Bloom Where You’re Planted

Blessings

Well, today is the dreaded day. I have to balance the checkbook. Most of the time I find that our checkbook balances just fine and it is no big deal. But there is that fear of an error lurking in the numbers. It creates so much work to find the calculation error and correct the problem. Or maybe it is just the word “balance” that bothers me. Balance applies to so many aspects of our lives.

For a child’s teeter totter to work, it has to be balanced. For a marriage to work there has to be balance. For an office to function properly, the workload has to be balanced between employees. To maintain a healthy lifestyle there has to be a balance of nutritional foods, relaxation and exercise. For a gymnast to walk a balance beam, she has to have physical balance. As Christians we need to balance Bible study, prayer, meditation and service. Balance, balance, balance! It is everywhere in our lives and sometimes creating balance can make us uncomfortable because it causes us to change or correct a part of our lives.

Our spiritual lives need to be full of checks and balances as well. I consider myself very lucky to have accountability partners. On a regular basis, we ask each other questions like: How is your prayer life and Bible study? How have you served Christ this week? How has your faith struggled this week? But over the years it has grown into a relationship which is much deeper than just these types of questions. Honesty, integrity and trust are at the center of our friendships.

Allowing ourselves to be open and honest with one another, has taught us to also be open and honest with Christ. When we correct each other for our undesirable actions, we find it much easier to ask forgiveness from Christ. We aren’t the perfect Christians who make all the correct choices in life. We struggle and stumble just like everyone else. But the difference is when I stumble, they are there to set me back on my feet and vice versa. The teeter totter of our lives might be going back and forth, but we balance one another.

The reason this accountability is so important to me is because I never want my actions to cause another person to stumble. Paul even warns of this in 1 Timothy 4:12, 16 (NIV).“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.”

As a Christian leader in my home, my church and my community, I need to keep balance in my walk with Christ and I cannot do that alone! I’m responsible for my actions, but knowing there are partners who will ask me questions really makes me stop and think about my actions before I take a step.

When I let Christ down through my actions, they have also helped me through these difficulties. Causing another person to stumble in their faith can be very painful. It is like trying to find the calculation problem in your checkbook. It takes so much work to correct. But when you have friends who continually put your feet back on the balance beam of life it is so much easier. Their job is to set me on the right path, remind me to focus on Christ and tell me to just start walking once again. Sure I’m going to stumble, and sure I’m going to fall, but with their help I will always continue to persevere and try to walk a balanced life in Christ.

How is the balance in your spiritual life? Do you need the support of a friend who will continually help you focus back on Christ? If you don’t have a partner on the other end of your teeter totter, I would encourage you to find that person in your life that will help you maintain a balanced life in Christ.

Several years ago, my son Matt went on a mission trip to Venezuela through the college he was attending. While he was there, part of his work included physical labor in unbearable heat. This past year, my brother-in-law Bumpy went on a mission trip to Honduras and experienced similar conditions. He was loading wheelbarrows with gravel in temperatures between 120–130 degrees. Having come from Ohio where the summer highs are between 90–100 degrees, you could say they were feeling the heat. Matt says, “It brings a whole new definition to the word thirst.”

When the two of them were comparing notes, Matt recalled exactly how he felt. He remembers saying to God, “You called me to do your work and I’m giving it my best shot. Couldn’t you work with me a little and at least turn down the thermostat?”

Though I can’t relate to the heat exhaustion they were feeling, I can relate to the comment. There have been many times in my life when God turned up the thermostat just a little too high! The most recent example happened just this week. In the past few months I have committed to write a devotional book. I also committed to being the Lay Director for the Walk to Emmaus in May for our Emmaus community. Both tasks will be stretching, detail oriented, full of Bible study, growth and prayer. But sometimes along with the personal growth there are trials and circumstances which are out of our control. Problems which make us question God but ultimately build our strength.

Saturday our tractor and a piece of farm equipment were being transported down a state route from one field to another. It suddenly started leaking oil and the check engine light came on. Unfortunately, the driver Stan was on a stretch of road with hills and curves and there was nowhere to pull over. You just don’t park a tractor and equipment on the shoulder of the road. As he continued looking for an opportunity to pull off, he lost all steering control of the tractor, and was just along for the ride. He slowed the tractor down, rode it through the ditch between two poles and a road sign. The equipment was off the road only by inches when he came to a stop. Blessings—oh yes! Most important, no one was hurt. In addition, the equipment he was pulling was not damaged in the process and nothing was rolled over on the uncontrollable ride through the ditch.

Later that evening, I found myself thinking thoughts similar to Matt’s from so many years ago. “You called me to do your work and I’m giving it my best shot. Couldn’t you work with me a little and at least turn down the thermostat?” First of all, who knows what the expenses will be to fix the tractor. Second, my husband is away on vacation and I don’t want to call and give him the bad news! He works so hard and he deserves at least a few days of enjoyment. I was quickly reminded of a very common scripture.

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. (Romans 5:3–5 NIV)

As if reading these verses wasn’t reminder enough that God is in control, I also remembered the talk I would be giving during the Walk to Emmaus. The title is “Perseverance.”

Our family persevered through the heat in South America. I persevered through the weekend and withheld the information from my husband so he could enjoy a few days of relaxation before bearing the news. My husband and I will persevere through any expenses we may endure to repair the tractor. I’m sure this won’t be the last trial in our lives, but together with God’s help we will persevere through it all. It’s funny how God can turn up the thermostat to build our character, our hope and strengthen our relationship with Him.

So, when life turns up the thermostat and you lose your steering, just persevere.

One evening this week, Dad called to see if I was home. After telling him that I would be home, he replied, “Ok, we will see you in a little bit.” My curiosity peaked, because it is very unusual for Mom and Dad to just pop in, especially at that time of the day. My first guess was that he needed my signature on some paperwork or there was something unusual to discuss. About fifteen minutes later Mom and Dad walked in the door. Dad was leading the way as they said, “Happy Mother’s Day.” There he was, shuffling along, a huge smile on his face, carrying a dozen red roses! I was so surprised. It was such a heartfelt moment. My father not only bought me roses, but he personally delivered them. It was just one of the priceless moments in my life. I mean truly priceless!

I have reflected on that special moment and the look on Dad’s face all week. My friends have all heard me say, “I received a dozen red roses from Dad.” I have been blessed to have a wonderful, loving father all of my life. It saddens me to think there are many who do not have that privilege. What a blessing from God that my earthly father is an example of the love my Heavenly Father shows me. Abba Father has those same feelings for each and every one of us. He cares for us more deeply than we can even fathom.

God cares about your comings and goings (Psalm 121:8). During our Christian walks, God refines us like silver so that we grow (Psalm 66:10). He forgives, heals and strengthens us. He shows us love and compassion (Psalm 103). He keeps track of all your sorrows and saves your tears in a bottle (Psalm 56:8). Every day of your life has been written in His book and planned out before you were born (Psalm 139:16). You are so important to God that He has even numbered every hair on your head (Matthew 10:29–31). Most importantly, you have been adopted by Christ into His own family (Ephesians 1:5).

Don’t let the priceless moments in life pass you by. It was a short visit the day I received my roses. They visited only a few minutes and then strolled back out the door. My Dad is eighty-nine years old and I cherish every moment I can spend with him. From the good times to the bad, the hard work and fun times, the tough conversations and the wisdom he has offered over the years. Each moment in its own special way has been priceless. Unfortunately, one day these precious moments will be nothing more than a memory as time marches on.

But for our Heavenly Father time doesn’t change. He always was, always is, and always will be your Abba Father. Slow down from the busyness of life and cherish priceless moments with your Abba Father. They too will be unforgettable!

Suggested Scripture Reading

• Ephesians 1:20
• Philippians 3:20
• Romans 8:1
• Romans 8:35
• John 1:12

Then Naomi heard in Moab that the LORD had blessed his people in Judah by giving them good crops again. So Naomi and her daughters-in-law got ready to leave Moab to return to her homeland. With her two daughters-in-law she set out from the place where she had been living, and they took the road that would lead them back to Judah. But on the way, Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back to your mothers’ homes. And may the LORD reward you for your kindness to your husbands and to me. May the LORD bless you with the security of another marriage.” Then she kissed them good-bye, and they all broke down and wept.…And again they wept together, and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye. But Ruth clung tightly to Naomi. “Look,” Naomi said to her, “your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods. You should do the same.” (Ruth 1:6–9, 14–15)

As the book of Ruth continues there are wonderful lessons to learn as Ruth and Naomi return to Judah. But when I read the beginning of this story, I always have questions about Orpah. The story tells us that Orpah returned to Moab, and nothing more. We are left wondering—Did she make it to Moab safely? Did she return to her gods, or did she continue to worship Naomi’s God in a pagan land? Was Orpah too scared to leave Moab, and jumped at the chance to stay? The questions continue in my mind. But I have to accept the fact that God didn’t write the rest of Orpah’s story for a reason. There is one remaining question that makes me ponder my own life. Did Orpah miss an opportunity to serve God, and have a different life? I missed an opportunity to minister to a friend once. Her mother had recently become very ill and passed away a very short time later. I was so consumed by my own career problems that I wasn’t there for my friend. Every word I said, and every action I showed did not reflect my love for her and her mother. I didn’t begin to express the pain I felt for them during their time of loss. Oh, what a missed opportunity to be the hands and feet of Christ. As time healed my broken heart from the pain I caused my friend I wondered, “How many other people did I hurt along the way during that tumultuous time of my life?” In our lives, there will be times when we miss opportunities. A chance to advance in your career. An opportunity for love. Precious moments to serve Christ. The prospect of starting a new life. Just to name a few. The important thing to remember is that God never lets us miss an opportunity without stretching us and teaching us. Proverbs 16:9 tells us “We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.” Maybe that missed opportunity in my life was really part of God’s plan to help me grow into a better Christian. Or could it be that the missed opportunity in your life is because you were too afraid to leave “Moab” and step out in faith. If so God is the God of second chances. When you think you have totally blown it, God can turn that moment around into something beautiful as you learn from your mistakes. God blesses us with His grace and gives us many chances to follow Him. He turns every missed opportunity into a teaching moment and allows us to change the outcome of our future. Ruth chose to continue on with Naomi to Judah and to serve Naomi’s God. God rewarded her for that choice. Boaz married Ruth and she became part of the lineage of Jesus Christ! Orpah chose to return to Moab. Did God reward Orpah too or did she face difficult times when she returned to Moab? Naomi prayed that Orpah would be blessed with the security of another marriage. I like to believe that God heard Naomi’s request and blessed her as well. Orpah and Ruth definitely made different choices in their lives. Just simply reading the book of Ruth tells us that God will reward those who follow Him. Regardless of our mistakes, God will bless us for returning and being faithful. Unlike Orpah’s story, you can write the end to your story, and others will know the outcome. Don’t allow the fear of the unknown keep you from serving an amazing God. And don’t be like me and allow a messed up career stop you from being a friend at a crucial time in your life. Step forward and allow the Holy Spirit to guide you wherever He is calling you today as He rewrites the next chapter of your life.

We were blessed with a wonderful evening this week. Friends invited us to dinner. It was our choice of restaurant or she would cook at her home. So with my peanut butter fluff pie in hand, we joined them for dinner in their home. Not only was the food plentiful and wonderful, but the evening was so fulfilling (and more than just our bellies.) Being able to sit in the quietness of their home instead of a noisy restaurant allowed us to have heart to heart conversations about our lives. It was good for our souls and all part of God’s timing in my life, as I have been leading the Bible study “Soul Keeping” by John Ortberg.

We were able to share the concerns of our hearts and the joys of our week. We discussed everything from the birth of our grandson, Jackson, to the ongoing illness of her father. The conversations ranged from joy, concerns, struggles, and sadness, but at the end of the evening there was such peace. Yes, they are great friends and it was a great evening, but this peace was much deeper than friendship. It was a peace that only the Holy Spirit can give you. As we parted for the evening, each of us knew that we were praying for one another. What a joy to know that our struggles, our concerns, our illnesses, and actually our entire lives are being lifted up by friends.

The book of James challenges us to live as Christians. It doesn’t promise us an easy life, but convicts us to have faith in times of difficulties, and to persevere. The evening with our friends was a true example of what James asks of us at the end of his book.

Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven. Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. (James 5:13–16)

Reread the last part of verse 16 again. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. The evening with friends was about being able to help one another through similar situations. When you can sit and share from your heart and know that they once faced the same struggle, you feel God’s hand upon you as they offer advice. Not worldly advice, but godly advice which is based on the wisdom they have already obtained from walking the road ahead of you. No wonder we left that evening feeling the peace and joy of the Holy Spirit! When you couple the Christian advise of your friends, with their prayers, and the biblical knowledge that the prayers of a righteous person produce wonderful results, WOW! What peace and joy!

My challenge to you today is to tend to your soul by digging into the book of James. Let God’s Word resonate in your soul as you read. Then invite some friends to dinner and allow the Holy Spirit to lead you. In doing so, I pray that you will find true fulfillment for your soul.

Peanut Butter Fluff Pie

4 oz. Light Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 Cup Peanut Butter
1 1/2 Cups Milk 1 Small Package Sugar-free Vanilla Pudding
1 – 8 oz. Carton Light Whipped Topping
1 Graham Cracker Pie Crust

With love, beat cream cheese and peanut butter together until well blended. Slowly add milk and pudding mix. continue to beat until fluffy. Fold in 1/3 of the whipped topping. Pour into pie crust and chill. Top with remaining topping before serving. Share with friends for complete fulfillment!

Blessings I do not deserve,
For time spent with those I serve.

Blessings lead to happy days,
As I worship God in praise.

Blessings flow from up above,
Land upon me like a dove.

Blessings from the One who reigns,
My Lord who helps me sustain.

Blessings fill me with great joy,
For my heart, He does employ.

Blessings make my life complete,
Till my Lord one day I meet.

Lessons From Peter

The other day when I stopped at a stop sign, I could see a deer walking along the edge of the field. I paused for a moment to see if she would come closer so I could get a better look. Then I noticed two small ears were sticking up above the soybeans directly behind the doe. Every time the mother deer took a step forward, the two little ears would take a step forward, tagging very closely behind. I didn’t linger long, since she was protecting her fawn. It was also very obvious that she had no plans of turning in my direction.

As I described the scene to my husband I thought, “This is exactly what God desires from us!” He would love for us to follow so closely in His footsteps that every time He takes a step, we take a step. He is also there to protect us from danger, just as the doe is protecting her fawn. Jesus tells his disciples a parable about following in His footsteps.

“But the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice.” (John 10:2–4)

Just as the fawn was following her mother, Jesus expects us to follow Him. We are to know His voice and follow His lead. We need to look for opportunities to see where God is working and then we need to follow in His footsteps.

Psalm 18:33 says, “He makes me as surefooted as a deer, enabling me to stand on mountain heights.” Christ enables us to do things which we can never do on our own. Not all Christian service is easy, but we are called to serve in ways which Christ makes possible. We need to remember that He is our strength and our reward is in heaven. Peter questions Jesus of this very fact in Matthew 19. Peter basically says, “I’ve given you everything I have. What’s in it for me Jesus?” And Jesus replies, “Those who give up homes, family, and friends for my sake will receive much more. They will receive eternal life.”

In our daily Christian walk, we need to follow in God’s footsteps closely. No matter how easy or difficult the task, God promises protection just as the doe protects the fawn. He also provides strength like the deer when we set out to accomplish the more difficult tasks.

Then Peter said to him, “We’ve given up everything to follow you. What will we get?” Jesus replied, “I assure you that when the world is made new and the Son of Man sits upon his glorious throne, you who have been my followers will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for my sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and will inherit eternal life. But many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then.” (Matthew 19: 27–30)

Points to Ponder
• Where are you in your Christian walk?
• Can you see Christ’s footsteps ahead of you?
• Are you taking a step forward every time Christ takes a step?

It seems like no matter how hard I try to be a good housekeeper, I still have dust bunnies. Maybe I should call them dust kitties in our home. With two house cats, the balls of fur and dust seem to accumulate frequently. From time to time when I’m not in the mood to clean, I find myself blaming my son for the dust bunny problem. After all it was he who brought both kittens into our home, batted his blue eyes and said, “Can I keep it?” Well what is a mother to say, except a reluctant, “Yes.”

Of course many years later, my son has moved out, and what did he leave behind? Two cats! In an honest attempt to find them a new home I periodically remind him that they are his cats. I have to admit I do enjoy their company, and I would miss them if they moved. I guess you could say the cats, and the dust bunnies they create have taken permanent residence in my home, and my heart.

Do you have dust bunnies? What about dust bunnies in your heart? I’m referring to feelings of an unforgiving heart. Many times there is pain from our past which has taken up permanent residence in our hearts. We can sweep the dust bunnies under the carpet of our heart for years. An unforgiving heart can eat at your spirit as it festers, but God commands us to forgive one another. When Peter asked Jesus how many times he should forgive his brother, Jesus replied “seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:21–22). This was Jesus way of saying not to keep a record of wrongs, and to always forgive with a repentant heart. When we confess our unforgiving heart to God, He will slowly heal us, and change our hearts.

We live in a “me” society today, which tells us to focus on our pain, and our feelings. But Christ calls us to focus on the pain, and feelings of others. There are times in my life when I have prayed for someone who has hurt me. Yes, at first the prayers are curt, short, and still full of blame. Eventually Christ softens my heart, and my prayers become more meaningful. As my heart starts to forgive, the blame shifts from the one who hurt me, to my own sin in the situation. When I take the “me” out of the equation, and think about them, I suddenly forgive.

There is a great passage of scripture in Romans 12:9–21(NIV) which tells us how to treat others. Among those verses are passages which say:

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.
Be…faithful in prayer.
Bless those who persecute you.
Live in harmony with one another.

If we truly follow this scripture, we have to forgive just as Christ has forgiven us. So maybe it is time for you to get out your dust buster, and clean up the dust bunnies of your heart. It is okay if your prayer begins curt and full of blame, Christ will stand beside you, and lead you to forgiveness. Be patient, be persistent, and be prayerful because God will cleanse your heart and bind you together in harmony.

Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. (Colossians 3:12–14)

Recently my mother gave me several doilies and lace table clothes. All of them came from my sister-in-law who recently passed away. I also have the china which came from my Grandma. Though I cherish the memories of these ladies and the fact that these keepsakes were theirs, I will seldom use them. I will keep them for their sentimental value. The china displays in my china cupboard and gets used once in a while. The doilies and lace are tucked away in a drawer for safe keeping. Is this wrong of me? My Mom and I just have very different decorating styles. At my Mom’s house, when it is time for a big family dinner like Thanksgiving, all the doilies and lace come out and the table is adorned with china. I on the other hand am a simple person, who is more likely to pull out a placemat made of denim and hand you a plastic dinner plate, simply because it is less work! Neither one of us is wrong. We just have our own styles.

When I think about tucking away these keepsakes, I think about how this relates to tucking Jesus away in my heart. I can keep Him to myself, or I can tell others about Christ. In John 21:17b Christ said to Peter, “Feed my sheep.” This doesn’t mean to toss a few sheep some grass and oats, it means spread the news of Christ’s death and resurrection. In Mark 16:15–18 we read of the great commission. This passage begins with, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.” In other words, feeding His sheep by telling everyone about Christ!

God has blessed me with many stories which I can share with others that might deepen their faith. I can share how my sister-in-law Pat endured much pain and suffering in her lifetime, yet she held strong to her faith in God. There were times when I remember her saying that she was mad at God for all the suffering. In spite of this, she would always come back and find peace in Him. I understood why she was mad at times. During her lifetime, she endured the loss of two children, and a house fire which destroyed everything. She also endured a horrible automobile accident, which caused her to have arthritis later in life, along with the pain and suffering which accompanies the disease. Through it all her faith may have wavered at times, but she never lost sight of God. She held tight to Christ through many difficulties.

My Grandma Conklin taught me to have a quiet time with Jesus daily, as she read her Bible every night before she went to bed. She instilled in me at a very young age the importance of reading God’s Word. She invested in my life by giving of her time, and showing me how much she cared. When I went through my divorce, Grandma was one of the first to show forgiveness by not judging me. She didn’t ask questions or ask for reasons why the marriage failed. She simply told me that she loved me.

Both of these godly women have gone on to be with the Lord, but I am still here, and can be their voice and tell their stories. If I come across someone who has suffered like Pat, I can share her story of endurance, questioning God, and holding strong to her faith. If I can teach someone the importance of reading the Bible by sharing Grandma’s story, I am helping to feed God’s sheep. Showing forgiveness and not judgment is a trait which may lead someone closer to Christ, and the ultimate gift of salvation. What a blessing to have their examples of how to fulfill the great commission, by just being godly women. When I look at my roots, these two wonderful ladies are just a couple of the people who have touched my life. Now it is my turn to reach out to others and do the same.

I don’t know what the future holds for me, or who will cross my path. I do have faith that God will continue to use their stories and examples of faith as long as I continue to feed His sheep. I know my memories of them will fade, but the hope they found in the Lord can live on forever. After all, if I feel their memory slipping away, I can always put out the doilies, lace table clothes, and china for dinner one night. I hope they will always serve as a reminder for me to share the Good News with everyone God sends my way.

After watching the movie, The Bridges of Madison Countyi starring Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood, I found myself crying. Okay more like sobbing! I was somewhat embarrassed and thankful my husband had fallen asleep about thirty minutes into the movie. His disclaimer being there was a “lack of action” which one usually sees in Clint Eastwood movies. I wondered why this movie caused me to be so emotional. It definitely wasn’t a Christian movie, since it is about a love affair between Francesca Johnson and Robert Kincaid. The movie had plenty of action from a woman’s point of view, and I could feel the love between the two of them. As the movie ended, she decided to stay with her husband and her children. Even though I know it was the right decision for her to stay, my heart just broke as the love of her life drove away!

As I slowly quit crying and calmed my spirit, I began to pray. I asked God to reveal to me why the movie had touched me so deeply. At one point in the movie Robert describes his love to Francesca by saying, “This kind of certainty comes but once in a lifetime.” I know in my heart, I have that certainty of love with my husband. Sometimes our busy schedules prevent us from expressing that love to one another, but I have the comfort of knowing with certainty that we love each other deeply.

I continued to pray as I felt God had more He wanted me to learn. Deep in my soul I felt God say to me, “Do you love me with this kind of certainty?” Ouch! Could I truly say I loved Christ as deeply as Francesca and Robert loved one another in the movie? Did I love God enough to go wherever He leads me with certainty? I wanted to say “Yes Lord, I love you,” but I had to hesitate and search deep in my soul. I wondered to myself, do I?

I am reminded of the story in John 21:15–17 where Jesus asks Peter three times “Do you truly love me?” Peter is quick to respond, “Yes Lord, you know I love you.” But notice carefully how Jesus responds, “Feed my lambs” and “Take care of my sheep.” If I truly love Christ, I need to love the church as I would love Christ (Ephesians 4:15). I have to admit, some days that is very hard for me to do! My human nature has so many emotions. I not only have love, but hate and anger. I have trust but it is mixed with fear and apprehension.

God calls you and me to build bridges of love with certainty. It is a daily struggle to overcome my emotions and do His work. Every time my emotions show anger or fear, I need to be like Peter and say, “Yes Lord, you know I love you.” But I also need to add, “Lord, help me to love others and build bridges of love for you, because I can’t walk this road alone.” Take time today to search your heart and your fears so you can build bridges of love in your life for Christ.

Suggested Scripture Reading
• John 21:15–17
• Ephesians 4:15
• Romans 16:16a
• 1 Corinthians 8:1b