Living with the Scars

Paul wrote; "But if I wish to boast, I will not be a fool, for I will be speaking the truth. But I refrain from it, so that no one may think better of me than what is seen in me or heard from me, even considering the exceptional character of the revelations. Therefore, to keep me from being too elated, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would leave me, but he said to me,'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness,' So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am content with w

In Everything

As God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything

Never Lost

LORD, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing. You guard all that is mine. The land you have given me is a pleasant land. What a wonderful inheritance! I will bless the LORD who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me. I know the LORD is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me. No wonder my heart is filled with joy, and my mouth shouts his praises! My body rest in safety. For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your godly one to rot in the grave. You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever. Psalm 16: 5-11(NLT) David wrote this psalm while he was being persecuted by S

Beyond the Thorns

Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Philippians 3:7-11 (NRSV). Through him (Chr

The Hope of Easter

For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (NRSV) On the Saturday before Easter, Erica Smith, from Tennessee, woke up in tears, feeling completely overwhelmed. She had just given up a job that gave her worldly success so that she could live a life dedicated to ministry, and her new vocation was riddled with obstacles. To make matters worse, her husband had just been told that the promotion he was promised had been given to someone else. They couldn't understand why God felt

Patient With Us

The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3: 9 (NRSV) The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. Psalm 103: 8 (NRSV) Joshua Oladipupo is a schoolteacher from Lagos, Nigeria. As such, he learned a lot as he tried to impart knowledge and sound moral training to his young students. The greatest lesson he believes he can share is that of patience. He developed patience over time as he tried to teach particular subjects or topics and his students seemed slow to understand. As children of God, we should remember that the Father has much to teac

The Best Example

Slaves, accept the authority of your masters with all deference, not only those who are kind and gentle but also those who are harsh. For it is a credit to you if, being aware of God, you endure pain while suffering unjustly. If you endure when you are beaten for doing wrong, what credit is that? But if you endure when you do right and suffer for it, you have God's approval. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in his steps. "He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth." When he was abused, he did not return abuse; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but he entrusted himself to the one who j

A Beautiful Blessing

Read John 17. This is rather a long chapter but well worth your time. It is Jesus praying for His disciples. He not only prays for his disciples but also for us: "I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word..." verse 20. (NRSV) "Who will believe" is in the future and that future is us. Jesus was praying for us so many years ago. At Melinda VanRy's wedding reception, a friend of her grandparents, who had known her for her whole life hugged her. She told her how proud Melinda's mother would have been of her. Melinda appreciated that connection to the past - especially since her mother and grandparents were no longer living. Melinda

The Carpenter

From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view, even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sa

Forward in Hope

Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand. Isaiah 41:10 (NRSV) One morning on her walk to work, Hisako Adachi, from Japan, saw a cute little bird walking on the pavement. She could not help slowing down to gaze at it. Then the bird started to walk toward the road which was filled with buses and trucks. Hisako was alarmed and blocked its way ahead. It flew a short distance and then continued walking toward the road. She quickly blocked it again. It tweeted and flew to a branch nearby, looking at me reproachfully She was relieved that it had not been run over by a car, but that lo

A Fitting Title

Now the angel of the Lord came and sat under the oak at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, as his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the wine press, to hide it from the Midianites. The angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, "The Lord is with you, you mighty warrior." Gideon answered him, " But sir, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeded that our ancestors recounted to us, saying,'Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?' But now the Lord has cast us off, and given us into the hand of Midian." Then the Lord turned to him and said, "Go in this might of yours and deliver Israel from the hand of Median; I her

The Right Place

For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope is from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rest my deliverance and my honor; my mighty rock, my refuge is in God. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Psalm 62: 5-8 (NRSV) Webb Smith is from Georgia. He and his wife have two large dogs that sleep at the foot of their bed. Twice a week, the dogs wake up with Webb's wife at 4:30 A.M. and accompany her as she gets ready for work. After she leaves, instead of coming back to bed, the dogs become restless. Seemingly unaware that Webb is still lying in bed, they become frantic - searching th

Being Strong?

Read Romans 6:1-11 "If we have been united with (Christ) in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his." Romans 6:5 (NRSV) Jill Allen Maisch is from Maryland. Their entire community was shocked when three local high-school students tragically died in an auto accident just days before their graduation. Jill had taught two of the boys and remembered them fondly. Tears streamed down her face as she drove to school the next morning. She prayed for their families, for their friends, and for guidance in how to console her students. She didn't want them to see that she had been crying, so before getting out of her car she wiped away her tears in an attemp

Beyond the Walls

Bear one another's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. For if those who are nothing think they are something, they deceive themselves. All must test their own work; then that work, rather than their neighbor's work, will become a cause for pride. For all must carry their own loads. Those who are taught the word must share in all good things with their teacher. Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for you reap whatever you sow. If you sow to your own flesh, you will reap corruption from the flesh; but if you sow to the Spirit, you will reap eternal life from the Spirit. So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not g

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