Here is God

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Here is God by Max Lucado from the new teen devotional One God, One Plan, One Life

I am with you always, even to the end of the age. — Matthew 28:20

When ancient sailors sketched maps of the oceans, they disclosed their fears. On the vast unexplored waters, cartographers wrote such words as “Here be dragons” and “Here be demons.”

If you drew a map of your world, would we read such phrases? Over the unknown waters of friendships and romance, “Here be dragons.” Near the sea of school and classes, “Here be demons.”

If so, take heart from the example of Sir John Franklin. He was a master mariner in the days of King Henry V. Distant waters were a mystery to him, just as they were to other navigators. Unlike his colleagues, however, Sir John was a man of faith. On his maps he had crossed out the phrases “Here be dragons” and “Here be demons.” In their place he wrote the phrase:

“Here is God.”

Mark it down. You will never go where God is not. You may be moved to another class, school, or city, but — brand this truth on your heart — you can never go where God is not. “I am with you always,” Jesus promised (Matthew 28:20).

Don’t be afraid; just believe.

Clarity of The Window

Professor Bop / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

A young couple moves into a new neighborhood. The next morning while they are eating breakfast, the young woman sees her neighbor hanging the wash outside. “That laundry is not very clean; she doesn’t know how to wash correctly. Perhaps she needs better laundry soap.” Her husband looks on, remaining silent. Every time her neighbor hangs her wash to dry, the young woman makes the same comments. A month later, the woman is surprised to see a nice clean wash on the line and says to her husband: “Look, she’s finally learned how to wash correctly. I wonder who taught her this? ” The husband replies, “I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows.”

And so it is with life… What we see when watching others depends on the clarity of the window through which we look.

“And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye  when you have a log in your own?    How can you think of saying to your friend,  ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye?

Matthew 7: 3-4

Come To Me

Matthew 11 28

Come to me…and I will give you rest.

Matthew 11:28

“Come to me”.  Jesus didn’t say come to a certain doctrine, come to religion, or come to a certain system.  This is a very personal invitation to God, our Savior.

We need to understand that our God is not so far above of us that he can’t see or understand our troubles, our problems, the trials and tribulations that we endure.  He does see, He does understand, and He is inviting us to come to Him and He will give us rest.

Jesus didn’t just stay on a mountaintop, He came down and lived  and worked with the people.  Crowds followed Him wherever He went, drawn to Him like a magnet because He was and is…our Savior.

Read about the life of Jesus and you will find a message of hope, of mercy, and a message that in a dark world there is light.  That Light is Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.  Go to Him and He will give you rest.

It is my prayer that today you find rest, Jay.

The Little Decisions Are Important

Teacher

 

… As she stood in front of her 5th grade class on the very first day of school, she told the children an untruth. Like most teachers, she looked at her students and said that she loved them all the same. However, that was impossible, because there in the front row, slumped in his seat, was a little boy named Teddy Stoddard.

Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed that he did not play well with the other children, that his clothes were messy and that he constantly needed a bath. In addition, Teddy could be unpleasant.

It got to the point where Mrs. Thompson would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold X’s and then putting a big “F” at the top of his papers.

At the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was required to review each child’s past records and she put Teddy’s off until last. However, when she reviewed his file, she was in for a surprise.

Teddy’s first grade teacher wrote, “Teddy is a bright child with a ready laugh. He does his work neatly and has good manners… he is a joy to be around..”

His second grade teacher wrote, “Teddy is an excellent student, well liked by his classmates, but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle.”

His third grade teacher wrote, “His mother’s death has been hard on him. He tries to do his best, but his father doesn’t show much interest and his home life will soon affect him if some steps aren’t taken.”

Teddy’s fourth grade teacher wrote, “Teddy is withdrawn and doesn’t show much interest in school. He doesn’t have many friends and he sometimes sleeps in class.”

By now, Mrs. Thompson realized the problem and she was ashamed of herself. She felt even worse when her students brought her Christmas presents, wrapped in beautiful ribbons and bright paper, except for Teddy’s. His present was clumsily wrapped in the heavy, brown paper That he got from a grocery bag Mrs. Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents. Some of the children started to laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some of the stones missing, and a bottle that was one-quarter full of perfume.. But she stifled the children’s laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on, and dabbing some of the perfume on her wrist. Teddy Stoddard stayed after school that day just long enough to say, “Mrs. Thompson, today you smelled just like my Mom used to.” After the children left, she cried for at least an hour.

On that very day, she quit teaching reading, writing and arithmetic. Instead, she began to teach children. Mrs. Thompson paid particular attention to Teddy. As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive. The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded. By the end of the year, Teddy had become one of the smartest children in the class and, despite her lie that she would love all the children the same, Teddy became one of her “teacher’s pets..”

A year later, she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling* her that she was still the best teacher he ever had in his whole life.

Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy. He then wrote that he had finished high school, third in his class, and she was still the best teacher he ever had in life.

Four years after that, she got another letter, saying that while things had been tough at times, he’d stayed in school, had stuck with it, and would soon graduate from college with the highest of honors. He assured Mrs. Thompson that she was still the best and favorite teacher he had ever had in his whole life.

Then four more years passed and yet another letter came. This time he explained that after he got his bachelor’s degree, he decided to go a little further. The letter explained that she was still the best and favorite teacher he ever had. But now his name was a little longer…. The letter was signed, Theodore F. Stoddard, MD.

The story does not end there. You see, there was yet another letter that spring. Teddy said he had met this girl and was going to be married. He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago and he was wondering if Mrs. Thompson might agree to sit at the wedding in the place that was usually reserved for the mother of the groom.

Of course, Mrs. Thompson did. And guess what? She wore that bracelet, the one with several rhinestones missing. Moreover, she made sure she was wearing the perfume that Teddy remembered his mother wearing on their last Christmas together.

They hugged each other, and Dr. Stoddard whispered in Mrs. Thompson’s ear, “Thank you Mrs. Thompson for* believing in me. Thank you so much for making me feel important and showing me that I could make a difference.”

Mrs. Thompson, with tears in her eyes, whispered back. She said, “Teddy, you have it all wrong. You were the one who taught me that I could make a difference. I didn’t know how to teach until I met you.”

(For you that don’t know, Teddy Stoddard is the Dr. at Iowa Methodist Hospital in Des Moines that has the Stoddard Cancer Wing.)

This story is courtesy of Suspended Coffee Facebook.

Matthew 10:42
“And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.”

If you look at what we are asked to do – to go to those who are in need: the widows, the hungry, the naked, those in prison, they aren’t difficult things. If you see someone hungry – give them something to eat. Very simply, and easily done. If someone is thirsty – give them something to drink. If there is a widow who is lonely and in need – be a friend.  And as this story shows if a child needs more than just a teacher – be the difference.

The little decisions are important. Sometimes the hardest ones are realizing that when you recognize need “in the least of these” and don’t reach out – that is bad. The little decisions can rest in having eyes to see where the Lord’s work needs to be done, and doing it. When we do those things you bet the outcome can be bigger than expected!

May God bless your day, Jay

Because Of Jesus

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“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is life not more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”

Matthew 6:25-27

I remember my past
I remember my shame
I remember my sorrow
Because that’s what I remember
about Jesus and how He set me free.
How He turned me around.

I remember where I was
I remember where I could have been
But I’m not there
Because of Jesus

The Word of God

Who is the WORD of God

 

“The devil took Him into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, ‘If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written, “He will command His angels concerning You”; and “On their hands they will bear You up, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.” ’ Jesus said to him, ‘On the other hand, it is written, “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.”

Matthew 4:5-7

Don’t fool yourself, Satan knows the bible very well.  He uses it to serve his purposes by twisting it into half-truths.  In Matthew 4:5-7 Satan pulled a portion of the Scripture out of context so that he could use it for his own purposes.  Many people today do the same thing, taking little bits, tiny snippets of Scripture so that they can twist it into something they can use for their own purposes, not God’s purpose.  We need to understand the full context of the Bible, it isn’t enough to just know the words.  The basic principle that the Word of God never violates is that God never contradicts Himself.

“Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; and he said to Him, ‘All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘Go, Satan! For it is written, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.” ’ Then the devil left Him”  Matthew 4:8-11

Just think, if Jesus needed to use the written Word to push away Satan, then we need the Word even more if we are to fend off evil.

My Dear Lord, I come to you and ask you to surround the ones I love with everything good, and give them the will and ability to fight off the advances of Satan. I ask that you keep your mercy and goodness around them at all times. I ask for the same for myself in every way Lord, and I do ask that you draw me closer to you.  In Jesus name, Amen

Make A Difference

Orange Butterfly

“And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.”                                                                                                                                                                                            Matthew 10:42

If you look at what we are asked to do – to go to those who are in need: the widows, the hungry, the naked, those in prison, they aren’t difficult things. If you see someone hungry – give them something to eat. Very simply, and easily done. If someone is thirsty – give them something to drink. If there is a widow who is lonely and in need – be a friend.

It was taught by the pharisees that they didn’t associate with beggars and sinners, drunkards, etc. They didn’t want to be seen with them or associate them because they thought them to be less. It would tarnish how people saw them. But Christ did – and they criticized Him for it. The quote from Matthew 10 said that if you do the small things to those whom the world looks down on you won’t get a black mark against you as was preached by the priests.

The little decisions are important. Sometimes the hardest ones are realizing that when you recognize need “in the least of these” and don’t reach out – that is bad. The little decisions can rest in having eyes to see where the Lord’s work needs to be done, and doing it. When we do those things you bet the outcome can be bigger than expected!

This story is a great example of how each of us can make a difference.

One day a man was walking along the seashore. He noticed that during the night many seashells and starfish had washed up on the shore. Thoroughly enjoying the morning sun and cool sea air, the man strolled for miles along the sand.

Far off in the distance, he saw a small figure dancing. The man was joyous that someone was celebrating life in such a grand and uninhibited manner. As he drew closer, however, it became apparent that the figure was not dancing, but repeatedly performing some act.

Approaching the small figure, the man noticed that it was a child. The girl was methodically picking up starfish from the shore and tossing them back into the surf. The man paused for a moment, puzzled, then asked, “Why are you throwing those starfish back into the ocean?”

“If I leave these starfish on the beach,” she replied, “the sun will dry them, and they will die. I am throwing them back into the ocean because I want them to live.”

The man was thoughtful for a moment, impressed with the child’s thoughtfulness. Then he motioned up and down the miles and miles of beach and said, “There must be millions of starfish along here! How can you possibly expect to make a difference?”

The young girl pondered the man’s words for a moment, then she slowly leaned over, reached down, and carefully picked up another starfish from the sand. With a gentle effort, she lobbed the starfish back out into the surf.

She turned to the man and smiled. “You may be right,” she said, “but I made a difference for that one!”

 

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

God in heaven, I offer my deepest appreciation for the many blessings you shower upon me every day. I am truly humbled by the bounty of your graces. I ask for the compassion to follow the inspiring example of the good Samaritan. Help me to embrace and bring comfort to those suffering immensely. Let me remember that each day that I help someone I am helping you. Amen.

The King Rises Again

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After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.

There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

The Gospel of Matthew (28:1-7)