Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Power of Words

 A woman went to the village priest with a troubled conscience. She said, "I have circulated a nasty story about a friend only to find the story is not true. What shall I do to make good the awful deed?

"If you would make peace with your conscience you must fill a bag with goose down, go to every door in the village and drop one fluffy down," replied the priest.  The woman did as she was told. Then she came back to the priest and said she had done her penance for her folly.

"Not yet," replied the priest. "Take the bag and go the rounds again and gather every feather that you have dropped."

"But the wind will have blown them all away," she protested, "they will be picked up by little children, trodden under foot of man, I'll never get them all back!"

"Yes, and so it is with your vile words. Words and the goose down are quickly dropped, but try as hard as you will, you can never get them all back again."

"If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless." (James 1:26, NLT)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Its hard to live when nobody cares if you die

A high school student in the USA committed suicide.  He left a note saying, "It's hard to live when nobody cares if you die." 

 His classmates were badly shaken by this traumatic event.  Realizing the opportunity to help these young people through this troubling time, a teacher talked to the students about how important it is that people feel valued. So, he told them to imagine they were about to die. Then he gave an assignment: "Write a note to tell someone how important he or she is to you."

Sandy, who had a rocky relationship with her mother, was especially moved by the idea that she might die without telling her mom how important she was, so she wrote a note: "We've had some rough times and I know I haven't been a very good daughter but I know I'm lucky to have you in my life. You  are the best person I've ever known. Thanks for not giving up on me."
 She told her mom about the assignment and gave her the note. Her mom cried and hugged Sandy but said little. The next morning Sandy found a note on her mirror. "Dearest daughter," it said, "I want you to know how much you are valued. Being your mother is the most important thing in my life. The truth is I've felt like such a failure I was seriously considering ending it all. I thought you'd be better off without me. Your appreciation makes my life worth living."

"Let us think of ways to motivate and encourage one another to acts of love and good works." (Hebrews 10:24, NLT)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Missionary Encourager

A young man, accepted for the African mission field reported at New York for passage, but doctors determined that his wife would not be able to handle the climate. He was heartbroken, but he prayerfully returned to his home and determined to make all the money he could to be used in spreading the kingdom of God over the world. 

His father, a dentist, had started to make an unfermented wine for the communion service. The young man took the business over and developed it until it assumed vast proportions - his name was "Welch"' whose family still manufactures grapejuice in the USA and in 35 countries around the world. He has given literally hundreds of thousands of dollars to the work of missions and enabled scores of missionaries to serve God on the mission field.

What seemed like a major obstacle became a wonderful open door of support for the work of God. If God has shut the door to full time ministry for you,  you can still multiply your efforts by enabling others to go and supporting them in prayer and finance.   If you are blessed with this world's goods and you wonder what your ministry could possibly be, you've got it! Don't hold back. You can be an encourager! Encouragers are generous people. They are generous with words; they are generous with actions, and they are generous with their money.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Missionary Servanthood

Sir Wilfred Grenfell, English medical missionary who laboured in Labrador, visited Johns Hopkins Hospital in America to find a head nurse.  Promising neither salary nor expenses, he made this offer:  “If you want to have the time of your life, come with me and run a hospital next summer for the orphans of the Northlands.”    A nurse who accepted the offer later wrote,  “I never knew before that life was good for anything but what one could get out of it.  Now I know that the real fun lies in seeing how much one can put into life for others.” The new challenge put a kick in her life.  Serving others proved more motivational than big earnings and a prominent position.

To many people life is all about what you can get out of it. Success means fame, fortune, and recognition.  Jesus had a different take on it.  He said that if you want to be great in the Kingdom of Heaven you to learn to be the servant of all. (Matt 20.26)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

It Only Takes a Spark

There is an atmosphere of gloom and pessimism in the US at present.  Barack Obama promised change –and his presidency has certainly brought about change: Unemployment figures are soaring, houses are being foreclosed at a record rate, the value of the American dollar is falling and biblical values are disintegrating. 

There was a similar situation in the 1850s.  At that time the glow of earlier religious awakenings had faded. America was prosperous and felt little need to call on God. But then the nation ran into problems and the self- sufficient complacency was swept away. Thousands of companies were forced to the wall as banks failed and railroads went into bankruptcy. Factories were shut down and vast numbers thrown out of their jobs. New York City alone had 30,000 unemployed. The hearts of people were shaken, while hunger and despair stared them in the face.

On July 1, 1857, a quiet and zealous businessman named Jeremiah Lanphier started his new job as a city missionary for a down-town New York church. The church had a dramatic fall in membership and Lanphier was appointed to set up a programme of visitation in the immediate neighborhood to get new people into the church.

Burdened by the need of the city, Jeremiah Lanphier decided to invite others to join him in a noonday prayer-meeting, to be held on Wednesdays once a week. He then distributed a rather wordy handbill which wasn’t exactly a high powered sales pitch for his new prayer event.  Nevertheless at twelve noon, September 23, 1857, the faithful Lanphier took his seat to await the response to his invitation. Five minutes went by. No one appeared. Ten minutes elapsed. Still no one came. Fifteen minutes passed. Lanphier was still alone. Twenty minutes; twenty-five; thirty; and then at 12.30 p.m., a step was heard on the stairs, and the first person appeared, then another, and another, and another, until six people were present, and the prayer meeting began.

On the following Wednesday, October 7th, there were forty intercessors. Interest was growing.  In the first week of October 1857, it was decided to hold the meeting daily instead of weekly.  Within six months, ten thousand businessmen were gathering daily for prayer in New York, and within two years, a million converts were added to the American churches.

Undoubtedly the greatest revival in New York's colourful history was sweeping the city, and it was impacting the whole nation. There was no fanaticism, no hysteria, simply an incredible movement of the Spirit of God that moved people to pray. 

It all started when one man had a vision and a burden to pray.  He wasn’t a great evangelist or preacher. He was just an ordinary Joe or Jeremiah. And God used him. Are you willing to be a Jeremiah Lanphier ? Maybe you are the spark to set the fire going.