A Splinter Tells All {Repost}

Today’s post is by my friend, Patricia Knight. I’m so thankful that Pat shares these devotionals with me so that I can share them with you when I am not physically up to working much on my blog. Enjoy!

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 A Splinter Tells All

By Patricia Knight

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievance you may have against one another and everyone else” (Colossians 3:12-13).

It was only a small splinter in the thumb, but so irritating, like a myriad other things in life that get under one’s skin.  Whenever the thumb brushed against something, the area was painful.  Such is the way of annoyances, disappointments, and consequences in our lives.  We carry them around like prized possessions, allowing their barbs to constantly poke at our weaknesses.

It seems as we progress in life that we would be able to overlook a small infraction or offense toward us because we have far greater issues to confront.   However, our emotions are alive and well, ready to exhibit arrogance and indignity.  Perhaps we cannot dictate our physical aches and pains but we most certainly want to maintain the ability to minimize the emotional and spiritual trauma we experience.

God commands us to love our enemies and to do good to those who hurt us.  He teaches kindness and understanding.  God promotes humility and forgiveness.  We are told to follow His example, mimicking Jesus.

During the years Jesus ministered on earth, He was doubted, ignored, tricked, tempted, and maligned in every possible way.  Not only people’s words, but also the negative motives Jesus could see in their hearts were hurtful to Him.

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Let us minimize the suffering we do by reaching out to others in love even when we don’t think they deserve it.  We have never deserved the love God lavishes upon us.  God’s grace gives us what we do not deserve.  God’s mercy does not give us what we do deserve.  Let us extend similar grace and mercy to others.  If we learn to duplicate but a portion of compassion and forgiveness God extends to us, we may be relieved of emotional anxiety and baggage.  At the same time we could improve our personal relationships, learn the value of peace of mind, and obey our God, who commands us to love others as we do ourselves.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to relieve our emotions of all the splintered relationships we have been nurturing?  The loss would be our gain.

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The #Faith to Walk on Water

Another great Bible study from GraceThruFaith.

 The Faith to Walk on Water

Impossible goals can be brought into perspective through faith.

A Bible Study by Jack Kelley

Most people don’t know that when they use the word stress they really mean distress. Distress is the feeling caused when there’s a need to perform accompanied by a perceived lack of ability.

They also don’t know the other stress word, eustress. It’s the opposite of distress, a combination of euphoria and stress. Eustress is the feeling that comes when there’s a desire to perform accompanied by confidence in one’s ability.

With distress the perception is of impending failure; with eustress it’s of certain success.

Distress causes a depletion of energy, compulsive behavior (which actually increases the probability of failure), a general sense of discouragement, and eventually, depression. To sum up, distress makes me feel like I have to perform, but I’m afraid I can’t.

Symptoms accompanying eustress are a wellspring of energy, propulsive behavior, a sense of well being and confidence, (which improves the probability of success) and an intense desire to succeed. In other words, I want to perform, and believe I can. See the difference? 

Read the rest here.

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#JOY Mishmash

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Today’s mishmash is brought to you by the word JOY. The dictionary describes JOY as:

  • the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires
  • a state of happiness or felicity
  • a source or cause of delight

However, this definition of Christian JOY by John Piper is the kind of JOY I’m writing about:

Christian joy is a good feeling in the soul, produced by the Holy Spirit, as he causes us to see the beauty of Christ in the Word and in the world.¹

I haven’t done this in awhile, so today I’d like to share another of the devotionals I wrote for the anthology titled Anytime Prayers for Everyday PeopleThis particular devotional was included in the section titled “Prayers of Praise and Thanksgiving.

When I want to thank God for His joy . . .

Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
Worship the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.

—Psalm 100:1-2
 

[The  LORD says] The joy of the LORD will fill you to overflowing.
You will glory in the Holy One of Israel.

—Isaiah 41:16 NLT
 

We are praying . . . that you will be filled with his mighty,
glorious strength so that you can keep going  no matter what happens—
always full of the joy of the Lord.

—Colossians 1:11 TLB
 

You will make known to me the path of life;
in Your presence is fullness of joy.
—Psalm 16:11 NASB
 

Be full of joy in the Lord always.
I will say it again, be full of joy.

—Philippians 4:4 NCV

. . . I will pray.

Glorious Father,

Today I woke up singing a praise song that I heard on the radio yesterday. I guess it must have settled into my mind because I remember hearing it play through my dreams during the night as I slept. What a wonderful way to start the day! No matter how tired, cranky, or achy I feel when I wake up, praising You in song overcomes any pain or irritation I may be experiencing.

There are so many reasons to be joyful when thinking about You. Knowing I can always turn to You for guidance makes me smile with gratification. Your comforting arms holding me close make me sigh in blissful contentment.

Your heavenly joy becomes visible when I hear the delighted giggling of a child or see the tiny hands and feet of a newborn baby. And how can I not rejoice with You when a glorious rainbow paints the sky? I always appreciate Your readiness to show me the joys in life, especially when I’m at my lowest. You give me joy enough for each and every day. Thank You for Your gracious gift.

Amen.

I have no understanding of a long-faced Christian.
If God is anything, He must be joy.

—Joe E. Brown

¹ How Do You Define Joy?


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[From Anytime Prayers for Everyday People. Copyright © 2006 Bordon-Winters LLC]


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Rock of Ages (#JesusIsTheRock) + Some Changes

Happy Monday everyone! I am in the process of moving my site to a new hosting company so there may be a lag in when I can post again. I hope it will be a seamless change but in case it is not, I just wanted to make you aware of what’s going on. Also, it might reappear in a different form or theme until I can get everything straightened out again.

Here’s something to get your week going!

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For You are my rock and my fortress; therefore,
for Your name’s sake, lead me and guide me.
—Psalm 31:3

I’m glad I keep notes on things that greatly impact me because I recently found one about this song. The first time I ever heard or sang “Rock of Ages (Jesus is the Rock)” was when we lived in California years ago. The first time we sang this at church, I was greatly moved. The lyrics are simple yet very powerful:

There is no rock
There is no god like our God
No other name worthy of all our praise
The Rock of Salvation that cannot be moved
He’s proven Himself to be faithful and true
There is no rock
There is no God like ours.

Each time I sing this song, the words never fail to make my eyes leak. Imagine being someone who is “faithful and true” and who “cannot be moved”! Of course my eyes leak! Although it is hard to keep singing through the tears, I continued to sing in my heart and mind.

I suspect there are many of us who are very susceptible to our emotions. Some days, in the midst of the storms in our lives, we feel confident that God is holding our hand to guide us through it. On other days, we may despair that He’s even there. Maybe He’s forgotten about us because He has so many of us to look after.

Beloved, God is always with us, no matter what! His love for us is so vast and constant, completely unchanging—unlike our own inconsistent emotions. We have the confidence of knowing this to be true because He tells us over and over again in His Word how much He loves and cares for us. It’s the one thing in this ever-changing world we can always count on!

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I can’t number the times I’ve almost given up on You and instead tried to do things in my own strength. But You have this way of reminding me of Your immense love for me, and sometimes a little nudge is from You is all I need to get me back on the right track. Thank you for being my Rock, the One Who will always be there for me, no matter what.

Please excuse any ads that may appear before the video begins

If for any reason you cannot view this video, please go here for the lyrics.

P.S. Some of you native Californians or those who have lived at or visited California’s central coast will recognize that the top photo is of Morro Rock. Rick and I spent many special times camping in Morro Bay and along that section of the coast. 

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#Forgiveness

Another great and pertinent piece from GraceThruFaith.

Forgiveness

A Bible Study by Jack Kelley

Some one once said that if we ever realized just how much the Lord has forgiven us, we wouldn’t hesitate a moment in forgiving others. I wonder. I think the Lord pretty much nailed us in His parable of the unmerciful servant. It’s in Matt 18:21-35. Peter began the dialogue by asking how many times we’re required to forgive a brother who sins against us, “up to seven times?”

“Not seven times but 70 times 7,” replied the Lord. I think that means, “As often as he asks.” Then He gave them and us the parable. Here’s the Reader’s Digest version.

The Unmerciful Servant

A servant owed his master a debt he could never hope to repay.  When the day of reckoning came he appeared before the master, hat in hand.  Asking only for more time to pay, he was completely forgiven, and the debt was canceled.  Imagine his relief.

Upon leaving his master’s office he came upon a fellow servant who owed him a small sum. He demanded immediate payment but the fellow servant asked him for more time, just as he had asked the master. But he refused the request and had his debtor thrown into prison until he could pay in full.

Upon learning this, the master was enraged. “I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had on you?” He then had the servant turned over to the jailer to be tortured until he could repay all he owes. The Lord concluded with this admonition. “This is how my Heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.”

Each subject and object in a parable is symbolic.

Read the rest here.

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The Gift of #Emptiness

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The education of our faith is incomplete
if we have not learned that there is a providence of loss,
a ministry of failing and of fading things,
a gift of emptiness. 
—F.B. Meyer

I’ve been pondering this phrase I read the other day: the gift of emptiness. What contradictory terms! How can emptiness be a gift?

We have all received gifts from family and friends for various occasions. Every so often someone will give us something special just because. Those are my favorite gifts—a card for no reason at all, a special book from a friend who knows my taste in reading, a hug, a fistful of flowers my Rick picked from the side of the road just for me. All of these make me feel special and loved.

My daughter once gave me a purse she hadn’t used in a while. It was the perfect size and color for me (bright pink!) and I loved the feel of the soft patent leather. There was no special reason for this gift; she simply thought I might enjoy using it, and oh, I did I ever! On top of my desk is a sweet teddy bear wearing a dress and pinafore, with a bow and headband around her head. A close friend gave me this gift because she saw it and thought of me.

I was away for a week and before I drove straight home I stopped at the car wash to surprise Rick with the gift of a brightly clean truck. A couple of days later, as a surprise gift to me, he completely cleaned out the inside of the truck. How’s that for mutual gifting?

As special as touchable gifts are, there are some intangible ones that are special too. The one I’m thinking about now happened a few years ago when my son renewed his commitment to the Lord and was baptized. As the tears streamed down my face, I thanked God that He had allowed me to witness this extraordinary event in my son’s life.

Emptiness is defined as an unfilled space; a total lack of ideas, meaning, or substance; a desolate sense of loss. On the other hand, a gift is something bestowed or acquired without any particular effort by the recipient or without its being earned. How can two such different words occupy the same sentence or thought?

Ecclesiastes 5:7 says “For in many dreams and in many words there is emptiness. Rather, fear God.” The fear of God is not that cowering kind of dread but rather a total awe, wonder and reverence for a perfect, holy, righteous and just Creator. When we truly fear God, we bow to His awesome power, complete knowledge, overwhelming faithfulness, and unfailing love and mercy for us.

God is our strength when we feel weak, our fortress when people try to overpower us, and our refuge when we need to pull back from the pressures of life. In fact, God is our ultimate security and protection.

There is nothing He is not able and willing to help us with. No matter how far we may stray from Him, He is always ready to take us back with open arms because His love for us is immeasurable. All of these are intangible gifts from God, gifts we experience from Him but cannot touch or feel with our hands. We know these gifts are from Him because:

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For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—
and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—

not by works, so that no one can boast.

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For we are God’s handiwork,
created in Christ Jesus to do good works,
which God prepared in advance for us to do.

—Ephesians 2:8-10

Pastor David Strem, in his sermon “Easter: Emptiness that Fulfills,” shares this:

The empty tomb is about the power of God to overcome death…[and] is God’s promise that physical death is not the end. It displays His power over death and satisfies our hope for eternal life. The world is full of empty promises, but God is different. Instead of promises full of emptiness, God gives us emptiness that is full of promise. Emptiness because He poured Himself out for us.¹

Beloved, God’s ultimate gift to us is the reality of that empty tomb where Jesus was after He died for our sins. God bestows many gifts on us because He loves us so much, but His gift of emptiness tops everything else. If Jesus had not conquered death, leaving us that empty tomb, we would not have the reassurance of His coming back for us. It is this reassurance that comforts and upholds me during my worst days because I know without a shadow of doubt that God has my back. His gift of emptiness keeps me from losing heart. How about you?

But very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. They found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. So they went in, but they didn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus. As they stood there puzzled, two men suddenly appeared to them, clothed in dazzling robes. The women were terrified and bowed with their faces to the ground. Then the men asked, “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what he told you back in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would rise again on the third day.” Then they remembered that he had said this.
—Luke 24:1-8

¹ The Last Days of Jesus’ Earthly Ministry

 

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Proving the Existence of Jesus

Sharing another good one from GraceThruFaith.

Proving the Existence of Jesus

A Bible Study by Jack Kelly  

Know and understand this. From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until The Anointed One the ruler comes there will be seven sevens and sixty two sevens. It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench but in times of trouble. After the sixty two sevens the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. (Daniel 9:25-26a)

This information was given to Daniel in 538 BC in response to a prayer asking God to release His people from their 70 year captivity in Babylon. The Angel Gabriel visited Daniel with a message that has become known as the 70 weeks of Daniel (Dan 9:24-27). The title is somewhat confusing because the Hebrew word translated as “weeks” in the KJV and “sevens” in the NIV actually describes a period of seven years. So 70 “weeks” is really 490 years, and the seven “sevens” and sixty-two “sevens” referenced above combine to equal 483 years. This passage is the single most important piece of prophecy in all of scripture because it chronicles the coming of the Messiah, the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, the coming of the anti-christ and the timing and duration of the Great Tribulation. It is nothing less than the key that unlocks our understanding of the end times, and so mastering it is critical for any student of eschatology.

For our purposes today, the 2 verses of Daniel’s prophecy I’ve quoted presents us with a very narrow window of time into which we must fit the birth and death of anyone claiming to be the Messiah.

Read the rest here.

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