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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

Pages of Peace

By Pentecostal Evangel staff
Aug. 15, 2010

From Genesis to Revelation, God’s Word offers a boundless reservoir of wisdom for every life decision, guidance into the way of salvation, and comfort to salve life’s pain. Evangel staff members share some of the Scripture passages they have found to be personal oases. Perhaps you can add these to a list of your own.

Love Always Hopes

I now look back on high school from the vantage point of a happily married adult, but during those years I felt awkward and had trouble making friends. My heart goes out to anyone struggling with relationships.

Floating from group to group, I didn’t form lasting bonds. Just before my senior year, I became very close to two people — one from church and one from school. Since I related to these friends individually, I introduced them, thinking we could all hang out together. Instead, they quickly became close to each other, and my friendships with them suffered.

Perhaps you have seen a friendship evaporate and have dealt with feelings of hopelessness and betrayal. It hurts when a friend becomes distant. It can be agony when it’s a relative or even a spouse. Whatever challenges you are facing in your relationships, let me encourage you to journey toward healing by living out God’s love for others. God’s view of love sustains me daily.

The summer before that high school heartache, I had started reading through the New Testament. In 1 Corinthians 13, I discovered God’s ideal love. I ran my eyes over the words, not really paying attention to the chapter I’d heard in church so many times before. When I came to verse 7, I felt like those words slammed into me. “[Love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (NIV).

Because of Christ’s love for me, and the love I have for Him, there is always hope. God’s love always hopes, and so do I.

And, so can you.

— Emily Tharp
Editorial Assistant

Abiding and Receiving

“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you” (John 15:7, NKJV).

John 15 has been one of my favorite chapters in the Bible for many, many years. The seventh verse has been particularly meaningful to me. I have turned to it in times of uncertainty as well as in times of blessing. I believe it is the key to staying in God’s will.

I recall a time when it was difficult for me to know God’s will. The answer was not found in trying harder or finding a formula. I realized I needed to return to the practice of John 15:7.

To abide in Christ means to be wrapped up in Him; it means He is the most important aspect of your life. To have His words abiding in us harks back to the words of David in Psalm 119:11: “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.”

Filling your heart with the Word of God — by studying, reading and memorizing it — is a barrier to both sin and uncertainty.

And being wrapped up in Jesus means your motives are purified. You don’t abide in Him so you can get what you want. Rather, abiding in Him causes you to ask according to His will. God delights in responding when you put Him first. “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).

When I put this to work during a difficult time, it helped me to quit thinking selfishly and I could see God’s will clearly.

— Ken Horn

God's Provision in Trying Times

The Lord has never been as real to me as two decades ago, when in faith I had to rely on His leading after losing my livelihood.

The small-town daily paper I worked for fired me after I helped start a local pro-life group. The editor said my involvement caused the newspaper to lose credibility. The publisher called the biblical convictions I held “irrelevant.”

Two passages of Scripture provided solace to me in the aftermath. Psalm 9:9,10 says, “The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you” (NIV).

2 Chronicles 20:12 says, “O our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.”

Of course I didn’t experience a physical assault, but the spiritual battle I went through felt real nonetheless.

Some of my friends who I thought would be in my corner disapproved of my decision to put my biblical beliefs above my paycheck. The newspaper spread the word that I had violated a longstanding policy by becoming an officer in a community organization — even though no such policy existed. Such news brought judgment from many quarters, including Christians who thought I had disobeyed my employer. Editorials around the country lambasted me as a journalist for daring to become involved in pro-life matters, even though many reporters are active in pro-abortion causes.

The paper gave me the option of quitting the group in order to save my job, but I refused. On the surface, it looked like a foolish decision. The newspaper had a state newspaper association with corporate lawyers aligned against me. I had no job, no income and a wife plus three young sons to support. I faced the possibility of never being hired by a mainstream newspaper again.

In addition, my wife lost her $37-a-week income as a church secretary when she had surgery and faced six weeks recuperating at home. And with no job, I had to find another $200 a month for health insurance coverage.

Amazingly in this scenario, my faith rose to an all-time high as the Lord sustained our family. Calm and peace enveloped me as God provided financial gifts from a multitude of strangers. People who read about the firing in various media reports sent money in the mail: $5, $10, $20 and more. At a crucial time, God delivered the pension payout due to me. I also received jobless benefits. My family never lacked for anything we needed during my four months of unemployment.

— John W. Kennedy
News Editor

Understanding God's Will, Seeking His Plan

“Knowing God’s will” is perhaps more aptly “knowing God’s plan.” Jesus clearly tells us the Father’s will: that everyone would have eternal life through His Son, Jesus, and that no one would perish (Matthew 18:14; John 6:40). As believers, we know that our purpose is to glorify God and direct others to Him. But we often struggle to know the specifics of God’s plan for our lives. How does God plan to use me to accomplish His will? What steps do I need to take now?

When faced with these concerns, I find comfort in a key promise repeated multiple times in God’s Word. “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps” (Proverbs 16:9, NIV). “A man’s steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand his own way?” (Proverbs 20:24). “I know, O Lord, that a man’s life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps” (Jeremiah 10:23). “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5,6).

What a liberating promise! It is not my responsibility to determine the plan for my life. It’s God’s. I only need to allow Him to be my Lord. As I strive to trust, seek and glorify God, He is faithful to lead me. Granted, I don’t sense divine guidance for every tiny decision. But as I desire God’s will — His plan — to be accomplished in my life, I know that He desires the same all the more.

— Jennifer McClure
Technical Editor

Under His Wing

When a crisis seems ready to engulf me, I turn to Psalm 91. When the little challenges of life become collectively overwhelming, I read those comforting verses. In the face of heartaches large and small, I find consistent reassurance that “he who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the

Almighty” (v. 1, NIV) and that God “will cover [me] with his feathers, and under his wings [I] will find refuge” (v. 4).

I love the shifting voice in this psalm — first, that of the Psalmist offering a general promise, then directing the promise to the reader specifically, then growing silent as God himself echoes the assurance.

What crisis looms on your horizon? What is your array of challenges and heartaches? Make your daily dwelling the “shelter of the Most High.” You cannot fail to find comfort within His protective embrace.

— Scott Harrup
Managing Editor

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