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

Even in the Little Things

Romans 12:12- “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”

Here we sit. Our kitchen remodel still not completed.

We have been waiting since January for cabinets, countertops, and appliances. We make our calls to vendors every week, hear many creative excuses, but still nothing gets done.

We either go out for dinner, eat frozen dinners (we do have a microwave), or eat with our son and his family (which we actually love doing).

I have heard, “Just be patient a little while longer” a thousand too many times.

Maybe God is trying to teach us something.

Over the years, one of the most common prayer requests I’ve received has been for patience. It really is a virtue, I think. And, it is a common problem for many people, including Christians.

I decided to see what the Bible has to say on the subject.

I quickly turned to Romans and found the verse above to offer us encouragement.

The Lord says to be joyful as we hope, patient when hard times come, and faithful to pray. 

We have found all three of these references to be key in helping us “endure” our situation.

Many times we have heard that God cares—even about the little things?

If we believe that, why do we hesitate to pray for them boldly? And without ceasing?

No matter how small a matter may seem to be, take it to the Lord’s throne in prayer.

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Mom’s Creativity

Deuteronomy 5:16a– “Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you…”

This is the second year without my mother to celebrate with on Mother’s Day. Even though I still think about her every day, this special day to honor mothers seems to be especially hard for me.

When I was teaching, I used to ask my students to tell me what they loved most about their mothers or to tell about something their mothers had done for them.

I can honestly say that my mother went “all out” to do anything to help me succeed in school. And there was no end to her creativity.

For example, when she realized I was struggling to do a forward roll to pass our P.E. unit on gymnastics, I came home from school one afternoon to find my mattress in the middle of the living room floor. With her mantra being practice makes perfect, Mom spent hours with me the entire weekend to make sure I’d pass gymnastics.

I am most thankful that I was raised in a Christian home and came to know the Lord at an early age. Now that Mom is in Heaven, it gives me the assurance I will see her again and have the opportunity to thank her (again) in person.

Do you have a special memory of your mother you’d like to share? Please write in and tell us your story.

And, by the way, if you’re a mom yourself, Happy Mother’s Day!

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Reigning Forever

Revelation 19:6- “Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: “Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns.”

I didn’t watch the coronation in England, yesterday, but I saw pictures of the royal festivities. 

Prince Charles—now King Charles. Historic.

It is likely he will reign for the next twenty years or so and, then—because human beings don’t live forever—Prince William will take the throne.

But as Christians we know that Jesus will reign forever. No one will—or could ever—take his place.

King of Kings. Lord of Lords. 

He is to be worshipped eternally by all who profess faith in him. What a joy it will be to join throngs of angels and saints of old to rejoice in him as Creator, Savior, and King!

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Don’t Regret; Reconcile

Psalm 73: 25, 26- “Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire beside You. My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

Paula experienced a disagreement with her siblings. After the big “blow up” (her words), she hadn’t heard from them for weeks.

She felt alone, disappointed, misunderstood, and abandoned.

A friend reminded her about a sermon they’d heard on Psalm 73. These were the words which brought Paula comfort. If you’re feeling like she did, I pray that they will offer you encouragement and peace, too.

Remember, God says his strength is made perfect in our weakness.

I’d like to say Paula and her brothers have reconciled, but that is not yet the case. However, I can say that she is putting her trust in the Lord for that to happen in his timing.

Trust God to work in the hearts of those with which you long to reconcile. He will bring it to pass, because he is the God of reconciliation and restoration.

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Get Ready!

Matthew 25:10 – 12 “… while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’ Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”

As I was going through some old photos recently, I found a picture of my best friend in high school. I thought about some of the fun times we had, running here and there in our little VW bugs.

The thing about Shirley (not her real name, of course), is that she was always late. I was constantly waiting on her to finish her hair and makeup.

I was usually pretty good-natured about her lateness, but one time in particular we missed the first half of our school play. The third member of our little trio had a lead role in it and we had promised her we would be there to see her perform. I felt terrible to have missed it.

We had a serious talk after that about her seeming inability to be ready on time and how we had missed something important because of it. (Years later, she was on time for her own wedding).

The story of the ten virgins in Matthew, among others found in the Bible. tells us how important being ready will be when Jesus comes for us. And staying ready will be even more important because in the book of Revelation He says we won’t know when He will arrive. In fact, only God the Father knows when that will be. 

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He Never Changes

Psalm 100:5- “For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”

I read an article this week about Old Faithful, the powerful geyser in Yellowstone National Park. It was named as such because it erupted with reliable regularity (every 91 minutes).

Scripture tells us that God is faithful. We can count on Him. Rely on Him to do what He says He will.

We don’t have to guess about what He considers important, just, right, or true.

Since He cannot lie, break His promises, or change His mind we can be assured He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

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The Greatest Love of All

John 15:13- Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

Have you ever read the lyrics of Whitney Huston’s 1985 hit song, “Greatest Love of All” composed by Michael Masser and Linda Creed?

All these years later, it is still popular. Often sung in competitions, the overall effect is meant to be uplifting. 

However, if you read carefully, the song is actually tragic. Here are a few lines:

I never found anyone who fulfilled my needs                                      

A lonely place to be

And so I learned to depend on me

I am sure many Christians would have liked the opportunity to talk to the composers about the love of Christ and His invitation to draw strength for our daily lives from HIM.

Later in the song:

The greatest love of all

Is easy to achieve

Learning to love yourself      

Is the greatest love of all

Jesus taught us to love one another—not ourselves. To love as He loved.

A love that would even sacrifice ourselves for others.

As I read the words of Jesus and then the words of the songwriters, my heart breaks for those who do not know the love of Jesus.

A love that took Him to the cross.

High and lifted up—for you and I.

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Ways To Help Ourselves Remember

Deuteronomy 6:12- “…be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.”

Something happened in my life today—something I had been praying for more than thirty years! So that I wouldn’t forget this special answer to prayer, I wrote about it in my Bible and put the date beside my words.

Just as in our world today, many people in “Bible times” often forgot what God had done for them. In Deuteronomy, Moses warned the Israelites of doing just that and there are other stories in the Bible on the same theme.

Oftentimes, as in this story, God told the people to place a stone(s) in certain places as a memorial of a specific event or person.  You can see examples of memorials in many state parks and cemeteries around the world.

Memorials serve three purposes:

  1. Cause use to remember what a person has done. For Christians, it might mean remembering God’s answer to prayer and of His provision. God instructed Joshua to build a memorial so each time the Israelites saw it, they would be reminded.
  2. Memorials are a form of communicating past occurrences with next generations. Memorial stones in Bible times were a basis of sharing faith with their children.
  3. Memorials spur us to renew our personal commitments, whether it be to a cause, to our family, or to our God. They give us a new sense of purpose.

Has God led you through a rough time in your life?

Has He blessed your family with a newborn or a new job?

Whatever it is, finding a way to remember God’s blessing will help you focus on His goodness and faithfulness.

It could be the planting of a tree or unveiling a statue or hanging of a commemorative plaque. 

Or it could be something as simple as writing a few words of praise in the Bible next to the date when a specific prayer was answered.

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Enjoy the Gift!

Ephesians 2:8,9- “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”

Last week, I was surprised to hear a friend say that he’d done all he could do to assure himself a place in heaven. He elaborated to tell of his acts of kindness to others as his main focus in life. He also mentioned that he didn’t use profanity and was a good father who spent a good deal of time with his children.

If anyone was going to heaven, he was certain it would be him.

Knowing he’d been brought up in the same church I had, I reminded him that Jesus had paid the price for our sins and we are saved by his grace—not works.

If you have been held captive by a works-based system, like my friend, please hear the Good News of scripture. Salvation is the gift of God through his Son, Jesus. Faith in that very fact is what will assure you of a home in heaven once this life on earth ends.

No reason to worry. No reason to work. Just enjoy God’s gift of eternal life!

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Me, a Saint??

Hebrews 10:10– “By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

When his neighbor thanked him for helping with his yard work while he was ill, he told Bill “You’re a saint!”

As Bill walked across the street to his own home, he thought about what Ben had called him.

Am I really a saint? Gwen and I have been arguing a lot lately and I’ve been slacking off at work, blaming a huge mistake on my partner instead of admitting it was my own fault.

He settled in a comfortable chair in the den and reached for his Bible. He needed to hear what God said about sainthood. After all, hadn’t the pastor preached on that very subject sometime last year?

He rifled through his notes from previous sermons and finally found the scripture the pastor had used. In the margin of the paper, Bill had scrawled, a saint is a person who is innocent in the eyes of God.

That’s right, a believer is forgiven of his sins. When God looks at him, he sees Jesus—his pure innocent son who died for his sins. He is declared righteous in God’s sight.

Bill confessed his sinful behavior to God, thanking Him for forgiveness through Jesus Christ, his Lord.

He was a saint after all—a sinner, saved by grace!

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