A Year of Hope Encouragement

Rediscover Amazement

Science and statistics wave their unmagic wand across the face of life, squelching the oohs and aahs and replacing them with formulas and figures.

Would you like to see Jesus? Do you dare be an eyewitness of His Majesty?

Then rediscover amazement. The next time you hear a baby laugh or see an ocean wave, take note. Pause and listen as His Majesty whispers ever so gently, “I’m here.”

Max Lucado—God Came Near

A feeling of nostalgia is locked in our minds when we think back to our childhoods. There was wonder in the world when we first made discoveries and when we recall the crazy things we used to do—there is still a sizzle of excitement!

Jumping out of barn lofts, catching anything from frogs to snakes, or bugs. Eating outside, riding bikes, jumping in the lake, or…

Like Hazel’s article (Jesus The Healer), you remember the encounters with God that impacted and changed you!

We each have personal revelations about who He is, where He’s met our needs, spoken a word of peace or correction, or shown His love in unmistakable ways. And this God of love delights in continuing to show us how beautiful life can be.

Rediscovering amazement is not about nostalgia or wishing for what once was. It’s about savoring the simple things, noticing life through a gratitude filter—replacing hopelessness with joy.

It’s good to remember, but it’s also good for our souls to have a laugh around the supper table, to see the little birds around the bird bath—splashing and making noise. It’s good for us to notice the sunrise or sunset, to feel His love painted across the sky.

It’s the warm hand of your spouse or the sticky fingers of the little person in your life. It’s the worship that surrounds you in church on Sunday, causing a tear to fall in gratitude.

“We were not retelling some masterfully crafted legend when we informed you of the power and apprearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, for we saw His magnificense and splendor unveiled before our very eyes.”

2 Peter 1:16 TPT

We tell others that God wants to show Himself to them, and then we forget to look for Him ourselves, not pointing fingers, just saying that the same God whose magnificence and splendor was on display for the disciples is right there for our discovery too.

What amazes you about today?

100 Years of Memories

Jesus the Healer

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”

Hebrews 13:8 NIV

Vacation time was a fun time for me on my grandparents’ farm. As the oldest grandchild, I spent much of the summer with them. A favorite pass time was sitting in the shade on the southeast corner of the old wooden porch with the friendly collie asleep at my feet. I spent many happy hours shelling peas, snapping beans, and husking corn as every vegetable was prepared for the long cold winter.

On a particular afternoon while I prepared the vegetables I reflected on the cottage prayer meeting conducted in the large farm kitchen by an elder from the mission in the nearby town.

The farmers who gathered the night before had spent much time on their knees in audible prayer. Until that night I had never seen a person anointed and prayed for as in James…

“Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.”

James 5:14 NIV

Everyone in the room had prayed so earnestly for my Grandma. she suffered frequently of blinding headaches that sometimes even nauseated her. They were asking God to deliver her. (At that time I had never heard the medical term migraine headaches.)

Suddenly, that afternoon the silence was broken by my Grandma’s call, “Hazel, please come quickly!” I ran into the kitchen and saw Grandma standing by the big kitchen cupboard with tears streaming down her cheeks. She wiped them with her big white apron. “Hazel, the headache’s gone. I felt it leave. I reached up to touch the top of my head as it was simply splitting with pain, and as I reached up I breathed the Name of Jesus and the pain fled before the power of His precious name.”

It had fled never to return again.

My grandma lived into her seventies. The healing commenced at the prayer meeting and was completed by the kitchen cupboard as she took authority in the Name of Jesus. Never again was my grandma plagued by migraines.

This was the first healing I had ever witnessed. I was just a young Christian and had not heard much of Jesus the healer. The incident was so indelibly imprinted on my memory that through many of life’s deep testings I have felt the awareness of that same Jesus and His healing virtue.

The four Gospels record many miracles and healings that Jesus did when he trod on this earth…

“Many followed Him, and He healed all their sick.”

“When Jesus saw the large crowds, He had compassion on them and healed their sick.”

Matthew 12:15; Matthew 14:14 NIV

It is faith-inspiring when you or I have a need to pick up our Bibles and read of His ministry to the sick. This same Jesus still has the power to save the soul and raise the sick.

Down through the years, many testimonials could verify His presence in the sick room. Jesus has the same compassion today when He is invited into a room where there is suffering. Let us claim His promises which are steadfast and sure.

By Hazel F. Brisco—End Times Messenger July 1986

100 Years of Memories

Love Those Vacations

Vacations—God is pleased when families and individuals take time for relaxation and rest. The time factor can vary. But we do need those times when we can be refreshed in body, soul, and spirit. It is during these vacation times that we gain a fresh appreciation for home and work.

Vacations can be quality times for the family

While the children are still home, I believe God wants parents to include their children in holidays. Some parents go off leaving the kids behind—and they feel left out. The summer holidays can be fun times for the whole family.

I remember when our children were younger and all at home. We had some great times as we travelled and camped each summer. It was exciting to get away from school, work, and the garden. It was the change we all needed—and that’s what vacations are all about.

Our vacation usually began quite early on the first day so that we could arrive early and pick that “perfect” campsite! The closer to the water the better.

We would put up our tent trailer, fix the beds for the evening, swat flies and mosquitos, get the camp stove going, and the open-air supper cooking! Most important of all—build that campfire—mainly to watch and enjoy, but sometimes roasting weiners or marshmallows over it.

These were special times of fun for us as parents and the children to experience—and to remember. They are important in building lasting family ties and relationships.

Vacations can help to relieve built-up pressures

It was Jesus who felt that His disciples needed a break. They had been out ministering to the needs of others, and they were feeling the pressure of having people around them continuously. we read the account in Mark…

“And He said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat. And they departed into a desert place by ship privately.”

Mark 6:31-32 KJV

Now we realize from the rest of the scripture, that they never had much of a vacation. The people seeking after Christ soon discovered their safe retreat. But at least they had had a private boat cruise with Jesus—and that must have been refreshing in itself. The Lord knows when His children need a break—it’s a necessary part of the Christian’s life.

Vacations can be excellent for fellowship with other Christians

Christians certainly need this. We need to go to places where we can spend at least some time with others of like precious faith. One of these places can be at a Christian camp where we can relax—at the same time enjoying sound Bible worship and ministry and fellowship with other believers.

I’m reminded of Paul’s two-week vacation in Jerusalem. It’s mentioned in Galations 1:18-19. Paul came to Jerusalem to visit and fellowship with Peter and James, the half-brother of our Lord.

He seems to have been alone, learning from the Lord for the first few years following his conversion. But now he felt the need for fellowship. Following this time together—no doubt Paul returned home refreshed and encouraged in the Lord. We need vacations like this too—don’t we?

Vacations can be times when people meet God

I remember hearing of a man who was holidaying in the Caribbean and returned a born-again Christian. This reminds us of the important businessman from Ethiopia who made a trip to Jerusalem to worship. He was stirred to read the scripture and he began his journey homeward. The story is found in Acts 8:27-39.

This man was reading from Isaiah the prophet but he didn’t understand who the prophet was talking about. The Lord saw his spiritual hunger and had arranged for Philip the evangelist to be at that spot at that given moment.

Prompted by the Spirit, Philip came near the man’s chariot and when invited to join him in his chariot began at the Scripture he was reading from and “preached unto him, Jesus.” He was gloriously saved and made this wonderful confession of faith—”I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” Following his baptism in water, he went home rejoicing in the mercy, grace, and power of Christ, man’s only saviour.

What a vacation he experience! What a worthwhile time away from home. He returned home a new man in Christ. Praise God!

Vacations can be times of renewed commitment to serve the Lord

Our vacation days are not only a time for bodily rest and mental change, but also a time when we can be renewed spiritually.

Always take your Bible with you. Maintain your daily habit of reading the scriptures and prayer. Seek out a place of worship. I thoroughly enjoy going to church in a strange town or city. I enjoy listening to teachers and preachers who bring sound Bible ministry.

All this can be an aspect of waiting on the Lord and renewing our strength (Isaiah 40:31), as well as renewing our commitment to serve Him.

Thank God for vacations

God wants us to have days of rest from our labours. I believe He wants us to enjoy these times. I’m reminded of what we read in the book of Hebrews…

“There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.”

Hebrews 4:9 KJV

I think this “rest” refers to the rest in the heart that comes as the result of a faith that is deeply rooted in God and from a life that is totally committed to Him.

Your vacation may be the time when you readjust your priorities and let the Lord rule from your heart. When He’s in control—that means rest for us.

Vacation time is coming. make the most of it. Arrive back home ready to accept new challenges. Love those vacations!

Written by George Shaw—End Times Messenger July/August 1990