Kindly

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My Savior, wilt Thou teach me the power of the smallest ministries? May I not despise the things that are least! May I pay heed to all the courtesies of life! Help me to be kindly in speech, and tender and graceful in behavior. —J.H. Jowett

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus. (Philippians 2:3-5, NIV)

Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind. —Henry James

Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin? (Romans 2:4, NLT)

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30, NIV)


Bread

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O Lord my God, I pray that I may not toil for naught. Let me not pile up money and starve my soul. Let me not seek after pleasures which provide no enduring joy. Let me so live toward Thee as to find the sacramental bread in every common thing. — J.H. Jowett

Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare. (Isaiah 55:2, NIV)

How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. — Annie Dillard

Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. (John 6:35, NIV)


Light

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A single eye correctly filters the light. An unhealthy eye creates an unreal world. —Calvin Miller

Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darkness. See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be just as full of light as when a lamp shines its light on you. (Luke 11:34-36, NIV)

Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. (Proverbs 4:25, NIV)

Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. (Hebrews 12:1-2, NIV)

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light
(Irish Hymn, trans. Mary Byrne)


Fountain

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My Father, all my springs are in Thee. It is when I forget the fountain that my soul becomes hard and dry. Keep me in remembrance of the springs. May I drink unceasingly of the river of water of life! I pray Thee give me to drink! —J.H. Jowett

All my springs are in you! (Psalm 87:7, MSG)

There is a fountain filled with blood, drawn from Immanuel's veins
And sinners plunged beneath that flood; lose all their guilty stains
Lose all their guilty stains; lose all their guilty stains
And sinners plunged beneath that flood; lose all their guilty stains.
—William Cowper

As we bring every part of our natural bodily life into harmony with the new life God has placed within us, He will exhibit in us the virtues that were characteristic of the Lord Jesus. And every virtue we possess is His alone. — Oswald Chambers

Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this he meant the Spirit. (John 7:37-38, NIV)


Trinkets

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Give me chastity and continency, only not yet. —Augustine

Watch out for the Esau syndrome: trading away God’s lifelong gift in order to satisfy a short-term appetite. You well know how Esau later regretted that impulsive act and wanted God’s blessing—but by then it was too late, tears or no tears. (Hebrews 12:16-17, MSG)

The trinkets of life keep us from the gold of our spiritual inheritance. ... We all want to be saved . . . but not yet. — Calvin Miller

Jesus asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” (John 8:11-12, NIV)

For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:21, NLT)

Don’t grieve God. Don’t break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don’t take such a gift for granted. (Ephesians 4:30, MSG)


Room

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It is only in Him that the soul has room. In knowing Him is life and its gladness. The secret of your own heart you can never know; but you can know Him who knows its secret. — George MacDonald

No one needed to tell him about human nature, for he knew what was in each person’s heart. (John 2:25, NLT)

Answer me when I call, O God of my right! You gave me room when I was in distress. Be gracious to me, and hear my prayer. (Psalm 4:1, NRSV)

Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37: 3-4, NIV)

Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. … I am the way, the truth, and the life. (John 14:1,6, NLT)


Power

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God’s mighty acts tend to follow prayer. — R.T. Kendall

While Peter was in prison, the church prayed very earnestly for him. (Acts 12:5, NLT)

Prayer has no substitute; it is the Christian’s vital spring of life. It is powerful, for it raises the fallen power lines between the power house of God and the human soul; it is the Jacob’s ladder on which Heavenly messengers ascend and descend, bearing blessings. Whenever an ordinary Christian really touches the throne of God in prayer, he is made extraordinary. —David Dawson

God’s there, listening for all who pray, for all who pray and mean it.
He does what’s best for those who fear him—hears them call out, and saves them.
(Psalm 145;18-19, MSG)

Everything is possible with God. (Mark 10:27, NLT)


Reward

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The big view is the reward of the precipitous climb. —J.H. Jowett

If your faith remains strong, even while surrounded by life’s difficulties, you will continue to experience the untold blessings of God! True happiness comes as you pass the test with faith, and receive the victorious crown of life promised to every lover of God!
(James 1:12, TPT)

Do not lose heart because of your suffering. Cling to Jesus; cling to Jesus. He is with you now. —John Eldredge

For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
(Hebrews 12:2-3, NIV)

Jesus said, be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
(Matthew 28:20, NLT)


Beauty

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Beauty is your most immediate experience of the eternal. Think of what it’s like to behold a gorgeous sunset or the ocean at dawn. You yearn to linger. Sometimes the beauty is so deep it pierces you with longing for life as it was meant to be. … Beauty draws you to God. —John Eldredge

Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and joy are in his dwelling place.
(1 Chronicles 17:27, NIV)

Found when I wasn’t looking, heard
When I wasn’t listening. Found beauty.
Art is making visible what is invisible in the life of faith. —Eugene Peterson

One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. (Psalm 27:4, NIV)


A year ago . . . I was in trouble

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Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. (James 5:13, NIV)

Is anyone among you in trouble? . . . I was.
Last month I had my yearly physical and it reminded me of my medical check-up a year ago (2019). At that time I was in trouble. I felt horrible and every day was getting worse. All my self-help efforts (better diet, more sleep, vitamins, more carbs, more protein, lots of water, … you name it) were futile. My brain wasn’t working (I was getting lost while driving), and my body wasn’t working (at one point I couldn’t walk)—I was sick.

My family physician ordered tests, made referrals and the gauntlet began. The doctors had no idea what the problem was, and I had no idea what lay ahead. It was a struggle, concern, frustration, inconvenience, and strangely, something that I initially left God out of in my life. I fell for the lie that I could handle it on my own:

Satan’s main strategy with God’s people has always been to whisper, “Don’t call, don’t ask, don’t depend on God to do great things. You’ll get along just fine if you just rely on your own cleverness and energy.” The truth of the matter is that the devil is not terribly frightened of our human efforts and credentials. But he knows his kingdom will be damaged when we lift up our hearts to God. –Jim Cymbala

Thankfully, in the midst of my pride and foolishness, the Holy Spirit mercifully nudged me with James 5:14, “Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.” So that is what I did.

Let them pray . . . I did, and so did many others
I shared my need with my church, my family and my friends and they all prayed for me . . . and they kept praying for me. I’m so glad they did. My medical diagnosis was a rare condition (found in only five out of every one-million people) and it was unknown territory for the local doctors and medical specialists that were caring for me. Over the months following my diagnosis I had three major procedures to address the problem and all three failed. Then came the frustration, the anger, the medical bills, the questions and the doubt. All the while, people were praying—they were calling upon the Lord on my behalf.

Is anyone happy? . . . I am
People were praying and God was working . . . in my circumstances and in my heart. He had saved me from my sins forty years earlier and in my distress and struggle he saved me again—from myself. I was barely hanging on. Yet in the midst of my struggle, He made a way. I was sinking in despair, and He lifted me up. In my weakness, He gave me strength.  And when it seemed that all hope was gone, by God's grace and help, I found myself at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

After two trips to Minnesota and seemingly endless tests, needle pokes, scans, and a failed experimental procedure, I was scheduled for pancreatic surgery. All the while, my church, my friends and my family were continuing to call out to Jesus on my behalf. Thankfully, they kept praying.

Let them sing songs of praise . . . I will
In January, Dina and I made our third trip to Minnesota and I had pancreatic surgery. The doctor was able to remove the problem and I was physically healed! God made a way—He used the surgeon, the doctors and the hospital—and my health was restored. I am so thankful to the Lord for His help and healing. Every good gift comes from the Father above.

Here I am, free of the sickness and the struggle that plagued me a year ago—but it is bigger than that. True freedom began when I surrendered my all to Jesus and trusted the Lord with every step of the journey. I was in trouble and I obeyed God’s Word—I prayed and asked others to pray with me—and God helped.

A year ago . . . I was in trouble. But now I'm happy. Jesus has been so good and faithful to me. In the midst of my struggle He showed His hand at every point in my life, and I am thankful to say that through the challenging ordeal God gave me His peace, and my faith in Him has grown deeper and stronger. It was a test, but now I have a testimony. Along with the psalmist I can truly say, “In my distress, He has enlarged me,” (Ps. 4:1, KJV).

Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.

Please take five minutes and check out the video below. It is a worship song that perfectly expresses my heart unto God. He is due Every Praise!