Category Archives: Michelle Avery

Going Green

With all the talk these days about going green and being good for the environment, it might be a good idea to take a look at one of the greatest green leaders in human history.

I will spare you the suspense. This great Recycler is Jesus.

Don’t laugh. Stop and think of this for a moment.

Has any green program ever taken an educated and resourceful man who was using every loophole in the law to terrorize and murder and turned that man into someone who lived and taught that “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity [love], I am become as sounding brass, or tinkling cymbal.”

Do you know of any environmental protection proponent who goes all the way to the heart of the problem? This One actually changes hearts and minds so that decisions and actions are more pure and gentle.

Jesus did not stop with creation. He wants to re-create. He wants to take the old, broken, useless chunk of life we call our own and turn it into beautiful and useful art. Have you been recycled?

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Your World

Dear Father,

What have we done to your world? You filled it with beautiful flowers, streams, and people, with creatures both mighty and miniscule, with so much intricate detail we discover new things every day.

Then you gave humanity a choice. I could blame it on Eve or Adam, but the truth is I could have been the one to take the bite and ruin it all. Now we have filled your perfect creation with anger, bitterness, revenge, lust, terror, pain, sickness, and death.

Father what have we done? Everything we do is touched sooner or later by tragedy — cancer, war, scandal, terror.

But after the rain comes, there is the rainbow. Because of the uneven stones, the stream gurgles a happy tune. In the world’s darkest hour, the ones You created show the selflessness of living as Your image.

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:14).

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The Sailboat

Imagine this: You and your family rose very early this morning and piled into the car. You have been driving for eight hours and have finally arrived at the beginning of your much anticipated vacation. Everyone is excited. The first event? A relaxing ride on a sailboat!

You gather your children and belongings and board the vessel. The three-man crew soon has your journey underway. You trust them to do their jobs, yet something has you concerned. The sail has not been put up. At first, you convince yourself it is not necessary or safe perhaps. We must get away from other boats before the sail can be useful. There is not much wind. Perhaps it just is not practical.

Finally, when the boat has traveled with alternate power for half an hour, you ask a crew member, “Why aren’t we using that fine sail above us?” His answer might surprise you.

“Oh, we don’t need it. The engine still works.”

Be careful. God might want to send you a helpful wind sometime, but if your sail is not up, if you are only depending on past blessings, you will miss it.

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Who Changes?

“As I was with Moses, so shall I be with you.”

People often lament the passing or retirement of elderly church leaders with the question, “Who will fill their shoes?” At the beginning of the book of Joshua, God make a promise that proved this question to be misguided.

“As I was with Moses.” God  took Moses from his flocks in the desert to the throne room of Egypt. Moses stuttered yet God so blessed his farewell speech to the Israelites, we still have it available to us — the book of Deuteronomy.

“So will I be with you.” God did not command Joshua to lead the people as Moses had. They no longer needed a shepherd. They needed someone to lead them into battle.

God did not even promise the same miracles to Joshua. There was no king to convince any longer — only kings to defeat.

The promise was not to continue Moses’ life through Joshua. He was supposed to be different than Moses. God is the one who remained the same.

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A Peek Into History

Elijah was a man of God. He was more than a reliable prophet. He did more than pass God’s message to the people he encountered. He was God’s man.

That is why being chosen to be his assistant was such an enormous privilege. Elisha would learn the habits of this great man firsthand. No listening to stories or reading books. He learned by observation.

When God took Elijah to Heaven, Elisha may have been nervous at the prospect of filling his shoes, but he was certainly prepared for the mission. Getting to know his predecessor required him to get to know Elijah’s closest ally — God.

The history of the holiness movement is filled with the stories of men and women who accomplished great things for God. Getting to know their stories will require us to meet the God they loved.

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A Famous Mother

— By Michelle Avery, Editorial Assistant, Herald and Banner Press, Inc.

Mary, one of the most famous mothers in the history of mankind, must have been worried by the problem of busyness and feeling like her life was going by too quickly. After all, she was only carrying the Son of the Almighty. That little one beginning to learn to talk? Just the one who spoke an entire universe into existence. Can you imagine the first time young Mary cleaned up her Son’s bloodied knee? Do you suppose she realized the knowledge and the healing power He had?

Maybe she did not realize at first. How could she understand the role her Son would play in the history of the world? The angel had explained how a virgin could become a mother but not how that Baby would be able to save the world. Surely Mary did not know what was in store for her Son.

“But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19). In other words, “Every circumstance relative to her son’s birth, Mary treasured up in her memory; and every new circumstance she weighed, or compared with those which had already taken place, in order to acquire the fullest information concerning the nature and mission of her son” (Adam Clarke).

Even with all the prophecies down through the centuries and the recent messages from the angels, Mary did not know how life would treat her Son. What she did know — and could trust — was that there was a faithful and loving God overseeing everything He would encounter. And taking time to weigh that certainty against each new experience kept life from running away from her.

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Why We Call A Bad Day Good

— By Michelle Avery, Editorial Assistant at Herald and Banner Press, Inc.

In December of 1776, a commander of the United States revolutionary forces wrote to his brother, “I think the game is pretty near up.” His men were sick, ill-equipped, despairing, and retreating in sub-freezing temperatures. This commanding officer feared their noble cause was lost.

But the commander was General George Washington, and he knew he had to try again. His plan was to take his quickly dwindling army across the icy Delaware River and surprise the Hessians in their warm quarters in Trenton on Christmas Day. The battle was a success for the American forces, and although it did not end the war immediately, it stopped the British advance toward Philadelphia and restored hope to the revolutionary forces. British Field Commander Charles Cornwallis told Washington at the end of the War for Independence, “This is a great victory for you, but your brightest laurels will be writ upon the banks of the Delaware.”

During the First World War an equally horrendous situation presented itself in the Argonne Forrest. General John J. Pershing had committed his untested troops to what was looking like an unwinnable battle. The fight for the first day’s stated objective took three weeks and cost more than 100,000 American casualties. The “Iron General” was beginning to melt.

Then one of Pershing’s officers demanded time to rest and regroup his men. A fresh division was brought forward, and for ten days they attacked the opposing forces. In those ten days the tired soldiers collected themselves and the officers corrected their strategies. When they attacked, they drove back the enemy so quickly it had no chance to regroup. American soldiers overran each new post before it could be secured. Ten days later, at eleven o’clock on the morning of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the Armistice went into effect. The Great War had been won.

Long before either of these battles, another army faced a turning-point battle when all seemed lost. Approached by an overwhelming force, every man but their leader fled in terror. The commander was captured, interrogated, tried, and sentenced to death. His men returned slowly, but still fearful, they hung back and made no rescue attempts. Their dreams of victory and freedom died with their leader. It must have been the worst day of their lives.

They passed the  next day in hiding. They dared not go out into the city where they would surely be hunted down and executed as their leader had been. Their confidence had led to no plan for defeat, so they did not know what to do. Then Sunday dawned and some of the soldiers quietly walked toward the grave where their leader had been laid to rest. They would honor his tomb, then retreat and try to reclaim whatever life had been left to them.

But something was wrong. The grave had been robbed during the night! Their fear forgotten in surprise, they dashed forward to investigate then stopped suddenly at the appearance of an angel.

“Be not affrighted:” he commanded, “Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him. But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.”

Suddenly all fear was gone. The enemy had been forever defeated! The worst day of their lives became good!

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