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Let us not become weary in doing
good, for at the proper time we will
reap a harvest if we do not give up.
(Galations 6:9)

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Bearing Your Cross

By Pat

"Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull." (John 19:16, 17)

This is the time of year referred to by Christians as Holy Week. It is a reflection of the week leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus, a very somber time for Christians as we think about our Lord walking the loneliest walk He would ever have, and carrying his own cross to where He knew he would suffer a horrible death. I can't begin to imagine the terror and dread He must have felt. And yet, He continued on with dignity, courage and strength. He obeyed His Father. He knew that if He trusted in God, no matter what, God would not let Him down and would provide the necessary tools to bear the burden, and that He would be rewarded for His faith.

What cross are you carrying? Do you carry the weight of financial difficulties? Is your cross physical ailments? Perhaps you carry the cross of family discord or difficulties with children, or maybe you carry a combination of more than one of these things. Do you bear your cross with the obedience and faith of Jesus? Do you trust in God to walk your lonely paths with you?

No matter what you're carrying, you're not alone. Jesus has walked that road, carried His cross, and knows better than anyone what you're going through. He will help you carry your cross, and if you keep your eyes on Him, you will be victorious, whatever the outcome may be. This life is temporary, and we were not promised a trouble-free journey. The only thing that matters is maintaining your faith, following through, trusting God, giving Him the glory, and focusing on eternal life with Him, courtesy of the greatest gift we will ever receive-our crucified and risen Lord Jesus.

"Don't be alarmed," he said. "You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him." (Mark 16:6)

Pat is a good friend who is passionate about her faith and her family. She works from home supporting a family business, and loves to read, write and garden when she can, and spends every spare moment with her grandkids.


The Beauty of a Woman

By MH, Age 17

I have always agreed with the Gaelic Proverb that says, “Modesty is the beauty of a woman.”  The problem today is that everyday people and many celebrities show their beauty in a way that contradicts the Proverb.  The world today views true beauty as outward appearance.  By outward appearance, I don’t mean a girl’s face, but I mean the way she dresses and the cleavage she shows.  In a random 20 person survey, guys were asked what they would rather see a girl dressed in.  Five guys voted that they would rather see a girl wearing tight-fitting, revealing clothing.  Eight guys voted that it depends on the situation.  Seven guys voted on sweat pants and a comfortable look.  A lot of girls use their clothes to show exhibitionism.  Their clothes act as the extravagant behavior to attract attention to themselves. 

Many girls believe that in order for them to be beautiful they have to show off their body.  Many girls believe that showing skin is sexy.  Christina Mead once said, “Don’t let the crowd tell you that skin equals sexy, and that’s the only way to be beautiful.”  She shares a great point.  If you walk around a school you see many girls, more than you can count on your hands and toes, who reveal themselves.  Girls get it in their heads that if they have their boobs out then they will be sexy and beautiful.  What they don’t know is that scandalous is not a true beautiful way to look.  When they show off their bodies they also lose the sense of wonder.  Emma Watson said in an interview, “What’s sexy about saying ‘I’m here with my boobs out and a short skirt, have a look at everything I’ve got?’ My idea of sexy is that less is more.  The less you reveal the more people can wonder.”  Her statement about less is more, meaning the less you reveal is more, is a statement of respect.  When you show yourself off it is a statement of disrespect towards yourself.  An anonymous man said, "The girl who chooses to be modest chooses to be respected. 

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By Pat

Many times through the years, I have prayed for God to help me to be more worthy. I would go before God in prayer feeling dirty, sinful. Ashamed. Not good enough. Not worthy. I would approach God almost embarrassed to present my requests to Him, certain He was disappointed in me for being so, well, unworthy.

But then God reminded me, gradually, that no matter what I might be feeling about myself, He sees me differently. He actually WANTS me to be His child, to feel special and loved, but not because of anything I did. I am worthy because the blood of Jesus has cleansed me and made me worthy. That's what did it! I need not feel ashamed, for the wonderful sacrifice Jesus made for me has freed me from the chains I surrounded myself with. I am free and I am loved. God wants me, warts and all.

I now approach the throne of God not timidly, but boldly, reminding myself when necessary that God found me, a sinner, worthy of Him, the Almighty, when He sent His son to pay the heavy price for my sins. I have a new awareness now, a greater and more profound gratitude in my heart. A humbleness I had not known when Satan was whispering lies into my head. I will never be perfect, but thanks to Jesus, I will always be worthy.

"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8)

Pat is a good friend who is passionate about her faith and her family. She works from home supporting a family business, and loves to read, write and garden when she can, and spends every spare moment with her grandkids.


The Simple Trust of a Dog

By Pat

My golden retriever, Lillie, is getting old. She's ten now and her age is showing in the difficulty she has at times getting up and down, and especially in climbing steps. At one time, she bounded effortlessly up the steps to bed every night. Now at bedtime she goes very slowly and cautiously, sometimes stopping after she gets part of the way up. So we now have a new routine. I go down the steps and meet her wherever she is and walk up beside her, encouraging her with my hand lightly on her back. Once I reach her, she begins the rest of the journey up. She feels more confident knowing I am right there at her side.

My walk with Jesus is like this. Sometimes I feel all alone and unable to climb the stairway of life on my own. My steps are uncertain, and I am cautious, sure that I will fall or be unable to finish. But then Jesus shows up, and as soon as I feel the comfort of His presence beside me, I can continue my climb knowing that if I stumble or become too weak, He will give me the encouragement and strength I need to make it.

I need to be more like Lillie. I need to simply wait for Jesus to make His presence known to me so that I can walk forward and upward with confidence. Lillie's faith and trust in me is very simple, but I allow my faith at times to be too complex. My aging, sweet dog has taught me a lesson about simple trust, and I am have learned from her. Perhaps someday I will be as smart as my dog.

"He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." (Isaiah 40:29-31)

Pat is a good friend who is passionate about her faith and her family. She works from home supporting a family business, and loves to read, write and garden when she can, and spends every spare moment with her grandkids.


The Family of God

By Pat

The daily devotional I like best consists of short devotions written by people all over the world, regular, ordinary people just like me. Many of their thoughts and feelings echo mine, and I can relate. Others write about things I have not encountered, and from them I can learn. Some of the stories submitted include pictures of the writers. They are men and women, young and old, black, white Asian, name it. I don't know them, but yet I feel a kind of kinship with each one, a bond I cannot explain.

We are all different, but yet the love of God, the blood of Jesus makes them feel so familiar to me. They are my brothers and my sisters. The common bond of faith makes them dear to me. The blood of Jesus is like that-it turns strangers into family. This love unites us in a way unlike anything else I know. It's nothing I can really even explain coherently, but I feel it just the same.

Jesus took twelve strangers in different classes, occupations and walks, and just by being Jesus, He joined them together and created a force. The common sharing of their love for Him enabled them to change the world. And we, too, by joining with our brothers and sisters around the neighborhood or around the world, can make a difference, for it's not the blood running through our veins that make us family. It's the blood of Jesus covering us all. What an awesome power-what an awesome love!

"For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother." (Matthew 12:50)

Pat is a good friend who is passionate about her faith and her family. She works from home supporting a family business, and loves to read, write and garden when she can, and spends every spare moment with her grandkids.