February 22, 2014

In God We Trust

A minister who had an allergy which caused him to sneeze and cough around fresh flowers was asked to preside at a memorial service. He agreed with the understanding there would be no flowers in the room.

When the pastor arrived for the service, he was surprised to see numerous bouquets around the casket. Realizing it was too late to back out, he proceeded with the service, but in just a few minutes, he was sneezing and coughing so badly, he stopped and asked that the flowers be removed.

In response to his request, a family member approached and whispered, "Reverend, you told us about your allergy, and all the flowers here are artificial."

Things are not always what they seem. For example, those who trusted the Titanic was immune from disaster, sadly, learned that was not the case.

In whom or what do you put your confidence and your trust?

One of the most beloved passages in all of Scripture is the Twenty-third Psalm. These few lines from David’s Psalm express so simply yet  powerfully the depth of the poet’s confidence and trust in God:
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me."
In 2011, the House of Representatives reaffirmed “In God We Trust” as the official motto of the United States. May each of us, as individuals, trust in God’s unfailing love and accept the Rock of Ages as our strength, our confidence and our salvation.

February 13, 2014

Your Source of Joy

Christian writer, Max Lacado, tells about meeting Robert Reed whose hands and feet are so twisted he can’t feed himself, brush his teeth or comb his hair. Robert’s shirts are held together by Velcro and his speech drags like a worn recording.

Robert Reed has cerebral palsy.

But cerebral palsy didn’t keep him from graduating from college. It didn’t keep him from teaching in junior college, and it didn’t keep him from becoming a missionary in Portugal.

Despite his disabilities, Reed is quoted as saying, “I have everything I need for joy.”

This real life story of one of God’s special saints clearly demonstrates that our source of joy has nothing to do with the events in our life. It has everything to do with our attitude.

The Apostle Paul wrote that we are to “rejoice in the Lord regardless of our circumstances.”

Robert Reed can’t drive a car, ride a bike or take a walk, but he discovered the joy that comes when a life is centered in God.

What is the source of your joy?

Blessings from Gpa Westerdahl

February 6, 2014

Suffering and Unity with Christ

Dr. Paul Brand was working with leprosy patients in India, when he was invited to preach to a gathering of the rejected poor and suffering.

As a hand surgeon, when he stood before the social outcasts in a crowded courtyard, his eyes were drawn to their disfigured hands, many with claws or stumps for fingers or no fingers at all.

“When I meet people, I can tell a lot by their hands,” he began. “I know what kind of work they did, and I can tell a lot about their character.”

Then he spoke of how he imagined the hands of Christ, the helpless hands of an infant, the callused hands of a carpenter, and the healing hands of a physician. 

Next, Dr Brand described the hands of the crucified Christ, a reminder of what he endured on the cross. His description of Christ’s deformed and crippled hands must have had quite an effect on the lepers. The Savior’s hands were just like their own.

Christ’s scars are a reminder of his pain and sacrifice on the cross. When those who suffer realize they have a common experience with Christ, they are united with him, and from that unity comes strength, courage and hope. 

NOTE:  Dr. Brand’s story is told in a book by Philip Yancey titled Where Is God When It Hurts