…all the crowds…returned home… I remember the most difficult time of loss is after everyone has left and you are alone with thoughts and memories. You’re not exactly sure what comes next but you soon realize that as time moves so must you. So you pick up what’s left of who you know yourself to be and you move. Deep within there is faith and hope that was planted and once nourished by a presence that is now gone. But we are the vehicle that carries that faith and hope forward, strengthened by the memory to survive, encouraged by the spirit to live according to God’s will.
Betty Ann Richburg Rouse 1945 – 2005
2015 Still moving on
…the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion… Philippians 1:11 Perhaps you can recall the day you first accepted the knowledge, life, death and resurrection of Christ as your salvation. Perhaps as well you recall the joy of having confessed shortcomings and now have the presence of the remembrance of Christ to help guide you through this journey. Perhaps you even recall the first time you mustered up the courage to share this experience with someone else. You’ve walked with high hopes, high expectations and no doubt “high” returns. You’ve considered the poor and needy and humbled yourself so as to understand that you also stand among them. Yet, even as no one else sees or understands, know that God sees and understands. He is merciful and well pleased. As the good work which God began in us guides us to one day see him face to face, we will also hear him say well done.
To the saints and faithful brothers and sisters in Christ everywhere…May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:1-14
Today I am filled with thankfulness for each of you. What we do really does matter. Let us continue to encourage one another in faith.
“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” Hebrews 4:1-10 This is the third time in Paul’s letter to the Hebrews that he encourages them to listen to the voice that speaks the truth about God’s love and God’s mercy for those who believe. He encourages them not to be like their ancestors in the wilderness. Today we work so hard at building our relationship with our children because we want to spare them the struggles that we experienced. Yet there are times when they refuse to listen. There are things we say that simply go “in one ear and out the other.” So too, I believe that God has given us his Word through Christ that we may not struggle. Each day given is an opportunity to hear and respond to the Gospel. As I think of the numerous things my mother has shared with me to which I payed little attention, I am thankful that God has given me today, that I may listen. Today I seek to hear. Today my heart is open to respond.
Let us continue to pray and encourage our children and one another to hear and obey according to God’s truth and we too shall enter His rest.
Paul did it. David did it. Elijah, Job and Abraham did it. They all encouraged themselves. We must learn to speak what we believe. When there is doubt we should speak faith. When there is despair we should speak hope. When there is weakness we should speak strength. When there is hate we should speak love. Trust, believe and stand firm that God’s promises are true and know that his spirit upholds you, goes before you, and will never forsake you.
Deuteronomy 31:8 It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.