Being There

Dr. Raymond Vath said, “We must do for others what they cannot do for themselves, but we must not do for them what they will not do for themselves. The problem is finding the wisdom to know the difference.” You can be too helpful! By doing for somebody what they can do for themselves, you undermine their self-reliance and create an unhealthy dependence. So instead of rushing in and taking over:

  1. Show them manageable action steps

By helping them take charge of their life you’re arming them against despair and powerlessness. And by validating their efforts you’re helping them to rebuild their fragile confidence. A word of caution, however: When the crisis involves irreversible loss like divorce or death, the work of simply getting through one day at a time is action enough.

 

  1. Give them hope

In the depth of crisis there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel – a sense that suffering will go on endlessly. Growth and improvement can’t happen without hope. Hope provides energy, and brings relief based on the conviction that things will improve. God promises, “I will bless you with a future filled with hope – a future of success, not…suffering” (Jer 29:11 CEV).

 

  1. Be sure to follow up

Crises are seldom resolved quickly. Although life may eventually take on some semblance of normalcy, there may be episodes of relapse into sadness, helplessness, or loneliness. Your words may bring comfort, but your ongoing attentiveness will help the hurting person maintain faith and progress in their journey to healing.

 

 

 

 

 

Taken from: The Word for You Today, March 28th devotion

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Watch and Pray

​By: Keila Ochoa

Mark 14:32–42

Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. Mark 14:38

From my window I can see a 1,700-meter hill called the Cerro del Borrego or “Hill of the Sheep.” In 1862, the French army invaded Mexico. While the enemy camped in the central park of Orizaba, the Mexican army established its position at the top of the hill. However, the Mexican general neglected to guard access to the top. While the Mexican troops were sleeping, the French attacked and killed 2,000 of them.

This reminds me of another hill, the Mount of Olives, and the garden at its foot where a group of disciples fell asleep. Jesus rebuked them, saying, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Mark 14:38).

How easy it is to sleep or become careless in our Christian walk. Temptation strikes when we are most vulnerable. When we neglect certain areas of our spiritual lives—such as prayer and Bible study—we become drowsy and let our guard down, making us easy targets for our enemy, Satan, to strike (1 Peter 5:8).

We need to be alert to the possibilities of an attack and pray to maintain vigilance. If we remain watchful and pray—for ourselves and for others—the Spirit will enable us to resist temptation.

Lord Jesus, I know my spirit is willing, but my body is weak. Help me to watch and pray today for myself and for others.

Satan is powerless against the power of Christ.

The garden of Gethsemane was the starting point of the sufferings of Christ, and it could not have been more appropriately named. In Aramaic, the wordGethsemane means “olive press.” In olive tree orchards, it was normal to have a press where the harvested olives would be placed so that a heavy stone could be rolled over them—crushing the olives and removing the valuable oil from the fruit. That imagery precisely describes what Christ would undergo in His own “olive press.” Imagine the sinless Son loaded down with the weight of all the sins of the entire world from all the ages!

A Legacy Life

By: Joe Stowell

Proverbs 22:1–12

A good name is more desirable than great riches. Proverbs 22:1

While staying in a hotel in a small town I noticed that the church across the street was having a service. People were jammed into the church with a standing-room-only crowd of both young and old flowing out onto the sidewalk. When I noticed a hearse by the curb, I realized it was a funeral. And given the crowd, I assumed that it was the celebration of the life of some local hero—perhaps a wealthy businessperson or a famous personality. Curious, I said to the desk clerk, “That’s an amazing turnout for a funeral; it must be for a famous person in town.”

“No,” he replied. “He wasn’t rich or famous but he was a good man.”

This reminded me of the wisdom of the proverb that says, “A good name is more desirable than great riches” (Prov. 22:1). It’s a good idea to think about what kind of legacy we are leaving for our family, friends, and neighbors. From God’s perspective it’s not our resumé or the amount of money we’ve accumulated that matters but rather the kind of life we have lived.

When a friend of mine passed away, his daughter wrote, “This world has lost a righteous man and in this world that is no small thing!” It’s that kind of legacy that we should be seeking for the glory of God.

Lord, help me to pursue a life that is pleasing to You and honors Your name.

Live to leave a legacy for God’s glory.

The Proverbs hold wisdom to help us live for the Lord and leave a legacy. Just the first 8 verses of Proverbs 22 are loaded with wonderful insights about many different aspects of life. Verse 1 tells us of the value of a good name. The Hebrew word for “good name” carries with it the idea of “good repute” (see Eccl. 7:1).

From Mourning to Dancing

July 14, 2016

From Mourning to Dancing

Amy Boucher Pye

Isaiah 61:1–4

He has sent me . . . to bestow on [those who grieve] a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning.Isaiah 61:1, 3

“We’re cutting your job.” A decade ago those words sent me reeling when the company I worked for eliminated my position. At the time, I felt shattered, partly because my identity was so intertwined with my role as editor. Recently I felt a similar sadness when I heard that my freelance job was ending. But this time I didn’t feel rocked at my foundation, because over the years I have seen God’s faithfulness and how He can turn my mourning to joy.Though we live in a fallen world where we experience pain and disappointment, the Lord can move us from despair to rejoicing, as we see in Isaiah’s prophecy about the coming of Jesus (Isa. 61:1–3). The Lord gives us hope when we feel hopeless; He helps us to forgive when we think we can’t; He teaches us that our identity is in Him and not in what we do. He gives us courage to face an unknown future. When we wear the rags of “ashes,” He gently gives us a coat of praise.

When we face loss, we shouldn’t run from the sadness, but neither do we want to become bitter or hardened. When we think about God’s faithfulness over the years, we know that He’s willing and able to turn our grief to dancing once again—to give us sufficient grace in this life and full joy in heaven.

Father God, You turned Jesus’s pain on the cross into our best gift ever. Deepen my faith that I may welcome Your life-changing love into my life.

God can bring times of growth out of our times of heartache.

 

Having warned the Israelites of exile in Babylon (Isa. 39:6–7), Isaiah now offers comforts that God will restore them (chapters 40–66). Isaiah 61 speaks of God’s grace as He delivers His people from bondage (vv. 1–3) and of God’s glory as He blesses them (vv. 4–11). In today’s passage, Isaiah writes about the identity and ministry of the Deliverer (vv. 1–3). At the start of His public ministry, Jesus read from this passage (Luke 4:18–19) and publicly affirmed that He is the Messiah Isaiah spoke of (v. 21). Already anointed by the Spirit (3:21–22; 4:1), Jesus came to preach the good news, to heal, to deliver, to restore, and to bless (Isa. 61:1–3) so that we can live holy lives that display “his splendor” (v. 3).

Psalms 10–12; Acts 19:1–20

Hoo-ah!

Hoo-ah!

By: David Roper

Psalm 68:7–10,19–20

Blessed be the Lord, who daily loads us with benefits, the God of our salvation!Selah. Psalm 68:19 nkjv

The US Army’s expression “hoo-ah” is a guttural response barked when troops voice approval. Its original meaning is lost to history, but some say it is derived from an old acronym HUA—Heard, Understood, and Acknowledged. I first heard the word in basic training.

Many years later it found its way into my vocabulary again when I began to meet on Wednesday mornings with a group of men to study the Scriptures. One morning one of the men—a former member of the 82nd Airborne Division—was reading one of the psalms and came to the notation selah that occurs throughout the psalms. Instead of reading “selah,” however, he growled hoo-ah, and that became our word for selah ever after.

No one knows for certain what selah actually means. Some say it is only a musical notation. It often appears after a truth that calls for a deep-seated, emotional response. In that sense hoo-ah works for me.

This morning I read Psalm 68:19: “Blessed be the Lord, who daily [day to day] loads us with benefits, the God of our salvation! Selah” (nkjv).

Imagine that! Every single morning God loads us up on His shoulders and carries us through the day. He is our salvation. Thus safe and secure in Him, we’ve no cause for worry or for fear. “Hoo-ah!” I say.

Day by day and with each passing moment, strength I find to meet my trials here. Trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment, I’ve no cause for worry or for fear.  Lina Sandell Berg

Worship is giving God the best that He has given you. Oswald Chambers

Psalm 68 is written from the historical context of the Hebrew worshipers. The psalmist declares the awesome power of God by calling Him the “One of Sinai” and the “God of Israel” (v. 8).
By doing this he reminds the Hebrews of God’s faithfulness. Who is this God who goes out before the people? (v. 7).
He is the God of Israel who spoke to Pharaoh through Moses and Aaron saying, “Let my people go” (Ex. 5:1), and He is the One of Sinai who gave them the Ten Commandments (Ex. 19–20).
The psalmist reminds Israel that the God who heard their cries in Egypt still hears, and the One who provided in the desert still provides.

Just What I Need

Just What I Need

By: Dave Branon

Read: 2 Corinthians 1:3-7

We can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 2 Corinthians 1:4

As I stood in the back of the room at a senior citizens’ center in Palmer, Alaska, listening to my daughter’s high school choir sing “It Is Well with My Soul,” I wondered why she, the choir director, had chosen that song. It had been played at her sister Melissa’s funeral, and Lisa knew it was always tough for me to hear it without having an emotional response.

My musings were interrupted when a man sidled up next to me and said, “This is just what I need to hear.” I introduced myself and then asked why he needed this song. “I lost my son Cameron last week in a motorcycle accident,” he said.

Wow! I was so focused on myself that I never considered the needs of others, and God was busy using that song exactly where He wanted it to be used. I took my new friend Mac, who worked at the center, aside, and we talked about God’s care in this toughest time in his life.

All around us are people in need, and sometimes we have to set aside our own feelings and agendas to help them. One way we can do that is to remember how God has comforted us in our trials and troubles “so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God” (2 Cor. 1:4). How easy it is to be engrossed in our own concerns and forget that someone right next to us might need a prayer, a word of comfort, a hug, or gift of mercy in Jesus’ name. 

Lord, help me to see where help is needed, and help me to provide that help. Thank You for the comfort You give; help me to share it.

Comfort received should be comfort shared.

Insight
Today’s reading gives special attention to how believers are to serve one another in humility. During our Lord’s time on earth He provided the ultimate example of ministering to others. Now the Holy Spirit indwells believers and gives us the power to show that kind of self-sacrifice to the body of Christ.

Shine Through

Shine Through

By: Keila Ochoa

Matthew 5:13-16

Let your light shine before others.Matthew 5:16

A little girl wondered what a saint might be. One day her mother took her to a great cathedral to see the gorgeous stained-glass windows with scenes from the Bible. When she saw the beauty of it all she cried out loud, “Now I know what saints are. They are people who let the light shine through!”

Some of us might think that saints are people of the past who lived perfect lives and did Jesus-like miracles. But when a translation of Scripture uses the word saint, it is actually referring to anyone who belongs to God through faith in Christ. In other words, saints are people like us who have the high calling of serving God while reflecting our relationship with Him wherever we are and in whatever we do. That is why the apostle Paul prayed that the eyes and understanding of his readers would be opened to think of themselves as the treasured inheritance of Christ and saints of God (Eph. 1:18).

So what then do we see in the mirror? No halos or stained glass. But if we are fulfilling our calling, we will look like people who, maybe even without realizing it, are letting the rich colors of the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control of God shine through. 

Lord, You are the light of the world. Thank You for wanting to shine that light in our lives. Cleanse me today so that I may let Your light shine through.

Saints are people through whom God’s light shines.

Insight
In John’s gospel we see that Jesus often refers to Himself as “light.” In John 8:12 and 9:5 He calls Himself “the light of the world.” He also uses this light language to talk about the kingdom of God He came to establish. In John 3:19 Jesus tells Nicodemus, “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.” When Jesus tells believers that they are the light of the world (Matt. 5:14), He is in a sense issuing an invitation to Christlikeness. As followers of Jesus we have been given the opportunity to shine the light of His love into the dark and dying world.

1 Kings 12–13; Luke 22:1-20