Friday, July 31, 2015

Fond Memories

I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Your doings; I muse on the work of Your hands. (Psalm 143:5 NAS)

Fond Memories
Fond memories are often all that is left after visiting a place faraway that we have no intention to revisit. The only few things that help keep our memories alive of such a place are photos and souvenirs.

There was a time I used to fill up my closets with photo albums before the digital camera was popularized. Till this day, my wife and I have showcases and containers of the many souvenirs we purchased during our vacations and family retreats. All these photos and souvenirs are fondly loved by all of us in the family because of the precious memories we treasure of the fun time we spent together.

In a sense, the word of God is like a souvenir given by God to help us remember His teachings and what He had done for us. Like photos of imagery in our minds, God’s word showcases His expressed love to us through the scenes of the Old and New Testament, the works our Lord had done to save us, and the future that awaits us.

God’s word exhorts us to remember the days of old, to meditate on all His doings, muse on His deeds and the work of His hands, and to understand His precepts. We are to treasure God’s word in our heart that we might not sin against Him (Psalm 143:5; 77:12; 119:11, 15, 27).

Do we treasure God’s word like the way we cherish our photos and souvenirs? Do we love the word of God enough to spend time to meditate on it and refresh our minds with what we learn from within? Are we keeping and treasuring God’s word in our hearts to muse, meditate, and understand the precepts of God? 

God’s word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. In His word is where we gain understanding of His precepts. Let us not forget the word of God but open our eyes to behold wonderful things from it (Psalm 119:104-105, 16, 18).

Dear Lord, thank You for the Holy Scriptures that You have placed in our hands so we might remember the days of old to meditate on it and muse over Your doings so we might know You more intimately. Your word is eternal and stands firm in the heavens, a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. We treasure Your word in our hearts that we might not sin against You.

Friday, July 24, 2015


Tough economic times try our patience, reveal our priorities and test our faith … Families minimize frivolities, count and roll pennies and try to stay in the black … Business declines, stocks fluctuate and consumers hesitate to make major purchases. Yes, we personally know the meaning of the tight squeeze and it does not refer to squeezing from the top or bottom of the toothpaste roll.

We do have financial needs and feel the strain of meeting them; it would be irresponsible to ignore them. A loving parent wants to put bread on the table and ability to pay creditors; is money pulled from thin air; what are they to do? The Father above tests our faith; Satan tempts our soul. His tactics have changed little since his one-on-one with Jesus in the wilderness.

“And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry. And the devil said to Him, ‘If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread. But Jesus answered him, saying, ‘It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God (Luke 4:2b-4 NKJ).” Jesus was hungry; Jesus understands our temptations to satisfy hunger and need, yet opens our eyes to the greater sustainer of life.Pam Ford Davis

Heavenly Father, forgive me for listening to Satan’s twisted taunts; if Jesus was the Son of God he would do this and that to prove it. Keep me focused on reality and my urgent need to slice the bread of life. In Jesus name. Amen.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Idols of the Heart

Son of man, these men have set up idols in their hearts and put wicked stumbling blocks before their faces. (Ezekiel 14:3 NIV)

Idols of the Heart
By definition, an idol is anything regarded with blind admiration, adoration, or devotion. In Exodus, God is very clear that we are to put nothing before him; no idol in the form of anything. Jesus said we are to love the Lord with all our hearts, souls, and minds.

Most of us would not form an idol of materials and worship it with adoration and devotion. But what about our hearts? What things in our lives do we regard with adoration and devotion? For each of us it will be something different. For some, sports and entertainment may have become a form of idol worship, coming before their worship of God. For others it may be money, material things, or family. But what about deep in our hearts? Are there things we put before reading and studying God’s word? Have we replaced a consistent prayer life with the busyness that often consumes us? Sometimes it is the “little” things that become idols in our hearts keeping us away from a close relationship with our Lord.

In Ezekiel 14:8, God tells Ezekiel what he will do with the person who sets up idols in his heart, "I will set my face against that man and make him an example and a byword. I will cut him off from my people. Then you will know that I am the Lord." (NIV)

We need to search our hearts and demolish any idols established there. God will not be mocked. Sharon Dow

Friday, July 10, 2015

More than a Silhouette

More than a Silhouette
In 18th century Europe, the art of silhouette cutting began as a form of entertainment for the royal elite.  With the grand Lords and Ladies as his subjects, the artist would use scissors to sculpt a head-and-shoulders profile from black paper. The finished portrait would usually be mounted against a white or light-colored background. These were completed quickly, within a matter of only a few minutes. This beautiful art form showed the outline of the subject but not the detail.

Many people have a similar relationship with God. They know who God is and what He can do, but they don’t have a personal, “one-on-one” relationship with Him. The intimacy that God desires to have with them is missing. They have a silhouette of God, but there is no detail.

Once we accept Jesus as our Savior, however, we begin the best relationship we will ever experience.  When we talk to Him, He listens. When He talks to us, we should listen. Any close relationship requires an investment of our time. Spending time with the One who loves us best and most brings “detail” to our silhouette portrait of God. Denise Ferrell

Lord, help us to spend time with you, getting to know you, and talking to you throughout every day.

Friday, July 3, 2015

More Than Worth It

More Than Worth It
“That’s not fair!” shouted my seven year old daughter. She was right. It wasn’t fair that her brother had taken the last Nutty Bar, when I had told her she could have it. But it’s also not fair that some children go to bed hungry every night. It’s not fair that couples who want a child are unable to have one. It isn’t fair that tornadoes and hurricanes, mudslides and earthquakes, forest fires and floods level towns and villages throughout the world, devastating people’s lives. It isn’t fair that soldiers are wounded and killed every day. It isn’t fair that some of us are diagnosed with cancer. Sometimes life isn’t fair. Sometimes it’s hard and painful and overwhelming. 

My Dad has a poster that reads: “I never said life would be easy, only that it would be worth it,” signed God. God has promised He will be with us always. Always. No matter what we face. He promises He will never leave us, never forsake us, regardless of our circumstances. He has promised to work all things for good for those who love Him (Romans 8:28). Despite how we feel, in spite of our circumstances, God promises us hope for today, and eternity for tomorrow. It isn’t our circumstances that make life worth living. It’s God.

Jesus tells us in John 16:33, “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world.” The apostle Paul adds, “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2 Corinthians 4:17) 

In 15 years of marriage, my husband and I have faced a few trials, some we kind of expected—broken bones and stitches; a few took us by surprise—my husband’s job loss and relocation, twice; the death of my brother, my father-in-law, and several other close family members; a seriously ill young child; an auto accident and permanent injury, and a diagnosis of early-stage breast cancer. It’s been quite an adventure, but when I look back, it’s not pain or fear, heartache or loneliness, sorrow or anger I remember, but hope. Every step of the way, through every unexpected circumstance, God continued to grow and shape and refine us; to strengthen and deepen our faith; to encourage us and give us hope; to make Heaven very real; and to teach us to trust Him more.

When change happens, we can either fear the worst and focus on what isn’t fair, or we can step back, slow down, breathe deeply, and accept what God has allowed into our lives. The hottest fire refines the purest gold. The toughest trials teach us the greatest lessons and change us most profoundly. For in the midst of pain, we learn to persevere, our perspective is changed, and our faith deepened as we begin to understand the depth of pain Christ endured, the amazing price He paid for our salvation. Then can we begin to say with conviction, “Life isn’t fair, but because of God, it’s more than worth it.” Cindee Snider Re