make a goodly amount of money providing food at these weekly meetings?" "What business is that of yours?" "I, sir, am Penelope Eddy, president and CEO of the company." "Oh."

The woman smiled again. "I thought that might make a difference." She glanced at the cop who was busy stifling a laugh. "Would you like to join us in a cup of coffee and a meal, officer?" "No thanks, ma'am," the officer replied. "I'm on duty." "Then, perhaps, a cup of coffee to go?"
"Yes, ma'am. That would be very nice."

The cafeteria manager turned on his heel. "I'll get your coffee for you right away, officer." The officer watched him walk away. "You certainly put him in his place," he said. "That was not my intent... Believe it or not, I have a reason for all this." She sat down at the table across from her amazed dinner guest. She stared at him intently.

"Jack, do you remember me?" Old Jack searched her face with his old, rheumy eyes. "I think so -- I mean you do look familiar." "I'm a little older perhaps," she said. "Maybe I've even filled out more than in my younger days when you worked here, and I came through that very door, cold and hungry."

"Ma'am?" the officer said questioningly. He couldn't believe that such a magnificently turned out woman could ever have been hungry. "I was just out of college," the woman began. "I had come to the city looking for a job, but I couldn't find anything. Finally I was down to my last few cents and had been kicked out of my apartment. I walked the streets for days. It was February and I was cold and nearly starving. I saw this place and walked in on the off chance that I could get something to eat."

Jack lit up with a smile. "Now I remember," he said. "I was behind the serving counter. You came up and asked me if you could work for something to eat. I said that it was against company policy." "I know," the woman continued. "Then you made me the biggest roast beef sandwich that I had ever seen, gave me a cup of coffee, and told me to go over to a corner table and enjoy it. I was afraid that you would get into trouble. Then, when I looked over and saw you put the price of my food in the cash register, I knew then that everything would be all right."

"So you started your own business?" Old Jack said. "I got a job that very afternoon. I worked my way up. Eventually I started my own business that, with the help of God, prospered." She opened her purse and pulled out a business card. "When you are finished here, I want you to pay a visit to a Mr. Lyons. He's the personnel director of my company. I'll go talk to him now and I'm certain he'll find something for you to do around the office."

She smiled. "I think he might even find the funds to give you a little advance so that you can buy some clothes and get a place to live until you get on your feet. If you ever need anything, my door is always open to you." There were tears in the old man's eyes. "How can I ever thank you?" he asked. "Don't thank me," the woman answered. "To God goes the glory. Thank Jesus... He led me to you."

Outside the cafeteria, the officer and the woman paused at the entrance before going their separate ways. "Thank you for all your help, officer," she said. "On the contrary, Ms. Eddy," he answered.  "Thank you. I saw a miracle today, something that I will never forget. And thank you for the coffee."

She frowned. "I forgot to ask you whether you used cream or sugar. That's black." The officer looked at the steaming cup of coffee in his hand. "Yes, I do take cream and sugar — perhaps more sugar than is good for me." He patted his ample stomach. "I'm sorry," she said. "I don't need it now," he replied smiling. "I've got the feeling that this coffee you bought me is going to taste as sweet as sugar."


 - From Reminisces of Happy Times by Robert Wiley

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Valentines Day





See http://www.poemsource.com/Christian-valentine-poems.html for some amazing Christian Valentine Poems by Joanna Fuchs

And its that time again when people go crazy trying to express their "love" for the ones in their lives. I ask you, why do you need a special day to express ur love? Coming to the more important point, we should realise that no one loves us like God does (John 3:16). He has been there with us since our creation, at every step of our lives, helping us out. Thus, we should give Him more priority and love than anything/anyone else in our lives. May Jesus Bless you all.


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Can You Sleep When The Wind Blows

Isaiah 26:3New International Version (NIV)

You will keep in perfect peace
    those whose minds are steadfast,
    because they trust in you.

Years ago, a farmer owned land along the Atlantic seacoast.  He constantly advertised for hired hands. Most people were reluctant to work on farms along the Atlantic. They dreaded the awful storms that raged across the Atlantic, wreaking havoc on the buildings and crops. As the farmer interviewed applicants for the job, he received a steady stream of refusals.

Finally, a short, thin man, well past middle age, approached the farmer. "Are you a good farm hand?" the farmer asked him. "Well, I can sleep when the wind blows," answered the little man. Although puzzled by this answer, the farmer, desperate for help, hired him. The little man worked well around the farm, busy from dawn to dusk, and the farmer felt satisfied with the man's work.

Then one night the wind howled loudly in from offshore. Jumping out of bed, the farmer grabbed a lantern and rushed next door to the hired hand's sleeping quarters. He shook the little man and yelled, "Get up! A storm is coming! Tie things down before they blow away!" The little man rolled over in bed and said firmly,"No sir. I told you, I can sleep when the wind blows."

Enraged by the response, the farmer was tempted to fire him on the spot. Instead, he hurried outside to prepare for the storm. To his amazement, he discovered that all of the haystacks had been covered with tarpaulins. The cows were in the barn, the chickens were in the coops, and the doors were barred. The shutters were tightly secured. Everything was tied down. Nothing could blow away. The farmer then understood what his hired hand meant, so he returned to his bed to also sleep while the wind blew.

When you're prepared, spiritually, mentally, and physically, you have nothing to fear. Can you sleep when the wind blows through your life? The hired hand in the story was able to sleep because he had secured the farm against the storm. We secure ourselves against the storms of life by grounding ourselves in the Word of God. We don't need to understand, we just need to hold His hand to have peace in the middle of storms. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Unchangeable Things

Hebrews 6 New International Version (NIV)

Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death,[a] and of faith in God, instruction about cleansing rites,[b] the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.And God permitting, we will do so.

It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age and who have fallen[c] away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.

Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are convinced of better things in your case—the things that have to do with salvation. 10 God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. 11 We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized. 12 We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.

The Certainty of God’s Promise

13 When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself, 14 saying, “I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.”[d] 15 And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.
16 People swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument. 17 Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. 18 God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. 19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, 20 where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.

Footnotes:

  1. Hebrews 6:1 Or from useless rituals
  2. Hebrews 6:2 Or about baptisms
  3. Hebrews 6:6 Or age, if they fall
  4. Hebrews 6:14 Gen. 22:17

Solely by His grace and mercy, God promised Abraham that He would bless and multiply his descendants. Though this should have been sufficient for Abraham, God knew doubts would enter his mind. And so He also swore an oath to Abraham and his heirs in order to confirm His promise (Heb. 6:17). This oath was made out of the sovereign and loving will of God.

It is important to note that God swore His promise not only to Abraham but also to his heirs. God knew that future generations of His people would be tempted to give up on Him because of the persecution they faced or because of the delay of God’s fulfilling His promise. He knew they would need encouragement to persevere in the midst of such trials and tribulations. This was especially true of the original audience of Hebrews, and it remains true for us two thousand years later as we journey in faith through an unbelieving world.

God, in His great love, provides this encouragement through two unchangeable things: the word of His promise and the oath which confirms that promise (v. 18). Unlike us, God is always truthful. He never lies or breaks His oaths. He always fulfills His promises. His unchangeable word alone should be enough comfort for us. But He adds to it His unchangeable oath so that “we who have fled for refuge” might have all the more incentive to cling to our hope.

John Owen tells us that encouragement means to be comforted and consoled. “This consolation comes from the assurance of faith and our help from God’s promises. This is what relieves our souls of all fears, doubts, and troubles. It either prevents them or is stronger than them. For comfort is the relief for the mind against sorrow and trouble.” The immutability of God’s words and oaths relieves us of fears and troubles. It comforts our sorrow and thereby gives us encouragement and incentive to maintain our faith.

These two unchangeable things encourage those of us who have fled for refuge to hold fast the hope set before us. The hope set before us is our final and complete salvation, that is, the renewal of our bodies and all creation. We have fled for refuge unto Christ, the Guarantor of the better and heavenly city that will descend to earth at the consummation (Rev. 21).

Coram Deo

In this world of decay and death, it can be hard to believe that Christ is going to make all things new. But we can be confident of this renewal because God has given us two unchangeable confirmations of it: His promise and His oath. Remember that God’s faithfulness guarantees that we who have fled for refuge to Christ will be saved.

Passages for Further Study


From Ligonier Ministries, the teaching fellowship of R.C. Sproul.
All rights reserved. Website: www.ligonier.org | Phone: 1-800-435-4343

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Prayer

By Leonard Ravenhill
There's nothing more transfiguring than prayer. People often ask, "Why do you insist on prayer so much?" The answer is very simple - because Jesus did. You could change the title of the Gospel according to St. Luke to the Gospel of Prayer. It's the prayer life of Jesus. The other evangelists say that Jesus was in the Jordan and the Spirit descended on Him as a dove - Luke says it was while He was praying that the Spirit descended on Him. The other evangelists say that Jesus chose 12 disciples - Luke says it was after He spent a night in prayer that He chose 12 disciples. The other evangelists say that Jesus died on a cross - Luke says that even when He was dying Jesus was praying for those who persecuted Him. The other evangelists say Jesus went on a mount and He was transfigured - Luke says it was while He was praying that He was transfigured. There's nothing more transfiguring than prayer.

     The Scriptures say that the disciples went to bed, but Jesus went to pray - as was His custom. It was His custom to pray. Now Jesus was the Son of God - He was definitely anointed for His ministry. If Jesus needed all that time in prayer, don't you and I need time in prayer? If Jesus needed it in every crisis, don't you and I need it in every crisis?

      The story goes that a group of tourists visiting a picturesque village saw an old man sitting by a fence. In a rather patronizing way, one of the visitors asked, "Were any great men born in this village?" Without looking up the old man replied, "No, only babies." The greatest men were once babies. The greatest saints were once toddlers in the things of the Spirit.

      C. H. Spurgeon was converted at the age of 16 and began preaching in London at the age of 19. When he was 27, they built him a tabernacle seating 6,000 which he packed twice on Sundays - that's 12,000 - and once on Thursday nights. How? He waited on God. He got alone with God. He studied...and he prayed.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Elisabeth Elliot on Discipleship

- Anonymous


(Wife of Jim Elliot – Missionary Martyr)


Elisabeth Elliot explains that the word “disciple” simply means learner. And learning to understand the way of the Cross is difficult. It requires self-abandonment, sacrifice, and trust in the One worth learning from. As a child of twelve, she recalls reading a prayer written by Betty Scott Stam, a missionary to China.  It was at this time that young Elisabeth sensed a desire to surrender her life to Christ and become His disciple. This prayer was then her own:

Lord,

I give up all my own plans and purposes,
All my own desires and hopes,
And accept Thy will for my life.

I give myself, my life, my all,
Utterly to Thee, to be Thine forever!

Fill me and seal me with Thy Holy Spirit.

Use me as Thou will,
Send me where Thou will,
And work out Thy whole will in my life,
At any cost, now and forever!




Betty Scott Stam
(Missionary to China, Martyr)