Beautiful Scars by Larry Refsland
There must be some unwritten rule that says, “If someone shows you their scar, you are obligated to show them yours.” You know what I’m referring to, don’t you? Someone shows you the scar from when they cut their finger. Your response, show them your scar from when you cut your arm. Another person feels compelled to show their appendix scar and before you know it, someone is unbuttoning their shirt to show their open-heart surgery scar!
Scars serve as sort of a reminder of some kind of battle. Be it a wartime battle, a fight against disease, or a victory over an accidental injury... scars are a badge of survival. Which is probably is what makes us proud of scars.
The Bible records the battle for our souls that was won by Jesus when he was crucified. The disciples and many others saw Jesus after he was resurrected. The proof is Jesus showed them the scars that were on his hands and feet. Jesus’s resurrected body still bore the scars, a reminder of the awful price he paid for our souls and the forgiveness of sin. When he showed his scars, no one could top them!
No one had a more fantastic story than Jesus. His scars serve as a reminder of the value of a soul in God’s eyes, your soul. His scars tell us the extent of his love for each and every one of us. Whenever you doubt the love of God, consider the beautiful scars on the feet and hands of Jesus. His love goes beyond what we can ask or imagine and he’s got the marks to prove it!
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Riding a Bike by Larry Refsland
Have you ever helped a child learn to ride a two-wheeled bike? The way most people teach kids how to ride a bike is they have the trainee get on the bike while you, the trainer steady the bike by hanging on to the back of the seat. You encourage the trainee to start pedaling while you continue to steady the child and walk or jog beside them. Pretty soon the trainee gets the hang of it and, after all, you can only run so far, so you let go as the child pedals like mad!
Usually, your trainee is concentrating so hard that he doesn’t notice when you actually let go. Eventually, the child realizes he is riding a bike all on his own! Of course, that’s when they fall down!
That’s a lot like when we turn our lives over to Jesus Christ. We don’t know all there is to know about trusting him and serving him. But that’s okay because he is there to steady us and keep us going in the right direction. It’s only when we think we can make it without him that we fall. If you’re struggling with how to keep on the right track, ask Jesus to steady you and guide you and keep you from falling. That’s what He wants to do more than anything! Keep pedaling and have confidence that the Lord is able to keep you from falling. If you have fallen, ask Him to help you get back up and get on your bike and ride, friend, ride!
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In Sync With God by Larry Refsland
Do you have a good sense of timing or are you one of those rhythm-impaired people? There are people that have rhythm and there are those who don’t. That’s true about clapping along to an upbeat song and it’s true about life, like the person who always seems to be at the right place at the right time.
It’s like being “in sync” with the rhythm of life. Being out of sync always ends up in disappointment. One person described it like this, “When my ship came in I was at the train station!” Even being a little off can have disastrous results over time. Like a person sailing across the ocean without the proper bearings, even one or two degrees off course could make the difference between landing on a warm sandy resort beach or in the middle of a tribe of cannibals!
One way to be “in sync” with life is to be sure of whom you are following. If you follow someone who themselves is off the beat, you obviously will be off as well. If you follow someone’s life example that is off-course, your life will be off-course too.
The Bible says, “The Lord is with you when you are with Him” (2 Chronicles 15:2). In other words, get in sync with God. Follow his principles and plans that are spelled out in the Bible. Seek his direction in every aspect of your life and watch how he helps you succeed in every area. Staying in sync is key to your success and happiness. Pick up the rhythm for your life from the one who set the universe in order and has perfect timing. God bless you and have an awesome day!
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A study just came out about how rudeness is contagious. In the workplace, if someone is rude it can negatively affect everyone, and in future incidences people will perceive rudeness where there may be none. Some workplaces have viral rudeness, but God can help us to clear the air with positive words that build one another up. Let me share how.
In a court of law, anyone about to give testimony must be sworn in, and I think it’s interesting that part of the oath is to ask for God’s help to tell the truth. The Bible tells us that God can help us with what comes out of our mouth. God is truth. He cannot lie. When God is in control of our lives, his character naturally is revealed in our lives.
“Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks,” Jesus is recorded as saying in Matthew and Luke. One of his disciples, James, compared our speech to a river when he wrote, “Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh and bitter water?”
We need God’s help to cleanse our inner being—our speech will reflect whether he has done that or not. Let me encourage you to ask God to “set a watch over your lips and guard over your mouth” (Psalm 141:3). He will help us to not only tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, He will also help us to speak works of healing, encouragement, and love.
Just as one person can influence a conversation negatively, one person can also influence a conversation positively. The Bible encourages us to think of things that are pure and lovely and of a good report. These thoughts will come out in the words you choose. Let us be the people with words of truth and love, so help us God!
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me!” That old rhyme ranks right up there as one of the most inaccurate clichés ever. Careless words or purposefully harmful names, in fact, do hurt us. They inflict more damage than most of us realize. “Why can’t you be more like your sister?” or “You don’t see Bobbie crying like you are, do you?” “You’re stupid, you’ll never amount to anything.” These types of statements are like seeds being planted in a person’s life. Repeated a few times and they, very likely, will become reality. How better it would be if our speech reflected something positive.
There is incredible power in the tongue. We can heal or hurt with the words we use. The Bibles says the tongue is like the spark that sets off a whole forest fire! It compares the tongue to the rudder o a large ship. It’s a small part of the ship, but it can change the direction of the whole thing. We can alter the direction of our children, employees or spouse by the words we choose to use.
A word of praise and encouragement gets better results than a word of rebuke or correction. How about catching someone doing something right and letting him or her know you noticed? Try it out on a cashier at the gas station or with the next person you cross paths. Let your speech produce positive results. Guard your words carefully; they’re hard to put back once they come out. And, as my mom always said, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”
“You’ve been adopted!” Every orphan wants to hear those three words. Families that have opened their hearts and homes to a child know what it’s like to go through the agonizing waiting and hoping period while the legal process is completed to officially recognize a child as their own son or daughter. The child has a new name, a new home, and a new heritage. He or she becomes entitled to all the benefits of this new family: the food, the shelter, the clothing, and most of all, the love of a father and mother. For whatever reason, the birth parents were not able or willing to give the child the care it deserved and needed. The adoptive parents assumed all of those responsibilities.
What if the child refused the adoption? What if they chose to continue to live as orphans, or remain in a neglected home, even though the adoption had all been arranged and paid for? That wouldn’t seem probable, much less very wise.
The Bible says that God’s gift to us is his offer to adopt us into his family. It says that Jesus Christ paid for the adoption with his own death on the cross. Whoever trusts in him has the right to become one of God’s children. This offer is to everyone, everywhere. Many people, however, reject God’s gift. They choose to try to make it on their own. That’s sad, because they cannot enjoy all the benefits that come with the adoption.
Only by accepting God’s offer can we hope to live forever in his kingdom. Only by trusting Christ can we have access to the help and power and advice of the Heavenly Father. Will you take God up on his offer? You can be a child of the King! Your Heavenly Father is waiting to hear from you!
Just when you thought the campfire was out, along came a gust of wind that brought the flames to life again. Anyone who has spent time in the great outdoors has learned a thing or two from a campfire. First, there’s the trick of getting the fire started in the first place, especially if you don’t have lighter fluid, gasoline or most importantly, a match. Assuming you have the good fortune of successfully starting a fire, that doesn’t mean you can sit back and relax. Next you have to feed this fledgling fire carefully, first with small, dry kindling and gradually working up to a log or two. Once you’ve built it up, the fire will burn nicely on it’s own for quite a while. It’s during this time that the fire can be used for cooking or heating up water or just to enjoy its warmth. However, it will eventually die down if no new fuel is added.
The correlations between a campfire and our spiritual lives are numerous. When the flame of God’s love is ignited in us, it usually starts out hot but in danger of quickly dying out if no one is there to add solid teaching and an occasional prod to keep us turned towards God’s presence. From time to time we are allowed an opportunity to relax and enjoy the warmth, to taste the benefits of sustaining this fire. But to keep it going, we need to allow God to add new truth and inspiration on a regular basis. Even if we do allow the flame to die down, thankfully it only takes a fresh gust of the Holy Spirit to blow through us to cause us to once again be burning enough to be built up again. Our responsibility is to tend the fire. Keep feeding it with God’s Word and worship. You’ll not only be revived, but the fire in you will bring warmth, joy and sustenance to the world around you.
Tune Up Your Life!
Our hope is that you will find encouragement from the brief but thoughtful (and sometimes humorous) musings of Pastor Larry.
Take East of Backus on Hwy 87 to Cass County 49. Take 49 to Shortcut Rd and then left on 8th St NE to church.
You can also type in 812 8th St NE in Pine River, MN into your GPS, but if your GPS steers you differently, we recommend following the directions above.
Join Us Every Sunday
Interactive Bible Course – 2:00 pm
Fellowship and the Good News – 3:00 pm
For immediate requests, please contact Pastor Larry or Patti Refsland at 218-348-2202.