Just Go

Written by: Carolyn Ruttan

A number of years ago we took our young family on a missions trip to Mexico with a number of other people from our church in Essex Ontario.  On the final day of this missions trip we had a day off so the team went to South Padre Island for a day of rest. It was beautiful day. I remember the sand dunes.  The warmth of the sun. The waves of the ocean. It was a perfect sunny day…until  something happened.

We lost our middle child Ben.  He would have been six or seven at the time. I remember the panic I felt when we couldn’t find him. I remember scanning the water for any sign of him. I remember how many of us called his name but he had just disappeared. There was no trace of him. Gone! Had he been carried away by the waves? He was there one moment and then gone the next. Had he been abducted? Had he drowned? It seemed like forever had passed but eventually someone said “there he is” And sure enough there he was walking back to our group like everything was as it should be and nothing was wrong. Both Dale and I asked him where he had gone and that we were worried about him. He just looked at us and said in disgust, “I went to the bathroom. What did you want me to do, mess my pants?”  You see Ben was lost but he didn’t know it.

How many people are like that in this world we live in? I recently heard a sermon at a Global workers conference where we heard the statistic that 3.1 billion people still have not heard about Jesus. That he loves them. That he has a plan for their lives to give them a future and a hope. They don’t know about redemption.  I don’t know about you, but I found this number staggering and wondered how in this day and age that could be possible.  And yet the fact is that there are still many unreached people groups in the world today. They are lost but they don’t realize it. Yes, even in Canada and the States. For example the refugees coming from war torn Syria. My heart breaks for these people who have lost everything. Family, friends, their homes and possessions, their culture and everything familiar and all they once held dear. Can you imagine not being able to go home because there is nothing to go back to? Do they know about the hope they can have in Him? That he loves them and cares about their brokenness and that he can bring wholeness to their lives? Who will be the ones to tell them?

How can people call on him for help if they have not yet believed? And how can they believe in one they’ve not yet heard of? And how can they hear the message of life if there’s no one there to proclaim it? Romans 10.14

While we were away one of the speakers we heard was Rob Ketterling. He spoke on this very thing. Going and sharing your faith. He gave practical examples.  One of them that I remember was if he and his wife are out for dinner in a restaurant, he will say to the waitress. ”You know, we were just about to say grace. Is there anything that we can pray for you about today?” Most of the time they answer in the affirmative and they have an opportunity to pray for them.

Luke 14:23 So the master told him, “All right. Go out again and this time bring them all back with you. Persuade the beggars on the streets, the outcasts, even the homeless. Urgently insist that they come in and enjoy the feast so that my house will be full.”

You see, Jesus wants us to share his message with the lost, dirty, and the poor, the lonely and the hurting. His message is for all and yet there are many who have not heard. Will you share your faith with those around you, with those the Lord has placed in your life?  Maybe we are in their lives for such a time as this. How will they know if no one tells them?  Will you go?

The Other Side Of Sorry…..

Written by: Mandy Lawrence-Hill

Has your spouse ever made you really angry? Maybe he forgot to take out the trash for the third week in a row. Maybe he broke a promise to you that you were really counting on. Perhaps he made an important decision without conferring with you first. Perhaps the reason for your anger was pretty menial….but he caught you at a bad time.

Friend, I’d be lying if I said I never get angry with my husband. I do more often than I should. Sometimes I get really angry about really stupid things.

We all get angry. Sometimes we get angry for reasons that feel legit and justified. Other times our reasoning is slightly off kilter.

There are two things that God has been working on my heart about regarding forgiveness.

1. Ask for it.
When we react in anger foolishly it is our responsibility to ask for forgiveness. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” If we simply ask for forgiveness, God will continue to be faithful in keeping no record of our wrongs and forgiving us of our sins. Forget your pride, friend. Asking for forgiveness is SO important.

2. The other side of sorry.
There is more than just that flood of satisfaction when someone who has treated you wrongly apologizes. We have just as much responsibility when someone asks for our forgiveness; we must actually forgive them. How often do we walk away from an apology with bitterness still enveloping our hearts? Our flesh is incapable of shrugging off hurt and bitter feelings. However, the Holy Spirit can and will help us with that as long as we ask Him to. “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (‭Ephesians‬ ‭4‬:‭32‬ NIV)

So friend, is there an area of your heart that God has given a little nudge after reading this post today? Do you need to improve on asking for forgiveness when you find yourself reacting in anger unnecessarily or does God desire you to improve on your ability to extend forgiveness? May I pray for you? “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” (‭Mark‬ ‭11‬:‭25‬ NIV)

Father God, thank You so much for Your forgiveness and the healing, peace and joy that comes from the truth that You have indeed washed us white as snow. Jesus, I pray for my sisters who also struggle with asking for and extending forgiveness. I pray that Your Holy Spirit will encompass us with each opportunity that arises where we are able to utilize these powerful words: I am sorry or I forgive you. Bless each heart that reads this post today. In Jesus name, Amen.

 

What’s Your Gospel Footprint?

Written by: Conny Varga

I’ve heard it said that you always leave an impact on the people around you, whether you try to or not. Your influence, whether great or small, good or bad, is inevitable. If you are doubtful, just think of all the people you’ve ever met, what your impression of them was, how they influenced your perceptions about them or their families, jobs, or churches. We are relational beings, and so our interactions with other humans will always shape us and others in some way or another.

One of the hot topics of the 21st century is “carbon footprint”. It’s a term used to describe the burden we place on nature by our use of the natural resources given to us. The goal is to reduce our carbon footprint and live as responsibly as possible. And, as much as I don’t lean towards extremes, we Christians should be mindful of the environment, since we were commanded – through Adam – to be good stewards of this earth.

However, there is another footprint I would like us to consider: our gospel footprint.

In Romans 10, Paul describes our footprint this way:

For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?

And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”

When you think of all the people you interact with on a day-to-day basis, what is the impact you have on their lives? Are you leaving “footprints” of the gospel everywhere you go? What do your neighbours know about you? Have they seen God’s love through your actions and words towards them?

What does this look like in “real life”? Become friends with your neighbours and show them consistently through your words and actions that they can count on you. Allow them to see you in your good times and hard times, let them see how the joy of the Lord cannot be quenched no matter what the circumstance. Maybe you can frequent the same coffee shop every morning and befriend the staff. Learn and remember people’s names. What about helping out in a soup kitchen and taking the time to talk and listen to the people who come in for a meal? Spontaneously invite someone over for dinner who has had a rough day. Send a note of encouragement to a friend. Attend events in your community. And all the while, let the love of God ooze out of your every pore. Weave your passion for Jesus into every minute of your life.

While we want to ensure that our carbon footprint is small, our gospel footprint should grow larger every day. As we go through life, we have the awesome opportunity to impact people around us for eternity. That’s a thrilling, and a bit scary, thought!

Jesus, in His Great Commission, did not only charge us with this exact task. He also promised to be with us whenever we share the gospel, and He promised His power and boldness, His love and courage through the Holy Spirit who lives within us.

So let’s shake off our fears, our inhibitions, indifference, or selfishness, and let’s leave huge gospel footprints for the glory of God, and for the eternal destiny of the people around us.

The Ordinary

Written by: D’Anne Mullin

This past weekend held something extraordinary!  T’was the marriage celebration of Prince Harry of England to his bride Meghan Markle, the American actress, seen by countless viewers around the globe.  The elegance of the event was simply stunning and attended by royalty, celebrity and family.  The sheer magnitude of the day, with its steep price tag of 45 million dollars, was truly mind boggling and beyond beautiful!  It was a momentous coming together of the common and the grand.

As I watched the event unfold I was drawn to its grandeur; imagining what it would be like to become a royal as Meghan Markle had.  I found myself dreaming of a life at Buckingham Palace with all its elegance and charm; being waited on and cared for 24/7.  Jetting off to foreign lands and attending galas in full formal dress.  Having access to experiences not afforded to the average person and the jewels…Oh the jewels!  Every gal dreams of being royalty…Right?

But, I quickly realized that even those living extraordinary lives have ordinary moments and those living ordinary lives have extraordinary moments!  In my very ordinary existence I am reminded of a quote from one of my favourite authors, Oswald Chambers.  It says,

“The true test of a person’s spiritual life and character is not what he does in the extraordinary moments of life, but what he does during the ordinary times when there is nothing tremendous or exciting happening.”

I love this quote.  Mostly because as a woman, wife, mother, friend and professional, running through my life from task to task, I often just feel very ordinary.  I am no different than many other women on the planet.  No different than any of you reading this blog.

I do dishes every day, fold laundry, clean toilets, sweep floors, tidy rooms, make meals, reassemble the kitchen and dust the house.  I get up to an alarm, get ready for work, cross tasks off my “to-do” list, head home, only to do it all again the next day.  I run the kids to their extra-curricular activities and social engagements.  I book eye appointments and visits to the vet for our furry companions.  And let’s not forget grocery shopping.  It never ends!

Add to this the crazy pace in which life travels and the ordinariness of life can compound.  There is often only enough time for mascara and lip balm on my way out the door.  The church clothes worn on Sunday get worn on Monday to work for the sake of efficiency.  My hair is coiffed the same way every day because there is limited bathroom time in the morning for experimentation.  I still try to use the “baby weight” excuse after 18 years of motherhood for the added pounds around my middle.  My younger vain teenage self would be appalled at my older ordinary appearance.

There are times I sit and watch an “edge of the seat” flick on Netflix, filled with wonder, adventure, danger, romance, intrigue and suspense.  Or a documentary of an individual beating the odds or accomplishing a great feat.  Both have the ability to leave me feeling somewhat small and insignificant.

There are times when special guests come to speak at church and share about their incredible salvation stories or their unbelievable opportunities to minister and witness.  Again, I feel as though my spiritual story pales in comparison.

But, I must remember that in the ordinary moments there are so many opportunities to practice the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) with those I come in to contact with every day.  All of those little ordinary moments along the way add up to a lifetime of incredible blessings flowing out.

The extra care given to removing a sliver from my child’s finger; the bouquet of bacon roses left for my husband when he returns from a meeting at work; the care package sent to my sister abroad.  The door held open for the elderly man struggling to enter a building; the encouraging word to a mom in line at the grocery story with a squalling infant; the coffee paid for in the vehicle ahead in the drive-thru line.  These are the ordinary moments that become extraordinary as I allow my character to grow and shine for Jesus.

When My Plans Don’t Work Out

Written by: Sarah Walker

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and self-discipline.” (Timothy 1:7)

In the last few months, I have come across a few new and different opportunities to minister to other people. Each opportunity has been outside of my comfort zone, and would require me to take a step of faith. After taking time in prayer and seeking out counsel from people that I trust, I felt God’s leading to say “yes” to stepping out into each new opportunity.

Even though I trust Him, it can still be scary to step forward and say, “yes” to God! Taking a step of faith is a step towards the unknown. Questions like, “Can I do this?”, “How will I do this?”, and “Will I succeed, or will I fail?”, start to take over my thoughts. (And as they do, I notice how “I”-focused such thoughts are!)

If I were to dwell on all of the negative possibilities too much, it would probably be pretty easy to talk myself out of things before they even start!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

I have done lots of different jobs in ministry over the years! I’ve lead several small groups, I’ve lead women’s ministry, I’ve been a Power Point person, I’ve been a youth leader, I’ve hosted endless events, I’ve been heavily involved in children’s ministries, I’ve filled in wherever help was needed! (except worship – my love and passion for singing is apparently not matched with any talent for singing!)

As I stepped up to fill into various roles, there have been many times that I’ve seen God do incredible things and where I have been incredibly blessed through the process!

Then there have been times where I feel like I failed miserably. Things just didn’t go the way I wanted them to! At one church, I took over leading a women’s ministry. I had arranged an amazing and powerful curriculum by a popular writer/speaker. I prayed a lot, and I put in a lot of work into preparing teaching and activities for women’s nights. There was lots of great social time, great teaching time, and great outreach time built in.

And in a church of about one hundred women, my average attendance for our events was five!

A ton of work and countless hours had gone into this, but all my efforts seemed fruitless.

Maybe I was wrong and I had missed God’s will in taking the leadership position. We all make mistakes in discernment sometimes! We can do a lot by our own strength and effort, but sometimes, if God isn’t in it, our efforts will be fruitless and frustrating.

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)

Maybe it was a test, to see if I would persevere, to see if I would stick it out, to see if I would have the courage to say yes again, even after a rough season?

For you, God, tested us; You refined us like silver. You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs. You let people ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance. (Psalm 66:10-12)

A challenging attempt at women’s ministry is definitely not like being in jail or going through fire, but it did take down my self-esteem for a while, and made me question my ability to lead!

Maybe I just failed at figuring out the right way to minister to that particular group. As I look back, I probably should have taken a different approach with those ladies, which I would do differently if I were doing it all over again!

That being true, it’s also very possible that what I saw as a personal failure was also God’s victory.

The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. (1Samuel 16:7)

I based success on what I could see with my eyes. I was caught up in that oh-so-common church focus on numbers and visible results. The time and energy I put in did not match the attendance or the results that I expected, but if even one heart was impacted, one life encouraged – then all the hard work was not in vain! Sometimes God is up to things that we don’t comprehend at all!

And I have come to trust that hard work and perseverance, when it is done as worship to God and service to others, is never a bad thing! Even though the ministry didn’t go as I would have liked, I still showed God that I was willing to take a risk in stepping out into what I believed was His will – and that’s never a waste, either!

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9-11)

I learned a lot in that season. As much as we learn in the good times, I feel like I learn even more in the challenging times. We don’t always succeed in everything we do, at least not tangibly. My husband, a pastor, often says that if someone can’t comfortably give an example of a failure in their life, and what God taught them through it, then he’s not interested in putting them in ministry positions! Through the failures, we are humbled, our character is developed, our faith is stretched, and we are reminded that GOD is the one who brings about ministry, not us!

I’m still learning how to do this, and I don’t always do it so well! But knowing that God is still God, no matter what, gives me the courage in HIM to step out again and again!

Embracing the Beautiful Valley

Written by: Christianne Williams

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.  He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.  He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. 

Psalm 23:1-3

Our family recently loaded up the mini van and headed on a road trip to another province for a conference.  We had been looking forward to it for quite some time and even though there was a series of unfortunate events, it didn’t really dampen our enthusiasm for long.  We needed this family time.  With two boys rocketing  toward adulthood, we want to make the most of every opportunity to have fun together and make memories.

Speaking of memories, mine is very short.  I had forgotten the very long, very frustrating road trip from last year, the one in which we packed up the van and drove toward a new life.  We drove for over 50 hours actually, and no more than eight hours per day, and at least seven and a half of those hours each day were filled with complaints.  “I’m too hot!”  “I’m too cold”  “so-and-so is too close” “so-and-so didn’t brush their teeth!”  “I’m hungry!”  “I need the bathroom!”  And the ever popular, “How much longer do we have to stay in this van??!!”

That’s where my memory had betrayed me.  I didn’t really remember how bad it was until we were half an hour into our trip and the complaints began.  I tried to ignore it, I tried to answer it softly, I contemplated ear plugs, and I turned the music up.  Still they carried on.

With all the road blocks that appeared in the days leading up to the trip and all of the angst coming from the inside of the vehicle, I just felt that God was wanting to show me something this week.  Now there is an account in 1 Kings 19 when Elijah is crying out to God because all of the prophets have been killed and he’s left and being hunted.  The Lord tells him to go stand on the mountains because he is about to pass by Elijah.  While Elijah stood there, there was a wind strong enough to tear the mountains apart and shatter rocks, and earthquake, and then fire.  The Lord was not in any of those powerful things.  After the fire was a gentle whisper, and that was God speaking to him.

I have been guilty, as I was on this trip, of looking for the loud, big, in your face type of deal, not realizing that the very thing God wants you to hear, the very thing that will speak loudest to your spirit, is very small and gentle.

While the kids wailed on, and the day grew longer, and we were all getting tired of this 15 hour trip, my eyes were drawn to color in the valley below the highway.  It was stunning!  It was so green, so many different shades of green.  And the mountains rising majestically behind it, a sharp contrast to the valley below.  It really can’t be described, it has to be seen.  I felt in my spirit that God was showing me, in the splendor of his creation, what true rest and peace look like.

You see, we often spend our whole lives striving to live on the mountain peaks of success or triumph, but the fact is, there is not much growing up there!  There aren’t many trees on the high elevations.  It’s beautiful to look at from a distance and if you were up there you would have a beautiful view.  I’ll bet if you were standing up there though, at a high elevation, you’d be surrounded by rocks.  I was struck by how lush the valley was though, how much was in bloom and growing.  Even growing up the mountains to a certain point the vegetation was beautiful.

While we’re in the valley we don’t get to fully appreciate all the growth that’s taking place; and like the not so fragrant aroma of manure spread on the fields that we all “enjoyed” while in our van, it served as a reminder of how even the challenges we face in the valleys God uses to produce beautiful fruit in our lives. It’s more important who we are becoming than the height on which we stand.  Sometimes it feels we’re spending more time in the valley or ascending the mountain than standing on the peak, and we probably are.  Have you seen how small those peaks are in comparison to everything else?  But trust that from the heavenly view your life is producing a beautiful portrait, one that you’ll hang on your mansion wall someday and be in awe of!

He showed me that when he makes us lie in green pastures, refreshing our souls, it’s a beautiful place to be!

Feeling Hopeless

Written by: Sarah Gingell

“Anything that feels hopeless is under the influence of a lie”
-Kris Vallotton- Bethel church

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life” Proverbs 13:12 ESV

These words pierced my heart so deeply the minute I heard them.
In a good way, that is.

My heart knew the truth but needed someone else to find the words.

I needed words to calm my sleepless heart that tosses and turns in the waves of life.
How can I NOT feel hopeless how can I have JOY when everything around me is pure chaos. When it feels as if the floor beneath me has caved.
How can a sick heart leap in triumph when so burdened by strife?

Currently in this season of my life, my husband and I are in transition. The oh so familiar transition we’ve experienced the last 2 summers. Big decisions and no control on how they turn out. I didn’t run into these circumstances like the arms of a long lost lover. It was a little more like running AWAY.

My husband is having to transition to another job due to the expiration of his companies contract, after only being at this one a year. Only having 6 weeks to find a new one with no prospects.
Also, we are trying to conceive and have been having troubles. Months of emotional exhaustion and disappointment with every negative pregnancy test. All to find out I was diagnosed with PCOS. A syndrome that causes my eggs to mature but not be released…and the list goes on.
With that being said I want to be real with you.

Everyone KNOWS to trust. Every one knows “all things work together for good”
but the reality is we don’t always know what that looks like. Our first thoughts are not always “ oh this is awesome!” In fact, most of the time fear can creep in within seconds.

Walking out of a Doctor’s office with hopes of good news, only to be let down.
Getting a new job that you love, only to find out its not going to last.
It seems to be a lot easier to have a breakdown before you even reach your car than to have your first thought be praise, when you don’t know what that actually looks like. It feels hopeless. It feel like a bottomless pit of despair. It feels like your tear stained cheeks will never be dry.

But that is a lie.

a couple days ago a fellow pastor was speaking on James 1:2. It’s the almost cliché well known verse. “Count it all joy…”
but he said something that transformed this verse for me. And it is currently changing my outlook on my current situation.

The pastor said the verse says count it all joy. So we think to “consider it joy” when we face trials of many kinds. We think it means you should be happy bad things are happening. Maybe all of you don’t think this but I did.
He began to explain that the words “count” back then referred to the elders or the first of the church. Meaning “ the leaders”

So Translated its saying “ have your FIRST or leading thought in the front of the line be grace and seeing the gifts given”
You See trials are “ unwelcome difficulties” and some of the time we are losing something in this trial. But if we are counting our joy… we aren’t remembering what we lost but we are choosing to remember what we already have.

This screams hope to me. That for me IS PURE joy.

Looking at my situation as seeing what I have. It has helped me to look at my situation and not have to find joy among the midst of difficulty but I can take it one thought at a time.

Sitting alone with my sweet Heavenly Father and letting him guide me so gently in finding my forward and my first thought. It is easy for me to look at the negative if I choose to have dinner with my gloomy thoughts, but when I allow myself dwell on the gifts in front of me the circumstances become less of a mountain.
I am able to separate the hopelessness from the lies. I’m believing and focusing on the joy and celebration from what God has given me.

One of the incredible gifts I have received through these tumultuous times is the women that have partnered along side with me. They have been by my side through prayer and through conversation. These women have shared the same struggles I am currently experiencing. These special women are the ones who have let me cry on the phone or in their lap when I’m feeling more than hopeless. They have been walking with me through this season because they know the heartache too well.

There is no pure jubilee in suffering but the joy these women have brought be just by being there and understanding is a gift beyond measure. It has helped me realize one day my struggles will be the light in someone else’s eyes because I will be the one that walks along with them in struggles of fertility and life’s transitions. What a beautiful thing I have to look forward to.

All of this to say…this doesn’t mean I’ve got it or mastered it. I’m still learning. I’m still trying to not let my head take over and trying to listen to the delightful words the Lord whispers to my heart daily. My prayer for anyone feeling hopeless is that their heart would not be troubled but would find all the beautiful gifts God has right now for you and your eyes would be set on him.

 

 

Hello there I’m Sarah!
I have been married to my incredible husband, Frederick for 2.5 years. We have a crazy cat named Jean Ralphio whom we adore. I am a Michigan native transplanted twice. First California and now currently in Seattle Washington. I am obsessed with coffee and crafts and love Jesus more than anything!

Always Room For More

Written by: Carolyn Ruttan

We took an unexpected trip back to Canada back in March. After waiting for two hours for the shuttle to arrive we finally got to the motel at 3 in the morning.  The interesting thing was all the people the driver packed into the van. People were going to various hotels near the airport. There were no more seats, but still he crammed them in there. People had to stand, sit on laps, sit on the floor at the feet of someone else. People were getting annoyed and angry. Commenting things in their frustration like, “can’t he see there’s no more room?  You mean, I have to stand? This isn’t safe! Oh my goodness! Does he want to me go in the back with the luggage?” People couldn’t believe that he continued to make stops to pick up more people when the van was already full.  I kept pretty quiet during all this but I was rolling my eyes on the inside.

I guess that kind of thing is not so common place in Canada.  But honestly the situation kind of made me feel at home and felt so very normal.   In Honduras there is always room for one more. For example, we have a Nissan Xterra. It seats 5, but we have often had nine or more in the car.  There have been many times where I have had to sit on someone’s lap. Usually it’s one of my kids who are now bigger than me. It’s totally ordinary to see a bus on the road with crowded aisles…or the back of pickups full of people.

The incident in Toronto reminded me of a song by Ira Stanphill that we used to sing in church when I was a child.

There’s room at the cross for you, there’s room at the cross for you…though millions have come, there’s still room for one, yes there’s room at the cross for you.

The thing with the Lord is that there is always room for one more.  His mercy.  His grace.  His forgiveness. It’s for everyone.  It is not exclusive. We don’t have to change, clean ourselves up or be a certain way just so that he will accept us. He loves just as we are. In our brokeness.  In our frailty. In our humanness. When we mess up.  He doesn’t love us more or less than anyone else. His love is for all people.  Forever.  Regardless of our faith. Regardless of our skin colour. He is a good, good Father. He doesn’t want any of us to perish.  He died so that we could live. That is love. When we come to Him and receive His love…He cleanses us.

1 John 1:9 But if we freely admit our sins when his light uncovers them, he will be faithful to forgive us every time. God is just to forgive our sins because of Christ and he will continue to cleanse us from all Romans 5:8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Jesus to die for us while we were still sinners. unrighteousness. (TPT)

Psalm 100: 5 For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.

2 Peter 3: 9 The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he isn’t being slow about his promise as some people think. No. He is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed., but wants everyone to repent.

There is always, always room for one more. Who are you taking with you?

 

The cross upon which Jesus died

Is a shelter in which we can hide

And its grace so free is sufficient for me

And deep is its fountain as wide as the sea.

 

Chorus

There’s room at the cross for you

There’s room at the cross for you

Though millions have come, there’s still room for one

Yes there’s room at the cross for you.

 

Though millions have found him a friend

And have turned from the sins they have sinned

The Savior still waits to open the gates

And welcome a sinner before it’s too late.

Chorus

There’s room at the cross for you

There’s room at the cross for you

Though millions have come, there’s still room for one

Yes there’s room at the cross for you.

 

The hand of my Savior is strong

And the love of my Savior is long

Through sunshine or rain, through loss or in gain,

The blood flows from Calvary to cleanse every stain.

Yes there’s room at the cross for you.

 

 

Don’t Play Fair

Written By: Mandy Lawrence-Hill

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32

Of the things that our children have picked up from school, maybe our least favourite these days, is the saying; “NO FAIR!!!!” Oh, how those two little words make us crazy, because they are usually followed by the sudden outbreak of pure chaos. Graciousness.

We live in a world where justice is very important. Good is rewarded; bad is avenged. In other words, “I’ll be nice to you so long as you are nice to me; but if you treat me wrong, I’ll treat you wrong back. Justice.

Unfortunately, that is exactly the problem.

You see, Jesus calls us to be different. He says in Matthew 5:39; “But I say to you, do not resist the evildoer. But whoever strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other to him as well.”

I recently felt challenged by this verse in relation to parenting my kids. We are parenting them to seek justice….when Christ calls us to be more than that. “He has told you, [sister] what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8)

God calls us to DO justice; not seek justice.

So how do we teach this to our kids?! Well I think the first thing we need to do is live it out in our own lives. If we want our kids to do justice, we have to do justice too. After that, I think we just need to take it day by day; lesson by lesson all while allowing God to lead us.

Don’t play fair anymore. Do better than that; love abundantly, even if it’s not returned.

Father God, thank You for Your love and mercy. Thank You that we do not need to seek justice, but instead we can seek You as You are just. Jesus, when it comes to our kids, let us be a living example of doer’s of justice, rather than those seeking justice. Please also guide us as we desire to raise our kids in a manner which will honour and glorify You. We ask these things in Your precious name, amen.

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Written By: Sarah Walker

But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.
(Deuteronomy 4:29)

Isn’t it amazing that the God of the universe asks us to seek him! Not only does he want us to believe in Him and follow His ways, but He also desires a relationship with us!

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. (Revelation 3:20)

It’s like Jesus has sent a friend request, and patiently waits for us to respond!

I first met my husband in passing at his church’s Christmas banquet. He was the Lead Pastor of the church, and some friends and I had come to visit the church that day. That evening, I found him on Facebook and sent him a message thanking him for allowing us to “crash” the church’s family dinner. (Yes…I did make the first move!)

He responded to my message and sent me a friend request. From there, dozens of messages were sent back and forth, which ultimately lead to our first date, our brief courtship, our engagement, and eight months later, our wedding day!

Our relationship started with a single message sent, as I nervously hoped for a response. As we got to know each other beyond just messages on a screen, love started to bloom.

‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all you soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment (Matthew 22:36-40)

Recently, I went through a devotional by Mardi Collier called “What Do I Know About My God?” She says that, “Because God wants us to love him, and we can’t love someone we don’t know,” we must therefore turn to the Word in search of the qualities and characteristics of God, and when we start to know and understand who God is, our love for Him will blossom and flourish.”

My husband and I spend lots of time talking with each other and spending time together. We intentionally set aside time to pursue our relationship in order to keep our connection close and healthy.

It can be so easy to let the busyness of life, with jobs, kids, sports and hobbies, keep us from spending that necessary time together. We could remain married but our relationship could grow cold if we are not careful.

That same concept is true with God. God wants to be in relationship with us, but it can be easy to say “Yes” to Jesus and start working really hard to follow his ways – but forget that He desires a relationship with us the most!

On Facebook I have many friends. Some of them are just that- “Facebook friends”; my account says that we are friends, but we have no “real” relationship. I might like their status updates or pictures from time to time, but there is no real and sincere connection.

There are times when I receive a friend request and I will decline or ignore the request. This usually only happens when I don’t know that person at all, and I don’t want to let them share in the details of my personal life.

Then there are friends and family whom I “follow” – I continually connect with them not only through message or text but also through real life connections.

Have we accepted Jesus’ friend request?

Is He like a “Facebook friend” to us? Do we stay loosely connected, maybe like what He has to say, but keep a casual distance from Him at the same time?

Or do we “follow” Him? Do we take time to read everything He has to say, replying to every message with the excitement of a budding relationship, and anxiously awaiting the times we get to spend together in His presence?

Come near to God and he will come near to you. (James 4:8)

God promises that as we look for Him we will find Him, because He is eagerly waiting for us to respond to His invitation. He is hoping that we will come to Him, and when we do, He will respond and come near to us! What an amazing promise, and what an amazing God!