Category Archives: Encouragement

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Scar Tissue

Category : Encouragement

A woman named Glory underwent a surgery to replace her left knee after a car accident left it damaged many years before. Her first physical therapy session was scheduled for the very next morning about 100 feet from her hospital room. A hospital attendant rolled her to the class in a wheelchair, but explained that she would be expected to walk back with a walker. In the class, she winced during the warm-up exercises and drew her breath in pain with every repetition. Laying back against the cushions of the chair, she closed her eyes and complained of nausea and exhaustion.

The physical therapist commiserated with her, brought her some juice, and then explained that if she didn’t make an ever-increasing effort to bend her knee inspite of the pain, scar tissue would grow around the knee joint and hinder its movement. If this happened, she would likely have to undergo another surgery to regain use of the knee.

Isn’t this similar to the effort expected of us as new and old members of the body of Christ? Sin can function like scar tissue, binding us and hindering our movement for the work Jesus has saved us to do for His glory. This sin may take the form of a busy schedule that robs our time alone with God and His word. Or maybe it is a reliving of our past, or an unrepentant heart. Slowly but steadily these habits entangle and distance us from Jesus, leaving us out of the Christian “race” the Apostle Paul wrote of in Hebrews.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us […]

How can we do this when, like Glory after her knee operation, the pain surges and the progress crawls? The answer is found in the second half of the passage-

looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1-2).


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Bad news, good news

Category : Encouragement

The headlines in Jesus’ day offered up the same kind we read today: tales of desperation, death, and destruction. Those who heard Jesus teach wanted to get His take on the current events.

“There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.

And [Jesus] answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way?  No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem?  No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:1-5).

If you weren’t listening carefully, you might not have caught the good news that followed the bad: there was hope in the midst of all of the hopelessness.

It was the same message delivered by “the voice of one crying in the wilderness” that drew crowds into the desert just before the beginning of Jesus’ ministry on earth. “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2).

Good news. There is still time to repent.


Day 3: Dispelling darkness with the “Light of the World”

Category : Encouragement , Missions

Damp and dreary spring days along the western coast of England dissipate in the bright light of the Son. That’s what Lion’s Light International missions team members, Lori Jéan and Bailey, witnessed on Friday while lending a hand at the community center founded in Liverpool about six years ago by a local Christian friend. Although that friend has been ill recently, work to beautify and make the center a cozy and welcoming place continues.

Several homeless people arrived —a couple of women, but mainly men, some struggling with addiction—  received a meal, then lingered to chat. One lanky young man, Sam, strolled into the center, served himself a cup of coffee, and sat down beside Bailey and Lori Jéan. Sam had been to the center before and explained how he had given his life to Christ at a church sometime ago, but had been left on his own and never discipled. In fact, he couldn’t really find the words to describe who Jesus is, so Lori Jéan and Bailey walked him through what the Bible says about salvation in Christ. After Sam recommitted his life to the Savior, the LLI ladies followed the promptings of the Holy Spirit and prayed with the young man.

In the tiny office of the community center, the three prayed and Sam asked God to forgive him before forgiving all who had done him harm, himself included. He also asked God to help him get rid of the sinful activities that are holding back his growth in Christ. As slim as he was, Sam seemed to walk out of the office several pounds lighter. He took off his baseball cap and was smiling and laughing with other people at the center. He also spoke of how he hopes the Lord will soon provide him with a guitar.

Bailey and Lori Jéan hope to follow up with Sam at the community center on Wednesday, when they will bring the Bible they have bought for him. Please be in prayer for this young man and the others who need the “light of the world” (John 8:12) in and around Liverpool.


The “new” kilogram and the measure of a soul

Category : Encouragement

The "new" kilogram and the weight of a soul

Last week on May 20th —celebrated by those who love the science of measurement as World Metrology Day— it was announced that the kilogram would no longer be tied to a chunk of metal hidden away in a French vault. That is, it would be free from from the man-made, physical artifact that had represented it for over 130 years. From now on, this international standard unit of mass would be defined by the unchanging laws that govern nature.

The media struggled to explain in layman’s terms the importance of this change from a physical to metaphysical definition of measurement. Some viewed it as a testament to technological advances around the globe. Others touted it as a “victory of humankind over chaos in the universe.”  For those of us who read the Bible as God’s revelation to man, we should view it as a confirmation of the eternal order of things God spoke into existence.

In fact, anyone who reads carefully cannot deny the presence of fundamental concepts in Genesis 1:1.  “In the beginning [time] God created the heaven [space] and the earth [matter]” (Genesis 1:1). This triune creation reflects the three-in-one nature of God (or Elohim, the uni-plural Hebrew name used in Genesis 1): God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And to this Creator God, measurements, law, and order are of crucial significance.

The kilogram, along with the other standards units of the meter system, sprang up in response to the confusion and strife leading to the French Revolution. In the 1700s, France saw an explosion of corruption and cheating as each village or region used its own units of measurement in commerce. If a gram was defined as the “absolute mass of a cubic centimeter of water at 4 degrees Celsius,”  then a kilogram was 1,000 times larger and (since equivalent to about 2.2 pounds) better suited for measuring goods for general trade. The French forged a physical representation of the kilogram from platinum and iridium in 1799. This so-called “kilogram of the archives” would be the model for the kilogram as an international standard measurement would officially be adopted by 17 countries, including the United States, on May 20, 1875.

Ever since then, the metallic prototype has slowly and steadily been losing mass  —and therefore losing its effectiveness as a standard.  Scientists looked forward to the day when the new prototype could be thrown out and the new kilogram could be tied to a constant number. That day has arrived.

Similarly, Jesus Christ as the sinless Son and fulfillment of God’s perfect law is the standard by which all men and women are measured. He is constant and unchanging. Why do we need Him? Because just like that metal prototype that continues to degrade over time, we “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Fortunately, God provided us with a a way for our original value to be redeemed. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). This gift of salvation through Christ’s sacrifice is not locked up somewhere guarded for a select few —it is available to everyone. “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13). According to God’s standard, each person He created has a value beyond measure (John 3:16). Have you weighed your soul lately in the light of His Word?


Daily Bible Reading Day 112

Daily Bible Reading Day 112: Ecclesiastes 9

Ecclesiastes 9

Our time here on Earth is relatively short.  Let us enjoy all that God has blessed us.  Working and killing ourselves for more stuff, prestige, and power will suck the life out of us.  It is better to gain wisdom than pleasures of the world.

This is a fallen world.  It is not the way God originally designed it.  Let us not waste our time fixated on what is not fair.  If we do, then we don’t see all the good there is in front of us.  Pray and help those in need, instead of complaining.

 


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