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)

Angels On Duty

For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. They will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. – Psalm 91:11 NIV

My youngest son, Jonah, was about four years old when he was nearly mauled by a dog! He had been playing in the yard with the neighborhood kids as he always did. And as I always did, I had poked my head out the door to check on him. I noticed him standing on the other side of the yard, frozen in place. His eyes were locked on the scary neighborhood dog running right for him. This dog was mean, and all the kids knew to stay away from it. Somehow that day it had escaped its fenced in yard and was headed right for my little boy. I had no time to reach him and I was certain I was about to see him be mauled by a dog. But the strangest thing happened! Just as the dog was about to pounce, it stopped dead in its tracks and ran off. Not one hair on Jonah’s head was harmed and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that an angel intervened that day. 

One of my favorite passages of scripture tells us God has commanded His angels to guard us and that they will intervene to keep us from harm. I have believed this for as long as I can remember, and I have proclaimed it countless times as I envisioned the heavenly hosts on assignment. I have prayed it over my husband and my children. I have prayed it over school busses and cars. I have prayed it at the start of the day as I sent them on their way and lying in bed at night while I waited for them to come home. 

When you pray a prayer like that, you can’t help but have faith that God heard you and that He's on it! His angels are there just as He commands them to be and no situation will occur in the lives of God's children that hasn't been approved by Him. 

Don’t let fear and worry overtake you. Trust that God has angels on duty surrounding your loved ones and intervening to keep them safe. Hold on to this promise and let go of fear. 

Heavenly Father, thank you for the promise of protection. Surround my loved ones with your angels and intervene in our lives for Your glory. In Jesus name, Amen.

Used by permission of Christian Devotions Ministries.

Erika, Minnesota

What Do You Worry About?

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t there more to life than food and more to the body than clothing?” (Matthew 6:25 NET). 

I fidgeted with a snag in my jeans reflecting on my pastor’s questions: “What do you worry about?” The thread-pull got longer as uncertainties flooded my mind.

God has proven himself trustworthy repeatedly in Scripture, but I find nothing in there about good grades or post-grad school plans. Nothing about marital bliss, a job, or future sons and daughters accepting Christ. Acknowledging all of the uncertainty in the future makes me cringe. I do exactly what Jesus told us not to do—I worry.

But Jesus didn’t tell his listeners to get over themselves and then carry on with his day. He offered an explanation of why they shouldn’t worry themselves over the matters of this life: because He cares for them. If God takes care of the flowers in the field, will he not take care of us whom he values more? (6:26). He has freed us, his sons and daughters, of worrying. God values and cares for me; I have no reason to worry. Simple, but hard to trust. 

Lord, I recognize that I worry when I fail to trust you. Thank You for Your patience. When I look at the flowers, would You remind me of Your love and trustworthiness? Teach me to trust You. 

Corinne (TX)

A Living Hope

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you…(1 Peter 1: 3-4 NIV).

When you have been friends as long as we have it isn’t unusual for you to sense when something is amiss, even at a distance. Even so, I was surprised when the day after a minor mishap sent me to urgent care for stitches, out of the blue my childhood friend texted me saying I had been on her mind for several days. As we brought each other up to date on our respective worlds, it became apparent her problems far eclipsed mine.

I knew her husband suffered from dementia, but its rapid progression has become alarming. She explained that she struggles along with him as he tries to reach through the mental fog to communicate. Even his basic self-help skills have deteriorated, leaving her to rejoice in the small victories of him still being able to feed and dress himself. Yet in the midst of all this tragedy, what struck me most about her revelations was the steely faith that ran like a silver thread throughout them.

Sandwiched between the words “faith” and “love” in the summation of the famous Love Chapter in the Bible (1 Corinthians 13) is the word “hope.” It is largely overlooked in the teaching of the scriptures, yet life is intolerable without hope, as is evidenced by the skyrocketing suicide rate among those desperate for the peace that only comes from well-grounded beliefs.

For believers, hope isn’t just a life circle to be embraced like a drowning man when the prospect of death looms. Rather, it involves day to day encouragement which makes it possible to weather the buffeting on life’s sea of trials and disappointment. 

While my friend has the good grace to have come to terms with what the future here on earth may hold for her and her husband, her sights are set beyond the horizon, where a bright future with their Lord and Maker awaits them both. Circumstances haven’t dimmed that hope, but rather enhanced it. 

Heavenly Father, May we train our sights on the glory you have promised us rather than focusing on the troubles we face here on earth. Amen.

Carol (NC)

Daily Delight

Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4 (ESV)Bible Verse goes here 

Everyone wants the desires of their hearts fulfilled. We look to marriage, jobs, children, food, travel, friendships and other things to fulfill a space reserved for the Lord. God's word is clear-- our only real, satisfaction will come from seeking Him first. 

When I think about delighting in something, I think about when my children were first born. Those first few months of newness, when everything they did was precious, when I was always looking for the next "first" thing they did... rolling over, crawling, first solid foods, first tooth. Everything was delightful. They had my full attention. My heart was full. Life was good.

I wonder if that's how we should delight in the Lord? What if I was more aware of His presence, His work in my life? What if I paid closer attention to how He is orchestrating and moving? I wonder if I would be more fulfilled if I would just sit in delight of who He is, what He has done and what His Word promises me He will do. 

Sometimes, just as our kids reach milestones and get older, we pay a little less attention. They are eating on their own. They can dress themselves. They can do their own homework. We lose sight of the delightful moments in the tween and teen years, and before we realize those years are in the rearview mirror. 

Don't regret missing the moments right now to delight in the Lord. There are things happening right now that we can thank Him for, praise Him for and give Him glory. Don't miss it! Delight yourself in Him, His presence and character.

Prayer: Father, thank you for your generous promise to give us the desires of our heart when we delight ourselves in You. Help us to focus on what You are doing today. Don’t let us miss the daily delight of walking close to You. 

Gina (TX)

You're Priceless

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 more valuable than they? Matthew 6:26 (NIV)

As I rummaged up and down the aisles, the shoe department ahead with the caption “Prices Slashed” grabbed my attention. I tried on a pair of lace-less deck shoes. They fit and looked great—and a bargain at 25% off. But as I continued sampling other shoes, I noticed the value I placed on the slip-ons vanished.

It became obvious the shoes only had worth as long as nothing better came along. This was true with other things in my life, such as a navy blue suit I wore a lot, the phone I glared and swiped at all day, and the sedan I just about lived in. 

These possessions didn’t have inherent value in themselves but had value in comparison to other items of the same kind.

On the other hand, there is one thing that does have absolute value—and it’s each and every one of us.

But we often undermine our self-worth by comparing our qualities to those who possess the same kind of qualities. We may ask ourselves, "Since I’m not as educated, am I less admired? Since I’m not as successful, am I less valued? Since I’m not as popular, am I less respected?"

Jesus leaves us with no doubt we’re valuable inherently and carry within us a God-given dignity. Our value doesn’t hinge on the qualities we may or may not have. We’re beyond comparison.

God didn’t make a mistake when He created us. There is no need to compare ourselves to others to prove our worth.

Lord, thank you for helping us understand just how valuable we’re to you and reminding us we don’t need to ever worry about not being valuable enough in Your eyes. Amen.

Doug (CA)

Time Passes

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. (Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV)

Having been with the same company for many years I have seen people come and go, forged friendships and alliances, and had my share of differences with coworkers and management. During one particularly rocky period, I was told by someone whose opinion I valued that my staying power was due to good coping skills. I see the situation from a different perspective. 

The Bible teaches us the value of getting up every morning and facing what the day holds having accepted it is through God’s grace only that we will weather life’s tempests. Any good coping skills you have cultivated, while useful and even admirable, can only take you so far. When you are out in the deep, it is God you turn to, to throw you a lifeline.

By facing each day as an increment and not concentrating on and worrying about the big picture, we exhibit the patience and faith God longs to see in us. To live in the moment is a hard concept to accept, much less master, but surely it is at the heart of human existence. God wouldn’t have structured our lives in seconds, minutes, hours, days and years had he not wanted us to value each as a blessing. For some reason, it is human nature to want to skip ahead and see what unfolds, but by dwelling on this we cheat ourselves of the beauty and harmony God intended for today. Besides when all is said and done we are promised a new life where we will be more than compensated for any hardships we have faced.

Heavenly Father, Please cultivate in us the wisdom to rely totally on you for our welfare: physical, mental and spiritual. Amen

Carol (NC)