Monday, January 28, 2019

Hope while the Storm Rages: When No Signposts Light the Way

Sunset on Oahu - May 2018

When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued ranging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved. Acts 27:20 NIV

The story of Paul’s voyage to Rome is a prime example of the trials and tribulations on the walk of faith all through the human story. Although it is a common theme in modern Christianity that the pathway of faith is strewn with riches and all good things while God lifts all His faithful followers out of the plane of difficulties, real experience is quite the contrary. Every one of the “great cloud of witnesses” lived lives of alternating trials and triumphs. (See Hebrews 11).

Paul is an example of how much a child of God can suffer without losing hope. Paul boosts of his suffering (See 2 Corinthians 11:22-33 for the list.) Though broken in body, he was never broken in spirit. The account of this particular shipwreck tells of his being tossed upon a stormy sea for days on end. Yet during this time he encouraged the others, even when no common sign posts lit the way. The other seafarers gave up all hope of being saved. Paul knew he couldn’t save himself; his hope was in God.

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1 KJV

For people to live in this everyday world in real surroundings with a hundred and one practical conditions which have to be met in practical ways, hope in God lifts us out of the plane of common sense and trials where our faith is perfected and His love and mercy see us through the storms. 

Like Paul, trust God, and many besides yourself will receive deliverance and salvation. 

For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 1 John 5:4 NIV
Sunset on Oahu - May 2018

Monday, March 26, 2018

Jesus Washes His Disciples' Feet: A Lesson of Mutual Love & Esteem

Photo courtesy of Eileen DeCamp ~ Parkstein, Germany

It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. . . Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God. John 13:1a,3 NIV

Jesus knew who He was, fulling comprehending the magnitude of His deity, God’s purposes, and the purpose of His life on earth as the Son of God and Man. I could stop reading at that verse and meditate on it until Christ returns, and still not grasp the fullness of it. 

But there is so much more here in this story of Jesus’ last hours before The Cross.

He was a man with no doubts about Himself. I’ve read entire books about achieving my authentic 
self. Many of us are taught to aim for self-realization, especially in some disciplines, such as psychology and counseling. The great aim of Jesus’ life was not self-realization, but the realization of 
God’s purposes.

For I am come down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. John 6:38 ASV

I’ve read John 13:1-17 over and over for the past month. I am astounded by our Lord’s great humility and His love. 

Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. John 13:1b

Jesus knew who would betray Him. That did not stop our Lord from washing Judas’ feet. He washed Judas’ feet, along with the other disciples’. Jesus loved him, also, even knowing. Knowing how He was loved greatly by the Father, and how the Father so loved the world, He loved generously and bestowed lavishly that great love on others. By His grace, by His mercy, through no merit of their own. 

So he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. John 13:4,5

He voluntarily did this menial task, an act of servitude and humility. When he had finished, he asked them if they understood what He had done for them.

Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. John 13:14-17

This principal is easier to understand than it is to implement in real life action. By His own admission, Jesus gave us an example. Washing the feet was an ordinary daily task for these men. It was a physical act, a drudgery. It was something that needed to be done. If Christ could do this, then who are we to disdain to do even lowly tasks for the good of someone and the glory of God. Jesus gave us a great lesson of mutual love and esteem.

I am reminded of the parable of the good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) who showed compassion for the stranger who was naked and beaten in the ditch. He bandaged his wounds, took him to an inn, and paid for his care. (I might note that he didn’t just pray for him or hand him a gospel tract.) He endeavored to alleviate his suffering by concrete actions, and, according to Jesus, was a neighbor to the man.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! Philippians 2:5-8 NIV

Thanks to Eileen DeCamp for her beautiful photography - dogwood tree

Thank you for visiting Write Moments with God. May God bless you with all spiritual blessings during this Holy Week 2018.

Monday, November 27, 2017


Our little nativity set (Precious Moments)

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Romans 8:35

A friend of mine was going through a series of disappointments and setbacks. It seemed one thing after another went wrong in her life. She said to me, “I am questioning God. Why is He letting these things happen to me? Doesn’t He care about me?”
            Her reaction is understandable. In the midst of personal setbacks, tragedies, and hardships, many people blame God for the situation and question His love. Yet, we cannot ascribe the distress and disasters of this fallen world to a lack of God’s love. We live in a time of His permissive will, and the foolishness of man abounds in this sin-sick world. No one is spared misfortune.
But take heart. God’s love has already been proven for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son (John 3:16). God’s love was revealed through His mercy and grace when He made a way for us as sinners, reconciling man to Himself through Jesus Christ. God also gave the precious gift of the Holy Spirit to be our Comforter. As followers of Christ, we can put our faith in the love of God and hope in the promise of eternal life when we shall live and reign with Him forever. So today, trust in His love and goodness, no matter the circumstances.
Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. Romans 8:37
When facing difficult circumstances, meditate on how God demonstrated His love to the world and to you personally in countless ways. Remember that your life is in His hands and God’s purposes will be fulfilled.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

A reminder with my morning cup of coffee

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Monday, October 30, 2017

A New Commandment ~ A New Standard ~ As I Have LOVED You

Photo courtesy of Aaron Baron

A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

So, that is the standard, “as I have loved you.” There is no greater love; no higher standard that Jesus Himself. The words of the Lord Jesus rebuke us. When we shun the annoying neighbor, hurry away from the malodorous homeless man – the words of Jesus rebuke us. The memory of His life and sacrifice is sufficient to bring the rebuke.
            Jesus gave that new commandment. Yet, can even training of the most steadfast and severe cause us to feel and think and respond along those lines naturally? Can a tiger change his spots? Man’s relationship to man is certainly a mixed bag revealing the depths of the human heart from desperately wicked to sublime saintliness.
            But how in every moment of our lives – every crisis and perplexity – do we manage to love as He loved? I would think it is only possible if we become a new creature. Marvel not that I said to you, you must be born again. Without the new birth, trying to live Jesus’ commandment is a goal beyond our human grasp. As new creatures, born again of the Spirit of God, we are enabled by the indwelling Holy Spirit to live in accordance to His will. Then it is possible to form the mind of Christ. The ultimate refining comes as we obey His commands and work into our character what God has given by His grace.
The scribes asked Jesus which commandment was the most important. Jesus answered. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is none other commandment greater than these. (Mark 12:30,31) When we live these commandments, we will begin to love as He loved us.
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