The Voice You Can Trust Despite The Crowd

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well, and that this devotion finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy!

Readings for April 25, 2021; Fourth Sunday of Easter

Acts 4:1-12; Psalm 23; 1 John 3:16-24; John 10:11-18

 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. They [too] will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.” John 10:14-15,16b

My husband has a unique and very loud whistle. When our children were young, his whistle came in very handy if we were trying to round up the family, especially when we were in public areas and we had lost sight of any one of our children. When the family heard the whistle, they knew Dad was calling. We all were to stop what we were doing and follow the whistle.

I remember a time when my husband and I were in a crowded concert hall and in the midst of all the hustle and bustle we got separated. Within minutes I heard the whistle and immediately began looking in the direction of the sound. About 20 meters away, a few stairs up a staircase, stood my husband sounding his call to me.

On another occasion, we were attending our daughter’s graduation. Off in the distance we could see all the graduates filing into their seats. Once we saw our daughter in the ocean of gowns in the massive auditorium, my husband gave out one whistle and her gaze turned and she spotted us. She knew we were there and we were cheering her on.

Yes, over the years that whistle was the sound that always let our family know that my husband was close by and we were all safe. It was the sound we could trust and which we followed, even if we couldn’t quite see him. Even now as adults our children, and now grandchildren, know my husband’s whistle and they find comfort in hearing it.

In the same way, as our children and I recognized my husband’s call and could trust that it would lead us to safety, Jesus the Good Shepherd, calls to us, his flock, and we can trust that his voice will speak truth and lead us to safety. His voice does not sound like the world sounds. His voice is heard through his word and in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. His voice does not contradict what our Heavenly Father has told us. His voice directs us to repentance and forgiveness, and speaks love and guidance, safety and protection. It is the voice we can truly trust always, now and when we walk the path from this world into eternity. So wherever you are at right now, stop and listen, and you will hear the Good Shepherd calling you to safety and to rest in his loving arms.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, my Good Shepherd, thank you for always calling out for me to stay close to you. Help me to always listen and to not be afraid. In your name I pray. AMEN!

A Time Of Refreshment

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well, and that this devotion finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy!

Readings for April 18, 2021; Third Sunday of Easter

Acts 3:11-21; Psalm 4; 1 John 3:1-7; Luke 24:36-49

You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this. By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see. Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord. Acts 3:15-16, 19a

Have you ever been so thirsty that the simple taste of water tasted like the sweetest of honey? Or … Have you ever been so undeniably hot that you ran into and fully submersed yourself in a body of water, no matter its temperature, and felt instant relief and refreshment? Oh what relief! Oh what release from the bonds of our human limits!

Maybe right now you feel the bonds of this life holding you tight, and you can’t find relief. Perhaps these bonds can’t be extinguished with a glass of water or a dip in a lake. Maybe these bonds totally envelop you- body, mind, and soul; they keep you totally incapacitated. Don’t lose heart. There can be relief and refreshment.

Such refreshment comes through Jesus. He can bring relief from the inside out. Come to him in repentance and humility. A repentant and trusting faith in him as the Saviour of the World and the lover of your soul, brings a flood of grace, forgiveness, and love that releases the bonds of guilt, anger, anxiety and hatred that keep you bound. In him, your burdens are lifted. Let go of trying to maneuver your way out on your own, but seek him. Listen to him calling you: “Come to me, [insert name(s) here,] you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your soul[s]. Matthew 11:28-29

Then, as Satan, the world, your sins, and life’s burdens try to tighten around you again, stay focussed on Jesus. Daily lay your sins and burdens before him, repent, and always proclaim, “My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only he will release my feet from the snare.” Psalm 25:15

Prayer: Dear Jesus, life can become unbearable at times. Forgive me for those burdens that I have brought upon myself because of poor, sinful choices. Only in you, can I find freedom and relief through your forgiveness and through your love that refreshes and strengthens me to overcome all the trials of my life. May your Holy Spirit wash over me with this peace and assurance this day. In your name I pray. AMEN!

Got A Doubting Thomas In Your Life?

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well, and that this devotion finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy!

Happy Easter! He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed, Alleluia!

Readings for April 11, 2021; Second Sunday of Easter

Acts 4:32-35; Psalm 148; 1 John 1:1-2:2; John 20:19-31

Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came.  So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. John 20:24-26a

Has it ever struck you that although Thomas did not believe what his buddies were saying about Jesus, he still hung around them? Despite his unbelief in their confession and proclamation that Jesus is alive, that he rose from the dead, and he is all that he said he is, Thomas continued to stay in their midst, to eat meals with them. They continued to consider Thomas their friend and brother, and they his.

Over that week, I would expect the disciples reminisced of their past experiences together with Jesus, and Thomas would have chimed in. I also expect the disciples continued to talk about Jesus’ recent appearance and that Thomas would have plied them with questions: “You said the doors were locked. Tell me again how he got into the room?” or  “What does it mean, ‘Peace be with you’? We are hiding from the Jewish leaders and afraid for our lives because we followed him. What peace can we have now?” or “Where did he go? Where is he now?” Yes, throughout that particular week, I can imagine Thomas said over and over again, “But it defies all logic. It just doesn’t make sense. I just can’t believe it!” and the disciples replied, “Yes, but Thomas…”.

The disciples who saw Jesus were not going to be persuaded to Thomas’ way of thinking. They had just spent time with their friend and teacher, whom they saw brutally killed before their very own eyes. He was alive! Jesus had rose from the dead and conquered death, just as he had said. Yes, Jesus was their Lord and Saviour, and nothing or nobody was going to tell them otherwise. And in this assurance, they continued to proclaim Jesus to Thomas while still welcoming him into their fold.  They did not turn their friend away who continued to struggle with unbelief, and he did not try to leave. No, they continued to love him, be friends with him, and proclaim their love for Jesus, despite Thomas’ doubt. And then Jesus took care of the rest.

In the same way, do you have loved ones- friends and family- that speak as Thomas did, “I do not believe,” and yet continue to desire your love and friendship? If so, continue to love them and befriend them, but be as confident and forthright about your love and faith in Jesus, your Lord and Saviour. Do not shy away from living your life as his beloved child and proclaiming him to those whom are in your midst. Yes, continue to confidently live your faith and God will do the rest. By his grace and in his time, they too will proclaim of Jesus as Thomas, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20: 28:b)

Prayer: Dear Jesus, I love you! You are my Saviour! Please forgive me when I shy away or do not proclaim your love to others. By your Holy Spirit, help me to confidently proclaim you to those whom you put in my life. Today, I especially pray for ____________________, that I may be your light as they continue to struggle with trusting you as their Lord and Saviour. In Your name I pray. AMEN!

The Passover Lamb Prepared, Once And For All!

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well, and that this devotion finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy!

Readings for April 1, 2021; Holy (Maundy) Thursday

Exodus 24:3-11; Psalm 116:12-19; 1 Corinthians 10:16-17; Mark 14:12-26

On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb, Jesus’ disciples asked him, “Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?” Mark 14:12  

I wonder what Jesus was feeling and thinking when his disciples asked him the question: Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover? At face value, it’s a simple question. However, the disciples had no idea what was going to transpire within the next twenty-four hours. I can only imagine that Jesus’ interpretation of the question was more like, “Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to be the Passover lamb?” Yes, Jesus knew full well that this Passover would be different. This Passover would be the last because the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29) was about to be slain.  He was about to be slain.

I am sure, in his humanness, he was burdened with the thought of what was lying just around the corner. Yet, despite how he felt, he guided the disciples to prepare a perfectly executed Passover meal. There was nothing about Jesus’ behaviour that would keep them from expecting that this festival meal would be any different than those in the past. Yes, Jesus entered that festival in preparation to willingly become our Passover Lamb. He knew that in a few short hours he would endure denial and hatred, violence and execution by those he came to redeem. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and [yet] as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. (Isaiah 53:7)

Despite his internal struggle throughout that final Passover meal, he continued to think of and comfort his beloved disciples, including you and me, by instituting the holy meal of himself- his own body and blood. For while they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take it; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it. “This is my blood of the covenant which is poured out for many,” he said to them. (Mark 14:22-24) No longer did the people need to sprinkle the Passover lamb’s blood externally to be considered holy.  Now we internally receive the Lamb of God, whose body and blood cleanses us fully from the inside out.  

So, as we enter Holy Week and walk with our Saviour to the Cross and then the open tomb, may you give thanks for his willingness to endure all that he did because of his love for you, and then receive the comfort and assurance of the forgiveness of your sins, through his shed body and blood. For we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all. (Hebrews 10:10) Hallelujah! Thanks be to God!

Prayer: Dear Jesus, please forgive me my sins of thought, word, and deed. Thank you for denying yourself and willingly taking the judgement and penalty of my sins upon yourself. Thank-you for your presence and cleansing through your precious meal of Communion. Thank you for being my Saviour! To you alone be the glory! AMEN!

What Are You Saying?

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well, and that this devotion finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy!

Readings for March 28, 2021; Palm Sunday

Zechariah 9:9-12; Psalm 118:19-29; Philippians 2:5-11; John 12:20-42

At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:10-11

What’s on your tongue these days? What words are coming out of your mouth?

I bet it’s safe to say that there isn’t one person in this world that hasn’t uttered the word Covid. It’s on our minds. It’s in our words. It affects our actions. It has changed our lives. Yes, everyone in the world, from the least to the greatest, has Covid on their lips.

Just imagine if every time the word Covid was spoken, it was replaced with the name of Jesus. If that could be done, we would literally have every tongue proclaiming the name of Jesus. How wonderful that would be!

Although I know such an event will not be taking place any time soon, may I challenge you? Over the next couple weeks as we come to the end of Lent and lead up to Easter, every time you think or speak about Covid or put on a mask,  may you speak with your lips and give praise in your heart the name of Jesus. No, not every tongue will be confessing and every knee bowing, but all around the world we could literally have Jesus’ name acknowledged above any other name. Yes, may we believe in our hearts and confess with our lips that Jesus is Lord, now and always. To Him alone be the glory!

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, Glory to you, O Lord! Praise to you, O Christ! To you alone be all the glory and honour and praise. AMEN!

The Power Struggle

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well, and that this devotion finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy!

Readings for March 21, 2021; Fifth Sunday in Lent

Jeremiah 31:31-34; Psalm 119:9-16; Hebrews 5:1-10; Mark 10:(32-34) 35-45

Jesus…said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:42-45

Have you ever met a powerful or prestigious person: perhaps an employer or boss or famous person? If so, how did they treat you? What qualities did they exhibit? Did they lord their power over you? Did they build themselves up by making you feel inferior? Did they believe their time was more precious than yours, and that anything you had to say was irrelevant and an inconvenience? I hope this was not the case for you. But perhaps you have met someone who displayed these traits even though they did not hold a prestigious or powerful position. Maybe they were simply a regular person, like you and I, who thought they were powerful and prestigious and wished to hold such power over others.  It is these types of behaviour that Jesus is warning the disciples, and us, against in today’s passage.

Although it is our human nature to enjoy power and, for so many, to let that power go to our heads, as if it qualifies us to treat others as lesser people than ourselves, it is not how God desires us to use the power he blesses us with. In fact, the more ‘power’ we are given over others, the more God-given responsibility we have to care for those people. Power is no longer viewed as an opportunity to display the almighty, powerful ‘Me’. But it is the holy responsibility of nurturing, encouraging, and building up all those who are under your care, in order that they too may fulfill in themselves their own stewardship and abilities.

Therefore, no matter what duties and responsibilities you have and the level of power you have while fulfilling those responsibilities, consider yourself a servant  to all those whom God has given you. Then be aware that God may entrust even more to your care, as he sees fit. “For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.” (Matthew 25:29) Therefore, let go of the power struggle and be a servant leader in the name of Jesus, the ultimate Servant Leader.

Prayer: Dear Lord, help me to be a servant leader to those for whom I am responsible. Help me to love, nurture, teach, and guide them to be the best they can be for your purpose. Remind me always that Jesus, my Lord and King, did not come to be served, but displayed his ultimate servitude when he gave up his life on my behalf, and then conquered sin, death, and the power of the devil, so that I too may walk in the same victory to life eternal.  Thank you!  In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!

Are You Hiding?

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well, and that this devotion finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy!

Readings for March 14, 2021; Fourth Sunday in Lent

Numbers 21:4-9; Psalm 107:1-9; Ephesians 2:1-10; John 3:14-21

This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God. John 3:19-21

Ever since my grand-daughter could walk, she has loved to hide. The first time she hid on me, I truly thought I had lost her. I ran around the house frantic and screaming her name, thinking the worst. How could a one year old disappear? Where could a one year old go? I was a basket case.

On another occasion, I remember myself, her Mom, her Aunt, and her older brother all running around the house looking for her. Of course the worst case scenarios ran through our heads: Did she get out onto the balcony? Did she get outside and head towards the road, or worse, towards the lake? Oh the fears and terrors we experienced at the thought of losing her.

Well, I have come to learn, now that she is two and a half years old, that this little habit of hiding has got to do with a little desire to be alone, in the dark, while she does her business – numero dos. I have also learned where her favourite hiding spots are: under the steps or inside bedroom closets with the door closed and behind the hanging clothes. The quietest and darkest places in the house, where no one can see her and she can have her utmost privacy. She is a stinker! …Literally!

Photo by Luke Jones on Unsplash

Although we can snicker at my grand-daughter’s actions, it really shines a light on the truth of today’s scripture. Yes, when left to our own nature, we would prefer to do our deeds in the dark where no one can see us, and where we feel that we don’t need to be accountable. Perhaps you know people who act like my grand-daughter; always sneaking around in the dark and behind people’s backs, doing things they know they shouldn’t do; doing things that ultimately hurt themselves and their loved ones. But to do them in the light would show their weakness, their sinfulness, their filth. So they continue to hide; to be alone in the dark… or so they think.

But, may I encourage you to come out of the dark and into the light. For you are not hidden. Nothing you do is hidden from the Lord, just as David proclaimed:

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. Psalm 139:7-12

Yes, come out of the dark and into his light. Go to Jesus, repent of your ways, and come out of the dark.  Leave your sins at the cross and let Christ’s light not only eliminate the darkness around you but let him cleanse your whole being. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:17) In Jesus’ light, you are shiny and new; you are cleansed from all the filth that was yours while in the dark. Then go and share the light of Christ with those that are stuck in the darkness and do not know of a way out.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, help me to live in your light. When I am tempted to go into the dark, please come and shine your light on me. You are the light of the world! You are the light of my life! In your name alone I pray. AMEN!

How are you feeling?

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well, and that this devotion finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy!

Readings for March 7, 2021; Third Sunday in Lent

Exodus 20:1-17; Psalm 19; 1 Corinthians 1:18-31; John 2:13-22 (23-25)

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun. It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is deprived of its warmth.

The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right,
 giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant,
 giving light to the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is pure,
 enduring forever.
The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous.

They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb. By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults.
Keep your servant also from willful sins;
 may they not rule over me.
Then I will be blameless,
 innocent of great transgression.

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. Psalm 19

How are you doing in these Covid days? How are you feeling right now?

Do you feel lonely, bored, sad, angry, stressed, anxious or any number of variations of such feelings? You are not alone! People all around the world are feeling exactly the same way; the young, the elderly, and every age in between. In one day, I had a ten year old, a seventy-three year old, and a gaggle of fifty year olds share their feelings of boredom and loneliness due to our current circumstances – yes all in one day!

Although it may be some time before we will be safely hugging all our family members and friends, enjoying the thrill of social events or safely singing mask-free the praises of our Lord with our brothers and sisters in Christ in a full sanctuary, let us not let Satan, this world, nor our sinful, weak selves pull us down into the depths of sadness that we feel due to the loss of all these temporal things. Instead, let us turn our eyes and hearts away from these temporal things and look inwards. Let us look with the eyes of our heart and soul into the spiritual realm, and see all those things from our God, that nothing in this world can take away. Today, do not look at what you cannot have, but look to Him and all you do have through him, and spend today rejoicing.

Re-read Psalm 19 .

Now rejoice! (After each rejoice, say ‘Thanks be to God!’). Rejoice in God’s beautiful creation all around you. Rejoice in his guidance. Rejoice in his forgiveness. Rejoice in his faithfulness. Rejoice in his mercy. Rejoice in his constant presence. Rejoice in his love for you. Rejoice in the assurance of your eternal home that is yours now because of all that Jesus accomplished on your behalf. Rejoice!

Yes, make today, tomorrow, and the days-of-Covid to follow, days of rejoicing with eyes and hearts of faith, and let us do it together. Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”(Hebrews 1b-3) Thanks be to God that Jesus has got this, and so can we!

Prayer: Dear Lord, thanks be to you for all your blessings today. Help me to rejoice in all things, and especially your spiritual blessings. These blessings are worth much more than gold and sweeter than honey. By the power of your Spirit, help me remain focussed on such glorious things from you, and not let Satan, the world, or my sinful- self suck the joy and rejoicing from these precious days of mine. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!

What Does Peace Mean To You?

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well, and that this devotion finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy!

Readings for February 28, 2021; Second Sunday in Lent

Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16; Psalm 22:23-31; Romans 5:1-11; Mark 8: 27-38

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 5:1

What does peace mean to you?

Several decades ago, I asked a friend that question. After taking some time to consider the question, he responded that he pictured peace with himself in his cozy chair, sipping on tea in the quiet of the day.

Yes, for many people, this could be a brief summary of when they might experience peace in their lives. Can’t you just envision yourself in such a scenario: nestled in your coziest of chairs, gently sipping on the most comforting of beverages and warming your insides, listing to the quiet and peacefulness of life around you: birds chirping, leaves rustling or perhaps the fire is crackling and the still of the night has enveloped you. Oh yes, such a picture of peace it is.

But what about when you don’t have that comfy chair or a beverage or quiet all around you. What if your world around you is chaos? What if the comfy chair is replaced with a hospital bed? What if the things threatening to fill your insides are fear and guilt and regret? What then? Where is peace then? Yes, for many the picture of peace is dependent upon the situation in which we are placed. It is based upon our temporal affairs. The only problem with that is when life around us is less than pleasant and peaceful, so is this peace.

However, the peace that God desires for us is so much more than a temporal peace. It is so much more than a quiet night, a cozy chair, or a warming beverage. It is more than feeling or experiencing a calmness with our senses. The peace he desires us to know and live with is an internal peace, a peace within our souls, and it is a peace that we can only fully know through faith in trusting in all that Jesus has accomplished on our behalf and has promised to us.

There is no greater coziness than being able to lay your burdens upon Jesus and to nestle in his love and rest. There is nothing more comforting than ingesting that never ending trickling warmth of his promise to never leave you nor forsake you. And finally, the absolute calm of forgiveness and eternity through all he endured for you because of his love for you, whispers within you through the gentle breezes of the Holy Spirit.

Yes, this is the peace your most gracious God desires for you. And it is a peace that he gives you even in the midst of any chaos that this world can create. Jesus says to you, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27) So, no matter what is going on in your life right now, rest in Christ’s peace which envelopes you, body and soul. No matter what lies ahead this day, “do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Yes, Go in Peace!

Prayer: Dear Jesus, only you can fill me with complete peace, even in the midst of all the stressful, painful, chaotic things of this world. Please fill me with your peace and help me let go of all the snares that would keep me from resting in you. In your name I pray. AMEN!

Got Trials? Don’t Persevere Alone

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well, and that this devotion finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy!

Readings for February 21, 2021; First Sunday in Lent

Genesis 22:1-18; Psalm 25:1-10; James 1:12-18; Mark 1: 9-15

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. James 1:12

When I was a young adult and beginning my life as an independent woman, I remember the first time when adult life smacked me across the face and independent living came with very unpleasant consequences. Although seemingly silly now, I remember the first time I had the stomach flu after leaving my parents’ home. I remember being crouched down with what seemed the weight of the world on me, while my strength permitted me to lift my heavily burdened torso off the floor to a maximum height of about 18 inches, and thankfully that was all I needed. There was no one to hold my head. I had to do it myself. There was no one to tell me sweet encouraging words, nor was there any Jello or gingerale miraculously at my bedside. I had to do it all by myself. I missed my Mom! I never realized the simple strength she gave me when I felt my worst. I learned then and there, that adulthood required self-perseverance, especially through its trials.

No, no one could do it for me anymore. I was responsible for holding my own head up, for picking myself up off the floor, and for taking care of myself. Yet, at that moment, I also knew I was weak. I knew I couldn’t do it on my own. Oh it may have only been the stomach flu, but the feelings I felt at that time, paved the way for the many trials that I have had to endure in my adult life as I walk this earth.

It was then that everything I learned and heard in Sunday School and Sunday Worship service about Jesus was all I could cling to. It was especially then that I thanked God for my faith in him, my Saviour and Lord. Yes, I had learned about and believed that Jesus, the Saviour of the World, loved me so much that he died for me, and that he would never leave me nor forsake me, and that I could go to him in my weariness and I would find rest in him. It was then that I called upon the Lord, not to help me do well on a test or to let a certain boy like me, etc, but to simply collapse into him. It was then I called upon Him in utter weakness and unworthiness. And it was then that he taught me that in Him I am never alone. That he was there not only holding my head, but carrying me when I could go on no longer.

Well over the years and decades, I have endured more serious trials. And in all trials, my perseverence was by the grace of God at my side, as I clung to his Word of love and mercy, and trusted that my Lord and Saviour, through his Spirit, would never leave me nor forsake me. Even as trials enter my life now, I can only trust in the redeeming arms of Jesus to catch me and get me through. Yes, even if death is at the end of the next trial, then there too Christ will be with me, closer than he’s ever been before, for then I would see him face to face, and enter that life eternal in his presence forever.

Therefore, may I encourage you as you endure your trials- and you will endure trials- that you do not give up and turn from your Saviour, but depend on him even more than you ever have. No matter what your mind or the world says, deny the temptations to turn from his truth or to question your faith in Him and his ways, and collapse into Him. Do not try to do it on your own. For only in Jesus can we deny our own desires and temptations, lay down our burdens and guilt, persevere through this life’s trials and tribulations, and finally, receive the crown of life with Him forever.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, life is full of trials. Please be my source of comfort and strength as I endure mine. Forgive me when I am tempted to turn from trusting you to get me through and take things into my own hands. Finally, when the trial that brings me to my eternal home is upon me, be with me, as you promised. In your name I pray. AMEN!

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