If we have never sought, we seek Thee now;
Thine eyes burn through the dark, our only stars;
We must have sight of thorn-pricks on Thy brow,
We must have Thee, O Jesus of the Scars.
The heavens frighten us; they are too calm;
In all the universe we have no place.
Our wounds are hurting us; where is the balm?
Lord Jesus, by Thy Scars, we claim Thy grace.
If, when the doors are shut, Thou drawest near,
Only reveal those hands, that side of Thine;
We know to-day what wounds are, have no fear,
Show us Thy Scars, we know the countersign.
The other gods were strong; but Thou wast weak;
They rode, but Thou didst stumble to a throne;
But to our wounds only God’s wounds can speak,
And not a god has wounds, but Thou alone.
— Edward Shillito (written during WWI)
Dear LFCC Friends and Family,
After much discussion, we believe it is in the best interest of our community and congregation if we cancel all of our services and meetings until further notice due to concerns surrounding COVID-19. We want to help protect the vulnerable, and we believe the best way to do so is to take our part in social distancing and following the CDC guidelines. Please take this time to pray for wisdom for our leaders, the protection of our healthcare workers, and those who already have weakened immune systems. We have many of those in our congregation, but we also extend our love and prayers to all around the world.
In the Spirit of Christian Fellowship,
The Elders of Little Flatrock Christian Church
Lent, the church-year season that begins on Ash Wednesday, is a time of penitence and spiritual renewal. Some people give up a luxury or vice during Lent as a form of self-denial; others undertake a project that benefits others.
The point isn’t to denigrate ourselves or to see how much we can do without. Instead, Lent helps us reflect on Jesus’ death. As Timothy Keller writes in The Reason for God: “The Christian Gospel is that I am so flawed that Jesus had to die for me, yet I am so loved and valued that Jesus was glad to die for me. This leads to deep humility and deep confidence at the same time. It undermines both swaggering and sniveling. I cannot feel superior to anyone, and yet I have nothing to prove to anyone. I do not think more of myself nor less of myself. Instead, I think of myself less.”
If you will humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, in His good time He will lift you up. 1 Peter 5:6
And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. — 2 Corinthians 1:7
A friend mailed me some of her homemade pottery. Upon opening the box, I discovered the precious items had been damaged during their journey. One of the cups had shattered into a few large pieces, a jumble of shards, and clumps of clay dust. After my husband glued the broken mess back together, I displayed the beautifully blemished cup on a shelf.
Like that pieced-together pottery, I have scars that prove I can still stand strong after the difficult times God’s brought me through. That cup of comfort reminds me that sharing how the Lord has worked in and through my life can help others during their times of suffering.
The apostle Paul praises God because He is the “Father of compassion and the God of all comfort” (2 Cor. 1:3). The Lord uses our trials and sufferings to make us more like Him. His comfort in our troubles equips us to encourage others as we share what He did for us during our time of need (v. 4).
As we reflect on Christ’s suffering, we can be inspired to persevere in the midst of our own pain, trusting that God uses our experiences to strengthen us and others toward patient endurance (vv. 5–7). Like Paul, we can be comforted in knowing that the Lord redeems our trials for His glory. We can share His cups of comfort and bring reassuring hope to the hurting.
By: Xochitl Dixon in Our Daily Bread
We’re so accustomed to hearing the Bible’s “love chapter,” 1 Corinthians 13, at weddings and other occasions that we may not really hear its meaning anymore. It can help to listen to something familiar said in different words. What new understandings of love does this paraphrase from The Message Bible reveal to you?
“Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, doesn’t have a swelled head, doesn’t force itself on others, isn’t always ‘me first,’ doesn’t fly off the handle, doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, doesn’t revel when others grovel, takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, puts up with anything, trusts God always, always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end. Love never dies” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a, MSG).
“I drop kindness pebbles in still water every day, and I watch the effect they have on other people’s lives. My favorite kindness pebbles are compliments. Drop a compliment and watch the ripple effect that it has in your life.”
Remarkably, these cheery words come from a father who has faced many dark, difficult days. In 6 Minutes Wrestling With Life, John Passaro tells of his daughter’s heart-wrenching battle with meningitis. The struggles didn’t make him bitter; rather, he frequently offers uplifting words on social media.
What if we followed Passaro’s example and complimented people regularly? Philippians 4:8 (NIV) instructs us to think about things that are noble, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy. By extension, turning those positive thoughts into words causes “kindness pebbles” to spread God’s light in ripples throughout someone’s day — and, doubtless, through ours.