Not Fair!

Reading: 2 Corinthians 1:3-7

Key Verse: v4 – “who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God”

Title: Not fair!

“It’s not fair!” cried my heart when we received the results of a virus test.  “Why not me Lord, my husband does not deserve this. He is a good man, he prays a lot for sick people, for those who are grieving and for many who are in need.”  I thought my husband did not deserve this illness that has wreaked havoc in many countries of the world.  Many have suffered, lost their jobs, their livelihood, and their loved ones.  As I lamented and complained to the Lord that morning, my Bible reading happened to be in Hebrews.

During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. (Hebrews 5:7 NIV) 

After reading these verses, I realized that, yes, my husband did not deserve to suffer from this illness, but neither did Jesus deserved the punishment of death on the cross. Jesus was a perfect man, but He still suffered humiliation, affliction, and death on the cross. It was not fair either.  We may feel that we do not deserve bad things in life, but Jesus reminded us that,

“No one is good—except God alone.  (Luke 18:19 NIV)

With the unwanted diagnosis, the next few days were difficult for my husband and me.  However, we saw the hand of God at work, getting us through each day.  We are grateful that in our case, the symptoms were mild, and that God saw us through.  

Later on, when we heard of other friends who have experienced the same illness, we were able to pray for them and encourage them. We saw God has a purpose in every situation, whether good or bad, to cause all things to work together for good. (See Romans 8:28).  

Reflection: Trust God when things in life seem not fair. God has His purpose and reason in every situation.

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Christmas message

Merry Christmas, God loves you!

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

John 3:16

Romans 10:9 (NIV)If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus, we shall always be with the Lord. I Thessalonians 4:16-17

(Jesus said) “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to everyone according to his work.” Revelation 22:12

Prayer of repentance and commitment to Jesus as your Lord and Savior:

Dear God, thank You for your love for me and for sending Jesus. Thank you, Lord Jesus for dying on the cross for my sin. I believe that God raised you up from the dead. Please forgive my sins.  I open my heart to you. I commit and trust my life to Your Lordship. Please help me, Holy Spirit, to live the life God has planned for me.  In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.

If you pray the prayer above, you are now a child of God and forgiven because of Jesus Christ! What to do next?

Christianity is not just a religion. It is a personal relationship with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

God speaks to us through reading the Bible every day. (www.biblegateway.com)

  1. We speak to God through prayer in the name of Jesus.
  2. To hear good Bible teachings, look for a good Bible believing Christian church to be part of, or maybe look for online for now.

Thebiblegateway.com 

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JESUS HUMBLED HIMSELF & IDENTIFIES WITH US

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 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, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” 

Philippians 2:5-11(NKJV)

At this time of year, we often think about Jesus coming to earth in the form of a helpless baby, but do we really consider the implications of Jesus humbling himself by coming to earth?  Think about it.  Jesus left all the glory & splendor of heaven and the worshipping heavenly hosts to come and live among us.  He gave up His omnipresence to live in a human body confined by time, space, and geography.  He gave up the perfections of heaven to live in a body that was subject to hunger, pain, and discomfort.  I can imagine that, upon occasion, Jesus suffered the pain of hitting his thumb with a hammer or stubbing his toe on a rock.  When Jesus fed the five thousand, have we ever considered that Jesus himself was hungry?  When Jesus spoke with the woman at the well, have we ever thought about how thirsty Jesus must have been?  And after a long day of ministering to the physical needs of hundreds of people, have we ever considered how tired Jesus must have been?  Or after seeing how the religious leaders of his day despised Him and His teachings, have we ever considered the degree to which Jesus felt the pain of being misunderstood and rejected?  And let us not forget the emotional pain that Jesus felt when his earthly father Joseph, his cousin John the Baptist, and his friend Lazarus died.

Dr. David Jeremiah recently did a teaching a series about the Nativity, has listed several reasons why Jesus came to live among us.  We often think about the obvious reasons – to fulfill the Old Testament prophesies and to save us from our sins.  But do we consider that He also came so that he could fully understand what it means to be human, to experience human emotions and to empathize with our weaknesses?  The writer of Hebrews brings out this point:

“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.  For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin.  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 4:14-16

I don’t know about you, but these verses bring me great comfort!  When I feel discouraged, I can remember that Jesus also felt that way from time-to-time.  When I feel alone, I can remember that there were times when Jesus also felt the pain of isolation.  When I am tempted, I can remember that Jesus also faced temptation, although of course He never yielded to those temptations.  Isn’t it comforting to know that whatever we are going through, we can bring those cares to the One who understands our struggles (I Peter 5:7), knowing that He has promised never to leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).  And there is nothing that can ever separate us from His love (Romans 8:38-39).  Now that is truly Good News!

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Christmas 2020 Prayer Letter

Season’s Greetings, and Merry Christmas from the Creels! We hope that you and your family are doing well and enjoying this festive season. Even in this most unusual year, we have much for which to be grateful. At the top of our “gratitude list” is the gift of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, who gave of Himself so that we might enjoy abundant life here on earth and eternal life someday with Him in heaven. We are also grateful for your partnership as we proclaim “Christ to the World by Media” until all have heard the story of Jesus. For more thoughts on thanksgiving, please see our blog at thecreels.org.

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Thankful

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him,  and  bless His name. Psalm 100:4

Each day during our prayer time we give thanks and praise to our Lord for the simple blessings of life. We thank the Lord for such blessings as clean water, electricity, a roof over our head, warm clothes, food, etc.

Clean water.  In many places around the world people must walk a mile or so to a stream or river just to get a bucket of water. When they get home, they must boil the water or filter it, and then store it in a safe place. So, we are thankful that we have clean water right in our home.

Electricity, internet, and modern technology. We thank the Lord for electricity that enables us to cook our meals conveniently. In some places, people must gather firewood or tree branches, cut them, and then make a fire to cook. A few years ago, Vicki served in a children’s home in South America. Every day the cook and a couple of volunteers would get up at 4:00 or 5:00 am to get some firewood. They would then place the firewood on three big stones to make a stove, then light the firewood to cook a meal. The previous day some young men had to gather wood and cut them into pieces for firewood. They only had 2 hours of electricity in the morning and evening using a generator. So, we thank the Lord for electricity that helps us cook and keeps our appliances, air conditioner  and heater running. With electricity and the internet, we can work from home and be connected to the world.

Clean air to breathe. In one of the countries we visited in Asia a couple of years ago, they had  very cold winters. During our visit, the temperature ranged from -15 to +25 F degrees! The power company for the city burned really dirty coal to supply electricity and heating to homes and buildings which produced a lot of air pollution. We learned to appreciate and thank the Lord for the clean air we breathe.

The beauty of nature.  Did you ever stop to think that God could have made the world very utilitarian? Instead, he created this world with beauty – beauty that reminds us of our Creator God. Take a few moments today to enjoy a beautiful sunset, a walk in the woods, or a look up into the night sky!

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever. (Psalm 118:1)

Religious and political freedom. In many parts of the world, Christians risk their lives just to attend a church fellowship. We thank the Lord for the freedom we still have in this country to practice religion and be part of a church.

We are also thankful that the Constitution provides citizens freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom to assemble, freedom to elect leaders, etc. And we are thankful for those men and women who fought for our country through the years to preserve those rights. In many parts of the world, people do not have political freedom and the opportunity to elect their leaders, something that we often take for granted.

Families and friends. We thank the Lord for the love and care of our extended families and  friends.  We are also thankful for the prayers and support of our ministry partners.

Spiritual heritage.  We are thankful to the Lord for the faithfulness of those who have “gone before” us, for those saints of God who walked faithfully with God through the years and provided us with a godly example and a spiritual heritage. History is full of men and women who lived out their faith, sometimes risking their very lives to preserve our spiritual heritage.  And of course in this Thanksgiving season, we remember the faith of our founding fathers in the United States who prayed earnestly for God’s blessing as this nation was formed.*

Spiritual blessings. We are especially thankful for the love and mercy of God, the gift of faith (Ephesians 2:8), the forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ, the hope of eternal life, a home in heaven, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and other spiritual blessings. (See Ephesians 1:3-6). We are very thankful for the gift of salvation! There are still 3 billion people in the world who need to know the Gospel and the love of God.

The Written Word. We thank the Lord for the availability of the Bible in our language. In Bible history, some sacrificed their very lives to have the Bible translated into our language. Many people are still waiting to hear the Gospel in their native tongue.  Currently, at least 2,000 languages around the world are still waiting for a Bible translation project to start.

Each day, if we pause and look around, we have so much for which to be thankful – not just on Thanksgiving Day! We are grateful also for the gift of life – each day is a gift from God.

His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue. (II Peter 1:3)

History of First Thanksgiving

“In September 1620, a small ship called the Mayflower left Plymouth, England, carrying 102 passengers—an assortment of religious separatists seeking a new home where they could freely practice their faith…

In November 1621, after the Pilgrims’ first corn harvest proved successful, Governor William Bradford organized a celebratory feast and invited a group of the fledgling colony’s Native American allies, including the Wampanoag chief Massasoit. Now remembered as American’s “first Thanksgiving”—although the Pilgrims themselves may not have used the term at the time—the festival lasted for three days…”

https://www.history.com/topics/thanksgiving/history-of-thanksgiving

*Mayflower Pilgrims – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mayflower

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Only Jesus

Only Jesus can save

Only Jesus can do the impossible

Only Jesus can do what no human can do

Because only Jesus can save

Only Jesus can love the way He does

Only Jesus is the Savior

Only Jesus is the King of Kings

Only Jesus is the Lord of lords

Only Jesus is the Almighty God

Only Jesus is the God of love

Only Jesus is the God who came from above,

Only Jesus is the One who gave His life for us

Only Jesus can save our soul

Only Jesus can satisfy a hungry soul

Only Jesus can fill me up

Only Jesus is the bread of life.

Only Jesus can bring lasting peace

Only Jesus can give true happiness

Only Jesus can give eternal life and bliss,

Only Jesus!

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” – John 14:6 (NKJV)

“that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” – Philippians 2:10-11

http://biblegateway.com

Remembering Jane, A Life well-lived

And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment – Hebrews 9:27

We only live once, here is a short devotional story of a woman who had a life well-lived. The Bible says in Psalm 90:10,12- “The days of our lives are seventy years; And if by reason of strength they are eighty years, Yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; For it is soon cut off, and we fly away…So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

Scripture Reading: Psalm 92:12-15

“They shall still bear fruit in old age; They shall be fresh and flourishing…”  Psalm 92:14 NKJV

I met “Jane” a few years ago at my husband’s church, just before we were married. Jane looked small and fragile, but always had a radiant smile, a sweet disposition, and kind words. She made me feel comfortable and welcome even though I was a total stranger. On holidays and wedding anniversaries, she sent me and my husband greeting cards. When my husband was away on mission trips, Jane would often ask how I was doing. She would often encourage me with these words, “I am praying for you and your husband.” Every Sunday, before the worship service started, she prayed with our pastor and anointed her with oil.

On one occasion, Jane invited me and two other ladies to meet her at church to learn how to make hats using a loom. She was making the hats for cancer patients. She also knitted prayer shawls for others who were ill. Whenever she could, she would send me colorful yarns to make the knitted hats.

During those days, Jane and her husband were both struggling with some significant health issues. At the same time, she was also busy with her own children and grandchildren. Although I only got to know Jane in the last 3 years of her life, she was an inspiration to me and left a profound impression on my life – a wonderful example of faith, love, and prayer. I had clearly seen in her life what it meant to be a true follower of Christ. She faithfully demonstrated the love of Jesus Christ to her family, friends, and to all who met her. Her life has often reminded me of these words from Scripture, “They shall still bear fruit in old age, they shall be fresh and flourishing to declare that the Lord is upright;” (Psalm 92:14-15). I miss Jane’s smiling face, but I know she is now enjoying her heavenly reward with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, as we journey through life, help us through the power of Your Holy Spirit to reflect Your love and faithfulness to others for Your glory and praise.

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