VIDEO Alone Yet Not alone, Joni Eareckson Tada

Feb 3, 2014

Love Has to Grow

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:4, 6-7

Love must grow. It can’t stand still, and it certainly cannot go backward. Love must flourish or else it withers and dies. In fact, growth in a relationship is very much like growth in a tree or flower. If a flower doesn’t bloom, if a tree doesn’t sprout leaves, it signals a problem.

Our love for the Lord Jesus is also a living thing. We are intimately united with Him in His body. Remember, love between you and your Lord, like anything that lives, must grow. Just think, 1 Corinthians 13 is how God feels about you!

We can always come up with good excuses as to why our relationships do not progress and increase in love. But instead of blaming others, ask yourself a couple of direct questions about love. Do I protect my loved one’s reputation? Are my expectations unrealistic? Do I pray committedly? Does my love cover a multitude of the other’s sins? Do I keep Christ at the center of our relationship?

Lord, help me to be patient and kind toward others. Help me not to envy those who seem to be enjoying tremendous progress and increase in their marriages. Help me not to boast when I’m right, or be proud when others are wrong. Help me not to be rude to my husband… wife… or friend. I don’t want my love to be self-seeking, or easily angered. And, Lord, convict me if I start keeping a record of wrongs, for I desire that my love will always rejoice with the truth. Help me to have faith, hope, and love ever increasing, ever growing.

A woman recently asked me, “Joni, you seem so confident. Have you always been that way?” Inwardly I smiled. If she only knew the knots I feel in my stomach before I speak to a crowd, or the times I’m scared stiff to sit in front of a blank canvas with a paintbrush.

It is called insecurity and, for me, it started in my early scramble to keep up with three older, more athletic sisters. As a four-year-old, I would cling to the saddlehorn as my sixteen-hands-high horse galloped behind the steeds of my sisters. I didn’t dare tell them how scared I was!

My life journey has been to put aside those insecurities. My wheelchair has helped. At first, it made me feel more insecure, but over the years God has used the chair to force me to sit still, quit competing, and be quiet before Him. That was all I needed! People are only as secure as the source of their security; if we are secure in Christ, then we have every reason to be confident.

Christian psychologists say that good mental health springs from two things: security and significance. Security in who we are and significance in what we do. Since Christ is the source of peace, joy, strength, and rest, and in Him we live and move and have our very being, we can be secure and feel significant when we place our trust in Jesus.

Lord, there are so many times when I feel afraid and insecure. Today I recognize that in You I live, move, and have my being—my life is secure and significant because I am Your child and Your servant.
― Joni Eareckson Tada

God of Life

Lord my God, you are very great; you are clothed with splendor and majesty. Psalm 104:1

A few winters ago, my hometown experienced an unusually long blast of bone-chilling temperatures that finally gave way to the warmer weather of spring. For two weeks straight, the outside thermometer dipped well below the sub-zero degree mark (-20 C; -5 F).

On one particularly bitter cold morning, the sound of chirping birds broke the silence of night. Dozens, if not hundreds, sang their hearts out. If I didn’t know any better, I could have sworn the little creatures were crying out to their Creator to please warm things up!

Lord my God, you are very great; you are clothed with splendor and majesty. Psalm 104:1

Bird experts tell us that the multitude of birdsongs we hear during late winter mornings are mostly male birds, attempting to attract mates and claim their territories. Their chirping reminded me that God fine-tuned His creation to sustain and flourish life—because He is a God of life.

In a psalm that marvels at God’s flourishing earth, the author begins, “Let all that I am praise the Lord” (Psalm 104:1 nlt). He went on to write, “The birds of the sky nest by the waters; they sing among the branches” (v. 12).

From singing and nesting birds to a vast ocean “teeming with creatures beyond number” (v. 25), we see reasons to praise the Creator for the lengths He’s gone to ensure that all of life thrives.

Thank God for the world He has made. List the parts of His creation that you especially enjoy. Thank Him for them one by one.

He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. Colossians 1:17

By Jeff Olson

Spiritual Pottery Lesson

Isaiah 64:8

I decided to take a cue from the prophet Jeremiah, who visited a potter’s studio at the Lord’s request (Jer. 18:1-6). So I stopped by an art institute to observe a class—my sole purpose was to better understand the biblical metaphor of God as the Potter and people as the clay. Here’s what I learned when I walked into a room full of whirring pottery wheels.

The Potter has power over the clay. He can do what He chooses. We humans do have limited free will, but God’s will is greater. So even if we try to resist His sculpting hand, He continues to work toward His purpose. The master Craftsman has set out to achieve a particular design in us, and He has a plan to make it take shape.

The Potter works the clay with patience. Since God knows that spiritual maturity can’t be rushed, He forms our Christlike character slowly—one experience at a time. That means He must also have perseverance, as human clay sometimes shifts off-center and becomes misshapen. Just as clay can be fashioned only when it sits precisely in the middle of the wheel, Christians must be in the Father’s will to grow spiritually. The Potter maneuvers the drifting believer back into position and begins remolding. He never discards His vessels but tirelessly works to perfect them.

Our God is a personal Potter. His creations reflect His personality and character. And His Spirit is poured into each human vessel so He can be an intimate part of our life. The result is a work of true beauty—a saint wholly committed to Him.

Face of Jesus Christ

“And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.” (Revelation 22:4)

This is the last reference in the Bible to the face of the Lord Jesus Christ, and a glorious promise it is, with its assurance that all His servants will finally see Him face to face! Although they give us no specific description of His physical appearance (the only description of His appearance is in Revelation 1:13-16), the gospel writers do frequently mention His face.

On the Mount of Transfiguration, Peter, James, and John saw how “his face did shine as the sun” (Matthew 17:2) as He spoke of His forthcoming death. Shortly after this, “he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51) to meet His death.

A few days after His entrance into Jerusalem, He was delivered into the hands of wicked men who took delight in desecrating that face which, in loving grief, had just wept over the city and its indifference to God. But first, in the garden just before His arrest, He “fell on his face” in agonizing prayer (Matthew 26:39).

Then the Roman soldiers began “to cover his face” (Mark 14:65) and to “spit in his face” (Matthew 26:67), and finally “they struck him on the face” (Luke 22:64). In fact, they abused Him so severely that “his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men” (Isaiah 52:14).

But when He comes again, the Christ-rejecting world will cry out to the mountains to “fall on us, and hide us from the face . . . of the Lamb . . . from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away” (Revelation 6:16; 20:11). All the redeemed, on the other hand, will rejoice forever in “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). HMM

Doubtless Thou art my Father

Isaiah 63

In vision Isaiah beheld the Lord Jesus in the latter days destroying all the foes of his people, and as he saw him returning in triumph from the field of battle, he exclaimed—Isaiah 63.

Isaiah 63:1-19

Upon this very wonderful chapter Dr. Hawker has the following spiritual reflections:—”Who is this that cometh up with salvation, but the Lord mighty to save? He is one with Jehovah in the divine nature, and no less one with us in the human, bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh: Surely, Lord, thine own arm brought salvation, and of the people there was none with thee; though in all things it behoved thee to be made like unto thy brethren, yet in redemption-work thou troddest the winepress of the wrath of God alone. And amidst all our rebellions and forgetfulness of thee, never didst thou forget us, or forego our interests. In all our afflictions thou wast afflicted. Thy love and thy pity allowed of no abatement, for thou wast always Jesus; ‘the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever,’ Oh! then, Lord! let not the waywardness of thy children thwart the gracious designs of thy love; but remember that we are but dust, and let thy strength and thy zeal, and the sounding of thy bowels, never be restrained. We throw ourselves upon covenant relationship, and beseech of thee, our God, to remember that most blessed promise, in which thou hast said, ‘I will not turn away from them to do them good;’ and, ‘I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.'”


Yes He Is Bringing Us to Glory

For it became him… bringing many sons unto glory. (Hebrews 2:10)

As Christian believers (I am assuming you are a believer), you and I know how we have been changed and regenerated and assured of eternal life by faith in Jesus Christ and His atoning death. On the other hand, where this good news of salvation by faith is not known, religion becomes an actual bondage. If Christianity is known only as a religious institution, it may well become merely a legalistic system of religion, and the hope of eternal life becomes a delusion.

I have said this much about reality and assurance to counter the shock you may feel when I add that God wants to fully prepare you in your daily Christian life so that you will be ready indeed for heaven! Many of us have been in God’s household for a long time. Remember that God has been trying to do something special within our beings day after day, year after year.

Why? Because His purpose is to bring many sons—and daughters, too—unto glory!


Care of Our Feet

“He will keep the feet of his saints.” 1Sam. 2:9

The way is slippery, and our feet are feeble, but the Lord will keep our feet. If we give ourselves up by obedient faith to be His holy ones, He will Himself be our guardian. Not only will He charge His angels to keep us, but He Himself will preserve our goings.

He will keep our feet from falling, so that we do not defile our garments, wound our souls, and cause the enemy to blaspheme.

He will keep our feet from wandering, so that we do not go into paths of error, or ways of folly, or courses of the world’s custom.

He will keep our feet from swelling through weariness, or blistering because of the roughness and length of the way.

He will keep our feet from wounding: our shoes shall be iron and brass, so that even though we tread on the edge of the sword, or on deadly serpents, we shall not bleed, or be poisoned.

He will also pluck our feet out of the net. We shall not be entangled by the deceit of our malicious and crafty foes.

With such a promise as this, let us run without weariness, and walk without fear. He who keeps our feet will do it effectually.


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