The Power of One

The Christian Connection

September Newsletter

“The Power Of One”

By Myra F. Smith

 

Bible Verse: “…but a Samaritan (foreigner), who was traveling, came upon him, and when he saw him, he was deeply moved with compassion for him, and went to him and bandaged up his wounds….” (Luke 10:33-34)

A man is traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho; he is robbed, beaten, and left for dead beside the road.

Three men come by. The first is a priest; the second, a Levite, and the third, a Samaritan. The first two were respected members of society. The Samaritan was an outcast. The first two men walk away, but the Samaritan stops to help; bandages his wounds, and pays for a safe place for him to spend the night.

This brings me to a modern story. Recently, five teens stood beside a river and watched a man drown. Not one of them offered to swim out to him; not one looked for anything to pull him out of the river; not one teen used their cell phone to call for help. In fact, one of the teens shouted back to the man, “We’re not going to help you.” The man, a husband and father, died.

Without THE ONE who forgives our sins; heals our bodies; tends to our wounds; soothes our ravaged souls; lifts our broken spirits; gives us hope for tomorrow, and NEVER FAILS TO HELP, we would be forever lost.

ONE PERSON can heal a wound; soothe a broken spirit; give food to the hungry; give water to the thirsty, and set someone on a new path of hope and healing.

JESUS SAVED US. NOW, IT’S OUR TURN. IT ONLY TAKES ONE.

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The Christian Connection May Devotion “Now What?” By Myra F. Smith Bible Verse: “To these men He also showed Himself alive after His suffering in Gethsemane and on the cross, by many infallible proofs…appearing to them over a period of forty days….” (Acts 1: 3) Jesus, the Messiah, endured a trial, brutal beatings, and crucifixion. Jesus, the disciples’ leader and hope for their future, was dead. Now what? Jesus reappeared to the disciples after His ascension, to assure them that He was alive, and His work would go forward. This period of Biblical history was known as Pentecost, which means, “God equipping His people with the Holy Spirit, to carry out His work in the kingdom.” And how did the Holy Spirit appear? “A sound came from Heaven like a rushing violent wind…there appeared to them tongues resembling fire….” WOW! Violent winds and fiery tongues would get your attention! And, what was the result of this dynamic visitation by the Holy Spirit? The Bible tells us that 3,000 souls were baptized that day! Not only that, but the people fully devoted themselves to the instruction of the disciples, ate meals and worshipped together. They sold their property and possessions and shared with anyone in need. Too often, we live after Easter much like we did before Easter. We live in the present world, and never share the message or our possessions. Do you feel the rushing wind of the Holy Spirit? Have you felt the fire of His love burn within you? What’s next for us? I don’t know, but I’m hoping to be blown away by God’s answer.

A Love That Never Fails

The Christian Connection
February Devotion
A Lasting Love
By Myra F. Smith

Bible Verse: “Let me fall into the hand of the Lord, for His mercies are very great.” (1 Chronicles 21:13)

George Matheson, who wrote the words to the song, “O Love That Will Not Let Me Go,” was no stranger to love. At age nineteen, while graduating from Glasgow University for work in the Christian ministry, he became totally blind. His fiancé, unwilling to marry a blind man, returned his ring. That rejection never left him, and it was during this time of sorrow that he wrote the beautiful hymn, “O Love That Will Not Let Me Go.”

One Sunday morning, while ministering at a small church, a visitor who was a member of the large St. Bernard’s Church in Edinburgh, was impressed with him, and they later asked him to pastor their church. He said of this exciting event in his life: “Make every occasion a great occasion. You can never tell when somebody may be taking your measure for a larger place.”

In this month of valentines, candy boxes, heart shaped balloons, and flowers, let’s take a look at George Matheson’s idea of the perfect love:

“O joy, that seekest me through pain, I cannot close my heart to Thee. I trace the rainbow through the rain, and feel the promise is not vain, that morn shall tearless be.”

O love, that wilt not let me go. I rest my weary soul in Thee. I give Thee back the life I owe, that in Thine ocean depths its flow, may richer, fuller be.”

George Matheson, as far as I know, never experienced a romantic, human love, but he experienced an even greater love…a love that would not leave him…a love that would see him through the pain of blindness, and allow him to feel the rainbow casting its colors through the rain.

God’s love never leaves us; it is not dependent on circumstances or human whims; it grows strong when we grow weak; it is life sustaining and brings cheer to our gloomy hearts. God’s love is eternal, beautiful, strong, gracious, loving, and willing to enter a waiting heart.

This year, send a Valentine to God. Express your love for the One who will never let you go. And your heart will be full, and your eyes, once blinded by rain, will once more see the rainbow.

When Bad Things Happen

The Christian Connection
May Devotion
“When Bad Things Happen”
By Myra F. Smith

Bible Verse: “For the thing which I greatly fear comes upon me, and that of which I am afraid has come upon me.” (Job 3:25)

The story of Job makes me want to yell, “NO FAIR!” Why would God let Satan torture His loyal and faithful servant? How could God allow the devil to destroy Job’s herd and livelihood, kill off his children, and cover the poor man with sores in one day? That’s more than a lifetime of suffering in 24 hours!

But, never fear. His dear wife and friends will help. His wife yells in his good ear, “Curse God and die!” What an encourager! Then, his best friends come over with droning lectures about sin, suffering, salvation, sacrifice, and any other “s” word that may add to his misery. At first, Job takes it all in stride. Later in the story, he gets angry and yells back. I want to say, “You go, Job!”

Yes, Job told his friends he’s had quite enough, and even argues with God, throwing out the old “Why me?” argument. Ever asked God that question? “Why me? What did I do wrong? Why don’t you punish the loser who beats his wife or fat cat who cheats his employees out of their retirement? How about some sores for them?”

God did answer Job. He challenged him to acknowledge the difference between Creator and Created. It was a battle of wits, but when Job repents of his doubts, God restores his family, health and possessions. Job talked directly to God, but, even in our deepest prayers, we may only hear silence, and lose faith.

I have a favorite throw pillow that says, “Stars Can’t Shine Without Darkness.” It reminds me daily that it is only in the dark that stars shine; a reminder that God is still at work in us to heal, comfort, love, encourage, and restore us.

Job’s story relates that bad things do happen to good people. The stars are our answer from God that even in the darkest times, His love remains with us. And I, for one, am beginning to feel the warmth and comfort of the Son.

Getting Together

The Christian Connection
June Newsletter
“When We All Get Together”
By Myra F. Smith

Bible Verse: “Finally, all of you be like-minded {united in spirit}, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted {courteous and compassionate toward each other as members of one household}, and humble in spirit.” (1 Peter 3:8)

I looked up this chapter in Barclay’s Bible Commentary” and this is a portion of what it says:

“When a man comes to know Christ, he comes to know goodness. In Christ he has a standard by which all actions and motives may be tested. He knows what real goodness is.” Later, he says: “The Christian is called out of no mercy into mercy. The great characteristic of non-Christian religion is the fear of God. The Christian is the man who has discovered…the love of God.”

Now, let’s examine some important words and phrases:

1. Goodness. The love of Christ should dwell in us, causing us to think of others as highly as we think of ourselves. We should want to act and speak with love.
2. A Measurable Standard: As it was with Adam and Eve, when we experience God our eyes are opened, and we are able to distinguish right from wrong.
3. Mercy: In my mind, “mercy” is a mix of love and compassion. Compassion softens the heart for someone, but mercy extends a hand of friendship.
4. Love of God: Non-Christians fear God and act out of fear, but Christians know that God is love. Because we are forgiven, we can start again. Fear creates panic; love creates peace.

What does this mean in our Christian churches now? Here’s what I think it means:

1. The church belongs to God. Therefore, it should be conducted according to God’s standards of compassion, mercy, peace, and love.
2. If we, as followers of Jesus Christ, seek our own way instead of God’s way, we are not a church whose foundation will stand the test of time.

We can’t get everything right, but we can go forth with a spirit of love and unity.

God is perfectly capable of doing the rest.

Onward Christian Soldiers

Onward Christian Soldiers
The Christian Connection
September Newsletter
By Myra F. Smith

Bible Verse: “You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, Who is with you.” (2 Chronicles 20:17)

Rev. Sabine Baring-Gould, who wrote this hymn in the mid 1860’s, actually composed it as a children’s marching song. Neighborhood children were marching to a Sunday school rally, and Sabine wanted to give them a marching song. Listen to some of the words of this song:

Onward Christian soldiers, marching as to war, with the cross of Jesus going on before.
Like a mighty army moves the church of God; brothers, we are treading where the saints have trod. We are not divided, all one body we, one in hope and doctrine, one in charity. Crowns and thrones may perish, kingdoms rise and wane, but the church of Jesus constant will remain.”

We are in the midst of a war today; a war of religious and cultural extremes and fanaticism. If you watch the news, you have to know that we, as a nation, are in the midst of a violent and unsettling time. We have citizens vs. the police; Muslims vs. Christians; blacks vs. whites vs. Hispanic; the wealthy vs. the poor, and so on. For these wars, weapons of destruction are used to kill and cripple the enemy.

But, look at the words of this song. We are encouraged as a Christian army to be armed with the cross of God as our weapon. What do we take with us into battle? According to the song, we are to be armed with hope, doctrine, and charity. Are you kidding me? These are our weapons against assault rifles, and terrorist bombs?

How could this possibly work? Jesus showed us. Without weapons, a king’s crown, or even a shield, He conquered hate, injustice, abuse, inequality and disbelief, and promoted peace, justice, equality, love, compassion, and hope. His army was His word, and the cross was His weapon against sin, giving all of us a future of hope through salvation.

Truly, if ever there has been a time when Christians need to arm themselves with the cross of Christ, it is now. Join the army of God, and win the only battle that counts: the battle of love versus hate.

Listen My Children

Listen my children, listen and hear

Angels singing, shepherds leading,

Wise men traveling from afar

Songs of praise fill the air!

Listen, my children, and you shall hear.

 

Look my children, and you will see,

Joseph and Mary who is with child

Tired and weary, they come to a place

Where lambs lie down and sheep graze.

Look my children, look and see.

 

Come, my children, come see the babe

Swaddled in cloths, asleep on the hay

Sh…don’t wake the boy so sweet,

His mission on earth will soon be complete

Come, my children, come and see.

 

Worship, my children, worship Him

Jesus Christ, redeemer and friend

He teaches compassion; He message is love

Blessed and sent by the Father above.

Worship, my children; worship Father and Son.

 

Tell the story, the story of His birth

Share the news…Christ is Lord of the Earth!

Our sins are forgiven; our future is bright!

Jesus gives our souls new life!

Tell the story; tell it tonight.

 

Go, my children, for you will be

Christ’s disciple for those in need

Become a witness; give Him the praise

Embrace and cherish the human race.

 

And the magical star that heralded His birth

Will once more, shine down

On all His children, here on earth.