Friday, March 30, 2012

Lost and Found

There is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents, Luke 15:10 (RSV)

“Adam, Eve. Where are you?” With that call recorded in Genesis, Adam and Eve became the world’s first lost children.

The Lord, of course, knew where they were, these two progenitors of mankind. The Lord’s concern, however, was not a question of physical, but spiritual safety.

My kids are grown, but sometimes I dream about their being lost. The pain, fear, and emptiness is so unbearable that I wake up. In the everyday world we often hear reports about parents whose children, go missing. That is the time people begin to pray asking the Lord to find the lost, bring them home and give peace and comfort to the parents. Most believers value Hebrews 13:5, “I will never fail you nor forsake you,” because we know the Lord hears and answers all prayers—no matter if the troubles we face are finances, relationships or fears for lost children.

After calling out for Adam and Eve in the garden, our heavenly Father promised all mankind that even though we purposely went our own way, He would find us and save us. God revealed his plan to send a Savior. In it, He asks us, his children, the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve, to turn and commit to His will, not our own. We rejoice when lost children are physically found. We rejoice even more when, spiritually lost, they decide to follow the Lord. So do the angels.

Father, be with us in all our fears, grant us calm and wisdom to hear your answers to our problems. Especially help us to find those who are lost. Amen.

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Resurrection Rose

I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. John 11:25 (KJV)

Roses are my favorite flowers. I bought a miniature rose with orange-yellow blossoms and planted it beside my front door. It bloomed for three years. One fall day the leaves turned black. Thinking it dead, I pulled it out of the mulched soil and tossed it on the compost pile.

Spring came and the first plants to bloom were white snowdrops and crocuses. I walked around our property noticing wild violets and woods anemones blooming. A bright orange color caught my eye. There lay the rose bush with green leaves and six orange blossoms. This bush had so much determination to live that I replanted it. My reward was an endless array of orange roses.

We decided to re-do the front patio and that meant taking out the flowers beside the front door. My uncle, a contractor, did it while I worked. Later, I found my flower bulbs and the rose bush lying on the side of the house. The rose bush was split into two pieces. It took me four days to get around to planting the bulbs and the two pieces of my rose bush. I just knew it was going to die. I planted the two pieces side by side in the new flower bed. Philippians 4:13 came to mind. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me, assured me that God could do anything if it was His will. The rose was resurrected once more to bloom profusely on two bushes!

Father, thank You for the resurrection hope for all of Your faithful children. Amen.

(c) 2012 E. Bonnie Ryan

Friday, March 16, 2012

Belated Salvation

I will give unto this last, even as unto thee. Matthew 20:14 (KJV)

He had prayed the prayer of salvation several years ago, yet it would be difficult to look at his life and surmise that he was saved. Although he had family members in town and some neighbors who visited and chatted with him, he became somewhat of a loner.

When it was obvious that his money had dwindled and his health had deteriorated, he moved out of state to live with his son and family.

Late stage renal failure, heart disease and a lung disorder left him in constant pain and contributed to making him a difficult housemate. It was quite an adjustment for all involved. They worked hard to take good care of him. He grew in the knowledge and admonition of the Lord because they lived a Godly life before him.

After passing out at the breakfast table, he was rushed to the hospital. Alone in the room with his adult son, he struggled to speak.

Signaling the nurse to take his oxygen mask off so that he could be heard, he softly said, “Not everyone really dies.” Then he clasped his hands together and wiggled his fingers as an example.“We will all come together, you, my grandchildren, and my daughter-in-law. All of us. I’m going first and then you will all come. I just wish I could have given my father what you have given me.”

He died one day later in an atmosphere of peace with his family and friends around the bed, holding his hands, touching him, singing, praying, and whispering loving words.

Thank you Lord for receiving those who believe in you—even those who come to love you late.

© Christy Struben 2012

Friday, March 9, 2012

Leaning Toward The Light

I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness. John 12:46 ( NIV)

In October I purchased an amaryllis bulb for Christmas, putting it in a pot near my kitchen window. For two months, I gave that bulb tender loving care. I used the best soil available, watered it faithfully, and put it in a shiny gold basket with a beautiful red bow. It barely sprouted. I couldn’t imagine it being fully grown and blooming by Christmas.

Then one day, I noticed that the plant was actually leaning toward the light. So I turned the pot around, knowing that the plant would straighten as it grew toward the sun. Every morning that plant was curved toward the window, and every evening I turned the pot around again.

During that time an amazing thing happened. In two weeks, that plant grew several inches every day and bloomed just in time for Christmas. I learned an important lesson. It didn’t matter how much water or fertilizer I used; or how beautifully I decorated its pot. None of those things helped the amaryllis to become all that God had planned for it to be. Only when it grew toward the sun could it blossom to its utmost beauty.

I realize that the same holds true for me. It doesn’t matter what I eat or drink, or how I dress and fix my hair. None of those things help me to become all that God has planned for me. Like the amaryllis, only when I lean toward the Son can I grow and blossom to my fullest potential.

Lord, just as the amaryllis turns toward the light, help me to always seek your face.

© 2012 Kimberly Mattio Halfen

Friday, March 2, 2012

It’s Not Fair

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 (NKJV)

I live with my four nieces and nephews, and one statement that I hear regularly is, “It’s not fair.” Whether over food, watching television or going outside to play with friends, they constantly compare their treatment to that of their brothers and sisters. This is their measure for determining if they have been handled fairly or not. After everything is said, it is up to their mother to decide who is right and who is wrong.

Listening to them debate back and forth, I think of how Jesus must have felt when He was on the cross between two thieves. One mocked Jesus, saying, “If you are the Son of God, use your power to save both of us.” The other thief rebuked him, saying, “We are being punished justly. This man has done nothing wrong.” Jesus willingly obeyed the will of his Father. John 3:16 tells us that “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.” Jesus died for our sins.

We live in a world that focuses on fair and unfair. We fight for what we deserve. Jesus didn’t. He came so we wouldn’t get what we deserve—the penalty for our sin. Because of His great love, Christ died in our place, paying with His own blood to set us free. Thank God it’s not fair.

Thank you, Father, for your grace and mercy. You demonstrated your love for us by giving your Son as a perfect sacrifice. His death, burial and resurrection justified and reconciled us back to you. I will always be grateful and give you the praise, the honor and the glory. Amen.

© 2012 Wanda Currie