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Archive for April, 2007

I ran across the following writing in my devotional the other day and thought I would share it with everyone.  How easy it can be to become critical of others.  But God is no respecter of persons and is not that way.  Neither should we be.

A little seed lay in the ground

And soon began to sprout.

“Now which of all the flowers around,

It mused, “shall I come out?” 

“Then the little seed said to itself:  ‘I don’t want to be a lily, for lilies are so cold and lofty.  I don’t want to be a rose, for the rose is rather loud in color, it dies quickly, its edges wilt and it isn’t very practical.  I don’t want to be a violet, for the violet is too small, too dark and grows too close to the ground.’ “The little seed was like some people we all know.  It was critical.  It was critical of everything around it.  It found fault with all its neighbors.  It didn’t like the colors of some, the perfume of others, the size and shape of others.  It had nothing constructive to offer, even in its own behalf.  The whole theme of its life was criticism.

 And so it criticized each flower,

This supercilious seed,

Until it woke one summer hour

And found itself a Weed!

 “There has been only one faultless Person in this world, and He has promised to present all believers ‘faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy’ (Jude 24).  Until then, let each believer be a ‘flower’ rather than a weed in this scene of His rejection.”  – CMA Church bulletin 

Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.  Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.  Of if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.  But let every man prove his own work, and then shall  he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.  (Gal. 6:1-4) Taken from Streams in the Desert, Volume Two by Mrs. Charles E. Cowman

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wounded-spirit.jpgIn light of the recent tragedy at VA Tech, my thoughts have turned back to a book I read sometime after the Columbine tragedy by author Frank Peretti, aptly named, “The Wounded Spirit.  I feel deeply for all the students who lost their lives, but I also feel for the one who took their lives as well as his own.  In Peretti’s book, it says, “It’s the feeling of being undersized or oversized…or klutzy or less than beautiful.  Of being a nerd…or a geek…or just, somehow, different.  It’s knowing you are vulnerable–and someone is ready and willing to take full advantage of your weakness by making your life miserable.  It’s the fraternity you never wanted to join–the fellowship of the wounded spirit.

In Peretti’s first non fiction work, he examines the pain from his past and helps us uncover the scars in our own lives. Drawing from tragic news stories like Columbine, he illustrates how ridicule and rejection can push people beyond the brink.  Then with poignant insight, he shows us the way to heal the wounded spririt that lies within us all.”

I recommend this book to all who have been wounded or have loved ones or friends that have been wounded.  Peretti tells firsthand of his own experiences growing up with a medical condition that left him disfigured and subject to the ridicule of his classmates and the neighborhood kids.  His approach is both tender and tough as he issues a ringing call for a change in attitude.  It’s a call for all of us to stop thinking of abuse as “normal”, even among kids.  It’s a call for the strong to stand up and protect the weak, not prey upon them.  Most of all, it’s a call for bullies and victims alike to seek the healing and forgiveness offered in Jesus Christ.  Only in Christ is there hope for the wounded spirits–but that hope is powerful enough to change everything.

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I would like to dedicate the following poem to all the wonderful people God has sent my way in life who have blessed me, not with money or gifts, but by simply being who they are.   I have grown because of you and am a better person for it.   As the song goes, “There’s no precious oil or wealth that’s like the gift of just yourself”.  Thank you for the gift of you.

 

DON’T GIVE ME DIAMONDS ALTHOUGH I LOVE

THEIR SPARKLE AND THEIR HUE.

FRIEND, IF YOU WISH TO BESTOW A GIFT,

GIVE ME THE GIFT OF YOU.

DON’T GIVE ME SAPPHIRES ALTHOUGH I ESTEEM

THEIR DAZZLING SHADE OF BLUE.

LISTEN AND HEAR AND GIVE IF YOU PLEASE

THE WONDERFUL GIFT OF YOU!

DON’T BRING ME RUBIES ALTHOUGH I ADMIRE

THEIR DEEP UNDERTONES OF RED.

KEEP ALL YOUR JEWELS AND BRING TO ME

THE GIFT OF YOU INSTEAD.

THE ONLY TRUE GIFT IS THE GIFT OF YOU.

DIAMONDS AND RUBIES WILL NEVER DO.

THEY’RE JUST A WEAK APOLOGY,

FOR THE REAL GIFT THAT WAS MEANT TO BE.

HE GIVES NOTHING WHO GIVES NOT OF HIS HEART.

THOUGH HIS GIFT MAY APPEASE, IT CAN NEVER IMPART,

THE WARMTH THAT COMES FROM A HUMAN SOUL.

TIS FAR GREATER THAN ANY GEM I KNOW.

  

©1999 by Karen Mester

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This week, our brother Tommy had a birthday.  He is now 40-none-of-your-business-something years old!   We had a little birthday bash for him at our house Tuesday night.  I’ve known Tommy since I was 14 months old, and I taught him everything he knows.  That is why he skipped a grade when he was about 9, and he and I were in the same class together all the way through high-school graduation.  Tommy is the only brother living with us in Cally.  We’re so glad he’s here.  We’re still working on getting the other two out here, but I don’t know if that will happen.  Happy Birthday Tommy.  May you feel Jesus near every day of the year.  A happy birthday to you, a happy birthday to you, and the best year you’ve ever had!

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 Although I do not own a TV, and never have, I thought this was a good article from Kaiser Permanente.

On average, American kids spend about five hours per day using various screen media for entertainment, including television, video games, and the Internet. This means that over the course of a year they spend more time in front of a screen than in school. In fact, 43 percent of children under the age of two are daily TV watchers. 

These figures stand in stark contrast to the recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatrics and Kaiser Permanente that no child should have more than one or two hours of screen time per day, and children under two should have none at all. This recommendation of no electronic media for children 0-2 even applies to TV shows, DVDs, and computer games that have supposedly been designed for very young children.

For the rest of this article, click here.

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Over the hillside, the sunrise is coming.

Gentle and warm, it wakes up the day.

Reflecting His light for Jesus has risen.

Heaven and earth now join in the praise.

Those who have seen Him now are believers.

And we who now by believing have seen.

Lifting our voices in one mighty chorus.

Jesus is Lord and Savior and King!

 

Glorious morning Jesus is risen.

No tomb could hold Him, no stone could seal.

Glorious morning the world has a Saviour.

He is alive and His truth is revealed.

 

Eternity’s war fought through the ages,

Comes to an end at Calvary’s cross.

And the tomb is now empty,

Light shatters the darkness.

Night that seemed endless gives way to the dawn!

 

Gary McSpadden, Lari Goss, and Linda Dooley

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Who would’ve believed we would ever see the day Bobby turned 40!  Well, yesterday it happened, and now Mom has 4 children in their older and wiser 40’s.  The two youngest, Annie and Johnny are so jealous.  They are still in their 30’s!   Bobby was given the royal treatment at work with a visit from a widow in black who gave him black balloons, sang a funeral dirge, wailed and shrieked and made him do the hokey pokey.  If I get any pictures, I will post them.  Until then, here are some photos of our dear brother.  Bobby is probably the smartest of the six siblings.  He also is the most traveled of us, visiting such places as Italy, Germany, Norway, Africa and various states.   We love you, Bobby!  Enjoy 40 because 50 will be here before you know it!

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The year was 1990.  I was 30 years old and suffering from severe asthma.  The strain of my illness had taken its toll on me.  For six long months, I went through an extremely difficult time in my life.  I had trouble sleeping at night because of anxiety and difficulty breathing.  It seemed like every breath I took was a struggle.   I was a basket case.  One night I asked God, “Do you really understand what I’m going through?”  I didn’t receive an answer right then, but a few days later, while listening to a Christian radio program, I received my answer.  The program had a guest who was a doctor, and he was discussing the medical aspects of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.   As I listened to the doctor’s account, I began to realize just how much suffering Jesus went through on that cross.   At one point, the doctor said that while hanging by His arms, the pectoral muscles in Jesus became paralyzed and the intercostal muscles were unable to act.   Air could be taken in but not exhaled.  The doctor explained that this symptom is similar to that of asthma.  It was then that I realized Jesus really did know what I was going through.  He was touched with the feelings of my infirmity.    I thank God that He knows exactly where we are at.  Below is a medical account of what Jesus went through before and during his Crucifixion.  Oh how He loves us.The greatest example of one laying down his life for his friends is Jesus. We will never be able to fully comprehend the spiritual aspect of Christ’s suffering and shame, until the other side of glory, but medical studies shed glimpses of light on the physical agony and all the horror that Jesus endured on the cross.“For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds” (Hebrews 12:3).

Sweating Drops of Blood

The physical trauma of Christ begins in Gethsemane with one of the initial aspects of his suffering—the bloody sweat. It is interesting that the physician of the group, St. Luke, is the only one to mention this. He says, “And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44).Though very rare, the phenomenon of Hematidrosis, or bloody sweat, is well documented. Under great emotional stress, tiny capillaries in the sweat glands can break, thus mixing blood with sweat. This process alone could have produced marked weakness and possible shock.After the arrest in the middle of the night, Jesus was brought before the Sanhedrin and Caiaphas, the High Priest. A soldier struck Jesus across the face for remaining silent when questioned by Caiaphas. The palace guards then blindfolded Him and mockingly taunted Him to identify them as they each passed by, spat on Him, and struck Him in the face.

The Scourging

In the early morning, Jesus, battered and bruised, dehydrated, and exhausted from a sleepless night, is taken across Jerusalem to the Praetorium of the Fortress Antonia. It was there, in response to the cries of the mob, that Pilate ordered Bar-Abbas released and condemned Jesus to scourging and crucifixion.Preparations for the scourging are carried out. The prisoner is stripped of His clothing and His hands tied to a post above His head. The Roman legionnaire steps forward with the flagrum in his hand. This is a short whip consisting of several heavy, leather thongs with two small balls of lead attached near the ends of each. The heavy whip is brought down with full force again and again across Jesus’ shoulders, back, and legs.At first the heavy thongs cut through the skin only. Then as the blows continue, they cut deeper into the subcutaneous tissues, producing first an oozing of blood from the capillaries and veins of the skin, and finally spurting arterial bleeding from vessels in the underlying muscles. The small balls of lead first produce large, deep bruises which are broken open by subsequent blows.Finally the skin of the back is hanging in long ribbons and the entire area is an unrecognizable mass of torn, bleeding tissue. When it is determined by the centurion in charge that the prisoner is near death, the beating is finally stopped.

Mocked by Soldiers

The half-fainting Jesus is then untied and allowed to slump to the stone pavement, wet with His own blood. The Roman soldiers see a great joke in this provincial Jew claiming to be a king. They throw a robe across His shoulders and place a stick in His hand for a scepter. A small bundle of flexible branches covered with long thorns is pressed into His scalp.Again there is copious bleeding (the scalp being one of the most vascular areas of the body). After mocking Him and striking Him across the face, the soldiers take the stick from His hand and strike Him across the head, driving the thorns deeper into His scalp. Finally, they tire of their sadistic sport and the robe is torn from His back. This had already become adherent to the clots of blood and serum in the wound, and its removal, just as in the careless removal of a surgical bandage, causes excruciating pain—almost as though He were again being whipped, and the wounds again begin to bleed.The heavy beam of the cross is then tied across His shoulders, and the procession of the condemned Christ, two thieves, and the execution detail, begins its slow journey. The weight of the heavy wooden beam, together with the shock produced by copious blood loss, is too much. He stumbles and falls. The rough wood of the beam gouges into the lacerated skin and muscles of the shoulders. He tries to rise, but human muscles have been pushed beyond their endurance.

Nailed to the Cross

At Golgotha, the beam is placed on the ground and Jesus is quickly thrown backward with His shoulders against the wood. The legionnaire feels for the depression at the front of the wrist. He drives a heavy, square, wrought-iron nail through the wrist and deep into the wood. Quickly, he moves to the other side and repeats the action, being careful not to pull the arms too tightly, but to allow some flexion and movement. The beam is then lifted in place at the top of the posts and the titulus reading “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” is nailed in place.The left foot is pressed backward against the right foot, and with both feet extended, toes down, a nail is driven through the arch of each. As He pushes Himself upward to avoid the stretching torment, He places His full weight on the nail through His feet. Again there is the searing agony of the nail tearing through the nerves between the metatarsal bones of the feet.As the arms fatigue, great waves of cramps sweep over the muscles, knotting them in deep, relentless, throbbing pain. With these cramps comes the inability to push Himself upward. Hanging by His arms, the pectoral muscles are paralyzed and the intercostal muscles are unable to act. Air can be drawn into the lungs, but cannot be exhaled. Jesus fights to raise Himself in order to get even one short breath. Finally, carbon dioxide builds up in the lungs and in the blood stream and the cramps partially subside. Spasmodically, He is able to push Himself upward to exhale and bring in the life-giving oxygen.Hours of this limitless pain, cycles of twisting, joint-rending cramps, intermittent partial asphyxiation, searing pain as tissue is torn from His lacerated back as He moves up and down against the rough timber. Then another agony begins. A deep crushing pain deep in the chest as the pericardium slowly fills with serum and begins to compress the heart.The compressed heart is struggling to pump heavy, thick, sluggish blood into the tissues—the tortured lungs are making a frantic effort to gasp in small gulps of air. The markedly dehydrated tissues send their flood of stimuli to the brain. Jesus gasps, “I thirst.”

Final Cry

He can feel the chill of death creeping through His tissues. With one last surge of strength, He once again presses His torn feet against the nail, straightens His legs, takes a deeper breath, and utters His seventh and last cry, “Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit.”Apparently to make double sure of death, the legionnaire drove his lance through the fifth interspace between the ribs, upward through the pericardium and into the heart. Immediately there came out blood and water. We, therefore, have rather conclusive post-mortem evidence that our Lord died, not the usual crucifixion death by suffocation, but of heart failure due to shock and constriction of the heart by fluid in the pericardium.Jesus said, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

 

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God Says….

A friend of mine sent this chart to me, and I thought I would pass it on.  Sometimes it can be too easy to listen to our voice of reason rather than God’s, who knows all things.  This is a good reminder.

God has a positive answer:    

YOU SAY

GOD SAYS

BIBLE VERSES

You say: “It’s impossible”

God says: All things are possible

(Luke 18:27)

You say: “I’m too tired”

God says: I will give you rest

(Matthew 11:28-30)

You say: “Nobody really loves me”

God says: I love you

(John 3:1 6 & John 3:34 )

You say: “I can’t go on”

God says: My grace is sufficient

(II Corinthians 12:9 & Psalm 91:15)

You say: “I can’t figure things out”

God says: I will direct your steps

(Proverbs 3:5- 6)

You say: “I can’t do it”

God says: You can do all things

(Philippians 4:13)

You say: “I’m not able”

God says: I am able

(II Corinthians 9:8)

You say: “It’s not worth it”

God says: It will be worth it

(Roman 8:28 )

You say: “I can’t forgive myself”

God says: I Forgive you

(I John 1:9 & Romans 8:1)

You say: “I can’t manage”

God says: I will supply all your needs

(Philippians 4:19)

You say: “I’m afraid”

God says: I have not given you a spirit of fear

(II Timothy 1:7)

You say: “I’m always worried and frustrated”

God says: Cast all your cares on ME

(I Peter 5:7)

You say: “I’m not smart enough”

God says: I give you wisdom

(I Corinthians 1:30)

You say: “I feel all alone”

God says: I will never leave you or forsake you

(Hebrews 13:5)

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