when it must have seemed foolish. When I read the stories of these messengers for myself I find a list of some very human people. They run to caves and hide, they got drunk, they were afraid, they lied to save their own skin, they manipulated, stole, murdered, were afraid of storms, and worse: they lacked faith. It is a tale of humanity bumbling around, trying to prove their self-righteousness versus God intervening and rescuing people over and over. Two things become clear right away: God is Holy, and people are human.
God loves these people we read about in the Bible, just as He loves us today. He did not handpick these fellow humans because they were better or more gifted than any of us today. God chose the weak and foolish to prove that with God all things are possible.
Here are just a few examples
Not only did God choose to use humans in their weakness, He also chose to put on our humanity so He could suffer with us in every way. He Himself chose to enter into our humanity with His holiness just so he could empathize with us fully.
Some may scoff and think it so foolish that a powerful, Holy God would lower Himself to be a messenger only to be rejected and killed and then still choose to use people to spread His message of love. Yet I find such comfort in the fact that I don’t have to be rich, beautiful, wise, or perfect to be used by God. I don’t have to wait for a special calling or training to be a messenger of the Gospel. I don’t have to be holy to be forgiven. I am loved by a powerful, compassionate God who chose to understand my humanity. We will make mistakes, we will fail, and yet God still chooses to use us humans as His messengers.
For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
1 Corinthians 1:17-18
In His Name,
God's Faithful Reminder
months of wearing face masks to protect ourselves and others, but it sure was nice to be out among people again and enjoy watching the game without masks.
People watching has always been one of my favorite pastimes. Norilee and I both noticed we had to remind ourselves to watch the game because we were so distracted by the fun and entertaining family and friend interactions going on around us. The shared joy of being out, watching baseball, singing along as a sax solo played the Star-Spangled Banner, and enjoying a mild (if slightly wet) evening outdoors was overwhelming. It reminded me that God created us to live in fellowship – with Him and with others. Experiencing the slow, cautious return to fellowship at church on Sunday mornings and out in our neighborhood and community feels like coming back to life!
Our yard is also slowly coming back to life. I’m watching rhododendron flowers burst open and listening to song birds repeat their intricate arias. Our 25-foot flowering dogwood that was clobbered by last year’s early hard freeze is roaring back to life, just when I was about to crank up my chainsaw. Spring is a miracle we get to experience every year, God’s faithful reminder in 3D living color and surround sound that He loves us and gives us rebirth through his precious son. I give praise and thanksgiving to God for the new life He gives us through Christ!
In His Service,
Getting Out of My Funk
question about how soon I’d be walking normally again. I was ready to throw my spiffy walker out the door!
This seemed like the final straw: first, the months of back pain prior to surgery, not being able to stand upright; next, weeks of pain following complex back surgery; then, successful baby steps of healing: showering and dressing myself, preparing my own meals, sitting for an hour at a time, getting in and out of bed; then, steps backward: infection requiring twice-daily rebandaging, precious friend and dear husband to drive me to weekly doctor visits; finally, feeling better after six weeks of antibiotics. Just when I thought that light at the end of the tunnel was bright, “You’ll need the walker for awhile yet.” Oh, nuts!!! My frustration was at a peak!
The face peering back from the mirror was of an old lady, defeated by life. Wasn’t it just a few years ago when I walked a mile or two before work? Haven’t I always been able to take care of myself and be independent? How can someone age so fast? I was overwhelmed by my vision of the future; it looked bleak like it never had before.
And, then, I looked around at how many people have it so much worse than I do: chronic illness, physical ailments, terminal illness, loss of a spouse. I’m just being a wimpy baby! Suck it up! Learn to deal with it! But, I just wanted to mourn my condition: how in the world had I aged so fast? Will my mobility ever get better than this?
A voice inside was screaming at me: be grateful instead! My caring, considerate husband bought me a nice walker, one I thought was a waste of money, as I’d only be needing it for a few weeks. Ha! (Funny, I can’t even tell you how many times over the years that I’ve had to say, I need to trust Tom’s instincts more!) People have been so kind and generous to me these past few months! I’m back to being able to do so many things around the house. I’ve even driven myself a couple of times! I’m even finally able to sleep in my own bed! And, I’m finally going back to work after a couple months on the mend.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’ll be grudgingly grateful, even if I don’t fully feel like it yet. “People” say it so often works to put a smile on your face, even when you’re not feeling happy inside. Probably the same principle applies here. “How are you feeling?” “Fine.” Ha! We put on that happy face anyway, don’t we?
I guess I’m mourning my loss of independence, mourning turning old overnight, mourning not being able to do things that were automatic before. (Argh! Then my husband corrected me that I’m turning one year older than I thought I was! Shake it off! Accept it and move on.)
Probably the Bible has words of wisdom for even Sad Sacks like me! So, I went searching in that useful tool.
Psalm 103:8 reminded me, Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper—it only leads to harm. [Deep breath, several deep breaths…okay, that’s a good reminder] Joshua 1:9 shared, This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. [I must admit to not praying as much as I usually do…hm…if I reach out to Him more, I’ll feel His love buoying me.] Psalm 34:18 says, The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. [Yes, I suppose that IS how my spirit feels…deep breath]
The Bible is such a wonderful source of strength and encouragement, but for some reason I’ve been lax in turning to it recently. These final words from 1 Peter 5:10 seem to be setting me on the path back to wholeness. In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. The Lord is my strength and my redeemer. For that, I am truly grateful. So, I need to keep my eye on Him and move forward in the love and support He gives me. Ah, yes, the Bible is such a useful tool!
P.S. And just when I thought my blog was finished, this is the Bible verse which came in this morning’s email: 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. (2 Corinthians 12:9) I’m pretty sure that I need to be listening more carefully to the Bible’s messages for me to pull me out of this funk. It’s already beginning to work.
Your friend in Christ,
can turn to the word of the Lord for our sustenance. In this time of fasting we can hear and receive a word from the Lord. If we, as Christians, have any unwanted things in our lives, we need to fast and humble ourselves until that thing breaks and leaves our life.
"Fasting will bring greater humility to your life, and fasting will help you understand that you don't live on bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. When you fast, you are saying, " I live by the word of God. The word of God is my strength. The Lord is the strength of my life." John Eckhardt, Author of Fasting for Breakthrough and Deliverance.
Also use fasting to release Divine Guidance. Isaiah 58:11 The Lord will always lead you. He will satisfy your needs in dry lands and give strength to your bones. You will be like a garden that has much water, like a spring that never runs dry. Fasting can help believers make decisions inspired by divine guidance. It can be a useful tool for important decisions and Ministry Choices.
I am very glad to have been given this book and the opportunity to get a better understanding of fasting. I believe fasting can eliminate unwanted things in our lives and ultimately bring us closer to the Lord, allowing us to hear and receive a word from the Lord.
In His Name,
A Mother's Day Reflection
they have the energy to do the job well enough. Whether a mother is a “supermom” or a frazzled mother trying to make sure everyone’s needs are met, mothers in some way sacrifice a part of themselves in hopes that their children will have a good life. One of the sacrifices that a Christian mother offer is prayer.
One of my favorite Bible stories about mothers is found in 2 Timothy. Apostle Paul is writing from his prison cell in Rome to Timothy who Paul considered his son in faith. Paul is telling Timothy how the faith and prayer of his mother Eunice and grandmother Lois helped shape his faith and Christian walk. Through the consistent prayers of these godly women, Timothy became a godly man who preached the gospel boldly.
When I see a young mother with children, I find myself smiling and praying for them as I remember my own children growing up. I remember the sleepless nights when my children were sick, the sadness and concern when I had to correct them, the joy when they achieved a goal they were working for, and my heart melting when they told me they loved me. There are many trials but many more rewards to being a mother. I am so thankful that God made some of us mothers.
To the mothers out there, have a very happy Mother’s Day.
Our staff is voluntold each week and with grace they share their thoughts.