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January 2021

One Year Ago

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Jesus left the synagogue and went to the home of Peter. Now Peter’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Jesus to help her. So he bent over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up at once and began to wait on them. (Luke 4:38-39, NIV)
 
One year ago today I had pancreatic surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. The surgeon there miraculously removed a tumor that was wreaking havoc with my blood sugar and destroying my body.
 
I say “miraculously” because what happened to me was nothing short of a miracle. I like the way Eugene Peterson defines the term “miracle.” He says it’s not some unexplainable act of magic, but rather, “It’s what God does for us, or does for us through other people, that we can’t do ourselves.”
 
Jesus did it. He used the doctors and the medical staff to help me and heal me, and I am humbled and grateful.
 
I can never be the same. What am I to do with such a gift?
 
For me this past year has been a time of recovery and reflecting upon God’s hand in my life. Looking back over the months and years of illness, struggle, questions and tears, I can see that Jesus was so very faithful and good to me. Through it all my heart was formed into something fresh, hopeful and alive. Even before my physical healing took place, Jesus healed my heart with His living water. The old has gone, the new has come! I have grown in His immense love, I have felt the peace and the presence of God sustaining me, and I have seen the beauty of the Body of Christ in their love and through their prayers lifted to the Lord on my behalf.
 
Like Peter’s mother-in-law in Luke 4, I am back into regular life, but it is with a new strength. I take up the duties of my life with joy unspeakable. After being healed, it says that Peter’s mother-in-law, “got up at once and began to wait on them.” She served and ministered to those around her. It is beautiful to think that one of those that she ministered to was the Lord Jesus Christ, the One who healed her. May I do the same.
 
Through it all, Psalm 50:15 has come alive to me.
 
Call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me. (NIV)
 
One year ago I called upon the Lord for help. Others stood with me in prayer and called upon the Lord on my behalf, and Jesus delivered me.
 
What am I to do with such a gift?
 
I will honor Jesus.

Motive

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These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation [Jesus]. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. (Revelation 3:14-16, NIV)

We are salt without savour. We traffic in unfelt truth. … The church has no greater need today than to fall in love with Jesus all over again. Call it what you will, we need a heartwarming. There is a world of difference between studying books on love and falling in love. We are going through the motions without the motive. — Vance Havner

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:13-16, NIV)


The story of Jesus doesn’t end with Jesus. It continues in the lives of those who believe in him. — Eugene Peterson

Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says . . . (Revelation 3:22, NIV)


Potential

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We all start out in life with the same potential. Where we end up has little to do with what we accomplish, and everything to do with whom we love.

                                                                        — M. Craig Barnes

Who is like you, Lord God Almighty? You, Lord, are mighty, and your faithfulness surrounds you. (Psalm 89:8, NIV)


The most portentous thing about us is not what we may say or do, but what we conceive God to be like. For it is by the secret heart of the soul that we move toward our mental image of God. — A.W. Tozer

If you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. (Proverbs 2:3-5, NIV)


People inevitably end up looking like the God they believe in.

                                            — Clark Pinnock

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in his wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of his glory and grace.

— Helen H. Lemmel


Becoming

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[Put your] hope in God, who is not the God of the perfect only, but of the becoming. — George, MacDonald

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14, ESV)

The most important thing in your life is not what you do; it’s who you become.

                                                        — Dallas Willard

But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did. (1 John 2:5-6, NIV)

Becoming is better than being. — Carol Dweck


Remembrance

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I am so prone to forget the miracles of the wilderness when I reach the comforts of Canaan. The luxury acts as a drug in my life and puts my memory asleep. Blessed is the man who carries the remembrance of divine providence when the brighter days arrive! — J.H. Jowett

Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. (Deuteronomy 8:2, NIV)

A spirit of entitlement is the antithesis to the forgiveness found at the cross of Christ. We must constantly remember! — Author unknown

Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel. (2 Timothy 2:8, NIV)


Drink

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You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. (Psalm 63:1, NIV)

From the best bliss that earth imparts, we turn unfulfilled to you again.

                                                    —Bernard of Clairvaux

On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.” (John 7:37, NIV)

The next time you are exhausted and depleted at the end of the day, try simply saying the name “Lord Jesus Christ.” Say it over and over. Meditate on it. Sing it in a hymn. You’ll be amazed at the power of that name. According to the Bible, it can make the devil flee. More importantly, Jesus cannot resist coming to those who call on him. When he comes, he always brings his living water for our thirsty souls.

                                                                                                    — M. Craig Barnes


Flee

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The Bible teaches us in times of temptation in the flesh, there is one command: Flee! Flee fornication. Flee idolatry. Flee youthful lusts. Flee the lusts of the world. There is no resistance to Satan in lust other than flight. Every struggle against lust in one’s own strength is doomed to failure. — Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Flee from sexual immorality. (1 Corinthians 6:18, NIV)


Flee from idolatry. (1 Corinthians 10:14, NIV)


Flee from sin as from the face of a serpent; for if thou comest too near it, it will bite thee; the teeth thereof are as the teeth of a lion, slaying the souls of men.

                                                                                                            — Apocrypha

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, man [and woman] of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. (1 Timothy 6: 10-12, NIV)