A Prayer for a Husband — Going Out, Not Knowing Where You’re Going

Read Through the Bible in 2 Years: Proverbs 3:9-10; Genesis 12-13

"Now the LORD said to Abram, "Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you." - Genesis 12:1 ESV

Abram, too, finds his way into the Hebrews Hall of Faith, like Abel and Noah that we read about recently.

"By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going." - Hebrews 11:8 ESV

In reading Genesis 12-13, I wanted to either focus on Abram failing to protect his beautiful wife from the advances of the Pharaoh or on Abram choosing to trust God and go out to an unknown land.

But, instead, I’m going to choose Door #3, that in spite of Abram’s great shortcomings, he was God’s chosen man called for a specific purpose. Like Noah, a righteous man, chosen by God for a great purpose who became drunk with wine shortly after surviving the worldwide flood, Abram obeys God in going out to this new place, yet he gives way to fear.

Like we read in Ephesians 2:8-10, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

From Abel to Noah to Abram to Bill and Kim Endraske, each of us have been saved by our faith, not by our works. Yet our faith will lead us to do works of faith, whether in offering good sacrifices, or building big boats, or going out to foreign lands, or writing blogs one-day-at-a-time, may we walk faithfully with our God.

Let’s pray together.

Heavenly Father,

Thank You for the precious gift of faith. You did not choose me because of any deed that I had done. In fact, You cast Your eyes and Your love upon me while I was Your enemy. You called me and chose me and drew me and put faith into me … and all I can say is THANK YOU!

Lord, I pray for my husband to hear You loud and clear. Help him to be strong and courageous and not to be afraid. Help him to resist the temptation to take the easy way out. Father, I pray that You will be faithful to complete the good work that You have begun in him. Direct his steps and protect him from the schemes and lies of the evil one. Give him the strength and wisdom to follow You. Help him to know Your Word and hear Your voice as You lead him.

Father, help us as wives to submit to our husbands, not to fear anything that is frightening. Encourage us to sit daily at Your feet, that we might trust You when life is scary. Help us to keep a careful watch over our mouths and our minds, thinking and speaking the truth in love. Make us godly helpmeets, doing good to our husbands all the days of his life, so that his heart can trust us and he will have no lack of gain.

Lord, we submit to You and Your will for our lives. We will go where you send us, when you send us, trusting that Your ways and thoughts are always better than ours.

In the Good and Sovereign Name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

Learning from the Lives of Cain and Abel

Read through the Bible in 2 years: Genesis 4-5

We don’t really know exactly why God accepted Abel’s offering, but not Cain’s, but I think Hebrews 11:4 gives us some insight.

"By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks." - Hebrews 11:4 ESV

Oftentimes, we want to do what seems right to us, rather than doing what God has said. We think, “What’s wrong with eating the fruit of that tree? It looks fine to me.” Or we think, “Why can’t I give God this fruit, I am a farmer after all?”

Yet, faith trusts God. Faith trusts that what God has said is right. Faith believes that God is good and all-knowing and that all His ways are right.

And like Hebrews 11:6 (explaining more about Abel and other men and women of faith) says,

"Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek him." - Hebrews 11:6

Who are we seeking? Whose reward do we desire? Who are we trying to please? Are we pursuing our own pleasure and comfort or are we pursuing the Lord?

It’s like the words of Christ that we read in John – “Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there will My servant be also. If anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.” – John 12:25-26 ESV

We must not expect that when you’re living for the Lord that the world will love you. In fact, Abel’s life is an example for us. Like John wrote in 1 John 3:12-13 ESV — “We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you.”

Cain said to the LORD, “My punishment is greater than I can bear." - Genesis 4:13 ESV

Were you taken aback when you read this? I was. When I first read this, I thought, “No, Cain, your punishment is much too light. You killed your brother. You deserve to be killed.” (In fact, Genesis 9:6 says just that.)

But as I’ve pondered it more, I see the foreshadowing of Christ bearing our sins, from the largest to the smallest. Cain deserved death for his sin, and though I’ve never murdered anyone physically, I deserve death for my sins, too. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 6:23 ESV

Yet I couldn’t bear the punishment for my sins any more than Cain or anyone else could.

But Christ bore our punishment in our place, that we can be justly forgiven by a just judge.

"[Jesus] committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed." 1 Peter 2:22-24 ESV

Let’s pray.

Heavenly Father,

We come to You with hearts of thanksgiving for Your grace that You have lavished on us. We confess the hateful thoughts that we have had in our hearts toward men and women created in your image. We confess that we have often been jealous of others – The relationships they have, the talents they have, the possessions they have, even the faith they have. We confess we have often gone our own way rather than trusting Your character and Your Word.

We thank You for Jesus Christ the only perfect sin substitute, the Lamb of God who was slain for the sins of the world, including me.

We humbly ask You to forgive us and cleanse us through the blood of Christ that was shed for us.

Please, Heavenly Father, give us the strength and wisdom that we need to live like Christ – not repaying wrong with wrong, not repaying reviling with reviling, but overcoming evil with good. Help us to entrust ourselves to You, the only one who judges justly. We pray that our lights would shine brightly – even when the world is yelling at us to turn our lights out. May we shine brightly for You.

In the holy and merciful name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

The Gift of Being Created to be a Helper

Read through the Bible in 2 Years: Genesis 1-2

I like to read Genesis one and two together because I see Genesis chapter two as an expansion of the account of the creation of man in chapter 1. There’s so much in these two chapters that I read both of them together, two days in a row.

Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” 

Now out of the ground the LORD God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him.

So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.

Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh." - Genesis 2:18-24 ESV

God saw that it was not good for Adam to be alone, so He wanted to give Adam a helper who was fit for him. Not just any helper would do. He didn’t just need the strength of an ox or the beauty of a peacock or the loyalty of a dog. No, Adam needed a suitable helper, designed especially for man, and so God gave him a woman.

Being a helper is a gift to both the man and the woman. The man needs the woman … And the woman has been given a very important job.

In God’s perfect timing, I’m writing this as I’m visiting my parents hundreds of miles away from my husband. I can assure you, my husband misses me. Yes, he misses me cooking and cleaning for him. Yes, he misses me making his morning coffee. Whether he misses them or not, he needs my little reminders and extra set of hands. But I think he especially misses my company, having to talk to and share life with.

And this is a great blessing! It is good to be needed and missed.

We need to be so careful to not allow our children to take our husband’s place. Children are made from the seed of their father, not from his rib … or yours. Children are created to leave their parents, but husbands and wives are created to become one flesh until they are parted by death.

Sisters, don’t leave your husband in the dust while you’re attending to your babies. Those babies are going to grow up and move away, but your husband will be by your side for the rest of his life. He needs you and you need to be needed. Make sure you keep your children and your husband in their rightful places in your hearts, minds, and lives.

I speak from personal experience – this is hard, but it can be done. Here are a few ideas I’ve learned (and am still learning) over my 28 years of marriage.

  • Schedule regular dates with your husband to keep those flames of friendship burning.
  • Look for something small that you can do to serve your husband every day – make him a cup of coffee or write him a little note or send him a text over lunch.
  • Express to your husband (and others) how grateful you are for him. Let them know how much they mean to you and how much you value them.
  • Keep a careful watch over your thought life. Complaining thoughts turn into complaining attitudes and complaining words. Nothing works more powerfully against your marriage than having a complaining Spirit. When those thoughts (true though they might be) come into your mind, grab hold of them and replace them with the truths of hope and grace found at the foot of the cross.
  • Make praying for your husband a priority. Ask God to bless him and guide him. Check out this video to a wonderful prayer for your husband – from his head to his feet.

Let’s pray now.

Heavenly Father,

Thank You so much for the gift that my husband is. Thank You for making me his helper. Thank You for making him such that he needed me. And thank You for making me fit for him.

Help me to recognize the blessing it is to be needed. I pray that I would make my husband a priority in my life. Help me to do him good and not harm all the days of his life. Help me to submit myself willingly and cheerfully to him, and to trust You, Lord, in the process.

Father, help me not to grow weary of doing good and to trust that in due season I will reap harvest if I do not lose heart.

I pray that You would bless my husband with every spiritual blessing according to the riches of Your glory in Christ Jesus. I pray that You would take care of him physically, spiritually, and emotionally. Give him the strength and wisdom that he needs to lead our family. And give him the humility that he needs to turn to You in his weakness.

In the good and gracious name of Jesus I pray.

Amen.

Of Light and Darkness, Love and Hate

Read through the Bible in 2 years: Psalm 12; Proverbs 2:16-22; 1 John 2:7-17

"Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes." - 1 John 2:9-11 ESV

What is love? What is hate? Love is an emotion but it’s also an action. Love is wanting GOOD for someone while HATE wants harm for them.

Reading Psalm 12 and Proverbs 2 along with this passage, I thought of how much lying and adultery are really signs of hate … while honesty and integrity are marks of love. One might say that they love someone while their lips are speaking lies. One might say that they love someone while leading someone astray. But true love desires for the other person’s health, holiness, and well-being.

"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world." - 1 John 2:15-16 ESV

At its very essence, the love of the world and the things of the world boil down to love of self, love of comfort, safety, and pleasure. My love of the world is nothing like God’s John 3:16 love – “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” My love of the world looks a lot more like loving my own pleasure. The truth is that I love me some ME.

And when my eyes are full of loving me, there’s no room left to love my Heavenly Father or my neighbor. To truly love my Heavenly Father, I have to put His glory and His commands over my own fleeting pleasures. To truly love my neighbor, I have to put their well-being over my own, and that takes Holy Spirit power and strength! I can never do that in my own flesh.

Won’t you pray with me?

Heavenly Father,

We want Your glory and majesty to fill the earth. Make us Your vessels. We want to walk in the light as You are in the light. We want to love our neighbor as ourselves. We want to love others as Christ loved us.

But, Father, we can’t do it on our own.

Please forgive us for how far and how often we have gone astray. We have loved the world and the things in the world, instead of loving You and loving our neighbor. We have loved ourselves and hated our brothers.

We repent of our sins. We turn to You, knowing that You are our only hope in life and death. Thank You for the forgiveness and grace available to us through the blood of Christ. Thank You for Your power and guidance available to us through the Holy Spirit.

We need You every hour. We cry out to You and ask for Your help and we know that You hear us.

Thank You! Thank you! Thank you! By the perfect righteousness of Christ we come to You.

Amen

A New Commandment

Read through the Bible in 2 years: John 13

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another." John 13:34 ESV

When Jesus knew that His hour had come to give up His life and return to his Father, He didn’t look to a bucket list of “Top 100 Things to Do Before You Die.” No, he washed His disciples’ feet. The most important thing to Him before His death was to leave an example of true love for His followers.

He gives them this “new commandment” – a very old commandment actually, but made even more difficult by the addition of “JUST AS I HAVE LOVED YOU.” It’s really, really hard to love your neighbor as yourself. (Mark 12:31) This takes supernatural power. But to love others sacrificially as Jesus did – washing your friends’ feet, your students’ feet, even your betrayer’s feet – and even to lay down your own life for someone else, this is impossible apart from being born again, having a new will and new power working in you. (Philippians 2:13)

Will you please pray with me for the Lord to give you this strength?

Heavenly Father, I confess to you how hard it is for me to love others as myself, and even how impossible it is for me to love others as you have loved me. Help me to remember that what is impossible for man is possible for God. Nothing is impossible for you. I can do this because you give me strength.

Help me to remember that You loved me while I was a sinner, your enemy. You ran after me while I was running away from you.

Help me to feel that kind of love for others and to express that kind of love toward others. Help me to pursue others like you pursued me. Help me to serve others like you served me. Help me to see the need of other people as greater than my own need.

Jesus, you are my perfect example of being a servant. Help me to consider others more highly than myself. Help me to serve my family and my friends, people who love me. Help me to serve my children and my students, people who are under my authority. Help me to serve the stranger and alien and even my enemy, remembering that you loved me when I was a stranger and alien and even Your enemy.

In the strong and kind name of Jesus, I pray, Amen.

Friendship

Over the years, intimate friendship has always been tough for me. Maybe because I’m selfish. Maybe because I’m critical. Maybe because I can be too direct and intimidating. Maybe because I’m too busy, and genuine friendship takes work.

So, today, as I was reading James, I was captured by James 4:4

You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

James 4:4 ESV

Being friends with the world is easy. The world encourages me to be selfish and critical. The world is waiting for me every time I pick up my phone and veg out on the couch, or pick up a big slice of “poor me pie.”

But, God is a better friend than the world can ever be. God listens to me at all hours of the day or night. He’s never too busy. He’s never distracted. He never ignores my call. He’s never too tired.

God tells me what I need to hear, not only what I want to hear. God gives me wise counsel filled with His loving grace and mercy. God is patient with me. God knows my weakness and still loves me.

The world woos us, pretending to love us, calling to us to come and be filled, but really it is only speaking empty lies and deceit. When I’m chasing after the world, I’m turning my back on the lover of my soul, Jesus, my Savior and Shepherd who gave up His life in my place.

If you’re looking for a true friend, look up.

A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Proverbs 18:24 ESV

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
Proverbs 17:17 ESV

Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.
Proverbs 27:6 ESV

No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.
Matthew 6:24 ESV

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
John 15:13 ESV

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.
Revelation 3:20 ESV

The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.
Revelation 22:17 ESV

A Cord of Three Strands

If you’ve ever spent more than a few hours with me, you’ve probably seen me whip my hair back into a simple little braid. While together with family for the Christmas holiday, I asked someone (I can’t remember who ☺️) if they could do that and they replied that, no, they couldn’t, it must be a special thing for my curly hair.

So, yesterday, while getting my hair out of my face by quickly braiding three strands of my fine, curly hair behind my head, I suddenly remembered Ecclesiastes 4:12 ESV, “A threefold cord is not quickly broken.”

But, then, my mind went to this — that three-fold cord takes effort to stay tight, to stay woven and together. I can’t just throw my hair up in a braid and expect it to stay for the rest of the day or week or month. This reminds me that my relationship with God, my relationship with my husband, or my sister, or my children, or a good friend, needs attention to remain tightly held together. Something to ponder.

Father, please help me to abide in You, to hold fast to you, to cling to you. Help me to weave myself into Bill’s life and to be his faithful helper. Grant me your strength to love others and to serve them by your love abiding in me. Thank you for giving me Your Spirit and for the promise that You will never leave me or forsake me. Help me to hear Your voice and to walk step by step holding onto Your loving hand. By the Grace of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

“And though a man might prevail against one
who is alone, two will withstand him
a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”

Ecclesiastes 4:12 ESV

Ecclesiastes 4:12 KJV “And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”

Ecclesiastes 4:12 NLT “A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”

Where is your Focus?

On the Problem or the Purpose?

On the Father or the Failure?

On the Trials or the Triumph?

On the Savior or the Storm?

Jesus told us that we would have tribulation in this world. Why are we surprised? But Jesus also said TAKE HEART, I have OVERCOME the World!

Daily we have to actively choose to fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith who for the JOY that was COMING endured the cross.

We, too, can endure and overcome with hope and peace … because of our FAITH in our Risen Savior who conquered death. We, too, know that JOY is coming. These trials are light and momentary when compared to the eternal WEIGHT of GLORY!


I’m looking forward to ETERNITY with Jesus. Who wants to join me there?

The road is indeed narrow, but Jesus made a way! Jesus made a way where there seemed to be no way. Jesus made a way to reconcile sinful man with Holy God – by His death on the cross, paying for my sins.

Jesus IS the way, the truth and the life. No one can come to the Father except through Him, but WOW what GOOD NEWS that there is a way at all for a sinful woman like me to spend eternity with a good and holy God!!!

Who needs to hear this good news today? If God’s given you this hope, go share it with someone who needs it!

TWIG

What does God value?

This is my lesson for this week. May it bless many and bear fruit to the glory of Jesus.

I am the younger of two children. I have only one sister. She is older than me. Her name is Kristan.

Growing up, I was always competing with Kristan. I never felt like I was as good as her. She was a quiet girl who didn’t cause much trouble. I always thought she was prettier than me. She was taller than me – and she still is. She was an excellent piano player while I struggled through my piano lessons.

Because I felt like she was better than me in so many ways, I tried to be better than her in other ways. I showed off by being talkative, friendly, outspoken, and loud. I earned awards in science fairs and debate competitions. I went to a special school for the top students in my city, yet I still felt like I was in her shadow.

Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever compared yourself to someone else and felt like you weren’t as good, as smart, or as pretty as them?

Last week we talked about what people like to share on social media like WeChat and Facebook.

I think one reason why people like sharing on social media is because they want people to praise them. We all want people to think we’re smart, beautiful, kind, and good. We all want people’s praise.

Now that I am an adult, I still find myself comparing my strengths to others’ weaknesses. I like to share the highlights of my week when my family did something special. I don’t share the moments when I got mad at my husband. I don’t share when my house was a mess and I served frozen pizzas for dinner. I don’t share when I spent 2 hours scrolling mindlessly through Facebook. I want to show the good things my kids or my husband or I did. I still want so much for people to praise and value me. This is still a struggle for me.

How about you?

I want to show you a short video of a young man with Down Syndrome speaking at a meeting for some American government leaders. While you’re watching this video, I want you to think about how you feel watching this young man and how you would feel if he was your son.


You can watch the full video here: https://youtu.be/vtS91Jd5mac

If you were this young man’s mom, would you be proud to call him your son? Why? Why not?

Now let’s think about our own families. If you had a son, would you value him more if he was the top student in his Chinese class? What if he won a track meet or an English competition? What would he have to do to make you proud?

What about God? What does God value? What makes God proud? To find an answer, let’s consider the story of the shepherd boy David who grew up to be the King of Israel. The first king of Israel, King Saul, had disobeyed God and God was looking for a new man to be king of Israel. God sent His prophet Samuel to a man named Jesse to find a new king from one of Jesse’s sons. When Jesse’s first son arrived, Samuel thought, “Surely this is the Lord’s anointed,” but Samuel was wrong.

“But the LORD said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him.
The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance,
but the LORD looks at the heart.”” (1 Samuel 16:7 NLT)

但耶和华对撒母耳说:“不要看他的外貌和他高大的身材,因为我不拣选他。
耶和华看人不像人看人,人是看外表,耶和华是看内心。

Let’s try reciting this verse together. First, you can listen to me say it. Then, we will say it together.
Finally, I’d like a few sisters to try it by themselves.

God had chosen Jesse’s youngest son who was out in the field caring for the sheep. As we are told in Acts 13:22, God had chosen David, the son of Jesse, because he was a man after God’s own heart who would do everything God wanted him to do.

Does that mean that David never sinned? Does that mean that David never broke God’s laws? No, it doesn’t. In fact, David committed adultery with a married woman and had her husband killed. Yet, David was repentant over his sin. David grieved over his sin and turned to God for forgiveness. David held fast to God and had faith in God even when life was very hard.

So, what exactly is in a man’s heart which makes God value him?

What do you think, sisters? What makes a person worthy to be called God’s child?

God created each and every person in His very own image. Every single person ever made was created in the image of God – no matter their skin color, no matter their wealth, no matter their intelligence or ability level, no matter how much money they have. Every single person has value in the sight of God because every single person is created in the image of God.

But not everyone is God’s child.

Jesus “came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn–not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.” (John 1:10-13)

The only thing that can make you God’s child is faith, faith in Jesus Christ, the only Son of our Heavenly Father God. This alone is what makes you worthy. Faith is the greatest value.

And even this faith is a gift, as we read in Ephesians 2:8, “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.”

As you trust in God, then He will strengthen you and guide you to do great things for Him. He will change you, grow you and make you more like His Son as you trust in Him.

Like I once worked so hard to be better than my sister, when I became a Christian, I worked so hard to earn God’s love. But I was wrong. There was nothing I could do to deserve God’s love.

“Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might,
let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this,
that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD
who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth.
For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.” (Jeremiah 9:23-24)

耶和华这样说:“智慧人不可夸耀自己的智慧,勇士不可夸耀自己的勇力,财主不可夸耀自己的财富。
夸口的却要因了解我,认识我而夸口;认识我是耶和华,我在地上施行慈爱、
公正、公义;因为我喜悦这些事。”这是耶和华的宣告。

Let’s try reciting this verse together. First, you can listen to me say it. Then, we will say it together.
Finally, I’d like a few sisters to try it by themselves.

God delights in steadfast love, justice and righteousness. Yes, He does. And He wants us to do these things, too, but He wants us to do them by faith. He wants us to obey Him by faith.

Jesus chose the intellectual Paul, a Jewish Pharisee and a persecutor of Christians, to share the good news of salvation with the lost. But Jesus also chose four common fishermen like Peter to spread the gospel. Does Jesus love the intellectual Paul more than simple Peter? No.

As Paul wrote in the beginning of his letter to the church in Corinth,

“For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards,
not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.
But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise;
God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong;
God chose what is low and despised in the world,
even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are,
so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:26-29
)

弟兄们,你们想想,你们这些蒙召的,按人“人”或译:
“世上的标准”、“世界的标准”来看有智慧的不多,有权势的不多,出身尊贵的也不多。
但是 神却拣选了世上愚笨的,使那些有智慧的羞愧。他也拣选了世上软弱的,使那些刚强的羞愧。
他也拣选了世上卑贱的和被人轻视的,以及算不得甚么的,为了要废弃那些自以为是的,
使所有的人在 神面前都不能自夸。

Do you think if your child got better grades or your husband had a better job, then God would love you more?

Do you think that if you were prettier or smarter or richer, then God would love you?

What if you memorized more Bible verses or prayed more or went to church more often, then would you be worthy of God’s love?

What if you gave all you owned to the poor or gave up your life as a martyr for Christ, then would you finally be valuable to God? (See 1 Corinthians 13 for more on this!)

Look at these pictures of my husband and my son in our backyard. My husband is much taller than my son when you look at them up close, but when you compare either of them to the height of the trees, they are both so tiny.

We may like to compare ourselves to one other, but when we compare ourselves to God, then we see how short we truly are. None of us are perfectly good, wise or holy. Only God. God loves you because He is God. He is your Creator, and He wants to be your Father. There is nothing you can say or do or think to make yourself worthy of His love.

In your own power,
you are unworthy and undeserving,
but in Christ Jesus you have infinite worth.

I don’t know whether you need to hear this because you need to be reminded not to show favoritism to your children or your coworkers or your friends, or because you need the reminder that you can’t earn God’s love, but I know that you need to hear this. 

When you place your trust in Jesus Christ, God’s Holy Spirit comes to live inside of you. When God looks at you, He sees His Son, Jesus Christ, in your heart. Jesus Christ is who makes you worthy and valuable, completely worthy and infinitely valuable, and Jesus Christ is the truly the only one truly worthy of praise.

Let me encourage you to share this good news with someone else this week.

Weary

Week after week passes, each week the same.

Dishes to wash.

Classes to teach.

Dinners to cook.

Groceries to buy.

It is so easy to grow weary. It is so easy to think that life is without purpose or meaning. Yet, the light shines in the darkness. The Lord gives strength to the weary. In His mercy, the Lord opens the eyes of the blind, the ears of the deaf and the hearts of the captives.

I find encouragement in knowing that our Heavenly Father never grows weary. In my weariness and weakness, I am able to recognize the enormity of God’s power.

God alone is almighty. He alone is outside of time and space. He alone is able to do everything and know everything. He intentionally created me to need food and rest, that I would recognize my humble state and praise His almighty glory.

So, today, sisters, let me encourage you. Do not grow weary of well-doing. God is not finished with you. In this world you will have trouble, but you can take heart because Jesus – Son of God and Son of Man – has overcome this world! This world is temporary, but the new heavens and new earth are eternal. Do not work for the food that perishes! Instead, work for the treasures which are everlasting. (John 6:27) God Himself is your peace in the storm, the giver of every good thing.

We are together in this earthly journey. Let’s encourage one another as we see the end drawing near. As my Chinese friends say, “Jiayou!” (Keep going!)

All glory to His Almighty name

TWIG

“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

Isaiah 40:28-31 ESV

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 ESV

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”

Galatians 6:9 ESV

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.”

Hebrews 12:1-3 ESV