Delights from the Lord

by Beth Fore

“Your love, O LORD, reaches
to the heavens, your faithfulness
to the skies.   Your righteousness is
like the mighty mountains, your justice
like the great deep.  O LORD, you preserve
both man and beast.  How priceless is your unfailing
love!  Both high and low among men find refuge in the
shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance
of your house; you give them drink from your
river of delights.  For with you is the
fountain of life; in your light
we see light.”

(Psalm 36:5-9 NIV)

Delights from the Lord

The kiss of the wind upon my cheek,
the butterfly fluttering on my nose,
the birds singing songs in my ears,
the sand trickling through my toes.

The morning mist moisturizing my skin
through sunrays making it glow,
the gentle breeze caressing my face
causing the strands of my hair to blow.

The soothing sounds of rushing water
flowing from a mountain stream,
the visual display of enhanced colors
filling my senses in a nocturnal dream.

The taste of the earth’s sweet nectar
squeezed from Nature’s grapevine,
wets my lips and delights my palette
as I savor the sweet sip of wine.

The fragrance of Nature’s bouquet
permeates every breath of air,
and I behold Your master artistry
in vibrant flowers everywhere.

You delight me every day, Lord,
and surpass my finite imagination,
as You reveal Your power and glory
in Your divinely inspired creation.

Beth Fore

*God, our Creator, has created a beautiful world for us to inhabit, and He wants us to delight in all of the special gifts and blessings He has placed on earth to bring us joy and delight.

“O LORD, you preserve both man and beast.  How priceless is your unfailing love!  Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings.  They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights.” (Psalm 36:6-8 NIV)

God is the God of love to every living thing He has created.  He provides for our every need.  Regardless of our status, or position, in this world, God gives us refuge in the shadow of His wings and allows us to drink from His river of delights.  God is the one who created the ocean, the beautiful sky and clouds, the mountains and forests, the beautiful sounds of birds singing their songs, and the sound of earthly choirs singing heavenly songs to worship him.

God is a Father who gives His children every good blessing, and He delights when we recognize and acknowledge that all good gifts on this earth come from him!  He wants to open up His storehouse of abundant blessings and pour them down on us!  He also wants us to respond to His generosity and kindness with a thankful heart and a desire to share these good gifts with other people. 

There is nothing we can ever do to repay God for all of the things He gives us; but His delight comes through our love and obedience to Him and our love and kindness to our fellow man.  We choose whether we will be thankful, grateful people or complaining, ungrateful people.  God will truly show us the delights of His creation when we look at all of the little things He has created in nature to demonstrate His artistry, creativity, mystery, and meticulous attention to details.  We will feast on the abundance of His house and drink from His river of delights

APPLICATIONS

  1. Take some time and write down some of the most beautiful things in this world that God has created.  Do you really appreciate these things?  Pray a prayer of thanksgiving mentioning each one of these things to demonstrate your thankfulness to God for His gifts.
  2. What are some of the intangible gifts from God, such as “love?”  Are these gifts available to everyone or only to a select few people?  Give thanks for these gifts.
  3. Write a paragraph describing how you feel when you give a gift to your children, your spouse, or a friend, and they are absolutely delighted and joyful about the gift.  Imagine how God feels when He gives you a special gift that fills you with joy and delight.  Share your feelings with someone else.
  4. What are some things you can do when you get down and depressed and you can’t see any good in your life?
  5. Take a walk of praise to God.  As you walk (in your house, in your backyard, in your mind), look all around you and praise God for the things you see that are blessings and gifts from him.

If you want to learn more about what it means to be a Christian or to become a Christian, click this link: https://woww.newlifebehavior.org/what-it-means-to-follow-jesus-how-to-become-a-christian/ 

Help Me See Through Your Eyes

“For God so loved the world
that he gave his one
and only Son, that whoever
believes in him shall not
perish but have eternal life.”

(John 3:16 NIV)

“A new command I give you:
Love one another.  As I
have loved you, so you
must love one another.
By this all men will know
that you are my disciples,
if you love one another.”

(John 13:34 NIV)

Help Me See Through Your Eyes

Help me look at others, Father,
and see them through Your eyes.
Help me see their pain and suffering
and hear their heart-wrenching cries.

Help me look at others, Father,
as the innocent ones that You made.
Remind me that You sacrificed for them,
and the gift of Your life You paid.

Help me look at others, Father,
and see them as wandering sheep.
Give me the love to pursue them
into the darkness and into the deep.

Help me look at others, Father,
as friends and not as enemies.
Help me bless them and pray for them
and respond to their innermost pleas.

Help me look at others, Father,
through the blood of Your precious Son.
Remind me of Your redeeming love
that You pour out for every one.

Help me look at others, Father,
and offer up love and mercy to them.
May I live my life for You, Father,
and bring glory and honor to Him.

Beth Fore

*God created human beings, and He loves us perfectly and completely.  Even after
Adam chose to believe the serpent over God, God was willing to give his creation,
mankind, the ultimate gift of the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus, on the cross to give us
forgiveness and reconciliation.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  (John 3:16)

As human beings, we are often self-centered and selfish.  We see most things around us through our own lens, our own perspective, with us at the center.  This approach to life causes us to seek what is good for us, without little concern for what is good for other people. 

Yet, God calls us to a very different perspective when we look at other people through His eyes.  When we look at others through God’s lens, we see beautiful people who want and need our love and kindness.  They are creations of God, just as we are, and we should treat other people just as well as we treat ourselves.  We should be willing to share our love, our time, our resources, and our lives with other people.  We should even be willing to defer to them often and put their desires ahead of our own.  Ultimately, we should be willing to forgive them and make sacrifices for them, if necessary. 

*God’s disciples will show love for one another.

“By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  (John 12:34 NIV)

Many Christians measure their discipleship by how well they keep the law.  They check whether they keep the “do’s” or “don’ts” to make sure they have more “do’s”!  A church may place a large sign in front of the building that says, “The disciples of Christ meet at this place.”  But the testimony of those words will be judged by the love those Christians show for one another and for other people.  Saying the right words will not make us a Christian.  Having the right heart for Jesus, which extends love and forgiveness to all people, is what makes us a Christian.

APPLICATIONS

  1. Take some time and think about some of your relationships.  When you interact with your spouse, your children, your friends, your co-workers, who usually gets their way?  Is it your way, or the other person’s way?  If you usually get your way, that will probably show you some ways you need to change your behavior.
  2. Do you truly believe, and act on that belief, that other people are just as important to God as you are in his eyes?
  3. Are you more of a “self-centered” person, or are you an “other-centered” person? What are some things you can do today to become a more “other-centered” person?
  4. Reflect on the reputation of the church where you attend.  How do non-members and non-Christians see the church?  Do they see it as a body of believers who shows love to one another and to others who are not members there?  What are some changes the church needs to make so that others will see them as people who love one another and other people?

If you want to learn more about what it means to be a Christian or to become a Christian, click this link: https://woww.newlifebehavior.org/what-it-means-to-follow-jesus-how-to-become-a-christian/ 

Joy Comes in the Morning

by Beth Fore

“Satisfy us
in the morning with
your unfailing love, that
we may sing for joy and be glad
all our days.  Make us glad for as
many days as you have afflicted us,
for as many years as we have seen
trouble.  May your deeds be shown
to your servants, your splendor to
their children.  May the favor of
the Lord our God rest upon us;
establish the work of our
hands for us—yes,
establish the work
of our hands.”

(Psalm 90:14-17 NIV)

Joy Comes in the Morning

In the darkness|
of the bleakest night,
sorrow and suffering
obscure Your light.

Minutes are like days
and time stands still;
wounds are exposed
and pain is real.

Sometimes nightmares
seem like reality,
distorting our perspective,
making it hard to see.

But the morning sun,
brings joy and delight,
as Your love warms us
and restores our sight.

We feel Your presence
in the sun’s rays.
You show us compassion
and bring joy to our days.

Give us unfailing hope
in the darkest night,
knowing joy will come
in the morning light.

by Beth Fore

*Christians will experience suffering and pain and persecution and afflictions as part of their everyday lives; as the Bible says, “it rains on the both the just and the unjust.”  This prayer in Psalm 90 asks God to “satisfy us in the morning with his unfailing love,” so that we will experience joy in our lives, as well.

“Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad for us.”  (Psalm 90:14 NIV)

Sometimes, it seems as though there is little joy and happiness in our lives.  As human beings, we get sick, we make major mistakes, we lose friends and positions and possessions; and evil surrounds us in this dark world.   If a person feels this heaviness of life most of the time, life can seem very oppressive and overpowering. 

People need to know that God loves them and cares for them and wants them to experience life to the fullest. So, when the sun (Son) appears after a blizzard or tumultuous storm, there is light, and joy, and hope.  As Christians, we need to spend the majority of our time focusing on the good things in life, which bring us joy and thankfulness.  God blesses us so greatly, even in the bad times, and He desires that we come to Him with a grateful, thankful heart.  So, while you endure the torrential storms of life that will happen to you, remember that there is a beautiful rainbow after the storm, a reminder of God’s love and covenant to us, his people!

OBSERVATIONS

  1. There are people who think that believing in God will lead only to prosperity and goodness.  Do you agree with them (sometimes)?  If you were discussing this topic with someone who believed this way, what would you say?
  2. Do you believe that “joy comes in the morning?”
  3. In Psalm 90, the psalmist says, “May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us.” Why, or why not, would you feel comfortable praying this statement?
  4. Why is it essential that a Christian understands that all people, including Christians, must face pain and suffering and hardships, as well as goodness, blessings, and prosperity?
  5. What do you think the psalmist means by the statement, God will “establish the work of our hands for us?”  Do you think this is true in your life?

If you want to learn more about what it means to be a Christian or to become a Christian, click this link: https://woww.newlifebehavior.org/what-it-means-to-follow-jesus-how-to-become-a-christian/ 

My Heavenly Dwelling

by Beth Fore

“Now we know that if the earthly
tent we live in is destroyed, we
have a building from God, an eternal
house in heaven, not built by human
hands.  Meanwhile we groan, longing
to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling,
because when we are clothed, we will
not be found naked.  For while we are
in this tent, we groan and are burdened,
because we do not wish to be unclothed
but to be clothed with our heavenly
dwelling, so that what is mortal may
be swallowed up by life.  Now it is God
who has made us for this very purpose
and has given us the Spirit as a deposit,
guaranteeing what is to come.”
(2 Corinthians 5:1-5 NIV)

My Heavenly Dwelling

This earthly tent is temporary, God,
and I’ll live in it for a short time;
until You clothe me in Your righteousness,
then my dwelling place will be sublime.

My physical body groans and moans
for it is burdened with many cares,
but my spirit is clothed in joy and peace
because of the nail prints my Savior bears.

God, You made me for this purpose,
to live by faith and not walk by sight.
You’ve given me Your Holy Spirit
to guide my way with Your perfect light.

I desire to leave this earthly realm
and dismantle this mortal body behind.
I’m excited to go home with You, God,
to enjoy the blessings I know will be mine.

My goal in life is to please You, God,
and to be clothed in Your heavenly place.
I know I will appear at Your judgment seat
and be judged by Your mercy and grace.

This earthly tent is temporary, God,
and I’ll live in it for a very short time;
until You clothe me in Your righteousness,
then my dwelling place will be sublime.

by Beth Fore

*As Christians, we know that our earthly bodies are only temporary dwelling places for our spirits.  Our spirits within us long to leave this earth and go to our heavenly dwelling.

“Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.”  (2 Corinthians 5:1 NIV)

Human beings are composed of body, mind, heart, soul, and spirit.  Our body and mind were made for this earth, but our heart, soul, and spirit were made for heaven.  While we live in our earthly bodies, we will suffer, feel pain, and be restricted by the condition of our bodies.  We will also desire to be united with our creator, and we will moan and groan until we become one with our God. 

We know that this world is only a temporary place for us to live.  One day, God will get rid of this earth, and He will give us a new heaven and a new earth.  Our purpose on this earth is not to accumulate everything we can, spend our time pursuing pleasures of the flesh, and making our primary goal in life to please ourselves!  No, our primary purpose in life is to submit ourselves to God’s will, willingly trust and obey him, and love, honor, and praise him above all things!

*God has prepared an eternal house in heaven for his children, and He has given us his Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

It’s exciting to know that God has already prepared an eternal house for us.  We all like brand new homes, and it is exciting to know that God has already built one for each of us, unique to our own tastes, and far more beautiful and magnificent than we can imagine! 

When Jesus ascended into heaven, he had told the apostles that He would be sending the

Holy Spirit to dwell within them.  The Spirit would lead them into all truth, comfort them, empower them, and lead them to the people and places God wanted them to go.  The Spirit also reminds us that Christ has already won the victory over death, so we are also victorious over death.  He also reminds us that God has made many promises to us, and He will be faithful to keep all of them.  This includes the promise of salvation to those who believe and obey him and the promise of spending eternity in heaven with him.

APPLICATIONS

  1. Most people live lives of dissatisfaction.  They achieve a goal and that doesn’t satisfy them.  Then they set other goals and reach them, yet they are still dissatisfied.  Why do you think achieving earthly goals leaves people dissatisfied?
  2. It seems that our bodies and spirits are in frequent conflict.  Why do you think this is true?  How can we make them more harmonious?
  3. If you are a Christian, do you understand that the Holy Spirit of God lives in your heart?  What does this mean to you?
  4. What do you consider to be your greatest goals in this life?  What do you think God’s goals are for your life?  Are they the same?

If you want to learn more about what it means to be a Christian or to become a Christian, click this link: https://woww.newlifebehavior.org/what-it-means-to-follow-jesus-how-to-become-a-christian/

The Mirror of My Soul

by Beth Fore

“For we know in part and we
prophesy in part, but when
perfection comes, the imperfect
disappears.    When I was
a child, I talked like a child, I
thought like a child, I reasoned
like a child.  When I became a
man, I put childish ways
behind me.  Now we see but a
poor reflection as in a mirror; then
we shall see face to face.  Now I
know in part; then I shall know
fully, even as I am fully known.”
(1 Corinthians 13:9-12 NIV)

The Mirror of My Soul

Mirror, mirror, of my soul,
reflect deep down inside of me.
Expose my darkness and sinfulness
so that my heart I can truly see.

Remove my mask of deceit,
reveal my weaknesses and flaws.
Unveil my façade of self-righteousness,
examine me in light of Your laws.

I am selfish and self-indulgent
in fleshly delights and pleasures.
Too often my innermost desires
are those that the world treasures.

Lord, make my heart transparent
so that my sins are no longer concealed.
Share with me Satan’s lies and deceit
as the power of darkness is revealed.

Cleanse me from the inside out
with the pure blood of Jesus, Your Son.
Fill my heart with Your Holy Spirit,
and unify us in purpose as One.

Lord, let the mirror of my soul
reveal me as a new creation,
so that light replaces darkness
as I reflect the image of Your Son.

By Beth Fore

*Human beings do not recognize and acknowledge their imperfections until they have someone, Jesus Christ, who is perfect, with whom they can compare themselves.

“For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.”  (I Corinthians 13:9 NIV)

All people are flawed and sinful because of Adam’s sin and God’s curse on mankind.  However, most people do not see their own sinfulness and brokenness.  When we come to know Christ and understand his perfection, we can compare our imperfect selves with his perfect self and comprehend just how short we all fall from our Savior’s example. 

As Christians, we must be willing to search deep within our hearts, minds, and souls to see our faults and sins.  When we ask the Holy Spirit to convict us and reveal our sins to us, He will take off our masks and makeup and expose what we are really like when we unveil ourselves before God, ourselves, and other people. 

When we look into a clear stream of water and see our reflection, it is distorted and not true to our physical image.  When we look into a mirror and see our reflection, it is also distorted and doesn’t reveal our true appearance.  But, when we see Jesus, face-to-face, He will see us as we really are and He will know us deep within our hearts and souls!

We need to examine our lives daily and question our motives for saying and doing things.  We need to seek out our sins so that we can and will confess them to God.  When we do so, He tells us He will forgive us!  We need to think about our relationships and interactions with other people to see if we have shown them love and acceptance.  When we sin against another person, we need to go to that person and confess our sin and ask for their forgiveness.  This willingness to look at ourselves honestly will please God and it will change our reflections in the mirror to look more and more like Jesus every day!

OBSERVATIONS

  1. Though most of us don’t like to admit it, we all have sins and flaws in our lives.  Take some time and think about your sins.  Name one or two of your sins that you have really struggled with in your life.  Confess them to God, and pray that His Holy Spirit will give you the strength you need to overcome them.
  2. Many of us live two lives, our naked life and our clothed life.  We don’t want other people to see our flaws and weaknesses.  Why is it important for us to share our flaws with other people?
  3. Do you spend more time comparing yourself to Jesus Christ, or to other people?  Which comparison will truly help you reflect the image of Jesus?
  4. How would you rate yourself on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being humble and 10 being proud?  Where would you like to rate yourself on this scale, and what do you need to do to change your rating?
  5. One day we will all stand before God and Jesus, and we will be judged.  There will be no secrets or masks on that day.  All will be revealed.  Are you ready?

If you want to learn more about what it means to be a Christian or to become a Christian, click this link: https://woww.newlifebehavior.org/what-it-means-to-follow-jesus-how-to-become-a-christian/ 

Refined and Made Perfect

“In this you greatly
rejoice, though now for a
little while you may have had
to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.
These have come so that your faith—of greater
worth than gold, which perishes even
though refined by fire—may be
proved genuine and may result
in praise, glory and honor when
Jesus Christ is revealed.”
(1 Peter 1:6-7 NIV)

Refined and Made Perfect

I am who and what I am, Lord,
by Your own personal design,
but my heart is being transformed
as Your Holy Spirit refines.

I am being tried and tested, Lord,
and made pure and holy in the fire.
Mold me into the likeness of You
is my fervent prayer and desire.

I am being tempted daily, Lord,
to do the things that I want to do.
Give me the power of Your Spirit
to submit my control to You.

I am growing in understanding, Lord,
as You reveal Your truths to me.
Help me be still and wait on You
as I suffer and persevere patiently.

I am listening for Your call, Lord,
so tell me where You want me to go.
Fill me with Your love for others
so that my heart will overflow.

I am longing for Your return, Lord,
so I pray that You will come quickly,
but first refine me into Your image
and let others see You living in me.
by Beth Fore

*Every human being will suffer grief and different kinds of trials.  Trials, pain, suffering, and tribulations are necessary for people to become strong in their faith and trust in Jesus Christ.

There are few people in this world who will say that they are happy and joyful when trials and troubles come into their lives.  Many people question how a God of love and compassion either allows, or makes, trials and suffering to occur in people’s lives.  But this scripture in 1 Peter, along with other scriptures in the Bible, tells us that we suffer this grief and pain, sorrow and suffering so that our faith will be proved genuine and will result in praise, honor, and glory to God.

When we face many of the trials and challenges of life, we realize that we have little, or no, control over many of them.  We can’t do anything to fix them!  This leaves us feeling helpless and, often, hopeless.  However, this is the time when we can make the decision to truly trust and believe in Christ.  He tells us to go to Him when we are tired and weary and He will carry our burdens for us.  When we realize that Christ is the only one who can make things right, we become more submissive and obedient to His will.  This is what God desires.  He wants his children to know that He is God Almighty, He is in control of everything, and He will do what is best for his children when we submit our will to Him.

*Just as gold must be passed through a hot fire many times until its impurities are removed, so people must endure many trials and hardships to make him more humble and trusting in Jesus Christ.  Only through trials can a person be refined and made perfect.

Great faith is more valuable than the purest gold.  Gold will perish, but great faith in God will never fail.  God made each one of us unique and He gives us special personalities and spiritual gifts; but two things we all share in common are our humanity and our sinfulness.  We will never be refined and made perfect on our own.  Jesus, our Savior, shed his blood on the cross to cover our sins; so we are forgiven.  God sees us through the blood of Jesus, the perfect sacrifice, without sin or flaw.  We are righteous and perfect in His eyes.

When Jesus left the earth and returned to heaven, He left the Holy Spirit with us to live in us and to empower us and lead us and transform us into the likeness of Jesus.  The more we believe and trust in Jesus, the more we become like Him!

APPLICATIONS

  1. How did Paul the apostle respond to the many beatings, imprisonments, and other persecutions he received from non-Christians?
  2. Think of a time in your life when you felt like everything was really going great for you.  What was your relationship with Christ like then?  Then think of a time when you were at your lowest point.  What was your relationship with Christ like then?
  3. Do you think that your faith would be as strong as it is today if you had never suffered anything bad in your life?
  4. An artist, or craftsman, keeps refining his/her skills throughout his lifetime.  God is the master artist and craftsman and he is still refining His work on us until we die.  What are some of the things you hope He will perfect before you die?

If you want to learn more about what it means to be a Christian or to become a Christian, click this link: https://woww.newlifebehavior.org/what-it-means-to-follow-jesus-how-to-become-a-christian/ 

Jesus Touched Me

by Beth Fore

When John heard in prison
what Christ was doing, he sent
his disciples to ask him, “Are you
the one who was to come, or
should we expect someone else?” 
Jesus replied, “Go back and report
to John what you hear and see: The
blind receive sight, the lame walk,
those who have leprosy are cured,
the deaf hear, the dead are raised,
and the good news is preached to
the poor.  Blessed is the man who
does not fall away on account of me.”

(Matthew 11:2-6 NIV)

Jesus Touched Me

I am the blind man
begging Jesus to touch me.
“He put mud on my eyes,
I washed and now I see.”

I am the scorned leper
begging Jesus on my knees.
He reached out his hand
and cleansed me of leprosy.

I am the crippled woman
bent over to my knees.
Jesus said, “You are set free
from your infirmity.”

I am the sister of Lazarus,
who was sick and died.
When Jesus came to us,
He was troubled and cried.

Jesus went to the tomb
and in a loud voice He said,
“Lazarus, come out!”
and raised him from the dead.

I am a wretched sinner
forgiven by Jesus’ grace.
I am touched by Jesus’ hands.
as I rest in His warm embrace.

by Beth Fore

*John the Baptist knew that Jesus was the prophesied Savior and Messiah when he heard that Jesus was healing the blind, the lame, the deaf, the lepers, and raising the dead.  Jesus affects every person He touches in a very personal way.

The Bible is filled with examples of Jesus’ encounters with many different sick people during his ministry.  Jesus responded to those who were physically ill, demonic, and those who sinned against moral and legal laws.  When a blind man begged Jesus to restore his sight, Jesus put mud on his eyes and healed them.  He both physically and spiritually touched the man.  God used physical healing to show people His power and authority, and then He healed them spiritually and often told them to “Go and sin no more!”

Jesus wasn’t afraid to touch the leper and let the power of healing flow forth from himself to the leper.  Jesus touched the leper and made him whole.  Jesus raised his friend Lazarus from the dead even though he had been dead for several days.  This was a powerful witness of Christ’s authority and declaration that He was the Son of God.  Imagine what Mary and Martha, all of the other family and friends who were there, and the townspeople who heard about the miracle must have thought.  If they had any doubts, I would think this miracle would have squelched them and made them believers.

Jesus also touches people today.  Although Jesus is not here with us physically, He is always with us in spirit.  His message touches many people and transforms lives.  The presence of the Holy Spirit within us touches us at the deepest level and changes our hearts and minds.  Even though we are all sinners, the blood of Jesus covers us and removes all of our sins from us so that we are pure, holy, clean, and righteous before God the Father.  Jesus touches us every day with His love, His compassion, His forgiveness, His healing, and His grace.  Every person who comes to know and believe Jesus will be deeply and forever touched by Him!

APPLICATIONS

  1. Think of some other instances in the Bible where Jesus healed people.  Why do you think Jesus performed so many miracles of healing people?
  2. All of us have physical, mental, psychological, and spiritual illnesses that we would like to have removed.  Think about some of your illnesses, write them down, then take time to pray and ask God to touch you and heal you from them.
  3. Can you think of some illness that God has healed you from, in the past?  If so, and if you feel comfortable doing so, please share this experience with someone else.
  4. Do you believe that Jesus still heals people today, even though He is no longer present on the earth?
  5. Think of one very personal way that Jesus has touched you and changed you.  Please share this with someone else at an appropriate time when it may greatly impact that person’s life to hear your personal witness.

If you want to learn more about what it means to be a Christian or to become a Christian, click this link: https://woww.newlifebehavior.org/what-it-means-to-follow-jesus-how-to-become-a-christian/ 

Who Am I, Lord?

by Beth Fore

“Which of these three do you
think was a neighbor to the man
who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied,
“The one who had mercy on
him.” Jesus told him,
“Go and do likewise.”
(Luke 10:36-37)

Who am I, Lord?

A man went from Jerusalem to Jericho
and was attacked by robbers one day.
They stripped him of his clothes, beat him,
left him for dead, then went away.

A priest happened along the same road,
and he saw the poor beaten man.
He passed by him on the other side
and didn’t offer him a helping hand.

Then came a Levite traveling the road,
and he saw the man and passed him by.
Neither of these men showed compassion
and abandoned him on the road to die.

How often I see another person’s needs,
and I don’t take time to minister to them.
How often I see . . . yet still pass by
and ignore them just as they did him.

But then came the outcast Samaritan
whose heart was filled with compassion.
He took him to an inn and paid for his care
as he would have done for his own son.

I wonder which one I am like, Lord.
Which one of these do I desire to be?
I want to be like the good Samaritan
and love my neighbor and show mercy.

Open my eyes to see others, Lord,
and to take time to meet their needs.
Help me respond like the Samaritan
with kind words and merciful deeds.

Beth Fore

*Many people encounter the same person who is in need of help; but each person responds differently.  Jesus tells this parable about The Good Samaritan and tells the Jews that the one who had mercy on him was the good neighbor and that they should “go and do likewise.”

In this parable, Jesus shows us how three different people respond to the same situation.  Each one comes upon a scene where a man has been attacked by robbers, stripped of his clothes, been beaten and left for dead.  This is a tragic scene!  Imagine, for a moment, that it is YOU who come upon this scene.  How would it affect you, and how would you respond?

The priest, a godly man, came upon this scene and chose to pass by the poor man without helping him.  Perhaps the priest was on his way to the temple for a special service, or maybe he was on his way to visit with a renowned Jew, or maybe he was beginning his vacation.  Whatever the reason, the priest did not think this person was worthy of his time, his attention, and his resources.  Though it is easy for us to be critical of the priest, it could very well be that we might respond to this situation just as the priest responded.

Then came a Levite traveling the road, and he also saw the man and passed him by.  The Levite was from the tribe of Levi, the Jewish tribe chosen to be the priests of God.  Once again, we have a person (designated to be a priest of God) who chooses not to address the situation he encounters, and he goes on his way leaving the poor man to die.  Perhaps the Levite thought attending to this man’s wounds would make him unclean or defile him in some way, or perhaps the person was of a different tribe or nation; but, whatever the reason, the Levite did not stop and help the wounded man.

*Jesus tells this parable about The Good Samaritan and tells the Jews that the one who had mercy on him was the good neighbor and that they should “go and do likewise.”

Then came the Samaritan, the “half-breed outcast,” who was looked down upon by other classes and groups of people.  It was this man who was filled with compassion, who stopped and tended to the man’s wounds and then took him to an inn and paid the innkeeper money to care for him. 

Jesus is not interested in our status or class in our culture.  He is not interested in our profession or position in the church.  Jesus is interested in our hearts! He desires that we show love, compassion, and mercy to other people we encounter in our daily lives.  We never know who, or what, we will encounter in our daily lives; but, regardless of the circumstances, we should be ready and willing to show “love for our neighbors and for one another” whenever we encounter someone in need.

APPLICATIONS

  1. Think of a time when you encountered a person in need and you helped them.  How did the person respond?  How did you feel?
  2. Now, think of a time when you encountered a person in need and you passed them by.  How did you feel?  How do you think the person felt?
  3. We are confronted by people around us who are in need of help every day.  How do we decide who to help?
  4. Does one’s position in church, or society, sometimes affect that person’s responses to people of lowly position and circumstances who are in need of help?
  5. Give some examples of how Jesus responded to the people he encountered who were in need of his help.

If you want to learn more about what it means to be a Christian or to become a Christian, click this link: https://woww.newlifebehavior.org/what-it-means-to-follow-jesus-how-to-become-a-christian/ If you have questions, please send us an email at nlbiministry@gmail.com.

As White As Snow

by Beth Fore

“As I looked, thrones were
set in place, and the
Ancient of Days took
his seat.  His clothing
was as white as snow;
the hair of his head was
white like wool.  His throne
was flaming with fire, and
its wheels were all ablaze.”
(Daniel 7:9 NIV)

“His head and hair were white
like wool, as white as snow,
and his eyes were like
blazing fire.”
(Revelation 1:14 NIV)

As White as Snow

Flakes of snow fall softly from heaven,
covering the earth’s darkness with white.
Each flake is a unique creation from God,
a marvelous sensation to bring us delight.

The snow on one’s head symbolizes wisdom,
and clean white snow represents purity.
Man’s sins, like scarlet, become white as snow
when the blood of Jesus gives him sanctity.

Daniel envisioned the Ancient of Days
whose clothing was as white as snow.
His throne was flaming, raging with fire,
and its wheels were all aglow.

An angel whose appearance was like lightning
and his clothes shone as white as the snow,
appeared to the women at Jesus’s tomb
and told them what they needed to know.

John described Jesus whose hair was white,
and his eyes flamed like the blazing sun.
John fell at His feet as though he were dead
and beheld God’s Son, the forever Living One.

As I gaze outside at the falling snow,
it is a marvelous reminder to me,
that You weave the message of love and hope, God,
in natural and supernatural ways for me to see.

by Beth Fore

*The color white symbolizes goodness, purity, holiness, and cleanliness without blemish. A white dress on a bride symbolizes chastity and purity.  Angels, or Christians, wearing white robes, symbolize purity and godliness.

In both Daniel 7:9 and Revelation 1:14, God (the Ancient of Days) is sitting on his throne; and his clothing is white as snow and his hair is white like wool.  God is perfect, complete, righteous, pure, holy, and without any sin or flaw.  White hair is often associated with age, maturity, and wisdom.  God is the Father of Wisdom and holiness. 

White clothing is beautiful when it is clean and flawless, and most of us like to wear a brand new white dress, blouse, or shirt that has never been worn before.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t take very long for the garment to get a stain or a tear on it.  We wash it and bleach it, but it doesn’t usually ever look the same again.

As Christians, we are like a white garment.  We begin life as a brand new creature robed in white.  We have no stains, flaws, or blemishes; but it isn’t long before we commit a sin, then another sin, and then another one.  Now our bodies (which were once white garments) are no longer pure and flawless.  However, the blood of Jesus, which he shed on the cross for our sins, is far better than a bleach or cleanser.  The blood of Jesus removes every flaw, every blemish, and every sin from our bodies.  The blood of Jesus makes us pure, righteous, and holy. 

Snow is a beautiful metaphor for purity and holiness in nature.  The snow falls from heaven, and it covers the dirt and trash and ugliness on the earth.  The more snow that falls, the more beautiful the landscape becomes.  We no longer see the ugliness below.  All we can see is the purity, the cleanliness, the beautiful glistening crystals sent by God from the heavens to make the earth look clean and new!

APPLICATIONS

  1. Think of some other things in our lives that are considered pure and holy when they are white.  Share them.
  2. Get a piece of white typing paper and think of it as your life.  Now begin writing some of your sins on the paper.  Then look back over the list and thank Jesus for erasing every one of these sins from your life by shedding his blood for you.  Then turn the paper over and see that there are no marks on the paper.  Now, write a prayer of thanksgiving to God for covering all of your sins.
  3. Sometimes, the flaws, tears, and discolorations on our clothes, our furniture, and other objects are reminders of mistakes and sins we have made in the past.  Can these reminders be good for us?  When are these reminders definitively bad for us?
  4. Explain why you do, or do not, think that snow is a good metaphor in nature for purity and holiness.
  5. We can NEVER remove all of the stains and sins from our lives!  Explain why it is absolutely necessary that we understand that it is only through the blood of Christ that we will ever be cleansed and made righteous.

If you want to learn more about what it means to be a Christian or to become a Christian, click this link: https://woww.newlifebehavior.org/what-it-means-to-follow-jesus-how-to-become-a-christian/ If you have questions, please send us an email at nlbiministry@gmail.com.

Your Grace

by Beth Fore

“Three times I pleaded with
the Lord to take it away from
me.  But he said to me, ‘My grace
is sufficient for you, for my power
is made perfect in weakness.’
Therefore I will boast all the more
gladly about my weaknesses,
so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
That is why, for Christ’s sake,
I delight in weaknesses, in
insults, in hardships, in
persecutions, in difficulties.
For when I am weak, then
I am strong.”

(2 Corinthians 12:8-10 NIV)

Your Grace

Because of Your grace, Lord,
I am free.
I’m no longer blind, Lord,
now I see.

Because of Your grace, Lord,
I am forgiven.
My sins are washed away, Lord,
Christ has risen.

Because of Your grace, Lord,
I am blessed.
I’m no longer anxious, Lord,
in You I find rest.

Because of Your grace, Lord,
I am saved.
I’m sanctified by Your holiness
in which I am bathed.

Because of Your grace, Lord,
I have less fear.
I can feel Your presence, Lord,
You are always here.

Because of Your grace, Lord,
I do believe . . .
that Your gift of eternal life
I will receive.

by Beth Fore

*God sometimes allows his children to have visions, dreams, and unique encounters with heavenly beings to see and understand Him more clearly.

That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.”   (2 Cor. 12:10 NIV)

In the first part of 2 Corinthians 12, Paul talks about his encounter with God.  He was blinded on the road to Damascus and God appeared to him.  Paul tells us that he was caught up into paradise where he heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell.  Paul was given an unusual encounter with God and things that happen in the heavenly places.  We can only imagine what these things might have been; but we do know that the things Paul experienced transformed him into one of the most devoted and committed apostles of Jesus Christ.

These experiences would likely cause most men to boast of this special honor and privilege; and that is likely true of Paul, also.  So, Paul tells us that he was given a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment him and prevent him from being conceited and boastful because of the things that had been revealed to him.  Like Paul, we can become boastful and proud sometimes when we think God has given us a special calling, or a spiritual gift.  God will also find a way to humble us when we become arrogant and think we are responsible for these gifts.

*God does not always choose to remove the problems, the pain, or the suffering from our lives even though we may ask Him to do so frequently in our prayers.  He does, however, promise us that He will be with us and give us the grace and strength to overcome these difficulties.

Paul pleaded with God and asked Him three times to remove this thorn.  God did not remove the thorn from Paul, but He did say, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  As Christians, we have the privilege of praying to God about all of our concerns.  Like Paul, we can ask God to remove things from our lives which cause us pain and suffering.  Also, like Paul, God may choose not to remove these things because they can help us grow and mature in Him.

Paul matured and grew in Christ through his thorn in the flesh.  He was able to boast about his weaknesses because Christ’s power and grace were given to him when he was too weak to take care of himself.  Christians are strong when they understand that God is always with them, and God will be strong for them whenever they need His strength.

APPLICATIONS

  1. Think of a time when you asked God repeatedly to remove some hurt, suffering, or hardship from your life.  Did He remove it?  If not, can you now see how His allowing you to have the problem actually caused you to be a more mature Christian?
  2. God’s grace is His free gift to us.  We do not deserve it; we do not earn it; we cannot work hard enough to gain it.  How should God’s gift of grace eliminate all conceit and boasting in our lives?
  3. Choose one of the stanzas of the poem, and think about how God’s grace affects your life.  Then write another stanza of your own that applies specifically to you personally.  You do not have to use rhyming words.
  4. Say Paul’s words aloud, “For when I am weak, then I am strong.”  Explain what these words mean to you.

If you want to learn more about what it means to be a Christian or to become a Christian, click this link: https://woww.newlifebehavior.org/what-it-means-to-follow-jesus-how-to-become-a-christian/ If you have questions, please send us an email at nlbiministry@gmail.com.