living devotions

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Rev. E. Anderson

BITTERNESS

Senior Living Ministries

“But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”
— Luke 6:35-36

It was the week before his freshman year would begin, and Bruce Goodrich was being initiated into the Corps of Cadets at TexasA&MUniversity. One night, Bruce was forced to run until he dropped—but he never got up. Bruce Goodrich died before he even entered college.

A short time after the tragedy, Bruce’s father wrote this letter to the university administration:

“I would like to take this opportunity to express the appreciation of my family for the great outpouring of concern and sympathy from TexasA&MUniversity and the college community over the loss of our son Bruce.

“I hope it will be some comfort to know that we harbour no ill will in the matter. We know our God makes no mistakes. Bruce had an appointment with his Lord and is now secure in his celestial home. When the question is asked, ‘Why did this happen?’, perhaps one answer will be, ‘So that many will consider where they will spend eternity.’”

In a day and age when many parents’ first inclination would be to call a lawyer, Bruce’s parents showed grace. And while it might not have been easy to do, God gave them strength!

Maybe you’ve been wronged and are holding on to bitterness. If so, give it to God and show grace. In the same way you’ve been forgiven, you also can forgive others with the power of Christ in you! 

PRAYER CHALLENGE

Ask God to show you where you need grace to cover any bitterness you may be harboring in your heart.

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leadership factors

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Rev. John Maxwell

JOSHUA: PICTURE OF A FAITHFUL LEADER

Taken from the John Maxwell Leadership Bible

Joshua 24:29-3

Joshua provides a superb example of a leader whose faithfulness prompted God to raise him J up. Over the three divisions of his life (40 years in Egypt; 40 years in the wilderness; and 30 years in Canaan), God gradually moved this trustworthy man into leadership.

Note the signs of his faithfulness: Obedience (Ex. 17:8-16; Num. 32:10-12); Servanthood (Ex. 24:13; Josh. 11:15); Loyalty (Ex. 33:11; Num. 11:24-30); Courage (Num. 13:8,16,25-30; 14:5-10);  Promotion (Num. 27:15-23); Responsibility (Deut. 31:7,8); Power (Deut. 34:9); Credibility (Deut. 34:9). Joshua’s faithfulness challenges us even today to lead as he did:

1/.  LIVE AHEAD OF YOUR CONTEMPORARIES.

Joshua spied out the same land at the same time as the other ten spies, but he and Caleb returned with a different report. He lived ahead of his time.

2/.  LIVE ABOVE YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES.

Joshua faced several challenges: He followed Moses; he had to conquer mighty Jericho; he] had to cross the Jordan with more than one million people. But he did it.

3/.  LIVE DEEPER THAN YOUR CALAMITIES.

When Israel began to make progress in taking the Promised Land, some disobeyed God brought defeat on the nation. Joshua overcame it all.

4/.  LIVE BEYOND YOUR CAPABILITIES.

Joshua’s dream, his determination, and his ability to develop his leadership skills enabled him to soar beyond his own personal gifts.

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just a thought

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Rev. Aaron Linford

“I THIRST”

John 19:28

These words not only fulfil scripture, being a quotation from Psalm 69:21, they also present a problem. Why did our Lord decline the medicated drink offered to Him (Mark 15:23), yet here request a drink?

Two reasons.

First, the “wine mingled with myrrh” was a pain-killer. Our Lord refused this analgesic lest anyone should complain that Christ Jesus had not touched the depths of human suffering, and so not met the needs of the greatest sufferer. He drank the cup of pain to its dregs for our sakes: no one suffered more than He.

Secondly, the loss of blood, the long exposure to sun, the exhausting lack of moisture had so parched His tongue that He found it difficult to speak. “My tongue cleaveth to my jaws”, it was said prophetically (Ps 22:15). With a desperate effort He articulated “I thirst!” He was given a spongeful of sour wine. Relieved, he cried with a loud voice, “It is finished” – a voice of triumph. Jesus fulfilled on the Cross all that was necessary for our forgiveness. “By His stripes we are healed”.

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illustrations that light up life

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Rev. E. Anderson

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT 

GETTING IT DONE

There are three ways to get something done:

1.  Do it yourself.

2.  Hire someone to do it.

3.  Forbid your kids to do it. 

TEENAGE AWARENESS

First mother of a teenager: “My daughter doesn’t tell me anything. I’m a nervous wreck!”

Second mother of a teenager: “My daughter tells me everything, and I’m a nervous wreck!”

 

VALUE OF AN EDUCATION

Friend: “Has your son’s education proved to be of any real value?” Father: “Yes, indeed. It has entirely cured his mother of bragging about his brains and accomplishments.”

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healing testimonies

Rev. E. Anderson

GETNESH AND ELIANAN

Getnesh prayed and told the Lord,”this is a sign from You – You are going to meet our need and heal Eli.”

Getnesh is a woman who believes in loving and serving others. Born an hour and a half  from Addis Ababa, she  moved wit her husband to serve as teachers in the public school. Handling elementary students in classes as large as 60, Gentesh served with   excellence for 26 years.

She was blessed with 2 daughters and 2 sons in her family.  She has 8 grandchildren from them; but the most special grandchild may be. The second son of her daughter Meron, this young child was born healthy and grew well. But then, shortly after his first birthday, something strange happened to this beautiful boy. As he was active and playing, he fell down and suddenly began to convulse. The family took him to the doctor who said he had

NO DIAGNOSIS, but offered medicine. As weeks went by, the sudden fevers and convulsions would happen more often. A referral to the hospital for MRI’s and other tests revealed him to be healthy. Further tests to look for epilepsy were found negative. Elianan’s issues became so bad that they happened every 4-6 hours at anytime of the day or night. The mother and father spent any money they could seeking an answer. They even sold their car. Grandmom and mom sold their wedding rings. When all the tests and all the efforts were done, the doctors had NO SOLUTIONS and said he would probably grow out of the problem in 5 or more years. This sent Meron, Eli’s mom into a depression so desperate that she considered suicide on two occasions. But Grandma, Getnesh, was a strong believer in Jesus Christ. Along with her next door neighbour  and Eli’s mom, they continued to storm heaen  on behalf of the child. Then one day Getnesh learned that reinhard Bonnke and Daniel Kolendawere coming with Christ for All Nations for a Gospel Campaign. Getnesh prayed and told the Lord “THIS IS A SIGN FROM YOU YOU ARE GOING TO MEET OUR NEE AND HEAL ELI’.

On the first day of the Campaign, they brought little Eli to the meeting to pray for him. To their surprise, Evangelist Bonnke spoke a word of knowledge that there was a mother who’s child was sick and convulsing and the Lord was healing the child. Their heart leapt and believed the word was for them. They laid hands on Eli as prayers were offered in Jesus’ name.

His body was always too warm, then flashing to hot. When they felt him he was cool for the first time in a year. That night he slept gently – the next day he played and walked and never had fever or convulsions. They came back to the campaign to give praise to the Lord for what He had done for Elianan. The next night, peaceful sleep. The next day, more energy and play than he had shown in a year. Elianan was healed completely. Grandmom and mom are rejoicing along with their neighbour and church.

 

great stories

Rev. E. Anderson

ONCE IN A MILLION

by Frank Tripp

A judge without judgement.

Judge Fennell, one of the finest men I ever knew, was walking along the street one day near Central Station. His big, athletic hulk bumped into a man who was milling about among the horde of hur­ried subway moles en route to their respective homes.

The man, dazed by the impact, staggered backwards as if to fall. Tom, as everyone called the judge, caught him by the shoulders and held him up. The man was well dressed and sober but his eyes were wild and bloodshot. ‘Let me go, I’m all right,’ he said; but Tom saw that he wasn’t, and held on to him.

Judge Fennell, tired from a long day on the bench, took the bewildered stranger into the nearby Commodore Hotel and induced him to stay for dinner. When the man talked, the judge learned that I knew him.

That very afternoon the same man had come to me in distraction. He was a well-known newspaper salesman who used to call on me. He had a good job then and earned good money. Everybody liked to have him around.

When he was about thirty-five he met a girl. She wasn’t the right girl for him but he worshipped her. The home and family he wanted never came about. She was out too many nights with other men for that. He began to drink away his troubles, first now and then, but eventually too much. His work slipped. His friends avoided him, his contacts dwindled, and he lost his job.

When he came to me, he borrowed two dollars and wanted no more. The judge now found out why: the poor man only wanted to repay a loan he’d had from a friend. Then he was going to kill him­self.

When Tom bumped into him, the salesman had just decided it should be the river, rather than the subway tracks he’d first selected. Tom Fennell, after verifying the story, went to work on him in earnest. Tom won. The man reclaimed his wrecked life.

Judge Fennell has since passed on, but I often think of him warmly and wonder how many of us, after bumping into a stranger as did Tom, would merely say, ‘I’m sorry,’ and go on.

And I wonder if it was just coincidence that in the great, heartless city of New York, this man who never had heard of Tom Fennell, happened to go straight from me into the arms of this grand fellow? Somehow I don’t think it was just coincidence.

gospel nuggets

Rev. E. Anderson

JUST THE SITE!

London businessman Lindsay Clegg told the story of a warehouse property he was selling. The building had been empty for months and needed repairs. Vandals had damaged the doors, smashed the windows, and strewn trash all over the place. As he showed a prospective buyer the property, he took pains to say that he would replace the broken windows, bring in a crew to correct any structural damage, and clean out the garbage. The buyer said, “Forget about the repairs. When I buy this place, I’m going to build something completely different. I don’t want the building; I want the site.”

That’s God’s message to us! Compared with the renovation God has in mind, our efforts to improve our own lives are as trivial as sweeping a warehouse slated for the wrecking ball. When we become God’s the old life is over. He makes all things new. All He wants is the site and the permission to build. There are still some trying to “reform,” but God offers “redemption.” All we have to do is give Him the “property” and he will do the necessary “building.”

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a time to laugh

Rev. E. Anderson

A JOB FUNNY

I had always talked about my job a lot at home, and my young daughter had always expressed great interest. So I thought it would be a treat for her to spend the day with me at the office. Since I wanted it to be a surprise, I didn’t tell her where we were going, just that it would be fun. Although usually a bit shy, she seemed excited to meet each colleague I introduced. On the way home, however, she seemed somewhat down.

“Didn’t you have a nice time?” I asked.

“Well, it was okay,” she responded. “But I thought it would be more like a circus.”

Confused, I asked, “Whatever do you mean?”

She said, “Well, you said you work with a bunch of clowns, and I never got to see them!”

A CAR FUNNY

A teenager was always asking his father if he could borrow the family car. Pushed to the limit, the father asked his son why he thought God had given him two feet.

Without hesitation, the son replied, “That’s easy, one for the clutch and
one for the accelerator.

A FRUIT FUNNY

A wife asked her husband, “Could you please go shopping for me? Buy one carton of milk. And, if they have avocados, get 6.”

A short time later the husband comes back with 6 cartons of milk. The wife asks him, “Why did you buy SIX cartons of milk?”

He replied, “Because they did have avocados.”

A LAWYER FUNNY

A lawyer phoned the governor’s mansion shortly after midnight. “I need to talk to the governor. It’s an emergency!” exclaimed the lawyer.

After some cajoling, the governor’s assistant agreed to wake him up. “So, what is it that’s so important that it can’t wait until morning?” grumbled the governor.

“Judge Jones just died, and I want to take his place,” begged the attorney.

“Well, it’s okay with me if it’s okay with the funeral home,” replied the governor.

message by the late david wilkerson

 

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Rev. David Wilkerson

BEARING FRUIT

There is a portion of Scripture that convicts me deeply. Jesus said, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away; and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. . . If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them and cast them into the fire, and they are burned” (John 15:2, 6).

I have read and re-read these powerful words of Christ, and I cannot escape their convicting power. The Holy Spirit has impressed upon me the importance of understanding these words, “My Father is the husbandman . . . every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away.”

This matter of Christians bearing fruit is not optional with God. He watches over His vine and all the engrafted branches with great jealousy and concern, patiently waiting for the branches to bring forth fruit. He stands beside it with pruning knife in hand, lovingly watching for the slightest evidence of corruption, blight or disease which could hinder growth. God expects fruit from every branch. Without fruit, it is impossible to honor and glorify Him or be a true disciple of Christ. Jesus said: “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples” (John 15:8).

Bearing fruit has everything to do with pleasing God—fulfilling our mission in Christ— and with having our prayers and petitions answered. Jesus said, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain; that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you” (verse 16).

Actually, bearing fruit concerns what we are becoming, rather than simply what we are doing. I am bearing fruit when there is nothing hindering the flow of the life of Christ into me. That is what Jesus meant when He said, “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you” (John 15:3). He is saying, “Because you believed My word—trembling over it, letting it reveal every hidden secret, bringing to light every dark thing, allowing the Word of God to purge you—the hindrances are all gone!”

christian testimony

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Max Wigley

HELPING PLAYERS WHO ARE HIT FOR SIX

YORKSHIRE CHAPLAIN REVEALS TOUGH LIFE OF CRICKETEERS 

THE worlds of theatre and cricket don’t always mix together automatically – but Max Wigley is one exception to the rule.

After 28 years as a theatre chaplain and a minister, he found himself at a loose end in 2003 -that was until Yorkshire County Cricket Club came calling.

“My son was a professional cricketer, and he was with Yorkshire and didn’t want me to be chaplain while he was there! But he then moved to Worcestershire, so when he was gone I went to Yorkshire and it’s been great,” says Max.

“It’s been like having a little parish all of my own, because it’s a big set up there. There’s a big office staff all-year round, so I’m not just chaplain to the players, I’m chaplain to the whole club.

I just love rubbing shoulders with ordinary people who wouldn’t normally darken the door of a church. It’s a pastoral role, a holistic role really. Very, very rewarding.”         

BREAKDOWN              

This kind of role is becoming more important than ever in the world of leather upon willow. As Max explains, cricketers have particular needs and vulnerabilities which need to be addressed.   

“Cricketers have the highest incidence of suicide and of marriage breakdown among sports people). I asked my son why he thought the statistics were as they are  and he said that the thing about cricket is that you start training after Christmas and after thatv you start playing from the end of March, beginning of April.

“You play until getting on for the end of September, And it’s not like football where you play a couple of hours per game, then go back home –  you’re on the road, so you eat, sleep and play with these guys 24/7.

“You might be playing in Taunton against Somerset, and then  get a coach and drive up to Chester-le-Street to play Durham, so you’re on the go all the time. You’re never away from one another. And therefore, when all of a sudden you’re released, what do you do? You’re just lost.  

The cricket season gets underway this month. We caught up with the chaplain of Yorkshire County Cricket Club, Max Wigley back home – you’re on the road, so you eat, sleep and play with these guys 24/7.

“You might be playing in Taunton against Somerset, and then you get on a coach and drive up to Chester-le-Street to play Durham, so you’re on the go all the time. You’re never away from one another. And therefore, when all of a sudden you’re released, what do -you do? You’re just lost.

“My son was with Northamptonshire until 18 months ago but had to have an injection in his back for a hamstring problem he had, but they went in too far with the needle and injured his spinal cord.

He was desperately ill for about a month, and when he came round he wasn’t fit to play again that season. He got to the end of the season and he was out of contract and they just released him. No qualms, no loyalty or anything. He just drove to the club and emptied his locker, put it in the back of the car, drove out and then had ro return his sponsored car.

“So that’s the difference between cricket and other games  – it’s less predictable – so I will e-mail players if they are going through a hard time or they’re out of a game and just say, “Hope things get better, keep your head up’. So that’s the pastoral side. 

This side of max’s job was nurtured at the Alhambra Theatre in Bradford where he was chaplain for 28 years. During that time, he mixed with a whole host of household names – several of whom came to faith. But one of the most notable encounters came when Cannon and Ball came to the Alhambra. The comedy duo were at the height of their fame but were barely on speaking terms. Fortunately for them, and particularly for Bobby, Max stepped in.

“Bob and Tom and I became friends, and one day I said to him: ‘I really think you and I ought to have a chat, Bob.’ So I went in, in between the matinee and evening performance,  and we sat and talked, and he came to faith.

CHAT

“But it wasn’t on that night because he was so frightened. He said, ‘Can I come and see you at home on Friday?’ which was later on in the week, so he came and we had a chat in my study, and he knelt down on the floor and asked Christ into his life. And then Tommy came to faith about four years later. So that was the turning point and they’ve been going on ever since.”

And this description is an appropriate one for Max himself. Still going strong at the age of 74, he is in no mood to stop his chaplaincy work any time soon.

“One of the Yorkshire coaches once said to me: ‘Having you around is like having a steel rod go­ing through the centre of the club’, which was rather nice because you do feel you’re appreciated. At the moment, it seems to be going well and so I hope to carry on until I get too old to drive – although hopefully somebody will have the guts to tell me when they feel it’s time I drew stumps!”

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