…behold, your son!

The hardest thing I have ever had to do as a Pastor, maybe even as a person, was be present in an ICU room when, individually, members of a family came in to say goodbye to a lady who was only alive because she was connected to a ventilator.

Her sister came.

Her friend came.

Her partner came.

Then her children came.

Thinking of this now still brings tears to my eyes. What do you say to a child saying goodbye to their Mum? Preaching the Good News to the assembled church multiple times each week is a huge privilege. Being there for moments like that is perhaps the most profound privilege we can have as ministers of the Gospel. 

Today’s last word is found in John 19.26,

“Woman, behold, your son!”

Making provisions for those we love for a time when we won’t be around may seem morbid, but it is maybe the most loving and practical thing we can do. Even on the cross, in the throws of agony, Jesus cared for and provided for others. He was, and is, so others-focused that some simply cannot believe it.

For those of us that do, we see His heart on display; others.

Even in His dying moments, He wanted to make sure that those He loved were going to be taken care of.

Brothers, sisters, please don’t wait until it is too late. Take actions today to care for and provide for those you love so that when a day begins without you, they will be ok. They will have enough to deal with, enough to organise, enough to do, enough to grieve over, enough to think about.

Please follow His example and do all you can today to provide for their tomorrows.

Broken

By Jaime Solis

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Do we forget what it means to have Jesus as our Lord? As our God? In those broken hearted moments we are desperate for His comfort, which His scripture promises, but do we actually sense Him far away instead?

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This scripture mentions having a contrite, or CRUSHED spirit, crushed to the point of turning into dust. Have you ever felt as crushed? Have you’ve ever been humbled so low that it’s broken your heart? Have you’ve felt in those moments that you’ve been so alone?

I was 19 years old when my life took a drastic turn. I was doing the average things that my peers were doing at the time; I was in school, I had a job, I had a lot of good friends I hung out with, I was having the time of my life! Slowly, for reasons I couldn’t explain at the time, I started feeling unwell.

My body started reacting scared all the time. The feeling got so bad that I was eventually stuck in my bedroom for 3 months, too afraid to leave my small space. I eventually dropped out of school, lost my job, and lost touch with my friends. I was alone and I remember wondering if this was what the rest of my life was going to be like. I was broken and crushed. My life was just starting and I felt like I lost it all.

It was through this that my relationship with God began. I initially thought that God would want nothing to do with me, but in my brokenness He’s always been there to comfort and carry me along the way.

I think back to these moments often and remind myself of them, because it’s then that I remember that when my heart was broken, Jesus was near. I’m reminded that what it means to have Jesus as our Lord and God is to have a Lord and God that is our friend. Jesus Himself called us His friend in John 15:15, look it up!

I eventually came to find out that I was suffering from anxiety attacks, and the Lord has carried me through it for almost 20 years now..

Know this, that our broken and crushed spirit does not repulse Him, rather, it keeps Him near.

Although I do feel for you if you are experiencing brokenness right now, I also rejoice as I grieve with you, knowing that you are about to experience the nearness of God in your crushed moments.

So, broken heart, have hope, be encouraged, and know that God is a God that is near. Know that God is a God that is your friend.

Uncomfortable

Today’s guest contribution comes from:
Joey Whitney (@joeywhitney5), Pastor, Calvary Christian Fellowship, Baton Rouge (@calvary_br)

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A lot of times we look at those who have done amazing things for the Lord as if it was completely unattainable or God could never use me the way He used that person.

This is completely untrue. It seems as though Joshua felt the same way. He had spent his whole adult life as an assistant to Moses and he had seen all the things that God had done through him. And I’m sure it was a little intimidating with the new job he was given.

God wanted to assure Joshua that, “As I was with Moses, I will be with you. Everything that I brought him through, I will be there to do the same with you. I will lead you, I will guide you. I will be your strength when you feel weak. I will give you wisdom when you need it.”

Joshua was put in an uncomfortable situation. A situation that would push him beyond the limit of what he thought he could do…this is why in the next verse we see God say to him, “be strong and courageous.” It’s not because he already had courage and he was comfortable, it’s because he needed courage and he needed strength because he felt uncomfortable. He was feeling weak in that moment and he needed that reminder.

Often times when we follow God we are put in similar situations where we are put in a spot that we don’t really feel comfortable with. In those moments we need to hear God speak to us “just as I was with Moses, I will be with you.”
God has a desire to use us in ways we would never dream where possible. If we will allow Him. But a lot of times that means He will want to put us in situations where we absolutely need to rely on Him and His strength to make it through so that He is most glorified.

If you are in this situation, allow God to speak that to you today. That He is with you and He will not leave you or forsake you. Lean on Him. He will be your calm in chaos. He will be your strength in weakness, He will give you words when you have none. Trust Him even when you’re uncomfortable and see how He moves!

God’s Glory or Our Own Glory?

This week we will pause our journey through Job and read five devotionals from ItIsWell.

The first is from our most recent guest speaker, Pastor Pilgrim Benham (@pilgrimbenham), Shoreline Church (@thisisshoreline).

Some songs have had the power to start revolutions. One of those songs is found in the Old Testament, sung by a group of women who had no clue what their melody would provoke.

Take a moment to read 1 Samuel 18:6-9. As they returned home from the great Philistine battle where David slew Goliath, Saul was receiving glory as the women paraded and praised his accomplishments; but David’s glory was greater. I’m sure kids began playing with slingshots, reenacting David’s amazing and unlikely victory. The people no longer had Saul as their ideal role model for a manly warrior–it was now David. This competition led Saul to his eventual demise.

As humans, we weren’t designed to receive glory but to extend God’s glory! Sadly, the apex result of the Fall is the desire for self-glory. When the serpent tempted Eve, it was with the notion that she and her husband were being kept from something glorious: (see Gen. 3:5). Indeed, when Adam and Eve observed that the fruit was able to make them wise, their restraint out of reverence for God’s command was overridden by their desire for self-glory, so they consumed the fruit.

The same temptation resides within us today. Though by grace through faith we have been regenerated by the Spirit of God and are new creations, we as Christ-followers still have remnants of our corrupt nature. Until we lay this sinful body into the earth, we will be plagued by the flesh and this desire to exalt ourselves above God will continue to haunt us.

Every day is a battle between self-glory and God’s glory. Like Saul, we seek our own fame and put ourselves on the throne, raging against anyone or anything that threatens our luxuries. We fail to truly understand that only the name of Christ is to be highly-esteemed. We forget that Jesus came and died humbly not to bolster the pride of life, but to put an end to it. We must confront our own vainglorious honor with the reality of the cross so we will fear, adore, and worship Christ alone.

May we lay our empires down and yield our lives to enjoy His grace and extend His glory alone!