Letters From Home

63706_315156658584187_129777671_n“Mary carried her Bible everywhere she went.  Tucked inside her purse or coat pocket, it never left her side.   Like a cherished keepsake and without fail, every chance she got throughout the day, the words from its worn pages brought her inspiration, comfort, instruction and hope.  One day someone asked her, ‘why’ …  To the stranger’s question she replied, without even having to contemplate what she would say, ‘These are my letters from home.'”

The Bible is like a treasure box filled with letters from distant relatives whose stories guide and shape our lives.  Like pilgrims who have traveled to a promised, far away land, they journeyed to new horizons and braved the challenges of this life, while sharing their experiences and faith with you and me.   From cover to cover, the Bible is God’s amazing gift to us- a collection of love letters from our Father Creator and the story of His Son, Jesus Christ- interwoven within a tapestry of personal accounts which reveal God’s character- His sovereignty, wisdom and power, along with His deep and endearing love, grace, and mercy.

As we read our letters, they instruct and inspire us, reminding us to keep seeking, keep following, keep trusting, keep praying, keep loving, keep marching, and to keep believing that we will one day reach the Promised Land- our heavenly home- where we will, at last, be with our beloved Father and with our precious LORD and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Have you taken the opportunity lately to open the Bible and read God’s letters, written with love to you- His dear child? If you haven’t, I encourage you to do so. If you find the King James Bible difficult to read, find a translation like the NIV or the Holman Christian Bible.

Open to the book of John.  It is the fourth book in the New Testament.  John is a wonderful place to start because the author tells the story of Jesus in such a beautiful way. From His existence with God the Father at the time of creation, to His birth as a human child and His miracles and teachings, to His heart-felt prayer for you and me in the Garden of Gethsemane, and to His cruel crucifixion- every line reveals more of God’s character and endearing love for us, His children.  But the story doesn’t end in sorrow, for Jesus rose from the grave, conquering death for all eternity,  and making a way for you and me to live with Him forever in peace and harmony in our heavenly home! That’s right.  this earthly life isn’t all there is!

God loves you more than you could ever comprehend.  And He left you a treasured keepsake, filled with His words of love and guidance.  They are for you- His beloved Son or Daughter. He knows you and His desire is that you know and love Him.   He longs for the day when you run into His arms and call Him “Father”. He is waiting for you to read the letters He sent and to know His love for you. He has a plan for your life, just as He did for Mary.  She found direction in the letters He sent her and so can you!

If you want to know God’s love and His plan for you, then take time- right now. Open the Bible and read your Letters from Home.

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Without God

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Through trial and sorrow, blessing and joy, as I’ve walked this earth from day-to-day…I can honestly say that, without GOD, this pretty much sums it up.

Having a personal relationship with one’s Creator brings true meaning to this life and to one’s daily walk!

Think about it.  Make Him part of your life every day.  Talk to Him…walk with Him.  He will bring you hope, renewed strength, and a peace that simply can not be explained.  And, if you don’t know Him, just call out to Him…seek Him…desire to know Him.

God spoke to the Israelites through the prophet, Jeremiah, saying,

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”  Jeremiah 29:13 (NIV)

And His words are true for us today. He’s still speaking!

Discover Who your Creator really is, and you will never be the same!

In the Love of Christ,

Angela

The Principle of Character

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“Character cannot be developed in peace and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision be cleared, ambition insured and success achieved.”

– Helen Keller

There is something of great truth in this quote by Helen Keller.  I’m sure that many are familiar with her story and of the nearly impossible circumstances she faced as a child.  The principle of character is one which young Miss Keller learned first hand, being trapped in a world of unimaginable isolation and suffering as a young girl who was blind, deaf, and unable to speak or effectively communicate her needs.  With the help of her dedicated teacher, Anne Sullivan, Helen overcame great odds in learning to emerge from a dark, silent world to become the person God had intended her to be.  In so doing, she made a difference in this world by bringing hope and inspiration to countless others through her life’s testimony.

John 10:10 speaks of the abundant life Jesus came to offer us, in and through His redeeming blood and by the power of His Holy Spirit.  We must only choose to believe. Accepting Him as Lord and Savior is the first step in our pilgrimage. But in order to become truly like Him and grow in character, we must at times be molded, shaped, and tempered in the fires of adversity.

I find so much encouragement in the New Testament, both in the words of our Lord Jesus, as He instructs us directly, and in those of His servants, like the Apostle Paul.

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 8:35-39 (KJV)

Paul understood so well what his suffering would achieve and that it was only temporal.  Led by the Holy Spirit, he wrote such words of encouragement like these to the church at Corinth:

“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed…For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”  2 Corinthians 4:6-18 (KJV)

My friend, remember today, as you may experience periods of trail and suffering in this world, perhaps due to illness, a tragic loss, near devastating circumstance, or even because of the judgments and persecution of others- remember the words of a true servant of Christ and God’s words of comfort to you and me:

“And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”  Romans 5:2-5 (NIV)

May the Lord comfort and uplift you today!  Stand true to what you have believed and be assured that, as you allow your light to shine and do good to others, your labor is not in vain.  Cling to the promises in God’s Word and never give up on the dream He has placed in your heart! Persevere with the hope of Christ’s return and His love in your heart, and you will grow in both spirit and character!

May God bless you today and guide you to becoming all He created you to be!

Love in Christ,

Angela

God’s Power In Our Weakness

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I was feeling rather disheartened and frustrated, even discouraged, like I was being pulled in many different directions, all the while trying to offer my best to the Lord and to those around me. Yet, no matter how hard I tried or what I had given, it seemed as though it was never enough.

Have you ever felt that way? I’m certain you have.

In those moments of desperation I cried out to God, “What do I do now, Lord? I love my family and am doing everything I possibly can to be there for them, to serve others in the ways You have called me to, to be a good friend, and to live according to Your Word. But it seems like I just can’t do enough! I’m weary, worn and discouraged…please help me, Lord!”

Have you found yourself in a similar place? Have you felt as though you couldn’t possibly be everything others seemingly need or want you to be? Have you felt as though others just don’t understand there is a limit to what you can be and do for them? That’s how I was feeling at the time and how I have felt at various other times in my life.

Because of a chronic illness, I find that often my body just will not cooperate with what my heart and mind long to do. In my weakness, I find myself  feeling inadequate at times, like I’ve let others down, especially my family and those closest to me. Though the desire of my heart is to fulfill every reasonable expectation others may have of me or whatever task I am needed or have committed to do.  Yet my body doesn’t always cooperate. As a result, I am forced to limit myself to what I am actually able to accomplish. And this may vary from day-to-day or week-to-week, even throughout the course of a single day.

Joni Eareckson Tada once wrote concerning human weakness,

“Deny your weakness, and you will never realize God’s strength in you.”

Based on what Scripture has to say, I have to agree with her.  Throughout the years the Lord has taught me that with perseverance there is sweet reward in drawing nearer to my Savior and operating in His power.  It is in those situations that I must rely on His strength to carry me through to accomplish the task before me. During those difficult days, when I have given all I can give, and still, to those around me (and even to myself), it seems like it just isn’t enough, I find comfort in knowing that my loving Savior understands my weakness.  And He is always there to be my strength as I am yielded to His will.

The Apostle Paul expressed it so well, speaking about our Lord, Jesus Christ, in 2 Corinthians 12:9:

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

I have come to realize, through adversity, that it isn’t about me or my weakness.  It’s about His power and that power is brought to perfection in the midst of my frailty, even in my brokenness.  God’s light, the Savior’s light,  comes shining through all the cracks and flaws!  He is my source of strength and power!

God uses imperfect people to accomplish His perfect plan.  All you and I must do is trust in Him, yield to Him, admit and embrace our weakness, knowing that HIS power is an ever constant source of life and regeneration– not only for ourselves, but for those we serve!

Romans 5:3-5:

“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

In Christ’s Love,

Angela

Deeper Roots

136585801169263658_jFAOn2jC_cDuring difficult times in our lives, when we are tossed about by the winds of adversity, our hearts flooded by torrents of pain, or parched from the heat of intense trials…during those times, in our desperation, we have need of a strength that is beyond our own.  We need a calm, a peace, that passes our own understanding.  We seek out One who is wiser, greater, stronger than we…because what we need during those times can only be found by looking into the heart of our Creator.

Jeremiah 17:7-8: “But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him.  He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.  It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

Draw near to the LORD, seek Him in your heart and through His Word.  Become rooted and grounded in His love.  And you will flourish, though everything around you may be raging like a storm or withering as though from drought.  You will be established in Christ…and in HIM, you will find the strength to stand strong!

God’s Strength & Peace to You Today,

Angela