A Spiritual Inhaler


"If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things have passed away; behold new things have come." II Corinthians 5:17 NASB

Just back from a missionary trip to Malaysia, a young girl who had lost her asthma inhaler died in her parents arms gasping for breath. I learned that asthma can be a life threatening disease if not treated properly.

Shame and guilt can also be a life threatening condition if not treated correctly.

Sadly, being human, we are said to be unable to forget without organic damage. This remembering can often put God's children at odds with how He treats sin. When painful polluting memory emotions reoccur, The Father in heaven desires that His children turn to Him and what He has said. Allowing a heart to open to God's word is much like using an emergency inhaler.

Breathe in verses about how He treats sin and you will breathe heaven's clean air. Among those verses that you carry with you as an emergency inhaler are: "Your sins have been wiped away as the morning mist." Isaiah 44:22; "Be of good cheer son, your sins have been forgiven." Matthew 9:2 ; "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise." Psalm 51:16-17

"Father, when our past sins reappear and attempt to destroy our lives, help us to go through each day humming victories song: "I am a new creature." Thank You, Amen."

Dr. Bob, AZ

Learning To Be Content

I have learned, in whatsoever condition I am, to be content." Philippians 4:11-13

I searched for contentment for years. Then, one day I was led to today's reflection verses. Although Paul had said that he had learned how to be content, I still didn't understand what he had learned until I read down to verse 13 in which the Holy Spirit answered my question. Paul said, "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me."

I came to realize, what was for me life changing, that my personal relationship with my Lord and Shepherd, Jesus, was to be the source of consistent contentment. I'm now, although not perfectly, content with whatever He allows me to accumulate or allows to happen. Whatever condition that I find myself in I am ok with that. My Lord knows best.

My heart often desires to trust Him with the heart of an innocent child who knows that his Father knows best. He and His beloved Son are the center of my life and this gives me victory over strife.

"Father, I have learned to be content in Your beloved Son. Day's come and day's go. but I see each one through the stained-glass of Your love. Thank You, Amen"

Doc. Bob [AZ]

The Story Without An Ending

Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father. (John 10: 17-18 KJV)

Jesus’s incarnation is the turning point in man’s relationship with God. Living under the law for generations had failed to absolve mankind of sin and guilt. It would take a daring rescue mission to bring about the sort of change God had in mind. Since, by definition, God is unchangeable, he couldn’t bend the rules. But he could, through a show of infinite love for man, create a path and light the way to restoration of the intimate relationship man enjoyed with God before the fall.

What God couldn’t bring himself to require of Abraham with his knife poised over Isaac on the sacrificial altar, he would require of himself. At Calvary he offered his only son, Jesus, as a suitable sacrifice in absolute proof he was withholding nothing for the sake of saving mankind. He could have intervened at any time and called the whole thing off, as he did in Isaac’s case. Instead, he did the unthinkable. He turned his back on our Lord, forsaking him, allowing him to die a sinner’s death.

In John 10 we have a candid prediction of the events to unfold, told from Jesus’s perspective. Related during the winter prior to the crucifixion centered around Passover in the spring that followed, it indicates that he came to earth fully knowing of the grisly, martyr’s death which awaited him. Yet, despite this knowledge, he laid down his life of his own accord. As much as the Roman authorities and Jewish temple hierarchy would have liked to believe they engineered the crucifixion, the decision was part of a mandate from his father, predicated on his agreement to see it through. The full import of it being God’s will and that Jesus understood ahead of time what that entailed is seen in this verse taken from his prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane just before the soldiers came to arrest him:
And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying,
O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless
not as I will, but as thou wilt. (Matthew 26:39 KJV)

This story doesn’t end at Golgotha the way the forces of evil intended for it to. In fact, it is a story without an end as God intended. Jesus said he had the power to take up his life again, just as he had the power to lay it down. He kept his word. Not only did he awaken on Easter morning to eternal life, he extended the privilege to all who follow him.

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. (John 10: 27-28 KJV).

In this remarkable way God was able to salvage a remnant of the creation in which he takes the greatest pride and in so doing set the stage for the restoration of the balance he so desires.

Blessed Father, We praise you for paving the way for us to reunite with you and your Blessed Son, Jesus.
Amen

Carol (NC)

Model of the Faith

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4 (NIV)

There was something else I needed to tell them.

After dinner we helped our kids with homework. My wife and I also included time to talk to them about school and their friends. They had a chance to ask us a few questions, too. This was our way of identifying and tackling small problems in their lives before they bloomed into larger ones.

We often worried about their grades, their health, and especially their safety.

But God reminds us it is not only their earthly education and physical well-being we need to concern ourselves with. It also matters that we impart to our children an education in the things of God. Our objective as parents remain unchanged from days gone by. Bring the children to Jesus and ensure they arrive at the place of our heavenly Father.

God wants us to instruct our children about His Son and to clear a way for them to encounter the real Jesus. He warns us to take care not to impede our kids’ path with our own bad example and calls us to be loving models of the faith.

But we are not expected to do it alone. With the direction and grace from our heavenly Father, we have the help we need to help our children grow in love for Jesus. As models of the faith, we need to walk with our kids on their faith journey with Christ until they are ready to walk with Jesus on their own.

Joyful indeed will be the day when our Lord Jesus Christ welcomes our children to walk with Him and they follow.

Lord, help me to become the best teacher of the faith for my children. Let my actions and words help them grow in the faith. Amen.

Doug (CA)

No Grudge Matches


If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Don not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge’ I will repay,” says the Lord. (Romans 12: 18-20)

I have a friend who processes his anger by pulling pranks on the person who has embarrassed or offended him. To him it is all about getting even. Once he has called the person out, all is forgiven and he can resume normal relations with his friend. Having been on the receiving end of his hijinks on numerous occasions, I can say what he fails to take into consideration is how much this tactic erodes a relationship. The relationship may be restored to a fair balance as far as he is concerned, but what about from the standpoint of the newly injured party? I confess I am not totally blameless in this pattern. I plead guilty to needling him in his vulnerable points, my rationale being that we shouldn’t fear we are walking on eggshells every time we want to joke with a friend.

Trust is a delicate thing, often built brick by brick over a number of years, yet it can only take one disastrous bad move to bring the whole thing toppling down. It is a gift which should be highly valued by both parties if the friendship is to weather the ups and downs which come over the normal course of life. Life throws enough uncertainties into the mix----why amplify the strain by insisting on settling slights and offenses on our own? That is best left to God.

My relationship with my friend will probably weather the last practical joke, as over 30 years of experience with him has prepared me for his unorthodox methods which are, for the most part, harmless, but I do wonder if at some point we will conclude that enough is enough and go our separate ways. 
Self-control is listed as one of the nine fruits of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5 :22-23, as is the old –fashioned word “forbearance”, which means patience or tolerance. This applies to our everyday affairs with friends, family and coworkers, not just when a stranger cuts us off in heavy traffic, or engages us in a lively discussion about our political views.. As Christians we are held to a higher standard and should do our best to honor it. Both my friend and I would do well to take a look at how we measure up to this standard.

Lord, Help us to be ever mindful of controlling our negative impulses as we strive to be good representatives for you in the world. Amen

Carol (NC)

On Death's Door

"Oh death , where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory." I Corinthians 15:55 

Last week, I heard death's door opening up.

Ever since I had a serious stroke two years ago, I have been taking Eliquis to hinder having another stroke. It's a good medicine, thank the Lord, I'm still here. But, this medication has a problem in that there is no coagulant presently that will stop a bleed out if one happens. The blood is thinned markedly so another blood clot won't cause another stroke.

Last week I had my head down working at my computer and suddenly I felt something warm coming out my nose. A small river of blood started flowing all over.
This constant river filled up two kitchen towels and started dropping big drops on the kitchen floor. I was in big trouble as I couldn't call 911 and my wife was an hour away.

I went outside to finish bleeding out and didn't know what to do. I bled and prayed. I told the Lord it was ok as I was ready to go home as it would take a miracle to save me. Several minutes of warm blood flowing down my face later, I thought someone was there and looked up best I could.

Standing there was a lady I had never seen- a registered nurse from next door who was visiting because her husband had recently died. She treated me until the EMS arrived and took me to the hospital.

I'm still here but while I was waiting to finish bleeding out, I had peace that death has lost its sting because of my Lord, Jesus.


"Thank You Lord for saving my soul. Thank You for making me whole. In Your name, Amen." 

Dr. Bob, AZ

A Knock at the Door

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. (Revelation 3:20 KJV)

Initially we had her pegged as just being poor, wearing the same outfit each time she came in, negotiating for the lowest possible rate. But as her appearance deteriorated so did her mental state. We watched her leave the office on foot, fearing she was going to walk the miles to her home, not an easy task for someone her age.

I promised myself the next time she came in I would do something to help her. So I hurried out and caught up with her on the sidewalk when she was on her way out. Handing her the folded bill I saw a puzzled look cloud her expression, and she asked me why I was giving her money. I told her God had told me to give it to her.

The next time she came in she opened up a bit to my coworker and when I heard what she had said I knew the story she spun wasn’t a tall tale but the ramblings of someone out of touch with reality. It was clear she didn’t have the sort of problem you could merely throw money at. She was delusional, a condition that required professional intervention, which our area is sorely lacking in, but more importantly, required her cooperation. Given her religious beliefs, I doubted she would give it.

As harsh as it may seem, in a society which so closely safeguards personal freedom, we cannot force help on those who need it unless they pose a threat to themselves or others. Otherwise it is a matter of free choice on their part.

A similar dilemma exists when we are running away from Christ. We are afforded free will to choose to accept him as our Lord and Savior or not. Forcing us to do so would be unworthy of his great sacrifice and in the process make us no better than slaves. 

Man’s freedom to choose goes as far back as the Garden of Eden, where Adam and Eve in eating the forbidden fruit set in motion the chain of events that would necessitate Christ leaving his heavenly home and coming to earth as a man, enduring an excruciating death in order to redeem our fallen race. God must have put great stock in man having enough independence to determine his own fate in order to take such a risk.

As the result of Christ’s supreme sacrifice believers are adopted into the family of God, siblings of Jesus, sons and daughters of God the Father. We are even told to call him “Abba”, the familiar form for father. (Romans 8: 14-17). Consider the level of intimacy this implies compared to the alternative of having an absolute ruler who governs his subjects not as family but with an iron hand.

Instead, we are blessed to have a Savior, who being a gentleman, stands at the door and knocks, but will only enter if invited. Help for the worst problems, even those of the lady who is suffering a break with reality, is as close as responding to the knock on our heart’s door.

Blessed Jesus, Help us to summon the courage to welcome you to draw near when you approach us. Amen

Carol (NC)

Lost Touch

Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. Jeremiah 29:12 (NIV)

I overlooked something important.

Everything was going well in my life. The kids liked their school and friends. I enjoyed my career—and with a recent promotion came extra income. Also, the drive back from work barely took 10 minutes, which gave me extra time to spend with the family.

After dinner I stretched out on my favorite lounge chair and made plans for the weekend. I scribbled down a list of activities to do. I then discovered not only something absent from my weekend list—but also from my everyday life.

With a life filled with the kids’ school activities and soccer games, lunch with friends, and the customary 9 holes of golf on the weekend, I gave little attention to prayer. I overlooked God’s presence in my life and failed to acknowledge His help through the tough times.

Without prayer, we lose touch with God and cease to know Him.

As Christians, prayer is central to our faith. It strengthens our relationship with God. He awaits to hear from us each day. Prayer helps us to understand His will for us, and it opens our hearts to witness His loving actions working in our lives. Our faith also deepens as we tune in to His presence.

God does not mind that we enjoy the many blessings He bestows upon us—as long as our activities and material gifts do not steer us away from Him. God wants us to make prayer a treasured activity. It is the perfect remedy against indifference towards the One who provides all good things. 

Lord, never let us lose touch with You. Remind us that no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in, You are only a prayer away—always eager to listen and help. Amen.

Doug (CA)

Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. Jeremiah 29:12 (NIV)

I overlooked something important.

Everything was going well in my life. The kids liked their school and friends. I enjoyed my career—and with a recent promotion came extra income. Also, the drive back from work barely took 10 minutes, which gave me extra time to spend with the family.

After dinner I stretched out on my favorite lounge chair and made plans for the weekend. I scribbled down a list of activities to do. I then discovered not only something absent from my weekend list—but also from my everyday life.

With a life filled with the kids’ school activities and soccer games, lunch with friends, and the customary 9 holes of golf on the weekend, I gave little attention to prayer. I overlooked God’s presence in my life and failed to acknowledge His help through the tough times.

Without prayer, we lose touch with God and cease to know Him.

As Christians, prayer is central to our faith. It strengthens our relationship with God. He awaits to hear from us each day. Prayer helps us to understand His will for us, and it opens our hearts to witness His loving actions working in our lives. Our faith also deepens as we tune in to His presence.

God does not mind that we enjoy the many blessings He bestows upon us—as long as our activities and material gifts do not steer us away from Him. God wants us to make prayer a treasured activity. It is the perfect remedy against indifference towards the One who provides all good things. 

Lord, never let us lose touch with You. Remind us that no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in, You are only a prayer away—always eager to listen and help. Amen.

Doug (CA)

Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. Jeremiah 29:12 (NIV)
I overlooked something important.

Everything was going well in my life. The kids liked their school and friends. I enjoyed my career—and with a recent promotion came extra income. Also, the drive back from work barely took 10 minutes, which gave me extra time to spend with the family.

After dinner I stretched out on my favorite lounge chair and made plans for the weekend. I scribbled down a list of activities to do. I then discovered not only something absent from my weekend list—but also from my everyday life.

With a life filled with the kids’ school activities and soccer games, lunch with friends, and the customary 9 holes of golf on the weekend, I gave little attention to prayer. I overlooked God’s presence in my life and failed to acknowledge His help through the tough times.

Without prayer, we lose touch with God and cease to know Him.

As Christians, prayer is central to our faith. It strengthens our relationship with God. He awaits to hear from us each day. Prayer helps us to understand His will for us, and it opens our hearts to witness His loving actions working in our lives. Our faith also deepens as we tune in to His presence.

God does not mind that we enjoy the many blessings He bestows upon us—as long as our activities and material gifts do not steer us away from Him. God wants us to make prayer a treasured activity. It is the perfect remedy against indifference towards the One who provides all good things. 

Lord, never let us lose touch with You. Remind us that no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in, You are only a prayer away—always eager to listen and help. Amen.

Doug (CA)

Never Leave, Never Forsake

Psa 102:25 
Of old You laid the foundation of the earth,
And the heavens are the work of Your hands.

Psa 102:26 
They will perish, but You will endure;
Yes, they will all grow old like a garment;
Like a cloak You will change them,
And they will be changed.

Psa 102:27 
But You are the same,
And Your years will have no end. (NKJV)

Several years ago I was in the middle of a personal crisis which made it look like my whole world was about to collapse around me. When I had nearly reached my breaking point a coworker said something to me that was so uplifting, not only did it help me weather that crisis but resonated so much it has helped sustain me through other squalls since then as well. She said, “I do not believe God brought you this far to let you down now.” 

Recently, another coworker and I were fretting over work problems which seemed to be approaching a climax and those words spoken to me years before came to mind. I shared them with my friend, (footnoting our mutual friend) and she came to me later and told me how they had struck a chord with her too. 

Sometimes we need to be reminded of God’s faithfulness. Fortunately for us, his people, he doesn’t need such reminders. As he spoke to Joshua when he assumed leadership of the Israelites at Moses death, “ As I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you.” (Joshua 1:5 NKJV). This Old Testament promise is carried forward into the New Testament (Hebrews 13:5 NKJV). So we need not fret over God’s, or his son Jesus’s constancy. He “is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8 NKJV).

As much as we may like to think our relationships with family and friends will see us through our entire lives, changes will always come, whether it be because of career moves, declining health, or even death. Fluctuations in our circumstances is to be expected; the one constant we can count on in life is the bedrock foundation we have in our relationship with Christ. Look to him when life is closing in on you. Remember: He didn’t bring you this far to abandon you now.

Blessed Jesus, Help us to embrace your promise to be with us throughout whatever life has to offer. Amen 

Carol (NC)

You Can Conceive

"But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desire and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. ' James 1:14-15 NASB 

When I was a prison minister, I learned that today's verses helped many prisoners to make a first-time salvation decisions, and to understand why they committed felonies. 

It is obvious that pregnancy comes before birth; what is not so obvious is that men can become pregnant too. God explains in the words of the Word that there are two types of pregnancies - one is physical and the other is spiritual.

Very pregnant women are hard to miss, and those who are pregnant with a sin child also stand out. The offspring that are conceived from the lusts of the flesh include felonies, wrath etc., and produce broken homes, loss of self respect etc. When a person submits to the lusts of their old nature fleshly compulsions; they go through a painful pregnancy and are seldom proud of what they give birth to.

When sin "grows up", it grows as a cancer grows, it demands more and more room to take over. and brings forth "death". "Death" in the Bible refers to separation. These sin children demand our resources: financially. emotionally and spiritually as they are an addiction condition that is selfish by nature.

To become one of God's children, a person must have a John 3:16 soul and "receive" Jesus while turning away from their sins, John 1:12. After salvation, God's children must continue this repentance principle by turning away from the compulsions of their old nature flesh or they will soon find themselves pregnant with a sin child. "Repent and be converted", Acts 3:19.

"Dear Lord, we are only dust and have lustful compulsions. Please help us to walk in Your Spirit so that we won't commit the lusts of the flesh. Thank You, Amen. +

Dr. Bob, AZ

Prince of Peace

Peace I leave with you. My peace I give you. I give to you not as the world gives. Don't be troubled or afraid. John 14:27 (CEB)

My husband was facing open heart surgery. Again. We were in the surgery ready for him to go back, but an emergency had delayed his procedure. Due to the delay, I started thinking. Many of my friends had asked, “How can you be so calm? They are opening up his chest!” or “Aren’t you nervous? I surely would be.” 

Perhaps I wasn’t taking this seriously enough. Was I being naïve? This really was a big surgery with certain risks involved. Maybe I needed to be more realistic. What if he left me a widow? My peace was leaving me as I focused on my fears. I looked over at my husband on the gurney who looked quite calm. Smiling, he said, “Honey, it is all in God’s hands. He knows exactly how this will turn out. He has a plan for me and I’m good with it.” 

My husband, the patient, was ministering to me. Ironic, how with a simple choice, I could lose focus of God who gave me peace to focus on my circumstances instead.

Jesus said He gives us peace. Sometimes it is easy to lose focus of that as we go about our daily activities. But we have the Prince of Peace. We can focus on peace instead of fear. As in my case, sometimes it takes a little reminder from someone close to us.


Prayer: Dear Lord, we praise you for your gift of peace. We praise you also for those that nudge us back to focusing on that gift of peace.

Carol (Alabama)

And the Holy Spirit

….And the Holy Spirit

. . .as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived--the things God has prepared for those who love him—
These are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. (1 Corinthians 2:9-12 NIV)

The small bird lighted on the passenger side mirror of my sedan and began to peck feverishly at its reflection. I was entertained by the bird’s antics and probably wouldn’t have given it a second thought had it not been for an email I received from a fellow church goer later in the week. She said a pesky mockingbird had taken up residence in the church parking lot and to thwart its attacking their mirrors, a couple of church folk had resorted to putting paper sacks over them. It turned out what I had taken for a friendly gesture, other, better informed people recognized for the nuisance it was.

When I thought more about my comical misunderstanding, I realized it was an illustration of how if our thought processes can be that far offbase about even the most commonplace things, how much more are they likely to be when dealing with matters in the spiritual realm if we are left to our own devices.

Fortunately God has provided us with a resource to deal with life’s uncertainties so we don’t have to rely on our own limited vision.

True “aha” moments are inspirations, but do not spring from any mental Olympics on our part; we have been guided there by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit’s internal dialog with us is not done in a threatening or preachy sort of way but with the same gentle touch the Master was known for. They are so subtle in fact, we may be tempted to claim the ideas as our own. It is God’s way to unveil truths to us in a form that is digestible to us in whatever frame of mind we are in.

That the Holy Spirit can single us out for such individualized attention while simultaneously ministering to the whole body of Christ is beyond our comprehension, but let us rejoice it is so. 

Blessed Jesus, Thank you for sending us the Comforter to help us better navigate our way through life. Amen

Carol (NC) 

Three Billion Letters

"Did not He who made me in the womb make them? Did not the same One fashion us in the womb? Job 31:15 (NKJV) 

Recently, I was reading about how babies are made by God. The source that I was reading stated that "the genetic code that determines our basic makeup, from our health risks to what we look like is more than a three billion letter code." I thought: "THREE BILLION LETTERS? " 

No wonder each baby is unique and special. I went on to think that no wonder each baby is a treasure. Each baby is the product of Almighty God writing a one of a kind code that produces what He wants that baby to look like and be. 

Each baby has the same needs: food and water, being touched etc. Also, each little one has the same potentials: creativity, being born-again etc. Babies with an unusual code are still gifts from God to produce understanding and trust. A unique baby has needs that bring out love, trust and growth in their parents. They also spend their lives causing prayers to rise to heaven for help.

Many take the miraculous for granted and devalue God's choice in favor of women's choices. This hardness of heart toward babies and disrespect of God has a reckoning day coming.

Respect what God goes through to produce each baby as He writes and makes come to pass each unique three billion letter code baby.


"Lord, help us to be in awe of Your creating work as we look at children. In Jesus' name, Amen."

Dr. Bob [Surprise,AZ]

Longing for Christ

And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.
- But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:
- And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:
For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.
(Luke 15:21-24 KJV)

While I was waiting in the car for the rest of my party to arrive at the restaurant where we were having lunch, the cell phone conversation being carried on on the patio was loud enough to get my attention. He was young, no more than twenty, with a clean cut look about him. We hear all the time that the new face of drug and alcohol abuse is no longer the disheveled, shady look of days past, but more the boy or girl next day and the story that unfolded in front of me certainly gave credence to that fact.

He confessed he had been thrown out of his parents’ house, and then a neighbor’s in the middle of the night for his disruptive behavior. Pacing in the way the young do when they are excited about the subject of their conversation, he was bragging about dropping out of school, going on a bender that resulted in his car winding up totaled in a ditch and him being jailed on a drunk driving charge.

All of this was delivered in a joking way, the same lighthearted tone anyone would use in bringing a friend up to speed on what has been transpired since you last spoke. It didn’t take a professional to determine this young man was treading very close to disaster, the kind you may not come back from. But tucked into all of this bravado was one telling remark about how his father was handling the situation. From what he said it seemed his father was walking the high wire between doing what the emotions that were running high would dictate, or opting for a more measured, forgiving approach. In the end he came down on the side of coming to the aid of his son, who related his father had said, “You need to make better decisions.” I am sure this was in no small part due to him simply being relieved it was the car and not his son who was lost in the crash.

Back during the time when Mosaic law was enacted, the option given an Israelite father in the event of an undisciplined son was one we now consider barbaric. In Deuteronomy 21:18-21, the Mosaic law relates the fate of a rebellious son as consisting of being taken to the town elders where the men present would stone him to death to make an example of him. In the New Testament, Jesus’ answer to a similar scenario is contained in the parable of the prodigal son, where the wayward son is welcomed home with a warm embrace and a celebration thrown in his behalf. It should be said Jesus was careful to preface this with the son in the story repenting of his sins. 

When faced with the kind of difficult decisions the father in my story is facing, we can welcome and forgive our children when they stray, but as much as we would like, we cannot take the crucial extra step of repentance for them. Their decision will be an individual one, just as it was for each of us. What we can do is pray for their safety, their sobriety, but most of all for them to face the reality that they need for God to be the driving force in their lives instead of giving into the temptations which the world uses to lure them away. Some of these youth are thrill seekers, some merely trying to deaden a nagging emotional pain. Whatever the case, their search always springs from a deep ill-defined longing only knowing Christ can satisfy. Pray the person in your life, like the prodigal son, finds their way to their spiritual home.

Blessed Jesus, Please aid us in finding the best possible care for our troubled youth, not just medical or psychological help, but spiritual as well.

Carol (NC) 

Hold on to Hope

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 1 Peter 5:10 (NIV)

I had to stay off my feet for at least a few days.

My knee pounded with pain as I limped from room to room. As I sat stranded in front of the TV and bore the discomfort, a friend from church who had been homebound for a while came to mind. He always offered a cheerful smile when I dropped in for a visit. Even on days filled with severe pain, he extended his hand to greet me—but he uttered not a word. I understood what his silence meant and prayed for his pain to go away.

Even though I was there to comfort him, he comforted me even more with his unselfish interest in my life. His witness to the power of God’s grace—which sustained him through his many trials—inspired me and strengthened my faith. 

Our friends and family members who inspire others in the face of illness should remind us to hold tight to Christ when we find ourselves in the midst of a storm. God wants us to hope in Him who cares about every difficulty. He is there when we grieve and mourn. He is there when we cry out in pain.

He knows our misery. Christ felt it before.

The Lord does not want our trust in Him weakened, allowing the pains and sorrows to strip us of hope. There is hopefulness in Christ—and despair lies in wait for those who turn from the Savior. 

Encouraged by those who suffer with hope in the Lord, let us remember to ask Jesus to bestow the same grace to us during our difficult moments.

Lord, at times it seems impossible to feel hopeful during our trials. Help us to always trust that in and through You we can find the hope we seek. Amen.

Doug (CA)

Three Persons - One god

"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit." Matthew 28:19 

I've been on a journey for several months; I've desired to understand more how to have a personal relationship with each person of the Trinity.

After much prayer, study and personal research, I've been blessed with some soul blessing insights that are to be passed on. "No man knows the things of God except the Spirit of God", I Cor.2:11 , and He reveals the mind of God by the words of the Word.


The Spirit of God has an unique relationship to God's children during this, the age of grace. He indwells every born again believer, John 14:17; Romans 8:9; I Corinthians 6:19). He also fills or controls, Ephesians 5:18, Christians who are "clean" or "obedient" , John 15:3,10, yielded branches of the Vine, Jesus.


The Father is the Planner and Papa. The Son is the Creator Savior and Good Shepherd. The Holy Spirit is the Power and Comforter. Almighty God is One, The I Am of eternity. 

"Praise You Almighty God, help me have warm trusting relationships with You and each member of Your God-head as described in Your Word. Amen, In Jesus name." 

Dr. Bob, AZ 

Let Your Light Shine

If you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. (Isaiah 58:10 NIV)

He was one of those people at whom you marvel. His shopping cart was loaded with bulk staple goods in a drug store, a place where you usually limit your purchases to prescriptions and beauty products. At first, I was frustrated at having to wait in line behind him at the only open register, but when I overheard his conversation with the cashier, my attitude made an about-face.

He was a couponer, but that is just the beginning of the story that unfolded as he passed the time of day with the clerk. Turns out the majority of the purchases he was making at tremendous savings were earmarked for the local food bank. When he had been rung up and left the store and it was my turn in line, I sheepishly fished in my purse for the coupon that had lured me in the store and used it for a vanity item.
While I had a twinge of gratification for whittling down the cost of my purchase, it hit me the man ahead of me, fueled by sheer ingenuity and heart, had bought a whole cart full of items for the needy for little more than the few dollars I was spending. 

Of course, it was no coincidence God had put us both there at that moment in line with each other, within hearing distance so I would be able to share the man’s story with a larger audience. I don’t think the takeaway is that suddenly we should all be clipping coupons for the needy. Rather, I believe the lesson is that we should all train ourselves to be alert to the creative possibilities of ministering to the needs of those within our orbit, whether it be that we draw from our material goods or our natural talents. 

When we become attuned to pursuing opportunities for sharing our good fortune with the less fortunate, our spirit’s light will shine for the world to see, glorifying our heavenly father.

Blessed Father, May our spirits reflect your love and kindness as ordained in scripture. Amen.
Carol (NC)