“ONE IN JOY, ONE IN PAIN, ONE IN LOVE, ONE IN SERVICE AND IN CONSCIOUSNESS”
When I heard that David was in the office for a board meeting, I was
excited. He and I had a mutual friend, Sharon, who had died several
years earlier. We had a few minutes to reminisce about her and her love
for life and God. What a delight to connect with someone who has loved
someone you have loved! There’s a special bond because you love to talk
about that cherished person.
Those who know Jesus Christ as their Savior have even stronger ties.
We are forever connected to Him and to one another. “We, being many,
are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another,” Paul
says in Romans 12:5. We’ve been “born of God,” and we love those who are “begotten of Him” (1 John 5:1).
When we get together with fellow believers, we have the opportunity
to talk about the one we love—Christ—and of the love, forgiveness, and
grace we have experienced in Him because of His death and resurrection
(4:9-10). At such times, we can encourage each other to continue to
trust Him and spur one another on to be faithful in our walk with Him.
We Believers have a kinship
with All others who believe,
And from that bond of faith and love
A mutual strength receive. —Hess
My friend Ria admires the great blue
heron’s amazing 6-foot spread of wings and marvels at his majestic
appearance. She welcomes the sight of him gliding in for a landing on a
small island in the middle of the pond near her home.
Now, I can
appreciate that the heron is a marvelous and unique creature. But I
don’t ever want to spot him in my backyard! That’s because I know he
won’t be there just to admire the garden. No, this
not-so-fine-feathered version of persona non grata (someone not welcome) will be checking out our pond for a take-out fish dinner!
am I right? Or is Ria? Why can’t we agree? Different personalities,
history, or knowledge can color people’s views. It doesn’t mean that
one person is right and the other wrong, yet sometimes we can be
unkind, rigid, and judgmental if there is not agreement. I’m not
talking about sin—but just a difference in opinion or perspective. We
need to take care in judging others’ thinking, motives, and actions
because we too desire that kind of benefit of the doubt (Luke 6:37).
we learn from someone who sees things with a different perspective? Do
we need to practice a little patience and love? I’m so grateful that
God is abundantly patient and loving with me. — Cindy Hess Kasper
READ: Deuteronomy 31:16-2
the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and
admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. —
In a suburb of Nairobi, Kenya, a group
of international refugees has been singing songs that they hope will
wake up their homeland. According to the BBC, the group Waayah Cusub
has been enjoying extensive airplay on radio stations and television
channels by using bold lyrics to address social issues. One of the
musicians says, “We are not happy with what is happening back home; in
fact we have recorded a thought-provoking song that we hope will bring
our leaders back to their senses.”
Long before Waayah Cusub began
using songs to call for an end to social pain and violence, God taught
Moses to use music in a bold and provocative way. Knowing that His
people’s sinful inclinations would distract them when they began to
enjoy the prosperity of the Promised Land (Deut. 31:21), God told Moses
to teach them the song of chapter 32. It is a shocking song of warning,
designed to get the attention of those who would forget God and fill
their lives with trouble.
Could our wise and loving God be
repeating that strategy with us? Is there a psalm, a hymn, or a
spiritual song that is calling us back to His faithfulness and amazing
grace? What song might He be using to get under the radar of our
natural defenses and renew our hearts today? — Mart De Haan
Come, Thou fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise. —Robinson
Where words fail, music speaks. —Hans Christian Andersen
What a frustrating problem pollution is! Everybody suffers with it, yet everybody contributes to it.
Pollution takes many forms, but one type is often overlooked. Charles Swindoll calls it “verbal pollution,” passed around by grumblers, complainers, and criticizers. “The poison of pessimism,” Swindoll writes, “creates an atmosphere of wholesale negativism where nothing but the bad side of everything is emphasized.”
A group of Christian friends became concerned about this form of pollution and their personal part in it. So they made a pact to avoid critical words for a whole week. They were surprised to find how little they spoke! As they continued the experiment, they actually had to relearn conversation skills.
In Ephesians 4, Paul called believers to that sort of decisive action. He said we are to “put off” the old self and its conduct that grieves the Holy Spirit (vv.22,30) and “put on” the new self that builds up others (v.24). As we rely on the help of the Spirit (Gal. 5:16), we can make those changes in our conduct, our thinking, and our speaking.
If we want to be rid of verbal pollution, we must choose to change and ask for God’s help. It’s a great way to start cleaning up our spiritual environment. — Joanie Yoder
What! Never speak one evil word,
Or rash, or idle, or unkind!
O how shall I, most gracious Lord,
This mark of true perfection find? —Wesley
Help stamp out pollution—clean up your speech!
I create my music, I feel like an instrument of nature”
Michael Jackson 1993 Grammy Awards
For His triumphal entry into Jerusalem,
Jesus chose a donkey to serve as His royal transportation. His
disciples were instructed to say, “The Lord has need of it” (Mark
11:3). Isn’t it astounding that the Son of God should use such lowly
means to accomplish His purposes? Alexander MacLaren commented on this:
“Christ comes to us in like fashion, and brushes aside all our
convenient excuses. He says, ‘I want you, and that is enough.’ ”
of it! The Creator of the universe needs us and desires to fit us into
His eternal design! Though all-powerful and not dependent on any
creature, He has chosen to carry out His plans through lowly human instruments. If this were not so, He would have taken us to heaven as
soon as He saved us by His grace.
Someone once asked Francis of
Assisi how he was able to accomplish so much. He replied, “This may be
why: The Lord looked down from heaven and said, ‘Where can I find the
weakest, littlest man on earth?’ Then He saw me and said, ‘I’ve found
him. I will work through him, and he won’t be proud of it. He’ll see
that I am only using him because of his insignificance.’ ”
You may be small in your own eyes, but God has need of you! — Paul Van Gorder
Yours is a mission you alone can fill,
Whether it be to build or teach or till;
Your goal may still be hidden from your view,
But somewhere God has urgent need of you. —Thayer
God is looking for ordinary people for extraordinary work.
Just before kickoff at Super Bowl XLIII,
Kurt Warner of the Arizona Cardinals received the Walter Payton NFL Man
of the Year Award—a tribute given to the player who had best combined
on-field excellence with off-field community service. “I am humbled the
Lord has given me such an amazing life to impact others,” said Warner,
a dedicated Christian. “Of all the awards given to NFL athletes, [this
one] stands out . . . because of what it represents.” It represents a
commitment to giving and sacrificing for others.
Paying homage to
those who serve is not a new concept. Paul spoke of it when he reminded
the Philippians to honor those who gave themselves in serving Christ.
He told them of their friend Epaphroditus, who had nearly died (Phil.
2:30) because of his efforts for Christ in ministering to
others—including the people at Philippi. How should they respond? Paul
said, “Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness, and hold
such men in esteem” (v.29). Clearly, when we think of those who
sacrifice in serving the Savior, they are worthy of our respect and
Why not look for ways to show gratitude to those who have served you spiritually. Give them the honor they deserve. — Bill Crowder
To honor is to show respect,
To meet another’s need,
To give someone encouragement,
To love in word and deed. —Sper
On March 7, 2010 in Beverly Hills, California Randy Jackson
accepted the ‘Angel Award’ presented to him on behalf of Michael at the
11th Annual Children Uniting Nations Oscar Celebration. Rebbie Jackson
was also in attendance.
Children Uniting Nations is a proactive
organization created to bring attention to the plight of at-risk and
foster youth. Their goal is to reach as many children in out-of-home
care by offering role-model support, guidance, a sense of community and
promoting the importance of an education.
Source: MJFC / Life
I was having a conversation with some
children about God and superheroes when Tobias asked a question. An
imaginative, curious 5-year-old, he asked anyone listening: “Does God
have a sidekick like Hercules does?” His wiser, older brother, age 7,
quickly responded: “Yes, He has thousands of them—they’re His angels.”
are a popular topic of discussion, and people believe a number of myths
about them. For instance, some people pray to angels, thinking they are
on the same level as God Himself. And some believe that people become
angels when they die. But here’s what the Bible, our authority, teaches:
• God created angels (Col. 1:15-17).
Angels worship God (Neh. 9:6), and are known by these terms: archangels
(Jude 1:9), cherubim (2 Kings 19:15), and seraphim (Isa. 6:1-3).
• They minister to God’s people (Heb. 1:13-14) by guarding and protecting them (Ps. 91:9-12).
• They are given special assignments by God (Matt. 1:20; Luke 1:26).
• God’s angels rejoice when we repent of sin and turn to Christ for salvation (Luke 15:7,10).
Only God deserves our worship. So let’s join the angels in singing His praises! — Anne Cetas
All hail the power of Jesus’ name!
Let angels prostrate fall;
Bring forth the royal diadem,
And crown Him Lord of all. —Perronet
Angels are God’s special helpers.
"But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me
one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came
to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia. " (Daniel 10:13, KJV)
is the first Biblical mention of Michael. Here he is referred to as a
"chief prince" or one who is first in rank or power. He was (and is) a
very powerful and influential spirit being.