A Year of Smiles – Day 291

Reason to SMILE #291: HE’S GOT YOU!

Adobe Spark (32)

Matthew 6:25 – 26

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

Read those verses again and let that thought wash over you.

Are YOU not much MORE VALUABLE?

By the way, that question – it’s rhetorical. But in case you are unsure, the answer is “Yes! Yes you are!” And our God will take care of you.

He’s got you!

So stop with the worrying. It’s time to SMILE!

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Carrying Them to Jesus

“He’s back!” shouted a voice from outside. A young man jumped to his feet and peered out of his doorway. To his surprise, he saw crowds of people running down the path in front of his house. He turned to his friends inside and without a word, the three young men inside the house rose to their feet and they all headed to the back room.

The men knew that the news of his arrival was spreading quickly. There was no time to lose. The four friends reached down and firmly grasped the bed upon which a fifth friend was lying. Though startled, the infirmed friend did not make a sound for he, too, had heard the commotion outside. He braced himself for the move as his friends began to carry him outside and into the street.

Their destination was not far, just a few houses away, but as more and more people joined the entourage in the street, the journey of these five friends seemed endless. The four men carrying their bed-stricken friend looked at each in desperation. Were they going to make it? Were they going to miss him? In tandem, the men hastened their steps and carefully weaved through the parade down the dusty pathway.

As they reached the house at the end of the path, the men noticed an unusual silence. Though the crowd was great, the typical noise of such a crowd was replaced by the sound of a single voice trickling through the masses and pouring out into the air. Hearing the words spoken by this single voice, the four burdened men felt a resolve as never before to carry their friend to the one speaking. They tried every entryway, each door, each window, but their attempts to enter the house were thwarted. No one in the crowd was willing to sacrifice their position.

All hope seemed lost until one friend had an idea. With the nod of his head, he convinced his friends of the solution. Not once did any one of them raise a question as they maneuvered their infirmed friend onto the roof of the crowded house. Once atop, they set to the task of tearing a hole in the roof large enough to lower the bed through without jeopardizing the safety of their friend. Though difficult, ingenuity and perseverance prevailed. Slowly, the men lowered their paralyzed friend into the house and laid him at the feet of Jesus. The faith of these four men yielded the forgiveness and healing of the fifth and five friends walked away changed forever.

Adobe Spark (26)

There are people all around us who are paralyzed, spiritually and emotionally. Their lives are crippled with fear, with hatred, with regrets. They need healing and restoration but most cannot find their way to the One who can forgive their sins, heal their hearts and save their souls. They cannot find their way to Jesus. They need someone to lead the way. They need someone to carry them.

Do you know someone who needs to be brought to Jesus? Do you know someone who cannot make the journey on their own? Will you carry that one to Jesus today? Are you willing to help that friend, that loved one, that neighbor? Take their hand, help them scoop up the broken pieces of their lives, give them a shoulder to lean on and carry the hurting, the broken, the weary, the lost to the Savior. Your faith can make all the difference.

(Adapted from Mark 2:1-12.)

A Year of Smiles – Day 277

Reason to SMILE #277: FINDING THE “AARONS” AND “HURS” IN YOUR LIFE

Adobe Spark (20)

Do you know an Aaron or a Hur? Is there someone you can count on to pray for you when you need it most, to hold you up when you’re struggling to stand, to fight beside you in your battles? If so, then you know an Aaron and a Hur and I know your life is better for it.

Curious about these two fellas? Check out this post which I wrote about these amazing friends of Moses: Victory: Our Supporting Role. You can also read their story from the source, itself, in Exodus 17:8-13 (NIV).

I have discovered that I have many Aarons and Hurs in my life – those who will stop what they are doing to pray for me, to help when needed and to be my strength when mine is gone. Oh, what comfort to know my family and friends are praying me through the struggles of this life. And though the struggles wage on, I can SMILE knowing I am being held up by so many faithful Aarons and Hurs.

What about you? Do you need someone to hold you up today? Let me pray for you. Or maybe you know someone who is losing their own battle. Maybe you can be that struggling soul’s strength. Begin praying now. Then reach out and let that person know you will stand by their side and hold them up until their battle is won. Don’t wait. Time is precious and the SMILES are waiting.

A Year of Smiles – Day 274

Reason to SMILE #274: STEPPING OUT OF THE BOAT

boat-p1.jpg

Because God’s Servant Stepped Out of the Boat

(Click the link to read the story of one who faithfully stepped out of the boat and changed the lives of countless, including the lives of my son and husband!)

Comfort is a good thing. We like it and that’s okay. Comfort, however, tends to beget complacency. And complacency makes it difficult to do the work God calls us to do, especially when the work is something new or somewhere new. Often times, God must wake us up out of our complacency if we are to be of any use to Him.

Just as He called out to Peter to step out of the boat and walk to Him on the water, God also calls out to us to step out of our boats, to step out of comfort zones. At times, the step God wants us to take may be small, such as reaching out to a new neighbor with an invitation to church or sharing the Gospel with a co-worker. Other times, the step God calls us to make is a giant leap of faith, such as packing up your life and moving to a foreign land to serve the Lord as a missionary or pursuing a new opportunity for ministry.

No matter the size of the step, when we heed God’s call to get out of the boat, the result will always be a blessing. If we step out in faith and keep our eyes on the Lord, the SMILES will not only be ours but they will belong to every person whose life we touch along the way.

A Year of Smiles – Day 262

Reason to SMILE #262: TODAY

Adobe Spark

This IS the day the Lord has made – yes, even THIS day. And all the days He made before it have prepared you for today. All the moments of gladness, moments of struggle, moments of doubt, moments of triumph and moments of sorrow that have filled your previous days have built the foundation of strength that will see you through this day.

This IS the day the Lord has made and HE will not allow you to live this day alone.  HE plans to spend it with you. HE intends to experience every moment by your side.  You can walk through this day with confidence for there is nothing in this day that will take it’s Maker by surprise.

Yes, this IS the day the Lord has made.  No matter what it holds, joy or sadness, healing or pain, celebration or mourning, THIS day is God’s gift to you.  And in this great gift, you can REJOICE and be glad!

A Year of Smiles – Day 251

Reason to SMILE #251: A BLESSED ASSURANCE

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Irma is headed our way. We’ve filled up the gas tanks and stocked up on non-perishables and water. We’ve rid our yard of any possible projectiles as best we could and we’ve determined the best place to park our vehicles. Mostly, though, we’ve prayed! Oh, how we’ve prayed!

As I’ve been preparing for Irma today, there’s been one song that keeps repeating in my mind. The chorus says, “People get ready. Jesus is coming. Soon we’ll be going home.” (You can listen to the entire song here.) Now, I’m not a doom and gloom kinda person but I guess all the storm prepping has steered my mind toward another event for which we all should be preparing – the day the Lord returns to take His children home.

I know some of you have been thinking of the Lord’s return, as well. I’ve read your posts. Normally, I would have tried to avoid a topic chosen by others but just like the news of the impending storm should be broadcast from every media source available, so also should the news of the Savior’s return be shared by as many of us as possible.

One day the Lord will return. The Bible tells us we won’t know the day or the hour. That means we won’t get several days warning to get our lives in order, to ask forgiveness for our sins and choose to follow Jesus. The time to get ready is now.

“How do you prepare for the Lord’s return?” you ask. Well, it’s easier than preparing for a hurricane, that’s for sure. It’s as simple as A-B-C.

A – Admit that you are a sinner.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Romans 3:23

The wages (payment for) of sin is death…

Romans 6:23a

B – Believe that Jesus is the Son of God, that He died and rose again to pay the price for your sins.

… the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 6:23b

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

C – Commit your life to Christ and Confess your faith to others.

If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation.

‭‭Romans‬ ‭10:9-10‬

I’ve done all I can do to prepare for Hurricane Irma but I’m not certain whether my preparations will be good enough. Storms are unpredictable. Anything could happen. I’ve also prepared myself for the Lord’s return. The good thing is I can know that I will be ready to meet my Savior.

Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

‭‭Romans‬ ‭10:13‬

And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

‭‭1 John‬ ‭5:11-13‬

Now that is a certainty- a blessed assurance – that makes me SMILE.

A Year of Smiles – Day 249

Reason to SMILE #249: DETERMINATION

Determination

I received a phone call no parent wants to receive.

“Your child is sick. You may need to take him to the ER.”

I left work for the school but I knew my husband could get there faster. He was closer. I called him knowing the potential for disaster that lay ahead. You see, when it comes to our kids, my husband is extremely protective to say the least, and it’s “no holds barred” when the situation is serious.

My husband arrived at the school. Upon entering the school office, he approached the receptionist who happened to be on the phone, “I need to get my son, Alex. Where is he?”

The receptionist responded by holding up her pointer finger in the air to indicate that my husband needed to wait.

Everything went downhill from there.

My husband was not going to wait. His son was in distress and needed medical attention. He was going to find his child and nothing was going to stop him. After several minutes of school staff trying to stop my husband from entering the building without following protocol and some intense exchange of words, my husband finally caught sight of our son and he was able to calm down – at least a little bit.

Both my husband and I received a phone call the next day from the principal. She made her case for following school protocol and reprimanded my husband for his behavior. I let her speak then calmly explained, ” My husband was told his child needed medical attention. Nothing was going stop him from getting to his son.”

There’s a story in the Bible about a man characterized with the same determination displayed by my husband. His name was Bartimaeus and he was blind. The book of Mark tells us that Bartimaeus was sitting along the roadside as Jesus and the disciples were passing by. Bartimaeus heard that Jesus was near so he began to cry out for mercy. The crowds that had gathered and everyone around Bartimaeus tried to silence him but Bartimaeus continued to seek the Savior’s attention. He had a need and nothing was going to stop him from getting to the Son of God. His determination paid off. Jesus healed Bartimaeus and his life was forever changed.

Is there something in your life that needs the Savior’s attention? Do you need comfort, healing, guidance, wisdom, peace, forgiveness? Cry out to Jesus right now.

The devil will try to silence you. He’ll distract you with temporary solutions and quick fixes. He’ll fill your heart with guilt and shame and tell you that you are not worthy of the Savior’s love. He’ll use your friends and family to tell you everything is fine and your need will handle itself. The devil will successfully keep you quiet, if you let him.

Don’t let him.

If you have a need (and we all have a need!), don’t let anything stop you from getting to Jesus. Don’t let anything silence your cries. Muster up all your determination and cry out even louder. Jesus is near and He will answer.

Oh, and I can’t wait to see your SMILE when He does.

 

A Year of Smiles – Day 244

Reason to SMILE #244: MAPS


Remember the days of paper maps? You know the ones. They came neatly folded in a packet small enough to fit into your glove compartment but opened up to almost the size of your windshield. And once unfolded, they never returned to that original sized packet again!

Then there were those big, bulky atlases – books filled with maps that never fit anywhere in the car except the trunk so anytime you needed it, you’d have to stop the car to retrieve it. The atlas was my husband’s navigational aide of choice and, of course, I was the navigator. Unfortunately, we didn’t always have the best of luck following these paper maps.

He’d say after finding that we were lost, “I can’t believe someone with a college education can’t read a map.”

I’d say, “That wasn’t my major!”

Let’s just say we had some communication issues. 

Fortunately for us both, we now have Google Maps. No longer do we have to struggle with bulky paper maps that block the view and probably have caused as many divorces as they have accidents. We can simply type in an address and boom! The route is laid out for us and all we have to do is follow the blue line.

Just like Google Maps helps us in our travels, we also have a map to help us along life’s journey. The Bible, God’s lamp for your feet and light for your path, is right at your fingertips. His guide for your life has never been more accessible. It’s just the click of a website or touch of an app away. You only need to open it, read it and boom! His path is laid out for you and all you have to do is follow. 

Having a map at my fingertips sure has made a difference in my family trips. Having God’s Word at my fingertips has made a difference of even greater significance. Without having to worry with navigation myself, either on the road or in my walk with God, I have more time to enjoy the journey and all the SMILES along the way.

A Year of Smiles – Day 238

Reason to SMILE #238: A HAND TO HOLD


When waves are crashing all around,

When winds are whipping bold,

Lift up your eyes and you will see

A hand for you to hold.

 
When fear is knocking at your door,

When doubts have left you cold,

Take heart for there will always be

A hand for you to hold.

 
He’s always there to rescue you.

He’ll give you strength untold.

Just speak His name and you will find

A hand for you to hold.

“Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭14:29b-31‬a NIV‬‬

A Year of Smiles – Day 237

Reason to SMILE #237: FORGETFULNESS 

It was almost time for me to leave. I went into the kitchen, poured my coffee in my travel cup and reached for my keys. They weren’t there. I usually leave my keys in the same place every day. Apparently, though, I strayed from my ritual.

Where were my keys?!?

I couldn’t remember where I left them. I checked my room – the night stand and dressers. No keys. I searched pants pockets. No keys. I rummaged through my purse. Ugh! No keys!

I called my husband. Maybe he moved them. He didn’t answer. Hmm. If he’d had my keys, it’s possible they were in my car. 

I started out the door to go check the car. As soon as I opened the house door, my search was over. There, on a stand in the garage, were my keys – where they had been all night! 


Of course, when I saw my keys, I remembered setting them there after arriving home the night before. I stopped in the laundry room before going into the house because I didn’t have a pocket to put them in. Obviously, I forgot to pick them back up.

How could I be so forgetful?

Whether I like it or not, forgetfulness has become a frequent visitor in my life. I argue that it is a sign of having too many things on my plate or too much on my mind. Never, oh ever, would I admit that it is a sign of aging. But whatever the cause, forgetfulness is not usually a trait that makes me SMILE unless…

… we’re discussing the forgetfulness of God after He has forgiven us our transgressions. Yes! God not only forgives our sins when we repent, He also forgets those sins.

“For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭31:34‬b NIV‬‬

“as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭103:12‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.”

‭‭Micah‬ ‭7:18-19‬ ‭NIV‬‬

God doesn’t hold our sins against us. He doesn’t file them away so He can bring them up later to remind us of our shortcomings. No. When we confess and repent of our sins, God is faithful to forgive and to forget.

There sure would be so many more SMILES in our lives if we were all able to forget like God!