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THE JOURNEY
 
The blind and the lame came to him in the Temple, and he healed them. The leading priests and the teachers of religious law saw these wonderful miracles and heard even the children in the Temple shouting, “Praise God for the Son of David.” But the leaders were indignant. They asked Jesus, “Do you hear what these children are saying?” “Yes,” Jesus replied. “Haven’t you ever read the Scriptures? For they say, ‘You have taught children and infants to give you praise.’”  Then he returned to Bethany, where he stayed overnight.  Matthew 21:14-17 (NLT)
 
Marissa loved this time of year at Sunday School.  She loved the story of Resurrection Sunday, how Jesus arose from the dead, defeating Satan, opening the way to forgiveness of sin.  But even more, she liked the story about Jesus’ triumphant procession into Jerusalem.  How the people praised Him and laid palms out before Him.  She could imagine herself as one of those children in the Temple, crying out, “Praise God for the Son of David.” 
 
What made this story so meaningful for Marissa was that Jesus had to wait so long for this day.  He had to go through a lot of different things to get to this day.  He had been mocked and ridiculed and stalked by the Pharisees.  It hadn’t been easy at all.  Yet Jesus knew what He had to do and He did it.  Not in His own strength, but with the strength that His Father gave Him.
 
Marissa’s family had been on a similar journey.  When Dad first left, they were like the world before Jesus was born, living in darkness, not knowing which path to take, never sure of where their next step would take them.  It had been a confusing and scary time for all of them. 
 
But Marissa’s mom had been drawn to start praying for Dad.  She had talked about God’s plan for their family and her trust that the Lord would give them guidance and direction.  Her faith and belief had grown every day as the Lord provided for them supernaturally.  Every time a bill got paid that they didn’t know how they would be able to pay, every time something good happened in their lives, every time they made it through another “circumstance,” Marissa’s mom would be tell the children about how the Lord was surrounding them with His love.  How He was providing for them and caring for them.  How He was the head of their home now. 
 
How joyful are those who fear the Lord— all who follow his ways!  You will enjoy the fruit of your labor. How joyful and prosperous you will be! Your wife will be like a fruitful grapevine, flourishing within your home. Your children will be like vigorous young olive trees as they sit around your table. That is the Lord’s blessing for those who fear him.  Psalm 128:1-4 (NLT)
 
Soon Marissa began to believe, too.  She began to believe that even this thing that had happened in their life was not too big for God.  She began to believe that He did hear their prayers and that He was at work all the time on His good plans for their family.  She began to believe that He truly was the God of the impossible.
 
But the journey had been long and there were times when it seemed like the impossible would never happen.  There were many in their extended family who had often said, “This is not what God wants for your life.  He wants you to be happy.  He wants you to move on.”
 
But just like Jesus before his triumphal entry, Marissa and her family kept doing the work the Lord had called them to do – praying and believing and trusting, having faith that one day their long, hard journey would be over and Dad would find his way back.  Back to Jesus and back to their family. 
 
And here it was, another Palm Sunday at church.  As Marissa lined up with the other children to carry the palms into church, she poked her head around the line to focus on the fourth pew from the front, left side.  And there they were.  Her two little brothers, her mom….and her dad.  Yes, they had had to wait a long time for this day, but it was here.  Jesus had answered their prayers.
 
He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire.  He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”  Psalm 146:9-10
 
God bless,
Kim, a stander in Nebraska

Rejoice Marriage Ministries, Inc.
Post Office Box 10548
Pompano Beach, FL 33061

Hiding God's Word in Your Heart
Weekly Scripture Memorization:  

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
John 14:6

 
A PROMISE OF SPRING

Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.  One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts….They celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness.  Psalm 145:3-4, 7

Macy couldn’t believe it.  It was supposed to be spring, wasn’t it?  And yet here she was once again stuck inside the house as the winter that wouldn’t go away dumped another round of snow on her part of the country.  They were already scheduled to attend school longer at the end of the year since they had used up all their allotted snow days – and then some.  This would just add one more day.

Reluctantly, Macy crawled out of bed.  She could hear the excited voices of her younger brother and sister in the kitchen, talking about the snowman they were going to make and the snow fort they were going to build.  They didn’t care about extra days or cold weather.  They were just looking forward to the blessing of another snow day off from school and all the fun things they were going to do with it.

Even her mom was excited about the snow.  Macy knew it meant missing another day of work and another small paycheck at the end of the month for her.  She knew it meant endless rounds of buttoning and zipping and wrapping as her little brother and sister trudged in and out of the house.  She knew it meant Mom would be doing several extra loads of laundry today. Yet there she sat, buttering pancakes, pouring milk, answering excited voices with enthusiasm.

“Macy!” her little brother yelled as she came into the kitchen.  “Mom has a great idea for a new snow fort.  We’re going to use those big boxes out in the garage for walls.  And see that big drift in the corner over there?  That’s the perfect spot for a snow fort.  We can play out there all day! Mom’s going to help.  Will you help, too?”

Macy had to smile at his enthusiasm but told him she was just going to stay inside today and find a good book to read.  As the morning wore on and the snow continued to fall, Macy watched out the back window as the snow fort took shape.  By the mid-morning cocoa break, it had been constructed.  As the dryer hummed with wet mittens and hats,  her little brother tried to talk her into coming outside with them once again.  “Just because it’s cold and snowy, doesn’t mean we can’t have fun.  And we got an extra day off school.  How can you not be happy with that?”

Figs might not grow on the fig trees, and grapes might not grow on the vines. Olives might not grow on the olive trees, and food might not grow in the fields. There might not be any sheep in the pens or cattle in the barns.  But I will still be glad in the Lord and rejoice in God my Savior.  Habakkuk 3:17-18 (ERV)

Mom shared a look with Macy.  She remembered talking with Mom about the family situation and how it just seemed like nothing good was ever going to happen.  Mom reminded Macy of how the Lord has so many blessings, even in the midst of adversity.  How it might seem like nothing was happening, but that the Lord was always at work for their family - touching hearts, changing lives, drawing Dad to himself.  How even though it seemed like this would last forever, this trial would end some day and they would all be better for having gone through it. Macy remembered Mom’s instructions – look for the blessings.

She peered out the kitchen window at the snow fort.  It really was kind of neat.  And it wasn’t snowing as hard as it had been earlier.  “Why not!” she thought to herself, as she joined her family in bundling up for another trek outside.  They spent the rest of the morning in the snow fort, telling stories, sharing jokes, talking about the long winter and the spring that was sure to come. 

On her last trip into the house for the day, Macy spotted something yellow in a patch of the yard where the snow was not as deep.  Coming closer, she saw that it was a dandelion, poking it’s bright yellow head above a thin layer of snow.  Macy smiled because she knew it was a promise from God.  A promise that this winter would not last forever and spring WAS on its way.  And a promise for her family that this season would not last forever.  That God was at work right now bringing their spring.

 Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilledJoshua 21:45 

God bless, 
Kim, a stander in Nebraska
Read about me

Rejoice Marriage Ministries, Inc. 
Post Office Box 10548
Pompano Beach, FL 33061

Ministry Web Site  |  Bookstore  |  24/7 Radio 
Donations  |  Chapel Page

Hiding God's Word in Your Heart
Weekly Scripture Memorization:

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die."
John 11:25

 

Making the Sacrifice
 
But you will go across the Jordan River and live in the land that the LORD your God is giving you. There he will give you rest from all your enemies, and you will be safe. Then the LORD your God will choose a place that will be the home for his name. You must bring everything I command you to that place. Bring your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, one-tenth of your crops and animals, your special gifts, and any gifts that you promised to give to the LORD.  Deuteronomy 12:10-11 (ERV)
 
Sophie eyed her brother’s soda enviously, wishing she could have one.  But there were still two weeks left in Lent and she had given up pop for Lent.  It seemed like a good idea at the time, but now she really wanted a soda.  “I guess I didn’t realize how long 40 days really was,” Sophie thought to herself.  “I’ve been good so far.  Maybe I can have just one.”  Just as she was reaching in the refrigerator, she heard the garage door go up.  Mom was home.  Mom knew about her sacrifice for Lent.  Sophie didn’t want to disappoint Mom.  So she closed the refrigerator door and went up to her room.
 
Later, during supper, Sophie asked her mom why Lent was so long.  Mom explained that the word Lent actually comes from an Old English word that means “long.” It occurs when the hours of daylight are getting longer. There are 40 days of Lent, not counting Sundays, to coincide with the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness.  Jesus made the sacrifice of going without food or water for 40 days to prepare Him for the hard work of His ministry.  Just like we spend 40 days of Lent, making whatever sacrifice we have chosen, to prepare us for the upcoming dark days before Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.
 
Sophie told Mom how tempted she was to drink a soda, despite her promise.  Mom talked about how Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, also, and how He got his strength from His heavenly Father.  He was able to resist the temptation because He relied on God.
 
The Spirit then compelled Jesus to go into the wilderness, where he was tempted by Satan for forty days. He was out among the wild animals, and angels took care of him.  Mark 1:12-13 (NLT)
 
“Mom,” Sophie asked, “have you ever been tempted to give up on something you promised to do?”
 
Mom smiled and sent up a quick prayer for wisdom.  “Yes, Sophie,” she began, “I was tempted to give up on something I had promised to do.  Many years ago, when you were very small and your brother wasn’t even born yet, your dad and I weren’t getting along.  Daddy moved out of the house and he was not very nice to me.  For awhile, I wasn’t very nice back to him.  But then I found a place where people were praying for their marriages to be restored; a place that believed anything was possible with God.  And somehow I knew inside that I wasn’t supposed to let go of my marriage to Daddy.”
 
“But Daddy is still here with us,” Sophie said quizzically.
 
“Yes, he is Sophie,” Mom answered.  “And he’s here with us because I didn’t give into the temptation to give up.  I chose to make the sacrifice.  I prayed for your daddy; that the Lord would bring him home to Jesus and to us.  It wasn’t an easy thing to do, Sophie, and many, many people told me to get on with my life and forget about Daddy.  But the Lord wouldn’t let me give up, even when I was tempted to.  He kept giving me signs and promises in His Word so I kept relying on His strength to keep walking day by day.”
 
“I can’t believe Daddy was ever mean,” Sophie smiled.  “I think he’s a pretty nice man.”
 
Mom smiled back.  “He is a pretty nice man, Sophie.  The Lord has a way of touching and changing hearts that is nothing short of miraculous.  Once your daddy let Jesus into his heart, he became a new person.  It didn’t happen right away, but little by little your daddy became the man we know and love with all our hearts today.”
 
“Well,” Sophie said thoughtfully, “if Jesus can make that sacrifice for me in the wilderness and if you can make that sacrifice for our family, then I think I can probably go two more weeks without pop.”  She quickly hugged her mom and poured herself yet another glass of juice.
 
Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High, and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.  Psalm 50:14-15
 
God bless, 
Kim, a stander in Nebraska
Read about me

Rejoice Marriage Ministries, Inc. 
Post Office Box 10548
Pompano Beach, FL 33061

Ministry Web Site  |  Bookstore  |  24/7 Radio 
Donations  |  Chapel Page

Hiding God's Word in Your Heart
Weekly Scripture Memorization:
 
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me." John 10: 11, 14
 
"TELL ME ABOUT THIS JESUS"
 
One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: “Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?”  Jesus replied, “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?” The man answered, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”  “Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you will live!”  Luke 10:25-28 (NLT)
 
Aaron and his friends laughed noisily as they made their way home from school, jostling each other good-naturedly, rehashing some of the important highlights of their school day. Aaron always loved this time of day – after the hard work of school and before the demands of chores at home. His friends had been so supportive since his dad had left.  He didn’t know what he would do without them.
 
They heard whooping and hollering behind them and turned to see the neighborhood bully careening down the sidewalk on his bike, “accidentally” shoving those who were walking aside. Aaron had had several encounters with this bully, both at school and in the neighborhood. He had hurled insults at him, took things from him, even got physical with him. Aaron had no desire to meet up with him today.
 
The boys saw the encounter coming and stepped into a nearby yard, giving him a wide berth. “Sissies!” he yelled as he sped by them on his bike. The boys just regrouped and continued their walk.
 
When they came around the corner, they were surprised to see this bully laying in someone’s yard, his bike bent, his knee bleeding, his head in his hands. “Serves him right,” one of the boys sneered. 
 
“Yeah,“ another countered as they walked past. “How does it feel to have a taste of you own medicine?”
 
“Sissy!” another chimed in. They walked right by him, laughing loudly.
 
Aaron’s heart didn’t feel right. He stole several glances back as they continued walking. The boy was still sitting in the grass and Aaron could see by his body language that he was crying. Even though this boy had been mean to him in the past, Aaron knew he had to help him.
 
“Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him.  The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’ “Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked. The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.” Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.”  Luke 10:33-37 (NLT)
 
“You guys go on,” he said to his friends. “I’m going to see if he’s all right.” With his friends giving him grief, Aaron returned to the site of the crash.
 
“Are you OK?  Can I help you?” he asked the boy. 
 
“What do you care?” he answered. “Nobody cares what happens to me.”
 
Aaron set the bike upright as much as he could and sat down beside the boy. “You know, I used to feel that way, too,” he said. “Especially when my dad left. I felt like no one cared about me or what I felt. Like I had no one I could count on.” 
 
“Your dad is gone, too?” The boy finally looked up at Aaron. “How long?”
 
“Too long, “Aaron answered him. “But my mom and sister and I are praying for him. It feels good to be doing something to help him, even though I hated him at first for leaving. But praying with my family has taught me about forgiveness and about unconditional love and about Jesus, who loves us no matter what we’ve done. If God can forgive me for some of the stupid things I’ve done or the mean things I’ve said, then I need to forgive my dad, too.”
 
The boy swiped at his eyes, sighed deeply, and got up on his feet. Aaron grabbed the mangled bike and starting wheeling it. The two boys made their way slowly down the sidewalk and as they walked, the boy said to Aaron, “Tell me about this Jesus.” 
 
How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who brings good news, the good news of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel reigns!  Isaiah 52:7 (NLT)
 
God bless, 
Kim, a stander in Nebraska
Read about me

Rejoice Marriage Ministries, Inc. 
Post Office Box 10548
Pompano Beach, FL 33061

Ministry Web Site  |  Bookstore  |  24/7 Radio 
Donations  |  Chapel Page

Hiding God's Word in Your Heart
Weekly Scripture Memorization:

I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.
John 10:9
(NKJV)

YOU ARE A STAR
 
Praise the LORD. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him! The LORD builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the exiles of Israel.  He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.  He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.  Psalm 147:1-4
 
Have you ever tried to count the stars?  I mean there must be a billion of them.  Look at them.  They cover the sky at night, as far as your eye can see.  Yet the Lord calls them each by name.
 
Have you ever felt that you were just one of a billion?  An insignificant star that gets glossed over in the counting?  There are so many stars in the world what do I matter?  Well just as the Lord calls each star by name, He calls you.  He created you to be who you are.  He knew you before you were even born.  And He calls you His child.  For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.  Ephesians 2:10
 
Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.  John 1:12-13
 
When I watch the news or read the paper, I hear about all the things going on in the world.  Natural disasters, war, poverty, crime.  There are so many “big” things that God needs to take care of and sometimes I think why would He care about my “little” things.  What are my prayers compared to the prayers of those who are praying for an end to world hunger or praying for world peace?  Yet God assures us that each prayer, each act of faith, is heard and answered in His perfect timing.
 
Have any of you watched the movie “Bruce Almighty”?  It’s a movie about how Bruce got to do God’s job for awhile.  There’s a scene in there where Bruce is sitting at his computer and all these prayer requests are coming in.  There are so many of them and they just keep coming and coming – every hour, every minute, every second.  There were just too many for him to read so he just hits the “yes to all” button.  Of course, you can imagine the kind of chaos that caused! 
 
You and I both know that God doesn’t need any sort of computer or email program to hear prayer requests.  And He certainly doesn’t just hit a yes or no button when they come in.  Every prayer that is prayed, every step of faith we take, every act of obedience – they are all important to God.  And every faithful servant who bows his or her head in prayer can know that not only are their prayers heard, but that they matter.  
 
Then he continued, "Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them.”  Daniel 10:12
 
Can you even begin to imagine this?  This God who created the universe, who made the sun to rise in the east and set in the west, the One who put all the stars in place and calls them by name, this same God cares about you and me.  In fact He loves us so much that He sent His only Son to die on the cross so that we could have forgiveness of sins and oneness with the Father.  Wow!  I don’t know about you, but this just blows me away!  To know that I am just as important as some movie star or sports hero.  To know that my prayers matter as much to Him as the prayers of the Pope.  To know that my little prayers for a healed family are just as significant as prayers for world peace.  Even though He has a whole universe to worry about, God cares about me.  And He cares about you, too.
 
So the next time you wonder if God sees what is going on, rest assured that He sees and He cares.  The next time you wonder if your prayers made it to His ears, know that they did and that they will be answered.  The next time you think that you are nobody important, remember that You are His child.
 
Isaiah 40:26 says: “Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of His great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.”  If God cares that much about stars – to arrange them in the Heavens and keep constant watch that not one of them goes out – how much more will He care for us.  After all, we are created in His image.  We are sons and daughters of the King.  We are His most important shining stars.
 
“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”  Luke 12:6-7
 
God bless, 

Kim, a stander in Nebraska
Read about me

Rejoice Marriage Ministries, Inc. 
Post Office Box 10548
Pompano Beach, FL 33061

Ministry Web Site  |  Bookstore  |  24/7 Radio 
Donations  |  Chapel Page

Hiding God's Word in Your Heart
Weekly Scripture Memorization:

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  John 8:12

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