Friday, October 31, 2008

Working Together

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor.
For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.
Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone?
And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.

We must work together . In order to do that there must be two essential ingredients...Trust and Respect. These two things must be present in marriage, friendship, business, and our Church Fellowships. Together we can accomplish great things. Love is important but I do not believe any relationship can survive without Trust and Respect. Pray that God will help you develop these characteristics in your life, and that you will be able to recognize them in others. The guys in this picture seem to have figured it out.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

One Out of One Dies

My dad used to say there are only two things you can be sure of....Death and Taxes. Well he proved half his theory in 1979, and I miss him, but I am not sure about the other half. After watching all the news concerning Corporate America and Wall Street I think some folks do avoid taxes.

I have been teaching in College classrooms since 1989. In one of my classes I referred to a Taca Airliner that went down in New Orleans in 1988, when I was a student there in Graduate School. The airliner lost all power. On the way down a minister stood up and shared Christ with the passengers. Many of them accepted Christ thinking they would be standing before Him in just a few minutes. One girl in the back of my class raised her hand and said, "Yes but if we knew we were going to die we would all make a decision concerning God." I paused for a moment and gave her brain time to catch up with her mouth and then in a few seconds she exclaimed Ohhhhhhh!!! That's right, she understood that one out of one die eventually. I read another statistic this week. It said 95% of those who claim to be Christians never lead anyone to Christ. Could that possibly be true?

Now go back and look at the first picture again. The airliner glided to a safe landing beside a Levee. If you look in the lower left hand corner of the picture you will see the 737. Test pilots flew the plane out a few days later. I wonder if there is anyone you need to talk to about this alarming statistic....One out of One Die. Happy Landings

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

This Little Light of Mine

I read a funny story concerning a Lighthouse and a Navy Aircraft Carrier. I am including the story below for your amusement and to make a point. Enjoy.
This is based on an actual radio conversation between a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier (U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln) and Canadian authorities off the coast of Newfoundland in October, 1995. (The radio conversation was released by the Chief of Naval Operations on 10/10/95 authorized by the Freedom of Information Act.)
Canadians: Please divert your course 15 degrees to the South to avoid collision.
Americans: Recommend you divert your course 15 degrees to the North to avoid a collision.
Canadians: Negative. You will have to divert your course 15 degrees to the South to avoid a collision.
Americans: This is the Captain of a US Navy ship. I say again, divert YOUR course.
Canadians: No, I say again, you divert YOUR course.
Canadians: This is a lighthouse. Your call.
Psalm 119:105 Thy Word is a Lamp to my feet, And a Light to my path.
If we read and follow God's Word, the Bible, we will avoid many pitfalls in our lives. It is like a Lighthouse trying to warn us of dangerous areas we should steer clear of. Things that if encountered have the ability to destroy our lives and those who travel with us. Bad decisions, relationships, habits, addictions, and all sorts of jagged obstacles placed there by Satan to wreck our lives. But the strong light of God's Word illuminates the problem areas and allows us to sail around them untouched. Do not ignore the warning. If you see trouble ahead change your course now before it is too late. We should also remember in the New Testament God says we are the light of the world. We should let our light shine in such a way that it helps others avoid trouble areas. Maybe today we should sing the words of our childhood song:
This little light of mine
I'm going to let it shine
Let it shine,let it shine,
Let it shine.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Which Way Do I Go?

Sometimes life is like this maze, Confusing. We are not sure which way to go. Many times people use the trial and error method, which usually involves more error than trial. We seem like we are covering the same ground over and over again. It is frustrating. I remember in the famous story of Alice in Wonderland there was a time when Alice was lost. Alice asks the Cheshire Cat for directions. "Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?" "That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat. "I don't much care where-" said Alice. Then it doesn't matter which way you go," said the Cat. I think this dialogue describes many peoples lives today. They really do not know where they are going, and so it really does not matter which way they go. They are like the Children of Israel, just wandering aimlessly in the Wilderness until they die. Life does not have to be like that. We are created with a purpose, Jeremiah 29:11. We should consult with the giver of life and the architect of that purpose.....GOD. There is no magic formula, no secret chant, you do not have to be able to read Greek and Hebrew, you just need to ask for directions. Ask and you shall receive, Seek and you shall find, Knock and the Door will be opened. What are you waiting for? I hope it's not a Cheshire Cat.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Harvest Time

Fall is my favorite season. I love the cool, crisp mornings and the sunny afternoons. I love putting on a sweater and socks again after months of stifling heat. I love the soft rain that soaks the fallen leaves and the chill of the wind that warns of winter.

Most of all, I love the colors of autumn…orange pumpkins, bright yellow sunflowers, and the red and golden leaves as they offer us a final blaze of glory. No artist—no matter how talented—could duplicate the variety of colors and hues God has created.

On a recent trip to the farmers’ market, I was awed by the beauty of the bountiful harvest…flowers, pumpkins, apples, tomatoes, peppers. Everywhere I looked there was a veritable feast for the eyes. A couple of lines of a poem I learned in high school came to mind:

“Lord, I do fear
Thou’st made the world too beautiful this year!”
-- Edna St. Vincent Millay

Although mankind has damaged the planet we live on, the earth still yields her harvest on time, every time. In spite of all the ugliness in the world—bigotry, hatred, all manner of sin—the dependable cycles of nature remind us that God has not forgotten us. In fact, he considers us—us!—his highest achievement. He placed us in this beautiful world he created and continues to sustain us with its yearly harvests. His ultimate aim is to reap a bumper crop of souls.

“While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease” (Genesis 8:22, KJV).

by Hazel King
Photo by Hazel King
Copyright 2008

Friday, October 24, 2008

Look Up!

” I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1-2, KJV).

When I work at my computer for any length of time, I find that my vision begins to blur. By focusing only on what is directly in front of me, I become “nearsighted” and lose my far vision. It takes several minutes of looking into the distance before I can see clearly again.

Our spiritual vision can get blurred, too. If we look only at the daily tasks before us, we risk losing our focus on Christ. Our view of him is blocked. Helen H. Lemmel wrote a wonderful hymn in 1922 with the following chorus:

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.”

Helen Lemmel was blind, but her spiritual vision was 20/20. Take a moment now to look at the photograph above or the view from your window. Focus your mind and heart on God. Let’s “lift up our eyes” and behold him.

--Hazel King
(Photo by Corliss Sinclair)

Copyright 2008

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Bend in the Road

There are times in life when we feel we have reached the end of the road. It might be in relation to a marriage,a relationship,a job, even life. The Bible is full of stories where people thought they had reached the end of their road only to find out it was not the end of the road but a Bend in the road. For example... there is Paul on the Damascus Road, the two disciples on the Emmaus Road, Christ on the road to the cross and then the tomb. I am sure Lazarus and his sisters thought he had reached the end of his road. But, it was just a bend in the road. So, take heart no matter what you are facing, no matter how dark it appears, when you think there is no where else to turn, God provides a WAY. As a matter of fact Jesus in John 14:6 claims to be the Way. There is an amazing poem by Helen Steiner Rice that explains this much more eloquently than I ever could.

The Bend in the Road
Author: Helen Steiner Rice

Sometimes we come to life's crossroads
And we view what we think is the end.
But God has a much wider vision
And he knows that it's only a bend-

The road will go on and get smoother
And after we've stopped for a rest,
The path that lies hidden beyond us
Is often the path that is best.

So rest and relax and grow stronger,
Let go and let God share your load
And have faith in a brighter tomorrow-
You've just come to a bend in the road.

( Photo by: Corliss Sinclair)
Poem By: Helen Steiner Rice
Devotion by: Jeff Nichols
Inspiration by: God

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

There is a Season for Everything

Ecclesiastes 3:1 Tells us that there is a time for everything. There is a time for every event under heaven. The financial climate has changed in America. Everywhere I go I hear people talking about it. There is not a day that goes by that I do not hear about people losing their jobs, their homes, their retirement accounts. To be sure it is a a Time for reflection. Have you noticed the weather changing? It is Time for Fall to begin again, right on time, dependable, consistant, because the seasons are controlled by God. If we focus on all the negative we will miss the beauty of the season, of each day. Don't miss the opportunity to tell someone you love them today. It may not make the Dow rise but it will help their spirits rise and, it will make you feel better too. Don't miss the chance to hug your child they don't know what's going on in the world markets nor do they care. They want to spend some time with you. Read a story to them tonight, say their night night prayers with them. It will not improve your portfolio but you might make an investment that will pay great dividends down the line. Don't focus on the bad so much that we miss the good. Pray more than you worry and things will look different to you. If you are reading this devotion and enjoying the beauty of this picture instead of watching Money Market returns you have made a good choice of how you use your time. You can not change yesterday or predict tomorrow so why not make the most of the only time you really have ....Today. Will you devote your time to Worry or Wonder, Pessimism or Prayer. I think you will make this a great day. Your off to a really good start. Please feel free to share your thoughts, concerns, prayer requests with me by clicking the comment tab.
Jeff Nichols

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

God...The Giver of Mulligans

Sometimes in Golf, among friends, a player will receive or take a Mulligan. A Mulligan can be described as a second chance a do-over of sorts. If you hit a bad shot make a big mistake instead of the shot counting against you, you take a Mulligan. God is a great Giver of Mulligans in real life. Sometimes we make a mistake and we need a second chance. There are many examples of this in the Bible. David for example, Simon Peter, Paul and many others. If you are looking for an example of someone who needs a second chance...a Mulligan you need look no further than the mirror.

I John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness

If I were writing this verse in the Tee-ology of Jeff Nichols it would say "If we acknowledge our mistakes and ask God for another chance He gives us a Mulligan and erases the error from our scorecard."

We all need a second chance sometimes and in some cases even a third, fourth and get the idea. If you have made a mistake ask God for forgiveness and then forgive yourself too. See you on the course.

Jeff Nichols

Monday, October 20, 2008

Are We Dissing God?

(Photo by Hazel King)

When God created the heavens and the earth, he established an orderly world. At the end of his work, “God looked at everything he had made, and it was very good” (Genesis 1:29, NCV). And for a while, it was very good indeed. We all know what happened next. Adam and Eve – or Eve and then Adam, for those sticklers for placing blame in the proper order—disobeyed God, and the perfect world God had created was forever changed for the entire human race. When the First Couple realized what they had done, they were ashamed and hid from God in the Garden of Eden. The consequence of their sin was to lose that paradise forever.

Not everything went wrong, of course. The animal kingdom continued living as God intended, just as they do today. Elephants and cattle are herd animals. Fish swim in schools. Geese fly in formation. No giraffe—as far as we know--has ever asked God why he made its neck so long. Nor has the leopard complained that he’d rather have stripes like the tiger instead of the spots God gave him. Animals accept the sovereignty of God.

It is only man who continually strives to create his own order rather than follow the plan God has for his life. Speaking in generalities, mankind is often disorderly, disrespectful, and disobedient. We disagree with God’s plan and purpose and think we can improve on it by discovering “who we are” and “following our bliss.” When we think we are smarter than God, we distance ourselves from him. Is God paying attention to our displeasing attitude? I think so. Do you think he might even be a little disgusted with us? I wouldn’t be surprised.

When we insist on going our own way without concern for pleasing God, we are “dissing” him. We are also doing ourselves a great disservice, because whatever we can “believe, conceive or achieve” will be nothing compared to the rewarding life God wants to give us. Let’s stop dissing God and instead seek to discover his perfect will for our lives. He won’t disappoint us.

“ 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).

Father God, help us not to be disobedient children who disgrace your holy name. Instead, let us display Christ-like submission for your will to be done in our lives. Amen.

-Hazel King
Copyright 2008

Friday, October 17, 2008

Choose Your Road Carefully

The Devotion today will be a little different than the previous ones. I am including my favorite poem and a Scripture. I will let it speak for itself.

Matthew 7:13-14

13"Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.
14"For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

Two Roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I...
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Let Us Pray

It may be interesting to know that the only thing the Disciples ever asked Jesus to teach them was, how to Pray. If it was me I would have asked Him to teach me how to walk on water, raise the dead, feed 5000 with only two small fish and a few barley loaves. But in Luke 11:1 they asked Jesus to teach them how to Pray. It must be important, very important. I heard someone say once there are two times to pray; When you feel like it and ,When you don't. I hope you set aside a time each day to pray. My wife and I pray each night before going to bed. We never miss. Even if we are tired no matter where we are , we pray. Thessalonians says we should Pray Without Ceasing. Why don't you take the time right now to pray. You will find it makes a difference for the person or the situation you are praying for. But, to tell you the truth the biggest difference praying makes is in you.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Can't We All Just get Along?

Philippians 2:14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing.

When I was a child we used to have a little saying...."Sticks and Stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me." If only that were true. The fact is, words can really hurt us and harmful things that people say can stay with us for a lifetime and have very negative effects on our lives. The opposite is also true. A kind word can really encourage and change a person's day, maybe even their life. It costs us nothing to say something kind each day. So today let's put this daily devotion in practice. Look for an opportunity to compliment someone today. It may be the only kind words the person receives all day. I still remember encouraging and discouraging things people said to me when I was growing up. Before you click off this devotion pray that God will give you the opportunity to say something nice to someone today. By the way, you look marvelous today.

Jeff Nichols

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Life is a Marathon not a Sprint

Ecclesiastes 9:11 This verse tells us that the race does not always go to the swift.
We live in an instant society. Instant Grits,Oatmeal,Potatoes,Rice,Internet, Communications, Dry Cleaning, Financing, etc. We want everything fast. You go to the grocery store you look and see which line is moving the fastest. If you are really bad (you know who you are) you look at the cashiers and evaluate their ability to check you out fast. You get the idea. But, the Bible is clear that life is a Marathon and not a Sprint.
Hebrews 12:1 This verse tells us we must run with endurance the race that is set before us. This means it is a long race and the race does not always go to the swift. Sometimes we fall down along the way. We have time to get back up and do as the Apostle Paul said...finish well. No one cares who is winning after 8 innings, three quarters, 499 miles of a 500 mile race. The race goes goes to the person who hangs in there. The one who falls and gets back up. The person that gives everything all the way to the finish line. So, if you have Fallen behind, Fallen down, Dropped out, or are just Plain Tired. Keep going its not over yet.
I was looking at the picture of this guy crossing the road thinking wow he is slow but then I thought ...when I am riding down the road do I see more deer or turtles that have been run over. Hmmmmm? So be like the turtle, steady, focused, and remember, in order for him to get anywhere he has to stick his neck out. See you at the Finish Line.
Jeff Nichols

Monday, October 13, 2008

Trust is a Must

(Photo by Corliss Sinclair, CT)

Gracie was born in the wild. A tiny thing, she spent her first winter outside in the Connecticut cold. She might have died if a kind lady from a nearby drycleaners had not devised a makeshift shelter from an old box. The lady also brought food several times a week. Gracie was afraid of the lady and would not let her get near, but she used the shelter and she ate the food. And she lived through the winter. Spring came and then summer, and the lady continued to bring food. Before the cold weather came again, she brought something else--a box to take Gracie home with her.

Home was a warm place where other cats lived and where food was plentiful. The lady spoke kindly to Gracie and was the source of the food and warmth. Gracie understood that, but she was still afraid. She hid in closets and when the door was opened, she escaped outside and hid under the porch or in the garage. She spent most of another winter outdoors, just coming ‘home’ to get food that was placed on the porch for her.

That is Gracie in the photograph. She is well fed and healthy. But she does not yet know the pleasure of having her fur stroked. She has a home and someone to take care of her, but she cannot stop being afraid. She still startles easily, ready to run if the lady comes too close. Her lack of trust shows in her eyes. She is poised for flight on an instant’s notice.

Now winter is coming again. Will Gracie ever learn to trust? Will she ever relax and be completely at home in the place provided for her? These are questions that do not yet have answers. But the lady loves Gracie and she is patient. She will not give up until Gracie learns to trust and is truly ‘at home.’

We, too, are loved. And God will not give up on us. All we have to do is learn to trust him.

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18, NIV).

Prayer: Father God, thank you for your love and patience with us. Help us to be made perfect in love so that our fears will be banished and our trust in you will be complete. Amen.

--Hazel King
Copyright 2008

Friday, October 10, 2008


Doesn't this look inviting? Would you like to be in one of these chairs? Life moves so fast and sometimes we want to just call Time Out and take a break from it all. Recently I have been asked to do two seminars, one for teenagers in Florida, and the other for couples in Tennessee using the theme...Simplify. Karl Barth (pronounced Bart) was one of the greatest Christian thinkers of the Twentieth Century. He was invited to speak at the University of Chicago. When Q&A time came he was asked what he considered to be the most profound Theological Truth. He thought for a minute and then said, "Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so." Many times we make it too hard. We need to slow down, step back, take a break, reflect and when we do we may discover the simple truth of God's love for us. Take a moment and pretend you are in that chair and that Jesus is in the other one. If you could only say one thing what would it be. I would like to guess what it is you decided to say to Christ. I think it would be ...I Love You. Why don't you tell Him right now? He is closer to you than your next breath.

Jeff Nichols

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Where is Your Treasure?

Matthew 6 19.
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.
But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

There is not a day goes by now that we do not hear about the economic situation in our Country and around the World. The news is bad and each person relates to it in a very personal way. I know people who are obsessed with the crisis. It consumes them. There are many who are depressed, who are letting the circumstances affect their relationships and dictate their attitude. Families are arguing. People are committing suicide. Many can not sleep, have lost their appetite ,and check hourly to see how much they have lost . If your faith is tied to your money this will be a very bad time for you but if it is tied to God you will approach the crisis with a different perspective. Many store up their treasure here on earth , but the scripture is clear that we should store it in heaven. These hard times may rob you of some of your money but don't let them rob you of your Joy, Peace, Relationships, Friends, your Faith. God will take care of you. Faith is not tested sailing calm seas it is tested in the storm. It is one thing to say I believe God will take care of us its another thing to live like it. Daniel was IN the lions den, Paul was IN prison, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego were IN the furnace, and we are IN a storm ourselves. What will prevail...Faith or Fear? Do we really trust God or just say we do? This storm will separate the talkers and doers. If we stay focused on God and not the Giant we will be OK. Just ask David.

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life ?
"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.
Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.
If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?'
For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Have You Seen God Lately?

(Photo by Corliss Sinclair, Torrington, CT)

Country music artist George Strait’s current single is titled “I Saw God Today.” The lyrics describe how God can be seen in everyday things and places if we only look for him. The chorus says:

”I've been to church I've read the book
I know He's here, but I don't look
near as often as I should
Yeah, I know I should
His fingerprints are everywhere
I'd just slow down to stop and stare
opened my eyes and man I swear
I saw God today” (Songwriters Rodney Clawson, Monty Criswell, and Wade Kirby)

God has many characteristics that can be attributed to no mortal being. He is omniscient, omnipowerful, and omnipresent. The word “omni” means “all.” God is all-knowing, all-powerful, all-present. He is everywhere at the same time. God is in the rose and among the thorns on the leafy stem. He is in the butterfly when it bursts forth from its cocoon and spreads its wings. He is in the first breath drawn by a newborn baby and the last gasp of a dying saint. He is in the homeless shelter and the palaces of kings. He makes himself available in the crack house as well as the church house. He walks unrecognized beside us on the road to redemption and reveals himself to us when we seek for him with all our hearts. God is in the here and now and the then and there. God is everywhere all the time. Everywhere. All the time. He offers himself to us at every turn because his desire is to live in our hearts. Wherever we go, we are in the presence of God. We think he is invisible, but only if we fail to look. Do you see him?

“And they were calling to one another: Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory" (Isaiah 6:3, NIV).

Prayer: Lord, open our eyes that we may see your glory in all the earth. Help us to recognize you in the faces of friends and strangers and in the beauty of nature. Let your light shine in our lives so that others may see you in us. Amen.
-Hazel King
Copyright 2008

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

You Can Make a Difference

I remember reading a story about an older man walking down the beach alone early in the morning as the sun was coming up. A younger man was walking some distance behind him and noticed that every few feet he would stop bend over and throw something in the ocean. The young man was curious and so he hurried to catch the older man and when he did he asked him what he was doing?
The man explained that overnight hundreds of starfish and washed up on the beach and he was throwing them back because as they dried out they would die. The young man laughed shook his head and said you are wasting your time. There are hundreds, thousands of them that have washed up what difference can you possibly make? The old man looked at the starfish he was holding in his hand and threw it into the ocean and said, "It made a difference to that one."
Jesus performed many miracles. He healed blind Bartimaeus but there were thousands of people still blind. He fed 5000 with two fish and five loaves but on that same day many people starved to death. He raised Lazarus from the dead but others remained in their tombs. Jesus did not feed. heal, or minister to everyone but He made a difference in the lives of those He could. Why would we think we could do any different. You can not minister to everyone but you can make a difference to someone. Do it today, the opportunity might be gone by tomorrow.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Are You a Misfit?

(Photo by Hazel King)

Do you ever feel that you don’t fit in…that you’re not like everybody else? Probably everyone has felt like that at one time or another. We all tend to want to blend in, to be inconspicuous if not invisible. Maybe it’s because we think if we’re different, that makes us somehow wrong. Maybe everyone else is in on the secret of how to be cool and we’re still clueless, the dork without a date, the nerd without a notion of his future extreme coolness. So we try to hide in the crowd hoping no one will notice how totally uncool we are.

Wait a minute. Maybe God made us different for a reason…not to stick out, but to stand out. Look at today’s photograph. Notice how your eye is drawn to the single yellow mum rather than the abundance of orange pumpkins surrounding it. The pumpkins are large and orange and they clamor for attention. The mum sits in the midst like a yellow beacon in a sea of orange. Is that what God expects of us? To be who we are and just let our light shine?

In a few weeks, many of these pumpkins will be carved into jack-o’-lanterns and candles placed inside. The pumpkin has no light of its own. The pumpkin-carver must provide the light. Neither can we provide our own light. It is God who places his light inside us. Our job is just to let it shine.

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is— his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2, NIV).

Prayer: God, grant that we may not wish to be like others, but give us the desire to be like you. Amen.
--Hazel King
Copyright 2008

Friday, October 3, 2008

Are You Thirsty?

During childhood visits to my Georgia grandmother, I’d go with my cousins to a nearby stream to get water for the family’s needs. The stream was much like the one in the photo; it could even be the same stream, but I can’t be sure. I remember the water from the stream as being clear and cold and refreshing, much more than the water that came from our taps at home. Just thinking of that water now makes me feel thirsty.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled” (Matthew 5:6, NIV). He told the Samaritan woman at the well that if she drank of the water He would give her that she would never thirst again. “Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water" (John 4:10, NIV).

What is living water? It is water that is life-giving. When God created the earth, approximately 71 percent of its surface was made up of water, mainly in oceans and other large bodies of fresh and saltwater. Our bodies are 50-60 percent water. If we don’t drink enough water, we become dehydrated and our physical health is adversely affected. People walk around with bottles of designer water in hopes their bodies will fit into designer jeans. But what about our souls? If we fail to consume adequate quantities of God’s living water, our spiritual health deteriorates. Water is necessary for life.

There is a difference between moving water and still or standing water. Bodies of fresh water with moving currents, such as streams or springs, are best suited for drinking because their movement acts as a purifier, a cleanser removing debris and harmful elements. Standing water, on the other hand, becomes stagnant and filled with sediment. Standing water breeds mosquitoes and is unsafe to use. If our lives become stagnant, we are susceptible to impurities that breed sinfulness and apathy. It is essential that we maintain forward movement in our Christian walk, filling our hearts and minds with God’s Word which “washes” us clean. Drinking that living water – that life-giving water - fills us with God’s presence and power for victorious living. It satisfies our thirst.

“But whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14, NIV).

Prayer: God, help us to truly thirst after righteousness and hunger for more of You. Let the living water of your word cleanse us from unrighteousness and sin. Make our lives sparkle with the joy of your presence like sunshine on moving water. Amen.

-Hazel King, Writer/Photographer
Copyright 2008

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Sometimes We Do Not See Eye to Eye

Romans 12:18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.

Paul gives us some good advice in this passage. Sometimes we do not see eye to eye with other people, even if they are Christians. Paul tells us to make every effort but in matters of Conscience and Conviction you must hold fast to those things you believe. The thing we can do as Christians is to make sure if we have a disagreement that we would not act in a way or say things that would reflect negatively on our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. If there is a problem take time to pray, seek Godly counsel and then after you have had time to reflect... act. Remember it is always better to act than react.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

What's in Your Wallet?

Is it just me, or is the world becoming a more scary place? Terrorism threats, global warming, wars, earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, high gas prices, serial killers, cancer, AIDS, heart attacks…the list goes on and on. Sometimes it seems that we live under a looming cloud of any number of impending catastrophes. It is no wonder that heart disease is a leading cause of death.

We shouldn’t be surprised. The Bible says in the last days, men’s hearts will fail them for fear of all the things that are coming on the earth. Stress is a major contributor to heart ailments and daily life on this planet can be very stressful.

Of all the modern stressors, perhaps the one that hits closest to home is the financial crisis being experienced around the world. We can more easily dismiss disasters that happen somewhere else, to someone else. But when it affects our wallet, it gets personal. What will happen if Wall Street falls?…if the banks fail?…if companies go bankrupt? Can we – or should we? – depend on the government to bail us out? What is the answer? Who do we turn to for the help we need?

Those of us too young to remember the Great Depression of 1929 have heard the horror stories of people jumping to their deaths from high rise buildings when the stock market crashed. Just the thought of losing pension plans or retirement funds or life savings is enough to cause most of us to lose sleep at night. Having a nest egg or a rainy day fund gives us a feeling of security.

The reality is that no government intervention nor any amount of money can protect us from the consequences of a national or worldwide economic collapse. It is only our trust in God that can keep us truly secure. He has promised to meet our needs just as he provides food for the sparrow and clothes the lilies of the field. Money isn’t the source of our supply. God is. It isn’t what’s in your wallet that matters so much, but Who’s in your heart. God not only has the answer, he is the answer.

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:29-31, NIV).

Prayer: Lord, you have promised to meet our needs if we trust in you. Give us the courage to face whatever comes, knowing that we do not face it alone. When we feel helpless, remind us that you are our hope and our help in any situation. Amen.

--Hazel King
Copyright 2008
(Photo by Corliss Sinclair, Torrington, CT)