Today my devotion will begin with a quiz. Just like in school. You can tell I’m a former teacher, right!?
So, let’s start! If you recognize the name of the person I say; then, raise your hand! Here goes!
There is no need to make any further mention of the celebrities whose exploits have always shone brightly in our culture. Tarnished that they are. The world has its own definition of greatness. God, on the other hand, has a different definition. We know this because God speaks directly through the Old and New Testaments; Jesus, His Son, the Gospels; the apostles; and, through the divinity of the Holy Spirit. We hear Him as we walk through our own wilderness in a journey of yearning and hope. Daily His presence surrounds us.
The tabloids do not seek out the greatness that is God-centered. The tabloids avoid the quiet, the humble, and those who allow God’s promises to prevail. In fact, the tabloids mirror the life of one whose intention is ‘self-glorification’ proving time and time again that “pride cometh before the fall”. For more information about the stars of this world, those singular ‘fame-seekers’, one has to simply check out the grocery counter magazine rack. Prepare to feel a heaviness in your soul and a lingering loss of innocence.
To receive a much-needed spiritual boost we can learn about God’s shining stars, those whose orbit revolves appropriately as it should, not spinning out-of-control around ‘self’.
So, let’s get to know some of God’s acclaimed honorees:
Fanny Crosby is best remembered for her prolific gift of composing songs, especially in the area of Gospel hymns. Although Fanny was blinded as a toddler, she was prominent in song-writing during a time when hymns were in their hey-day. One of my favorite hymns, “Blessed Assurance” composed in 1873, has survived for almost one hundred and forty years. Imagine! Will the body of work of any the ‘tabloid treasures’ exist for even a decade? I wonder. Fanny’s portfolio included so many songs that if you open any hymnal today, her list of compositions and collaborations outshines almost anyone’s. Even John Newton. The Lord shines.
K.P. Yohannan was a shy teen who never thought it possible to speak in public. Yet, he went on to found the international ministry, Gospel For Asia. Its consequences for the kingdom of God has taken on immense proportions.This organization has transformed people all over the globe. Through His divine mercy, multitudes of souls have heard the word of God from the lips of missionaries from their own countries. The Lord has helped open the hearts of people in wealthier nations as they support these ‘native missionaries’ by providing items such as wells, bicycles; livestock; sewing machines; and other enriching essentials. The Lord shines.
Gary Haugen is the founder of The International Justice Mission. Legal teams travel to aid in the atrocities perpetrated on vulnerable victims in countries that turn a blind eye to their situation. Through use of the laws already on the books in these overwhelmed and under-caring countries, IJM is able to bring release and justice to souls exploited in one form of slavery or another. Surely, God’s light enters this often dangerous and always daunting mission. The Lord shines.
Elizabeth Dabney or ‘Mother Dabney’ as she was often referred to by those who knew her, was a ‘Faithful Prayer Warrior’ before the term was ever coined. She will be forever remembered for her deep devotion to prayer and her method of ‘praying through’ problems, situations, and life. Before email, she received over three million letters worldwide requesting prayer for loved ones and their trials. Amazing! Eventually, in the early 1920’s, a magazine prodded Elizabeth to share her story of lifetime prayer. We now are privileged to have her account and testimony “What it means to Pray Through” on a lasting record. Praise God. The Lord shines.
Mark Batterson is a young pastor to one of the top growing churches in America and on the list of the “top 25” most innovative churches. It actually makes up 7 churches with a new one soon to be planted internationally in Berlin. He started small, with nothing, when God placed him and his wife in Washington, DC. In one of the poorest and, quite frankly, the scariest areas of the nation’s capitol. The area around Capitol Hill~ A prolific reader, Mark, as he puts it, had read about the Jewish legend of Honi, a first century B.C. sage, who helped to save the generation before Jesus came to preach His message of God’s love. Honi, the legend still regarded with the upmost respect that truth deserves, boldly prayed to God to bring rain to the drought-plagued nation of Israel. Drawing a circle around him in the sand, Honi exhorted God to answer this resolute supplication. Mr. Batterson himself a circle maker, entrusts God to boldly shape a life of honour through prayers approximately twenty-one centuries later. Circling the area around Capitol Hill by physically ‘walking his prayers’ drew in the surrounding shacks of crack users; the hovels of heroin addicts; and, the polished palace of politics. Abandoned, dilapidated theaters became places of worship. Inspired by Honi, Mark anticipated, expected, and humbly greeted the largesse of God’s graciousness with praise and an open heart. The Lord shines.
I introduce a star of the 1930’s & ’40’s, Helen Hayes, at the end on my devotion today. Simply put, Helen had the aura of an actress and the character of a child of God. In truth, her light was luminous in both worlds. Helen’s incandescence inspired, encouraged, and enthralled at a time when turmoil and treachery had taken root. In an era of ever-developing cynicism and skepticism, this curious albeit optimistic personality brought joy to the stage and screen. She had the power to touch lives. Her faith endured through tragedy allowing God’s intervening love. When she lost her beloved daughter Mary to polio, Helen Hayes, the philanthropist, inquired of science to find that one researcher who needed the funds to find the cure to eradicate Poliomyelitis. Enter Jonas Salk and the Salk vaccine. Her continued philanthropy enabled many to reach their potential, gain strength and find faith. Through her books, she shed light on the faith found in history’s writers as well as introducing a thirsty public to the Psalms and the Gospels. It is fitting that this devoted Christian, born an Irish Catholic, should die on St. Patrick’s Day. Today’s celebrities could find benefit from her legacy of true joy, sharing faith, and a philanthropic ministry. The Lord shines.
May 12, 2012
Let us pray~