Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the LORD forgave you. Amen. Colossians 3:13 (NIV)
On our second tour to Germany, we lived in a condo. Our boys attended the Hanau American School. One day our son, Pat, came home red-faced and angry. He said a big bully slapped him in the face. With further questioning, he said the boy liked picking on children smaller than himself.
Seething with anger, the next day I waited at the top of the stairwell and heard my sons enter the building. The bully followed them, hitting Pat in the back with his fist. I took the stairs two at a time and got there just as the boy raised his fist again. He stopped when he saw me.
"Where do you live?" I asked.
"Across the street," was his sullen reply.
"You'd better get over there," I said, "and if you come over here again, hitting my sons, I'll report you to the police. I may report it to your father's commanding officer and you could get sent back to the States. No one likes a bully!" He left running, never to return.
Our boys were fine, but anger and hatred lingered in my heart. I wanted that boy to hurt, to feel pain. Knowing it was wrong, I prayed for strength to forgive. The anger remained, making me feel miserable.
One day I opened my Bible to Leviticus 19:18, reading "Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself."
Revenge was God's job, not mine. Peace crept over me that day.
Father, I'm so glad that You sent us a peacemaker, Jesus, to teach us how to be loving and forgiving. Amen.
© 2017 Evelyn B. Ryan
Friday, February 17, 2017
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. Ephesians 6:18 (NIV)
While riding in a Gray Line bus from the airport to a Christian Conference in an unfamiliar city, I spied a boy of about 10 years old. He was sitting behind a barrier, on a cement block, holding a crumpled sign, and facing the on-coming cars. He was not holding a cup for money. I hated to think what he was selling.
As I looked down from the bus that was full of happy people, I saw him looking up at us. He looked scared and cold. It was dinner time, rush hour, and on a school night. Where was his family? He may not have known where he was. I believe he was a victim of human trafficking that is rampant in our country.
Immediately, I tried to think of a way to help him. I was not familiar with the intersection at which our bus was waiting for the red light to turn green, so we could be on our merry way. Here we were sitting high on the warm bus, and he was sitting far below looking up at all the joyful people. He looked very lonely, sad, and desperate.
I started to talk with God and ask how I could help. Prayer was the answer. Since then, I have been praying for this lonely guy, that he would be rescued from the darkness and evil he must be experiencing and brought into the light of Jesus Christ.
Would you join me and pray for all the children that are being trafficked in the world for evil purposes?
Dear Lord, help us to seek your answers in prayer for others.
© 2017 Mary Burkey
Friday, February 10, 2017
I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. Ps. 34:1 (RSV)
Struggling with facts, figures and images, I typed my article for our church newsletter. The office wanted my group’s mission results today, and it was approaching office closing hours. Not being very efficient with my computer, using it only for email and typing, I struggled with the challenges of preparing columns of figures and images.
Gathering the final figures from each teachers’ input sheets, I encountered a mistake and pressed the backspace key to delete it.
THAT’S WHEN IT HAPPENED! My entire column disappeared! Frustrated, angry, and feeling totally hopeless, I called my daughter.
After she heard my 100 word explanation, she said:
“Did you hit ‘undo?’”
“In the upper left corner is an undo symbol—it’s a little circle with its arrow going back.”
As I clicked the undo symbol, my husband entered the room. “What’s for dinner, Honey? Dinner going to be ready soon?”
“I’m busy here! Do you have to nag me now?” I snapped.
“Sorry, dear,” he said, as he slipped out of the room.
Suddenly, my deleted column reappeared. After becoming peaceful again, my bitter and rude attitude I had acted to my husband, reappeared. I humbly apologized and made a weak excuse for my bad behavior.
Next time, I will use “Undo” on my mouth before opening it and putting in my foot.
Dear Lord, thank You for loving us when we are unlovable, for forgiving our sins even before we commit them. I pray to only praise You with my mouth continually. Amen
© 2017 Lois Gosley
Friday, February 3, 2017
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. John 13:35 (NIV)
A wise pastor once said: “Love is the willingness to do for another regardless of the cost to self.” Little did I know, those very words would be tested in the near future.
In 2011, my father sustained life-threatening injuries in an automobile accident. As my father spoke to me from his hospital bed, he uttered the words, “I’m not living as a cripple, Amy.” They were tough words to hear, let alone digest. After praying with him, we were asked to leave. The doctors needed to perform a procedure and visiting hours were over. That was the last time my father was conscious—the last time we spoke with him.
When we arrived at the hospital the following day, the doctors did not have a positive outlook for his recovery. You always hope and pray that you never have to refer to the medical directive of a loved one. It’s just another document in the fireproof box, right? Unfortunately, this was not the case.
After much thought and prayer, I came to the conclusion that in honoring my father’s medical directive, we were respecting the decisions my father made—decisions that were his to make. It did not lessen our feelings of grief, pain or loss. But through obedience, we were able to surrender him to God’s sovereignty and loving care.
Many years ago, Jesus clearly demonstrated the willingness to do for another regardless of the cost to self when He suffered on the cross and died for our sins. I often wonder how God felt as He stood by and watched . . .
© 2017 Amy A. Verzi