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Welcomed

O LORD, save us; O LORD, grant us success.
 Psalm 118:25


“Help, help!” I screamed from the depths of the dark, dank crawlspace into which I had unexpectedly plunged moments earlier. My family was building a new home and the floors weren’t finished. I ran through the open rooms and accidentally stepped on a piece of sheet metal that covered a hole where the fireplace would be. Instantly, I fell nine feet.

My parents were above the floor somewhere nearby. Momentarily, my dad’s flushed face appeared through the opening above me. “Help me, help me!” I shouted, more hopeful this time. Within minutes, he had rescued me. I’d sustained only minor injuries.

Hosanna, originally a Hebrew word, appears only one time in the Old Testament—Psalm 118:25—and it means “Save, please!” It was a cry to God for help when help remained unseen. This was the essence of my first desperate plea for help as a young teen while running through our uncompleted house decades ago.

Over the centuries, hosanna evolved into a shout of hope and exultation. By the time of the New Testament writings, as in John 12:13, the meaning became, “Hooray for salvation! It’s here! Salvation! Salvation belongs to the king!”

They took palm branches and went out to meet Him [Jesus], shouting, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the King of Israel!”

Long-awaited King Jesus humbly entered Jerusalem. Hosanna! The Jews enthusiastically welcomed Him even though they didn’t understand it all. Just as they cried out at the sight of their salvation, I cried from the pit when I beheld my father’s face peering down at me. Hooray! Hosanna!

What things are you crying out to God for help today? From what do you need salvation? Are you in a pit of despair? Are you unhappy with your circumstances? Do you need saving from your past? Do you need to receive the Savior and be delivered from your sins, once and for all?

Whatever your need, call out to Jesus. Now. Welcome Him. Hosanna!


Karen Sims

Restoring Brokenness

 “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten … ”
Joel 2:25


My husband and I took a plane trip last week, and I put the wrong type of lock on my luggage. Any lock must be TSA-friendly ones that security can unlock and relock after inspection.

I have the correct type of locks, but somehow I got mixed up and used a non-approved lock on one piece of luggage. On the flight to our destination, the bag went through fine. On the way back, we found that our lock had been broken for inspection.

We received a nice note that they were sorry to break my lock. I’ll be more careful to use the right one next time.

No big deal, right? I’ll just use the correct lock next time.

However, the broken lock reminds me of our broken world and broken lives.

Sometimes our brokenness comes as the result of our decisions – like in the case of my lock. Other times, it’s the result of a sinful world.

Did you know that God longs to restore all brokenness?

In the Old Testament, God restores jobs, cities, fortunes, the temple and people. In the New Testament, Jesus restores people, and we learn of a time when everything (2 Peter 3:13) will be restored.

I was so encouraged to find 144 mentions of “restore” in the Bible.

Nothing is too difficult for God to restore. 

What do you need made new in your life? Come to God with your request now. Then, watch expectantly. Colossians 4:2

Dear Heavenly Father,
You are the ultimate Restorer. I know you can handle my problem. I trust you. Open my eyes to see how you work.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen


Stacy

Three Lessons from Creation

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 
Genesis 1:1


The first chapter of Genesis seems so basic. God created the heavens and the earth. But when you study creation, it’s so detailed!

The more I learn about nature, the more I’m amazed at God’s creativity.

In Genesis 1:20, God tells the waters to teem with living creatures. It’s one sentence. But wow, that includes 2,000 species of starfish, 86 species of whales, dolphins and porpoises, and 54 species of seahorses. And those are just the ones we know about!

Genesis 1:11 says let the land produce vegetation. Again, sounds simple. Trees are only one type of vegetation, and there are 20,000 types in the world. Let’s look at just one: the coconut palm tree. I’m partial to anything tropical, and coconut everything seems to be very popular right now. I’ve found more than 100 uses for coconut oil that range from cooking to moisturizing your body. We can drink coconut water and milk.

Around the world, people use every part of the coconut. The shell becomes a bowl. Crafters use leaves for toys and baskets. Chefs use palm leaves for cooking wraps. Builders fashion small canoes or furniture from the trunks.

Here are three lessons that I’ve learned from observing nature:

  1. God likes variety. 
  2. He creates a purpose for everything. 
  3. He’s surrounded us with resources.
  4. If God is so detailed with nature, how much more so He is with us. 
That being said, He knows we enjoy discovering new things. After all, He made us! Perhaps He wants us to ask, to involve Him in our discovery.

Could it be that God wants to reveal new things to us?

Isaiah 48:57 says, 

“From now on I will tell you of new things,
of hidden things unknown to you.
They are created now, and not long ago;
you have not heard of them before today.
So you cannot say,
‘Yes, I knew of them.’

I challenge you to spend time on a regular basis with God, and listen for Him to speak. You never know what you might learn!

Stacy

Ready or Not, Here Comes Change!

See, I am doing a new thing! 
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? 
I am making a way in the wilderness 
and streams in the wasteland.
Isaiah 43:19


Seems everywhere I look someone is adjusting to a new way of life.

Three teenagers I know are beginning a “new normal” without their mom who was killed in a car accident.

A Ukrainian family is adjusting to life without their son, who was killed by a drunk driver.

Our neighbors down the street are adapting to homeschooling while my son adjusts to his best friend no longer being in his class at school.

My gym is closing, so I’m looking for a new place to exercise. Meanwhile instructors try to find new jobs.

In our verse today, God tells the Israelites that change is coming. He’s already rescued them once from Egypt by parting the Red Sea. He’s telling them of a future time when he will lead them through barren land and create streams in the desert. I find it so interesting that God almost reverses His miracle. First he creates dry land in the midst of a sea. Then, he will create streams through the desert.

I find hope in this verse. Hope that God can change desperate situations that look impossible. Hope that God will restore joy in the midst of despair. Hope that God will increase faith in times of sorrow. Hope that God will provide friends when others move. Hope that God will bring jobs that have been lost.

If God is steering you in a new direction, pray for His blessings and favor. You may need to repent from sin or seek help with granting forgiveness. Whatever your situation, God has plans for your good. Jeremiah 29:11.

Stacy

Got Questions?

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Isaiah 55:8-9


You’re not alone.

Habakkuk questioned. How long must I call for help? Hab. 1:2

David questioned. My God, why have you forsaken me? Ps. 22:1

Thomas questioned whether or not Jesus was really alive in John 20.

Even Jesus questioned the crucifixion in Matthew 27:46.

I know I’ve had questions too. Just last week, I wondered why God allowed a mom of three and a high-school senior to be killed in a car accident.

My 10-year-old comes up with some good questions too. Like, why did God make the devil? Does God love the devil?
Hmmm … talk about not having answers.

Still, I think God wants us to talk with Him about our questions. He may not give us answers. But He does promise to give us peace.

Philippians 4:7 says God can give us a peace beyond what we can understand.

I don’t know about you, but that comforts me. Yes, I want answers. But I’m hoping for answers to give me peace. I suppose Jesus knows we really want peace – so he just gives us that.

Will you take your questions to God today? He may not give you the answers, but I pray that He will give you peace.

Dear Father, Please give us peace even when we don’t have the answers we want. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Stacy