Strengthen My Hands

The Book of Nehemiah in the Old Testament is such an encouragement.

The wall around Jerusalem had been broken down and the gates had been burned.

After mourning, fasting and praying at hearing this news, Nehemiah set out to gather the people and rebuild the wall.

Nehemiah was dedicated. Humble. Faithful. Hopeful.

Nehemiah was transparent about his feelings.

God answered his prayers.

God allowed a mighty work to be done for the Jews amidst opposition.

God’s strength was everpresent throughout Nehemiah’s mission.

In the account of the rebuilding of the wall around Jerusalem, those scheming to harm Nehemiah send discouraging messages to him five times, stating lies about him and his purpose.

What was his response to these accusations?

I sent him this reply: "Nothing like what you are saying is happening; you are just making it up out of your head."

 They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, "Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed."
       But I prayed, "Now strengthen my hands."–Nehemiah 6:8-9

Does this sound familiar in your own life?

Think about it—a time when you felt that God wanted you to do something specific.

Perhaps you were going to begin exercising and losing weight.

Maybe you felt led to start a Bible study in your home.

You may even have made a recent commitment to spend more time with your children.

Whatever the leading you may have felt from God, it’s quite possible that Satan wasn’t happy with the decision.

With discouraging words or circumstances, dissension may have come your way.

Could it be that he was trying to frighten you, thinking you would be too discouraged to complete that which God had led you to do?

What should our response be when we identify the source of our distraction?

Nehemiah prayed.

He said, "Now strengthen my hands."

God did strengthen Nehemiah.

He’ll strengthen us, too.

 

 

 


 

 

 

Do It For THEM

 

 

 

My "mind" radio seems to always be going.
Even at the strangest times, I will have a song playing in my head.
Often, I am not even completely aware of it.
Somewhat like background music in an elevator or a shopping mall, it quietly continues as I go about my day.
At different points, my occupation with other things is halted, perhaps for only a second, and I realize what lyrics and tunes are accompanying my thought processes.

Most of the time I find that the music within me is about God in some way. Praising Him, speaking of His character, exhorting His people.

This morning, as I was reading the Bible, I became aware of the background "music" that was simultaneously flowing along with the words on the page.

I was reading from Matthew, chapter 7, in The Message:

Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them.

So what was the music?

"And I’ll be my brother’s keeper so the whole world will know we’re not alone." (Matt Mahr)

I can’t explain how I can read one word and hear another, but I can.
Like bass clef and treble clef playing at the same time on the piano.
Like God confirming what He’s saying in the Word with what’s being sung in a song.

The question is, what do I want people to do for me? How do I want them to act toward me?
If I want to, I am capable of grabbing the initiative.
I can be good and kind to others.
Then, will my behavior point others to God?
Will they then see that we’re not alone?

 

 

 

Tell

 

 

Sing to him, sing praise to Him; tell of all His wonderful acts.–I Chronicles 16:9

I have a wonderful act of God to tell about today.

My husband has been looking for different employment. It can be a very discouraging task in today’s economy.

Last night, during a lengthy conversation, I simply asked him, "What do you think you’re good at?"

He and I both had looked online at job opportunities. Though highly qualified in certain fields, most of what we had seen required at least something that he did not have. We both knew the answers to my question.

He named one thing…

This morning, as we returned home from a trip out in the car, I picked up the newspaper that had been thrown into our driveway. After I entered our home, I opened it to see if there were any employment opportunities.

There, right in front of me, was an advertisement for a position listing several qualifications–ALL of which my husband had!

The very first line mentioned the one thing he stated last night.

With a resume prepared and delivered, we are waiting on God for the next step.

Will this lead to a job change?

Only God knows that at this point.

However, He has brought these circumstances together.

He cares if we are discouraged.

This is a beautiful reminder that He is with us through every part of our lives.

 

 

 

 

 

This Is My Prayer

 

What is it that I need?

God knows.

When I am faced with difficulty, I find that I become quiet and think a great many thoughts.

While there is nothing wrong with thinking, I often do not share my concerns readily by confiding with a friend who could give wise counsel. I am pleased to say that I have gotten better in this respect over the last couple of years. Much is to be gained by bearing each other’s burdens.

God knew that I needed to talk a couple of days ago.

I wasn’t calling anyone on the phone. I wasn’t visiting.

So God had someone call me. They felt that they should check on me.

It was good to feel the freedom to express some of my concerns.

Did I need anything else?

The mail came. Another friend, who is a pastor’s wife, sent me a cd of one of her husband’s sermons.

She had thought of me as he was speaking.

He talked about love, the knowledge and understanding of God and how to deal with the "bad" things that happen in our lives.

A statement he made as he recounted an Old Testament story jumped out in prominence.

In describing an emotional scene of forgiveness, he said, "He was completely overwhelmed and consumed with the opportunity to love."

Overwhelmed and consumed. Completely. No room for anything else except love.

Yes, I needed to be reminded of love. I had also needed to talk to a friend.

I needed to consider, once again, God’s work in my life.

That’s what I needed.

God knew.

 

This is my prayer for you:

that your love will grow more and more;

that you will have knowledge

and understanding with your love;

 that you will see the difference between

good and bad and will choose the good;

that you will be pure

and without wrong

for the coming of Christ;

 that you will be filled with the good things

produced in your life by Christ to bring glory

and praise to God.

Philipians 1:9-11


 

This Is My Prayer

 

 

What is it that I need?

God knows.

When I am faced with difficulty, I find that I become quiet and think a great many thoughts.

While there is nothing wrong with thinking, I often do not share my concerns readily by sharing with a friend who could give wise counsel. I am pleased to say that I have gotten better in this respect over the last couple of years. Much is to be gained by bearing each other’s burdens.

God knew that I needed to talk a couple of days ago.

I wasn’t calling anyone on the phone. I wasn’t visiting.

So God had someone call me.

It was good to feel the freedom to express some of my concerns.

Did I need anything else?

The mail came. Another friend, who is a pastor’s wife, sent me a cd of one of her husband’s sermons.

She had thought of me as he was speaking.

He talked about love, the knowledge and understanding of God and how to deal with the "bad" things that happen in our lives.

A statement he made as he recounted an Old Testament story jumped out in prominence.

In describing and emotional scene of forgiveness, he said, "He was completely overwhelmed and consumed with the opportunity to love."

Overwhelmed and consumed. Completely. No room for anything else except love.

Yes, I needed to be reminded of love. I had also needed to talk to a friend.

I needed to consider, once again, God’s work in my life.

That’s what I needed.

God knew.

 

This is my prayer for you:

that your love will grow more and more;

that you will have knowledge

and understanding with your love;

 that you will see the difference between

good and bad and will choose the good;

that you will be pure

and without wrong

for the coming of Christ;

 that you will be filled with the good things

produced in your life by Christ to bring glory

and praise to God.

Philipians 1:9-11

 

 

Who Touched Me?

 

 

The power of Jesus.

The power of faith in Jesus.

What does that mean to you?

Jesus had been approached by a man. A man who loved someone very much–his twelve year old daughter.

He came to Jesus to ask Him to come and heal her because she was dying.

Jesus began walking with him to see her.

As the crowd that was there followed along with them, they pressed in close to Him, each with their own story; each with their own need.

A woman was there among the crowd.

A woman with faith.

Faith in Jesus.

She had been ill for many years from bleeding. Endometriosis? Fibroid tumors?

They knew nothing of these terms or causes in that day.

She had gone to many doctors, spent all her money and yet her condition was worse than ever. Does that sound familiar?

Coming closer, she reached out to touch His clothes; she believed that if she could only touch them, she would be healed.

As soon as her hand touched the fibers of His cloak, her bleeding stopped and she knew she was well.

 

At once Jesus felt power go out from him. So he turned around in the crowd and asked, "Who touched my clothes?"

  His followers said, "Look at how many people are pushing against you! And you ask, ‘Who touched me?’ "

  But Jesus continued looking around to see who had touched him. The woman, knowing that she was healed, came and fell at Jesus’ feet. Shaking with fear, she told him the whole truth.  Jesus said to her, "Dear woman, you are made well because you believed. Go in peace; be healed of your disease."  Mark 5:30-34

What is in need of healing in your life today?

An illness?

A broken heart?

A painful memory?

God is there. The question is, will you reach out? Will you truly believe?

Will I?

 

 

 

 

On Good Ground

 

Just a few weeks ago, our next door neighbor took on a task. A very large task.

He decided to replace the grass in his front yard. This meant digging up the old grass and putting in the new.

With the big truck delivering sod and a lot of very hard work, the lawn began to take shape.

Now, after many days and many waterings, the grass is a flowing green carpet, lovely to look at.

It looks like it has always been there.

Come to find out, our neighbor also purchased soil to put down before the grass sections were placed.

Good soil.

Soil used when one is hoping to grow healthy looking grass.

Soil worth the investment.

Jesus told the parable of the sower and the seed:

"A farmer went out to plant his seed. While he was planting, some seed fell by the road. People walked on the seed, and the birds ate it up.  Some seed fell on rock, and when it began to grow, it died because it had no water. Some seed fell among thorny weeds, but the weeds grew up with it and choked the good plants.  And some seed fell on good ground and grew and made a hundred times more." (Luke 8:5-8a)

Our neighbor didn’t put grass down on rocky soil.

He didn’t put grass down mixed with weeds.

If he had, the outcome would have been quite different.

I want my heart to be good soil. The kind that seeds from God would take root in and prosper.

The kind that would grow a flowing, green lawn or a beautiful and blossoming flower garden,  pleasing to Him.

Rocks? Actually, I think I’ve got a few.

Thorny weeds? They spring up from time to time.

I don’t want them.

I really don’t.

The only way to be rid of them is to take my condition to God and ask Him to prepare the soil for what He wants to grow.

 


 

 

 

Stand on the Mountains

 

 

I’ve not climbed mountains much.

In fact, the mountains I have been on have been quite small. On one occasion, when I finally reached the peak of the mountain, I was almost too frightened to stand. I wanted just to, sort of, you know—hug the ground beneath me.

Actually, I felt more safe sitting or crouching.

The view was tremendous. My perspective was new.

My fear was real.

Why was I afraid? Something about being so high up, which means, of course, that I could go so far down, was unsettling to me. Caution was the order of the moment.

Though I may not be climbing a true mountain each day, many times I find myself  "at the top" of what seems to be my limit of understanding. I may be gripped with concern over the choices of a friend or family member. Finances may seem unworkable. Whatever the cause, it might just seem like a good idea to stay close to the ground without any quick moves.

There’s just one problem.

I won’t be able to see as well if I’m not standing up. My vision will be limited. My view shortened.

My perspective incomplete.

At these times, God is there to help me to overcome my fears–to stand up even when it’s high–really high.

 

Have you ever climbed a mountain?

 

 

 

Not Judged Guilty

 

 

Guilty.

That’s not a word that we like to hear.

It’s not a feeling we want to have.

It’s not a sentence we want to bear.

The dictionary defines guilty as "justly subject to a certain accusation or penalty."

God is just.

What hope is there for all of humanity?

Romans 8:1-3–

So now, those who are in Christ Jesus are not judged guilty.  Through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit that brings life made you free from the law that brings sin and death.  The law was without power, because the law was made weak by our sinful selves. But God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son to earth with the same human life that others use for sin. By sending his Son to be an offering for sin, God used a human life to destroy sin.

Not judged guilty.

For those who are in Christ Jesus, that is our final verdict.

 

 

 

Everything That is Hidden

 

 

I had  never looked at it this way before.

In reading a passage from Luke, chapter 8, I noticed a sub-heading before verse 16.

It read, "Use What You Have."

Verses 16 through 18 deal with putting your lamp on a lampstand and letting it shine so others will see the light.

"No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a bowl or hides it under a bed. Instead, the person puts it on a lampstand so those who come in will see the light." –Luke 8:16

My own personal interpretation would’ve been something like this: live a Christ-like life to point others to Him.

Today, suddenly, there was more.

Verse 17 says, "Everything that is hidden will become clear, and every secret thing will be made known."

How does this fit together with lamps on a stand?

And what about that sub-heading, use what you have?

I began to picture a darkened room–perhaps a large barn.

If I were inside with absolutely no light, all would be hidden.

I would need a flashlight or candle.

Using a light, my surroundings would be exposed, whatever they were.

What happens if I apply this to my spiritual life?

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. –Ephesians 6:12

When I apply this spiritually, my life becomes the large room. Without light, I am unable to perceive my surroundings.

What is hiding there? What is poised in secret to discourage, tempt or harm me?

What tools do I have to guide me?

God is the only source of light.

If I apply His "light" (prayer and scripture)—to the dark corners that surround me, the shadowy rafters and the gloomy loft– everything that is hidden and secret will be exposed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Thank God

 

Within the last several days, two people that I know came to the place where they realized their need for forgiveness of sin and the lordship of Christ in their lives. With this realization, each made the decision to follow Him.

Learning of these salvation experiences separately, one on Friday evening and the other on Monday morning, has brought joy to me. I remember well the day that I gave my own life to Christ.

It was the beginning of my new life.

How about you? Do you know Christ as your Savior?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Storm Clouds

 

 

It was one of those times when I just had to keep looking at the sky.

A storm was brewing and it was nearing sunset.

At one point, I noticed that a passenger jet had just come into view, flying just under the blanket of dark clouds stretched above it.

Quickly, my window of opportunity to photograph the sight opened and closed; very pleased, I found the image of the plane recorded safely on my camera.

I am fascinated with nature—all that God has made for us to enjoy.

Clouds, storms, lightning.

Birds, flowers, insects.

Ocean waves, sea life.

With all that is here for us to enjoy, He gives us intelligence to build that which helps us to explore His wonders.

A microscope.

A boat.

An airplane.

Seeing and understanding, we come to know that God exists and that He has made great and marvelous things.

 

 

 

 

The LORD Surrounds

 

 

What do you think of when you hear the word, "surrounded?"

I think of how adult elephants circle around a baby elephant in order to protect it when danger approaches. I first learned of this behavior in a children’s book long ago.

This example speaks to the way God surrounds us.

How many times have we felt that we were all alone and unprotected, like a helpless baby elephant in a jungle filled with lions? On the flipside, we may have been so naive that we were not even aware of any impending danger at all as we stood in solitude in an empty field of life, making ourselves an easy target for demise.

Either of these scenarios comes into greater focus as we look for God in the picture:

As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
       the Lord surrounds his people
       now and forever.—Psalm 125:2

 

Whether we are aware of the danger or not, what lion can attack us if God is standing in between?

 

 

 

 

 

 

For I Am With You

 

 

 

 

I wasn’t familiar with the city at all.

It was dinner time and I was going with friends to eat at a restaurant.

As we walked around the corner of a building, there before us was a striking scene– a majestic looking church with three crosses atop its towers. Behind them was an extremely tall building graced with reflective panels.

There, in the heart of this city, Jesus was being proclaimed with unspoken words– Jesus is here. He is with us.

So do not fear, for I am with you;
       do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
       I will strengthen you and help you;
       I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

            Isaiah 41:10

 

 

 

 

Let Your Light Shine

 

 

 

Do you know one thing that I wouldn’t want someone to say about me?

Here it is:

"What? She’s a Christian? Well, I would’ve never guessed that!"

Co-workers.

Neighbors.

Community leaders.

Family.

I really do want to live my life in such a way as to be a positive witness to other people.

If this is really true, then…….

this means that kindness and love should be a part of my daily routine.

Thoughfulness and respect should be my first response.

Faith in God should be evident in my words and actions.

My life should be a light, pointing others to God.

 

What’s one thing you wouldn’t want someone to say about you?

 

 

 

Look Only to Jesus

 

 

 

 

Such a large crowd of witnesses is all around us!

So we must get rid of everything that slows us down,

especially the sin that just won’t let go.

And we must be determined to run the race that is ahead of us.

We must keep our eyes on Jesus, who leads us and makes our faith complete.

He endured the shame of being nailed to a cross,

because he knew that later on he would be glad he did.

Now he is seated at the right side of God’s throne!

So keep your mind on Jesus, who put up with many insults from sinners.

Then you won’t get discouraged and give up.

Hebrews 12:1-3

 

 

I Must Tell

 

 

People are different.

Different from each other.

Sometimes it’s not so obvious.

Other times, it’s greatly apparent.

When someone is very different than us, we can become very uncomfortable.

They don’t belong to our church.

They don’t live in our neighborhood.

They have opposing political views.

Their choice of clothing style is…well, not ours.

They speak a different language.

They’re older than we are.

They’re younger than we are.

They don’t like the same things.

They have more money than we do.

They don’t have as much money as we do.

The Apostle Paul, in writing to the Romans, had this to say:

I want to win followers to Christ in Rome, as I have done in many other places. It doesn’t matter if people are civilized and educated, or if they are uncivilized and uneducated. I must tell the good news to everyone. That’s why I am eager to visit all of you in Rome. (Romans 1:13c – 15)

No doubt Paul would find a great variety of people in Rome to talk to about Jesus. It didn’t matter if they were different than he was; what mattered was the good news he had to tell.

So, who do you know that’s different?

 

 

Faith Means Being Sure

 

 

 

Abel.

Enoch.

Noah.

Abraham.

Sarah.

They had faith.

The eleventh chapter of Hebrews has this to say about each one:

Because Abel had faith, he offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. ( from verse 4)

Enoch had faith and did not die. (from verse 5)

Because Noah had faith, he was warned about something that had not yet happened. (from verse 7)

Abraham had faith and obeyed God. (from verse 8)

Even when Sarah was too old to have children, she had faith that God would do what he had promised,

and she had a son. (from verse 11)

Continuing on, it speaks about them collectively:

Every one of those people died. But they still had faith, even though they had not received what they had been promised. They were glad just to see these things from far away, and they agreed that they were only strangers and foreigners on this earth. When people talk this way, it is clear that they are looking for a place to call their own. If they had been talking about the land where they had once lived, they could have gone back at any time. But they were looking forward to a better home in heaven.  (Hebrews 11:13-16a)

I am reminded of the old hymn lyrics,

Have faith in God

He’s on His throne

Have faith in God

He watches o’er His own

He cannot fail

He will prevail

Have faith in God

Have faith in God

(Have Faith in God by B.B. McKinney)

 

 

 

 

Haven’t You Any Fish?

 

 

 

Apparently, it had been a discouraging night.

Peter, along with six other disciples of Jesus had gone out to fish.

Morning had dawned with nothing caught.

Nothing at all.

But that was about to change….

Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.

 He called out to them, "Friends, haven’t you any fish?"
      "No," they answered.

 He said, "Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some." When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish. Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!"

(John 21:4-7a)

What emotions were the disciples experiencing in the previous few days? Jesus had been crucified. He had risen from the dead. He had appeared to His disciples twice. Now, He was standing on the shore, with them once again.

We have all had discouraging nights–discouraging days, as well. Times when things just don’t make sense. Fishless endeavors with what seems to be wasted effort.

But, are we listening?

Is it possible that we might hear Jesus’ voice calling to us, asking us to try something a little different?

"Friends, haven’t you any……?" You can fill in the blank.

If the answer is "no," are we willing to listen for His instructions?

Are we willing to throw our "nets" on the other side?

Isn’t it exciting when we realize who is on the shore?

How all consuming are the words, "It is the Lord!!!"

 

 

 

 

 

Another Parable

 

 

Matthew 13:31-35

He told them another parable:

"The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed,

which a man took and planted in his field.

Though it is the smallest of all your seeds,

yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants

and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come

and perch in its branches."

 He told them still another parable:

"The kingdom of heaven is like yeast

that a woman took and mixed into

a large amount of flour until it worked

all through the dough."

 Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable. So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet:
   "I will open my mouth in parables,
      I will utter things hidden since the creation of the world."

 

I Will Never

 

 

I was told this weekend that a friend’s husband is ill.

(God will never leave us or abandon us.)

Today, I read a news report about war.

(God will never leave us or abandon us.)

I am praying for a spiritual renewal in the life of someone I love.

(God will never leave us or abandon us.)

Whatever life may be for you or for me—God is with us.

 

 

 

 

 

Under a Basket

 

 

Have you even been in the dark?

I have.

Of course, it gets dark every night, but the streetlights take up their vigil not long after the sun has gone down.

It’s not actually dark outside then.

I remember being on an outing while in college at a county park in the woods. Walking without a light, I couldn’t see my own feet. I was very uncomfortable.

Then there was the hurricane that came. The electricity in our home was not functioning—not even in the streetlights!

It was dark.

How welcome at these times were the comforting rays of light that finally came. A flashlight, a candle.

People all around us are walking spiritually and emotionally in that dark forest setting. They’re groping for answers somewhere in the midst of the hurricane of life. Where? Where is the light?

As Christians, we hold a light within us. It is not to be placed in a basket. It is to shine–shine in our actions and words so that those around us may hear and see…..see and hope.

 

 

 

A Spirit of Fear

 

 

 

 

I’m sure you are well acquainted with it, just as I am—-the spirit of fear.

It comes alongside the "Oh, no!" the "What am I going to do now?" and the ever present "I’m just not good enough."

It tries to come into our minds and push aside what God is saying to us. Not quite perceivable in it’s true form, it lurks just outside our complete consciousness, causing us either to say and do things that are regretable, or to stand still and neglect to do and say the things God wants us to.

Once finished with the task of instilling us with needless fear, it fades away into the shadow until the next time.

Where does this fear come from?

Not from God.

In II Timothy 1:7 we find,

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

From now on, when the spirit of fear comes prowling into your mind, why not just say this verse out loud and pray that God would fill you with love and with His power?

 

 

 

Immeasurably More

 

Yesterday, I visited the home of a neighbor. She and her husband have transformed their yard into an impressive flower garden.

Many types of flowers were growing amid large areas of lush, green foliage. Trees that blocked the blazing light of the midday sun created pockets of shade where the air felt cool and comforting.

In one such area, I was looking at yellow blooms. On one, there was a ray of sunshine beaming down from an opening in the tree leaves. Gently, without fanfare, it was glowing among the shaded greenery beside it. Although the darkness still shrouded the area close by, it had no effect on the brilliance of the glowing blossom. The light was on IT–that was all that was needed.

As believers in Christ, we yearn for those around us to be at peace with God. We long for the reconciliation of their hearts with our Savior. We hope for it. We pray for it.

Still, as we wait on the miraculous working of God in the lives of others who may yet be living in the shadows apart from Him, we must take joy in the reality of His unmistakable presence in our own.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the Sign

 

 

 

You’ve probably seen them before.

Small video clips that become famous overnight. Hundreds of thousands may view them on their computers.

Topics range from people singing, dancing, playing an instrument (either poorly or very well) or just talking.

Last night, I watched perhaps the latest of the "viral videos."

A man, presumably a hiker, makes a video of a gorgeous rainbow he is witnessing while in the mountains. He makes several comments as he approaches an area free from trees where the view is better. He becomes very excited to see such beauty. Finally, he begins to cry and makes the comment, "What does it mean?"

While some may be laughing at his overwhelmed reaction, my own response is one of connection.

If I had been in his shoes, standing atop the heights, suddenly presented with a front row view of a spectacular bow, arching to the horizon before me, I might have cried as well. Just beholding the magnificense of what God has created would be enough to bring me to tears.

But what about his question? With great emotion he asked, "What does it mean?"

It appears to me that his heart is searching. During this window of time, something within him wanted to know–wanted to connect with something greater than himself.

I have the answer.

At least the first one.

In Genesis, God told Noah,

    "This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth."

He was promising all mankind that He would never again destroy the earth with water and that the rainbow in the sky was a sign of this promise.

What about the second answer?

Whatever God communicated to this hiker about His creation, His glory and His existance that day, I will never know.

But to all of us, the rainbow is a reminder: God is with us, He loves us and He keeps His promises.

Forever….

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the Vision

 

 

 

Sometimes everything stops.

A phone call, a letter, an email—a visit.

For me today, it was the ringing of my phone.

While attending a birthday party, I heard the familiar sound.

The voice on the other end was telling me that my mother’s sister had died.

A continuous flood of memories came, racing back and forth from my childhood to recent years.

Me as the child, my aunt an adult with hair styled just so, wearing boots and a skirt.

Me as the teenager, graduating from high school, my aunt in attendance, having driven an hour to be there.

Me as an adult, visiting with my aunt, white hair mingling with the gray.

Perhaps the most important memory I have of her is a conversation we had by telephone about four years ago.

As we spoke, she told of her experiences going to church and her faith in God.

What will it be like to be transported from this life into the bright realm of the heavenly?

To be drawn from the confines of our present existance into the glorious presence of God?

For now, my aunt knows.

Standing before the throne and before the Lamb,

Her journey is complete.

 

 

 

 

New Every Day

 

 

Take a number and wait in line. Decide on your selection and be ready when you’re called.

I was at the deli section of the grocery store.

Contemplating my choice between ham or turkey, I noticed someone else near the counter. 

Their face looked familiar, but no name was coming to mind.

Breaking the silence, I spoke up.

Yes, we were acquainted. It had been seven years since I recalled seeing them.

They had changed.

So had I.

Time is going by. Things change. People change.

As we age, God is with us. He never forgets who we are.

Watching our bodies grow older, He renews us spiritually, until He calls us home one day.

 

 

 

Our physical body is becoming older and weaker,

but our spirit inside us is made new every day.  –II Corinthians 4:16b

 

 

In Him

 

The Book of Colossians.

I have found myself returning to it over and over in the last few weeks. Even though I surely must have read these verses before, I am noticing new things.

Laodicea, Colossae and Hieropolis were the three main cities in the Lycos Valley.

The Apostle Paul, in writing to the Christians at Colossae, had this to say in chapter 2, verses 1-3:

 

I want you to know how hard I work for you,

those in Laodicea, and others who have never seen me.

I want them to be strengthened and joined together

with love so that they may be rich in their understanding.

This leads to their knowing fully God’s secret, that is, Christ himself.

In him all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are safely kept.

 

Is there any knowledge worth attaining? Is there any wisdom to be earnestly sought after?

Many people spend their lives trying to gain more knowlege and wisdom from many different avenues of learning, yet these truths remain–

The beginning of all wisdom and knowledge is found in God and in His Son, Jesus.

Any treasure worth seeking comes in a relationship with Him.

 

 

The Breakers of the Sea

 

 

This morning, I was privileged to be a part of a children’s Sunday School lesson that centered on the truth of God’s power.

The theme that was used to illustrate this truth was that of "the champion."  Selected Bible stories were read, and in each account, the reality of God being victorious was presented. The motto of the day was, "God is our Champion!"

Whatever the circumstance in your life, know this: God is mighty; He is your Champion.

The seas have lifted up, O LORD,
       the seas have lifted up their voice;
       the seas have lifted up their pounding waves.

  Mightier than the thunder of the great waters,
       mightier than the breakers of the sea—
       the LORD on high is mighty. –Psalm 93:3,4

 

 

Your Promise

 

 

There are many verses in the Bible that are considered to be promises in the Bible. Here are three:

My God will use his wonderful riches in Christ Jesus to give you everything you need. –Philippians 4:19

                         (our needs will be met)

My grace is enough for you. When you are weak, my power is made perfect in you. –from II Corinthians 12:9

                           (God will strengthen us with His power)

We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love him.  –from Romans 8:28

                            (God is working for our good)

 

The Psalmist says in chapter 119, verses 49 and 50:

Remember your promise to me, your servant;
       it gives me hope.
  When I suffer, this comforts me:
       Your promise gives me life.