One Christmas Eve I was the last shopper in a toy store at the mall.There were broken parts and pieces of toys scattered on the floor….dolls with hair missing, battered soldiers and smashed plastic cars!I wonder what they do with all those broken toys after Christmas?They weren’t chosen by anyone because of their imperfect condition.
Maybe you feel like that sometimes.Do you think about reasons why people might not want to choose you?Like the broken toy, we are afraid that we will end up on the floor to be walked on and kicked aside.We know our imperfections all too well.
If God chose only perfect people His Kingdom would be empty!
God has a message for us.No matter how bad life gets, no matter how many divorces, deaths, disillusionments we face…nothing is going to change the fact that God made us just like we are, and He made us really good!We can never become so damaged that He will disown us, “un-create” and “un-redeem” us as His children.Never forget!God knows more about you than you do.You’ve got to believe it even though it seems impossible at times.You and others see some of your weaknesses, but God knows ALL of your unseen strengths.
You are not too young, not too old, not too sick, not too guilty, not too alone, not too broken.Jehovah says to us from the lips of Isaiah, the prophet to Judah during the Babylonian captivity, “You are precious and honored…I love you…Do not be afraid, for I am with you.”Isa. 43:4-5
GospeLines Prayer:Jehovah, when I am suffering in my own personal captivity, lost from everyone and everything I hold dear, I beseech you to raise my valleys and lower the insurmountable mountains; make the rough ground level, and I will give you glory forevermore.Amen and amen.
There have been numerous stories of Christmas without presents.In some instances, people didn’t have the means to purchase them; in others, their gifts were stolen.
One news story featured a mother with 12 children – thieves broke into their apartment and took everything she had worked so hard to provide.
Despite what would appear to be a bleak Christmas to most children and teenagers, all smiled and were thankful to have each other.They are truly special – a blended family of biological and foster children!
In a world where others sometimes attempt to steal our joy, what will you bring?The wise men brought gold, frankincense and myrrh as gifts to honor the newborn Prince of Peace.
Will you bring a message of hope to those hurting?Will you extend a helping hand; a message of reconciliation and love?
GospeLines Prayer:Father, we may or may not have material riches, but with You in our lives, we are rich beyond measure!
May we open our eyes and hearts to those hurting and provide comfort.May we reach out beyond our limits to demonstrate Your love.
Let us be mindful that it isn’t about presents; it’s about Your presence in our lives.
Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me!
Seldom does a broken chair make the news."A man sat on a chair and broke it in three places," the newspaper stated.This chair was special.It was from the 16th century Ming Dynasty collection at the Minneapolis Institute of Fine Arts, valued in the six figures.It will be sent to London to be restored by a person who previously worked on it.
Broken things… broken hearts, broken spirits, broken homes, broken marriages, broken lives… these things aren’t news anymore.Maybe you have experienced some of these in your life.If so, I've got good news for you!There is One who is an artist at restoring the broken things of life.Take your burdens to Jesus and let Him heal you.
GospeLines Prayer:Great Physician, heal our brokenness.Mend those things which we destroy by our sinful nature and restore us to blessed fellowship with You.Amen and amen.
What does He want?Does He want big churches with thousands of members and stained class windows?Does He want beautiful sanctuaries with theater lighting and excellent sound systems or does He just want us to come together in His name?
Have you read His book?He mentions money 114 times in the NIV.However, He mentions the poor and needy 233 times and love 697 times.He mentions love over sixtimes as often as He talks about money.He talks about the poor and needy over twice as often.Why is it that today we hear more about money than anything else?
What did He tell us to do?"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind... Love your neighbor as yourself." (Matthew 22:37-39)
Jesus said:"Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees." (Matthew 16:6)
Jesus said: "Watch out for the teachers of the law.They like to walk around in flowing robes and be greeted in the marketplaces,and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. They devour widows' houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. Such men will be punished most severely." (Mark 12:38 -40)
Jesus said: "Watch out that no one deceives you." (Mark 13:5)
Jesus said: "Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God." (Luke 9:60)
Jesus said: "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes." (Luke 12:22-23)
Jesus said: "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (John 8:31-32)
Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep." (John 21:16)
Then he said: "Follow me!" (John 21:19)
Compare these statements to what Jesus said in His sermon on the mount.
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
What is His message?Is it about big buildings and flashy trappings?Is it about gold and fine clothing?No, it's about love, mercy and truth.
Why did He destroy Sodom?Most think it was for sexual sin.Yes, there was immorality in Sodom; but, scripture says: "Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.They were haughty and did detestable things before me.Therefore I did away with them as you have seen." (Ezekiel 16:49-50)
God mentioned their arrogance and failure to help the poor and needy before He mentioned the detestable things they did.If we want to please Him, we will avoid legalism and trying to pick His Word apart and listen to what He says.Love Me; love My people; feed My sheep!
“…we can face Him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.”
Depression strikes people of all ages, backgrounds, and ethnic groups. It is estimated that about 20 million adults in the U.S. suffer from depression each year, and about 1 out of 6 American adults have depression during their lifetimes.
Depression is not a sign of weakness or a character flaw. It is a medical condition.
Perhaps you have been there. Maybe you have lived for a while behind closed doors. Many good people have. I was reading recently about a young lawyer who descended into the valley of despondency. Things were going so poorly for him that his friends thought it best to keep all knives and razors away from him for fear of a suicide attempt. In fact, during this time he wrote in his memoirs, "I am now the most miserable man living. Whether I shall ever be better, I cannot tell. I fear I shall not." The young lawyer who unleashed these desperate feelings of utter hopelessness? His name was Abraham Lincoln.
Beloved, this ministry was begun, in part, as a response to restoring hope to depressed Christians. If you, or someone you know, is living in this darkness now, I encourage you to continue seeking medical help when needed. And, I want you to know that you are not alone. Others have walked through this valley, but with the help of a loving God, they have emerged victorious. And so shall you.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, do not hide your face from me when I am depressed.I confess that it is in those times I need you the most but seek you the least. I am afraid to admit my humanity, but it is in my admission of frailty that I grow.Embrace my lonely heart and pull me near to You, so that I will feel Your presence even in the darkness. Ignite my soul with assurance, and my mind with Hope. Fill me with your Holy Spirit, the Comforter of all creation. Amen and amen.