Wings out of weights

No matter what obstacles you face in life, there is a way to live above them. God gives His children wings when things get to be too much. Wings are born out of weights.

There’s a sort of gravitation in this old world that daily strives to pull us down. But there’s also an upward pull that can lift us up to the very heart of God. “Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31) Those who wait in the Lord’s presence, in prayer and in His Word, rise to realms of peace and rest.

When wearied with the strain of it all, fly to God. God has the victory for you. God has the answers to your problems. Fly to God for the rest that He has promised. Fly on the wings of prayer and faith and get the relief that He alone can give you.

If you’re having trouble finding that place of peace and rest in God’s presence, we invite you to receive His Son, Jesus, into your heart. Jesus says, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”(Matthew 11:28) You can receive Jesus right now by simply praying the following prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank You for dying for me so I can have eternal life. Please forgive me for every wrong and unloving thing I have ever done. Come into my heart, give me Your gift of eternal life, and help me to know Your love and peace. Thank You for hearing and answering this prayer and for being with me always, from this moment on. Amen.

Insurance or assurance

I came across an article about the difference between “insurance” and “assurance,” which got me thinking. Is God out insurance or our assurance?

Having God in our lives is a form of insurance. We know that no matter what happens, He will be with us and bless us for trusting Him. “I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord,” (Romans 8:38–39) and, “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God” (Romans 8:28).

But in my day-to-day life, particularly when I’m faced with a decision or problem, what I want and need even more is assurance for the short term. God gives us that, too. He promises us guidance (Psalm 32:8), supply of our needs (Philippians 4:19), and grace and strength in difficult times (2 Corinthians 12:3). He also offers the assurance, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5) —and that is as true in the immediate circumstance as it will ever be.

Life is a series of situations and decisions. When we focus on the uncertainties, we become paralyzed. But when we take our problems to God and look to Him in our decision making, His assurances propel us in the right direction. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God … and it will be given to him” (James 1:5). “Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left.” (Isaiah 30:21)

Who knows what the coming year will bring? Probably a mix of surprises, successes, setbacks, and some sleepless nights. But through it all, God wants to be both our insurance and our assurance—insurance in the long term, and assurance in the short.

insurance: coverage by contract whereby one party undertakes to indemnify or guarantee another against loss by a specified contingency or peril

assurance: the state of being assured: as a: security b: a being certain in the mind c: confidence of mind or manner: easy freedom from self-doubt or uncertainty

Definitions courtesy of merriam-webster.com

Self-preservation?

I once saw a TV show set in Great Britain during the early part of World War II. The Nazis had defeated France, and the British expected imminent invasion. For some, the uncertainty, the fear of the future, and the feeling that they needed to take care of their own led them to act in ways they wouldn’t have in their normal day-to-day lives. They showed less concern for others, many hoarded, others stole, and some even committed murder!

Other people, in contrast, reacted in a completely different manner. They weren’t heroic because they performed great deeds; they were heroic because they performed small deeds selflessly. They faced their difficulties with dignity. They helped one another. They banded together as a community, looking out for the welfare of their neighbours and sharing what they had with those in need.

Seeing the contrast between the two types of responses brought home the challenges we face when we are in uncertain times or difficult situations. In times of disorientation, it’s natural for people to feel concerned for themselves. While everyone won’t respond in the same way, the selfish human instinct for self-preservation takes a more prominent role for some people.

When all around us is unstable, it’s natural to become destabilized ourselves. When what felt like solid ground begins to feel like shifting sand, the fear can be gripping.—Fear of the future, fear of the changes being, or about to be, thrust upon us. If we allow fear to overpower faith, our trust in God’s care tends to diminish. Once that happens, then the feeling that we must take control of events and take matters into our own hands becomes more prominent. This isn’t necessarily bad, since the “fight or flight” instinct is built into our nature, and we automatically respond to perceived danger with self-preserving moves.

The challenge we face, though, is finding the right balance between our human nature and our spiritual nature. As Christians we are “new creatures” who possess more than just human nature (2 Corinthians 5:17). We have God’s Spirit dwelling within us (1 Corinthians 3:16). We abide in Jesus and He abides in us (John 15:4). So, our responses to circumstances and events should be influenced by that indwelling. While we may feel naturally driven toward self-preservation, the Spirit can temper that reaction, so that we can find the balanced response—one which is compatible with Christ’s nature. (Galatians 5:22–23)

This isn’t easy, because our human nature is so … well, human. It’s our default setting. Being concerned for someone else or their need, situation, or struggle isn’t naturally our first priority. Because of this, there is the danger that we will minimize or even completely ignore someone else’s needs in favor of our own. Taking care of your needs and the needs of your loved ones isn’t wrong. But as disciples of Jesus, filled with the Spirit of Jesus, we should step back from focusing on our own needs and look also to the needs of others. Philippians 2:4–5 says: “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.”

To the finish line!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author unknown

We can find inspiration from the life of John Stephen Akhwari, as told in Bud Greenspan’s book 100 Greatest Moments in Olympic History.

When the winner crossed the finish line in the 1968 Mexico City Olympic marathon, the officials and spectators thought that had been the highlight of the race. Then, an hour later, John Stephen Akhwari, a runner from Tanzania, entered the stadium. Bloodied and bandaged from a fall, and with a dislocated knee, he limped painfully.

As Akhwari made his way around the track in the setting sun, the remaining crowd began to cheer loudly. When he crossed the finish line, you would have thought by the roar of the crowd that Akhwari had been the victor.

Later, when asked why he had not dropped out, Akhwari replied, “I don’t think you understand. My country did not send me 5,000 miles to start the race. They sent me 5,000 miles to finish the race.”

When you’re bruised and bloodied by life, press on; your Creator did not send you here to start the race, but to finish it! “Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:1–2)

Dr. A. B. Meldrum put it this way: “Bear in mind, if you are going to amount to anything, that your success does not depend on the brilliancy and the impetuosity with which you take hold, but upon the everlasting and sanctified bull-doggedness with which you hang on after you have taken hold.” Or in other words, “Fight the good fight of faith!” (1 Timothy 6:12)

The Scottish minister and hymnist George Matheson was someone else who didn’t quit, despite the onset of blindness. His advice: “We conquer—not in any brilliant fashion—we conquer by continuing.”

Keep going, no matter what the cost. Keep fighting, no matter what bruises you get. Keep running, no matter how many times you stumble and fall. Your cuts and bruises and scrapes and scars are medals of honour in God’s sight, signs that you had the faith, courage, determination, and commitment to keep going even when it was tough! You may have fallen, but you refused to quit.

At the end of the race, you’ll be able to say, like the apostle Paul: “My only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me.” (Acts 20:24)

Our Guide through Life (and COVID 19)

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness. — Psalm 23:1-3

He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way. — Psalm 25:9

Are there those who respect the Lord? He will point them to the best way. Psalm 25:12

The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way. Psalm 37:23

Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me.  Psalm 31:3

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you. Psalm 32:8

For this is God, our God forever and ever; He will be our guide even to death. Psalm 48:14

You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.  Psalm 73:24

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.  Psalm 119:105

Now isn’t that amazing

The solution to our problems and despair may not be as hard as we imagine.

Let’s say you’re going through a desperate time and have lost your bearings, or are experiencing loss, suffering, grief, or big changes in life, to the point that you question how you’re going to go on.  Sometimes in the midst of problems and hopelessness, you can barely even have faith that God will hear you. What can you do?

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Lunch with God

A little boy wanted to meet God. He knew it was a long trip to where God lived, so he packed his suitcase with a bag of potato chips and a six-pack of root beer and started his journey.

When he had gone about three blocks, he met an old woman. She was sitting in the park, just staring at some pigeons. The boy sat down next to her and opened his suitcase. He was about to take a drink from his root beer when he noticed that the old lady looked hungry, so he offered her some chips. She gratefully accepted it and smiled at him.

Her smile was so pretty that the boy wanted to see it again, so he offered her a root beer. Again, she smiled at him. The boy was delighted! They sat there all afternoon eating and smiling, but they never said a word.

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Take it day by day

Someone has said that today is a marvel of opportunity crucified between two thieves, yesterday and tomorrow! Today, this very day, is one of the most wonderfully precious things you will ever have.

Today you can do some of the things that you’ve been putting off for so long. You can’t do them yesterday and may not have the chance to do them tomorrow, but today is yours! Today you can be the kind of person you always dreamed you’d be “tomorrow.” This is that tomorrow!

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New year, fresh start

Each new year brings with it many things. It’s full of freshness, growth, and new experiences. It’s full of second chances, forgiveness, and opportunities to try again. It’s also full of tests, new challenges, and its share of difficulties and problems.

The most important thing in each new year is your relationship with Jesus. Because with Him at your side, you’re guaranteed to make it through whatever this new year may hold.

It’s been wisely said that life on earth is a testing ground and a learning experience, and with Jesus as your Guide and Coach, you’re sure to be successful. Your success may not look like success as it is popularly perceived, but you will be successful in the things that last beyond this life and into eternity.

Enter this new year with Jesus, holding His hand, and letting Him lead and guide you. Although He can’t promise that the paths you will walk this year will be easy or problem-free, He can promise you that His strength will always be sufficient for you, and that you will not face a challenge too big or too difficult for you and Him to handle together. If you can believe this and commit to trusting in Him no matter what comes your way, you’ll find that nothing will surprise you so greatly as to undermine your confidence and trust in Him.

When difficulties and challenges arise, remember His promise to help you through. Remember that when you are weak, He is strong. This will fill you with peace and confidence for your year ahead—the confidence of knowing that He, the Maker of heaven and earth, is with you.

As you walk through this year together with Jesus, the challenges you face can become opportunities for you to experience His unfailing power and strength. The choices that you face will be easier to make with His counsel to direct you. The connections and relationships you have this year will be sweeter and deeper as more of Jesus shines through you. At the close of this new year you’ll be able to look back and see the progress you’ve made and look forward to another year with Him.

A motto to live by

By J. R. Miller

The very heart of true Christian friendship is helpfulness. We begin to be like Christ only when we begin to desire to do others good. The world’s ideal is, “Every man for himself,” but Christ set a new standard for His followers. We are to look upon every one we meet with the question in our hearts, “What can I do for this man? How can I serve him? In what way can I do him good, help him, comfort him, and strengthen him?” We are always to hold ourselves ready to show the kindness of love to every human being that crosses our path. He may not need us—but then he may—and if he does, we must not fail to give him the help he needs.

We do not know how many of those whom we meet any day do need us. There are hearts that are discouraged, needing cheer that they faint not. There are people who are tempted, wavering, and ready to fall. There are those who are carrying a burden of sorrow, crying out for comfort. There are those who are hungry for love.

There are always opportunities for helping, and the world needs nothing more than men and women who are ready to respond to each call for love’s gentle ministry. We should not forget that if we are Christians, we represent Christ in this world. He would reach other lives through us. What are you going to be as a friend to the one who looks to you for strength, for encouragement, for inspiration, for help? What have you to give that will make life the richer?

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.—1 Thessalonians 5:11

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.—Proverbs 17:17

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