Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Between the Lines of the Sermon

As we climb up the stairs from the Sunday school classroom to the auditorium, I think about how well the children behaved today. A few of them may have had too much sugar in their cereal this morning. Anyway, we all sit down in the back pew, and the kids start talking. One of them is opening a hymnal, the other flipping through a tract. Don't rip it; don't rip it! - is all I can think. One of the girls is studying a missionary card, and she asks me what a missionary is. "A missionary--" HEY, WHO'S THAT?!? the boy next to me interrupts. "A missionary," I continue, "is a person that tells people about what Jesus did for them." The teacher and I calm the kids down for the singing. The pastor says " 541" and one of the kids wants to find it, starting at page one and flipping page by page. She eventually resorts to flipping about  50 pages at one time and finds it, only to sing the last five words of the song. Here comes the prayer... "okay, everyone, we're going to pray now," and I motion to them to fold their hands. "Dear Heavenly Father," the prayer begins, BANG! - there goes that hymnal...

...We're in the middle of the sermon. I've got a girl beside me that found the color-by-numbers page in the coloring book. She can't read, so she needs me to read them for her. Oops. There go the crayons. As I bend down to pick them up, she asks me about the lesson. I wince as the Pastor pauses and she is talking. But her question surprises me... "Jesus loves the children like in our lesson today, right? Is the baby in my picture Jesus? Why is He a baby? Why are there animals all around? I sit up, hands full of crayons, and glance at her pink-skinned baby Jesus, and smile. The important thing about this morning isn't that the kids are perfect and quiet during the sermon, or that the sound of their coloring is soft, but the important  thing this morning is that Jesus loves the little children, and between the lines of the sermon, these children are learning of Jesus's love for them.

Sometimes God speaks to me in church through the great correlating sermon points, but, sometimes like this morning, He is speaking to me through one of His kids, and maybe even through the dropping hymnals and crayons.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Grace in time of Need

Hebrews 4:15-16: For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

But we forget that too easily. We forget that Jesus Christ perfectly understands every single struggle every single human being has ever needed to confront. We also forget that He not only understands us, but He wants us to come to Him for help. We forget that He is the Lord of the universe but He intimately relates to each of us. He will give us grace in time of need; we need to boldly come to His throne of grace... Let me tell you a story of the not-so-observable side of something I recently went through... (but beware... there might be some run-on sentences, for effect :) )

I was feeling alone, empty-hearted, stale, confused, misunderstood... my hope was torn, my life was spinning, and I was dizzy, lost, and disoriented. I was falling, falling, falling... when a thread of confidence and hope surprisingly kept me from hitting the bottom of the pit. The confidence that He felt alone, empty-hearted, stale, confused, and misunderstood, just as I had, and the hope that He wanted me to reach for and receive His comfort and consolation that because of His mercy and grace I would be lifted out of the pit of discouragement and up to the plateau of heavenly peace... was more than my heart could hold and what it could not hold poured itself out in the form of tears.

There you have my personal experience, but the great thing is that He understands Your experience. He is with you, princess of Heaven, and He understands you more than anyone ever will. Reach and receive His comfort and consolation, for because of His mercy and grace He will lift you out of this pit of discouragement and up to the plateau of heavenly peace.

Monday, October 7, 2013

this was exactly what i needed to hear this morning...

**by Spurgeon

“Wherefore hast thou afflicted thy servant?”
- Num. 11:11

Our heavenly Father sends us frequent troubles to try our faith. If our faith be worth anything, it will stand the test. Gilt is afraid of fire, but gold is not: the paste gem dreads to be touched by the diamond, but the true jewel fears no test. It is a poor faith which can only trust God when friends are true, the body full of health, and the business profitable; but that is true faith which holds by the Lord’s faithfulness when friends are gone, when the body is sick, when spirits are depressed, and the light of our Father’s countenance is hidden. A faith which can say, in the direst trouble, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him,” is heaven-born faith. The Lord afflicts his servants to glorify himself, for he is greatly glorified in the graces of his people, which are his own handiwork. When “tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope,” the Lord is honoured by these growing virtues. We should never know the music of the harp if the strings were left untouched; nor enjoy the juice of the grape if it were not trodden in the winepress; nor discover the sweet perfume of cinnamon if it were not pressed and beaten; nor feel the warmth of fire if the coals were not utterly consumed. The wisdom and power of the great Workman are discovered by the trials through which his vessels of mercy are permitted to pass. Present afflictions tend also to heighten future joy. There must be shades in the picture to bring out the beauty of the lights. Could we be so supremely blessed in heaven, if we had not known the curse of sin and the sorrow of earth? Will not peace be sweeter after conflict, and rest more welcome after toil? Will not the recollection of past sufferings enhance the bliss of the glorified? There are many other comfortable answers to the question with which we opened our brief meditation, let us muse upon it all day long.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

God's Workmanship

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” -Ephesians 2:10


You are so often disillusioned by the terrifying heat in your life. You feel so heated inside by struggles and hurdles that, let's face it, make you melt. You don't understand. All you see before you is fire, and you become intensely aware of the ripping and tearing inside yourself, and you start to lose confidence and sink. You question if your Creator is really strengthening you or even cares about you. The heat rises to excruciating temperatures as the flames devour you. You cannot see an escape.


He has turned on the furnace. As he gently places the impure gold in the burning flames. He prepares His tools to purify the precious metal. The gold begins to melt, sinking to the bottom of the pot as the impurities separate and rise to the top. He removes the sludge from the gold, purifying and strengthening it. He carefully raises the temperature until the gold reflects his face, and he lifts the now purified gold out of the fire to cool.


In the corner of a shadow, she clutches her face in her hands. She's crying. She's confused; she feels utterly abandoned. The things she is going through don't make sense; her life seems to be falling apart. She cries out, "Why, God, why?" And a whisper brushes by her heart. She is calmed, for she knows that He knows the way she takes, and that when she is tried, she shall come forth as gold.


"But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold." Job 23:10

p.s.- reread the top and bottom paragraphs, keeping the last verse in your mind. Since we are God's workmanship, He is going to work on us. In the end, God will be able to see his reflection perfectly in us. But until that wonderful day in glory, let us strive to be mold-able and trust that the Goldsmith knows what He's doing!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Perfect Peace and Everlasting Strength

Isaiah 26:3-4
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength.

Today, I need some peace, Lord. I need that peace that passeth all understanding. Sometimes, like today, the path I take through my day, my life seems lower, deeper, darker than the depths of despair or the valley of the shadow of death. Lord, I know that there hath no temptation taken me but such as is common to man. I am also reminded that You are faithful and You have provided a way of escape that I may be able to bear it. Help me to trust in You forever, for in YOU is everlasting strength. I need strength today, God. I need peace. I don't long for the false, shallow peace of this world but for the peace that comes from victory in this spiritual battle we fight. I will stay my mind on You, and I will trust in You alone. Fill me with Your amazing power and create a pure heart and a steadfast spirit within me. As Your love surrounds me, let me love others. Help me not to condemn, but reflect Your incredible grace by which You lifted my soul out of the pit of sin. Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me, and I know You are with me, even in the valley of the shadow of death.


it's a good day

When the flowers smile and the sun shines or rain fragrance graces your nose or the clouds display their silver lining and you just know that today is gonna be a good day, no matter what comes your way :)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A little HOPE for your day...

Psalm 16:9
Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.

Psalm 31:24
Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord.

Psalm 38:15
For in thee, O Lord, do I hope: thou wilt hear: thou wilt hear, O Lord my God.

Psalm 43:5
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.

Romans 5:5
And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

"My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness!"
-from, "The Solid Rock," by Edward Mote.

1 Peter 3:15
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

For (lots) more verses on hope, visit this link.