We Will Overcome: Second Sunday in Lent, March 12

For everyone born of God overcomes the world. 
This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.
1 John 5:4 (NIV)

This past year has not been one of my better years.  I was diagnosed with prostate cancer, and by the time it was discovered, it had already spread to the bone.  When the oncologist told me it was terminal, my first reaction was anger.  I didn’t want to accept the fact I wouldn’t be healed from this disease.  I asked the doctor if he had seen any miracles of people with this same type of cancer being cured, and he said he had only seen two people in whom the cancer had completely disappeared. 

I boldly told him, I might be number three!

Since the day of my diagnosis, I have not worried. I put my complete trust in Jesus, knowing that He is our hope and the only one who can truly heal me of any sickness, even terminal cancer. 

We had a pastor and friend years ago who taught us to never give up, no matter how hard life gets.  He often said: “It does not matter whether or not we win a battle, as long as we go through it with grace and thanksgiving.” 

He passed away years ago from colon cancer, but he never gave up the fight or lost his faith.  As death drew closer each day and his body grew weaker, he grew stronger in his faith. 

There are days when my body is stiff and sore, and I barely have the energy to get out of bed. Yet each day, as I rely on the Lord, my faith and my passion for sharing the Word of Christ with my Native brothers and sisters grows. The pain and difficulties I have had to endure this year are nothing compared to those families we visit in our ministry. But where I have Jesus, they are trying to rely on themselves.

This is what gets me out of bed on those hard days, sharing that hope.

Heavenly Father, thank you for being the life giver and for always caring for me in every situation. Help me to show your compassion and love to those I come in contact with daily. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Deacon Tom Benzler (Ioway)
Olympic Peninsula, Washington

Read & reflect: March 13-18

Read: 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Reflect: It has been said that without the lows in our lives, the highs would not be as sweet. Without understanding the dismal lives we once lived, we cannot fully enjoy the immensity of the gift of salvation. So, don’t lose heart! Take the time today to revel in the glory of the Savior who died so that we may never die. Don’t worry about the unimportant things. Instead, when you struggle today, take the time to ask, “Does this matter in the scope of eternity? Will this affect someone’s eternal life?”

Read: Jeremiah 29:11-13, John 3:16-17

Reflect: The simple truth is: God doesn’t want to harm you; He wants to give you hope and a future. Jesus didn’t come to condemn you but to save you. And He did this for all people! We know hope and salvation come only through Jesus Christ, AND we are called to share that truth with others. We have a chance to view every circumstance as either a curse or a blessing, and our reaction has the ability to reflect God’s light into the world. How will you look at the events of your life today?

Read: John 16:31-33

Reflect: Knowing what is to come, Jesus desires to impart some last minute wisdom before his arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane. In the next few days, these men gathered around him will have their worlds turned upside down. Our lives can change in a matter of seconds, but how you react in the midst of adversity can portray the trust-worthiness of Christ to others. No matter how daunting the obstacle facing you, remember Jesus has already overcome the world.

Read: John 1:9-13, Romans 8:9-17

Reflect: What a powerful message: The Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead is the same Spirit who lives in you. Therefore, be led by the Holy Spirit, that same Spirit who came upon a virgin and descended on a room full of believers giving them the ability to speak in languages they did not know, and who enables us to become children of God. We are called to die to our sinful life and live by the Spirit. How can you reflect you are a child of God to a dying world?

Read: Philippians 4:12-13

Reflect: Challenges in life can lead us to trust God and learn to be content. Once you’ve lived through the lows and seen God carry you through, how much easier it is to overcome the next obstacle. Take the time today to thank God for the hardships you have already endured, for His grace to see you through them, and the reassurance that no problem is too big for Him.