Friday, January 21, 2011

Reflecting God

“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others,

faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.

If anyone speaks, he should do it as speaking the very words of God.

If anyone serves he should do it with the strength God provides,

so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.

To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” I Peter 4:10-11 (NIV)

When God’s people face difficulties in life, it is their brothers and sisters in Christ who stand with them. As Christians, we are called to minister to those in need-physical and spiritual.

We listen to those who hurt. We pray with them. We write cards of encouragement or comfort. We might even take food into their home. According to Peter, we are to do this as if we were Jesus’ voice, His hands, or His feet.

What we have to remember is Jesus gave us the assignment. He is our overseer. Jesus Christ chooses to whom certain gifts are given and He expects them to be used for His glory and praise.

 As I write this, I have a set of friends who are facing grave difficulties . The parents and the older daughter are going through individual health crises. All we as a faith community can do is keep them before the Lord. Some of us can listen to them-others will do what they can to help them through this time.

We are His hands and His feet. He appoints us to do certain tasks. He instructs us on the course we take in order to perform the job He needs done. When we are fully committed to serving Him, He gives us the strength and the words we need as we bring hope to those who need it..

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Hope Builds Us Up

“And hope doesn’t disappoint us

because God has poured out his love

into our hearts by the Holy Spirit,

whom he has given us.” Romans 5:5 (NIV)

Have we ever gone through a ‘dry spell’ and came out of it reinvigorated, ready to work on a project in ways we couldn’t imagine?
In trying to find a topic for my blog for January I didn’t know what I was to do. I felt listless and knew I needed a project on which to work.

God led me to explore the word ‘hope’.

I consulted two concordances and compiled a list from the Old Testament. The next day, in my devotional reading I found this verse in Romans. It spoke to me.

Paul speaks to the citizens of Rome. He shares from his heart. Our reliance on God and his provision for us keeps us going, and makes us stronger. God does this by placing his love in our hearts by way of His Holy Spirit whom he stations in our hearts when we accept the Father into our hearts.

Let’s all look at this new year with the hope we have in God, and rely upon His provision and His blessing for us in what lay ahead for us individually, as His people and as nations.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Ann Received The Crown of Life

“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial,

because when he has stood the test, He will receive

the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”

James 1:12 (NIV)

As I scanned the funeral services section of our local paper Friday night, I saw the name Ann Hershman. Her service was to be Saturday at a church on Indianapolis’ north side. After an online search, I found I was right, this lady was a lady I knew.

I had lived across the street from her when we were in our youth. Her dad was the minister of the church where I worshipped. We attended the same college. She graduated from high school a year before me. We were friends as well as neighbors.

She passed away about a month ago from complications related to treatments for brain cancer. She had been a founding member of a house church. She spent over 30 years teaching high school in Indianapolis Public Schools.

Her life seems to have been one of hardships in spite of her relationship with and her belief in God. She was widowed twice; both times seemed to be tribulations for her. Her parents died about six weeks apart. Her second husband, an Alzheimer’s patient died three years later.

I found myself doing something I don’t usually do-I asked God, “Why?” I specifically asked Him, “Why would someone who gave their life to serving You and others have to suffer so in her life as well as her death?

The answer I heard went something like this. She is at home now. She is surrounded by her parents and grandparents and others she held dear. She has received her crown, the crown of life.

She will be missed by her children and grandchildren, her siblings and their children. Those who worshipped with her will always remember her faith and strength. Her students will remember more fondly as time progresses.

I learned a lesson from this time of doubt. When we ask the deep “Why” questions, He will answer. And show us how He appraises the situation. He does this because of His love.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Hope in Love

“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth

.It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

1 Corinthians 13:6-7 (NIV)

I spotted something in the notes in my Bible. I never realized it before. Hope is the attitude and a focus of God’s message to the world. It is one of the ingredients necessary for us to understand how God loves his children.

God wants us to receive His love and grow in it. He watches over us and guides us through difficult times because He has plans for us.

The apostle Paul tells us love always hopes. Because God loves us, we should be careful not to put down another person. We can inject hope into our world by refraining from dwelling on the bad things that happen. People need to hear positive thoughts about the world.

If we hear and try ideas about how to protect ourselves from harm, we may have a better outcome for our lives. These precautions keep us safe. God shows us how to incorporate them into our daily lives.

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 ...