Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Moments We Don't Capture With Pictures

by Lysa Terkeurst

"When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom." Proverbs 11:2 (NIV)

Some moments of life are amazing. Beyond amazing. They create blessed memories of sheer joy.

Then there are other moments, the ones not often discussed, the ones when we feel like complete failures. Those are the moments that taste bitter, not sweet. The ones that won't make it into a scrapbook of fun memories.

It's in those moments we wonder if we really have what it takes to do the assignments placed before us. Yes, those kinds of unglued heart moments aren't the ones we capture in pictures. But there's a silver lining in those moments, a compassionate kind of wisdom I can't get any other way.

Wisdom is our silver lining. Wisdom will help us not repeat the mistakes we've made but rather grow stronger through them.

How do we find it? We come to the Lord and ask Him for it. We set aside our excuses, our habits and our justifications and whisper, "I need Your perspective, God. I come before You and humbly admit my desperate dependence on You." As Psalm 11:2 reminds us, "with humility comes wisdom."

Yes, humility.

But wisdom can also come from times of humiliation.

Remember King David? He had an affair with a married woman named Bathsheba. When Bathsheba sent word to David she was pregnant with his baby, he panicked and had her husband killed. Then David quickly married Bathsheba.

David's choice brought calamity upon his house, and the son born from the union with Bathsheba died. Sin and consequences always walk hand in hand. And David surely suffered the consequences of his choices for years to come. But mixed in with the heartbreak and the humiliation, something else happened. When the repentant David went to comfort Bathsheba, she became pregnant with Solomon.

From this relationship wrapped in humiliation came the man the Bible describes this way:

"God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore. Solomon's wisdom was greater than the wisdom of all the people of the East, and greater than all the wisdom of Egypt. He was wiser than anyone else, including Ethan the Ezrahite — wiser than Heman, Kalkol and Darda, the sons of Mahol. And his fame spread to all the surrounding nations. He spoke three thousand proverbs and his songs numbered a thousand and five. He spoke about plant life, from the cedar of Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of walls. He also spoke about animals and birds, reptiles and fish. From all nations people came to listen to Solomon's wisdom, sent by all the kings of the world, who had heard of his wisdom" (1 Kings 4:29-34, NIV).

Did you catch that? Solomon was wiser than anyone else!

In a situation that seemed unlikely to produce a hopeful outcome, God was faithful. From humiliation, great wisdom came.

Humility and humiliation, silver linings that can lead to wisdom even in the midst of the moments we don't capture in pictures.

Dear Lord, I praise You for Your guidance. Meet me where I am today as I face moments that I don't want to capture with pictures, Lord. Give me Your strength to learn from each struggle and situation. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Number Our Days

(By Debbie ?)

"So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." (NKJV) Psalm 90:12

An old friend of mine was in town this weekend and I met her for dinner. We only visited for an hour; I had plans for most of the weekend and she had many more friends she had to visit. As we rushed to catch up, we both remarked at how busy we were; too busy to call or e-mail each other (much less write), even too busy to spend more than an hour together the entire weekend. What do you think was keeping us so busy? Well, we couldn't say. We tried to figure it out, hoping our time was spent serving God; ministering to hurting friends, helping those who were sick or in need, or perhaps long hours of prayer and time in the Word. Unfortunately, the most concentrated amount of time we could account for was spent was at work. She was working 12 and 14 hour days and I was working 10 hour days.

How are you spending your days? Can you remember what you did last month or last week or even last night? When was the last time you checked in on a hurting friend, or spent time in a church ministry. Are you frantically rushing around doing everything and nothing? What does your time with God look like? When was the last time you asked God what he wanted you to do?

We have all been created specifically with a special, unique purpose to fulfill. Take out your daytimer and spend some time with God, reviewing your schedule. Ask Him to help you "number" your days, to spend each precious day He gives you doing His will. Why not give God your daytimer?

"Dear Lord, help me to extend my hand in Christian fellowship and service to others. "In peace I will both lie down and sleep, for You alone, O Lord, make me to dwell in safety." Psalm 4:8

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Power of Patience

Picture yourself waiting in a checkout line that hasn’t moved for ten minutes. Many of us would feel frustrated. We live in a generation that expects instant results.

Everyone struggles with some degree of impatience. We’re born with this trait—think about a three-month-old who wants milk in the middle of the night. The inborn reaction is to fuss at the first hint of discomfort and to keep at it until the need is met. Patterns from our old “flesh” nature make this a continual battle for most people, but one that is very worthwhile to fight.
Let’s consider the biblical definition of patience. It can mean both long suffering and perseverance, or not giving up and yielding under pressure. In either case, it reveals itself when we are willing to wait without frustration while suffering or experiencing some strong desire. In other words, we accept difficult situations without giving God deadlines. What’s more, patience means accepting what the Lord gives, on His timetable—or what He chooses not to give. This quality results in inner peace and lack of stress. Meanwhile, we should pray, obey, and persist as we seek God’s direction.

The danger of impatience is that we might miss the Lord’s perfect plan and His blessing. Only when we trust our Father’s will and timing can we rest peacefully.

What causes you stress? Carefully examine whether you are taking matters into your own hands or releasing the circumstance to almighty God. Listen to Psalm 37:7, which says, “Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him.” Seek His way and His timing. Anything else can be destructive.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Where More Loving Relationships Begin

by Erin Smalley

"But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control." Galatians 5:22-23a (TLB)

Anyone who gets married, soon becomes very aware of his or her spouse's problematic attitudes and behaviors — and thinks their input, directly or subtly, can fix their spouse.

Believe me, I've tried with all my might to let my husband, Greg, know that he should stop watching as much television, or work a little less or put his dishes in the dishwasher. I've often done this covertly. But when subtle input didn't work, I would get frustrated and feel like giving up. In my heart, I knew I couldn't change him.

I used to say things like, "I can't change Greg. He's going to do what he's going to do." But then the Lord would say ever so gently to me, "No, you can't change him, but I can. And I can also change you." Ouch.

Honestly, it was much easier, more fun and self-justifying to talk about what my husband was or wasn't doing in our relationship. That definitely kept the focus off me. But ultimately it kept me from growing as a person. It kept me from having to take a long, hard look in the mirror.

Many of the things I disliked about Greg reflected things I disliked about myself. But I couldn't see my flaws until I stopped looking at my husband and started looking at myself. Learning to focus on the ways God wants to change me has been an ongoing process.

That's really the bottom line: A more loving relationship with our spouses (or with other family members and friends, for that matter) begins with us. It begins with the realization that we cannot change anyone — including our husbands.

Each of us can, however, take a penetrating look at ourselves and ask, "How can I become the best wife I can be? How can I approach my relationship with my husband differently? What can I do to nurture a more vibrant, loving relationship with him?"

Once we've embraced the truth that a more loving relationship with our spouses begins with us, we may find that our hearts aren't all that thrilled about taking the first steps toward change.

In fact, the condition of our hearts is often the first change that needs to take place.

Change, like love, is a matter of the will. But it also involves the heart. And heart-level change doesn't happen overnight. It takes time.

Disillusionment and broken dreams may have caused many of us to wrap our hearts in thick, self-protective layers of armor, closing them off from our husbands for years. Hurt and resentment may have grown deep roots. We may long for more loving relationships with our husbands, but before we can truly open our hearts again, the armor needs to be stripped away, and our stony hearts need to soften.

For many of us, letting down our guard and softening our hearts may seem impossible. Thankfully, we belong to a God who is a heart specialist. Just as He alone can change the hearts of our spouses, He alone can change our hearts.

An amazing thing happens when we allow God to change our hearts. He fills us with His unconditional love and enables us to reach out to our husbands wholeheartedly without demands or preconditions.

Romans 5:5b reminds us, "God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit" (NIV-1984). As we focus on becoming more like Jesus, the fruit of His Spirit will grow in our hearts, and His love will flow through us to influence our marriages and our spouses.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Don't Cry Over Spilled Shampoo

by Tracie Miles

"Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy." James 1:2 (NLT)

What began as a simple plan to renovate a bathroom in dire need of updating, quickly morphed our entire house into a disaster zone.

Due to unanticipated electrical and plumbing issues, the mess extended beyond the bathroom, affecting multiple rooms in the house. Due to bad advice and disappointing work, the project dragged on for months.

I could write my name in the layer of sheetrock dust on all the furniture, despite how many bottles of furniture polish I used. Then our old air conditioning unit kicked the bucket, and our checking account was about to do the same. But it was a bottle of spilled shampoo in the one bathroom my family of five had been sharing that pushed me over the edge.

The day after splurging on an oversized bottle of moisturizing shampoo, I found it on the floor of the bathroom with half the contents spilled into a huge gooey puddle. I cleaned it up in silent aggravation. But the following day when I found it on the floor again, in yet another big puddle, tears began to spill as easily as that shampoo had from the bottle.

Later that day, I whined to a friend about my frustrating circumstances. She gently suggested I read James 1:2. I confess, I wasn't in the mood to look up a Bible verse. But thankfully I did, and reading this verse prompted me to pause, think and refocus.

James 1:2 says, "Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy."

I thought about how blessed we were to have lived in our home for 17 years, where we've raised all our children. I thought about the sweet memories our home held, despite its condition. I thought about the lessons we were learning as a family about tolerance, closeness, consideration and perseverance. I thought about the blessing of being able to afford the renovation.

As I focused on my blessings, all the small annoyances suddenly seemed much less important. I had countless reasons to be thankful, but had allowed daily frustrations and disappointments to steal my joy. In fact, my problems were nothing compared to the people James was addressing in today's key verse.

James wrote to Christians who were experiencing severe persecution, facing various trials and sufferings. They endured difficult adversities and injustices, and were juggling an array of emotions including fear, mourning, confusion and loneliness. Some were sick. Others had fled their homes for safety.

These Christians had serious reasons to complain. In his letter, James acknowledged their suffering but also reminded them of reasons to rejoice in spite of it.

James encouraged them to pause and refocus on their faith, even when life was hard. He knew that such times presented the opportunity to persevere and practice finding joy in Christ, despite their circumstances.

Most of us don't experience direct religious persecution, but often life can make us feel persecuted, whether it's small aggravations like crying kids, unkind co-workers and messy houses, or major problems involving marriage, finances, health or employment. These daily problems can cause us to lose focus on things that really matter, and fill our hearts with fear, sorrow, frustrations, hopelessness and anger — things that steal our joy in Christ.

Sometimes we allow trivial things to steal our joy, such as a bottle of spilled shampoo. At other times we may reach a breaking point for much more serious reasons. But whether our problems are big or small, James 1:2 reminds us to purposely and intentionally choose joy in Christ, even in the midst of our troubles.

Joy comes from choice, not problem-free circumstances, and James wanted us all to know that.

Instead of writing my name in the sheetrock dust on my furniture, I think I'll just smile and etch in another word instead: joy.

Lord, help me find joy in You every day, despite my circumstances. Fill me with peace and help me choose joy on purpose. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Monday, February 23, 2015

When Faith Wavers

                                                from In Touch with Dr. Charles Stanley
James 1:5-8

If we believe that God is who He says He is and will do what He has promised, why do so many of us habitually waver in our prayers? Instead of exercising bold faith, we come to the Lord “hoping” He will hear us and answer our requests, but we’re just not sure He will. With this kind of thinking, we cannot expect to receive anything from Him.

One reason we are so prone to doubt is that we fail to see God at work in our circumstances. We asked, and nothing happened. But the Lord is not some cosmic bellhop who jumps in response to our requests. He sees past, present, and future and knows the right time for every answer. His invisible hand is already at work on our behalf—arranging situations to accomplish His will, opening hearts,
and preparing us to receive what He wants to give.

Another cause for uncertainty is ignorance. If we don’t know God’s ways, we will be disappointed in His response. All too often our prayers are accompanied by expectations of how He will work. When He fails to intervene according to our timetable or anticipated method, we start to doubt. But placing our faith in the Lord and trusting in His good and perfect ways gives us stability as we wait for His answer.

To overcome doubts, spend time in the Word to learn God’s principles and ways. Then you’ll begin to grasp what He wants to achieve in your life and how He goes about it. Examine your past from a biblical perspective—faith will grow as you see the unexpected ways He answered your prayers.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Faith Like a Spider Web

by Wendy Pope
"Finally, grow powerful in union with the Lord, in union with his mighty strength!" Ephesians 6:10 (CJB)
My house is deep in the woods. When you live in the woods, you come face-to-face with all varieties of God’s creation. Most are the cute "Awww, look Mom!" species, while others are the gross "Ewww, kill it!" kind. For me, spiders fall in "Ewww!" category.
I am not a fan of the creepy crawlies. They love to take up residence in corners of my windows and spin webs across the carport. If I’m not careful, I might walk right through a web, taking it and the spider with me.
I was looking forward to window washing day so I could annihilate them and their homes. Using a big brush I soaped up the window and aimed the nozzle at a web, then pulled the handle with all my strength. The web held firm. I need more water pressure, I thought. After turning the pressure to its fullest, I sprayed again. Still nothing.
Closer. I need to be closer. I used a stepladder to get closer to the web. This tactic definitely got me wetter but did not bring down the web. It was strong and stubborn, unwilling to succumb to my pressure. While drying myself off, I had a spiritual encounter: I want faith like that spider web … a faith that can withstand pressure: low, high and nearby.
The strength and tenacity of the web intrigued me, so I researched the phenomenon and discovered three facts about spider webs.
Fact 1: Spider web is two words, not one. This is not spiritually relevant information — but good to know.
Fact 2: Tensile strength (TS) is defined as the maximum stress a material can withstand when stretched or pulled before breaking. The TS of spider silk is greater than the same weight of steel and has just as much, if not more, elasticity.
Spider silk is under investigation for potential use in bullet-proof vests and artificial tendons. How? That answer is above my pay-grade. But spiritually speaking, I want a faith that can withstand life’s pressures.
Fact 3: It is not uncommon for a spider web to be 20 times the size of the spider building it. I want a faith bigger than I am so when the storms come, I won’t be destroyed.
In a strong wind, I can bend but won’t be blown away.
My friend Michele’s faith is woven strong enough to withstand a series of trials. She survived cancer twice, only to have that followed by her father’s cancer diagnosis. Her faith remained strong as she watched her father fight fearlessly but eventually lose his battle. What could possibly come next?
Before Thanksgiving last year, she received unexpected news. Her cancer was back for the third time in four years. Her response? "I’m covered with peace. A deep, consuming, fearless peace. Why? I’ve been here before, in the middle of impossible situations. And every time — EVERY SINGLE TIME — my God has shown up. Fear is a waste in the face of such a Deliverer."
How does your faith withstand the pressures of life? The Bible promises we can "grow powerful in union with the Lord, in union with his mighty strength!" (Ephesians 6:10). Our faith can be bigger than we are, unwavering and able to withstand the harsh storms of life. What can we learn from a web weaver about this kind of strength?
A spider is dedicated to its purpose: building a strong web. It stays focused, spending hours weaving in a circular motion, keeping the silk tight from the inside out. We can build a strong faith by dedicating ourselves to the purpose of knowing God. This means spending time in His Word, staying focused on what it says and allowing its truth to strengthen us from the inside out. Making God’s Word the hub of our faith will keep us strong when the pressures of life try to bring us down.
I’m still not comfortable with spiders, but I do admire their tenacity to stay the course and build a strong home. That’s what I want … a strong home where the Lord will dwell. Yes indeed! I want faith like a spider web.
Lord, You have used Your small creatures to teach me something new. Help me build a faith like the spider builds a web. Strong and flexible, yet immovable. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Why Does God Care About Me?

by Randy Frazee
"The LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore." Psalm 121:8 (NIV)
Psalm 121:8 makes a proclamation that is hard to believe: "The LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore." Does the Lord really watch over me perpetually? How is this even possible? I didn’t have a mental model for the mere scope of this assignment. That is until my daughter introduced me to an app called RunKeeper.
This app tells me how far I’ve run, the average time per mile and my overall time, down to the second. It graphs the various elevations and shows me an overview map of exactly where I have run. If I showed you my run history, you would see maps of beaches, mountains and all kinds of locations and terrains around the world.
Here’s what’s even more amazing. RunKeeper not only tracks and records my locations, it does so for 10 million other runners as well! If humans can invent a piece of technology to track the steps of 10 million people simultaneously, is it really much of a stretch to believe God can track 6 billion of us?
I guess not. God is transcendent; He is above all. God is also immanent; He is near. Very near.
How near? A few verses earlier the writer tells us "… the LORD is your shade at your right hand;" (Psalm 121:5b, NIV).
So, I now have a mental concept of God’s capacity to watch and track all of my comings and goings, now and forevermore. Yet, I am still left with one more puzzling question — why?
Why would God want to do this? Most of my days would make an insomniac fall asleep. Personally, I love my routine and the minor assignments on my "to do" list. I just can’t see how this could possibly be a good use of the Divine Creator’s time.
The answer is not hard to find. It is stamped on almost every page of Scripture. God watches over our coming and our going now and forevermore because He loves us and cares deeply for us.
Easy to understand, but hard to grasp that the one true God over all deeply loves and cares about us.
Right now I am sitting in a hospital room. My grandson arrived into the world yesterday. As he lies in his crib, I tower over him watching his every move — every twitch of his eye, and every move to the right or to the left. A yawn is big news. The smirk on his face evoked by gas sure looks like a genuine smile in my book.
To anyone else, this would seem like a colossal waste of time. Not for me or my wife or daughter or son-in-law. I love my grandson. Oh my, this is how God feels about me but with so much more depth and perfection. Somehow, we must all come to terms with this reality and soak it in.
Right now, my grandson has no clue of my intense love and protection over him. One day he will. The same is true for us with God. We wander through life unaware He has been tracking us morning and night. The goal is to one day become aware of God’s presence in our lives. When we do, we write our own Psalm — maybe not as eloquent as the one above, but just as meaningful. Maybe that day for you is today!
Dear Heavenly Father, I now understand that You have the capacity to watch over my coming and going now and forever more. How overwhelming! What is even more overwhelming is the reason You do this. You are driven to watch my every move because You love me and care for me. I don’t fully grasp why You have chosen me, but I am aware of it and it makes me feel safe. Thank You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
What difference would it make in your daily life if you are truly aware of and accepted God’s intense love and involvement in your life?

Friday, February 20, 2015

What Gets Me into Heaven?

Sharon Glasgow
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16 (NKJV)
She was alone, dying and in pain. None of her family or friends was left. She asked the nursing home staff to call someone to minister and pray with her.
It was dinnertime when my phone rang. The caller said it was urgent that I get there.
I didn’t personally know the elderly woman lying in that bed. We’d never met, but instantly, love bubbled up inside me for her. I looked into her eyes, but she couldn’t see me — she was blind. I held her weak hands in mine and asked a few questions. Then she said, "I’m dying. I want you to pray for me."
"What do you want me to pray?" I asked. Then I paused and waited. Her cloudy blue eyes welled with tears that trickled onto our hands. She said nothing. I said nothing.
After a while of silently waiting for the Holy Spirit to direct me, I spoke: "Tell me about the day you accepted Christ." She didn’t say anything. I knew to be quiet as she processed. Finally, she answered, "I don’t know. I went to church when I was little; I was always a good person. But I never really knew Jesus."
It was clear where God was leading us. Bertha understood that simply being good wasn’t the same as living for and obeying the Lord. We had to take it a step further.
"Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God?" I asked.
She nodded and tears streamed down her cheeks as I shared today’s key verse, John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (NKJV).
I continued, "He died on the cross for your sins and rose again so that you can have eternal life with Him. Eternal life is a free gift; we do nothing to earn it. God loves you so much, Bertha! He wants you to spend eternity with Him."
We prayed a simple prayer together. She acknowledged Jesus as her Savior and asked Him to forgive her of her sins. Bertha passed away shortly after our conversation. She didn’t have the opportunity to do more good deeds. Nor did she need to. That wasn’t necessary for her to receive Jesus’ gift of eternal life with Him.
There are plenty of opportunities throughout the year to do good: Donate warm winter jackets to children in need, deliver blankets to shelters or give canned goods to food banks. Our family invites others over who have nowhere else to go for the holidays. But I know that visiting the sick in nursing homes or welcoming the lonely around our dinner table (or any other good deed) won’t earn me a place in Heaven.
What will get me into Heaven? Just Jesus, the only begotten Son of God.
And believing that His birth … His death … and His resurrection actually happened are the greatest gifts ever. So priceless, we could never buy them.
You see, it’s not about what good things we do, or even the bad things we avoid, but about what Jesus has already done. Two thousand years ago, He gave His life in death on the cross so we could have life after death. Like Bertha, that is the best gift we could accept in our lifetimes!
Dear Lord, thank You for Your free gift of eternal life. Your birth and death and resurrection are the greatest gifts of all time. I’m so thankful that all who acknowledge You will be with You again one day in heaven. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

You Are More Precious Than Diamonds

Precious in God’s eyes? Could it be true?

It’s amazing that God clearly demonstrates our value throughout the Bible. Imagine anything on this earth that we value, and it’s incomparable to how God feels about us.
Think for a moment about diamonds. They are one of the most precious items in creation. They are rare, beautiful and highly prized. But they are nothing compared to how God values us.

Does God really think you and I are more precious than diamonds? We — who trip and fall and fail more often than we care to admit?

It’s so easy to make an assertion without any facts to back it up. If you stopped right there and assumed this title is true — that you really are more precious than diamonds, you could go away feeling better about yourself without having any foundation on which to base your good feelings. And how long would that last? Not very long, I’m afraid.

So, if we’re going to compare ourselves to diamonds, how much is a diamond worth anyway? In 2013, a nearly 60-carat flawless pink diamond called the "Pink Star" was auctioned by Sotheby’s for a whopping $83.2 million. Bling cha-ching! That made it the most expensive jewel or diamond ever sold at auction.

But the most precious diamond, we’re told, is the Koh-i-Noor, now part of the British Crown Jewels collection. Experts say this gem cannot be valued — it’s calculated to be approximately 3.5 times the wealth of the whole world!
These diamonds are incredibly valuable to us. But to God, diamonds just aren’t that precious. Nor are other costly stones, or even gold. After all, in heaven He uses gold for paving streets, pearls for gates instead of wrought iron (Revelation 21:21) and gems to decorate the foundations of the heavenly city (Revelation 21:19).

But you? Now, that’s another matter. God has formed many diamonds. But He made only one you. You are unique. You are unlike anyone else who has ever lived or ever will live. He made you because He wants someone exactly like you. He has plans for you.

You may be feeling pretty worthless right now, beaten down. Life has probably thrown more at you than you can handle. You don’t feel worth as much as a rhinestone, let alone a diamond. Take heart! "You are precious in my eyes," God says, "and I love you" (Isaiah 43:4a). God never said He loved a diamond but He does say He loves you.
Don’t feel it?

Just think about this: We are so precious to God that He sent His only Son, Jesus, to this earth to die so you and I wouldn’t have to die because of the way we have messed up our lives with sin. Author David Eckman, in Becoming Who God Intended, pictures God explaining this to us: "My Son is dying for you because you are worth a Son to Me."

Just think of it: God says, "You are worth a Son to Me"!
If you’ve ever doubted your own worth, or don’t know where to go from where you are, or you’re losing heart … then listen to Father God saying to you, "You are important enough to Me to justify the death of My Son. I want to have a close and intimate relationship with you."

Don’t wait another minute. Run. Yes, run to His arms right now. Let Him whisper these words to you, "I love you, I love you."

God, I don’t feel very lovable. No matter how hard I try, I mess things up and end up feeling guilty and unlovable. But today I’m going to take a chance on You. I’m going to assume You really mean it when You say I am precious in Your sight, and You love me. I throw myself into Your arms. Thank You, thank You for a love that is bigger than all my mistakes. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Your Story is Still Being Written

Suzie Eller

"Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written." John 21:25 (NIV)

Two women approached me. They could almost pass for twins, except for the scars borne by one.

"She rescued me," the younger one said. "She drove through the night, even after I told her to stay away."

Her older sister had braved the darkness to save her from a man who fractured not just her bones, but her spirit. Though she had been safe for months, years of hurt, doubt and pain were deeply ingrained.

"Can I pray for you?" I asked.

She knelt eagerly, pressing her forehead into my knees. She wrapped her arms around my legs before I could kneel beside her. Loss, pain and a chasm so wide she feared there was no way back, soaked through her tears.

It’s moments like these I realize how human I am, and how little I truly have to offer.

But God!

As we prayed, I asked for what felt impossible in the natural. I cannot explain the presence I felt in that small space. It was tangible, an almost overwhelming compassion of a Savior for his beautiful daughter.

A new chapter was being written. Not just in her life, but in the countless pages of the broken made whole by Jesus.

For some, brokenness is easy to see, like this beautiful younger sister whose scars were obvious. But for most of us, our hearts bear the marks.

The damage can be the result of unhealthy doctrine — like when you love Jesus, but people tell you that you can never be good enough. It can be a mark left by great loss. It might be what takes place when your life is turned upside down by unfulfilled promises or events you didn’t see coming.

Every story is unique and each story — including yours — is important to God. And this is our promise: Brokenness does not have to be the final chapter.

He rewrites.

Begin to imagine what you will look like in the hands of your Savior. This opens the door to hope. It places the pen in God’s hand, instead of the past, a person or a feeling.

It changes your question from, "What’s wrong with me?" to "What miracle does God want to perform in me?"

We receive.

He came for you. That’s the good news found in Luke 4:18-19: "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord"s favor" (NIV).

Jesus is not afraid of our brokenness. It was on His heart the day He transitioned from deity to walk the earth on our behalf. Hold out your hands. Throw open the doors that so carefully guard your pain.

We all rejoice.

Healing won’t take place overnight. Instead it’s an exquisite process where God peels away layer by layer. But as you heal, something profound begins to take place.

You become an integral part of the good news described in John 21:25, our key verse. Your story spills into the pages eternally describing the power of Jesus to mend a broken heart.

And for that, we all rejoice.

Dear Jesus, thank You that newness is pouring into my life. I open my heart, my thoughts, my past and my broken places to Your touch. Thank You that You are writing a new chapter in my story beginning today. I praise You because the power of the cross is not in what I’ve done, but in what’s already been done for me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Rest for Your Soul

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest  Matthew 11:28, NIV

God wants to give you rest. He wants to refresh and restore your  soul-your mind, will and emotions. It's so easy to get caught up in the  "busyness" of life, and before long, your mind, will and emotions are so  "spun up" that you can barely think straight! But even in the hustle of  life, you can find rest, ease and relaxation. God wants you to enjoy  your life. That's why He tells us to come to Him. God wants to take care  of everything that concerns you so that you can find rest in your  innermost being.

Imagine how you would feel if someone came up  to you today and said, "Give me all of your monthly bills; I'm going to  pay them." You'd get pretty excited, wouldn't you? But it wouldn't  happen until you did your part to actually hand that person your bills.  They can't pay them for you if you never release them. In the same way,  when we release our cares and concerns to God, He promises to take care  of them.

Today, choose to release your cares to the Lord. Let  Him fill you with His peace and joy. Receive the rest that He promises  and enjoy the fulfillment and blessing He has for you!

Prayer for Today:

Father in heaven, today I humbly come to You. I choose to cast my  cares on You so that I can live in Your rest. Thank You for Your  goodness to me. Help me find ways to share Your goodness with those  around me today in Jesus' name. Amen.

Have A Great Day!

Monday, February 16, 2015


1John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
This verse is addressed to the “Beloved” who are the saved members of Jesus’ Church. This verse does not apply to the lost person at all! This verse is telling the “Beloved” What we are, what we shall look like, and, who we shall see.
We are told that we are “now” the sons of God. Saved folk are the adopted children of God. We have been adopted into the family of God. Jesus is the “only begotten Son of God”. Jesus was not “created” as the Devil was; Jesus is not the half brother of the Devil either, as some teaches! There have many discussions about what we will look like in heaven. It doesn’t matter folks, we will look like Jesus. While Jesus walked this earth in the flesh; he looked like a Jewish young man. On the mount of transfiguration, His “glory” shown through, and, He was changed. 
The most important thing is “we shall see him as he is”. I was in the Army during the 60s and while overseas in the Far East, all I really wanted was to go home and see my loved ones. The Bible teaches we are pilgrims on a journey to our home land. Are you ready to go home?? Do you want to see Jesus?     
God Bless;
Walter D. Hill D. Min.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Living With JESUS

Psalm 91:9 Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;

This verse gives the reason for the blessings in the previous verses of this psalm. The reason is, “Because thou hast made the LORD… thy habitation;”. Habitation means a place to live. In this verse the LORD is the “habitation” which also means the LORD is living with you. You are living with the LORD and the LORD in living with you. You are living together! That should make person shout??

Have you ever seriously thought about living with the LORD? When I consider that, I get happy allover. Just think Christian friend, living where you are loved, where we won’t have to worry about anything, where all will be peace and happiness, and, where we will be with Jesus.

What a thought!! BUT wait!!

Why can’t we have some of that now? Saved folks need not worry about this wicked world, God will take care of it. Saved folks need not worry about trouble, pain, or disappointment. This life is but a vapor; it’ll soon be over. Lets just obey our LORD and try to live peaceably with others?

Will you try that for one week? See what happens!

God Bless;
Walter D. Hill D. Min.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Born Again

John 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
John 3:7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

Here in verse 6 we find the order of birth. A person is borned of the “flesh” first, then, of the Spirit. This verse refutes the idea of some spirit floating around some where waiting for a body to be borned.
Our Bible is perfect in every way, even in sequential order. A person “born again” infers a person has already been born before! Do you see the logic here? I challenge you to do a study on the word spirit. Pay attention to what it means when the “s” is capitalized and when it is not.

Don’t pay any attention to folks that say you can’t know you have been born again. I was born again and I was there when it happened. It made me a different person with a different out look.
The most important question you will ever be asked is, “Have you been born again?”
If you have, I rejoice with you.
If you have not, I pray for you.
GOD loves you!

God Bless;
Walter D. Hill D. Min.

Friday, February 13, 2015

The Divine Paradox

“For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” - (Luke 14:11)
If we have learned nothing else from our culture telling us what we should do to be happy, we have learned this: It is just not true. We have realized where happiness isn't.
Prior to becoming a Christian, I already knew the answer was not in the world. I knew it wasn’t in my mother’s world of hedonism and drinking and partying. I knew it wasn’t in my world, limited as it was at seventeen years old. So I was wondering where it was. And then I became a Christian.
We have a different paradigm to follow, given to us by God in His Word. We could call it the divine paradox, because in God’s economy, if we want to be great, we must learn to be humble. If we want self-fulfillment, we should seek the fulfillment of others.

Regarding this divine paradox, Malcolm Muggeridge pointed out, “Where, then, does happiness lie? In forgetfulness, not indulgence, of self. In escape from sensual appetites, not in their satisfaction.”

The way to happiness is sadness. By that I mean we are sad over our sinful state, so we turn to God, ask for His forgiveness, and enter into a relationship with Him. Jesus gave us the beautiful beatitude, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4). Another way to translate this would be, “Oh how happy are the unhappy.” There is no greater example of this upside down life than Jesus Christ Himself.

We want to find our happiness and our joy in the right place, or more specifically, in the right person, which is God. As we come to know and walk with Him, we will find something better than happiness, and that is joy. We will find joy in our circumstances, regardless of what they are.

Social Media: Has it been your experience to find joy in your circumstances, regardless of what they are? How is that possible?
Copyright © 2015 by Harvest Ministries. 

Happy Friday the 13th 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

A Reminder of Who is in Charge

by Max Lucado

Prayer reminds us of who is in charge. You don’t take your requests to someone with less authority. You take them to someone who outranks you in the solutions department.
The same is true in prayer. You don’t pray just to let God know what’s going on. He’s way ahead of you on that one. You pray to transfer “my will be done” to “God’s will be done.”  And, since he’s in charge, he knows the best solution. Prayer transfers the burden to God and He lightens your load. Prayer pushes us through life’s slumps, propels us over the humps, and pulls us out of the dumps. Prayer is the oomph we need to get the answers we seek. So, pray…today!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Two Gates, Two Ways

Matthew 7:13-14
Have you ever been accused of being a narrow-minded Christian? Those who level such accusations against us certainly mean it as an insult. According to Jesus, however, that’s the only way to walk if we want to experience abundant life now and eternal life with Him in heaven. But it will require a deliberate choice on our part, because no one automatically drifts onto this pathway.

The broad way is easy to find. In fact, unless you make a conscious choice to avoid it, you’ll find yourself on it. Most people like this wide path because it encompasses all philosophies and belief systems. Everything is acceptable, and everyone’s “truth” is valid. It even seems like the loving path because no one is left out. There are no restrictions, and freedom is unlimited. Or is it?

What those who travel this road fail to realize is that it’s a downward descent into destruction. All the promises it gives of satisfaction and fulfillment end in disappointment because it’s a path without God. But those who enter by the narrow gate of faith in Christ find the peace and joy of a relationship with Him that satisfies the heart. The gate is small because truth guards the entrance. The way is narrow because the Lord protects us with wise boundaries.

Which path are you traveling? You can’t have one foot on each, because they’re going in opposite directions. When you tolerate everything, you’re headed for destruction. But when you choose the narrow way, your life truly begins. You’ll walk with Christ day by day until He walks you home to heaven.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

God’s No-Tolerance Policy

by Max Lucado
Hypocrisy turns people against God, so he has a no-tolerance policy. Let’s take hypocrisy as seriously as God does. For starters, expect no credit for good deeds. None! If no one notices, you aren’t disappointed. If someone does, you give the credit to God. If no one knew of the good you do, would you still do it? If not, you’re doing it to be seen by people.

Give financial gifts in secret. We like to be seen earning money. And we like to be seen giving it. Matthew 6:3 says, “So when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.”

Don’t fake spirituality. Nothing nauseates more than a fake, “Praise the Lord,” or a shallow “Hallelujah” or an insincere “Glory be to God.”

Bottom line: Don’t make a theater production out of your faith!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Getting Through Another One of “Those Days”

by Tracie Miles

    “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Romans 5:3-4 (NIV)

It had been another dramatic day in a house with “maturing” young women. While my teenage daughters sat upstairs dealing with their run-away emotions, I retreated to our front porch to deal with my own.

Both my daughters were going through difficult situations and pending decisions, and neither of them were happy with the motherly advice I’d given them.

I needed peace and quiet, and a place to process my overwhelming thoughts with God. Searching for the right words to pray, I secretly longing for the days when my girls were little and the hardest question was if they could have a snack before dinner.

Sitting there, I noticed something in the flower bed that seemed out of place. Partially tucked in the pine straw, underneath the holly tree, was a piece of the past — two faded plastic Easter eggs.

My thoughts went back years earlier, when my daughters were small, and I wondered if the eggs were from one of my favorite Easter Sundays. I closed my eyes, letting my mind return to what seemed like easier days.

I saw a mental picture of my two blond-headed little girls, playing in the thick grass, wearing pink Easter dresses. Little fingers wrapped tightly around wicker baskets, as they hid colored Easter eggs under the holly bushes. Bushes that were then twelve inches tall, yet now stood at twelve feet. As my mind replayed this sweet scene, I began to cry.

While I was reminiscing about the past and trying to breathe in the present, my daughters walked outside and plopped down beside me on the porch. As we sat on the steps together, Kaitlyn pointed out the eggs under the tree – and my eyes welled up with tears again.

They both looked at me like I was crazy, wondering why mom was crying over some old faded Easter eggs. And all of a sudden we all burst out in laughter, and started talking openly about our feelings and life. By the end of the conversation, we all felt thankful for the bond we have, even on the hardest of days.

Being a mom is an unfathomable blessing, but there are going to be “those days” when we feel like throwing in the towel and giving up. Days when we feel frustrated and emotionally exhausted as we face the never-ending challenge to raise children to honor God’s ways, in a society that does not respect His truths at all.

Today’s key verse encourages me to persevere on “those days.” The definition of perseverance is to adhere to a course of ‘action, belief, or purpose, in spite of difficulties, obstacles or discouragement.’

As parents, we are called by God to stay the course, adhere to our beliefs, and trust that God has a purpose for all things – even on “those days.” We can do that by talking to other Christian parents, participating in a prayer group for our children, and staying grounded in God’s Word.

On this particular day when my heart felt heavy, God used two faded Easter eggs as a reminder that despite the daily challenges of being a mom, He is with me and that gives me hope.

Hope gives us strength to persevere, and our perseverance helps us to build our own character, as we invest in the character of our children.

Even when the past seems easier than the present, God calls us as parents to be engaged in every moment and trust that He has a beautiful purpose, espeically on one of “those days.”

    Dear Lord, thank You for simple reminders of Your love, and for the blessing of making a positive impact in my children’s lives. Help me to persevere in Your name, and to be the Godly parent You have called me to be. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Sunday, February 8, 2015


"Moreover, no man knows when his hour will come…" (Ecclesiastes 9:12 NIV).

The death of Reverend Josiah Adegoke Adeleke, my mentor, friend, and brother in Christ, in a ghastly auto accident with another friend, Reverend Chris Tayo Orodiji, on Tuesday January 11, 2005 is still a mirage to me. In spite of the fact that I was there at the mortuary giving them final bath and dressing in preparation for their burial, and the fact that I was one of those that lowered their coffins into their graves, I still find it difficult to believe that those two great men of God who died at their prime age in active service have gone forever. I will see them only in heaven when I also die or at the marriage feast of the Lamb after the rapture of the saints.
Both of them were very intimate friends who had shared with me many things about our personal, educational, and especially ministerial endeavors. So, all the plans, dreams, and aspirations they had have gone with them unfulfilled! So, they have abandoned their promising ministerial careers for the rest of us! So, they will not publish those books they have written their outlines! So, they have left their pregnant wives and very young children behind to face the struggles of life alone! So, they have….
Their short lives and sudden death are indeed a challenge to the living that "Man born of woman is of few days and full of trouble. He springs up like a flower and withers away; like a fleeting shadow, he does not endure…. Man's days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed…. But man dies and is laid low; he breathes his last and is no more. As water disappears from the sea or a riverbed becomes parched and dry, so man lies down and does not rise; till the heavens are no more, men will not awake or be roused from their sleep" (Job 14:1-5, 10-12 NIV).
Their short lives and sudden death are a strong confirmation of the words of Solomon, "'Meaningless! Meaningless!' says the Teacher. 'Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless,'" and "What does a man get for all the toil and anxious striving with which he labors under the sun?" (Ecclesiastes 1:2; 2:22 NIV). What really are we living for if death can render everything meaningless within seconds without warning? Why are we struggling to become somebody on earth when it is certain that we will leave everything one day? This makes the words of Paul in Philippians 1:21 relevant here: "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain" (NIV). Living for Jesus Christ will make our living on earth meaningful and our death a gain for us. GOKE and TAYO lived for Christ and their death is indeed a gain for them and Jesus Christ. Who are you living for?
Their short lives and sudden death are now a warning to me that I have to "discharge all the duties of [my] ministry" (2 Timothy 4:5 NIV). Again, the words of Paul to Archippus clearly come to mind: "See to it that you complete the work you have received in the Lord" (Colossians 4:17 NIV). I have to be up and doing because I do not know when God will also call me home. I do not know what people will say when I am no more. I do not know whether my Lord will commend me with words like, "Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!" (Matthew 25:21 NIV). I do not know….
Their short lives and sudden death are indeed a challenge and a warning to us to "Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses" (1 Timothy 6:12 NIV). If those two great men of God could die at their prime age, then, anyone may be the next to be called home.
Let me conclude with these words of Solomon, "Moreover, no man knows when his hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so men are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them" (Ecclesiastes 9:12 NIV).
In His service,
Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).

Saturday, February 7, 2015

A Bridge from Provision to Need

Elisha said to her: “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?” “Your servant has nothing there, except a little oil”. 2 Kings 4:2, NIV

This was a terrible situation, but not uncommon in those days, in a society without any security nets. Being poor was bad enough, but being a widow made things worse.

The widow’s husband had been a prophet, and had been doing holy service in the country. But death and tragedy doesn’t pass by the doorsteps of holy men. Even God’s elect and beloved are sometimes hit by unexplainable pain and sorrow. Even holy men and women sometimes cry out for help, because they see no way out of the circumstances.

The needs are sometimes obvious and easily discernable. No food, no home, no comfort, no freedom. These things are easy to see and describe. But sometimes the needs are never mentioned, as they’re hidden, in the depth of the soul and spirit. We meet people like that daily, but we seldom hear their cry.

The solution is difficult to find, but the good news for the widow was that, even if her need was unseen and unheard by people, God had made provision! What was needed was a bridge from God’s provision to her need, and that bridge was a prophet and some borrowed, empty jars. Without the jars the prophet could do nothing, and without a prophet the jars were of little use.

God is sovereign. He’s able to use anything for His purposes. But He usually needs something to be the bridge between provision and need. You may be it! If you don’t like the idea of being a prophet, think of yourself as a jar. And remember that the jar was as important as the prophet, when it was put to its right use.

As you go through this day, you will meet many needs, even among the brothers and sisters in the faith. The provision for them is from God, and you can be part of the bridge from Him to them! This day is a time when you can make a difference to someone’s situation. You can, as a simple jar, bring help to someone in deep need! You can receive the grace of being a vessel put to honourable use!

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for showing me that you can use me as a bridge into someone else’s heart and life. Help me, Lord, to always be sensitive to the needs of others and look to you for wisdom as to what you want me to do about. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Today's Writer : Goran Andersson

Friday, February 6, 2015


from David Wilkerson Today
"Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Ephesians 5:20).

This matter of giving thanks always was so important in Paul's theology, he repeats it three times. (1) "Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs," (2) "Singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord," and (3) "Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Ephesians 19-20).

Without faith we cannot do this as we ought. We are pressed down by so many problems and distresses. Of course God does not want us to fake it. It seems to me Paul has given us the key to it all when he tells us, ".do it unto the Father." That great preacher John Calvin said that such singing and giving thanks always is all feigning and hypocrisy unless we are fully persuaded that God is our Father.

Our mouths quiver sometimes with grief so that we cannot sing; we do not feel like giving thanks. Dire circumstances shatter our spirits. There are times the heart cries, "Lord, do you really expect me to sing and make melody when I
Hurt so badly?" "Lord, I am so burdened down with cares, I can barely lift my head." "Lord, I find it hard to praise and speak hymns in my heart. There is too much fear, grief and doubt."

Yes, it is not easy to respond to this important truth. God is not severe with us when we hurt. We are his children. But these words are given us to find solace and relief in such times. We become so focused on our difficulties that we lose more than our song-we drift further and further away from God's eternal promises. In spite of all we face, our Lord says, "GIVE THANKS ALWAYS."

We become ungrateful for all he has done in the past. We get swallowed up in praying only for ourselves, our needs, our families-we cannot lift up our eyes to other's suffering-suffering more than us.

I am truly convicted by this word from Paul. I want to face tomorrow determined to sing to my Lord and give thanks for an entire day-for all things-in all things. It may be an inaudible song; it may be weak at first; but there must be a power in doing it, by faith, or it would not have been repeated three times.

Oh that ten thousand reading this message would endeavor to sing along with me-what a joy it would bring to Father's heart. Then, to follow it up by resting in the truth that God has heard your cry, he is working out the solution even now and every day-so go on giving thanks always and never stop singing love songs to our precious Lord and Savior.

Thursday, February 5, 2015


"Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did"
John 4:29, NIV

What a statement for a woman to make to her whole town – to the people who knew her and her background. But she’d come face to face with Jesus, and that made all the difference. She’d come face to face with true love, not use and abuse, pure love, not lust. His love was forgiving love, unending love, love that covered her and set her free – free to be the person God had originally meant her to be – valuable and precious. Now she was a person of influence – a person who could lift her head high – no longer under a yoke of guilt and shame.

She hadn’t experienced that kind of love before. Now all the shame, abuse, guilt and dishonour were gone. She could face the people of the town and be the channel God could use to introduce the whole town to Jesus. She could be the instrument which resulted in Him staying for two more days and many more becoming believers. In our eyes she was the most unlikely candidate, but in God’s eyes she was a broken but valuable vessel, now restored and available to be used in His Kingdom for honour and blessing.

God sees our hearts – the mistrust, hurt, and pain and there’s nothing we’ve done, nothing we’ve experienced that He doesn’t know about. Yet He still loves us. He’s approachable. We’re always welcome in His presence. Come to Him, and allow Him to bring restoration to your broken heart. Exchange your guilt and shame for His freedom, your sadness for His joy, your death and depression for His new life. Receive acceptance, security, love and peace to replace your rejection, insecurity and fear. God loves you and is completely trustworthy. The safest place to be is - close to His heart.

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, that Your love is so amazing. Your love is approachable, no matter what I’ve done. Today I open my heart to receive that love. I allow You to complete the work You began in my life, so I can be the vessel of honour that you ordained me to be, before the foundation of the world. Amen.

Today's Writer : Lindsay O’Reilly

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Going Through Suffering

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God." 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

It seems that Paul saw himself only able to comfort others by first needing and receiving that comfort himself. And as he couldn’t be comforted without first going through real suffering and pain, he saw all suffering coming his way as God´s sovereign way of equipping him to serve others. The comfort he gave to new Christians, who were almost overwhelmed by the resistance and hardships they encountered when they began following Christ, was not a cheap thing or words alone. It had been personally tested by Paul, and so he knew it worked.

Theology is good, but it has to work to be of any value. And the only way it can be tested is by people experiencing the reality and then being able to give to others the comfort they themselves have received. That means you can´t serve and help people from a lofty position; you have to go down into the depths and walk through them. Then you can tell others there is a way through. You know there is, because you’ve been there.

This seems to be a principle in the Kingdom of God. Who are usually best equipped to minister to people in need? Those who’ve walked through the same kind of difficulties. Who are best at convincing those who’re tempted that it’s possible to overcome? Those who’ve been through the same experience themselves.

This is why Paul never saw sufferings and imprisonment as a meaningless loss of valuable time and energy. To him it was an investment, a time that would bear fruit, not just in his own life and character, but in the lives of all the people he would minister to.

To become Saviour and Shepherd, Christ had to go through the greatest depths of suffering and death. There was no shortcut. ‘He had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted’ (Hebrews 2:17-18).

There is a price to being a blessing to others. If we would comfort those in need we must be willing to go through dark valleys – at times so dark that we see no light at all. ‘We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead’ (2 Corinthians 1:8-9).

God builds firm foundations into His people! And He does it before we understand the meaning of it. That´s why it often seems so hard! Can you trust that the ‘meaning¬less’ things you’re going through now will eventually enable you to comfort others and be of help to them? When your experiences are transformed into comfort and encouragement for your brother and sister you’ll see it was ‘worth the price’!

May God help us to go through darkness today so we’ll be able to lift others and bring them into the light!

Today's Writer : Goran Andersson

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

When I See You In Heaven

by Leah Dipascal
" … He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away. And He who sits on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’" Revelation 21:4-5a (NASB)
I could feel the slow rhythm of his heartbeat as I laid my head against his chest. Tears quietly rolled down my face as I held back the sobs that were begging to burst forth from underneath my heart.
Closing my eyes, I remembered being 5 years old again with my daddy holding me on his broad, strong shoulders the day he took me to the zoo. So long ago. Such sweet memories. And, yet, my heart was breaking.
Lord, not yet. Please. I’m not ready to say goodbye. I still have so much to say. I want it to be meaningful. I want Dad to know how much I love him. Not yet, Lord, not yet.
As I curled up closer, like that 5-year-old little girl so long ago, I could hear his shallow breathing. Gently I cradled his hand into mine.
Thank you, Lord, that Dad’s not in pain. When it’s time, please take him peacefully. But, not yet, Lord, not yet.
The clock ticks. The moments pass. The memories linger.
And it is time.
Having to say goodbye to my dad that day was one of the hardest experiences of my life. It had only been 15 short months since my mom passed away, and the idea of losing him, too, was more than I could bear.
No longer could I hear his voice say, "I love you." No longer could I call him and ask for his advice. No longer could I see his smile or feel his hand holding mine.
No longer.
This month marks the 2-year anniversary of my dad’s passing. Not a day goes by that I don't think of him and my mom. I miss them so much. I long to be with them again.
But even in the midst of "no longer" here on earth, there is a ray of hope that shines within me. A knowing. A promise that I will one day see my parents again.
I find comfort in knowing there is a real place that has been created by God and prepared by Jesus for each of us, if we accept His invitation. An extraordinary place of astounding wonder. Greater than we can fully understand or imagine. A place called heaven.
As I awake to another day on earth of "no longer," I anchor my heart in the assurance of what Jesus said in John 14:2, "In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you" (NASB).
In those moments when the memories return and the sadness resurfaces, I find comfort and even joy for my parents as I reflect on the promise of today’s key verse. For in heaven, there is no mourning, crying, pain or death. All things are made new.
If you’re like me, and you’re missing someone special today. Someone you long to see again. To hold their hand, to capture their smile or to simply say, "I love you." And, yet, the realization of "no longer" looms in the reality of each day that you live without them …
Can I encourage you with the truth? If your loved one accepted God’s invitation, then they are not dead but are living in heaven. In that extraordinary place, of astounding wonder, where pain and sorrow can never linger.
They’re experiencing joy and peace like they’ve never known as they celebrate the splendor of their eternal home.
And there is hope, comfort and assurance for you today that if you accept God’s invitation you too will see them again one day.
Heavenly Father, thank You for creating heaven. A place where we will spend eternity with You and our loved ones who have accepted Your invitation. Help us live with a joyful heart and share the hope we have of eternal life with others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.