I am not what I might be, I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I wish to be, I am not what I hope to be. But I thank God I am not what I once was, and I can say with the great apostle, “By the grace of God I am what I am.”—John Newton
Hebrews 12:1 admonishes Christians to “Lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us.” Many times those weights are simple distractions that create enormous drag. One preacher illustrated it this way: “It’s perfectly legal to run a race in army boots.” He said it wasn’t wise and would guarantee failure, but you can legally do it. Many of the things that prevent spiritual growth and development are legal, they just don’t lead to success.
Source: The Last Men’s Book You’ll Ever Need, David Moore
An unknown writer said, “This Book is the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding; its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you. It is the traveler’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword, and the Christian’s character.
Recently I talked to a man I will call Mr. Luke Warm, for he is neither cold not hot. He says he is a Christian but seldom attends church. “I am under a great deal of tension where I work,” he explained, “and often go fishing on weekends for relaxation. Church is all right, but a person can’t do everything, you know.”
The captain of a ship looked into the dark night and saw a light in the distance. Immediately he told his signalman to send a message, “Alter your course ten degrees south.” He promptly received a reply, “Alter your course ten degrees north.”
The furious captain sent another message, “Alter your course ten degrees south. I am a captain!” Soon another reply was received, “Alter your course ten degrees north. I am seaman third class Jones.”
In a British weekly called the “Glass Window” this letter was published: “It seems ministers feel their sermons are very important and spend a great deal of time preparing them. I have been attending church quite regularly for 30 years and I have probably heard 3,000 of them. To my consternation, I discovered I cannot remember a single sermon. I wonder if a minister's time might be more profitable spent on something else”
When Billy Sunday was converted and joined the church, a Christian man put his arm on the young man’s shoulder and said, “William, there are three simple rules I can give to you, and if you will hold to them you will never write “backslider” after your name.
“Take 15 minutes each day to listen to God talking to you; take 15 minutes each day to talk to God; take 15 minutes each day to talk to others about God.”
During a recent visit to Israel, my attention was drawn to a dirt lot, somewhere in the middle of the Judean region. The lot was filled with what looked like rough pieces of wood lying in disorganized piles. I assumed that they were lumberyard rejects, and inquired of their purpose. Our guide explained that they were actually olive trees. To my amazement, he began to explain that these stumps would be planted and watered. Soon this abandoned field would be a beautiful grove of olive trees. He shared with us how durable the olive tree is and how it is used in these three ways:
In the 1880s a young man who was an earnest Christian found employment in a pawnshop. Although he disliked the work, he did it faithfully as unto the Lord until a more desirable opportunity opened for him. To prepare himself for a life of Christian service, he wrote on a scrap of paper the following resolutions: “I do promise God that I will rise early every morning to have a few minutes—not less than five—in private prayer.
In 1973, a horse named Secretariat became a legend in his time. Not only did Secretariat win the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing, but he did it with an unprecedented performance. At the Belmont Stakes, he not only won the race by 31 lengths, but he set new records along the way as he went faster with each phase of the run. For one-and-one-half miles, that famous thoroughbred ran faster every second. Secretariat was accelerating at such an incredible pace that his trainer noted if the race had been extended another lap, his heart would have literally exploded.
Monarch butterflies are a celebrated species that automatically capture attention with their brilliant beauty. Each fall, these butterflies migrate from the United States and Canada to Angangueo, Mexico. Amazingly, they all congregate at the top of the same mountain each year with phenomenal punctuality around the first of November. They are so dense that you can actually hear the noise of their wings flapping when they take off to fly, and the trees literally bend from their cumulative weight.
In Rebuilding Your Broken World, Gordon MacDonald suggests twenty-six questions to help develop accountability and invite feedback. If we desire to grow, we should submit our selves to a spiritual mentor and answer these questions honestly.
1. How is your relationship with God right now?
2. What have you read in the Bible in the past week?
3. What has God said to you in this reading?
4. Where do you find yourself resisting Him these days?
5. What specific things are you praying for in regard to yourself?
A recent survey of Discipleship Journal readers ranked areas of greatest spiritual challenge to them:
5. (Tie) Anger/Bitterness
5. (Tie) Sexual lust
Source: Discipleship Journal
It's time to plant our gardens. As you plant, may I suggest the following rules for your garden planting:
Plant three rows of squash: 1. Squash gossip; 2. Squash criticism; 3. Squash indifference
Plant three rows of peas: 1. Purity; 2. Patience; 3. Perseverance
Plant six rows of lettuce: 1. Let us be unselfish and loyal; 2. Let us be faithful to duty; 3. Let us search the scriptures; 4. Let us not be weary in well-doing; 5. Let us be obedient in all things; 6. Let us love one another
Somewhere in the beginning of each day, you probably find yourself looking at your reflection in the mirror. Many of us never give a second thought as to how that reflection is produced. All surfaces reflect some light, but only a special type of surface reflects light in such a way that it can form a mirror. In 1835 German chemist Justis von Liebig devised a process for coating plates of glass with metallic silver. This was the beginning of the mirror as we know it today and helped it become a common household item.