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Friday, July 31, 2015

Scripture of the Day

"Remembering mine affliction and my misery…my soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled in me. This I recall to mind, therefore I have hope. It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in Him."
                - Lamentations 3:19-24

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Quote of the Day

"Take notice, O thou afflicted soul, what God's design is in afflicting thee, and make it thy design, that thou mayest be taught."
                      - Thomas Case

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Quote of the Day

"Brokenness becomes beautiful when it's poured at His feet. Give Him the pieces - He makes the most beautiful mosaics out of our messiness."
                        - Hananya Naftali

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Quote of the Day

" It's the sinful side of me that helps me identify with other broken people and not see myself as better. Christianity doesn't make me better than anybody else. The process of being transformed is sometimes a really messy process. When you can remember how far off you were when God found you, your own conversion stands as a testimony to God and mercy, but it also gives you a way to relate to other people." 
                                - Matt Maher, songwriter

Monday, July 27, 2015

Quote of the Day

"Though we were wounded, we have been healed, and our scars are proof of a God redeeming all the broken things."
                         - Ann Voskamp

Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Lesson of Hard Grace

 The other day I went for a walk in my neighborhood. It had been a difficult day for me. The dark clouds hung heavy on the soul and threatened rain. The Son seemed hidden. As I walked along, trying to clear my head and gain some perspective, I looked down at the road which had recently been resurfaced. Along the edges of the new pavement, I noticed green grass and weeds were already sprouting up through asphalt. Alive things coming from dead. Is this not the lesson of hard grace? I ask. Is this not the mystery of God: that only the Divine can so work in a soul that He can bring forth life out of dead things? My heart is so often as the rocky, hard road. I have nothing by which to merit any grace-growing. But God does His work best in the unlikely places and in the most unlikely means. What has been given up for dead He declares to be His newest masterpiece. He sees that hard soil and turns it into His latest garden. Green things - alive things - start to emerge from the dead. 
 Sometimes there seems to be no hope in the journey of life. All living quality seems to have been stripped from us and we feel like the asphalt: pressed flat and left to dry out. Dead and dirty. Jesus however sees this as an opportunity to demonstrate what He does best. He scatters the seeds of love and life and begins to water them. In time, the lifeless "pavement" that is our soul starts to respond to His gracious bidding to arise from it's dead past and spring into new life. He embraces the chance to perform His work and,once again, drives home the message that one can grow only by pushing up though the cracked and broken places where life is absent. Like the grass and weeds, it takes hard things to make weak ones strong. Hard grace is the friend of the believer. 
 I walk on and I realize this truth that I know well but continue to be reminded of: only God can create a resurrection in the stony human heart. Only God can drive the dark clouds that hang over with a little reminder of His grace. And, in so doing, the Son returns and all is well with my soul. 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Prayer of the Day

I thank Thee, precious Lord, that Thou hast allowed such troubles to encompass my path that I would turn to Thee with a repentant heart. Thou art a good God - even through the trials that beset me. Forgive me for my foolish doubting of Thy mercies under such calamities. Renew my mind in such a manner that I may see Thee smiling in the shadows, keeping watch upon Thy own.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Ground of True Hope

" Men for the most part are not lost enough in their own feeling for a Savior. A holy despair in ourselves is the ground of true hope."
                       - Richard Sibbes

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Quote of the Day

" All fear is fraud and nowhere on earth is beyond the reach of God." 
                          - Ann Voskamp

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Quote of the Day

"Why do you sit here, O my soul, under the control of despair? Get up and call on your God for mercy, who has so pardoned others."
                         - William Gurnall in Voices From the Past

Monday, July 20, 2015

Quote of the Day

" Sometimes its takes a broken heart for us to finally let Jesus in."
                         - Kyle Idleman

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Prayer of the Day

"Give me a broken heart that yet carries home the water of grace."
                         - from The Valley of Vision

Friday, July 17, 2015

Quote of the Day

"Grace abounds at the low places, where we are weak, broken, and helpless…grace grows amidst the ruins of sin."
                   - Mckay Caston, pastor 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Not the Final Things

" Where God is, tragedy is only provisional and partial, and shipwreck and dissolution are not the absolutely final things." 
                        - William James

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Scripture of the Day

" Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they shall walk and not be faint."
                           - Isaiah 40:28-31

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Quote of the Day

" God loves us more than we can love Him, because He sees His image in us."
                                              - Richard Sibbes 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Quote of the Day

"Let me revel in this one thought: before God made the heavens and the earth, He set His love upon me."
           - Charles H. Spurgeon

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Prayer of the Day

" So I ask Thee for the daily strength to none that ask denied, and a mind to blend with outward life while keeping at Thy side, content to fill a little space if Thou be glorified."
                             - Anna Letitia Waring

Friday, July 10, 2015

Quote of the Day

" I beg you to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don't search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Even the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer."
                          - Rainer Maria Rilke in Letters to a Young Poet

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Quote of the Day

"God often brings his people into such a condition that they do not know what to do. He does this that they might know what he can do. God is with his people at all times, but He is most sweetly with them in the worst of times."
                            - Thomas Lye in Voices From the Past

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Quote of the Day

"Christ dwells in that heart most eminently that hath emptied itself of itself."
                          - Thomas Brooks

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Prayer of the Day

" Come break this heart of stone;
I need a future not my own."
      - Matt Maher, songwriter

Monday, July 6, 2015

Quote of the Day

"Don't doubt God's love under sufferings. God's heart cannot be understood infallibly from his action. Faith many times discovers love in God's heart when it sees nothing but frowns on his forehead."
                     - Thomas Lye in Voices From the Past

Saturday, July 4, 2015

The Meaning Behind the 4th

 Two hundred thirty-nine years ago today, a handful of brave men took a stand against the greatest military power of that time and declared that thirteen colonies had the right to be "free and independent states." As they firmly pledged to one another and to God their "lives, fortunes, and sacred honor," each one was aware of the potential consequences of making such a solemn decision. Most of the men who signed their names to what we now call the Declaration of Independence were ordinary individuals  from humble beginnings who felt called by Almighty God to extraordinary measures. What they gave and sacrificed for such a noble cause produced an experiment in liberty that has benefited the generations that have followed them. 
 And yet, just a few decades after that event took place on July 4, 1776, one of the signers, Dr. Benjamin Rush, would write the following to his good friend and fellow patriot, John Adams in July 1811:

"The 4th of July has been celebrated in…the manner I expected. The military men, and particularly one of them, ran away with all the glory of the day. Scarcely a word was said of the solicitude and labors and fears and sorrows and sleepless nights of the men who projected, proposed, defended, and subscribed the Declaration of Independence. Do you recollect your memorable speech upon the day on which the vote was taken? Do you recollect the pensive and awful silence which pervaded the house when we were called up, one after another, to the table of the President of Congress to subscribe what was believed by many at that time to be our own death warrants? The silence and the gloom of the morning were interrupted, I well recollect, only for a moment by the Colonel Harrison of Virginia, who said to Mr. Gerry at the table, 'I shall have a great advantage over you, Mr. Gerry, when we are all hung for what we are now doing. From the size and weight of my body I shall die in a few minutes, but from the lightness of your body you will dance in the air an hour or two before you are dead.' This speech procured a transient smile, but it was soon succeeded by the solemnity with which the whole business was conducted…Let us, my dear friend, console ourselves for the unsuccessful efforts of our lives to serve our fellow creatures by recollecting that we have aimed well…We shall not I hope lose our reward for these well-intentioned labors of love."

 Even in so short a time after this new nation had been created, people were already forgetting the true meaning of the 4th. It became more about patriotic fervor that sacrifice and appreciation. In looking into my family's genealogy a few years ago, I discovered that I have several ancestors who fought in the War for Independence and who endured the hardships and sacrifices necessary to obtain my freedom to serve God and my fellow citizens without governmental oppression. I owe them much. We all have failed miserably to fully comprehend what these brave people gave in order to establish a nation where all people were free to the inalienable rights of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Many died in this cause. Many lost their fortunes and died broke. As I observe this day, I fear that Dr. Rush's words have come true and, should the Founding Fathers be alive today, they would be shocked at how little regard the average American has for those who gave everything to give us a chance at freedom. 
 Today, when we celebrate all things patriotic, let us also take a moment to pray for God's mercy on this nation. Let us ask Him to forgive our failure to hold the gift of liberty in its full esteem and for taking the sacrifices of these our forefathers so lightly. May we highly resolve that these individuals shall not have labored in vain and that this nation may not go down to the dust of history as other empires in the past but that, by God's grace, it may continue to be a beacon of hope to the world. 

Friday, July 3, 2015

Prayer of the Day

"You, dear Lord, that have made heaven and earth, of your own good will towards me before I existed, yes, before the world was, have chosen me in Christ to be your child. You have become my most loving Father…I can cast my whole care upon you, trust and call on you, with comfort and certain hope for all things I need…Your power is almighty and your will so bountiful. I should behave as your child, rejoicing, praising, trusting, fearing, serving, loving, and calling upon you. But alas, how heavy-hearted I am! I am unthankful, full of unbelief and doubting of your rich mercy. How little I love, fear, and call upon you! Be merciful to me, forgive me, good Father, for your own sake, and grant me the Holy Spirit and reveal yourself to me, that I may truly know, love, and faithfully hang upon you for all my needs."
                                   - John Bradford in Voices From the Past

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Quote of the Day

" The Lord has often reminded me what a poor creature I am in myself, incapable of standing a single hour without continual fresh supplies of strength and grace from the fountain-head."
                   - John Newton

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Quote of the Day

" Through ignorance and unbelief, we often mistake the Lord's dealings with us, and are ready to complain. If we knew all, we should rejoice. But to us there is a time coming when our warfare shall be accomplished, our views enlarged, and our light increased. With what transports of adoration and love shall we look back upon the way by which the Lord led us! We shall then see and acknowledge that mercy and goodness directed every step; we shall see that what our ignorance once called adversities and evils, were in reality blessings which we could not have done well without. Nothing befell us without a cause; no trouble came upon us sooner or pressed on us more heavily, or continued longer than our case required. Our many difficulties were, each in their place, among the means employed by divine grace and wisdom to bring us to the possession of that exceeding and eternal weight of glory which the Lord has prepared for His people."
                                    - John Newton