Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
1 Corinthians 13:4
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.
Everything that we see around us that God has made—it’s a miracle, isn’t it?
A flower bud blooming out into mathematical perfection.
A misty sunrise over the mountains.
The birth of a baby.
These aren’t things we could do.
No–only God can do these things.
And God can cause everything to work together for the good of those who love Him.
That “working together” is miraculous, too.
It is only God that can do that for us.
If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God.
It was my very first time to visit the old church in a nearby city.
The sanctuary was made of dark panels of wood.
The entrance had tall and colorful stained glass windows.
It all looked different than the churches I normally attend.
There are many denominations in the world made up of those who acknowledge that Jesus is the Son of God.
God lives in them, and they in God.
Because of Christ and our faith in Him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.
Walking out of the restaurant in a small town near a lake, I noticed the sun setting with radiant color.
Getting my camera out of the car, I quickly made my way to the water’s edge to take some photographs before the sun was completely gone.
The light dazzled on the horizon, coloring the water with a golden orange hue.
Birds flew in the distance.
The beauty in front of me was just one display of God’s wondrous creation.
A gift for all to see.
We can praise Him for that beauty.
We can thank Him for all His gifts.
We can come to Him with our needs and our concerns.
We can come to Him accepted and forgiven–
Because of Christ and our faith in Him.
I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
My family used to live in a city near one of the longest bridges in the world.
After traveling a few miles on the bridge, it was hard to see land ahead or behind.
At almost 24 miles in length, that’s understandable.
Driving on the bridge almost feels like traveling on a boat through the ocean waters—except you’re in a car.
Keeping in mind that the road will take you to your destination, you must trust that the journey will take you to dry land.
Sometimes it’s easy to become frightened when we can’t see the future up ahead.
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
This afternoon, someone came walking toward my front door with a bouquet of flowers.
They were for me!
My friend brought them as a gift of appreciation, being grateful of my recent help to her.
Did she encourage me with her kindness?
Did she make me feel appreciated?
There are many ways to build up someone.
For You are the fountain of life,
the light by which we see.
The bird stopped for a moment or two in order to get a drink from the fountain in my yard.
The birds must have water or they could not survive.
God is our Creator, our fountain of life.
He is not here; He has risen, just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay.
Jesus is alive!
Do you believe?
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
But He was wounded for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His stripes we are healed.
Michael W. Smith wrote a song titled, “Above All.”
Laid behind the stone
You lived to die
Rejected and alone
Like a rose trampled on the ground
You took the fall
And thought of me
Jesus died for me.
Jesus died for you.
You make grass grow for cattle and make vegetables for humans to use in order to get food from the ground.
The cows from the farm behind my house were on the move late yesterday afternoon.
They were walking slowly, yet with determination, to the land closer to me.
The grass they needed was plentiful.
God provides even for the cattle.
I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.
This afternoon at work, someone noticed a cloud with a “rainbow” inside it.
Since I happened to have my phone with me, I took a quick picture of the colourful beauty displayed in the sky. What I witnessed today is commonly called a fire rainbow.
The rainbow, of course, reminds us of God’s promise to us after the great flood.
Rainbows also remind me of all God’s promises—that they are true.
Jesus has given us a gift–the gift of peace of mind and heart.
We are not to be troubled and afraid.
Finally, brothers and sisters,
whatever is true,
whatever is noble,
whatever is right,
whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely,
whatever is admirable–
if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–
think about such things.
Changing the dial on my radio as I was driving home, I came across a broadcast of someone speaking about God.
Having only a few moments to listen before the program was over, I did not hear his context entirely.
However, one of his statements stood out to me.
He said to “spend your time wisely.”
But that wasn’t all of the sentence. He actually said, “Spend your time and your mind wisely.”
I had never heard someone say that I needed to spend my mind wisely.
I understood the principle of spending my money wisely.
I understood the concept of spending my time wisely.
But my mind?
How does one spend their mind?
Could it be that the thoughts I allow to turn over and over and over again in my head are what I am spending my mind on?
I suppose I could see the difference in someone spending an evening thinking only about video games and someone spending an evening thinking and studying for a chemistry test.
But what if I spent an evening worried about an illness as opposed to spending that same evening in prayer and praise?
Would I be spending my mind wisely by worrying?
What if I spent my thoughts criticizing others?
For those moments, I think it would fair to say I’d be wasting my mind.
What about the times I spend my mind thinking about God?
Considering what God is showing me?
That would be spending my mind wisely, wouldn’t you say?
But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
We were sinners.
So was I.
Jesus knew the generations that would be born in need of a Savior.
Jesus died for us so that we could live with Him.
Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.
And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.
There is nothing I need that God doesn’t have the ability to give to me.
He can meet all my needs and yours, too.
He can also meet the needs of those you love.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.
It’s not a pretty picture.
It’s not really very interesting, either, but the above photograph I took means something to me.
I was supposed to direct a vocal performance at a nearby city celebration last weekend.
When I arrived near the center of town, I found that a parade was going on and I would not be able to go to the performance location until after the parade because of roadblocks by local police.
Instead, I parked my car and watched the parade.
As is typical for town parades, fire trucks went by slowly, as well as groups of people in clubs and organisations.
Parades aren’t bad.
Parades show those lined up on the sides of the street some of what they can be proud of in their city.
Things like police cars and fire trucks show that there is strength and protection.
Organisations show that like-minded people are gathering together for different efforts.
So, what’s meaningful thought that came from all this?
Sometimes we try to have a personal “parade” of all the things we’ve got going for us—intelligence, money, career, friends, popularity—to show ourselves that we don’t need God’s help.
The truth is, we have nothing at all.
No one has anything at all–
except what God has given us.
We need His help in every aspect of our lives.
There is nothing about us that we can handle “on our own.”
A parade of independence doesn’t show our strength.
A parade of weakness and an acknowledgment of dependence on God is quite different from the kind our self-sufficiency would line up.
The strength of our hearts must be God or we really have no strength at all.
Oh, the joys of those who do not
follow the advice of the wicked,
or stand around with sinners,
or join in with mockers.
But they delight in the law of the Lord,
meditating on it day and night.
They are like trees planted along the riverbank,
bearing fruit each season.
Their leaves never wither,
and they prosper in all they do.
But not the wicked!
They are like worthless chaff, scattered by the wind.
They will be condemned at the time of judgment.
Sinners will have no place among the godly.
For the Lord watches over the path of the godly,
but the path of the wicked leads to destruction.
But let all who take refuge in You be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread Your protection over them, that those who love Your name may rejoice in You.
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
“That will never happen.”
“They will never change.”
“That marriage is over.”
“I will never get that job.”
“I can’t go to college.”
“No one will ever love me.”
“There’s no cure for this.”
How many times during the day do we limit what God can do with our words and thoughts?
It is so very important to pray about everything that concerns us.
With God, all things are possible….