TUESDAY

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3: 16 (NKJV)

 

 

During my regular volunteer ministry in the prison this week, I had to wait to begin my class because the 1800 time “count” (when each prisoner is counted in her cell) was not clearing. Until then, the unit is more or less locked down.

 

Being a former employee (Chaplain), most officers knew me and stopped in the hall to say hi and visit for a moment. One officer, Ms. Flint, was assigned to the hallway where I was calmly waiting. She came up and began visiting.

 

 

I want to tell you her story. After the story, notice the emotion that is running through you. In order for the story to flow, I am taking my responses to her and questions out of it and letting it just go with her telling of it. This is a true story. It’s true that she told it to me, and it is true that she lived it!  These are her and my words as it is not dictated, but this IS the story.

 
“You know, Chap (short for Chaplain – I like to think it as an endearing name.), I have been here almost fifteen years. Can you imagine that? Next year, I will get my diamond pin. Ms. Jones got hers last month. Time really flies. But it wasn’t always that way.

 

 

It will be twenty five years on Tuesday when I had the accident and lost my son. He was killed; he was only four and a half years old. It was on a Tuesday. I will never forget. I relive it so often….

 

 

The strange thing is that months before that, the oddest events happened always on a Tuesday. I got a raise on a Tuesday; the next week one of the kids got the flu and I was off work for several days. About a month later, I got sick and had to have surgery – yep, on a Tuesday. But everything got better and I got back to work.

 

My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. Psalm 121: 2

 

 

But the oddest thing is that my son Jacob kept having these unusual events happening to him – and always on a Tuesday. About five weeks before the accident, we were walking down the sidewalk, just taking a walk.

 

He said, “Look Momma, there’s Jesus sitting right there on a branch, smiling at us. Don’t be afraid; he loves us. Never be afraid of Jesus.” I didn’t see anything, but all of a sudden that branch began to sway, just a little bit.

 

 

Then they also brought infants to Him that He might touch them; but when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them to Him and said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.Luke 18:15-17(NKJV)

 

A week later, we were at his school where I was picking him up.

 

He said, “Momma?”

 

“Yes, Mi hijo (Spanish for my child or my son).

 

“Mom, Jesus was playing with me at recess. His eyes are so wonderful. You will love him as I do.”

 

“I do love Him,  Mi hijo.”

 

“He said to never be afraid. He would always be here for me, just like you but even better. Why would He say that, mamma?”      I had no answer.

 

 

The following Tuesday my sister and I were getting ready to take a picture of my beautiful rose bush. It had such gorgeous blooms that year. But we could not get a good shot because Jacob was right behind it shaking it and laughing. We could not get him out of the bush. Finally he stuck his head out and we snapped the picture. You know what he told us? He told us that Jesus was back there with him and they were playing.

 

 

Then Jesus told him about the rose. “The rosebud (he used a different word, though) shows God’s love for us by holding us tight and wrapping His arms around us. When we feel safe and have enough faith and trust, we start to open, just like the rose, until we are fully open.”

 

Now, I thought that my son was a genius and making this up but I could truly see his explanation. And once opened we are vulnerable and must depend on God’s mercy and grace to carry us onward. It is a scarey world out here.

 

“Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:3

 

 

That’s when I started talking about my Jacob maybe having an invisible friend. Many children do. This invisible friend’s name could have been Jesus. Maybe he also was Hispanic….. who knows? Well, that was not it. When I asked Jacob about his friend Jesus, he told me he was not like a friend at school. He was God’s son who came to earth to help us. That was when I decided that it was time we start going back to church.

 

The next Tuesday was another event for Jacob when Jesus alerted him about a fast moving car headed down the street. Jacob stopped and waited until it passed before riding on down the sidewalk with his three wheeler. He told me about it later.

 

Then he said, “Momma, Jesus said He was going to take me to his house soon and that I would never have to worry about fast moving cars again or mean people or getting sick.. Isn’t that neat?”

 
Chap, I took him to the doctor but there was nothing wrong with him. The doctor recommended we all go to church and that might satisfy the”religious” hunger he may be feeling. So we did.

 

A few weeks later, on a Tuesday, I was driving down the street coming home from baseball practice with Jacob in the back seat. I looked back; the sun was setting and causing a glare. I told Jacob he looked like an angel with all that sun glowing around him. We laughed.

 

 

…… looking steadfastly at him, saw his face as the face of an angel.   Acts 6:15

 

 

We headed home.

 

Jacob said, “Mom, you promised me a tootsie roll. Can we get one?”

 

I had forgotten; and not to disappoint him, I turned around and went back to the Quick Mart. As I was driving down the road, a pick-up truck barreled through the stop sign and hit us broad side right at Jacob’s passenger door, throwing the car into the opposite lane of traffic and into a deep gulley, upside down.

 

It was then that Jacob and I were floating above the accident watching it all. Our bodies were lying in the car, people were rushing around. It was surreal. We looked at each other and then looked down at the action taking place as we floated above it all. I felt nothing.

 
Then Jacob started moving away from me but I was right behind him. As we moved away, everything was perfectly dark, except at the furthest point was a bright light. It was like we were in a tunnel and that light was the other side. (And indeed it was.) We got closer and closer and suddenly I heard Jacob say, “Hi, Jesus, is this where you live?”

 
The smile of Jesus was intoxicating as He waved at me and shook His head. My “self” was going back into the dark.

 
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.’ Isaiah 41:10

 

 

All of a sudden, I saw myself in the car; and it was like I was sliding or slipping back into my t-shirt.  It was the oddest feeling and that is the only way I can explain it.

 
I still see Jacob in the back seat with that glow around him. I still see that rosebush with the buds on it. I still see that branch with a slight sway. Jacob led me to the Lord. He decided to stay. I returned.

 

 

Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:31-35 (NKJV)

 

 

It was months of healing medically and physically and years of healing emotionally;

 

but on that Tuesday, I was totally healed – spiritually.

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The Valley

Did you know that there really is a Valley of the Shadow of Death in Israel. It is a very deep and narrow one. It is so deep and so narrow that the sun only hits the bottom of that valley at exactly noon. For the entire rest of the day the valley is dark. This valley was used as a passage way and still is. David may have even travelled it as he led his sheep through.

 

 

Well, we all have “walked through” a time of darkness when there was little light if any at all. How we handle those “dark valleys” is important to us as we grow with God.
Have you ever thought about the fact that almost all the people in the Bible have walked through the Valley of the Shadow of Death – if not geographically then spiritually and emotionally. Joshua spoke of his Calamity Valley. The Valley of Trouble was Hosea’s. Psalm 84 – The Valley of Weeping. Paul had many times he found himself entrenched in that dark valley Even here in the USA we have an area called Death Valley. As you do daily Bible readings, you will see that all the Biblical people had their “valley” experiences.

 

 

 
But here is something to think about – if you live in an area with sunshine, no rain – – what you have is a desert. No green grass, lovely flowers, or gorgeous landscapes. To have the beautiful landscapes, we must have rain. Now, this is not only true in nature, turning a desert into a garden but it is true for us, in our lives, also. Without a valley, we cannot have a mountain-top experience.

 

 

So, let’s discuss this Psalm and this valley we are walking through.

 

 

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” Psalms 23:4 (NKJV)

 

 

Now, everyone will go through valleys like this during a lifetime. You may be in a dark valley right now or perhaps just walked through one or are heading in to one. We can NOT avoid it. That is what life is – a constant challenge of moving successfully from one issue into a next one.

 

 

 

There may be long periods of lush green enjoyable times, but we have to expect that dark valley to appear in our lives. Everyone has the dark valleys – everyone.
Job 5: 7 says: Yet man is born to trouble, As the sparks fly upward. (NKJV)

 

 

 

Now, we don’t plan those dark valleys, like we plan our dinner dates or our vacations. They happen when we are least prepared for them.

 

 

Have you ever been on the computer when it froze “expectantly”, right in the middle of an important piece of business, have a “planned fender bender” while driving, or gotten the flu at a time when you “could take the time to rest and get well??” We are never prepared for these things happening much less times of spiritual and emotional upheavals where that Dark Valley is even darker. Never planned, never ready, never predicted, never wanted.

 

 

Destruction upon destruction is cried, For the whole land is plundered.
Suddenly my tents are plundered, and my curtains in a moment.” Jeremiah 4: 20 (NKJV)

 

 

There was Jeremiah’s dark valley. Think about his world; think about that word “suddenly.” He did not plan or want this destruction. Nor do we.

 

 

No matter what vaccine we may get or care we may take, we are not immune, none of us. We can not escape negative things happening to us, problems cropping up, sadness enveloping us. No one is left out; we are all in this together. ALL OF US.

 

 

45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust..” Matthew 5:45 (NKJV)

 

 

What makes us any different than the next person??

 

 

But, my friends, the good news is that these dark valleys are temporary. They are here for a while and then we walk through them. Even if we are in a dark valley/tunnel, there is always that light at the end of it. Problems always pass, and the light always shines forth.

 

 

10 But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. 1 Peter 5: 10 (NKJV)

 
And here it is from The Message:

 

The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good.” 1 Peter 5:10 (MSG)

 

 

And guess what!! If you think you are living in one death valley after another with no respite (even though that is impossible), that is still nothing compared to eternity in Heaven where there is no problem, no pain, no suffering, no fear.

 

 

“God has a reason for taking you through dark valleys. Whether you have a valley full of doubt, despair, discouragement, or defeat – God has a reason behind it. We think that valleys are unnatural – they are not – they are a natural part of the landscape.”  There are financial valleys, relationship valleys, emotional valleys, all kinds of valleys in our lives. You will get through them in time. Look at what first Peter chapter one says:

 

 

“6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.  1 Peter 1:6-7 (NKJV)

 

 

So, let’s take a look at this for a moment —-

 

 

There is a reason, a purpose for our valleys, our problems, disappointments, heartaches. This is what helps our faith grow, helps us to be strong. It is God’s way of helping us become the best we can be. So, focus on becoming strong in faith during these times. Practice depending more on God to handle it and less on yourself or another person.

 

 

And these struggles are the only way we can build our faith. We need to build faith through trusting God during difficult times. It would be easy to sing to God all day and laugh and praise, but to do it in that valley is real proof of trust and faith.

 

 

God’s goal in life is not to make you comfortable. His goal is to build your character. He is preparing you for eternity.

 

 

So, as we go through these trials, these valleys we must remember to Not be discouraged.

 

 

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.” Psalms 23:4 (NKJV)

 

 

Let’s think about this verse for a moment.

 

 

As he walks through this valley of the shadow of death, David fears no evil. He is not going to panic. He is not going to run screaming and out of control; his sheep are walking calmly with him. No need to fear; no need to panic; no need to stampede in fear; he is walking on solid ground, as are his sheep. As calm as he and his sheep are, so can we be.    Because – “I will fear no evil.” Nothing can harm us.

 

 

Notice , that he is saying “I WILL’. David is choosing to not be afraid; he is choosing to trust God. He is choosing to resolve any situation he gets into because he knows that through God all things are possible. Now, I encourage you to do the same. Change that defeat attitude into one of victory and fear NO evil.

 

 

 

Remember, just like that boulder in the road – you can’t go around the valley. You can’t go under the valley. You can’t go over the valley. You must go through the valley. But – “I will fear no evil.” I will not be afraid. I refuse to be shaking in my boots. I will walk through this valley.” And I will walk through it calmly, lovingly, and with a smile on my face.

 

And here is the big and main reason for not being fearful, not being discouraged
For You are with me;” Psalms 23:4 (NKJV)

 

 

God is with you every step of the way. God promises you that, He is present with your always.

 

 

He never leaves us alone. Note how the language changes in verse 4 – it goes from third person “he” to second person “you/thy.”

 

You are with me. Your rod and your staff they comfort me.”  not – “The Lord is with me; His rod and His staff………”    No, Now the speech becomes totally intimate. You are not hearing or seeing this from afar but it is happening up close and personal. In times like these. You don’t want to talk “about” God you want to talk “to and with” God. Now we are talking about a true and close relationship.

 
God is telling you that “I am with you always. I am right here beside you. I am carrying you when your load becomes too heavy. I will get you through this and we will come through this valley together and stronger than ever.”

 
Now our faith has been tested and we are stronger for it.

 
Repeating for emphasis:

 

6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 6-7

 

 

Two weeks ago I was at a meeting in the front office of an old museum. The back – where the restrooms were – was pitch black – no windows, no doors except the one I came through which had a dark foyer leading from the office to the museum – hence -0- light at all. I had absolutely NO light, no windows, no Exit sign. I was thrust into total darkness. I stopped waiting for my eyes to adjust. They did not; it was that dark. So I took a deep breath and visualized the lay out of this small museum and taking one shakey step at a time until I finally arrived at the restroom. I pushed open the door, praying hard I was in the right spot, fumbled around until I was able to locate the necessary seat and take care of my needs. I found the sink and the water but never the paper towels. I travelled back through that very dark valley, lightly touching every step of the way. Now, that is a silly example but a true one. I could have fallen down stairs or over a piece of art or a display, so it was frightening. I now know truly what pitch black means. But I kept in mind that I did have a museum guide right beside me to lead me through that dark, very dark, valley. He was right there, reassuring me the whole way. And I made it without a scratch or a bruise, just wet hands.

 

 

I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20 (NKJV)

 

 

“David reminds us that God has a rod and a staff to protect us. The rod and the staff are basic tools for the shepherd. The rod is basically two feet long and has a knot at one end. Shepherds train to use the rod like a missile at anything that would endanger the sheep. Shepherds use the rod to protect their flock.

 

 

The staff is a long stick with a crock at the end of it. The staff is used to draw sheep out of a ditch or to pull them closer to the shepherd’s side. But the truth is the shepherd is there to protect His sheep. God has promised us His protection.”

 

 

My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.” John 10:29 (NKJV)

 

 

But what about these shadows of death in this valley. We all know they are there. We can see them OR can we? The shadow which represents fear is always bigger that what we face. Remember that. Next time you have a fear, think of it as a mere, small shadow that disappears in a blink of an eye. That makes the fear smaller and more manageable.

 

And shadows can NOT hurt us. They can not knock us down, run over us, punch us. They can only scare us.

 

 

And most importantly, a shadow can only be seen if there is a source of light at some point. At the end of this dark tunnel/valley there is light and that light is God . The Bible says that” God is light – and in Him there is no darkness.” Trust Him. No matter how dark your valley is, how frightened you may be, how nervous you have become – take a deep breath, relax, and – Believe in Him because: – – – –

 

 

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 For His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” Psalms 23:1-4 (NKJV)

And They (We) Cried Out to the Lord

Let us focus today on Psalm 107 and Romans 5. These scriptures will be pieced to fit in with the message..

 
Psalm 107: (in sections)

 

4 They wandered in the wilderness in a desolate way;
They found no city to dwell in.
5 Hungry and thirsty,
Their soul fainted in them.
6 Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble,
And He delivered them out of their distresses.
7 And He led them forth by the right way,
That they might go to a city for a dwelling place.

 

~~

 

10 Those who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death,
Bound in affliction and irons—
11 Because they rebelled against the words of God,
And despised the counsel of the Most High,
12 Therefore He brought down their heart with labor;
They fell down, and there was none to help.
13 Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble,
And He saved them out of their distresses.
14 He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death,
And broke their chains in pieces

 

~~~

 

17 Fools, because of their transgression,
And because of their iniquities, were afflicted.
18 Their soul abhorred all manner of food,
And they drew near to the gates of death.
19 Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble,
And He saved them out of their distresses.
20 He sent His word and healed them,
And delivered them from their destructions.

 

~~~

 

23 Those who go down to the sea in ships,
Who do business on great waters,
24 They see the works of the LORD,
And His wonders in the deep.
25 For He commands and raises the stormy wind,
Which lifts up the waves of the sea.
26 They mount up to the heavens,
They go down again to the depths;
Their soul melts because of trouble.
27 They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man,
And are at their wits’ end.
28 Then they cry out to the LORD in their trouble,
And He brings them out of their distresses.
29 He calms the storm,
So that its waves are still.
30 Then they are glad because they are quiet;
So He guides them to their desired haven.

 

~~~

 

33 He turns rivers into a wilderness,
And the watersprings into dry ground;
34 A fruitful land into barrenness,
For the wickedness of those who dwell in it.
35 He turns a wilderness into pools of water,
And dry land into watersprings.
36 There He makes the hungry dwell,
That they may establish a city for a dwelling place,
37 And sow fields and plant vineyards,
That they may yield a fruitful harvest.
38 He also blesses them, and they multiply greatly;
And He does not let their cattle decrease.

~~~

 

39 When they are diminished and brought low
Through oppression, affliction, and sorrow,
40 He pours contempt on princes,
And causes them to wander in the wilderness where there is no way;
41 Yet He sets the poor on high, far from affliction,
And makes their families like a flock.
42 The righteous see it and rejoice,
And all iniquity stops its mouth43 Whoever is wise will observe these things,
And they will understand the loving kindness of the LORD.

 

…For He has sent them to a home away from the oppression,

 

… For He satisfies the longing soul   And fills the hungry soul with goodness.

 

… For He has broken the gates of bronze,   And cut the bars of iron in two.

 

….for He has calmed the seas and saved the seamen.

…For He has healed the afflictions and filled their bodies

 

and then in great humbleness and thanksgiving, they  – –

 

8 Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!
22 Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving,
And declare His works with rejoicing.

 

We cry to the Lord. We beg for pity and relief from our worrisome situation. Let’ s take a look again at these five desperate situations the Israelites found themselves due to their evil ways…….

 
Psalm 107 above laments over these five dilemmas: 1) They wandered in the wilderness with no food or water and drew faint with no way to survive; 2) They sat in darkness and in the shadow of death, bound in affliction and irons; 3) They were afflicted. Their soul abhorred all manner of food, and they drew near to the gates of death; 4) The were caught in a terrible storm. They reeled to and fro, and staggered like a drunken man, ready to drown, and at their wits’ end; 5) When they were diminished and brought low through oppression, affliction, and sorrow,   He poured contempt on princes, and caused them to wander in the wilderness where there was no way.

 

I repeat these afflictions so we could all see what the suffering was and could identify it with ourselves.  So….. What is your storm, your affliction, your imprisonment, your lost journey? Stop for a moment and think about it.   It is the only way to get through it.

 

 

Now, pray about it!

 

 

Psalm 107 describes specific ordeals of the Israelites, but it is actually speaking about you and about me.  The amazing truth about the Bible is that it is so human. We all are under major stresses, afflictions,  and storms. As one comes to a close, another may blossom. What can we do to overcome them, to not have to travel that road of calamity? I think we know that answer. Love the Lord, you God with all your heart and all your soul, and all you mind and love your neighbor as yourself – as we worship our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Each one of these cries for help as listed above came after sinning, cursing the Lord, worshipping idols, etc. (as we do everyday IF we are honest with ourselves).  God had His fill and knew they needed discipline and one through five was the result. But after suffering, they realized what they had done and begged God to forgive, save them, and restore them. They were redeemed because of “the loving kindness of the Lord.”

 

And then it happened all over again. It was like a hamster wheel forever going with the Israelites running, running and getting nowhere. But unlike the hamster, we humans know better.  Bless the hamster who travels miles and miles and gets nowhere except in his little mind.  But God knew we had to be saved, had to jump off the wheel and face His Light so we could be forever redeemed.  He knew we needed that sacrificial lamb who once and for all could give himself as a final sacrifice taking ALL our sinfulness onto himself – for the forgiveness and redemption, and justification of all.   Eternity with the Lord was the gift, and grace was the answer.

 
And so He sent Jesus – the Word became flesh and lived among us. Now, the grace that passes all understanding is our blessing and our eternal joy.

 

Romans 5: 1 – Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,  2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance;  4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.   6 For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.  7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.  8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.  10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.  11 And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation………… 15 But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many. 16 And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification…………….   18 Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.    19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous……..
21 so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

As Romans chapter five tells us the result of justification is life and righteousness all brought through Jesus Christ. It takes away the guilt of man and presents the Grace that is granted by God through our Savior, Jesus Christ. Only through Him can we come to perfect joy, walking with Him through all the trials of the earthly life – as we look to our eternal home with him.

 

Jesus, dying on the cross, laid the foundation that satisfied our lives of sin.
Our Christ that now lives and is seated at the right hand of God is making the intercessions, saving us from the punishment of hell. Through this foundation and His living within us, He now has taken away the sin within us.

 

Yes, our Lord laid the foundation for our future through giving Himself and taking on all our sinful natures he gave us that peace with God through reconciliation and eternal life without a trace of wrath. God’s love is so great it is impossible for us to even attempt to wrap our heads around it.  Life’s sufferings and joys are just a breath when looking at our eternal joy. God’s amazing and awesome love is poured out on to us without even a second of hesitation. And the Holy Spirit is with us to help us move forward in that love. a present peace with God, that is, reconciliation, and deliverance from future wrath, as well as a hope that is certain in the midst of life’s sufferings and does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us as a guide and a teacher.

 
Now, we can realize that God has showered us with peace and grace – and here is the kicker – He has done it and will do it – forever and ever. Amen.

 

 

Psalm 107: 1-3
Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.
2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say so,
Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy,
3 And gathered out of the lands,
From the east and from the west,
From the north and from the south.

 

 

God blesses you – thanks be to God through His Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Who Am I?

Who Am I?

Look at yourself. Go look in a mirror just for a few seconds before reading on.

 

…………~~~~~……………

 

Who are you? Who am I? They say the mirror does NOT reflect what others see in you, just what you see or fear seeing. Pictures / photographs of us also do not reveal the true “you” or “me.”

 
Did you look? What did you see? Did you see the face of our Lord, Jesus Christ? Yes, you are God’s creation and a living testament of and to Christ.

 

“Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

 

”Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17

 

So, where do we go from here? If we are a new creation in Christ and are His workmanship, what now?

 

The cartoon character Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes once said, “God put me on this earth to accomplish a certain number of things. Right now I’m so far behind I will never die.”

 

Do you relate to this at all. I know I do. But does God look at you and count the “things” you have or have not accomplished?  I think not; I know there are wonderful assurances of everlasting life because Christ died for our sins.  Grace is what we are all about and grace is what we look like to God.

 

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

 

“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” – Romans 5:1

“And you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.” – Colossians 2:10

and

 

“For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.” – Ephesians 2:18

 

So, if we don’t have to do works to be saved, where do we go from here? First of all, I would suggest a comraderie or fellowship of believers. We all need to reach out to each other for that support and also so we can support. Prayerfully, you have a church that is a positive support for you. Our Bethel is a wonderful House of God. We stand together and love and cherish each other as children of our Lord.  We welcome all who enter our doors for spiritual fellowship, prayers, and friendship.

 

And, God does expect us to do good and to help others. He also wants us to tell HIS story and bring people to the truth of salvation. He wants us to share the “Good News” – the GOSPEL.

 

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” – Ephesians 2:10

 

Worship becomes a very important part of our lives. It is through worship that we reach out and “touch” our Lord as He touches us. We glow with the love of our Lord.
Sitting alone in front of the television, watching a movie, or shopping at the mall does little to put that glow on our face.  Being one with Christ does.

A boy told his father, “Dad, if three frogs were sitting on a limb that hung over a pool, and one frog decided to jump off into the pool, how many frogs would be left on the limb?” The dad replied, “Two.”

 

“No,” the son replied. “There’s three frogs and one decides to jump, how many are left?” The dad said, “Oh, I get it, if one decides to jump, the others would too. So there are none left.”

 

The boy said, “No dad, the answer is three. The frog only DECIDED to jump.”

 

Now it is your turn to decide. Where do you go from here? Let’s all jump right in that pool and live this scripture . . . “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”  Ephesians 2: 10

 
Jesus said to “Love our neighbor as ourselves.”  That puts the ball in our court. So, let’s put on our jacket, walk out our door, and help someone who could use our inspiration, our kind words, our uplifting spirit.

 
I think it is time, especially in this day and age, that we look beyond our personal joys and sorrows, frustrations – and look at those around us. How can we help? What can we do to encourage them? How can we share the Word with them? Jesus said that the shepherd would leave his herd and look for that one lost lamb.

 

We should do the same.

 

So many need the help and attention in this day. It surely would be a blessing to you and to me to reach out and touch someone, as they say. Let your loving spirit unfold onto those in need and watch how it comes back to you ten fold in blessing after blessing. Yesterday, I reached out and helped someone and felt so good when it was all completed. That alone was a blessing to me and worth every minute I was involved.

 

I felt uplifted by lifting up. So can you.

 

As we see in this scripture, the farmer was blessed after his cultivating by God who sent the rain to nourish the land.

 

“…Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God.”   Hebrews 6:7

 

All this goes to answer the question: Who Am I?

 
You know who you are. You do not have to look in that mirror. Just look up and you will see yourself in the bright blue sky, the gorgeous bubbling clouds, the sparkling sun.

 

You are a blessed child of God, saved through Jesus Christ for the forgiveness and redemption of sins and to do good for the glory of God.

 
“For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building.” – 1 Corinthians 3:9

 

 

Go in peace; Serve the Lord…..Thanks be to God.