Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Standing at the Foot of the Mountain

Am I the only one who thinks 2016 is flying by? Seems like we just celebrated New Year’s, and now we’re headed into summer.

At the beginning of each new year, many folks pick a “word” to motivate them or define what they believe the year will be about. Or perhaps it’s a word they believe God gave them as a promise for their future.

This year a phrase came to me that seemed to fit my vision of the future.

Hope Restored. 

As the concept behind those two little words sunk in, I realized it wasn’t just for me. God wanted me to share it with those visiting this blog. After all, you’re here because you want encouragement. Some of you are walking through a valley. And perhaps, some of you have even lost hope or had your faith shaken by a trial—maybe even recently.  

I’ve not blogged much over the last year and a half. To be honest, I’ve been overwhelmed by the number of commitments and stressors in my life and something had to give. After prayer and consideration, the blog was one of those areas.

To be even more transparent with you, my faithful readers, I spent much of this time in a valley. I’ll spare you the details, but family issues dragged me through some tough patches. At times, I felt like I merely treaded water. I'm amazed when I look back that I managed to write anything. By the grace of God, I released two books on Amazon (one of which I'd already written), and then write proposals for two other manuscripts now under consideration at publishers.

If you’ve followed my blog and writing for any length of time, you know my mantra has always been hope, not despair. In fact, that’s the theme of my devotional, While I'm Waiting: Going from despair to hope while praising God and choosing contentment during trials.  And perhaps that philosophy is why the enemy attacked me as he did.

God’s strength is the stalwart I’ve always leaned upon. This past year even more so. In addition, He provided friends who raised my arms on tough days, much like Aaron and Hur did for Moses when he grew weary (Exodus 17:12). And when the temptation to despair crept in, I remembered God’s faithfulness in my life—and in the lives of the ancient saints.

For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock…I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:5, 13-14 

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed… Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, 16-18 

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23  

Though I never lost hope in the One True God, my human fortitude waned at times. I’m so thankful for the strength He gave me when mine faltered.

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 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. Romans 5:1-5
What a beautiful assurance of resting in the peace and hope of God through Jesus! God’s hope alone saw me through some days.

Though some of my personal situation has improved, other aspects became even more challenging. Yet, I’m emerging from the valley and standing at the foot of the mountain again. As I stand here and survey the landscape, I see the sun shining through, and I’m reminded that only God can truly restore hope and give us the promise of a future when all else looks hopeless (Jeremiah 29:11-13). Most of the time that means coming to the end of ourselves and totally trusting Him for everything.

Hope has been the basis for my life, and that never changed. Part of my hope now is to return to blogging regularly and the excitement of being able to interact with you, my faithful readers. Not only do I want to give you encouragement, but when you leave here, I want you to feel your hope has been restored. I feel so strongly about this, I’ve added it to my blog title for now.

I’d love to hear how you’d been doing since we interacted last. How has your year been so far?

If you have a prayer request, I’d love to pray for you. Please leave a comment or email me confidential requests.

May God richly bless you,
Laura

© Laura Hodges Poole

“Canyon Of The Colca River In Southern Peru” image courtesy of xura/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
 “Hope Despair Post-it Papers” image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
 “Faith and Believe” image courtesy of thepathtraveler/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
“Sunset On The Mighty Chimborazo Volcano” image courtesy of xura/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Am I Ignitable?

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20 NIV

I hope you had a blessed Resurrection Sunday! What a beautiful day to celebrate the most amazing sacrifice anyone ever made for us. Our Redeemer lives!

Last week, Christians blogged, Facebooked, and tweeted Scripture, songs, poems, and thoughts on the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. On Easter morning, we reverently and enthusiastically worshipped, then hurried to family dinners, afternoon egg hunts, and of course—after-dinner naps.  

Celebrating Jesus’ resurrection on Easter Sunday is easy. As the sun set on Easter, I wondered where our hearts would be Monday morning in the wake of leftover ham, half-eaten candy baskets, and wrinkled church clothes tossed in the laundry.  

Over two thousand years ago, on Easter Monday, Christ returned to work—His father’s work. He forgave Peter and then instructed him to “feed my sheep.” Among Jesus’ other activities was the Great Commission given to the eleven disciples.  

We are His disciples now—with the Bible and Holy Spirit to instruct us.  

He makes His ministers a flame of fire. Am I ignitable? God deliver me from the dread asbestos of 'other things.' Saturate me with the oil of the Spirit that I may be aflame. But flame is transient, often short lived. Canst thou bear this, my soul-short life? Make me thy fuel, Flame of God. ~ Jim Elliot (martyred missionary) 

Celebrating Christ’s resurrection revitalized me, as I’m sure it did many Christians. Beyond that, it’s a reminder of my rebirth each time I enter into God’s presence. Yet, as I grow deeper in my spiritual journey, I’m cognizant of the necessary steps to stay aflame. 

If my flame gets diminished during dark moments, when I feel less enthusiasm or challenged beyond my human abilities, saturation with the Spirit’s oil through Bible study and prayer is the only hope for my flame burning brightly beyond Christian celebrations. 

As you go to the Lord in prayer this week, consider the condition of your flame and how it impacts those around you. Does it bring the hope of Christ's resurrection to the lost? 

Please join me in prayer for Christians suffering persecution around the world. This is especially true for those outside of the U.S., as witnessed by the terrorist attack in Pakistan on Christians over the weekend.

This simple prayer written by Jim Elliot has resonated with me through the years. Perhaps it will with you, too. 

Lord, make me a crisis man. Let me not be a mile-post on a single road, but make me a fork that men must turn one way or another in facing Christ in me. 

If you have a prayer request, leave a comment or e-mail me confidential requests. I’d love to pray for you.

Shalom,
Laura 

©Laura Hodges Poole

“Candle” image courtesy of 9comeback/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
“Christianity Cross” image courtesy of graur razvan ionut/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.


Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Woman in Red

Today is the eleven-year anniversary of my sister Michelle's suicide. In some ways, it's hard to believe eleven years have passed. Other times, the painful memory is as fresh as if she died yesterday. I've written several times in the past about her battle with mental illness and my relationship with her. Today, I've asked my sister Teresa to share a few thoughts instead. This is her story. 


Woman in Red
The woman stood so close to me, I felt her breath on my face. She spoke softly, making it necessary for me to lean in closer and ask, "Pardon me?" She repeated in a very low voice, "I hope you get everything you want for Christmas." It was a hot July evening as I helped feed the homeless at the Plaza in downtown Gainesville, Florida. I regained my composure and said, "Thank you. God bless you." She smiled and walked away with her plate of food. She was such a tiny little soul, not weighing more than 100 pounds.

In 2005, six months after I buried my husband, my sister Michelle ended her twenty-year battle with mental illness. Too much for me to process at the time, I tucked my feelings about her death away neatly in a corner of my mind and continued trying to rebuild my life. Ten months later, as I walked into Publix supermarket after work, I began crying. Wiping my face, I left the store and sat in my car, trying to understand what had happened. Then, I spotted a bell ringer. It was Christmas time and he was happily ringing his bell and calling out, "Merry Christmas!" Michelle had been a bell ringer outside of that same Publix, before they offered her a job in the store. Memories flooded over me as I sat there in the parking lot and wept. There were a lot of tears that Christmas, as every store I walked in had a bell ringer.

Michelle
Michelle loved her children and her family. She loved the Lord and studied her Bible daily. She had a heart for others and would help anyone, if she were able. Although she didn't understand why she had to suffer with this disease, she had a strong faith. She hoped one day her life would change. And, we all prayed that that would indeed happen. Jesus was her Savior, and I have no doubts that she is now with Him in Heaven.

Even with expressing all of that, I realize through my work with the homeless that I have unresolved issues with her death. The mentally ill are out there, some on medication, some obviously not. It's sad to realize that these folks are plagued with nightmarish thoughts and voices only they can hear. These same people are shunned and sometimes even beaten and robbed by others who are stronger.

Recently, when Pastor Lem began his brief message to the line of hungry faces at the Plaza, a muttering began in the crowd. As he quoted John 3:16, a woman in red began cursing and pacing. Suddenly, she spat at my feet as she rolled off more obscenities. Uncertain of what to do, I stopped recording and began moving toward the serving line to take my place. Pastor finished his message and blessed the food, speaking louder to drown out the filth still being spewed in the air. The Woman in Red came through the line muttering, grabbed her fork, and disappeared. About thirty minutes later, we heard her shouting and screaming and knew she had returned. She continued her tirade for quite some time.

I thought then of my sister and the troubled life she had lived. During the periods of time she thought she didn't need medication, it was a disconcerting time for our family. Do not misunderstand. She did not run around shouting obscenities at a pastor. But, she did have some disturbing behavior. When she was on her medication, she functioned fairly well. This illness causes immeasurable suffering to those who endure it and to those who can do nothing but pray and watch their family member suffer.

I've asked God what He wanted me to see with this parallel of women. He encouraged me to question how strangers may have treated Michelle when she was off her medication. Were they compassionate? Did they shun her? Were they empathetic? Did they laugh at her? Did they take the time to listen to her? Were they kind to her? Did they love her as God instructed us to do in 1 John 4:7-8? "Let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love."  Verse 12 continues with, "if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us." 

Those are powerful words! "His love is made complete in us." It was never intended to be an emotional love, but something much greater. The love God has for us is undeserved love; we did nothing to earn it! The same love God expects us to show His people: the widows, the orphans, the elderly, the incarcerated, the veterans, the alcoholics, the addicts, the runaways, the prostitutes, and the mentally ill. They are all out there, in need of His complete love.

God also reminded me to be aware of what we all do in His name. Are we going through the motions of our “Christian obligation?” Or, are we sharing His complete love with these people? 

"If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing." 1 Corinthians 13:3

Who was the Woman in Red? She was that tiny soul in July who had quietly wished me Christmas blessings.

Have you ever encountered someone that society considers “less than?” If so, what was your reaction? How did God speak to you through the encounter?

© Photo of "Woman in Red" and post by Teresa Alfieri (originally shared as a Facebook note)

Thursday, December 24, 2015

When God Met Me At Wal-Mart

We’ve all had frustrating days where nothing seems to go right. And then it gets worse.

Last Friday was one of those days. I’ll spare you the details, but it involved two trips to Wal-Mart eight hours apart and more time wasted on the phone in between dealing with them. Finally, around 7:00 that night, I went back to the store to pick up my package. (I’m still waiting to see if the credit on my bank account comes through.)

As I struggled to keep my sanctification while fuming, I crossed the dark parking lot, weary and at the end of my rope. This might be a good place to add I do a lot of praying when I’m in this frame of mind. After all, this wasn’t the worst thing that happened to someone on the earth on Friday, I’m sure. Perspective is everything. J

I crossed the road in front of the store, and I realized the Salvation Army bell ringer wasn’t ringing his bell. Instead, he was playing an acoustic guitar. Strains of “Victory in Jesus” flowed from his fingertips and out of his instrument.

O victory in Jesus,
My Savior, forever.
He sought me and bought me
With His redeeming blood;
He loved me ere I knew Him
And all my love is due Him,
He plunged me to victory,
Beneath the cleansing flood.

Peace flowed through me—as did the realization that God had allowed the whole day to unfold as it did. Perhaps even orchestrated it. After all, Christmas is not found in the hustle and bustle but in the quiet moments God brings you to in the midst of your storm.

Our lives are filled with one simple struggle after another until we feel overwhelmed. Then often a big struggle hits. How do we choose to face this adversity? We can either face it with God’s help—allowing Him to walk alongside us—or we can go it alone. If you’re doing that, how’s that working for you? I can honestly say it’s never worked for me.

Instead, by abiding in Christ, I’ve often experienced a great blessing at the end of a trial. Kind of like the exclamation point at the end of a sentence.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2 

As my Christmas gift to you during this stressful time of year, go to Amazon and download my devotional "While I'm Waiting" for FREE today only. I hope you’ll find comfort in my words and stories as I share about waiting on answers to prayer. The devotional will encourage you to go from despair to hope while praising God and choosing contentment during trials. It’s based on my personal experiences.

“Faith begins where man's power ends.” ~ George Mueller

Do you have a favorite go-to Bible verse when you’re struggling with everyday stressors? Or maybe you have a story similar to mine of when God met you some place. I’d love to hear it. And if you need prayer, please share that, as well. If your request is confidential, feel free to email me.

Have a Merry Christmas celebrating the birth of our Savior!

God bless,
Laura

©Laura Hodges Poole
“Christmas Shopping Cart” image courtesy of Feelart/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
“Advent Wreath” image courtesy of Gualberto107/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

"Silent Stars of Bethlehem" is available on Amazon for 99 Cents!

From the time she was a child, Carly Shepherd has gazed at the silent stars in the night sky of her home in Bethlehem, North Carolina. With her childhood overshadowed by her father’s abandonment and mother’s alcoholism, she wonders how anyone can believe in an equally silent God. After all, she’s not felt his presence any more than her earthly father. Though she remembers Christmas pageants and attending church as a child, she no longer has any use for what she considers fairy tales.

Drew Middleton is seeking shelter from a rain storm when he walks into Carly’s vendor tent at a fall festival, but he’s quickly taken with the talented artist and her creations. Feeling an instant connection, Carly is confused by her feelings, especially when she discovers his spiritual commitment.

Carly’s past and their chance of future together collide when she’s snared into refurbishing sets for a Christmas pageant with Drew’s help. Will their shared experience bring about a spiritual awakening in Carly this Christmas? Or will time run out as the stars continue to shine silently over Bethlehem?

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thanksgiving—A Fragrant Offering

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:1-2

Thanksgiving Day we pause to give thanks for the multitude of blessings God has bestowed on us throughout the year. No matter what our trials, we can always find the blessings.

Then we rush headlong into a gorge-fest of commercialism. Americans devote one day a year for thanks, and it’s quickly diminishing while greed is escalating.

Hurriedness and greed. Is that what God envisioned when He sent His Son to earth? That civilization would reach the point where the glitter and gift wrap would overshadow His gift to us? Certainly He knew, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t grieved Him.

The Bible says Jesus wept. Since we are made in God’s image, I often wonder if He weeps. Something to ponder. Certainly, Black Friday would be a day that could bring tears to His eyes.

In this hurriedness, I think of how we, as Christians, can model something different to the world instead of racing to be the first one to put up our Christmas tree. Or the first one in the store on Black Friday or Thursday night before Thanksgiving is even over, whatever the case may be. Or filling in our December calendar with parties and other activities. 

To truly emulate God, the most important thing we can do tomorrow, besides bow our heads and give thanks, is strive to “walk in the way of love” with our fellow man. The neat thing is—it doesn’t require you to go to a department store, run up your credit card debt, or sweat over your holiday to-do list.

Ironically, we're entering into the season of celebrating our Savior’s birth, yet nowhere in the New Testament do you find Jesus hurrying anyplace. He craved his quiet time.

Close your eyes and meditate for a moment on the phrase “fragrant offering.” A fragrance that isn’t found in the most beautifully scented potpourri or Christmas candle. The image evokes a peace not present in the hurriedness of shopping and baking, nor in the massive stack of gifts accumulating under the tree.

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15-16 

Paul’s admonition is well taken. December has become an entity all unto itself where absolutely nothing gets done to move life forward. Instead, it’s a race to the 25th to get everything “Christmas” accomplished and then, suddenly, life resumes January 1. A whole month every single year wasted in commercial greed.

Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:19b-20 

This year as we sit down to turkey dinners across the nation, I encourage you to celebrate an authentic Thanksgiving, “sing and make music from your heart to the Lord,”  and then spend the rest of the day in family time enjoying those God has blessed you with along with peaceful anticipation of our Lord’s birthday.


If you have a prayer request, I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment or email me confidential requests. If you’re traveling today, know that you’re included in my prayers for travel mercies and safety. Have a blessed Thanksgiving.

God bless,
Laura 

©Laura Hodges Poole

“Pumpkin Pie” image courtesy of Apolonia/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
“Christmas Nativity” image courtesy of Prawny/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Friday, September 11, 2015

Eternal Hope In The Midst of Darkness

If the Lord had not been on our side when people attacked us, they would have swallowed us alive when their anger flared against us. Psalm 124:2-3 

I still get chills watching the film footage of planes slamming into the World Trade Center on 09/11/01, the buildings falling, and people screaming and running. I’m immediately transported back to that day and how life unfolded in the aftermath. When would the next attack happen? Would we ever feel safe again?

As many Americans did, I clung to my faith. No matter what, God was with us. Tragic things happen in this world, yet we foolishly believed they didn’t happen here—at least not on that large of a scale.

On 9/11, and in the days and weeks to follow, political party lines were erased. President Bush reassured us from the top of the Twin Towers rubble with a bullhorn in his hand and again, days later, when he bravely walked to the center of a major league baseball field and threw out the first pitch. Congress stood arm-in-arm on the steps of the Capitol and sang God Bless America. We were one people with one voice joined in determination to protect what America stood for—freedom.

Josh's 7th birthday party
But there was another angle to 9/11 for my family. My son Josh turned seven years old that day. We had serendipitously celebrated with a party the Saturday before. The na├»ve belief in our nation’s security that the party-goers and our family appreciated three days before the attacks was shattered, much like Pearl Harbor had done decades before. Though Josh has enjoyed birthdays since, they’ve never quite been the same.

My son’s generation has grown up in the shadow of the war on terror. Some of his earliest memories are of his country going to war—a war brought to our shores as it had been sixty years earlier. I had a difficult time making sense out of the attack and an even more difficult time explaining it to him.

Born out of this tragedy was renewed patriotism for many Americans, young and old alike. The scenes of firefighters running into towers that eventually collapsed on them had a profound effect on Josh, as it did for many of his generation. The firefighters’ sacrifice instilled in him a sense of duty toward his country and fellow man. Many like Josh were galvanized into action, even though at a young age of 7, he could only be angry that it happened.

18th birthday
When Josh turned 16, he joined our volunteer fire department’s teen explorer program and began taking the rigorous classes needed to be a firefighter. After two years of training and service, he proudly received his “black helmet” on his 18th birthday, signifying his full firefighter status. It was all he talked about for weeks before. After graduating high school, he went on to community college where he recently obtained an A.S. in Fire Science. The job market is tough with seventy percent of our nation’s firefighters being volunteers. If someone had told me in the midst of all that tragedy fourteen years ago that Josh would be a paid firefighter working on his 21st birthday, I couldn’t have wrapped my mind around it. Yet, he is. And I couldn’t be prouder knowing he serves the community today.

Americans changed in the years following the attack. We’re all battle weary from the evil perpetrated on us that clear September morning and the wars and terror since. We learned on 9/11 that the bubble of security we’d foolishly wrapped ourselves in did not exist. Every year seems to bring a new normal of what terror looks like and a renewed sense that we are impotent to protect ourselves from it.

But we also reaffirmed something Americans knew before the attacks. Americans pull together for the good of all. Americans overcome. As we pause to honor the victims of 9/11 today, let us do so with the spirit of hope their lives represented. It’s a thought that’s desperately needed in our current social and political climate when Americans now seem most interested in things that divide.

We must never give up hope.

You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety. Job 11:18 

Even in his worst trial, Job had hope. We have a duty as Christians to reject despair, rejoice in the hope found in Christ Jesus, and go about the daily business of life—no matter what tragedies befall us.

Life truly is how you choose to frame it.

9/11 symbolizes America’s heartache and perseverance, but it’s also a symbol of one of the greatest days of my life—the day my son was born.

While we mourn with those who mourn, rejecting despair is imperative to the Christian life and witness. Good can arise from the worst circumstances. We only have to look to the 9/11 survivor stories to know this is true. It’s only through God, that during the dark times, we can experience the light of eternal hope (Romans 5:1-5). 

Do you have a special Bible verse you turn to in adversity—maybe even during the 9/11 terrorist attacks or their aftermath? I’d love for you to share it. Leave a comment to inspire other readers and for a chance to win a kindle copy of my devotional, While I’m Waiting: Going from despair to hope while praising God and choosing contentment during trials. 

If you need prayer, please share in the comments or email me confidential requests. I'd love to pray for you. 

God bless you all,
Laura

© Laura Hodges Poole

“One World Trade Center Tower” image courtesy of Franky242/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
“Despair or Hope” image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Friday, September 4, 2015

The Perfect Love

When I was a little girl, my daddy seemed larger than life. In my eyes, he was perfect. He could do anything, fix anything, and included me in whatever he did, no matter how busy he was. Living on a small farm, I often trudged along behind him, down the garden rows, my little bare toes squishing in the sandy Florida dirt. I helped weed or dropped seedlings into holes he dug. Sometimes I chatted or sang while he worked.
The only thing I didn’t want to participate in? 

Butchering time.

I’d hide in the house, crying for our pets livestock that would go into the freezer and eventually end up on the dinner table. But I was smart enough to realize food raised meant less money had to be spent in the store. Hunger is the best spice, Laura Ingalls Wilder once said. It can also be characterized as a great memory eraser, so I didn’t cry for long. Death is a necessary part of living—a lesson I learned even more intimately as I lost human loved ones over the years. One that modern-day parents try to shield their kids from and then wonder why they have a “why me” mentality when loss occurs.

But I digress.

As I grew older, my dad’s flaws became more apparent to me, and as a teenager, I railed against learning anything from him. Now, at age 50, I’ve come full circle and am hard-pressed to find any man, besides Jesus, who is more perfect than my father.

Among the important things my father taught me is love. Yes, love is taught. Not just modeled or felt, but taught. This meant discipline and rebuke along with affection. My dad is the softest tough man I know. I liken him to a tree surgeon. He pruned and it hurt, but he applied gentle salve to my soul and coaxed my growth with his love.

It wasn’t long before another man, one even more supernatural than my father, appeared in my life. Not surprisingly, a man modeled through my father. And in those tumultuous teenage years, when I felt no one else would listen, Jesus did. He once said the meek shall inherit the earth.

Meek doesn’t mean weakness but rather controlled strength. Jesus loved and hung out with sinners but never condoned their sin. As recorded in the gospels, he often ended an encounter or healing with “go and sin no more.” He understood that the root of most people’s problems is sin. Not a politically correct statement to make anymore but one nonetheless true.

Love is patient and kind, but it also rejects evil and rejoices with the truth (1 Corinthians 13:4-6 NIV). This includes rebuking as Jesus and my father did. Love doesn’t mean excusing bad behavior or not setting boundaries with those unhealthy to be around—no matter how much you love them.

I came to realize rather quickly that these two men were the ones I could count on. Dad and I butt heads about some things, and he can be cantankerous at almost 80 years old, but his spiritual compass points squarely at our Savior and always has.

And Jesus? As the old hymn says, He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way. He’s provided me comfort when I thought there wasn’t any. He’s given me strength and hope when I had none. He’s promised me a future. He forgives my sins. He calms my anxieties.

How?

Not only through my daily spiritual walk but through His words:

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6 

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 

 “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35 

"Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." Luke 12:6-7  

Who walks with you on life’s narrow way? If you’ve not met my friend Jesus, why not pick up the Bible and let Him introduce Himself in the gospels? I assure you, you won’t be disappointed. He’ll love you with a love that “protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (1 Corinthians 13:7). 

Do you need prayer today? I’d love to pray for you. Please leave a comment or email me confidential requests.

Today, Saturday, and Sunday (9/4-9/6/15) my devotional, While I'm Waitingwill be FREE for Kindle download on Amazon. This will take you on a journey to experience hope and contentment while waiting on an answer to prayer. Also, my most recent project, Path to Love, a Christian romance, is available for FREE from Amazon. Take a moment to download your copies!

God bless,
Laura

© Laura Hodges Poole

“Bible and the Heavens” image courtesy of Gualberto107/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.