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, March 29, 2013

He's Alive!

Galatians 2:19-21
“For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God.  I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.  The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.  I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”

Sometimes I dream about my dad. He passed away almost three years ago. When I wake from those dreams, I’m comforted by the love I still feel from him. I’m excited and thankful that I’ll see Dad again in heaven. As much as a dream brings me peace and joy, I can’t imagine what Mary Magdalene and the other Mary must have felt after Jesus crucifixion.  They saw him again, and he was alive. “Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him.” Matthew 28:9. He died on the cross, yet he stood in front of them because God raised him from the dead.

Jesus loved me enough to give his life for me. He sacrificed himself for my sins. You see no one is free of sin. Not me or anyone else in this world. God allowed Jesus to live on earth, join in fellowship with the disciples, sit with sinners, and love everyone. Jesus went to the cross for me, he died for me, and he rose from the grave to save me. Thinking about how much Jesus loves me overwhelms me. He died for me—Wow! The best news— He rose from the dead for me and for you.  Jesus saves.  

Saturday, March 23, 2013


Psalm 145:7-9
They celebrate your abundant goodness
    and joyfully sing of your righteousness.
The Lord is gracious and compassionate,
    slow to anger and rich in love.
The Lord is good to all;
    he has compassion on all he has made. NIV

Ephesians 4:32
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. NIV

My daughter shared a quote with me this week from Rick Warren-“Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate."

As a believer and follower of Jesus Christ, I’m called to love and have compassion. Jesus didn’t spend his time sitting around with his disciples gossiping and judging people. Instead, he reached out to those who needed him the most. His purpose— to draw them closer to the Father, to show them the joy of following the one true God, and to redeem them from sin. A tightrope has been drawn that requires a firm balance. As a Christian I hate sin, but love people. The tricky part is that we all sin. So I am called to love everyone. I may not like the personality or choices of the person, but God tells me to show compassion and love. I pray that I can continue to show God’s redeeming love as I live for Christ.

How do you show compassion?

Friday, March 15, 2013

Goody Two-Shoes

1 Peter 4:12-16
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.  If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler.  However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. NIV

The summer between my 8th grade and freshman year, my life changed. At fourteen years old, I accepted Jesus as my Savior. When high school started in August, I looked forward to seeing some of the kids from the church youth group. Unfortunately, my joy hit a wall when another student, who I thought attended church, chose to make fun of me for my decision. I’m surprised that I didn’t find a sign that said goody two-shoes taped to my back. That was my first encounter with suffering as a Christian. For a shy teenager who made a life changing decision, the experience brought devastation and embarrassment.

More than thirty years have passed since then. I’ve learned that making a stand still meets opposition. Sometimes, I suffer. Not in a physical sense, but certainly on an emotional and spiritual level. At times, I’ve been patronized, ostracized, or simply ignored. But at the same time, I’ve also been forgiven, uplifted, and encouraged. The Holy Spirit rests on me and blesses me as he does all of Christ’s followers. So even on the most discouraging days, I know that God has my back and that He loves me. I praise God for his constant care.

By the way, the person who made fun of me in high school ended up renewing our friendship several years later. She found Jesus, too.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

All in a Day's Work

1 Thessalonians 4:11-12
And to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.
Titus 3:14
Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order to provide for urgent needs and not live unproductive lives.

I grew up in a family that valued work. My dad enjoyed the productivity of his jobs. He worked well into his 80s. Even when he could no longer hold a paid job, he found something to do with his hands. After he retired, I’d often find him sitting in his chair, colored pencil in hand, drawing a whimsical scene. My mom cared for our home and ran a business. An artist in her own right, she painted incredibly detailed scenes on canvas. I’m fortunate to have several of their works in my home. Along with all that, they worked in the church and used their talents for God.

Paul taught, the Thessalonians to work with their hands and lead productive lives. I’ve adopted 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 as my life verse. Not so much because I like to work, but because God blessed me with talents that I want to use for him. In my ‘daily’ job, I hope to bring glory to God. I hold myself to his standards and pray each day that he’ll show me how to serve. Through the years the Holy Spirit has encouraged me to create art and to write. What a blessing that’s turned out to be. Through quilting, arts and crafts, and my writer’s group, I’ve connected with so many wonderful people who’ve blessed me with their talents. I hope that I have the ability to work with my hands for many years and so that I may encourage others and show them Christ.
What kind of work do you enjoy the most?

*Also posted on FEBC.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Words-Hurt or Heal

Proverbs 16:23-24
The hearts of the wise make their mouths prudent,

    and their lips promote instruction.
Gracious words are a honeycomb,
    sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

Too many times, as I wandered the aisles of a grocery store, I overheard a parent reprimanding a child with belittling, thoughtless, hurtful words. My heart broke for that child. Yes, a parent needs to discipline, but wise instruction that redirects the little one teaches them without tearing them down. How I speak affects the people who hear me. I even need to choose the words I write with wisdom.

Words have the power to hurt. But, they also have the ability to heal. How I say something is as important as what I say. The proverb tells me that words come from the heart. If my heart’s troubled, I need to step back and spend time with God as I sort through what troubles me and makes my words caustic. Even a pause, prayer and deep breath help.

My friend Debbie shared words of wisdom from Godvine:

T ~ is it true?
H ~ is it helpful?
I ~ is it inspiring?
N ~ is it Necessary?
K ~ is it kind?

Before I open my mouth, I want to remember to check myself. Am I speaking with encouragement and concern, the way God wants me to?