A Few Signs and Wonders, by Kim Farr

I believe we experience signs and wonders more than we know. I used to think a sign and wonder must be something more obvious, but experience has taught me otherwise.

“Let There Be Light” (Genesis 1:3)

Holy Spirit speaks in many different ways and is always drawing us closer and deeper, revealing­­­ more of the Father and Jesus and their great love for us! If I am open to His infinite and creative ways, He speaks to me. Let me share some different ways I have experienced some signs and wonders. The night before I received the song I am about to share, I asked Holy Spirit to speak to me in a dream. When I woke up to a song, I immediately said to Holy Spirit, “You didn’t speak to me in a dream”, then immediately the song came back to my mind again. I said, “Oh, you waited until now to speak to me! You were singing this song over me while I slept. Thank you!”

Some mornings I will wake up with a song in my mind, and I haven’t heard the song recently to make me hear the song in my mind either, so it is a definite song from my Daddy. So, I got my coffee, sat down and looked for the song to play it, and then asked Jesus, “What do you want me to do with this song?”  Then I allowed the wo­­­rds to soak in, and as I did, I could feel Light and Life permeate my soul and spirit. At the same time, people kept coming to my mind and I knew I was prayer singing over them! How amazing is that? Here are the words to the song:


“Let There Be Light”
By The City Harmonic

“From the chaos You composed, a song that all creation knows.
You took a mess, You made life, You said, “Let there be light”
Word of God, from the start, re-creating human hearts.
Make us like the moon at night, a mirror of the Light.
With just a word set the dark to flight, sing to the world, “Let there be Light”
O, word of God, “Let there be Light!”
Cut through the dark, O, “Let there be Light!”
Come risen Son, in glory bright. Come word of God, O, “Let there be Light!”
We’re desperate for the break of dawn, to be warmed by risen Son.
Grace and Justice here collide, to keep us warm through the night.
With just a word set the dark to flight, sing to the world, “Let there be Light!”
O, word of God, “Let there be Light!”

Our prayers can be as simple as, Let there be Light! That Light breaks through all barriers; it can shift the atmosphere and change lives! Look what Father God did with those four simple words. If the Father created the whole universe with four words, what are my words creating?

There are endless ways to experience the love of the Father. Our senses were created to have intimacy with the Godhead. In a time of corporate worship, I was facedown with my eyes shut and I could feel Jesus’ presence so strong and then I smelled smoke. It was strange. I immediately heard Him say that He was pleased with the sacrifice of worship. Then another time, I smelled the fragrance of baby powder. When that happened, I heard Him say, “All things new, new birth.” I have discovered that when I turn off, so to say, some of my senses to experience one of my other senses, I can experience a new way of intimacy with the Godhead—kind of like when a person is blind, the other senses are heightened. Experiencing God out of the box!

Another way was in several visions where I actually felt Jesus holding me and co- laboring with Him hand in hand. These visions have so impacted me that I can still shut my eyes, focus on Jesus, and experience it all over again. Then another time, I was eating something in a dream and woke myself up eating and Jesus said, “Taste and see that the Lord is good!”

Yet another way Father spoke to me was that He woke me up several days in a row at 3:33a.m., and finally I asked, “What are You telling me?” I looked through the Word and came across Jeremiah 33:3, “Call unto Me and I will show you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Then I began a lifelong journey of seeing triple numbers all the time. The most common I see are: 555= extreme grace, abundance and favor, and 222= multiplication, complete blessing, and financial wholeness.

I’ve seen numbers and pictures, like drawings of messages from God for me and others. How about when Holy Spirit gently speaks to you and says, “Go share My love to that young man”, or “Stop and pick up that girl and share My love with her along the way.” There are signs and wonders all around us. I get so distracted sometimes that I miss the intimacy, the treasures. “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, to search out a matter is the glory of kings.” (Proverbs 25:2)

I want to close with a scene from the movie, The Shack. The scene is where Mack is in the boat and the boat starts filling up with black slime and he is in a panic and fear. I believe that is a representation of the junk in our lives, stuff we hang on to (e.g. fear, worry, sin…), and Jesus comes up on the water and says, “Keep your eyes on Me.” When I do this in my own life, I get to experience, first and foremost, intimacy with Him, and the signs and wonders follow!

Sacred Moments, by Jessica Howell

Does the Lord ever speak to you through a song? He does to me quite frequently, possibly because I consistently am listening to music, or have a tune of some sort going through my head. This fall, there has been a particular theme stirring in my heart, and it was sparked from a conversation I had with the Lord over the song Every Table is an Altar by the worship band, Bread & Wine.

The song's lyrics center on the idea that every moment is precious, full of purpose and destiny, thus we should stop and take notice, being fully awakened to the moments in our lives that heaven is crafting. As I drove to work one morning, with the song playing in the background, I sensed Holy Spirit whispering to my heart, “Stop and take notice of the sacred moments I am bringing to you today. Don’t let them pass you by.” As I mulled that over, I was struck by how often my day is consumed with meetings, task lists, errands, and the like . . . how even the in-between moments or down time with friends and family get caught up in the thinking ahead to the next task. How often do I stop to find enjoyment in the moment that I’m in? How often do I ask Holy Spirit what He has to say to the people I encounter throughout my day? Not often enough. 

As I sat in the church parking lot, processing this moment in which heaven stepped into my morning and pulled me out of my normal mundane drive to work, I realized the song had changed while I sat engrossed in my own thoughts, and a new lyric reached out to grip my heart: “Everything is sacred if you can see with eyes of love. Every moment is sacred if you can see with eyes of love . . . every encounter with a stranger or a friend is sacred through the eyes of love” (Never Met a Father, Bread & Wine). Throughout the day, I couldn’t get those lyrics out of my mind, and if I’m being honest, I was feeling a little chastised, thinking something along the lines of, “I don’t see people like God does . . . I’m too caught up in myself to take notice. Why do I do that? How do I fix that?” But then I realized I had missed the point entirely. Papa God wasn’t seeking to chastise me for a misdeed or tell me I had missed the mark. Instead, He was extending an invitation given in joy by a loving Father, saying, “Don’t miss this.”

Since that day, I have been praying a simple prayer out of that first song, saying, “Let my heart be awake. Awaken me to the sacred moments you are bringing to me in every day life.” At various throughout the past several months, I have heard a quiet whisper, sometimes in the most seemingly insignificant moments, inviting me to join the Father in a sacred moment—-to see as He sees, to love as He loves, to serve as He serves, to be present in the moment with Him and those around me. What a joy, what a privilege to join Him in these moments. May they be ever-increasing.

If my story has touched your heart in some way, I invite you to join me in this prayer. 

Let our hearts be awake.

I’ve included links within the song titles so that you may listen to the songs on Youtube if you’re interested. The album is also free on their website.

What Does God's Voice Feel Like?, by Adrianne Cockerham

I have noticed that, in different seasons of my life, I experience hearing God in different ways. After coming back from Bolivia, I experienced Him in yet another way. Let me say though—many times I read others’ experiences of God and go into a comparison game, comparing their lives to mine, instead of reading their experiences and encounters as possibilities for my life. I see myself as coming up short because I have not arrived there yet. I have wised up to the comparison and hyper-interceptive schemes that the enemy loves to use in our lives to make us feel like we are “growing” in the Lord, but instead keeps us in the frustrating cycle of the “never good enoughs”. I would much rather talk about God and how He works instead of the enemy. So I will do that, instead of hanging out in the frustrations of the Satan.

Evan, Jessica, and I recently went to Bolivia for two weeks. As we prepared for this trip by praying over it weekly as a team, I began this new experience of God’s voice. I did not realize it fully until hind sight.  As our team prayed, I began to have peace and rest come over me until I almost could not stay awake. When that happens one time, we can chalk it up to a long week. Week two it happens again and week three and so on. The only thing that I and the others were hearing at that time had to do with refreshing winds that would be going with us. Little did I know, He was refreshing us so we could refresh others. Hmmm…sounds a bit familiar.

Proverbs 11:25 — The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.

As we arrived in Santa Cruz and pulled in the host home, a wind blew so strong that our host joked about the wind being for and coming with us. Normally, it is not that windy, breezy yes and I love it—but this was way more than a breeze. Also worth noting: the weather was cooler than normal. Usually it is, in that season, HOT but it was in the mid-70s. One could say quite refreshing. Something in my heart connected with the weather. I can’t fully describe it, other than knowing it somehow was God. Yet little did I know, He was talking through my senses.

I have heard God through night dreams, in visions/pictures in my head, words running through my mind, words of wisdom through a friend, His Word, etc. I have even experienced His voice in a sense of urgency inside my heart that causes me to take some kind of action. But this was truly different from all of these. Let me also say that I am not talking about mother earth speaking or any new age crud. Rather, God is so limitless in how He can speak to us and what He uses to speak through.

One word we received from Him as we prayed, pre-trip, was that He was going to shift some things as we were there. One afternoon I lay in a hammock, processing with the team about our time thus far there. At this point, we had been there about four days. One of the things we were discussing was when a shift would happen. Nothing at this point felt earth-moving enough to call it a shift. This is the thought that went thought my mind and others also voiced. I felt the Lord tug on my heart that that was not true. Shifts had taken place. So I said to Him, “what do you mean?” Then nothing; I “heard” nothing. But as I waited, the wind picked up, and the wind gust blew all around. I thought, “hmm, is that You?”, and no sooner did I say that to Him, to my mind, it blew even harder. So I got quiet and enjoyed gust after gust. About 10 minutes passed of these gusts and I realized His answer: His voice was the wind—and then it stopped.

Earth shifting changes you can hear, see and feel. When tectonic plates shift, the earth can result in a tsunamis or earth quakes. These are very easy to perceive, right?  But when the wind shifts you can generally only feel it. I am sure, for argument sake, that you probably can see or hear wind if you are really paying attention right at the right moment. In general though, wind is something you feel more and it is much gentler than earth-moving shifts. Off and on throughout our whole trip in Bolivia, even when we were in La Paz, there would be moments of wind I can’t explain. I know now, in hindsight, that He was shifting things in those moments. I believe one of the shifts that took place was refreshing and peace. We encountered many that needed encouragement and a refueling of sorts. Haha, how we came full circle to the pre-trip prayers and what He poured into us before we even got there.

If I can leave you with one parting thought, it would be this. If you’re in a season of feeling like you can’t hear God, ask Him in what way He talking to you and don't be surprised how He answers. It might just be in the wind.

False Community, by Chris Norman

Father, Give strength to my words through Your love.

I once saw a sermon Francis Chan gave on YouTube. Ironically, he talked of people who had come to him extolling his various social media outlets...and how he had nothing to do with them. The accounts were useful to those who found them (myself included), but no matter the good they were, they just didn't come from the man himself. Good, even useful, but not quite true.

Like many in our interconnected society, I've been blessed with a chance to live digitally. I love my church and the loving (wink) dynamic we enjoy. I equally enjoy the culture of my uncle's church and the one my parents attend, in Georgia and Maryland respectively. However, no matter how great it is that I can worship via Soundcloud or see what my young adult ministry is getting into through Instagram, these windows are not the community proper. They are real, something that I've had to come more to terms with this year; even important for showing others what there is here. However, when the time comes for the ever important friction that comes from iron sharpening iron they don't always, as blacksmiths are known to say, skate the file.

We're followers of Christ! We can't let our work end at just reaching out with through social media; we are responsible for bringing men and women to meet our great Beloved! There's got to be a deeper purpose for us so that the difference in our efforts will be seen plainly in the fruit of our efforts.

We know through the Word of God that a community of believers has some pretty solid requirements to be able to emulate the perfect love of God here on the Earth. We've all heard it told that we should join together in our journey with one or two others because, "a threefold cord is not easily broken"(Ecc 4:12). Old man Solomon, wise as he was, had seen and learned just how effective we can be when our efforts and our very hearts drive us towards a common goal. These efforts require skin in the game. Simply throwing out a #praying won't really do the job. By all means, pray! Better yet, seek out your spiritual family and join them in prayer, and ask deeper questions to see how your brother or sister is doing. Make it clear that they know they're not battling alone!

Too often we can find ourselves content to share a post of profound nature without addressing the individual from whom the revelation came. This isn't a 'like' for the sake of Facebook friendship—it's a wonderfully simple way to reaffirm a good word! A good friend worded it this way; "it's like we're all chained together [in this life] but some of us are still shackled to the ground". I like to look to book of Hebrews to remind and encourage myself in the matter of a Christ-following freedom walk. Chapter 12 warns us to make sure that there's no bitterness growing in anyone's heart, and the truth from a good word can be shared over and over, especially with the one who delivered it. Why not personally share the impact a good word has on your heart?! Give one who's blessed you something to turn back to God and thank Him for!

What troubles most is a lack of depth in where social media leads us on its own. Name an app and I would almost guarantee that it has some form of scrolling enabled to let people quickly browse in a manner that has become synonymous with being 'relevant'; device in hand, thumb quickly moving from top to bottom of the screen and flicking back and forth for likes and saves. People refer to Facebook or Instagram stalking as a part of normalcy; it’s just how some people expect to get to know others. Sadly, there is little to be learned in these solitary ventures. This offers no way for presumption to be challenged, for a personality quirk to intrigue us.

If we look to our spiritual forbearers, we find Moses had been in a similar predicament. Exodus 33 reads: The LORD said to Moses, “Depart; go up from here, you and the people whom you have brought up out of the land of Egypt, to the land of which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, ‘To your offspring I will give it.’ I will send an angel before you, and I will drive out the Canaanites, the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; but I will not go up among you, lest I consume you on the way, for you are a stiff-necked people” (vs. 1-3).

An angel AND all the opposition out of the picture sounds like a pretty sweet deal for the Israelites, but since God knew His people for who they really were, He knew they had to go without Him. Yet for Moses, the idea of going without God wasn't going to cut it. Sure, there had to be an elder or two shaking a cane at him for it, but he had already had a chance to speak with God, "as a man speaks to his friend” (vs. 11). This interpersonal level of communication is not something he could draw back from.

Clearly, it's not the same for a man to speak one on one with God as with a fellow believer, but I want to challenge everyone to be honest in just this thing—any good relationship worth having is worth having face to face. We were designed to see the strength in one another as God sees it in us. The social connectivity can reach further than our flesh, sure, but after that, the desire to fulfill the unique relationship that one member of the body can have with another must be filled—if not for the strength of relationship, then for plain truth. Just a little fuel for the fire.


The Beauty Of Suffering by Tina Richardson

God is not bound by our timelines or circumstances. Rather, God often chooses to speak to us when we least expect or are prepared for it. I was in a meeting recently, and while trying to stay focused on what I thought to be the most important point of the conversation, God began to speak. His words, undeterred in their speed and clarity, raced through my mind faster than I could write them down. My focus shifted dramatically as He used the seemingly mundane as a catalyst for revelation. This entry is the result of that encounter.

In what seemed like a curtain of fire, God, armed with His Word and warring in love, began to rapid fire a series of words that manifested into sentences and took the form of thoughts. In the midst of it all, I heard Romans 5:3-5, "Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us."

Yet, He did not stop there. I found myself caught in a hailstorm of divine elocution as He continued in declaration. You can't have Testimony without trial, nor value without cost. You can't treasure without understanding loss. This is why, for the believer, suffering leads to hope. It is a dialectic pairing indeed. This notion is one that confounds and confuses because it lacks the sense of reality in the situation, but to the wise has all the hallmarks of resolute soundness, of the rawest of truths. And while tension remains, there is such an unmistaken reality that cannot be overlooked. This reality exists as evident as the noon day sun, at it's most direct point. It is as evident as the moon's beams that lends us it's borrowed rays in the earth's deepest darkness. One is hard-pressed to dismiss such an awareness of either phenomenon, but often we forget the complete honesty of nature in this world. We dismiss it as “the way things are,” as if these events are mundane in nature, lacking any form of celestial effect. But should we not fight to see the beauty in the common, or hope in the struggle? Even more, how can a statement that so boldly posits that we, the saints, should glory in our sufferings have such revelation? Does this not sound as if it were the spouting of foolish men? But to the wise, such a profession pierces their hearts and compels them to be formed by the very words they utter, which with such clarity demonstrates the transformative power these words posses. To this point, one can sense the overwhelming awareness of such a revelation. It is this very movement, so imbued with such great power, that turns victims into victors and slaves into sons; the bound into free men, and the hopeless into the inherited carriers of every bit of hopefulness! In this hope, there lacks all form of disparity and stands void of the power of darkness. Truly, this is hope in it's most authentic form, one forged beyond ourselves. In this, we have stepped into the hope of the ages, one rooted in God and refined by His love.

Interdependence, by Mike Finch

Yesterday, I was teaching my organizational communication class, and we were going through the “main characteristics of systems theory”. There are eight main characteristics (that I won’t bore you with), but one of them stood out to me, as it really had several Christian truths embedded in it. The characteristic was ”interdependence.”

Interdependence means, “every part of the system has an effect on every other part of the system, and changing one part of the system will result in a change in another part of the system.” So it first means that we are in “systems,” and then second means that we impact the other members of the systems we are in.

So why does being a part of a system matter in terms of my faith? Well, we are a part of something that is more than even just the sum of its parts; we are the body of Christ. But we have an individual faith – a personal relationship with Christ? Right? And we often feel that we are alone in this world, right?

Well, in a very real sense, there is a gulf between us and the people around us that we are constantly trying, so imperfectly, to bridge. That is a part of the human condition – we are discreet entities that can only imperfectly communicate with the world around us through words and other methods (we have a lot of them these days with smart phones and digital media!). So yes, in one sense, we are separated, and can only communicate using imperfect tools. We are individuals, and we have a personal relationship with Christ separate from everyone else. True.

But while we are individual entities, and we might feel alone sometimes, we are not alone. We are in relationship with numerous other individuals within systems – and what we do affects the systems, and what others do in the systems affects us.

Why does this matter? Well, first, living in a system means you have community. Acts 2:42-47 discusses some of what it means to be in community. You work together! Often, people focus on this from the position of need, but really, we can look at this from the position of, “what do I have to give?”

This world has so much need – how can we give to one another? How can we share what we have to bless each other? How can I see the need in another and help to meet it? Not, “I have this need and they need to give me what they have because they are in community with me” – that’s not trusting God – but, “here’s what I have Lord, how can I use this for the benefit of my community?” (And when we have needs, we share that as well, not with an attitude of expectation, but with an attitude of gratitude). But we are in community! People care about us and we care about them!

So why would I want this? Well, living in a system means you matter! What you do is important. You affect those around you. 1 Corinthians 12:14-21 says that we not only have important functions within the system, but without each of our unique gifts, the rest of the body misses out on something. If you are they eye, and you decide not to be in the system, we all go a bit blind! If you are the foot, we all walk with a limp!

But Church is so full of hypocrites. I’ll just do it on my own, as I have a personal relationship with God, right? Well, sure, we’re all hypocrites. Peter denied Christ. Peter was a hypocrite. So, the rock on which God built the church, Peter, was a hypocrite. I think recognizing hypocrisy is really the first step in understanding our flawed nature! So you see hypocrites? Good! Now you know that you can join the system – with your hypocrisy – and we’ll all work at becoming more like Christ one step at a time. 

The last part of this idea of interdependence that really stuck out to me was that the concept is sometimes called, “constraints.” Why would interdependence be called “constraints,” and why, for the love of God, would I ever want to be constrained? I want to be FREE! Right? We’re Americans! Free!

Well, think about it. If you want to be rich, what are you doing? You are constraining yourself. You must work. You must save. You must be responsible for the things you have. The wealthier you are, the more restrained you are in many ways!

Let’s be more specific. I am a Lee professor. This is a great job, but it is full of constraints. I must, well, first, work! I must restrain my time. I must dress a certain way (it’s not too bad, but I need to at least look professorial!). I must hold to certain character standards. I had to go to school for seven extra years. Etc. etc. etc. There are many constraints! Now, what do I get for living within these constraints? I have a gratifying job that is fulfilling. I get paid! I am respected as a professor. I have a greater level of influence. I have connections. I get to work in a Christian environment. I have a great office. The list goes on and on and on.

Family. Children. Constraints. But every constraint gives you something in return.

Every time you do anything of significance, it will “constrain” you somehow. But the constraint, the responsibility, brings significance.

Now, in terms of significance, I think that Connie, the woman who cleans my floor in the Communication Arts building, or Barbara who cleaned the PCSU where my last office was (I miss her!), is just as significant as I am. They are indispensable parts of the mission of Lee. Without them, that community would walk with a limp. They don’t get the respect they deserve, but they are indispensable. Eternally, the last will be first and the first last, so never despise what might be perceived as a “lesser” part! Every single part is significant. We each need each other. The same is true in the church. The pastor might be the one getting the attention, but the stooped and quiet elderly woman who keeps to herself in the back row and is limited by painful arthritis, her contribution of prayer to the system is eternally significant.

Interdependence. Constraints. Community. Significance. You matter! Thank you for being the part that I cannot be. Together, we can be more than the sum of our parts!

Bringing the Captives Back to Zion, by Ana Shippey

When the Lord brought back the captives to Zion (Jerusalem),
We were like those who dream [it seemed so unreal].
Then our mouth was filled with laughter
And our tongue with joyful shouting;
Then they said among the nations,
“The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us;
We are glad! (Psalm 126: 1-3, AMP)

As we progress in our walk with the Lord, the Holy Spirit reveals to us areas of our hearts that feel dry and barren. Instead of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5: 22), we see sadness, hopelessness, bitterness, anger, and fear. Those areas are still slaves to the flesh, chocked by the worries of this life, or oppressed under the deceitfulness of the devil. But God’s desire for us is to “bring back the captives to Zion”! That is, He wants to liberate those areas of our hearts under captivity and place them under the authority and government of His Son (“for the Lord Almighty will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem,” Isaiah 24:23). Only when Jesus reigns over our hearts can we be like those who dream, can our mouths be filled laugher and our tongue with joyful shouting. True delight comes when we partner with the Lord to “bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ” (Ephesians 1: 9), including by restoration of the broken, dark, dry, and barren areas of our hearts. When the Lord has His way and Jesus reigns over our liberated hearts, the world notices. The change is so dramatic, our light shines so bright, that what the Lord has done in us and for us cannot be denied. “Then they said among the nations, ‘The Lord has done great things for them.’” So let us surrender those areas to the Lord. Let the Lord do great things for us and let us be filled with joy!

Breaking Out of the Bubble, by Jennifer Harrelson

My family and I recently flew to California to visit my parents. I have flown dozens of times in my life, mostly between the ages of 16 and 22.  From 15-hour overseas flights to 17-seat planes that needed to stop for gas after 45 minutes—I’ve done it all.  I can’t even recall all the flights I’ve taken, but I can remember the excitement of finding out who would sit next to me and the conversations that might take place. I have many fond memories of friends that I’ve met on airplanes over the years. Each was like a God-ordained meeting; sometimes ministry took place, and other times it was simple conversation and shared stories. Where else are you forced to sit next to a stranger for a long period of time? You may as well chat!

My most recent flight, however, was very different. Apparently, a lot has changed since I was 22. I was amazed to see that every seat back had a personal touch screen TV along with various ports and outlets for technology. Passengers could follow along with the flight path by watching the screen’s animated map. Most people, however, chose the “Entertainment” button. This included a variety of free TV episodes, video games, and movies that are still in theaters. You would have thought that the man across from me had won a small lottery when he realized that one of the movie options was a certain Star Wars installment. By the time the snack cart came around, each passenger had been offered a free snack, free drink, and free entertainment. What more could you want?

As I looked around mid-flight, it seemed that almost everyone was watching a movie or engrossed in his or her own laptop, iPad, etc. They were in their own little bubbles. Who would want to leave the comfort of his or her own private bubble to interact with a stranger? Even if there were a brave soul who dared to break the headphone barrier and actually speak to someone, wouldn’t that someone be annoyed that his or her entertainment had been interrupted? I realize that this is probably what people want— individual screens and free movies.  I agree that it’s luxurious and enjoyable; however, it makes it really difficult to interact with others.  As I pondered it, something about this bothered me. Maybe it’s the fact that it mirrors an aspect of everyday life. It can be easy to go about our lives rushing around consumed with our own needs, activities, and schedules with little regard for others. I think life is so fast-paced and busy that it can be difficult to leave room for others. It’s like each of us is encapsulated in a private universe.  I wonder if living like this makes it difficult to “let our light shine.”

St. Francis of Assisi said, “Preach the gospel at all times. When necessary, use words.” Many times it IS necessary to use words. Yes, some will see how we live and be pointed to the Lord by observation. God can certainly use us in this way, but sometimes God places us in another’s path for a reason…even if it’s just for a moment. God has an army of Christians spread out all over the world intermingled with unbelievers. Who will share His love with them if we are too distracted by life? I think we need to do our best to be aware of the Holy Spirit, listen for His prompting, and be on the lookout for God’s divine appointments.

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…” Romans 8:1— This word is not meant to bring guilt or condemnation, but rather a reminder:  Remember to put on love, leave room for the Holy Spirit, and when necessary, talk to strangers. :)

Peace I Leave With You, by Michael McCant

Don’t ever give up!  When I recently thought of these words, a picture I have seen over the years popped into mind.  It’s the inspirational poster with a crane trying to eat a frog and all you can see of the frog, hanging from the crane’s mouth, is the feet and legs. While being swallowed, the one foot is grabbing the throat of the crane hanging on for life.  This was the picture I saw, as I was thinking about how life comes at us sometimes.  When we are facing uncertainty and discouragement and fearing what tomorrow brings, it is easy to think about just giving up and throwing in the towel.  Maybe it’s our vision and dreams we cannot see coming to pass, maybe it’s the discouragement of an event in our lives that seemingly takes away what we believed to be God’s promise to us and there is a lack of peace. What I heard as I stood thinking about this is, “Don’t ever give up!”  The misunderstanding about peace is that it’s the absence of conflict; this is untrue.  If peace was only obtained through the absence of conflict, then Jesus himself would have never lived and walked in peace; His life was filled with conflict.

Peace (Shalom) means: completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord. This word is still used by Jewish culture (and others) today as a greeting and a farewell upon leaving a conversation or someone’s home. Shalom: peace in trusting the God who created the world still cares about what happens in it and to it, peace in knowing He has greater plans for our lives, than we could ever imagine or come up with ourselves. Shalom signifies harmony, health, well-being, fullness and rest no matter what may be going on. If you have a broken relationship and you find it hard to bless them: SHALOM; if you have been hurt and you just can’t forgive: SHALOM; if you wonder where the next meal will come and how the bills will be paid: SHALOM. God speaks the Peace of Shalom into our hearts. The problems don’t always disappear, but when we accept His peace (SHALOM), they certainly take a different perspective in our lives.

Are we living in harmony with God in our everyday lives or do you (like I have seen in myself) find yourself restless or unsettled because you can’t see past the end of your nose, not to mention what is coming tomorrow? This is where Jesus says, “Don’t worry about tomorrow; for today has enough problems of its own”.  Today is enough for all of us to walk in.  Yet, I often struggle with what is to come; Jesus, knowing the nature of man, speaks to us in advance saying, “The kingdom of God is more than food, drink or clothes, just trust in your father because He knows you have need of these things as well”.

We have seen major things taking place in our world this past year (economy problems, job losses, bankruptcies), yet as believers and followers of a God who cares, we do not live under this world’s economy, though we operate daily within it. God’s economy is different, as seen when Jesus declares, “The meek will inherit the earth, the weak will be strong, those who show mercy will find mercy shown towards them and when you give your life away, you will then be able to find it”. These are not just words, but teachings from the heart of Christ on how I am to live each day – trusting that though the day brings hard times, and sometimes I don’t feel I even know where to start, I have a father who knows, cares, understands, guides and gives hope when there is none to be found anywhere else I turn. This is my GOD!

Isaiah 52:12 says many things in just a few short words, but for time sake, look at the fact that though God goes before us, He still guards us from the rear. Seems amazing, but what I see is that God surrounds us; He leads us through the valley of the shadow of death and guards us from the backside so that when the attack comes, our vulnerable side is taken care of as well. We have no protective shield of armor on the back, but God and others we are in true relationship with have our backs.  He is the God of our yesterdays and He allows the memory of those blunders, sins, and times of disobedience or hurts we’ve received to shape our future as we walk with Him.

He is also the God of our now, and He desires for us to trust Him in the now, not just looking at the past or gearing up for the future. He said to Moses in Exodus, “Come up to the mountain top and stay here”.  Moses, I am about to give you something from myself for the entire world for now, the present and the future; so, when you get to the top don’t start planning your trip back down, stay with me. As I look back over this year in my life, I am keenly aware of the many times I have not sat with Him there either on the mountain or in the valley to discover His heart for me. Unfortunately, I have been looking for the next steps or exit route to get back or on with it, yet God has been patiently saying, “STAY HERE”; just sit at my feet and I will take care of you. When the rain comes and the storm clouds grow dark, I will take care of you and by the way, “I love you buddy” and I have plans for you that you can’t yet see but hang on “it’s coming”.  This year has been mixed with sadness, pain, excitement, doubt, wondering, happiness, hurt, confusion, joy, and obedience; through it all “His goodness and mercy have followed me all the days of my life and I will rest in His house forever”. These are not merely the words of a Psalmist (Psalm 23), but a promise for me and everyone else that chooses to receive it. His goodness and mercy will follow, and I would like to add, they will also be our guide and leader.

Ask Me, by Tabitha Shumate

There was a prayer in my heart for about the past 6 years that I would lose the weight I gained with all of my pregnancies.  I struggled with it because I wasn’t into weight loss programs, counting calories, or eating healthy all the time.  I remember years ago talking with my friend Kylie, and how she lost her weight.  She had a significant breakthrough, and I knew there was something supernatural involved.  She said, “It was the grace of God.”  I knew the grace of God would play a part in me losing what I wanted.  For years, I would say to myself, “I know what to do and how to lose weight”, but didn’t know how to get started.  One year I lost 20 lbs., but then I literally gained it all back the very same year.  After experiencing that, I began feeling stuck and the prayer in my heart began to fade and I was going to let it go.  A couple years later, I was in a conversation with my friend Kim about a friend of hers losing weight.  I wouldn’t have thought much of it, until she mentioned how her friend was involving the Holy Spirit in her life.  She said her friend asked the Holy Spirit how much He wanted her to weigh.  He gave her the amount and He showed her how to do it.  Something in me felt it couldn’t hurt to pray this or ask the Holy Spirit, but I didn’t pray it right then.  I just set it down to wait on the right time to pray it.  I know that sounds silly to wait for the right time, but there was that “stuck” part in me that didn’t want to start thinking about losing weight all the time. 

One afternoon, I was driving my daughter, Esther, to her gymnastics class, and I felt an impression from the Lord that seemed more like a question than a suggestion.  He asked me, “So, are you going to ask me?”  It had been a month since I had that conversation with Kim, but I knew what He was talking about.  I was very reluctant because I was afraid of being disappointed – not by the Lord, but by myself.  So, I asked how much he wanted me to weigh.  The Holy Spirit spoke right away with a number.  I thought about it and realized that was the number I was at when I first moved to Cleveland back in 2000.  Then I realized it would be 40 lbs. of weight loss.  I asked the Holy Spirit why he chose that number, and He said, “Because you will be happy with that weight”.  I didn’t know how I would do that, so I let it go. 

Last August was a turning point in my life.  I was about to turn 40, and Jonnie and I were planning a trip to Hawaii for our 15-year anniversary.  I decided to lose 10 lbs. for the trip so I would feel better about myself.  I started working out and slowly quit eating many unhealthy foods.  I began seeing a difference and lost 10 lbs. in a month.  Then I realized I had to keep doing it to keep the weight off before our trip.  I made a decision that I wasn’t going back to my former weight.  My stomach began to shrink because I felt like the Lord told me I needed to cut back on my daily portion sizes.  More weight kept coming off, and I would push myself a little harder each time I worked out.  By the time we went on our trip in November, I had lost 17lbs.  I was actually thrilled about this number and kept focused on keeping the weight off, more of like a preventative measure. 

Last month, I weighed myself, which is what I did every other week.  The scale showed the number the Holy Spirit gave me a year ago!  I was pretty shocked.  I couldn’t have done it without the grace of God and without Him telling me the next step.  Until then, I had forgotten about that conversation with the Holy Spirit.  And He was right, I am happy with this weight.  I am grateful He gave me strength to keep pushing and to stay focused on how He wanted me live.  I have an attitude of eating to live, instead of living to eat now, and I feel like God has corrected my relationship with food, because looking back, it was a little reckless. 

He gave me this passage in Psalm 66:16-20 to share with you: 16 Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for my soul. 17 I cried to him with my mouth, and high praise was on my tongue. 18 If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. 19 But truly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of my prayer. 20 Blessed be God, because he has not rejected my prayer or removed his steadfast love from me!

When God hears your prayer, His listening is also His answering and planning your breakthrough.  It has been an exciting journey, and I loved being on it with Him!

Fact vs. Belief, by Lesa McCant

About six months ago, I was having an argument with God when a song came on the radio and caused me to ponder the simplicity of “Jesus loves me this I know,” in relation to fact vs. belief. 

The following is an excerpt from my journal entry on January 12, 2017.

How profound, this children’s song . . . before belief, simple fact.  Jesus said, “I must become like a child to enter the kingdom.”  I realize there are many factors to becoming like a child, but the first one that comes to mind is blind faith, though upon further consideration is it actually blind faith?  Could it be that, as a child, I did not have to believe? I simply knew because I had already been with You?  Your word tells me, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.”  So, if I came from that place (knowing my Father) into this world, it stands to reason that I knew Jesus loved me.  Before all the pain and corruption, it was fact! 

But your love provides choice and fact slides into belief. Satan provides a platform to mitigate fact. And the war begins. What a strategy for battle; take them out while they are fresh and fact still exists and cause them to question. As for me, I choose to go back to fact.  Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong. They are weak, but He is strong. 

You love me. Not belief, FACT!  You are good. Not belief, FACT!  Your heart is for me. FACT!  I used to think I had to figure out who I am and what I believe, though, in reality, I simply need to relearn the facts!

Fact:  a thing that is indisputably the case.
Belief:  an acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists.


Freedom, by Neil Thomason


This is a life story on how our enemies place life long, generational barriers in families . . .  and the way out. There is hope, and his name is Jesus.

It started with both grandpas. My mother's grandfather committed a criminal act in a drunken rage that left a lifelong family separation for her. As far as we know, he never gave his life to Jesus and repented of the act.  According to my dad, his father beat him at the drop of a hat and abandoned him and the family at a very early age. And so it goes . . .

Dad overcame a lot. He was saved and overcame alcoholism. He was a good man and believed in honesty and hard work. He was a good provider. But he raged . . . bouts of uncontrollable anger, offense, isolation, victim mentality and emotional scarring that he passed down to all his children. This wasn't normal behavior, but it was who he thought he was because he learned it early. All these unresolved anger issues contributed to his health issues. The thief only comes to steal, kill and destroy. He never came to this realization and repented of his complicity in this.  And so it went . . .

I was saved at 9 years old at a local revival. I have tried to live a Christian life. Working hard and trying to be honest were hallmarks of the way my parents raised me, but there was an undertow in my life that only grew as I got older. I became easier and easier to offend until unforgiveness ruled my heart. I continued to isolate my true feelings from others, even people who could counsel and pray with me. The bouts of rage and anger grew. I never hit anyone, but contemplating on revenge is as binding to your heart as acting on it.

But God . . . About 6 months ago I completely fell apart in a fit of anger over something very minor. I thought this was who I was. I thought I was just a victim of the actions of others. I had repented of this a thousand times, but I had never taken responsibility for my actions and receiving all of this into my life.

I began to repent of my actions and receiving this spirit of rage and all the offense that went with it. I had to verbally forgive all those people who had offended me. I could no longer use their acts as justification for my place. I repented for the actions of my parents and grandparents and declared that the blood of Jesus breaks all generational chains.

And it happened . . . the Word says that He will forgive you as you forgive others. I am able to walk at peace with God, with others, and most of all myself. I am no longer that angry, hidden, offended person, and I continue to believe and declare that same freedom on my children and grandchildren. It wasn't me. It was Jesus bringing me to a place where I could receive His finished work. I am free of this because He set me free . . . Amen.

Exhortation to Worship, by Greg Holladay

In the past few months, many of you may have noticed that something wonderful has been happening here at Living Word Church. With upgrades to the sound and lighting systems, deeper and deeper levels of worship have begun to emerge. A major part of this is that our worship team has become more and more anointed and intense, drawing out of some a steady increase in the intensity of our worship. At this point, I feel compelled to issue a challenge that should continuously increase the intensity of our worship to amazing levels. of what I like to call “reckless, undignified worship” (King David danced before the people in the streets of Jerusalem with this shouting/dancing/joyful kind of reckless abandon to the Lord…so can we…HE IS WORTHY! )

Psalm 104:4 states that we are to “Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise! Give thanks to Him; bless/praise His name!” John 4:23 states, “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship Him. Can you believe it…Daddy God is seeking us to worship Him!

There are some who think worship with instruments…not to mention with reckless abandon…is somehow wrong. I wonder if they’ve ever read the very last Psalm which states “Praise the Lord! Praise God in His sanctuary; praise Him in His mighty heavens! Praise Him for His mighty deeds; praise Him according to His excellent greatness! Praise Him with trumpet sound; praise Him with lute and harp! Praise Him with tambourine and dance; praise Him with strings and pipe! Praise Him with sounding cymbals; praise Him with loud clashing cymbals! ...

I will never forget two amazing experiences I enjoyed during this type of worship. In the first experience, while we were in the midst of an awesome time of worship. I happened to look up and, for a brief moment in time, witnessed a band of angels encircling the entire sanctuary, just below its rather high ceiling. Angels love “entering in” during our worship, even though we generally cannot see them.

In the second experience, we were in the midst of intense worship when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a very tall man on my left side, dressed entirely in white. When I turned my head to get a better look, there was no one there. Then I heard the Lord say, with a distinctly Yiddish accent: “So where did you think they’d want to spend their Sundays? Perhaps you might understand why I believe that, during any given time of worship, we might very well be surrounded by an unseen host of angels.

And now for the challenge: It’s time for a fresh exhortation! Just imagine with me for a moment…if this new intensity from the worship team has begun to draw a few of us into deeper levels of worship, what might happen should we all begin entering into worship with a new intensity, to the point that we begin drawing deeper levels of worship from the worship team…drawing deeper levels from us…drawing deeper levels from the worship team…drawing deeper levels from us…the possibilities are ENDLESS!

Blessing and Cursing, by Evan Cockerham

A few weeks ago during worship, I saw a vision of a book being opened. I heard the Lord say, "I have given Living Word a book". I asked, "what is this book and what is written in this book?" He said, "it is my book of blessing which is connected to my promises. Will you read from my book?"

Every day we have the amazing privilege to read from His book of blessings and promises. In this book, we can see His blessings and promises for our lives and those around us.

His promises and blessings are connected. You cannot separate the two.

However, there is silent accuser, "FEAR". Fear aligns our minds and mouths with curses. Instead of speaking only blessing, which is the joy we have been commissioned to, we align ourselves with fear and speak things that are the opposite of of God's blessing and promises.

Let us choose only to speak "LIFE" and not "DEATH", "BLESSING" and not "CURSING".

Now if we put bits into the horses’ mouths to make them obey us, we guide their whole body as well. 4 And look at the ships. Even though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the impulse of the helmsman determines. 5 In the same sense, the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things.

See [by comparison] how great a forest is set on fire by a small spark! 6 And the tongue is [in a sense] a fire, the very world of injustice and unrighteousness; the tongue is set among our members as that which contaminates the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life [the cycle of man’s existence], and is itself set on fire by hell (Gehenna). 7 For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and sea creatures, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race. 8 But no one can tame the human tongue; it is a restless evil [undisciplined, unstable], full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God. 10 Out of the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. These things, my brothers, should not be this way [for we have a moral obligation to speak in a manner that reflects our fear of God and profound respect for His precepts]. 11 Does a spring send out from the same opening both [c]fresh and bitter water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brothers, produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Nor can salt water produce fresh. - James 3:3-12 (AMP)

The Love of a Father, by Darrell Martin

I was thinking about the story of the prodigal son when this thought came to me: the father could have kept the son from leaving by withholding the inheritance, but the father knew that the son's heart had already left. Without the son's heart being present, it would be the same as the son being gone anyway. The father wanted more than just the physical son. He wanted the whole son. Having the son without the son's heart would be like us having the car without the motor. After all, it's from the heart that the issues of life originate (Proverbs 4:23). The heart is what moves us. To keep from losing the whole son, the father enabled the physical son to be where his heart was. I know, you're already thinking that in doing this, he lost the whole son anyway. But that's where the wisdom of the father becomes very visible. The father had faith that when the son learned that nothing was as fulfilling as being at home with the father, he would return, bringing his heart with him. And that's exactly what happened. We don't know how long it took, but that speaks volumes about the patient love of the father.

How many times have we wanted something more than to be with the Father—wanted to be moving around instead of resting in His presence. In His patient love, He allows it, however long we need, until we learn that what we REALLY want is to receive everything we need from His presence.

It didn't matter where the son went, what he did, or who he ran with—the father still loved him and kept an open heart toward him. The Father feels the same way toward us.

If we need it, really need it, it's in the Father's presence. If He doesn't have it, then we don't need it and we'll better off without it.

One more thought: when the son returned, the father restored.

He is There, by Betty Blackwell

He is There

Yesterday during praise and worship we sang a song with the words, “This is my confidence He has never failed me yet. . .”

I wish I had a record button to instantly record the things I see. In thinking about these words as I sang them, I began to laugh because my confidence in God and who He is has been formed by the things I have experienced.

The following are pieces of a vision I saw and a little bit of dreaming with God:

He is as sure as the sun in the sky. Though there be clouds that cover its light, the sun is still there riding high and shining bright. Even if the storm rages heavy and dark through the day and into the night, the sun is still there in its place reigning high.

He is like the oceans waves in and out; the waters of the earth flowing deep even in drought. We may not see the rain come down and only the desert dry sands for a time, but we know the water is there underneath and He is able to spring up and refresh us.

Though there are times I have not known what He was doing or the why of all that was going on, He has always been constantly present. He was right there like the air, like the sun, He was like the water under the earth that is not seen until we tap into it with a well.

He is like the sun.

He is in the shadows even if we cannot see clearly.

He is in the troublesome times sight unseen.

He is.

When I have walked through the darkness of pain, fear, sickness, disease, cancer, heart attack, by-pass surgery, divorce, indebtedness, broken-heartedness, defeat, rejection, exhaustion, and discouragement of life, He was always there and remained close until I could see Him. I learned a lesson . . . He had been there all along. The next time I went through the desert, I knew He and the water were there . . . out of sight, but just as sure as the sun was above, He was there. When my next storm comes, He and the sun are as sure as light. They remain with me, just out of sight of my natural eyes.

So to choose to see with the Spirit and remember what He has taught me in every situation is the key.

Jesus never fails.

He will never leave me nor forsake me.

He will be with me until the end. He is the great I AM.

I AM . . . whatever you need.

 I AM . . . wherever you are.

I AM . . .  I was, I will be, for I AM.

10 Things For a Very Bad Day, by David Gray

I'm going to give you some solid counsel and wisdom right now about some do's and don'ts for when multiple things hit you all at once. 

(1) Don't fuss and complain. It helps nothing. In fact, it usually just raises your level of anxiety, frustration, pain, whatever. (BTW - sharing with a trusted friend or loved one who can encourage, guide, pray, etc. is different to me than fussing and complaining).
(2) Don't play the victim. Everybody has junk that happens. Look around. Sure there are folks a lot better off, but there are tons of folks worse off. Both issues are irrelevant. They're not running your race. You are. 
(3) Don't compare and especially don't use Facebook as the measure of people's lives or happiness, nor use that to measure your own. It should more appropriately be called "faux-book" because it's not real life. You only see what others want you to see. Some folks only put positive out there. Some folks do not nothing but point fingers, gripe and complain. It's fake, folks. It's only one small part of the story. Doesn't matter - what they have and do has nothing to do with you. [#2 & #3 really go together].
(4) Don't over-react.
(5) Don't get overwhelmed. Slow down - look at your situation. Break it down into bite-sized pieces if needed. Handle what you can. Look and ask for help if needed. 
(6) Do pick yourself up, brush yourself off and face reality. Yes,I know it can be overwhelming at times, especially when it all comes at once, but all you can do is...deal with it.
(7) Do learn from your mistakes. You have to evaluate. How did I get here? What part did I play that brought me to this current situation - or all of these situations? Sometimes you did nothing. But, you can still learn from your current situation - how do I avoid landing here again?
(8) Do make the necessary adjustments to handle your junk - maybe one item at a time. 
(9) Move on with life. Your life wasn't all sunshine and roses before, and it probably wasn't all misery either (hopefully). Nor will it be either of those things going forward. Some things will get better and you'll have reasons to rejoice. Other junk will happen and you'll have reasons to be frustrated, discouraged, whatever. welcome to...life. Deal with it. Embrace it. Live it. Love it.
(10) Embrace the positive! It is there. You might have to look for it, but it's worth it. This is what brings life, hope, and joy.

Finally, for me, trusting, believing and praying to God is my greatest asset. End of "rant."

Innocent In His Eyes, by Darrell Martin

What brings fear to the forefront of your thoughts? What circumstances in life cause you to think you won't make it? Most of us as adults fear lions, tigers and bears. But a newborn baby who has no input regarding these things is not afraid them. Are they dangerous? Yes, but the baby does not know it because he has no experience to tell him otherwise. He is innocent regarding the threat. Many of the fears we have are the result of the input in our lives. Our experience has caused us to forfeit our innocence. Adam and Eve had no fear in the garden because of the innocence they had with the Father. However, the same sin that made them guilty before God also made the things that once caused no fear to be dangerous.

So how do we regain the innocence that God intended us to enjoy? The answer is in the blood of Jesus. The reason for their innocence was that they had no sin. 1 John 1:9 says that when we confess our sins God forgives us and then CLEANSES us from ALL unrighteousness. In other words, THE SIN IS GONE! There's no record of it. Colossians 1:22 (NLT) says we are holy and blameless and stand before him without a single fault. This explains how a perfect God is able to love imperfect people without any conditions on His love. HE SEES US AS FAULTLESS OR PERFECT! The bad news is sometimes we struggle to receive His love because we don't see ourselves as faultless or innocent. The good news is He always sees us this way and graciously and generously pours His love all over us. His decision is to see us as innocent because of what Jesus did on the cross. When we see ourselves as God sees us, we are then in a position to receive His perfect love (1 John 4:18) which expels fear.

As I reflect on my history with God I see nothing that tells me He will ever let me down. Instead I see that time and time again He has come through with everything I ever needed. I can face life head on with confidence knowing that my Father is protecting His innocent child and helping me grow in spite of the challenges to love that I face on a regular basis.

The challenge to each of us is this: To renew our thinking to the word of God. To make the choice to see what He sees. To enjoy a relationship with a Father who chooses to see our innocence instead of our sin.

You Don't Cry Alone, by Bob Bevan

Every Tuesday, we meet with a group of our pastoral staff and leaders.  This particular week, a few of us had things going on that brought tears of joy, frustration, pain and empathy.  I was reminded how God does not leave us to experience the joy and the pain alone.

Do you believe that God understands and identifies with your heart and emotions? Look at this verse.

“When Jesus saw her (Mary) weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.”
John 11:33 NIV

Mary and Martha were friends with Jesus and their brother Lazarus had died. Jesus could have come sooner, but he didn't arrive until after Lazarus had already passed.

Sometimes we get the idea God is distant and unfeeling. We sometimes believe he is indifferent to our emotions, and it leads us to kill our emotions because we come to the conclusion we are alone in this and feeling the highs and lows is too much to bear.

Jesus knew that he was going to raise Lazarus from the dead in ten minutes.
He could have said, "Hey just calm down everyone, don't feel, don't grieve; I've got this. Just give it ten minutes – it'll be fine!"

Instead, He saw their emotion and identified with them where they were at. He wasn't just interested in "getting the job done." He felt with them; he hurt with them and cried with them. Tears wasted?

No. Mary and Martha would never forget the day Jesus raised their brother from the dead and how he wept with them and comforted their broken hearts.

Truth is?

One day He will come and take all who want to be with Him home for eternity, and everything will be more than all right forever. Does He tell us to not hurt, to not be angry or cry when we suffer what will prove to be temporary pain?

No – He hurts, cries, and feels with you. Maybe the next time someone hurts they don't need you to tell them to how the story ends and to pack up those feelings. Maybe the best thing to do is just cry for a moment.


“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.”
2 Corinthians 1:3-7 NIV

“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”
Romans 12:15 NIV

Psalm 23:3 - He restores my soul, by Bob Bevan

This world has a way of taking a bite out of our soul.

From the time sin entered the world with Adam and Eve in the Genesis chapter 3, we have never been whole since. Sin is a word we don't use much these days, but it just simply means doing things our way instead of God's. Have you ever tried to use a tool, an appliance, or anything for that matter, to do a job that it was not meant to do? I have broken many things that way.

Sin breaks things. When we do things our way instead of God's, it leads to a self-centered course of action that breaks things. From the moment sin entered the world, it damaged the first marriage relationship and has been damaging every relationship on earth from that point.

The fallout from that problem daily takes bites out of our soul. Look at the condition of families and the current state of our nation. Take a minute and reflect on your own heart and soul. What are the unsettled places? What got broken inside while dealing with people that never was properly reset to heal? What are the things that you mull over and over and cannot seem to shake? All of those things bring angst, worry, fear and anger to our soul (mind, will, emotions).

How do those knicks, bumps, bruises and broken places in our soul get repaired? We attempt to numb or deal with the pain with distractions, diversions, entertainment or any form of self medications. The same Creator that formed you inside your mothers womb knows how to restore and bring healing to your soul. Revelation 21:5 says that God makes all things new. He created you to be healthy and whole. Go to the Shepherd today and let him know what is broken. Invite him to come and do what only he can do by restoring your soul.

"Father, you alone can mend the broken places in my heart, my mind and my desires. I'm got you now to come and restore what is broken and what I cannot heal on my own. Thank you for hearing and helping."