From our house to yours, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
May your festivities reflect the love that Christ has for each of us.
Here is a snippet from Luke 2 which I hope will bring joy to your heart.
From our house to yours, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
May your festivities reflect the love that Christ has for each of us.
Here is a snippet from Luke 2 which I hope will bring joy to your heart.
Crises are enlightening. They force us to assess what is important in our lives. Sometimes we find we have neglected our most valuable assets for the pursuit of the trivial and worthless.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.Psalm 23:4
Janice reeled from the doctor’s response. She realized she had not taken care of her health properly. Now what was she going to do?
Bobby felt helpless. He knew he should have repaired the roof after the last storm. His wife kept reminding him, but now it was too late. The whole roof and ceiling would have to be replaced.
It was only a small leak. Dan didn’t think it was a big deal. Whenever the oil light appeared he was careful to stop and put oil in his car. He didn’t realize the oil was collecting on the back of the motor and now it was hot-very hot and smoking!
Why is it that we wait until the crisis to realize that certain walls in our lives are broken down?
Being called to the principal’s office, notice of bounced checks, bad reports from health checkups, reception of divorce papers, family arguments over trivial matters, the sudden death of a friend-these are crises that shake us. But do they wake us up?
Accidents will happen. Offenses take place. Good news, as well as bad, comes to us all.
Everyone struggles at times with financial, emotional, and physical trauma. It is part of life.
But, how do we handle these crises? Are we prepared to face “the valley of the shadow of death”?
First, we have to recognize that certain walls need to be rebuilt. Until we are willing to assess the situation in which we find ourselves we will never be able to do anything about it.
A business owner must take inventory of his or her stock on hand. If a shortage is found then orders must be placed immediately. A shortage can reduce the owner’s ability to run the business properly resulting in lost sales and profits.
Sometimes it takes an outside person to help us see our need. That person may be a friend, counselor, or family member.
Scripture tells us of such a person whose name was Nehemiah. Upon his inquiry he discovered that the walls of Jerusalem were lying in rubble. The citizens of that city had failed thus far to replace them. Familiarity and complacency had blinded their eyes to their situation. They were comfortable in their dysfunction.
Obtaining a leave of absence from his occupation as the king’s cupbearer, Nehemiah traveled to Jerusalem. Shortly after his arrival he set out to view the walls which were broken down.
After Nehemiah’s inspection he confronted the citizens with the facts. To effectively remove the reproach from their lives they would have to rise up and rebuild the walls that surrounded them.
And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.Matthew 3:10
One of the gates that needed to be rebuilt in Jerusalem was the dung gate. This is where the trash was taken out of the city and burned.
So much rubbish had accumulated that the work of rebuilding could not be accomplished until this gate was cleared and rebuilt.
Assessing what was salvageable and what was useless was an important step in rebuilding the city walls. It is also an important step in rebuilding our lives.
Separating what is important from what is trivial or useless can be difficult. We tend to cling to what is familiar to us. We seek comfort in our attempt to escape from reality. Yet, that attempt only brings temporary relief.
We must make an effort to get rid of the rubbish in our lives.
The process may be slow, but every step toward a better life is one step closer to the final destination.
The accumulation of physical goods that clutter, junk foods that hinder our health, emotional baggage that we cling to, and the lack of proper mental and spiritual exercise affects our mental outlook and our physical well-being.
We must take serious inventory and separate what is good in our lives from what is bad. Some things just need to be tossed if we are going to see any progress.
The next step in the rebuilding process is to establish proper relationships.
Dysfunctional relationships are called dysfunctional because they are just that – dysfunctional. One or both parties are expecting the other to meet all their emotional or physical needs.
So much expectation is demanded that the relationship is smothered to lifelessness. Frustration mounts. Violence sometimes ensues.
No individual can meet someone else’s every need. The only one who can meet all our needs is Jesus Christ. Our focus must shift to dependence on God and His sufficiency.
Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.Matthew 20:28
As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.Galatians 6:10
Closing the doors of our lives to others is unhealthy. Just as Jesus came “not to be ministered unto, but to minister,” we must also reach out.
Finding those who have interests as we do and joining a circle of friends will enrich our lives. Many long-lasting relationships have been developed due to the comraderey found in such groups. This can be an important step in finding friends if you are lacking in this area.
Observing the needs of someone else and ministering to that need will also help us to feel accomplishment. Making a phone call, sending a card, fixing a meal, mending a garment, volunteering yard work or car repair – these are all ways of helping meet the needs of others.
Ministering to others does not mean that we allow others to take advantage of our blessings.
Yes, we must love our neighbor as ourselves. But love must also speak truth to our neighbor.
Scripture tells us of a family man whose neighbor woke him desiring food. The neighbor had received visitors and was unprepared for their arrival.
The family man arose albeit reluctantly and gave the neighbor provision. He was showing himself to be a good neighbor and providing an obvious need. (See Luke 11:5-8.)
Yet, if the neighbor woke the family man every night for several days then the family man must speak truth in love to the neighbor. The neighbor must be reminded of his own responsibility in providing for his visitors and go to the grocery store and purchase needed supplies.
Setting proper boundaries sometimes brings fear of losing friends. However, true friends appreciate proper boundaries. Good relationships demand it.
And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.2 Peter 1:5-7
Apostle Peter emphasized that new life in Christ brought about a change in character. A person’s newness was to be modeled after the life of Jesus.
Whether we had good role models or not as we grew up, we can look to Scripture and model our lives after the best role model anyone can have. That role model is Jesus Christ.
Our attempts at changing our lives will fail unless we place our faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. Then we must diligently add to that faith virtue.
Virtue is having the courage to do what is right regardless of the circumstances. Having that courage will enable us to become a role model for others.
The more knowledge we have of Jesus Christ the more we will have discernment when we are confronted with difficulties. Having ethical principles that do not change due to emotion or relationships or politics will help us to respond to difficulties appropriately.
That knowledge will come as we establish the habit of reading God’s Word. Our minds are thus renewed and our lives are transformed.
Replace poor media choices and inappropriate literature with that of good moral content. For example, if an individual struggles with adultery, it would be self-destructive to read novels promoting adultery.
The lack of self-discipline has caused the walls of many lives to come crushing down. Giving in to peer pressure has led many down dangerous paths to addictive behaviors, criminal activity, and lack of self-respect.
Self-discipline or temperance starts with finding direction and purpose in one’s life. Making plans and setting goals is appropriate, but until steps are taken to fulfill those plans they will not be realized.
For example, desiring to purchase your own car is a worthy goal. Yet in order to achieve that goal a person must have a savings account of some sort and diligently set aside funds each week until the purchase price has been obtained.
Waiting until the needed funds are collected may take patience. Yet patience has its reward. Imagine the feeling when you are handed the keys to the car that you just purchased yourself.
Apostle Peter said to add godliness to patience. Godliness has to do with becoming fit for the purpose that God has for us on this earth.
Jesus Christ Himself grew in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man (See Luke 2:52).
Don’t be afraid to seek additional training to better your position in life. Become a companion of those who are wiser than you are. Glean from their wisdom.
Be an apprentice, take classes, volunteer. Read books and magazines that pertain to your area of interest. There are also online courses and video classes for almost every skill.
Don’t overwhelm yourself. Just take one step (class) at a time. You can succeed.
Let’s face it. Not everyone is nice. Not everyone is likeable. That does not mean that you or I have to respond to other’s mannerisms in like manner.
Having a proper attitude is crucial to having a good day. So what if the rain is falling? Thankfully, flowers will soon bloom. The grass will be greener. The air will be clearer.
As someone once said, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” It takes time to rebuild walls that have been broken down. Yet, with determination and the right materials they can be built better and stronger than they ever were before.
Just because mistakes have been made in the past does not mean that your or my past must dictate our future. Yes, those mistakes do affect us, but they do not determine who we are or what we will be unless we allow them to.
Every morning is the start of a new day. Prepare to make it a good day and let nothing deter you from that.
Resolve in your heart that with the Lord’s help you will rebuild your life. He is faithful to help you if you turn to Him “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” (See 1 Peter 5:7)
Did you know that the only woman in the Bible who was specifically called a disciple was Tabitha?
Not only was she called a disciple, but she was known for her compassion toward those in need. Her ministry reflected that compassion as she used her gifts to help the poor and needy.
How do we know Tabitha led a life of significance?
Tabitha (whose Greek name was Dorcas) lived in the town of Joppa:
Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and alms-deeds which she did.
And it came to pass in those days, that she was sick, and died: whom when they had washed, they laid her in an upper chamber.
And forasmuch as Lydda was nigh to Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent unto him two men, desiring him that he would not delay to come to them.
Then Peter arose and went with them. When he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him weeping, and shewing the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them.Acts 9:36-39
Joppa was a was a coastal city near modern-day Tel-Aviv, Israel. It was in this busy city that Tabitha carried out her ministry to the populace.
Tabitha did many good works for her community. She had an eye for what needed to be done and did what she could to make improvements.
Tabitha also observed the plight of the poor and widowed. She could not meet all their needs but she was committed to do what she could. She decided to use the skills she had acquired to relieve a particular area of need.
Tabitha was an accomplished seamstress. Many were the customers who came to her door to obtain fashionable garments. She would use her skills to make suitable clothing for the impoverished.
Since Tabitha already had customers she strategized how she could provide this need to the poor without embarrassment or shame to the recipients. She began making beautiful clothing which included coats for colder weather. This was a godsend to the widows in her community.
However, Tabitha fell ill. Her sickness led to an untimely death. The community around her was shocked. Soon the whole community surrounded her house.
Ladies came in and carefully washed her body. However, instead of wrapping her body and preparing her for immediate burial as was custom, the disciples had her carried to the upper chamber of her house.
As the disciples continued to gather, they discovered that the apostle Peter was in the nearby town of Lydda (about 11 or 12 miles away). Two men were quickly chosen to travel to Lydda to fetch Peter.
Then Peter arose and went with them. When he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him weeping, and shewing the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them.Acts 9:39
Peter agreed to come to Joppa. Upon his arrival he was led to the upper chamber where Tabitha’s body had been carefully placed. During his journey he must have heard of all the wonderful works which this lady had done.
But as Peter entered the upper chamber he was bombarded by many widows who showed off beautiful clothes and coats which Tabitha had made them. Obviously this woman was a woman of significance.
But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up.
And he gave her his hand, and lifted her up, and when he had called the saints and widows, presented her alive.
And it was known throughout all Joppa; and many believed in the Lord.Acts 9:40-42
Memories flooded Peter’s mind as he recalled Elisha’s prayer in raising the Shunemite woman’s son (2 Kings 4) and Jesus’s prayer as he raised Jairus’s daughter from the dead (Matthew 9).
Following their example Peter removed everyone from the upper chamber so that he was alone with Tabitha’s dead body. Peter kneeled down and began praying that Tabitha would be brought back to life.
Then Peter in absolute faith turned to the dead body and said, “Tabitha, arise.” Miraculously, Tabitha opened her eyes and saw Peter. She was probably surprised to see him there in her home.
Immediately, Peter extended his hand to her and lifted her up off the board where she was laid. Calling her friends to come into the room, Peter presented Tabitha alive and well. The joy and excitement of her friends was unimaginable.
Tabitha was now able to continue the great work that she had begun. Only now the fame of her works and her resurrection from death was spread throughout Joppa.
Tabitha’s ability to testify of the saving grace of Jesus was greatly multiplied. Because she led a life of significance many souls were won to Christ.
How do we know Tabitha led a life of significance?
We know because her life made a heavenly difference in the lives of those surrounding her.
Tabitha did what she could with what she had. She also used her talents as a tool to minister to others. Her deeds allowed her to speak to the spiritual needs of the lost and to win them to the Kingdom of Heaven.
She hath done what she could.Mark 14:8
Tabitha’s life was one of significance. Did she seek significance?
Being a disciple of Christ, should one seek significance for themselves?
Tabitha was a disciple (student of the Word). How does being a student of the Word result in good works?
What will you be remembered for upon your decease?
Spring has sprung.
Yellow faces tilt their heads. Tulips stand ready to burst open. Purple blossoms color the ground.
Nine hopefuls are nesting under the mother hen as she patiently awaits their arrival. It is spring.
The guineas have made it through winter. They take their journey through the pastures seeking bugs. Seldom do they venture into the yard anymore now that the earth is warming and bugs are appearing.
Spring’s arrival gives new life to the farm. The dull browns turn to bright greens. The smell of overturned earth gives memory of fresh tomato sandwiches and cucumber slices.
Yes, spring has arrived. Its arrival is a testament to the promises of God.
While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.Genesis 8:22
Since the Great Flood of Noah’s day, this promise has not ceased.
The advance of spring shouts that winter is over. The time for planting has come.
We sow in expectation of a great harvest.
Blessed are ye that sow beside all waters, that send forth thither the feet of the ox and the ass.Isaiah 32:20
Planting in anticipation of a harvest brings a blessing from the Lord. It stirs hope in the planter’s soul. It also reminds us of another of God’s promises.
And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.Galatians 6:9
May the arrival of spring awaken us to the blessings God sends our way. May this season rejuvenate and energize you as you view God’s creation as it awakens from winter’s slumber.
Copyright 2019 by authorpeggyclark.com
When Job was in desperate need for encouragement, he needed his friends to encourage him. To their credit his friends did sit with him for a week without saying anything.
Sometimes there are no words that need to be said. Just being there is a comfort to someone in deep despair.
But then the true thoughts of his friends came forth. Instead of beseeching God for deliverance, they began to find fault.
“My friends scorn me: but mine eye poureth out tears unto God.”Job 16:20
Friends mean well. They want to help but sometimes their comfort seems harsh.
Job found his friends to be miserable company, but that did not stop Job from seeking comfort from the greatest comforter of all, his Saviour.
“O that one might plead for a man with God, as a man pleadeth for his neighbor!”Job 16:21
Job did not lose his faith during the greatest trial of his life. Instead, he drew closer to God than ever before.
“For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:
And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.”Job 19:25-26
Life does not always turn out according to our expectations. Job suffered great loss, yet God afterward abundantly rewarded him. We also will find many blessings if we keep our focus and faith in God above.
O Father, thank You for Your great mercies and love that You show toward us. When we find ourselves discouraged, may we realize that You and You alone can give the encouragement that we need.
Thank you for your faithfulness to us. May our faith not rest in people or people’s wisdom and advice, but in You and Your power alone.
No matter in what situation we find ourselves, may we respond with love and kindness. Give us a Christlike attitude and remind us of the great homecoming You are preparing for us in Heaven. Help us to continue in the faith until that great homecoming day.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
May you be encouraged to know that God loves you. He has not left you alone. You can call out to Him at anytime and know that He hears your prayers.
Thank you for commenting on any ideas that will help others to know how to encourage their friends when they need it.
Copyright 2019 by Peggy Clark
There was a powerful man. He wanted property that belonged to his neighbor so he set up a meeting at a local restaurant and asked his neighbor if he was willing to sell.
The neighbor refused which made the man very sad. He left the meeting pouting because of his inability to convince the neighbor to make a deal.
Later that night the man’s wife asked him why he was so depressed. After discussing his attempts to purchase the property, his wife conspired an evil plot.
The plot was carried out by those who were secretly hired by the wife. The neighbor, who was now seen as an enemy that stood in the way of her and her husband’s expansion plans, was to be promoted in front of the townspeople.
As the proceedings began, false accusations were brought before the people. The media was employed to put the attendants at the proceedings in a frenzy. A false narrative was given that stirred the people to react foolishly which caused the death of the neighbor. This happened even though the townspeople knew that the neighbor was a good man and worthy of the promotion.
The destruction of the neighbor was completed before any of the accusers’ credibility could be questioned.
After the funeral, the wife and her powerful husband confiscated the property leaving the neighbor’s wife and children unable to provide for themselves.
For a while the couple enjoyed the ill-gotten property. They thought their coverup was complete and felt no remorse over their evil deed.
All the neighbor’s hard labor in growing a successful vineyard seemed to have been wasted. His house was turned into a potting shed. The vines were removed and replaced with herbs and flowers.
The property became a private grove where the couple could entertain their rich friends and acquaintances. Business deals were made and celebrated there.
A message was delivered to the powerful man. The details revealed that Someone knew of his terrible deed. For a short while, the rich man felt sorrowful for what he had done. Yet, his wife continued her evil ways. It seemed that nothing could stop her from attacking all who opposed her continual pursuit of power.
The couple’s desire for more power and prestige led them to formulate a plan to take over a nearby city. They covenanted with another powerful man and engaged in efforts to take the city. While those plans were carried out, the husband was killed.
An opposition party arose that threatened the power and livelihood of the wife. Using her great power and hefty bank account, she was able to protect herself. She updated her appearance and used her words wisely to control those around her.
Thinking that she could control any man with her looks and her sly words, she boldly and confidently suggested that no one could rise to resist her. But soon her demise would come.
The wife rented a tower to proclaim her victory and authority over anyone who would come against her. Yet, those whom she abused day by day with her insults, derogatory language, and belittling remarks realized that there was no point in thinking that she would one day appreciate or care for their efforts to keep her happy.
Finally, her helpers saw that protecting this woman was depriving them of the life and liberty they desired for themselves. They were not prospering as she had promised them. The only ones who had prospered were the woman and her evil husband and their powerful friends. Suddenly, they realized that they had only been used to help this woman cover her evil and her harm of innocent people.
Once the helpers’ eyes were opened to the realization that they had been lied to and used only for the evil woman’s gain they made a choice to be truthful to themselves.
This was not the life that they wanted to live. This was not the woman they wanted to support.
As a short trial ensued, those who had previously supported the woman gave their testimony to the evil she had committed. They then assisted in the downfall of her and her kingdom.
This event in history reminds us that although evil may prevail for a time, governments and peoples are to follow the laws set forth by Almighty God. Eventually evil will be dealt with by God if those peoples and governments do not follow through with their God-ordained responsibilities.
God’s intervention in the above situation may have seemed delayed, yet God gives people a choice as to whether they will arise and do what is right and necessary to control evil. God waits to see how they will react when temptation is before them. Will the people choose evil or good?
No man or woman can do any deed, good or evil, and hide it from the All-Seeing Eye of God. We will all stand either before the Judgment Seat of Christ or before the Great White Throne of Almighty God.
Always remember, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.” Would you rather have the ‘wages’ or the ‘gift’?
Just so you know, the wicked wife had a choice too. She chose the wages and succumbed to a horrible death. Her pursuit of power had come to an end.
(For more intel on the story, see the Book of 1 Kings.)
©2018 by authorpeggyclark.com
Assorted characters, diverse personalities, uniformed staff pass as I stroll down the hallway. My mind thinks of strangers passing in the night.
To my left a child is crying. Nurses are bent over trying to console and yet do their duties.
Another left and a gentleman is being placed in a wheelchair surrounded by friends. Hopefully, he is going home.
Ahead, a young man rests his back and his left foot on the wall behind him, phone in hand, the broom by his side. Yet, I am thankful for I must pass into the room he needs to enter. He waits patiently.
It is an orderly place in a disorderly world. Or maybe it’s a disorderly place in an ordered world. I guess it depends upon our perception.
Fast forward and one sees flashes of concern, bewilderment, laughter, boredom, distraction, and confusion. It is an artist’s vignette of emotions, an author’s journal in character study. One can observe a vast portraiture of the human soul.
It is a place of contradictions.
The cafeteria helps to escape the silence, yet everyone is strangers. Patient rooms are filled with silence; yet voices try to fill the void.
Private rooms never seem private. Doors open and close. Another blood pressure check, and chit-chat rises and then falls with the closing door.
Patients pursue answers yet struggle to know the questions.
Professionals come trained to investigate, yet their examinations have no answer sheets.
Hospitals known for healing, and yet there exists such pain. Protocols meant to heal, and yet may leave one lifeless.
Visitors on a mission but find the patient has been dismissed.
“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.
He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.” Psalm 121:1-3
I may look unto this natural world seeking the help that I desire, but the help I need comes from the Lord Himself. He has made all things, even me.
God is my keeper. He stays alert even when I am asleep. No matter what may come against me, I am the Lord’s.
Suffering may abound, but it will not last forever. It is only a little season and cannot demand its own way. God is the Great Physician. He ruleth over all.
Eternity is but a breath away for everyone. But eternity for the righteous is an entrance into glory. All pain and suffering will the righteous leave behind.
One never knows when he or she will walk down the hallways of a hospital seeking answers for the sake of a loved one.
Yet there is One who has all answers and His name is Jesus. Because He is the Hope of the World, I can rest in His answer to my prayers for my loved one.
My friend, I hope you are ready for eternity. Don’t let a day pass that you do not call upon Jesus for the hope of eternal life. He waits for the call of those who seek His face and His deliverance.
Perfect healing may come on this side of eternity, but for those who cross through the shadow of death, only the righteous will experience perfect healing as they enter Heaven. I hope you are prepared.
May we meet in Heaven one day.
©2018 by Peggy Clark
As I wrote my last post (see Life’s Unexpected Adjustments or Crises?) I did not realize how soon life’s unexpected adjustments would come to a dear friend of mine.
I found the hospital number in my messages this morning. I called certainly not expecting to hear the word ‘cancer,’ but as the conversation continued I feared the worst.
Yes, the diagnosis is cancer. Yet, on the other side of the phone line the voice was amazingly calm and peaceful.
What can a friend do but cry? But there is hope.
Yes, I prayed with my dear friend.
Her thoughts were not on herself. She is a Christian and does not fear eternity. Her thoughts were on her loved ones that she wants to see in Heaven one day.
Will this diagnosis take her life?
Jesus already has her life. Cancer cannot take that away from her.
I pray for her complete healing.
God works in mysterious and miraculous ways. After all, Christ is the Great Physician. He knows what the body needs. It is no small thing for Him to heal in a moment’s time.
So life will be an adjustment for her and her family. Health, finances, schedules will all be changed.
Yet, one thing will not change. She will continue to be God’s child. God is her Heavenly Father and He will not forsake her.
We, as God’s children, have that promise continually. “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.”
So today is an adjustment from the normal. Tests are being run. Doctors will discuss with family their future plans.
Yet, one adjustment will not be made. Cancer will never defeat her. She is God’s and no weapon formed against her will stand. Eternity cannot rob her of her joy. For that, I am grateful.
I have a sister in Christ. And, IN CHRIST she will remain. To God be the glory!
I look forward to hearing her testimony of complete healing.
Thank you for your prayers for her speedy recovery.
©2018 by Peggy Clark
It has been the most unusual day. I am sitting in a parking lot outside a medical facility with my car hood up. My car has not overheated, but I have a split hose. Thankfully, an employee inside has offered to take my husband to an auto parts store during her lunch break.
While I am waiting for his appointment to be over, I have encountered a spider. I knock it off my skirt but have no idea where it is now. We will have to endure the heat and the car together.
Next the most unusual occurrence of all. As I look up in my mirror, I see a fawn running across the lawn. It must have been spooked from its hiding place or lost from its mother. I hope it can find its way back to where she left it.
So unexpected to see a fawn running across the grass in a highly visible location. (Photo by Vincent Van-Zalinger. Courtesy of Unsplash)
I have been sitting here reading about crisis points of belief. The author speaks of making major adjustments in our lives to follow God.
I am thinking of how thankful I am that I can be at peace no matter what happens. Not everything is a crisis even though circumstances may present themselves as such.
Life happens. Things wear out or decay. New things quit working properly. It is to be expected. Some things we can prepare for, but some take us by surprise.
No matter what happens or what adjustments need to be made in our lives, God is faithful. We can rely on the living God to take us through every situation.
We have now been to the auto parts store; the hose has been replaced; and we are on our way.
Yet, another encounter—a gentleman and his grandson are locked out of his vehicle. We offer our help. After much effort and assistance his door is finally unlocked.
I am thankful that my husband was not afraid or too proud to ask for help when we needed it. We were given assistance in our time of need. God was very gracious to allow the hose to break after we arrived at our destination and not in transit on the highway.
I think of the gentleman locked out of his vehicle. It reminds me of how horrible it would be to be locked out of a place much more important than a vehicle.
It would be tragic to be locked out of Heaven because we were too proud or too afraid to ask for the help we needed. Our Saviour stands ready to hear our heart’s cry. If we will admit our sinful condition, Christ Jesus will cleanse us, forgive us, and meet our needs.
Sometimes life does require adjustments. Schedules can change. Health can change. Financial conditions can change. Our jobs can disappear overnight. At such times we may experience a crisis of belief. We must remember, however, that God never changes. He remains faithful.
There is one adjustment for which we must be prepared. That adjustment will be our entrance into eternity.
Eternity waits for everyone. Which eternity we experience is our choice. There are only two doors.
Don’t wait until Heaven’s door is locked to ask for entrance to a glorious eternity. The other door leads to an eternal suffering no one wants to enter.
May you and I meet one day in eternity in Heaven’s glorious abode.
And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 5:23
©2018 by Peggy Clark
Peggy Clark is the author of So, What's the Latest News? Messages from a Prisoner in Rome. This commentary of Colossians may be purchased at Amazon and other online retailers.
Ever been told what to do but not given the directions?
What if someone told you to sell your house, pack your belongings, and leave without any idea of where you were to go?
Abram received such a call. The amazing thing is that he obeyed the call, sold his house and possessions, and started a journey not knowing where he went.
Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee. (Genesis 12:1)
God called Abram unto a place of which Abram did not know. God did not reveal the location to him, tell him a hotel room would be waiting, or what community services were available. He only knew he had heard God’s voice speak to him.
Abram in obedience began the journey away from what was secure to him, away from family, and away from familiar places. He had to trust that God knew what He was doing and where He was leading him. Because of his obedience God changed Abram’s name to Abraham.
In every place God spoke to him, Abraham took time to build an altar. The altar was a visible reminder that he had heard God speak.
Whenever Abraham began to wander, he had a physical place to which he could return and remind himself of God’s voice.
As we read about Abraham’s journeys in Scripture, we find that Abraham returned at various times to the altars he had built so that he could commune with God and regain his focus.
In our journey thru life, we can and should build altars that remind us of where God has brought us from to where He is taking us.
Keeping mementos and collecting souvenirs of places we’ve been become more precious to us the longer we live. The mementos bring back special memories tucked away in our hearts. The souvenirs remind us of precious time spent with family and friends.
Scripture speaks of stirring up our minds by way of remembrance (2 Peter 3:1). When and where did we hear God’s calling? What caused us to start down the path we are taking? How did we know this was the right job or the right school? How do we know we are in God’s will at this moment?
Abraham’s building of altars was his way of keeping a remembrance of important events in his life.
Writing two letters was Apostle Peter’s way of reminding the recipients of the words the prophets had spoken and the commandments that the apostles had given to the early church. Those letters are recorded in 1 and 2 Peter.
Today we build memorials to do the same. But how do we build personal memorials so we do not forget the important events in our own lives?
Some people keep scrapbooks.
Saving ‘scraps’ of life whether it be placemats from restaurants, postcards and stamps, or photos of birthday parties and anniversaries, and attaching them to pages in a book provides people a way to look back over their lives.
Those ‘scraps’ bring to their remembrance what might have been forgotten if they had not taken the time to memorialize them.
Keeping a journal is another way we can refresh our memories. Writing down why we are doing this or that can be invaluable when we feel as if we are stuck in life.
Recording goals and noting when those goals are attained helps us see the progress we are making.
Prayers jotted down and answers received encourage us when we find ourselves in need of another answer to our prayers. The noting of scriptures that gave us light during difficult times serve as reminders of God’s presence. Chronicling hard-learned lessons can prevent us from making the same mistakes again.
There are many types of journals, but in one respect they are all the same. They are a memorial of our lives lived daily.
Journals are a place we can return to when we forget where we are and a place where our remembrance can stir our minds to renew the plans God purposed for our lives.
A journal is a report card. It shows us that God has been at work in our past and reminds us that He is still at work in our present.
Did your parents keep a scrapbook of your childhood?
Do you keep a journal? If so, what type of journal do you keep?
In what way was Abraham’s building of altars like keeping a journal?
I encourage you to begin journaling your special moments if you have not done so.
How precious it would be to recall the words that you feel God has spoken to you when you find yourself needing to remember. I am sure Abraham was glad he had a place to remind himself of God’s words.
©2018 by Peggy Clark
Sitting in a Southern restaurant wondering why the staff hasn’t heard of a chicken and tomato biscuit with mayonnaise.
Everyone should have the opportunity to devour one of these at least once in their lifetime.
Summertime invokes the desire for a fresh slice of tomato on every sandwich. That is, if the tomato is freshly picked from the garden. Who cares for an unripe tomato — unless they’re fried, of course.
We wonder about people who don’t know about things we suppose they should know. Yet, how can they know if no one has told them?
Cut a freshly baked biscuit in half. Slather each half with your favorite mayonnaise.
Slice a ripe tomato. Place one or two slices on the biscuit. Salt and pepper if you like.
Add a piece of chicken, and wallah, you’re in for a treat.
Have a napkin handy.
While we’re enjoying our biscuits, let me introduce you to something even more wonderful.
I forget how many people don’t know about it. Yet, I am reminded that people are ignorant of the knowledge of this. They don’t know that they are kept from this because of their lack of understanding.
Let me introduce you to Truth. Truth is a living eternally-existent Being.
In Truth resides all truth. When someone does not know Truth, they do not realize Who they are missing.
Some people simply do not understand that they are alienated or separated from the eternal life that resides in Truth.
To know Truth is to be set free.
In fact, knowing Truth sets a person free from the blindness of his or her heart (John 8:32).
Truth then sends His Spirit to guide that person into all truth (John 16:13). Everyone who knows Truth hears His voice of truth as it is spoken unto them (John 18:37b).
Where can truth be found? Truth is found in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4:21).
All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge reside in Christ (Colossians 2:3). The great wonder is that He wants us to partake of those treasures.
Just as that chicken and tomato biscuit fills the longing in our hungry stomachs, Truth fills the longing in our hungry hearts.
Just ask Truth to fill you with truth. He will remove any blindness in your heart, and you will no longer be alienated from the life that is found only in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4:18).
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
By the way, I hope you enjoyed your chicken and tomato biscuit. Invite Jesus to eat the next one with you.
©2018 by Peggy Clark
It was time for wheat harvest. The days were very hot. Dad and Uncle Finley kept a close watch on the fields so that the wheat could be harvested at just the right moment.
They also kept a close watch on the sky. A hard rain and/or high wind could ruin the crop. That is a fearful thing for a farmer.
I can still see Uncle Finley eating grains of wheat as he leaned back against a wall. He would take the wheat tops and rake the seeds out into his hand and eat them.
As a child I was curious. I remember asking Uncle Finley why he was eating the seeds. He told me that the seeds were wheat and placed some in my hand and told me to eat them.
I looked at him strangely. I thought, ‘I have never eaten these seeds. Will they hurt me?’
Uncle Finley started telling me that the seeds were what we used to make our bread. In order to convince me, he also told me of other foods we make with wheat.
Yes, I ate the seeds. They were hard, of course, yet they were tasty.
Usually a farmer in our community came with his combine. The combine would thresh the wheat, separating the seeds from the chaff and straw. Then another man riding on the combine would pull a lever and let the grains of wheat pour into sacks.
The sacks of wheat were tied with twine and stored in our granary. Some would be used for flour; but most for feeding our animals.
The straw (the stems of the wheat plants) would be left behind in the field. Later, we would bind the straw into bales and store in the barn for bedding.
I remember times when we had to separate the wheat from the chaff by hand. Those were back breaking days.
The wheat would be spread out on a large white sheet. Each of us would take a corner and lift the sheet. Then we would fling the wheat up into the air so that the wind would carry away the chaff leaving the heavier grains of seed to fall back into the sheet. This process is called winnowing.
It seemed we could never get the wheat clean enough. Yet, when Mom saw that the wheat was finally clean, we would gather up the corners of the sheet so that we wouldn’t lose any of the precious grains. Then we would pour the grain into clean sacks and store for later use.
Those harvesting days help me to understand Scriptures such as Matthew 13:30 and Matthew 3:12.
“Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.” Matthew 13:30
“Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” Matthew 3:12
Jesus speaks of His children as being precious wheat. The floor is the world that He has created. The wind and other forces of nature are under His control.
Just as our family lifted the sheets and let the wind carry the chaff away, so will Jesus separate or winnow His precious seed from the chaff.
Jesus will gather his precious children into His garner which is heaven. And the chaff, those who rejected His love extended toward them, will be cast into an unquenchable fire.
Having harvested wheat, I understand just how precious each grain of wheat is. Plowing, disking, seeding, fertilizing, and harvesting is no easy task. It is very labor-intensive.
Neither has Jesus spared any expense, even giving His own life, so that at harvest time many souls will be ready for heaven.
I am glad that I am one of those that Jesus considers precious seed. I look forward to the day when He will garner me into heaven.
Are you one of those precious seeds? If not, you can be.
Let Jesus speak to your heart as you read these words from John 3:16-17; 36.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
Believe on Jesus the Messiah. Give your heart to Him today, and He will prepare you for heaven.
Then when Jesus winnows the peoples of the earth, you will be part of those who will be gathered to live with Him in heaven.
We recently moved our keets to their new home (biddy cage).
The keets seem to enjoy the fresh air and the ability to see beyond their protected space.
(Keets are baby guineas in case you didn’t know.)
One of the keets is especially adventurous. In fact, before we expected to move the keets to a larger space, this keet ‘flew the coop.’ Thankfully, I heard her (or his) activity before she got entangled in anything harmful.
Now in the biddy cage, this keet has already decided to roost on a low branch placed strategically inside the cage. She (or possibly he) is obviously a leader.
Being a leader can have its advantages and its disadvantages.
Inside the safety of the storage container (see previous post), the keets were kept warm under the heat of a light bulb. They had plenty of fresh water and food given to them daily. The container was kept clean (keets are messy).
Yet, this keet decided to try its wings and fly over the top and onto the floor in one of our bedrooms. If I had not heard its wings fluttering against a vent, this bird may have died from lack of food and water.
Because of this keet’s activities, the keets were moved outdoors. Within the protection of the biddy cage, this keet is now free to try her wings and encourage others to do the same.
Although we have not seen any of the other keets resting on the branch, I am sure that encouragement from this keet will have them following suit shortly.
To follow the adventurous keet as it flew out of the protective storage container could have been disastrous for the other keets. However, within the protection of the biddy cage, it is advantageous for the keets to follow in resting on the roost.
Just like the keets, children are young and inexperienced in the ways of the world. They do not understand that danger lurks outside the protective boundaries set by their parents and other caring adults.
Children repeat the words they hear, imitate the actions they see, and model their lives after those that are honored as leaders or heroes. Sadly, many times children follow the unwise and corrupt. Habits are formed which lead to destruction.
Children will follow the leader. However, it is important that the leader be knowledgeable and upright and praiseworthy. What is cultivated in the child is what has been honored before their eyes.
As we lead our children are we cultivating that which is praiseworthy? Are we cultivating what is honorable? Are we giving our children an example to imitate that follows truth and godliness?
Can we say as Paul did, “Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample” (Philippians 3:17)?
Children are great imitators. May they ‘mark’ those who walk wisely and follow their example.
©2018 by Peggy Clark
Seeing new life around the farm is a blessing. Blossoming faces lift themselves toward life-sustaining sunshine. Butterflies flit once again. And the sounds of animal babies mooing or peeping or meowing let us know that life continues even after winter’s long and harsh visit.
Keets have arrived. That’s baby guineas for newbies to farm life. They are a skittish bunch. I’m afraid we may have more males than we desire, but as long as they get along we will be okay.
Living quarters are a large plastic storage container with paper towels for flooring. We’ve discovered that keets like to scratch for their feed so the feeder has been removed. We also took out the shavings and replaced them with paper towels to accommodate their feeding habits.
The keets are a happy bunch. They huddle together, sing together, eat together, and sleep together in a corner of the bin. Life holds many exciting adventures for them. We pray that they will continue happily when we place them in a larger pen, and finally, to the yard.
New life is always welcome. It refreshes and cleanses away the dreary days of winter. The hope of new life gives us something to look forward to each day.
Anticipation is the promise of what can be if we will only look for it.
Anticipation is the promise of what can be if we will only look for it. Sometimes it makes us impatient wondering where new life can be found.
But new life is not far from any of us. In fact, it’s closer than we may imagine.
“Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.” John 4:10
Every living creature needs water to survive. The keets must have fresh water each day and I must give it to them. They cannot give it to themselves.
Life is the same. We cannot give ourselves life. It must come from someone else. Our parents birthed us into this world. They gave us what we needed to survive.
New life is the same. We cannot give it to ourselves. It must come from someone else. That someone else is Jesus Christ. Only He has the power to give it to us.
New life is eternal. It is spiritual. It lasts beyond this world.
“Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:
But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” John 4:13-14
Jesus the Messiah offers the water of life to all who will come to Him. His gift of new life sustains through all eternity.
“And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” John 17:3
Is there an obstacle looming before you? Do the circumstances of life hinder you from moving forward? Be encouraged. No obstacle is too large to overcome if you endure.
American pioneers traveling westward sought passageways through the majestic Rocky Mountain Range. Determination and grit led them to overcome the difficulties encountered as they faced the daunting heights and freezing temperatures.
Spurred on by their belief that a future and a hope lay on the other side of the seemingly impossible to climb obstacle, they crossed into a land rich with resources.
The fertile valleys gave families sustenance. Homes were built. Towns and cities sprung up. Businesses boomed. The quest for a better life was fulfilled for many even though it came at great cost.
Jesus is with us as we walk through our valleys and as we climb our mountains. His rod and staff guide us as we face each challenge of life. His promise to never leave us or forsake us is as true today as when He first spoke it.
We may have a “Rocky Mountain Range” looming before us. Yet, what we see as an obstacle hindering our movement forward, may instead be the gateway to a new and fulfilling ministry for Christ.
If it is, our view of the impasse does not hinder what lies ahead. God is not limited by our circumstances. Neither does any obstacle challenge Him or His resources. Instead, they are opportunities for Him to display His unlimited power.
Do not let opposition impede your progress. If God has told you move forward, then keep moving forward. Acknowledge Him every step of the way.
The howling winds, deep snows, and other weather conditions gave the pioneers limited opportunity to reach the other side of their obstacle. Your window of opportunity may be limited also.
Don’t let God’s promises to you slip away. Grasp hold of what He has for you.
And remember, the promise of Heaven is just ahead.
Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. James 1:12.
We think that we can control our destiny by the roads that we choose, but we cannot know what lies ahead or what awaits us at the end of the journey.
Concrete may lead us to major cities with skyscraper views, suspension bridges, and fancy restaurants.
Pavement may lead us to more rural areas, smaller towns, and private businesses.
Gravel slows our pace and lets us pay more attention to the various ways people live. We see more of the detail in housing, outdoor life, and personal preference.
But dirt. It’s the road most people are afraid to take. Where will we end up? What if we can’t turn around? What if there’s danger ahead?
But the dirt road narrows our vision to one place at a time. We become less distracted by all the busyness. We notice things we never do on other roads: the farmer milking the cow, the children playing on a swing-set, the mother hoeing the garden.
Suddenly we notice how the buildings are arranged, the particular plantings in the yard, the curtains swaying in the open windows, and the creative ways in which people erect their mailboxes.
We stop and discover new friends, partake of fresh fruits and vegetables, and learn about the history of the area.
That is, some do. Others stop and turn around in private driveways, never to return to discover what lies ahead. They are afraid to discover something new. They do not wish to travel down the unknown road.
My father loved traveling down the unknown roads.
This is how my father discovered where to buy the best molasses, where to pick the best peaches, and where to return for sourwood honey. We loved riding with him ‘just to find out where it leads. You never know where it might come out.’
I still like riding the backroads. People are always friendly, yet understandably less so today.
You never know where a road will lead you. Sometimes you find a valuable shortcut. Sometimes the road is long and winding and never seems to end, but you always see new places and meet new faces.
People still return a wave and a smile, but you would never have known unless you had ridden down the dirt road.
Do you have a special memory of traveling down an unknown road? Please share your comments below.
©2017 by Peggy Clark
It may seem like you are in a dark place now. It may not look like what God called you to do. But God in His wisdom knew you would need this experience to toughen you for the ministry ahead.
“But I trusted in thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my God.
My times are in thy hand.” Psalm 31:14-15a
Elijah’s calling was to preach to the leadership of his nation (1 Kings 17-18). He was even able to speak directly to the king.
I’m sure Elijah didn’t expect his next stop to be in the wilderness with no one with which to fellowship. When his water supply began to dwindle, he probably wondered what God was doing in his life.
Elijah’s ministry then grew from zero to two, a widow and her son. At least he had someone to talk to, that is, until tragedy struck.
The widow woman’s son died, and Elijah’s ministry was questioned. Yet, in the midst of tragedy, Elijah went to God in prayer and a miracle happened. The son was brought back to life.
From there Elijah would face the false prophets and false priests who deceived the nation. One man stood alone against so many.
Yet he knew he was not alone. He was on a mission from God.
Your mission may not seem as important as Elijah’s, but the soul of the widow woman was just as important to God as the nation’s repentance from the false religion that plagued the masses.
Your mission is just as important as Elijah’s. God knows where you are and He knows where you are headed.
This trial is preparing you. Meanwhile, God is preparing the soil to be receptive to the message He has given you.
God’s timing is perfect. Wait on Him to perform His plan through you.
We may not always understand what God is doing at any moment, but we know that God can always be trusted to do what is right. When you don’t see His hand at work, trust His heart.
“Let him know that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.” James 5:20
May your wilderness experience soon turn into pools of living water (See Isaiah 41:18).
Sometimes we fail to understand Your plan. Even Moses could not understand why he and the Hebrew children were led to the Red Sea. Yet, You opened the way which seemed impossible. You led them through on dry land.
When your people prayed, they failed to believe that You would answer their prayers and release Peter from prison.
When Paul and Silas prayed, the prison was shaken so that a jailer and his family could be saved.
When your enemies set John on the Isle of Patmos, they did not realize You would use John to write the words of Revelation.
You are Almighty God. Show your wonders and power to the discouraged missionary and grant him or her the strength to carry on Your mighty work until Your plan for their lives is accomplished.
Someone is waiting to hear Your gospel message. May the gospel find them through this missionary.
In Christ’s name,
©2017 by Peggy Clark
God kept His word and sent the flood.
Jesus was called Emmanuel, and He became the Saviour of the world.
God promised He would come again and take those who believe on Him to Heaven to be with Him forever; and He will.
What if the rapture were to take place today? Would you be prepared?
There is only one way to go to heaven. That is through the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
God has not failed to keep any of His promises. He will not fail to keep the promise of His soon return. I pray you are prepared to meet Him. If not, please ask Him to come into your heart today. I would love to hear about it.
©2017 by Peggy Clark
I Thessalonians 4:16-17
___________ The Lord will appear in the clouds.
___________ The saints begin their endless existence with the Lord.
___________ The trump of God will also sound.
___________ The voice of the archangel will sound.
___________ The dead in Christ will rise.
___________ The Lord will give a great shout.
___________ The living saints will be changed and raptured.
I love to see horses galloping across a mountain ridge, muscles bulging, nostrils exhaling steam in the crisp air. What a picture of strength and power to anyone who views such a sight.
Mankind has depended upon the strength of the horse to defeat his enemy in battle, but it is a strength upon which we are commanded not to depend. The strength that we must depend upon can only come from the Source of All Strength who desires to bestow us with power that confounds the unbelieving onlooker and draws their attention to Almighty God.
We each have leaned upon our horses of money, family, friends, and societal status. Our experiences have taught us, however, that these horses will not sustain us.
The Bible tells us about a man named Paul who leaned upon his horse of religious pride. He was a Pharisee of Pharisees, a Hebrew of the Hebrews, and considered himself blameless concerning the law. Some might say he was a bully who used the law to hide his own weaknesses.
Paul’s intention was to destroy the followers of Jesus. Yet he was brought to his face in the dirt on a road to Damascus. The brilliance of God’s presence stripped him to the foundation of his religious beliefs. The walls of his resistance were broken down by a voice from heaven, “[I]t is hard for thee to kick against the pricks” (Acts 9:5).
Left blinded, Paul’s companions led him by the hand into Damascus where he was left on Straight Street. When the dust settled, three days had passed before he finally regained any sight.
It was there on Straight Street where the Master Architect in Heaven began to reveal His plans for Paul’s life. Through the disciple, Ananias, God began laying a new foundation that would enable Paul to truly know Christ and the power of His resurrection.
Following God’s instructions, Ananias lay his hands upon Paul speaking words that opened the windows of Paul’s understanding. His life’s calling was revealed to him. He would be God’s witness to all men, experiencing great things “for Christ’s sake” (2 Corinthians 12:10).
Paul’s experiences “for Christ’s sake” soon revealed a path that would take him through mental, physical, and emotional suffering. Having a weak body and contemptible speech, his horse of self-sufficiency toppled. Seeking deliverance from his weaknesses, God’s words of wisdom came to him, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Humbled to submission, Paul realized that he could do nothing without the indwelling power of Christ. He became thankful for his weaknesses because those weaknesses revealed Christ’s strength at work through him. In fact, his weaknesses became the tools that God used to make his ministry powerful.
“Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).
What transformation must take place before we can truly become strong? With Paul, this transformation began with prayer, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” (Acts 9:6).
God gave Paul a simple instruction, “Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.” Paul obeyed and was led to the city of Damascus, and there the cracks in his foundation were replaced with the solid foundation that enabled him to truly stand for Christ.
As Paul yielded to God’s plan, his life was transformed. He found that he could do all things through Christ who strengthened him. The horses that he had previously depended upon were laid aside.
“And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:3–5)
Many are the stories that one could tell of those who “out of weakness were made strong” (Hebrews 11:34). Weakness is the catapult that drives us to God’s presence. It is the horse that bucks us into the arms of God’s abounding grace that is given to us as we submit to its transforming power to conform us to the image of Christ. We learn to embrace this misunderstood friend as we lay ourselves prostrate before a holy God and wait for His empowerment from on high.
Circumstances of life may have left us in difficult places. Yet as we yield to God’s transforming power, we will discover that He can make our lives fruitful regardless of any handicaps or weaknesses that hinder us.
Emptied of our own strength, we must acknowledge that the horses of this world cannot empower us. We must then choose to embrace the Source of All Strength, our Almighty God, who enables us to do all things through Christ.
My prayer for you today is that you will focus not upon your weaknesses but upon the One who can accomplish great feats through you that will confound unbelievers and draw them into the arms of the true Source of All Strength.
When you feel weak and defeated may the following verse be an encouragement to you. It has helped me tremendously when my weaknesses have tried to overwhelm me.
“And God is able to make all grace abound toward [me]; that [I], always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8).
Dear Father in Heaven, I realize I have no strength of my own. I confess that I have depended upon the horses of this world and they have failed me. I now lay them aside and embrace You as the Source of All Strength. I yield to Your transforming power. Enable me to fulfill Your purpose and follow Your plan for my life. Thank you for Your indwelling presence that will make my life fruitful and will empower me to do Your will through Christ my Saviour. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
All Scripture quotations above are taken from the King James Version of the Bible.
©2017 by Peggy Clark
And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. Ephesians 6:15
When I reminisce on the word shod I picture a rancher shoeing a horse. He carefully shapes each shoe and attaches each one to fit the horse’s hooves. They must be a perfect fit or they won’t protect properly.
The rancher knows that his horses need shoes to protect their hooves or they will not be able to do the work that he needs them to do. A limping horse is of no value to the rancher.
Recently my husband and I stopped at a shoe store. My husband wanted me to have a new pair of sandals. Thankfully, I found a pair that was comfortable.
The sales clerk placed them in a box and kept them safe at the counter while we continued to look. There were several pairs that we liked, but they did not fit the bottom of my feet properly. Not finding another pair we made our purchase and left.
Arriving home, the package was placed in the bedroom to be opened later. I will probably not open the package until I need the shoes inside.
I’m afraid that’s also what we do with our Bibles. We bring them home and place them on the end table or some other location to be opened later.
It’s not that we think the Bible is of no importance. It certainly is. But just as the rancher prepares his horse for the work he has to do, we are to prepare ourselves for the work God has us to do.
For the sandals that I purchased to be of any value to me, I must take them out of the package and put them on my feet. I must shod myself with my shoes to protect my feet from stones and other debris that would cause harm. I do not wish to endure the pain of a stumped toe or jagged cut.
Just as the rancher prepares his horse’s hooves to be fitted with shoes, I must prepare myself to be fitted with the gospel of peace.
To shod myself with the gospel of peace I must open the Bible and absorb its words. As I shod myself with God’s Word, I am being provided with the protection that I need to walk through the debris of life.
A turn onto the wrong path can leave me limping through life. Instead, I want to walk through God’s fields with a healthy and Christ-honoring stride.
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand.
Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. Ephesians 6:13-16
Life is short.
Not that anyone notices.
However, a quick trip through any graveyard will reveal the various ages when people die.
My family realized this when my five-year-old daughter’s best friend died in a freak accident.
Yes, even five-year-olds die.
I realized it as a young person when several friends of mine died needlessly.
I also realized it as an adult when my father died in his fifties. Since then I have realized it when my grandmothers and grandfather died. (My other grandfather died before I was born.)
Since life is so short, of what should it consist?
What makes life truly worth living?
And if life has any value, what value should we give it?
It is our purpose on this earth that gives us value. A man or woman without purpose has little life for which to live.
What is it that gives us the desire to live?
My father had said that he would never have heart surgery again. This was before all the modern advances that reduced the surgical procedure’s invasiveness.
However, the time came when he spoke of heart surgery again. I told him I thought he would never have surgery again.
He replied, “When it comes to dying, a man will do anything to live.”
Those words stuck in my mind.
People tell me they wouldn’t want to be in such and such a condition and would want to die instead.
It is then that I remember the words of my father and realize that people do not know what they will desire until they face death themselves. It is then that life takes on added meaning.
It is the desire to live that gives new purpose to life even though the focus changes when we must face death ourselves.
Then the time has come to heal old wounds, make the apologies we should have made long ago, tell our loved ones how much we love them, and reach out to others with the compassion we never had before.
Yes, life has value down to the end of our last breath.
Even our last words have purpose. They set a pattern for the future of our families.
Our last words can leave our loved ones with a blessing or a curse.
Jacob blessed his children before he climbed back into bed and gave up the ghost (Genesis 49).
David blessed Solomon and gave him wise counsel that directed the future of the kingdom of Israel (1 Kings 2).
Jesus blessed the disciple John and gave him the responsibility of caring for Jesus’ earthly mother (John 19:26-27).
Our lives affect the future of others.
Soldiers are willing to die on the battlefield because they want their families to have a future.
The men at the Alamo gave their lives so Texas would one day be free from Mexican rule.
Shammah stood in the middle of a bean patch and fought against the enemy so his people would have food (2 Samuel 23:11-12).
Jesus gave His life on a cross so that all people could have a future and a hope. His last words as recorded in Luke 24:46-49 gave his disciples understanding and future direction for their lives.
Whether we understand our value or not, others need us to fulfill our purpose.
Fulfilling our purpose will give meaning to our lives.
Copyright 2017 by authorpeggyclark.com
“Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.” Proverbs 31:10
King Lemuel’s mother gave her son valuable lessons concerning the pitfalls into which any son can fall prey. She was highly concerned that he be guided properly, so she bore this role personally.
This mother knew that if her son did not conduct himself properly in these two areas, his authority over his kingdom would be damaged and his judgment thwarted.
To protect his future kingship, she wisely advised him:
“Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings.
It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink.” Proverbs 31:3-4
The list of attributes describing the virtuous woman that this mother desired for her son may seem challenging to today’s woman but are basically contained in two words which this mother used to teach an important lesson to her son.
Lemuel’s mother wanted to instill in Lemuel the value of a good woman. To do this, she placed the image of a ruby in his mind.
As a man in training for kingship, young Lemuel would be taught the value of gems and their use in commerce.
Precious stones were given by visiting royalty as presents unto kings. Lemuel had to be able to distinguish quality between the various stones presented.
Large transparent rubies are rarer than diamonds. Thus, the value of a natural, transparent ruby is more than that of a diamond.
Obviously, this mother realized that a virtuous woman would be someone for whom Lemuel would have to diligently seek. A virtuous woman was not a common commodity.
The more transparent a ruby is the greater the value. Although all rubies have some flaws, the less imperfections a ruby has, the more it is desired.
When a woman is transparent, she has nothing to hide. She allows her husband to see her as she is. She does not try to put a veil over his eyes as to her character.
A ruby can be heat treated to remove some internal flaws.
Trials and afflictions are the fires that God uses to purify man. A virtuous woman can endure those trials and afflictions and remain true.
It takes an expert to distinguish between a natural and a man-made ruby.
God is the expert that can discern a woman’s heart and her motives. A wise man will seek God’s will when contemplating courtship. His eyes cannot see into a woman’s heart, but God’s eyes can.
“The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.” Proverbs 31:11-12
Men consider trust a major factor in describing a healthy marriage.
If a man feels he cannot confide in his wife, if he feels she has betrayed his confidences, he will stop entrusting her with his words. This may lead him to seek spoil or an unscriptural relationship with another.
Many marriages end because another woman chose to listen to a married man’s words and keep them in confidence, thus drawing the man away from his wife.
The advice that King Lemuel’s mother gave was directed in such a way that King Lemuel would be able to understand the consequences of unwise choices. She turned his focus upon his own heart and how it would be affected by those choices.
The choice that he would make as to a wife would do him good or do him evil all the days of his life.
He could choose that which was more valuable than rubies in which he could safely invest his heart and profit, or he could choose that which was of less value and loose his investment and suffer loss.
“Who can find a virtuous woman?”
She is described as transparent and trustworthy.
She reflects what is inside of her, the character of Christ. She is a haven for her husband and keeps his words close to herself.
Her motives are pure, showing her intent to protect her husband’s heart. Therefore, she is given the liberty to accomplish all that the Proverbs 31 woman had liberty to accomplish.
The virtuous Proverbs 31 woman could involve herself in such activities as described in Proverbs 31:13-24 because she could be trusted to do those things without bringing shame to her husband or her household.
The Proverbs 31 woman was portrayed, not by her performance, but by the transparency of her true nature.
King Lemuel’s adopted course of action hopefully brought him a Proverbs 31 woman that he safely trusted in all his days.
I met a new potter this weekend while taking pictures at an event I attended. Since I love pottery, we struck up a conversation and “friended” each other. Her work was beautiful, especially the various mugs and trays that she had on display.
Although there are several potters who work in my area, each potter’s work is unique.
Not only are their individual items uniquely made, but the colors used and patterns applied are unique to each potter.
That style is brought out by hands that carefully mold and form from the potter’s viewpoint and vision.
Sometimes the clay wishes to cooperate with the potter. Sometimes it does not. The potter patiently places the clay back on the wheel until finally the clay submits to the potter’s wishes.
It’s not that the potter doesn’t consider the clay’s texture or color or strength. The potter knows those things. But the potter also knows what the clay can become when it yields itself to his or her touch.
He or she sees it in all its beautiful form as finished and sitting on a customer’s table. He or she knows its usefulness and the blessing it will be as it pours out its contents to those who sit at the table.
It’s the same way with our Master in Heaven. He is the Great Potter who forms us and molds us to be the vessels that will bless those for whom we are poured out in service for Him.
He is the author and finisher of our faith. One day our faith will end in sight.
One day soon we will see our Great Potter face to face. May He say of us in that day, “Well done!”
Copyright©2017 by Peggy Clark
Photos © by Peggy Clark
Peggy Clark is the author of So, What's the Latest News? Messages from a Prisoner in Rome, available from WestBow Press, a division of Thomas Nelson & Zondervan. Check out her blog at https://sowhatsthelatestnews.info.
What is the potential in having a lot of empty vessels?
A case of canning jars sitting on the back porch collecting dust may not seem to be of much value to a passerby.
However, a person with knowledge and insight can see past the emptiness of the jars to the potential they hold.
Yes, those empty jars may have little value. But once they are filled with green beans or tomatoes or pickles, suddenly they have great value.
Those once empty jars now have the potential to feed starving souls. They have the potential to sustain and maintain others’ needs. They can also be reused again and again.
Are we like those empty vessels sitting on the porch collecting dust?
Have we limited our potential by remaining empty?
“[B]ut be filled with the Spirit.” Ephesians 5:18
As we allow ourselves to be filled with the Spirit of Christ, we overflow into the lives of others.
Our fullness sustains others with our encouraging thoughts, words, and prayers. Our fullness flows into the lives of others as we share our blessings. Those blessings meet others’ needs as well as our own.
“It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35
As the contents of a jar is replaced with another substance (invisible air is replaced with visible blessing), so our ‘self’ is replaced by the fullness of Christ.
“that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:19
As Christ lives in the vessels He fills, Christ is served to others.
Others enjoy our fullness in Christ and receive added blessing. Their vessels receive hope and are filled with potential. Their souls can then receive the valuableness of having Christ, the only One who can truly give sustenance and meaning to life.
He came to give us life and that “more abundantly.” John 10:10
You may wish to pull out those empty jars and fill them with blessings that can be shared with others. Whether it be vegetables, plants, flower arrangements, or spare change, empty vessels were created to be used. They provide a means of storing our precious items for a later time.
You were created with potential. Christ’s desire is for you to be filled with Him. His grace and mercy is offered to you. May you be all that Christ has created you to be.