ONE ANGEL,TWO SIMILAR MESSAGES, TWO OPPOSITE RESPONSES

P1080033The book of Luke opens with the angel Gabriel appearing to Zacharias, an elderly priest, and to a young girl, possibly in her early teens, named Mary. In both instances he tells of the coming of a baby, one unexpected, the other looked for through several centuries. Both recipients were astonished at the angel’s appearance. Both asked a question. But how different were the motives of these questions and how different the angel’s response.

Zacharias had been chosen by lot to offer incense in the temple. As he was doing this, Gabriel comes to him. He tells him that his wife, Elisabeth, is going to have a son in her old age. He gives details about this child. How does Zacharias respond? He is afraid.

His question: How will I know for certain? He did not believe. He was filled with doubt. He wanted proof. I suppose you could say he got his proof, but not in the way he expected. He became deaf and mute until John was born.

On the other hand, when the angel comes to Mary, she responds in faith. Her question: How will this be since I am a virgin? She only wanted instruction as to what to expect. She believed Gabriel. The angel answered her question and told her all the details of how this miracle would take place.

Gabriel makes a third appearance–to Joseph, engaged to Mary. His first response when he heard of Mary’s pregnancy was to secretly divorce her to save her the public shame. But after Gabriel comes to him in a dream, he follows the instructions given to him and takes Mary as his wife.

One would expect the elder to have more faith than the younger. A priest should not doubt God where youth may not have lived long enough to gain that strength of faith. But here we find just the opposite.

We have no idea how these three people felt about the messages divinely brought to them. I’m sure if an angel suddenly appeared before us we would be afraid. If the message was something impossible to happen in the natural, we might doubt. But if the message was as great as that to Mary about the birth of the Christ-child, I think we might feel very humble and wonder how we could possibly carry out such an undertaking. Joseph must have wondered about taking a pregnant woman supposedly carrying the coming Messiah and how he could possible have a part in the fulfillment of this prophecy.

How often does the Lord send His messengers to us at unexpected times? How do we respond? Do we doubt, or receive by faith? Do we want proof, or do we want instruction as to the how-to?

These people were ordinary people, not kings or noblemen or famous or particularly gifted. But they were chosen by God for a specific purpose. He supplied them with everything they needed to carry out His will. We need not fear even the greatest task given by the Lord because He knows what He is doing. He always equips where He calls. And He is with us always to help us along the way.

With another year ending and a new one just ahead, let’s choose to respond like Mary and believe, receive and carry out God’s will for us on a day-to-day basis so that when those big things come along unexpectedly we will be ready to say a resounding “Yes!” to the Lord. And we will hear His “Well done, good and faithful servant” when we have finished the final task.

I pray God’s blessing on you. May you have a prosperous and healthy 2019.

Thank you for stopping by and reading my post. I appreciate all of you. And please take a moment to leave a comment in the box below before leaving. If you are not already following my blog, I would appreciate it if you would click on the “Follow” button at the top of this page to receive e-mail notifications of new posts. Have a wonderful day. And a very Happy New Year! God bless.

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A CHRISTMAS MESSAGE

P1100695I don’t know how many of my readers will take time to read this on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, but I did not want to let the day go by without wishing my readers a very blessed Christmas.

The Christmas story is familiar to Christians the world over, as well as to many who do not, perhaps never will call themselves Christians. I even have Moslem neighbors who “do” Christmas in some way. The children are talking about how close Christmas is. They speak little English so unfortunately I cannot communicate well with them about it. Christmas is one of the most meaningful times of the year for a great many people, young, old and all ages in between. Sadly many do not take into account the spiritual side of it. It has become so commercialized that the point of the giving of those first gifts to the baby Jesus has been lost. We are quickly losing our freedom to even celebrate the spiritual aspect of Jesus’ birth.

Let’s take time this Christmas to ponder just what it has meant to us personally P1100698that Jesus came to earth to be born as a baby, to live in a human body and to die an excruciating death on a cross so that we might be set free from sin and live for eternity with Him. Let us truly celebrate not only Christmas Day, but celebrate the Christ of Christmas who gave the ultimate gift–Himself–to us. I pray that we will never minimize the true meaning of Christmas in the midst of all the hustle and bustle, the tearing open of presents, the cooking and eating of a wonderful meal and the gathering of family and friends. If we take all of this into account on this wonderful day, we will truly be blessed.

I pray God’s presence will surround you with peace, joy and love, and His angels accompany you with a heavenly chorus. I pray for health and happiness for you and your families. I pray that the Lord will bless you “with all spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Jesus” (Ephesians 1:3).

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Merry Christmas to all. And “God bless us, every one.”

Thank you so much for stopping by, whether on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, or sometime afterwards. I appreciate all of you. I do hope you will take time to leave a comment in the box below. Let me know how you plan to, or did, celebrate Christmas this year. Tell me about your Christmas traditions. And if you are not already following me, please take a couple of seconds to click on the “Follow” button above so you will receive e-mail notifications of new posts. Thank you again. Have a wonderful Christmas. God bless.

P.S. Here is a Christmas angel just for you.

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WHAT DOESN’T GO IN CAN’T COME OUT

P1070059The ability to love and the need to be loved is inherent in every human being from birth. Like the baby bird waiting in the nest with its mouth wide open for the next morsel of food from its mother, so from the time we are babies our souls are wide open, waiting for that love to be poured in.

But what happens to that little bird if the mother doesn’t return to the nest? Quite obviously it will die in the safety of its home in the tree. The safe place cannot help keep it alive. So with humans. If love is not poured in on a constant basis, the soul withers. Something dies within. It happens in that place called home where safety and protection is expected. When love is wanting, life is wanting. Where love is not experienced, love cannot be given. As an empty glass is not a supply for a thirsty person; an empty soul cannot give out what it does not have within.

Where children are dearly loved by parents, an inner confidence takes root, a sense of completeness, a feeling of worth develops. When we are loved, we are able to love in return. What comes in can also go out. To love others brings great joy. To be loved is to be blessed beyond measure.Eddie and Mikey 2008 011

Is there hope for the unloved? Absolutely. Just look at scripture. There is not one person on whom the Lord does not pour His love. Whether we realize it or not, even if we are completely alone in this world, we are loved. But we have to open our hearts to this love if we want to benefit from it, if we desire to ‘feel’ loved. We must open our whole being to the Lord Jesus Christ and allow Him to have the ownership of our lives. As His love pours into us, we can, in turn, pour out that same love to others.

Let love, the agape love of God, flow like a river into your spirit and out again. You will find fulfillment and satisfaction in healthy living by allowing His love to wash over you, fill you and flow out to envelop all with whom you come in contact.

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Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed my blog. Please leave a comment in the box below and let me know your thoughts on this subject. If you are not already following me, I hope you will take a moment and click on the “Follow” button at the top to receive e-mail notifications of future posts. I appreciate you taking your time to visit here. Please drop by again. Have a wonderful day. May you be blessed of the Lord.

BACK ARROW

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Looking back over your life

Do you ever wish there was a ‘back arrow’ for our lives like there is on the computer? How simple just to click on a button and go back to the previous page, delete the whole and start over, or fix mistakes we have made. But unfortunately (or should I say fortunately?) life doesn’t work that way. Once we make a mistake, a wrong choice, speak an unkind word, make a foolish decision, we can never turn the clock back. We are stuck with the consequences.

But is this necessarily a bad thing? Mistakes are never good things in and of themselves, but nevertheless good can come out of them. If we use them to improve the future by learning from them, then they can lead to improvement in our lives that we would not otherwise have the benefit of. Better still is to take care when making decisions, when opening our mouths, when making choices and to first sit down and count the cost. Wishing that we had made a different choice will not change things after the fact.

I think it’s a good thing to have a back arrow on the computer because it makes

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Wishing does not work

things much easier and quicker, but I’m glad we can’t do this in life. We would miss some rich learning experiences if we could just go back and opt out of the consequences of our actions. And I’m convinced that even if we could go back we would probably make the same choices all over again. Better to move forward into new things with what we have learned and use them as stepping stones to the future.

I hope we all have been able to learn from past mistakes so we can move forward with better choices in the future.

Thank you for taking time to read my post, especially as we are getting so close to Christmas with all the hustle and bustle that comes with it. I wish you a wonderful Christmas celebration and the best of New Years to follow.

Please leave a comment in the box below and I will respond. If you are not already following my blog, please consider clicking on the “Follow” button at the top to receive e-mail notifications of new posts. Have a wonderful week. God bless.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT

It is exciting to announce to you, my followers and readers, that two of my books have been published and are now available on Amazon.

Copy of Look for the Rainbows New full coverLook for the Rainbows A Journey of Spirit and Heart is my first novel. It follows the life of Beth Worthington through childhood and into her middle adult years. Tragedy seems to strike too often and her faith in God is challenged. But she comes through every time and is stronger for it. What she longs for most is marriage to a strong Christian man and to raise their children. But this dream appears to have evaporated in life’s muchness. Will she find what she seeks? Check it out on Amazon.com or Amazon.ca.

In Shadows in My Valley I share a dark time in my life, what I learned throughShadows in my Valley New cover that time, and how my life was forever changed because of it. It includes poems, short excerpts from the prayer journal I kept through that time, scriptures that were significant to me, and the story of my life during that time. Check it out on Amazon.com or Amazon.ca.

This is an exciting time for me and I hope you will rejoice with me. It has been a giant learning curve to get me to this place, and I am thankful to the Lord for helping me accomplish this.

Thank you so much for stopping by. I appreciate all of my readers and followers. And if you are not already following me, I hope you will take a moment to click on the “Follow” button to receive e-mail updates of new posts. Have a wonderful day. God bless.

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A WORD MAKES

Copy of Copy of Copy of Women of Destiny retreat and 2007 picnic 003What a difference a word makes! In 1882, George Matheson penned the words to what later became a well-loved hymn: O Love That Will Not Let Me Go. One line, “I climb the rainbow through the rain” did not pass the judgment of the hymnal committee of the Church of Scotland and so they voted to change it, saying it just wouldn’t do. But by doing this, they changed Mr. Matheson’s message. To those who know the hymn, they will recognize the line as: “I trace the rainbow through the rain”.

Climb: scale, rise, ascend, increase, soar.

Trace: determine, follow, discover.

Do you see the difference? As you pursue your dream, be it a successful business, a home, a family or fulfillment of God’s call on your life, which would you say you are doing? Climbing? Or tracing?

I would much rather climb the rainbow than follow it. Rainbows are elusive. We all know about that pot of gold at the rainbow’s end. We also know it cannot be found.

Rainbows quickly fade. Have you ever watched when a rainbow appears, how it brightens, then Copy of P1070817gradually fades into nothingness? If you are following it, where do you go when it disappears? But if you are climbing it, that means you have actually reached it, touched it, and are using it to reach the heights.

I would recommend the book Climbing the Rainbow by Lloyd J. Ogilvie © 1993 by Word Publishing. The book’s subtitle is Claiming God’s Promises In The Storms Of Life. A small book, it is an easy read, and well worth the time it takes to read it.

Will you climb the rainbow with me?

I hope you enjoyed this short piece. I wrote it a few years ago, but thought it might be appropriate to share now with my book, Look for the Rainbows, being published soon.

Thank you for taking time to visit. I hope you will browse around while you are here. Please leave a comment in the box below, and if you are not already following me, please click on the “Follow” button at the top to get e-mail notifications of new posts. Have a wonderful day, and climb some rainbows and see where they take you. God bless.

WHATEVER IT TAKES?

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Don’t be unwise in your actions.

 

Have you ever heard someone say, “I’ll do whatever it takes”? Have you ever said this of something you want more than anything in life? Do you think it is a healthy attitude? What has been your experience, either personal or in someone you know who has taken this attitude?

First, I want to say that no matter how badly I need or want something, I am not willing to “do anything” to get it. “Anything” is a pretty big category. “Anything” could mean…anything!

 

 

What I am not willing to do:

I am not willing to compromise my principles or my faith.

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I am not willing to sacrifice what is precious.

I am not willing to do anything illegal.

I am not willing to sacrifice what is most precious in my life.

I am not willing to ride over others, to knock them down, to use them simply for my own benefit.

I am not willing to look at others merely as instruments to be discarded after I have gained what I want from them.

I do not want to succeed if I can’t take others with me and show them how to succeed. No, I am not willing to “do whatever it takes”.

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I am willing to be kind and helpful where needed.

What I am willing to do:

I am willing to work.

I am willing to ask for help.

I am willing to teach others what I have learned.

I am willing to live out my dream, to keep seeking it if I haven’t found it yet.

I am willing to ask for guidance and direction when I am unsure of myself.

I am willing to learn new things.

I am willing to make changes where change is necessary to my success.

Remember, success cannot be measured merely on a financial basis. Zig Ziglar once said, “I believe that being successful means having a balance of success stories across the many areas of your life. You can’t truly be considered successful in your business life if your home life is in shambles.”

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I’m willing to work with integrity.

Integrity is a must. If we do not operate on ethical principles and methods, eventually we will find others treating us in the same manner we treat them—unethically and without integrity. We may just find ourselves alone out there with no friends, no support. But when we reach out a hand to someone in need, there will be someone there to reach out a hand when we are in need. We will have lasting friendships and wonderful, caring business associates.

That is the true measure of success.

Thought for the day: No success is worth jeopardizing friendships, principles, faith, integrity. That is not success.

Prayer: Lord, show us Your ideal for success, the standard You would have us to live up to in order to attain success as You see it. May we never abandon that which has eternal worth for what has merely temporal worth. Help us to get our priorities straight and to consider the consequences of our actions in our working for success. Thank You, Jesus. Amen.

Thank you so much for stopping by to read my post. I hope you found it worth your time. If you can spare a little more time, please browse through my other articles to see if you can find something of interest to you. I would really appreciate it if you would leave me a comment in the box below. And if you are not following this blog, please take a moment to click on the “Follow” button to receive e-mail updates for each new post. I wish you a healthy, happy day. God bless.

ARE YOU A WINNER?

“The winners in life think constantly in terms of I can, I will and I am. Losers, on the other hand, concentrate their waking thoughts on what they should have or would have done, or what they can’t do.”

Denis Waitly

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Are you on the positive path of a winner through beauty to a place of possibilities?


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Or are you walking the loser’s drab negative path to nowhere?

Down which path are your thoughts taking you right now? To the winner’s prize or the loser’s slump? Is it time for an attitude check?

It’s a matter of the mind. As the above quote says, the thought life of a winner differs vastly from that of a loser. The mind is a powerful tool that we can use to create either productivity and prosperity, or we can use it to our own destruction. What good can possibly come by concentrating on what might have been, what we should or should not have done? “If only…” thoughts waste energy. We cannot turn back the clock. We cannot relive past situations. All we have is this moment. We get to choose how that moment will be used. If we do not make a conscious choice, we make one by default. Energy given to negative thinking will wear us down, drain us of all ambition and reason to live, but energy given to positive thoughts will lift us up out of the ordinary into a place of possibilities. It’s all in what we feed our minds.

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December rose in London Ontario

We all have limitations, but why dwell on those when we can concentrate on all the things we can do? However limited we may be, there is something we can do, and if we work at it, we might even become an expert at it. Why self-destruct when we can live out a dream?

The rose in the photo above is proof that even what is limited can burst boundaries and do what seems impossible. I live in London Ontario where we have cold, usually snowy winters. I found this rose bush blooming in the garden of the apartment building where a friend lived at the time. Roses never bloom in December here, but nonetheless here is that rose with a fresh bloom, one now past its prime, and one that was at the end of its life. If that rose could beat all odds and bloom in December, only a couple of days before Christmas, in a winter climate, why can we not overcome obstacles and do what we thought we could ever do? But it will not happen with a mind full of negative thoughts. We may need to change our mental diet from the loser’s junk food to the winner’s healthy menu. Many people are starving for healthy, positive thoughts and are so bogged down by the negative they cannot see beyond the end of their nose. Let us not be like them.

Let’s determine to monitor our thoughts closely. When those “If only”, “I should have”, and “I can’t” phrases pop up, let’s be ready to shoot them down with positive words: “I can”, “I will”, “It is possible”. Guard your mind at all times. Put up an inner shield against the negative–the enemy–and open up a clear channel for the positive–our champion.

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Another brave little December flower defying all odds–with snow on the leaves and petals.

Thought for the Day: You can. You will. It is possible. Life is good. You are a winner. Period.

Prayer: Lord, help us to see beyond those things that have become bondages and barriers to our moving forward in our lives. I pray that we would feed our minds and spirits from Your word on a daily basis so we are not undernourished or even starving for that which will take us on the path to great possibilities. Help us to choose Your way, Lord. Thank You, Jesus. Amen.

Thank you so much for dropping by to see what is new here. I would really appreciate it if you would leave a comment in the box below and tell me what you thought about this post, or tell me about yourself. If you are not already following me, please take a moment to click on the “Follow” button at the top to receive e-mail notifications of new posts. Again, thank you for taking time out of your busy day to read. Please browse the site to see if there are any other posts that might interest you. And please come again soon. Have a wonderful day. God bless.

THE CASE OF LITTLE FAITH VS GREAT FAITH

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Little faith for babies

In Matthew 16:5-12 we read the story of the disciples’ misinterpretation of a remark Jesus made. They had recently been part of two separate miracles when Jesus fed thousands of people with only a few loaves of bread and a couple of fish. They had actually distributed this food among the people, so they had no excuse to miss what had happened. They saw. And, I suppose, they also ate of that same food. They certainly helped to pick up the many baskets of food left over after everyone had eaten their fill. They must have seen that there was a great deal more food after the meal than before. It should have made a great impression on them at the time.

Still they had no conception, only a few hours later, of what Jesus meant when He warned them

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Little faith again

to beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees. They were all upset thinking it was because they forgot to take bread with them when they crossed to the other side of the sea. Now, does that seem reasonable? Of course you and I would have never thought in those terms! We would still be talking about the miraculous multiplication of the loaves and fish, wouldn’t we? We would understand perfectly what Jesus meant. Or would we?

I doubt that today we are much different than the disciples were 2000 years ago. We would probably have jumped to the same wrong conclusion, or one similar. The only advantage we have today over the disciples is that we have the written record of the past. We have history to look to. But many of us are still just as dense as those twelve men seemed to be so long ago. Consider the last major thing the Lord did in our life–last week, last month, last year. How many times since then have we been in some degree of crisis and wondered how in the world it would be solved? Did we think immediately about our last answer to prayer and determine that because the Lord came to the rescue then that He would certainly come through now? Or did we fidget and worry, get all upset and try to solve the problem ourselves? I know many times I have done that very thing.

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Great faith for the mature and strong

How did Jesus respond to their supposition? He called them men of little faith. He did not say they had no faith. They had some, yes, but only a little. Then He reminded them of the miracles in which they had so recently participated. Do you think He might have been just a little frustrated? I know I would be. Can you hear Him now as He asked them, “Don’t you understand what just happened? Don’t you see, this isn’t about bread, about food? It’s all about the religious leaders and their attitudes, actions and motives. It’s all about taking care that You don’t fall into the same trap.”

Verse 8 records Jesus’ words to the disciples. He asked why they were consulting one another about one thing when He was teaching something altogether different. Their little faith led to irrelevant discussion. How often do we get to analyzing things that have no bearing on anything of importance? We talk, we debate, we discuss, we argue over minor points of religion or doctrine or interpretation that mean nothing in the larger scheme of life, and we overlook the really important issues.

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Give me faith deep as the sea, Lord

I don’t know about you, but I want to learn from this account in the scripture. Let us strive to be the people spoken of in Daniel 11:32– “…but the people who know their God will display strength and take action.” (NASB) Yes, little faith leads to useless discussion. Great faith leads to action. Let’s not waste any more time. Let’s become people of great faith, people who do exploits in the name of Jesus.

Thought for the Day: Let us remember past victories the Lord has brought us through and remember that today’s problems are no more difficult to overcome than yesterday’s or last year’s.

Prayer: Lord, help each of us day by day to put our faith in You so we will not be carriers of little faith but of great faith. Help us to put our full trust in you moment by moment, knowing that You are more than able to see us through the most difficult situation. May our faith be deep as the sea and never waver. Thank you Jesus. Amen.

I hope you have enjoyed my little discourse on faith. Thank you for dropping by to visit. I would really appreciate it if you would leave a comment and let me know what you thought. If you are not following, please click on the “Follow” button at the top to receive e-mail notifications of new posts. I hope you will browse around now you are here, and that you will come back often. Have a wonderful day. God bless.

DO YOU HEAR THEM CRYING?

There they cry, but none giveth answer…1

Do you hear them crying?

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Many are crying.

Hear their silent screams?

Do you see them dying,

Passing by in streams?

Men and women hurting;

Children in despair.

Some with evil flirting –

Does no one really care?

Loneliness is eating

At the hearts of men.

Sins they keep repeating,

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Some sleep on park benches

Time and time again.

Satan is their master,

Rebellion is their way.

Life goes faster, faster;

They have no time to pray.

Seeking, always seeking,

Making gods of gold.

Though their hearts are breaking,

God’s hand they will not hold.

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Some have much in earthly goods

Blinded, deaf, unwilling

To receive God’s word.

Life is not fulfilling,

His voice cannot be heard.

Yearning, ever craving

For what, they do not know.

Missing, always missing

The Lord who loves them so.

They live on the street; they sleep under bridges. They live in poverty; they live in wealth. They live in great mansions; they sleep between silk sheets. They are sick; they are healthy. They have nothing; they have everything. Everything, that is, except what is most important in life.

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Many are sad and alone

Are you a people-watcher like me? I love to sit in a public place and watch the faces, actions, interactions and antics of the people who pass by. Some are happy faces, wreathed in smiles; some are sad faces, and give the impression that life holds no pleasure. I see determination; I see despair. Laughter. Loneliness. Heaven. Hell. People of all walks of life display openly, yet often unconsciously, a whole range of emotion. Many have erected walls to hide it. Fear has gripped some; others are afraid of nothing. There are timid souls, brave souls and everything in between. But how often do we see Jesus? How often do we ‘hear’ the silent cries of those in despair who have nowhere to turn? How often do we reach out a helping hand? How often do they see Jesus in us? I am ashamed to admit that most of us seldom hear these desperate, silent cries, and fewer of us do anything to alleviate the despair.

I now am forced to ask myself, “Do I really want to be like Jesus? Do I want this enough to live it

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Some see no end to the long dreary road

out every day of my life?” These are the questions every Christian must ask if they are serious about their walk with the Lord. We are not saved simply to get to heaven, though we will go there. We are not saved in order to have a trouble-free life here on earth; that will not happen. Jesus died on the cross that we might be saved to serve. And we are meant to serve more than just our Christian brothers and sisters. We have been saved so that we might live pure, holy lives filled with the Holy Spirit, so that the unsaved will see Jesus in us.

Thought for the day: How is my life impacting the lost with the Christ within me? What can I do to make my life count and pour out life to these needy people who are silently crying out for someone to care, someone to help?

Prayer: Lord, help Your people to really see into the hearts of those who are living desperate lives—desperate for love, for hope, for purpose, for someone to show they care. Help us to be willing to reach out to someone in need. Help us to show Your compassion to the lost, to serve them with Your love, Your heart.

1Job 35:12 KJV

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We can help bring some beauty into their lives.

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We can bring joy into a life

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We can feed them and give them something to drink.

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We can give them the Word.

Thank you so much for taking time to read my post. I hope you have enjoyed my poem, been touched and inspired by it. I hope you have enjoyed the photos. And most of all, I hope I have sparked in you a greater desire to seek, with me, to make your life count just a little more this week and to help someone in need. Even if it is just a genuine smile, it might just be the only smile someone will see today. It’s the little things that often mean much more than the big things we do. So let’s see if we can bless someone today.

Please leave a comment in the box below. If you are not following me, please click on the “Follow” button at the top and you will receive e-mails to let you know when I have posted something new. Please browse around to see if there are any other posts that may interest you. Have a wonderful, God-blessed day.