Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Life's Little Frustrations

A devotion for today.

Life's Little Frustrations

"Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs and don't forget to thank him for his answers. If you do this you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand."

Paul Dickson discovered that the size of the cut he inflicted on himself while shaving was directly proportionate to the importance of the event he was shaving for. That led him to an interest in other "universal laws" evident in daily life. The following are a few of the many he has collected:

1. "No books you lend are lost except those you particularly want to keep.

2. "There are three ways to get something done: do it yourself, hire someone, or tell your kids not to do it.

3. "You can throw a burnt match out of the window
of your car and start a forest fire easier than
you can start one under dry logs in your fireplace
with a box of matches and the complete edition
of the Sunday newspaper."

Let's face it, more often than not it's life's little annoyances that get to trigger our "worry / frustration button" and cause us to overreact in one way or another.

As one of my favorite ditties goes:

"It's the little things that bother us / and put us on the rack / you can sit upon a mountain / but you can't sit on a tack."

Most of us have at least one worry / frustration button — and as long as this button is active, it's a good reminder that I still have some growing to do — and will until I get to the place where I quit worrying and overreacting and learn to trust God for everything!

Hmm. I see I still have a ways to go! ~ Dick Innes

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to keep growing in 'faith and love and every grace' so I can get to the point where I can accept life's frustrations without getting my buttons pushed, and trust you in every situation. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

Monday, August 28, 2006

A Double Standard Part 2

Continued from: A Double Standard

Well, they don't need to waste millions of tax dollars searching for an intelligence somewhere out there. Without the aid of even a telescope, look up at the night sky and what do we see? "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard" (Psalm 19:1-2).

Take a microscope and look at our DNA. And what do we see? "For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood be the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse" (Romans 1-20).

Man knows there is a higher intelligence - he realizes there is something more. The knowledge that there is an infinite God is written on man's heart and is obvious from everything around us. Scientists need neither telescopes nor electron microscopes to see what God has already revealed about Himself and the world.

Sign of Design: Gouldian finches exhibit a fascinating design feature. In the young nestlings, there are two pairs of pearly-iridescent, blue-purplish nodules at the margin of the beak. In conditions of dim light, such as would occur on most occasions inside the nest, these nodules readily pick up and reflect the faint light from their surrondings. Although they produce no light of their own, they appear to "glow" in all but total darkness. Their obvious purpose is to act as guides for the parents of the youngsters, so they can unerringly find the right spot into which to place the food they bring to their offspring. The nodules are not apparent in the adult, in which they are no longer needed.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

A Double Standard

Do you see what is so illogical about the search for nonhuman intelligence? If these same scientists would exchange their telescopes for microscopes, and look down into the DNA making up the chromosomes, they would see the most complex code, the most complex language in the entire universe. They would look at this and say, "Chance!" Yet if they receive the simplest ordered sequences possible from outer space, they are prepared to say, "Intelligence!"

Nobody has ever seen a complex language like DNA evolve by chance. Scientists know it takes information to get information, but they refuse to consider that an intelligence is responsible for life here on Earth. They refuse to accept the possibility that God, as spoken of in the Holy Scriptures, is that intelligence, the infinitely intelligent God of creation. Why? It would mean that this Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ, is Lord over them. They would have to kneel and worship Him and accept responsibility for their sinfulness and their need for salvation.

As these scientists look into outer space, it is as if they are shaking their fists at Jesus Christ, defiantly saying: "We refuse to accept you as Lord over us!"

Sign of Design: God designed the rib, along with the periosteum. He would certainly have known how to remove the rib in such a way that it would later grow back, just as ribs still do today - without requiring any sort of special miracle. Adam would not have had any permanent area of weakness in his rib cage, but would have had, for all of the hundreds of years of his life, the same number of ribs that you and I have today.

Monday, August 21, 2006

The Forest of Life

"Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore."
PSALM 16:11

Where I live, not far from a lazy meandering river, most of what I can see when I step out my back door are trees. The trees are tall, regal, and towering (I know there are much bigger trees in the west, but 40 - 50ft is towering for my area of Oklahoma). From the almost perfectly straight, pole-like Black Walnut, to the haunting Blackjack Oak that keeps its rough and jagged dead branches, all the varied trees have a beauty of their own.

Though when I go to work for an older lady that goes to my church, who lives on a high hill that overlooks the meandering river that cuts through the sea of green (or mostly green) trees and fields, I see all the things that are hidden behind the trees. Down in the trees, I can admire their individual beauty, but will become easily lost without guidance. Up on the high hill I can see clearly where I should go.

In the same way, as God leads us through life, we can become lost if we don't ask Him for guidance, and once in awhile, God will lift us up to the heights to let us have just a glimpse of how He sees the forest of life. As I travel through life, I "admire" many of the experiences I am able to have, but will find myself lost and confused, unable to see through the mist that constantly flows around me, and unable to understand which way I should go. That is when I must stand strong on God and trust Him to guide me through.

I relish the few chances I have to be on the "high hill," as close to God as I can get. But I know that trusting God and accomplishing what He wants me to do, requires boldly trekking into the forest of this world, proclaiming the good news of Jesus, with His Spirit, the Holy Spirit, guiding my every step.

Thou hast proved mine heart; thou hast visited me in the night; thou hast tried me, and shalt find nothing; I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress. Concerning the works of men, by the word of thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer. Hold up my goings in thy paths, that my footsteps slip not.
PSALM 17:3-5

Written by: Zachary J.

P.S. Many exciting things will be happening in my life, so for the next few weeks, although I will continue to post on a regular schedule, I am going to be very busy and won't be able to do much commenting, if any at all.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Behind The Scenes

He must increase, but I must decrease.
JOHN 3:30

People around the world instantly recognize Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch from the children’s TV show Sesame Street. But Caroll Spinney is not a well-known celebrity, even though he has brought both characters to life on the popular program since 1969. A skilled puppeteer, Spinney has been content to work behind the scenes.

I believe God calls every follower of Jesus to take a similar approach in making Him known to the world. John the Baptist told his listeners: “I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent before Him.’ . . . He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:28,30). John acknowledged that he was not the bridegroom, but only His friend (v.29).

Oswald Chambers reminds us: “Goodness and purity ought never to attract attention to themselves, they ought simply to be magnets to draw to Jesus Christ. A beautiful saint may be a hindrance if he does not present Jesus Christ but only what Christ has done for him; he will leave the impression—‘What a fine character that man is!’—that is not being a true friend of the Bridegroom; I am increasing all the time, He is not.”

Jesus the Savior is onstage. We must be behind the scenes. ~David C. McCasland

When you share the Lord with others,
See that He is on display;
For the world to see Him clearly,
We must not get in the way. —Sper

He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

A New Beginning!

There's something so...

There’s something so special about a sunrise, something that transcends the beauty of the deep, bright, alternate colors.... Something that goes beyond the breathtaking simplicity of each beam of sunlight as it breaks its way through the early-morning fog and shines onto our gazing eyes. There’s something incredible that fills our hearts as we stand and watch each drop of mist burn away and a new day begin. It’s a new beginning.

There’s something so amazing about a new-born child, something that can never be put into words. Something in those pure, trusting eyes, something about those perfectly formed little hands, as they reach out and grasp a hold of your finger. There’s something about the helplessness, the utter-dependence upon a greater strength, something so peaceful. It’s a new beginning.

There’s something so mind-boggling as we watch as tiny seed sprout and grow, slowly, surely, breaking its way through the hard soil and showing its first little leaf, soaking in newfound sunlight, newfound energy. There’s something about the first cracking of a rosebud, just as the earliest bit of color shows… there’s something that burns its way deep down into our heart as we watch it slowly open and for the first time display its full beauty. It’s a new beginning.

There’s something so far-fetched about a freshly hatched butterfly, with the almost ugly beauty of its short wrinkled wings. There’s something so awesome as we watch the wings unfold, expand, and flutter in the breeze, something so icy-fresh that our whole being tingles with the anticipation of a new, beautiful creature. It’s a new beginning.

And, you know, without new beginnings, we’d all die. There would be no new day, no new chance to try again, no new opportunity to trust, no new heart from above, no new life to live. Nothing. We would die a ghastly death, because we would realize so quickly how much every new breath of air means to us.

Yet, in this world all around us so many people have never tasted life. They have never felt the fresh air of mercy and grace upon the hot, dry desert of sin. They have never felt the icy-fresh waters of divine love upon their parched, cracked, and bleeding hearts. They have never felt the wonder of forgiveness, the comfort and beauty and sorrow of repentance, and the inexpressible joy of a heart cleansed, cleansed white, whiter than snow by the crimson blood of Jesus Christ. What shall we do!? Let us grasp them by the shoulders, let us pick up their hand, let us point their eyes towards their Savior and cry,
"Look! The New Beginning!"

These words are simple and true. We were nigh unto being destroyed, and God came in His mercy and rescued our wreched souls. With that in mind, do we ever look at the things around us? Do we look at our world like someone who just received life? I admit that don't very often, but when I do, David expressed how I feel perfectly. Thank Jesus we have can have a new beginning!

There's something so... ~David Boskovic
Used With Permission. (c) 2006 All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

How do we keep our youth in church?

The article below was written by Matt Friedeman, and I agree with him. We, as Christians, do not effectively reach the youth of our day, not because we aren't like those we're trying to reach, but in my opinion, we are acting too much like them. We give non-Christians no reason to want to change and become a Christian.

"In 2002, the SBC's Council on Family Life reported that roughly 88 percent of evangelical children are leaving the church shortly after they graduate from high school."

But why?

I wonder if it is not for these three reasons:

First, we give students what they want, instead of what they need. Some say this is making the gospel relevant to youth. But how relevant is the gospel if, once you are away from your parents, your head has a tough time leaving the pillow for ecclesiastical environs on Sunday mornings? One has to wonder if we have gone too far with age-segregation (which is hardly relevant in the "real" world), catering to perceived needs of teenagers (again, not relevant in later life), and isolating kids in an evangelical subculture (that is laughed at, actually, in "real" life).

Second, when Jesus made disciples of young men (and John was called "a youth and almost a boy" by one early church father), He challenged them to "Follow Me." Teenage discipleship in Jesus' day meant spending time with an adult. Initially, that was with a parent who worked your tail-end off on the farm while talking about Deuteronomy (see Deuteronomy 6:4-9). If you were blessed enough later in life to receive teaching from a rabbi, it meant attaching yourself to the teacher and learning adult lessons with adult methodology. There were no cool websites, lock-ins, hip-hop bands or youth organizations pulling out the stops to come up with neat, new (actually, frequently gross) games to capture attention before a quick three-point Bible study and then pizza.

Third, I wonder if we don't significantly cheat our kids when we suggest that vital discipleship can exist without a life of evangelism and compassionate service. Again, discipleship Jesus-style meant gathering a small group and putting them to communicate the gospel and work among the needy of the community. Together they challenged the lost, touched the sick, healed the lepers, reached out to the hungry and ministered to the poor. In one of his last lessons on earth, Jesus warned His disciples that anyone who wasn't involved in this kind of activity risked "the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matt. 25:31-46). How is it our youth, and by extension our churches, miss that message? And then, are shocked that our lack of mission fails to capture the imagination of a burgeoning adult making his own time and commitment choices?

Could it be that youth see right through it all? Could it be they know our faith is a farce? Could it be that staying home on Sunday mornings is just as relevant to the Kingdom as attending a church that makes a joke of ministry, specifically youth ministry?

Article was copied from - Here

What do you think? Do we need more games and entertainment? Or should the youth of our churches work closely with the godly adults of the church who have experience living in this evil world?

Monday, August 14, 2006

Why the Ongoing Search for Little Green Men?

Pulse... pulse... pulse... pulse... What could it be? It was so regular, flashing every one-and-a-third seconds, keeping exact time. Nothing like this had been seen before.

Jocelyn Bell-Burnell and her supervisor, Prof. Antony Hewish, were at Cambridge University when they discovered this peculiar phenomenon. Jocelyn, during an interview, said, "One of the ideas we facetiously entertained was that it might be little green men - a civilization outside in space somewhere trying to communicate with us... It did seem to be a little bit going off the deep end to say we had detected signals from another civilization. But the name stuck. We referred to this radio source as LGM-1"

And what had they found? It was a rapidly rotating neutron star, now called a pulsar, broadcasting without artificial aid. That briefly summarizes how the first pulsar ever discovered was named LGM-1.

Little green men, indeed! Would scientists really even contemplate such a possibility? Not only did they contemplate it, but millions of tax dollars are being spent by NASA to search for intelligent life in outer space. And why are they searching? Is it because there is evidence that there are beings on other planets? Not at all. It is solely because NASA is so committed to accepting evolution as fact.

Just as Jocelyn Bell-Burnell contemplated "little green men" when she discovered the regular pulses from what we now know is a pulsar, so many scientists today get very excited with each new scrap of "evidence" for life on other planets. In their opinion, this evidence bolsters their understanding of how the universe, and life on Earth, evolved.

Sign of Design: The periosteum is a membrane that covers every bone, and it contains cells that can manufacture new bone. Thoracic (chest) surgeons routinely remove ribs, and these often grow back, in whole or in part.

Friday, August 11, 2006

I just saw that I had been tagged...

... so here goes nothing. (This wasn't done in one sitting, I started writing this earlier today, but had to stop and finish it later.)

1. Grab the book nearest to you, turn to page 18, find line 4 and write what it says.
~ TO DO: Trust in His promise to fulfill His purpose in you through the

2.Stretch your left arm out as far as you can. What can you touch?
~ Well, if I stretch my arm out in front of me, I can touch my computer screen; beside me, our piano; behind me, nothing.

3. What is the last thing you watched on TV?
~ The Weather Channel

4. Without looking, guess what time it is.
~ 3:30 PM

5. Now look at the clock. What is the actual time?
~ 3:14 PM

6. With the exception of the computer, what can you hear?
~ An electric fan and a ceiling fan working together attempting to keep our house cool.

7. When did you last step outside? What were you doing?
~ about 15 min. ago, when I returned home from where I work.

8. Before you started this survey, what did you look at?
~ The world going by without me. :)

9. What are you wearing?
~ An old paur of blue jeans and light blue shirt that has few holes in it, both are just for work.

10. Did you dream last night?
~ Yep.

11. When did you last laugh?
~ Just a few seconds ago. When I realized that I had mispelled "pair" a couple of questions back. I decided to see if paur was a word, and my dictionary says that the most similar word to my mispelled word is: Pauropod - eyeless invertebrate with 18 legs.

12. What is on the walls of the room you are in?
~ Some nice paintings and a hanging wall clock.

13. Seen anything weird lately?
~ Yes, I saw two large planes, one right behind the other, flying very close to each other (I think one may have been refueling the other). I did get a picture of it (see right).

14. What do you think of this quiz?
~ Enjoyable so far...

15. What is the last film you saw?
~ I really don't remember.

16.If you became a multi - millionare overnight, what would you buy?
~ I don't know. A small country, maybe.

17. Tell me something about you that I don't know.
~ I generally only spend two hours (if that) on my laptop, closing the lid by 9:00, unless there is a project I really need to get done.

18. If you could change one thing about the world, regardless of guilt or politics, what would you do?
~ This is a difficult question, I would probably have every Christian perfectly obey the will of God, as every Christian should seek to do.

19. Do you like to dance?
~ Haven't done it much, so I guess that's a no.

20. Comment to George Bush:
~ Seek the One who can solve all problems.

21. Imagine your first child is a girl, what do you call her?
~ I think that decision depends partly on another person, and only God knows who that person will be...

22. Imagine your first child is a boy, what do you call him?
~ I think that decision depends partly on another person, and only God knows who that person will be...

23. Would you ever consider living abroad?
~ Yes, I will follow God wherever He leads.

24. What so you want God to say to you when you reach the pearly gate?
~ Well done, my good and faithful servant.

25. 3 people who must also do this quiz on their blog.

1. Brittleigh

2. Elizabeth

3. Matt

... and anyone else who wants to
answer these questions!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Wake Up And Live

A devotion for today.

Wake Up And Live

READ: Revelation 3:1-6

"I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead."

It happened more than 30 years ago but it still hurts. During a period of spiritual rebellion, I ran into a young man I had introduced to Christ. He was stunned to discover that I had walked away from the Lord and was no longer the person he had known. It is one of my most regretted experiences, and I still pray for an opportunity to make it right with him.

During those wandering years, I would have fit in comfortably as a member of the First Church of Sardis (Revelation 3:1-6). My dilemma, like theirs, was that people thought I was the person I used to be.

The risen Lord confronted the church in Sardis: “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God” (Revelation 3:1-2).

Their reputation for being alive didn’t match reality. They were spiritually dead. But there was still hope. The Lord told them to wake up and fan the spark of spiritual life still in them. “Hold fast and repent,” He warned (v.3).

Pretending to be what we aren’t is a heavy burden to bear. Our Lord calls us to lay it down, repent, come back to Him, and live. ~David C. McCasland

O Lord, return to me Your power
That once by grace I knew;
Forgive the sin that grieved Your heart,
And help me to be true. ~Anon.

No matter how far you’ve run from God, He’s only a prayer away.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Secret Bases? Government Cover-ups?

Many UFO enthusiasts spread the "urban myth" of secret US government experiments on aliens, an idea reinforced by the movie Independence Day. Does a cover-up, however, make sense when, under the inspiration of atheists like the late Carl Sagan, the US government has spent millions of taxpayers' dollars listening "out there" for signs of intelligent extraterrestrial life?

Many other evolutionary humanists, like Sagan, passionately believe that intelligent life has evolved "out there" in addition to the life on Earth, and would pounce on any hard evidence for this idea. Consider the media frenzy about the "life in Mars rock" fiasco. To imagine that a much more exciting discovery would be kept secret for decades defies credibility.

Sign of Design: The thousands of vertebrate species on the ark emerged into a world with large numbers of empty ecological niches. They must have split many times into new species in the first few centuries thereafter, as the bear population, for example, gave rise to polar bears, grizzlies, giant pandas, and more.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Becoming Useful

A devotion for today.

Becoming Useful

READ: John 5:19-23

Jesus was fully God, yet He was fully man. As a man, His power, wisdom, and grace flowed not from His divine nature but from His utter dependence on God. “The Son can do nothing of Himself,” He said (John 5:19). How much did Jesus do apart from God? Nothing!

Jesus always depended on His Father. Luke reports that as news of Jesus’ ministry spread, “Great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by Him of their infirmities. So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed” (Luke 5:15-16). He knew He needed those quiet times to restore His soul.

What’s done in secret is what matters. It’s during those quiet times that we, like Jesus, are shaped and molded and made into people that God can put to His intended use.

“But,” you say, “I’m in a place where I can’t be useful.” Perhaps you feel that circumstances limit you drastically. Illness, financial problems, a difficult boss or co-worker, or an uncooperative family member seem to conspire against you. Whatever your situation, use it to grow closer to the Savior.

Learn to have utter dependence on the Father, just as Jesus did. Leave it up to God to make you useful in whatever way He sees fit. ~David H. Roper

O that my life may useful be
As I serve Jesus faithfully;
And may the world see Christ in me—
This is my earnest prayer. ~Hess

The measure of your usefulness is the measure of your faithfulness.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Cupcake Self-Discipline

A devotion for today.

Cupcake Self-Discipline

Read: Titus 1:1-9

"Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls."

An old adage says: “Next time you want a cupcake, eat a carrot.” The saying is good advice for dieters, but those who framed it may have had all of us in mind. By disciplining our desires when no moral principle is at stake, we prepare ourselves for those moments when we face a temptation to sin.

This kind of discipline is what Paul referred to when he used the term self-controlled in his list of qualifications for church leadership (Titus 1:8). We need this reminder today. Many people think they can live immorally now and suddenly stop when they want to. Because they do not consider the addictive power of sin, they find that living up to their good intentions is far more difficult than they had anticipated.

Proverbs 25:28 tells us that if we lack self-control we are as defenseless as a city with broken-down walls. Consistent self-discipline will build up our spiritual defense system against the forces of evil.

When we discipline ourselves to keep our ordinary desires under control, we make a habit of virtuous living and practice the reality of Paul’s words in Romans 6:18, “Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” ~Herbert Vander Lugt

To gain self-control, give Christ control.