Monthly Archives: October 2015

meekness

Strength in Meekness

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. (Matthew 5:5 KJV)

I was thinking today how rare it is that anyone says, “I am wrong” or “I am sorry.” It seems that no one is ever wrong anymore. Gone are the days when owning up to a mistake is deemed noble. Nowadays, if a problem arises in the home, workplace, or school, you can be sure that no one admits any wrong.

By nature, people don’t like to admit they are wrong. But no one is right all the time. We all have a sin nature and do not always do what we should do. (Galatians 5:17) A fruit of the Spirit, meekness is a form of humility that seems lost in our society. It’s often equated with being weak and cowardly, but that’s far from the truth. It takes strength and courage to admit we’re wrong, and our failure to do so can jeopardize our relationship with God and other people.

The Bible tells us if someone is caught in a sin, we should restore that person with a meek spirit,keeping watch over ourselves, lest we fall into temptation. (Galatians 6:1) A meek person pays closer attention to his or her flaws than the flaws of others. The closer we are to Christ, the more aware we are of our sins. No one is meek by nature, and it requires the work of the Holy Spirit. The greatest example of meekness and humility is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who humbled Himself and died for our sake.

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Mindful Connections

“All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me but all things edify not,” (1 Corinthians 10:23 KJV).

 Have you noticed in the break room lately, nearly everybody is hovered over an iPhone? We don’t seem to find each other as interesting anymore compared to the zany postings and snarky comments we read online. In spite of Facebook, we’re actually not talking face to face as much anymore. Social media might more aptly be described as “anti-social” media.

What about the drama of settling matters online – which might mean posting an oblique message over a personal confrontation. It’s so much easier to copy and paste a designer rant onto our timeline than actually talking to people. Plus we get the added benefit of a multitude of people clicking ‘like’ next to our post with thumbs up. What an ego boost!

Granted, sometimes it feels good to get something off our chest, but when we have a grievance and find it too difficult to speak face to face to the person whose views or actions offend us, it would be more productive to send them a personal message spelling out what’s on our mind. Then we can allow God to take it from there, or choose to say nothing and simply trust Jesus.

What do you think? Has social media strengthened or weakened the fabric of your social connections? If it makes you more accessible, more mindful, more courageous, and more honest, choose “like” – if not, you know what to do.

Lord, give us the grace to use media in a way that brings you glory, and not allow it to make us weaker people, or less than what you would have us to be.

Meditations by Toni Babcock

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Harvest Times November issue launched

The current Harvest Times widely covers the subject ‘Faith’. Please make sure you get a copy of it.

 

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Two Hundred Mile Drive

“But you do not know what will happen tomorrow! Your life is like a mist. You can see it for a short time, but then it goes away.” James 4:14 NCV

I used to drive two hundred miles a day as a courier in a metropolitan area where I saw it all. One day when I was heading to downtown St Louis, there was a big box truck engulfed in flames. Another time, a speeder buzzed around an unmarked cop car that was in the lane ahead of me. You can guess what happened next.

I had my car problems and a few tickets, but the Lord preserved me in spite of my troubles. Good or bad, the Lord was there beside me.

It taught me one thing, take nothing for granted. We don’t know the future when we get into our car, assuming that were going to get there all right. When we head home, we take for granted that our house will still be there. It only takes a moment for something bad to happen. Every day that nothing tragic happens, has made me realize it was a good day.

We don’t know what tomorrow may bring, but we can thank Him for the blessings we have today.”Always give thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:20.” NCV

Devotional by Ken Ebright

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Good News

Sometimes, the faith walk is overrun with bad news. My testimony and demeanor can be depressing. Sometimes, I wonder who has it worse; the saved or the unsaved. Well, I have good news.

Have you ever seen one of those signs situated next to a fire extinguisher or defibrillator that instruct you to break the glass in case of an emergency? They are there for times when a typical boost won’t do.

The Apostle Paul was dealing with fragile people in a new church. He needed to reassure them, but not give them false hope. He needed to tell them the truth in love. He wanted them to read and hear his words and walk away with their heads held high and their faith reassured. So he shared some great news with them.

But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”- 1 Cor 2:9 ESV

It doesn’t matter how great or poor your sight is, you have yet to see all of what God has in His bag of blessings. Whether you have ears that can hear across town or barely across the room, there is so much to be heard that God has yet to release. If, like me, you have at times thought about how things may be in your life one day, take heart in knowing that your dreams pale in comparison to God’s blessings.

This information is not for everyone. It is made exclusively for those who love God. He’s there just waiting for your love. You cannot break the glass until you have confessed your love for Him.

Devotional by Stephen Thomas

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Some Thoughts on Prayer

The Lord’s Prayer is an expression of faith. It assumes that human beings are not self-sufficient but dependent on God. It is not a sign of weakness to pray but a sign of our humanity. Prayer acknowledges our need for God. Prayer is surrender. In his book, The Reaffirmation of Prayer, E. Glenn Hinson says that “the key to human existence lies in surrender to God, putting one’s self and one’s affairs utterly and with complete child-like trust in God’s hands.” The concepts of need and surrender are at the heart of our prayer lives.

There is not one among us who would make the outlandish claim of be totally self-sufficient and without any need. Even more outlandish would be to pretend that we have no need of spiritual strength and nourishment. One of the keys to an effective prayer life is to become comfortable with need. This need pushes us toward God, and then He becomes the “go to” person for our deep and simple needs.

God can never become our “go to” person until we surrender our valued self-sufficiency. The surrender concept moves us out of ourselves and into the hands of God. When we are in the hands of God, we feel very comfortable to taking our every need to Him. Look again at the words of the Lord’s Prayer.-

Our Father, which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done in earth,
As it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
The power, and the glory,
For ever and ever.
Amen.

Meditation by Irvin Boudreaux

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Shattered

A doctor in blue scrubs is holding up an x-ray, a picture of my daughter’s shattered spinal column. It shows a break of her twelfth thoracic vertebra. He launches into an explanation, using words like hyperextension and surgical fusion and extensive rehabilitation.

His words crash and ricochet against the interior walls of my empty skull; I have not grasped a thing past the word break. I conjugate the horrible verb. She breaks, she broke, she is broken.

She lies on a gurney, pale and quiet but fully conscious. Has she been told? She smiles, a beatific expression. “I feel at peace, mom.”

I do not understand how that is possible. My daughter is the injured one, yet I know that I have been broken, too. My heart has shattered—my spirit has crumbled to dust. I do not feel at peace. I shake my fist at God.

Weeks and months pass in which I drape myself in the semblance of normalcy. When a smile is necessary, my lips part and I show my teeth. I learn how to say the words that are expected of me. In church services, I hear people praising God for keeping their loved ones safe—for traveling mercies. I scream shut up shut up shut up inside my head. There is no mercy. I break, I broke, I am broken.

I can not find God.

You are so strong, they say. You are so brave. You are such an inspiration.

I no longer wish to be strong and brave. I want to crawl into the arms of my Father and weep out all of my brokenheartedness. I want to be rocked, to hear Him hum a tuneless melody of comfort while I bury my face in His shoulder. But I can not get back to Him; I am weighed down by the darkness. I am lost.

So He finds me. I am surprised one Sunday morning to find myself at the altar, and then He meets me there.

Look, He says. I look at His hands. They are holding the shattered pieces of my heart.

Look. I watch as He presses His hands together.

Look. He opens His hands, and gives me back my heart, whole. It is not quite the same as it was before my daughter was broken—now it bears the fingerprints of the Healer.

Devotional by Jan Ackerson

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Words of Change?

Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” – Proverbs 18:21

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. I heard this when I was in elementary school.

This is not the truth, though. Our words can cut people to the very core. Words can be as abusive, even more so, than being beaten physically.

Our words have the power to heal, to encourage, to comfort, but our words also have the power to kill someone’s spirit.

Our words contain power. They contain seed.

The Bible tells us that we can have what we say (Mark 11:23).

What are we saying? Is it good? Is it bad? Is it discouraging? Is it encouraging?

When we get angry with our spouse or our children, is what we say constructive or destructive?

What would you like other people to say when they are angry with you? How would you like them to encourage you, to build you up?

How can you be more like that? How can you change your words on a daily basis so that you are building people up instead of tearing them down?

How can you be light to a dark world by choosing to use your words to heal people instead of wound them?

Think about the answers to these questions, and choose to change your words to change the lives of others today.

Devotional by Annagail Lynes

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