Friday Afternoon Miracle

As you know from my previous blog, Friday afternoon  I had to be on my way to do my monthly MoneyGram’s. I go to Walmart and there is always the fighting “end of the month crowd,” especially on a weekend.

When I got in the car I prayed to the Lord to help me find a parking spot and an electric shopping cart. I live in Fort Gibson and Walmart is in Muskogee, so when I drive over there I want to make good use of my time and do some shopping for special things I like to eat. Because of the diabetes, I have had to cut down considerably on the variety of products I get, but what God gave to our first parents as food is no problem to eat. Vegetables are perfect, and this Friday I found a winner.

Before I show you the winner, let me tell you how God answered my prayer for a parking spot and an electric shopping cart. As I’m driving along, I’m thinking of someone very dear to me who is fighting a hard battle with cancer. My thinking turns to prayers. I get so involved in praying that I drive mechanically. Before I know it, I am at the mall. The mall? That’s not where I was going. Walmart is in the opposite direction! So, I turn around and head in the right direction.

Again, I whisper a prayer for a parking spot. Preferably, it must be close to the Pharmacy entrance, because right by it is the banking center.

Low and behold! As usual, one after another of the handicap spots are taken. Then, right in front of the Pharmacy entrance, there is an open spot and an electric shopping cart! What a welcome sight! It was an awesome sight on a busy Friday afternoon.

I parked the car and took the shopping cart. It was almost out of charge, put I plugged it in at the banking center while I did my transactions, sending money to Costa Rica, Peru, and Bolivia. The lady who assisted me was surprised that I knew people in so many countries. I have lived in six different countries, so that was just half of it. No big deal for me.

After doing the transactions I sat down in the chair waiting for it to get charged. I had a copy of Guideposts so I read some stories. In one of them, a lady was on her way to a wedding, but she was late, so she hurried. She stopped at a drug store to get a present for the couple. The cashier knocked down some pencils and had to pick them up before ringing up the purchase. That delay saved the author from being in the middle of a severe accident.

Timing! A delay because of some pencils saved a life from a sure accident.

Timing! My “detour” brought me to Walmart at the exact time to find a parking spot and the electric shopping cart I needed to do my shopping. Some might call it coincidence. I call it an answer to my prayers. It was a God-wink. That’s why I’m taking the time to tell about it.

The shopping experience was chaotic, with shoppers everywhere. Here is my “find” for the day! You have to love artichokes to understand my excitement.

This is a meal that ends up being bigger when you finish. You pull the leaves, dip them is some sauce (a mixture of ketchup and mayonnaise is delicious, especially if it is jalapeño ketchup). You work your way to the heart. There is the good stuff.

The heart! Not only artichokes are best when you get to the heart. You know, that’s the way it is with people. If you can get to the heart of someone, you’ve reached the treasure point.

I’m a preacher, so I find messages in all circumstances. Now my mind is working on lessons to learn about the heart.

God asks for the heart: “Dame, hijo mío, tu corazón.” In English: “My son, give me your heart and let your eyes observe my ways” (Proverbs 23:26).

“Sobre toda cosa guardada, guarda tu corazón, porque de él mana la vida.” In English: “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life” (Proverbs 4:23).

I know these verses by heart, but in Spanish. That’s why I wrote them in Spanish. Do you know that Spanish is the language of the heart? At least that is what they say about it. Spanish is a very romantic language!

There are hundreds of references to the heart in the Bible.

“[God] has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart.” Ecclesiastes 3:11

Some of my favorite verses, that have been a guiding star for me, are King Solomon’s words of wisdom:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5,6

This is what my heart was reflecting on yesterday. We had stormy weather so my internet connection was down. The rain has continued but by now it has stopped for a while. I have gotten a good taste of the Oklahoma storms!

In Florida, my missionary friend Monroe Grams celebrates his 90th birthday. There, the sun is shining. After all, it is the Sunshine State! May God bless Monroe and each one of us with many more sunny days.

I can still see the empty parking space with the electric shopping cart sitting there waiting for me. It sure was a God-wink.

God is so good! When we most need it, he winks at us.

May you have many God-winks, today and every day.

 

Have you heard about the God-winks? Check out the web site:

http://www.whengodwinks.com/

 

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A Heart for Missions 2

“Corazón misionero” is Spanish for A Heart for Missions. That’s practically what my life has been. At age 10 I had a vision of Jesus and the beautiful olive-skinned children he called me to go tell about Him. Ever since, it’s been my passion to reach children with the Gospel of Jesus. Gospel means Good News.

The Good News is that Jesus left his beautiful home in heaven to “dress” himself as a human, live with us for 33 years, and then die on the cross taking on himself all our iniquities, bearing our punishment, so that we could be set free and enjoy fellowship with him forever. But he is not dead! Jesus rose again and he lives. We have a risen Savior!

This week I have been consumed with this subject. One of the Sunday school teachers that has come to know me through my Spanish page hermanamargarita.com has written five lessons to teach children about missions. My assistants Cristina and Absalom have contributed with illustrations, Cristina and I have worked on activities, and finally we are reaching the finish line.

I realize I have written about this some before, so I put a 2 in the title. Who knows? There might be a 3 later on! See A Heart for Missions

You might remember that I had visitors from Mexico for Christmas. Pilar, the Mom, is the one who wrote the lessons. The teachers chose to use me as their mission project. Here is Pilar showing my picture. It’s humbling! All I can do is thank God and continue my mission. Let me show you a summary of the lessons.

KNOW Learn what a missionary is. Get to know the great missionary Paul.

PRAY Paul asked the churches for prayer. Pray for missionaries.

GIVE Learn the needs of missionaries, and give offerings. The church in Philippi sent love-offerings to Paul.

SEND The Holy Spirit calls and sends missionaries. Paul and Barnabas were sent out from the church in Antioch.

GO Paul invites Timothy to go with him on his missionary journeys. Be willing to GO and tell the Good News!

What would I do without my faithful artist Absalom? There would be no pictures for my stories! Teachers and children love his art.

Paul is imprisoned because of preaching the Gospel. In spite of his suffering he writes a Gospel of Joy to the church in Philippi. They showed their concern for him and sent Epaphroditus with a love-offering.

On Monday is Labor Day in Peru, so Cristina will have a day off. I will be remembering a very special day in my life. Wait and see!

Now it is “end of the month” and that means I need to get out. Go to Walmart and send some “Moneygrams.” One more month the Lord has provided for me so I can keep my artists. I do translations to help with this ministry. Like the church in Philippi cared for Paul’s financial needs, there is a church in Sweden that sends me a gift each month so I can cover some of my expenses. Praise the Lord! And my pen-pal, that I have had for more than 50 years, also sends an offering, and one more individual, who always marks the deposit: for your vision.

My vision is to always keep a heart for missions alive!

“See” you on Monday! Have a wonderful weekend!

 

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Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

I will give thanks to you because I have been so amazingly and miraculously made. Your works are miraculous, and my soul is fully aware of this. Psalm 139:14 GW

I praise you because of the wonderful way you created me. Everything you do is marvelous! Of this I have no doubt. CEV

The conversation between two little babies in the womb might be a stretch of the imagination (see previous blog), but the wonderful and intricate way in which we are formed is incredible and true. We are here! We were born! There is life after the womb!

When I was formed in my mother’s womb she had complications. The last month of the pregnancy Mom  had to spend in the hospital because her albuminuria had increased alarmingly. It wasn’t fun for her because no visits were allowed due to epidemic influenza. She didn’t see my father for several weeks.

I had to listen to what other mothers told about earlier deliveries. One night the measure of sorrow was filled and I went to the bathroom to cry. I had seen twelve mothers leave with their newborn babies before it became my turn. That night a nasty midwife was on duty. She was the horror of the maternity ward. I asked God not to let me give birth during the night. I knew that another midwife who was a Christian would come in the morning. She came at seven and I got a feeling of security. Two hours later I was holding a little bundle in my arms. Such a nice little girl! So very cute! (from the book A Life of Adventure)

When I made my entrance to the world the delivery was critical because of my mother’s increased percentage of albumin. It was so high the doctor told her to have patience because she might have to stay a long time in the hospital. But a miracle took place and she could leave after only a week. The percentage was normal!

My first home was in a small town called Hjortkvarn, where Dad was serving as a minister in the Filadelfia church. They lived in a tiny one-room apartment above the sanctuary. “Tiny” is the key word! I visited there as a young girl and I could not imagine how the little family of three fitted there.

Daughter Eva-Marie singing at the church in Hjortkvarn

It was winter and cold when I was born. Mom tells me that Dad would rise early, light a fire in the stove that heated the room, change my diapers, wrap me in a blanket, and bring me joyfully to Mom so I could have my morning meal. “Here comes the package!” he would declare.

When fall came, my precious grandmother Signe took care of me so Mom and Dad could go to Bible School in Stockholm, in preparation for their life as missionaries.

I have been reflecting a lot lately on the wonders of life, the miraculous way we are woven together in out mother’s womb. For sure there is a Creator that has thought out every little detail. See this here . Yes, I meant the dot! That was my beginning! Yours too! In that little seed was everything needed to start the marvel of a new life, of a unique creature, given all the possibilities to conquer the world!

What a privilege to have received life! That cozy environment where I spent my first nine months, was just a cozy, warm place to prepare for what was to come, just as my walk on earth is a time to prepare for the next phase.

Here it gets very important! God made us to have fellowship with him. We’ll talk about the in a later blog. Due to our first father’s disobedience, the fellowship was severed, but Jesus came to bring us back into fellowship with our Creator and Father.

We make the choice! Just as there is life after the womb, there is life after this world. We are eternal beings and we decide where we want to spend eternity. Through Jesus, God invites us to spend it with him!

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. Ecclesiastes 3:11

I can’t begin to express my thankfulness for getting to know God as my Father from those first days, spent in that tiny room above the sanctuary in Hjortkvarn, and later the time spent with grandma Signe. My life was conditioned in the perfect direction! There aren’t enough words to say Thanks!

Thousands of years back, King David, the second king of the nation of Israel, reflected like this on the marvel of God’s creation of man (and woman):

For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
    the days that were formed for me,
    when as yet there was none of them.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!

    How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
    I awake, and I am still with you. Psalm 139:13-18

Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration—what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, the days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.  (The Message)

Here is the account from Genesis:

Then God said, “Let us make man[a] in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them. Genesis 1:26,27

The Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. Genesis 2:7,8

 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made[a] into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said,

“This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Genesis 2:21-23

We are eternal beings. We have a Creator. We are purposed to have a wonderful and successful life. How do I know? Because God made “everything beautiful in its time.” There is no end to the wonders of creation!

The choice is ours. King David ended his reflections of the miracles of life with this prayer. And that how I’ll end my reflections today, too.

Search me, O God, and know my heart!
    Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting! Psalm 139:23,24

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Life after the Womb

I once read a parable about life after the womb.

Two babies were discussing life. The womb was such a comfortable place, but rather crowded. It was cozy, it was warm. Their every need was provided. But, could there be something more?

They fantasized, wondering if there could be something beyond their present stage.

“There must be something more than this,” one of them said.

“What could there be?” said the other. “This is it! I love it!”

So, their discussion went, back and forth. If they only knew all the wonders that awaited them after the womb! What a big and amazing world they would encounter!

I asked my faithful artist Absalóm-León Sixco to illustrate this for me. He did a good job! It’s thought provoking. Look at the picture and make up your own story. Imagine those two little babies and their questions and uncertainties. Picture them when they leave the womb and are born into the world.

First, it’s a shock when they leave the warmth of the only environment they know… but very soon they are embraced in the loving arms of their mother. And their father. And Brother and Sister. And Grandmother. And another grandmother. And grandfathers. And aunts and uncles. And cousins. The list goes on… They are welcomed by a love they could never imagine.

There is life after the womb! We know it by experience!

The best part of life is not life, but what awaits us after this life, if we are in agreement with God’s purposes. There is hope! The best is yet to come!

It all hinges on Jesus. He is our hope for today and hope for tomorrow.

It all starts with Jesus. He is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. Like the A and Z. Think of the alphabet. There are a lot of letters between A and Z. But it’s complete from beginning to end with A and Z.

Jesus is the Creator. He is the one that holds everything together. The image of the invisible God. In him we can see God. I once heard of a little girl who wanted to have “Jesus with skin on.” In Jesus we have God with skin on. He dresses himself with a human body, so the eternal and invisible God could show himself to us in a way we could understand.

[Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
Colossians 1:15-20

I am in the dark about who my readers are. What I know is that I have readers from all over the world. I can look at statistics and see all these different countries popping up. When I see India’s flag my heart skips a beat! When I complete my series of Bible lessons in Spanish, I’m going to focus on India. I can’t explain it! It’s just something God has put on my heart.

Something else I want to do is to write about why I believe what I believe. Maybe you have logged in to this blog and you are uncertain about life, about the meaning of life, and if there is an afterlife.

There is so much wonder to discover, so many awesome surprises awaiting. My faith is based on the Bible and on my personal relationship with Jesus for 65 years. I accepted him as my Savior and Lord at age six. Let me tell you my story.

There is life after the womb!

 Google: Search “A Parable of Life After Delivery” if you want to read the discussion the babies have in the womb. There are several versions. You might find a better one than I did!

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The Question That Can’t Be Avoided

When the Roman governor Pontius Pilate was faced with Jesus, he didn’t know what to do. He did not find him guilty of any crime. His wife warned him not to have anything to do with this righteous man because she had suffered much because of him in a dream.

At the Feast of the Passover Pilate had the custom of releasing a prisoner. That year, a notorious prisoner was Barabbas. Pilate asked if he should release Barabbas or Jesus. The crowd chose Barabbas.

Then came the question of the ages, the question every human being must answer:

What shall I do with Jesus who is called the Christ?

“Let him be crucified!” shouted the crowd.

And Jesus was crucified! He took the punishment of our sins upon him. Hundreds of years before, the prophet Isaiah foretold the sacrificial death of Jesus.

But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace
was upon him, and
by his wounds we are healed.

We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
Isaiah 53:5,6

Nobody can escape the question. You might deny Jesus. You might not believe in him. You might completely deny the existence of God. But one day, everyone will have to acknowledge Jesus and bow before him.

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:9-11

Mary Magdalene answered the question. She was set free of the seven demons that tormented her. After being delivered of this torment, she traveled with Jesus helping to take care of his needs. When Jesus was sent to the cross, she was there watching everything that happened to her dear Savior. She saw Joseph of Arimathea take his body down from the cross and she saw the grave where he put him.

Joseph also answered the question, although he did not want to publicly acknowledge that he was Jesus’ disciple. But when Jesus died on the cross he made public his faith. He laid Jesus in his own new tomb. Nicodemus helped him. He’s the religious leader that sought out Jesus by night, also a secret disciple.

The disciples answered the question and decided to follow Jesus, but after the crucifixion they must have felt miserable. Their Master, the hope of the world, was dead, buried by strangers, guarded by soldiers from the Roman army.

The disciples kept themselves under locked doors, maybe fearful that the religious leaders would do to them what had happened to Jesus. Judas the betrayer had hanged himself. Peter was devastated because he had disowned the Savior.

Mary’s dreams were shattered. Her beloved Master was dead. She had watched strangers bury Jesus. Who were those strangers? Mary had watched every move. She had put so much hope in Jesus—now her dreams had died. But one thing was for sure. She was not going back to her old life. What Jesus had done for her was beyond description. To be free from the tormenting spirits was out of this world. The least she could do was anoint his body. That would be her last farewell.

Early on Sunday morning Mary and some other women went to the tomb. What a surprise when they arrived and found it open! The stone had been rolled away.

Two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning gave them the news that Jesus was alive.

“Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’” Luke 24:5-7

Then they remembered his words.

Risen! Alive! Mary ran as fast as her legs would carry her. She knew where to find the disciples, all huddled up grieving their Lord.

“Peter! John! He’s gone! Someone has taken him. An angel said he’s alive!”

Peter and John also ran as fast as their legs would carry them. John, the youngest, arrived first at the grave, but Peter was the one to enter, not to a sepulcher like we are used to, but a cave.

What a sight! The grave clothed lay there neatly folded, as if someone had stepped out of them. They hurried back to the others. What could this mean?

Mary Magdalene stayed behind. A man she thought was the gardener approached her.

“Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

“Mary!”

That was all it took. The voice of her Teacher—unmistakable. Her Teacher! Her Rabboni!

“Go tell my brothers,” Jesus told her.

Once again, Mary was off running. “I have seen the Lord!” was her message. No one could take that away from her. And no one can take that away from you and me. To meet the risen Savior, to have him call your name—nothing compares to that!

Mary was in the forefront of millions that throughout the centuries have proclaimed,

“I HAVE SEEN THE LORD!”

Pontius Pilates question cannot be avoided:

What shall I do with Jesus who is called the Christ?

Mary, Peter, John, Joseph, Nicodemus, and millions through the ages have chosen to follow the Master of Galilee. It is wiser to bow the knee before him here, when there is time to repent and accept him as Lord and Savior, than to deny him now and have to bow before him when it’s too late.

TODAY IS THE DAY OF SALVATION!

How will you answer the universal question:

What shall I do with Jesus who is called the Christ?

 

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Good Friday

Good Friday, 47 years ago, I received a precious gift. I became a Mom! It was March 27, 1970. God knows how I treasure special dates, so he gave me my girl on a day I always treasure. He then welcomed my girl to her eternal home on the day that the Queen of Lights is celebrated in Sweden (Lucia), on December 13, 2001.

My precious girl was welcomed to heaven because Jesus opened the way. My mother is there, my mother-in-law, and my dear husband. Thanks to Jesus I have the hope of meeting them again. My daughter Carina and her family will also be there with us.

Do you have a living hope for eternity? Jesus took the punishment for your sins on the cross. He offers you forgiveness, just like he did to the criminal crucified together with him. Everyone is welcome to receive his forgiving grace.

There was a written notice above him, which read: this is the king of the jews. One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:38-43

“Remember me…” was all the criminal asked for. It’s not complicated. Just acknowledge Jesus, repent of your sins, and confess him as Lord.

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:9-13

I’ve been reading this week the story of Jesus and the cross. My heart was moved once again by the awful treatment he receive. And he suffered all for me! And for you!

I made a list.

  • They spit in his face
  • They struck him
  • They slapped him
  • The priests bound him
  • Pilate flogged him
  • The soldiers stripped him and put on him a scarlet robe
  • They put a crown of thorns on his head
  • They put a reed in his right hand mocking him
  • They struck him on the head with the reed
  • The soldiers divided his garments among them
  • The chief priests mocked him
  • They spit on him
  • They blindfolded him, struck him with their fists, and said, “Prophesy!”
  • The guards took him and beat him
  • Herod with his soldiers treated him with contempt
  • The crowds shouted, “Crucify him!”
  • The soldiers offered him sour wine
  • The officers struck him

What was Jesus reaction to all this?

 “Father,  forgive them,  for they do not know what they are doing.”

When the mob came to arrest Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, and Peter drew out his sword to defend Jesus, this is what Jesus said,

“Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” Matthew 26:54-56

Jesus did not defend himself, because the purpose of his coming was to offer his life as a sacrifice for our sins.

That is what we remember today, on Good Friday.

Be blessed!                                          

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Chosen with a Purpose

(Re-blogged from March 24, 2016)

In the Roman Empire, when a man was sentenced to be crucified, he would have to carry his cross, from the prison to the place of execution. That would be a weight of at least 100 pounds on the shoulders of someone that had been brutally beaten. They would tie the heavy beam to the arms, resting it between the neck and the spine. If the prisoner stumbled he had no way of protecting himself from a fall.

More than the weight of the heavy beam on his shoulders, Jesus carried the weight of our sins.

Isaiah 53:4-7

Surely he took up our infirmities
and carried our sorrows,

yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace
was upon him,

and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before her shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.

The weight on the shoulders of our precious Savior was too much. They stopped a man coming to town from the country, Simon from Cyrene, “and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus” (Luke 23:26). That’s about all we know about this man, except that he was the father of Alexander and Rufus.

How this affected Simon we don’t know, but later on the apostle Paul writes to the Romans about Rufus. “Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother, who has been a mother to me, too” (Rom 16:13). At least we know it affected Rufus, and made him a follower of Christ.

Simon was probably never the same after that day. You’re never the same after an encounter with Jesus. Simon had been chosen with a purpose. In some way he alleviated the heavy road Jesus’ had to tread to the cross.

Each follower of Jesus is chosen with a purpose, chosen in the Lord. First and foremost we are chose for salvation, but then also for service. I will never forget the day I was “chosen” for service. At the early age of ten, God revealed to me that I was chosen to proclaim the Gospel to children. Jesus asked me in a vision if I was willing to go tell boys and girls about Jesus, specifically “brown” boys and girls. That is what I have done all my life, and my big passion to this day is to make teaching materials available so boys and girls in the Spanish speaking countries will hear about Jesus.

I was never the same after that day. As a teen-ager I didn’t fool around, because I always had in the back of my mind, “I have been chosen!” I knew God had a special plan for me, and even before age fifteen I started fulfilling that plan.

If you are reading this and you love Jesus, you are:

A chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9

If you are not yet a follower of Christ Jesus, today is your day to be “chosen!” Really, God chose you to be his even before the creation of the world.

Ephesians 1:3-8

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will- to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.

Simon from Cyrene was seized and forced to carry Jesus’ cross. God does not force anybody to follow him and carry Jesus’ cross, so to speak. With love and compassion God invites you to come to him, to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, to be made his adopted son or daughter, to inherit his kingdom.

Come to him today. You will never regret it!

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