God So Loved The World

True Peace

peace

How To Have True Peace of Mind

Do you want peace of mind?

Everyone wants peace of mind. All seek a life of rest, no worries, and being able to enjoy life, family, friends, work, church, hobbies, entertainment, etc. We want to be able to enjoy ourselves and not be burdened down with worries that rob us of vigor, life, and purpose.

Sometimes when we can’t find peace of mind. We get depressed. We often get angry. At times we even lash out at God or someone else near to you.

What do you do to get peace?

I mean real peace in your life. Where do you start? What do you do?

The place to start is with God.

In the Bible in the book of Philippians, chapter 4:6-9 teaches how to have true peace in your life.

Philippians 4:6-9 (NIV) tells us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me — put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

Point one – God wants you to have true peace by having you not worry – about anything (the act of thinking)

Worry shows you are not trusting in God. God says in verse 6, “Do not be anxious about anything.”

That means don’t worry.

The word for “anxious” in the Greek here means to be troubled with cares He hasn’t given you that command without you being able to carry it out.

He said to the man with the withered hand, “Stretch forth your hand” (Mark 3:5)

But the man could not–yet He obeyed and did it!

Because the Holy Spirit is in you, you are able to live by faith, and not worry…no matter what happens. Because the Spirit empowers you to be faithful, to trust, to yield to the Lord’s will. With the Spirit, you are able to trust God beyond your ability to know what will happen in your life.

Matthew 6:25, 27, 31, 33, 34 teaches, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? … Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? … So do not worry, saying, `What shall we eat?’ or `What shall we drink?’ or `What shall we wear?’ … For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. … But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. … Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety (same word) on him because he cares for you. (NIV)

John 14:1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. (NIV)

God doesn’t want you to worry because worry means you do not trust God that you are not taking Him fully at His word. God has been providing for you all along – look at the cross. God wants you to have true peace by praying – about everything (the act of doing). v. 6 “But in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

All things in your life are of concern to God.

The big and the small: where to move, who to marry, what job to get, even your hobbies, and leisure times. The peace that God gives you will guard your minds. The peace that God gives you will strengthen you.

Because of the cross, you have access to the throne of God. We are to approach it “with thanksgiving,” because of the cross, the proof of God’s faithfulness. In the presence of God, there is peace.

Romans 15:13, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Psalm 16:11 You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Practice the presence of God – pray!

Prayer transforms you. By praying, you intern want to think about holy things. That is why…(next point)

Point Two – God wants you to have true peace by meditating on what is holy (the act of thinking)

Your minds have been set free from slavery to sin.

Romans 8:6 The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; (NIV)

God wants you to fill your heart with what is good.

Philippians 4:8, “whatever is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, excellent worthy of praise. Let your mind dwell on these things.” (NASB)

God wants you to think, to meditate on truth, purity, and excellence.

Psalm 119:78 “…I will meditate on your precepts.”

The precepts of God, the Word of God, is truth, purity, and excellence. Meditate on the Word of God so that you might be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Point Three – God wants you to have true peace by putting into practice what you have learned. (the act of doing)

He wants you to… trust Him for everything.

Philippians 4:6a, “Don’t be anxious for anything.”

Pray to Him for anything.

Philippians 4:6b “but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (NIV)

Meditate on what is holy.

Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things. (NIV)

Conclusion

These things are written to you so that the God of peace will be with you. Not simply peace…but the God of peace will be with you.

Ultimately this is about God dwelling with you. He wants you to be holy, pure, and right.

Will you trust Him and not worry? Will you pray about everything in your life? Will you meditate on the Word of God? And finally, will you practice, will you do, what God calls you to do?

Need to Recharge Your Personal Strength and Power?

The Strength We Need

Coronavirus/Corvid-19 news fills all media. Gloom and doom permeate everywhere. The shelter at home orders is spreading the globe. Current circumstances make us weary and sap our energy. So many today are tired and worn out. What’s a person to do?

Today I want to look at the secret of our power of strength as a Christian. We’ll be looking in the Holy Bible at the book of Ephesians, chapter three, verses fourteen through twenty-one. The passage is a prayer for strength by the Apostle Paul.

I got the idea for this article from a Sunday morning sermon on March 8, 2020, by my pastor, Dr. Jack Graham of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas. A part of the article is adapted from my sermon notes, a part is original

Ephesians 3:14-21 (ESV) – A Prayer for Spiritual Strength

14 For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

The Work of the Holy Spit Through Us

We will look at the work of the Holy Spirit through us. We will see how we have all of God, that is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit working in and through us if we are Believers.

Because of what Christ has done for us, we as Believers of Jesus Christ, are all wealthy (riches of His glory) and worthy.

I’d Rather Have Jesus

I think of a comforting old hymn written in 1922 by Rhea F. Miller with the music composed by George Beverly Shea, titled “I’d Rather Have Jesus.”

I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold; 
I’d rather be His than have riches untold; 
I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands. 
I’d rather be led by His nail-pierced hand 

Chorus:

Than to be the king of a vast domain 
Or be held in sin’s dread sway. 
I’d rather have Jesus than anything 
This world affords today.

I’d rather have Jesus than men’s applause; 
I’d rather be faithful to His dear cause;
I’d rather have Jesus than worldwide fame. 
I’d rather be true to His holy name [Chorus]

He’s fairer than lilies of rarest bloom; 
He’s sweeter than honey from out the comb; 
He’s all that my hungering spirit needs. 
I’d rather have Jesus and let Him lead [Chorus]

Songwriters: Rhea F. Miller. Since the song was written in 1922, it is published by Public Domain.

Christians Are A Child of God

If you are a Believer in Jesus Christ, you are a child of God. As His child, you have His power and His strength. 

Here are some verses about the strength of God and His power.

 Joshua 1:9 (ESV) – “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Deuteronomy 33:25 (ESV) – “Your bars shall be iron and bronze, and as your days, so shall your strength be.”

Deuteronomy 33:27 (ESV) – “The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms. And he thrust out the enemy before you and said, ‘Destroy.’”

2 Chronicles 16:9 (ESV) – “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him. You have done foolishly in this, for from now on you will have wars.”

Psalm 46:1 (ESV) – “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

Isaiah 30:15 (ESV) – “For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, ‘In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.’ But you were unwilling,”

Isaiah 40:31 (ESV) – “but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

Habakkuk 3:19 (ESV) – “God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places. To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments.”

Mark 12:30 (ESV) – “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”

Philippians 4:13 (ESV) – “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

1 – We Are Strengthen by the Power of the Holy Spirit

A. The Holy Spirit Has the Power to Convict a Person, Convince a Person, and Bring a Person to Conversion.

B. The Holy Spirit Has the Power to Witness

Acts 1:8 (ESV) – “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

My pastor, Dr. Jack Graham, Senior Pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, shared the following statistics on March 9, 2020. He said that 83,000 people a day are accepting Christ as Savior. He added that there are more born again Christians in China than in any other country. Sadly, he pointed out that only 6,000 people a day in the United States of America and Western Europe came to faith in Jesus Christ each day.

C. The Holy Spirit Has the Power to Help Us Live in Joyful Hope.

Acts 1:8a (ESV) – “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit, you may abound in hope.”

D. The Holy Spirit Give Us the Power to Overcome Our Fears and Anxieties

We need to access and use what God has already given us.

To maintain our strength, we need to access and use what God has already given us. We don’t need something new.

To recharge our strength and power daily, we need to 

    1. Pray
    2. Posture (by that, I mean yielding and surrounding to the Lord every day).

Remember, kneeling is an act of humility before the Lord.

Never forget, God’s Spirit lives in you if you are a Believer in Jesus Christ.

Don’t lose heart. Why? You have God in you!

2 – We Are Strengthened In the Inner Being

2 Corinthians 4:16 (ESV) says, “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.”

You are made in the image of God and remade in the image of Christ.

Ephesians 3: 18 -19 (ESV) says, “may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

He strengthens our love.

John 3:16 (ESV) says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

WORLD is symbolic of the width of God’s love.

GAVE HIS SON is a manifestation of the depth of God’s love.

NOT PERISH shows the length of God’s love.

Fall in love? No, you grow in love. The perfect love of God cast out fear.

Ephesians 3:17 (ESV) says, “so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love,”

This is allowing Christ to be at home in your heart.

3 – He Strengthens Us To Be Filled With His Fulness 

Ephesians 3:19 (ESV) says, “and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

We need to realize that it’s all for Jesus.

    1. You need to realize and receive that the Holy Spirit is in you since you acted Jesus as Savior and received salvation.
    2. You need to empty life of self and sin.
    3. You need all the Holy Spirit to control your life.
    4. You need to walk with Christ daily.

How I Became a Christian or How I Was Saved.

Did you know being good doesn’t get you to heaven? Being “saved” does. Here’s my story of “being saved”.

On July 11, 1977, my life changed. If you look up that date in history, you will find nothing historically significant happened on that Sunday. It was a noteworthy day for me. That day was the watershed event in my life.

July 1977 found me on active duty as a second lieutenant in the United States Army. I was serving as Battalion Maintenance Officer, 2nd Battalion, 47th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division at Fort Lewis, Washington.

Life was good. I had a beautiful, intelligent wife. I had a new son born in January that same year. I had just gotten a commendable rating during an annual general inspection in maintenance. It was the first commendable rating since the division had returned from Vietnam. Named an Outstanding Junior Officer of the Ninth Infantry Division because of the commendable rating, I received an offer of a regular army commission. My career was going great.

I always tried being the best I could be and doing what was right. I was a detail-oriented perfectionist, high-achieving, and a workaholic. I excelled at most things I did. However, after all of this, I still had an empty, unsatisfied, void, and alone feeling. Beginning in my college years I tried drinking adult beverages, women, materialism, partying, and hanging out with the right crowd to fill this unexplained need I had. I knew something was missing from my life.

I was also attending church. At my church, I noticed a group of men my age that seemed to have what I was missing. I attended a Bible study with them. Here I found that God has given us an important manual for life — the Bible. He has the answers to the problems and emptiness we may face in that book. 

I found out I was here for a purpose, and not by accident. I learned Jesus loves me and desires to have a personal relationship with me. However, sin separated me from Him.

I realized I had a sin problem.

The Bible says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” – Romans 3:23 But no one is perfect! Not even a perfectionist. We have all sinned and therefore cannot save ourselves by simply living a good life. Why?

I learned there was a penalty to be paid for my sin.

The Bible says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 6:23

I learned God gives us a promise.

The Bible says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16.

I learned that God made provision for me.

The Bible says, “If you confess 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 confess and are saved. – Romans 10:9-10

I prayed to accept the gift of eternal life through Jesus.

I prayed, “Jesus, I know that I am a sinner. I believe that You died for my sins and rose from the grave so that I might have eternal life in Heaven with You. I willingly repent of my sins and ask you to come into my heart and life. Take control of my words, thoughts, and actions. I place all of my trust in You for my salvation. I accept You as my Lord and Savior, and this gift of eternal life. Amen.”

What came next?

Since then, my life has not been perfect. It’s been far from it. I have messed up from time to time – too many times – sometimes failing miserably in my decisions and choices. However, I have had direction and purpose in my life. I know where I am headed. I have the Bible to give me the principles for daily living. I am never alone. I have had real peace for the last 43 years.

How about you?

Have you ever been “saved”? 

You can do like I did. Romans 10:9-10, 13 tells us, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Why Not Accept Christ Now?

 If you’ve never accepted Jesus as your Savior, you can pray this prayer – Dear Father, I come to you in the name of Jesus. I am a sinner, and I am very sorry for my sins and the life that I have lived. I repent of my sins and ask your forgiveness. I believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross and shed His blood for my sins. I confess Jesus as the Lord of my soul. With my heart, I believe that God raised Jesus from the dead. I invite you to come into my heart and become my Lord and Savior. Amen.


Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

One Great Way to Prepare For The New Year

One Great Way to Prepare For The New Year

Two Things Are Critical

As you embark on the journey in the year 2020, two things you do are critical.

  1. The CHOICES you make.
  2. The ACTIONS you take.

One – Choices You Need To Make Everyday

1. Choose to get excited about each new day.

Psalm 118:24 English Standard Version (ESV), “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

      • Each day is a gift from God.
      • Make a daily choice to rejoice.
      • Get yourself fired up for having another day of life and be glad.

2. Choose to be thankful.

Colossians 3:15 (ESV), “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.”

      • Allow God’s peace both into your heart and to rule your heart.
      • It’s hard, if not impossible, to be thankful and miserable at the same time. Choose to be thankful.
      • Thank God daily for your daily bread.

3. Choose to be positive.

Philippians 4:13 (ESV), “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

      • Don’t say, “Good Lord, it’s morning” but say “Good morning, Lord.”
      • Make sure you get up on the right side of the bed.
      • As the late Zig Ziglar used to say, “Get rid of your ‘stinking thinking.’”

4. Choose victory over defeat.

1 John 5:4 (ESV), “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.”

      • Remember the words of the old hymn, “Faith is the victory.”
      • Never forget it is the Lord who goes with you to battle the daily enemies and challenges. (see – Deuteronomy 20:4)
      • God gives us the victory through the Lord Jesus Christ. (see – 1 Corinthians 15:57)

5. Choose to live above the level of mediocrity.

Colossians 3:23-24, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”

      • We are to work heartily.
      • Our work honors God.
      • Remember, in any endeavor of labor, our work honor’s God.

6. Choose to put the other person first.

 Philippians 2:3 (ESV), “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”

      • The late Christian motivational speaker, writer, and Bible teacher Zig Ziglar (a Baptist deacon and member of my church) said, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.”

7. Choose to have hope.

Job 13:15a (ESV), “ Though he slay me, I will hope in him (God);”

8. Choose to keep on keeping on.

      • I had an Associate Pastor named John West that frequently admonished all to “keep on keeping on.” He would say, “Keep trying; keep doing what you are doing. Keep doing your best; never give up and keep on keeping on.”
      • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said in 1967, “You don’t get to the Promised Land without going through the Wilderness. You don’t get there without crossing over hills and mountains, but if you keep on keeping on, you can’t help but reach it.”

Two – Choose to take ACTION by accepting Christ as Savior.

The only way we can really have a winning 2020 is to know Christ as Savior. Do you know Him as your personal Savior and Lord? Here is how to be sure.

Man’s Problem: Romans 3:23 (ESV), “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”

Man’s Penalty: Romans 6:23 (ESV), “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

God’s Provision: John 3:16 (ESV), “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

God’s Promise: Romans 10:9 (ESV), “because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

To accept Christ as Savior – A Prayer of Salvation: “Lord Jesus, I confess to you I am a sinner. I believe that you died for my sins and that God raised you from the dead. I ask you to forgive me for my sin right now. Thank you for saving me and for giving me eternal life. In your name, I pray. Amen.”

I originally wrote this last section in 1988 as an article titled “Our Need and God’s Provision” using the KJV as the Bible reference. It was published in “Motivators for Sunday School Leaders” by the Baptist Sunday School Board (now Lifeway Christian Resources).


Photo Source: Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Prayers for the Chronically Ill: 60 Prayers – Kindle Edition – Free on Amazon

Prayers for the Chronically Ill: 60 Prayers – Kindle Edition 

The Kindle eBook “Prayers for the Chronically Ill: 60 Prayers” is available for free on Amazon. Click FREE BOOK to get your copy.  Please share with your friends that they can get a copy of the book at no cost. It is free through Sunday, September 29, 2019, 11:59 PM PDT.

Book Info: Prayers for the Chronically Ill

What do you do when the future you had planned for yourself, your child, or with your spouse is suddenly erased?

A person confronting a chronic illness may feel uncertain about the future. Their hopes and dreams may be placed on hold or have to be altered. They may feel hopeless and helpless.

Prayers for the Chronically Ill is a resource to help persons connect with the perfect love which casts out all fear, the love of Jesus Christ.

The follow-up book, “Caregiving: Biblical Insights From a Caregiver’s Journey” will be out in November 2019.

Click FREE BOOK to get your copy.  

As of this writing, Prayers for the Chronically Ill is  # 2 on the Amazon Best Sellers List in Physician & Patient Caregiving Category.

How to Hang On

How to Hang On

23.1 My Story

The date was April 11, 2018. The day of the week was Wednesday. I had awoken at the usual time of 5 AM. I stepped into the master bedroom where my wife was resting. I took her hand and held it. I leaned over the hospital bed and kissed her forehead first. I said I love you. She squeezed my hand, and her lips moved mouthing I love you. I softly kissed her lips. I could feel their warmth and her returning the kiss.

We were blessed with a critical care registered nurse in our home twenty-four hours a day. I looked at the nurse and said I was going to Starbucks for a couple of hours to have morning coffee and write. I would be back home by 8 AM. I reminded her two of my adult children, and my wife’s sisters were in the house if needed. I would only be ten to fifteen minutes away. I made sure the nurse had my contact info.

I then read Psalm 23 to my wife, prayed with her, and feed her a container of flavored shaved ice before I stole another kiss and then headed to Starbucks. As I drove to the coffeehouse, my heart was heavy. Death was near.

Around 7:30 AM, I had a telephone call from the hospice supervising nurse. She was at my house, checking on the situation. She had arrived at the shift change to speak to the overnight nurse and brief the incoming nurse. She told me she felt death was imminent. She encouraged me to get home as soon as possible to say any final goodbyes.

Miss Benita and I had already said our goodbyes. I never left her side without saying a final farewell, just in case she died when I wasn’t there. I wanted to be present with her, holding her hand when the time came for her to depart to heaven, so I hastily retreated to my house.

When I arrived, I could see a marked change in my wife. In only two hours, she had moved much closer to death’s doorway.

No, she didn’t die on April 11. Benita Kepler passed away at 3:54 pm on April 12, 2018. I wrote that day, “She is in Jesus’ loving arms in heaven. She was surrounded by her husband, children, sisters, and friends when she went to be with Jesus in heaven.”

23.2 Hang On

Part of caring for a person with a chronic illness understands the value of hanging on to God.

You will get to the point in caregiving that only with God’s help can you make it through the next few minutes or day. You are exhausted mentally, physically, and spiritually

All you can do is grab hold of and hang on to God. Holding on to God allows you to finish strong.

23.3 Bible Verse

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (KJV), “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;”

23.4 What the Verse Means

The best commentary on the Bible is the Bible itself. Here are Biblical principles that explain the verse. These seven principles give the Biblical alternative of how to hang on when you feel like you’re at the end of your rope.

  • Principle One: I must not forget God loves me. Don’t lose heart!

2 Corinthians 4:1(KJV), “Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;”

1 Corinthians 15:10 (KJV), “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”

It’s not who we are. It’s whose we are!

Remember, our performance does not give us our worth. God’s grace provides us with the power to start over.

Romans 8:37 (KJV), “Nay, in all these things, we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”

  • Principle Two: I must keep a clear conscience.

2 Corinthians 4:2 (KJV), “But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.”

We must have integrity. We must have character.

  • Principle Three: It is not about me.

2 Corinthians 4:5 (KJV), “For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.”

Your ego will only take you so far.

  • Principle Four: I cannot do it all.

2 Corinthians 4:7 (KJV), “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”

We must pace ourselves. Life is a journey, not a sprint.

  • Principle Five: Love, love, love.

2 Corinthians 4:15 (KJV), “For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.”

  • Principle Six: Take time to refresh, renew, and revive.

2 Corinthians 4:16 (KJV), “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.”

  • Principle Seven: I must keep my eye on the goal.

2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (KJV), “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

Remember, you cannot do your best at caregiving if you do not face your troubles and hang on until you reach your goal.

23.5 Pray Using Scripture

  • Heavenly Father help me to cling to You.
  • Lord Jesus, help me to ask Your help daily as I keep on keeping on.
  • God Almighty help my eyes to be fixed on the unseen.

23.6 Responding to God’s Hope

  1. Do you remember God loves you? 
  2. Is your conscience clear? Maybe you feel bitter about having to care for your loved ones. If so, ask God’s forgiveness. 
  3. Are you seeking God’s help and guidance? Ask God for his help. 

23.7 Takeaway

Holding on to God allows you to finish strong.


If you are not a Christian, accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior is a prerequisite to obtaining God’s peace.
Click HERE to find out how to become a Christian. You can trust Jesus Christ and become a Christian now.

Photo Source: Image by Zdeněk Chalupský from Pixabay 2017.

This blog is from the forthcoming book, “Caregiving: Biblical Insights from a Caregiver’s Journey by Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Ed.D.

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How To Be Comforted During Times of Hardships and Trials

How To Be Comforted During Times of Hardships and Trials

22.1 My Story

I thought I knew how to minister to hurting families and person’s facing death. My hubris said I was an expert. After all. I was a seminary trained minister and an ordained minister as well as an ordained deacon. I had made thousands of hospital visits, nursing home visits, and been with numerous persons and their families when death visited. I also had cared for my mother-in-law, and both my parents.

It wasn’t until I was holding my wife’s hand, praying as she took her last breath and hearing the hospice registered nurse pronounce “the time of death was 3:54 PM, April 12, 2018,” did I understand the sacrifice in time, emotion, and love that a family member makes in caring for someone they love more than they love themselves.

During the time of my wife’s cancer journey, I had with her permission started a Facebook secret group. The group’s description was, “A place for those that unconditionally love and care about Benita as she battles Neuroendocrine Carcinoma and Melanoma Cancer. A family of friends, coworkers, and prayer warriors.”

As I posted daily updates on her condition, shared how the group members could pray for her and wrote a short daily devotional thought to encourage both my wife and those praying for her something magical and mystical happened. My wife Benita and I began ministering to those who were praying and ministering to her.

I was surprised when I received the first request for permission to share my daily devotion. The reader asked if it would be okay to copy and send it to a friend that was battling cancer. I had several cousins fighting cancer. A couple of them told me how they looked forward to my posting of the devotion every day. One cousin committed that the short devotional post ministered to her because she knew we were living what she was experiencing. The devotion was a real, first-person experience and prayer instead of just words on a page.

It was with her words that I realized how God was using the bad in our life for good to others. My wife would write and send cards to others up until about ten days before she died. Miss Benita would share encouragement and how God was sustaining her during her cancer experience. She was able to comfort others in spite of her tribulation.

22.2 Developing Compassion for Others

Part of caring for a person with a chronic illness is developing compassion for others. Caring for a person with a long-lasting disease affects people in different ways. Depression may come to reside with some people. Other persons can become bitter. Withdrawal from friends and family can occur with some. You will find yourself tired, more tired than you thought you could ever become.

For the Believer in Jesus Christ, the chronic illness often mellows our heart to make us more compassionate. The persistent disease allows us empathy. It often becomes the point of rapport where we can care for and minister to not only our loved one but others now walking down the pathway we have recently or are currently helping our loved navigate.

22.3 Today’s Bible Verses

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (KJV), “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.”

22.4 What the Verses Mean

The verses are a reminder of what a wonderful God we have. He is the one who comforts and strengthens us in our hardships and trials.

Why does He do this? He does this where we can help others.

When family, friends, or coworkers are troubled, needing our support, sympathy, and encouragement, we can pass on to them the help and comfort God has given us.

22.5 Pray Using Scripture

  • Heavenly Father, I praise You for how wonderful you are.
  • I acknowledge You are the Father of the Lord Jesus.
  • I proclaim You as the one who wonderfully comforts and strengthens me in hardships and trials.
  • Thank you for teaching me how to soothe others by your example to me where I can give sympathy and encouragement.

22.6 Responding to God’s Hope

  1. Who do you know that could use a word of support today? 
  2. How can you prove that supportive word? A card, a phone call, an email or text? 
  3. Name two things you learned in your journey as a caregiver that help you comfort others. 

22.7 Takeaway

As a caregiver, we can pass on to others the help and comfort God has given us.


If you are not a Christian, accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior is a prerequisite to obtaining God’s peace.
Click HERE to find out how to become a Christian. You can trust Jesus Christ and become a Christian now.

Photo Source: Image by Goran Horvat from Pixabayr 20, 2017.

This blog is from the forthcoming book, “Caregiving: Biblical Insights from a Caregiver’s Journey by Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Ed.D.

To receive a notification when “Caregiving: Biblical Insights from a Caregiver’s Journey by Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Ed.D. is available and to get occasional updates on the writing of Jimmie Aaron Kepler, please complete the “Email Sign-up” found in the far left column of the blog.

How to Let the Lord Be Your Helper

How to Let the Lord Be Your Helper

21.1 My Story

My wife’s diagnosis of Melanoma Cancer broke my heart. I promised myself I would be there for her. I would be there in good times. I would be there in bad times. I would care for her and celebrate every time we received good news. I would be there to hold, comfort, and pray for her when the diagnosis was terrible, and when she had a bad day.

My ego initially got in the way as I wanted to prove I was the super, best husband ever. I tried to model for the world how to love your wife and care for her.

If I were sincere, I wanted the pat on the back and acclaim of family, coworkers, and friends for being the gold-standard in caregiving. I know I also wanted a well done from Jesus.

After her initial surgery, many people offered help. I took off a couple of weeks from work to care for her. Her sisters flew into town to see how she was doing and help.

All this time, I declined more help than I accepted. My Bible fellowship class provided meals and gift cards. They were a blessing.

Over time we adjusted to the treatments, a new life routine, and we received fewer offers of help. My stubbornness to accept help continued.

As time passed, I grew weary and had caregiving start to consume most of my waking hours. My saying no to offers for assistance and help was especially true when Miss Benita had follow-up surgeries. Through this time, I found myself feeling guilty when someone else helped. I felt like a failure. It was as if I wasn’t doing it all myself that I wasn’t the man or husband I was supposed to be.

During her 1001 days after the initial surgery, I was faithful in spending time with the Lord. However, the caregiving took a toll. I developed oral lichen planus, lichen planus, and irritable bowel disease while caring for my spouse. All are autoimmune diseases, and the physicians think stress can contribute to the illnesses. I handled the situation so poorly I made myself sick.

I wonder how much more challenging it would have been if I hadn’t spent time with the Lord daily and asked him for his help?

In the last five months of my wife’s life, I had someone with me daily helping. I know God touched my wife’s sisters’ heart to be with her. Family surrounded my wife when she passed away. I was holding my wife’s hand and talking with her as she passed into eternity. Her sisters were present. All three of our children were there. Her best girlfriend from high school was frequently at our home. Only God could have brought all together.

In the last months, I sometimes let the family take my wife to the doctor and radiation treatments from time to time without me. It allowed them to help and see what she was going through. I let her sisters go to the oncologist and hear the reports first hand. Allowing this improved their engagement in caregiving.

21.2 The Lord is My Helper

Part of caring for a person with a chronic illness is allowing the Lord to be your helper.

When you or our loved one faces a chronic or severe illness, you need the Lord’s help as our helper. You also need the courage to face the next hour and the challenges of everyday living. With Christ, you can meet each day without fear.

21.3 Bible Verse

Hebrews 13:6 (KJV), “So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”

21.4 What the Verse Means

Without any hesitation or doubt, in all times of difficulty when we don’t know how to pray or how we will make it even through the night, we have an assurance that God will not leave us to suffer.

What can we fear if we have the assurance that the Lord is on our side, and that he will help us?

We fear nothing. Man can do no more to us than God permits, and no more than will be for our good.

We know under whatever trials we may face, we need to be under no extreme anxiety, for God will be our protector and our friend.

21.5 Pray Using Scripture

  • Heavenly Father, help me to cling to You and keep our total trust in You.
  • Lord Jesus, give us the courage to say, You are our helper.
  • We pray for fear to flee from us. We will not fear what man or disease shall do unto us.

21.6 Responding to God’s Hope

  1. Are you trying to do it all yourself? Be honest.
  2. Do your friends and family that have offered to help with the caregiving? List them by name. Consider allowing them to assist. 
  3. You are not a failure or letting your loved one down if you need to have help. Do you belong to a Bible fellowship class that can help? Maybe there is a ladies Bible study group that would help. How about friends or family? For example, make them aware that you could use someone for sitting with your loved one when you go buy groceries. 

21.7 Takeaway

With Christ, you can meet each day without fear.


If you are not a Christian, accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior is a prerequisite to obtaining God’s peace.
Click HERE to find out how to become a Christian. You can trust Jesus Christ and become a Christian now.

Photo Source: Image by andreas160578 from Pixabay.

This blog is from the forthcoming book, “Caregiving: Biblical Insights from a Caregiver’s Journey by Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Ed.D.

To receive a notification when “Caregiving: Biblical Insights from a Caregiver’s Journey by Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Ed.D. is available and to get occasional updates on the writing of Jimmie Aaron Kepler, please complete the “Email Sign-up” found in the far left column of the blog.

Faith Frees Me From Fearing Death

Faith Frees Me From Fearing Death

20.1 My Story

As death was imminent for my wife, for some reason I did not feel sorry for the brevity of her life. Oh sure, I would have preferred her being healed and having another thirty plus years with me. After all, dying at sixty-one years old is dying too young.

However, I understood that God has our days numbered. From the beginning of time, he knew when you would be born and when you will die.

Psalm 139:16 King James Version (KJV) says, “Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.” In modern English, the verse means that God has ordained or predetermined for me the numbers of days a person will have in their life. He knew when I would be born and knows when I will die. God has this information already written in His book of life.

I found great comfort and security in knowing that God has my life so ordered that I will neither die a day sooner nor live a day longer than what has already been recorded in his book. You see, life and death are far above my pay grade, so I will happily let Father God take care of that department, thank you very much.

Without a doubt I know I clearly understand this divine principle. Because of my understanding, I am freed from fearing death. My faith which frees me from this fear allows me to live the life God had designed for me.

Knowing and trusting that God knows best allowed both my wife and me to enjoy the time we had. Instead of weeping over her upcoming death we were able to reflect and reminisce. We looked at old pictures remembering the wonderful shared events of our family, thankful for our time together.

I still recall Miss Benita thanking me for loving her and staying with her until “death do we part.” I know it was I who was the real lucky one. I give thanks to the Lord for the forty-three plus years we were married. I thank God for what we had.

When I miss her and feel sad, I focus on the memories, ask God’s forgiveness for my failures and regrets, and look forward to the Heavenly reunion I’ll have one day with late wife, Miss Benita.

I am thankful for the assurance of Heaven for the Believer in Jesus Christ.

20.2 The Value of Giving Thanks

Part of caring for a person with a chronic illness understands the value of giving thanks for what you have.

When you care for a person with a chronic illness, too often you focus on the negative and the bad. Instead of focusing on the adversity of the situation you are living through, you should give thanks for what you have. 

For the caregiver and their charge who are Believers in Jesus Christ, this includes being thankful knowing that death is not the end. That separation is temporary. You know you will again see each other in Heaven.

20.3 Bible Verse

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (KJV), “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

20.4 What the Verse Means

The verse reminds us that Christians should not only to pray to God but also give thanks to Him. We should thank him for everything, in every circumstance, in joy as well as in sorrow. 

20.5 Pray Using Scripture

  • Heavenly Father help me always show gratitude to family and friends who aid and support us.
  • Lord Jesus, help me to praise God daily for who He is and for His love and care.
  • God Almighty, I thank You for a loving church, Bible fellowship class, our brothers and sisters-in-Christ who help and support me.
  • I give thanks for the quality medical care and counsel I have as well as the health insurance that pays for so much of the treatment and prescriptions.

20.6 Responding to God’s Hope

  1. Are you thankful for the days you have with your loved one? 
  2. Are you grateful for the memories you have? I am amazed God created us with the ability to have remembrances. 
  3. Have you told your caregiving charge that your thankful for them and the opportunity to serve them? 

20.7 Takeaway

We should thank God for everything, in every circumstance, in joy as well as in sorrow. 


If you are not a Christian, accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior is a prerequisite to obtaining God’s peace.
Click HERE to find out how to become a Christian. You can trust Jesus Christ and become a Christian now.

Photo Source: Image by Axel Schäfer from Pixabay.

This blog is from the forthcoming book, “Caregiving: Biblical Insights from a Caregiver’s Journey by Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Ed.D.

To receive a notification when “Caregiving: Biblical Insights from a Caregiver’s Journey by Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Ed.D. is available and to get occasional updates on the writing of Jimmie Aaron Kepler, please complete the “Email Sign-up” found in the far left column of the blog.

I’m Not Going to Sit and Wait to Die

I’m Not Going to Sit and Wait to Die

19.1 My Story

I’m sure my late wife grew tired of me asking, “What did you weight this morning?”

She would dutifully look at me and then give me the number. It was almost always the same weight. Oh, it may go up or down by a pound or two but generally was the same.

One day she replied, “You’re asking my weight to see if cancer is causing me to lose weight. Am I correct?”

Guilty as charged.

Then she schools me. She said, “You’re dying like I am. It may not be cancer that’s getting you. It’s old age. Even though you look a decade younger than your years, Father Time is getting you. The sands that count your days are slipping through the hourglass at an ever-increasing rate — and they’ll run out one day.”

I nodded.

“I am not going to sit on the couch and wait to die! There is no way I’m going to sit on the couch, wasting away. God still has a purpose for me.” She then reminded me she still read her Bible daily, prayed for herself, and interceded for others.

She pointed out that God was renewing her inner person daily. Oh, the body was decaying, aging, suffering the ravaging of cancer, but God had her spirit, and inner parson renewed daily.

My wife was smart. I may have had the formal seminary and graduate school education with a couple of fancy masters and a doctoral degree, but she knew so much more than me from a deeper walk with the Lord in Bible reading, scripture meditation, and time in prayer.

She taught me that we shouldn’t be obsessed with the physical body. The Christian’s faith is far from a fatalistic acceptance of suffering and awaiting death. Every believer in Jesus Christ needs their eyes opened to something else. That something is the continuous restoration of the inner person.

When my late wife was in her final days in hospice care, the incredible calming power of God’s word was apparent. I would read from the Book of Psalms in the Bible to her. The occasional anxiousness she had from the terrible pain she suffered would melt away and transform to calm when the words of the Bible were read. Playing favorite hymns and worship songs worked the same miracle. It reminded me of the way she used breathing techniques to mitigate pain when in labor during the delivery of our children. She was so brave. Her tumor was located in the area of the brain that controlled pain and nausea. Because of the location, normal pain and nausea management medications and techniques did not to work. 

I had witnessed Scriptures’ calming power on the life of a Believer of Jesus Christ for two-plus decades as a full-time minister working with responsibilities with older adults and pastoral care. Many times as I would read familiar Bible verses, the chronically or terminally ill person would transform from anxiousness and fear into peacefulness. Sometimes they even from memory would say or quote the Bible verses with me.

The power of God’s word is incredible.

19.2 Not Losing Heart

Part of caring for a person with a chronic illness is learning how not to lose heart and help your loved one not develop a gloom and doom attitude. God’s word helps you to have a confident acceptance of the reality of life. It enables you to keep the faith.

19.3 Bible Verse

2 Corinthians 4: 16 (KJV), “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.”

19.4 What the Verse Means

Christianity understands the steady decline of the physical body. Though we are rescued from spiritual death and alive with Christ, our bodies remain in the process of decay.

The follower of Christ should recognize that our outer bodies are wasting away. From the moment of birth, we begin to die. It is inescapable unless the Lord Jesus returns first.

The Christian should be aware of increasing inner, spiritual strength. God does not forsake his children, but he gives us growing supplies of grace.

The Holy Spirit works in us as an infinite well of life. We are in a constant process of renewal. The Lord does not allow us to be born again and then ignore us. No, He gives us daily spiritual energy.

May we never forget the physical and the spiritual are part of your life every day.

19.5 Pray Using Scripture

  • Heavenly Father help me to not focus on my decaying or diseased body, but to realize that my inner self is being renewed daily.
  • Lord Jesus, help me look to the things that are not seen, not the which are seen.
  • God, help me look to the eternal, not the temporal.

19.6 Responding to God’s Hope

  1. Are you spending time in God’s word? If not, I encourage you to return to reading your Bible or being today for the first time. You can start with just a verse or two. God will speak to you. 
  2. Are you spending time in prayer? If not, I encourage you to start today. A good beginning would be praying, “God, help me spend time reading your Bible. Lord, teach me to pray.” 
  3. Are you obsessed with your loved one’s physical appearance? Radiation and chemotherapy take a toll. They may lose their hair. My wife had no hair her last five months of life. I didn’t see her hairless head. I saw her beautiful smile and radiant countenance. She was comfortable without a wig and would wear a chemo beanie when she went to the doctor or on days when she was able to go out for a walk or meal. 

19.7 Takeaway

God’s word helps you to have a confident acceptance of the reality of life and enables you to keep the faith.


If you are not a Christian, accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior is a prerequisite to obtaining God’s peace.
Click HERE to find out how to become a Christian. You can trust Jesus Christ and become a Christian now.

Photo Source: Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

This blog is from the forthcoming book, “Caregiving: Biblical Insights from a Caregiver’s Journey by Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Ed.D.

To receive a notification when “Caregiving: Biblical Insights from a Caregiver’s Journey by Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Ed.D. is available and to get occasional updates on the writing of Jimmie Aaron Kepler, please complete the “Email Sign-up” found in the far left column of the blog.