Thursday Quote Day: Charles Dickens

This week’s “Thursday Quote Day” features a quote from author Charles Dickens:

“Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but – I hope – into a better shape.”  (Charles Dickens)

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Sunday Devotional: Luke 1:1-4

“Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us,  just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us,  it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus,  that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.”

This is the introduction to the Gospel of Luke.  Luke was a doctor who wrote this Gospel as well as the book of Acts.  He got a bunch of eyewitness accounts of the life of Jesus and compiled them together in this book that he wrote to Theophilus, a friend and fellow believer.

This book was written to help teach those who didn’t know about Jesus who He is and what He did.  It also was a reminder to those who knew Jesus to remember.  The same is true for us today.  There are those who don’t know who Jesus is that can learn from books such as Luke that tell about Jesus and His life and ministry.  It is also good reminders of those who have been following Jesus for a long time to remember because we are human and sometimes we forget.  It’s good to remember.  It’s good to have certainty like Luke wanted Theophilus to have.

As we enter the Advent season in preparation for Christmas, let us share with others about Jesus.  Let us share to those who have heard the story numerous times and to those who are hearing it for the first time.

Sunday Devotional: Ezra 7:1-10

“Now after this, in the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, Ezra the son of Seraiah, son of Azariah, son of Hilkiah, son of Shallum, son of Zadok, son of Ahitub, son of Amariah, son of Azariah, son of Meraioth, son of Zerahiah, son of Uzzi, son of Bukki, son of Abishua, son of Phinehas, son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the chief priest— this Ezra went up from Babylonia. He was a scribe skilled in the Law of Moses that the Lord, the God of Israel, had given, and the king granted him all that he asked, for the hand of the Lord his God was on him.

And there went up also to Jerusalem, in the seventh year of Artaxerxes the king, some of the people of Israel, and some of the priests and Levites, the singers and gatekeepers, and the temple servants.  And Ezra came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king.  For on the first day of the first month he began to go up from Babylonia, and on the first day of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, for the good hand of his God was on him.  For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel.”

Ezra knew what he was supposed to do.  He had those who came before him and their track record of following God and leading the people in worshiping God.  He had the education in studying God’s word.  And he had the calling on his life from God to serve.  Ezra led a group of people from Babylon back to Jerusalem while the temple was being rebuilt.  There was spiritual rebuilding as well that needed to take place.  Ezra knew what he was supposed to do in helping in the spiritual rebuilding in Israel.

This week, there may be places and opportunities for us to help in the rebuilding of someone’s spiritual life.  Let us be like Ezra and have our hearts set on studying God’s Word and doing what it says to do & be willing to share what we learn with others.

Sunday Devotional: Colossians 3:15-16

“And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body.  And be thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”  Colossians 3:15-16

This past week, I taught the Adult class at Vacation Bible School.  One of the things I did before starting the lesson was ask everyone to share something God had taught them today or share a blessing.  I was reminded this week again of the importance of giving thanks.  It’s so easy to forget to give thanks for the many things God has blessed us with.  Our hearts should be filled with thankfulness.

I love how Paul in these words to the Colossians repeats the importance of thankfulness.  Thankfulness is an important part of teaching and admonishing one another.  Thankfulness is an important part of reading and studying God’s Word.  It’s also an important part of singing and worshiping together.

This week, be thankful.  Remember even in the hard times all the things that God has blessed you with.