9/11: Lest we forget…

Photography by: Pool, Getty Images

Lest we forget that day that we mourned together as a nation, we may never learn to celebrate together as a nation.

So every year on September 11th, we are reminded that pain is not prejudice and sorrow does not segregate on basis of national origin, color of skin, ethnicity, religious beliefs, or gender.  If that day we mourned together as a nation has taught us anything, it should be that we are all human beings, frail at our best; that life is sacred, and we can be here today and gone within an hour.

And lest we forget, we must be reminded that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

It is my prayer that we as Americans will rise above petty differences, and pessimistic perceptions; put an end to polarizing political views, and outlandish promises to get elected; stop racial ratifications, and repent of immoral and illicit behaviors; seek God’s forgiveness, and accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, and live in peace and love with one another as brothers and sisters.

Photograph by: Spencer Platt, GETTY IMAGES

I pray for those who suffered such great loss on that day eleven years ago.  I pray that they are healed and restored, and they are able celebrate the life of their loved one and friends each year with happy memories that will give comfort and peace.

May God continue to bless America, and shed His Grace on her.

Grace to handle “it”

My very dear and close friend sent me this word today!  It was two weeks ago (Friday afternoon, June 8, 2012) that I received that phone call about the passing of my only grandson, James, in a single car accident.  It changed not only my agenda for that day, but I believe it also changed my agenda for life.  Like an oversized arrow,  it pierced my heart and left a hole so big that only the Master can mend with GRACE.   This word is so “on-time” for today.  I just had to share it with my faithful readers.  Just as I am being strengthened and comforted by God’s Holy presence, I believe there’s someone else who needs to experience God’s grace too.  We may never understand or even like what God allows to happen that so deeply grieves our heart, but I choose to believe there’s a purpose and plan beyond our comprehension.  And, at the end of the day, I am compelled to say, “Lord, I trust you.”

“HE GIVES MORE GRACE.” JAMES 4:6 NKJV

 

The grace to handle it

          Nancy and Ed Hulzinga were at church rehearsing for the Christmas program when their home burned down. It wasn’t their first tragedy that year. Three months earlier when a friend, a widow with two teenagers, died of cancer, the Hulzingas took her kids into their family. So when the house was destroyed it wasn’t just their home they lost, it was the home of two kids who’d already lost their parents. The following week, as they sifted through the ashes, they found a slip of paper that survived the fire. On it they read these words: “Contentment: Realizing God has already provided everything we need for our present happiness.” God gives you “more grace” when you walk through the fiery trials.

One Bible teacher says: “Our perspective changes when we catch a glimpse of the purpose of Christ. Take that away, and it’s nothing more than a bitter, terrible experience. Suffering comes in many forms, but His grace is always there to carry us beyond it. I’ve endured a sufficient number of trials to say without hesitation that only Christ’s perspective can replace resentment with rejoicing. Jesus is the central piece of suffering’s puzzle. If we fit Him into place, the rest begins to make sense.” Donna VanLiere writes: “When life blindsides us…and the diagnosis, abuse, foreclosure, broken marriage, death, or financial collapse brings us to our knees…grace says there’s more love after infidelity, more joy after the diagnosis, and more life after financial ruin…grace is real…an indomitable gift with power to change your life. But it comes with one condition – like any gift, you have to reach out and take it.”

 Bob Gass

The Word for you today.

 

Thank you, Bob Gass for this timely word!!!

Bittersweet

The year it really hit me that every minute you have the opportunity to spend time with someone that means the world to you, you’d better seize the opportunity.  It was  December 17, 2003 that the last chapter of life spent with my mother, Mr. Deva Mae Franks Horn, ended.  My mom’s will to live could no longer stand up to the overpowering cancerous cells that finally invaded her organs, took control and left her physical body too weak to fight. Immediately I knew this would be the last opportunity to spend time with her before she transitioned to that place of eternal rest. She fought the good fight of faith. She’d outlived her prognosis, and she touched the lives of many who admired her dearly.

This time of the year is always bittersweet. I still miss her.  Yet, I’m grateful for the miraculous comfort and peace of my heavenly Father, which enabled me to go through the grieving process. Knowing the reason for this season, and the hope it brings gives me consolation when I remember her faith, hope and love.

Therefore, I do not grieve like others who have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14). As she believed so do I. I believe that Jesus, the Son of God was born of the virgin Mary, died on the Cross and was raised to life on the third day, and we believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died.  Although the pain of separation is still difficult, the hope of our reunion gives me a reason to rejoice in this season.

December 26, 2003, she transitioned from this earthly realm to her heavenly home in Glory to be with her Lord.

Thankful for you

“I always thank my God for you and for the gracious gifts he has given you, now that you belong to Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:4 NLT)

It’s expected during this season to express gratefulness for material things— possessions, accomplishments, family and friends. Usually emphasis on the celebration of thanksgiving is based on being more fortunate (having more) than others. During this season we are gratified when we perform our good deeds as humanitarians by feeding the homeless and donating our time serving others that we label as “less fortunate.”   Yet for many, the true meaning of the Thanksgiving holiday is becoming more blurred by the foggy perception that people are less fortunate just because they have fewer material things.  Having things which others can’t afford, or don’t possess is not the only reason for celebrating Thanksgiving, and being grateful.  While we are thankful for all the tangible things that God has provided for us, we cannot forget to express thanks to God for each other—the most fortunate, more fortunate, and less fortunate. Okay, forgive my italicized sarcasm.

Although the “less” fortunate may not have all the things that some equate as reasons to give thanks, many of them have more than any of us think or can image.  What they have is invisible to the natural eye, and can only be experienced through a changed heart and an enlightened mind.  “Owning a lot of things won’t make your life safe” (Luke 12:15b). 

One of Apostle Paul’s distinguishing characteristics is his gratefulness to God for all who accepted Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.  His thanks is recorded in all his letters.  The above passage is the inspiration for this post.  It’s an example for us today. Not only should we be thankful for all Christians, but we must be thankful for all mankind… constantly praying with thanksgiving, that there will no longer be the spiritual less fortunate, but that all will receive the gracious gifts of hope and eternal life that come through faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Yes; it’s expected during this season to express our thankfulness for things.  Our expression of thanks must be for more than just the possessions we have, but always for each other and the gracious gifts that God has given, which are often overlooked as being valuable reasons to give thanks. 

I thank God for you!

Family Pains

Being hurt by family—parents and siblings— can be the most painful of all life’s experiences. Personally, I cannot know the pain caused by sibling rivalry to the point of attempted murder, or even in Joseph’s situation—being betrayed (sold into slavery as a substitute for killing him).

I’m always amazed by Joseph’s story because it reminds me of how God allows the painful experiences in life to propel us into divine destiny.  Joseph’s story shows how struggles and disappointments can turn out for good.  They resulted in good for Joseph’s family, who was able to escape a terrible famine in spite of the evil they did toward him. In addition, his terrible experiences with his family resulted in good for Joseph, who gained a whole new perspective on life.  Looking back, he could see God at work even in all the trials he had experienced.

Moreover, Joseph’s story gives us an example of our Lord.  It’s saturated with the “forgiveness” principle.  How so?  Joseph represents a type of Christ by forgiving his brothers for the evil they plotted against him.  Had Joseph spent his years mourning and being bitter about how he’d been mistreated by his brothers, he would have destroyed his own life, not to mention, interfered with God’s plan and purpose for his entire family.

Think about this!  You could be the one God chose to use in your family. You could be the one God uses to be a blessing to your siblings even though they have hurt you, caused you the most pain, struggles and disappointment, seemingly for no reason, other than jealousy.  Let me encourage you…don’t be bitter.  Release them, let go of the anger that causes you physical, emotional and mental anguish.  Forgive them. Remain faithful and obedient to God.  In the end everyone will win.  Read what Joseph said to his brothers after they fled to Egypt  from the famine…Joseph said to his brothers… “Do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.” (Genesis 45:4-5)

You see, not only did Joseph forgive them, but he knew they carried the guilt and shame for their evil actions against him.  You must also know that when God’s plans and purposes prevail those who wronged you will need your forgiveness so that they can move forward.

Look back, how has God been at work during the difficult times in your life caused by family pains, struggles, and disappointments?

(If this article has ministered to you, let me hear from you). I respect your privacy.