Care Corner

The Kindness Of A King

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014
Author: Deb Clark

I want to share a story about kindness and forgiveness from 2 Samuel 19:18b-23. King David had fled from Jerusalem when his son Absalom had forced him out. As he was leaving Jerusalem, Shimei, from the clan of Saul, began throwing rocks at him and cursing him because he saw King David as a man of blood (2 Samuel 16:5-14). David’s immediate response was to just leave him alone and he said, “Leave him alone; let him curse, for the Lord has told him to. It may be that the Lord will see my distress and repay me with good for the cursing I am receiving today.”

After Ablsalom was killed, King David returned to Jerusalem. On the way there he met up with Shimei once again. Only this time, David could have had Shimei killed for his disrespect toward David. David’s response was one of forgiveness toward Shimei. On two occasions, David could have ended the life of this man but instead he was kind, promising him an oath that he would not die.

This story reminds me of God’s redeeming love and grace toward us when we don’t really deserve to be forgiven. He sent Jesus, who is the King of Kings so that we could receive forgiveness of our sins and the gift of eternal life with Him in Heaven! And He also promised that He would come again and claim us as His own.

It also challenges me to be kind and forgiving in my interactions with those He leads across my path each day. What would it be like if we all modeled ourselves after Jesus and reached out in compassion and forgiveness to others? I encourage you to read about King David’s kindness to Shimei even though he was treated unkindly by him.

May we continue to strive to extend these gifts to others God directs our way!

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Care Corner

Stand Firm

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014
Author: Deb Clark

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love. 1 Corinthians 16:13-14

In 1 Corinthians 16, Paul was sharing with the Corinthians some personal requests and instructions. In the middle of this chapter we see this exhortation from Paul, urging them to be careful about staying strong in their faith walk. Paul did not want them to fall into sin or be discouraged, but to be courageous and to reach out to those around them in brotherly love.

What a nugget of truth that encourages our hearts to keep on going no matter what is taking place around us! Paul reiterates this exhortation while speaking to the Philippians as he says:

Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. (1:27)

How can we do this if we or someone we care about are facing difficult circumstances?

  • Putting on the armor of God each morning (Eph. 6:10-18)
  • Rejoicing in the Lord (Phil. 4:4)
  • Clothing ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience (Col. 3:12)
  • Forgiving others as Christ forgave us (Col. 3:13)
  • Devoting ourselves to prayer & being thankful (Col. 4:2)

Read this illustration from the life of William Wilberforce and be encouraged to stand firm in your faith:

Young William Wilberforce was discouraged one night in the early 1790s after another defeat in his 10 year battle against the slave trade in England. Tired and frustrated, he opened his Bible and began to leaf through it. A small piece of paper fell out and fluttered to the floor. It was a letter written by John Wesley shortly before his death. Wilberforce read it again: “Unless the divine power has raised you up… I see not how you can go through your glorious enterprise in opposing that (abominable practice of slavery), which is the scandal of religion, of England, and of human nature. Unless God has raised you up for this very thing, you will be worn out by the opposition of men and devils. But if God be for you, who can be against you? Are all of them together stronger than God? Oh, be not weary of well-doing. Go on in the name of God, and in the power of His might.” (Daily Bread, June 16, 1989.)

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Care Corner

The Truth Of The Resurrection

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014
Author: Deb Clark

In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’” Then they remembered his words.  Luke 24:5-8

As Sunday approaches, our hearts and minds are drawn to celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. What a shock it must have been for the women who first visited the tomb early on that morning! To be told by angels that Jesus was no longer buried there, but instead had risen from the dead.

It was interesting to read the four accounts (Mt 28:1-10; Mk 16:1-8; Lk 24:1-12 & Jn 20: 1-18) about what took place on the third day. The women did not find Jesus in the tomb. But after their encounter with the angels and with Jesus himself, when they tried to pass along the “good news,” they were met with unbelief from the disciples. Their words were even considered nonsense!

I wonder how those ladies felt when their testimony about the resurrection of Jesus was not taken seriously. The disciples missed out by not believing what they had heard. Jesus finally appeared to them and opened their eyes to the truth of the Scriptures.

This story is an excellent reminder not only of Christ’s death and resurrection for the forgiveness of our sins, but also how we need to consistently keep our focus on Him. Although Jesus had shared many times with the disciples what was going to happen to Him and His purpose for coming, they still were not paying attention to the truth of the resurrection.

As we celebrate Easter this week, may it be a solemn reminder of not only what Jesus did for us, but also how we need to keep our eyes on Him. Jesus will give us the strength we need to continue to serve Him and others He leads across our paths.

 

 

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Care Corner

Anxiety & Peace

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014
Author: Deb Clark

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

Anxiety is defined as the distress or uneasiness of mind caused by fear of danger or misfortune according to dictionary.com. It seems to overwhelm us and sometimes even paralyze us from moving forward in making a decision. It might affect our sleep patterns, eating habits, relationships and even age our bodies prematurely.

Paul was well aware of what worry could do to a person because of his own experiences (beatings, imprisonment, shipwrecked, rejection). It is interesting that he recommended prayer with thanksgiving as the solution to worry. If we would learn to lay everything at Jesus’ feet instead of holding on to it, we might be a less prone to being anxious. And if we would make a list of the things we are grateful for, it would re-focus our attention on the Lord and not on what we are experiencing through our life circumstances.

The author of Philippians follows up with a powerful statement about what we already possess as believers in Christ – that God’s peace will guard our hearts and minds through the relationship we have in Christ. This same concept of peace is found in 32 other verses in the Bible: Phl 1:2; Num 6:26; Job 22:21; Job 34:29; Psa 29:11; Psa 85:8; Isa 26:3,12; Isa 45:7; Isa 48:18; Isa 48:22; Isa 55:11,12; Isa 57:19-21; Jer 33:6; Luk 1:79; Luk 2:14; Jhn 14:27; Jhn 16:33; Rom 1:7; Rom 5:1; Rom 8:6; Rom 14:17; Rom 15:13; 2Co 13:11; Gal 5:22; Col 3:15; 2Th 3:16; Heb 13:20; Rev 1:4.

So…what are you anxious about right now? What do you need to bring to the throne that is troubling your soul? Take a moment and make that list of things from God that you are grateful for; tell Him not only what you are anxious about, but also how you have seen His hand in your life.

If you are concerned for others in your life and ministry, petition the throne on their behalf and remember that the peace that guards your heart and mind comes from knowing Christ as your personal Savior.

 

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