To Forgive

Written by: Carolyn Ruttan

Have you ever gone through something so dark and painful, that you thought you would never make it? That things would never be ok again? Have you ever just been so overcome by sadness that you just didn’t know how to cope or function? I know that sounds kind of dramatic. But I can say that I have been in the place.

It began three summers ago, not long after we returned home from our vacation in Canada. Suddenly one night two days after celebrating our daughter’s birthday, our precious and beloved dog Reuben, not even two years old died a violent death on our bathroom floor. We watched him struggle as the organs in his tiny body shut down while we prayed he’d pull through whatever was happening to him. Yet, it was not to be and he was gone within minutes.

Shock and Grief became my companion for a very long time. I felt like I was walking in a fog. I found it hard to cope or function. I wanted to know what happened?  What caused his death?  I know a lot of people might say he was just a dog…but for us he was more than that. Being new to Honduras when we got him, he brought a lot of normalcy to our family when everything was new and transition was hard. He brought a lot of joy and bonded us together. He was part of our family and we loved him.

Not so long ago, my next door neighbour told me to be careful with Abby our schnauzer. He has two schnauzers of his own and was informing me that the guy next to him “G” had put rat poison “everywhere.” Up and down the laneway, in front of the gates etc. It was then in that moment that I knew what had happened. See, Reuben used to love to rip up and down the driveway playing catch with the ball getting his energy out. I had no idea there was anything there that could harm him. My next door neighbour is convinced that is what killed his first schnauzer when she was just a young pup. I was so thankful for the heads up and that I knew what to look for this time.

Not long after, Dale and I went to watch the Movie the Shack. I had wanted to see it because I had read the book many years ago and remember how it touched me, even though I didn’t remember it entirely. I cried throughout most of the movie. It’s a beautiful movie about forgiveness and redemption. It really caused me to think. Do I have unforgiveness in my heart? I didn’t think I did, but then in my devotions I came across this verse that brought me back to that time in my life as well as something more recent and I thought that yeah, perhaps I do harbour unforgiveness in my heart.

2 Corinthians 1:8b-10

We were crushed an overwhelmed, beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely on God, who raises the dead. And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in Him, and he will continue to rescue us.

 

The other thing I spoke about it, I actually hesitate to write about it for various reasons. It had to do with rumours that were supposedly going around about Dale and I and whether or not we belonged in Honduras. Our son told us what a lot of people were allegedly saying one night over dinner and it was devastating. We both felt wounded. Dale is a bit more like a duck and can brush things off and they don’t affect him. For me it was like the straw the broke the camels back. I had a harder time letting it go.

But then, I thought of the Cross. I thought of the price that Jesus paid.  For our sin. For my sin. Willingly. And when people spoke out against him, lying about him …he said nothing in his defense, but instead he silently bore their verbal attacks and physical abuse. And I thought…why can’t I be more like that? And I thought how many times do I sin and fail the Lord on a daily basis and still he forgives. Forgiveness is a tough thing. It is a choice. But it’s a necessary choice.  Even if the person doesn’t deserve it. For that matter, they may not even know they have caused harm. Unforgiveness. It’s the one thing that keeps us in chains, that keeps us from truly being free. Chained to the past. It will destroy us from the inside out. And maybe we may not even realize we have unforgiveness in our heart until something happens that brings it to our memory. Maybe we will need to forgive again and again and again. Every time it rises to the surface. Every time we remember. Forgiveness doesn’t mean we forget. It doesn’t make the wrong done ok, but it frees us . I know for me…I need to choose to forgive.

Matthew 6:14-15

For if you forgive people when they sin against you, your heavenly father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins….

Colossians 3:12, 13

Since, God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults and remember the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.

 

In closing, I leave you with a quote from Lewis Smedes…”To forgive is to set the prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you”

Jesus, Our Passover Lamb

Written by: Rev. Jeff Futers

In the early church, Passover and Easter used to be essentially the same celebration until anti-Semitism began to grow and eventually the church banned the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus in conjunction with Jewish Passover.

It’s sad really, because the Passover celebrated by the Jewish people for centuries was not just a celebration of a past deliverance, but a foreshadowing of THE Passover Lamb who would come—Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

I don’t have space in this article to get into the wonderful significance of it all. So let me tell you about one item on the Seder plate. It’s the ‘zeroa’ or the shank bone of a lamb. Up until the destruction of the temple of course, the Jews would actually eat the Passover lamb because lambs could still be brought to the temple and sacrificed. But once the Temple was destroyed and sacrifices were no longer being offered, they stopped eating lamb at the Seder and began to put only the shank bone of a lamb, called the ‘zeroa’, on the plate to remind them of the paschal (Passover) lamb.

‘Zeroa’ is a Hebrew word meaning ‘arm’, but it is very often used metaphorically in Scripture to describe power or might, particularly when speaking of the ‘arm of God.’ The word ‘zeroa’ is the word used by Jeremiah to describe God’s powerful act of creating the universe (Jer. 32:17). It is also the word used to describe the deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt, and it’s the word that Isaiah used to point to the One who would bring salvation to the world. Isaiah 53:1 says, “…to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” That’s the ‘zeroa’.

Look at Israel’s history, from the story of Abraham and Isaac where God provided a lamb on the mountain of the Lord, to the story of the Exodus when the Passover lamb was sacrificed and its blood spread on the doorposts for the salvation of all Israel’s first born. Then in the wilderness at the tabernacle and later in the temple, a lamb was offered every morning and every night. It’s all about The Lamb. Isaiah 53 describes One who will be pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities and then led like a ‘lamb to the slaughter’. Later in Isaiah, the prophet said that God was lamenting that there was no one to intervene and bring justice, so His own arm brought salvation (Isa. 59:16).

John the Baptist would say of Jesus, ‘Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world’ (Jn. 1:29). The shank bone on the Seder plate reminds the Jewish people of the Passover lambs of the past and the hope of their coming Messiah. Praise God, we know that Messiah, the Lamb of God has come. He died and rose again, and through His once and for all sacrifice we are redeemed!

Jeff is married to Sharon and together they are blessed with two great kids, Austin who is married to Amanda, and Alana who is studying Business Management at Dalhousie University in Halifax, N.S. A pastor for almost 30 years and a gifted communicator, Jeff’s love and passion for the land, the people and the God of Israel is evident in his presentations. Jeff has a vision to call attention to the importance of blessing God’s chosen people and praying for Israel and for the peace of Jerusalem.

 

He Knows

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ConnyWritten by: Conny Varga

Life can be hard, sometimes even seemingly impossible. Things happen that are out of our control, and we are left feeling alone, hurting, and wondering if we can go on even one more minute. These struggles are real, and sooner or later we all face them.

But there is good news! We have a God who wasn’t content just to care for us. He chose to become one of us, to experience everything we could possibly ever experience in a lifetime, to feel and know and understand exactly how we feel!

Hebrews 4:14-16 states: “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

This Easter season, as we remember the suffering and death of our Lord, may we also dwell on all our different struggles and hardships He can now identify with.

Have you been let down by a friend or loved one? Jesus knows how you feel. In the time of His greatest need, all His friends left Him, running off like scared rabbits.

Maybe you feel betrayed, cheated, back-stabbed – Jesus knows your pain. One of his closest companions betrayed Him behind His back, and then hypocritically came and used a kiss, a symbol of affection, to sell Him off to His enemies.

Do you feel stress and anxiety over an upcoming change or event? Jesus knows your anguish. Just shortly before His arrest, He was so anxious and distressed that His sweat was like great drops of blood falling to the ground.

Are people mocking you, sneering at you, and spreading bad rumors about you? Jesus knows that feeling, too. The religious leaders stirred up the mob, who just a few days ago hailed Jesus as King, with outright lies and rumours, and the Roman soldiers mocked and beat Him, spit in His face and laughed at Him.

Perhaps you are struggling with physical pain. Jesus understands. He went through excruciating, debilitating physical agony and pain. Isaiah calls Him a “man of suffering, familiar with pain.”

Maybe you are being accused of something that you are completely innocent of. Yes, Jesus can identify with that as well – being called a traitor and blasphemer while being tortured and killed, even though He was the very image of sinlessness and purity.

Maybe you have tragically lost a loved one who was very dear to you and you wonder why God would allow that. And yet again, He knows your deep pain. God tragically lost a Son, His only Son, due to the wickedness of mankind.

Maybe you have been tempted to sin and you failed, your sins and mistakes now weighing you down. You cannot see past your guilt. Good news – Jesus knows how that feels, too. In fact, He experienced the horrible and unbearable weight of the sins and guilt of every single human being who ever lived, and ever will live. He knows what it’s like to feel separated and distant from His Father. And He knows what it’s like to be tempted to sin.

Whenever you go through a struggle, and you feel that you are all alone, that no-one understands, and you are drowning, know this: Jesus knows how you feel! He cares deeply about you in all your struggles, and He is interceding on your behalf to the Father. “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” He knows – and that makes all the difference!

I Wonder…

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_49A8991Written by: D’Anne Mullin

As you may or may not know, this week, the week before Easter, is commonly referred to as the Holy Week.  Starting with Palm Sunday, progressing towards Christ’s death and resurrection, this is a time where we hold fast to the promise that we serve a Saviour who died for our sins and rose again, defeating death and the grave.

In recounting the Holy Week, as it unfolded some 2000 years ago, my mind can’t help but wander to what Jesus was thinking.  How He knew that in just a few short days he would be crucified.  I wonder how overwhelmed the disciples felt when everything came to a head and all they had left were unanswered questions.  I wonder how God felt, sending his one and only son to the cross to be the sacrifice to end all sacrifices.  I further wonder if the women, whose lives intersected with Christ’s and were transformed by his mercy, love and grace, were part of the crowd and what were they feeling?

I think of one lady in particular; the one with the issue of blood.  This woman had been suffering from this condition for twelve years.  She had given all of her money to physicians, but to no avail.  She was at the end of her rope.  She just could not deal with the pain and disgrace any longer.  She needed a miracle and heard that Jesus was in town.  Getting as close to Jesus as she could, in her ‘unclean’ state, she reached out and touched the edge of his cloak.  Immediately the pain was gone.  She knew the bleeding had stopped.  She was healed.  She tried to hide, but Jesus knew she had touched Him.  He always knows.  He confronted her with a love she had never experienced before.  Her heart exploded with love for her new-found Messiah.

Fast forward to Holy Week.  I wonder if she had come to Jerusalem for Passover.  I wonder if she just wanted to catch a glimpse of the One who healed her.  I wonder how excited she was to see Jesus coming into Jerusalem on a colt.  I wonder how distraught she was when everything went sideways and Jesus was hung on a cross.  The bible and history do not tell us if this lady was there, but if she was, I can only imagine her reaction of sheer terror when she saw the events of “Easter” unfold before her eyes.

This lady was given her life back by the One who just lost His.  “How can this be,” she thinks.  I wonder if she stayed in Jerusalem, trying to compose herself enough to go home when, all of a sudden, word starts to spread through the city like fire in the desert.  “Jesus’ tomb is empty,” she hears.  “The stone has been rolled away,” another reports.  I wonder how long it took her to realize that the prophecies had rang true and Jesus truly was the Messiah.  I wonder if she always knew, deep down inside.

So, Daughters, as the Holy Week unfolds before us, let us rejoice that we have the full story.  Jesus died and rose again and lives eternal at the right hand of the Father.  He is the Saviour and Redeemer of the world.  Let us never allow Easter to become a tradition or a celebration of time off work.  It is a time of clarity for us in the modern age.  A time of truth and victory.  A time of deep joy and celebration as we lift high the name of Jesus and His work on the cross!

DEEP ROOTS

Written by: Jody Mugford

“Blessed is the man 

who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, 

nor stands in the path of sinners, 

nor sits in the seat of the scornful; 

But his delight is in the law of the Lord, 

and in His law he meditates day and night.  

He shall be like a tree 

planted by the rivers of water, 

that brings forth its fruit in its season, 

whose leaf also shall not wither; 

and whatever he does shall prosper.”

Psalm 1:1-3

What an amazing portion of scripture.  May I encourage you to stop, take a minute and slowly read that again?  Let the words travel from your brain to your heart.  Sit with it, memorize it and receive it for yourself.  This is such an exciting promise!  God is telling us that we can be strong and steadfast, deeply rooted and nourished like a tree.  We will bring forth fruit and prosper.  We will not wither or run dry!

Let’s be honest, I do not feel like this every day.  Many days, I feel like I’m running a marathon on empty.  The stresses of life, the chaos of managing a home, a family, and a career, along with extra health needs for my youngest daughter leaves me sleepwalking to bed many nights, only to wake up a couple hours later to tend to one of our children.  Fatigue and exhaustion are hard enough to cope with, but overwhelming stress is a whole other beast.  Sometimes our burdens can rise to an unbearable place and the weight of it all is just too much.  Add on a financial crisis, serious health situation, a relationship breakdown or any other problem which feels vastly out of our control and we feel our world starting to cave in and our fragile sanity starting to crack.

This Psalm gives us hope that it doesn’t have to be that way.  It is not meant to be that way!  We don’t have to feel vulnerable to the anguish of the next attack or trial.  We don’t have to live in fear over what may come next.  This doesn’t take away the fact that horrible things can happen in this life.  Nobody is immune.  We live in a world full of sin and we will deal with the consequences of its fallen state until Christ returns.  But there is hope!  Hope, not only for Christ’s return (which will be glorious!), but also for today.  Hope, not only for eternity in heaven, but in victory for today.  We can be at peace, strong and steady, deeply rooted in Christ and not easily swayed by the winds of uncertainty.  We have a promise that we will withstand the storms and that we will still bear fruit and prosper.  Not only will we survive the storms but, through them, we will grow stronger and God will use us to do great things for His purposes.

Like many promises in scripture, this promise is placed, not in our hands, but within our reach.  We have to do something first, in order to receive it.  What do the preceding verses say?  Go back and read it again.  We are to delight in God’s Word and meditate on the scriptures.  There is a difference between reading and meditating.  Reading keeps the information in your head but meditating causes the truth to transfer to your heart.  In my experience, I have found that as we read His Word and spend time sitting with it, chewing on it, and praying over it, it evolves from “promises for others” to “promises for ME”.  It becomes solidified in your entire being and you know with certainty that the promises will come to pass if you trust in God and His ways.

Are you tired of feeling like others are experiencing God’s presence and strength in their lives, but not you?  Friend, I understand.  I have been there!  This promise is key to begin changing that.  Dig into His Word with intention.  Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and your eyes as you read and let those words to sink into your soul.  Allow Him to stretch you.  God will begin a transforming process in your heart as you search for Him and as you meditate on His Word.  You will be renewed and strengthened.  His Word is powerful and sustaining and in it you will find life and truth and freedom.  Why?  Because in His Word, you will find Jesus.  He is the answer we are looking for.  He is the answer we need.

It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.  John 6:63

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.  Romans 10:17

So shall My word be that goes out from My mouth; it shall not return to Me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.  Isaiah 55:11

Love and blessings,

Jody

Next time we will look at little more at verse 1 of this passage: “Blessed is the man…”

THE POWER OF TESTIMONY

Written by: Christianne Williams

A testimony can be a powerful thing.  I remember being young, maybe 4 or 5 years old, and sitting in the evening service at the church I grew up in.  My favorite time was during the praise service, when people would be invited to stand up share what God had been doing in their lives.  I heard so many accounts of God’s provision in the form of healings, financial needs met, family members who had no interest in God turning to Him.  It was an encouraging time, and I know that even at that young age, it left an impression on me.

Around the time my husband and I were entering into full time ministry, God brought two new friends into our lives.  They proved to be amazing mentors, encouraging us with testimonies of God’s faithfulness to them over their years preparing for and entering into His call on their lives.  They were obedient and made some changes, took some steps of faith, and I was in awe.  It seemed so exciting to hear how they experienced miracles of provision!  I looked at my husband and said, “I want stories like those, to share with others, to encourage people!”

At the time it wasn’t really registering that in order to have those wonderful accounts, you had to actually experience situations that required much faith.  You would have to be okay with not being able to figure out the answer to your problem with human experience.  You would have to leave every detail up to God and trust that He would actually meet every need because He says He will.  No alternative plans.

Think for a while about all of the accounts in the Bible that we read in their entirety.  We see that God did give Abraham and Sarah a son.  We see that God provided a lamb to take the place of that son when He asked for Abraham’s obedience in giving up said son.  We see that God did indeed send a flood after the ark was built, even though there had never before been rain.  We see that Joshua won the battle of Jericho, that David killed Goliath, that God freed His people from slavery, that He led them into the land flowing with milk and honey.  We see that He did send the Saviour of the world as a baby born of a virgin.  But in the midst of those circumstances, those people, who are just like us, had to chose whether or not to trust God.  We have the testimonies of those faithful people.

Looking at just one story, Mary’s, how must she have felt? To know that she was pregnant, not married, and had to expect people would believe that she was carrying the One they were waiting for?  It was a time when being with child and not married was just not accepted.  Think of how Joseph must’ve felt to be the one she was to marry, what would people say?  These two young people had the promise of God but not everyone would’ve believed that.  We see how it all turned out but to live through it would not have been easy.  Luke 1:42 says, “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the child you will bear.”  But I wonder if Mary felt that she was blessed during the whole pregnancy or if she may have had times when she felt terribly along, ostracised?

After my ‘I want stories like those!’ declaration, I was definitely obliged.  I went to a women’s conference one year and the speaker talked to us about the power of our experiences.  She asked a question that seemed rather harsh at the time.  “The things you’ve gone through, have they killed you? Because if you’re still here, pick yourself up and use that to help someone else.”  I thought about that long and hard.  I don’t think this in any way minimized bad circumstances, I think it’s the only way we can turn what the enemy meant to destroy us and use it for the glory of God.  The things we’ve gone through are truly our testimonies of how much God does for His precious children.  Just like you and I have been encouraged by the experience and strength of someone else, WE can do that for others.

So, when God provides for your need: a physical healing, a spiritual breakthrough, does a supernatural “God thing” in your life- don’t keep it quiet! Pass it on! Your testimony might be just the thing someone needs to hear to increase their confidence in the One Who can do the impossible!

Revelation 12:11 says, “They triumphed over him by the blood the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.” 

Worry

Written by: Carolyn Ruttan

Growing up in my parent’s home there was a painting of two birds with this poem beneath it.

Said the robin to the sparrow

I should really like to know

Why these anxious human beings

Rush around and worry so

Said the sparrow to the robin

Friend, I think that it must be

They have no heavenly father

Such as cares for you and me…by Elizabeth Chaney

Ok, so it’s not true that we don’t have a heavenly Father that cares for us.  We absolutely do! But it is true that sometimes we don’t act like it or we don’t believe it. Maybe we know it in our head but our heart struggles. We look at things through our eyes rather than resting in His love and provision for us. We allow ourselves to worry, to get worked up over things that might happen or things coming up in the future.  I am so guilty of this. I think of all possible scenarios and “what ifs” and can make myself sick from it. I have been known to stay awake all hours dwelling on them. This happened the other night. I could not get my mind to shut off.  My heart was so heavy and broken because of a situation I was made aware of earlier in the week and I was making myself sick with worry. It was when I was praying about the situation that the Lord gently brought to my remembrance a verse in the Bible…and I can tell you when I looked it up in made all the difference and changed my perspective.

I love how it is worded in the Message… Matthew 6:34 Give your attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.

I was reminded of the children of Isreal wandering around in the wilderness. When they arrived they were full of complaints, “If only the Lord had killed us back in Egypt,” they moaned. “There we sat around with pots filled with meat and ate all the bread we wanted. But now, you have brought us into this wilderness to starve us to death.”  Exodus 17: 3

They worried about what they would eat…not trusting in the Lord’s faithfulness and care that he would provide for them, and yet He did provide …each and every day.

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Look, I am going to rain down food from heaven for you. Each day the people can go out and pick up as much food as they need for that day. I will test them in this to see whether or not they follow my instructions. On the sixth day they will gather food, and when they prepare it, there will be twice as much as usual.” Exodus 17: 4, 5

For forty years he sent quail and manna and they never once went hungry. They didn’t need to worry about what they were going to eat ever, because God was faithful to them. He gave them just what they needed.  Although we later read in that chapter that there were times they saved more than they needed because maybe they were not fully trusting in his provision or perhaps just in case God didn’t come through the next day.  In those cases, the food ended up being filled with maggots so they couldn’t eat it. Will he not give us what we need to make it through if we trust him, rather than trying to handle things on our own?

He cares and knows what is in our hearts. He gets us. I don’t know what concerns are weighing you down today. I don’t know what you are facing or what is stressing you out, but I encourage you to trust Him to work things out according to His plan and to rest in Him.

Matthew 11:28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens and I will give you rest.”

1 Peter 5:7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares for you.

Heaven Bound –There’s More!!

Written by: Cindy Morrone

This will be impossible for me to describe in words.  I have been contemplating all week how to capture the essence of heaven.

Last week I shared Heaven Bound; if you haven’t read that post yet, it can be found here.   http://wearehiskids.com/2018/03/18/heaven-bound/)

The foundational Scriptures in that post are paramount to having a Christian faith.

There’s More!

Imagine living a life with …..no more death or mourning or crying or pain,…..(Revelation 21:4)

Let’s not miss the beginning of that Scripture, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes……” (Revelation 21:4)

He.

Have you ever experienced love from someone so profound that it’s impossible to describe in words?

Have you had experiences where love has overcome you and sharing it with another is lost in the translation?

A Mom’s kisses after a fall

Mom’s chicken noodle soup when we’re sick; no matter how old we are

A sibling giving you the last bite

The first call, text from someone that makes your stomach flutter; the first kiss

Your love asking you to marry

Your baby being born

First time meeting your child born by another and welcoming them into your forever family

Baby’s first giggles

Christmas pajamas from Grandma and Grandpa

Celebrating Christmas and Easter with extended family

A confidant praying over you

Grief of losing a loved one

An ah-ha moment reading the Word

An answer to prayer; a realization that an unanswered prayer was what’s best

Provision from nothing

An unexplained healing

A lost child returning; the fervent prayers preceding

If we were to wrap up all of the above and all the other moments in our lifetime where we experienced unexplainable love and multiply it by an immeasurable number then and maybe then, I think we could begin to understand the love that awaits us.

And this love is possible because of Him who will wipe away our every tear. The same One that keeps track of all our sorrows; collecting our tears in His bottle, recording each tear in His book (Psalm 56:8 (NLT) The same Person that has every hair on our head numbered (Luke 12:7)

The same Jesus who died; willingly, so we wouldn’t miss experiencing such love.

Happy Easter!! May we realize His love for us ever more deeply.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us”  Romans 5:8

Fashioned for a Sacred Calling

Written By: Mandy Lawrence-Hill

Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration—what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day. (Psalm 139:13-16)

I believe I’ve had many callings in my thirty-four years on this earth. Some of the callings have just been for a season, while others will last until I breathe my last breath. One of my most sacred callings is being a wife.

Sounds cliché, I know, but it’s the truth.

I met Nathan when I was just 18 years old. I had one other short relationship with a guy I quickly discerned I had no future with; so I ended the relationship. My relationship with Nathan however began much differently; we were friends first. As our friendship grew, so did our love for one another- and so goes our story.

Almost as quickly as I agreed to date Nathan, I knew he’d be the man I would one day marry. The Lord worked hard and fast on our hearts to bring us to the conclusion that we would begin a life of ministry together; as a married couple. We said ‘I do’ a couple months after my 20th birthday and began full-time ministry a few weeks after that.

My calling, however, is not limited to ministry for those in attendance at our local church, or in our community. My ministry begins at home; as a wife. I believe I have been fashioned for this sacred calling; specifically designed as a helpmate for Nathan.

There are many things that make up my ministry or calling as Nathan’s wife, but four stand out amongst all the rest.

1) To respect him.
….and the wife must respect her husband. (Ephesians 5:33)

2) To be his helper.
The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” (Genesis 2:18)

3) To love him.
….love their husbands…. (Titus 2:4)

4) To honour the leadership he provides for our marriage.
Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Colossians 3:18)

Being a wife to Nathan is a sacred calling. One I will treasure forever. The Lord joined us together because as a team we are so much better than we are individually. As I respect, help, love and honour his leadership, I am helping him fulfill his responsibilities, and I am helping him become the man, the husband, and the leader God intended him to be.

Are you fashioned for a sacred calling? What do your calling or callings look like?

Father God, You are so gracious to bless us with the ability to love and be loved. Thank You that You first have come before us as an example of how we are to love unconditionally and sacrificially. Please guide us as wives to make decisions that honour You. Please help us to love in a way that fulfills our calling; to love our husbands so that we are helping him to become the man, husband and leader that You intend for him to be. Thank You, for all these things, amen.

 

Set Aside All Else

Written by: Conny Varga

“He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.”
(Isa. 53:3-7)

The Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8 was reading this exact passage on his way home from Jerusalem when Philip the Evangelist met him along the way and started explaining the Scripture to him and sharing the good news of Jesus, beginning with these very verses. Before long, the eunuch believed, was saved, and was baptized on the side of the road by Philip.

In about a week from now, we will commemorate the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy. For those of us who are saved, it is a time of renewed humble devotion to the One who gave His life to save us undeserving people. It is a time of reflecting back on our old sinful life and our arrogance, pride, and rejection of God’s gift of salvation. A time of deep gratitude for the Love that freed us from our slavery to sin and brought us into the family of God.

However, do we take the time to share this Good News with those around us? Will we tell our children, friends, and family about the true meaning of Easter, sharing the whole Gospel story, beginning with creation, the prophets, and our desperate need for Jesus’ atonement? That’s the pattern we see in the New Testament, the pattern Jesus Himself used to teach the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. Whenever the story of Easter was shared and explained, nothing was held back, nothing was “cartoonized”, made more cute or more palatable. The disciples did not shy away from pointing out the gruesome details, the sinfulness of the audience, and everyone’s contribution to the suffering and death of the only innocent man who ever lived.

In our politically correct world, do we keep silent about the true meaning of Easter? Are we afraid of pointing out the fact that we, as humans, are by nature wicked and sinful, and cannot be “good” apart from Christ? Do we just focus on colouring eggs and hunting for chocolate, eating ham and carrot cake, because that’s “safe”?

A couple of decades ago, I visited Romania during the Easter holidays, and I was struck by this tradition: On Easter Sunday, instead of greeting each other with “hello” or “good day”, people declared “Jesus is risen” to anyone they would meet, whether out on the street or in their homes.

I pray that we would spend much time reflecting on this great gift of salvation. I pray that we would study the Scripture, formulating in our mind the whole Gospel story, beginning at creation and the prophets, and then praying about how we can creatively go about sharing this Good News of Jesus Christ with anyone we will be spending time with during the upcoming holidays. Nothing else is more important or more urgent than that. Let’s set aside all else for the sake of the Gospel!