Through him you have come to trust in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are set on God. 1 Peter 1.21
Gladys Aylward, a missionary to China a half century ago, was forced to leave her missionary work when the Japanese invaded Yangcheng. In fleeing certain death, she led nearly a hundred orphans over the mountains to Free China. It was a frightening journey. At times she was burdened by despair. One morning after a sleepless night, fearing they would never reach safety, she shared her hopelessness with the orphans. A 13‑year‑old girl reminded her of their much‑loved story of Moses and the Israelites crossing the Red Sea.
"But I am not Moses," Gladys Aylward replied.
"Of course you aren't," the girl responded, "but Jehovah is still God!"
And that is the point, isn't it? Christ can help us. Christ can enter our lives and transform us into people who can accomplish more good things than we ever dreamed possible. All we have to do is trust him.
I watched intently as my little brother was caught in the act. He sat in
the corner of the living room, a pen in one hand and my father's brand-new
hymnbook in the other.
As my father walked into the room, my brother cowered slightly; he sensed
that he had done something wrong. From a distance I could see that he had
opened my father's new hymnal and scribbled in it the length and breadth
of the first page with a pen. Now, staring at my father fearfully, he and
I both waited for his punishment. And as we waited, there was no way we
could have known that our father was about to teach us deep and lasting
lessons about life and family, lessons that continue to become even
clearer through the years.
My father picked up his prized hymnal, looked at it carefully, and then
sat down, without saying a word. Books were precious to him; he was a
clergyman and the holder of several degrees. For him, books were
knowledge, and yet he loved his children. What he did next was remarkable.
Instead of punishing my brother, instead of scolding or yelling or
reprimanding, he sat down, took the pen from my brother's hand, and then
wrote in the book himself, alongside the scribbles John had made: John's
work, 1959, age 2. How many times have I looked into your beautiful face
and into your warm, alert eyes looking up at me and thanked God for the
one who has now scribbled in my new hymnal. You have made the book sacred,
as have your brothers and sister to so much of my life.
"Wow," I thought. "This is punishment?"
The years and the books came and went. Our family experienced what all
families go through and perhaps a little bit more: triumph and tragedy,
prosperity and loss, laughter and tears. We gained grandchildren, we lost
a son. We always knew our parents loved us and that one of the proofs of
their love was the hymnal by the piano. From time to time we would open
it, look at the scribbles, read my father's expression of love, and feel
Now I know that through this simple act my father taught us how every
event in life has a positive side - if we are prepared to look at it from
another angle - and how precious it is when our lives are touched by
little hands. But he also taught us about what really matters in life:
people, not objects; tolerance, not judgment; love, not anger. Now I, too,
am a father, and, like my dad, a clergyman and holder of degrees. But
unlike my father, I do not wait for my daughters to secretly take books
from my bookshelf and scribble in them. From time to time I take one down
- not just a cheap paperback but a book that I know I will have for many
years to come, and I give it to one of my children to scribble or write
their names in. And as I look at their artwork, I think about my father,
the lessons he taught me, the love he has for us and which I have for my
children - love that is at the very heart of a family.
I think about these things and I smile. Then I whisper, "Thank you, Dad."
We would be better Christians if we spent more time alone, and we would actually accomplish more if we attempted less and spent more time in isolation and quiet waiting upon God. The world has become too much a part of us, and we are afflicted with the idea that we are not accomplishing anything unless we are always busily running back and forth.
We no longer believe in the importance of a calm retreat where we sit silently in the shade. As the people of God, we have become entirely too practical. We believe in having "all our irons in the fire" and that all the time we spend away from the anvil or fire is wasted time. Yet our time is never more profitably spent than when we set aside time for quiet meditation, talking with God, and looking up to heaven. We can never have too many of these open spaces in life-hours set aside when our soul is completely open and accessible to any heavenly thought or influence that God may be pleased to send our way.
My life has a tendency to get out of control (I do realize that my decisions play a huge role in this!). I get moving so fast that often the time is gone before I realize it. The only thing that centers me is slowing down...getting silent...being alone with God...and listening for His whisper. It never ceases to amaze me how He calms my unsettled spirit.
One of my goals for this year is to set aside time each week to be quiet before God...to spend time talking to Him and listening for His voice...just relaxing in His presence. It is in the silence that I am open and more accessible to my Lord.
Will you join me in slowing down? Perhaps you need to stop right now and focus your thoughts on Him. I promise you it will be well worth the moments you may lose in hustling around in your busy world.
There is noThere is no more lovely, friendly or charming relationship, communion or company, than a good marriage. Martin Luther
Just as the right relationship with Christ generates a Christian, so the proper relationship with the Holy Spirit breeds a spiritual man. Watchman Nee
If we allow natural affection and human admiration or the lack of these to govern our efforts we will surely fail in our work and our lives shall be ruined. To obtain genuine fruitfulness we frequently need to disregard fleshly relationships. Our thoughts and desires must be offered completely to the Lord. Watchman Nee
Aloneness can lead to loneliness. God's preventative for loneliness is intimacy - meaningful, open, sharing relationships with one another. In Christ we have the capacity for the fulfilling sense of belonging which comes from intimate fellowship with God and with other believers. Author: Neil T. Anderson
To be loved by God is the highest relationship, the highest achievement, and the highest position in life. Author: Henry Blackaby
We may not say that we have the answers. Questions of how to conduct oneself as a Christian, or how to serve as a Christian, must be answered by life itself- the life of the individual in his direct responsible relationship to God. Author: Elisabeth Elliot
Ek het vanoggend vroeg wakker geword, opgewonde oor alles wat ek kan doen voor die horlosie middernag slaan. Ek het pligte om na te kom vandag. Ek is belangrik. My werk is om te kies watter soort dag ek gaan hê.
Vandag kan ek kla omdat die weer reënerig is, of .... ek kan dankbaar wees dat die gras gratis water kry.
Vandag kan ek hartseer wees omdat ek nie meer geld het nie, of .... ek kan bly wees dat my finansies my aanmoedig om my inkopies verstandig te beplan en my weg van vermorsing hou.
Vandag kan ek oor my gesondheid kla of .... ek kan
verheug wees omdat ek lewe.
Vandag kan ek mor oor alles wat my ouers my nie kon gee terwyl ek grootgeword het nie, of .... ek kan dankbaar wees dat hulle my toegelaat het om gebore te word.
Vandag kan ek treur omdat rose dorings het, of .... ek
kan juig omdat dorings rose het.
Vandag kan ek rou oor my gebrek aan vriende, of .... ek
kan opgewonde ‘n soektog begin na nuwe vriendskappe.
Vandag kan ek kla omdat ek moet gaan werk, of .... ek
kan juig omdat ek werk het om te doen.
Vandag kan ek murmureer omdat ek huis moet hou, of ....
ek kan geëerd voel omdat die Here skuiling aan my
verstand, liggaam en siel geskenk het.
Vandag lê voor my en wag om gevorm te word. En hier is ek, die beeldhouer wat die vorming mag doen.
Hoe vandag sal wees hang van my af. Ek kan kies
hoe ‘n dag ek sal hê!
‘n Wonderlike dag aan jou - behalwe as jy ander planne het ....
Psalm 118:24 - Dit is die dag wat die Here gemaak het; laat ons daaroor juig en bly wees.
"But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ"
(Romans 8:11, AMP)
This past weekend, we celebrated the resurrection of our precious Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. So much happened at Calvary's cross over two thousand years ago; but ultimately, because of Jesus, we can celebrate victory! Jesus overcame sin and death so that we can have abundant life. Because of Jesus, we have total victory over anything that would try to hold us back in this life!
No matter what stronghold, sin, addiction or bondage has held you captive in the past, today you can be free. When you receive Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you receive His power. Sin can't hold you back any longer because when the Son sets you free, you are free indeed! (See John 8:36.) It all starts by believing and receiving this promise and then building faith by hearing the Word of God.
Today, if you don't know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, there's no better time to get on the road to victory! Receive Him, receive the truth, and let it transform every area of your life!
Heavenly Father, thank You for giving me victory! Thank You for Your Word which is life and healing water to my soul. I choose to set my heart and thoughts on You, knowing that You are empowering me to overcome in every area of my life in Jesus' name. Amen!
One time, I was in my backyard talking to a man who was helping me with my landscaping. It was the middle of winter and the grass was very brown. It looked as if it was totally dead. I commented to the man about how bad the grass looked and how dead it was. He said, "Well, Joel, it doesn't look very good now but the truth is the grass is not dead, it's just not in season. In the springtime, this same grass will be just as lush and green as it can be." Sure enough, just a few months later that same brown, dry grass was a gorgeous bright green, filled with life and vitality.
I've found that life works the same way. Sometimes our circumstances look dead. It may look like a dream is dead, a relationship is dead, or a promise is dead. But you have to realize it may just be that it's not in season. It may be that it'll come back around in a new season. We can't give up just because things don't look the way we want them to in the season we are in. We have to dig our heels in and look with our eyes of faith to the new season that is on the horizon.
What am I saying? Just because something looks dead, don't write it off. Our God is a God of new beginnings. When we go through disappointments or setbacks, instead of getting down and discouraged or giving up, choose to have the attitude, "Even though it doesn't look good, I know the truth. It's not really dead; it's just not in season. I'm in wintertime, but I know springtime is coming. So I'm going to lift up my head and get ready for the new things God is about to do." Friend, if you'll keep that attitude of faith you will receive strength to make it through to the next season and it won't be long until those dreams and desires will flourish in every area of your life!
God recently allowed me to see Jesus through the eyes of someone seeing Him for the first time. Having the advantage of knowing how the story ends, we can easily forget the cost of our redemption and the love of our Savior.
Every year we attend a local church pageant at Christmas time, which tells the story of Jesus from His birth through His resurrection. It is a spectacular event, with live animals and hundreds of cast members in realistic costumes. The magi enter the huge auditorium on llamas from the rear, descending the steps in pomp and majesty. Roman soldiers look huge and menacing in their costumes and makeup.
Of all the years we have attended, one stands out indelibly in my heart. It was the year we took our then three-year-old granddaughter, Bailey, who loves Jesus. She was mesmerized throughout the entire play, not just watching, but involved as if she were a player. She watches as Joseph and Mary travel to the Inn and is thrilled when she sees the baby Jesus in His mother's arms.
When Jesus, on a young donkey, descends the steps from the back of the auditorium, depicting His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, Bailey was ecstatic. As he neared our aisle, Bailey began jumping up and down, screaming, "Jesus, Jesus! There's Jesus!" Not just saying the words but exclaiming them with every fiber of her being. She alternated between screaming his name and hugging us. "It's Jesus. Look!"
I thought she might actually pass out. Tears filled my eyes as I looked at Jesus through the eyes of a child in love with Him, seeing Him for the first time. How like the blind beggar screaming out in reckless abandon, "Jesus, Jesus!", afraid he might miss Him, not caring what others thought. (Mark 10:46-52)
This was so much fun.
Then came the arrest scene. On stage, the soldiers shoved and slapped Jesus as they moved Him from the Garden of Gesthemane to Pilate. Bailey responded as if she were in the crowd of women, with terror and anger. "Stop it!" she screamed. "Bad soldiers, stop it!" As I watched her reaction, I wished we had talked to her before the play. "Bailey it's OK. They are just pretending."
"They are hurting Jesus! Stop it!"
She stood in her seat reacting to each and every move. People around us at first smiled at her reaction, thinking "How cute!". Then they quit smiling and began watching her watch Him. In a most powerful scene, the soldiers lead Jesus carrying the cross down the steps of the auditorium from the back They were yelling, whipping, and cursing at Jesus, who was bloodied and beaten.
Bailey was now hysterical. "Stop it! Soldiers! Stop it," she screamed. She must have been wondering why all these people did nothing. She then began to cry instead of scream. "Jesus, Oh, Jesus!" People all around us began to weep as we all watch this devoted little disciple see her Jesus beaten and killed as those first century disciples had.
Going back and forth between her mother's lap and mine for comfort, she was distraught. I kept saying, "Bailey, it's OK. Jesus is going to be OK. These are just people pretending to be soldiers. She looked at me like I was crazy. In my lap, we talked through the cross and burial. "Watch, Bailey, watch for Jesus!"
The tomb began to tremble and lightening flashed as the stone rolled away. A Super Bowl touchdown cheer couldn't come close to matching this little one's reaction to the resurrection. "Jesus! He's OK. Mommy, it's Jesus!" I prayed that she wasn't going to be traumatized by this event, but that she would remember it. I shall never forget it. I shall never forget seeing Jesus's suffering, crucifixion, and resurrection through the eyes of an innocent child.
Following the pageant the actors all assembled in the foyer to be greeted by the audience. As we passed by some of the soldiers Bailey screamed out, "Bad soldier, don't you hurt Jesus." The actor who portrayed Jesus was some distance away surrounded by well-wishers and friends. Bailey broke away from us and ran toward him, wrapping herself around his legs, holding on for dear life. He hugged her and said, "Jesus loves you." He patted her to go away. She wouldn't let go. She kept clinging to Him, laughing and calling His name. She wasn't about to let go of her Jesus.
I think God in heaven stopped what ever was going on that day and made all the angels watch Bailey. "Now, look there! You see what I meant when I said, 'Of such is the kingdom of heaven?'"
Bailey's reaction should be our reaction every day. When we think of Him, who He is, what He did for us, and what He offers us, we have to say, how can we do anything less than worship Him?
Vooroordeel is die produk van 'n lui brein. Dis minagting sonder ondersoek. Jou eerste indrukke van iemand is onvolledig en dikwels onakkuraat. Moenie aanvaar jou intuïsie is altyd reg nie. Moenie blywende besluite maak gebaseer op beperkte insigte nie. Jou sukses in die lewe sal nadelig beïnvloed word deur vooroordeel, deur vrees of enige vorm van diskriminasie wat jou denke kan bederf. Jesus het nooit iemand se waarde bepaal op grond van hul ras, geslag, finansiële posisie of voorkoms nie. Hy was gemaklik in die teenwoordigheid van vissermanne en tollenaars. Hy was op sy gemak met ryk en arm. Hy het geweet elke mens wat Hy teëkom, het potensiaal en Hy het nooit op hulle neergesien as gevolg van hul verlede nie. Gebore uit 'n moeder wat 'n maagd was, het Hy geweet wat dit beteken om 'n twyfelagtige agtergrond te hê en die onderwerp van skindertonge te wees. Maar Hy het bo dit uitgestyg. Hy het die tradisie verbreek. Die Samaritane is as 'n laer klas mense beskou met wie die Jode nie durf praat het nie. Maar Jesus het. Inderdaad het Hy uit Sy pad gegaan om 'n Samaritaanse vrou te ontmoet wat vyf keer geskei was, en die verborgenhede van aanbidding met haar bespreek, wat haar lewe verander het. Toe Petrus, wat met vooroordeel geworstel het, gevra is om die evangelie aan die eerste groep heidene te verkondig, moes hy erken: 'Waarlik, ek begryp nou eers dat God nie onderskeid maak nie.' Op daardie dag het God werk gemaak van sommige van Petrus se diep-gesetelde vooroordele. Hy kan ook van joune werk maak! As 'God die wêreld so lief gehad het', maar jy het nie, hoe kan jy daarop aanspraak maak om 'goddelik' te wees?
Sielskos: Hosea 11-14; Matt 27:27-32; Ps 25:8-15; Spr 10:1
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." ~ Aristotle ~
"Don't bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself."~ William Faulkner ~
"Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand-and melting like a snowflake..." ~ Francis Bacon, Sr. ~
"People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don't believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can't find them, make them." ~ George Bernard Shaw
"People become really quite remarkable when they start thinking that they can do things. When they believe in themselves they have the first secret of success."~ Norman Vincent Peale ~
"The great pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do."~ Walter Bagehot ~
"There is one quality that one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants, and a burning desire to possess it."~ Napoleon Hill ~
"Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible."~ St. Francis of Assisi ~