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Jesus looked at them intently and said,“Humanly speaking, it is impossible.But with God everything is possible.”Matthew 19:26~Remember to reach out to those who arelonely and hurting on Valentine’s Day!
In this life, we have an incomplete view of God’s dealings, seeing His plan only half finished and underdeveloped. Yet once we stand in the magnificent temple of eternity, we will have the proper perspective and will see everything fitting gracefully together!~
Imagine going to the mountains of Lebanon during the reign of Israel’s great king Solomon. Can you see the majestic cedar? It is the pride of all the other trees and has wrestled many years with the cold north winds! The summer sun has loved to smile upon it, while the night has caused its soft leaves to glisten with drops of dew. Birds have built their nests in its branches, and weary travelers and wandering shepherds have rested in its shade from the midday heat or taken shelter from the raging storms. And suddenly we realize that this old inhabitant of the forest has been doomed to fall victim to the woodsman’s ax!~We watch as the ax makes its first gash on the cedar’s gnarled trunk. Then we see its noble limbs stripped of their branches as the tree comes crashing to the ground. We cry out against the wanton destruction of this “Tree of God,” as it is distinctively known, and express our anger over the demolition of this proud pillar in the forest temple of nature. We are tempted to exclaim with the prophet Zechariah, “Wail, O pine tree, for the cedar has fallen …!” (Zech. 11:2), as if inviting the sympathy of every less-majestic plant and invoking inanimate things to also resent the offense.~We should not be so quick to complain but should follow the gigantic tree as the workmen of “Hiram king of Tyre” (2 Chron. 2:3) take it down the mountainside. From there we should watch it being sailed on rafts along the blue water of the Mediterranean. And finally, we should behold it being placed as a glorious and polished beam in the temple of God. As you contemplate its final destination, seeing it in the Holy of Holies as a jewel in the diadem of the almighty King, can you honestly complain that this “crown jewel of Lebanon” was cut down, removed from the forest, and placed in such a noble setting? The cedar had once stood majestically in nature’s sanctuary, but the “glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house” (Haggai 2:9).~So many people are like these cedars of old! God’s axes of trials have stripped them bare and yet we can see no reason for such harsh and difficult circumstances. But God has a noble goal and purpose in mind: to place them as everlasting pillars in His heavenly Zion. And he says to them, “You will be a crown of splendor in the Lord’s hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God” (Isaiah 62:3). J.R. Macduff
“I was in prison
you came to visit me.”
I am dedicating this Lenten season to three Americans who are wrongly imprisoned in Iran: Pastor Saeed Abedini, Amir Hekmati (former marine), and Bob Levinson (former FBI agent). I wrote about them in February, so please see that blog post for more details about this crisis.
Unfortunately, we can’t go to visit them, but we can make “virtual visits.” Let me explain: I can picture thousands of us praying for these men during Lent and asking angels to attend and minister to their needs. As angels took care of Jesus in the wilderness and in the Garden of Gethsemane, we can ask for angels to care for all three men. Angels delivered Peter from prison! Along with praying, each time we do something for them — write a letter on their behalf, post information about them on social media, or make a donation, that too is a “virtual visit”.
Prayer requests for Pastor Saeed Abedini, Amir Hekmati, Bob Levinson:
– Quick release
– Angels will be present and comfort them
– Good health
– Favor with the guards and other prisoners
– Comfort for their families
– Great sleep and peaceful dreams
– Enough food and water
– Provision for all needs and their families needs
Let’s commit to praying for Pastor Saeed,
Amir Hekmati, and Bob Levinson,
every day during Lent.
An angel from heaven appeared to him
and strengthened him. Luke 22:43
If you have already made a commitment for Lent, please consider including this Lent request.
One of the most inspiring stories of personal redemption, Terry Smith’s ‘Delta Blues Darkness to Light’ is one of those literary rarities that we see only every once in a while. And even now I’m getting goosebumps—the most positive kind—from the story..Make no mistake about it, this book is not a straight-out “preachy” self-help book. In fact, it has a strong literary quality about it—as if you’re reading a Pulitzer Prize-winning biography-slash-novel. There is something about Terry’s writing that pulls you in and hooks you—the clever cadence, the verisimilitude, the emotional gravitas that subtly courses just underneath the surface of the entire narrative. Let me suffice it to say that apart from the story itself—apart from Terry’s personal sharing of his journey “from darkness to light”—is the exceptional language.The book demonstrates that author Terry, as a life coach, actually knows what he talks about—he has been there, done that, endured much, which makes him a much more effective life coach than all the rest. In fact, I wish somebody from Hollywood turns this book into a movie so that it can find a wider audience and inspire countless others. But as it is, this book is a keeper—read the introduction or the first few chapters and you’ll see. If Terry’s story doesn’t immediately grip you, then perhaps nothing will.‘Delta Blues: Darkness to Light’ is a definite must-read. If you’re feeling down in the dumps or you know of anyone who can benefit from a power upliftment, get a copy of this book or send this as a gift. You will not be disappointed. A sold five-star rating for this one.
Dedicated to Pastor Saeed and his wife Naghmeh
“Because he love me,” says the Lord,
“I will rescue him.” Psalm 91:14
~Three Americans today will endure another 24-hours in hell-like conditions in Iran. All three men are held against their wills as hostages and have no direct contact with their U.S. family members. All three are U.S. Citizens with distinguished backgrounds. All three entered Iran legally.” freeallthree.com
“You did not choose me,
but I chose you …”
Each day we have the opportunity through our thoughts and actions to choose Jesus. When we choose kindness over irritabilty or choose reading the Bible before entertainment (social media, TV, etc.) we choose Jesus. Sometimes I even whisper the words, “I choose you, Jesus.” At other times, at the end of the day, I will think, “I didn’t choose well; I didn’t choose Jesus today.” In 2014, let’s make a concentrated effort to “choose Jesus!”
My close friends Dianne and Perry Dodge hold marriage conferences. One of their talks discusses what five minutes a day can do for your marriage. When you improve your relationship with God, it can improve your marriage. Making small choices for just five minutes every day can make a big difference in your life. Here are some of Dianne and Perry’s suggestions of ways to devote five minutes of time to God throughout the day. I challenge you to choose a few of these ways to spend more time with God.
What Do You Have That You’re Willing To Give To God?