The graduation cards read, “Good Luck! You did it! Congratulations on your outstanding effort! You’re going to go far! Reach for the stars! Insert money here.” I was hoping to find something a little more heart-warming and perhaps God-honoring.Yes, it takes effort for most students to get good grades. And some graduates have worked very hard to pass all their classes in good standing. But have we thought about our God-given gifts and abilities? The brains He blesses us with? The wisdom, guidance, and encouragement of the Holy Spirit as we’ve “burned the midnight oil”? OK, maybe I should write greeting cards … or at least find another place to shop.
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Several women commented, but no one could explain the reason that the day of Jesus’ horrific suffering could possibly be called good. One woman was so intrigued that she discussed the Bible story with her family at dinner that night. She went to her computer to search for the meaning of Good Friday. She printed an answer, brought it back to the group of women, and reported, “Good Friday is the day on which Jesus died on the cross for our sins. And that is good for us.”
Over the next few days, there were many questions about that door. Why is it there? Where do the things go? Why don’t they come back again? I showed him that the dirty clothes fall into a box near the ceiling of the basement; I open a door on the box and pull out the pieces, I explained, and then I wash everything. He wanted to help pull out the items, and was especially excited at finding some of his own clothes there. Then he asked, “Why can’t I see where it goes? Where’s the other part? Why is it dark?”
The last time Jesus’ disciples saw Him, He told them “…you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 ESV) They probably couldn’t begin to imagine how that would play out in their lives and the lives of those around them! Fortunately for us, much of what happened next was recorded in the book of Acts. Join Holly, Jan, and Carolina as we take in this exciting journey, specifically focusing on passages that show the unstoppable progress of the gospel, intelligent defense of the faith, and the potential of the church when empowered by the Holy Spirit.
It’s hard to remember the last time I was truly joyful. I’m a generally happy, positive person. But when was the last time I truly exuberated joy? I’ve heard the difference between happiness and joy described many ways, but this is one of my favorites: Happiness is an emotion that can disappear as quickly as it comes, but Joy is a choice.
Recently I attended a women’s retreat at a campground in the northern part of lower Michigan. The trees were just beginning to turn; as we drove further north, the display of color became more and more amazing. Here and there red leaves and pink, yellows and gold, and brilliant orange peeked out among the greens. As I gazed on the beauty around me, I was appreciative of our Creator God. Then it started to rain.
Light splashes here and there on the windshield became a steady drizzle, then a downpour. Gray clouds turned dark, and fog rolled in as the temperature began dropping. We could no longer see the color because of the darkness. It was still raining when we arrived at camp, and the ground was turning to muck. I thought of the umbrella hanging in my closet at home, and was glad I had packed a hooded, all-weather jacket.