Sapphire Sky

May 5, 2010

Our times together …

Filed under: encouragement — Christ Ranger @ 5:15 pm

I enjoyed a father-daughter camp retreat this weekend.  We enjoyed fantastic Carolina weather and the Pamlico sound and a host of activities, but more importantly, it was really special having so much time together, just the two of us. There is no substitute for time spent together, particularly when the purpose of the time is to enjoy the time together.  The memories were precious and even a little painful as I’m reminded that this “parenting period” is temporary.  Older parents always say with nostalgia that it’s over before you know it, and most often it’s said with a tint of regret.

I’ve been really convicted this year on how easy it is to get sidetracked even obsessed with things that ultimately have little or no significance while at the same time neglecting what really matters — each other.  Some quotes to further that conviction:

“When you are in the final days of your life, what will you want? Will you hug that college degree in the walnut frame? Will you ask to be carried to the garage so you can sit in your car? Will you find comfort in rereading your financial statement? Of course not. What will matter then will be people. If relationships will matter most then, shouldn’t they matter most now?”
— Max Lucado

“Affection is responsible for nine-tenths of whatever solid and durable happines there is in our lives”  C.S. Lewis

“No relationship is perfect, ever. There are always some ways you have to bend, to compromise, to give something up in order to gain something greater…The love we have for each other is bigger than these small differences. And that’s the key. It’s like a big pie chart, and the love in a relationship has to be the biggest piece. Love can make up for a lot.”
— Sarah Dessen (This Lullaby)

“It is better to lose your pride with someone you love rather than to lose that someone you love with your useless pride.”
— John Ruskin

“The capacity for friendship is God’s way of apologizing for our families.”
— Jay McInerney (The Last of the Savages)

“The willingness to forgive is a sign of spiritual and emotional maturity. It is one of the great virtues to which we all should aspire. Imagine a world filled with individuals willing both to apologize and to accept an apology. Is there any problem that could not be solved among people who possessed the humility and largeness of spirit and soul to do either — or both — when needed?”
— Gordon B. Hinckley (Standing for Something: 10 Neglected Virtues That Will Heal Our Hearts and Homes)

“Never ruin an apology with an excuse.”
— Benjamin Franklin

“How did it get so late so soon?”
— Dr. Seuss

May 4, 2010

Christ in Action …

Filed under: Ministry — Christ Ranger @ 5:09 pm

God is greatly using Samaritan’s Purse to bring relief to Haiti’s impoverished quake victims.  The relief provided by Samaritan’s Purse includes the following:

  • Shelters: 
    • over 500 completed
    • strategy to build 1,200 each month
    • 7,500 is the goal – should be completed by the end of October
    • Haiti’s president said the shelters have been the best thing to happen since the earthquake
  • Medical
    • Baptist Haiti Mission (medical outreach of Samaritan’s Purse) has had over 9,600 patient contacts
    • Their clinic in Cite Soleil has treated over 2,600 patients
    • Nearly 30 pallets of medical supplies have been sent
  • Water/Sanitation
    • Installed 20 water filtration systems, each of which can provide enough water for 3,000 people daily
    • 149 shower stalls installed
    •  211 hand washing stations constructed
    • 681 latrines constructed
  • Rubble Removal
    • Over 34,000 metric tons of rubble removed in Grand Goave and Leogane
    • 1,292 local Haitians employed by cash for work trash/debris removal (40%  women)
  • Non-Food Items
    • 12,672 Jerry Cans
    • 29,940 Blankets
    • 2,200 Flashlights
    • 2,000 Mosquito Nets
    • 1,000 Kitchen Kits  
  • Supplies: Samaritan’s Purse has flown supplies into the country on 21 flights, including six planes chartered by Samaritan’s Purse. They have also sent two cargo ships loaded with emergency relief and rebuilding items. 
  • Staffing: Samaritan’s Purse has sent 185 staff members and non-medical volunteers to Haiti. They have also sent 90 medical staff members and volunteers, and 22 chaplains from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s Rapid Response Team have worked with their team on the ground.  Over 1,200 national staff have also been employed.

See also here, here, and here.

Last week, the Creation Museum celebrated its ONE MILLIONTH visitor … and in less than three years.  God continues to bless the ministry of Answers in Genesis.

Trans World Radio has announced a radio ministry to equip youth pastors in China, where there are over 500 million people under the age of 18.

Door 43 (Distant Shores Media) is providing technical support for the delivery of stories of the Bible in the Lusoga language (Uganda) over the Internet and to mobile phones anywhere in the world that a Lusoga speaker happens to be.  Slowly but consistently, Door 43 is working toward creating an international resource pool of open source discipleship and Biblical resources.

May 3, 2010

Bibliophile Benefits

Filed under: books — Christ Ranger @ 12:03 pm

I’ve long been a fan of John Ruskin’s quote: “A book worth reading is worth owning.”  It’s fairly conventional wisdom that a book-rich home encourages children to read which in turn introduces children to the joys of learning, thinking, and imagining.  A recent study now shows benefits of actually owning those books …

 “Home library size has a very substantial effect on educational attainment, even adjusting for parents’ education, father’s occupational status and other family background characteristics,” reports the study, recently published in the journal Research in Social Stratification and Mobility. “Growing up in a home with 500 books would propel a child 3.2 years further in education, on average, than would growing up in a similar home with few or no books. “This is a large effect, both absolutely and in comparison with other influences on education,” adds the research team, led by University of Nevada sociologist M.D.R. Evans. “A child from a family rich in books is 19 percentage points more likely to complete university than a comparable child growing up without a home library.” 

More here.

May 1, 2010

What should we pray for?

Filed under: encouragement, theology — Steve Knaus @ 11:42 pm

I often think of the common child’s prayer: “bless Mom, bless Dad, bless my friends, bless my teacher, …”  Now as adults, we can make a much better sounding prayer, with much more more spiritual words.  However, how often do we really think about what we are saying when we pray for others?  What do we pray for?

I am encouraged to pause when reading the Bible when it covers a specific prayer or prayer requests. How often do our prayer requests model these precedents in Scripture?

Paul starts the letter to the Philippians with a prayer of encouragement:

And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:9-11)

In this prayer of encouragement, these are some of the specific requests made on behalf of the Philippian Christians:

  1. That your love may abound still more and more” – That their love (agape) would grow in abundance; more than enough
  2. “real knowledge” – That their love would be anchored in understanding and in the Truth of Scripture.
  3. “all discernment” – Also translated as “depth of insight”, that their love would show an understanding of what is good.
  4. “approve the things that are excellent” – That that they would evaluate things for what has real value
  5. “sincere” – lit. “without wax”; illustrating broken pottery that was repainted for a cheap sale.  The prayer for them is that their love and discernment would produce in them a pure faith without secret agendas or motives.
  6. “blameless” – that they would give no cause for offense; have no legitimate accusations against them
  7. “having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ” – recognizing that the only source of them being able to accomplish this was their salvation in Christ, and his ongoing work in them.
  8. “to the glory and praise of God” – the ultimate goal was for God’s glory in everything.

May we include this in our prayers for others.

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)

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