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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Sunday Praise and Worship: Give You #Glory

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Have you ever pondered the many blessings we receive from God? Yes, even in the midst of trials, when we feel despair or frustration, we can choose to focus on God instead of ourselves and our circumstances. This opening passage of Psalm 115 is a wonderful way to remind ourselves why we need to praise our Lord:

Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us,
But to Your name give glory,
Because of Your mercy,
Because of Your truth.
Why should the Gentiles say,
“So where is their God?”

—Psalm 115:1-2

I love the song “Give You Glory” sung by Jeremy Camp because the simple lyrics glorify and praise our Lord Jesus so well. Please join me with  your heart, voice and hands raised high in giving the Lord the glory that is due Him. Praise Him forever! 

We give You glory,
Lifting up our hands and singing holy,
You alone are worthy
We just want to touch Your heart, Lord, touch Your heart
Glory, lifting up our voice and singing holy,
You alone are worthy
We just want to touch Your heart, Lord, touch Your heart

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If for whatever reason you cannot view this video, you can read the complete lyrics 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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#Joyful Singing: I Love You, Lord

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Life has been interesting lately. I have been trying to escape the grip of bronchitis and its associated ear and sinus infections for a couple of months. I’ll have a day or two when I feel that finally I’m getting over it. And then, wham! I am back to almost where I started. And this is in addition to my chronic pain illnesses.

There have been times I’ve been tempted to cry out in despair. Will I ever get over this sickness? Why do I seem to pick up every bug that’s going around? Why can’t I lead a more normal life?

That’s when this simple song comes into my mind. It is my very favorite and has been for some time. I find myself singing it in my heart and mind at all times of the day, as well as during the night and it is still playing there when I wake up during the night to change position or if I have to get up to take meds. 

The lyrics are so soothing to me and are a constant reminder that I can always count on my King for comfort, peace and joy. What I really love about this song is that I am singing it to my Lord and Savior Jesus as I praise Him for who He is and what He has done for me.

The song “I Love You, Lordwas written by Petra.

But let all who take refuge in you be glad;
    let them ever sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them,
    that those who love your name may rejoice in you.
—Psalm 5:11

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If for whatever reason you cannot view this video, you can read the complete lyrics here.

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Sunday Praise and Worship: My Hope is in You

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If you’ve been around my blog for very long, you know that I live every single day with several chronic pain illnesses. Some of you may be struggling with health issues too. Or they may be other circumstances that cause concern, anxiety and maybe even fear. Perhaps you pray to be delivered from your trial or circumstances, but day after day nothing changes. In fact, things may even get worse.

Beloved, hang in there!

Remember that our ultimate Hope is in our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ and no one or nothing else. The song “My Hope is in You” sung by Aaron Shust often runs through my mind, especially when I’m struggling with life in my little corner of the world. This section of the lyrics always soothes me:

I will wait on You
You are my refuge
I will wait on You
You are my refuge

My hope is in You, Lord, all the day long
I won’t be shaken by drought or storm
My hope is in You, Lord
All the day long I won’t be shaken by drought or storm

As you listen to this song, ponder the words of David as he sang his trust and hope in God:

My soul, wait silently for God alone,
For my expectation is from Him.
He only is my rock and my salvation;
He is my defense;
I shall not be moved.
In God is my salvation and my glory;
The rock of my strength,
And my refuge, is in God.

Trust in Him at all times, you people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us. Selah.

—Psalm 62:5-8

 
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 If for whatever reason you cannot view this video, you can read the complete lyrics here.

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The Seven “I AM” Statements in John

Shared from GraceThruFaith.

The Seven “I AM”
Statements in John

A Bible Study by Jack Kelley
[Part 2 of 2 in the series
Summarizing John’s Gospel]

Recently I completely re-vamped a study I had originally written in 2003, entitled “The Seven Miracles In John.”  In it I showed how John selected these seven miracles specifically for their ability to help us believe that Jesus is who He claimed to be, and that by believing we might have eternal life.

In addition to these seven miracles John’s gospel contains seven “I am” statements.  Their focus is on what happens after we become believers.  You can call them part 2 of John’s underlying message to the Church.   In this study, we’ll  look at these seven “I am” statements to see what they’ll tell us.  Here’s the first one.

1. The Bread Of Life

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. (John 6:35)

Jesus had recently fed the 5000.  Incredibly some were still asking for a miraculous sign to help them believe He was who He claimed to be. They brought up the manna their forefathers had eaten in the wilderness (Exodus 16:13-18), and that established the context for this statement.   I believe Jesus was saying the manna was meant to be a model of the Messiah. Whoever partakes of Him will never again know spiritual hunger. Like the manna, every one who seeks Him will find Him (Matt. 7:7-8), but each of us has to find Him for ourselves. No one else can receive Him for us, nor can we receive Him for anyone else. We all get an amount sufficient for our salvation. No one is lacking, none of Him is wasted.

As for our thirst, remember how Jesus told the woman at the well that the water He offered would cure her thirst forever.

Read the rest here.

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