Saturday, May 23, 2009

To Comfort All Who Mourn

(Isaiah 61:2)

People facing trials need to feel comforted. A friend facing the impending death of her husband was at the grocery store when I dropped of a prescription at their pharmacy. When I saw her, I called her name and almost ran to her. We hugged, She then told me what had transpired in the previous two days in regard to her spouse's terminal illness.

All I could do was listen. She spoke of the finances, of the presence of a hospital bed for him, of her son’s new job and how gracious his employers were. As we parted, she said she hoped to be at church on Sunday. I responded with “I hope so.” Then she told me of another woman in our church who attends the early service and then goes to sit with this lady's husband so she can get to church.

Hearing all this had made me see things from a slightly different perspective and has deepened my respect for the ones who comfort people in this way. Our neighbor was the recipient of such comfort when his wife was on hospice. That lady worshiped God on Saturdays. So she was available to sit with those in the program's care so their spouses could worship with others.

Hearing of these saints has given me comfort.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Lord's Favor

(Luke 4: 16-21)
(Isaiah 61: 1-2)

God favored the Hebrew people by sending His Son to walk among them, heal them, and teach them. While on earth Jesus showed compassion to those who He met as well as those who followed Him.

When we read God’s Word, we see His favor extended to the children of Israel as they escape from Egypt. He did the same for Paul on the Damascus road. What about the vision our Father gave John on the island of Patmos?

Do we see God’s favor extended to us today? Yes, we do. Here's a personal example.

A relative recently entrusted me with her house keys while she was a patient in an extended care hospital. She asked me to get three sets of two keys each for myself and two others who she asked to check on things for her. I went to the hardware store near where we live to complete this task. When I told the gentleman what I thought I needed, he looked at the two keys and told me they were two of the same key.

I wasn’t sure. He measured them and told me they measured the same. I thanked the man, telling him I'd be back later after I tested them in her door. I was to meet one of the other women out at our relative’s home at noon.

As I worked with the keys in the front door, I realized the gentleman had told me the truth. I gave thanks to God for that man’s honesty. I also thanked the Lord for placing him on duty at the exact time I needed the help. I marveled that the employee hadn't done as I asked in order to collect more money.

God guided me to that place at that time for a particular reason. I consider His action a sign of God’s favor to me.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Helplessness and Miracles

As children of God, we sometimes feel helpless in the face of a loved one’s serious illness, or the impending death of someone close. We pray for the need and for those close to the person. We ask others to pray, begging God for another of his miracles.

Several people in our church face hard challenges as they go through each day. A couple of senior citizen ladies take care of their invalid sons. A woman in her mid '50 has been fighting Cancer for a year and a half, and is on her at least her third round of chemotherapy. Another woman faces her son's Cancer, her daughter-in- law's illness, and her husband's illness. If it weren't for the Lord,these people would feel hopeless as well as helpless.

The helplessness we feel is God telling us to let Him have the situation so he can handle the problem per His plan. In studying my Sunday School lesson recently, I found a statement telling us God performs miracles as a way to point others to Himself. But sometimes we ask for them from Him,
expecting that action to be the end of the story.

God is able to tend to any of our needs, no matter how large they may seem. That’s His job. He chooses to work with us and through us and our needs to bring glory to Himself.

Fear, Courage: God Is With Us  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD ...