Monday, February 25, 2013

The End of the Road


© Moonrys 


The Journey Begins:

In my own special moment, I take a step of faith and accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

In a heartbeat, my life changes forever. The journey begins.

The peace and elation begins to fade when the questions start. Such questions as: How long have you been a member of this church? You meant “rededication,” right? How many times have you been baptized?

Fatigue seeps into my bones. I don’t doubt my decision for a second but how on earth could I miss Him? I’ve spent so many years in church. How could I not know Him? I’ve sung the hymns, said the prayers, and heard the very same sermons. I’ve walked the aisle and been baptized twice! What’s wrong with me?

After much prayer and meditation, the Lord comforts me. He reassures me that while I sat in those pews, I was empty and now I’m full. Before, I was alone but now, I have a Friend and His name is Jesus Christ.

Galatians 2:20 (NKJV) I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

The Journey Continues:

Lord, how can I do this?

The plea echoes in my head as I watch my husband of twenty-three years struggle to rise in the early morning hours. Helplessness pulls at me and I fight the tears. How can He do this to His servant? One that loves Him with all his heart?

A few hours later, I utter the words aloud while completing the exercises for my frozen shoulder. Trials and tribulations descend from everywhere.

Lord, why have you forsaken me?

Psalm 29:11 (NKJV) The LORD will give strength to His people; The LORD will bless His people with peace.

Isaiah 41:10 (NKJV) Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.'

Thank You for reminding me that You are my strength. I can’t continue down this road on my own but I can with You.

The Journey’s End:

So, when I stand before the Father and Son, at my journey’s end, how do I picture that day?

Brilliant, radiant light beams from the High Seat, filling the room. I shield my eyes and my knees tremble at the power in the air. I fall on my face before Father God and Jesus Christ.

A soft hand touches my shoulder and I’m gently pulled to my feet. I open my eyes to meet those of a man enveloped in an ethereal glow. A smile graces His bearded face and He’s dressed in a long, white robe.

“Welcome, My sister.”

He draws me into His embrace and guides me forward, keeping me within His circle of light. We approach the throne. I keep my eyes trained on the floor.

“My child, will you not look at your God?”

The booming voice startles me and a comforting hand settles across my back. I take a deep breath and raise my head. My breath catches at the glorious sight before me.

“Well done, my good and faithful servant. You may enter into the joy of the Lord.”

I look down to see a flowing, white robe has replaced my dusty clothes. Sandals cover my feet instead of worn shoes. A laugh echoes across the room and I glance over at Jesus who’s now several feet away. He stands next to His seat with a hand outstretched in invitation.

Revelation 3:20-21 (NKJV) Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.


Is your road one of luxury or trial? Do you know Jesus Christ personally? At the end of the road, will He be at your side as you stand before the throne? Will He be waiting for you?

In Christ,

Renee

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Guest: Why Me?



“Why me? Why do You have to put me through all this stuff?”
I remember a time in my life when things were crashing down on me and I couldn’t handle it. I was upset and angry at God for what I was going through and often lashed out at Him. I asked God those questions over and over again.  
At the time, I was just getting over my fourth knee surgery but faced a back and shoulder surgery as well. I had fallen down a flight of stairs which led to the problems I currently have today.
Then one day I decided to listen to God after asking those questions. This time, in prayer, I was really ready to hear what He had to say in the matter.
I waited and listened.
“Why not?” He replied.
Now, I was confused. Isn’t it funny how God can meet our complex dilemma with a simple two-worded question?
I meditated on His answer and discovered that God allowed my trials for me to comfort others. As I grew closer to Him, I found myself humbled and eager to use this knowledge.
Waiting for God to send someone my way, I thought, "how many others have it much worse than I?". So when and how could I ever help someone? Not long after that epiphany, I was face to face with the opportunity to share what God had taught me.
Scheduled for another MRI, I sat in the waiting room. This time though, I was joined by an elderly gentleman. He appeared somewhat uneasy. I imagine all the technology may be a little intimidating if you think about it. After some small talk, he made a comment that he was nervous about having the scan and heard they’re very uncomfortable.
I said to myself, “This is it! I can help this guy.” I told him, “This is like my tenth one and they’re really not as bad as you think. I usually fall asleep.” After describing what they do and what to expect, I sent up a silent, little prayer for him.
The gentleman’s face lit with a smile when he exited the MRI room after he was done. “Thanks, I did what you said. I fell asleep and got a good nap out of it.”
His joy made me feel so much better; I helped someone through a time of uncertainty. God uses us to do His will and works. Whether we comfort someone’s suffering or help them to complete a chore. I have found that not only does the person get blessed but we do as well; by their happiness.

2 Corinthians 1:3-6 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer; and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of our comfort.

James Blare, Jr.

About the Author:
James became a Christian on Easter Sunday at the age of 9. His favorite hobbies include fishing (his worst day of fishing is a good day), woodworking, gardening, and comparing the New and Old Testament of the Bible for trivia. He also enjoys the great company of his wife, Renee. One of his favorite facts he's picked up along the way is that God said every day of the week was good except Monday.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Guest: Meeting Hurt with Love

The other day a friend told me about someone who had done something really nasty to another friend.  Friend #1 was appalled that anyone would do such a thing.  “Aren’t we supposed to be about supporting one another, not tearing each other down?”

Well, yes.  We are.  And it would certainly be nice if we all remembered that.
However, I’ve lived long enough to know that even Christians don’t always behave very kindly to each other.
We get going on our own agendas with our own back stories and the hurts we’re dragging along with us, and sometimes that spills over into how we behave toward each other.
See, I believe in Heaven, the point is that we will all get this concept.  We will be so in tune with God and others that we will naturally respond in love.  In fact, that’s how Heaven can happen right now.
But right now, we also get a lot of “not Heaven.”  Why?
Because we haven’t yet learned that love always works and nothing else does.  Here, we’re still trying things out like jealousy and anger and revenge.  We haven’t decided for ourselves yet that love is always the best answer.
So we meet the hurt of other people with our hurt instead of our love.  Someone does something to us, and we give our hurt permission to hurt them back.  That is the knee-jerk response.
It is only when we begin to realize that all that does is perpetuate the hurt that we begin to wonder if there is another way.  So, instead of hitting them back, we choose to forgive.  We meet their hurt with our love.
That’s what Jesus did all the way to the cross–even before He was carrying it!
He met the world’s hurt–disease, fear, anger, jealousy–with perfect love.  He believed in the power of love to overcome everything, and He clung to that belief all the way through death, Hell, and the grave and into the Resurrection.
Now I will be the first to tell you, this is NOT easy.  It is not easy to return love for hurt.  In fact, the only way we can do that consistently is to cling to God Who is the One Whose love never fails.  We go to HIM to fill us with enough love that we can meet hurt with love.  If we’re trying to go on our own love, we’re going to be sorely lacking.
So whatever trials you are facing, resolve to be the one in the situation who will react and act in love no matter what.  When you do, love will change things.  When you don’t, nothing else will change anything.  But only YOU can decide which way you will respond.  Choose wisely.
Copyright Staci Stallings, 2013




Staci Stallings, the author of this article, is a #1 Best Selling author and the co-founder CrossReads.com a new website that gives Christian readers and authors a place to meet and fellowship. With a newsletter, a blog, a forum, and other exciting, inspiring areas to visit, CrossReads visitors can find fabulous Christian books they never knew existed. Come over on Feb. 12-14, and enter to win one of 169 virtual baskets of ebooks, gift cards, and other prizes!

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Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Seed of Faith


© Chamillewhite |
 
 
Matthew 17:20 (NKJV)  So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.”

Like a ship in the storm, I toss amidst the struggles in my life. When will the healing come? How long can I bear the pain? Will it last forever? What do I do if it doesn’t go away? Questions linger in my mind.
Pain-filled nights chase dreams away and rest becomes elusive. Fatigue’s a new friend. I greet him with a nod as I prepare for my day. A prayer lifts my spirit and the Lord gives me strength one more time.
A speck of dust catches my eye. It’s small; no larger than a grain of sand. I’m reminded of a mustard seed. Where is the verse about the mustard seed in the Bible? What did it say?
My fingers whisper across the thin pages until Matthew drifts into view. I find the verse and joy fills my soul.
Unexplainable energy surges through my body. My new friend is nowhere to be found. With a small seed of faith, my day became possible. The mountain moved.
 
In Christ,

Renee

1 Corinthians 16:13 (NKJV) Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.