Sunday, September 30, 2012

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Elephant String

I remember reading about how they train young elephants in India. The trainer would tie one of their hind legs to a tree with a thick rope. Naturally the elephant, feeling bound by the rope, would try to break free. Eventually he realizes that his attempts are useless and gradually gets accustomed to being held captive.

As the elephant ages, his restriction of movement will modify his behavior until even a simple string will be sufficient to keep him captive without resistance. The elephant could easily break the string but has convinced himself that the restraining force of the rope is greater than his own strength. So he gives up in defeat.

For many people, past events are like elephant strings. Mistakes, failures, sin, or tragedy which once bound us like thick rope, still holds us captive to the past. If we would only look again, try again, we would find that it is only string that binds us. We have the power, through Christ Jesus, to easily break free.

The Apostle Paul wrote, “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13 NLT).

When you find yourself in one of life’s ruts, stop, look down at the string that holds you, and break free. Even when we receive forgiveness for past sin in our life, often we are not so quick to forgive our self. The sin is forgiven but we allow the guilt to remain.

That string of guilt will hold us back from a deeper relationship with God. So forgive yourself, break the string of guilt and shame for God has removed the rope long ago!

We all have failures and make mistakes in our lives. Learn from them yes, but don’t allow a string of failures or a string of mistakes to hold you. Break free! Try again! You can do it!

Sin can become an old habit. If you lose the struggle to fight it, you can feel hopelessly bound. This is no way to live, so break free from the string of habitual sin. The Bible says, “Let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up” (Hebrews 12:1 NLT).

Rip off those strings and be free in Christ! Freedom from guilt is yours.

There are times in every life when we experience tragedy. The loss of a loved one, or a relationship, even the loss of a job can have a debilitating effect on us. We can become so bound by the triple threaded rope of grief, sorrow, and regret that, like the elephant, we become accustomed to being held captive. Efforts to break free may seem fruitless and pointless.

But remember that there is hope in Christ Jesus. The Apostle Paul wrote,

I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us” (Philippians 3:13-14).


So try again! Press forward! Move ahead with your hopes and dreams. Break that elephant string!












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Friday, September 28, 2012

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Good day

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The long healing process on my foot surgery is over.
So, off to the golf course.
God is so good!

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Daily Scroll

God's love,
in our heart as a tiny acorn,
grows into a mighty oak,
filled with His glory.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Daily Scroll

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Paul said be instant in season and out of season.
But... I enjoy brewed.
Enjoy your day!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Daily Scroll

In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye,
everything will change,
as Christ returns...

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Daily Scroll

O sing unto the LORD a new song:
sing unto the LORD,
all the earth.
Psalm 96:1

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Tears and Salvation

Tumbuka is a typical 13-year-old African American boy from a middle class home. One day while riding his bike in their suburban neighborhood, he found himself approaching the lake at the edge of their local park. Back yards of houses circled one side of the lake while the other side was open to the park.

Riding through the grassy field to the edge of the lake he noticed people gathered at the lakes' edge behind the Jewish Synagogue. People of all ages were standing there waving their arms up and down. Some were throwing pieces of bread into the water as you do when you feed the ducks, however, there were no ducks around. The bread was just floating on the water.

As Tumbuka got a little closer, he could hear crying and talking as they faced the lake. Several old women were wiping tears from their cheeks as they prayed. One little boy picked up a small stone and drew back to skip it across the lake when his father grabbed and held him by the wrist until he dropped it. Then his mother grabbed him by the ear and told him to stand still with respect.

It was quite a scene in this normally quiet neighborhood. Tumbuka sat on his bike with his arms draped across the handlebars taking it all in when suddenly he was surprised with a slap on is back. He quickly turned around to see the smiling face of his school classmate Yeshaya.

"Sup Yesh?" Tumbuka said.

"Not much Tum." He replied.

"What's going down here?" Tum asked. "These people ok?"

"Sure. They are saying their Tashlikh prayers." Yesh answered.

"Their what?" Asked Tum.

"Their Tashlikh prayers." Said Yesh. "We are Jewish, and over there is our Synagogue. Every year at this time we celebrate Rosh Hashanah. Part of the celebration is to come to the lake, pray and say as many psalms as we can. Sometimes the whole book."

"You mean from the Bible?" Tum asked.

"Yes." He answered. "We pray from a prayer book, worship God, and ask forgiveness for our sins from this last year. This is the beginning of our new year. See the old woman shaking the corners of her skirt toward the lake?"

"Yes." Tum replied.

"Well, she's dumping her sins into the water." Yesh said.

"She's doing what?" Tum asked.

Yesh explained. "There was this prophet Micah. He wrote in the book, "and you shall throw into the depth of the sea all their sins" (Micah 7:19).

"Oh yeah." Tum said. "I heard Pastor say that when God saves you, He casts your sins into the sea of forgetfulness. And yo, that old lady over there reminds me of my Grandmother Ellie. She would get up in church and shake her dress, praise God, do a little side dance, and wave her hands before the Lord. But just a little higher. Ha. Ha. Are they going to have a baptism service now?"

Tum continued, "I was baptized last year at youth camp and I felt so good when I came up out of the water. Ha. Good times."

"No baptisms here today Bro." Yesh chuckled. But as we finish and leave, after Tashlikh, we feel lighter. It's like a heavy backpack is taken off us and thrown into that lake, and we have a new fresh start for the New Year. That's what Rosh Hashanah is all about, starting fresh with God. We all want our names in God's book."

"Me too man." Tum said. "Pastor preached about hell. It made me straighten up. You know, hell is…well hell! Yo Yesh, seeing the people throwing bread into the lake and casting off their sins reminds me of when I came to God and cast my sins on Jesus. It made me think about my life, and how my backpack of sin left me forever, not just for a year."

Then looking around like someone might be listening, Tum said, "But I do it again every year at youth camp. You know…just in case."

"Right! Right! Laughed Yesh. "Yo Tum, I'd like to tell you about the other stuff that goes down during Rosh Hashanah. We're not all that different I think. And by the way, what kind of name is

Tumbuka anyway. What's it mean?"

Tum answered, "Grandmother Ellie told me it was African for tears. Says I was her tears of joy. And yo, what does Yeshaya mean?

Yesh said, "My Grandpa over there, the Rabbi, he told me Yeshaya means God is salvation. Anyway, come on Tumbuka, let's go to the building. It's time to eat, and you won't believe the food!"

Tombuka and Yeshaya learned that when tears and salvation come together, there is fellowship, peace, and a new start.

On the first night of Rosh Hashanah after the evening prayer, it is the custom to wish "May you be inscribed and sealed for a Good Year and for a Good and Peaceful Life."

Friday, September 14, 2012

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Daily Scroll

Attempt something so big,
that if God doesn't intervene,
it's bound to fail.
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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Daily Scroll

Pray for the broken hearts suffering loss
and the brave hearts who stand and say
never again!
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Monday, September 10, 2012

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Daily Scroll

Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles
Isaiah 40:30

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Daily Scroll

The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, And He delights in his way.
Psalm 37:22-24

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Daily Scroll 9-3-12

  American workers:
We dreamed it, we built it, we keep improving it.
All bystanders welcomed to help.

Forgive, How Much?

Guest Post By Richard Spangler


People ask, “How many times must I forgive this person?” Or, “I can’t forgive what they did to me.”And, “I want God to judge this person.” These same people have financial and other troubles, wondering why God is not blessing them. Some also have relationship issues with their family and others.

I have personally dealt with people that were hard to forgive. Once I was given the responsibility of running a shop and yard crew for the water department. I worked with men, most of whom were much older than myself.
There was this guy I will call Frank, who would ride my case from the time I walked in the gate until I left. Frank would curse constantly, put open men’s magazines on my desk, and relocate my Bible and my lunch.
There were times I felt like getting revenge on him, but I didn’t. I continued to pray for him, asking God to save him, and to help me forgive him. This situation continued for months.
Then one day, Frank came into my office. I feared the worse, but to my surprise, he broke down. Frank’s life was a mess and he needed someone to talk to. He asked me to forgive him. I told him I already had and was willing to listen and help.
After that, a good working relationship developed. Frank would still slip up with the language, but would quickly ask my forgiveness. This was my first lesson in forgiving someone who continually sinned against me, so I understand how difficult forgiving can be. The question arises, how much to forgive someone? We can thank the Apostle Peter for the answer.
Then Peter came to Him and said, Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times? Jesus said to him, I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:21-22 NKJV).

If we analyze these figures, it is amazing. Jesus says to forgive 70 times 7, which is 490 times a day! Then when you divide 490 by 24 hours in a day it means 20.4 times an hour. Then you divide 60 minutes in hour by 20.4 and you get 2.9 minutes. So we are to forgive someone who sins against us every 2.9 minutes!
This is a lifestyle of forgiveness. It does not matter what someone does to you or how many times they may sin against you, you are to forgive. It is almost impossible for someone to reach this volume of sinning against another. If you’re counting, are you really forgiving?

But, what about if they are breaking the law, you may ask? If they break a law of man they still have to pay the consequences and if they haven’t accepted Jesus as their Savior and Lord, then they are under the judgment of God’s law, so we must leave the judging to Him.

Forgiveness is for you, not them. Unforgiveness blocks our relationship with God and leads to bitterness. Both unforgiveness and bitterness not only take their toll on you spiritually but also physically, opening the door to sickness and death. They also poison every relationship you have.

Unforgiveness also affects the blessings you receive from God.

“Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you” (Luke 6:32-38 NKJV).

What caught my attention is that most of this scripture deals with our relationship with others, then comes this one statement by Jesus on giving at the end. We are to love our enemies. We are to forgive unconditionally. We are to show mercy as God has shown mercy to us. Don’t condemn or judge and finally, forgive. Forgiveness jumps out as the key to the other blessings.

So forgive, for your own sake. Then, you will have an open, unhindered relationship with God and others. When you pray for the blessings of God, they will flow to you in a far greater way than you can imagine.

Richard blogs at

His latest book "Adventures in the Spirit" is also available at his blog.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Daily Scroll: The Forest of God


In the realm of God, in Heaven, are places prepared for you. Places of wonder, peace and adventure. Don't miss it. It's gonna be great!