Help When It Hurts

By , February 23, 2018

“God sits on His holy throne”
Psalm 47:8

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Having studied theology for many years, I recognize that biblical words such as election or predestination have caused great rifts in the church of Jesus Christ. When we are well and have what we need in life it is easy to argue about these truths. However, when life is rough and we are confused about what is happening to us, we often seek comfort from the idea that God is still on the throne.

I recall a parent of several small children who lay in the hospital knowing he would never return home. As I listened to this man speaking of his very frustrating situation one wonderful comment I heard was, “I am confident that the Lord knew me in my mother’s womb.”

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A Hopeless Situation

By , February 22, 2018

 “…they have spoken against me with lying tongues.”
Psalm 109:2 (NIV)

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Today I wrote a group of psychological tests. One test asked true or false questions and many of them clearly focussed on the idea of the person being tested having a persecution complex. For example one question I remember was, “Do you suspect that people who smile at you are plotting against you?” Some people would answer “True” to that question. They really are suspicious of any friendly gesture by others toward them.

Yet, on the other hand, some people at times discover that someone or other really is plotting against them. We refer to it as “back stabbing” because they speak against us when we are not there to defend ourselves. People will do a lot to advance their own cause even if it means lying about another person to gain the advantage. Mark Twain once said, “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes.”

People who are lied about have little defence against the consequences of the lies told. Often they do not even hear that their character and honesty have been challenged until months after the lies have been spread.

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The Eternal Love of God

By , February 21, 2018

“The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying:
‘I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with loving-kindness’”
Jeremiah 31:3

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A fine English poet that I have referred to before in these devotionals is a man called, William Cowper (1731-1800). Cowper enriched the Christian Church with some wonderful worship and praise hymns. A few are still sung today. It seems also that he could spellbind his readers with a simple discussion about a blade of grass or some other insignificant part of creation.

Many weary Christians will joyfully recall his hymn that begins with the words:

God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea And rides upon the storm.

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The Good Shepherd

By , February 20, 2018

“He tends his flock like a shepherd;
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;”
Isaiah 40:11 (NIV)

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The last few visits seemed useless as the patient was unresponsive to light, voices, or touch. Yet I visited him daily up to the end. Each visit when I came into the room I would tell him of my arrival.

I used an efficiency of words. No long, flowery speeches were needed. I would take the young father’s hand in mine, I would only speak a couple of sentences designed to encourage, then just a portion of one verse of Scripture and a very brief prayer. Did he hear me? Were my words in vain? That is up to his Creator to know. I did what I could and left the rest to the Lord.

Certainly I spoke quietly to the family members attending their loved one. I reminded them that centuries ago God the Father heard the cries of agony from God the Son in Gethsemane and on the cross. So when we pray to our Father in heaven we know we speak to One Who has a clear understanding of the ache in our hearts.

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A Minister’s Worst Visit

By , February 19, 2018

“Little girl, I say to you, get up.”
Mark 5:41 (NIV)

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It is not easy to grade the difficulty of some of my visits but one particular situation I sometimes am involved in is the death of a child. As a parent I have some small idea of what is happening to the parents emotionally as they stand by the deathbed of their child.

I have come close to losing one of my children but my son was spared and so I cannot enter fully into the suffering of such parents who lose a child. I do not even wish to imagine how much pain it involves to say “Goodbye” to your child. Visiting parents on such an occasion is the hardest part of my work.

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