For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. —Romans 15:4

Friday, May 28, 2010

Suffering & Joy

I Thessalonians 1:4-7

For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.

The apostle, Paul, writes to the Thessalonian church with the hope of encouraging them to continue to receive the message brought by the Holy Spirit. A message of joy and power enveloped the church and the people continued to move forward despite difficulties and suffering.

During the months of May and June many folks celebrate graduation ceremonies. Seniors graduate from high school, undergrads from college, some schools even host Kindergarten and eighth grade graduations. One thing all of the graduates have in common is their call to move in to the next phase of life. I know when I graduated from high school I wanted to race into the world and pursue my dreams. In my exuberance to conquer the world I stumbled and suffered along the way. But, the beauty in the suffering is that with each heartache and mistake, I drew closer to God because I welcomed his joy and power through the Holy Spirit. By seeking Him, I grew with the Spirit's guidance and rejoiced in my Savior Jesus Christ.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Prayer and Petition

Philippians 4:5-7

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

When my daughters (as young children) prayed their prayers at night, I loved to hear them rattle off all of their loved ones names as they lifted them to Jesus. They folded their dimpled hands and closed their shining green eyes and believed that God heard every word. As children they trusted God with their hearts and requests.

My girls are grown, and I know they still pray for me and all of their family and friends. I am so thankful that God hears them and that he wants to listen to me. When I cry out in despair and pray through tears, he hears my pleas and opens his heart. As my friends and family come to mind and I lift their needs to him, he rejoices. God sees my prayers as an act of trust. When I lift my deepest desires, he knows I believe that he is God, that I know he is in control, and that he holds the answers. The Bible tells me to pray, not just when I want to, not just if I feel like it, but continually as I lift my needs and requests to God who loves me and wants to hear from me.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Love Covers

1Peter 4:8-11a
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.

Yesterday evening several men and women prepared our sanctuary for the "Beautiful You" women's brunch. We moved chairs, rolled tables in, spread table clothes and decorated. As we rolled the tables in and set them up, I noticed each one looked more worn than the next. Some had chips on the edges, duct tape adorned a few and the tops varied in color. Overall, they looked rather dreary. But, when the crisp white table clothes dressed each table, the mismatched mess turned into an inviting area for the beautiful women who would worship God.

Just as the table clothes covered a multitude of dents and tape, God's love covers our ugly sin. He pours his love on us and we in turn pour that love on others. Praise God for his unending love and grace.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Timothy's Faith

2 Timothy 1: 3-5
I thank God, whom I serve... as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.

Paul wrote these words to Timothy, the young preacher he mentored and encouraged. Through Timothy, Paul saw the faith that the young man learned through his mother and grandmother. Growing up, I remember visiting my grammy and seeing the evidence of her faith. She read her Bible often and prayed for all of us every day. My mom taught Bible study classes for women and still enjoys learning about God. Fortunately, I saw my mother and grandmother's faith and grew my own from the roots they propogated.

As Mother's Day is celebrated this year, stop and think of the women who make a difference in your life and who show their faith. As a mother and grandmother, I hope that I can encourage my children and grandchildren to love Jesus and embrace him as their Lord.

Happy Mother's Day!