A Love Poem – 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

A Love Poem 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Today for our weekly dose of Monday Motivation, I would like to share with you a poem my mother wrote many years ago. It’s a take on 1 Corinthians 13. This passage of scripture is something we are all familiar with. It is often read at weddings and so when we hear it our thoughts naturally turn to a romantic kind of love.

But this poem refers to the love that Jesus has for each one of us. His love is a perfect love, full of hope and forgiveness. And He freely gives this love to those of us who love Him and are called by His name.

Valentine’s Day is almost here. Some of us are looking forward to spending time with the love of our life and some of us are still looking for that special someone. No matter which camp you fall into, I pray that you will know the love of Jesus and join me in celebrating a life lived for and with Him.

God bless you and your love this Valentine’s Day!

Love
Love is patient
But is not slow
Love is kind
Much more than we know
Love is not jealous
But is God’s plan
Love is not boastful
And on it we stand
Love is not rude
But covers our sin
Love isn’t vengeful
It cleanses within
Love endures all
And Christ’s blood set us free
Love never fails
So free we will be.

written by: Charlotte Rowland

artwork titled Love One Another by Master's Hand Collection
By | 2018-02-12T15:16:19+00:00 February 12th, 2018|Love, Monday Motivation|2 Comments

Race to the Finish – 1 Corinthians 9:24-26

Race to the Finish 1 Corinthians 9:24-26

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into submission, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.
                                                                                          

                                                            1 Corinthians 9:24-27

During Biblical times, there was an athletic competition similar to our Olympics. The Isthmian Games where held in the city of Corinth every two years. Athletes would train hard and devote themselves completely to the Games. Then, and only then, they would be allowed to compete in an event. Along with the bragging rights of a true companion, the winner would receive a pine wreath crown. The Apostle Paul likened the life of a Christian to that of a competitor in the Isthmian Games. But instead of bragging rights and a crown of pine, after we have run the race, we receive eternal life with Jesus.

There are certain qualities that an athlete must have in order to perform at the Olympic level. And I thought it would be fun to look at some of these qualities and compare them to what we as Christians can do to perform at a top level in our walk with Christ.

First, we need a Goal.

Every athlete has a goal in mind when they practice and when they compete. Without a goal there wouldn’t be a desire to win or a reason to show up at the competition. That goal is their main focus in life and their eye is always on it. They are always in pursuit of their goal and nothing will stop them from achieving it.

Every Christian has a call from God on their life, and each of us should set our goal on that call. We should be pressing forward or deliberately pursuing that goal. Just as an athlete sets their eyes on the gold medal or a Super Bowl ring, we must set our eyes on Jesus and make sure that He is the main focus of our lives. He is what we are pressing toward. His call on our life is the goal, and nothing will keep us from getting to that goal.

Every Christian has a call from God on their life, and each of us should set our goal on that call.Click To Tweet

Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
                                                                                              Philippians 3:13-14

Second, we must work hard and show Discipline.

It takes hard work to get from the goal to the prize. We tend to think that people are born with a natural ability to be a top tier athlete. Either you have it, or you don’t. But an athlete needs discipline to reach the top of the podium. It is everyday practice and discipline that makes them able to train their bodies to perform at such a high level. Discipline makes them get out of bed every day and practice, even when their body is tired or injured. Discipline propels them forward when nothing else will. Discipline is what creates winners.

Just as an athlete needs discipline to go from a goal to the prize, we also need discipline in our daily lives. We should be training ourselves by praying, reading and mediating on God’s Word. These are some of the ways that we can work to put our faith into practice every day. When we do, God promises that we will be rewarded for our efforts and our goal will become closer and closer.

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
                                                                                          1 Corinthians 15:58
                           
Third, we should have endurance and Perseverance.

A track runner is trained to only see the hurdle in front of them, not to look past it for the next one. They jump over the first hurdle, then move on to the next. Eventually they get to the last hurdle and then the finish line is in sight. They show perseverance through each hurdle until the race is over.

That’s how we need to be, focused on what God has put right in front of us. There will always hurdles to overcome in life and many things will distract us from our goal. At times the finish line will seem to be just out of sight. But when we have perseverance and look to Jesus, “the finisher of the faith” we will be able to run with endurance and see the finish line clearly up ahead.  

Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin that so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
                                                                                             Hebrews 12:1-2

It’s easy to feel weighted down and discouraged. When you don’t see any forward movement the finish line seems so far away. But Jesus has already won the victory for us! And when we set our goal on Him and run the race before us, we will receive everything we need to make it to that goal. We can race to the finish with confidence in our Savior Jesus Christ.

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Picture, Olympic rings made of plasma copyright Filip Susanek used under license of Dreamstime.

By | 2018-02-12T16:29:28+00:00 February 7th, 2018|4th of July, Christian Life|0 Comments

The Birth Announcement – Luke 2:11

The Birth Announcement Luke 2:11

We all love babies because they bring us so much joy. We eagerly await their arrival and when the birth announcement comes in the mail we can’t wait to hear… is it a boy or a girl, how much do they weigh, how long are they? That birth announcement becomes a keepsake that we cherish. I have the birth announcements from my family going back several generations. They hold a special place in my heart because those people are so dear to me.

It’s a joyous occasion the first time we see that baby. We take a deep breath in and smell that scent only babies have, we feel their soft skin, then count their fingers and toes.  A new life has begun. It’s an exciting moment!

But there was once another birth announcement that was even more exciting. The birth of Jesus!

For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

Luke 2:11

The angel who made this announcement may not have told us the baby’s weight or whether or not He had a full head of hair when He was born, but we learn something much more important about the baby born in Bethlehem that day. Jesus is given three titles upon his birth, Savior, Christ and Lord. Each of these titles is important and separate.

Savior…

Jesus came to earth for the sole reason of saving us from our sin. He is the only source of salvation and the only way to the Father in heaven. Because of Him we can have forgiveness of sin and eternal life through Him.

For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.

                                                                                                Luke 19:10

Christ…

When we hear Christ, we think of it as a name, but it is a title and not a name. It means Messiah or Anointed One. There are many references to the coming Messiah, the Son of God, in the Old Testament and this angel clearly states that this baby born to us is that promised Messiah. He is special because He is the only one. There is no one else like Jesus. He alone is the Anointed One of God.

Therefore God, Your God has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions.

                                                                                            Psalm 45:7

Lord…

This title of Lord means Ruler or God. It tells us that Jesus is divine in nature. He is both man and God and will rule over creation with the Father.

For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form.

                                                                                        Colossians 2:9

These three titles define the man who would soon die on a cross for our sin. Jesus is the Savior of the world, the promised Messiah and the Ruler of all creation. Today, let’s celebrate the most important birth announcement in history, the baby Jesus!

artwork Savior by Master's Hand Collection

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By | 2018-02-04T19:48:09+00:00 December 20th, 2017|Christmas|0 Comments

God With Us – Isaiah 7:4

God With Us Isaiah 7:14

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son and she will call His name Immanuel.

Isaiah 7:14

Jesus has many names and titles, and within this verse we learn His name, Immanuel, which means “God with us”.

Each part of the Holy Trinity has a unique role to play with humanity. And from His name, Immanuel, we see that Jesus is the part of the Godhead come to earth.

Long before Jesus was born in a manger, Isaiah prophesied of the virgin birth and a child who would be called God with us, here on earth. In the book of Matthew we can see Isaiah’s prophesy of Immanuel fulfilled.

For that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins.
                                                                          Matthew 1:20-21

Jesus is God with us, and He is the also the only One who saves us from our sins. It was always the Father’s plan to send the Son to die for our sin, so we could be with Him in heaven eternally.

For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
                                                                         2 Corinthians 5:21

Jesus willingly gave up His rightful place of honor in heaven, came to earth to live the perfect life that we never could and became the sacrifice for our sin. He died in our place and filled the gap between heaven and earth. If we believe in Him, we are forgiven, become righteous in the sight of God and share in the inheritance of the Son. Then, Jesus is with us from that moment on.

As He ascended back into heaven after the resurrection, Jesus gave us the greatest promise we could ever receive…

And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
                                                                                        Matthew 28:20

Jesus wasn’t just God with us for the short time that He was physically here on earth, He is with us right now! This is promise that we as Christians hold tight to. Once we believe in Jesus and put our trust in Him, we are no longer alone. Whatever life throws at us, Jesus promises that He is always there and He will never leave us. When times are good, He is with us and celebrates our success. When times are bad, He is there to lift us up and get us through it.

This same faith that we have in Jesus, also gives us free and full access to the Father whenever we want it. We can boldly enter the throne of grace and seek God’s face. Whatever troubles we have, we can take them directly to God because He wants to have a real and loving relationship with each one of us. That is why He gave us His only Son, Immanuel, so that we could be with Him forever.

Because of the Father’s plan for Jesus to be God with us, we can be completely confident in our faith in Jesus! He has conquered sin and has made a way for us to have eternal life. And He will keep His promise to be with us to the end of the age because He is “God with us”.

I pray that you will feel the joyful presence of Immanuel in your life this Christmas season and always!

artwork titled Call His Name Jesus by Master's Hand Collection

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2 Older Posts.

Rachel Lee

12/15/2017 08:20:55 am

“By the same faith we have in Jesus, we also have free and FULL access to the Father.” Yes and Amen!
Great post! Thanks for sharing.
(visiting from Faith of Fire) 🙂

Connie from Master’s Hand Collection

12/15/2017 10:21:17 am

Hi Rachel! Thanks for stopping by. I’m so glad we’re friends and neighbors at Faith on Fire. I hope you have a blessed and Merry Christmas!

By | 2018-02-05T13:01:09+00:00 December 13th, 2017|Christmas|0 Comments

Jesus No Other Name – Acts 4:12

Jesus No Other Name Acts 4:12

​What’s the one thing you can’t live without? This question was asked of me not long ago. I know I’m supposed to say a toothbrush or something like that, but I gave it a lot of thought, and the answer became very clear to me, salvation.

Because without salvation there would be no hope, and without hope, there would be no future of an afterlife in heaven.

How can we receive salvation and the hope for a future that comes with it? Acts 4:12 makes it very clear that salvation comes from no other name than Jesus.

Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.
                                                                                       Acts 4:12

Jesus is the door that we must enter through if we want to receive the free gift of God’s grace and it is only through the blood of Jesus that we are saved. Jesus, Himself, said “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” John 14:6.

If we want to get to heaven, faith in Jesus is the one and only way to get there. But salvation is so much deeper than just getting to heaven. It is the beginning of an ongoing and lasting relationship with the one true Savior of the world, Jesus.

Jesus is the door that we must enter through if we want to receive the free gift of God’s grace and it is only through the blood of Jesus that we are saved.Click To Tweet

Because of this relationship, we can turn to Jesus in any circumstance. When life gets difficult, He is our refuge against the storm, protecting us from the wind and rain. When life is going well, He is our champion, cheering us on toward the goal He has set for us.

Jesus is always there. He is always faithful. Even when we are not.

I’m not perfect. I make mistakes and I don’t always do everything right. That’s why I need a Savior. Even though I don’t deserve it, God sent His Son to save me. Because of my faith in His Son, God has given me His grace and forgiveness of sins. He has made a way for me to spend eternity with Him. He did it because of His great love for me.

Jesus is always there. He is always faithful. Even when we are not.Click To Tweet

I’m so grateful for all that God has done. And I’m so thankful for a loving Savior who wants to have a real and meaningful relationship with me. Salvation comes from no other name than Jesus. And it is definitely the one thing I can’t live without.

For those of you who are already saved, today I pray that you will be encouraged and comforted by the name of Jesus!

For those of you who don’t know Jesus as your Savior, I pray that you will see the love that Jesus has for you. And I pray that you will find the hope in Him that is waiting for you.

To learn more about what it means to be “saved” you can find the answers about Accepting Jesus here.

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2 Older Comments.

there

12/6/2017 12:07:18 pm

Connie, your art work intrigues me. Are you a deaf interpreter?

I came up with another answer to your question. But by the end you had me convinced that Salvation is was better than my answer.

Connie from Master’s Hand Collection

12/6/2017 01:55:07 pm

Hi!
Thank you for your encouraging words. I’m not a deaf interpreter but I grew up in a church that had a deaf ministry and my childhood best friend had parents who were deaf. Sign Language has always fascinated me. My goal in creating this artwork is to share with other Christians how important it is to share the gospel with the deaf community. They are a very overlooked group of people and they need Jesus too. Thanks again and God bless!
P.S. What was your answer? What is it that you can’t live without?

By | 2018-02-12T16:27:59+00:00 December 6th, 2017|Jesus|0 Comments

Jesus Name Above All Names – Philippians 2:7-9

Jesus Name Above All Names Philippians 2:7-9

but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name. 

 Philippians 2:7-9

Recently, I was sitting in church, just going through the motions. I’ve had a lot on my mind lately and I was finding it hard to focus on the reason I was in church to begin with. Then, God spoke to my heart and gently reminded me why I was there.

Jesus is the reason. He is the One who gave His life for me and He deserves my awe! There is no one else like Jesus. He alone is the Son of God, the Savior of the world, and the Name Above All Names. He is the only One who is worthy of His title. The Father has exalted Him above all else, and I must do the same in my life!

There is no one else like Jesus. He alone is the Son of God, the Savior of the world, and the Name Above All Names.Click To Tweet

Sometimes it’s easy to forget and get caught up in the mundane things in life and lose focus. So, today I ask myself, has Jesus become common place in my life? Am I giving credit where credit is due? Am I in awe of the One who died to save me? Am I living my life in a way that brings glory to Him?

Jesus knew what he was facing when He came to earth. He knew that He would be separated from the Father as He never had been before and He knew that He would die a brutal death that was reserved for only the worst of criminals.

He could have saved Himself from such a painful death. He could have said I’m not the Son of God, I’m just the son of a carpenter and they would have let Him go. Likewise, He could have called upon all the angels in heaven to come down and defend Him and they could have easily destroyed the entire earth.

But Jesus didn’t do either of those things. Instead, He did as the Father asked. He left behind the glory of heaven, humbled Himself and became a servant. He did it for you and for me, so that we could live together with Him forever. He did it because of His great love for us! And for that sacrifice, God has exalted Him and given Him the name which is above all names. He alone is worthy of our praise!

Have you accepted Jesus as your Savior? If so, are you living your life for His glory? Today, my prayer for you, is that you will know the love of Jesus and make Him the focus of your life. May His love and peace fill your heart.

Together let’s celebrate Jesus, Name Above All Names!

Please leave a comment below and share the great things Jesus has done in your life.

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2 Older Comments.

Rebecca L Jones

11/22/2017 10:17:40 am

Such truth in your post, cares of the world, lust for other things, how easily it sneaks in on us. I love the artwork. Happy Thanksgiving.

Connie from Master’s Hand Collection

11/22/2017 11:12:02 am

Thanks so much! I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

By | 2018-02-12T16:37:04+00:00 November 22nd, 2017|Jesus|0 Comments

Light of the World Matthew 5:14

Light of the World Matthew 5:14

You are the light of the world. A city on the hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. 

Matthew 5:14-16

About a month ago, there was a commercial on TV for Bring Your Bible to School Day. It showed a group of teenagers wearing a basket on their heads as they went about their day. It was funny and a little bit silly too, but it conveyed the message clearly that our light cannot shine when it is hidden under a bushel.

Sometimes we find ourselves figuratively wearing a basket over our heads. Maybe we’re afraid of what people will think of us if we share our faith with them. Or we mistakenly assume that everyone has already heard the good news of Jesus. Satan would like for us to believe these lies and keep our faith to ourselves.

But Jesus has called Christians to be the light of world and to put our light up on a lampstand for everyone to see. It is our job to reflect the glowing light of Jesus and to be bold enough to take the basket off of our heads and let our light shine bright. When we do, these three things will happen…

Jesus has called Christians to be the light of world and to put our light up on a lampstand for everyone to see.Click To Tweet

#1 Opportunities to share our faith will open up.

How can someone ask us about our faith if they don’t know we have it to begin with? When people see us, they can tell that there is something different about our lives. And they want to know what that difference is. With each person we meet and with every question they ask, God opens up a new opportunity for us to share our faith. A seemingly chance encounter in the grocery store checkout line, or a random meeting at the DMV just might be the perfect time for us to share our faith with someone who needs the light of Christ in their lives. My pastor likes to call these “chance” encounters divine appointments. God loves to give them to us, especially when we least expect them. So, let’s be on the lookout for our next divine appointment and take every opportunity God gives us to let our light so shine before men.

#2 We will show the path to Jesus.

A lighthouse points the way to safety. It stands tall and shines brightly to keep a ship from crashing into the shore. And just like a lighthouse, we point the way to safety. Our light stands tall above the darkness of this world and shows the path to Jesus. It is a shining beacon of hope that keeps the unsaved of the world from crashing and burning into the despair of Satan’s lies and guides them into the loving arms of the Savior.

#3 We give God the glory!  

Most importantly our light gives God the glory for what He has done, for us and for everyone else. God sent His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross and be raised again to save us! And our lives have forever been changed because of it. We no longer have to live in guilt and shame because we have been forgiven. By letting our light shine, we are showing the world what Jesus has done for us and for them. And we give God the glory that rightfully belongs to Him.

We point the way to Jesus by reflecting His radiant light for everyone to see.Click To Tweet

Christians are the light of the world! The city on the hill and a shining beacon of hope. We point the way to Jesus by reflecting His radiant light for everyone to see. His light cannot be overshadowed or hidden from view. So, today I pray that we will be the light of the world and give glory to God for what He has done. May God bless you!

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6 Older Comments.

Ruth@plantedbylivingwaterr

11/2/2017 11:14:22 am

I definitely believe in divine encounters! It has happened to me numerous times.
May the Lord daily give us courage to let our light shine in the dark world around us instead of our trying to hide it under a bushel.
Thanks for this great reminder!

Connie from Master’s Hand Collection

11/2/2017 11:26:55 am

Hi Ruth! Thank you for your encouraging words. I’m saying a prayer for you today. May God bless you and give us all the courage to be the light of the world!

sue

11/3/2017 10:38:29 am

so true – how can someone ask me if they don’t know i am a woman of faith? super reminder and praying today I’ll shine and that someone will ask. Light to shine. Invited to invite.

Connie from Master’s Hand Collection

11/3/2017 03:59:30 pm

Thanks Sue, Praying for you today that your light will shine bright. God bless!

Rachel Lee

11/3/2017 04:06:14 pm

Connie, I love your ministry! Very original!

You wrote, “Sometimes we find ourselves figuratively wearing a basket over our heads.”
Yep. I can definitely relate to this. It’s a shame, but it’s true.

I believe in divine encounters, and I truly try to view every “chance encounter” as a divine encounter. We never know how we may impact another in our day to day life!

-Rachel

Connie from Master’s Hand Collection

11/3/2017 04:29:44 pm

Hi Rachel, Thank you for your kind words. They have uplifted me and encouraged my heart today! I’m saying a prayer for you, that you will also be encouraged.

By | 2018-02-12T16:41:29+00:00 November 1st, 2017|Christian Life|0 Comments

Salt of the Earth – Matthew 5:13

salt of the earth, salt and light, Matthew 5:13

You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. 

      Matthew 5:13

Everyone loves salty food! Potato chips, French fries (anything fried, right?), pizza, pretzels, and the list of yummy foods could go on forever… But doctors and dieticians tell us not to eat too many salty foods because they’re bad for our health. And they say we should check the amount of sodium on food labels. But more important than the amount of sodium in our diet is the amount of salt in our spiritual life. Even though we may not sprinkle salt liberally on our food it should be sprinkled on our hearts abundantly. Our spiritual health and the spiritual health of those around us depends on this kind of salt, even if our diet doesn’t.

We’ve all heard that Christians are to be “salt and light”. But what did Jesus mean when He said that we are “the salt of the earth”? And how can we apply that to our day to day lives.

To fully grasp what Jesus meant when He spoke these words, we need to understand the purpose of salt in Bible times and what salt symbolizes to us now in a modern world today. So, let’s look at some of the keys elements of salt together…

#1 Salt is Stable

Salt is a very stable substance. The molecules of sodium chloride form an ionic bond that is very strong. In the same way, salt symbolizes the strength of our stability in Jesus. Our faith is firmly bound together in the tangible, real truth of the Living Christ. This stable foundation we have in Him is as factual as the science of salt molecules.

#2 Salt is Life Sustaining

Salt is essential for life. Our physical bodies need a small amount of salt every day. Without the trace amount of minerals and electrolytes in it we will die. But spiritually, we must have an overflowing amount of salt. For ourselves, so that our spirit will flourish in this life and the next. And to season the lives of the people around us with the salt of God’s wisdom and love, so that they can have this life sustaining nutrient too.

#3 Salt creates Thirst

Each of us is born with a spiritual thirst inside of us. It starts out as a longing or a feeling of being parched but not knowing why. The longer this thirst goes on, the bigger it becomes. Until one day it’s full on dehydration that quickly becomes an undeniable need and must be filled right now.

Movie theatres put a lot of salt on popcorn to make us thirsty so they can upsell us a giant soft drink. As Christians, we don’t want to “sell” anyone our faith. We just want them to know who Jesus really is and to understand that our life is different from theirs because of Him. So our goal is to sprinkle our spiritual salt around in a way that allows the world to see Jesus and become thirsty for what He offers. The “secret” Christians have is simple. We know that Jesus is the only One who has the power to quench the spiritual thirst inside each of us.

Each of us is born with a spiritual thirst inside of us. It starts out as a longing or a feeling of being parched but not knowing why.Click To Tweet

#4 Salt Preserves

God created our bodies with a need to eat. And with that need comes another, preserving food for future consumption. Since God created us, it’s no wonder that He also gave us a natural way to preserve our food with salt. But modern technology has replaced our need to preserve food naturally. Now that we have refrigerators, chemicals and 24 hour grocery stores we’ve conveniently forgotten how to salt meat and can vegetables. But salt has been used as a food preservative for centuries.

This is exactly what Jesus was talking about when He said that we are “the salt of the earth”. As Christians we understand that Jesus is the only One who can truly preserve life. And we know He took our place on the cross and became the life preserving salt that we desperately needed Him to be.

But because of what Jesus has done for us, it is our responsibility to be the salt for others. Not that we can preserve their life, we know we can’t. But we can point the way to Jesus, the Preserver of life!

#5 Salt can lose its flavor

When salt loses its flavor, it also loses its purpose and becomes useless. The common practice in Jesus’s day was to throw tasteless salt out onto the street where it would be trampled on by people and animals.

Sometimes we lose our saltiness as believers. We don’t intend to, it just happens. We get caught up in our mundane daily routines, go through crisis after crisis or get hurt by another church member. Little by little we lose our taste for salvation. The incredible joy we once felt diminishes and we find ourselves just going through the motions. Then, one day we wake up and realize we’ve lost our purpose too. We’ve become ineffective Christians, something we never wanted to be. But unlike salt, that cannot regain its flavor once it is gone, we don’t have to remain stuck in this pattern of joyless, tasteless being. We can turn to Jesus and regain the purpose and zest for salvation we once had! And we can once again be useful and productive for the kingdom of God!

Jesus has called us to be “the salt of the earth”. Because, when we share our faith, we are giving the unsaved world all of the redeeming qualities of salt. We are showing them the stabile foundation we already have in Christ. And the thirst quenching, life sustaining, preserving power that they can have in Jesus too. Together, may we season the life of an unsaved person with the knowledge and grace of Jesus Christ each and every day!
God bless!

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By | 2018-02-12T16:45:16+00:00 October 25th, 2017|Christian Life|0 Comments

Should Christians Celebrate Halloween? – Matthew 5:14-16

Should Christians Celebrate Halloween? Matthew 5:14-16

This time of year Christian circles are a buzz with one thing, “Should Christians celebrate Halloween?” This question seems to come from the uncertainty of what this holiday actually is and what it means to those who celebrate it. For some people it’s a dark and mysterious day filled with ancient pagan rituals. For others it’s just a day of harmless fun for the kids, playing dress up and trick-or-treating for candy.

The church as a whole remains divided on the issue. Some churches choose to celebrate fall or harvest, while some ignore this holiday altogether. Either way, there is a lot of passion on both sides over what is right or wrong in the eyes of God.

Since Halloween is a secular holiday, it is best to take it with a grain of salt and not lose sight of what really matters. When we find ourselves at odds as the body of Christ, the wise choice is always to turn to the Bible for guidance and understanding.

You are the light of the world. A city on the hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
                                                                              Matthew 5:14-16

The darkness of the world runs deep. And during this dark season it seems to surround us even more. But in the darkness there is a light.

Jesus was very clear…Christians are the light of the world! The city on the hill and a shining beacon of hope for an unsaved world. We stand above the fray pointing the way to Jesus. We are the reflection of a living Christ and His radiant light shines in us for all to see. It cannot be overshadowed or hidden from view. The light of Jesus should burn so bright in us that people can’t help but be amazed by it. But if we don’t let the light shine in the first place, how can they see the glory of the risen Savior?

The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore, when your eye is good, your whole body also is full of light. But when your eye is bad, your body also is full of darkness. Therefore take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness. If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, the whole body will be full of light, as when the bright shining of a lamp gives you light.
                                                                              Luke 11:34-36

Bright and shiny objects have a tendency to distract us from the goal of Jesus. When we see them, we don’t see Him and our body is “full of darkness”. But when we focus our “eye” on Jesus, then we can truly see what is important and be a “shining lamp” that dispels the darkness and leads to the path of salvation.

The world and Christians are opposites in every way, just as darkness and light are also opposites. In sharp contrast to the world’s darkness, we are the bright light that shines for the glory of God.

Whether you choose to celebrate Halloween this year or not, one thing is certain… we as Christians are called to be light in a dark world. May we fix our eyes on Jesus and let our light so shine before men.

I encourage you to seek the radiant light of Christ in your life. And to reflect His light to the rest of the world as the shining beacon of hope that you are. May God bless you this coming holiday season!

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2 Older Comments.

Robin

10/18/2017 07:52:37 am

Thank you for sharing! I’ve always struggled with this holiday. Your words are a bright light to reminds us to be the salt-seasoning of the world!

Connie from Master’s Hand Collection

10/18/2017 09:00:58 am

Hi Robin! Thank you for your kind words today. May God bless you this holiday season!

By | 2018-02-05T13:22:24+00:00 October 18th, 2017|Halloween|0 Comments

Where is God When Bad Things Happen? Part 2

Where is God When Bad Things Happen Part 2

Last week we asked the question “Where is God when bad things happen?” and I shared with you some of the Bible verses that have helped me when life takes a turn for the worst. If you missed it, you can read it here…

Today I would like to continue our discussion by sharing with you the stories of the two hardest days of my life and the answer to prayer I received as a result.

Each and every one of us will be affected by the loss of a loved one at some point in our lives. When it happens, as it surely will, the pain can be devastating. I hope that by sharing my story, in some small way, it will help you to understand how much God truly loves you and wants to give you comfort when bad things happen.

Each and every one of us will be affected by the loss of a loved one at some point in our lives. When it happens, as it surely will, the pain can be devastating.Click To Tweet

My Granny was one of the most influential people in my life. Her immense joy and strength were always a source of encouragement for me. Most people saw Granny as a fun loving lady who lived life to the max. And a handful of people probably would’ve said she was a little intimidating. That always makes me laugh. Because even though Granny was fiercely independent and would always tell it like it was, she was also a big hearted woman who loved her family and friends and would do anything in the world for us.

Growing up, I wanted to be just like Granny in every way. And I think I got my wish, because the older I get, the more I act like her. Some would say that is a good thing and probably others might say I should rethink my life strategy. But either way you looked at it, Granny was a force to be reckoned with because she lived life on her terms.

When we heard the news that she was in the ICU on life support my world stopped turning. It’s as simple as that. It’s the one time in my life when I completely lost it. I fell to the floor crying and screaming. I’ve never been one for hysterics and usually I’m in control of my emotions. But that moment was different. The pain came from so deep down inside, bubbly up and spilling out of me. All I can say is that I felt like life would never be the same again. And to some degree it isn’t.

I remember the drive to Tulsa from our home in Arkansas very well. There had been a huge ice storm the day before. That two hour drive turned into three because the icy roads were so difficult to pass. The time ticked by so slowly and all I wanted was to be by her side. I prayed, for her, for us and I asked God, “Why?” Why did this have to happen and why did it have to happen now?

For a year and a half, my mom had been going through chemo treatments. We wondered if each day would be her last, never really having a grasp of what the future would hold. Our world was already extremely hard. The everyday had become unbearable, and now this. You see, Granny had been fine. It was my mom that we had been worried about. One day Granny was the picture of health, living vibrantly and fully. The next, she was in the hospital dying. It just wasn’t fair. But in the car on the way to see her, knowing it would be the last time, I prayed that prayer. “Why?” And God answered. His words were short and to the point but they have never left me. “I am still on My throne and all is right in the world”. That may not sound like the answer I was looking for but God’s words are always true. And there is comfort in knowing that.

Another year and a half after Granny passed away, my mom passed from the cancer that she so bravely fought for three years. Watching her suffer and die the way she did was the hardest thing I have ever gone through. Every day of those three years I prayed that God would heal her. On that final day sitting next to her bed, holding her hand and watching her struggle, my prayer changed. And I begin to pray, “Please God don’t let her suffer anymore. Take her home to be with You.” God heard my prayer, as He always does, and about an hour later she was in the presence of Jesus.

Those two days were the hardest of my life. Losing the two women I was closest too almost killed me. But each time God pulled me out of the pit of my despair. He didn’t leave there to sink all alone. He heard my prayers and answered them.

I will always love and miss these beautiful women who shaped my life in unexplainable ways. They meant more to me than I can ever tell. And my life will never be the same now that they are not in it. But I am so grateful that God let me have them for a little while.
So the question remains, “Where is God when bad things happen?” Simply put, God is still on His throne and all is right in the world.

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
                                                                                            Hebrews 4:16

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16Click To Tweet

God is not a faraway being in a gilded cage. He is a loving Father who knows the pain we feel and sees every tear we shed. When our world falls apart and the pain is too deep to comprehend, this is our invitation to bring all of our brokenness directly to Him. It’s an open ended invitation to seek Him in every situation we face. Nothing is too big for Him to fix and nothing is too small for His attention. God wants us to confidently come to Him and lay our burdens at His feet so that we can receive mercy and grace to help us in our need.

My dear friend, if you have lost a loved one and are reeling from the pain it has caused, I pray that you will understand that God is still on His throne and He has you in the palm of His hand. He will not leave you to face this hurt alone. Take your burden to Him and be healed by His mercy and grace. May God bless you always!

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2 Older Comments.

Rebecca L Jones

10/13/2017 08:40:15 am

I am sorry for you loss, may He open our eyes to the fact that healing is ours, and how to believe He has already accomplished it.

Connie from Master’s Hand Collection

10/13/2017 01:57:19 pm

Hi Rebecca! Thank you for your kind and reassuring words. God has healed my broken heart as only He can.

By | 2018-02-12T16:52:28+00:00 October 11th, 2017|Christian Life|0 Comments

Where is God When Bad Things Happen? Part 1

Where is God When Bad Things Happen? Part 1

Every time we turn on the TV there is another terrible tragedy unfolding right before our eyes. Hurricanes, floods, wildfires and terrorist have suddenly become common news stories. But these things aren’t just stories, they are earth shattering events in someone’s life.

We truly feel for the people touched by these tragedies and we want to help any way we can, so we give to charities out of the goodness of our hearts. Yet, somehow the tragedy seems far away and removed from our own lives. And we always think these same things won’t happen to us.

But the truth is, all of us will be affected by a serious tragedy at some point in our lives. Our turn to experience hardship will surely come, whether it’s the death of a loved one, our home destroyed by a natural disaster or another unseen event so bad that we never could have imagined it in our worst nightmare.

When a tragic event strikes, it wreaks havoc on our already chaotic lives, turning everything we know upside down. The little bit of security we’ve worked so hard to create for ourselves is pulled out from underneath us. And the peace of mind that we strive for becomes a distant memory. As the pain wells up in our chest leaving us breathless, we realize just how fragile life really is. Then, we’re left to wonder “Where is God when bad things happen?”

My dear friend, I have felt your pain. I have experienced the torment of watching a loved one suffer and die an agonizing death. I have seen everything I once thought important taken from me. And in my despair, I have searched for an answer to this question. But I want you to know that waiting for you on the other side of the pain is hope. Hope that the situation you’re in won’t last forever and hope that tomorrow will be a better day. I would like to share with you some of the Bible verses that have helped me to get through the pain and see that hope of better days to come.

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.
                                                                        John 16:33

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. John 16:33Click To Tweet

It stands out in my mind that Jesus didn’t say trouble might come our way, or its possible bad things might happen to us. He said unequivocally you WILL have tribulation. I know that’s not a very comforting thought, but stick with me, I promise it gets better. Jesus backed that up by saying He has overcome the world! That’s a pretty amazing statement when you think about it. Jesus has overcome the pain and suffering we are currently facing. He has overcome every sin that separates us from Him and keeps us from the peace He offers. And He did it by dying in our place so that someday we will be with Him in heaven. Then, instead of sorrow and hardship we will have the unlimited joy and peace that only comes from knowing Jesus as our Savior.

The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit.
                                                                        Psalm 34:18

The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit. Psalm 34:18Click To Tweet

When we are grief stricken, words fail us. Nothing anyone can say will ever be enough to set things right again. In this moment, what we need most is to be in the loving arms of our Heavenly Father. And that is exactly where we are. God has promised that in the midst of our pain, He is close to us. He understands our pain and all of the reasons we have a broken heart.  And He wants to comfort us and give us a safe place to rest within His care.

Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.
                                                                         Psalm 30:5

Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5Click To Tweet

The pain we have today may feel like it goes on and on with no end in sight. But God promises that tomorrow will come and with it, hope for a brighter future. So, whatever you do, don’t give up, because morning is coming.

As you read this verses, I hope they will provide you with the same source of strength and courage to keep going that they have given me over the years. But if you are still wondering “Where is God when bad things happen?” the simple answer is this…He is exactly where He has always been. He hasn’t left and He hasn’t changed. He is still right next to you, ready to lift you up and see you through this tragedy you are facing. So, I pray that you will feel the closeness with God that you are longing for. And that you will know, your hope for a better tomorrow is waiting just around the corner. May God bless you greatly!

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I created Master’s Hand Collection to inspire and encourage you in your daily walk with Jesus.  And I am excited to bring you products featuring the art I have worked for so long to create. I pray that they will be a source of encouragement in your life.
God bless!

2 Older Comments.

Rebecca L Jones

10/4/2017 03:04:19 pm

Joy comes in the morning. ( Love the handbag. )

Connie from Master’s Hand Collection

10/4/2017 06:38:59 pm

Hi Rebecca! Thanks so much for your kind words. God bless!

By | 2018-02-12T16:57:33+00:00 October 4th, 2017|Christian Life|0 Comments

The Beauty of Autumn Leaves – Galatians 6:9

The Beauty of Autumn Leaves Galatians 6:9

Autumn is a time of change. The carefree days of Summer have passed and we look forward to a new season. Here in the Ozark Mountains, the temperature is falling and soon the Master’s paint brush will turn the leaves from green to brilliant red, orange and yellow. The colors are so vibrant and there’s a sense of excitement for the change ahead. Since moving to Arkansas, Fall has become my favorite time of year. I revel in this brief moment of beauty that God gives to us.

But Autumn is also a time for new obligations. The beginning of school for the kids, Sunday school and Bible study classes, football practice, the coming Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays and so much more. We keep the wheels turning by taking care of our families, volunteering at church and witnessing to those around us who are not saved. And as much as we love doing all of it, these new commitments can leave us feeling stressed out and just plain tired. Sometimes, it can feel a little bit overwhelming.

So, during this busy time of year, let’s seek a little inspiration from the words of Paul to the Galatians.

And let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.
                                                                            Galatians 6:9

As women of faith, we endeavor to do what is right in God’s eyes. We want to do it all and be everything to everyone. But the challenge for us is, to do good and to not grow weary. When life becomes hectic and we start to feel like we’re being pulled in a lot of different directions, the truth of this verse is a source of encouragement for us. It has so much to say about how to get through these busy moments we all experience.

Let us not grow weary…

We all have times when we feel overwhelmed, discouraged, tired and downright unappreciated. In these moments, it’s easy to think that no one sees the good work that we do. But God does see the effort we put in and He doesn’t want us to give up and throw in the towel.

In due season we shall reap…

Sometimes it feels like that “due season” is just out of reach or will never come. But the seeds we sow today will determine what we reap in the future. God has a plan and He promises to reward us for all that we do in His name. His timing is different than our own and if we keep looking forward our season to reap that reward will come.

Do not lose heart…

We may feel like we’re drowning in a sea of endless things to do. And we may feel down and out, but all is not lost. God is on our side and ready to offer our heart the encouraging boost we need. But we have to be willing to take hold of that encouragement and use it in a way that will cause us to not lose heart.

Just as God creates the beauty of the autumn leaves, He also wants to create beauty in our lives. He knows that we’re only human and that we get tired and discouraged. When we’re down, He wants to encourage us to forge ahead and to not grow weary. And He promises us that when we do, we will reap the reward of a life well lived. So, during this time of great change in nature, I pray that we will revel in all the beauty God has put in our lives and in the beauty of Autumn leaves!

artwork titled Autumn by Master's Hand Collection

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6 Older Comments. (These comments cannot be replied to, but you are welcome to leave your thoughts in the Comments section below.)

sue

9/29/2017 09:21:07 am

Weariness is part of the curse, but I’m hiding in Christ with God (Col. 3:3) and learning to let Him to His thing through me.

Connie from Master’s Hand Collection

9/29/2017 02:58:39 pm

Hi Sue! Thanks for sharing this with me. I’m saying a prayer for you today. May God bless you!

Lyli @lylidunbar.com

9/29/2017 01:47:28 pm

Hi, Connie,

Welcome to Faith on Fire! Thanks for sharing your wisdom and creative artistry with us this week. I look forward to reading more from you in the weeks ahead.

Blessings,
Lyli

Connie from Master’s Hand Collection

9/29/2017 02:49:12 pm

Hi Lyli! Thanks so much for welcoming me into your community at Faith on Fire! I’m looking forward to being a part of it and contributing in the weeks ahead.

Lani

9/30/2017 08:51:57 am

Beautiful writing

Connie from Master’s Hand Collection

9/30/2017 10:15:25 am

Hi Lani! Thanks so much for your encouraging words. I appreciate it. God bless!

By | 2018-02-05T14:13:05+00:00 September 27th, 2017|Fall, Thanksgiving|0 Comments