(Washington, D.C., January 19, 2021) – Today, U.S. Senator Roger Marshall, M.D. issued the following statement regarding Senate impeachment proceedings:
“Tomorrow, my wife Laina and I will both be attending the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden to witness the peaceful transition to a new Administration.
“As leaders, we must now do everything we can in the coming months to ensure the levers of government are fully operational. Not only is it unconstitutional to impeach a President after he leaves office, I firmly believe an impeachment effort at this juncture will only raise already heated temperatures of the American public and further divide our country at a time when we should be focused on bringing the country together and moving forward. Whether it’s getting the COVID-19 vaccine into the arms of all those who want and need it, boosting job recovery, or opening our economy back up to pre-pandemic levels, we have real work to do.
“Without a doubt, there are brighter days ahead for our country, and looking back should not be on our agenda.”
Many of my childhood church memories revolve around the music. Back then, we had a song leader, pianist, organist, and a congregation who loved to sing. The song leader would select a few hymns, and then would ask if anyone had a number they’d like for us to sing. Sister Ada Samsel would usually call out for #78 “Unsearchable Riches” in the key of Bb in 6/8 timing. Another hymn we sang was “His Yoke is Easy.” I never thought a yoke looked easy because it was heavy and cumbersome. Although I’ve sang and played that song most of my life, I did not understand it until four years ago.
The scripture reference for this hymn is found in Matthew 11:28-30 NKJV: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.“
I have an old photo of my Dad and his sister each sitting atop a pair of work horses. Ol’ Bird and Puss were a necessary asset to farming the acres in the Needmore community. They were a well-matched pair and could accomplish a lot in a sun-up to sun-down day. I’m not old enough to have seen anyone work with a pair of oxen, mules, or work horses to plow up the soil. But, I understand how the system is supposed to work. You can’t pair up an ox with a mule and expect the plowing to go well, or go at all for that matter. In order to accomplish a tough task, these animals must work side by side to equally pull the heavy load.
When a believer finds himself staring at the hard ground beneath his feet, it’s time to get yoked up with Jesus. This is the only example where an unmatched pair works together perfectly. We must deliberately join Jesus so He can pull the heavy load. He’ll do all the laboring and wearisome work which enables us to simply walk beside Him and find rest. If you’ve been trying to plow the bottom 40 all alone, you’ll find out you can’t do it any longer by yourself. When you choose to be yoked together with Jesus, you have the greatest Partner in the world who is able to turn a hard situation into a lighter outcome.
This hymn was written by R. E. Hudson and the chorus lyrics are: “His yoke is easy; His burden is light. I’ve found it so, I’ve found it so. He leadeth me by day and by night where living waters flow.“ You might say I’ve burned my own yoke, stepped into Jesus’ yoke, and now He’s taking the load so that my burden is light. And this is accomplished by faith in His Word and receiving His matchless grace for the moment.
The Key: Jesus’ yoke is easy, so start plowing together instead of on your own.
Trivia containing “Home Hints” or “Fun Facts” often are sent to me. Years ago, when I was teaching high school, one such Email– two pages full of such tidbits– made its way into my Inbox. I recited them to my students who found them as interesting as I did…until, that is, I read #10 which stated, “It is impossible to lick your elbow.” Immediately, a junior in the back row licked his elbow, making me skeptical of the other “facts” I was asked to believe.
All that to bring me to the story of my splinter. A few months ago, Dave and I were in Springfield, Missouri, picking up our kayak after having a hole repaired at the shop where we bought it five years ago. This was a good plan, since the option was Hubby’s grandiose idea to glue his stash of Gatorade lids together, melt them into the puckering cavity and call it good. The kayak shop seemed a better bet.
We had borrowed a trailer which, to our surprise, ended up being one we had loaned our son a decade ago and hadn’t seen until it turned up—suffering multiple maladies, including rust, rotting boards and no taillights– behind my nephew’s shed.
Sliding the mended kayak onto the trailer, I immediately felt the pain of a splinter in my thumb. Dave’s attempt to remove it by using a fishing lure–one he found latched onto a web pocket in the kayak—left me with a bloody thumb and an embedded sliver of wood too deep to extract. Once home, I referred to my “Home Hints” on how to remove the little demon. The first suggestion was to lather it with honey, sit back, and watch the sweet goo do its magic. And get this! It worked. Within 5 minutes, the splinter had finagled its way to the surface. A “fun fact” that panned out.
So, I now am rethinking my decision that all of these “fun facts” are hogwash. Just because one student could lick his elbow doesn’t dispel the other 20 pieces of information that might just come in handy someday…like in a trivia contest or as a painless remedy. We need to determine what is truth and what isn’t.
I have a friend who considers the Bible nothing more than a collection of useless, truthless trivia. She is a splinter to my soul, for she believes that there is no “Absolute Truth” and that only fools buy into Jesus’ claim that he is “Truth.” I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (Jn. 14:6) The irony, as I have pointed out to her, is obvious: “So, to you, your Absolute Truth is that there is no Absolute Truth. Interesting.”
For me, the Bible works. It is not simply 66 books of useless minutiae but is a personal, love letter from God to everyone who seeks Him. Psalm 119:105 refers to it as “a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”
The Bible brings me peace and promises me a future. It tells me of a loving God who became man and suffered everything we have suffered, exchanging His life for ours. It makes me a better person as it reminds me to be forgiving, selfless, honest, patient (still working on that one), loving and kind. It tells me that I may have some ugly splinters in my heart that need to be extracted but that “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” (Prov, 16:24)
Useless trivia? I can’t imagine anything further from the truth.
One of my favorite TV cartoons was “The Flintstones” which aired from 1960 to 1966. I was greatly entertained by the Stone-Age setting which included foot-powered cars, The Daily Slate “newspaper” chiseled on rock, and the family’s pet dogasaurus Dino. Basically everything in the town of Bedrock was made out of rock, even their mattresses!
Flint is a hard type of stone that the Native American Indians used to make tools and arrowheads. They wouldn’t even consider using shale because it’s a soft rock that breaks under the slightest pressure. As Christians, we need to be “hardheaded” in our determination to wholeheartedly trust and obey Jesus. Also, we don’t want to be like shale and fall apart at the first sign of difficulty or temptation.
Here is an excellent scripture of hope for these challenging days: “Because the Lord God helps me, I will not be dismayed; therefore, I have set my face like flint to do His will, and I know that I will triumph” (Isaiah 50:7 TLB). Make a rock-solid decision that you will not look to the right or left as you follow Jesus. Let’s shake off the 2020 dust from our feet and move on with an attitude of victory.
If you’ve suffered the death of a loved one in the past year, I’m not suggesting that this loss can be shrugged off. I know firsthand that there’s an unavoidable grieving process to go through. Rather, I am referring to the unpleasant detours that pop up during your journey. Once you get through it, you can begin to move forward. But in order to grow spiritually, you must place your trust in God and not dwell on the past.
I like this encouraging verse from Apostle Paul: “…I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us (Philippians 3:13,14 NLT). Looking back doesn’t help you walk forward. In fact, it causes you to stumble because you’re not watching where you’re going!
In the Old Testament, we find Lot, his wife, and two daughters fleeing from Sodom because God’s angels were going to destroy it. When they were safely out of the city, the angel ordered, “Run for your lives! And don’t look back or stop anywhere in the valley! …But Lot’s wife looked back…and she turned into a pillar of salt” (Genesis 19:17,26 NLT). She should have set her face like flint to look ahead and press on with God‘s help.
Even though Lot’s wife was an unnamed woman in the Bible, and was mentioned only three times, we can learn a crucial lesson from her. Even Jesus referred to her in Luke 17:32 NKJV: “Remember Lot’s wife.” There’s diverse speculation as to why she looked back. But the simple fact is she did not obey an express command. Disobeying God’s Word will always result in calamity — no matter what the excuse is.
The Key: Hold to God’s hand, set your face like flint, and don’t look back.
This morning, while walking with a friend, I shared that I was writing this week’s article on what parents go through if their children disappoint them. Her response? “Don’t you mean “when” instead of “if”? Perhaps you agree, so let me ask this question: how do you respond when your kids disappoint you? You know, when they fail to live up to the standards and values you have tried so hard to instill in them?
Many of you readers know what I’m talking about. You helped your kiddos in their studies, faithfully took them to church every Sunday, encouraged them in whatever activities they loved and taught them right from wrong. But they make choices that clearly aren’t wise and ones you never would recommend.
They begin to run with the wrong crowd. Fail to take their studies seriously. Sneak out at night. Act promiscuously. Spend too much time on video games. Vape. Do drugs. Close you out of their lives and build a quiet resentment towards you. Marry a slug. Turn from God.
And you, as a Christian, enter into the world of “cover up.” After all, what will other believers think? You know, the ones who birthed the kind of child you deserved. The ones with the perfect sons and daughters who were potty trained before they could walk and wrote math manuals in first grade and will grow up to be keynote speakers at Christian conferences and lead others to Christ on a daily basis.
You sit in study groups with those parents and listen as they share the depth of their children’s faith while you squirm and silently, desperately, try to conjure up something somewhat spiritual you can brag about, hopefully redeeming the reputation of your child. Let’s see…this week you didn’t get a call from his teacher, and no police officer has shown up at your doorstep this month. Yippee!!! Time to hang the piñata and celebrate.
Dave and I were embarrassed on more than one occasion with the behavior of our children. Behavior that we did not cover up. Behavior that was discussed openly in whatever town we lived at the time. Oh, we would talk to our kids about their actions, and for a while–like an hour or two–they would follow our guidance, but within a short time, they would revert to a life of disobedience. In response, I would sign up for every Christian conference dealing with raising godly children.
The speaker’s story was always the same. She had prayed and fasted from the time she was ten years old, just anticipating the day she would have children. Her kids now were missionary doctors in the Cambodia jungles, as were her adult grandchildren. (I’m not exaggerating…by much.) I would sit there, wanting to smack her upside her cheery little head, fearful that my children would end up in the penitentiary…and they weren’t yet in kindergarten.
What had Dave and I done wrong? We looked to the Bible for comfort and were introduced to parents who loved God but had children who disappointed. Eli, the high priest at the temple and the one asked to raise Samuel, had two sons who died after defying God’s rules. Samuel, the prophet whose life was dedicated to God, had sons who did not follow in his virtuous footsteps. King David (“a man after God’s own heart”) birthed a rapist, a murderer and two sons who started a coup against their dad. Suddenly, I didn’t feel so bad.
Being filled with guilt over how we hadn’t parented well was pointless. Sure, we weren’t perfect, but it’s not like we trained our kids to defy us…or God. I mean, our sons might have used each other for target practice, bloodied each other’s lips on a semi-regular basis, tackled too hard, pushed a brother through the dry wall in retaliation for a ping-pong paddle to his head, or hung the younger sibling upside down from the tree fort, but none of them turned from God or committed the crimes of these Biblical children.
Is it any wonder I find great comfort in reading my Bible?
I was born in 1958, so I’ve seen many versions of myself in the mirror since graduating from high school. In recent years, there have been times I’ve wondered, “Who stole my face?“ However, I’ve never looked into the mirror and thought, “Who is that?“ I still recognize myself, thanks to Revlon. After all, grandmas are just antique little girls!
I like the everyday language of The Message for James 1:23,24: “Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like.”
It’s one thing to read your Bible; it’s another thing to do your Bible. Your life as a Christ follower begins in knowing what God wants you to do. And then we glorify Him when we actually do it. “Not everyone who says to Me, ’Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Matthew 7:21 NKJV).
With a new year ahead, may I suggest we look daily into the perfect mirror of God’s Word. This mirror accurately reflects every detail of your life in a clear image. Comparing yourself to other people will always give you a fuzzy image. The best way for you to have a “Happy New Year” is to obey God’s Word. The proof is in the pudding with this scripture: “But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it (James 1:25 NLT). God’s perfect law is love — plain and simple. The lifestyle of a real disciple is loving God and loving others. In a nutshell, be a doer of the Word and you will be blessed.
God’s Word is the only trustworthy mirror for our spiritual lives. “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip His people to do every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16,17 NLT). You will not find godly direction from reading your horoscope or consulting a psychic. In fact, if you’re participating in anything apart from God’s spiritual realm, you’re opening the door to a spirit of darkness.
Joel Hemphill composed the encouraging song “He’s Still Workin’ on Me” many years ago. As long as we continue in Christ, we’ll be transformed into His likeness. “In the mirror of His Word, reflections that I see make me wonder why He never gave up on me. But He loves me as I am and helps me when I pray. Remember, He’s the Potter, I’m the clay. He’s still workin’ on me to make me what I ought to be.” God loves you too much to leave you the way you are, so He will keep sculpting you into His image. Now that’s a happy thought for the year 2021!
The Key: Jesus is the fairest of all, and His Word tells you when you need to clean your mirror.
Ask the players on the Dallas Cowboys football team when the holder failed to turn the seams to face the kicker.
Ask me when I ignore auto-correct while texting and my friend reads “You look greasy” instead of “You look great.”
Ask my friend who trusted the pop-up thermometer on her Thanksgiving turkey and sliced into its bloody center.
Ask the bachelor who mistook salt for flour in the birthday cake he prepared for his date.
Ask the families of the Challenger disaster after a fifty-cent O-ring failed to do its job.
Ask my husband when, after I set off the fire alarm by burning mashed potatoes, he gave the security company the wrong password.
No doubt, you readers have your own tales of some minor issue escalating into a major problem. Hopefully yours are more on the humorous side instead of resulting in a more serious outcome like some I have mentioned.
Every day we can make little things matter. A smile to a stranger…perhaps even a “Good morning.” An offer to help a wheelchair shopper nab something on the top row. The will power to resist that chocolate chip cookie (so I’ve been told). A giggle.
If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones.” – Luke 16:10
Jesus addressed the crowd with a story of a rich man who had three slaves to whom he gave an amount of money, referred to as talents, and told them to care for what had been handed them. The first steward was given five talents, the second, two, and the third, one. The first two servants used the talents to trade and gain profit, returning to their master with double the talents. The third servant was fearful of his master and hid his one talent, returning only that to his master.
The story concludes in Matthew 25:29-30: For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Oopsie! No mere slap on the wrist for this guy. He did nothing to grow what he had been given, to improve someone else’s life. This master is ticked off because, according to him, little things definitely did matter.
Jesus took time for the little things. He chose 12 disciples, not 120. He always was willing to stop to heal one hemorrhaging woman, one blind man, one paralytic. He fed 5000 with two fish and five loaves of bread. Little things with big impact.
Not all of us will become preachers at mega churches or have a Grammy-winning album or translate the Bible into the Jieng language, but most of us will start 2021 with at least one resolution. Instead of setting large goals (I will lose 100 pounds this year/witness to everyone I meet), how about aiming for a pound a week or being in tune with God’s prodding? You know, attainable goals.
We just need to know that in taking care of the small details, we will be serving our Master well. In doing that, large things—God-pleasing things–can be accomplished.
I appreciate and enjoy the annual Christmas light-and-music show on Margrave. The beautiful lights remind me of the star that shone above the stable where the Light of the World was born. Mary and Joseph saw, with their own eyes, the message from the angels come alive. The Messiah had come at last, but what a strange way for a King to be born! It makes sense that the first visitors at the manger were shepherds. For they were instructed by an angel to leave their flocks of sheep and go to Bethlehem to see the newborn Lamb of God. “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11 NKJV).
Our heavenly Father loved the world so deeply that He sent His one and only Son as a baby to die for the sins of the whole world. The good news of great joy was for all people. The everlasting Light of Jesus is still shining in the dark streets of 2020. Jesus came as the Living Word to redeem and set everyone free from the harsh grip of sin. Jesus said, “I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness” (John 12:46 NKJV). The blessed Redeemer wants the world to believe in Him and receive eternal life in Him.
God dearly loves people and He didn’t want anyone living in the dark with no hope. He designed a divine and perfect plan of redemption. “The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine” (Isaiah 9:2 NLT). The Light that would shine would be God’s anointed King. God’s answer to an arrogant and lost world was a little baby. This Wonderful Mediator lit up the world with peace and goodwill to all men. And as the mighty Lion of Judah, He turned the world upside-down and set it on fire.
Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow Me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life” (John 8:12 NLT). From my childhood, I remember singing the hymn, “The Light of the World is Jesus.” Philip P. Bliss penned these sobering lyrics: “The whole world was lost in the darkness of sin. The Light of the world is Jesus. Once I was blind, but now I can see. The Light of the world is Jesus.”
As we celebrate the Prince of Peace, the Christian carols we sing are biblical doctrine in poetic verse set to music. Our Christmas hymns present the truths of the virgin birth, Christ’s deity, salvation, and the transforming power of the Holy Spirit in believers.
The Lamb of God was the only perfect sacrifice for our sins. John the Baptist confirmed who Jesus was: “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!’” (John 1:29 NLT). In the last book of the Bible, The bright Morning Star is still shining His powerful Light. “The city [heaven] had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light” (Revelation 21:23 NKJV).
The Key: Jesus is the Light of the world, and He always will be.
Submitted by Pastor Kevin Moyers, Rinehart Christian Church
Mask wearing in 2020 has been quite a topic of discussion. President-elect Joe Biden says “Wear a mask.” Dr. Anthony Fauci says, “Wear a mask.” Did you know that the Bible addresses the subject of mask-wearing?
You might be interested in knowing that Jesus condemned the Pharisees for wearing a mask.
Now before anyone gets all “up in the air” about what I just said, maybe you should keep on reading this article. Please don’t go away and tell folks the preacher at Rinehart is saying something that I’m really not saying at all.
Fifteen times in the book of Matthew Jesus addresses the subject of “mask-wearing.” He addressed it once in Mark’s gospel, and four times in Luke’s gospel. Add all that up and you have 20 scripture references that address mask-wearing, and everyone of them is cautioning us against wearing a mask.
Did you know the word “hypocrite” in the NT means “stage-actor?” Let me quote to you from Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Greek Words as it defines the word “hypocrite”: “Pretender; it was a custom for Greek and Roman actors to speak in large masks with mechanical devices for augmenting the force of the voice.” Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance defines “hypocrite” this way: “an actor; stage-player; pretender; a dissembler.”
Jesus took this word from the Greek and Roman theater and used it in such a way that people understood perfectly what He was getting at. A hypocrite was someone pretending to be what they were not. They were “stage-acting” in a spiritual sense. In the case of the Pharisees, they were portraying themselves as spiritual-minded men, when really they were not spiritual at all. They were just putting on a show. They sounded spiritual on the outside, and maybe they “dressed like they were spiritual,” but in reality, they were not spiritual at all. They were wearing a mask.
Jesus had strong words of condemnation for those who were hypocritical “mask-wearers.” Check out some of these scriptures: Matthew 6:;2,5,16; 7:5; 22:18; 23:15,23,25,27,29; 24:51; Mark 7:6; Luke 12:56; 13:15. It appears that those who act like they’re a Christian, but really they are not, are in for a terrible awakening.
Jesus wants us to be sincere in our faith, and real. He wants us to be true. Don’t be that person who is a “Sunday Christian,” but has nothing to do with Him through the week. Don’t be that person who sings praises on Sunday morning and curses your neighbor on Tuesday evening. “My brethren, these things ought not to be this way” (James 3:10).
May we all take off the masks and be what He wants us to be.
Now the other masks that you see people wearing in 2020 to protect them from the coronavirus, feel free to wear them if you want.
A wealthy man and his son loved to collect rare works of art, including paintings from Picasso to Raphael. They would often sit together and admire their collection. When the Vietnam-conflict broke out, the son went to war. He courageously died in battle while rescuing another soldier. The father was notified and grieved deeply for his only son.
About a month later, just before Christmas, there was a knock at the door. A young man stood at the door with a large package in his hands. He said, “Sir, you don’t know me, but I am the soldier for whom your son gave his life. He saved many lives that day and was carrying me to safety when a bullet struck him in the heart. He died instantly. He often talked about you and your love for art.” The young man held out this package. “I know this isn’t much. I’m not really a great artist, but I think your son would have wanted you to have this.”
The father opened the package. It was a portrait of his son, painted by the young man. He stared in awe at the way the soldier had captured the personality of his son in the painting. The father’s eyes welled up with tears. He thanked the young man and offered to pay him for the picture. “Oh, no sir, I could never repay what your son did for me. It’s a gift.”
The father hung the portrait over his mantle. Every time visitors came to his home, he took them to see the portrait of his son before showing them any of the other collected works.
The man died a few months later. There was to be a great auction of his paintings. Many influential people gathered, excited to purchase one of the paintings. On the platform sat the painting of the son. The auctioneer pounded his gavel. “We will start the bidding with this picture of the son. Who will bid for this picture?” There was silence…
Then a voice in the back of the room shouted, “We want to see the famous paintings. Skip this one” But the auctioneer persisted. “Will somebody bid for this painting? Who will start the bidding? $100, $200.”
Another voice cried angrily. “We didn’t come to see this painting. We came to see the Van Gogh’s, the Rembrandts. Get on with the Real bids!”
But still the auctioneer continued. “The son! The son! Who’ll take the son?” Finally, a voice came from the very back of the room. It was the longtime gardener of the man and his son. “I’ll give $10 for the painting.” Being a poor man, it was all he could afford.
“We have $10, who will bid $20?”
“Give it to him for $10. Let’s see the masters.” The crowd was becoming angry. They didn’t want the son’s picture. They wanted the more worthy investments for their collections.
The auctioneer pounded the gavel. “Going once, twice, SOLD for $10!”
A man sitting on the second row shouted, “Now let’s get on with the collection!”
The auctioneer laid down his gavel. “I’m sorry, the auction is over.”
“What about the paintings?”
“I am sorry. When I was called to conduct this auction, I was told of a secret stipulation in the will… Only the painting of the son would be auctioned. Whoever bought that painting would inherit the entire estate, including the paintings.”
God gave His son over 2,000 years ago to die on the Cross. Much like the auctioneer, His message today is “The Son, the Son, who’ll take the Son?”
Because, you see, whoever takes the Son gets everything!
FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD THAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, THAT WHOSOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM SHALL NOT PERISH BUT HAVE ETERNAL LIFE. John 3:16
When there’s a challenging situation in your life, you’ll find Jesus at the front end prompting His compassionate servants into action. These kind people are the “givers.” And then you’ll also find Jesus at the back end, where hopeful individuals are the “receivers.”
God likes to use His children as givers to accomplish His plans. He does miracles without human assistance, but He also works through those who love and serve Him. Jesus was talking about compassionate believers with obedient servants’ hearts in Matthew 25:37-40 NKJV: “The righteous will answer Him, saying, ’Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You? And the King will answer and say to them, ’Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’”
God likes for His children to pray boldly and specifically ask Him for what they need (see Hebrews 4:16). As God moves in response, these believers become receivers. The scripture reveals, “And my God shall supply ALL your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19 NASB). Well, there He is again. Jesus is everywhere we turn. But we should already know that because He says, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last” (Revelation 22:13 NKJV).
Make sure you recognize Jesus when He shows up because He wears a lot of different faces. Here’s a partial list of what He’s done for us over the last several months: Jesus has baked a blackberry pie, shoveled gravel onto our lane, brought out Schwan’s meals, baked desserts, provided home-cooked meals, and sent cards. Jesus has changed the oil in our van, filled up our gas tank, cut hair, shared garden vegetables, mowed our yard and pasture, and cut and delivered wood. Jesus has been a chauffeur, changed the lawnmower oil, prayed for us, run the Weed Eater, given money, and even mailed a box of Queen Anne’s chocolate-covered cherries to us. The face of Jesus is beautiful — and He looks just like our family and friends! As humble receivers with grateful hearts, we count our blessings and thank God.
There are times when life lands you in a pit to slug it out with a vicious lion. In the Old Testament we read about Benaiah, one of King David’s mightiest men. He was a valiant warrior who did many heroic deeds. “…on a snowy day, he chased a lion down into a pit and killed it” (2 Samuel 23:20 NLT). Humanly speaking, the odds were against him, but Benaiah won anyway. I don’t think it’s too far-fetched to believe that Benaiah looked up from the bottom of the pit and saw the offered hand of a friend to help him climb out.
Jesus is a chain breaker and a heart mender, and He’s not afraid of lions or hard work. So when you’re asking, believing, and standing for your breakthrough, rest assured Jesus will show up with His sleeves rolled up and His work gloves on.
The Key: No matter which end you’re on, Jesus is there.
The confused, American woman asked me to help her fill out the form needed for her passport permit. Her adult son was too busy, I guess, as he spent his time in line perusing his leather-covered folder which contained every possible document (including multiple copies) to make him legal in Mexico. “Dan and Ruth” told me that they were on a mission trip.
Dave and I were driving to Mazatlán and were crossing into Mexico at the Columbia, Texas, border, notorious for little traffic and hassle-free trips. Not this time. The line of cars was crazy- long, and since only one lane was open, we had no choice but to pull in behind the other hundred vehicles waiting their turn. After fifteen minutes of not moving, an impatient truck driver behind us zigzagged out of line, followed by several dozen other drivers, determined to squeeze in at the front. At this rate, we wouldn’t cross into Mexico until 2021.
All along the line, passengers began exiting their vehicles, paperwork in hand, so that while the driver waited to pull forward, they could be inside having their passports, etc. checked. I did likewise. The drivers who had cheated by pulling around us had created a monster.
(How is it that some people think they are above the rules?)
Once inside, I waited in line for my passport to be checked. That’s where I met Dan and Ruth. When my paperwork was completed, I was told that I needed copies and had to get into line #2 where, for a fee, all of our documents were copied and snacks were sold. Once finished, I noticed Ruth in the middle of the copy line. Overly-prepared Dan was meandering about, double-checking his multiple copies, and that’s when I sprang into action. “Dan, Ruth doesn’t have to stand in line. You have copies of everything, so you’re set.”
He excitedly told Ruth that they could bypass line #2 and go directly to Line #3. Once she exited the line, thanking me profusely, an official asked if they had a copy of the passport document they received in line #1. No, they didn’t have that copy. Only the original. Well, then, they needed to get in line #2 to get it. I avoided eye contact.
Line #3 had about 50 people ahead of me…definitely the longest line because that’s where all of our documents were checked and verified and where I noticed that the buddy system was alive and well. Waiting people who had bypassed the #2 line handed their paperwork to a friend who then joined the #2 group. Only they didn’t just join it. They crowded in the front of the people who had been waiting patiently (like Ruth). Not only did they get copies, they loaded up on bags of snacks. Seriously…were Dan, Ruth and I the only ones for whom the rules applied? Why weren’t more people like us? Examples of preparedness and patience.
After an hour wait, it was my turn to stand behind the plexi-glass window and pray that I had all the legal paperwork I needed. Title to car and copy of title. Check. Passport and copy of passport. Check. Permit to enter Mexico and copy of permit to enter Mexico. Check. Mexican insurance forms. Check. So far, so good.
“What is your license plate number?”
No check. “I have no idea.”
“Well, Senora, I have to have it.”
I phoned Dave who, I imagined, still had to be in the car line. He didn’t answer. I called again. Same result. I texted. He called me. I accidentally hung up on him. I refused to turn around, knowing I would be the recipient of well-deserved glares as I held up the line. Murmurs could be heard: “Why is it some people think they have the right to get in line before they are prepared?” Granted, it was in Spanish, and they could have been asking for some Cheetos, but I’m pretty sure that’s what they were saying.
In Matthew 7:1 Jesus told his followers, “Do not judge so that you will not be judged,” a scripture many people in line that day needed to heed. Just glad that didn’t include me.