Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Happy Wednesday

"Fill 'er Up!"
Anthony Davis tells about running out of gas on a lonely stretch of highway and being told by a motorist that there was a gas station a half-mile away. So he took the gas can from the trunk and trudged the distance in the sweltering sun. The attendant filled the two-gallon can and Anthony lugged it back and poured the gas into the tank. But when he tried to unlock the door it wouldn't open. It was then that he noticed an identical car parked a short distance away. THAT was his car; he had filled a stranger's tank.

Too many Christian's are so busy trying to fill the other person's tank that they neglect their own spiritual needs. (Pastors, are you listening???) Consequently, they find themselves slipping into slothful lifestyles or spiritual poverty because they have no energy for refueling. Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. I pray that you will take the time needed for replenishing your own spiritual and physical resources, thereby gaining more strength for dedicated service in the future. GospeLines Prayer: O, Lord, in the morning you refresh me from a restful night's slumber. At night you comfort me with kudos from a successful day of serving You, and watch over me while I sleep. Throughout the day, you walk with me and whisper promises of encouragement in my ear. How tireless your mercy is toward me. My heart is overflowing with praise for your endless love and watchcare over me. I praise you for caring about me twenty-four seven, even when I cannot slow down to care about myself. Amen and amen.

Tommy Harrison
I watch the blank canvas as before it he stands
And I wonder what is forthcoming from the artist hands
And I watch spring forth from nothing,
A living panarama magnificient and grand
HE picks up the palette,mixes colors and then
With simple brushstroke adds another color in
Then he reaches towards the canvas, adds background colors
With a brush
And the picture keeps on changing beneath the artist touch
Dark stiff slashes that he paints in the area of the sky
Don't look like much as the flash before my  eyes
But he swirls in and through these with reds, yellow, and white
Then makes fluffy white circles which make the sky bright
Then with a knife full of color he lays out a scene
Of mountain and valley and water serene
And with the knife he lays in the shadows that contrast with the light
And I see that it takes shadows to make the picture look right.
I, as a canvas often fear the artist's touch
I have found the bristles from the brush can be rough
And, Oh, I fear the scraping of the knife
Why would he fill my soul with such strife
But I remember black woundings that he painted with peace
I remember with joy that he brought me release
And without the dark shadows I wouldn't recognize light
Without the deep valley there would be no mountain height
And the water, sweet water, so cool and serene
It washes, refreshes, and maketh me clean
And I cherish the artist who brushed me with the red
Color of blood which for me he had shed
And I'm so glad he keeps painting the scenes of my life
I'm so in need of the brushes, the pallett, the knife
by Ruby Haskins
August 30, 2011 -12:13 A.M.
Daily Smile:
A lady opened her refrigerator and saw a rabbit sitting on one of the shelves.  "What are you doing in there?" she asked.  The rabbit replied: "This is a Westinghouse, isn't it?", to which the lady replied "Yes".  "Well," the rabbit said, "I'm westing".

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Happy Tuesday

Look Up!

When we tell someone to look up, we are encouraging them to have a positive attitude, boosting their morale, and reminding them not to give up when the going gets rough. We look up to read the road signs to make sure we are heading in the right direction. When singing in a choir, we look up to maintain togetherness and let the sound carry out, so the message will be heard.

When we look up, we see blue skies and feel the sun on our faces. We see the bright new growth of green leaves on the trees. We see the birds soaring. We see smiles on the faces of people in passing. We see an extended hand offering to help us. We look up and see our city, and remember that we have a responsibility to direct others to look up and see the Son.

Psalm 121:1-2 - If I lift up my eyes to the hills, where shall I find help? Help comes only from the Lord, maker of heaven and earth. (NEB)

Mark 8:25 - Then [Jesus] put His hands on [the blind man's] eyes again and made him look up. And he was restored and saw everyone clearly. (NKJV)

Mark 6:41a - And when He had taken the five loaves and the two fish, He looked up to heaven, blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to His disciples to set before them. (NKJV)

Looking up during Lent, we see a cross, the reminder of our Saviour's love for us and we give thanks!

Looking up on Easter morning, we see our resurrected Lord. We fall to our knees, bowing before our risen Saviour; we worship our Father, Creator of heaven and earth; we seek the power and filling of the Holy Spirit.

Luke 21:27-28 - Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near. (NKJV)

Prayer: Holy Father in heaven, may we always keep our focus on You and the daily missions to which You call us. May we constantly look up and see through Your eyes the physical and spiritual needs around us. Under Your leadership, may we respond to those needs and encourage others to look up and see Your glory! Amen.

Harriette Davis

Daily Smile:
While walking down the street one day a US senator is tragically hit by a truck and dies. His soul arrives in heaven and is met by St. Peter at the entrance. 

‘Welcome to heaven,' says St. Peter. 'Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a high official around these parts, you see, so we're not sure what to do with you. ‘No problem, just let me in,' says the man. 

‘Well, I'd like to, but I have orders from higher up. What we'll do is have you spend one day in hell and one in heaven. Then you can choose where to spend eternity. ‘Really, I've made up my mind. I want to be in heaven,' says the senator. 

‘I’m sorry, but we have our rules. ‘And with that, St.Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell. 

The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a green golf course. In the distance is a clubhouse and standing in front of it are all his friends and other politicians who had worked with him. Everyone is very happy and in evening dress. They run to greet him, shake his hand, and reminisce about the good times they had while getting rich at the expense of the people. They play a friendly game of golf and then dine on lobster, caviar and champagne. Also present is the devil, who really is a very friendly & nice guy who has a good time dancing and telling jokes. They are having such a good time that before he realizes it, it is time to go. Everyone gives him a hearty farewell and waves while the elevator raises...The elevator goes up, up, up and the door reopens on heaven where St. Peter is waiting for him. 

‘Now it's time to visit heaven. ‘So, 24 hours pass with the senator joining a group of contented souls moving from cloud to cloud, playing the harp and singing. They have a good time and, before he realizes it, the 24 hours have gone by and St. Peter returns. 

‘Well, then, you've spent a day in hell and another in heaven. Now choose your eternity. ‘The senator reflects for a minute, then he answers: 'Well, I would never have said it before, I mean heaven has been delightful, but I think I would be better off in hell. 

‘So St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell. Now the doors of the elevator open and he's in the middle of a barren land covered with waste and garbage. He sees all his friends, dressed in rags, picking up the trash and putting it in bags as more trash falls from above. 

The devil comes over to him and puts his arm around his shoulder. 'I don't understand,' stammers the senator. 'Yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and clubhouse, and we ate lobster and caviar, drank champagne, and danced and had a great time. Now there's just a wasteland full of garbage and my friends look miserable. 

What happened? 

‘The devil looks at him, smiles and says, 'Yesterday we were campaigning....Today you voted.'

Monday, November 28, 2011

Happy Monday

What to do when you 'hit the wall' spiritually
by Jack Graham

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9

Back in the1984 Olympics, there was a Swiss runner named Gabrielle Anderson-Scheiss who was at the very end of running the marathon event. But when came into that stadium for her final lap, her legs turned to rubber. She started wobbling and was about to collapse. Yet, as she staggered in, the crowd cheered enthusiastically and the whole world watched as Gabrielle finished that race.

The analysts were talking about what had happened to Gabrielle, who was really a great runner. They said she "hit the wall," which happens when a runner's blood sugar and hydration level get so low that dizziness, muscle paralysis, and even a total collapse can happen. But even though she hit the wall, Gabrielle finished the race.

There are many believers today who have hit the wall spiritually and are running on low spiritual energy. They've been disappointed and discouraged to the point that they're almost ready to throw in the towel.

But the Word of God promises that, even in those times when you feel like you have nothing left-when you feel afflicted, crushed, or struck down-you will never be destroyed solely because of your position in Christ. So when tough times hit and you feel like you've hit the wall, remember you have a Savior who will carry you to the finish!


Daily Smile:
A Taliban was sitting in a cave when he hears over a dune the voice of one American solider: "One American solider is better then 10 Taliban fighters" so the Taliban angry sent over ten of his high-ranking soldiers. After a lot of gun fire and yelling and screams of agony the Taliban heard the voice again. 

"One American solider is better then 100 Taliban fighters" So the Taliban sends over 100 of his highest ranked soldiers sure of victory. After a lot of gun fire and yelling and screams of agony the Taliban heard the voice again. 

"One American solider is better then 1000 Taliban fighters" So the Taliban sent his toughest, meanest, personal guards over the dune. 

After hundreds of bullets fired, and explosions and the screaming and crying, it was over. The Taliban now wondering what happened goes over the dune where he finds a wounded Taliban solider who says "don't send anymore men it's really a trap there is really two of them!"

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Happy Sunday

Do you need to raise your debt ceiling? 
by Joe Slater

When Peter asked Jesus how many times he should forgive a brother who sinned against him, the Lord responded with the parable of the two debtors (Matthew 18:21-35).

One debtor owed the king ten thousand talents (18:24). If Jesus meant for us to think of talents of gold, this would be a staggering sum — in the tens of billions ofdollars at today's prices!

Even if silver talents were meant, this servant was hopelessly in debt. Despite his protest to the contrary, there was no way he was ever going to pay it off, regardless of how much more time he was given(18:26).

His creditor had every right to sell him and his entire family into servitude for the rest of their lives. Fortunately for him, the king had compassion. He required not even a partial payment; he simply forgave the entire debt (18:25, 27).

This drowning-in-debt servant had loaned a hundred denarii to a fellow-servant (18:28). It was a significant sum, to be sure; a denarius was a day's pay for a common laborer (see  Matthew 20:2).

However, even a hundred days' pay could not hold a candle to the tens of billions of dollars of debt for which the king had forgiven the first servant.

One might reasonably expect that thankfulness would move the forgiven debtor to exercise the same compassion toward his fellow-servant.

Instead, the wretched ingrate had his poor coworker cast into debtor's prison (18:29, 30). When the king heard of it, he became so furious that he turned the unforgiving servant over to the torturers until the original debt was paid in full, which, of course, it never could be

Go back to Peter’s original question: "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Upto seven times?" (18:21). Jesus corrected Peter as follows: "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven" (18:22).

Clearly, Peter needed to raise his debt ceiling! Seventy times seven was not intended as a mathematical equation yielding a product of four hundred ninety. The point was simply this: as many times as the brother sins and repents, you forgive.

In the parable, the king undoubtedly represents God Himself. Our sins put us hopelessly in debt to God. No matter how hard we work, we can never pay the price for even one sin. "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23a).

God has every right to punish us in Hell eternally. Fortunately for us, Jesus went to the cross and paid the debt for us. By putting our confident trust in him and obeying the gospel, we receive complete forgiveness. God puts no ceiling on how many sins the blood of Christ will wash away.

Anyone who thinks, "I have sinned so much that not even God can forgive me," simply has a faulty understanding of the grace of God and the blood of Christ.

Since God places no debt ceiling on us, how dare we place such on other people? Jesus said, "If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him" (Luke 17:3). That includes even seven times in a single day (17:4).

The complete number seven indicates again the indefinite frequency with which we are to forgive. Love keeps no tally sheet of sins committed (1 Corinthians13:5).

That is not to say that God is going soft on sin, or that we should. Continuing in sin that grace may abound is not an option (Romans 6:1).

But where there is repentance, forgiveness must follow. That is the way God operates — and are we not grateful that He does? How, then, can we refuse the same compassion to each other? Indeed, we must not!

Do you need to raise your debt ceiling?

Daily Smile:
In a Vet's Office: "All unattended children given free kitten."
Lot outside Vet's office in Silverton, OR: "Parking for customers only; others will be neutered."
In a Veterinarians waiting room: "Be back in 5 minutes. Sit! Stay!"

On Maternity Room Door:
"Push, Push, Push."

On a fence:
"Salesmen welcome - dog food is expensive."

Outside a Muffler Shop:
"No appointment necessary, we'll hear you coming."
Sign in the front yard of a funeral home: "Drive carefully, we'll wait."

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Happy Saturday

Gorilla Moment, Author Unknown and Story Edited
Tony Whittaker wrote how a 30-second film shows six people playing basketball, three in white shirts and three in black. Volunteers are asked to count how many times the white shirt team passes the ball. At the end of the film, they are asked if they saw anything unusual. Most do not. The unusual thing is: halfway through the film, a man wearing a gorilla suit walks through the players, beats his chest to the camera, and then walks off.

"When shown the film again, people are utterly surprised to see him, to the extent that they often believe a different film has been substituted for the original one. Their focus on one task has blinded them to a truth."
 He goes on to say, "This film trick illustrates a simple fact--that if we are only looking for one thing, we do not usually see anything different...The point at which people finally see the unexpected is what [could be called] a 'gorilla moment.'...So often in life people see only what they want to see and don't see what they don't want to see." 

Daily Smile:
Everything I need to know I learnt from a cow
1. Wake up in a happy mooo-d.
2. Don't cry over spilled milk.
3. When chewing your cud, remember: There's no fat, no calories, no cholesterol, and no taste!
4. The grass is green on the other side of the fence.
5. Turn the udder cheek and mooo-ve on.
6. Seize every opportunity and milk it for all its worth!
7. It's better to be seen and not herd.
8. Honor thy fodder and thy mother and all your udder relatives.
9. Never take any bull from anybody.
10. Always let them know who's the bossy.
11. Stepping on cowpies brings good luck.
12. Black and white is always an appropriate fashion statement.
13. Don't forget to cow-nt your blessings every day.

Today's Thought:
"Follow the Master, NOT the Pastor." 

Editor's Note: Sorry, I am a little late this morning. Went out of town to see my 92 yr. young Mother and didn't get back until 11:45PM last night... Hoping your Thanksgiving Day went well and didn't eat as much as I did... Happy Saturday, Richard 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday - Happy Shopping

Living A Life Of Thanksgiving To The LORD
For God's people, Thanksgiving is far more than a special day on the calendar. The Bible urges us to live a life of thanksgiving each day. Being thankful to God for all of His blessings is truly a mark of the Christian. So let me give you four biblical ways to express your thanksgiving to the Lord at this wonderful season of the year. The base I want to build on is Psalm 100, a song of praise to God as our Creator, Sustainer and Redeemer. 

I see at least four ways that Psalm 100 instructs us to praise and worship God. Some may be a little scary to those who are not used to joyously expressing praise, but I encourage you not to be afraid! 

1. Don't Be Afraid to Shout Praise to the Lord.
The Bible says, "Make a joyful shout to the LORD" (Ps. 100:1). In the Bible, shouting is associated with great achievement or joy. Joshua told Israel to march around Jericho for six days and on the seventh day to lift a great shout. When they did, the walls fell down (Josh. 6).
When you are thanking and praising God, don't be afraid to be a little loud. God loves to hear our praises, and it will also make you biblical! 

2. Don't Be Afraid to Serve the Lord with Gladness.
"Serve the LORD with gladness" (Ps. 100:2). Gladness means mirth, gaiety and happiness. No service to the Lord, whether great or small, should be done grudgingly. 

Sincere and true delight in service to God should accompany our words and deeds of worship. When you are serving the Lord, don't be afraid to do it with a glad heart—and don't be afraid to smile! 

3. Don't Be Afraid to Come into the Lord's Presence.
"Come before His presence with singing" (Ps. 100:2). God calls us to come into His presence privately each day and together in corporate worship. "Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice" (Ps. 55:17). 

It was said of the fledgling New Testament church that they met daily in the temple for teaching from the Word, fellowship, worship and praise. Little wonder that Hebrews 10:25 begs us not to fail to regularly assemble with other believers in thanksgiving, hearing the Word and worship. 

4. Don't Be Afraid to Get to Know the Lord.
The rest of Psalm 100:3 says, "Know that the LORD, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture" (emphasis added). The psalmist calls the people to recognize and "know" God's words, works and ways. 

He wants us to know that He is Jehovah God and we are not, that He is the Creator and we are His creatures and that we are His sheep and He is our Shepherd. The heart-longing of every godly person is to get to know God more intimately. 

Let's make it our determination to Praise and Worship God year around! Being Thankful Is Not A One Day A Year Ritual...

O Worship the King
~ Robert Grant, 1779-1838
Stanza 1:
O worship the King, all glorious above,
And gratefully sing His powr and His love;
Our Shield and Defender, the Ancient of Days,
Pavilioned in splendor and girded with praise.
Stanza 2:
O tell of His might, O sing of His grace,
Whose robe is the light, whose canopy space;
His chariots of wrath the deep thunder-clouds form,
And dark is His path on the wings of the storm.
Stanza 3:
Thy bountiful care what tongue can recite?
It breathes in the air, it shines in the light;
It streams from the hills, it descends to the plain,
And sweetly distills in the dew and the rain.
Stanza 4:
Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail,
In Thee do we trust, nor find Thee to fail;
Thy mercies how tender! how firm to the end!
Our Maker, Defender, Redeemer and Friend.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

The GOD Without 

A Thanksgiving Message by Jack Kelley 

Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.   For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. (Psalm 100)

This week we celebrate Thanksgiving in the US.  It’s a holiday begun by the early settlers to express their gratitude to God for a bountiful harvest, and it’s patterned after the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles.

Each fall in ancient Israel Jews from all over the country would gather in Jerusalem for a week long celebration. This was to commemorate the time God had spent with them in the wilderness and to give thanks for another good harvest. All year they saved up their tithes, the first born of their flocks and herds, the first sheaves of grain, the first grapes, figs, olives and other fruit and vegetables and brought it all to Jerusalem where they cooked and ate it all in a national celebration of praise.

After surviving a very difficult year in the new world, the Pilgrims of New England instituted a similar, though much smaller, thanksgiving feast again with the intent of praising God. It took a couple of centuries but this event finally became an official national holiday in the US.
I remember one of my early adult culture shocks, when on a family trip to New Zealand we arrived on Thanksgiving Day only to realize that it wasn’t a holiday there. Even while serving in the Navy, Thanksgiving was always celebrated no matter where the ship I was on happened to be. It wasn’t that I didn’t know it’s an American Holiday; it’s just that it felt funny missing its observance.

(We felt the same way upon arriving in Mexico, so now the American missionaries here help us serve a traditional Thanksgiving dinner to everyone in our church after the first Sunday service following Thanksgiving.  This year we’ll prepare dinner for nearly 200 of our Mexican brothers and sisters as a way of thanking the Lord for His blessings.)

Growing up, our family always remembered that it was the Lord Who had provided for us so generously and so Thanksgiving was almost a religious observance in our house. Prayers were offered and each family member gave thanks for all the nice things the Lord had done for us.
We believed, as the Bible tells us, that even though my parents worked hard all year, it was the Lord who had given them their strength and ability and created opportunities for them. (Deut. 8:17-18) After all lots of people work hard all their lives and never seem to get anywhere. It’s not that we were so well off, but that we knew where our blessings had come from.

As an adult I got involved in the self-development field and began hearing about the “god within”, an internal force I could tap into and use to “maximize my potential.” This appealed to my ego and made me seem like the master of my own fate. I forgot all about the Lord’s admonition to remember Him. When I was born again at age 40 I finally saw that this “god within” was really the “God without” Who had been blessing me all along even though I was taking all the credit.  Once, as I was praying about this, the phrase “God Without” kept repeating itself in my mind. Was the Lord trying to tell me something?

The word “without” applies to lots of things where the Lord is concerned, and as I continued to pray several of them came to mind. If you’re looking for things to give thanks for (even if you live in a country where Thanksgiving isn’t celebrated) try some of these “withouts”. I’ll bet the Lord will bring more to your mind.

Love Without Limits … 

For God so loved the world that He gave His only Beloved Son, that whoever believed in Him would not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

Forgiveness Without Question … 

Ask and you will receive. Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened to you. (Matt 7:7) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

Performance Without Exception … 

All that the Father gives me will come to me and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. And this is the will of Him Who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that He has given me, but raise them up on the last day. (John 6:37, 39)

Promise Without Equivocation … 

I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times what is still to come. I say, “My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please … what I have said, that will I bring about and what I have planned, that will I do.” (Isaiah 46:10-11)

Blessings Without Number … 

You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country (wherever you are). The fruit of your womb will be blessed (your children), and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock-the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks (your work). Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed (you’ll have plenty of food). You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out (when you come home at night and when you leave in the morning). (Deut 28:3-6)

Mercy Without Measure ….
It is because of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. 
(Lamentations 3:22-23)

Faithfulness Without Failing … 

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands. (Deut. 7:9)

Redemption Without Retraction … 

In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will– to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. (Ephesians 1:5-8)

Salvation Without Merit … But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life (Titus 3:4-7).

Grace Without Guilt … 

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. (2 Corinthians 5:17-19)

So in a time when mankind has all but forgotten that the Lord is the Giver of every good and perfect gift, the Author of all our victories, who arranges every opportunity and fashions every blessing, these “withouts” might serve as good reminders to give thanks where thanks is due.
And now may “The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26) Happy Thanksgiving.

Holiday Smiles:
I can't come to the phone now, so if, well, actually, I CAN come to the phone now, I mean, like, I'm at the phone NOW, recording this message, but I'm doing this NOW, while you're listening to it LATER, except for you I guess its NOW, like, when you're listening to it... I mean, like, wait, gosh. This is so confusing.

(Long pause, sound of phone dropping, sleepy voice:) Argh!
(Pause.) Hello... (Sound of phone dropping, then a yawn.) Sorry man... I'm a bit tired at the moment... (Long yawn.) I'm going back to sleep now... Just going to switch the answering machine on...

Thank you for calling the CSU Automated Hearing Test Line. Prepare for Test. 1. Is this tone louder in your left ear or right ear? ...

BEEP Hi, this is George. I'm sorry I cant answer the phone right now. Leave a message, and then wait by your phone until I call you back.

You've reached Mike and Nancy's answering machine. They're not home right now. At least, I don't think they are. Hang on. (Voice moves away from recording microphone.) Mike? Nancy? (Voice comes back.) Nope, they're not here, so at the beep...

Hello, please send me email instead. I always never playback these stupid answering machine messages. Besides, I am probably online right now.

This is Frank. You can leave me a message, but I must warn you I get annoyed with messages that are hard to read. So please use your shift key appropriately, avoid overdoing punctuation, and spell-check your message, or I might ignore it.

OK, one more time... This is our answering machine... This is the message on our answering machine... Any questions?

Despite the best efforts of the telephone company, you really DID reach 555-1234. But that didn't help much, did it? You still have to talk to a machine.

Hello. If you're calling with bad news, leave your message now. If its good news, wait for the tone.

(Game show-announcer voice:) Hello, and welcome to Phone Tag! (Cheers in background.) If you'd like to join the game, please leave your name and number at the beep, and we'll try to reach you when you're not around. And thanks once again for playing Phone Tag!

You're growing tired. Your eyelids are getting heavy. You feel very sleepy now. You are gradually losing your willpower and your ability to resist suggestions. When you hear the tone you will feel helplessly compelled to leave your name, number, and a message.

If a telephone rings in an empty room and no one is there to answer it, was there really a phone call? Help me investigate this phenomenon by leaving your name and number after the tone.

Hello. Here are my answers to last weeks messages, in order of their arrival. Yes. Maybe. At seven. You'll get it tomorrow. For sure. Get me that phone number. Thanks, I take my messages on Mondays.


1 pound ground beef  
1 cup chopped onion  
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper  
2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder  
1 clove garlic, minced  
1 bay leaf  
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped  
1 can tomatoes, chopped, undrained, (28 ounces)  
1 can tomato sauce, (14 ounces)  
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin  
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram  
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme  
1 can chili beans or kidney beans, undrained, (15 ounces)  

Cook first 3 ingredients in a large saucepan until meat is browned, stirring until it crumbles; drain. Add chili powder and next 8 ingredients, stirring well
; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 1 hour and 30 minutes to 2 hours. Add beans, stirring well, and cook until thoroughly heated.  

Yield: 6 Servings

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Wednesday


Luke 14:13, 14a But when you have a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame and the blind. And you will be blessed.

This morning, as I sat on my back porch, I noticed a large flock of blackbirds in the backyard. They were flying from the trees to the ground and back again. While on the ground, they scurried around looking for food. They would hunt and peck, hunt and peck, hunt and peck. Finally one of them noticed the birdfeeder filled with delicious sunflower seeds. This particular bird flew to the feeder, taking his fill, and didn't move for a very long time. Soon,others joined him. They filled each available perch on the feeder while twenty or more sat on the fence, looking as if they were waiting their turn.

It is this way for many people. They flit here and there, looking for something to satisfy them. They think they've discovered it, so they perch for awhile and digest the activity they've pursued. Hopefully, someone they know or encounter will have found the true source of satisfaction- God, through His Word. They will draw others who are spiritually hungry,inviting them to "the feast." The Bible is just like that full birdfeeder- it is waiting for people to come and feast.When this occurs, they will no longer be satisfied to hunt and peck, and hunt and peck for fulfillment. God's Word will fill them, and they will want to will share the good news with their friends.

Contributed by Marion Smith

Daily Smile:
At a theological seminar in Kentucky, students entering the room for lunch were greeted by a sign which read: "Take only one apple, God is watching you."  

At the other end of the table was a large tray of chocolate  cookies with a hastily scribbled sign which read: "Take as many as you want - God is back there watching the apples."  

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Happy Tuesday

Steve Goodier
How are you at finding the funny side of life?

I grew up in the state of New Mexico, whose slogan is: "Land of Enchantment." In New Mexico we learned to live with dusty wind. Gusting dust storms bit into the skin, irritated eyes and sometimes even chipped paint off cars. Howling wind occasionally blew for several days straight.

Each Spring my mother complained about the dust. It seemed that a fine film covered every surface in the house, no matter how often we cleaned.

I appreciate the story of a newcomer to the Land of Enchantment who learned about dusty breezes. She was visiting an antique shop and the proprietor wiped down every item before showing it. The newcomer said, "Everything gets dusty here pretty quickly, doesn't it?"

"That's not dust, honey," the shop owner replied. "That's ENCHANTMENT."

Sometimes the only sense you can make of life is a sense of humor! Here was a person who took a negative and turned it into something humorous. That made the problem more palatable - easier to swallow. Finding the funny side can be especially important if your problem is one of those that, at least for now, can't be solved.

A Hong Kong shopping center manager faced such a problem when an escalator broke. He posted a sign to warn customers. He opted not to use the traditional "Out of Order" or "Do Not Use" warnings. Instead, his sign read, "This Escalator Is Temporarily a Stairway." He turned a minus into humor and made it a plus.

Frank A. Clark says, "I think the next best thing to solving a problem is finding some humor in it." That way, if you're stuck with the situation for a while, you always have a ready excuse to laugh.

Daily Smile:
When my father-in-law decided to move after his retirement, he invited us to his home to take a few pieces of furniture he wanted us to have. One item was beautiful but very heavy, an antique dining-room set. 

      Our teenage son helped us wrestle the set into our truck. It took the whole day, but finally the table, chairs, and china cabinet were sitting in our dining room.

     "Just think," I said as I admired the furniture while my son sat resting. "This set is 100 years old. And someday, it will belong to  you."

     "Oh, no!" he replied with a stricken look on his face. "You mean I'm going to have to move this thing AGAIN?"

Monday, November 21, 2011

Happy Monday

Spa Survivor    

I finally found a Survivor I want to sign up for. It's...SPA SURVIVOR. Instead of competitions where you end up dragging yourself all across a sandy desert beach, you have to endure a really rough exfoliator. Yeah, that'll rub you the wrong way. Competitions could include running with cotton balls between each toe, finding the way to the ladies' room with a cucumber slice over each eye and trying to get a credit card out of a tight wallet before the nails are completely dry. Tough, I know, but I think I could take it. Why, I've even been known to endure a brow-waxing...and that's brutal, man. I would likely be willing to endure a seaweed wrap with hardly a whine for the right spa survivor incentive. A really tight seaweed wrap even.

Okay, in truth, my spa survivor skills are not all that likely to impress. But have you ever thought about God's Word as our spiritual day spa? It truly is the most impressive. No brutal brow-waxing or exfoliators. Even when it causes us to see things in our lives that are a bit painful, God's word always rubs us the RIGHT way.

Hebrews 4:12 says, "For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." That may sound more painful than a brow-waxing, but searching the scriptures, studying them, applying them, meditating on them and making them part of our lives doesn't simply change the shape of a brow. No, it changes the shape of our lives. As we focus on his word, we can see our thoughts and attitudes lining up with his thoughts and attitudes. That's when we can find a whole new depth of real, purpose-filled life.

The Bible encourages us not to merely survive this life. Who wants to settle for mere surviving when we can be thriving? It's tribal or non-tribal survival "thrival."

So let's peel those cucumbers off our eyes and look daily into the living, active word of God. It's grand to thrive! Even if we leave our brows outrageously furry and decide to EAT the seaweed.

Rhonda Rhea

Daily Smile:
On a foggy night at sea, the ship's captain saw what appeared to be the lights of another ship heading toward him. He instructed his signalman to send this message: "Change your course ten degrees to the south."  

The reply came back: "Change YOUR course ten degrees to the north."  

The captain responded: "I am a captain, change your course!"  

Response: "I am a seaman first class; you change your course!"  

The captain was furious and sent this reply: "I am a battleship, you must change your course!"  

To which he received this reply: "I am a lighthouse. You must change YOUR course!"  

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Happy Saturday


There are some days when you wake up in the morning and open your eyes and think , same old day , same situation , same hurt, same problem , same misery and same difficulties.

How many of you have ever felt like this being overwhelmed by the events of our being?

A voice within you cries out , “Change this day Lord”

Make it new Lord , Take away the pain , hurt and disappointments . Open up the windows of heaven and let me shower in your burden breaking, yolk destroying anointing.

Words become hopeless when Christ is not attached to that sentence.

King David proclaims in Psalm 27:
“The Lord is my light and salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the defense of my life, whom shall I dread"

With every new day , comes worries of its own , however sufficiency for the day is of the Lord.

In every chapter of our life, God is present and he wants to take all the worthless words and rewrite the page with his new chapter. God’s chapter does not eliminate hardship , he proves hardship can be overcome through faith in Jesus. God’s chapter does not erase pain and disappointment, he turns it into a harvest.

God’s chapter does not exclude storms , he stills it. God’s chapter does not exhibit defeat , he levels out new dispositions of excellence . God’s chapter does not portray defeat , it reflects victory.

Now how many of us today will rather have God write the chapter and we walk the words or we write the chapter and leave our words hopeless.

As with all successes in life, the accomplishment is memorable. Liken to every impossibility , where God’s resources are immeasurable. Most of our memorable achievements along the road of human development, is not quite the linear move from start to finish we imagine it to be. In fact, the journey that would end with a victory has possibly curves of disappointments , corners of hurts , bends with pain and starting points with uncertainty.

The often miry course of human history is similar. I now understand the need for adherence and diligence to a supreme God in the healing process of our personal histories. There is a reason Jesus questions the paralytic by the pool in John chapter 5; we must first /want/ to be well. But thinking of this call for help as being inherently present within everyone of us and leads us back to the ultimate question, 'What is a lifetime?' And 'Why do I live it?'"

Such are the questions we wrestle with in the twists and turns, stops and failures through this journey called life. How incredibly helpful to know there is a reason. God is not merely the God who comes near in the midst of the pain of adolescence or the cries of an adult for understanding; He is the creator of the spirit that leads us to crisis and guides us through certain pains. "." It is the Spirit of God who makes the human mind capable of knowing Him.
"'You did not choose me,' said Jesus, 'but I chose you'" (John 15:16).

All success is built on previous attempts. Whether our days are marked by victory or crisis, progress or a call to turn around and try again, the Spirit goes with us, reinforcing that God has been there all along.

Discover that there is a new chapter present behind many of the failures we long to forget. There is the Holy Spirit present within the crushed and wounded scenes we try our best to put behind us, There is the restorative hope in discovering the one who created us .The words of the psalmist describe waking to this knowledge:
"It was not by their sword that they won the land, nor did their arm bring them victory; it was your right hand, your arm, and the light of your face, for you loved them" (Psalm 44:3). Our days are marked with the intention of one who loves us. Our winding journeys are a means to his glory.
Hazel Moodley

Daily Smile:
      The cop got out of his car, and the kid that he'd stopped for speeding rolled down his window. "I've been waiting for you all day," the cop said.

      The kid replied, "Gee, well, I got here as fast as I could."

      When the cop finally stopped laughing, he sent the kid on his way without a ticket. 

     KIDS: Don't Try This, It Won't Work... It's A Cop's Joke...

Friday, November 18, 2011

Happy Friday

An assortment of antique grandfather, wall and mantle clocks at a repair shop in the UK

Tick Tock
I've always been a fan of grandfather clocks, although I've never owned one. You know the ones, solid wood beauties as tall as you are. Well crafted and built to last many lifetimes. The ones that have a deep chime that resonates throughout the whole house on the quarter, half and hour

Over the years we have had a delightful antique mantle clock and a cuckoo clock brought back from my son Kyle when he went on a mission trip to Europe. We've also had the usual number of clock radios, electric wall clocks and cheap alarm clocks, but they are not the same. 

There is something very comforting, for me, about the gentle, continuous ticking as the clock counts off the seconds. Even the mantle clock and cuckoo clock had a very comforting, resonating tick - tock. It's a sound that the other clocks we have owned never managed to quite duplicate. In fact, for me, the ticking of a tinny alarm clock can be annoying rather than comforting. 

I do have a small mantle clock given to me as a gift that sits next to my desk. It isn't an expensive clock but it has a solid sounding tick. Not nearly as good as a well built grandfather clock but vaguely comforting none the less. 

I've heard a theory that people like the sound of clocks because it reminds them of the beating of their mother's heart, while they were in the womb. Perhaps there is some merit to that theory, but I look at it a little differently. 

The solid tick tock of a well made clock reminds me of God's constant presence in my life. If I'm stressed, and I close my eyes and listen, I can almost hear Him in the room. 

Knowing He is always nearby gives me comfort when I am down and strength when I am weary. If I'm in a good mood, the reassurance of His presence only lifts my spirits higher. 

Perhaps it is the comfort of knowing Him and knowing He is near that drives me to want to share Him with other people. 

I see people who are hurting or living lives without joy and my heart aches for them. I know that comfort and joy is theirs for the asking. 

Perhaps that is what Paul had in mind when he wrote to the church in Philippi
Philippians 2:1-4 NIV
If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Until next time, when you hear the gentle ticking of a clock, may you be reminded of His presence and grow in your desire to know Him and share His love with others.

Would you help us spread the word about "Gleanings"? Tell your friends and family about us and encourage them to subscribe for themselves. Help us to take the good news of Jesus Christ to people around the globe. Help us to encourage and challenge believers in their faith walk. I know there are many people out there who could benefit greatly from what we do. Will you help them find us? Thanks.
Hallelu Yah (Praise God)
Be blessed

Daily Smile:
My teenager was headed to school one morning when I told him that the neck tag on his shirt was hanging out.

       "I know," he replied. "It's a fad me and some of the guys started."

       Weeks later, as the style persisted, I commented, "I can't stand it! Every time I see that, I want to fix it for you." I gently tucked the tag in place and rumpled his hair.

       "Yeah," he said smiling slyly. "All the girls do, too."

     Today is the deadline for the December '11 StarLight News...  Devotionals, Advertisement, What's Happening In Area Churches, Church News...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Happy Thursday


The agricultural school dean was interviewing a freshman. "Why have you chosen this career?" he asked.

"I dream of making a million dollars in farming, like my father," replied the freshman.

The dean was impressed. "Your father made a million dollars in farming?"

"No," the student said. "But he always dreamed of it."

At least this student has a dream! In fact, anything truly worthy will be accomplished only after it is dreamed. The dream, big and beautiful, comes first. Then the effort begins.

It was put well: "When we are motivated by goals that have deep meaning, by dreams that need completion, by pure love that needs expressing, then we truly live." (Greg Anderson)

    * Goals that have deep meaning... What are your goals? Are they
worthy of your time and talent?

    * Dreams that need completion... Are you dreaming big enough that your vision may take time to complete? Like newscaster Belva Davis reminds us, "Don't be afraid of the space between your dreams and reality. If you can dream, you can make it so."

    * And pure love that needs expressing... Are your dreams and goals making you a better, more loving person?

When you're motivated by goals that have deep meaning, dreams that need completion and pure love that needs expressing, then you will know what it is to truly live. And, after all, isn't truly living what you really want?

Daily Smile:
A guy's wife and kids all came down with the flu. Upon returning home from the pediatrician's office with his four kids, he  turned his attention to his ailing wife, preparing some chicken soup for her, and calling her doctor.

      The receptionist answered and he related the situation to her. She then told him that the office was going to be closed for a couple of days, but that his wife could have an appointment in 3 days.

      He went ballistic and yelled into the phone, "Three days?! The doctor can't see her for three days?! She could be dead by then!"

      Calmly the voice at the other end of the line replied, "If so, would you please call to cancel the appointment?"

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Happy Wednesday

The King’s Gift     October 12, 2007

Ephesians 6:11

        In the Old Testament we read about a well known Biblical character, David. He was just a young shepherd boy when he volunteered to fight an enemy, the giant Goliath. The King at that time was Saul, and he graciously offered David his armor for the fight. As David donned this heavy equipment, he realized he could not fight with the additional weight and bulk of Saul’s armor on his body.

        In the New Testament, Ephesians 6:11,God has given all His children a special set of armor to combat an enemy much more formidable than Goliath . The enemy is Satan, and the gift from God is a full set of armor- covering us from head to foot. We have his helmet of salvation, breastplate of righteousness, belt of truth, shoes of peace ,the sword of the spirit(our offence) and the shield of faith (our defense).  This perfect set of armor is neither too heavy nor a hindrance as we engage in a spiritual battle with Satan each and every day of our lives. As a matter of fact, it is our shield and protection ; a perfect way to combat Satan . I am thankful for this gift from God, and so glad it is lightweight enough that I can put it on when first awakening , wearing and utilizing it all day

        Each set of armor was given by a king.  King Saul, in the Old Testament, and King Jesus, in the New.The difference in the old and new armor is clear. King Sauls’ was unsuitable for David. The new is well suited for the believer, and given to us by the King of Kings and Lord of Lords – Jesus Christ. Praise God!

Marion Smith

Daily Smile:
An elderly doctor listened to the wails of a woman who bemoaned the disappearance of the family physician, the good old-fashioned doctor.   

Finally he lost patience and replied, "Madam, if you will show me an old-fashioned family, I will produce a doctor for it." 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Happy Tuesday


When I take my dog Katie for a walk, she used to pull on the chain very tightly. She longed to be off the leash. When I let her off the leash to run, she would not come back to me until she was tired, thirsty, and hungry. To me, the most important command to a dog is 'come'. So when she was running loose, I would carry a pocket of dog treats and call her. Seldom she came, but when she did, I would grab her by the collar, pet her, tell her how good she is, and give her a treat, then let her go free. I wanted her to realize she was free, but my goal was for her to have some control over herself and come when called.

This went on for months until finally, she started to come every time. When this next phase was going well, I would grab her by the collar and take her into my house about once every ten times. In the house, she would get an extra special reward.

Atie makes me think about my relationship with God a lot. I have my leash. Oftentimes, I do not come when called. But I am learning. I know the reward is great if I just obey. One day I will hear the call, "Come", and when I do I will taken to my Master's house and once inside I will have my extra special reward.

Are you pulling on your leash today? Are you listening to the voice that says, "Come to me"?.

B. J. Cassady


Daily Smiles:

     A computer-illiterate client called the help desk asking how to change her password.

    "Okay," I said, after punching in a few keys. "Log in using the password 123456."

    "Is that all in caps?" she asked.


     At first it was funny. Whenever our mother played the piano, our poodle, Mollie, would sing along -- enthusiastically, in an earsplitting howl. We would all laugh, but after a while my dad couldn't take it any longer.

    "For Pete's sake," he begged, "play something the dog doesn't know."

Monday, November 14, 2011

Happy Monday

Quiz Show Whiz
The other day, I flipped through the channels on the television and stopped for a moment on a quiz show. The kids seemed to know even the most obscure facts at a moment's notice. I know that the team was made up of the selected representatives of their schools, but none the less they were amazing. 

Another channel had the quiz show Jeopardy on. A clue is supplied from one of a variety of categories and contestants have to give an answer in the form of a question. There are a wide range of formats for these quiz shows, each requiring the contestant to have a degree of obscure knowledge in a wide range of categories. There is "Who wants to be a Millionaire?" and "Name that Tune" and many others. 

At the moment, a popular television show is "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?" After watching part of one episode my answer is no. A quiz show whiz I'm not. 

If that isn't enough, there is a plethora of trivia board and computer games to keep you occupied. Trivial Pursuit, Bible-opoly and more are designed to test your knowledge. 

The world is increasingly full of knowledge and facts. The growth of knowledge is explosive. That's not necessarily a bad thing. It's good to know things. Knowledge can often come in handy. 

However, knowing things is not the same as being able to apply that knowledge. Even applying knowledge is not the same as wisdom. A person can apply much of what they have learned and never achieve wisdom. A wise person may or may not possess what many consider knowledge.
What's the difference? True wisdom is a gift from God.
James 3:13-18 NIV
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such "wisdom" does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.
True wisdom is Spirit filled wisdom. Look how closely it mirrors the list of spiritual fruit.
Galatians 5:22-23 NIV
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law
I know that there are way too many facts for me to remember, but I've learned how to go find facts if I need them. I know I'll never learn everything and the more I learn the more I realize that there are things I don't know. I do know without question, that my heart desires godly wisdom above all knowledge. What do you know? 

Until next time, may God grant you true wisdom.

Would you help us spread the word about "Gleanings"? Tell your friends and family about us and encourage them to subscribe for themselves. Help us to take the good news of Jesus Christ to people around the globe. Help us to encourage and challenge believers in their faith walk. I know there are many people out there who could benefit greatly from what we do. Will you help them find us? Thanks.
Hallelu Yah (Praise God)
Be blessed

Once when I was a teenager, my father and I were standing in line to buy tickets for the circus. Finally, there was only one family between us and the ticket counter. That family made a big impression on me. There were eight children, all probably under the age of 12. By the way they were dressed, you could tell they didn't have a lot of money, but their clothes were neat and clean.

    The children were well-behaved; all of them standing in line, two-by-two behind their parents, holding hands. They were excitedly jabbering about the clowns, animals, and all the acts they would be seeing that night. By their excitement, you could sense they had never been to the circus before. It would be a highlight of their lives.

    The father and mother were at the head of the pack standing proud as could be. The mother was holding her husband's hand, looking up at him as if to say, "You're my knight in shining armor." He was smiling and enjoying his family.

    The ticket lady asked the man how many tickets he wanted. He proudly responded, "I'd like to buy eight child tickets and two adult tickets, so I can take my family to the circus." The ticket lady stated the price.

    The man's wife let go of his hand, her head dropped, and the man's lip began to quiver. Then he leaned a little closer and asked, "How much did you say?" The ticket lady again stated the price. The man didn't have enough money.

    How was he supposed to turn and tell his eight kids that he didn't have enough money to take them to the circus?

    Seeing what was going on, my dad reached into his pocket, pulled out a $20 bill, and then dropped it on the ground. (We were not wealthy in any sense of the word!) My father bent down, picked up the $20 bill, tapped the man on the shoulder and said, "Excuse me, sir, this fell out of your pocket."

    The man knew what was going on. He wasn't begging for a handout, but certainly appreciated the help in a desperate, heartbreaking, embarrassing situation. He looked straight into my dad's eyes, took my dad's hand in both of his, squeezed tightly onto the $20 bill, and with his lip quivering and a tear streaming down his cheek, he replied, "Thank you, thank you, sir. This really means a lot to me and my family."

     My father and I went back to our car and drove home. The $20 that my dad gave away was what we were going to buy our own tickets with. Although we didn't get to see the circus that night, we both felt a joy inside us that was far greater than seeing the circus could ever provide.
-- Author Unknown

Daily Smile:
     Everyone knows I'm a stickler for good spelling. So when an associate e-mailed technical documents asking me to "decifer" them, I had to set him straight.

     "Decipher is spelled with a ph, not an f," I wrote. "In case you've forgotten, spell checker comes free with your Microsoft program." 

     A minute later came his reply: "Must be dephective."