Thursday, July 28, 2011

Abundant Life

Abundant Life

A visit to the Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove, featured Cliff Barrows leading the singing and Dr. Mel Blackaby, well known pastor and author, speaking on Abundant Life. Blackaby, over the course of four marvelous messages, connected abundant living with going the second mile in the power of the spirit and rejoicing in any and all circumstances! This is a marvelous way to live and can only be done through Christ.

Abundant life comes through Jesus who said, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” (John 6:35) He gives us bread! And he says "Whoever drinks of the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up 
into eternal life." (John 4:14) He gives us water! Overflowing water!

If we’re not satisfied, have we really met Him? He promised abundant life while on earth! We may have religion but not relationship.  Is there joy? Peace? Love with intimacy in your life?  If all else was taken away would you be satisfied? What does is mean to follow Jesus? These are not easy questions to answer but the promises are thrilling.

Billy Graham and his ministry exemplify abundant living. They have denied themselves and surrendered all to Christ—and God has used them in a mighty way. Billy Graham’s oldest daughter, Gigi, his youngest son, Ned and a grandson Will each spoke briefly during the conference. All are following the family path of faith.

A surprise visit from Billy Graham and George Beverly Shea, joining the others on the platform electrified the attendees. This reunion of the three major players in the Billy Graham Crusades, who worked together for forty years, awed and humbled us all. (See picture above of Cliff, Ned, Gigi, Billy Graham and George Beverly Shea.)

George Beverly Shea, 102 years old sang Blessed Assurance - even asking the piano player to change the key. They reminisced about the Crusades. Billy liked the Australia Crusade best. Cliff recalled a meal in India of French fried hornets!!  The three of them sang This Little Light of Mine!  Billy’s part was to say “NO!” at the right times.

Cliff said “We’re all turtles on the fence post. Someone helped to put us there.” What humble, inspiring men of God these three are. To God be the glory!

It was a blessed event.

I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)

Blessings, Dottie

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Dancing with Max

A Mother and Son who Broke Free 
by Emily Colson

Dancing with Max is the true story of Emily Colson and her son Max. Emily details her life as a single parent raising Max, an autistic child. Max, a beautiful baby, cried constantly and didn’t speak or develop normally. He shook with fear in new situations. When interrupted or thwarted in his activities, he flew into tantrums with no regard to where or when – in the mall, in church – anywhere.

Emily details her desperate and determined struggle to help Max understand life, not be fearful and learn to read and write. She describes a jumble of bureaucracy, and cold or negative medical and educational experts who were of little help. The school personnel failed to listen to Emily’s own insights about her son, held little hope for her son’s progress, and showed little warmth for Emily or Max.

Emily’s father is Chuck Colson, well known author, aide to President Nixon, and founder of Prison Fellowship. Chuck Colson writes a prologue and epilogue to the book giving his point of view on Emily and Max and telling how their relationship deepened through their trials and joys.

The relationship between grandfather, daughter and son is depicted with humor and warmth. This is a very personal, gripping true story revealing the gift that Max has given his family. Through years of trials Emily loves Max sacrificially and joyfully living one day at a time. She learns that Max is a gift from God.

Every parent should read this book. Certainly every parent of a special needs child should read it. It will give you a new appreciation for your own children and their amazing individuality, quirks and needs. It will teach you to love them sacrificially and hold them close to your heart. It will teach you that every child is a gift from God.

“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13



Sunday, July 3, 2011

“America, America….God shed his grace on thee.”

Thoughts from this Sunday’s message
This Fourth of July we are thankful for our freedom. We must guard it well or it could be lost.

How could it be lost? We may be on the brink of losing it due to our moral slide as a nation. Individual morality is a separate issue. The moral slide of our country occurs in relationships, in the way we do business with each other. When we are dishonest in the way we govern or in the way we run a business the entire country is affected.

 Our founding fathers understood the relationship between liberty, morality and faith. Many of our early leaders stated, in one way or another, the fact that liberty couldn’t thrive without morality and morality couldn’t flourish without faith. When we manipulate or con others in the market place or when we attempt to cut corners in business, or make under the table deals to gain power – our country suffers.

Our founding fathers understood from Scripture that “all men are created equal” that all should be free to pursue happiness but that these relied on a moral culture based in a strong faith in God. They understood that the standard of righteousness was not tied to time or culture but was universal. It applied to all nations at all times, based on the character and nature of God. No nation will flourish with this.

What is God’s character? He is righteous. His kingdom is righteous. Deuteronomy 10:17-21 says “For the Lord your God is . . . . mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing. Our righteous God shows no partiality and accepts no bribes.”

We are human – we need help to be moral in all spheres of life. We need faith in God in Christ Jesus. Pray for our country to recognize its need before it’s too late.

Proverbs 14:34 “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.”

Blessings, Dottie