Our Great Love
But I didn't buy it. How could my parents love me and be proud of me no matter what I did?
When I was pregnant with my son, Everett, and felt his first kick, I was so excited! And throughout my pregnancy, my husband and I would feel him kicking and look at each other and say, “I’m so proud of him!” And when we changed his poopy diapers, we were filled with pride! Also, when he ate his first bite of pumpkin, when he took his first steps, when he laughed, or fell asleep, when we checked on him in the middle of the night and heard him breathing: I am proud of Everett for growing and for living, because of my great love for him!
When I look at my son, I get a glimpse into how God our Father must look at us. Romans 8:38 says, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” God loves us no matter what!
In His Name,
Grace for a Curly-haired Girl
smack-dab in the middle of my forehead. With a chuckle at the sight, it also brought forth memories of my folks reciting that rhyme to me, usually when I was acting ornery. It has always been easier for me to reflect on myself as a “horrid” person. When people would compliment my very, very good behavior, I’d shyly smile with downcast eyes, because I knew that there was a horrid person hiding beneath the good façade.
As I got older, I deflected compliments, because I didn’t feel I deserved them. If only they knew what misdeeds I’d executed in my life, they wouldn’t be praising me! Someone finally said to me in frustration, “Just say ‘thank you’ and accept the compliment, won’t you?!?” I did, but still felt inwardly undeserving.
So, when I’d read about God’s grace, I knew it was for others, but not for me. Sheesh! Was I ever mistaken!
In Romans 4, David clarified that we are not blessed by God for the works that we do, but by our trust in God as a gift. Romans 4:16 says, 16 Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. I really like the clear language of this same passage in The Message: God’s promise arrives as pure gift. That’s the only way everyone can be sure to get in on it.
I’d confessed and asked forgiveness many, many times for past misdeeds, but wasn’t accepting of God’s grace-filled forgiveness, so I just kept repeating the same pleas.
Peace is found in Hebrews 10:22: 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.
Amen! I’m so grateful that I can now just laugh at the silly curl right in the middle of my forehead and say Thank You to the Lord for His forgiveness freely given by grace.
Your friend in Christ,
For I Know the Plans I Have For You
“false spring”, because inevitably, we’ve got a few more cold days in store before spring has officially sprung. Before we know it, the first flowers will poke through the ground and begin to spread a colorful pallet on the otherwise bland colors of a winter’s rest. Just as God is faithful in the promises to His people, the seasons always change.
Is your life in a season of change? Is there something that has you in a state of anticipation and hopefulness? My encouragement for all of us who may be in a season of change is to rest in the promise of plans far greater than we can know, created by our God who loves us so deeply.
In His Name, Kierstie
tumbleweeds roll across the endless roads in Kansas, or seeing the mountains of Colorado grow closer with each mile. In a way, I feel at home on a highway.
If you have ever traveled some of our roadways here in America, then you have probably gone through a city. Chicago and Indianapolis are my least favorite cities to drive through, but if you want to get anywhere in the Midwest, then you will probably have to go through one of them. There you are on the highway driving through normal towns or patches of open road, and then you start to see the signs that the city is approaching. Tensions rise as you plan gas stops and bathroom breaks before the city. Traffic increases and so does the construction. People who live in those cities drive like people running from the law, and out-of-towners drive like they are in a horror movie expecting death around every bend. You stay focused and pray that in a few hours you will be on the other side of the city and back on the open road. Sooner or later, you make it out, and the highway is peaceful once again. You breathe deeply as you take in the beauty of the road and enjoy miles of open road with little to no traffic.
In Isaiah 19, the Bible describes a highway between nations. Much of the book of Isaiah in the Old Testament is written in prophetic form. Bible scholars often agree that many of these prophesies were fulfilled with Jesus, while some are waiting to be fulfilled. This chapter describes God and His relationship with Egypt, Assyria, and Israel. To give you some context, Egypt sits just southwest of Israel, and Assyria covers parts or all of modern day Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. Often seen in the news or read in history books are that these nations have been enemies for millennia. People around the world often pray for peace in the Middle East because it is such a hotbed of violence, unrest, and hurt. So when I read Isaiah 19, my jaw drops as I try to imagine what this highway between nations would mean.
The Bible says that in that day, there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria and that people will go back and forth on this highway to each other’s countries and that they will worship together and be a blessing on the earth. God calls these nations by name and blesses them. He calls Egypt His people, Assyria His handiwork, and Israel His inheritance. Can you imagine people in the Middle East all traveling together, and worshiping together, and blessing each other? That is one road trip I do not want to miss. But then I pick my jaw back up off of the floor and start to pray because that day has not yet come.
There are so many wonderful prophesies in the Bible that have been fulfilled so I can have confidence that God will fulfill other prophesies in His timing. I can have the same reaction to these types of prophesies just like I do when I approach a city like Chicago. Tensions rise as I hear about some new unrest in the Middle East, people running in fear, hating one another. Terror increases as the world tries to unravel thousands of years of turmoil in one meeting. It is then that I decide to focus in on prayer knowing that God loves these nations and has a blessing prepared for them. I pray and take a breath, knowing that in that day there will be a peaceful highway connecting these precious people whom God calls by name.
In His Name, Bonnie
Our staff is voluntold each week and with grace they share their thoughts.