Smyrna was a beautiful and wealthy city but also was a center of mandated emperor worship.
Read more at the source: Sunday: Christ’s Messages to Smyrna and Pergamum
Article excerpt posted on en.intercer.net from Sabbath School Net.
I enjoy seeing a need and starting a group or service for that. I am a pretty great starter. Yet I am coming to the end of one of my life ministries. I have facilitated a women’s support group in my city for about 12 years. Funding for my work has disappeared and the group members aren’t able to pay to attend. I remember when I first started a support group and the pastor at that location mentioned that he had been taught that ministries often run active for about five years. So this is well overdue by those standards.
In our last session one of the group members was troubled about needing to end a draining friendship with someone who refuses to change. I tried to encourage her that sometimes there are “necessary endings” for all of us–divorce, death, moves, job loss, separation from unhealthy or damaging relationships.
I have noticed some of my Facebook friends have been pruning their friend lists and dropping those who don’t contribute, don’t play nice, or don’t match their interests. When we have limited time, energy, resources and life–pruning in some way is necessary for the health of an institution or a person. Author Dr. Henry Cloud states: “To hold on to ‘hope’ when what you really have is merely a wish is to fail to grasp reality.”* He also reminds us that the past is the best predictor of future behavior as relates to relationships.
Jesus modeled and taught the necessity of endings. After he made some very plain and pointed statements, many of his early disciples walked away (John 6:66). We have no record that Jesus ran after the deserters or that he knocked on doors that evening to beg them to return. Later Jesus told his mission-driven disciples that if they weren’t welcomed in towns or homes, to “shake the dust off your feet” and leave (Matthew 10:11-14). Time came when Jesus ended his earthly mission for the next step in our salvation and redemption (Mark 16:19, 20).
The loss of a meaningful or time-consuming activity– one driven with passion and prayer, can lead to some grief or aimlessness. It can also open ways for other people to find their mission and create new services as God leads. Letting go can open up space previously occupied in our hearts.
Books, movies, series, classes, cereal boxes, bank accounts–everything ends.
In so many ways I am in the school of learning to become a gracious “ender.” I am left with mixed feelings about something that I still feel is important and not duplicated in my community. If I am honest, I feel sadness, anger, some relief, and anticipation at this ending. What
might happen next? At ending times, can I trust God to help re-shape my life and legacy, and make good use of my remaining time and talents?
Questions for personal journaling or group discussion:
1. When have you benefited from an ending?
2. What/whom might you be hanging onto that needs to end?
Karen Spruill writes from Florida.
Read more at the source: Alpha and Omega
Article excerpt posted on en.intercer.net from Answers for Me.
I lived in New York City for some time and let me tell you that it has ruined me. Well, actually, it has ruined my feet. You see, among the many things that New York City is famous for, the real treasures of the city are mani-pedi salons. Those glorious places where for $18 you can get the nails on your hands and feet filed and pumiced to perfection ($15 if you go on a weekday). While living in the City, it was easy to justify biweekly or even weekly stops to the nail salon (it was such a bargain!).
After I left New York City, my sole suffered (pun TOTALLY intended). It was hard to find a place where I could get my pedis done at so reasonable a price. So I had to forgo my biweekly indulging for the sake of my (ever shrinking) wallet. I attempted to perform pedicures on my own feet, but it never quite came close to the perfection of the NYC nail salons. So I lived for the winters! Those glorious times when my feet were covered in layers of socks and boots. I could hide the condition of my feet and no one would ever be the wiser.
A friend recently surprised me with a trip to a nail salon. As I removed my shoes and socks, I apologized to the nail tech for the unsightliness of my feet.
She replied in her sweet Georgia accent, “Well, honey, if your feet weren’t a mess, you wouldn’t need me, now would you?”
I laughed as I dipped my feet into the foot-bath. She was absolutely right.
So many times we think about God in the same way. We say things like,
“As soon as I get myself together, I can start a relationship with God.”
“I just have to figure a few things out, and then I can start praying.”
Whenever I hear something like that, I like to imagine that God has a sweet Georgia accent and says, “Well, honey, if your life weren’t a mess, you wouldn’t need me, now would you?”
“All those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them” (John 6:37, NLT).
Jael Amador writes from New York, New York.
Read more at the source: God Has a Georgia Accent
Article excerpt posted on en.intercer.net from Answers for Me.
Warm greetings to each one of you during this very special time of the year when the world remembers the Savior’s birth. Even though, it most probably was not at this time, we still remember this wonderful, beautiful event.
While the Bible doesn’t tell us exactly when Jesus was born, it assures us that He was born in Bethlehem, the city of David. Prophecy predicted this centuries earlier when, through inspiration, the prophet Micah wrote:
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are…
Article posted on en.intercer.net from Adventist.org News Feed.
I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Psalm 16:8.
Read more at the source: Something Better!
Article posted on en.intercer.net from Rose’s Devotional.
Rose’s Devotionals are prepared by Rose Hartwell, one of the Intercer founders. Since 1999, Rose sends out a daily devotional newsletter that includes a commentary on a Bible passage, a list of prayer requests for the current week and an illustration from daily life that applies to the Bible passage in study.