Consider the Lilies – 15 May

“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.” – Psalm 19:1-3

Flowers are so much a part of spring. Tulips, lilies and daffodils color many yards, and they are beautiful! Whenever I see lilies, I think of the parable in Matthew 6, when Jesus asked, “Why do you fret about being clothed? If God remembers to clothe the lilies, He will certainly take care of you.”

It amazes me to think that God would be mindful enough to speak to us through so many facets of nature. By simply walking through a garden and enjoying the flowers, we can discern that He is telling us He cares for us. How comforting that is, and it is just one example of God showing His love through creation! He filled this world with messages of love for us.

God used the sparrow to let us know we will never be forgotten (Matthew 10:29-31), and a sturdy tree illustrates God’s promise to bless our obedience and prosper us in life (Psalm 1:3). At every meal we eat, we can remember that Jesus is the Bread of Life, and every time we drink a glass of water, we are reminded of the Living Water. We cannot look at nature without seeing God; lessons for life await us at every turn.

It is possible to be so busy that we miss the messages God has for us. Today, we can purposely take time to consider the lilies, look at the stars, and enjoy the clouds. We can list all the little things God shows us, and then try to see the lessons He is teaching. Perhaps some of the people we know would even be encouraged or edified if we shared these thoughts with them.

God is good to His children, and we should be learning every day. His wonders, lessons, and parables surround us if we will only take time to look.

Difficulties or Opportunities? – 14 May

“Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.” – James 5:20

Some years ago, my wife and I were in Portland for camp meeting when we were called home suddenly because our upstairs bathroom had sprung a leak and flooded much of our house. We found ourselves facing a huge clean-up and remodel project. With three floors of devastation, many workmen were at our home during the following weeks. This gave us several opportunities to let our lights shine for the Lord.

We ordered Formica for the bathroom counters, but after it was installed, we noticed that it was not the exact color we had ordered. My wife mentioned the mistake to me, but we agreed it was not serious enough to have it replaced. The young men who installed the Formica were at our home again to install the carpet, and while they were there, my wife made them some homemade cinnamon rolls and coffee. Nothing was ever said about the color of the Formica.

On another occasion, our electrician remarked that he was surprised about the way we had handled a certain situation. I told him that the remodel and the time it took were not as important as the memories we would have of the people we worked with. By the time the job was finished, everyone had mentioned that they had never worked on a job like this before.

To my wife and me, our Christian witness came before every other aspect of the job. We did not try to take advantage of the workmen, but rather showed them the kindness that Jesus has shown to us. We wanted them to see the wisdom of the Gospel, which is “first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy” (James 3:17).

Winston Churchill once said, “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” Everyday hassles are a part of life, but we do not have to view them merely as difficulties; we can ask the Lord to help us see those hassles as opportunities to “save a soul from death.”

Father in Heaven, Thank You for the salvation you have given to us. Help us to let our lights shine before men, that they may see our good works and glorify You. Amen.

A Gift for Mother – 13 May

“And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” — Acts 2:21

I will always remember that day at the dinner table when my oldest brother stated that he felt he was born to be spiritually lost. I sat there and said to myself, I do not feel that way. I knew I needed to be saved. Thanks to God’s mercy and my mother’s prayers, God saved me when I was a teenager. During all the years my older brother was in sin, my dear mother was never detoured by his remark. She always stated that the Bible promised, “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

My brother was sixty years of age when he got saved. That year, three days before Mother’s Day, our phone rang; he was calling to tell us that he had given his heart to the Lord. You can be sure that was a Mother’s Day to remember!

I marvel at how God deals with people in different ways to bring them to Christ. My brother was always a strong person physically, but he injured his back and for two years he sat in his living room unable to do what he wanted. As he sat there, Mother’s prayers began to be answered and he realized his need of a Savior. God was merciful and showed the devil to be a liar once more.

We must take heart and never be discouraged, for we know that God sent His Son for the whole world, and that whosoever will may come and take of the waters of life freely (Revelation 22:17). We also have confidence that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us (1 John 5:14). It is God’s will for our loved ones to be saved, so we know that when we pray for them, He hears us, and He will be faithful to answer.

Dear Father in Heaven, Thank You for loving me and my loved ones so much that You sent Jesus, Your only begotten Son, to be our Savior. Help me to tell others of Your great love. Amen.

The Good Report – 12 May

“Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?” – Isaiah 53:1

When gold was discovered in the Klondike inAlaska, the news traveled around the world. Men traded everything they had for tools to dig out of the cold, hard ground the treasure they thought might be buried there. Others panned the frigid waters for a fortune that might be claimed. The slightest whisper of the location of a strike drove them on, sending many to their deathsin search for gold. They believed what they heard and went looking for it.

In my hometown, every fall we see a “mass exodus” into the hills of central and eastern Oregon. It is hunting season and the report is that the deer, elk, and antelope are just waiting to be bagged. Hunters are driven by stories of the struggle to spot the game, the long hike up the mountains covered in brush, and valleys hiding prey too clever to be cornered without strategies and covert effort. The report is that the pursuit will be thrilling, and many believe it.

When we pick up a newspaper that advertises a really good deal on bed sheets “for one day only,” we know some people will make a beeline for the local department store. They want to be first in line at the door when the doors open!They assume the sheets will be worth the effort and money, because they believe the advertisement.

While some people may believe all of these reports, there are always others who are skeptical. However, there is a report we can all believe, and that is the wonderful news of the Gospel. We hear good reports from Christians whotell of the Lord answering prayer in miraculous ways—money came when it was needed, an affliction was healed, or a relationship was restored. Such testimonies are good reports from people who know! We want to let those experiences encourage us to take action—to reach out in faith and claim God’s promises for ourselves.

Often we trust what we hear from friends, experts, and other “reporters.” How much more we should believe the good report given in God’s Word. God’s promises are true.

God said it. That settles it. Believe it!

Almost a million young people without work or training

Almost a million young people without work or training

Figures show that one-in-six people aged 16 to 24 was considered “NEET” – not in education, employment or training – in the first three months of the year. (Telegraph)

Young workers are continuing to be disproportionately hit by the sharp rise in joblessness, Wednesday’s figures showed, with the unemployment rate for the under-25s standing at 22.1% for the eurozone as a whole. (Guardian)

Today unemployment is rising again especially among young people. Those who have their whole lives ahead of them have the right to hope for work: the chance to support themselves and the chance to use their energies and gifts for the benefit of others.

 

 

Let us be encouraged, remember these promises?

-But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Matthew 6:33

-And he sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God: and as long as he sought the Lord, God made him to prosper. 2 Chronicles 26:5

-Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. Deuteronomy 3:16

-And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in thee. Psalm 39:7

-Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 14:27

Remember today the young people of our countries, especially those in the EU and pray for our leaders that good jobs and real jobs can be found for the generation who are under 25. Let’s pray that this year, the youth unemployment figure will come down and hope can be reborn in our communities.

Jesus worked as a carpenter and builder in Nazareth and called men and women to fruitful labour. Let’s pray that Jesus gives wisdom to our governments and all business leaders so that this year there will be jobs for our young people and hope for their futures.

Expect and Be Ready – 11 May

“Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” – Matthew 25:13

Having been a widow for more than seven years now, I often enjoy spending time with friends. On a recent occasion, I had a nice dinner at a restaurant with a good friend, and afterwards we went out into the rainy night toward my car. Suddenly, a man stepped out from the shadows. He approached us and asked for assistance in getting some food. We were not expecting to be met in the darkness by a strange man, and were a little surprised, to say the least! Thankfully, all he wanted was help.

Later, as I thought back on the incident, I wondered how it will be when Jesus comes back to gather His saints. Scripture tells us that no one but God Himself knows the day or the hour of Jesus’ return, so it could happen at any moment. Yet, I do not believe I will be surprised or frightened when Jesus returns, as I was by the stranger in the dark parking lot. That is because I am always expecting it and prepared for Jesus’ return, even though I do not know when it will be.

Just before Jesus spoke the words of today’s focus verse, He told the parable of the ten virgins who were waiting for the bridegroom to come. The bridegroom came at midnight, but only five of the virgins were wise and prepared for His arrival—even in the middle of the night. Panic must have struck the five foolish virgins when they realized the bridegroom was coming and they were not ready! They were not prepared because they did not truly expect him to come at any moment.

There is no reason for us to be surprised or scared when Jesus returns, because we know how to be ready for His coming. If our sins are forgiven and our consciences are void of offense toward God and man, then we can look forward with great anticipation to the day when He will descend with a shout and gather His saints to be forever with Him. What a glorious time that will be! Considering the things that are happening on this earth, the Rapture could truly take place at any time. As the day approaches, let us all be expecting and ready for His coming.

Author |  Rosemary Buss

Finding Morels – 10 May

“Thou art God, and hast promised this goodness unto thy servant: Now therefore let it please thee to bless the house of thy servant.” 1 Chronicles 17:26-27

Over fifty years ago, someone invited our family to go out into the woods of Southern Oregon and hunt for mushrooms. One mushroom in particular was the object of our search: the morel. It shows up in March and April around the valley, and it is very tasty. In the years since that trip, I have gone many more times.

Like most outdoor hobbies, mushroom hunting is not trouble-free. There is a risk of coming into contact with poison oak or ticks, and you also have to be careful to only eat the right species of mushrooms. Certain types are poisonous and can cause serious illness. For some people, those negatives keep them from mushroom hunting at all, but I choose to focus on the benefits. Even if I get an occasional tick, the reward of finding one of those hidden treasures far outweighs any drawback. I thoroughly enjoy eating them and sharing them with others, and I plan to keep doing it as long as I am able.

Just as I have to look hard to see the good mushrooms in the forest, sometimes we also have to look hard to see the good that the Lord is doing. We know that all things work together for good to those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28), yet sometimes all we see are the negatives—the ways that things can go wrong and hurt us. However, once we have it settled in our minds that God is working all things according to His will, we need not worry that something the Lord is in control of will not be good for us.

When we learn how to see the good work God is doing, then even in trying times we can trust that the end result will far outweigh any drawback. We will start to realize that He is orchestrating every situation in our lives!

The more things we put in His control, the more good things He can do.

Many people are surprised when they hear that I hunt morels, but I tell them it is “in my blood.” Likewise, seeing the good that the Lord is doing is in my blood. Do you see the good the Lord is doing for you? He has promised us goodness, and we are right to trust that He will do it.

Author: Rolan Noby

What Will We Become? – 9 May

“For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.” – Hebrews 12:6

Annie had suffered a weak moment! In fact, she had several weak moments that morning!

Our dog, Annie, is a one-year-old golden retriever. She is beautiful, big, and loveable, but she also has a mischievous side that is as big as she is, and on one particular morning, it came out in a huge way.

Annie had spent the night outside in the backyard—I no longer bother to put her in the dog run because she has learned how to jump the low chain-link fence. The first hint of her poor behavior came early, when my husband heard paddling noises coming from Annie’s water tub that I leave out on hot days. Later, what a sight I beheld! When I looked out the sliding door in the dining room, there were broken branches from our two willow bushes and clumps of grass lying around, all the work of our lovable pet. Apparently playing in her water tub was not all that had been going on! I was not pleased with her actions, so Annie had a “time-out” in the garage.

Some days, Annie seems to act like she is still a puppy. Yet, even on the days when she has a “moment of weakness,” I remember that she is still learning, so I just correct her and expect her behavior to improve. There are also times when I look at her and see a wonderful, loving companion, and I hope this is what she will become as she gets older and more mature.

As I have watched Annie grow, I have wondered if God has some of these same thoughts when He looks at us. When we were newly saved, we demanded a lot of attention from Him, and without His constant supervision, we easily could have found ourselves in a big mess. Some of our actions make Him smile and others may cause Him to shake His head, but He patiently teaches and corrects us as long as we are willing to learn. And I suspect that He, too, sees something special in us and hopes that as we grow spiritually, we will become wonderful, loving companions.

The learning process may seem slow at times, but that is no reason to be discouraged. He is more patient and loving than we realize, and even when He must correct us, He does it in love.

Lord, I am Your child. Take my hand and keep me from harm and temptation. Help me to grow each day so that I will become all that You want me to be. Amen.