The subject of a popular Christian song by Matthew West, called “Do Something,” examines the age-old dilemma of pain and suffering in our world. The lyrics cry out, “God, why don’t you do something?” Then, the composer writes his rendition of God's answer, saying, "I did, yeah, I created you.”
As Christ-followers, we are called to be something other than self-serving beings. We are summoned to servanthood, like Jesus.
We gather in houses of worship to honor God as a community of believers, but there is more to Christian life than Sunday-morning worship. Symbolically, we are part of the body of Christ—His hands and feet. We are meant to follow in His footsteps to be messengers of His love and Salvation.
God is the ultimate source for all of our needs. Yet, we weren’t meant to do everything alone. A most important resource is you and me—and all of God’s people together.
The Lord gave us each other—to love, help, encourage—and carry each other’s burdens. And that is one good thing!
“Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” – Rom. 12:13
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” – Galatians 6:2
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” – John 15:12
(Photo courtesy of "Gareth 1953 All Right Now")
When I was a little girl, my Sunday School teacher said, "Jesus lives in your heart." In childlike innocence, I imagined a miniature life-size version of Jesus residing there and wondered how he'd have room to live, sleep or eat in that little space. Others in my class probably wondered the same thing.
As we got older, we understood that it is Jesus' Spirit that dwells inside our hearts.
Years passed. As an adult, I began to question whether we entirely "took to heart" that the Lord resides within us. It was easy to imagine when things were going well. But when faced with difficulties, sometimes we forget He is still with us: in sadness, loss, or mourning; when overwhelmed or devastated; when suffering physically, mentally, or spiritually; when alone or isolated; in this present time of the pandemic, or in other instances that make us question our faith.
But there are no "if's or buts" regarding God's promises. Scripture provides us with the reassurance that He is with us at all times, such as the following verses:
"…I am with you always, even to the end of the age." – Matthew 28:20
"The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed." – Deuteronomy 31:8
"Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?"
- 1 Corinthians 3:16
"But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him." – 1 Corinthians 6:17
" By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit."
– 1 John 4:13
I like to think this is the Lord's way of saying, "I Carry You In My Heart." His unconditional love covers us and surrounds us at all times—and He never lets go.
How's that for love?
Happy Valentine's Day!
“I’d repaint the interior doors white,” the realtor suggested. We took her advice. Once the faded wooden doors were painted, they looked much brighter and updated the house.
When we found our new home, I was thrilled to find white interior doors. The first night a hallway light burned out. As I searched for a bulb in the darkness, I could see where I was going because of the white doors.
According to our friend who is an interior designer, white is not considered a color. Yet, she said she had to take an entire course to learn about its hues and subtleties. Even if it’s not considered a color, I’ve always loved the brightness and “light” of white.
Light. We couldn’t survive without it. God created it so we can live and thrive—and not exist in darkness.
I’ve always loved how the light of day streams through the double white doors in our home. The streams of light remind me of the rays of light that are sometimes displayed in a grand array from the clouds. I like to think of it as a glimpse of what the heavenly realm--God's Kingdom--must look like.
We don’t know what the entrance to heaven will look like; however, Revelations 21:21 speaks of twelve gates made from pearl. Other examples of Scripture mentioning the gate are found in Matthew 7:13-14, Genesis 28:16-17, and Revelations 21:25.
Whatever the appearance, I am certain it will be ten-fold times more splendid than anything we could conceive of on this earthly plane. In heaven, we will be surrounded by indescribable beauty, where we will bask in God’s love—and light—for eternity.
And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” – Genesis 1:3
For descriptions of heaven, see John 14:2-3; Hebrews 12:22-23, and verses from Revelations: 7:9-10; 7:15-17; 11:9; 19:11-14; 21:9-11; 21:21; 22:2; and 22:4-5.
When I was in tenth grade my art class took a field trip to Denver to see student art work selected for display at the May D&F Department store. Afterward, we visited the Denver Art Museum, the largest of its kind between the West Coast and Chicago.
I was awestruck by the distinctive masterpieces in each exhibit, and noticed the artist's signatures, as unique and diverse as their paintings.
Impressed by what I saw, I imagined what it might be like to travel globally to personally view the most famous masterpieces—Da Vinci's Mona Lisa at The Louvre, or The Last Supper, housed at the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan. Many others would await.
Then, most certainly not to be missed, would be the world renowned work of Michelangelo, particularly scenes from The Creation of Adam painted on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome.
My imagination touched back to reality as we boarded the bus to go home. I thought of the magnificent paintings I had seen. Staring out of the window, I watched as a pearlescent sunset illuminated the horizon, brilliant hues of blue, coral, and rose-colored clouds dispersed in swirling wisps across the sky. Then, an opening in the clouds spread diamond-bright beams of light onto the landscape.
The Master Artist, God Himself, at work, His glory was exemplified in one grand "signature" that spread across the sky. There was nothing on the earthly realm that could ever compare.
God's Omnipotence and Power is revealed in His Name: the "Alpha and the Omega" (Revelation 22: 13), the Word (John 1:1), and "I Am" (Exodus 3:14).
God's Handiwork is revealed throughout His Creation. The Master's Signature touches all that He has made—and that includes you and me!
Isaiah 52:6, "My people will know My name; therefore in that day they will know that it is I who foretold it."
*According to Wikipedia, the "I Am" reference appears in the Bible more than 300 times.
The Hebrew word, "Ehyeh," translates to "I Am."
The celebration of New Year's was different for many due to the pandemic. Some gathered in small groups with loved ones; others made phone calls to family and friends or met virtually on Zoom. However celebrated, one thing was likely foremost in our thoughts: what will the next twelve months bring, and will this new year be better than the last? (hopefully so).
When the new year would come, my mother would say, "It’s time to turn over a new leaf.” That is precisely what I’d planned to do. I was good about keeping up with daily prayers, but wanted to start with a clean slate.
As I awoke on New Year's Day, I said my morning prayers, which always included the Lord's Prayer. As I recited the prayer, when I got to "Give us this day our daily bread," the words "this day" caught my attention. It seemed odd. I'd recited the prayer all of my life but had never really given a lot of thought to this part of it.
"Give us this day our daily bread" is a request asking God for sustenance for now. Calling my attention to “this day” was a gentle reminder to focus on the day at hand—instead of worrying about tomorrow, next week, next month, or the year to come.
God's got this. He hears each of our prayers, and He wants us to trust Him in all things.
New Year's resolutions? They're hard to keep, but a daily prayer is a simple thing to do.
May the prayer that Jesus taught be a source of hope and sustenance for you in this New Year--every day!
The Lord's Prayer: Matthew 6:9-13
Our Father, Who Art in Heaven,
Hallowed by Thy Name,
Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be Done,
On Earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us This Day Our Daily Bread,
And Forgive us Our Trespasses,
As we Forgive Those Who Trespass Against us,
And Lead us Not Into Temptation,
But Deliver us From Evil,
For Thine is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory,
Forever and Ever. Amen.
Through God's Word!"
Find inner peace through Positive Thought, through Faith in God and through God's Word.