Here’s another devotional written by my wonderful friend, Patricia Knight. I know you’ll appreciate this one as much as I do!
By Patricia Knight
“My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” —2 Corinthians 12:9, NAS
At the end of his life and his remarkable career, the apostle Paul turned his responsibilities over to Timothy, his friend and co-worker for Christ. Paul expressed self-satisfaction with serving God and promoting His Gospel; he had totally depended on his Lord’s leadership and power. He carried God’s love throughout most parts of the known world, on four missionary journeys. Paul’s ministry work for His Lord was impeccable.
After being stripped and beaten, then thrown in a dark, dank jail where his feet were secured in stocks as an added measure of security, Paul gave thanks and sang hymns. From inside another jail he wrote letters to encourage fellow Christians, the same Gospel letters that minister to us today in God’s Word.
Paul asked God repeatedly to remove his “thorn in the flesh,” a particularly burdensome physical problem. Instead of curing Paul, God answered that He would convert Paul’s weakness to His sovereign strength. We do not know to what extent Paul’s physical problem interfered with his endurance, but we are aware that Paul remained steadfast in his faith and service to His Lord, daily buoyed and empowered by God’s strength. Paul was determined to boast about his own weaknesses so that Christ’s power could be glorified in his life. Today, God is faithful to convert our weakness into His strength, just as He did for Paul centuries ago.
Humble obedience is God’s intent for us. Whatever our plight in this life, we are commanded to enthusiastically accomplish God’s work. Using our unique abilities, God delights in custom designing a personal service plan for everyone who loves Him.
“Few Christians finish well” is a haunting prediction. Let us not allow that warning to come to fruition in our lives. By maintaining tenacity of faith and service to God throughout our lives, in the end, like Paul, we can claim, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7). Though Paul readily identified God as his Source of strength, he also persevered during hardship, allowing God’s power to burst through his circumstances.
Our gift of eternal life is secured by grace, not by works. As a result, our good deeds for God and our fellow men spill over as a natural outpouring of our faith. “Faith without deeds is dead” (James 2:26). Paul knew that truth and so do we. Why not practice with discipline that which we know to be true, and finish our life well, with a remarkable career for Christ?
Thank you again, Pat! What a blessing you are in my life!
Though the fig tree should not blossom
And there be no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive should fail
And the fields produce no food,
Though the flock should be cut off from the fold
And there be no cattle in the stalls,
Yet I will exult in the Lord,
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.
The Lord God is my strength,
And He has made my feet like hinds’ feet,
And makes me walk on my high places. —Habakkuk 3:17-19
For the past couple of years I’ve been keeping busy crocheting lapghans as therapy, plus it serves as a ministry. Somehow the process of crocheting seems to keep me from totally focusing on my pain. I have several patterns—some from actual patterns and some I make up as I go along—but they all have one thing in common: they are quick and easy to work up.
So here are my latest projects, displayed in a collage for your viewing enjoyment.
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen. —1 Peter 5:6-11
As you can see from the photo above—which is a couple of months old—I’m back to wearing my hair in its naturally curly state. I can still wear a straighter ‘do if I’m up to it, but it takes so much energy for me to get it into a straight look:
- set it on those giant rollers
- wait for it to dry (which seems to take forever)
- unwrap my hair from one roller at a time, blow drying each one to ensure the hair is completely dry
- use my straight iron on each curl to make even more sure it is dry and also to straighten it more
- brush out my hair
- use said straight iron again on the areas that refused to cooperate all those other times
- finally done!
All this is extremely difficult for me these days, especially when you throw in the added problem of arthritis in my shoulders.
So what’s a gal to do? Go back to what God gave me! After 60-some years, I have decided to finally embrace my natural curls. Sad that it had to take so long, huh?
How about you ladies out there? Are you happy with your hair the way it naturally is or do you change things up a lot?
Keep me safe, my God,
for in you I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
apart from you I have no good thing.”
I say of the holy people who are in the land,
“They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.”
Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more.
I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods
or take up their names on my lips.
Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
you make my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,
because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
nor will you let your faithful one see decay.
You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
This might seem like a strange way to say Halleluiah! on this Easter Sunday. I could have written about how Jesus’ resurrection from the grave paved the way for us to join Him in heaven when we die. Or maybe I should have spoken of the fact that Jesus completely obeyed his Father by taking on the penalty for our sins—not His sins, because He was born sinless and lived a sinless life. Perhaps I should concentrate on how trusting in Jesus for our salvation is the only way to heaven.
Hmm… I guess I just did all of the above!
Do you ever, like I often do, wonder what life will be like in heaven? I doubt that we’ll be forever lounging on clouds and eating bagels with cream cheese [like that old TV commercial], but my mind does conjure images of a place where there are no worries or anxieties, no sickness nor pain…and no death.
Everything and everyone will be focused on worshiping Jesus Christ, our Savior and LORD. We will not want for anything because we will have all we want and need in the LORD.
Thoughts of the pleasures we’ll experience in our eternal home should help us see our difficulties in a different way. God completely understands our frustrations and sadness about things in our lives that seem beyond comprehension. The list is long and getting longer every day we live on this earth.
But… rest assured that our God understands all of it and simply asks us to trust Him enough [there's my word again!] to get us through it. In fact, it is only through Him that we can bear up under any of it.
Psalm 16 above is one of those defined as a Messianic psalm because it is quoted in the New Testament as predicting the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Just as God promised through David’s words that Jesus would be resurrected and not “see decay,” so we can be assured that He is by our side, guiding us in our “path of life.”
Beloved, as we struggle with our everyday burdens, let’s not forget that Jesus Christ suffered so much for so many. He shed His own blood to give us the opportunity to live with Him forever, free from the burdensome realities of life here on earth. When we seem to be at the end of our rope, let’s choose to rejoice with Him, that He has made a way for us to live with Him forever.
The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon! —Luke 24:34, ESV
You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. —Psalm 139:1
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. —John 1:12-13
The Parable of the Lost Son:
Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.
“Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need.So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs.He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’So he got up and went to his father.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
“The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate.For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
“Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing.So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’
“The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him.But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends.But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’
“‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’” —Luke 15:11-32