Sunday, April 27, 2014


... But God has so composed the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior part, that there may be no discord in the body, but that the member may have the same care for one another.
1 Corinthians 12:21-25 (NSV)

Several years ago on a clear October morning, I was deep in thought about some of life’s challenges when I heard the joyful singing of Christmas carols through my open kitchen window. The voice was familiar and instantly brought a smile to my face.

The joyful sound came from my teenage neighbor who was born with Down’s Syndrome. This young man lives with the physical and developmental challenges associated with Down’s; he has done so since the beginning of his time— and faces each day with a childlike innocence.

That innocence is reflected in his enthusiastic greeting — he smiles, laughs and says “Hi!”

His care and concern for others is genuine, his heart sincere, his innocence pure. His challenges have no impact on those qualities and those same qualities have the greatest impact on those who know him. I have often referred to him as my hero.

The strength of one who “seems to be weaker” empowers me to face life’s challenges. His role in the lives of those he touches is “indispensible”.

It’s wonderful to know that God loves us all in our imperfections. He gives us each other to love, care for and support in those imperfections as well, that we can learn from each other and grow in that love.

Heavenly Father, thank you for children of innocence who serve as mentors for others, lovingly yet unknowingly. Thank you for the promise of your kingdom and restoration of innocence when we leave this earth— through our salvation in Christ Jesus. In His loving name, Amen.

© 2014 Atalie Shackelford

Friday, April 18, 2014

A Mother's Pain

Go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father, and to my God and your God. John 20:17b (KJV)

I sat in the car holding tightly to the box that held the blue, cold urn containing my son's ashes. I thought about the mother of Jesus, holding her Son's dead, cold body in her arms. She was wracked with the pain of loss. I felt the depth of her pain. Mary hardly saw her Son those three and a half years He ministered in the streets, preaching the Kingdom. I had not seen my son for twelve years. I longed to hold him just once more before he died, but it was not to be.

God raised His Son to the heights of heaven where He reigns with Him today. I raised my son to the top of my china cabinet where he will be until my husband or I expire. His ashes will be put in one of our caskets to be buried with one of us someday.

At John 11:25 Jesus said, I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.

I know that in the resurrection, God can take my son's ashes and build a new, perfect body, to live again in a world cleansed from all sin. My hope is to be there with all of my family.

I once held my warm, wiggly baby boy in my arms. Now I hold him again in a cold, still urn.

Father, I pray that my son's soul ascended to You and that he was forgiven of his trespasses so that he might live with You forever, surrounded by Your love. Amen

(c) E. Bonnie Ryan

Friday, April 11, 2014


For though we live in the world we are not carrying on a worldly war, for the weapons of our warfare are not worldly but have divine power to destroy strongholds. (II Corinthians 10:3,4 RSV)

Bridges are designed to bear, not only their own weight, but the traffic they are intended to carry.  Engineers are especially concerned about the tensile strength of the material in their construction. Tensile strength is the maximum amount of stretching a material can withstand before tearing. If miscalculated, the structure can collapse under pressure.

Our brilliant engineers are doing an excellent job as we look at the magnificent bridges spanning over large valleys and rivers. But what happens if an earthquake, tornado, or a hurricane occurs? The bridge will tumble down.

When depression overshadowed me, a loved one betrayed me, or finances overburdened me , I surrendered them to Him.  He designed me to withstand pressure by relying on His strength. Jesus said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  So, like Paul  “I will boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”(II Cor. 12:9 RSV). I not only survived, I experienced the blessed power of the Lord, and I’m here to say Jesus saved me and He will save you.

When my tensile strength is stretched beyond breaking point, I don’t fall. I have a “Bridge over troubled waters.” When I come to the end of my rope, I cling to His hem.

Thank You, Lord, you are my Living Hope, and nothing is impossible for you. Forgive me for ever doubting Your saving power.  Amen
© 2014 Lois Gosley

Friday, April 4, 2014

Wrinkle Free

That He might present it to himself...not having spot, or wrinkle...that it should be holy and without blemish. Ephesians 5:27a, c. (KJV) 

I finished pressing fourteen shirts for my husband. While ironing, my mind pondered the wrinkles in my life. There are plenty of wrinkles on my face, lots to share if anyone wants a few. When thinking about it, I have earned every one of them over the years. Many of them quietly appeared while raising my three children. If only I could iron them away as easily as ironing them from clothing. 

I pictured the errors in my life causing wrinkles in my spiritual body with each sin. It took the love of God to remove them. When I confess my sins to God, the touch of His forgiving hand irons them out. 

I love my children. As they learned lessons of life, so did I. The Holy Bible is our handout explaining how to raise a child when it's born but many fail to abide by it and so the wrinkles occur. We all stumble over the wrinkles until we finally learn that Jesus will walk beside us making our paths straight. He works out the wrinkles as we walk together. 

I'm getting used to seeing the lines and white hair. I can color the hair but the wrinkles are there to stay as I grow older, a reminder of the lessons I have learned in life. Maybe they aren't so bad after all. 

Jesus, walk with me each day, erasing the wrinkles and blemishes that life has left behind. Thank You for Your blessings and lessons learned. Amen 

© 2013 E. Bonnie Ryan