Friday, July 22, 2016

Joy Through Contentment

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:11-13)

Joy Through Contentment
I can’t tell you how many times throughout my life that I have read through these verses and not really given them any deeper thought other than thinking that Jesus gives me strength to do whatever it is I need to do. While that’s true, there’s something far deeper here than that.

Paul is one of the most powerful and influential people we find in Scripture, especially the New Testament. He goes from the extreme of murdering Christians to boldly proclaiming the name of Christ everywhere he went. Talk about a life change! What I find most appealing about Paul is how strength didn’t just come naturally to him.

One word here really sums this whole passage up, “learned”. As strong and bold as Paul was, there was so much learning he had to do before he became content. That’s a big word for us these days, “content”. Who is content? Are you? You may quickly mutter “yes”, but I would caution you before doing so. Look at your life and what you have and what you don’t have. Are you satisfied and happy with what God has given you even if there are some things you’d like to have, but don’t have now?

Paul really learned how to be content, whether he had much or very little. But that didn’t come easy. He had to learn through some very rough times. It’s all a part of learning and growing. None of us are perfect about it. However, if we continue to learn and grow and base our joy and strength on God and not what the world offers, we will truly learn how the Lord becomes our only source of joy and strength.

We all certainly need to learn how to be content, no matter the circumstances. I know I do! Being content is a daily struggle for me and I’m sure it’s for you all as well. For Paul, the joy of the Lord certainly became his strength. He was content, but it was only after years of growing through good and difficult times. We must learn and grow to be content with whatever we have or whatever we don’t have. The joy of the Lord should be our strength and we should be content with what He’s given to us. Zach Wood

Friday, July 15, 2016

Joy in the Fellowship of God

Joy in the Fellowship of God
Being thirsty is something all mankind has in common. The cool refreshing taste of water brings it own delight (Psalm 63:1-5).

I remember waking-up from a surgery which had required anesthetic. In the first moments of recovery I experienced the most awful taste in my mouth; feeling much like having my mouth filled with cotton. I longed for, and begged for, just a drop of water. The first taste of water was only a small piece of crushed ice. It was wonderful!

Recently, where I live we were fourteen inches below the yearly average for rain. The earth was parched and cracked. Grass was grown and ugly. Gardens had to be watered daily—or die. Dear one, as I observed the earth through the summer, I compared it to David’s Psalm. My soul without God is parched, cracked, brown and ugly. I must “water it” daily with the Word of God. Jesus promised He would give us “living water”—and He does. What a joy never to experience a “dry thirsty soul” again!

"... but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” (John 4:14 NKJ)

When David wrote this Psalm he expressed his desire for God as having a “thirsty soul.” He compared his life to a “dry and thirsty land”. David was in the wilderness of Judah when he wrote these words. He knew the meaning of thirst. He longed to be back in Jerusalem, to worship in the temple but he could not as he was in hiding from the rage of King Saul.

King David further expressed his search for God.

He meditated on Him day and night. He looked for Him in the sanctuary. He longed to see God’s power and glory. He found God’s loving-kindness to be better than life itself. In his search, He found God and was able to praise with his mouth and to lift his hands.

He found the satisfaction he was looking for—not in a place, not in an experience—but in a relationship with God. David said, “everyone who swears by Him shall glory!” What a relationship David developed with the Living God! E.J. Swanson

Father, Thank you for the “living water” that Jesus gives to my dry thirsty soul. Thank you for the relationship that is mine because of your loving-kindness, mercy and grace. Amen.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Joshua the son of Nun

So the LORD spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. And he would return to the camp, but his servant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tabernacle. (Exodus 33:11 NKJ)

In any teaching relationship, there are two responsibilities: that of the teacher to teach and that of the student to listen. A teacher can spout wisdom now and then, but if he or she does not make a constant effort, even a willing pupil will learn nothing. Also, even if a teacher or mentor were to earnestly teach day and night, if the student is unwilling to listen then nothing will be learned. In order to be effective, the student-teacher relationship must be founded on a willingness to learn and to teach. Discipleship is no different: those who teach must choose to do so and not give up, and those being taught must be open to the Lord's Word and the wisdom of elders.

The relationship between Moses and Joshua is a wonderful case in point. Joshua was a young man when the Israelites set out for the Promised Land. We do not know what work he did in Egypt as a slave, but we can be sure he wasn't a soldier. And yet the very first mention of Joshua is when Moses tells him to lead an army against the Amalekites (Exodus 17:9). After God helped them defeat the Amalekites, the Lord said to Moses, "Write this for a memorial in the book and recount it in the hearing of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven" (Exodus 17:14). God wanted to make sure that Moses taught Joshua what was written in "the book"—what we now know as the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible. And so Joshua's discipleship began with a battle and a lesson from God.

Joshua's willingness to do as he was told made him a great disciple. He went wherever Moses went, and he listened while Moses was busy with the Lord. When Moses went up the mountain to receive the law, Joshua went with him and waited on the mountainside for those forty days and nights. (Exodus 24:13) And when the Israelites got impatient waiting for Moses and made their golden calf and celebrated this new idol, although Moses first heard about it from the Lord, Joshua told Moses that he had heard something from the camp as he waited. (Exodus 32:17)

But it is today's verse that says the most about Joshua: he never left the tabernacle of the Lord. Why did Joshua stay there? He certainly didn't need to stay there to guard the Lord. No, Joshua undoubtedly stayed there so he would always be available to Moses or the Lord to do God's bidding. In Asian tradition, an apprentice or disciple lives with his master, stays in the same house, sleeps near his master, follows in his master's footsteps. Where did Joshua sleep? Near the Lord his God. Now THAT is a willing disciple.

When Jesus called four fisherman away from their boats to follow Him, it was a big leap of their tiny faith to go after Him and leave behind all they had known. It would take years of constant teaching—and several instances of trial and error—for them to learn some lessons. And even when the lessons got tough and seemed to fly in the face of what little they had known about the Lord, they stayed. Simon Peter summed it up best when he answered Jesus, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life" (John 6:68). The apostles had come so far and they had stayed with their Master because they wanted that life, they desired those words that Jesus spoke. They craved the gospel.

Joshua the son of Nun stayed with Moses because he loved the Lord and he knew that Moses had those words that would guide and teach him. He stayed near the tabernacle because there truly was nowhere else to go. As would be shown after the spies returned from the expedition to see the Promised Land, Joshua and Caleb would be abandoned even by their own kindred. (Exodus 14:2-4) To whom else would they go but to the Lord? When they finally crossed into that land forty years later and defeated the races there and divided it up among the tribes, Joshua said the thing which needed to be said:

Joshua 24:
14 "Now therefore, fear the LORD, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the LORD!
15 "And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."

span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;">Joshua had always chosen the Lord, even when the odds seemed against him, even when all of Israel went the other way. Joshua stayed with his teacher Moses and lived at the tabernacle of his God, so that he would always be ready to serve the Lord.

We are all of us disciples of one sort or another, some of us newer to the Lord and some of us more mature in our faith. We are called by our Lord, "Follow Me," and it is to Him we must cling. Our earthly teachers deserve our attention and service, for they bring the words of life that come from the Lord. Our responsibility as disciples is to remain always available to the Lord our God, to always have our ears open and our hands ready. While others may faint along the way, while their faith may flag and strength may fail, and even when our own fears may start to get the better of us, we must hold fast to the teaching of our Master, Jesus Christ, and always remain where He is. We should be ready and willing to listen to the teaching of His chosen apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. As disciples, our lot is simply to serve the Lord. Let us therefore join Joshua and not depart from the tabernacle of God. Glenn Pettit

Lord God, to You I come for the words of life, for Your gospel alone can bring me salvation and eternal life. I will have many teachers in my life, and I willingly listen to the mentors You have given me, but Your will and Your ways are what I desire, and You alone do I serve. Therefore, Father, let me stay by Your tabernacle, always ready to serve You, always willing to teach and to be taught. Amen.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Joseph’s Work Ethic

May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us-yes, establish the work of our hands. (Psalm 90:17 NIV)

Joseph was a great man and rose from the position of a slave to that of a prime minister. As Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said, “Lives of great people all remind us we can make our lives sublime; and, departing, leave behind us footprints in the sand of time.” What footprints did Joseph leave? His story is told in Genesis Chapters 37-50.

Joseph had a noble character. He was obedient, faithful, and diligent in his work. When he was sent by his father to check on how his brothers were faring, he searched far and wide from Sechem where Jacob thought they were grazing the animals to Dothan, many kilometers away. And even as a slave and as a prisoner he worked hard at whatever he was tasked to do and was put in charge because his supervisors saw that saw that “the LORD gave him success in everything he did” (Genesis 39:3).

Joseph was not embittered by the betrayal of his brothers who sold him into slavery or even wrongful imprisonment arising out of Potiphar’s wife false accusation. He worked with diligence as Potiphar’s slave and at every task he was given in prison. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters (Colossians 3:23). We learn from him that hard work is a pathway to peace and inner joy. “Any mans life will be filled with constant and unexpected encouragement if he makes up his mind to do his level best each day” —Booker T. Washington.

Joseph showed us that wherever we work we should work with a conscience. He showed us how to resist and deal with temptation and not compromise our integrity. Faced with sexual harassment from Potiphar’s wife, he tried as much as possible to avoid her and fled when confronted. He was faithful and true to his master who had placed so much responsibility and trust on him. Though he suffered imprisonment for sticking up to his morality, he did it because there is a higher court of justice which supersedes all other courts: that of God. A free conscience supersedes fleeting happiness and material gains.

Joseph was kind and caring. One morning when he noticed that two of his co-prisoners - the cupbearer and master baker were dejected, he offered to help them. “Do all the good you can, By all the means you can, In all the ways you can, In all the places you can, At all the times you can, To all the people you can, As long as you ever can.” John Wesley. Two years later, this act of kindness led him to interpret Pharaoh’s dream and onto his high position of authority. “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted”. Aesop. His humility was shown in his advice to Pharaoh. He did not even suggest himself as the man with the spirit of God. He just told Pharaoh to get “a discerning and wise man and put him in charge of the land of Egypt (Genesis 41:33). In all his accomplishments including his power to interpret dreams, he gave all the glory to God. “I cannot do it,” Joseph replied to Pharaoh, “but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.” Genesis 46:16. Do you give God all the Glory for all he has enabled you to do?

Joseph was magnanimous and forgiving of his brothers who had done him great harm. He worked for their reconciliation. He chose to believe that God always works for the good of those who trust in him, He said, says, “And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you (Genesis 45:5). “Forgiveness is a funny thing. It warms the heart and cools the sting”. William Arthur Ward. Such faith in God was his source of joy and security even in the midst of all his tribulations.

There is a reason why you are where you are. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28) Wangari Murathe

“I love the man that can smile in trouble that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. It’s the business of little minds to shrink, but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death.” —Thomas Paine 

Friday, June 24, 2016

Joseph a Picture of Jesus

One of the clearest pictures of Jesus in the Old Testament is Joseph. Rejected and left for dead by his brothers, Joseph ends up saving his brothers, never once condemning them. He loved them, showing them mercy, grace, and forgiveness. Yet there was underlying unbelief. 

When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil that we did to him.”  So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, “Your father gave this command before he died:  ‘Say to Joseph, “Please forgive the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you.”’ And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” (Gen 50:15-17a ESV) 

The brothers lack of belief in Joseph's forgiveness, led to the fear of punishment and the outward symptom of sin, lying in their father’s name. How did Joseph react? 

... Joseph wept ... (Gen 50:17b) 

Joseph wept because he had already fully forgiven them. Yet after years of loving kindness towards them, they still lived in unbelief. 

The Bibles tells us that those who really believe they have been forgiven by God, will produce the fruits of virtue, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love as listed in 2 Peter 1:5-7. If we lack these, 2 Peter 1:9 states we have forgotten we have been forgiven. In addition, Luke 7:47 states only those who believe they have been forgiven much, love much (Gal 5:14 Romans 13:8-10). 

All of us have been forgiven much. Jesus weeps if we are in unbelief, knowing the fear of punishment leads to sin, just like with Joseph’s brothers. 

Let God’s perfect love cast out unbelief and the fear of punishment (1 John 4:17-19). Michael Edwards

Friday, June 17, 2016

Footprints in the Sand

Footprints in the Sand
from the album 'Spirit' by Leona Lewis

You walked with me, footprints in the sand
And helped me understand where I'm going
You walked with me when I was all alone
With so much unknown along the way
Then I heard you say

I promise you, I'm always there
When your heart is filled with sorrow and despair
Ill carry you when you need a friend
You'll find my footprints in the sand

I see my life flash across the sky
So many times have I been so afraid
And just when I have thought I lost my way
You give me strength to carry on
That's when I heard you say

I promise you, I'm always there
When your heart is filled with sorrow and despair
And Ill carry you when you need a friend
You'll find my footprints in the sand

When I'm weary, well, I know you'll be there
And I can feel you when you say

I promise you, I'm always there
When your heart is filled with sadness and despair
Ill carry you when you need a friend
You'll find my footprints in the sand

I promise you, I'm always there
When your heart is full of sadness and despair
Ill carry you when you need a friend
You'll find my footprints in the sand


Published by
Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

Friday, June 10, 2016

Jesus Whispering to Our Hearts

Jesus Whispering to Our Hearts
The best teacher I think I ever had for making a point that everyone in that room listened to had a unique delivery method. Instead of raising his voice to make his point he’d lean forward over the podium and whisper the most important part of his lecture. All in the class hushed and leaned forward eagerly to see what important part of the lecture was about to come out of his mouth. It got our attention each and every time and we truly listened.

Imagine your Lord and Savior doing the same thing. The Bible tells us to tune in to that “still, small voice”. It is when we are quiet before Him and focused on Him that he can speak the loudest, often times in a whisper:

Daughter, it doesn’t always have to come to you what I am about to say for you to write (it). 
I may choose to whisper a thought or word of encouragement into a corner of your mind for momentary encouragement, some too precious to be written, some too heavy to bear for more than that first moment; truths to be resurfaced over and over until you’re able and ready (open) to grasp and hold them, coming up gradually as a red sunrise. 
Awesome revelations, perhaps they are frightening at first glance, but real and “normal” as they unfold embellishment with a fire that creates a beauty, special beauty even greater than the daily sunsets. 
Cling to those revelations as I bring them up. You will learn them and make them part of you as I deem you able to stretch and grow; as you yield to My molding. 
You cannot yield unless you recognize that you are holding back ... Rest in Jesus as He does His life redeeming work within you! Selah.

PS 51 “let the bones which thou hast broken rejoice”

Psalms 51 is one of my favorites. I like to read it over and over with discovery of even more each time I re-read it. Please take some time with this chapter for yourself to see what it says to you.
The psalmist is first asking for God’s mercy, not based upon anything the psalmist did or didn’t do but based upon God’s love and compassion. David asks to have his transgressions blotted out and to be washed and made clean from all his sin. He continues recognizing his sin and that it is against God only that he has committed those sins even back to his birth. He even indicates that God can make him whiter than snow. That should give hope to all of us.

What an attitude he then reveals in saying he would like the bones which God broke to rejoice. To me that is showing David’s total and utter trust in God and his assessment or David’s condition. Even in that pain to know it is “good for him” and necessary. Imagine your broken bones being encouraged to “rejoice”. No wonder the Bible says that David had a heart for the Lord.

And to then hear that he had hope and expectation that God could and would create in David a “pure heart” and give him, once again, a steadfast spirit, welcoming David into His presence and restoring David’s joy. David is requesting to be made whole so he could then teach sinners and have them turn back to God.

This Psalm alone is full of so many good and wonderful promises. There are even more in the rest of the psalm but I want to give you an opportunity to chew on it yourself and see what they Lord will speak to your heart. Be encouraged and built up in Jesus most capable and incredible name! Marijo Phelps

Lord God, at first it sounds SO hard to ask that the bones which You have broken rejoice. But You don’t want me to walk with a limp or not walk at all. You are the Great Physician and know what needs to be done for complete healing and wholeness. I submit to Your ultimate wisdom and Your Physician’s hand. I also place my hand in Yours as You continue to make and remake me – WHOLE in You. Amen.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Jesus Wept

Jesus wept. (John 11:35)

Jesus Wept
Why do we weep? Weeping is not just crying. Crying is something we might do if we drop something on our foot, or if we are terribly afraid. Weeping is something different from that. According to the Random House Dictionary, "weep" has couple of meanings that pertain to people and emotion:

  • to express grief, sorrow, or any overpowering emotion by shedding tears; shed tears; cry: to weep for joy, to weep with rage.
  • to weep for (someone or something); mourn with tears or other expression of sorrow
  • to shed (tears); pour forth in weeping: to weep tears of gratitude.

So we might weep for sorrow or joy or rage or gratitude. I know why I weep: two years ago today, my newly wed wife died very suddenly and unexpectedly. It was horrifying and disheartening, and I wept for losing her. Even as I tried to rouse her, to breathe into her and start her heart, I wept and cried out to God. I wept in rage and fear and sorrow. Mine was nonetheless a silent weeping, because I did not want to scare the children. And so behind the rush to call paramedics and keep the children out of the way, I wept. Behind the very business-like way I coordinated things and explained to the police officer the details of how I found her and what I did, I wept. While trusting that God is sovereign, that His will is perfect, and that I would one day understand it all, I wept. As we laid her body to rest in sub-zero weather a week later, surrounded by close family and friends, I wept.

Jesus wept.

In the Greek, John 11:35 says "Edakrusen o Iesous." Jesus shed tears. Strong's Concordance makes a point of distinguishing between "dakruo" and "klaio," another verb that is translated as "weep," saying that the verb "dakruo" here in verse 35 pertains to shedding tears quietly, whereas "klaio" denotes crying out, a loud mourning.

Jesus wept.

The Lamb of God wept. In the midst of coming to perform His greatest miracle, the event that confirms that the coming resurrection is real, our Savior shed tears. As He walked to the tomb of His beloved friend Lazarus, this Christ - who is Himself the Resurrection and the Life - wept.

Jerome translated the Greek and Hebrew of the Bible into Latin, the language of the Roman Empire, and he wrote this verse like this:

"et lacrimatus est Iesus"

And Jesus wept.

From the context of chapter 11 of John's Gospel, it would seem that Jesus wept for sorrow, that He was mourning something. All around Him were people weeping.

John 11:33-36
33 Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled.
34 And He said, “Where have you laid him?”They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.”
35 Jesus wept.
36 Then the Jews said, “See how He loved him!”

Jesus wept in sympathy with His friends Mary and Martha, because He had loved Lazarus as a friend and brother. He wept for the Jews who did not yet understand that He was their appointed Messiah. He wept for Jerusalem, the city where God Himself had dwelt for a time in His holy temple. He wept for unbelief. He wept for belief. He wept for joy at the moment that was to come when He would demonstrate God's enormous love and grace. He wept for sorrow that He Himself must die to truly bring God's forgiveness and peace to mankind.

Jesus wept.

The Son of God shed tears for the lost, the unrepentant, the proud, the oppressed, the broken, the lonely, the fearful. Emmanuel - God With Us - wept for friends and enemies, for those who knew Him and those who did not.

Jesus wept.

The author and finisher of our faith wept for those who were yet to come, who would all be sinners, and who would all be forgiven through Him.

Jesus wept.

He who soon would send His Spirit into the world as our Comforter and Helper, He wept for the comfort of those standing nearby. He wept to let them know that God cares, that the Father feels the sorrow of His children just as much as they do. He shared the tears of Mary and Martha even as He shed tears of His own.

Jesus wept.

I weep. Although I know one day we who believe shall be resurrected in His name, I miss my beloved wife and I do not understand why she left us as she did. Along with Mary and Martha, I say to my Lord, "If You had been here, she would not have died." But even as I say it, I know it is a lie. It is a lie because we are all bound to die in this life. We must die to this life to live in Christ. It is also a lie because He has ALWAYS been here, He never left my side.

Jesus wept.

Mourn with me today, if you must. Weep. Jesus wept. Join with Jesus as He wept for the world, as He wept for the City of David, as He wept for Lazarus, as He wept for the Cross He would soon bear to Calvary.

And when we are finished weeping, join me in rejoicing. Let us rejoice in the Resurrection and the Life. Let us rejoice in the mercy of God. Let us rejoice in the forgiveness we once never thought we'd see. Let us weep and mourn and grieve so that our rejoicing is that much sweeter when we see our Lord coming on clouds of glory. Jesus wept.

Revelation 21:3-4
3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.
4 "And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

Lord God, Father of our Savior, Creator of the heavens and the earth, I weep today for those who have passed away before me. I weep because I miss their presence, and I weep because I am lonely. But I am never alone, and although today I weep, I yet rejoice. I rejoice in Your grace, O Lord, and I find joy in You. You are my strength and my song. And although my voice quavers with my weeping, still I raise my voice to You and sing "Hosanna! Hosanna! Hosanna in the highest!" Amen. Glenn Pettit

Friday, May 27, 2016

Jesus Walked Before You

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. (Hebrews 4:15 KJV)

Jesus Walked Before You
Some spiritual truths have to sink in before I accept them. My mind tends to get in the way, and God must set my thinking straight. Such was the case when I heard a sermon declaring that Jesus was 100 percent human and 100 percent divine. This profound truth left me awestruck. My heart was eager to know the truth, but my head was putting up a good fight. After praying and giving the matter to God, my mind and heart agree that Jesus Christ was both fully human and fully divine.

Jesus did not become a man in part, but was fully human with a body, mind, will, and emotions. Jesus got hungry and thirsty and became tired and weary. Above all, He was mortal and died. A beautiful expression of love, Jesus laid down His life so you can have everlasting life.

Having walked on this earth, Jesus understands the trials and temptations you face. Because He is fully divine, you can be confident that He has the power to change circumstances and lives, and heal sicknesses and sorrows. If you are grief-stricken, remember that Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus. If you are falsely accused, if your friends betray you, if you are rejected and ridiculed, remember that Jesus knew no sin, and He died for you. Susan Ferguson

Friday, May 20, 2016

Jesus Lights Our Way

“I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness but shall have the light of life.” (John 8:12 NAS)

Jesus Lights Our Way
Just at dusk one evening, I found myself sitting quietly outdoors on the patio. It didn’t seem like an ordinary evening…the already dingy gray skies were quickly filling with black clouds. Seemed ominous. My mind was filled with questions and my spirit was seeking assurance from the Lord about a major challenge in my life.

Gazing into the dark sky, I prayed for a sign that God was indeed with me and that the outcome of my challenge would bring Him glory. Suddenly the dazzling light from a single star burst through the black clouds. Tears of wonder and gratitude fell. The God of the universe had orchestrated nature to calm my anxious heart! His light pierced the darkness and entered my life, bringing peace and hope, and illuminating my path ahead.

Jesus’ proclamation in John 8:12 is a promise … we shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life. That promise also has a condition…to follow Him. The first step is always ours and it is very clear in James 4:8: “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”

Draw near. Follow Jesus. He will illuminate your path, dispel the darkness surrounding you, and bring to you peace and hope as you step forward in the light of life! Karen Pourbabaee


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