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George K
Posted: Tuesday, April 10, 2018 6:47 AM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2823


“We bid you welcome, who come with weary spirit seeking rest.
Who come with troubles that are too much with you.
Who come hurt and afraid.

We bid you welcome, who come with hope in your heart.
Whoever you are, whatever you are,
Wherever you are on your journey,
We bid you welcome.”

Richard S. Gilbert



 “From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” (John 1:16 ) 

In the creation story, humankind is given a special place in the world. God breathed the breath of life into humankind. That breath of life was not shared with any other part of creation.

This special relationship we have with God is based upon grace. This story about Bob Stamps can teach us a few things about grace. Bob was a delightful man who was also bald. One night he and his wife decided to go out to dinner and hired a baby sitter to take care of their little children.

While they were gone, the baby sitter got interested in a television program and wasn't watching the children very carefully. Their little boy, Peter, got into his father's electric shaver and shaved a big landing strip right down the middle of his head.

When his father came home, he was furious. He said, "Peter! I told you never to play with my shaver. Now you are going to get a spanking that you will never forget!" Peter was just about to get a spanking when Peter looked up at his dad and said, "Wait until you see sister!" Bob and his wife were horrified.

They went into the next room and there was their little four-year-old daughter with her hair shaved off. By this time Bob was really furious. He grabbed up Peter and said, "Now you are really going to get it."

Just as he lifted his hand Peter looked up at his dad, with tears in his eyes, and said, "But Daddy! WE WERE JUST TRYING TO LOOK LIKE YOU!" All Peter's dad could do was offer his son a hug of love and grace.

Dear God, thank you for touching me with grace. May I live it. In Jesus name, Amen.

George K
Posted: Wednesday, April 11, 2018 6:58 AM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2823

Quinn G. Caldwell

April 11, 2018


"The idols of the nations are silver and gold, the work of human hands.  They have mouths, but they do not speak; they have eyes, but they do not see; they have ears, but they do not hear, and there is no breath in their mouths.  Those who make them and all who trust them shall become like them." - Psalm 135:15-17

"Papa?" I hear my seven-year-old calling curiously from upstairs, where we're supposed to be playing Legos.  I had told him I'd be right back, and I meant it when I said it, but I glance at the clock on my phone and realize that that was like fifteen minutes ago.  I've been hiding in the bathroom all this time, scrolling through Facebook.  I'm hiding in the bathroom because, you see, I am a Good Parent and I know that Bad Parents stare at their screens all day, while their children watch them watching their screens, and so learn from their parents' Bad Examples.  Therefore, to set a Good Example, I hide in the bathroom to stare at my screen so my son won't see me do it.  Instead, he will simply wonder why I've ditched him.  Because, as I said, I am a Good Parent.

The Bible's full of warnings against worshiping idols, but Psalm 135 names the scariest of all the reasons: you become like what you worship.  Worshipers of statues, the psalmist says, become silent, unhearing, unseeing.  By just about any definition of "idol," my phone is one, and by just about any definition of "worship," I am one of its most devoted worshipers.  If the psalmist is right, then I am in very real danger, alone here in the bathroom, of becoming like this sleek little god in my hand: loud with nothing to say, flashy with no beauty, outraged with no action, funny with no compassion, promising with no fulfillment.  Id without superego.  Form without substance.  All heat and no light.

"Papa, what are you doing?" he yells from upstairs.  And because even I can sometimes manage to hear the word of the living God in the voice of the prophet, I dash my idol against the stones* and head upstairs to try to be present, aware, loving, deep, and real, like the One whom I'd actually rather be worshiping.

*aka "put it in airplane mode"


God, save me from becoming click bait.  Amen.


George K
Posted: Wednesday, April 11, 2018 7:23 AM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2823

The Smell of Rain (a true story)

A cold March wind danced around the dead of night in Dallas as the Doctor walked into the small hospital room of Diana Blessing. Still groggy from surgery, her husband David held her hand as they braced themselves for the latest news. That afternoon of March 10,1991, complications had forced Diana, only 24 weeks pregnant, to Danae Lu Blessing. 

At 12 inches long and weighing only one pound and nine ounces, they already knew she was perilously premature. Still, the doctor’s soft words dropped like bombs. I don’t think she’s going to make it, he said, as kindly as he could. “There’s only a 10 percent chance she will live through the night, and even then, if by some slim chance she does make it, her future could be a very cruel one.” Numb with disbelief, David and Diana listened as the doctor described the devastating problems Danae would likely face if she survived. She would never walk, she would never talk, she would probably be blind, and she would certainly be prone to other catastrophic conditions from cerebral palsy to complete mental retardation, and on and on. “No! No!” was all Diana could say. She and David, with their 5-year-old son Dustin, had long dreamed of the day they would have a daughter to become a family of four. Now, within a matter of hours, that dream was slipping away. 

Through the dark hours of morning as Danae held onto life by the thinnest thread, Diana slipped in and out of sleep, growing more and more determined that their tiny daughter would live, and live to be a healthy, happy young girl. But David, fully awake and listening to additional dire details of their daughter’s chances of ever leaving the hospital alive, much less healthy, knew he must confront his wife with the inevitable. David walked in and said that we needed to talk about making funeral arrangements. Diana remembers, ‘I felt so bad for him because he was doing everything, trying to include me in what was going on, but I just wouldn’t listen, I couldn’t listen. I said, “No, that is not going to happen, no way! I don’t care what the doctors say; Danae is not going to die! One day she will be just fine, and she will be coming home with us!” 

As if willed to live by Diana’s determination, Danae clung to life hour after hour, with the help of every medical machine and marvel her miniature body could endure. But as those first days passed, a new agony set in for David and Diana. Because Danae’s under-developed nervous system was essentially raw, the lightest kiss or caress only intensified her discomfort, so they couldn’t even cradle their tiny baby girl against their chests to offer the strength of their love. All they could do, as Danae struggled alone beneath the ultraviolet light in the tangle of tubes and wires, was to pray that God would stay close to their precious little girl. There was never a moment when Danae suddenly grew stronger.

 But as the weeks went by, she did slowly gain an ounce of weight here and an ounce of strength there. At last, when Danae turned two months old, her parents were able to hold her in their arms for the very first time. And two months later-though doctors continued to gently but grimly warn that her chances of surviving, much less living any kind of normal life, were next to zero. Danae went home from the hospital, just as her mother had predicted.

Today, five years later, Danae is a petite but feisty young girl with glittering gray eyes and an unquenchable zest for life. She shows no signs, what so ever, of any mental or physical impairment. Simply, she is everything a little girl can be and more-but that happy ending is far from the end of her story. 

One blistering afternoon in the summer of 1996 near her home in Irving, Texas, Danae was sitting in her mother’s lap in the bleachers of a local ballpark where her brother Dustin’s baseball team was practicing. As always, Danae was chattering non-stop with her mother and several other adults sitting nearby when she suddenly fell silent. Hugging her arms across her chest, Danae asked, “Do you smell that?” Smelling the air and detecting the approach of a thunderstorm, Diana replied, “Yes, it smells like rain.” Danae closed her eyes and again asked, “Do you smell that?” Once again, her mother replied, “Yes, I think we’re about to get wet, it smells like rain. Still caught in the moment, Danae shook her head, patted her thin shoulders with her small hands and loudly announced, “No, it smells like Him. It smells like God when you lay your head on His chest.” Tears blurred Diana’s eyes as Danae then happily hopped down to play with the other children.

Before the rains came, her daughter’s words confirmed what Diana and all the members of the extended Blessing family had known, at least in their hearts, all along. During those long days and nights of her first two months of her life, when her nerves were too sensitive for them to touch her, God was holding Danae on His chest and it is His loving scent that she remembers so well. 

George K
Posted: Thursday, April 12, 2018 6:56 AM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2823

“And he said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation.’" (Mark 16:15  )

As a child, I'm sure our parents gave us many last-minute words. Just before you got out of the car for day care, they may have said, "Don't forget to wear your mittens." Or when you went to a friend's house, your parent's last words to you might have been, "Now you be nice while you're at his/her house." Or when you went to sing in the children's choir at church, the last thing your mom or dad said to you was, "Now sing really loud." And what was the last-minute thing that mom or day said before we went to bed? "I love you." Those are nice last words. Many of those last-minute instructions were very important. They saved those words for last because they wanted us to remember them.

Jesus said some very important last words, too. Just before Jesus went to heaven for good, He told His disciples two very important things: one, that He was the savior of the whole world, and two, that they needed to go out and tell people his message of salvation, forgiveness and love.

Are your last-minute words about sharing Jesus' message?

Dear God, help me to remember and live Jesus' last-minute words. In Jesus name, Amen.  

George K
Posted: Friday, April 13, 2018 6:20 AM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2823

April 13, 2018  by Rosemary Hagedorn

I am the proud owner of a Global Positioning System (GPS) navigational device for my car. I just punch in an address and it will direct me which way to go. But sometimes, the GPS will take me down roads that I've never driven before, and I find out how many beautiful landscapes the province of Ontario offers. This device has taken us through some very scenic countryside as well as memorable sights that I will cherish forever. Sometimes, when I haven't taken the time to update the device, I've come to a dead end, and had to turn around and take another path until the GPS was able to locate us and redirect us towards our destination.

As I was thinking about this, I thought about the gift that we are given when we accept and believe that Jesus sacrificed His life for us: our personal GPS — God's Personalized Spirit.

John 14:26 – But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. (NASB)

God's personalized Spirit will direct us if we listen, trust, and obey.

We may find ourselves in strange places that we've never dreamed of — on account of the leading of the Spirit. Due to the nudging of the Spirit of God within us, we may sacrifice our time, or do things that we had never thought of doing, or stand up for persons that are unable to fend for themselves.

1 Corinthians 2:12 – Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God. (NASB)

Are you willing to follow where God's Spirit is leading you?

Prayer: Lord God, thank You for sending us our own GPS. May we take the time to listen, obey, and follow the road that You place before us. Grant us the courage and compassion to follow Your prompting. Amen. 

George K
Posted: Saturday, April 14, 2018 5:40 AM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2823

“And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again’." (John 8:11 )

Daniel Defoe, the author of ROBINSON CRUSOE, ran away from home and went to sea as a young man. His father protested young Defoe's plans, and his mother wept. But Defoe was determined to have his way. On his very first voyage out, his ship was wrecked and young Defoe barely escaped with his life. He saw his foolishness and the bad choice he had made, but he was afraid to go back home because he knew his friends would make fun of him. Remembering how he felt, Defoe came to the conclusion that people are not ashamed of sin, but they are ashamed to repent.

That's an interesting thought. Are we more ashamed of changing directions than we are continuing in our sin?

Dear Jesus, give me the boldness to change directions and to sin no more. Amen.


 “They were saying, ‘The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!’" (Luke 24:34  )

There was a new report that archaeologists in the Holy Land had excavated the tomb of Caiaphas, the high priest. It was Caiaphas, you will remember, who presided over the plot to have Jesus arrested, convicted and crucified. Do you know what they discovered when they opened Caiaphas' tomb? They found Caiaphas. They found the decayed body and bones of the man who led those who instigated Jesus' death.

I could not help but be struck by the fact that the archaeologists found the high priest's decayed body in his tomb, but nobody has ever found the body of Jesus. Why? Because he is not dead. He is alive with our heavenly Father.

God of life, thank you for the hope and salvation I have in Jesus Christ. In Jesus name, Amen.

George K
Posted: Sunday, April 15, 2018 5:50 AM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2823

April 15, 2018 by Lynne Phipps

Jeremiah 29:13 – You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. (NIV)

My toddler granddaughter loves prune plums. My daughter buys the canned ones, as they are much softer and easier for the baby to eat. Not long ago when I was minding the baby, I had to open up a new can of plums for her breakfast. I fished out two and then cut each of them into four pieces for her breakfast. After she was finished and I was wiping down her pocket bib, I was horrified to discover a prune plum pit. My first thought was, Thank goodness she didn't swallow that! After breakfast, I emptied the remainder of the can of plums into the container that my daughter uses to store them in the refrigerator and realized that the plums were not pitted. Oh my, I thought, and the baby had two plums. Well, as you can imagine, I had some anxious moments over the next two days until the little one presented me with that second pit when I changed her diaper.

So, what on earth does this have to do with anything spiritual? Well, I think, perhaps for me, quite a bit. You see, when I gave her the plums for breakfast, I didn't have my glasses on. But when I was putting them into the refrigerator container, I did, and this time, those pits didn't get past me. Seeing as they were the same colour as the plums and quite slippery, it was easy for those pits to get by me the first time — not so easy the second time. I have also found this when I am reading Scripture. When I am just sitting and reading for my quiet time, hidden truths often slip by me unnoticed. But when I take the time to study a passage, to do a bit of research on something I don't understand, to meditate upon it, or to discuss it with others, it is like having spiritual glasses on. What I had not seen at first within the passage or verse suddenly becomes much clearer. I often discover something important that I had missed, which gives me a whole new or deeper understanding about God or the things that He requires of us. Unlike plum pits, which need to be removed, God's hidden truths are gems meant to be digested into our lives.

So, after my lesson with the pitted plums, I think I will make a concentrated effort to work a little harder concerning wearing my spiritual glasses when I have my quiet times with Scripture. How about you? Are you seeing God's truth as clearly as you would like to, or could you benefit from some spiritual glasses, too?

Prayer: Lord God, help us to really want to see the hidden truths within Your Word. May we be willing to meditate and research and discuss the Scriptures with others, that we might be more deeply blessed as we discover spiritual gems just waiting to be unearthed. In Christ's name, we pray. Amen. 

George K
Posted: Monday, April 16, 2018 7:02 AM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2823

“God's love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him.” (1 John 4:9 )

I read a true story about a young man named Charlie who was in love with a charming young lady named Ava. She was in love with Charlie, but so far he had been unable to persuade her to marry him. Then one day he invited her to lunch. They drove to the Los Angeles Coliseum, the largest sports arena on the West Coast.

In the center of the vast playing field were placed a small table and two chairs. A captain showed them to the table, seated them, and a waiter waited behind each chair. Apart from this small oasis, the Coliseum was empty. Something like 100,000 empty seats stared down at Charlie and Ava.

The table was elegantly set. Dinner was great, and as they were waiting for dessert, Charlie directed Ava's attention to the huge electronic scoreboard at the far end of the field.

In a prearranged signal he raised his glass, and on the board flashed the words, "Darling Ava, will you marry me?" She said yes!

Why can't God do something like that for us? God has in Jesus Christ. Will we say yes today?

Loving God, you said yes to me, and today I say yes to you. In Jesus name, Amen.


April 16, 2018 by Valerie Dunn

Song of Solomon 2:15 – Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom. (NIV)

Matthew 7:7 – Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. (NIV)

I have mobility issues, and getting up and down the two front steps outside my townhouse is a challenge. Recently, I realized that every time when I planned to go out, I was getting anxious ahead of time about getting up that second step. I asked myself, "What is going on here?"

Frustrated, I said to the Lord, "I don't want this; it is messing up my life! Please, dissolve it!"

I felt a subtle shift inside me. I thought about the step again — and the fear was gone.

Soon, I discovered other things which I did not realize were related to the spirit of fear. Like the little foxes in today's Scripture, they nibble away, undermining our lives, so subtly that we do not know that it is happening.

I realized that one of them was the fear of confrontation. Coming from a background of family conflict fuelled by alcohol, I have had great difficulty with conflict. Understanding the basis of it didn't help. I toughed it out as best I could.

I now understand that I was angry when I had to tell someone, "I don't agree" or "This action is not helpful", and that the anger was rooted in fear.

Now, I am learning to deal with conflict without anger, and I try to make sure that whatever I do is rooted in love. I have to examine myself carefully because mixed motives creep in: "Ha! Now, I can get even over … ." When I find a bad motive, I ask the Lord to dissolve it.

Amazingly enough, my experiences with conflict are starting to change. Others respond in a level, reasonable manner, and may even consider my point of view.

As for the tricky step into my house, I check within. Is that spirit of fear lurking about? All has been well except once, when I felt a sense of unease. Indeed, that day I was especially stiff and had a little trouble. My deeper self was not fearful; it was telling me, You need extra caution today.

So now, I am learning the difference between fear and wise caution.

I know that when the Lord has acted in our lives, the unwanted behaviour can creep back in. I am vigilant, as I don't want the spirit of fear back!

So, what can we all learn from this? The Lord wants us to grow in self-awareness and in faith. He will help us to do that if we are willing to work with Him.

If you have a fear or other behaviour that you don't want in your life, talk to Him about it. Your experience may be different than mine, but I know that He listens and cares. He can help in whatever way is best for you. Why not ask Him now?

Prayer: Dear Lord, I have a behaviour in my life which I know does not honour You. I ask You now to remove it or show me how to do so. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen. 

George K
Posted: Tuesday, April 17, 2018 6:30 AM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2823

“All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, ‘What does this mean?’" But others sneered and said, ‘They are filled with new wine.’" (Acts 2:12-13 )

In the days of the great California gold rush some prospectors discovered a very rich mine. "We've got it made," they said, "As long as we don't tell anybody else before we stake our claims." And they made a vow of secrecy.

But they had to go into town for provisions and tools. When they left the town, a great host of people followed them. Why? Their "secret" was written all over their faces. It was impossible for them to hide what they had found.

It was impossible for the disciples to mask their joy on that first Pentecost. They were so happy and so boisterous that some passersby accused them of being intoxicated.

Are you so excited about your faith that others think you are a bit weird?

Dear Jesus, help me to show my excitement in serving you. Amen.


April 17, 2018 by Brenda Vargas

John 8:36 – So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. (RSV)

I was busy at the computer one morning, and I got tired of listening to the aggravating buzzing of a fly around the room. I was tempted to go and get the fly swatter, but as we all know, as soon as we get that in our hand, the word is out, and the flies disappear, right?

When it became obvious that the buzzing was coming from the window area, I got up and slowly opened the window for it to fly out. Instead, the silly thing flew back into the room. I stood and waited for it to come around again and maybe then it would see its freedom. Again, it flew around, but it did not take advantage of my generous offer of freedom. This only lasted a few more flights around the room, but then, it saw the light and flew out.

Wow! It hit me that this is just like us: God offers us forgiveness as a way out of our sin, and we may fly around the idea but not accept His offer of freedom. Eventually, we may do so. Sooner — rather than later — would be the best, but God is patient and understanding, so He waits.

I cannot explain accurately just how I felt when I opened the window and the fly flew out! Wow! I gave it its freedom, instead of using the fly swatter. Thank You, Jesus, for offering us life instead of death. Thank You for being patient and understanding in the process.

Heart's Door

Thank You, Jesus …
For standing at my heart's door
Waiting to give me so much more.
If He isn't within you, I implore
Quickly open your heart's door.
He will give you love, peace, and joy.
Oh! to seek His warm and wonderful grace
Just look up and focus on that loving face.
Jesus is there through thick and thin,
He will take you out of bondage and sin.
Ask Jesus in, He'll give you so much more
But first, you have to open your heart's door.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we thank You so much for Your patience. You love us so much and have only good things to give us. Help us to realize what we have in You, Lord. Please bring people to the point of opening their hearts and asking You in, so that they, like the fly, will have freedom and abundant life. In Your precious name, we pray. Amen. 

George K
Posted: Wednesday, April 18, 2018 6:46 AM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2823

A wonderful children’s book, Old Turtle and the Broken Truth, written by Douglas Wood with watercolor illustrations by Jon J. Muth, tells an imaginary story of how the world came to be so fragmented when it is meant to be whole and how we might put it back together again.

In a far-away land that “is somehow not so far away,” one night a truth falls from the stars. And as it falls, it breaks into two pieces—one piece blazes off through the sky and the other falls straight to the ground. One day a man stumbles upon the gravity-drawn truth and finds carved on it the words, “You are loved.” It makes him feel good, so he keeps it and shares it with the people in his tribe. The thing sparkles and makes the people who have it feel warm and happy. It becomes their most prized possession, and they call it “The Truth.” Those who have the truth grow afraid of those who don’t have it, who are different than they are. And those who don’t have it covet it. Soon people are fighting wars over the small truth, trying to capture it for themselves.

A little girl who is troubled by the growing violence, greed, and destruction in her once peaceful world goes on a journey—through the Mountains of Imagining, the River of Wondering Why, and the Forest of Finding Out—to speak with Old Turtle, the wise counselor. Old Turtle tells her that the Truth is broken and missing a piece, a piece that shot off in the night sky so long ago. Together they search for it, and when they find it the little girl puts the jagged piece in her pocket and returns to her people. She tries to explain, but no one will listen or understand. Finally a raven flies the broken truth to the top of a tower where the other piece has been ensconced for safety, and the rejoined pieces shine their full message: “You are loved / and so are they.” And the people begin to comprehend. And the earth begins to heal. 

George K
Posted: Wednesday, April 18, 2018 6:49 AM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2823

"They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them." (John 14:21 )

We can sympathize with British philosopher and mathematician Bertrand Russell who was once asked what he would say if after death he found himself confronted by God. Russell replied, "I shall say to Him, 'Why did you make the evidence of your existence so insufficient?'"

There is a part of us that says with Thomas, "Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe." We all long for certainty. But that is one gift that God has not granted us.

If God's aim is to produce mature spirits fit to spend eternity in God's presence, it makes sense that God would not reveal Himself in God's fullness to us. Such certainty would keep us perpetually immature. If a child knows that his father will always be there to solve every problem, to resolve every crisis, to comfort every sorrow, the child will never develop self-reliance. Our insecurity may be essential to spiritual growth.

God of peace, I know my world is not secure, but in you I will grow in your strength. In Jesus name, Amen.


April 18, 2018 by Rod Marshall

John 8:32 – And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. (ESV)

Zoë is my eldest daughter from my second marriage, and she will be ten years old in the summer. Along with her younger sister Sophia, they are at a Church of England primary school where I am a Vision and Values governor. Every term, we promote a Christian value. This term's value has been truthfulness.

It seems to me that this is an attention-grabbing value for young people in modern times, for when used by adults, it appears to have become a more distant and blatantly feeble version of God's original intention.

Let me make it clear: we all tell lies. It is a developmental part of growing up. Sooner or later, we face up to the significance of lying. So, it is just a matter of how big it is, and whether it is blatant, expedient, supportive, or polite: It's okay for me to take everyday office supplies. You look great! I love you. I'm fine. Of course, I will. Just a moment. Let me call you back straight away. And so it goes on.

As I am often in the school office, I had an envelope given to me recently, passed on from Zoë's classroom teaching assistant. Inside was a copy of Zoë's work in class. Later, I met the classroom aide, and she was extremely effusive about how Zoë had answered the question for a written prayer.

The Personal Social and Health Education class was given the following as a reflective starter to write a prayer for assembly:

We thank You for the peace we feel when we are truthful and the way You trouble us inside when we tell lies. Give us Your courage to be honest whatever the cost.

My oversight on behalf of the school as a Vision and Values governor made me read and re-read it more carefully the second time, and I noticed the use of "Your". It is loaded with godly insight.

Zoë and I often reflect upon God's input on our lives and the world around us. I help to shine the light as best I can, but now I see that all my children have understanding and awareness of God through Jesus. Her answer to the assignment was as follows:

T – Tell us we are wrong when we lie
R – Remind us that we should be honest
U – Unite us with friends we lost from fibbing
T – Temptation to lie can be stopped
H – Hold us close to You when it is hard

Anyway, I thought that there is more than enough for us to grapple with today from the openness of a young child dealing with life and truth. Where are we?

Prayer: Lord, we thank You that You always love us, even when we get it wrong and we are weak or fearful in the company of others, or even You. Thank You for Your restorative justice that wants to bring us back to the narrow path, and where possible, to show us how we can undo the harm of sin, that Your light may overcome the darkness of negative emotions. Grant us Your courage to seek to mend our friendships when they have gone wrong. Please show us where You have for us to go today. May we let Your light be in us. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen. 

George K
Posted: Thursday, April 19, 2018 5:39 AM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2823

What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? (Romans 8:31 )

It is interesting how often the name of God slips out on the lips of even those officially committed to atheism. TIME magazine reported how former Prime Minister Gorbachev of the Soviet Union was forced to edit his own remarks when he visited the U.N. several years ago. Before he spoke to the General Assembly, Gorbachev met with U.N. Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar. When Perez de Cuellar thanked Gorbachev for the Soviets' recent support for U.N. peacekeeping efforts, Gorbachev answered, "God is on your side at the United Nations." After a short pause, he rephrased his statement in a more orthodox Marxist fashion: "The objective trends of what is happening in history are on your side," he said. We cannot be surprised at the Soviet Premier's verbal slip.

Remember that God is on your side!

Dear God, sometimes there are doubts, but deep in my heart I know you are truly on my side. Thank you. Amen.


April 19, 2018 by Cassandra Wessel

John 12:35-36 – Then Jesus told them, "You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. The man who walks in the dark does not know where he is going. Put your trust in the light while you have it, so that you may become sons of light." When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them. (NIV)

For those darkest hours of the night when I am too tired to see anything clearly, I keep a small night light burning in the kitchen to guide my steps. At that time of night, I'm half sleep walking.

Sometimes, I feel like that during broad daylight, when it comes to my Christian walk with the Lord. With so much violence in the world these days, like suicide bombings in the Middle East and mass shootings in the United States, it feels as if Jesus has left us and hidden Himself. Yet, Scripture assures us that Jesus will be with us to the end of the age, whether we perceive Him among us or not. Jesus promised us this before He returned to heaven.

Matthew 28:18-20 – Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (NIV)

Whenever we become tense or worried due to the televised mayhem foisted upon us, let's keep Jesus' final words in the forefront of our minds. No matter what evil comes into our lives, Jesus will be with us, invisibly holding our hands and walking with us through whatever comes. He will strengthen and encourage us.

No matter what happens, Jesus will always be with us.

Prayer: Father God, we come to You, laying the troubles in this world before You, praying for the Holy Spirit to comfort us and bring peace into our lives, for we pray in Jesus' name. Amen. 

George K
Posted: Friday, April 20, 2018 6:14 AM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2823

And he said to him, "Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you." (John 21:17 )

Bob Wallace was always a loving child. Once, when Bob was ten, he used one finger to laboriously type this message for his mother, Joanne: "Thankyou Mother. Thankyou Mother For Loving Me; Thankyou Mother For Caring for Me; Thankyou Mother For Your Care & Kindness, Even When You [Are Busy]; I Love You!" Needless to stay, Joanne still has that beautiful compliment tucked away in her memory book.

After he was about fourteen, Bob stopped telling Joanne he loved her. Instead he would say, "Oh, Mom, you sure look pretty." He would even give her such compliments at 7:00 a.m., as she stumbled sleepily around the kitchen making breakfast. Finally one morning Joanne stated, "I do not look pretty." "Don't you realize, Mom," explained Bob, "that when I say those things, it's just like saying 'I love you'?" Bob had reached the age when it was hard for him to say, "I love you." His compliments were simply an attempt to communicate his love.

The resurrected Jesus was walking along the seashore with Simon Peter. Jesus asked Peter, "Do you love me?" This was a hard question for a fisherman from the docks. Peter wasn't like the goofy fellow in the beer commercial who blurts out, "I love you, man!" in order to get the other man's beer. Peter was not used to sharing at such a personal level. But he did say, "Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you."

Dear God, I love you! In Jesus name, Amen


April 20, 2018 by Martin Wiles

Genesis 3:8 – When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the Lord God among the trees. (NLT)

Walking in the garden was a Sunday afternoon tradition.

Edisto Gardens is located in Orangeburg, South Carolina, USA — the only town that the 250-mile-long Edisto River passes through. The river is one of only a few blackwater rivers — so named because the decaying vegetation falls into the river and gives it a black appearance. A smaller pond filled with fish and turtles idles near a rose garden where prize roses show off their sparkling blooms. Several paths meander on either side of the paved road snaking through the middle of the gardens. Moss-covered oaks keep most of the garden shaded. Several small covered sheds provide a resting place for those who want to sit and admire the beauty.

When I was a small boy, my paternal grandfather brought me here every Sunday afternoon. It was our alone time. We stopped in the sheds so that I could read the names of those who had disobeyed park rules and carved their names in the wood. We ambled along the river's edge to the waterwheel. It served no purpose but continued turning as if it did. And my granddaddy held my hand as I walked along the rock wall, trying to maintain my balance. Spending time in the garden with my grandfather was always enjoyable.

Walking in the cool of the Garden of Eden with God must have been enjoyable for Adam and Eve as well. Wondering how two people could walk with God — or questioning whether or not He was physically present — misses the point. They spent time with their Creator. How long this continued before the tempter showed up, we can't be sure. I suppose that growing older interrupted my walks with my grandfather. Disobedience did for the first couple.

God wants nothing more than to enjoy these garden walks with us. It happens initially through accepting what His Son did on Calvary's cross, but it continues thereafter through the spiritual disciplines of prayer, Bible study, and fellowship with other believers. Sin, misplaced priorities, busyness, and any number of other things can disrupt our garden walks, but they don't have to.

Though God expelled Adam and Eve from the garden, He still walked with them when they confessed and sought reconciliation. He'll do the same for us when we copy their behaviour.

Don't let anything interfere with your garden walks with the Father.

Prayer: Father, thank You for Your willingness to walk with us through every day of our lives. Amen.

George K
Posted: Saturday, April 21, 2018 7:24 AM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2823

Fools say in their hearts, "There is no God." (Psalms 14:1 )

Pope John Paul once said that he would never forget the impression left with him by a Russian soldier in 1945. The war was only just over. A conscript knocked at the door of the Cracow seminary where John Paul was serving many years before his election to the papacy. When asked "What is it you want?" the soldier replied that he wished to enter the seminary. The conversation between the Russian soldier and the Polish priest went on for a long time. Even though the soldier never in fact entered and was far from clear in his mind about what a seminary really is, the meeting taught the young priest one great truth: how wonderfully God succeeds in penetrating the human mind even in the extremely unfavorable conditions of systematic denial of Him. In the whole of his adult life that soldier had scarcely ever gone inside a church. At school, and then later at work, he had continually heard people asserting "There is no God!" And in spite of all that he said more than once: "But I always knew that God exists...and now I would like to learn something about God"

That soldier believed the evidence in his own mind and heart. Living in the kind of magnificent world in which we find ourselves, it is easy to agree with the Psalmist: "The fool says in his heart there is no God."

Lord Jesus, in this great season leading up to Easter, I honor you for revealing God to me. Amen.


April 21, 2018 by Joel Jongkind

For decades now, I have always had a pocket knife in the left-hand pocket of my trousers. In my work pants, I have a regular-sized pocket knife to work in the garden, or to do minor repairs in the house or in my little workshop. In my dress or casual pants, I have a very small knife, which has a blade, a nail file, and a very small pair of scissors. To be honest, I don't use them all that much, but I have them with me from force of habit.

Then one day, I lost my little knife. It wasn't in my pocket, and it wasn't on the dresser where I usually put it in the evening. I retraced my steps for the day. I had opened an envelope and a cardboard box in another room in the house. I looked everywhere, but it was nowhere to be found. It may seem silly — after all, it is only a little knife — but it really bothered me. It kept niggling on my mind, and all day, I kept looking in every place that I thought that it might be, but I could not find it. Then in the evening, I found it in my easy chair. It had slipped out of my pocket, and it was between the armrest and the seat. I was relieved.

Over the years, I have also noticed a number of people who have slipped out of the church for one reason or another. Even though they may have grown up in the church, gone to worship on a regular basis, and were involved in the activities of the church, they gradually concluded that it did not fulfill their needs. Some were not happy with things which were going on in the church, while others had been hurt by what someone had said to them or about them. Some felt that they were only going to church because they always had, from force of habit. One gentleman told me that he had heard those Bible stories so many times already that he did not need to hear them anymore. Some have admitted that they had actually lost their faith, and they didn't miss the church at all. Others have found something else to do on a Sunday.

In Luke 15, Jesus told three parables about losing something. One of them was about a lost coin:

Luke 15:8-9 – Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, "Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!" (NKJV)

I was happy when I found my little knife, and so was my wife, for she knew that I would quit fretting. Jesus tells us that the woman called her friends and neighbours to be happy with her, but He goes on to tell us:

Luke 15:10 – Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents. (NKJV)

When we can be so happy about something earthly that is lost and found, let us pray earnestly that people who have lost their faith would find it again. There will indeed be joy in their family, the church, and certainly in heaven — Jesus said so.

Prayer: Our Father in heaven, we pray for all the people who have lost their faith, and for those who have wandered away from the church community. We ask that You would speak to their hearts and return them to faith. We ask it in Jesus' name. Amen. 

George K
Posted: Sunday, April 22, 2018 5:59 AM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2823

Let the faithful exult in glory; let them sing for joy on their couches. (Psalms 149:5  )

One of America's favorite and most thoughtful humorists was Erma Bombeck. In one of her columns she told about the little boy who was sitting in front of her in church. He was just as quiet as could be and certainly wasn't bothering anyone, but every once in a while he would turn around and smile happily at everyone behind him. He did this several times to the pleasure of everyone who could see him. Suddenly his mother jerked him around and told him in a loud whisper to stop grinning--he was in church. Then when the tears came to the little fellow's eyes, his mother said, "That's better."

Go to church this Sunday with the great joy of celebrating God's awesome love. Don't make worship a funeral. Make it a joy for all!

Dear God, with joy I will worship you and share your joy. In Jesus name, Amen.


April 22, 2018 by John Stuart

Genesis 8:22 – As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease. (NIV)

One of the first songs that I ever learned in Sunday school was an old spiritual called "Who built the ark?" It tells the story of the animals going into the ark in different numbers, and the fun part of the song came in the motions that our class would make to imitate the different animals. It was a great way to learn the story. Later on, my own kids were taught about Noah the same way, using a different song called "Arky, Arky".

Noah and the ark is a great biblical story to tell to children because it allows them to use their wonderful imaginations and learn about God's love for all creatures. As adults, however, the story has different implications about good and evil, punishment and wrath, promises and hope.

Today's highlighted verse from the story reminds us that as long as the earth endures, the seasonal cycles will continue. However, I believe that it also places the responsibility of good stewardship of the earth on human beings not to destroy, pollute, or contaminate it, as we are reminded on this Earth Day. After the flood, God handed back the world to human beings like Noah, in words reminiscent of His charge to Adam and Eve:

Genesis 9:1b-2 – Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. The fear and dread of you will fall upon all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air, upon every creature that moves along the ground, and upon all the fish of the sea; they are given into your hands. (NIV)

It's now up to us to preserve the planet.

Points to ponder: What am I doing to keep the environment clean? How does it relate to my faith?

Prayer: Creator God, You gave us this beautiful planet, and You wanted us to take care of it. Help us to do whatever we can to keep the earth, its creatures, and its environment healthy and safe. In Your holy name, we humbly pray. Amen.


And all the leaves were calling me.    —Richard LeGallienne

The harried hen scurried about her house, trying to put it in order. Some friends she hadn't seen for years were due to arrive later that day, and she wanted everything perfect for them. In a flurry, she made the bed, put away the dishes, and scrubbed the floor. Oh dear, she thought in dismay, I meant to wash the sheets today. Frantically, she flew back to the bedroom and tore the sheets from the made bed.

Just then, a neighbor arrived and stood at hen's door, watching her anxiously rush about. "Dear hen," he said in a patient loving tone, for he was quite fond of her, "You will never enjoy your visit if you continue to race about. Come. Sit and rest and tell me of these friends. Have you any snapshots?" The hen did as her neighbor had suggested, and soon her friends arrived to find her relaxed, refreshed, and warm with the memories of them.

What is my real work for the day?


I’ll be away for a few weeks. 

George K
Posted: Tuesday, May 8, 2018 9:34 AM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2823

"He saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy, through the water of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit." (Titus 3:5 )

"It was one of the worst days of my life," writes Clara Null of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in THE CHRISTIAN READER Magazine. "The washing machine broke down, the telephone kept ringing, my head ached, and the mail carrier brought a bill I had no money to pay. Almost to the breaking point, I lifted my one-year-old into his highchair, leaned my head against the tray, and began to cry. Without a word, my son took his pacifier out of his mouth . . . and stuck it in mine." Some of you have been there. You understand.

It is breaking moments like these that we realize how badly we need God. It is often in our broken moments that we find rebirth in Jesus Christ.

Let's do something today to heal broken moments and lives as we offer God's hope and love in Jesus Christ.

Dear Jesus, let me not lose it all when I am broken, but help me realize my great need for you. Amen.


"Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss each other." (Psalms 85:10 )

A man went to his doctor to find out why he had been having such severe headaches. The doctor ran some tests and after a few hours called the man into his office. "I have terrible news," he told the patient. "Your condition is terminal."

"Oh no!" the man wailed. "How long do I have?"

"Ten," began the doctor.

"Ten what?" the patient interrupted. "Days? Months? Years?"

"Nine," said the doctor, "eight, seven, six . . ."

There is a man who was having a bad day. There is a man living in panic, not peace. True peace is very difficult to find in this world. Very few people find that center of calm that allows them to cope successfully with life. Some people never find it.

Jesus said to his disciples, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."

God of peace, help me to put my worries at your feet, so that I may fully soak up your centering peace. In Jesus name, Amen.

George K
Posted: Wednesday, May 9, 2018 5:51 AM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2823

God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. (Revelation 7:17  )

I like something Calvin Miller once said about crying. "Crying," he said, "is common in this world. It does little good to ask the reason for it . . . Laughter can be heard here and there, but by and large, weeping predominates. With maturity the sound and reason for crying changes, but never does it stop. All infants do it everywhere--even in public. By adulthood most crying is done alone and in the dark. Weeping, for babies, is a sign of health and evidence that they are alive. Isn't this a chilling omen? Not laughter but tears is the life sign.

If you want to read one of the defining statements in all the Bible about the nature of God, you will find it in our reading from the Book of Revelation. After a magnificent description of the angels and the saints gathered around God's throne, we read this revealing statement: "God will wipe away every tear from their eyes..."

Dear God, thank you for wiping away our tears. Amen.


By Julie Bowles…

In mid-April, we in Ontario, Canada, experienced an ice storm that lasted three days and covered the previously showing grass with snow and then freezing rain. Over that same period, our mountain ash tree was inundated with robins that had just returned from their winter home. They huddled in the branches and nibbled on the dried-up berries from last summer. Sometimes, they even huddled by the front porch to escape the ice and snow. At times, we had upwards of twenty robins at once, whereas we usually have only one or two on the lawn at any one time. I always have water for them in a heated bird bath.

A week later, the robins were gone, and so were the berries. I am so glad that we were able to provide a refuge for the birds, with the heated water and the berries on the tree. It wasn't until after the storm was over and the robins had left that I read that robins eat berries rather than seeds, and that robins in the area had died due to lack of food as a result of the storm. Usually the berries from our tree are gone by the end of January, yet here in mid-April, they were still on the tree.

I believe that God had a plan for the trees to still have the berries in mid-April. God knew that there was a need to provide food in April for the robins. Man could not have known in January that we would be getting an April storm that would affect the robins that had just returned to Canada from their winter home.

I also believe that God had a plan for me in this storm and the fact that I had just had surgery: I have had to stop running and just sit. I've been running from the storms of life for some time, and it's time to stop and huddle into God's protection and love and not try to do it on my own. I need to make amends in relationships that have become strained or dormant.

What about you? Do you run in a storm, or do you huddle down like the birds did and ride it out in the palms of God's hands?

Matthew 6:25-26 – Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? (NIV)

God provides a refuge for us daily, and all we need to do is to go to Him. We don't need to panic; we just need to turn to Him and acknowledge our need for Him. As the verse says, He cares about the birds, so why not let Him care for you?

Jeremiah 29:11 – "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (NIV)

Prayer: Dear Jesus, we are sorry that at times that we run from the people whom You provide to walk alongside us. Just as the Scriptures say, You have plans for us. You care for the birds, and You care for us. In our weakness, make us strong in You, and help us to seek Your protection in the storms of life, for You will see us through them. In Your name, we pray. Amen. 

George K
Posted: Thursday, May 10, 2018 4:57 AM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2823

  "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!" (Luke 11:28 )

Near the end of the fourth week on Christopher Columbus' first voyage across the Atlantic, the night steersman called him to the helm. With fear in his voice he told Columbus that the compass had gone astray. When checking against the stars, it did seem that way. But Columbus surmised that they had come far enough west and south to have caused the stars to move. He instructed the steersman to hold the course due west by the compass and not the stars. The next morning when the sun rose, calculations proved the compass to be accurate.

Jesus said, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching." Christ's teachings are a moral compass which will guide us toward that which is right and away from that which is wrong. But more than that. Christ gives us his Spirit not only to guide us but to empower us to do what we know we should.

Lord Jesus, touch me today with your Spirit of empowerment. Amen.

George K
Posted: Friday, May 11, 2018 5:45 AM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2823

Do not lord it over those in your charge, but be examples to the flock. (1 Peter 5:3  )

In a Peanuts comic strip, Linus listens attentively as his little sister tells him about her potential as an evangelist. She says to Linus: "I would have made a good evangelist. Do you know that kid who sits behind me at school? I convinced him that my religion is better than his religion." "How did you do that?" Linus asks. "I hit him with my lunch box!" Lucy replies.

God doesn't want us to beat people over the head with our salvation that comes from Jesus Christ. In love, God wants us to share Christ through our acts of love, kindness and joy.

Dear God, fill me with your love, as I share it to move others closer to you. Amen.


I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
  —William Butler Yeats

When we hold a piece of crystal to the light, it paints rainbows on the wall. When we tap it lightly with a spoon, it sings like a bell. But when we drop it, it shatters in colorless, silent pieces on the floor.

Human beings, sometimes to our amazement, can be as fragile as glass. It's especially easy to forget what makes people we live with or have known for a long time shine or sing. We take for granted the very qualities that made us love them in the first place.

When we forget how to see and hear the people we love, how to appreciate them, we grow careless. Too often, from sheer neglect, the relationship between us grows dull and silent, then slips, falls, and shatters. Paying attention to other people's needs and feelings can prevent this.

Whose presence can I appreciate today?

George K
Posted: Saturday, May 12, 2018 5:30 AM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2823

May integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for You. (Psalms 25:21  )

Forty-year-old Laura Cooper works in a sales office in the Midwest. She works in the same office as her brother-in-law, John. Laura says that more than anyone, John was instrumental in leading her Christ. What made a difference in Laura's life was not eloquent, persuasive speeches. Her transformation from skeptic to believer had mostly to do with how John lives.

A turning point came one morning when John took one of her calls. It was someone Laura wanted to avoid. "Tell him, I'm not here," she said. John took the call but later felt badly about having lied. He talked with Laura about it. He told her he had confessed to the Lord his sin of lying and that he could no longer lie for her.

"As we talked about it," Laura says, "I came to an new understanding about his beliefs and his convictions about sin. It made a big difference." It wasn't his "preaching" that moved her, but his integrity. Laura watched how John treated other people. "I had never seen a man more devoted to his wife than John," she says. "I knew instinctively that the Lord was in their life, and that was the reason for their special relationship." From that moment on Laura began attending church; her real search was just beginning.

Nothing is more appealing than a life that has been authentically touched by the Master's hand.

Lord Jesus, may your touch bring great integrity to my life. In Jesus name, Amen.


Forgive, and you will be forgiven. (Luke 6:37  )

Hazel Goddard tells about an experience from her childhood. Her grandfather had horses, and every Saturday the two of them went out to ride. As Hazel was riding from the barn, a white chicken stood in the path and would not move. Out of curiosity, Hazel got off her horse to see what was wrong. The chicken had her head buried in her feathers, and was picking away at herself, oblivious to all around her. At that point, Hazel's grandfather cautioned her not to touch the hen, explaining the hen had a sickness that made her pick at herself all day and she would not move from the spot. Hazel knew her brothers would soon come racing down the path on their horses so she built a little square of boards around the chicken and left her to her misery. Hazel Goddard goes on to say, "What a picture of the guilt-ridden Christian who, because he is more aware than the unbeliever, picks at himself constantly."

We need to accept God's acceptance of us. We need to quit picking at ourselves over sins God forgave long ago. But we also need to forgive others. How many of us are hurting right now because we are filled with resentment toward someone else? Give to God.

Dear God, show me the way to forgive myself. In Jesus name, Amen.

George K
Posted: Sunday, May 13, 2018 5:19 AM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2823

For as I went through the city and looked carefully at the objects of your worship, I found among them an altar with the inscription, 'To an unknown god.' What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. (Acts 17:23 )

There is an interesting story about the French philosopher, Voltaire. He was visiting London in the year 1727. This was a time of strained relations between France and England. Walking along a street one day he found himself facing an angry crowd of Englishmen. "Hang the Frenchman," they began screaming. Voltaire quickly took advantage of the situation. Taking a couple of steps backward, he called out, "Englishmen! You want to kill me because I am a Frenchman? Am I not punished enough already in not being an Englishman?" The crowd not only applauded; they saw to it that Voltaire got home safely.

Paul used that same kind of strategy with the people of his various missionary journeys. When we start where people are we have the greatest chance of winning them over to Christ.

Dear God, help me to accept other people were they are so I can share your love. Amen.

George K
Posted: Monday, May 14, 2018 6:47 AM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2823

By Lynne Phipps

Things have not been going very well in my little town. There has been much dissension over the replacement of a necessary facility. For more than two years, a group of volunteers has put a tremendous amount of planning, fundraising, and money into the project, only to have it stopped one week prior to the sod being turned and the construction beginning.

Tempers are running extremely high. Trust has been broken on a number of levels, and not for the first time. Lies are rampant as those involved seek to cover their tracks. All in all, it is a very negative and nasty situation, a circumstance that is occupying first place in the majority of minds, including mine, in a very cynical way.

Thus, as I was doing my regular morning chores, I was also praying and asking God to show me the best way not only to pray about the situation, but even to think about it, as I was burdened by my own less-than-charitable and black thoughts about the whole issue. For the longest time, I did not hear anything back from the Lord about the matter. But then, when I least expected it, focused on the cleaning task at hand, a Scripture verse quietly walked across my mind. And there it was: the answer that I had been seeking.

Philippians 4:8 – Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things. (NIV)

As I contemplated this beloved verse, which has seen me through many a difficult situation, I felt such a sense of relief and peace. There really was not anything that I could do about what was happening in our town, in regard to the actual project itself. But I could do something about my attitude, which in turn might have some small bearing upon the attitudes of others as well.

Focusing on the facts, which are negative, discouraging, and downright unfair, would not change anything. Doing so would simply continue to drag my spirit down. But if I chose to focus on what was going right in my life, in my town, what was pure and noble and lovely and admirable and excellent and praiseworthy, moving through the negative situation would become so much easier. It would also serve to remind me that nothing is impossible with God. After all, He holds the ultimate plan for our little town, and in His time, He will reveal it in all its glory.

So, in closing, I ask this question, whether you are going through an encouraging or a discouraging time: What are your thoughts focused upon today?

Prayer: Father God, we live in a difficult world. Many people are treated unfairly and many people are hurting in ways that we cannot even comprehend. What we read in the papers or hear on the news can be very discouraging. In light of these facts, help us to remember and apply today's wonderful words of Scripture to our minds, that we might maintain focus and attitudes of victory amidst the disappointments and inequality of situations which may come our way. In Christ's name, we pray. Amen.


Every tomorrow has two handles. We can take hold of it with the handle of anxiety or the handle of faith.  —Henry Ward Beecher

Once there was a boy who always looked on the bright side and always expected the best. He expected to like brussels sprouts before he had ever tasted them, for instance, and to like his teacher on the first day of school. Because he had such a sunny outlook on things, he was rarely disappointed.

But the boy's father thought he wasn't realistic, so one Christmas he decided to test him. On Christmas morning there were many presents, all but one small one were for the boy's brother. The brother opened his gifts with glee - a train set, a toy robot, a cowboy outfit, even his own TV.

Through all this, the boy smiled expectantly, confident the contents of his small box would equal the splendor of his brother's gifts. When it was his turn he ripped the box open to find only a pile of hay and some very smelly animal droppings.

To his father's astonishment, the boy clapped his hands with joy and ran immediately to the backyard. "Yippee!" he cried. "There must be a pony here somewhere!"

If we expect the best, just for today, what wondrous things might happen?

George K
Posted: Tuesday, May 15, 2018 5:24 AM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2823

"Whoever welcomes this child in my name welcomes me.” (Luke 9:48  )

Syndicated columnist Ellen Goodman, a few years ago, wrote these wise words: "We raise our children with ethical time bombs, built-in disillusionment alarms. We allow our children their ideals until they are perhaps 13 or 15 or 18 or 22. But if they don't let go of their ideals, we worry about whether they will be able to function in the real world. After all, the real world is some place else. We have to be tough and even a little cynical."

Goodman goes on to give examples of what she means: "Adults know that clean air is all very nice, but it must be balanced against jobs. Adults know that helping others is neat, but it may well take away their motivation to find a job. Adults know that peace is swell, but we can't ever trust our enemies to ever stop preparing for war." Goodman concludes that this so-called realism of adults may be the true "junk food" of our time. "We instill ideals in our children, resent it when our children challenge us for not living up to them, and then feel reassured when our kids give up their ideals like sleds or cartoons."

Can this be what Jesus had in mind when he asked His disciples not to lose the child-like spirit: when he warned them about hindering little children on their way into the kingdom?

Dear Jesus, may I do all I can to allow your children to fully live with a child-like spirit. Amen.

George K
Posted: Wednesday, May 16, 2018 5:52 AM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2823

And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. (Matthew 6:12  )

In the Lord's Prayer in the 6th Chapter of Matthew, Jesus urges us to ask for forgiveness. "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us."

I remember a story about a man who said to his minister, "Preacher, I can't pray that prayer. I can't pray that prayer because there's somebody I don't want to forgive. As the pastor listened to this man, he discovered that this man had been holding a grudge against another man for thirty years. The man said, "I will not be able to pray that prayer until I first get even with this man who hurt me thirty years ago." The minister said, "Why this is old, and he may die anytime. What if he dies before you get even?" He said, "Then I'll take it out on his son."

An unforgiving spirit is bitterness. Forgiveness is sweet, but an unforgiving spirit is bitterness. Jesus taught us the way to live is the way of forgiveness. Jesus practiced forgiveness Himself. I remember one time the scripture tells us about four men bringing a man who was paralyzed to Jesus. The room was filled, and so they took off the tiles of the roof, and they let the man down into the presence of Jesus. Jesus healed the man, and then He said, "Your sins are forgiven."

Ask, and you will find the sweetness of forgiveness!

God of forgiveness, help me to know the joy of forgiveness. In Jesus name, Amen.

George K
Posted: Thursday, May 17, 2018 5:55 AM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2823

Render service with enthusiasm, as to the Lord. (Ephesians 6:7  )

Do you know the derivation of the word "enthusiasm?" It literally means, "in God." When anyone was really roused, it was assumed in ancient times that a god had possessed him. This possession was "enthusiasm," from the Greek ENTHUSIASMOS; en theos (a god within).

It has been said, "Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm." Your church would not continue its ministry into this century without enthusiasm.

A minister was showing a friend around his church, and, referring to the sound system, said, "We have a number of dead spots in this church." The clergy friend said, "So do we all, brother, so do we all."

Enthusiasm is one attitude we can all adopt to our benefit, as we serve our master and savior.

Dear God, may I use the enthusiasm you have given me to make a difference today. Amen. 


What sort of God would it be who only pushed from without?    —Goethe

Oh, we hate to be pushed! We get upset and angry when someone is pushing on us. What person likes it? Sometimes God does pushing, and it takes a while for us to realize it is God's pressure on us that we feel. Our natural reaction is to resist and push back.

When we keep getting headaches or stomachaches, maybe we should listen for the message. An unsettled feeling in our lives about women, money, health, work, or something else may carry a message for us. God might be pushing from within. In our struggles we can try to develop our ability to hear God's will for us. Sometimes a problem is, in fact, a spiritual message. When we stop resisting and start listening, we soon grow wiser and stronger.

God, your message is not always clear to me. Today, I will try to put aside my own habit of pushing back so I can have a clearer mind to receive it.

George K
Posted: Friday, May 18, 2018 5:03 AM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2823

And this is His commandment, that we should believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as He has commanded us. (1 John 3:23  )

Several years ago, the Los Angeles Times ran a beautiful human interest story. It happened a few days after a disastrous earthquake in Mexico City. A little boy was going door-to-door in Los Angeles selling picture postcards for twenty-five cents each. He was giving the profits for earthquake relief. One man bought some post cards from the little boy...and then he asked the boy how much he hoped to raise. The little boy answered quickly, "One million dollars!" The man smiled and said, "Do you mean to tell me that you are trying to raise a million dollars to help the earthquake victims all by yourself?" "Oh no, sir," replied the boy, "my little brother is helping me!"

Well, when Christ comes into our lives we become God-filled. We simply can't sit still...we want to get out and do something about it. And we have a Big Brother to help us do it!

Dear God, thank you for the Big Brother who you have given to me so that I may accomplish your will of love. In Jesus name, Amen.


May 18, 2018  by John Reeves

Jeremiah 10:23 – I know, O Lord, that the way of human beings is not in their control, that mortals as they walk cannot direct their steps. (NRSV)

Back in 1966 in rural Nova Scotia, Canada, life was a two-channel universe pictured in black and white and topped by rabbit ears. I'm sure that some readers will remember those old television sets, which are quite a contrast to today's television options!

For me, a welcome distraction each summer was a visit from my cousin and his family who lived in the exotic place called Fenelon Falls, Ontario.

Every August, a car pulling a small travel trailer would top the hill and proceed to park itself in our front yard. The vehicle would barely stop when the door would fly open and my cousin would hit the ground at top speed. Being the son of a preacher man seemed to have no effect on this relative of the Tasmanian devil.

Thus, it was with great glee that he found behind our henhouse a solid steel ball the size of a shot put. Earlier, my brother and I had gone on a Victoria Day fishing trip with our father to a place called Forest Hills, where back in the 1920s, there had been a gold mine, long since abandoned. In the remains of the ore crusher, we had found that steel ball and had taken it home as a great treasure.

Right away, my very excited cousin decided that it would make the perfect shot put. When he found it too heavy for his ten-year-old arm to throw any distance, he decided to wrap it in an old rag. A couple of spins of his body and it sailed through the air looking like Halley's comet.

We were having a lot of fun and all was going fine until he decided to try it in the front yard, within distance of his father's beautiful 1959 Buick Electra with the neat wraparound rear window. Well, the steel comet made a lovely arc in the air, and both of us knew where it was headed, but all we could do was stand there and watch.

Now, up to that point in my life, I didn't know that Protestant ministers heard confessions or dispensed penance, but I'm sure that's what took place in the trailer that August afternoon.

Needless to say, it was a very subdued boy that emerged from the trailer the next morning after his father left to tour the auto salvage yards to find a new window for his car.

Do you ever feel that your life is spinning out of control? We all live through times when things are moving too fast or in a direction that we don't want. We have such a feeling of helplessness and a sense of dread as we watch things that we have said or done take on lives of their own. It can be very scary.

Yet, we must always remember that God is constantly in control. There is a purpose to everything we do. If we listen to the Holy Spirit, then things will turn out, not as we want, but as God desires. Our confession is always in order:

Prayer: Heavenly Father, please hear my prayer: I forget to let go and give You control. I wonder why things aren't going the way that I want them to go. I forget to stop and ask what You want. Lord, help me to realize that what I desire may not be what is meant for me, or what is best for me. Lord, let me accept each day as a gift. May I follow the path that You choose for me. May I concentrate on living to please You! Give me strength, faith, and hope, and most of all, give me guidance each and every day. May I trust in You! In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen. 

George K
Posted: Saturday, May 19, 2018 6:08 AM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2823

May 19, 2018 by John Stuart

Colossians 2:6-7 – So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. (NIV)

A couple of years ago, we added a rockery to our church campus through a gracious donation from some church members. It was built on the side of a slope which had been perpetually covered in moss and weeds. The whole area, right next to our main entrance, was very unattractive. One morning, a group of landscapers appeared and transformed the whole area into a beautiful Japanese-type garden. Large boulders were built into place and special shrubs were planted. It was remarkable to see the slope change from an eyesore into a very picturesque shrubbery.

As time has passed, the roots of the plants have grown stronger, which means that during summer and fall, we experience some beautiful colours all over the garden area. Now that we've added a special irrigation system, we can look forward to the shrubs and small trees growing and expanding all over the rockery. What was once an unattractive zone has become a place of beauty and pride for our members and visitors.

Today's highlighted verses from Paul to the Colossians convey the same type of planting and growth with regard to our faith in Christ. His Spirit works within us to produce thankful hearts and souls devoted to God's kingdom. As our faith deepens, our spiritual influence can expand so that we may positively share Christ's blessings with our families and friends, neighbours and colleagues. In other words, we become living witnesses of the ministry and mission of Jesus in our homes, churches, circles, and communities.

Points to ponder: How thankful am I to know that Jesus is my Lord and Saviour? Do others see that thankfulness in me?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for planting faith within each of us and for helping us to grow spiritually. Encourage us to deepen our connection to You, so that we may become better witnesses of Your ways, words, and works. In Your holy name, we gratefully pray. Amen. 

George K
Posted: Sunday, May 20, 2018 5:47 AM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2823

Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. (Matthew 18:5 )

In childhood Jesus found the perfect analogy for membership in the Kingdom. Not in childishness, but child-likeness. A good many sermons have been preached about this young lad, declaring that what Jesus wanted people to emulate was the supposed "innocence" of childhood. Every parent (and grandparent) knows that "the innocence of childhood" is a myth. Children are not all that innocent!

But they have some endearing qualities that caused Jesus to single them out as object lessons for disciples--and for us. The one quality which I wish to single out is enthusiasm, or spontaneity. Adults are careful and calculating. Children tend to jump right in, feet first, unafraid. They act on impulse, and that isn't all bad. Someone once said: "Distrust first impulses. They are nearly always right." But another has said, "Don't look before you leap. If you do, you will decide to sit down." There is, among too many of us, such a careful, cautious attitude toward our religious faith that we hesitate to take the bold action, make the bold and daring move. But the child-like spirit is one of daring to take risks...not knowing it is impossible, they are willing to try to do it anyway!

Dear God, may I have a childlike boldness of doing what you call me to do. In Jesus name, Amen.


It only takes one person to change your life - you.  —Ruth Casey

Change is not easy, but it's absolutely unavoidable. Doors will close. Barriers will surface. Frustrations will mount. Nothing stays the same forever, and it's such folly to wish otherwise. Growth accompanies positive change; determining to risk the outcome resulting from a changed behavior or attitude will enhance our self-perceptions. We will have moved forward; in every instance our lives will be influenced by making a change that only each of us can make.

We have all dreaded the changes we knew we had to make. Perhaps even now we fear some impending changes. Where might they take us? It's difficult accepting that the outcome is not ours to control. Only the effort is ours. The solace is that positive changes, which we know are right for us and other people in our lives, are never going to take us astray. In fact, they are necessary for the smooth path just beyond this stumbling block.

When we are troubled by circumstances in our lives, a change is called for, a change that we must initiate. When we reflect on our recent as well as distant past, we will remember that the changes we most dreaded again and again have positively influenced our lives in untold ways.

Change ushers in glad, not bad, tidings.


For nothing can be sole or whole that has not been rent.  —W. B. Yeats

The maple out front is young and healthy, but it grows in the shape of a Y. Neighborhood tree experts have warned that as it grows, it will split in half as the weight of the two main branches pull down against each other. One of these two beautiful branches, already lush with new leaves, must be cut. But once pruned, the remaining branch will straighten as it reaches for the sun. It will grow faster, and the whole tree will live many years longer - all by cutting it back today.

Sometimes we are like this tree. We go in too many directions, and can't seem to do any one thing well. When this happens, we need to give something up, to choose which direction we want and stick with it. The results will be well worth the price.

What is holding me back from growth? 

George K
Posted: Monday, May 21, 2018 5:05 AM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2823

 For the LORD of hosts has planned, and who will annul it? His hand is stretched out, and who will turn it back? (Isaiah 14:27  )

Ninety-eight per cent of the American people, according to most polls, say that they believe in God. That can mean everything or that can mean nothing. For many people, that belief is a vague notion about "Someone in the great Somewhere" (to quote a popular religious song of some years ago). For a lot of people God is nothing more than a vast oblong blur. C.S. Lewis once wrote of a girl he knew who said that the word, God, reminded her of a "vast tapioca pudding." The only problem was that she hated tapioca pudding!

It makes a tremendous difference what sort of God we believe in. In these days when religious fanatics threaten the world, we have come to realize, if we didn't know it before, that belief in God is not enough. The question is: what sort of God do we believe in?

Once again we are reminded that our beginning place is at the feet of Jesus.

Loving God, Yes, I believe in you and in your power to make me a great servant to your holy plan. Amen.

George K
Posted: Tuesday, May 22, 2018 5:17 AM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2823

"Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me." (John 16:32 )

Dr. Richard Swenson tells a story of a memorable birth he attended many years ago. A young pregnant woman was ready to deliver her first baby. As the woman, Brenda, moaned and groaned and sweated her way through horrible labor pains, Brenda's husband sat in the waiting room watching a horror movie. He was only a few feet away from his wife, and could clearly hear her distress, but he completely ignored her as he watched the film. Brenda's labor lasted for hours, during which time her husband never once acknowledged her presence. The first horror movie ended, and another extremely violent one began. Just at a particularly gruesome scene in the movie, Brenda's baby was born. All Dr. Richard Swenson could think at that moment was, "Go back inside, little one. You really don't know what kind of world awaits you."

This can be a cruel, uncaring world, but it is not a hopeless world. The Spirit of God, the Spirit of Love, has invaded our world. As Christ promised, into this world has come a counselor, a comforter, a guide. God's spirit is with us.

Dear Jesus, thank you for sending God's presence to always be with me, especially in moments of distress. Amen.

George K
Posted: Thursday, May 24, 2018 4:43 AM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2823

Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy; and I will praise you with the harp, O God, my God. (Psalms 43:4  )

Geoff Burch is a sales trainer in England. He tells about a man named Fred he met in the course of his research into sales methods. Back in the 1950s Fred had been a traveling salesman hawking washing machines. This job was on commission only, but included a unusual perk: the then almost unheard of luxury of a vehicle. At the beginning of each week Fred was sent off in his van with five washing machines; so long as all five were sold each week, Fred could keep the van.

Eventually a week came when Fred's magic seemed to have abandoned him. A moment's thought convinced him that the naval bases on the East Coast would be his best bet, and, despite savage winter weather, he turned the van east. Disaster struck when the van hit a patch of black ice, spun out of control, left the road, and hit a tree. Fortunately for him, two farmers' wives heard the crash and ran to his aid. An ambulance arrived, Fred was loaded in and taken to the hospital; in the meantime each of the farmer's wives and the ambulance driver had signed up for the three remaining washing machines!

Don't you appreciate a person who is enthusiastic about their work? Do we get as excited about touching lives with God's love?

Dear God, fill my life with the excitement of being with you. In Jesus name, Amen.

George K
Posted: Friday, May 25, 2018 4:56 AM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2823

All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:4  )

Can you imagine sleeping through a tornado? Bill Bryson says his grandparents pretty much did. One night they were suddenly awakened by a roaring noise like the sound of a thousand chain saws. For a few moments the whole house shook. Bill's grandfather got up, plodded over to the window and peered out. But he couldn't see a thing, so he climbed back into bed. He didn't realize that, at the very moment he was looking out the window, a tornado was thundering across their lawn.

The next morning Bill's grandparents woke up to a beautiful sunny day. But as they looked out on the fine day they were surprised to see trees lying everywhere. Going outside to get a better view, they were astonished at how close the path of destruction had come to their house. Their garage was gone -- there was no sign of it anywhere. That's the sort of things tornadoes do.

The disciples of Christ were caught up in something very much like a tornado on that first Pentecost Sunday. Early one morning, while they were all together praying, they heard a sound unlike anything they had ever heard before. The sound they heard was "like the rush of a violent wind." And their lives were forever changed.

Dear God, may I also be changed forever as Your Holy Spirit lives in me. Amen.

George K
Posted: Saturday, May 26, 2018 4:50 AM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2823

"Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you.” (John 17:1  )

Here's a good story for football fans. Many of you may know the name Reggie White. Reggie was a defensive end for the Green Bay Packers. But he is also an ordained minister. Before signing a 17 million dollar deal with the Packers, White had said that he would look to God to tell him where to play. Later, Green Bay Coach Mike Holmgren confessed that he had left a message on White's answering machine that said, "Reggie, this is God. Go to Green Bay."

Today we want to focus for a few moments on prayer. But not just any prayer; we are focusing on a prayer from the lips of Jesus. Our lesson from John's gospel is often referred to as the "real" Lord's Prayer. It is the one that Jesus prays for his friends, the apostles. Jesus is about to depart from them, and He reviews everything that He has taught them and answers all their questions. There was only one more thing He could do for them.

He prayed for them.

Lord Jesus, continue to pray for me that I may know our Father better. Amen.

George K
Posted: Sunday, May 27, 2018 5:00 AM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2823

May 27, 2018 by Diane Eaton

Isaiah 43:18 – Forget the former things … (NIV)
Isaiah 46:9 – Remember the former things … (NIV)

I enjoy challenges posed by seemingly contrary bits of Scripture like the ones above. They make me scratch my head. These Isaiah texts get me thinking about our own "former things" — items from past eras — like that 80s dress or that ornate mirror. How shall we view them? Old-fashioned or vintage? Useless or useful? Outdated clutter or treasures for future blessing? How we view our "former things" determines how we treat them: We'll ditch them, or we'll keep them. We'll forget about them, or we'll cherish them.

Such decisions require thought — and possibly some advice. That's so we won't mistakenly trash treasures and hoard junk or remember what should be forgotten and forget what should be remembered.

Isaiah could see that his people were trashing vintage treasure while hoarding useless junk. They were forgetting God and clinging to dead idols. God had become merely old-fashioned, so they saw no need to remember the vintage truths of God — like His promises, deeds, blessings, and judgments. The people preferred their religious icons which could do nothing that God could do. The time had come for serious reflection. So, through Isaiah, God called for a national review:

Isaiah 43:26a – Review the past for Me, let us argue the matter together. (NIV)

Surely that invitation still applies. We, too, must evaluate our "former things". We, too, must choose what to forget and what to remember from our spiritual heritage. Former blessings may have become useless idols, if they now hold us in a nostalgic past while the living God becomes "old-fashioned".

Ancient Israel needed to leave behind former things like their humiliating history of idolatry and demise. God wasn't holding them there: "I am He who … remembers your sins no more" (Isaiah 43:25 NIV). He said, "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past." (Isaiah 43:18 NIV)

However, they were to remember something else — the very "former things" that we ourselves must never forget:

Isaiah 46:9 – Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me. (NIV)

In other words, cherish the living God in your hearts and lives! That same God who rose above the dead gods of ancient Babylon now rises above the dead gods of western civilization. Modern idols of material things and human achievement cannot do what God has done. Never forget the God of those "former things" recorded in Scripture. Remember that the God of yesterday is the God of today and tomorrow — the One who can carry us forward with fresh new blessings:

Isaiah 43:19a – See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? (NIV)

Prayer: Dear God, empower us with courage to relinquish those useless "former things" so that we may wholeheartedly embrace the living and eternal God — for who You are and what You do — still today. Amen


If your life is ever going to get better, you'll have to take risks. There is simply no way you can grow without taking chances. —David Viscott

One sunny day a caterpillar who was afraid of the dark came to a tunnel, which lay squarely in its path. It had a choice of going back where it started, or summoning the courage to crawl into the darkness. "What shall I do?" wondered the caterpillar. "If I go back home, I won't get where I want to go, but I'm so afraid!"

Just then, a voice called out from the tunnel. "I can hear you, Mr. Caterpillar. I am Mr. Beetle. I am here in the tunnel and I can see the other end. If you come through, you won't lose your fear of the dark, but you will get where you want to go."

We are all like the caterpillar once in a while. But if we let our fear stop us from doing things, which are necessary to our growth, we will never realize what courage we really have.

Is my fear a necessary part of new experiences? 

George K
Posted: Monday, May 28, 2018 5:15 AM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 2823

For Jesus knew from the first who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray him. (John 6:64  )

A man named Jim Stovall wrote a book titled, YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE BLIND TO SEE. Jim was just a boy when a condition called juvenile macular degeneration began to steal away his eyesight. By the time he reached adulthood, Jim was totally blind. In college, Jim would stop and visit with the dorm maintenance man, Jimmy Carter--no relation to our former president.

Jimmy Carter, the maintenance man, took great pride in his work. He often asked Jim, "Are you squared away?" By that he meant, "Are you giving it your best effort?"

One day, Jimmy Carter surprised Jim by inviting him into his supply room. The walls were plastered with photos of past successful students. Then, he remarked to Jim, "They were no better or worse than you. They just got themselves squared away."

Jim Stovall went on to excel in college, graduating with highest honors. He became a successful stockbroker, then started his own television network. Today, Jim's network is carried by thousands of cable stations all over the world. It has also won an Emmy, in addition to other awards and honors. And Jim travels the country as a successful motivational speaker.

Years after he graduated from college, Jim Stovall made a visit to a local nursing home, where he ran into his old friend Jimmy Carter. They talked for a while, and then the nurse took the former maintenance man back to his room. But as she turned to go, she mentioned to Jim, "You made it onto his wall." With all the awards and honors and success that Jim Stovall has earned, he reports that nothing else compares to the knowledge that his picture hangs on Jimmy Carter's wall.

Is your life squared away?

Loving God, I will always be squared way as long as Jesus is number one in my life. In Jesus name, Amen.


May 28, 2018 by Martin Wiles

Deuteronomy 8:11b – Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the Lord your God and disobey his commands, regulations, and decrees that I am giving you today. (NLT)

Forgetting what one needs or wants terribly to remember is a horrible thing.

I once chaperoned an eighth-grade trip to Washington DC, USA. Memorials are always high on the list of things to visit because they are constructed to help future generations remember a particular person or event.

While not the most popular, the most interesting memorial for me was the Korean War Memorial. The artist majored on the number 38, the number of the parallel that divided North and South Korea. It was also the number of months affected by the war. A problem arose, however, when trying to place 38 life-sized soldiers on the designated plot of land, which had enough room for only 19. The artist decided to design a reflective wall. When looking at the wall, visitors see 38 soldiers trudging through terrain representative of Korea instead of the actual 19 there. Problem solved. Statement made.

Memorial Day is the day when Americans remember military personnel who have died while serving their country. The holiday originated as Decoration Day and was established by a group of Union veterans. Eventually, competing Union and Confederate holiday traditions were merged into one and were celebrated together.

God also likes memorials and warns His people repeatedly not to forget Him or the things that He has done for them. In Israel's history, delivering them from 400 years of Egyptian slavery needed remembering. For Christians, the big, unforgettable deliverance is Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection.

For years, I've worn paraphernalia with Christian symbols on them — mainly the cross. Since I got in on the tail end of the hippie movement, wearing jewellery came naturally. From necklaces with crosses to watches, bracelets, key rings, and shirts with the same, I've worn it all — with the exception of earrings. Needles never attracted me.

While jewellery and other clothing articles with Christian symbols can make good witnessing and conversation starters, my actual lifestyle is a better memorial to the difference that Christ has made in me. Symbols mean little without actions, attitudes, and words to back them up, just as war memorials would mean nothing if we cast aside our love for freedom and our appreciation for those who bought it.

Americans remember their military dead with a holiday. Let all Christians build something that will help others remember what Christ has done for us.

Prayer: Father, may we never forget the sacrifice that You have made for us through Your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.


Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.   —Ralph Waldo Emerson

The little rabbit stood alone, watching her family and friends hop and skip about her in the forest, playing her favorite rabbit game. Try as she might, each time she attempted to join in, she tripped about awkwardly. When this happened, the other rabbits laughed uproariously at her and called her "Grace." Soon even she forgot her real name. But in the moments when Grace was alone, she danced around the trees with ease. She was as smooth and graceful as any ballerina. An old owl sat high above her one night, watching her intently. The moonlight streamed through the treetops like a soft spotlight and he sat and watched as little Grace moved in and out of the moonbeams. Finally he said, "Grace, you are more graceful than any creature I've ever seen." Grace was startled that someone had been watching her, but listened carefully to the wise owl's words as he continued. "You have carried this beauty within you all the time, but locked it inside when you tried too hard." If we remember to relax and trust in ourselves, we, too, will discover that we are able.

What hidden ability can I set loose today?

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