Through Him all things were made;

…without Him nothing was made that has been made. John 1:3

Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made.” (John 1:3) I remember almost 30 years ago, when God begin working in my life. It was the year before I received Christ as my Lord and Savior and as I was reading a Christian book, I remember pausing for a moment and saying “yes Jesus.”

This is a guest post by Beth Harris. She is a wife, mother, Bible study leader and volunteer editor for markalanwilliams.net.   

Then I stepped outside and I saw the trees in a whole new way. I noticed the leaves gently blowing in the breeze and I had this strong realization for the first time that they were alive. I suppose I had always thought of trees as one dimensional and inanimate objects.

But that day and moment, I remember thinking God is real and I am surrounded by life.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.

How can we drive out darkness from this dark world we live in? Martin Luther King Jr. answers that question in this great quote. Darkness cannot drive out darkness and hate cannot drive out hate. Only the light can drive out darkness and only love can drive out hate.

This is a guest post by Beth Harris. She is a wife, mother, Bible study leader and volunteer editor for markalanwilliams.net.

On August 21, 2017, we had a solar eclipse that was visible here in the United States. This occurred because the moon came between the earth and the sun, blocking the sun’s light and causing the sky to darken for a few minutes. Then as the moon continued its orbit, the sun became visible again, driving out the darkness and revealing the light of day once more.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness because we need the light of the sun to do so. But, what if the sun had not reappeared and we were stuck in darkness? I realized how dependent we are on the sun for its light, heat and to grow the food that we eat. The sun is so powerful and essential for life.

Leave the broken, irreversible past in God’s hands…

…and step out into the invincible future with Him.

This quote by Oswald Chambers is a welcome invitation for us to leave the broken, irreversible past with God and step into the invincible future with Him.

This is a guest post by Beth Harris. She is a wife, mother, Bible study leader and volunteer editor for markalanwilliams.net.

On New Year’s Day, January 1, 1989, I attended a Presbyterian Church service that was refreshingly different. The music was upbeat and the band sang a song about saying goodbye to the past and moving forward in keeping with the theme of the day.

 

The Pastor spoke about how people look forward to a new year because they enjoy having a clean slate and a fresh start in life. He explained that in the same way, because of Jesus’ death on the cross, a person can be forgiven for all of their sins, have a fresh start and a new life in Him that lasts for all eternity.

 

The music and the message were medicine for my soul. I wanted forgiveness and a new life with Christ, so I went home and prayed asking Him to forgive my sins and become my Lord and Savior.

In trouble to be troubled…

…is to have your trouble doubled.

When we are in trouble, the last thing we need is to have it doubled. But, so often that can happen if we react to our problems with anxiety and worry. The unintended result is that we double our trouble and make things worse.

This is a guest post by Beth Harris. She is a wife, mother, Bible study leader and volunteer editor for markalanwilliams.net.

It is so natural and human to become troubled when we encounter trouble and I am certainly no exception. But, by the grace of God, I believe I have learned some helpful tools.

In addition to daily prayer and Bible reading, I use Google as a quick way to locate Bible verses. Recently, I have been searching for verses on hope. Biblegateway.com and other Bible websites have key word search options to locate verses and have Bible commentaries as well.

In addition, watching and listening to the news can cause me to feel troubled. So, I limit myself and only watch the local and world news once each day. Some days I only watch one or the other but I don’t re-watch the news. I pray as I watch and then change the channel or turn off the television when I am done for the day.

We will all experience trouble in varying degrees as a result of living in a sinful and fallen world. Sometimes we are victims of another person’s actions and other times we bring it on ourselves.

Regardless of the source, the Bible clearly tells us that we can expect trouble in this world and in life.

Jesus said in John 16:33, “In this world you will have trouble.” (NIV)

And Job 14:1 says, 

Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;

His greatness no one can fathom.

The Lord is great and most worthy of praise. We bless the Lord when we praise Him and He always deserves and merits the highest honor, reverence and admiration that we can give to Him. Indeed, His greatness is beyond our understanding.

This is a guest post by Beth Harris. She is a wife, mother, Bible study leader and volunteer editor for markalanwilliams.net

Did you know that praise is a gift from the Lord because it honors Him and it blesses us as well? Praise is so powerful. It is a tool, a weapon, an atmosphere changer and an attitude adjuster. It really is!

Whenever I feel discouraged or downcast I usually need an attitude adjustment and so I begin to praise the Lord. This helps me to take my mind off my problems and direct my thoughts toward Him and as a result my outlook improves.

I enjoy praising the Lord with music particularly on my morning walks and when I’m in my car. I find that singing along with the Gospel station songs is always so uplifting. Why? Because praising the Lord reminds me of His goodness and faithfulness. As a result, I feel more hopeful.

The Lord is worthy of praise because of who He is and all that He does for us. He is worthy of praise because He is worthy of glory.

Have an appointment with the Lord and keep it.

A man is powerful on his knees

Do you wait to pray until you feel like it or do you have an appointment with the Lord and keep it? Now more than ever there are many ways to keep track of every event, meeting and appointment in our lives. But, the most important appointment with the Lord is often neglected.

This is a guest post by Beth Harris. She is a wife, mother, Bible study leader and volunteer editor for markalanwilliams.net.

This quote reminded me of a powerful little book that made quite an impression on me as a new believer almost 30 years ago called, My Heart – Christ’s Home by Robert Boyd Munger.

The book is based on Revelation 3:20 which says, Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. (NKJV)

The author compares the human heart to a home and explains the transformation that takes place in the life of a new Christian. The Lord moves in and patiently though persistently waits for the believer to surrender each room. Ultimately, He wants access to the entire home or life including the rooms that are undesirable.

If you are a Christian, you are not a citizen of this world trying to get to heaven,…

…you are a citizen of heaven making your way through this world.

Did you know that if you are a Christian, you are not a citizen of this world, but instead you are a citizen of heaven? The Bible clearly tells us that we are not of this world and that are citizenship is in heaven. This should be wonderfully encouraging to us as believers.

This is a guest post by Beth Harris. She is a wife, mother, Bible study leader and volunteer editor for markalanwilliams.net.

I was born in the United States and therefore, I have the rights, privileges and responsibilities that go with being a citizen of this country. My paternal grandparents on the other hand were born in Northern Italy and immigrated to the United States in the early 1900’s.

Once here they became citizens and received all the rights that a US citizen enjoys. They were able to vote, protected from deportation and guaranteed rights under the constitution. But, they also had to accept certain responsibilities and make sacrifices. They swore to uphold and obey the law. They renounced their birth country and pledged allegiance to their new country.

We are all born a citizen of this world. But, if you have become a Christian by faith in Jesus Christ, then you have been born again, (See John 3:1-21) and your citizenship has changed. 

The Bible confirms that as a Christian you are not a citizen of this world.

Don’t live the same year 75 times…

… and call it a life.

We can live the same year 75 times and call it a life if we never change or try new things. It is easy to wake up one day and find ourselves living on auto-pilot and stuck in a well-worn rut.

This is a guest post by Beth Harris. She is a wife, mother, Bible study leader and volunteer editor for markalanwilliams.net.

I usually do not enjoy change or surprises, but my husband and I have always talked about visiting Washington D.C. and New York City. However, we kept visiting the same familiar places. We were kind of stuck in a comfortable rut.

So, a few years ago we took the opportunity to visit these cities in the fall. The first week we saw historical sites and museums in Washington D.C. The second week we visited Times Square, Central Park and the 9/11 Memorial in New York City. We rode the subway, met new people and experienced new places. As a result, we created wonderful memories that we will never forget.

But, we had to step outside of our comfort zone, make plans and reservations for the two weeks. We had some pre-flight jitters and fear that comes with staying in unfamiliar cities. Yet we had the most wonderful time.

Living life on repeat means that we could live the same year over and over, thus forfeiting opportunities for change and growth. We may even be missing out on the real meaning of life.

Would you like to make sure that you don’t live the same year over again?

Here are 4 steps to break out of a rut so you don’t live the same year over and over:

1. Accept God’s Purpose for Life

Isaiah 43:19 says, “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (NIV)

Sometimes the thoughts in my head get so bored…

…they go out for a stroll through my mouth. This is rarely a good thing.

This quote that the thoughts in my head get so bored that they take a stroll through my mouth is meant to give a chuckle. However, a lack of control over our thoughts and speech isn’t funny when it causes us to think and say things that are harmful to ourselves and others.

This is a guest post by Beth Harris. She is a wife, mother, Bible study leader and volunteer editor for markalanwilliams.net.

Prior to becoming a Christian, I had little control over the thoughts in my head and my speech. My thoughts controlled me and consequently, I said and did many hurtful things that I’ve since asked God and others to forgive.

But, since becoming a Christian, God has taught me that I don’t have to entertain every thought or speak every idle word. I can ask the Holy Spirit to help me to think right thoughts and choose right words to speak.

In all honesty, it’s still a struggle and I am definitely a work in progress.

You are never too old to set another goal

…or to dream a new dream

This quote by C. S. Lewis is so encouraging for those of us, myself included, who have more birthdays behind us than before us. Indeed, we are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream as long as we are alive.

This is a guest post by Beth Harris. She is a wife, mother, Bible study leader and volunteer editor for markalanwilliams.net.

As I write this article, I can’t think of a better example of never too old to set new goals or dream new dreams than my mother. She committed her life to Christ 5 years ago, shortly after the passing of her husband. Since then, God has changed her life and she is a woman making up for lost time.

She has traveled to the Holy Land, helped plant a new church, served in multiple ministries, participated in Bible studies, made hundreds of new friends, attended prayer meetings and volunteered wherever she is needed. This week as she turns 80 years old, she shows no signs of slowing down as she prepares to leave in a few weeks to go on her first missionary trip to Panama!

We are never too old to set another goal and to dream a new dream.

As Psalm 92:14 says,

They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green,” (NIV)

The Bible says that believers can still bear fruit in old age

By God’s grace, we have made great progress in the fields of science and medicine. We also have access to more information, products and procedures to help us hopefully live longer and enjoy better health as well.  

In addition, we are never too old to set new goals and dream new dreams because God is not limited by age.

Exodus 7:7 says, Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three when they spoke to Pharaoh.” (NIV)

Luke 2:36-37 says, “There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying.” (NIV)