Seeing life's events in the light of God's Word.

No More Chains

Lamentations 3: 22,23– “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (NRSV)

When cleaning out a long-forgotten box filled with old books, I came across a copy of Ripley’s Believe it or Not from 1978. As I thumbed through it, I was captivated by a picture of “The Man of Chains” from Lahore, Pakistan.

In the photo, Mohammedan Sahib Allah Shah was dressed in over 670 pounds of chains which he reportedly wore for the last thirteen years of his life, as a penance for his sins. The article told of many similar acts of penance practiced by religious groups around the world.

The Bible tells us that, while we should hate sin and refrain from sinful acts, we can be assured of forgiveness because of the great love and mercy of our Lord. Jesus bore the punishment for our sins when He went to the Cross. Nothing beyond our acceptance of this precious gift from Him is necessary on our part in order to obtain salvation.

No more can the chains of sin bind you and keep you apart from the Father. No more can guilt burden your life. No more need for penance because God’s mercies are new every morning!

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A Simple Act of Faith

Revelation 21:27 – Nothing impure will ever enter it (Heaven)… but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

I watch on television as a news report shows guests arriving at the entrance to a resort hotel for the wedding of two Hollywood celebrities. Each name is checked against an official guest list before they are admitted to the gala affair.

I guess wedding crashing is a common occurrence, as I see a beautifully-dressed couple denied entry. They are escorted off the property by two security guards . Their tears and protests get no sympathy. Their names are simply not on “the list.”

The Bible tells of the Book of Life which contains the names of all of us on earth that have put our faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior. If our names are written there, we will gain entrance to Heaven; if not, we will be turned away.

It is a simple act of faith on our part. It was a huge act of love on His part.

Jesus is the only perfect substitute for payment of our sin. As God’s sacrificial Lamb, He shed His blood on the cross for each of us. The Bible says that if we believe in our hearts that Jesus died on the cross for us and confess that He is Lord, to the glory of God the Father, we will be saved.

Be sure that your name is in the Book of Life. If you are unsure, start reading in the book of John…and keep going. Ask God to give you understanding of His Word so that you, too, will someday be able to profess your faith in Christ.

It’s a simple act of faith.

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Psalm 100:1-2   “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord all you lands! Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing.”

Yesterday afternoon, Legacy Quartet performed at our church. They are a tremendous group of singers out of Colorado. They travel all over the world in their ministry of song. We are so blessed that they were able to come to our church for the second year and we’re already booking them for next January!

Like it is when you hear a tune you just can’t get out of your head, I “sang” myself to sleep last night. It probably won’t surprise you if I confess that I woke up this morning reliving their performance as I readied myself for church.

No, I don’t sing in the choir. I’m one of those people who limit myself to singing in the shower. Although one of my long time secret dreams has been to one day possess a voice worthy of the stage, that hasn’t happened—yet.

No, I wasn’t blessed with an outstanding singing voice, but I was blessed with other areas of giftedness. And so were you.

I have come to realize that the light-hearted, exuberant feeling associated with singing can be found in other ways, or styles, if you will. Some people “sing” as they push the book cart at a local nursing home. Others “sing” as they take a meal to a grieving family. It’s possible to “sing” as you pen a note to a friend, watch a neighbor’s child so they can have a couple of uninterrupted hours, or as you place a can of vegetables in the collection box at the local supermarket.

You see, for some of us, the stage will not be Carnegie Hall. For us, it may be a kitchen table, a writing desk, a one-to-one experience on a much smaller scale. Even though our area of giftedness may not be vocal, it is still just as important to share with others.

Because singing is an attitude of the heart.



Matthew 6: 1-4:  Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven…do not sound a trumpet before thee…that (you) may have the glory of men…let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father who sees in secret…shall reward thee openly.

My parents are in their late eighties and, as is typical for that age group, memory problems are becoming more and more prevalent. Case in point: New Year’s Eve.

For the past 23 years, my husband and I have joined my sister and her husband in spending New Year’s Eve playing board games with Mom and Dad. This year, as we were enjoying dessert, my sister asked my parents if they had enjoyed the pot of homemade soup that she had brought them the week before. I could see the hurt in my sister’s eyes when they had trouble recalling that she had even visited them the week prior!

As my family laughed and enjoyed being with one another that evening, my mind wandered back to an incident, in my own life, when I felt like I didn’t get “credit” for something I had done for someone. Like me, maybe you can relate to the frustration of not receiving the recognition you think you should get for achievements, good things done for others in the community, monetary contributions, kindnesses shown to strangers, and so on.

Although it is perhaps disappointing not to receive a simple “thank you”, the Bible tells us that it is God who will one day give each of us rewards for our actions. In fact, He says to do these things, secretly, and He will one day reward them openly.

I am humbled by the words of our Lord, today. I give Thanks to God for his Word and his promise that He sees every action. I seek His forgiveness for my wrong attitude—my selfish attempts, at times, to glorify myself—even in the small things of this life.

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