‘Bad things’ explained by a 9 year-old

April 14, 2018

Last night, with our grandkids, we were spellbound watching some videos of Nick Vujicic of “Life without Limbs”. Nick was born in 1982 in Australia without arms and legs. He has an amazing story of hope and redemption in Jesus that he’s shared in over 60 countries to many thousands of people. He is a motivational speaker and evangelist. His videos are captivating. Besides watching him skydive and surf, we saw him speaking to crowds of teenagers and stadiums full to capacity.

Curious, five-year-old, Kayra asked, “Why was he made like that?” to which Milos immediately replied in a big-brotherly way: “Because God does ‘bad things’ so people can hear about Jesus.”  I almost gasped out loud, thinking that there was such deep theological truth packed in that statement, and that a child unpacked it! God wants everyone to hear about Jesus. And yes, sometimes ‘bad things’ happen so that they can. Milos was right!

This morning as I was reading in Acts 9:32-35, I saw that truth in the early church. We read that Peter “found a certain man named Aeneas, who had been bedridden eight years and was paralyzed. And Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus the Christ heals you. Arise and make your bed.” Then he arose immediately. So all who dwelt at Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord.” That jumped off the page. Bedridden…paralyzed…healed…all who saw him turned to the Lord!

There are other ‘bad things’ that happened in the Bible that caused people to hear about Jesus.

We can read of the blind man in John 9. Because of him, Jesus presented Himself as “The Light of the World.” He is still lighting up the world, even now.

How about the case of Lazarus in John 11? Because of his death, Jesus declared Himself as “the resurrection and the life” and gave a promise that we still cling to: “He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.”

If you have had ‘bad things’ happen to you, or you struggle with ‘bad things’ right now, think Biblically. God just may have allowed those circumstances in your life so that others can hear about Jesus.  Check out Nick’s website and be encouraged! www.lifewithoutlimbs.org.

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OUR GOD IS THE GOD OF HOPE

June 6, 2016

With his physical body ravaged by a long, hard struggle with cancer, Pastor Arthur was on the front porch of eternity. The last time we visited him, he could no longer speak. He motioned for his dear wife Ruth to bring him his well-worn Bible. His fingers still nimble and his mind and heart focused on eternity, Arthur quickly opened it and pointed to 1st Peter 1:3,4: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled that does not fade away…”

We read that passage out loud and Arthur’s face became radiant as he nodded in anticipation of the eternal inheritance he was on the brink of receiving. Arthur was rejoicing in the living hope that our God of hope had given him, and we rejoiced with him.

As Christ followers, our living hope isn’t simply wishful thinking; it’s rock-solid confidence that carries us all the way to eternity. It is a gift that our God of hope gives all those who trust in Jesus; it permeates our existence.

My prayer for you today is that “…the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)

(Join me every Monday in 2016 as I share my quest to know God better)


HAPPY NEW YEAR?

January 2, 2014

When we wish our friends and acquaintances a “Happy New Year”, we’re basically saying, “I hope everything goes great for you this year.” Not to be a pessimist, but we know everything WON’T go great…for anyone! We will all have loss, disappointment, pain, challenges, sudden changes, and unexpected turns in the road until December 31, 2014. That’s just the way it is. It’s all part of life.

How about this greeting instead: “Happy YOU in the New Year”? Don’t we all want a good attitude, no matter what the year brings? Don’t we all want to be happy? Take a look around. Everyone knows people who are happy in spite of their circumstances. They show us that happiness is a choice; it is a natural result of finding our help and hope in the Lord (Psalm 146:5) and trusting in Him. (Proverbs 16:20).

When that becomes our reality, even though all 365 days of the year AREN’T exactly “happy”, WE CAN BE HAPPY!

Happy YOU in the New Year!


COUNT YOUR “H” BLESSINGS

November 10, 2013

In counting our blessings, we list our “H” blessings today. On the top of my list is heaven. Reading Revelation chapter 21, we get an awesome glimpse of it. We read that in heaven we will be with God himself. He will wipe away all our tears, and there will be no more death, sorrow, crying or pain. Everything will be made new! There is no earthly blessing tantamount to that!

Even so, while on earth we can list other “H” blessings. Some of mine are: our son-in-law Hernan, health, hope, hands, hair (even on a bad hair day), hymns, help, history, heroes, hiking, hearing, honey, happiness, handymen, and my husband. Notice that the last two are adjacent. I’m very thankful that my husband Jorge is a willing, skilled handyman!

Are you making an “H” blessing list?


FROM THE LOWEST PIT

January 5, 2012

The prophet Jeremiah served God’s people for over forty years, but his warnings were not taken seriously. He was put into prison, cast into a well, and exiled against his will. Rejected by everyone around him, Jeremiah stood alone and obeyed God faithfully. In chapter 3 of the book of Lamentations, attributed to Jeremiah, we read some of his most comforting words of testimony that encourage Christ followers  even today, after so many centuries. One in particular stands out:

I called on Your name, O Lord, from the lowest pit. You have heard my voice: ‘Do not hide Your ear from my sighing, from my cry for help.’ You drew near on the day I called on You, and said, ‘Do not fear!’ “ (Lamentations 3:55-57)

Many of us have not experienced the trials and pain that Jeremiah had; probably nothing even close to them! But when we are in our “lowest pit” (whatever that might be), these words give us comfort and assurance! Remember this:

GOD KNOWS all about that LOWEST PIT!
GOD HEARS ME when I call on His name from the LOWEST PIT!
GOD DRAWS NEAR ME when I call on Him, even from the LOWEST PIT!
GOD SAYS “DO NOT FEAR!”  when I’m in that LOWEST PIT!

Let’s praise God for these comforting words – even if we are in the LOWEST PIT!


One More of God’s Singers Went Home

May 18, 2011

Ana Nemec - One of God's Singers

My mother-in-law was a singer. She had a beautiful voice, and used it to sing praises to God. In her younger days, she often sang solos in church. As she aged and couldn’t do that anymore, and too weak to even leave the house, she spent hours listening to old hymns by her well-worn cassette player.

On Saturday, Jorge talked with his mom for the last time. Her voice was weak and her words were slurred; she was physically incapable of singing a song of praise, but with the phone on “speaker”, across 8,000+ miles (from Argentina to Ohio), we were able to rejoice with her as she made tremendous effort to repeat over and over, “Gracias a Dios”. That’s all she repeated.

Today, one more of God’s singers went home. She was anticipating her home-going for the last few months. She often expressed a longing to be with the Lord Jesus, who saved her at a young age and faithfully and lovingly held her hand for so many years. Ana Nemec was 85 years old. Now she is singing with a perfect voice, praising God. I’m sure her song is loud, and clear and beautiful…

Click on the link  to hear a wonderful old song that I was reminded of today: “When All of God’s Singers Get Home”  http://youtu.be/2I77hsX4vh4


DIALOGUE BETWEEN DOUBT AND TRUST

March 18, 2011

When Mr. Trust focuses on GOD, who He is and what HE promised, Mr. Doubt is totally squelched. He’s a loser. Listen to the following dialogue:

DOUBT: “I don’t know why this is happening to me…”
TRUST: “But God knows! He has a plan for me, and He will perfect it!” (Philippians 1:6)

DOUBT: “I sure can’t see any good that will come of this.”
TRUST: “But God is working everything for my good – to make me more like Christ.” (Romans 8:28)

DOUBT: “I’m afraid…”
TRUST: “But God is my strength!” (Psalm 18:1,32)

DOUBT: “I’ll never be able to do that; it’s way too hard!”
TRUST: “But God can do exceedingly, abundantly more than I can ask or think!” (Ephesians 3:20)

DOUBT: “My resources are so few…I don’t have enough…”
TRUST: “But God is the Maker and Owner of everything. His resources are limitless!” (Psalm 95:1-5)

DOUBT: “I just can’t go on anymore.”
TRUST: “But God gives me strength and grace!” (2nd Corinthians 12:9)

DOUBT: “The future looks bad. Really bad.”
TRUST: “But God is with me, and promised never to leave me. EVER!” (Matthew 28:20)


A SIMPLE FORMULA FOR HAPPINESS

February 25, 2011

Math was never my favorite subject, and algebra was far too complicated for my uncomplicated mind. Chemistry classes in high school and college were mandatory, and totally over my head. Complex formulas not only overwhelm me and frustrate me; they mean nothing to me….NADA!

Reading Psalm 146 this morning, I discovered an important formula. Fortunately, it isn’t mathematical or chemical; nor is it difficult to understand. The Psalmist discovered a simple formula for happiness. The results are certain and it is as simple as 2 + 2 = 4. Here it is:

“Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God.” (Psalm 146:5)

GOD is my HELP + my HOPE is in the Lord MY GOD = HAPPINESS!

Got it? Can’t be any simpler than that!


TRUSTING IN GOD’S MERCY

June 30, 2010

How long, O LORD? Will You forget me forever?
How long will You hide Your face from me?
How long shall I take counsel in my soul,  Having sorrow in my heart daily?
How long will my enemy be exalted over me?

How long?…How long?…How long?….How long?….” Verses 1 and 2 of Psalm 13 paint a picture of discouragement and potential defeat as David poured his heart out before the Lord, yet there is a turning point in verse 5 as he declared “But I have trusted in Your mercy.”

At this point in his journey, David learned that in every life situation, even the most difficult times, he could trust in God’s mercy. Even though he was being tracked and persecuted by King Saul and his armies, David trusted in God’s mercy. When his life was in danger, causing him to spend long, dark nights in hiding, he trusted in God’s mercy. Because God forgave his horrendous sin with Bathsheba and Uriah, He trusted in God’s mercy. His own beloved son Absalom rose up against him, plotting to take over the kingdom and still David chose to trust in God’s mercy. If we study every event in David’s life, we will get a clear picture of why, as he poured out his heart to the Lord in despair in Psalm 13, he chose to declare But I have trusted in Your mercy.” (verse 5) He realized that it was only God’s mercy that pulled him through his circumstances.

So…remembering how bountifully God had dealt with him produced a response in David, even as he was crying out to God. His response? He chose to rejoice in God’s salvation and to sing praises to Him. Wait…maybe I don’t understand this Psalm… David is lamenting that God is silent, is distant, and wonders if he’s been forgotten. He fears the enemy will overtake him. Maybe I don’t get it. In this very situation David chose to rejoice and sing to God?…to keep trusting in His mercy? How could he do that?? Ahh…David looked back and remembered God’s mercy and His goodness towards him in every situation in the past. That gave him peace in the present and hope for the future. He knew he could trust God’s mercyALWAYS!

 So I look at my own life: There are times when I don’t like or understand the situation; when I can’t see because of the darkness; when pain, like a belligerent intruder, won’t budge. At times the long-awaited answer doesn’t come, and occasions when the answer isn’t the one I had expected. Like David, there are times when I have more questions than answers, and I wonder if God is even working on my case. There are times when I also ask “How long?…”

How do I respond in those situations? Like David? As I cry out to God, I want to remember how good God has been to me in the past, in spite of my present circumstances. I can clearly see how God has shown me His goodness and mercy, often unexpectedly and undeservedly. It was only His mercy that brought me through. So today I want to respond by choosing to trust in His mercy for my actual, present situation. The turning point comes in my life, too, when I chose to trust in God’s mercy and I declare with David: 

“But I have trusted in Your mercy; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.  

I will sing to the Lord, Because He has dealt bountifully with me.” (Psalm 13:5,6)

                                                                                               

 


Eternal Encouragement for YOU!

February 27, 2010

Welcome to the blog of Eternal Encouragement at  WordPress.com. This is my first post.

This morning, as I was reading a passage from the Bible (NIV), this verse found in 2nd Thessalonians 2:16,17  jumped off the page at me:  

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father,

who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope,

encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.

The concept of encouragement has been important to me throughtout my life, and even more in the past few years. Just today I was thinking about the importance of it all morning. As I was seated in my cubicle, answering the phone, responding to e-mails and working on the computer at my place of employment, I tried to mentally identify the things and the people that are – or have been at some point – encouraging to me. The more I meditated on it, the more I thought “I’ve got to share this! Encouragement can’t be kept to myself! It should never be private!”

And so this blog was born…with a strong desire to share some of the encouragement I’ve received along the way, in hopes that you will find renewed hope, and pass it on to others, too!

Just like Paul says, it’s by God’s grace that we have eternal encouragement and good hope. If you feel discouraged, look to Christ, who longs to give us an abundant, satisfying life of grace!

 


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