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Sunday, September 30, 2007

SUNDAY SERMON ON THE BLOG – GENTLENESS.

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. - Philippians 4:5.

Extravagant over-reaction! That's what we're programmed to seek, and to display, in our modern world of sound bytes and over-hyped personality.

But gentleness, that moderating grace in the midst of chaos and conflict, is so vital to bring the peace of God to conflict-laden churches, families, and relationships. How can we be gentle, how can we restrain from over-reacting to the wounds, offenses, and slights that come our way?

The Lord is near! He is our vindication. He is our example. He is our comfort. He is our hope. He is our strength. He is near. We are not alone and our destiny, reputation, and value are not up to us to establish or to defend.

Loving Heavenly Father, by the power of the Holy Spirit, help me to be gentle at all times, that my witness of you may be evident to all. In the wonderful and mighty name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

Be encouraged.
GBYAY

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Friday, September 28, 2007

DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT FRIDAY – A CHEERFUL HEART #69.

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. - Pro 17:22.

Friday has come and brings to an end another working week. What better way to get into a good frame of mind than to end it with a good laugh…

DID YOU EVER WONDER…?
Can you cry under water?
How important does a person have to be before they are considered assassinated instead of just murdered?
If money doesn't grow on trees then why do banks have branches?
Since bread is square, then why is sandwich meat round?
Why do you have to "put your two cents in"...but it's only a "penny for your thoughts"?
Where's that extra penny going to?
Once you're in heaven, do you get stuck wearing the clothes you were buried in for eternity?
Why does a round pizza come in a square box?
What did cured ham actually have?
How is it that we put man on the moon before we figured out it would be a good idea to put wheels on luggage?
Why is it that people say they "slept like a baby" when babies wake up like every two hours?
If a deaf person has to go to court, is it still called a hearing?
If you drink Pepsi at work in the Coke factory, will they fire you?
Why are you IN a movie, but you are ON TV?
Why do people pay to go up tall buildings and then put money in binoculars to look at things on the ground?
How come we choose from just two people for President and fifty for Miss America?
Why do doctors leave the room while you change? They're going to see you naked anyway.
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3 friends die in a car accident and they go to an orientation in heaven. They are all asked, "When you are in your casket and friends and family are talking about you, what would you like them to say?

The first guy says,” I would like to hear them say that I was a great doctor of my time, and a great family man."

The second guy says, "I would like to hear that I was a wonderful husband and school teacher which made a huge difference in our children of tomorrow."

The last guy replies, "I would like to hear them say ... Look, He's moving!
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Your breath is so bad... when you talk your teeth duck.
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An Irish guy walks into a store and says, "Open the register!".

The store keep says, "We're closed.

"The Irish guy says, "I'll be back tomorrow"!
-------------

WAITING ROOM…
There were three fathers to be in a hospital waiting room, waiting for their babies to be born.The first nurse comes out and tells the first father, "Congratulations you're the father of twins!" He says, “Great! I am the manager for the Minnesota Twins.”

The second nurse comes out and tells the second father, "Congratulations you're the father of triplets”! He says, "That's cool! I work for 3M."

The third father opens the window and jumps out.The third nurse comes out, and asks, “Where's the third father?"

One of the other fathers said, "Oh he jumped out the window.”The nurse asks, "Why?"

He replied, "He works for Seven Up!"
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LORDSHIP OF CHRIST…
In 1991 a Gallup poll showed that 78 percent of Americans expect to go to heaven when they die. However, many of them hardly ever pray, read the Bible, or attend church. They admit that they live to please themselves instead of God. I wonder why these people would want to go to heaven.

In an article title, "Are We Ready for Heaven?" Maurice R. Irwin points out that only 34 percent of the American people who call themselves Christians attend church at least once a week. He says, "We sing, 'When all my labors and trials are o'er, and I am safe on that beautiful shore, just to be near the dear Lord I adore will through the ages be glory for me.' However, unless our attitudes toward the Lord and our appreciation of Him change greatly, heaven may be more of a shock than a glory." - Daily Bread.
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BLONDE’S MAILBOX…
A man was in his front yard mowing grass when his beautiful, blond, female neighbor came out of the house and went straight to the mailbox.She opened it, looked inside, slammed it shut, and stormed back into her house.

A little later she came out of her house again, went to the mailbox, again opened it, and slammed it shut again. Angrily, back into the house she went.

As the man was getting ready to edge the lawn, here she came again. She marched to the mailbox, opened it and then slammed it closed harder than ever.

Puzzled by her actions, the man asked her, "Is something wrong?"

To which she replied, "There certainly is! My stupid computer keeps telling me I've got mail!"

WE ARE REMINDED THAT BEING CHEERFUL KEEPS US HEALTHY… IT IS SLOW DEATH TO BE GLOOMY ALL THE TIME!

Loving Father, help me by the power of the Holy Spirit, to remind myself that Jesus died to set me free, help me Lord to live that life, and be determined in Him to have a cheerful heart, in Jesus wonderful Name I pray, amen!

HAVE A GREAT AND GODLY WEEKEND!

Be encouraged!
GBYAY

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

PROUD TO BE AN AUSSIE!

We need to be proud of our country and let everybody know that “we love Australia.” H/T Midnight Sun.

An incident occurred in a supermarket recently, when the following was witnessed: A Muslim woman dressed in a Burkha (A black gown & face mask) was standing with her shopping in a queue at the checkout. When it was her turn to be served, and as she reached the cashier, she made a loud remark about the Australian Flag lapel pin, which the female cashier was wearing on her blouse.

The cashier reached up and touched the pin and said, “Yes, I always wear it proudly. My son serves abroad with the forces and I wear it for him”.

The Muslim woman then asked the cashier when she was going to stop bombing and killing her countrymen, explaining that she was Iraqi.

At that point, a Gentleman standing in the queue stepped forward, and interrupted with a calm and gentle voice, and said to the Iraqi woman: “Excuse me, but hundreds of thousands of men and women, just like this ladies son have fought and sacrificed their lives so that people just like YOU can stand here, in Australia, which is MY country and allow you to blatantly accuse an innocent check- out cashier of bombing YOUR countrymen”.

“It is my belief that if you were allowed to be as outspoken as that in Iraq which you claim to be YOUR country, then we wouldn’t need to be fighting there today”.

“However - now that you have learned how to speak out and criticise the Australian people who have afforded you the protection of MY country, I will gladly pay the cost of a ticket to help you pay your way back to Iraq”.

“When you get there, and if you manage to survive for being as outspoken as you are here in Australia, then you should be able to help straighten out the mess which YOUR Iraqi countrymen have got you into in the first place, which appears to be the reason that you have come to MY country to avoid.” Apparently the queue cheered and applauded.
IF YOU AGREE.. Pass this on to all of your proud Aussie friends..

DO YOU FLY THE AUSTRALIAN FLAG ?
DO YOU HAVE AN AUSSIE FLAG LAPEL PIN?
ARE YOU TOO EMBARRASED TO BE AN AUSSIE PATRIOT?
COME ON, BE TRUE BLUE!!

Be encouraged!
GBYAY

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DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT – THURSDAY THOUGHTS #32… LEADERSHIP.

Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. - Hebrews 13:7.

Leadership is not magnetic personality. That can just as well be a glib tongue. It is not making friends and influencing people; that is flattery. Leadership is lifting a person's vision to higher sights, the raising of a person's performance to higher standards, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations. - Peter Drucker.

George Bernard Shaw's statement frequently flashes through my mind: "Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it." In a day of passing the buck with merely a shrug, those words bite and sting. Its one thing to sing and dance to liberty's tunes, but it's something else entirely to bear the responsibility for paying the band.

There are numerous examples of this. Being in leadership carries with it a few privileges and perks, but living with the responsibility of that task makes a reserved parking space and your own bathroom pale into insignificance.

Conceiving children is a moment of sheer ecstasy, but rearing them as a loving and caring parent represents years of thankless responsibility. Enjoying a great conference is both delightful and memorable, but behind the scenes - count on it - are unseen hours of creative thinking, disciplined planning, and responsible arranging. Running an organization that gets a job done, leaving those involved feeling fulfilled and appreciated, can be exciting, fun, and stretching, but it's a nightmare unless the details of responsibility are clearly set forth and maintained. - Charles Swindoll.


Don't take a position of leadership in church unless you are prepared to be honest, pure, and loving in your lifestyle. Leadership is a privilege, and with privilege comes responsibility. God holds teachers of His truth doubly responsible because we who lead are in a position where we can either draw people toward Christ or drive them away from Him.

This is illustrated in the life of the famous author Mark Twain. Church leaders were largely to blame for his becoming hostile to the Bible and the Christian faith. As he grew up, he knew elders and deacons who owned slaves and abused them. He heard men using foul language and saw them practice dishonesty during the week after speaking piously in church on Sunday. He listened to ministers use the Bible to justify slavery. Although he saw genuine love for the Lord Jesus in some people, including his mother and his wife, he was so disturbed by the bad teaching and poor example of church leaders that he became bitter toward the things of God.

Indeed, it is a privilege to be an elder, a deacon, a Sunday school teacher, or a Cell group leader. But it is also an awesome responsibility. Let's make sure we attract people to the Saviour rather than turn them away. - Source Unknown.


Loving Heavenly Father, I thank you for my life in Jesus Christ; Help me by the power of the Holy Spirit, to be an honest, pure, and loving leader. For your glory Lord, and for the extension of your Kingdom, in Jesus wonderful and mighty name I pray, amen!

Be encouraged!
GBYAY

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT – WEDNESDAY WARRIOR. #31…The Risen Christ - Smith Wigglesworth.

The power of Pentecost as it came at first came to loose men. God wants us free on every line. Men and women are tired of imitations; they want reality; they want to see people who have the living Christ within, and are filled with Holy Ghost power.

I received several letters and telegrams about a certain case, but when I arrived I was told I was too late. I said, "That cannot be. God has never sent me too late anywhere." God showed me when I went that something different would happen to anything I had seen previously. The people I went to were all strangers. I was introduced to a young man who lay helpless, and for whom there was no hope. The doctor had been to see him that morning and had declared that he would not live through the day. He lay with his face to the wall, and when I spoke to him he whispered, "I cannot turn over." His mother said that they had had to lift him out of bed on sheets for weeks, and that he was so weak and helpless that he had to stay in one position.

The young man said, "My heart is very weak." I assured him, "God is the strength of thy heart and thy portion forever. If you will believe God, it shall be so today."

Our Christ is risen. He is a living Christ who indwells us. We must not have this truth merely as a theory, Christ must be risen in us by the power of the Spirit. The power that raised Him from the dead must animate us, and as this glorious resurrection power surges through your being, you will be freed from all your weaknesses and you will become strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. There is a resurrection power that God wants you to have and to have it today. Why not? Receive your portion here and now.

I said to these people, "I believe your son will rise today." They only laughed. People do not expect to see signs and wonders today as the disciples saw them of old. Has God changed? Or has our faith waned so that we are not expecting the greater works that Jesus promised? We must not harp on any minor key. Our message must rise to concert pitch, and there must be nothing left out of it that is in the Book.

It was winter time, and I said to the parents, "Will you get the boy's suit and bring it here?" They would not listen to the request, for they were expecting the boy to die. But I had gone to that place believing God. In Romans 4:17, we read of Abraham, "(I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were." God help us to understand this. It is time people knew how to shout in faith as they contemplate the eternal power of our God to whom it is nothing to quicken and raise the dead. I come across some who would be giants in the power of God but they have no shout of faith. I find everywhere people who go down even when they are praying simply because they are just breathing sentences without uttering speech, and you cannot get victory that way. You must learn to take the victory and shout in the face of the devil, "It is done!" There is no man who can doubt if he learns to shout.

When we know how to shout properly,
things will be different, and tremendous things will happen. In verse 24 we read, "They lifted up their voice with one accord." It surely must have been a loud prayer. We must know that God means us to have life. If there is anything in the world that has life in it, it is this Pentecostal revival we are in. I believe in the Baptism of the Holy Ghost with the speaking in tongues, and I believe that every man who is baptized in the Holy Ghost will speak in other tongues as the Spirit gives him utterance. I believe in the Holy Ghost. And if you are filled with the Spirit you will be superabounding in life-living waters will flow from you.

At last I persuaded the parents to bring the boy's clothes and lay them on the bed. From the natural viewpoint, the young man lay dying. I spoke to the afflicted one, "God has revealed to me that, as I lay my hands upon you, the place will be filled with the Holy Ghost, the bed will be shaken, you will be shaken and thrown out of bed by the power of the Holy Ghost, you will dress yourself and be strong." I said this to him in faith. I laid hands on him in the name of Jesus and instantly the power of God fell and filled the place. I felt helpless and fell flat on the floor. I knew nothing except that a short while after the place was shaken, I heard the young man walking over me and saying, "For Thy glory, Lord! For Thy glory, Lord!"

He dressed himself and cried, "God has healed me." The father fell, the mother fell, and another who was present fell also. God manifested His power that day in saving the whole household and healing the young man. It is the power of the risen Christ we need. That young man is today preaching the gospel.

For years we have been longing for God to come forth, and, praise Him, He is coming forth. The tide is rising everywhere. I was in Switzerland not long ago, preaching in many places where the Pentecostal message had not been heard, and today there are nine new Pentecostal assemblies in different places going on blessedly for God. All over the world it is the same, this great Pentecostal work is in motion. You can hardly get to a place now where God is not pouring out His Spirit on hungry hearts. God has promised to pcur out His Spirit upon all flesh, and His promises never fail. Our Christ is risen. His salvation was not a thing done in a corner. Truly He was a man of glory who went to Calvary for us, in order that He might free us from all that would mar and hinder, that He might transform us by His grace, and bring us out from under the power of Satan into the glorious power of God. One touch of our risen Christ will raise the dead. Hallelujah!

Oh, this wonderful Jesus of ours! He comes and indwells us. He comes to abide. He it is who baptizes us with the Holy Ghost, and makes everything different. We are to be a kind of firstfruits unto God and are to be like Christ who is the firstfruit, walking in His footsteps, living in His power. What a salvation this is, having this risen Christ in us. I feel that everything else must go to nothingness, helplessness and ruin. Every thought of advantage for ourselves must be on the decrease in order that Christ may increase, that we may live in another state, where all things are under the power of the Spirit.

Dare you take your inheritance from God? Dare you believe God ? Dare you stand on the record of His Word? What is the record? If thou shalt believe thou shalt see the glory of God. You will be sifted as wheat. You will be tried as though some strange thing tried you. You will be put in places where you will have to put your whole trust in God. There is no such thing as anyone being tried beyond what God will allow. There is no temptation that will come, but God will be with you right in the temptation to deliver you, and when you have been tried, He will bring you forth as gold. Every trial is to bring you to a greater position in God. The trial that tries your faith will take you on to the place where you will know that the faith of God will be forthcoming in the next test. No man is able to win any victory save through the power of the risen Christ within him. You will never be able to say, "I did this or that." You will desire to give God the glory for everything.

If you are sure of your ground, if you are counting on the presence of the living Christ within, you can laugh when you see things getting worse. God would have you settled and grounded in Christ, and it is only as you are filled with the Holy Ghost that you become steadfast and unmoveable in Him.

The Lord Jesus said, "I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished." He was assuredly straitened in the way, at Gethsemane, at the judgment hall, and, after that, at the cross, where He, through the eternal Spirit, offered Himself without spot to God. God will take us right on in like manner, and the Holy Spirit will lead every step of the way. God led Him right through to the empty tomb, to the ascension glory, to a place on the throne; and the Son of God will never be satisfied until He has us with Himself, sharing His glory and sharing His throne.

Loving Father, I thank you for the power of pentecost in my life. Teach me in my heart, by the power of the Holy Spirit, what it means to be about my Father's business, especially in the area of availability to my Lord and Saviour! I ask this in the wonderful and mighty Name of Jesus. Amen.

Be encouraged!
GBYAY

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT TUESDAY - CLASSICAL TESTIMONIES… MILDRED CABLE. Part 1.

They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. – Revelation 12:11.

By way of encouragement, I would like to devote Tuesdays to classical testimonies which have brought great blessing and glory to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. These are of men and women, who have faithfully served for the Kingdom of God. My prayer is that you will be blessed, encouraged, and inspired by these testimonies as I was. Enjoy…

Imagine. Your mission mentor is beaten to death, hacked into small pieces, and dumped in a pit, before you have a chance to open your mouth or land on the foreign shore she inspired you to go to. Not the most auspicious start for a mission career.

But that’s how it all began for Mildred Cable, missionary extraordinaire, exactly 100 years ago as she set sail for China. Undeterred by the slaughter of hundreds of foreign missionaries and tens of thousands of Chinese Christians in the Boxer rebellion of 1900, the fearless 22-year-old couldn’t wait to get going. Despite a broken engagement, which devastated her, she remained true to a conviction she had received when she was 15. She was determined to devote the rest of her life to China.

The “respectable” but “vigorous rebel” was to become one of Britain’s most courageous and intrepid travellers. Her descriptions of life in the Gobi Desert, earned her acclaim and admiration, not only in missionary circles, but also in the hallowed, men-only halls of the elite Royal Geographical Society, the Royal Central Asian Society and even Buckingham Palace itself.

Captured by bandits, held to ransom and broken with fatigue, roasted and frozen by the desert extremes, hungry and desperately uncomfortable most of the time, Mildred spent the next 35 years with her beloved Chinese and urging others to do the same. She was convinced that only Jesus was able to liberate women, rescue abandoned babies, heal the deep wounds of inequality and right the wrongs of injustice that deeply permeated every strand of early 20th century Chinese life.

Born in genteel Victorian Guildford in 1878, she was one of the first fruits of a revolutionary style of school that was more interested in a girl’s brains than her culinary expertise. Inspired to strive for greatness by headmistress Miss Agnes Morton and her deputy Maria Angell, the self-confidence, ambition and educational aspirations they nurtured were to stand her in good stead in the coming years.

Tales of missionary heroes replaced fairy tales for the 12-year-old whose new-found faith spurred her on to look for the extraordinary in life. She was surrounded by creative women visionaries in the Guildford of the 1880’s, who had already begun to challenge poverty and injustice. But these women had yet to be entrusted with equality in church life. They became auxiliaries, unlike those who made it to the mission field who were independent, free thinkers, pioneers, teachers, church planters and builders.

She first encountered a live missionary at 15, whose “rapturous smile, contagious zeal and a way of talking about the Lord … conveyed the impression that He was her constant companion”. Her comment: “I think the Lord wants you in China,” to Mildred at the end of a mission rally, at first repelled, but later propelled her on a course from which there was no turning back.

Attracted by the China Inland Mission (now OMF Intenational), whose express purpose was to live as the Chinese and to die with them if necessary, she trained in pharmacy, anatomy, midwifery and surgery. Her grief stricken parents, unable to dissuade their daughter from this suicidal course eventually resigned themselves to her decision. Her successful high street draper father escorted her to New York where he confessed that on the day she was born, he had dedicated her to foreign missionary service. She left with his blessing.

The day she landed on those remote shores heralded the start of a unique 55 year partnership with Francesca French and her sister Eva who was to arrive later. They became known as the Trio. Starting in Hwochow in Shansi province, Central China, she finished 3,500 miles away in East Turkestan, part of the tumultuous Islamic North-West of the country.

Battling illiteracy, lethargy, exploitation and superstition, she later wrote of the “tragedy and disappointment” inter-woven into a girl child’s life. Abject poverty, female seclusion, infanticide, arranged-marriage, concubinage and foot binding blighted the China of the day, but she was later to witness the “revolutionary power of Christianity in establishing a new social order. In the Christian community one sees a girl welcomed in baby-hood, cared for in childhood, and received in honour in her womanhood when she becomes a bride,” she wrote...

The church was reeling from the ravages of the Boxers. The Empress Dowager’s hatred of the “Foreign Devils” aggravated by a devastating drought turned the Chinese brutally and sadistically against missionaries and Chinese Christians. Thousands were torn to pieces by baying crowds and tortured mercilessly for their faith. Mildred’s first days and hours were spent listening to the paralysed and traumatised believers as their tragedies unfolded. The church desperately craved a new stimulus.

The need to educate hundreds of illiterate girls scattered in Christian families throughout the province was irrefutable. Mildred’s fiery initiation to missionary life was as headmistress whose initial job was to teach the first batch of teachers not to teach, but to read and write themselves – not in English of course, but in the language she was only beginning to get to grips with herself. She rose to the challenge and within seven years had the school running militarily.

Highest standards were expected of all the girls, whether they were inmates of the church’s womens’ opium refuge, a recently rescued slave, battered orphan or former beggar. Very soon a girls’ Bible school was opened to meet the need for evangelists and teachers who were thoroughly grounded in the scriptures and Mildred’s life became a cacophony of competing demands to teach, to mediate in quarrels, to pray for sick converts or to deal with the all too frequent “horrors of demon possession.”

Twenty years of toil, however, never diminished the “unspeakable joy” experienced by Mildred and her companions when she saw those for whom she had toiled and prayed “decide for Christ”. This was an unprecedented period in the history of the Chinese Church of the day, when the 95,943 believers swelled to 366,524 and 337 mission stations were established.

But more challenges lay ahead. After 20 years in Shansi just as their Chinese pastor had allocated grave plots for his foreign ladies,thinking they would stay forever, they knew their time was up.They packed their bags with the certainty that God wanted them in the remote and wild North West where the “name of Christ was not even known.” Doom and gloom greeted their announcement both from Chinese and foreigner alike, but seized with an inexplicable urgency to get going, they left the familiarity of their beloved friends and plunged “with bleeding hearts into the unknown.”

Are you willing to do whatever it takes and give your all to win the lost to Christ? Then like, the Mildred Cable, put your hand in the hand of the man who stilled the water, and dare to follow Jesus wherever He leads you?

Next week… Part 2.

Loving Father, I thank you for the life of Mildred Cable, and I pray that anyone reading this may be inspired by her testimony to give their life to you, and that you would use them in the same way, as you used the Mildred. By the power of the Holy Spirit, help me to be a person of like faith, that I may bring glory to your name. In the wonderful and mighty name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

Be encouraged.
GBYAY

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Monday, September 24, 2007

DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT MONDAY – A HEART STARTER #48.

And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. - Mt 24:14.

I stood on a grassy sward, and at my feet a precipice broke sheer down into infinite space. I looked, but saw no bottom; only cloud shapes, black and furiously coiled, and great shadow-shrouded hollows, and unfathomable depths. Back I drew, dizzy at the depth.

Then I saw forms of people moving single file along the grass. They were making for the edge. There was a woman with a baby in her arms and another little child holding on to her dress. She was on the very verge. Then I saw that she was blind. She lifted her foot for the next step and it trod air. She was over, and the children over with her. Oh, the cry that I heard. Then I saw more streams of people flowing from all quarters. All were blind, stone blind; all made straight for the precipice edge. There were shrieks as they suddenly knew themselves falling, and a tossing up of helpless arms, catching, clutching at empty air. But some went over quietly, and fell without a sound.

Then I wondered, with a wonder that was simple agony, why no one stopped them at the edge. I could not. I was glued to the ground, and I could not call; though I strained and tried, only a whisper would come. Then I saw that along the edge there were sentries set at intervals. But the intervals were far too great; there were wide, unguarded gaps between. And over these gaps the people fell in their blindness, quite unwarned; and the green grass seemed blood-red to me, and the gulf yawned like the mouth of hell.

Then I saw, like a little picture of peace, a group of people under some trees, with their backs turned towards the gulf. They were making daisy chains. Sometimes when a piercing shriek cut the quiet air and reached them it disturbed them and they thought it a rather vulgar noise. And if one of their number started up and wanted to go and do something to help, then all the others would pull that one down. "Why should you get so excited about it? You must wait for a definite call to go! You haven't finished your daisy chains yet. It would be really selfish," they said, "to leave us to finish the work alone."


There was another group. It was made up of people whose great desire was to get more sentries out; but they found that very few wanted to go and sometimes there were no sentries set for miles and miles of the edge.

Once a girl stood alone in her place, waving the people back; buther mother and other relations called, and reminded her that her furlough was due; she must not break the rules. And being tired and needing a change, she had to go and rest for awhile, but no one was sent to guard her gap and over and over the people fell, like a waterfall of souls.

Once a child caught at a tuft of grass that grew at the very brink of the gulf; it clung convulsively, and it called -- but nobody seemed to hear. Then the roots of the grass gave way and with a cry, the child went over, its two little hands still holding tight to the torn-off bunch of grass. And the girl who longed to be back in her gap thought she heard the little one cry, and she sprang up and wanted to go; at which they reproved her, reminding her that no one is necessary anywhere; the gap would be well taken care of, they knew. And then they sang a hymn. Then through the hymn came another sound like the pain of a million broken hearts wrung out in one full drop, one sob. And a horror of great darkness was upon me, for I knew what it was --the Cry of the Blood.

Then thundered a Voice, the Voice of the Lord. "And He said, What hast thou done? The voice of thy brothers' blood cries unto Me from the ground."

The tom-toms still beat heavily, the darkness still shuddered and shivered about me; I heard the yells of the devil-dancers and the weird wild shriek of the devil-possessed just outside the gate. What does it matter, after all? It has gone on for years; it will go on for years. Why make such a fuss about it?

God forgive us! God arouse us! Shame us out of our callousness! Shame us out of our sin! - Source Unknown.

Wow! Now that our hearts are beating regularly, let’s consider what we have just read over a cup of Java, and ask the Lord to help us by the power of the Holy Spirit, to share the gospel with everyone we come in contact with.

Loving Father, I thank you for the beautiful weekend that I have just had. Help me by the power of the Holy Spirit to start off this week, by taking on board, some of the advice and inspirations that I have just read. In the wonderful and mighty name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Be encouraged!
GBYAY

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

SUNDAY SERMON ON THE BLOG – SHARING OUR FAITH.

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. - 1 Peter 3:15-16.

How do we effectively share our faith, especially in situations hostile to faith?

First, we consciously submit our hearts to Christ as Lord. Second, we prepare a presentation of faith that focuses on the hope we have in Jesus. Finally, when we share our reason for hope, we do it with respect, gently sharing our faith with others.

Of course we would never have an opportunity to share our faith if we don't live a life of faith that makes an impact on those around us.

Loving Heavenly Father, by the power of the Holy Spirit, help me to use my influence, and the quality of my life to bring others to Jesus. Grant me wisdom as I seek to bring the following friends to Christ: (Name them personally!) May my words and actions lead them closer to you, and show them my respect and love. In the wonderful and mighty name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

Be encouraged.
GBYAY

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Friday, September 21, 2007

DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT FRIDAY – A CHEERFUL HEART #68.


A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. - Pro 17:22.

Friday has come and brings to an end another working week. What better way to get into a good frame of mind than to end it with a good laugh…

An atheist complained to a Christian friend, "You Christians have your special holidays, such as Christmas and Easter. Jews celebrate their national holidays, such as Passover and Yom Kippur. But we atheists have no recognized national holidays. It's unfair discrimination."His friend replied, "Why don't you celebrate April first?"
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One day a trucker stopped at a diner for lunch. When he gets his order a biker gang comes in and starts making fun of the trucker. The trucker doesn't do anything. He gets up pays for his meal and leaves.

One of the bikers goes to the man at the cash register and says "not much of a man is he."

"No" said the cashier, "aint much of a driver either, he just backed over twelve of your motorcycles".
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Q : HOW DO YOU GET A ONE ARMED BLONDE OUT OF A TREE ?
A : YOU WAVE AT HER !
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There was a blonde, a brunette, and a redhead they all were running from a cop They ran through a field and found a farm . They went into the barn and found 3 barrels, one was full of dogs one was full of cats and one was full of potatoes and they got in them. The cop came up to the first barrel and hit it and the brunette went ruff, ruff, then he went up to the second barrel and hit it and the red head went meow, meow, then he went up to the third barrel and hit it and the blond said potato, potato.
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One day a blonde girl went to the store and told the guy she wanted that TV over there but the guy said we don’t sell it to blondes. So she went back to her house and died her hair red she went back to the store and told the guy that she wanted that TV over there but the guy said we don’t sell it to blondes. So she went back to her house and died her hair brown went back to the store and told the guy she wanted that TV over there but the guy said we don’t sell it to blondes. So the girl said how do you know I’m a blonde, and then he said because that TV over there that you want is a microwave!!!
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A 70-year-old man goes to the doctor's for a physical.The doctor runs some tests and says to the man, "Well, everything seems to be in top condition physically, but what about mentally? How is your connection with God?"And the man says, "Oh me and God? We're tight. We have a real bond, he's good to me. Every night when I have to get up to go to the bathroom, he turns on the light for me, and then, when I leave, he turns it back off."Well, upon hearing this, the doctor was astonished.He called the man's wife and said, "I'd like to speak to you about your husband's connection with God. He claims that every night when he needs to use the restroom, God turns on the light for him and turns it off for him again when he leaves. Is this true?"And she says, "That idiot, he's been peeing in the refrigerator!"
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FAITH
The African impala can jump to a height of over 10 feet and cover a distance of greater than 30 feet. Yet these magnificent creatures can be kept in an enclosure in any zoo with a 3-foot wall. The animals will not jump if they cannot see where their feet will fall. Faith is the ability to trust what we cannot see, and with faith we are freed from the flimsy enclosures of life that only fear allows to entrap us.
- John Emmons.
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Two guys, Joe & Bill went camping in the desert. After they got their tent all set up, they fell sound asleep.Some hours later, Joe wakes his faithful friend and says, "Bill, look up at the sky and tell me what you see."Bill replies, "I see millions of stars.""What does that tell you?" asked Joe.Bill ponders for a minute, and then says, "Astronomically speaking, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies, and potentially billions of planets.Astrologically, it tells me that Saturn is in Leo. Time wise, it appears to be approximately a quarter past three in themorning. Theologically, it's evident theLord is all-powerful and we are small, and insignificant. Meteorologically, it seems we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. What does it tell you, Joe?"Joe is silent for a moment, then says, "Bill, you idiot! Someone has stolen our tent"!

WE ARE REMINDED THAT BEING CHEERFUL KEEPS US HEALTHY… IT IS SLOW DEATH TO BE GLOOMY ALL THE TIME!

Loving Father, help me by the power of the Holy Spirit, to remind myself that Jesus died to set me free, help me Lord to live that life, and be determined in Him to have a cheerful heart, in Jesus wonderful Name I pray, amen!

HAVE A GREAT AND GODLY WEEKEND!

Be encouraged!
GBYAY

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT – THURSDAY THOUGHTS #31… SUCCESS.

But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”- Luke 14:13-14.

Success is getting up just one more time than you fall down. If at first you don't succeed, you are running about average.- M.H. Alderson.

Clarence Jordan was a man of unusual abilities and commitment. He had two Ph.D.s, one in agriculture and one in Greek and Hebrew. So gifted was he, he could have chosen to do anything he wanted. He chose to serve the poor. In the 1940s, he founded a farm in Americus, Georgia, and called it Koinonia Farm. It was a community for poor whites and poor blacks. As you might guess, such an idea did not go over well in the Deep South of the '40s.

Ironically, much of the resistance came from good church people who followed the laws of segregation as much as the other folk in town. The town people tried everything to stop Clarence. They tried boycotting him, and slashing workers' tires when they came to town. Over and over, for fourteen years, they tried to stop him.

Finally, in 1954, the Ku Klux Klan had enough of Clarence Jordan, so they decided to get rid of him once and for all. They came one night with guns and torches and set fire to every building on Koinonia Farm but Clarence's home, which they riddled with bullets. And they chased off all the families except one black family which refused to leave. Clarence recognized the voices of many of the Klansmen, and, as you might guess, some of them were church people. Another was the local newspaper's reporter. The next day, the reporter came out to see what remained of the farm. The rubble still smoldered and the land was scorched, but he found Clarence in the field, hoeing and planting.

"I heard the awful news," he called to Clarence, "and I came out to do a story on the tragedy of your farm closing. Clarence just kept on hoeing and planting. The reporter kept prodding, kept poking, trying to get a rise from this quietly determined man who seemed to be planting instead of packing his bags. So, finally, the reporter said in a haughty voice, "Well, Dr. Jordan, you got two of them Ph.D.s and you've but fourteen years into this farm, and there's nothing left of it at all. Just how successful do you think you've been?" Clarence stopped hoeing, turned toward the reporter with his penetrating blue eyes, and said quietly but firmly,
"About as successful as the cross. Sir, I don't think you understand us. What we are about is not success but faithfulness. We're staying. Good day."

Beginning that day, Clarence and his companions rebuilt Koinonia and the farm is going strong today. - Holy Sweat, Tim Hansel.

Loving Heavenly Father, I thank you for my life in Jesus Christ; Help me by the power of the Holy Spirit, to reach out to the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind. For your glory Lord, and for the extension of your Kingdom, in Jesus wonderful and mighty name I pray, amen!

Be encouraged!
GBYAY

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT – WEDNESDAY WARRIOR. #30… The Saving Life of Christ!

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. - Rom 12:2.

As the "good, acceptable, and perfect will of God" was implemented by the Son through dependence on the Father, so that "good, acceptable, and perfect will of God" may be implemented by you through dependence on the Son.

This divine vocation into which you have been redeemed, as "His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works which God has before ordained that you should walk in them" - Ephesians 2:10. can only be fulfilled in the energy and power of the One who indwells you now by His Spirit, as He walked once only in the energy and power of the Father who indwelt Him through the Spirit. Of Himself He said, "I can of mine own self do nothing" - John 5:19, and of you He says, in John 15:5, "Without me you can do nothing."

How much can you do without Him? Nothing! So what is everything you do without Him? Nothing!

It is amazing how busy you can be doing nothing! . . . "The flesh" --everything that you do apart from Him-- "profiteth nothing" (John 6:63), and there is always the awful possibility, if you do not discover this principle, that you may spend a lifetime in the service of Jesus Christ doing nothing!

The life which you possess as a born-again Christian is of Him, and it is to Him, and every moment that you are here on earth it must be through Him--of Him, through Him, to Him, all things! "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice" -Romans 12:1.

The Lord Jesus Christ claims the use of your body, your whole being, your complete personality, so that as you give yourself to Him through the eternal Spirit, He may give Himself to you through the eternal Spirit, that all your activity as a human being on earth may be His activity in and through you; that every step you take, every word you speak, everything you do, everything you are, may be an expression of the Son of God, in you as man.

If it is of Him and through Him and to Him, where do you come in? You do not! That is just where you go out! That is what Paul meant when he said, "For me to live is Christ" - Philippians 1:21. The only Person whom God credits with the right to live in you is Jesus Christ; so reckon yourself to be dead to all that you are apart from what He is, and alive unto God only in all that you are because of what He is (Romans 6:11).

When the world looked at Jesus Christ, they saw God! They heard Him speak and they saw Him act. And Jesus said, "As my Father has sent Me, even so send I you" - John 20:21. The world again will hear God speak and see God act!

It is for you to BE -- it is for Him to DO! Restfully available to the Saving Life of Christ, enjoying "the richest measure of the divine Presence, a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself," instantly obedient to the heavenly impulse--this is your vocation, and this is your victory! (The Saving Life of Christ, pp. 150-52). – Major Ian Thomas.

Loving Father, guard my soul from pride, my heart from callousness, and my mind from too much focus on unimportant things, and not enough on your things. Teach me in my heart, by the power of the Holy Spirit, what it means to be about my Father's business, especially in the area of availability to my Lord and Saviour! I ask this in the wonderful and mighty Name of Jesus. Amen.

Be encouraged!
GBYAY

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Why Pentecostal Pastors Should Blog


This was written by a Baptist Pastor, I have taken the liberty to change Baptist to Pentecostal...

Online journals, or weblogs (“blogs”), are a dynamically growing phenomenon on the Internet. Individuals, businesses, and even churches are daily starting blogs to communicate with family, friends, partners, or a targeted audience.

Many pastors have recognized that a blog is not just a digital journal, but a useful tool for the ministry of leading the local church. Here are some reasons a pastor should consider starting his own weblog:

To Communicate Sermons. A few days after a sermon is preached, a pastor can post the text on his blog for homebound church members, or for folks who weren’t able to be a part of worship. This also provides a text archive for messages that can be a useful resource for both the pastor and the congregation later.

To Share Vision. As the Lord reveals his plan for the church, the pastor can communicate that vision through a blog. Details on plans for growth, new classes or new opportunities can be detailed in a series of entries.

To Develop Community. Many blogging formats allow for comments, where readers can provide feedback to the content posted. This feature creates a system of discussion where biblical conversations can occur and relationships are built.

To Teach Doctrine or Theology. One good way to impart Pentecostal and biblical distinctive is by offering a series of posts on relevant doctrines. Some blogging software offers “plug-ins” (free software additions to automate otherwise-difficult Internet code) that inserts links to biblical verses that support doctrinal positions. This makes a Bible study interactive and engaging.

To Offer Social Commentary. Every day, events near and far allow for opportunities for the pastor to provide commentary and filtered understanding which promotes a biblical worldview. A basic understanding of how to link up with online news sources can allow a pastor to connect his congregation with the world’s events and God’s timeless truth. This helps people understand that God’s Word is relevant for every life circumstance.

To Inform the Congregation about Events. Using a blog to comment about upcoming scheduled events, including information about what is needed for the event, will help increase the awareness about the opportunities and activities on the church calendar, and will communicate a pastor’s personal interest in the activity.

To Break Down “The Fourth Wall.” For many people, they view the pastor the same way they’d watch a television program. The pastor is a “larger than life” personality with whom they only interact with a handshake on the way out of a sanctuary. A pastor who blogs about his family, or about the real challenges and humour of every day life demonstrates himself to be approachable, likable, and even pleasant.

I think blogging has revealed itself to be an emergent form of interpersonal communication where a sense of community can be further developed. While for a small number the blog has become the message, for the majority it has proven to be a merely another media for it.

Rather than pining for a blog to be something more or other than what it is, a smart pastor is one who recognizes that a blog has the capacity to be an effective tool that communicates apologetics, polemics, doctrine, vision, theology, conversation, and perhaps most important, approachability.

Be encouraged!
GBYAY

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Monday, September 17, 2007

DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT TUESDAY - CLASSICAL TESTIMONIES… THE CHINA TRIO.

They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. – Revelation 12:11.

By way of encouragement, I would like to devote Tuesdays to classical testimonies which have brought great blessing and glory to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. These are of men and women, who have faithfully served for the Kingdom of God. My prayer is that you will be blessed, encouraged, and inspired by these testimonies as I was. Enjoy…

In 1923, the China Trio, three English women, veteran missionaries, all of them, headed for Gansu Province in Central Asia, hauling a cartload of Bibles and literature. Their aim was to visit every city of the Gansu Province located beyond the Great Wall. They knew that other women missionaries were in the hands of bandits, but went anyway. Before their adventure was over, they would endure hunger, thirst, pain and sleeplessness; they would be robbed, arrested by a warlord and stoned. They would live lives of gruelling adventure and make journeys that no other European woman had made.

Evangeline French was the oldest of the three women. In her youth she had been daring, rebellious and angry. One day she had exploded to her amiable sister Francesca, "If I could take upon myself the world's misery, I would--and jump into the sea with it."
"Eva, there is no need to do that. It was done long ago, on the cross," responded Francesca. Her sister's reply sobered Eva. Two weeks later, she slipped into a chapel, sought Christ and began her transformation.

Mildred Cable was the daughter of a draper. As a young woman she had heard a missionary speaker tell of China's spiritual need, and become eager to serve as a missionary. She studied nursing and chemistry, sure that healing hands and practical skills would open doors of witness for her. The young man she was to marry dumped her when she stayed true to her determination to go to China.

Francesca French was last of the trio. Although she was the quietest of the three, she once debated the witty Catholic journalist G.K. Chesterton, who joked that she ought to be burnt as a heretic for opposing him. Trained as a nurse, she was sensitive and sympathetic.

They traveled slowly, visiting China's people in their markets and homes, speaking to as they could, turning every conversation to Christ and "gossiping the gospel." They cooked over camel dung.

The three women had been in Gansu for only a few days when Dr. Kao, a Chinese Christian who had moved to Gandjou so that he could act as a witness in that pagan city, sent them a letter pleading for their help. Years before, they had heard him speak and decided to honor his invitation.

After great hardship they arrived. Dr. Kao and the Gandjou Christians had begun praying for weeks that the Lord would send experienced Christians to them. Now three had arrived. Dr. Kao made the Trio an offer. If they would stay and teach the Christians of Gandjou, the Christians would send a band of men and women with them to spread the gospel in the surrounding region. The Trio agreed.

Thus began one of the most extraordinary gospel adventures in history. Five or six times over the next thirteen years, the three women (Pictured right, with Topsy,) visited every oasis town and village that lay outside the Great Wall in the province of Gansu. Everywhere they went they saw the terrible effects of opium and proclaimed that God could deliver people from the drug. They gave lessons in the phonetic alphabet, treated diseases and astonished everyone by rescuing babies who had been thrown away.

Returning to England in 1926 for a vacation, they traveled down the old silk road. On this day, March 22, 1928, the trio returned to China and settled again in Sudjou. But in 1936, all foreigners were ordered out of the city. Tired and old, the three admitted that their work in China was over. They said their final farewells and returned to England, rejoicing that this time they were able to travel part of the way by air. Over the years, Mildred and Francesca had recorded their adventures in books--twenty altogether.

Mildred was the first to die in 1952. Eva lived to be ninety, and during her last illness, Francesca slept on the floor beside her to care for her. Scolded for sleeping on the floor, Francesca replied, "I've been sleeping on floors all my life." She outlived her older sister by only three weeks.


Are you willing to do whatever it takes and give your all to win the lost to Christ? Then like, the China Trio, put your hand in the hand of the man who stilled the water, and dare to follow Jesus wherever He leads you?

Loving Father, I thank you for the life of Eva, Mildred, and Francesca, and I pray that anyone reading this may be inspired by their testimony to give their life to you, and that you would use them in the same way, as you used the China Trio. By the power of the Holy Spirit, help me to be a person of like faith, that I may bring glory to your name. In the wonderful and mighty name of Jesus I pray. Amen.
For the next few Tuesday's, I will post more of Mildred Cable's Testimony.
Be encouraged.
GBYAY

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DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT MONDAY – A HEART STARTER #47.

If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. - 1Peter 4:14.

Spirit Working in Us Today…

Charles Swindoll (Flying Closer to the Flame, p 246) suggests when we are Spirit-filled and rightly related to Him we can claim the following things on a daily basis:

We are surrounded by the Spirit's omnipotent shield of protection, continually and routinely.
We have an inner dynamic to handle life's pressures.
We are able to be joyful . . . regardless.
We have the capacity to grasp the deep things of God that He discloses to us in His Book.
We have little difficulty maintaining a positive attitude of unselfishness, servanthood, and humility.
We have a keen sense of intuition and discernment; we sense evil.

We are able to love and be loved in return.
We can be vulnerable and open.
We can rely on the Spirit to intercede for us when we don't even know how to pray as we should.
We need never fear evil or demonic and satanic assault.
We are enabled to stand alone with confidence.

We experience inner assurance regarding decisions as well as right and wrong.
We have an "internal filtering system."
We can actually live worry-free.
We are able to minister to others thorough our spiritual gift(s).
We have an intimate, abiding "Abba relationship" with the living God.

Wow! Now that our hearts are beating regularly, let’s consider what we have just read over a cup of Java, and ask the Lord to help us by the power of the Holy Spirit, to receive our daily blessings that we are entitled too.

Loving Father, I thank you for the beautiful weekend that I have just had. Help me by the power of the Holy Spirit to start off this week, by taking on board, some of the advice and inspirations that I have just read. In the wonderful and mighty name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Be encouraged!
GBYAY

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Sunday, September 16, 2007

SUNDAY SERMON ON THE BLOG – REAL REFORM!

This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Reform your ways and your actions, and I will let you live in this place. - Jeremiah 7:3.

We often take for granted what we have, where we live, the friends who bless our lives, and the family that gives us a place to belong and grow.

All of these are all gifts to us from God. We don't deserve them. We don't earn them. But, we can surely destroy them. God wants us to live obediently, not just to please him, but also to protect ourselves and those we love.

So let's reform our actions and live for him and not for ourselves.

Loving Heavenly Father, forgive me if I have taken my gifts for granted. Thank you for your love and forgiveness, and for all the gifts you have bestowed upon me. By the power of the Holy Spirit, empower me, as I seek to turn my life around to live passionately for you, and your glory. In the wonderful and mighty name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

Be encouraged.
GBYAY

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Friday, September 14, 2007

SCOTLAND'S GOAL AGAINST FRANCE... YOU BEWDY!

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FRANK'S PEN.

My friend Frank at, Team-Swap Blog, makes pens, and he sent me this one which I used when I officiated at my daughter's wedding, last Sunday. It's a little beauty! Thanks Frank for your gift, and for your friendship.


Be encouraged!

GBYAY

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

THE HAPPY COUPLE!


Janet and Clinton's Wedding!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT THURSDAY - CHILLIN OUT!

I will be chillin out for the next few days due to Janet and Clint's wedding. I have so much preparation to do, and things to do before I go, but hopefully I will be able to post at the weekend, and let you know what's going on. I will be taking the laptop with me, and maybe send a few pics!

Be encouraged!
GBYAY

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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT – WEDNESDAY WARRIOR. #29. We Must Have Better Christians… A.W. Tozer.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. - Mt 16:24.

Excerpted from Of God and Men…

To talk of "better" Christians is to use language foreign to many persons. To them all Christians are alike; all have been justified and forgiven and are the children of God, so to make comparisons between them is to suggest division and bigotry and any number of horrible things.

What is forgotten is that a Christian is a born-one, an embodiment of growing life, and as such may be retarded, stunted, undernourished or injured very much as any other organism. Favorable conditions will produce a stronger and healthier organism than will adverse conditions. Lack of proper instructions, for instance, will stunt Christian growth. A clear example of this is found in Acts 19, where an imperfect body of truth had produced a corresponding imperfect type of Christian. It took Paul, with a fuller degree of truth, to bring these stunted disciples into a better and healthier spiritual state.

Unfortunately it is possible for a whole generation of Christians to be victims of poor teaching, low moral standards and unscriptural or extra scriptural doctrines, resulting in stunted growth and retarded development. It is little less than stark tragedy that an individual Christian may pass from youth to old age in a state of suspended growth and all his life be unaware of it. Those who would question the truth of this have only to read the First Epistle to the Corinthians and the Book of Hebrews. And even a slight acquaintance with church history will add all the further proof that is needed.

Today there exist in the world certain Christian bodies whose histories date far back. These have perpetuated themselves after their kind for hundreds of years, but they have managed to produce nothing but weak, stunted Christians, if Christians they can be called. Common charity forbids that we identify these by name, but any enlightened believer will understand.

Evangelicalism as we know it today in its various manifestations does produce some real Christians. We have no wish to question this; we desire rather to assert it unequivocally. But the spiritual climate into which many modern Christians are born does not make for vigorous spiritual growth. Indeed, the whole evangelical world is to a large extent unfavorable to healthy Christianity. And I am not thinking of Modernism either. I mean rather the Bible-believing crowd that bears the name of orthodoxy.

We may as well face it: the whole level of spirituality among us is low. We have measured ourselves by ourselves until the incentive to seek higher plateaus in the things of the Spirit is all but gone. Large and influential sections of the world of fundamental Christianity have gone overboard for practices wholly unscriptural, altogether unjustifiable in the light of historic Christian truth and deeply damaging to the inner life of the individual Christian. They have imitated the world, sought popular favor, manufactured delights to substitute for the joy of the Lord and produced a cheap and synthetic power to substitute for the power of the Holy Ghost. The glowworm has taken the place of the bush that burned and scintillating personalities now answer to the fire that fell at Pentecost.

The fact is that we are not today producing saints. We are making converts to an effete type of Christianity that bears little resemblance to that of the New Testament. The average so-called Bible Christian in our times is but a wretched parody on true sainthood. Yet we put millions of dollars behind movements to perpetuate this degenerate form of religion and attack the man who dares to challenge the wisdom of it.

Clearly we must begin to produce better Christians. We must insist on New Testament sainthood for our converts, nothing less; and we must lead them into a state of heart purity, fiery love, separation from the world and poured-out devotion to the Person of Christ. Only in this way can the low level of spirituality be raised again to where it should be in the light of the Scriptures and of eternal values.

Loving Father, guard my soul from pride, my heart from callousness, and my mind from too much focus on unimportant things and not enough on your things. Teach me in my heart, by the power of the Holy Spirit, what it means to be about my Father's business, especially in the area of obedience! I ask this in the wonderful and mighty Name of Jesus. Amen.

Be encouraged!
GBYAY

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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT TUESDAY - CLASSICAL TESTIMONIES… Evelyn (Granny) Brand!

They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. – Revelation 12:11.

By way of encouragement, I would like to devote Tuesdays to classical testimonies which have brought great blessing and glory to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. These are of men and women, who have faithfully served for the Kingdom of God. My prayer is that you will be blessed, encouraged, and inspired by these testimonies as I was. Enjoy…

Evie Brand burst into tears. She pleaded with the mission board, but its leaders would not yield. Rules were rules, they said. She was too old to go back to India. She must retire. The decision was hard for the board. Evie had long sacrificed comforts and family to the mission. Year after year, she had lived entirely on a small inheritance and set aside her official salary to buy land for the mission. But ever since her husband Jesse died of fever, pioneering with her in the Mountains of Death, the mission had not been sure what to do with her. The one task she wanted--to open new work in the mountains--was denied her because she was elderly, single...and opinionated.

From the board's point of view it was senseless to appoint a 68-year-old woman to another five-year term. But years before, Jesse and Evie had vowed to reach five mountain ranges with the Gospel. Four still had to be reached. Evie felt God was calling her to fulfill that vow. Evie grasped at one last straw. "Please just send me back for one year," she pleaded. "I promise not to make any more trouble. At the end of one year I will retire." Reluctantly, the board agreed. Had they known the secret plan that Evie had confided to her daughter, they surely would have refused permission. Evie said good-bye to friends and relatives in England and was back in India by January 1947. The mission appointed her to the plains. Evie did not mind much. It was only for a year! Camping in the Kalrayan range on every holiday, she plotted her next move. Her son designed a little house for her, and she scrounged building materials and organized it into loads light enough for helpers to tote uphill.

Her year with the mission ended. Fellow missionaries gathered to wish her a tearful good-bye and presented her with a parting present: a lovely lamp. Evie informed them gleefully that she was retiring from the mission--retiring to take up an independent work in the mountains, to fulfill the commission that she and Jesse had undertaken years before. Her colleagues' protests and warnings fell on deaf ears. As far as Evie was concerned, life begins at 70.

Strictly speaking, life begins a little sooner. Evelyn was born in England in 1879. Her father was a well-to-do merchant; as a young woman Evie cut a fine figure in plumed hats and frilly dresses. Her family was involved in missions, street work, and charities. Her father protected his daughters, even trying to dissuade them from marriages that would take them away from him, but one by one they started families. Evie learned to paint. Her idol was John Joseph Turner, who seemed able to capture light on canvas. To the end of her days, she sketched and painted with gusto. But when she entered her 20s, she found that art did not feed her soul.

Evie was 30 when she spent a few weeks in Australia, helping a sister. Sailing home, she sensed a divine calling to be a missionary. Yet how was she to break the news to father? The arrival of a young missionary from India helped. Evie found Jesse Brand too intense for her taste. But at a missionary meeting, he seemed to look directly at her as he described the filth and squalor on the mission field. She heard an unspoken question in his words: could she, a fashionable girl, handle such things? Resolve rose within her. Yes, with God's help she could! And she was riled up enough to tell her father so.

He took her announcement hard. A missionary? Aren't there enough lost souls in London? Evie insisted that she had to obey God's call. Finally, her father yielded. She could go, but she must allow him to provide her entire support. At her farewell party, she wore her usual finery. "She looks more like an actress than a missionary," said someone. Assigned to Madras in the plains of India, Evie discovered that Jesse Brand had been transferred there too. She fell in love with him and with his vision for the people of the Mountains of Death. Then she found out that Jesse was engaged. Hot and shaking, she fled to her bathroom and poured cold water over herself. She had made a fool of herself! Her heart grew dry. Looking at India's flowers, blooming brilliantly in the dry season, she prayed, "Let me be like that, Lord, flowering best when life seems most dry and dead." Language study took her to the hills. Jesse contacted her. His engagement was off. Would Evie marry him? They would work the mountains together.

Evie's honeymoon was a "perfect" introduction to life in the hills. Dressed in wedding white, she joined Jesse in the canvas dholi (carrier). Her bearers had gone off to hunt a wild pig. New men were found, but thunder rumbled in the sky. Heat wilted her dress. She tried not to give way to terror as the men lurched along steep precipices. Thorns caught her clothes. Rain drenched the carrier. When she dismounted to walk, she sank deep into mud holes. They lost their way in the dark. That was the beginning of their work in the mountains. It was not glamorous.

At the start, a dying man gave his heart to Christ. It was seven years before they saw another convert on the Kolli range. Because Hindu priests feared to lose their influence and revenue, they opposed the Gospel. People wanted to follow Jesus because God enabled Jesse to heal many of their diseases, but the priests frightened the people away from the new faith. Jesse taught them better farming methods, treated their sick, built houses, and fought their tax battles. He showed Evie the five ranges of hills he hoped to win for Christ: their own Kolli, and beyond it Pachais, Kalrayan, Peria Malai, and Chitteris.

The two went from village to village preaching the Gospel and tending the sick. Yet the people always pulled back from Christianity for fear of their Hindu priests. A breakthrough came when a priest caught fever. Jesse hurried to his aid. As he died, the priest entrusted his children to the Brands. The Jesus God must be the true one, he said, because the Brands alone had helped him in his hour of death.The people marveled at a God who made Jesse care for an enemy's orphaned children. Evie eventually became mother to many abandoned Indian children. Through her motherly love, a small Christian community was born. Still, the progress of the Gospel remained painfully slow. Painful also was the need for Jesse and Evie to leave their two children, Paul and Connie, in England for schooling. Evie said that something "just died in me" the day she had to say good-bye to them. It was the hardest test of loyalty God asked of her.

In England, Paul and Connie learned that their father was dead. He had contracted blackwater fever. Although Evie felt hollow, she prayed that the Lord would allow Jesse's death to win more souls than his life had. Hindu and Christian alike mourned the man who had poured out love to them, and they vied with each other for the usually contemptible job of digging a grave and lowering a dead body into it. Evie struggled on in the work alone until a replacement was found. Jesse had promised to show her a shortcut to one village. "Now he'll not be able to," she lamented. She was wrong. Riding his horse one day, it remembered the new path and carried her along it.

After a visit with her children in England, Evie was determined to return to the Kolli hills. Mission leaders were uneasy. Would it work? They were right to ask. Evie expected co-workers to do as Jesse would have. When they didn't, she spoke up and tension resulted. She pleaded to be allowed to start a new work on one of the other ranges. Mission leaders refused. Mountain work did not show good returns. They transferred Evie to the plains. At times she considered leaving the mission to strike out on her own, but circumstances always held her back...until she retired.

At 70, she began to fulfill Jesse's dream. Everyone called her "Granny," but she felt young. Just as in the old times, she traveled from village to village riding a hill pony, camping, teaching, and dispensing medicine. She rescued abandoned children. The work was harder now and she was thin. Carriers whacked her head on a rock. She never got her balance back after that and walked with bamboo canes. Yet she was full of joy and laughter. "Praise God!" she exclaimed continually. Despite broken bones, fevers, and infirmities, she labored on. In fifteen years, she almost eradicated Guinea worm from the Kalrayan range. Through her efforts, the five ranges were evangelized, and a mission work planted on each. She added two more ranges to her plans. Granny insisted this extraordinary accomplishment was God's doing, not hers.

Wherever she was, she proclaimed Christ. In the hospital with a broken hip, she wheeled herself from room to room (or scooted on a carpet!) and talked to the other patients. She painted landscapes for them. Her bones knit in record time, and back she went to the mountains to fight marijuana growers.When her son, Paul, visited her in the mountains, he found her looking younger. Her smile, brighter than ever, made the difference. "This is how to grow old," he wrote. "Allow everything else to fall away, until those around you see just love."

Granny tore some ligaments and had to go to the plains for treatment. Before she could return to her beloved mountains, her speech became jumbled and her memory failed. Seven days later, on December 18, 1974, she died. The next day her body was taken back to the hills and laid beside Jesse's as a multitude wept. The woman who had been declared too old for India had carried on for 24 more years, working almost to her day of death.

Evie's son, Paul Brand, became a famous surgeon. He also developed new ways of treating leprosy. With Philip Yancey, he wrote Fearfully and Wonderfully Made and In His Image, two books that compare the body of Christ with the human body. He also wrote The Gift of Pain and God's Forever Feast.

Are you willing to do whatever it takes and give your all to win the lost to Christ? Then like, Evie Brand, put your hand in the hand of the man who stilled the water, and dare to follow Jesus wherever He leads you?

Loving Father, I thank you for the life of Evelyn Brand, and I pray that anyone reading this may be inspired by her testimony to give their life to you, and that you would use them in the same way, as you used Evie. By the power of the Holy Spirit, help me to be a person of like faith, that I may bring glory to your name. In the wonderful and mighty name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

Be encouraged.
GBYAY

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