Friday, July 25, 2014


"...we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive" Acts 20:35 b, c (NIV).

"I don't want to take charity from my kids," Mother insisted, her chin stuck out in a proud, stubborn stance

I said,"Mom, the word charity means love. We love you and want to help if you'll let us."My two sisters nodded in agreement.

"Besides that, Mom, to refuse to let us help you now when you need it is depriving us of our blessing. You did without a lot of things while raising us so now it's our pay back time. The Bible says 'it's more blessed to give than to receive.' (Acts 20:35). Do you want to deprive us of a blessing?"

A sheepish, contrite look came over her sweet face. She slowly shook her head and quietly said "no" as she accepted the envelope. Tears of gratitude ran down her face as she hugged each one of us and said, "I've got the best daughters in the world."

"We followed your example, Mom," I continued. "You have now allowed us to receive God's blessings. You encouraged us to pray and rely on God's word. You spent your life helping others through the teaching of God's Holy Spirit. Now you are learning God's truth about the blessings of receiving."

Thank You, Lord, for giving us the opportunity to enjoy the blessing of giving. Amen.

(c) 2014 E. Bonnie Ryan

Friday, July 18, 2014


And he said to them, Come ye yourselves apart into the desert place, and rest a while.  Mark 6:3 (KJV).

The theme for the Women's Retreat was "Come Away With Me." It was a time of getting away from the pressures of life and renewing my mind, body and soul.

The difficulties of families, jobs and life's unexpected losses can often bring us to our knees in desperation. Yet we become overwhelmed and don't take the time to find a quiet time with God.

Jesus saw the need for the apostles to get away with Him and rest. They had just put John the Baptist in a tomb, and they came to Jesus to see what to do next. Jesus understood the pain and confusion that they felt over the death of their friend. He invited them to come away.

My life of juggling a job, my family, church responsibilities and friends takes so much of my energy that I often put my time with Jesus on the back burner. Jesus is calling me to come away with Him and find rest.

I need to get away with Jesus daily. I need to start and end my day with Jesus. It is through His presence in my life that I find the strength and will to go on. When I rest in Him, I am ready to face whatever challenges life throws at me.

Prayer: Lord, You delight in my relationship with You. May I always take the time to get away from the pressures of life and find rest in Your presence.

(c) 2009 Dawn M. Sexton

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Astonishing Faith

The centurion replied, “…But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man of authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes," Matthew 8:8-9   (NIV).

At the time of Jesus, the Army of Rome was at the height of its power. The centurion was leader over one hundred troops. He knew the power his commands carried when he gave orders to his men.
Scripture does not tell us if this man had ever seen Jesus in person. Certainly he knew of Jesus and knew there was power in the words of Jesus because he simply asked Him to speak the command to heal.
In my mind’s eye I can picture Jesus walking along a path. People are following Him.  Many others are waiting excitedly hoping for His healing touch.
The statement from the centurion indicates that he understood Jesus to be much more than one claiming to be a healer. Evidently the centurion understood Jesus as a man with the authority to speak a command and the universe will obey. 
When Jesus heard the statement from the centurion, He must have stopped what He was doing. Scripture says He was astonished. “…and (He) said to those following him, I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.” Matthew 8:10 (NIV)
The faith of this ancient soldier is a beacon to me. Whatever I ask of Jesus, He is capable of making it happen. The centurion knew this even before the resurrection proved this to be fact.
Lord help me to remember and emulate the unfaltering and sure faith of the Centurion. e wasHe He
© Christy Struben 2014

Friday, July 4, 2014

I Pledge Allegiance

Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's. Mark 12:17 (NIV)

Recently I toured the living history museum at Fort McHenry, Maryland. The underground dungeons were cold and damp. The first chamber had wrist and ankle shackles embedded in the stone walls where enemy soldiers had been imprisoned. Turning to go, I imagined hearing low moans from the chambers behind me. History was thick here.

Outside of the fort we viewed the cannons located on the star points that shaped the outer walls. Here in the War of 1812, American cannons were aimed at the British ships in the Patapsco River trying to break through to the harbor and invade Baltimore.

A huge American flag flew over Fort McHenry as the cannon fire raged through the night. Francis Scott Key, an American aboard a British ship, watched for the flag through the night. At dawn, the damaged flag still flew, prompting Key, to take his pen and write a poem that later became the “The Star-Spangled Banner,” our national anthem.
My trip to Fort McHenry reminded me of the many who have fought to keep America free. I honor them. As U.S. citizens we owe allegiance to those who have sacrificed much to keep this country great. However our first allegiance should be to our God who has blessed us with His salvation.

Thank You Father, that I am free to make my first allegiance to You and to my Savior. Jesus.
© 2014 E. Bonnie Ryan