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Archive for April, 2012

John 21

Jesus appears to His disciples again to reassure them and to build their faith.

INSIGHT

Without a shepherd, the sheep scatter. After Jesus’ death, His disciples scatter and the fishermen return to the sea. They simply do not know what to do next.

After an evening of unfruitful fishing, they return to shore to find Jesus there with breakfast ready. We see a picture of Peter and Jesus, eating together in perfect harmony. Bear in mind, this is the man who denied that he ever knew Jesus. This incident adds weight to Jesus’ statement that the one can love greater who has been forgiven for the greater sin.

The Lord is mindful of our frame and knows that we are but dust. You must not let sin fester in your heart. Confess it and accept His forgiveness.

PRAYER

· The Lord reigns and He forgives. Praise Him for His blessings on our behalf:

The Lord reigns, He is clothed with majesty; The Lord is clothed, He has girded Himself with strength. Surely the world is established, so that it cannot be moved. Your throne is established from of old; You are from everlasting (Psalm 93:1-2).

He is your praise, and He is your God, who has done for you these great and awesome things which your eyes have seen (Deuteronomy 10:21).

· Pause for praise and thanksgiving. Pray this confession to the Lord as you seek to keep your life free from sin:

I have blotted out, like a thick cloud, your transgressions, And like a cloud, your sins. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you (Isaiah 44:22).

· As you confess your sins, pause and pray this affirmation to the Lord:

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me (Galatians 2:20).

· As you make your requests known to the Lord, pray for:

· your spiritual growth, · the fulfillment of the Great Commission, · your activities for the day.

· Offer this closing prayer to the Lord:

Blessing and honor and glory and power Be to Him who sits on the throne, And to the Lamb, forever and ever! (Revelation 5:13).

 Living God’s Word

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My husband decided life would be easier if he wired a new light switch in the master bedroom to save us from fumbling in the dark for the lamp. He cut through the drywall and found a stash of bottles and small boxes inside the wall.
“Honey!” he called excitedly. “You’ve got to come here and see what I found.”
I ran in and quickly realized that his next task would be to fix the hole that now led into the back of our bathroom medicine cabinet.
…..Chaplain’s Notes (ChapnotesMail@aol.com) by way of “Christian Voices” (www.ChristianVoicesWorldwide.net)

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It was a sunny, Spring day, but that was lost on me. In my mind a thousand concerns and worries were racing around and around. Looking back now I can’t for the life of me remember a single one of them. In the days that followed like most worries they all either faded or amounted to nothing. At the time, though, they seemed like they were going to wreck my life. I had even foolishly taken the day off work so I could spend more time on my worrying. I couldn’t think. I couldn’t relax. I couldn’t even sit still.
Hoping to clear my head I drove to a local lake that had a graveled path around it. As I walked along my brain continued to race. Halfway around I stopped at a small bench and sat down. My legs weren’t tired, but my brain was exhausted. After sitting a few minutes I just let go and stopped thinking. I listened to the gentle music of the birds singing their love songs in the trees. I watched as the sun sparkled and danced off the crystal clear waves of the lake. I noticed the first wild flowers of Spring growing towards the light. I breathed in the fresh, clean air. I felt at peace for the first time all day. It was then that I heard the small, still voice of God whispering in my mind. “What are you so worried about?,” He said. “I have loved you since the day you were born. I love you now. And I will continue to love you forever.” I stayed happily there on that bench for a long time. And when I finally left I took the peace and love with me. I remember singing childhood hymns as I half walked and half danced the rest of the way around the lake. It felt so good knowing that I was loved.
The next time that the foolish voices of worry start chattering in your head, tell them to hush up. Then sit down, be quiet, and listen for the small, still voice of God. He will be there waiting to love you, to guide you, to strengthen you, and to bless you with His peace forever.


…..Joseph J. Mazzella (joemazzella@frontier.com) by way of “Christian Voices” (www.ChristianVoicesWorldwide.net)

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Matthew 24:4-5 – For many will come in My name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ’

Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.” – Matthew 24:4-5 (NIV)

Taught during the last week of His life, Jesus was giving His followers some strong boundaries so that they would not fall away after He was gone. Here he talks of people who say that they are the Christ (“anointed one”). Notice the word that Jesus uses – deceive. To be deceived is to not know the difference between the truth and a falsehood – they both look the same. In a time when many are saying, “I am God’s anointed now.”, Jesus explicitly tells us that God’s anointed One is found in only one place – Jesus the Christ. Jesus is God’s final statement to humanity.
Today’s commentary by: Dave Whitehead, Senior Pastor, GraceNYC.org

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Our loved ones are so precious to us and when they are allowed to travel home ahead of us to heaven, we feel the space they left empty. And we feel empty! We yearn to see those loved ones, to laugh with them, to hear a voice, touch a hand, hug!

Our memories flow and scenes long past are suddenly with us again and these tug at our heart strings and cause warm tears to caress our cheeks. Many of us hold back from saying the actual word, “goodbye,” for we know we will walk with ONE ANOTHER again! Perhaps we could just say adieu, until we meet again!


Grief is weird. I have likened the pain of it to labor pains in reverse. I liken the passage of time throughout the grieving to stages the caterpillar experiences. In one way grieving does not end, it changes, but how can it truly end when one never stops loving?


Following the death of our loved one, whether the cherished son, the sweet daughter, mother, father, grandparent, brother….every day becomes one more day of healing for us as we adjust to a time and space without this special person at our side and in our lives!
Personally I could not have been separated from my only son, my younger brother, my father, my nephews, my sister-in-law or my good friend without God’s help. God’s love shines in us and through us for He knows more than anyone exactly what we are experiencing and none can comfort and bring peace like He does.


The changes which take place during our grieving are like a metamorphosis. A caterpillar has always appeared to me to be slow. Personally I see the pain of separation from my son as the awkward slower movements of the caterpillar. Everything was big and seemed unreal and in slow motion when my son was killed. It was a challenge and a trauma to find my way through this maze I found myself in. My memory seemed to stand still. And the memories I held seemed illusive. I honestly seemed locked out of almost any memory of my son, though he had been in my life for 17 years. Things appeared unreal with obstacles everywhere!

When a death occurs just living seems to be sluggish! In the cocoon the caterpillar changes. Does the caterpillar receive lessons in flying and living a new existence as it sleeps and changes inside?
We seem to change in many ways as we travel through the stages of grief. Perhaps even as we sleep, God, is utilizing this time, helping us to cope, and perhaps He is even filling us with His healing Light and teaching us to recall exactly what we need to remember of His promises regarding the eternities.


Gradually over a period of time we begin to find a new balance, we even discover that though joy is not yet within us, laughter does come and it buoys us up. We respond to the care and love of family. We heal with the help of our Heavenly Father. In some instances we learn more than we ever thought possible and as the darker cloud of grief moves away we find we have some new-found understanding for helping others along on the pathway we have just navigated. Ah, is this our wings stage?


Just like the butterfly are we finally released from the cocoon of grief! Like the butterflies we can once more appreciate the warmth of the sun. We are able to again enjoy the feel of the breeze. We finally have reached that stage where handling the death has become more manageable. We will always miss those who make the transition to heaven ahead of us, for each is a part of us, a part of our life, a part of our memories and for some a part of our being. I don’t know when we become the butterflies but the metamorphosis does take place and then God will gradually help us to be the comforters!


Yes, we will continue to miss our children, our siblings, our parents, or grandparents, whomever has made the transition to heaven, yet we will see everything from a new perspective as the years roll by. And some day it will be as though God Himself is giving us exactly the right words to share with a grieving soul! And when we seem void of words, well then we shall let our tears mingle with the tears of all those who are grieving and together we shall see in our mind’s eyes another day, a happier day and the memories will lift us when the words are unable!
Our loved ones WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN and will ALWAYS be LOVED! And the day will come when we will once again walk side by side!


…..© Ellie Braun-Haley (milady@evrcanada.com) by way of “Christian Voices” (www.ChristianVoicesWorldwide.net) Ellie Braun-Haley is the mother of Jason, who left this earth in 1989 and she is also mother to two beautiful women, Debbie and Laurie!

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Jeremiah 17:17

Thou art my hope in the day of evil.
The path of the Christian is not always bright with sunshine; he has his seasons of darkness and of storm. True, it is written in God’s Word, “Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace;” and it is a great truth, that religion is calculated to give a man happiness below as well as bliss above; but experience tells us that if the course of the just be “As the shining light that shineth more and more unto the perfect day,” yet sometimes that light is eclipsed. At certain periods clouds cover the believer’s sun, and he walks in darkness and sees no light. There are many who have rejoiced in the presence of God for a season; they have basked in the sunshine in the earlier stages of their Christian career; they have walked along the “green pastures” by the side of the “still waters,” but suddenly they find the glorious sky is clouded; instead of the Land of Goshen they have to tread the sandy desert; in the place of sweet waters, they find troubled streams, bitter to their taste, and they say, “Surely, if I were a child of God, this would not happen.” Oh! say not so, thou who art walking in darkness. The best of God’s saints must drink the wormwood; the dearest of His children must bear the cross. No Christian has enjoyed perpetual prosperity; no believer can always keep his harp from the willows. Perhaps the Lord allotted you at first a smooth and unclouded path, because you were weak and timid. He tempered the wind to the shorn lamb, but now that you are stronger in the spiritual life, you must enter upon the riper and rougher experience of God’s full-grown children. We need winds and tempests to exercise our faith, to tear off the rotten bough of self-dependence, and to root us more firmly in Christ. The day of evil reveals to us the value of our glorious hope.

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Running Your Race Without Distraction

“I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 3:14

Runners train themselves to be focused on one thing – the finish line. They have one desire, and they are not going to let what is going on in the stands or who is lagging behind distract them.

Paul had the same sense. He, too, believed that you could not win a race by looking over your shoulder or glancing to the right or the left. You can’t see what is ahead when you’ve got your headlights on the rear bumper.

Paul forgot his past glory, past mistakes, past grief, past everything. Paul refused to let his past keep him from reaching his goal. What are you doing in your race to claim the prize of a closer walk with God? Take a few minutes over the next couple of days to reflect upon what Jesus Christ did for you on the Cross. In light of that, analyze how you are running your race. What changes do you want to make to better run the race?

 www.lwf.org

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