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The Soul’s Worth

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the soul’s worth

Matthew 6:25-34 
Aren’t you far more valuable to [God] than they are? (Matthew 6:26).

Reflect on the imagery of Matthew 6:26. Follow Jesus’ suggestions. Look at the birds in your yard. Consider how God cares for and values them. How much more does God value you?

Where do you find it difficult to believe that you possess deep value? Over the next week, sing “O Holy Night”—and sing it loudly!

O Holy Night” is a Christmas hymn we need to sing loudly. We need to sing it during Advent and Christmas—and if I had my way, we’d belt it out every month of the year. These lines tell us a deep truth:

Long lay the world in sin and error pining

’Til He appeared and the soul felt its worth

When God, in an act of ultimate humility, came to us as a mere child and then suffered as only Jesus could suffer, we learned something about the vast value God places on us. Christmas offers many truths, but surely this is one: You are of great worth to God.

Taking these cues, I bring you a prayer and a blessing: To all who’ve been dismissed or tossed aside; to all who, made bitter by the cracks in your story, now tremble or seethe at the mention of ”love”; to every weary-boned parent saddled with regret or loss or despair; to every child, grown yet still yearning for tenderness and acceptance; to every one of us who compulsively judge our reflection in the mirror or replay conversations over and over or carry every criticism to a dark, dark place; to each of us who are ashamed of our fears and our machinations and who hide the fact that in our own sophisticated ways we still have to leave the light on at night . . .

I pray that you will know, these beautiful days, the profound worth of your soul, the sturdy weight of your being. There is an astounding splendor in you—and I know this because the God of all beauty and power has called you into existence. And God delights in the sheer presence that is you. In these days, I pray you sing this song aloud—and I pray you’ll sing it to one another.

From: Our Daily Journey

 

The Hope of Christmas

 

“Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” Psalm 42:5

We talk a lot about hope.

We hope the weather will be good for our family vacation. We hope that our favorite team will win the Super Bowl—or at least make it to the big game! We hope that we get just what we want for Christmas.

But for many of us, hope lacks a sense of certainty. It is more like a wish—something that we want to happen but have no way of knowing that it ultimately will. So we keep our fingers crossed and “hope” that everything will go the way we want it to.

The reality is that often life doesn’t turn out the way we hoped it would. Hope is a fragile commodity. When life is disappointing, our optimism is replaced by feelings of discouragement and hopelessness. Before long we run the risk of becoming cynics who believe that there is nothing in which we can confidently hope.

This was the landscape of life when Jesus entered the world. The prevailing mood of Israel was anything but hope. The once proud nation was now a puppet state of the pagan Roman Empire. The common person lived under the defeating burden of the exaggerated requirements of the religious establishment. Centuries before, they had been promised a deliverer who would restore Israel to its former glory, but it had never happened.

Into this sense of cynical hopelessness, true Hope was born. But the tragedy of that first Christmas was that very few realized the hope that had been introduced. Hope for the forgiveness of sins. Hope for a bright future—forever. Hope for God’s presence and power in daily living. Hope that would enable us to forget the past and set our sights on stuff that doesn’t disappoint. A hope that, because of Jesus, is a certainty and not just another wish to be dashed on the rocks of reality.

I love the honesty of the psalmist who said, “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me?” We’ve all been there. But let’s not stop there. Keep reading! “Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God” (Psalm 42:5). Rejoice that Jesus came to give you something better than the disappointments of life on planet earth. And when by faith you embrace Him and all that He promised, you can have a hope that is no longer a fingers-crossed wish that you harbor in your heart, but rather a confident, courageous optimism that is rooted in the certainty of His Word.

From: Get More Strength.org

 

The Hidden Life

. . . your life is hidden with Christ in God —Colossians 3:3

The Spirit of God testifies to and confirms the simple, but almighty, security of the life that “is hidden with Christ in God.” Paul continually brought this out in his New Testament letters. We talk as if living a sanctified life were the most uncertain and insecure thing we could do. Yet it is the most secure thing possible, because it has Almighty God in and behind it. The most dangerous and unsure thing is to try to live without God. For one who is born again, it is easier to live in a right-standing relationship with God than it is to go wrong, provided we heed God’s warnings and “walk in the light” (1 John 1:7).When we think of being delivered from sin, being “filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18), and “walk[ing] in the light,” we picture the peak of a great mountain. We see it as very high and wonderful, but we say, “Oh, I could never live up there!” However, when we do get there through God’s grace, we find it is not a mountain peak at all, but a plateau with plenty of room to live and to grow. “You enlarged my path under me, so my feet did not slip” (Psalm 18:36).

When you really see Jesus, I defy you to doubt Him. If you see Him when He says, “Let not your heart be troubled . . .” (John 14:27), I defy you to worry. It is virtually impossible to doubt when He is there. Every time you are in personal contact with Jesus, His words are real to you. “My peace I give to you . . .” (John 14:27)— a peace which brings an unconstrained confidence and covers you completely, from the top of your head to the soles of your feet. “. . . your life is hidden with Christ in God,” and the peace of Jesus Christ that cannot be disturbed has been imparted to you.

From: My Utmost For HIs HIghest

The Perfect Role model

 

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The Perfect Role model

I have had a lot of things happen in my life that I have overcome. I am 15 years old. I have had good things happen in my life, and bad things happen in my life. I am very sensitive to other people’s feelings and I love to make people smile. My goal in life is to never regret anything that made me smile. Right now in my life I am going through a lot. As a teenager, I try my hardest to be accepted. Sometimes I try too hard, and I stress out, which is not a good thing. My role model would most likely be my grandma Bonnie; she was the definition of perfect. When she was in high school she loved to dance. She had boys falling at her feet in awe of her beauty. She was always smiling and happy. I would call her every day to tell her about my day, and if I had a bad day she would help me think positive, and to think that tomorrow is a new day and I need to forget what had happened that day. I loved her more than I love my mom. I told her things I would never imagine to tell my mom. She never judged me and loved me no matter what mistake I made. She was about 76 when she was diagnosed with cancer. I was devastated because I know what cancer does to people. She started to go through chemo therapy and started to lose her hair. I would still spend a lot of time with her when she was actually able to. She was always in the hospital or sleeping. I hated seeing her like that; it was heartbreaking to know she was hurting inside. She liked to feel beautiful but she couldn’t because she didn’t ever have time or energy to put on makeup or curl her hair. It got to the point where my grandpa had to go out and buy her yogurtland; strawberry was her favorite; and he would have to feed her. One day I came over to see how she was doing; I hadn’t seen her in two months; I walked into her room and she was bone skinny and no hair. Her eyes her crisp and dry, I could see the pain in her eyes; but she still smiled which made me smile. It was so hard to hold back from crying, it was probably the hardest thing I could ever do. I wanted to jump on her and give her a big hug but I know it would hurt her. She was so weak that she couldn’t even speak. My caring grandpa came in and gave me a bowl of yogurtland to give to her. I took it from his warm hands and I took a small spoonful and held it out for her to eat, she opened her mouth as much as she could and ate it. I couldn’t help but shed one tear down my face. I blinked a bit and got another spoonful, held it out and she ate it. I look at her beautiful blue eyes looking off into the wall as if it was a never ending valley of land. I look to where I think she was looking, I saw nothing but a wall of her and my grandpa’s wedding 61 years before. There were also photos of her posing in her beautiful costumes from her dances back in the day. She was so flawless. I shed another tear as I blink my eyes in amazement in her beauty. As I look back at my grandma, her eyes were closed, with a wet tear lying on her cheek. I felt my stomach drop a million feet into the ground; it can’t be, this cannot be happening. I set the cup down and touched her arm, she was cold as ice. I cringe back in my chair and I say;
“Grandma?” I ask
No response.
“Grandma?” I ask again, waiting for her response.
She did not answer. I jump up so quick, sprint to my grandpa and tell him to go look at grandma, quickly. He speed walks to the back room where she lays, so quiet, so pale. I cannot believe my eyes. He starts to feel her pressure point on her upper neck, then her wrist, I can see his hands shaking. He looks at me with a painful glare; I stare back, straight into his eyes. He blinks one long blink, and then opens with tears running down his face. He walks up to me and gives me one long hug; I could hear his heart beating so fast, and loud. I started to cry in his strong, comforting arms. He lets go and walks past me into the kitchen; picks up the phone and calls 911. I look back at my grandma that I was feeding less than 10 minutes ago. I walk up to her, wiping the tears off my face and I lay on the bed, right next to her. I lay there praying to God, thanking him for taking her home, to where she doesn’t have to feel pain anymore, where she can dance again, and where she can meet the one who blessed her with the life she had, God. I look over at her closed eyes and wonder what her last thought was before she passed away. I slowly got up, leaned over the side of the bed, and stood straight up, not being able to believe what just happened. I walk to where my grandpa was sitting in the kitchen;
“What do we do now?” I asked
“Just wait” replied my Grandpa.
“Ok” I said
So we waited ten minutes and the ambulance arrived. They knocked quietly and my grandpa opened the door. I wait where I was and they all walk to the room where she lay and I call my parents. I ask for them to pick me up because my grandma passed away. My dad stayed to be comfort his dad. My mom took me home and I went straight to my room. I cried for hours and hours, until I finally fell asleep. I woke up the next morning and I just curled up in my blankets and just had to try to wrap all this around my head; she’s gone. No more lunch dates, no more painting nails, no more fun laughs. Sometimes it’s hard to let go of the ones you love, but you want to know how I stay positive? Just keep smiling.

From: www.values.com

 

God Awareness

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Simposious offers “Our Daily Bread” for your Sunday devotion.

GodAware

 — by Cindy Hess Kasper
Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! —Romans 11:33

On the FlightAware website, Kathy checked the progress of the small plane her husband Chuck was piloting to Chicago. With a few clicks, she could track when he took off, where his flight was at any moment, and exactly when he would land. A few decades earlier when Chuck was a pilot in West Africa, Kathy’s only contact had been a high-frequency radio. She recalls one occasion when 3 days had passed before she was able to reach him. She had no way of knowing that he was safe but unable to fly because the airplane had been damaged.

But God was always aware of exactly where Chuck was and what he was doing, just as He is with us (Job 34:21). Nothing is hidden from His sight (Heb. 4:13). He knows our thoughts and our words (1 Chron. 28:9; Ps. 139:4). And He knows what will happen in the future (Isa. 46:10).

God knows everything (1 John 3:20), and He knows you and me intimately (Ps. 139:1-10). He is aware of each temptation, each broken heart, each illness, each worry, each sorrow we face.

What a comfort to experience care from the One of whom it is said, “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!” (Rom. 11:33).

Beneath His watchful eye
His saints securely dwell;
That hand which bears all nature up
Shall guard His children well. —Doddridge
We can trust our all-knowing God.
From: Our Daily Bread

Your Influence Is Important

 

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Your influence on the universe

I read the first chapter of “A Brief History Of Time” when Dad was still alive, and I got incredibly heavy boots about how relatively insignificant life is, and how, compared to the universe and compared to time, it didn’t even matter if I existed at all.

When Dad was tucking me in that night and we were talking about the book, I asked if he could think of a solution to that problem. “What problem?” “The problem of how relatively insignificant we are.”

 

He said, “Well, what would happen if a plane dropped you in the middle of the Sahara Desert and you picked up a single grain of sand with tweezers and moved it one millimetre?” I said, “I’d probably die of dehydration.” He said, “I just mean right then, when you moved that single grain of sand. What would that mean?”

 

I said, “I dunno, what?” He said. “Think about it.” I thought about it. “I guess I would have moved a grain of sand.” “Which would mean?” “Which would mean I moved a grain of sand?” “Which would mean you changed the Sahara.”

 

“So?” “So?” So the Sahara is a vast desert. And it has existed for million of years. And you changed it!” “That’s true!” I said, sitting up. “I changed the Sahara!”

 

“Which means?” he said. “What? Tell me.” “Well, I’m not talking about painting the Mona Lisa or curing cancer. I’m just talking about moving that one grain of sand one millimetre.”

 

“Yeah?” “If you hadn’t done it, human history would have been one way …” “Uh-huh?” “But, you did do it, so …?”

 

I stood on the bed, pointed my fingers at the fake stars, and screamed: “I changed the universe!” “You did.”

Source: “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” by Jonathan Safran Foer

 


 

A turn of the screw

There was an industrialist whose production line inexplicably breaks down, costing him millions per day. He finally tracks down an expert who takes out a screwdriver, turns one screw, and then – as the factory cranks back to life – presents a bill for £10,000.

Affronted, the factory owner demands an itemised version. The expert is happy to oblige: “For turning a screw: £1. For knowing which screw to turn: £9,999.”

Author: Oliver Burkeman in “The Guardian Weekend”, 13 August 2011

 

From: Rogerdarlington.com.