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…she wandered aimlessly in the wilderness…When the water was gone, she put the boy in the shade of a bush.  Then she went and sat down by herself about a hundred yards away.  “I don’t want to watch the boy die,” she said, as she burst into tears.   

But God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, “Hagar, what’s wrong? Do not be afraid!”…Then God opened Hagar’s eyes, and she saw a well full of water.  She quickly filled her container and gave the boy a drink.    ~ Genesis 21:14-19

This morning, I listened intently to the radio as someone called in to ask for prayer for a woman his wife met last night.  His wife was at a McDonald’s when she saw a woman crying in her car.  The man’s wife approached the crying woman to ask if there was anything she could do to help.  The crying woman ‘fell apart’, explaining that she’d taken her boys and driven all night and all day and now found herself at this McDonald’s.  Apparently she was fleeing a bad situation.  The two women prayed and then the helping woman felt God leading her to give the crying woman her money, so she gave all she had with her.  They prayed again and the helping woman left.   She called her husband on her way home to tell him what had happened.  By the time she arrived home, the husband said he felt it strongly on his heart that they had to find the woman.  They found the woman and her boys sleeping in their car in the parking lot of a motel, which was next to the McDonald’s parking lot.  They took the woman and her boys inside the motel and paid for a night’s stay for them, providing them with a safe place for a good night’s sleep.   The radio host asked if the man would like to lead listeners in prayer.  The man did so with a wonderful prayer that asked for God to continue to be with this woman and her boys.  

The man and his wife didn’t know where the woman had come from or what her situation was, but they knew God was calling on them to give her aid.  God seemed to be using them as angels on earth.  

The man’s story of what happened reminded me of a few stories in the Bible when God sent angels to tend to those in need. God sent an angel to to Elijah when he was discouraged and fleeing for his life (1 Kings 19:3-8).  The angel gave him food for the journey that would take him an encounter with God.  A vison of angels came to Jacob on his journey as he fled from his angry brother to go to the land of his Uncle Laban. (Genesis 28:10-22).   Angels tended to Hagar twice – once when she sought to escape harsh treatment from Sarah (Genesis 16:7-16) and again when Hagar was sent away with her son Ishmael (Genesis 21:8-20); and we know angels tended to Jesus after his time in the wilderness with Satan (Matthew 4:11).      NOTE:  There are other accounts of angels in the Bible. 

In each of these stories, God sent angels to give aid and encouragement to those in need.   The angels gave aid for the immediate physical needs of the people, but it was the encouragement of encountering angels sent by God that gave the greatest aid.  

The Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (HIBD) defines angels as, “Created beings whose primary function is to serve and worship God.”    The HIBD also says angels not only carry out God’s messages to people, they also carry out God’s will as He directs them.  Hebrews 1:14 confirms that angels do service to believers but by God’s will and under his direction.   “Therefore, angels are only servants – spirits sent to care for people who will inherit salvation.”   Hebrews 1:14  (NLT)             (NOTE:  The HIBD says more about angels on pages 66 & 67.)      

The story shared on the radio about the man and his wife who gave aid to a woman and her boys, who seemed to be in desperate need, is just one example of how I believe God still sends angels.  Yes, the woman and her sons needed money, food and shelter, but more than that they needed to encounter God.  They needed the assurance that God was with them.  The benefits of food and shelter are temporary, but the encouragement received from an encounter with God through the help of strangers will last forever! 

Dear God, Thank you for loving us and caring for us enough to send angels when we need You.   I pray for all who are in situations like the woman found at McDonald’s.  Please continue to be with them, watch over them, and provide for them.  I pray that all who need You will experience You in wonderful ways, giving them the encouragement needed to continue on their journeys; and please, if there is a way I can be a blessing for someone else, show me how.  I pray these things hoping for glory and honor in Your name.  To You my Heavenly Father I pray, with Jesus as my Lord and Savior, and in the love of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

We began counting 14 days of “Love is…”  in the post below with the ‘Love’ verses from 1 Corinthians, Chapter 13.  So far we’ve learned through days 1-13 that,

“Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”   ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-7  (NIV)

Now we conclude 14 Days of Love is…        Feb 14:   Love never fails.  ~ 1 Corinthians 13:8  (NIV)

 The ‘Love’ verses are written to be instructional and helpful.  They teach us how we’re to love others.  They also help us recognize acts of true love that others show to us.  Ultimately, this love brings us closer to Christ; and when His love is able to shine through us, we can bring others closer to Him, too.   In the meantime, I hope these verses will help you keep love alive in your life.  🙂 

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

Let’s get ready for Valentine’s Day by learning what true love is, based on the teachings found in 1 Corinthians, Chapter 13.  Each day we’ll look focus on one of the traits listed in the scriptures.  By Valentine’s Day, we’ll have shared the entire ‘Love is…’ passage.  You can follow these on my Facebook page or here on this site.  I’ll update this post daily.

Feb 1:  Love is patient.    Feb 2:  Love is kind.    Feb 3: Love is not jealous.    Feb 4: Love does not boast.  It is not arrogant.    Feb 5: Love is not rude and does not demand its own way.    Feb 6:  Love is not irritable.     Feb 7:  Love doesn’t keep track of when it’s been wronged.   Feb 8:  Love is never glad about injustice.   Feb 9: Love rejoices in the truth.   Feb 10:  Love always protects.   Feb 11:   Love always trusts.   Feb 12:  Love always hopes.   Feb 13:  Love always perseveres. 

Feb 14:   Love never fails.     HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

I encourage you to take a few moments to read the entire ‘Love is’  passage and open yourself up to what these verses have to say to you.   For quick reference, go to www.BibleGateway.com   and enter 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.

Start by reading the verse once to be reminded of what true love is.  Then read it again while thinking about someone you love.  You’ll realize the strong areas of your love for them.  You might also discover areas of love that are weak in your relationship with that person, or traits of love you need to work on.

Continue reading the verses again, each time with someone else in mind.  For example, you might first read the verses thinking about your spouse or a close loved one.  Then read it again thinking of one of your children or your parents.   Do different traits of love jump out at you as you think about different people? 

Ok, that part was easy.  Jesus said even evil people find it easy to love the ones they like, but as Christians we’re called to love everyone…even our enemies (Matthew 5:44).  Now challenge yourself to read through the verses thinking about people who might not be so easy to love, or someone you might be having relationship issues with – co-worker, teacher, peer, boss, neighbor, friend, etc…  If you keep yourself open to what the verses say, they’ll show you the areas of love you need to address to help your relationship with that person. 

A dear ‘senior’ friend from church, who’s been blessed through her years with love, grace and wisdom, once told me that when she’s having difficulties with someone, she goes to the Bible and reads the ‘Love is…’ verses, and it helps her every time. 

February is love month, so let’s remember what Jesus said were the most important commandments, and do our best to really love those around us. 

“And you must love the Lord your God with all our heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength”… and, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  ~ Mark 12:30-31 

May you be blessed with lots of love in return!

Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld…       ~ 2 Chronicles 20:20

It was a beautiful day at Appalachian Ski Resort.  My husband and sons hit the slopes.  I spent the day at the ski lodge catching glimpses of them when I could.  From where I sat, I could watch skiers and snowboarders coming down the slopes. 

 My sons just started skiing two years ago.  It amazes me that they’re skiing so well now!  My husband says it’s a good thing I’m not on the slopes to watch my older son because he just goes straight down…FAST.   My younger son just learned to navigate the slopes last year, and already he’s coming down like a little pro! 

I skied once.  It was up at Snowshoe, WV.  Rex and I were in our first year of marriage.  He already knew how to ski.  I did not. For the sake of our new marriage, we felt it would be best for me to take a lesson from an instructor before skiing with Rex.  My initial excitement quickly turned to anxiety when I got my skis.  They felt awkward,  I didn’t know what to expect, and began to feel afraid.  Rex had to coax me out into the snow.  I was literally trembling with fear.  Then I took my first step onto the snow – which was glazed with ice – and to my horror, my skis took off with me strapped to them!   Rex says it was just down a little bunny slope, but it felt huge to me!  By the time I  came to a stop, I was in tears.  I was scared and I did NOT want to learn to ski! 

Has life ever felt that way to you?  Have you ever felt like life was moving quicklydownhill and there wasn’t anything you could do to stop it?  Did you feel helpless and scared? 

 Rex listened to me cry as I tried to refuse to ski, but we were a young couple who didn’t have a lot of money.  His reply was that we’d just paid for a lesson so I was going to take it. (Grrrrr…not what I wanted to hear!)  About that time the instructor came and our small group lesson began.  Rex went off to ski on his own.  He came up later to see how I was doing and was surprised to not only see me doing well on my skis, but I was actually enjoying myself and helping others learn to ski!   Once I learned some fundamental basics of skiing, I had faith that things would be ok and let myself my go.    My earlier fear was because I didn’t know what to expect and felt I had no control over my skis. 

I had a similar fear when my sons started skiing.  I didn’t know what to expect and I had no control of their situation!  What if they lost control and got hurt?  All Rex and I could do was make sure they had good instruction, breathe a few prayers, and have faith that they’d be ok. 

Life is often like this, too.  We have to have faith enough to let go, breathe a few prayers, and have faith in God that things will be ok.  We talked about Faith in Bible study today.  When I refer to faith, I don’t mean that we’re to have faith in our own abilities.  We need to have faith in God!  Just a little time with our Instructor (Jesus), and learning fundamentals from the Bible, can prepare us for what is ahead and make a huge difference in our ability to make our way down the slippery slopes of  life.  This is how we can help our children navigate the slippery slopes of  life, too!   

After completing my lesson, I left the instructional area and ventured down an actual slope.  It was fun!  Then I returned to the instructional area where I’d taken my first ‘ride’ on skis – the one that terrified me, and Rex was right.  It was just a little bunny slope – not nearly as huge as it seemed at the time.  

If you’re facing a slippery slope of your own, put your faith and trust in God.  He’ll prepare you, then be with you all the way down; and most likely you’ll discover that with His help, things are never as bad as they may seem.     

Anything is possible if you have faith.   ~ Mark 9:23

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