Friday, March 29, 2013

Autumn Leaves, Eternal Spring

For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
2 Corinthians 4:11 12 (NIV)

The waning sun leveled golden rays across the parking lot as I left work, illuminating small landscaping trees. The sight of foliage, flaming with the colors of autumn, always leaves me breathless, but today I got an extra treat. The aroma of fall rose, carried on a crisp breeze, and I inhaled deeply. A movie scene flashed through my mind: a Native American thanking his prey for providing sustenance.

On a whim, I blurted out to the trees, “Thank you, Leaves, for smelling wonderful, although you’re dying. I know you’ll be back in the spring, but it’s still kind of you!” I was being silly, but it made me think. How could something so close to death create such a delightful fragrance?

Jesus came to earth wrapped in human form. He lived and died, as all men must. Is it coincidence that Christ died, withering like the leaf, on a tree? His death changed everything as the aroma of sacrifice drifted up to the Father. His resurrection brought the possibility of eternal Spring to us.

Christ calls us to follow Him. As we do, we become more like Him—oaks of righteousness, plantings of the Lord for the display of his splendor (Isaiah 61:3). We lay down our lives for one another, and when people pass by, they are touched by the fragrance of heaven.

I climbed into my car and murmured a short prayer of thanks for autumn leaves.

Lord, make my life an aromatic representation of your heart.

© 2013 Katherine A. Fuller

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Presence of the Lord

But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge.   Psalm 73:28 (NIV)

“Lord, we pray for Diane as she goes into surgery now. Be with the doctors, and may the surgery go well,” a gentleman from my church prayed, just prior to my surgery.

“Lord, I know you are with me and will get me through this.”

“Dear Father, I don’t know what’s going on; my body feels funny, but I’m trusting you.”

“Lord, I am cold and thirsty, but I cry out for you to be with me now.” I prayed short prayers like these frequently while in the hospital. I had never been through anything like this, but I felt the presence of God as I prayed quietly in my hospital bed. 

I also sensed God’s presence in the lives of the hospital staff around me: the nurse who gently helped me to the bathroom in the middle of the night; the kind lady who delivered my meals each day; the physical therapist who patiently urged me to walk a little bit farther than yesterday. My surgeon came to reassure me that surgery was successful. Each one always asked, “On a scale of 1-10 what is your pain level right now?” Several of these caretakers told me they loved the Lord, too.

I knew my family and friends were praying for the surgery to go well and trusting God for my full recovery. But I did not expect God to show up in the presence of real people during this challenging time. 

Father, thank you for being with me, comforting and healing me─for sending special people to be your presence with me in the hospital.

© 2013 Diane E. Hussey

Friday, March 15, 2013

Precious Prayers

O my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer. Psalm 4:1 (NAS)

Early this morning I knelt to spend time with Jesus. Gazing up at the sky, I wondered why I always look skyward to begin my prayers. I know He is everywhere as well as right beside me. I begin that way, but often the nature and urgency of my prayers drive me face down before my Lord.

Have you ever had those times? Times when your need is so great, your fear is so deep, your burden is so heavy, disappointment cuts like a knife or maybe physical pain is too much too bear. Those times when you pray those desperate wrenched-from-the-heart prayers—crying out to God, pleading with Him to intervene in your life or the life of someone you love.

Prayer time is valuable, however painful the situation. We recognize that God alone is sufficient to meet our needs. He is sovereign. He is the Great I AM! We “get down” with God and get real about our total dependence on Him. We acknowledge how deeply He cares.

During times such as these God’s closeness is palpable. I can almost feel His breath on the back of my neck. I feel Him drawing near, inclining His ear to me. He hears our hearts. The Bible says He collects our tears in a bottle. They are precious to Him because we are precious to Him. Revelation 5:8 tells us that our prayers are so special that God keeps them as incense in golden bowls. Not one prayer is ever lost or whispered in vain.

Prayer is the lifeline to our Father.

Thank you, Father for making yourself so easily accessible to us through prayer. Amen.

© 2013 Bonnie Mae Evans

Friday, March 8, 2013


When you believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit. Ephesians 1:13b (NIV)

I drove up to the bus stop to pick up the first big load of students. The mothers stood watching as I pulled the bus to a stop. The kids giggled happily. I noticed that they all had purple hair. No need to guess who they wanted to win the Super Bowl XXXV. After the kids were sitting in their seats, I pointed to my own hair. One of the mothers came over with a spray can. "Spray it on," I told her, pointing to my head. She obliged big time. The kids cheered as my hair turned purple like theirs. I thanked the mother, and she and the other ladies cheered as we pulled out. What a great start to what was to be an even greater day.

A thought came to me as I recalled this incident: am I marked for the Lord? Do I stand out as a Christian? Do I reflect God's love when I talk with others about Him and the sacrifice of His own Son so that mankind can be saved from eternal damnation?

The Ravens won the Super Bowl game that year. It was the first time I let myself be marked for a football team. The spray washed out of my hair, but my heart is marked with salvation in my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. That mark is permanent, never to be washed away. I praise the Lord Jesus and our Father, Jehovah for my mark of salvation.

Thank You, Father, for allowing me to wear Your colors of salvation every day. Amen.

(c) 2013 Evelyn B. Ryan

Friday, March 1, 2013


Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the father except through Me.” John 14:6 (NKJV)
As I moved through the grocery store check-out line, it was evident that the cashier was very angry. Glancing at her name tag, I said, “Hi Bonnie. How are you today?”

“Just fine!” she said with sarcasm, then continued, “Some people are just more than I want to deal with – then they leave saying, ‘Have a good day’ as if that excused their rude behavior.”
I wanted to say something more but my few items had been quickly scanned, bagged and credited. Feeling speechless, I uttered, “I pray your day gets better.”

“Humph!” she said as she started the next order.
Bonnie was on my mind as I drove north on Route 95. A large information sign that extends across the highway flashed “Amber Alert”. Was Bonnie on God’s amber alert list? Was she one of His lost children? I prayed for one of God’s messengers to reach Bonnie and introduce her to the way, the truth and the life in Jesus.

How many people in our lives would have an “Amber Alert” sign flashing over their head. With this on my mind, I prayed the lost would be found. According to Luke 16, Jesus uses sheep, coins, and a son, to express the seriousness in saving the lost, as He says, “Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of angels over one sinner who repents.” Sheep and coins can be replaced, but not the son (or daughter).
Dear Lord, Equip us to be better servants, and not to miss an opportunity to share Your love. Put your words in our mouths. Amen

© 2013 Lois Gosley