Love Covers Over All Wrongs

My experience when dealing with the pain and hurts others inflict on us has been to hold onto the pain. Turn it over and over in my mind where it has the opportunity to pull the scab off the wound and re-inflict pain all over again.

Definitely not the best way to deal with such things.

The Bible tells us love covers all wrongs. And, of course, that’s true. The problem I see is we often refuse to allow love to cover all wrongs. We might let it cover some wrongs, but hold onto those we feel don’t deserve to be covered with love’s forgiveness.

Am I the only one who does this? I think not.

With that said, I’d like to share a devotion I recently read in Streams in the Desert.

At midnight I found myself completely unable to sleep. Waves of cruel injustice were sweeping over me, and the covering of love seemed to have been unknowingly removed from my heart. In great agony I cried to God for the power to obey his admonition, ‘Love covers over all wrongs.’

From here the writer explains God’s Spirit began to work the power into her that ultimately brought about forgetfulness.

She mentally dug a grave until the hole was very deep. She lowered the offense that wounded her into the grave. Quickly she shoveled the soil over it. Then she covered the hole with green sod, planted beautiful white roses and forget-me-nots on top, and Briskly walked away.

The wound that seemed so deadly was healed without a scar. God’s love covered the hurt. The pain. The wound. Completely.

So here’s what I receive from this devotion. Perhaps you receive the same. Perhaps you receive something different.

When we cry out to God for help, his Spirit will work in us if we let him. He will bring us peace. When we insist on carrying wounds and refuse his help, peace will elude us.

It’s easier to truly forgive when we rely on God’s help. We might think we’ve forgiven, but quickly realize otherwise when the great deceiver, Satan, dredges up our past hurts.

I love the writer’s description of digging a grave – a very deep grave – to throw our wound into.

The offended did not stand over the open grave rehearsing the hurt. She QUICKLY shoveled dirt over the offense.

Then she planted something beautiful over the grave. She thought on what is lovely, noble, honorable, and of good report. She thought on the things of God.

With that done, she BRISKLY walked away. She didn’t loiter or spend time wondering if forgiving was the right thing to do. She didn’t jab her shovel back into the ground and exhume the hurt. Nope. She walked away.

As she left the wound in the grave, God’s love covered the hurt, and she was completely healed.

There was a scar on yonder mountainside,

Gashed out where once the cruel storm had trod;

A barren, desolate chasm, reaching wide

Across the soft green sod.

But years crept by beneath the purple pines,

And veiled the scar with grass and moss once more,

And left it fairer now with flowers and vines

Than it had been before.

There was a wound once in a gentle heart,

From which life’s sweetness seemed to ebb and die;

And love’s confiding changed to bitter smart,

While slow, sad years went by.

Yet as they passed, unseen an angel stole

And laid a balm of healing on the pain,

Till love grew purer in the heart made whole,

And peace came back again.

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Hate stirs up trouble, but love forgives all offenses. Proverbs 10:12 (GNT)

You can find my January Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.


The Vocal Ten

courtesy pixabayThe vocal ten.

Ten men among twelve.

Ten men who feared the unknown more than they trusted the known.

Ten men whose actions forced a nation to wander in a desert wasteland for forty years, when the journey could have taken mere days.

Ten men whose fear fueled a rebellion against God.

Many of us are familiar with the story of the twelve Hebrew spies who went on a reconnaissance mission into the land of Canaan. A land God promised they would take. Moses sent the spies on a forty day mission to scout out the land. He wasn’t checking to see if the land could be taken. God already told him it could be taken. The spies’ mission was to scope out the land and come back with a report so plans for conquest could be drawn up.

Even though the vocal ten saw a bountiful land, they focused on the giants instead. The skeptical, fearful vocal ten forgot God is bigger than any giant we might face. They came back convinced, despite God’s promise, the land could not be conquered.

Caleb and Joshua, the other two spies sent on the recon mission, wanted to enter the land at once. Yes. There were giants, but these two argued the land could be conquered because God would go before them. Just as he had ever since they left Egypt.

Because of their lack of faith and fear, the ten convinced the rest of the million or so Hebrew travelers with them their efforts to take the land were futile. They spread fear throughout the camp.

Not only did their words and thoughts fuel their own fears, they stoked the fears of the rest of the people. They riled the crowd up to an illogical frenzy based on a fear-bred lack of faith.

Then the whole community began weeping aloud, and they cried all night. Their voices rose in a great chorus of protest against Moses and Aaron. “If only we had died in Egypt, or even here in the wilderness!” they complained. “Why is the Lord taking us to this country only to have us die in battle? Our wives and our little ones will be carried off as plunder! Wouldn’t it be better for us to return to Egypt?” (Numbers 14:1-9)

Just as was the case of the vocal ten who shouted over Caleb and Joshua, and whose fear won the people over to their way of thinking – much to their eventual detriment when we remember Caleb and Joshua were the only original people in the exodus from Egypt God allowed to finally enter the Promised Land forty years later –  our words matter.

Our words have consequences.

Our words can heal or cause division.

Our words can fuel fear of fuel faith.

And most importantly, our words show where we put our trust.

Instead of being like the vocal ten, and using our words to fuel fear and distrust, how about we use our words to fuel others’ faith in the Word of the Immutable Unchanging Promise Keeper God?

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But Caleb tried to quiet the people as they stood before Moses. “Let’s go at once to take the land,” he said. “We can certainly conquer it!”

But the other men who had explored the land with him disagreed. “We can’t go up against them! They are stronger than we are!” So they spread this bad report about the land among the Israelites: “The land we traveled through and explored will devour anyone who goes to live there. All the people we saw were huge.We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak. Next to them we felt like grasshoppers, and that’s what they thought, too!” Numbers 13:30-33 (NLT)

You can find my January Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.


God Doesn’t Show Favoritism

courtesy pixabayAlthough the Bible tells us God doesn’t show favoritism, and neither should we, I wonder. Are there times in our lives where we have shown favoritism?

I’m guessing the answer is yes. In those times when we’ve behaved in such a way, would we have to admit by doing so, we pushed someone further away from God by our actions than we moved them closer to him?

Sadly, I know that to be true for me.

One particular episode comes to mind. I can’t say for sure how old I was at the time. Probably somewhere in early high school. It was summer. As my girlfriends and I came from Sunday school into the church sanctuary, I noticed a girl I recognized from school.

We weren’t friends, or anything. We’d only seen each other in the halls. Or maybe we had a class together. She was kind of on the periphery. Not really involved in the things I was involved with. Still, when she recognized me her face lit up as she said hello.

She was by herself, which I thought odd and brave at the same time. What teenage girl goes to a new church by herself? When she approached, I knew I couldn’t just pretend I didn’t see her.

And here’s the thing. The thought to pretend I didn’t see her should have never entered my mind. I should have been eager to go say hello and invite her to sit with me. But I wasn’t.

The first thing she told me was, “I got baptized last week at Ocean City during a beach service. The preacher told me I should come to this church when I got home.”

My first thought was, way cool getting baptized in the ocean. My second thought was, only hippies get baptized in the ocean.

See the problem?

Like Peter, I had per-conceived thoughts and ideas – prejudices – about what was clean and unclean. What was right and not right. What saved a person and what didn’t.

So very very wrong.

God doesn’t put these kind of human parameters on who can be saved and who can’t. God doesn’t show favoritism. God treats everyone on the same basis. We are all sinners in need of a Savior, and Jesus is the answer.

I wish my friends and I had behaved more Christ-like. We were polite. We invited her to sit with us that day, but really didn’t invite her into our circle. She may have returned once or twice more. After that, I never saw her again. Who could blame her?

Why should she want to come back to a group of hypocritical girls who sang about loving Jesus, yet never exhibited the love of Jesus?

Girls who long ago accepted Christ as their Savior yet didn’t know how to share in the excitement and enthusiasm of a newly saved life.

How very very sad.

Retelling this to you all makes me feel like I failed this girl in so many ways. But you know what? Thanks be to God, my witness, or lack of, was not the only exposure she had to the love of Christ.

Someone on a beach in eastern Maryland during the 1970s loved God and loved people enough to preach the message of the Good News of Jesus Christ to a group of beach goers. That group included a high school girl who accepted Jesus as her Savior.

I pray God brought her to a group of people who showed her the true love of Jesus. A group of believers who accepted her as a child of God. Believers who know for certain God doesn’t show favoritism even when we do.

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

 Peter said, “Now I know for certain that God doesn’t show favoritism with people but treats everyone on the same basis. It makes no difference what race of people one belongs to. If they show deep reverence for God, and are committed to doing what’s right, they are acceptable before him. Acts 10:34-35 (TPT)

You can find my January Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.


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A Timeless Prayer

Five days ago we closed out 2020. As we look toward 2021, I leave you with a timeless prayer written decades ago. This prayer comes from a clipping in a paper my father received for years from his Masonic Lodge. I found this among other clippings in his  nightstand when he died in 1980, three months after he turned 62.

I don’t know the author of this prayer, but I hope you will find his thoughts worth considering.

Let me do my work each day, and if the darkened hours of despair overcome me, may I not forget the strength that comforted me in the desolation of other times. May I still remember the bright hours that found me walking over the silent hills of my childhood, or dreaming on the margin of the quiet river, when a light glowed within me and I promised my early God to have courage amid the tempest of the changing years. Spare me from the bitterness and sharp passions of unguarded moments.

May I not forget that poverty and riches are of the spirit. Though the world know me not, may my thoughts and actions be such as shall keep me friendly with my self. Lift my eyes from the earth and let me forget the uses of the stars. Forbid that I should judge others lest I condemn myself.

Let me me not follow the clamor of the world, but walk humbly in my path. Give me a few friends who will love me for what I am, and keep ever burning before my vagrant footsteps, the kindly light of hope. And though age and infirmity overtake me, and I come not in sight of the castle of my dreams, teach me to be thankful for life, and for time’s olden memories, that are good and sweet, and may the evening twilight find me gentle still.

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I am crying aloud to You, O True God,  for I long to know Your answer. Hear me, O God. Hear my plea. Hear my prayer for help. Psalm 17:6 (VOICE)

You can find my January Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.


Seasonal Scripture Verses

For today’s post I am sharing several seasonal Scripture verses. Some verses we associate with the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. Some verses we associate with our celebration of Christ’s sacrificial death.

As we read these Scripture verses, let’s not forget we cannot celebrate Christmas without celebrating Christ Jesus’ Resurrection.

A child is born to us!
    A son is given to us!
    And he will be our ruler.
He will be called, “Wonderful Counselor,”
    “Mighty God,” “Eternal Father,”
    “Prince of Peace.”
His royal power will continue to grow;
    his kingdom will always be at peace.
He will rule as King David’s successor,
    basing his power on right and justice,
    from now until the end of time.
The Lord Almighty is determined to do all this. Isaiah 9:6-7 (GNT)

That night, in a field near Bethlehem, there were shepherds watching over their flocks. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared in radiant splendor before them, lighting up the field with the blazing glory of God, and the shepherds were terrified! But the angel reassured them, saying, “Don’t be afraid. For I have come to bring you good news, the most joyous news the world has ever heard! And it is for everyone everywhere! For today in Bethlehem a rescuer was born for you. He is the Lord Yahweh, the Messiah. You will recognize him by this miracle sign: You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a feeding trough.

Then all at once, a vast number of glorious angels appeared, the very armies of heaven! And they all praised God, singing:

“Glory to God in the highest realms of heaven! For there is peace and a good hope given to the sons of men.” Luke 2:8-14 (TPT))

Who has believed our message? To whom has the Lord revealed his powerful arm?
 My servant grew up in the Lord’s presence like a tender green shoot, like a root in dry ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him. He was despised and rejected—a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care. Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.

All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all. He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. Unjustly condemned, he was led away. No one cared that he died without descendants, that his life was cut short in midstream.
But he was struck down for the rebellion of my people. He had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone. But he was buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man’s grave.

 But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have many descendants. He will enjoy a long life, and the Lord’s good plan will prosper in his hands. When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied.

And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins. I will give him the honors of a victorious soldier, because he exposed himself to death. He was counted among the rebels. He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels. Isaiah 53 (NLT)

He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. 1 Peter 2:24 (NIV)

Today and always may we never forget the baby in the manger, whose birth we celebrate each December 25th, is also the Sacrificial Lamb who was slain for the sins of the world, that all may have life and have it abundantly. Jesus is Christ the Messiah. King of kings and LORD of lords. To him be glory, honor, and praise now and forever. Amen.

Do you have a favorite Scripture verse you read at Christmas?

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

You can find my December Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.


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Do You Have Room?

Have you ever wondered how the innkeeper felt when he told Mary and Joseph there was no room for them in his inn?

When I was young I thought the innkeeper rather mean to turn them away. I wondered why he couldn’t squeeze them in somehow. Move things around. Make room amidst his crowded inn, and crowded life, for them to stay until Mary gave birth and recovered.

Maybe he was mean. Or maybe he was just preoccupied with all the busyness that surrounded him as he ran his overflowing inn and accommodated his patrons. Perhaps he just could not handle two more people and a soon-to-be-born infant.

Do you think the innkeeper regretted his decision once the multitude of angels’ voices filled the night air above his stable? Do you think he wondered what all the hub-bub was about? Do you think the innkeeper searched back in his memory to the scriptures he learned as a child about the Promised Messiah being born in the city of David?

Maybe. Then again, maybe not.

My intention is not to paint the man in a poor light. Nope. Not at all. My intention is for each of us to look at ourselves and see how much like the innkeeper we might be.

Have we told Jesus there is no room in our lives for him right now because of our busy schedules? We’re full up and consumed by other things at the moment. Maybe later.

Are we preoccupied with keeping the things in our lives running smoothly and do not need to add studying the Bible to our ever growing to-do list?

Does our busyness leave Jesus out in the cold of night until a more convenient time?

I don’t know. I only know the innkeeper couldn’t find room for Jesus.

Maybe his story is a lesson for us not to leave the Messiah out of our lives either. If our lives have become as crowded and filled with the things of this world as the innkeeper’s house, perhaps it is time we moved things out of the way so Jesus has a place to stay.

Do you have room for the Savior?

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So Joseph left Nazareth, a town in Galilee, and went to the town of Bethlehem in Judea, known as the town of David. Joseph went there because he was from the family of David. Joseph registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was now pregnant.  While they were in Bethlehem, the time came for Mary to have the baby, and she gave birth to her first son. Because there were no rooms left in the inn, she wrapped the baby with pieces of cloth and laid him in a feeding trough. Luke 2:4-7 (NCV)

You can find my December Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.


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Mary Said Yes

The Annunciation painting at Señora de Loreto de la Bahía chapel Goliad, Texas. Notice the rattlesnake, Satan, in the lower right corner.

When the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and told her she was highly favored by God, Mary said yes. Not only did the mother of Christ say yes to delivering the Son of the LORD Most High, Mary said yes to a whole lot more.

Have you ever considered that? Have you ever considered what saying yes cost Mary?

Considering the laws of the day, Mary knew saying yes might cost her the future she planned with Joseph. It might cost her his love, his devotion, his protection. Saying yes could very easily cost Mary her life once news of her un-wed pregnancy got out in the public.

For certain it cost her reputation and countless wagging fingers and tongues. Don’t you think?

Nevertheless, Mary the mother of Christ willingly laid down her hopes and dreams to be the vessel The Almighty Father could use to fulfill his plan of salvation to a lost and dying world. 

By saying yes to God’s plan, Mary said yes to traveling to Bethlehem on the back of a donkey at a very pregnant nine months. She said yes to giving birth to God’s son in a cold, dank, stable away from the care of her mother and other family members.

She said yes to having strangers see her child before those close to her saw him. She said yes to the bewilderment and awe Jesus’ birth created. She said yes when Joseph told her God said they should leave and flee to Egypt. Egypt? Hadn’t God warned his people not to go down to Egypt?

Mary said yes when her son left home to become an itinerant preacher.

She continued to say yes to God even when her yes led to the foot of the cross where her precious dearly loved son was brutally murdered by the very ones he died to save.

I imagine some of Mary’s yeses weren’t easy. Still. The one highly favored, highly blessed, by the Lord trusted him enough to say yes when Gabriel appeared to her in Nazareth. And she kept right on saying yes.

Oh that we would have such faith and trust to lay down our own hopes and dreams to  answer yes to each of God’s opportunities to be part of his plans and purposes.

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The angel came to her and said, “Peace be with you! The Lord is with you and has greatly blessed you!”

 Mary was deeply troubled by the angel’s message, and she wondered what his words meant. The angel said to her, “Don’t be afraid, Mary; God has been gracious to you. You will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High God. The Lord God will make him a king, as his ancestor David was, and he will be the king of the descendants of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end!”

“I am the Lord’s servant,” said Mary; “may it happen to me as you have said.” And the angel left her. Luke 1:28-33, 38 (GNT)

You can find my December Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.


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Pause for Poetry-In Bethlehem

In Bethlehem

Annie Johnson Flint

‘Twas night in little Bethlehem,
All calm and clear and mild,
And tenderly, with voice and touch,
A mother soothed her child;
“Sleep, little one, the day is done,
Why do you wake so long?”
“Oh, mother dear, I seem to hear
A wondrous angel song.”
“Not so, my son, my precious one,
‘Twas but the wind you heard,
Or drowsy call of dreaming bird,
Or osiers by the streamlet stirred
Beneath the hillside trees;
Some bleating lamb that’s gone astray,
Or traveler singing on his way
His weariness to ease.
Rest, little son, till night is done,
And gloomy darkness flees.”
Yet while she spoke the shepherds ran
In haste the road along,
To find the Mother and the Babe,
For they had heard the song.

“Rest, little son, the night’s begun,
Why do you toss and sigh?”
“A brighter star than others are,
O’er yon low roof hangs nigh.”
“Not so, my son, my darling one,
I see no gleaming star
That shines more bright than others are;
‘Tis but a lamp that burns afar,
Or glow-worm’s wandering spark;
Some shepherd’s watch-fire in the night,
Or traveler’s torch that blazes bright
To cheer him through the dark.
Sleep, little son, till night is done,
And upward springs the lark.”
Yet, while she spoke, three kings had come,
Three kings who rode from afar,
To lay their gifts at Jesus’ feet,
For they had seen the star.

And so today, beside our way,
The heavenly portents throng,
Yet some there be who never see
The Star, nor hear the Song.

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You can find my December Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.


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Share the Story of Jesus

This time of year is usually a flurry of activity with plays, music performances, Nativity reenactments, and stories galore. But not this year. While some of these events may still take place, I do not believe during our time of Corona Virus social distancing they will take place to the full extent they have in years past.

The Christmas before Pie’s fifth birthday he was a shepherd in the church Christmas program. He wanted to share the story of Jesus. He knew his part, plus everyone else’s parts. When the teen next to Pie forgot his lines during one point of the performance, Pie nudged him with his elbow and said, “It’s your turn.” Then Pie proceeded to feed the teen his lines.

While many of us share the story of Jesus’ birth this time of year, I wonder. Are we as excited to share the story of Jesus’ life, death, resurrection and what that means to the world?

As the last days of the Apostle Peter’s life drew near, he made it his mission to share the story of Jesus with his listeners. He wanted to “wake them up with a reminder” so they would not forget how the story of Peter’s life was entwined with the story of Jesus’ life.

The words Peter preached were not cleverly contrived myths. They were eyewitness accounts of Christ’s majesty. Peter warned the early believers not to become complacent. He warned them not to let the things of the world keep them from believing the story of Jesus.

The same warnings hold true for followers of Jesus today.

While we may not be in a position to share in the story of Jesus’ birth through a Christmas performance this year, we can share in the story of Jesus everyday, regardless of the date on a calendar.

How do you share in the story of Jesus?

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We have not depended on made-up stories in making known to you the mighty coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. With our own eyes we saw his greatness. We were there when he was given honor and glory by God the Father, when the voice came to him from the Supreme Glory, saying, “This is my own dear Son, with whom I am pleased!” We ourselves heard this voice coming from heaven, when we were with him on the holy mountain. 2 Peter 1:16-1

I wish you well.


The Warmth of Christ’s Love

One of the books my family owned when I grew up was The Christmas Book, a collection of forty-five Christmas stories and poems. How do I know it had forty-five stories and poems? That book still sits on my shelf today.

At one inch thick this book was enormous to my small hands. Still, I tugged it off the bookshelf often and flipped the pages one by one. At first all I could do was look at the pictures. Next, I asked others to read stories to me. Then the day came when I was able to read the words on each page by myself.

Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Match Girl was one of my favorite stories. I returned to it over and over. Although it does have a happily-ever-after ending, the story itself is rather sad. If you have read it, perhaps you understand.

In this post I’ll briefly give a story synopsis, so if you haven’t read the story, be forewarned.

The spark for this post came when I recently pulled that book off my bookshelf and turned the faded, fragile pages to page 281, and once again read the story that held my attention all those many years ago.

The Little Match Girl is the story of a young girl who lives with her strict father in a rundown shack. Her job is to sell matches. Christmas Eve she finds herself cold, hungry, and alone on the street with only her small handful of matches.

Three separate times she lights a match in an attempt to stay warm. Each time she envisions beautiful, wondrous sights. Near the end of the story a star falls, reminding the little girl what her grandmother told her before the grandmother died. “When a star falls from the sky, someone is dying and their soul goes up to God.”

Believing she sees her grandmother, the little girl asks her grandmother to take her with her.

This time, however, it isn’t a vision. The grandmotherly woman the girl sees is real. She takes the match girl home to live with her forever.

The end.

Or is it?

We may find ourselves cold, hungry, and alone in the world and wish someone cared enough to notice us. To love us. To provide for and protect us. We’ve lit every single match we hold and still, nothing. It all goes up in smoke. We feel as if all is hopeless.

That is, until Jesus steps into our lives, picks us up from the cold stone step we’ve sat on, and carries us to his home. A home he prepared for us which is more beautiful and wondrous than we could ever imagine. It’s warm. We’re safe. We smell delicious food. Jesus is smiling at us. He tells us he wants us to be his child forever.

Will we accept?

The choice is ours to make. We can stay outside the warmth of Christ’s love, or we can jump right into his arms and be safe now and forever.

The little match girl chose to stay safe with the lady who wanted to adopt her. What choice will we make?

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

“Do not be worried and upset,” Jesus told them. “Believe in God and believe also in me. There are many rooms in my Father’s house, and I am going to prepare a place for you. I would not tell you this if it were not so. And after I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to myself, so that you will be where I am.” John 14: 1-3 (GNT)

You can find my December Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.