A Change of Heart

As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3: 27-28 (NRSV) At their farewell luncheon for KyungMo Koo, from Maryland, they were celebrating his first five years of ministry in the United States, when the group was surprised by George, who spoke. He was a retired businessman who had always sat quietly with his wife in the very last pew of the church building. That day, in a shaky voice, George said something that touched every heart there: "Pastor Koo, in five years you have made us cry twice. The first t

Content Where I Am

Then King David went in and sat before the LORD, and said, "Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far? And yet this was a small thing in your eyes, O Lord God; you have spoken also of your servant's house for a great while to come. May this be instruction for the people, O Lord God! And what more can David say to you? For you know your servant, O Lord God! Because of your promise, and according to your own heart, you have wrought all this greatness, so that your servant may know it. Therefore you are great, O Lord God; for there is no one like you, and there is no God besides you, according to all that we have heard with our ears." 2 Samuel 7: 18-22 (NRS

Everyone's Gift Matters

Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot would say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear would say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many members, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you," nor ag

Trust During Healing

Those of steadfast mind you keep in peace - in peace because they thrust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for in the Lord God you have an everlasting rock. Isaiah 26: 3-4 (NRSV) John R. Robinson, from Georgia, recently had two operations just six weeks apart to remove large kidney stones from both of his kidneys. Following each operation John bemoaned the days he lost, unable to focus at home on reading, writing, or even watching television. But those days had a different purpose in God's plan: developing his ability to trust. John had to trust the surgeon, the operating room staff, and the nurses. After his operation he had to trust his family who helped care for him at home, the instruct

Safely Home

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. I have sworn an oath and confirmed it, to observe your righteous ordinances. I am severely afflicted; give me life, O Lord, according to your word. Accept my offerings of praise, O Lord, and teach me your ordinances. I hold my life in my hand continually, but I do not forget your law. The wicked have laid a snare for me, but I do not stray from your precepts. Your decrees are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart. I incline my heart to perform your statutes forever, to the end. Psalm 119: 105-112 (NRSV) On the way home while on a walk, Roger Brannon, from Florida, became disoriented and got lost. Because he is blind, he relie


So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. 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 4:16-18 (NRSV) Read 2 Corinthians 4:11 5:4 Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and reverence. 1 Peter 3:15-16 (NRSV) It had been two years since Anita Gray, from Pennsylvania, heard the oncologist describe her painful cancer

Not About Us

So Moses went out and told the people the words of the Lord; and he gathered seventy elders of the people, and placed them all around the tent. Then the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke to him, and took some of the spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders; and when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied. But they did not do so again. Two men remained in the camp, one named Eldad, and the other named Medad, and the spirit rested on them; they were among those registered, but they had not gone out to the tent, and so they prophesied in the camp. And a young man ran and told Moses, "Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp." And Joshua son of Nun, the assistant of M

Strength from Solitude

The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. He said to them, "Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while." Mark 6:30-31 (NRSV) Sharon Mitchell, from Georgia, loves her job teaching seventh grade, but it is quite demanding. All day she deals with students' needs and questions: "May I get some water?" "May I go to the nurse?" "I don't understand number three." Between classes, she has meetings, parent conferences, and endless photocopying. It is an honor to teach, but sometimes Sharon needs a few quiet moments to herself to pray, or to think and regroup. Some people do not enjoy being alone, but a little solitude can provide an oppo


Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing heart. Psalm 51: 10-12 (NRSV) It's been more than three years since Malinda Fillingim's husband died at age 54. She thought she would be better by now - with therapy, time, and serving her church. But her sorrow and grief linger like uninvited guests who won't leave. To help reconcile her grief and find purpose, Malinda has been collecting old, broken furniture and restoring it. Then, using words and photos clipped from recycled magazines, she decoupage the furniture,


See how very much our heavenly Father loves us, for he allows us to be called his children, and we really are! But the people who belong to this world don't know God, so they don't understand that we are his children. Yes, dear friends, we are already God's children, and we can't even imagine what we will be like when Christ returns. But we do know that when he comes we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. 1 John 3:1-2 (NLT) For the Lord your God..............will rejoice over you with great gladness. With his love, he will calm all your gears. He will exult over you by singing a happy song. Zephaniah 3:17 (NLT) When Erin Tubo's , from Massachusetts, daughter was turning fi


Read Genesis 15:5-15 He (God) brought him outside and said, "Look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them." Then he said to him, "So shall your descendants be." And he (Abram) believed the Lord; and the Lord reckoned it to him as righteousness. Genesis 15: 5-6 (NRSV) As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram, and a deep and terrifying darkness descended upon him. Genesis 15: 12 (NRSV) Jesus said to him (Thomas), "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blesses are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe." John 20: 29 (NRSV) Kurt Elward, from Virginia, thought he knew well the story of God's promise to Abram from today's reading - that h


And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. A wind-storm arose on the sea, so great that the boat was being swamped by the waves, but he was asleep. And they went and woke him up, saying, "Lord, save us! We are perishing!" and he said to them, "Why are you afraid, you of little faith?" Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a dead calm. They were amazed, saying, "What sort of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?" Matthew 8:23-27 (NRSV) When Adrienne Rayfield, from South Carolina, was 10 years old, she went on her first plane ride and fell asleep during the flight. To her surprise the landing was a bit rocky. She awoke in a panic and g

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