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, August 24, 2012

Here's a Band-aid

John 3:16-17
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

Recently a co-worker and I attended training for certification in first-aid, CPR and AED. I’ve had opportunity in the past to take the classes, but never did because I’m not medically inclined. My children can tell you, when they were young and didn’t feel well, my general answer was “go to the bathroom” or “here’s a Band-aid.” Now, with some maturity and a refreshed desire to lend a hand, I am thankful for this chance to learn some basic skills that might help save a life.

Thank goodness, Jesus never hesitated to save lives. He not only healed the people around him, he died on the cross to save the lives of anyone who would follow him. John 3:16, a verse that I learned in Sunday school, tells me that Jesus came to earth so that I might go to heaven. As much as I love that truth, I appreciate verse 17 and the fact that he didn’t come to condemn me but to save me. I may never need to use my new skills to save a life, but Jesus saves lives every day. Praise God for his salvation! “We have heard the joyful sound, Jesus saves, Jesus save. Spread the tidings all around, Jesus saves, Jesus saves.” *

*, Priscilla J. Owens

Friday, August 17, 2012

Beautiful Again

Psalm 145:9-13
 Lord is good to all;
    he has compassion on all he has made.
All your works praise you, Lord;
    your faithful people extol you.
They tell of the glory of your kingdom
    and speak of your might,
so that all people may know of your mighty acts
    and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
    and your dominion endures through all generations.

Recently, Tim and I canoed on the Little Miami River. A pleasant breeze drifted across the water as we worked our way downstream. Several other folks enjoyed the day as they drifted along in canoes and kayaks. Many greeted us with smiles or words of encouragement. The stretches that were less populated allowed us to take our time and enjoy God’s glorious creation. A great blue heron flew overhead and a couple of mallards preened on a log. Dragonflies buzzed the canoe and a squirrel pulverized an acorn on a rock.

When I witness nature, I cannot help but see God’s glory. He not only created interesting animals and foliage, he made people. With care he breathed life into every individual as he molded each one in his image. Not on the outside, but in the heart. No matter what I look like, if I am not compassionate toward others or faithful to God, I don’t look like God. Sometimes sin gets in and makes me ugly, but God’s grace erases the scars and makes me beautiful again. I praise God for his compassion and his kingdom.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Like a Child

Matthew 18:2-4
He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (NIV)

Last Sunday, a young boy stood in front of the congregation and talked about the mission trip to Mexico. He traveled south with a group from church that included his parents and sisters. With joy on his face, he spoke about overcoming fear, instilled by folks who did not want him to go, and grasping the faith and courage he needed to make the trip. Adam’s parents prayed with him and talked with him about the journey. They didn’t force him to go. He chose to go because he knew the people needed Jesus. He played with the children his age, worked beside his parents and talked to people about his love for Jesus. His faith shined through.

On Sunday evening, I witnessed a group of children praising Jesus in response to a week of Vacation Bible School. My granddaughter, along with young folks of all ages, gathered in the aisles of the church. They sang songs, clapped their hands, waved their arms and sang at the top of their voices about Jesus. What a blessing to witness all of the children rejoicing. I knew that God blessed me as a witness of the love and joy that Adam and the VBS kids poured out. Jesus words tell me to be like a child— humble, trusting, and faithful. Praise God for the sweet faith of a child.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

He's in Control

Proverbs 16:3
Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established. (KJV)
Proverbs 16:3
Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
    and he will establish your plans. (NIV)

Recently I read Proverbs 16:3 from the King James Version of the Bible. The words resonate with me. As I write devotions every week, I pray that God crafts my thoughts so that I might share his word. For the last two years, I’ve been writing a novel. I never dreamed that God would call me to do that. What God intends to do with the story once I finish, I don’t know. But, I do understand that his call demands trust. Whatever door opens, that’s where I’ll go.

As the KJV brought to mind the arts and writing, reading the verse in the New International Version reminds me that no matter what I do, I need to trust God’s lead. Sometimes prayers go unanswered for a long time. And that may be the case once I send my story out to the publishing world. I’m sure that I will fall into frustration if it goes too long. That’s when I need to remind myself that God establishes my plans. His timing is perfect. He’s in control.