Bruised, Not Broken

Reeds are tall grass-like plants that typically grow in wet places. They have long, flat, broad leaves with hollow stems.

Why am a talking about reeds? In the book of Isaiah, the prophet talks about the One who is to come, the Servant of the Lord, namely, Jesus. Isaiah describes how the servant Jesus will treat people. “A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench; He will bring forth justice for truth” (Isaiah 42:3).

The “bruised reed” represents poor, hurting, and needy people. Bible scholars explain that “not break” is an understatement and that the author is emphasizing the positive equivalent. Not only will Jesus “not break” them, but He will “mend” or “restore.”

A hollow reed stem can be easily bent and bruised, becoming injured and weak. Likewise, the world is full of “bruised” people. The good news is Jesus came to mend broken lives and to bring healing and restoration to those who are wounded physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Another verse in Isaiah says, “[T]he LORD binds up the bruise of His people” (30:26), a beautiful image of our Savior administering first aid, spreading healing balm and placing bandages on our hurting souls or hearts.

When we feel we are ready to break, remember that Jesus cares. He has mercy and compassion and is always ready to help us in our time of need. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).

Posted in Christian Living, Devotions, Inspiration, Wednesday Whisper | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Beyond This World

While attending a Christian college, I simultaneously attended a secular state college to get some of the classes needed for my degree. I was surprised when the professor at the latter asked on the first day of class, “Who believes in UFOs?” I thought, Is this a trick question? Like, of course there are unidentified flying objects. Do you mean, do I believe that aliens exist? No.

But I do believe there exists a whole other world beyond the one we see. The Bible teaches of a spiritual world, one that includes forces of both good and evil.

Jesus taught His followers that they did not belong to this world, that is, the world we experience with our senses. He said, “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own…but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you” (John 15:19).

Instead, believers are ‘at home’ in the spiritual kingdom of God. Jesus explained, “My kingdom is not of this world” and “my kingdom is from another place” (John 18:36). Jesus brought the kingdom of God to earth when He came as a man, and we continue to pray for His kingdom to increasingly flourish by doing God’s will here on earth (Matthew 6:10).

In doing God’s will, believers can overcome the evil one. The apostle Paul warned, “…[T]ake your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:11-12).

In the end, evil will be destroyed and nothing will compare to our eternal heavenly home far beyond this world!

Posted in Christian Living, Devotions, Encouragement, Motivation, Wednesday Whisper | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

A Meeting in the Air

No. I’m not talking about a meeting on an airplane or in outer space. Today, let’s talk about that curious day when in one swift swoop, all believers in Jesus will be swept up to meet Him in the air. Most refer to it as the Rapture.

What can we know about this beyond-Zoom meeting? The Apostle Paul wrote this description to the church. “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the archangel’s voice, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are still alive will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and so we will always be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).

In a blink, all true believers will be gone. Can you imagine the fallout? A world that, at least for a while, has zero Christian influence and little moral restraint. What a horrible plight! I pray none of you experience being left behind, especially if what follows is the Great Tribulation.

So, what should we be doing until that incredulous day? Paul made that clear as well. “Be at peace among yourselves … (W)arn those who are irresponsible, comfort the discouraged, help the weak, be patient with everyone. See to it that no one repays evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good for one another and for all. (1 Thessalonians 5:13b-15).

May you be rapture-ready! (If you are not sure, see my website, and see “True: God’s Plan of Salvation” under the Devotions tab.

Until we meet!

Posted in Christian Living, Devotions, Encouragement, Eschatology, Inspiration, Motivation, Wednesday Whisper | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Just Pray

When my son was a toddler, he would thank God for whatever was on his highchair tray. One particular meal brought giggles when he prayed before his food was dished up, “Thank You for my spoon and fork.” 

The apostle Paul included many beautiful prayers in his writings to believers. As you read this prayer to the church in Ephesus, imagine the words being spoken over you or you speaking them over your loved ones. “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe” (Ephesians 1:17-19a).

Let’s look at what Paul covered in these few verses. One, for a Spirit of wisdom and revelation for the purpose of knowing Him better. Do I need wisdom to apply knowledge? Yes. Would I love for the Lord to give me a revelation to clear up confusion? Absolutely! Do I yearn for myself and others to know God and His Son better? Without a doubt.

Two, for the eyes of our hearts to be opened and receptive to His light and to know and experience the hope He brings. Three, be aware of the heavenly inheritance and rewards that await us. And four, remember the power available to believers, that same mighty power that rose Jesus from death’s grave. Yes, we have access to that power!

Whether a fumbling phrase or fluent paragraphs, God loves when His people pray. (You may want to memorize and pray the above verses.)

Just pray.

Posted in Christian Living, Devotions, Encouragement, Inspiration, Prayer, Wednesday Whisper | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

I’m Saved, Now What?

Imagine receiving the gift you’ve always wanted. A musician receives a guitar. The teenager, a car. Newlyweds, a home. Fill in your blank.

Now imagine that new guitar never being played. That car, never driven. That home, never lived in. And, a person who accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior never moving forward. They understand they don’t need to work for their salvation. It was a free gift from God. So, what’s next?

In the letter to the church in Galatia, the Apostle Paul wrote, “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love” (Galatians 5:6b). And, “[S]erve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: ‘Love our neighbor as yourself’” (Galatians 5:13c-14).

Clearly, demonstrating love isn’t just a Valentine’s Day event. It should become a daily surrendering of self and purposefully looking outward at others, asking the Holy Spirit to open our eyes and ears and heart to direct us how to love.

May we remember the elderly, those in prison, single-parent families, those caring for foster children, the sick, or a ‘neighbor’ who may need a meal, a ride, weeds pulled, or help with a bill or computer problem. The opportunities are endless! Since we can’t help everyone, ask for God’s guidance.

Characteristics of love should be shown to all. Don’t be a rude driver. Don’t keep a record of wrongs against pastors, teachers, healthcare workers, or police officers. Don’t become easily angered with parents, spouses, and children. Show patience and kindness to everyone.

“Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us” (1 John 4:11-12).

Saved? Then, live out love.

Posted in Christian Living, Devotions, Encouragement, Improvement, Motivation, Wednesday Whisper | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Speak Life

When God speaks, things happen! A universe is created. Covenants are formed. Signs and wonders appear. When Jesus spoke, the raging sea became calm, the sick and demon-possessed were healed, food was multiplied, and the dead were raised to life.

Proverbs has much to say about the power of the spoken word. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit” (Proverbs 18:21). “The tongue that heals is a tree of life, but a devious tongue breaks the spirit” (Proverbs 15:4). And on a positive note, “Pleasant words are a honeycomb: sweet to the taste and health to the body” (Proverbs 16:24).

Jesus’ half-brother, James, warned about unruly tongues. “With the tongue we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in God’s likeness. Blessing and cursing come out of the same mouth. My brothers and sisters, these things should not be this way” (James 3:9-10).

With this in mind, let us think at least twice about what we speak today. What words of life, love, and encouragement should we share? Is there an apology we owe or gratefulness to bestow? Is there a kiss of kindness on our lips to bless someone else’s day?

May our goal be to “…shine like stars in the world, by holding firm to the word of life” (Philippians 2:15-16).

Speak life.

Posted in Christian Living, Devotions, Encouragement, Motivation, Wednesday Whisper | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

A Different Gospel?

With the nickname Cookie Monster and a lover of desserts, I am thrilled that there are a gazillion recipes for cookies, cakes, pastries, etc. Probably hundreds for chocolate chip cookies alone!

When it comes to the gospel, however, the Apostle Paul made it clear that there is only one recipe for salvation, only one gospel. The Galatian churches in the first century had been infiltrated with false teachers who had suggested that something else was needed beyond the Lord Jesus Christ dying on the cross for our sins in order for people to be saved.

These false teachers from the Jewish faith wanted to require non-Jews to follow some Jewish laws and traditions. Simply put, they wanted to add works to God’s gift of grace.

Paul strongly reminded the early church leaders, including those who had been with Jesus, that no one could be justified or made righteous by following the law because all are sinners. Instead he clarified, “So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law” (Galatians 2:16).

In another letter, Paul wrote, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Multiple gospels? No. Paul states that if anyone preaches a gospel other than salvation through Jesus Christ, it is no gospel at all. Gospel means good news. Religions that teach there are ‘works’ you have to do in order to be saved are ‘bad news.’

Jesus did the work. It is done. Believe in Him. There is nothing else you have to do to earn your salvation.

May you receive His gift with joy!

Posted in Christian Living, Devotions, Encouragement, Evangelistic Message, Salvation, Wednesday Whisper | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Rule Number One

House rules, school rules. Rules for driving, rules for riding and flying, rules for board games, sports, and even social media posts. The list goes on. As a teacher, I always felt badly for kids as the first day of school was unavoidably chockful of classroom rules, playground rules, cafeteria rules, line rules, and more.

Some people are comfortable with rules. For them, rules provide boundaries and safeguards. They give clear expectations. These individuals usually enjoy following the rules and are proud when they do.

Others wish rules were erased. They desire to be free to do whatever they want. They hate being told what to do and what not to do. These individuals may be found boldly bragging that they broke the rules.

God shared His rules in Old Testament times, but before He spoke the Ten Commandments, He said, “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery” (Exodus 20:2). He reminded Israel who He was and what He had done for them. He desired a right relationship with His people.

Then, God shared His number one rule, “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3). He was to be their ‘Number One.’ Number One meant they were not to worship other gods, not place other things or people before their relationship with Him.

This command is restated by Jesus in the New Testament. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30). Again, God’s desire is for us to put Him first. When we do, we are sure to be blessed. “Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust” (Psalm 40:4).

Go with God. He rules!

Posted in Bible, Christian Living, Devotions, Life Purpose, Motivation, Wednesday Whisper | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Take a Chance

Recently, I was invited to join a group of ladies at an English teahouse. Everything about it was a new experience. Besides not knowing what to wear, I would only know one other person! I could have easily bowed (or curtseyed) out but decided to take a chance and try the adventure.

You may have similar thoughts when someone invites you to church or church event. Our imaginations run wild and we can become anxious or we can ask questions and do a little research. If someone invites you, ask what people wear, the length of the service, what happens during the service, the tone of the atmosphere, etc. Nowadays, it helps that many services can be viewed online for a sneak peek.

There are lots of great churches that preach the Word of God, have excellent music, and work hard to make all feel welcome. If a sincere friend makes the invitation, it is doubtful they will steer you wrong. Take the chance especially if you are not regularly attending church. Scripture says, “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing” (Hebrews 10:25a).

New experiences can be intimidating, especially if you don’t know what to expect. But if it sounds like an encouraging, uplifting experience, why not give it a try? A little FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) could do us a little good and may actually be a first step to an amazing transformed life.

As for the tea, I enjoyed lovely conversation, made connections with new friends, ate lots of yummy treats, and tasted clotted cream. I would definitely have missed out if I had not taken a chance.

Posted in Christian Living, Devotions, Encouragement, Improvement, Motivation, Wednesday Whisper | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

An Empty Page

Hi! I’m Teresa’s keyboard. It appears she doesn’t know what to write today so I’m taking over. I saw her looking through a list of memory verses, and browsing through her Bible, and even closing her eyes but she still looks blank. So, I thought I’d step in because sending an empty page would be embarrassing!

On the other hand, an empty page might be just the key. I’ve observed you humans racing at a sprinter’s pace for quite a while now. You have To Do lists, filled calendars, and daily agendas. I was wondering how your time with God was going. Do you come to Him with your To Do lists, plans completed, and your ‘all together’ face on?

Let’s go back to the idea of an empty page. What if you started the day with, “Hey, God! What would You like me to do today? What would You like to write on my calendar?” Or better yet, “What would You like to write on my heart?”

Scripture talks about God’s desire to write His law on your hearts and minds (Jeremiah 31:33). He also has a plan for you. “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 29:11).

Perhaps, you and Teresa should all create some blank space and allow God to fill it. Give Him permission to write on your heart and mind as well as your schedule. And make time to listen to His plans for you. Allow Him to mold and make you into the person He wants you to be. After all, He’s been in the creation business a long time.

Posted in Christian Living, Devotions, Encouragement, Motivation, Wednesday Whisper | Tagged , , | 4 Comments