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Don't be discouraged, but be reassured that the power of Jesus works in those who are weak. Through Christ you can be effective in this world.

And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2Co 12:9-10)

 

 Great Things in Small Packages
 
Do you think you can't do anything worthwhile because you are too old?
Do you think you can't accomplish any good because you have chronic illness?
Do you think you don't have talents that would be useful to others?
Do you feel small, weak, and too fragile to conquer this world?
 
Remember the lizard, while small in size, conquered king's palaces! You too can do great things because God chose the weak things in the world to accomplish much. The reason behind God's choice is found in 1 Corinthians 1:26-29) For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. 
 
for...
 
"He who glories, let him glory in the Lord." (1Co 1:31)
 
We can do great things through Christ who strengthens us and great things can come in the small packages of kindness, prayer to Almighty God, and in sharing how Jesus made a difference in your life. 

 

The strongest people may not be those who are showing great strength in front of us but those who win battles we know nothing about - those who are home alone or standing lonely in a crowd - those in nursing homes or hospital rooms - those who allow Jesus to strengthen them and the Holy Spirit to comfort their heart. These are the strong ones - the conquerers. 

 

 
Strength For The Asking

 

A little boy was having a hard time lifting a heavy stone. His father asked, “Are you using all your strength?”

“Yes, I am,” the boy replied.

“No you’re not,” said the father. “I’m right here waiting, and you haven’t asked me to help.”

When we are faced with a problem that seems unsolvable or a burden that is too heavy, we might ask ourselves, “Are we using all our strength?” Our Father, too, is waiting to help.

 

 
The Greatest Thing You Can Do
by: S. D. Gordon

The greatest thing anyone can do
For God and man is pray.
It is not the only thing,
But is the chief thing.
The great people of earth
Are the people who pray.
I do not mean those who
Talk about prayer;
Nor those who say they
Believe in prayer;
Nor yet those who can
Explain about prayer;
But I mean those people
Who take the time to pray

 

 

Sharing Christ
by: Serena Voss

"Lead me to some soul today" we sang
And all week long that message rang.

Inside my head and heart, I prayed
"Lord who can I reach for you today?"

Just at that moment my neighbor walked by
And I said to myself, "Okay, I'll try.

But, first I need time to study and rehearse,
To make sure I know book, chapter and verse."

Then armed with my proof texts and Bible outlines,
I approached her to study and she said, "That's fine."

The verses poured out in a steady stream,
'Doctrinal Purity' was my theme.

Besides, many claim to follow Christ
But they do it man's way, thinking that will suffice.

Well, after the session was nearly through,
I said, "Have you questions?" She said, "Just a few.

It's obvious you know your Bible quite well,
You've talked about Heaven and touched on Hell.

You've even shown proofs that the Bible is true,
But you've not yet told me what Christ means to you.

How is your life different? How do you cope?
Is there any real joy or any real hope?"

I stared at my outlines, then put them away.
And I changed and shared gently the Man called 'The Way.'

As that simple old story began to shine through,
My friend came to Jesus, not the what, but the Who.

No part of creation fascinates me more than sea creatures. They live in an alien environment, existing in a liquid world, mostly unseen by human eyes. We are made to wonder at the degree of variation and their makeup is so foreign to the land creatures that we shake our heads in amazement at their appearance. Their size goes the entire length of the spectrum from the whales to tiny creatures such as the octopus pictured below. Yet in all the variation of size, appearance and lifestyle, they exist together in the ecosystem of this strange, alien world. They are so prolific that they have supplied enough food for all mankind with plenty left over.  
 
The fish explain to us about the power, wisdom, imagination, and provision of God. 

 Aquatic Life Made for Each Other

 The World Ocean Review made this statement concerning the disruption of the normal aquatic ecosystems: "Because of rapid changes in water temperature, salinity and nutrient concentrations, and due to overfishing, habitat destruction and the introduction of foreign species, global biological diversity in the oceans is rapidly declining. There is no doubt about this: the disruptive forces are cumulative and will cause further species to disappear. This will then cause a decrease in the stabilizing function of the formerly diverse communities, with potentially hazardous results – habitats that cannot perform their ecosystem functions, or that lose their resilience."

Aquatic ecosystems work so well together that if disruptive changes are made to a part of that system, it can bring damage to another part. What I don't understand is, how can man say our wonderful lakes, rivers and oceans became so diverse and prolific by evolution when for millions of years there was no completed ecosystem (greatly lacking in fact)? They state if one small part of the ecosystem is messed up it will affect a great many other areas. So how did the mavelous liquid world come into existence without a workable ecosystem in place for its survival?

The truth is God created this amazing underwater community and its ecosystem from the beginning and made it to work together in unity. Different species of plant, mineral, and animal life feeds, shelters, and protects each other. It could not have survived and become prolific without the wisdom of the Creator making a system work together so well for its survival.

A study of the underwater world is one that points to a Creator who makes all things work together for good - it is when all things are not in place that digression occurs, not progression. Praise God for His wonderful works! 

 

After reading June's edition of Our Hope which focused on the sun, Ruth so graciously sat down and wrote a poem about the sun and shaed it with us. Thank you Ruth!

The Sun

 

A ball of fire comes into view,

It slowly rises each day anew.

The shades of colors, a beautiful blend,

Entwined together, as only He sends.

 

The sun His creation for us to admire,

When in the sky like a ball of fire.

It separates the day from the darkness of night,

And is always a radiant scene in our sight.

 

“Tis the greater light to rule the day,

It gives us darkness when rotating away.

We still have faint light, even at night,

But the moon is subtle, never so bright.

 

The sun rotates around us every day,

With gravitational forces to keep it at bay.

It is the brightest object seen in the sky,

Its temperatures blazing even up so high.

 

The heat amassed by this star so bright,

Supports life on earth to grow day and night.

It drives the Earth’s weather and climate anew,

Beyond understanding from the human view.

 

Ongoing studies show interesting facts,

Still little is known of just how it acts.

People’s myths stated in ages gone by,

Thinking the sun was a God in their eyes.

 

 

Its rays can be harmful to our sensitive skin,

That’s why we have houses in which to live in.

Even in the old days, now long since gone by,

Tents gave man shelter from the rays of the sky.

 

It provides us warmth on a cold winter day,

It keeps chilling winds slightly at bay.

The sun has been given a significant role,

In the life of mankind, but by God extolled.

 

The sun God’s creation, so high in the sky,

To be enjoyed by us, each day that goes by.

It’s bright scenes of beauty are there to behold,

Its colors all blended, the weak with the bold.

 

 

 

Written by Ruth Miller

© June 9, 2016

 


Light is Sweet!

Truly the light is sweet, and it is pleasant for the eyes to behold the sun.  (Ecc 11:7)

We all know the sun lifts our mood - it is a gift of God to help lift our spirits when trials on earth bring us down. When depression strikes, rather then sitting in a dark room, we need to get out in the sun and feel it's warmth and remind ourselves of the light of the Son of God which shines in our hearts.
 
While sunlight lifts our spirits, it also has other benefits to our body and instead of being afraid to get out in the sun, we need to absorb its benefits.  
 
  • Sunlight is capable of killing bacteria even after passing through glass. There is evidence that patients in well sunlit wards recover faster than there counterparts in room with little or no natural light. Hospitals that are not well illuminated by the sun have an increased bacteria level, which has become the industry norm. Infections caught in hospitals are the fourth leading cause of death after heart disease, cancer and stroke.  
  • Vitamin D which is a hormone activated by sun. 
  • Beneficial effects on a number of skin disorders as well; psoriasis, acne, eczema, mycosis and other bacterial or fungicidal infections. Ultraviolet light has also shown to help alleviate atherosclerosis (hardening of the arties).
  • It has been discovered that ultraviolet radiation is also an integral part in the body’s cholesterol breakdown process. Sunlight exposure can have a significant effect at reducing bad cholesterol levels in the body. 
  • Lowers blood pressure.
  • Affects mood. 
 

A good article about the benefits of sunshine can be found at
http://www.medicallightassociation.com/?q=node/44

Now the heart is so full that a drop overfills it,
We are happy now because God so wills it;
No matter how barren the past may have been,
’Tis enough for us now that the leaves are green;
We sit in the warm shade and feel right well
How the sap creeps up and the blossoms swell...
The breeze comes whispering in our ear,
That dandelions are blossoming near...
Every thing is upward striving;
’Tis as easy now for the heart to be true
As for grass to be green or skies to be blue,  ’Tis the natural way of living...

 
~James Russell Lowell, The Vision of Sir Launfal
 

Farmwife's Evening Song
 
The mid-day heat is something in the past; 
The sun has set behind the apple tree;
The supper things are cleared away at last,
And she has time ot come outside and see
The way the shadow pool along the creek,
change slowly into darkness, grow and grow,
Until the light is nothig but a streak
Where whippoorwills fly through the afterglow.
A little breeze pours coolness on her hair,
Caresses hands rough from a thousand chores;
The lightning bugs are bright spots in the air,
Repeated by the stars; the out-of-doors
Brings to her heart a lilting song; at length
Her soul looks up, renewing faith and strength.
 
-James Russel Gray 

Progression of Disease 

Do you know what the alien looking creature is at the top of the page? (Picture of cedar apple rust disease in original post.) I had no idea what it was when I saw it on my juniper tree - I had never seen these hairy looking brain things before and didn't realize just how damaging they could be. I found out it's called cedar apple rust disease. It was not only damaging to the juniper tree but also to my nearby apple tree. Spores from the juniper fly to the apple tree producing a fungus that attracts insects. It causes yellow spotting on the leaves and deforms the fruit. 

 

Because this disease had progressed so severely, we had to cut down three juniper trees in our yard not long after moving to this location. The previous owner could have prevented the progression of the disease if they had removed the first signs of disease, but they were either ignorant, lazy, or just didn't care.
 
Isn't that the same with sin in our lives or in our children's lives? It is within our power to stop the progression of sin if we would only nip it in the bud before lives are destroyed. Too often we get lazy and make excuses when sin is first realized. We really don't want to put forth the needed effort of discipline that our flesh needs or the teaching and discipline our children need. Sin and its consequences then progresses.
 
Apathy, laziness, and ignorance should have no part in our lives as parents and as disciples of Christ. Self-control must be taught to our children and practiced among ourselves. When spiritual disease first pops up it needs to be recognized, dealt with and destroyed before it overtakes the mind, body, and spirit. v

 
   The Victorious Life
 
Hers was a helpful life.
In countless humble ways
She daily eased the pain
Of troubled souls and saw them
Smile again.
 
Hers was a joyful life.
She never thought of self,
And so she came to learn
That whatsoe'er is freely given
Always will return.
 
Hers was a peaceful life.
Through all her happy days,
She conquered fear and care,
Because she took her burden to the Lord
And left it there. 
 
                              Gardner Leland Green 
 

In creation we have examples of what happens when disease is ignored and allowed to progress, as shown in the example on this page. The same destruction can happen to our spirit if we allow the disease of sin to prosper in ourselves and in our children. David is such a good example of seeing how far sin can go when ignored. 

 

2 Samuel 11 & 12

Progression of David's sin:

Lust

Adultery 

Greed

Deceit 

Oppression

Murder 

Influenced another to sin 

Theft 

David had "Given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme."

"The thing that David had done displeased the LORD." (2Sa 11:27)

There is a cure, however: "A broken and contrite heart."
 
Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, The God of my salvation, And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, And my mouth shall show forth Your praise. For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart-- These, O God, You will not despise. (Psa 51:14-17)

 

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So, are you looking forward to spring? It's that time of year where we begin to get a little antsy -  tired of the cold and dreary days. Poor February, except for Valentines Day, it doesn't get much recognition as the winter lingers.

Creation, however, teaches us a different perspective - rather than an urgency to move on, God teaches us this is a time for rest and patience. Nature seems to slow down almost to a crawl as plants store up their energy for their grand showing in the spring. We also slow down as daylight is shorter, forcing us inside to rest. Our busyness throughout the year fatigues our mind and body but God created a world that forces His creation to rest.

Rest is mentioned throughout the Bible: God rested on the seventh day after creation. The Sabbath rest was created for Israel. We find rest in Christ (Matt. 11:28-29). And finally, "There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience." (Heb 4:9-11)

Diligence to enter our final rest takes faithful perseverance as we go through our laborous, sometimes lonely, excursion through time. To help endure, let's appreciate the present as we rest in Jesus, waiting patiently for the resurrection of spring.

 -Pat Gates

 

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Not a friend on earth had I,
No horizon to my sky,
No faith that there could be another spring.
Cold the world as that gray wall
Of the Auditorium tall
Where I heard that little English sparrow sing.

On the shelving of one stone
He was cuddling all alone;
Oh, the little feet knew bravely how to cling!
As from out the tuneful throat
Came the sweetest, springlike note,
And I truly heard an English sparrow sing.

Oh, my heart's a phonograph
That will register each laugh
And all happy sounds that from the joy-bells ring,
So if cloudy days should come,
In my hours of darkest gloom
I'm sure I'll hear that English sparrow sing.

                      Bertha Johnston

 

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                   Keyhole 

If ever through the million peep-holes
In the navy vaulted dome
Like a grand door full of key-holes
If ever God said, "Come"
And He would give us one wee glimpse
Through the key-hole of the Earth
And we would see the vastness of
The entire universe
And far beyond there stood ajar
A glorious shining gate
Where all eternal glories are
Where God and Heaven wait
And if He gently turned our head
For just the briefest glance
At what will be our doom instead
If we deny this chance
If ever we saw...how transformed we would be
As we stand in awe of eternity
 
-by Janet Martin

 

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IS EARTH LESS FAIR?

New grass grows on the earth, tonight, and leaps
In wide white waves upon the silent fields.
And harsh dry ground in dark greyed sullen heaps
Lies inarticulate. . . No more she yields
To sun's soft warm caress. Old melodies
Lie still. . . caught fast within her silent breast.
Hurried, like wind-swept seeds, the frail snow flees
And sinks with breathless sigh, at last, to rest.

In this new world which sprang from Heaven's vast
Untrammeled plains, and earthward grew in pale
Persistency, new blossoms bow the last
Bare branch with loveliness. Need I bewail
This fleeting fruitfulness? Is earth less fair
When Spring lets down her fragrant sun-swept hair?

R. Eva Black

 

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Our Great Divine Resource!


"Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings l
ike eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:28-31

There certainly will be times and moments in our life when we will faint and grow weary. In such times, don't forget about our great, divine resource. The everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. He is our loving and merciful heavenly Father that gives power to the weak and to those who lack might provides strength. And so remember to have patience and wait on the Lord, then He will renew your strength. Whatever trial you may be presently experiencing or mountain you are climbing, don't forget that you can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens you! (Phil. 4:13).

-Jesse Flowers

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We often see posters and quotes of Isaiah 40:31 coupled with a bald eagle flying high in the sky but that would be unique for those of us in North America, parts of Canada, and northern Mexico as you won't find bald eagles in any other part of the world. There are other types of eagles found in Israel, the greatest of them is the Golden Eagle (placed at the bottom of the photo), which is found throughout many countries, including Israel and parts of North America.  
 
Golden eagles have a wingspan between 5 feet 11 inches to 7 feet 8 inches. They soar between 28 and 32 mph but can attain speeds of 120 mph and when diving they can reach 150 mph to 200 mph. They can be found in mountains up to 12,000!

 

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A poor old Widow in her weeds
Sowed her garden with wild-flower seeds;
Not too shallow, and not too deep,
And down came April -- drip -- drip -- drip.
Up shone May, like gold, and soon
Green as an arbour grew leafy June.
And now all summer she sits and sews
Where willow herb, comfrey, bugloss blows,
Teasle and pansy, meadowsweet,
Campion, toadflax, and rough hawksbit;
Brown bee orchis, and Peals of Bells;
Clover, burnet, and thyme she smells;
Like Oberon's meadows her garden is
Drowsy from dawn to dusk with bees.
Weeps she never, but sometimes sighs,
And peeps at her garden with bright brown eyes;
And all she has is all she needs --
A poor Old Widow in her weeds.” 
― Walter de la Mare 

 

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Tabebuia Tree
 
by Denise 
 
In the front yard of the house next door is a Tabebuia tree (also known as a golden trumpet tree).  It is presently in full bloom and is a sight to behold - a solid mass of bright golden yellow flowers.  This is the first year that it has been big enough to display its incredible beauty, so numerous people have stopped to ask what it is.  Without a doubt, when a Tabebuia is blooming, no matter what else is in the yard, it outshines it all. 

Years ago when Aunt Margaret was still living and had her eyesight, she saw one in a landscape and wanted one for her own yard.  We found a small one at a nursery, planted it, and nurtured it along for years.  As with many trees and other things in nature, it takes years of growing, surviving, expanding roots, etc. to reach the point where they are mature enough to reveal this kind of beauty.  It is kind of sad that Aunt Margaret first lost her eyesight, then passed away without ever seeing her tree bloom. 

However, I look at that tree now and think of many wonderful blessings.  Aunt Margaret may not have seen the outcome of what she planted, but many others now do.  Our lives are like that in many ways.  We "plant" good things, good deeds, good teaching, etc. but may never live to see the results.  We must stand firm and continue to work, to plant knowing that all good things are in God's hands and He will use them as He sees fit in His time.

 

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