All She Had

Written by: Jody Mugford

“Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury.  Many rich people threw in large amounts.  But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.  Calling His disciples to Him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasure than all the others.  They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything – all she had to live on.”  Mark 12:41-44

What a story!  This woman gave everything she had to God; the last two cents to her name.  When I read about her, my heart aches.  My mind’s eye imagines an elderly, frail lady obediently giving away her last means of supporting herself.  But this is a picture I’ve conjured up from years of seeing pictures in Sunday School or children’s bibles.  Really, we don’t know anything about this woman!  Why was she poor?  What happened to her husband?  Did she have children to support?  I find myself wanting to know her story!  How has she come to this place of complete trust and surrender to God?  What happens to her after she offers up her last bit of wealth?  The scriptures don’t tell us much however, we must trust that God is giving us what we need to learn from this extraordinary woman.

So, what do we know?  We know that Jesus sat and intentionally watched the crowd as they came with their offerings.  We know that the woman gave humbly without drawing attention to herself.  We know that Jesus took the time to teach His disciples a lesson based on her example.  We know that Jesus states that she has given more with her two cents than all of the others put together!

What can we learn?

  1. God notices. Jesus sat and watched the people.  He wasn’t doing this to simply pass the time.  He was interested in how people gave of something so valuable to them.  When this woman came and gave, it was in contrast to the prideful giving of many others.  Jesus noticed.
  2. It’s not just about the money. Money is near and dear to all of us and very revealing of our hearts.  Have you ever heard the expression “Don’t tell me where your priorities are. Show me where you spend your money and I’ll tell you what they are.” (James W. Frick)?  God isn’t as concerned with the amount of money we bring as He is concerned with the sentiment of our hearts towards Him when we give.  God doesn’t need our money.  If the amount was more important than the attitude behind it, Jesus would have praised those that gave much.  But He didn’t because He knew their hearts were full of pride and desire for recognition.  He was moved by the trusting heart of this widow.
  3. Jesus wants us to take note. He brought His disciples over and took the opportunity to bring the value of this event to their attention.  As small as the offering may have appeared, it was big enough to touch the heart of Jesus and He used her as an example for all eternity in His Word.
  4. Jesus didn’t publicly praise her. We aren’t given any indication that this woman had any idea what was being said about her.  Jesus didn’t speak with her or revere her publicly.  We can trust, based on the promises in God’s Word, that she was eventually rewarded greatly, but for the time being, she received no accolades (Matthew 6:3-4, Luke 6:38).  Sometimes we feel that our sacrifices go unnoticed but we must remember that God sees and rewards in His perfect timing and way.  He is good and can be trusted to meet our needs.

The woman had two coins and gave them both away – all she had.  Logic would say to give away one coin and keep the other for your own needs.  This amazing servant put her desire to give generously, to please God with her offering above all else.  She didn’t do it for attention, although she certainly has received it over the last two thousand years.  She could never have predicted the impact her little offering would have on the future of the Gospel or the Kingdom.  She gave what she had to God out of love and trust.  He took care of the rest.

This doesn’t apply to money alone, friends.  Yes, we should be a sacrificial giver with our finances and want to give generously, trusting God to meet our physical needs.  But we are also to give all of ourselves – our lives, our hearts, our wills and plans.  We give these to God – our two coins, instead of holding one back for ourselves – and He blesses it!  He multiplies it!  He uses it to dramatically impact others in sharing the Good News of Jesus.  We don’t need to have much to offer, but we need to offer all we have.

Let’s learn to live in that place of sacrifice and giving of ourselves to God – our hopes and plans, our finances, our lives.  Each day is a new opportunity to say, “I’m here Lord.  All of me.  What can I do for you today?”.  Let’s position ourselves like this each day and watch Him do wonders.  He will surely take our few cents and use them mightily for His Kingdom!

Love and blessings,

Jody

HAPPY WITH WHAT WE HAVE

Written by: Christianne Williams

Philippians 4:11-13 “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all things through him who gives me strength.”

Everyone loves a bargain.  Whether it be clothes, books, or household items, it makes me feel like I’m doing something good.  I recently scored a pair of almost new, brand name sneakers for my daughter, and they made her so happy she abandoned her want for an expensive pair at a shoe store.  Given my love for a deal, I was over the moon when I was hired at a local second hand store.

Putting out new items, seeing people get excited over the things they are finding, makes me happy.  I also get excited about some things that are donated, really it’s tough not to when something matches the color scheme in your kitchen or would fit you perfectly.  The catch is, I can’t shop while I’m working, and there’s only one day that the store is open that I’m not working.  My day off is at the end of the week so usually by the time I have a chance to purchase anything, the things I like are gone.

This last week I was really excited about something that came in, not for me but for my husband and as it was still there late in the day on my last shift I was planning how to be back at opening the next day to buy it.  Well as it happened, shortly before closing, it went home with someone else.  I was deflated.  I began to complain to God, have you ever been there?  When you start to tell him how unfair it is, how much you’re hurt, how utterly let down you feel.  As I stood there, reminding me very much of my seven or ten year old complaining about how the other was being treated far better, it occurred to me.  I didn’t need any of the things my eyes had spied, I could live very well without each and every one.  I also realized that the money I was saving by not buying things I don’t expressly need could go toward a more robust grocery budget.  And groceries are needed regularly  with a family of six, half being growing boys.

I know that thought came from the Father because it surely didn’t come from own mind that was quite bent on self pity.  It made me stop and think, how many times have I allowed my quest for more come before being content with what I already have?  And being discontent leads us into all kinds of trouble, financially, relationally, and spiritually.

When Paul writes to the Philippians and tells them that he’s learned to be content in all things, he knew what it was like to have plenty or be in need. It’s because he’s learned to trust that God knows his needs and will meet them, even if it means he waits a bit longer than he’s expecting.  In fact, Paul continues on in 4:14 to 20, that it was through the generosity of the believers at Philippi who became aware of his “troubles” that God, through them, met his needs.  But regardless of his circumstances, Paul could “do all things”, including being content. When we can stop looking at what we could gain that would make us happier, and it ultimately won’t, and start being happy with what we have, we’ll be less stressed in all areas of our lives.  In fact, Paul tells us that we are not to worry about any situation, but when we pray and are thankful, God’s peace will guard our hearts and minds. Maturing in our faith means allowing ‘things’ we think we need to slip through our hands so that God can put the things into our hands we actually need!

Thankful for Unanswered Prayers

Written by: Cindy Morrone

I couldn’t have said this a few weeks ago; that I was thankful for an unanswered prayer.

We had been praying long and hard for provision.

We’ve heard the many stories of how our God provides.  The manna and quail that fell from heaven.  The water that poured out of a rock.

And we too prayed that provision would fall from the sky.  When that didn’t happen, we prayed that someone would be the hands and feet of Jesus and provide for us. When that didn’t happen, we continued to pray.

We’d experienced answered prayers before.  Some immediate like the manna and water.  Some by the grace of others.

But these prayers went unanswered…….at least not yet; at least not in a way we anticipated.

Instead, a greater answer came.

Like the Chinese proverb; “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

The answer to this prayer for us was not in the answer but in the process.

God had so much more for us, than the answer.  He had a way to show us that we could apply to any and all of our problems.

Here is what we learned:

To be humble and recognize that we can’t do this on our own; we need help. We need God’s help.

“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

To seek God above seeking an answer.  Drawing nearer to Him; deeper to Him, He will reveal Himself in mighty ways and the answers will come and as we wait for them to come there will be Peace.

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”  Matthew 6:33

Trust His timing. Don’t give up.  Don’t believe in hopelessness.  Do not become discouraged.  God has this.  God has you!!

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”  Galatians 6:9

He will give us awe-inspiring solutions that are not only for us but to share with others in need.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  Isaiah 55:8&9

Praying blessing to you and yours as you journey to answered prayer.

Thoughts On Aging

Written by: Carolyn Ruttan

A few weeks ago I was at a conference in Victoria BC and I went for a walk downtown one afternoon. I stopped in at the Bulk Barn looking for a treat or something that we are not able to find in Honduras. Not wanting to pack on the pounds while in Canada, I purchased just a small sampling of a few candies.  Enough to have a taste of things I have missed.

Then the cashier spoke to me. ”Did you want the seniors discount today?” Wait. What did she just say? Seniors discount?  I replied in the negative, and honestly, I was slightly offended. I am not even fifty let alone a senior. Did I really look that old!?

It’s happened to me here in Honduras too where I’ve been given the seniors discount.  And I get put in the tercera edad line all the time.

The truth is that whether we want to admit or not, we are all going to get old someday. Maybe you are already there. Or maybe you feel like you are.  Aging is just a normal part of life. Grey hair and wrinkles, aches and pains…to name just a few.

I remember one time a number of years back when my son Jake innocently asked my mom why she had so many stripes on her face.  My mom took it well and just laughed about it while explaining that they were not stripes as Jake supposed, but  wrinkles!

Life is short. Time passes so fast. I only have to look at my children to see the truth in that. Especially now as we are in the throes of empty nesting and the time they moved into our homes as toddlers doesn’t seem all that long ago.

James 4:14 But you don’t have a clue what tomorrow will bring. For your fleeting life is but a warm breath of air that is visible in the cold only for a moment and then vanishes.

Psalm 144:4 For we are like a breath of air; our days are like a passing shadow.

Ecclesiastes 12:6,7  MSG “Life, lovely while it lasts, is soon over.  Life as we know it, precious and beautiful, ends. The body is put back in the same ground it came from. The spirit returns to God, who first breathed it.”

I don’t know about you, but I want to make the most of this life God has given me. We are only given one life. I don’t want to waste it.  I want it to count for something. I don’t want to have any more moments where I wish I would have done or said something that I knew that the Lord was laying on my heart.  I want to continue to grow, change and flourish. I don’t want to sit back while life happens all around me.  I don’t want to have regrets. I don’t want to stay in the same place spiritually, or grow stagnant…because I don’t know everything there is to know. I want to grow more in knowledge of the Lord and his goodness and pursue whatever dreams he places in my heart.  Even as I age. Until I breathe my last breath.

Psalm 92:14 Even in old age they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green. They will declare, “The Lord is just! He is my rock! There is no evil in him!”

C.S Lewis once said, You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.

When we were at the conference I mentioned at the start of this post, I was speaking with one of my pastors from my childhood, Abe Kudra.  He is still pastoring at 91 years of age. He looks the same as I remember him from more than thirty plus years ago and God is still using him.

Acts 2:17 “In the last days,” God says, “I will pour out my spirit upon all people. Your sons and your daughters will prophesy. Your young men will see visions and your old men will dream dreams.”

So if you are feeling like you are too old to go after your dreams, I encourage you to take steps in that direction. Trust that He will make it come to pass. You are never too old to be used by God. You are never too old to dream.

Hurts Hurt

Written by: Mandy Lawrence-Hill

Relationships and hurt oftentimes go hand in hand, wouldn’t you agree? Relationships, while important and wonderful, carry with them the potential of causing us grief and pain at some point during their existence.  

We all know this to be true, however, the blessings we receive far surpass the risk we take when we choose with whom we invest our time and love. We simply can not allow the possibility of hurts to defer us from investing love into our relationships. Furthermore, we can not allow the potential of hurts or the memories from past hurts sour our spirit. Instead, let’s deal with our hurts head-on by recognizing some truths.

I believe it is safe to conclude that the hurt you experienced from that friend or family member would not be experienced had the same circumstances taken place by an acquaintance or stranger.

Think about that for a moment. Hurt is the result when an expectation you placed on someone you’ve invested both time and love in, is unmet. It could be as simple as the expectation to be kind and supportive, when instead your loved one met your need to be affirmed, with criticism and frankness. Something was said…or not said. Something was done….or not done. Whatever the case, you had an expectation that was not met and you walked away hurt because of it.

It’s so important to realize just how important our relationships are and be prepared to hear things that may hurt— but are speaking truth into our heart. Though hard words to hear, recognizing they are words that need to be said and appreciate that someone who loves us very much cares enough to speak them.

I believe it is safe to conclude that oftentimes our interpretation of a loved ones words or actions do not equal their realistic intentions. My husband and I often run into this dilemma. I have learned over our dozen + years of marriage that timing is terribly important! To exaggerate my point— if I ask my husband a question that requires thought and sensitivity while he is in the middle of processing the thoughts of a sermon, I should not be surprised when his response is quick and surface. Choosing to wait until he is better able to respond with a clear head and time to focus gives the expectation I have on my hubby’s response a more realistic platform. For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven. (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

Finally, I believe it is also safe to conclude…that God can be in the relationship to heal and restore brokennessNothing is impossible with God. (Matthew 19:26) You might be thinking that the hurt you have held onto so tightly, for so long, is unforgivable and impossible to forget. But, I want to remind you of the biblical truth that no hurt is too big for God to restore. No “I’m sorry” will be said without His comforting peace or blessing. Not one single “I forgive you” will He leave you on your own to speak. We must be prepared to say both “I’m sorry” and “I forgive you” in every one of our relationships or they are doomed to fail. God is with us always and He is rooting for our reconciliation and restoration.

Nothing is impossible with God.

So friend, I urge you to take an inventory of those hurts you have stock-piled within the depths of your heart. Perhaps you have a few fresh wounds, or perhaps you’re nursing aging hurts that have caused bitterness towards others. Whatever the case, can we agree today that God desires for us, if it is possible, as far as it depends on you, to live at peace with everyone? (Romans 12:18)

So what now?

How can you pursue peace with everyone? Is there a conversation or two that you need to have with your people? Is there an apology or wrong that needs to be right, that you can care for? Ask God to reveal to you (if He hasn’t already) how you can pursue peace with all and then walk in boldness and confidence to achieve it.

Yes. Hurts hurt. But, Love is greater.

Rejoice And Be Glad In The Lord

Written by: Conny Varga

This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. (Neh. 8:10)

But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who long for your saving help always say, “The Lord is great!” (Ps. 40:16)

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! (Phlp. 4:4)

From cover to cover, the Bible is filled with instructions to rejoice and be glad in the Lord. One might think that those words were spoken in times of celebration, victory, answer to prayer, or any other mountaintop experience. And yes, sometimes that was the case. But more often than not, the exhortation to be glad and rejoice was given when there was great grief, fear, remorse, agony, strife, and persecution. This might initially seem like an odd thing to say to someone who is going through a rough time.

But when you think about it, it begins to make sense. Life inevitably will get tough, things will happen that throw us off, we will mess up and make mistakes that are impossible to correct. And before we know it, we are sad, mad, scared, and everything in between. This is when God wants to remind us that He is still in control. He knows exactly what we’re going through, and He sees our future clearly. He knew before we were even born that we were going to encounter these difficulties. He is never surprised. Just like a parent can often foresee when their child will run into trouble, our Heavenly Father knows what we are getting ourselves into. And just like any good parent who will be there for their child to run back to and find a strong and loving shoulder to cry on, our Father in heaven says to us: “Cast all your anxiety on Me because I care for you.” (1 Pet. 5:7, paraphrased).

Will He immediately pull us out of all trouble, bail us out, and make all our problems disappear? No. But He promised us something even better. Something the world cannot understand. Something that goes completely against human nature:

He promised us peace amidst the storm, and joy in our relationship with Him. When we take our eyes off our own little world, and fix our eyes on Him who is infinitely greater and wiser, we will discover that He is the anchor who holds us steady when everything around us falls apart. He will fill our hearts with joy and peace if we only choose to trust in Him and depend on His strength. He wants to carry our burdens for us.

This is how God can be glorified. When people around us see that we are at peace, joyful and thankful no matter what we go through, they take notice. We can rise above the worst of circumstances and point to God Who is the source of all our joy and strength!

This is easier said than done. It can be extremely difficult to be joyful when all we feel like doing is cry, fret, scream, or hide. But in the end, it comes down to a choice. If we want to rise above our circumstances, we must choose to trust God and His care for us, and ask Him to change our heart and mind to find His joy and His peace that will sustain us. We must choose to allow Him to give us an attitude of praise and worship toward Him.

Are you going through something right now that is dragging you down, stressing you out, or causing you to feel overwhelmed? Choose to look at your Father Who wants to comfort you, and Who wants to give you the strength to be joyful in Him, no matter how dark the road ahead of you is. Trust in Him, and He will be your Joy!

Time is Short

Written by: D’Anne Mullin

I once heard my absolute favourite preacher, my very own husband, say in a sermon on love the following statements:

“All the trials, temptations and outside forces we face are simply a device of the enemy to distract us from the sole purpose of our fleeting lives; that is to love God, love others and bring the lost to Christ.  Time is short, so don’t give in to the stress of life, and the garbage it throws us, but rather focus on the cross and save souls!”

As I sit and reflect on my husband’s words to us that Sunday morning, I am reminded again of two very clear directives from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ found in His Word.

The first directive is found in Mark 12:29-31 and was Jesus’ response when asked what the greatest commandment was.  He said, “The most important one is this…Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.  The second is this; love your neighbour as yourself; there is no commandment greater than these.”

His second directive, otherwise known as the Great Commission found in Matthew 28:18-20, says, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Further, when I ponder the speed at which my life has flown James 4:14 comes to mind.  “What is your life?  You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”  It only seems like yesterday that I graduated from University, got married and somehow now my boys are young men!  I remember songs and television shows from my childhood with fondness and when I reference them individuals less than 30 years old have no idea what I am talking about.  Time flies!

Life is short, filled with joys and hardships, ups and downs, twists and turns.  Distractions and pleasures are a plenty.  But, we can simplify our time on earth and fulfil the “sole purpose of our fleeting lives” by simply loving God, loving others and bringing the lost into relationship with our Saviour.  Time is short!

All Leaves And No Fruit

Written by: Jody Mugford

“Early in the morning, as Jesus was on His way back to the city, He was hungry.  Seeing a fig tree by the road, He went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves.  Then He said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!”  Immediately the tree withered.”  Matthew 21:18-19

I’ve always thought this was an odd passage.  Have you ever wondered why Jesus was talking to a tree?  I have!  I also wonder if His disciples questioned it too.  “Why is our Master cursing a fig tree!?”  It seems like an awfully harsh judgement on a piece of nature, doesn’t it?!

Let’s look a little deeper…

To understand this teaching (which applies to all of us), we must learn a few things about Israelite history…and a quick lesson in agriculture.  First of all, this fig tree was an oddity.  Normally a fig tree would grow fruit and then leaves so if you were to see leaves on a fig tree, you would expect to see fruit already present.  The fruit is green and blends in with the leaves right up until it is almost ripe so Jesus had to come closer to the tree to see that it was fruitless.  Regardless of the season, one would not expect to see a fig tree with leaves but no figs.  Also, the fig tree was used as a symbol for Israel in the Old Testament scriptures (Hosea 9:10, Jeremiah 24:5).  A fruitful fig tree was a symbol of prosperity and security (1 Kings 4:25) to the Israelite people.

In the context of this story, Jesus had just left Jerusalem, where He had entered on a colt and been received and worshipped as their Messiah.  This showering of praise and adoration occurs one week before the crowd will aggressively turn around and shout “Crucify Him!” (Mark 15:13).  During the same trip, Jesus goes into the temple and overturns tables, accusing the Jewish people of turning the Lord’s House into a “den of thieves” (Mark 11:17).  The time of His death is near and He is letting the Israelite people know that their hearts are away from God.  They need to repent and turn back to Him.

When Jesus curses the fig tree, we see another warning to the Israelites.  The religious leaders and the nation as a whole appeared to have fruit with all their religious devotion but when you looked closer at their hearts, it was only leaves.  They put on a good show and behaved as if their acts were in service to God, but in truth, their acts were in service to their own traditions and rituals…to their pride and to themselves.  From a distance, they appear to love God and be living their lives in surrender to Him but when you get close, the lack of fruit is evidence that God is not with them.  Their lives lacked love, selflessness, compassion for others, honesty and many other “fruits of the Spirit”.  Their deception and misrepresentation of a God-loving heart brought nothing good.  God saw and God knew the truth.  Jesus used this opportunity to show God’s displeasure of their superficial hearts.  He cursed the fig tree and what happened?  It withered from the roots up and died.

Wow…

I know this lesson is sobering, friends.  I was reading this story in my Bible not long ago and didn’t understand it so I dug a little deeper and this is what I found.  The lesson of the fig tree for all of us is to avoid the appearance of spirituality without having evidence of its fruit in our life.  We are not to put on an act and simply talk the talk.  God is heartbroken and angered when we do this.  We must walk the walk!  This may seem daunting but we have hope!  The fruit we need to produce stems from a genuine relationship with God.  The Holy Spirit stirs up His fruit in our lives as we draw closer to Him.  As we develop a real, honest, trusting relationship with God, we will begin to produce evidence of that relationship in our daily lives.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control…”  Galatians 5:22-23

A genuine relationship with God will lead to evidence of our salvation.  Good deeds cannot save us, only Jesus can.  But encountering Jesus and allowing the Holy Spirit to transform our hearts will bring out great things for His kingdom.  It’s just how He works!  He loves us enough to save us as we are but He doesn’t want to simply leave us like that!  And, to be honest, I’ve lived both ways…I’ve put on the mask of spirituality even though I knew my heart was far from God.  I can say without a doubt that having a real, honest, dynamic relationship with God far outweighs any “fun” I was having in secret while putting on my “church face”.  Jesus is so much better than anything this world can offer!

As difficult as some of these teachings may be to process, I encourage you to take some time to let it sink in.  “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”  2 Timothy 3:16-17

Evaluate your relationship with God.  Is His Holy Spirit doing a good work in your heart?  Do you see evidence in your life of a deepening walk with Him?  It’s available to all of us!  Don’t settle for simply an appearance of spirituality or religion.  Seek Him and let Him change your heart!  It is worth it!!!

Love and blessings,

Jody

KEEP BELIEVING

Written by: Christianne Williams

Being injured is no fun.  Having one occur when you’re a teenager, a knee injury to be exact, having surgery on it only to be left with chronic pain on and off for the rest of your days is frustrating.  I’ve lived with recurring incidents for the last 24 years and honestly while I was in school it wasn’t that bad because I didn’t have to stand for long periods but after graduation my first job, and every one since then, has required me to stand, usually on cement floors, for up to eight hours a day.  There are breaks but the majority of the time is on your feet.

As you get older you sometimes get bigger too, if you get my drift, so the last year has  been no good for my situation.  I had a particularly bad flare up that lasted a couple of months and would cause me to lose sleep.  I would have a throbbing pain that was constant but at certain times, usually while I slept, the pain would become stabbing,  which would wake me up, and in the end leave me exhausted by the next day.  In an attempt to feel rested I would take something for the pain but the outcome of that was counter productive.  It took the pain away somewhat but left me feeling sleepy because I can’t handle drugs, and they also bothered my stomach.  So, I was left feeling sore, tired, and overwhelmed.

One day a few weeks ago, as I was on my way to work I was having a difficult time even standing, let alone walking around, and I was feeling pretty discouraged.  As I got out of our vehicle I told my husband how I was feeling, mentioned I didn’t know how I would make it through the entire day, and asked him to pray.  I didn’t think a whole lot more about it I just went through my day, putting one foot in front of the other.  It wasn’t until the end of the day that I realized what had happened.

When my husband picked me up he asked how my day had gone and how my knee was feeling.  I think he had been expecting a call to come get me early in the day.  I know this sounds odd, but until that moment I hadn’t thought at all about it.  The reason was because I couldn’t remember any pain after I’d walked through the door to go into work.  You would think that I would’ve immediately stopped and took note but I actually just moved through the day and was very productive too.

Since that time I’ve had zero pain in my knee!  I have no idea what made that day any more special than any other time I’ve asked God for healing but I know that He did it!  Just because we don’t see results the first time we pray, or the second, or third, or so on, doesn’t mean we should assume He isn’t willing, working, or hearing.   After all, “faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).  Keep believing that He’s on it, He’s acting, our job is to have faith in Him even when we don’t understand how He does it.

Cups of Coffee

Written by: Carolyn Ruttan

This is a true story that happened a couple years ago.

It was a chilly morning around 7:00am and I was taking the dog for a walk in the closed circuit community across from my house.  I live in the capital city in Honduras so it isn’t exactly a good idea for me to walk where I want alone.  So generally I stick to that neighbourhood where people know me.

The boss of the guards stopped me to give my schnauzer Abby a pat on the head. After we were finished our walk and I passed under the guard rail, two of the guards sat on the curb. Both of them were wearing their winter jackets. One of them even had a winter hat.  One of them told me he wanted me to bring them a gift of coffee.  I didn’t think that I heard right. For one I had never heard it worded like that before…a gift of coffee, so I asked him to repeat it.  And again, he said what I thought he said, and I continued across the road and acted like I didn’t understand.

However inside I was kind of fuming. I know….ridiculous right?  I was thinking how presumptuous of him to expect me to bring him coffee.  See, to back up a little, over the course of the almost five years we have lived here, I have occasionally bought the guards a coke, popsicle, chocolate bar or brought them  home made goodies or turkey dinner on Christmas day. I guess it made me a little mad that now it was an expectation brought on by none other than myself that I will give them stuff like coffee whenever they ask, when I had just wanted to bless them once in a while. In all fairness to him, I did kind of set myself up for it.  It is kind of a cultural thing here, or maybe it’s anywhere in the world that once you start something it then becomes expected.

But then I felt God gently speak about the attitude of my heart. It was like he was saying “Carolyn, seriously…it’s a cup of coffee.” I saw my heart for what it was at that moment…. exposed and ugly.    How hard would it have been to walk across the road with a couple cups of coffee to the two men that have been pulling a 24 hour shift, while sitting outside the whole time with no way to get warm when there is a chill in the air?  Meanwhile, they work to keep that neighborhood safe.  A neighbourhood they allow me freely walk in even though I don’t actually live in it.  Because you know what?  Looking back at them sitting on the curb…they did look cold. They did look tired.  Some might not think that Honduras would ever get cold, but let me assure you that it does get cold. Even for this Canadian girl.   I’d like to say I listened to the voice of the Holy Spirit that day, but sadly, I was stubborn and ignored the promptings upon my heart.

The Bible talks about the heart though doesn’t it?

Jer 17:9 The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked, who really knows how bad it is?

1 Peter 4: 8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.”

Ouch!

So I end this by saying that I regretted not doing what I knew I should have done.  I felt kind of raw and broken about it at the time, because these two guards were good people. I talked to them all the time. I knew their names.  No harm was meant by the request.  I can still see myself walking away from them sitting on that curb…cold and only wanting coffee.

Psalm 139:23; 24 Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Ezekiel 36:26 “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. ”