Thursday, April 29, 2010
Prov. 3:5 (NJKV)
My husband, and I, with another couple, spent the weekend at their hunting cabin deep in the Pennsylvania hills. During our stay we went hiking and came upon a fire tower. Our footsteps clanked loudly echoing through the hills as we noisily climbed, going around and around, until we reached the top.
We emerged high above the trees to witness a spectacular view. Certainly, the Fire Guard could spot suspicious smoke from here.
Upon descending, the others hurried ahead, but I wanted to take one more photo. After all, it’s not often you can see three states from one place: Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Maryland.
Starting down, I froze. I could see through the metal steps down to the ground. Terror gripped my heart. A call for help stuck in my throat. The others were far ahead, and their noisy exit drowned out my pitiful squeak for help.
Finally, Pat returned and saw my predicament. She advised, “Sit on this step. Look at me. Now scoot down the next step. Keep looking at me. Do not look down.” She continued coaching until I could manage.
Jesus called Peter to walk on water. Taking his eyes off Jesus, he sank. (Matt. 14:28-30). No matter what challenges come our way, the situation always looks worse when we focus on the problem and not on Jesus. As I needed to keep my eyes on Pat, we would do well to keep our eyes on Jesus and not the problem.
Dear Lord, Thank you for being our Savior and always available. Your mercy and love is greater than any problem. Forgive us when we fall short. Amen
© 2010 Lois Gosley
Saturday, April 24, 2010
A thunderstorm reminded me that even when it looks like we are alone, we are not. God is always near. One season we needed rain desperately, so it was good to see the refreshing drops of rain fall to the earth. It smelled wonderful. The booming thunder and flashes of lightning frightened my little dogs. It was music to my ears, but sent them into a nervous frenzy.
Inside, the dogs followed my every step. While doing housework, I talked to them, trying to calm them but it was no use. Finally, I sat down and held the two tiny Chihuahuas. The larger Border Collie panted nervously while touching my side. God created these loving, frightened animals for us to care for and love. I thought of their similarity to frightened children.
Many times when frightened, such as my first job interview, wedding jitters, and the uncertainty of moving to Germany, I needed comfort too. Also, being alone, except for my thirteen month old baby boy, and boarding a plane for the first time was very unnerving. Those are the times when I turn to my "Comforter" God to talk with Him and ask His presence. He never lets me down. He always lifts me up, never leaving me comfortless in the terror of the unknown. Prayer changes everything.
Father God, help me to remember that You are always just a thought and a prayer away. Comfort Your children when they step out into the unknown. Guide them to safety and give them the assurance that You are always near. Amen.
© 2010 E. Bonnie Ryan
Friday, April 16, 2010
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus. Philippians 2:5 (KJV)
I hate my life. I hate my life. I hate my life. The increasingly familiar mantra circled, a vortex of anger in my mind. Crossing my arms, I hunkered down in my seat, as far from the pulpit as I could get, and determined not to listen. Nothing he says will help me, anyway.
My normal defense is to gravitate toward the superficial in order to avoid showing my feelings, but today was my breaking point. I had been wronged. My roommates and I no longer spoke, trapped in the prison of my negativity. At some point the reason ceased mattering to me, but the anger grew, unchecked.
Volatility churned inside me until the preacher’s voice intruded. “What’s wrong with being a victim?” he asked. “Jesus was.”
Be a victim, I mused. This was a new concept, point of view being the difference. I had allowed my situation to imprison me. But so what, that I had been wronged? That I was even right?
One moment darkness engulfed me; the next, beautiful light flooded my mind and warmed my heart.
Jesus was wronged, but He did not defend Himself—not because He was God, and was right—but because He was God, and He did not have to. He had nothing to prove, only people to love.
And so did I. The realization nearly catapulted me from my seat. I loved my roommates more deeply at that moment than ever before. Love threw open my prison doors and I walked into the light—victim to victor.
Thank You, Lord, for loving us enough to become our victim, and thank You that we can have Your mind, allowing us to live victoriously.
© 2010 Katherine A. Fuller
Friday, April 9, 2010
My sisters and I always had an Easter Sunday egg hunt. Our parents hid the eggs before breakfast; later we took turns hiding and finding them again. As a parent, I passed the custom on to my children. Surprisingly, another tradition popped up. It didn’t matter how hard my sisters and I searched, somehow we always missed one or two. We knew the “good” spots – window ledges, beside books, below the sofa, and on top of the clock. We checked everywhere, but while cleaning the house sometime during the next month, we would find a left over.
Often it was more fun to share the news about the last one than finding the first one on Easter morning. My kids were just as excited. They’d yell, run around and show everyone that lost egg’s hidden nook. Its spot joined the list of “great” hiding places.
Of course an Easter egg hunt is not the same as Jesus, the shepherd, searching for lost souls, but finding that last egg always reminds me that our job as followers is to keep on seeking the lost. They hide in schools, work sites, or shopping and recreational centers. They’re tucked under life’s weeds of ignorance, busyness, despair, intellectual pride, or cultural excuses. And when the newly found join the Shepherd’s flock, we again celebrate His love and the joys of Easter. We have fun rejoicing with Him.
Father, Thank you for giving us your love and for granting us the special joy of finding the lost. Amen.
© 2010 Virginia Colclasure
Friday, April 2, 2010
1st Corinthians 15:57 (KJV)
The Lamb was slain. Glory be to the Lamb. The Lamb has risen. Glory be to God.
Jesus was nailed to the cross to die for our sins. Three days later He defeated death. I cannot begin to imagine what went through the minds of those who got to see and speak with Jesus that day. They witnessed a historic event. Yet, most had little idea of the significance of this event which would change the way the world views Jesus.
Through Jesus' act of obedience and sacrifice we are able to claim victory over the power of sin and death. We no longer have to be under their control. Death can no longer defeat us. Because Jesus is alive, we too shall live.
Growing older, I realize that I am getting closer to death's door. Even though spring is around the corner, I know that I am no spring chicken. Passing the half century mark, I sometimes find it hard to keep up with the pace of everyday living. But I do not fear death. Why? Because Jesus has already defeated it for me. I am free from death's grasp.
During this Sunday's Easter celebrations, I am reminded of the love that Jesus must have felt for me to so willingly take my place on the cross. I want to live each day as a witness to others of the power that can only come from Jesus. Death has no sting or power over me.
Thank you, Jesus, for giving me the victory over death. Thank you for the life you gave to save me.
© 2010 Dawn M Sexton