“My sheep listen to my voice: I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27 (NIV)
Leaving for work one day, I pleaded with my husband to call the doctor to set an appointment. He had not been feeling well for a few days and almost everyone he worked with had been out sick with the flu.
Patrick had asthma most of his childhood, so when he started coughing that morning, I promptly informed him that he needed to listen to his wife and just make the call. Those words fell on deaf ears.
My husband called me later that evening. He was struggling to breathe and was going to the emergency room. This is the text I wanted to send him.
“The people to whom I am sending you are obstinate and stubborn. Say to them. ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says.’ And whether they listen or fail to listen--for they are a rebellious house--they will know that a prophet has been among them.” Ezekiel 2:4-5 (NIV)
While driving to the hospital, my mind wandered to the days when Jesus walked the earth performing numerous miracles in the sight of hundreds, sometimes thousands of people. Yet, after viewing these miracles in person, some still made the decision not to listen to His Word. So many people laid eyes on this Man, not realizing that He was the Savior and their intended King.
Jesus, be with us, O Lord, that we may not only recognize Your voice, but that we may follow through and be obedient to Your Holy Word. Teach us, Father, to listen to the increasing needs of Your children. Lord help us fill their empty baskets to overflowing with Your unconditional love, laughter and joy. In Jesus‘ Almighty name. Amen.
©2014 Denise McKinney
Saturday, March 22, 2014
When the Lord saw that Leah was loved less than Rachel, he made it possible for her to have children, but Rachel remained childless. Genesis 29:31 (GNB)
My mother and father were both born with big, beautiful, sparkling, blue eyes. What happened to me? My eyes are a confused greenish-grey blue rimmed by droopy, red, itchy skin.
I identify with the Old Testament story of Leah.
In his search for a bride, Jacob paid no attention to Leah. He wanted her younger, beautiful sister, Rachel. The Bible says that Leah had “weak eyes.” Due to the subterfuge of Laban, Jacob wound up with both women as wives. Jacob continued to favor Rachel.
Leah felt the rejection.
But God loved Leah. He blessed her with six sons and a daughter while Rachel remained barren for many years. The names Leah gave her sons seem to mark her spiritual growth. She joyfully named her first son, Reuben, which means, “behold a son.” Evidently she believed that God heard her prayers and tears because she named her next son, Simeon, which means “hearing me.”
When Leah’s third son was born, she felt the continued blessings of God and sensed her husband’s pleasure with her. She named this son Levi, which means “joined or attached.” When her fourth son was born she was overcome with thanksgiving to God and named him Judah which simply means “praise.”
The lineage of Jesus came through the union of Leah and Jacob and their son, Judah. What an honor!
Leah’s life reminds me that in the story of mankind, looks are of little consequence to our God. Living in God’s plan and love is what matters.
Lord, keep my eyes on the eternal, not on what’s only of the earth. Amen
© Christy Struben 2014
Friday, March 14, 2014
“…O if I had the wings of a dove…” (Ps. 55:6a RSV)
I’d like to be a time traveler. Maybe applying the theories of relativity and quantum physics, along with highly developed Star Trek knowledge, and piloting a Jetson transporter, I could go back in time and relive some of the bad things and redo them properly.While back in time, I’d correct my wrongs by being smarter and cancel my sins by making wiser choices. As a result, my life today would be less burdened.
Bow your head with me in repentance, my fellow sinner. Jesus already erased our sins. Jesus’ blood, shed in the past, still cleans us in the future. If you choose to carry your burdens, you might as well go back to “sewing fig leaves together” and turn in your “garment of skin” (Gen.3:7, 20).
The younger me did her best. The wiser me of today should not find fault. Carrying the big burden of those trials, thinking I should have known better, should have seen the signs, is a waste of time and energy that could be used in a more positive way. Although my sins are forgiven, it is by Jesus’ grace and mercy that I live victoriously with the consequences.
While transporting myself back in time, with my inadequate sense of direction, I’d probably make a wrong turn anyway and land in the Flintstones’ backyard. There, with my little pick ax and stone slab, I would be found chipping away—still working on my first draft of my novel.
Therefore, I will park my back-in-time spaceship and gratefully stay here.Thank you, Lord, for loving the unlovable me. Quicken me to love the same. Forgive me for thinking there’s another way to victory. Amen
© 2014 Lois Gosley
Friday, March 7, 2014
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11 (KJV)
Today it is my birthday. It is the first of three birthdays that I celebrate each year. I am past the half century mark and closer to the grave.
Yet I know that I am loved. I will go out to dinner, get cards, receive birthday wishes on the social media and get a few phone calls from family and friends. I might even get a few presents.
There is a second birthday that holds special meaning to me as well. It is the day that I accepted Jesus as my Savior. I am reborn and renewed through the blood of Jesus. While I may not receive any phone calls or any gifts I do celebrate this birth. I know that this birthday is greater than my physical one.
But there is a third birthday that holds greater meaning to me than both my physical and spiritual birth. It is the birth of Jesus.
Jesus’ birth gave mankind the chance to be redeemed. The day He was born all our lives received a gift greater that any that we can receive from our love ones. All the meals, cards and birthday greetings cannot hold a candle to importance of His birth.
Today is my birthday. The greatest gift I ever received was the gift of Jesus’s love. My first two birthdays are nothing compares to His. Jesus’ birthday made my life complete.
Thank you, Jesus, for giving the greatest birthday gift of all ─ your love. Without it I would not be made whole.
Sunday, March 2, 2014
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy— think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the peace of God will be with you. (Philippians 4:8, 9)
There have been instances in life when the feeling of having been thrown to the wolves overcame me. Truly knowing the feeling of God’s peace and presence at those times may have given me a different perspective of things.
In the not too distant past, I was faced with having to make an untimely, life altering decision. Whether or not to walk away from a situation was in question as to yet again turn the other cheek was not an option. When situations become so untenable that understanding and resolution are not part of the equation the question becomes how do I respond?
In such situations, instinctively, we may find ourselves in fight or flight mode when a choice must be made before a situation spins out of control and our overall well being is at risk.
In reading this scripture I am reminded of the importance of having charge over my own perception and response, important things to consider and the outcome in doing so.
My choice was to walk away. In the very moment of that decision I felt God’s peace. In the months that followed, and in my uneasiness of what the future had in store, I gained deeper insight into some of God’s most precious gifts … His peace, love and faithfulness.
Heavenly Father, thank you for the gifts of discernment, courage, faith and Your peace in life’s troublesome times. In Jesus’ name.
© 2014 Atalie Shackelford