What’s Love got To Do With It?

Ahh February..the month of Love! February gives us Valentine’s Day; the holiday that causes most men more than a bit of anxiety. The average person will spend $126.03 this year on Valentine’s Day to show their love to their favorite person.  It is a holiday that people either “love” or “hate”. My son used to call it “singleness awareness” day.

It is wonderful to celebrate love of family and that special someone at Valentine’s Day. But it is unfortunate that even in the church we have allowed our culture and media to define “love” for us.   Our culture today has us believing that love means if you meet my needs then I will love you.  I have been to more than one wedding ceremony to hear the bride and groom promise to stay together “as long as their love shall last.”

We need look no further than to the Creator of Love, God himself for the definition of love. 1 John 4:7 says that love is from God. Biblical love is an action word, not a feeling word. We have reduced love to a feeling that can come and go. Biblical love is based on covenant; a promise made and kept.

The word most often associated with God’s love for us is the Hebrew word hesed translated lovingkindness. Lamentations 3:22 says, The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never ceases, For His compassions never fail.Hesed it is not merely love, but loyal love; not merely kindness, but dependable kindness; not merely affection, but affection that has committed itself. It is most often used of someone “doing,” “showing,” or “keeping” hesed. Hesed expresses both God’s loyalty to His covenant and His love for His people along with faithfulness to keep His promises.

The first time we see the word love used in scriptures is in Genesis 22:2. The Scriptures tell us that God tested Abraham by asking him to offer up his son as a sacrifice.  He said, Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you. Isn’t it interesting that the first time God uses the word love it is the context of a father sacrificing his son. This is how our Heavenly Father showed His love towards us; by sacrificing His son, His only son, whom He loved. John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

What’s love got to with it? Everything; for we are to love one another with the same depth of love that the Father has shown to us. Jesus said to his disciples the night before he died.  “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. There is no greater love than this—that a man should lay down his life for his friends” John 15:9, 12-13. This too is to be a hesed kind of love; loyal, dependable, kind, committed, all shown by our actions.

This Valentine’s Day as you celebrate the ones you love; remember to give glory to your Heavenly Father the author of love and your Savior who put His love in action on the cross.




The Power of Words

Words. Words can bring great joy.
“Will you marry me?” “It’s a boy!”
Or great sorrow. “It’s cancer.” “I’m sorry. He didn’t make it.”
Words have begun wars and ended them. Words can hurt or words can heal. Words make the world go round. Consider these facts. There are over 55 million newspapers delivered in the United States on a daily basis. Over 300 talk radio shows air on a daily basis. No one has accurate number of websites currently on the World Wide Web but it is estimated at 100 million. Facebook and MySpace, social utility sites for connecting individuals, both have over 110 million users. Words are vital to our daily lives and yet we often toss them around carelessly. The Bible has a great deal to say about our words and the use of our tongue. James says in James 1:26, If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless.
Jesus himself says that we will give account for every careless word we say. “Let me tell you something: Every one of these careless words is going to come back to haunt you. There will be a time of Reckoning. Words are powerful; take them seriously. Words can be your salvation. Words can also be your damnation.” Matthew 12:35-36 (The Message)
The Lord has been working on me lately about my words, how I use them, how I say them, and what I say. One of my greatest desires is to be a mature believer, one who glorifies the Lord. James says in his epistle that a mature believer is one who can control his tongue. James goes on in chapter 3 of his epistle to tell us how difficult that it is to control the tongue and the words that proceed from it.
James 3:7-8. This is scary: You can tame a tiger, but you can’t tame a tongue—it’s never been done. The tongue runs wild, a wanton killer.
I grew up in a family where sarcasm was our family sport. We teased and poked fun at one another often, but it was always in love. However, when I became an adult and used this tactic with others it sometimes went very wrong. I have had to learn to control my sarcasm and my tongue and it has not been easy. Proverbs 12:18 says, Speaking recklessly is like the thrusts of a sword, but the words of the wise bring healing. I regret to say that I have used my words like a sword to cut and wound others.
Reading the book of James, I wonder if the writer also had this problem. James was the half brother of Jesus. Did he ever use his tongue sarcastically to belittle his older brother? Can you imagine growing up in the shadow of a “perfect” brother? Talk about a family being ripe for sibling rivalry! Yet James writes this about the power of words:
James 3: 3-5. A bit in the mouth of a horse controls the whole horse. A small rudder on a huge ship in the hands of a skilled captain sets a course in the face of the strongest winds. A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything—or destroy it! It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell.
Did James write these words from experience, I wonder? Did he know what it was like to throw out a careless or wrongly placed word? Proverbs says, Death and life are in the power of the tongue. All of us at one time have been the recipients of words which have felt like death to us.
James 3: 9, Sometimes our mouths praise our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. 10 And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!
With the invention of the personal computer, the internet, and email have come another way we abuse one another with our words. How easy it is to fire off an angry email at someone saying things and using words we might never say face to face. We think that email is impersonal and less confrontive when actually it is more harmful. There is no way of knowing the “tone” of an email and so we tend to read our own bias into it. We curse those “made in the image of God” through our words in an email. 
What are we to do, then, to control this tongue? Shall we remain mute to keep from sinning? Jesus said that out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. If we wish to change our speech, we must first change our hearts. This is something we cannot do but through the power of the Word of God. We must pour the Word of God into our hearts and let it change us from inside out.

My husband used to love to visit a restaurant called Cahoots. He would go every Thursday and order the Thai Chicken Salad for lunch. When I came home on Thursdays, I knew what he had for lunch because of the “fragrance” of garlic around him. Our lives are to give off the fragrance of Christ. What we put into our lives is what will come out. James tells us that our outward lives should reflect our inward beliefs.

Oh how I desire words of blessing to come from my mouth; words that might bring life to another. The prayer of my heart is found in Psalm 19:14. I hope it is your prayer too. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart, Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD,my rock and my Redeemer. Proverbs 17: 27

Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances. Proverbs 21:23

Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue, keeps himself out of trouble. Proverbs 10:11

The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life.

“Let my words be sweet for tomorrow I may have to eat them.”

God in the Shadows

This February my husband celebrates his 20th anniversary as senior pastor of First BaptistPicture1 Church. We are delighted that God has allowed us to have such a long and fruitful ministry and we hope to continue to minister here for many more years to come.  It was quite a surprise to us how God orchestrated our move to the Central Coast.

We did not know much about Paso Robles back in 1995 except that it gets hot in the summer and there was no Starbucks Coffee here. A pastor friend of ours had candidated for the position of senior pastor at First Baptist Church but did not receive a call from the congregation. He suggested my husband candidate for the job. God had moved us out of our previous ministry and we were seeking His direction as to what was next.

We submitted my husband’s resume not thinking anything would come of it. We soon received a phone call from one of the deacons and we began the “candidating” process. It would be easy to look at the circumstances that brought us to Paso Robles and think “what wonderful coincidences.”  Our friend just happened to know this church…he just happened to not get the call, and he just happened to tell us about First Baptist.

However there are no coincidences in God’s plan for our lives.  God is constantly at work to bring about his perfect will in our lives and the lives of others. Nowhere can this be seen more acutely than in the story of Esther.

Esther is a young Jewish woman who finds herself in a beauty contest of sorts with other young woman at the King’s palace. The King has banished his queen and is looking for a replacement.  Esther is chosen out of a harem of 400 other young women and she becomes Queen of Persia, the largest and mightiest country in the world at the time.

The book of Esther goes on to describe how Esther, with the help of her older cousin Mordecai ,outwits the king’s right hand man Haman to save the Jewish people living in Persia from genocide. She is helped in this endeavor by a series of coincidences or happenstances.

  • Esther happens to be beautiful.
  •  Esther happens to be favored by the king.
  •  Mordecai happens to overhear a plot against the king’s life.
  • Haman happens to find out that Mordecai is a Jew.
  •  Haman happens to plot his revenge, roll dices to determine the date of the revenge, and it happens to pick a date in a year.
  • The king happens to have insomnia and reads from his chronicles at night.
  • The story the king happens to read is about Mordecai discovering the plot to kill the king.
  •  The king happens to decide to reward Mordecai at the very time that Haman is seeking revenge.

There are many more happenstances in the book of Esther. Even though the name of God is never mentioned in the book of Esther, the author lets us know that God was at work behind the scenes. This is called the providence of God and it is the major theme of the book of Esther. J. Vernon Mcgee said, “Providence means that the hand of God is in the glove of human events. “

In looking back at my own life I see many events that might be called happenstance but were in actuality the providence of God.  When I was in 2nd grade my father’s company transferred him from Southern California to Central California. We put our house on the market and prepared to move. Then suddenly the move was off. My dad did not transfer and we stayed in the same house, living in the same town. I remember being quite annoyed and embarrassed trying to explain to my classmates that fall why I did not move. A year later I attended a Vacation Bible School near my home where I met Jesus. Ten years later I attended a youth group near my home where I met my future husband.  How different life would have been had we moved. John Piper said, “God is always doing 10,000 things in your life, and you may be aware of three of them” .

There are times in the Scriptures that we see God show up in big ways; like the parting of the Red Sea, and raising Lazarus from the dead. But often we see God in the shadows like a drunken king banishing his wife and then choosing a young Jewish girl to be queen of Persia who eventually saves her people.  I think He does this to remind us that he works in our life much the same way. I have had no “parting of the Red Sea” moments. But God has worked his providence in my life in ways too mysterious for me to comprehend.  I pray for clear eyes to see Him in the shadows and a pure heart to sing his praises.

Letting Go

It is almost September again, the time of year when mothers and fathers are sending their children off to pre-school, kindergarten or college for the first time. Some children will laugh and run right into their class. Some will hang on tightly to mother’s or father’s hand. Some parents will be celebrating their new freedom; some will be mourning the loss of a childhood. Whatever the scenario, I’ve come to realize that letting go of our children is a natural progression of life.

I remember several years ago when we dropped our son off at college for the first time. We packed all his worldly belongings into a 1995 Ford Taurus and headed for Biola University in La Mirada, California. He was almost 21 at the time and had worked and gone to junior college for several years before transferring to the university. He was ready to go and I felt confident that he would do well there. I was ready for him to go; ready for him to experience life outside of our small town; ready for him to know what it is like to live on his own; ready for him to meet new people and make friends whom he will hopefully have for a lifetime. And yes, ready for him to meet a “nice Christian girl” and settle down. I was ready to let go.

Letting go is a process. Their first step, their first sleep-over, the first day of school, to their first trip without you is a progression of trust for both parent and child. The child trusts that mom and dad will still be there when they return and will joyfully welcome them home. The parents trust that the child will remember what they’ve been taught and wear clean underwear.

Each new adventure our children have tests our parenting skills and our faith in God. It is through the raising of our children that we learn about God and about ourselves. Our children teach us how to live and love like Jesus. We learn what it means to love unconditionally. We learn how to care about someone other than ourselves. We know how it feels to love someone enough to give our life for that person. We learn how to trust God more completely as we must now trust him with our most precious possession. We learn how to pray. 

After my son Joel preached at our church for the first time, I received many compliments. “You have done a great job parenting”, people said. “You have raised him well.” The truth is he has raised me well. He has made me a better parent, a better person.

They say when you become a parent your heart is never again your own. I suppose this is true as it feels that a part of my heart is now at Biola. The humorist Erma Bombeck said children are like kites. “You spend a lifetime trying to get them off the ground. You run with them until you’re both breathless … they crash … you add a longer tail … they hit the rooftop … you pluck them out of the spout. You patch and comfort, adjust and teach. You watch them lifted by the wind and assure them that someday they’ll fly. Finally, they are airborne, but they need more string and you keep letting it out. With each twist of the ball of twine, there is a sadness that goes with the joy because the kite becomes more distant, and somehow you know that it won’t be long before that beautiful creature will snap the lifeline that bound you together and soar as it was meant to soar — free and alone. Only then do you know that you did your job.”

I am ready to stand back and watch my son soar to new heights and a new direction knowing that his kite string is still fully in hands of his Heavenly Father.

A few weeks after I dropped my son off at college he called me.  He needed my help, he frantically said. “What is wrong!” I replied. I am already calculating how long it would take me to get to La Mirada. “I’ve gotten a piece of dental floss stuck in my tooth and I can’t get it out!” he exclaimed. As I try to contain my laughter he continued, “It is not funny, Mom! I have class in an hour and this piece of floss is so big you could hang something on it.”

Ever the loving supportive mother, I gave him some tips on removing the floss, but not before I ask him to send me a photo of his predicament with his camera phone. As my cell phones beeps again with the incoming photo, I sighed. “Ah, my son still needs me.”

Grace In A Desolate Place

flower_dryearthIf you ask most Christians to define grace, they will say “God’s unmerited favor.” Ask them how that impacts their daily walk with Jesus and you are liable to get a blank stare. We know what God’s grace is but how does that flesh out in our daily lives?  One of the most profound examples of God’s grace is told in 2 Samuel 9. It is the story of David and Mephibosheth. David has just been crowned King over all of Israel after 25 years of running from Saul and fighting his enemies. He and his family have moved into the palace at Jerusalem and there is peace in the land, albeit temporary. David is pondering his life and he asks a servant “Is anyone in Saul’s family still alive that I may show them kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” The servant replies yes and David bids the servant to go and bring him to the palace.

The servant travels to Lo-debar, “land of the dry pasture”. He finds Saul’s grandson, Mephibosheth, “the shameful one”, living with a distant relative as he is crippled and cannot provide for his family. Mephibosheth obeys the call of the king and goes to the palace. Most likely he was frightened and uncertain as to his fate. I’m sure he thought, “Oh no. This is it. David has found me and now I will be killed.” It was common practice to kill off the family of your enemies so that they would not try to overthrow the throne.

David, however, extends grace to Mephibosheth. He tells Mephibosheth in front of all at the palace that he will return to him all the lands and wealth of his grandfather Saul. He then instructs the servant, Ziba and his family to farm the land for Mephibosheth and give all the food to Mephibosheth’s family. “But,” David adds, “Mephibosheth will dine at my table.” “From then on Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem and ate regularly at the king’s table.” 2 Sam. 9:13

What an incredible picture this is of God’s grace towards us. David sought out Mephibosheth, his enemy (the shameful one), and showed him grace because of his lovingkindness. There is nothing neither lovely nor righteous in Mephibosheth that makes him worthy of David’s love, yet David seeks him out for the sake of another (Jonathan). Mephibosheth is given a room in the palace and a place at the king’s table. David adopts Mephibosheth and makes him part of the royal family. He receives all the benefits that one born into royalty would receive.

In the same way God seeks us out, we do not seek Him nor can we as we are shameful and crippled in our sin. Before we are redeemed we are enemies of God residing in a desert. There is nothing neither lovely nor righteous in us, yet God plucks us out of our sinful, desolate place for the sake of His son Jesus Christ. God gives us a room in His palace and a place at His table. He adopts us and we become part of His royal family

God our Savior showed us how good and kind he is. He saved us because of his mercy, and not because of any good things that we have done. Titus 3:4

God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. Ephesians 1: 5

See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! 1 John 3:1

This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. 1 John 4:10

God cannot love us any more than he does now, and He will not love us any less no matter what we do. Nothing we do can increase or decrease God’s love for us. This is grace.

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

Why would God treat us this way, ill-deserving as we are? 2 Samuel 22 says that God “…reached down from heaven and rescued me; he drew me out of deep waters. He led me to a place of safety; because he delights in me.”The Creator of the Universe, the Most High King, delights in us. He wants to spend time with us. What does that mean for you and me in our daily lives? It should mean that we want to spend time with our Father who is loving, kind, generous, and merciful. Mark Driscoll, Pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle says this about grace;

“God’s grace and love transforms holiness. We are not trying to be presentable so that we will get picked for adoption. We are the kids that are so well loved that we want to obey our Dad because he’s the best. We want to follow our Dad because we trust him. We want to honor our Dad because he’s been so kind, and since he has already given us his last name, we want to live in such a way as to bring honor to his name. God adopts into his family that is the church. He gives us the name of Christian. He chooses to do us good. It is his kindness that leads us to repentance, and it changes us into different kids.”

God’s grace changes us into kids who obey their Father because they want to not because they have to. Grace transforms our daily walk from one where we check off a to-do-list to a life that freely loves, serves, and gives.

What was Mephibosheth’s reaction to David’s grace? Later on in 2 Samuel, David is forced to flee Jerusalem. Mephibosheth does not come with him and David is told by Ziba the servant that Mephibosheth has betrayed him. Believing this to be true, David gives Ziba, all of Mephibosheth’s wealth. When David finally returns to the palace sometime later, Mephibosheth greets him with dirty, torn clothes and an unkempt appearance, a sign of mourning. David asks him why he did not come with him. Mephibosheth says that Ziba deceived him and that he was unable to leave as he was crippled. David does not know who to believe so he splits the wealth between the two of them. Mephibosheth, however, is as a man who understands grace. “Give him all of it” he says, “it is enough that I get to dine at your table.”

God’s grace allows me to be free from the comparison trap. It does not matter what I have or don’t have. It does not matter if He chooses to gift others with wealth and not me. It is enough that I get to live in the palace with the King and dine at his table.

This is Grace.

A Community of Grace

Jesus came to give us new life; new families, but to also give us a new way of doing community. As Americans, we have a different way of doing community than most of the world. Our country was founded on principles of individuality, and we as Americans are fiercely independent. We do not like other people telling us what to do and when to do it. Although we all live in a society that has rules and morals which are for the greater good; still we value and pride ourselves in our right to be independent free thinkers, as individuals and as a nation. Independence runs deep in our culture and our blood as Americans.

In some ways though our culture of autonomy runs counter-culture to the Bible. Jesus came to give us life and told us to live in relationship with Him and one another. In the book of Acts we see new believers and the church coming together to care for one another, to teach, learn and grow from one another, and to hold one another accountable to walking in the way of the Lord. Believers are called to live grace-filled lives within their families, their church and their community. We often struggle as believers to know what grace looks like, what is it and what it isn’t.

I like Mark Driscoll’s definition of grace: Grace is God the Father, in love doing good for ill deserving sinners through God the Son by God the Spirit. Grace is God showing His love to us, his enemies. The very nature of grace is that it works in the midst of conflict. As ill-deserving sinners we are in conflict with God. God’s grace then becomes a model for us on how to live in a grace-filled community with our family and others. Just as God in his grace does not overlook our sin, so we cannot and should not overlook our own nor the sins of others. We like to think that our sinful behavior has no effect on anyone but ourselves. But that is a lie that the world has fed us. Sin breaks relationships; first the individual’s relationship with God, and then their relationship with others.

Because we are all sinners saved by grace, we should not shy away from calling sin what it is: sin. It is not an accident, or a mistake. It is sin in the face of a loving God, sin that breaks His heart.

When my children were young they little they loved to play the “run away from mom” game. You know that game. You tell your child to come here and they run the other way. Living on a busy street, I could not afford to let my young children loose for a second. It was my job to make sure at all costs that my kids did not run out into the street and get possibly hit by a car. Living in community with a body of believers, it is our responsibly at times to warn our family not to run out in street; to warn them of the danger and sometimes to go after them.

Tim Keller said in his book The Prodigal God, “Real grace intercepts destructive behavior. Real grace brings you in freely and then holds your feet to the fire until you become somebody great.”

When the people we care about sin like the prodigal son and decide to go their own way, Jesus expects us to do something about it. Galatians 6:1 says “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness.” The Prodigal son came home after he “came to his senses” and God uses us the lives of others to help bring others “to their senses” and turn from their sin.

And so grace is gentle but it is also interrupts. “Grace is free in that it is not earned (indeed it is the very opposite of what is deserved), but it is costly as it is given with sacrifice because of love. That is the scandal of what God did for me by the cross and it is His calling for me to do to others to bring glory to His name.”

I like what Wendy Alsup wrote in her blog Practical Theology for Women about Grace in conflict from 2 Tim. 2:22-24.

2 Timothy 2:24-26 24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 25 correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.

1–Grace understands the truth of someone’s condition—they are ensnared by Satan and DECEIVED. They really don’t see things the way you do.

2–Grace is in it for the long haul—it patiently endures evil.

3–Grace corrects (so the truth is not subverted or glossed over) but it corrects gently (with strength well under God’s control).

4–Grace’s goal is not self-acquittal or vindication or that people would come to see things your way. Grace’s goal is repentance with God that leads to knowledge of the truth.

Grace is meaningless without truth. But truth will kill you without grace. The worst thing we can do in conflict is engage in it when we don’t understand grace for ourselves. But once we really understand God’s undeserved favor to ourselves, then we can minister grace to others who have sinned against us in whatever way we can with the prayer that God would draw them to repentance and the knowledge of the truth.

Just as Jesus came in grace and truth, so we are called to represent grace and truth to our families, and one another, and to be willing to hear it from others. We are sinners saved by grace living in a community of grace with other sinners saved by grace.

“Love doesn’t sweep sin under the carpet, but it keeps others out of the room until it can be cleaned up.”

Two Little Words

Have you ever thought what a difference two little words can make in your life? Martha and Mary were dear friends of Jesus as was their brother, Lazarus. When Lazarus became ill they sent a message to Jesus that the one “whom Jesus loved” was sick. They knew how much Jesus loved their brother and were confident he would come to his aid. However, Jesus did not arrive soon enough and Lazarus died. When Jesus finally arrived at Martha’s home in Bethany, both sisters were despondent. They did not understand why Jesus had not arrived sooner and in their despair they said, “If only you had been here, Jesus, our brother would not have died.”

If Only…If Only. Two little words that can color our world black: two little words that can plunge us into a quicksand of guilt, pulling us deeper and deeper into a pit of despair.
These are the same words that the friends of a blind man used about his disability in John 9. If only he had not sinned, if only his parents had not sinned, he would not have born blind. This blindness was worse than a death sentence for this man. He was and would be forever dependant on others for his basic physical care. Because of his blindness this man could not work, could not marry, and could have a family. He would never be a respected member of society. He would always be dependent on the charity of others for all his basic needs. He would always be an outcast. But the worse than all that, his blindness also prevented him from having access to God! He was considered unclean in the Jewish religion and would never have the opportunity to worship at the temple the same way a physically whole man would. As far as the world was considered, his was a wasted life. His parents would live for years with the guilt that they had done something to cause this to happen to their son. If only….

Do you live under a cloud of “if onlys”? If only you had not made that business deal. If only you had not bought that house. If only that disease had not robbed you of your normal life. If only you had avoided that car accident.

God is a sovereign and good God. He turns our “if onlys’ into “so that’s”. That is what he did for the blind man. When asked who sinned to cause this man’s blindness, Jesus replied, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.” (John 9:3) And then Jesus, the light of world, removed this man’s darkness forever and restored his sight. This man was born blind so that God’s glory could be displayed in his life.

And how about Jesus’ friend Lazarus? When told of his illness, Jesus’ said to the disciples, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Jesus purposely waited until Lazarus had died that he might perform the greatest miracle of all; the raising of a dead man.

Sufferings come to all us. Dwelling on the “if onlys” in our life will cause only discouragement and defeat. When we focus in on the “so thats” of our suffering, God is glorified through our sufferings. He uses us and our lives to display his magnificent glory, and we can persevere through our trials knowing they are not without purpose. Praise God today for the “so that’s”  he has brought into your life, and revel in the knowledge that you are a masterpiece of God’s glory.