A Penny for Your Thoughts
by Rhonda Barnes
Years ago, I walked into an Adult Bible Fellowship class with a box of pennies. After giving a penny to each person present, I asked what the coin represented to each of them. Although I received some interesting responses, I did not get the one I was searching for.
As you look at the above photo of a penny, what does it represent to you? The answer I am searching for today is: ONE. This is a word that seems to have lost its value. There are so many voices and so many choices, so many distractions and so many priorities, that focusing on just one thing seems impossible. Yet David, who is credited for being a man after God’s heart, penned this important truth.
This passage provides us with sound instruction for the unprecedented times we are currently living in. When we seek the ONE true God first, our priorities can come into alignment, and His voice can resonate above all the noise.
While I do not believe God sent our current world crisis, I do believe He is using it to help us remember the Power of One--the importance of His voice and instruction over all other; the significance of making Him our number one priority.
We are unable to possibly decipher the many conflicting reports, agendas, and opinions that bombard us each day. Many of our former priorities which competed for our time with God, no longer exist. Could it be that God is reminding us to seek Him first? Is He asking us to make Him number one yet again? In our seeking, we can find many benefits.
First, we can access the promise of the second part of the Scripture above. It doesn’t say, “If trouble comes,” it says, “When trouble comes,” we can be hidden in the secret place of the Most High. As a Christian, I am not promised a life with no storms. However, I am promised I will be sheltered and God will never leave or forsake me. I have the assurance He will calm the storm or He will cross with me through it to the other side.
Secondly, if we, the Body of Christ, would all focus on one thing and one voice, we will see a spirit of unity prevail as it did in the New Testament Church. This group of believers was known for having one heart, one mind, and operating in one accord. They turned their world upside down!
What if the Body of Christ would do that today? What would happen if collectively we all united with His agenda and focused on His priorities instead of our own? Now is the time for today’s Church to arise with a spirit of unity and in one accord, to ask our one true God to have mercy on the United States of America and restore her to be “One Nation Under God” once again.
I do not believe God is finished with His church on this earth; I believe her best days are in front of us if we will remember the value of One. We are given the key on the face of the coin: “In God We Trust”!
Rhonda Barnes is author, speaker, Christian blogger, and gifted teacher of God’s Word. Credentialed as an Assemblies of God minister in 2002, Rhonda currently serves as Associate Pastor at Grace Community Church in Salem, Missouri. Her first book, Road to Transformation, Journey to God’s Glory, was released in 2014. Since then, she launched the Christian teaching blog Secret Place Revelation, inspired by Psalm 91:1. In 2017 two additional books, Keys to the Kingdom, and It is Written were released. Rhonda is passionate about sharing the truths of God’s Word and enjoys writing, speaking in many settings, and teaching small groups.
To contact Rhonda, please visit www.secretplacerevelation.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Lemon Tree
by Melissa White
If I were to be honest, I would admit that during this pandemic, I have experienced some really strong emotions. I have had moments of sorrow, loss, anxiety, loneliness, frustration, anger, and, yes, even love. This last week, I have felt especially small in what feels like a giant, tumultuous storm swirling around me, out of my control. Nothing is “normal” or seems to be of sure footing. I have prayed for my family, the sick, their families, healthcare workers, our country, our leaders, the church, and for the rest of the world suffering from this crisis. With all of that, it has felt too selfish to pray for my own heart, even though my heart has taken a beating.
We, as human beings, are funny. In the middle of all this drama, I found myself, on Memorial Day, scrolling through the internet to learn how to grow a lemon tree from lemon seeds. You see, my back porch is a place of refuge and peace for me. It has always brought me joy to fill it with beautiful, life-giving plants. To add to my lavender, sweet mint, and cilantro, I’ve wanted a porch-sized lemon tree. Seeds seemed like an affordable, although time-consuming, way to get one. Hang with me here, as I’m to the last part and point of my story.
Around noon on Tuesday, I received a call from some very dear friends asking me to meet them in town. We agreed on a time and meeting place. I grabbed my mask and off I went. I pulled into the parking lot to find my friends standing in the middle of the lane holding a gift for me. You could have knocked me over with a feather at what I saw. . . . It was a lemon tree!!! Tears streamed down my face as I heard the gentle voice of my Savior say, “Melissa, I see you. Your heart is important to me. I know you and I love you. Here is your lemon tree.”
You may wonder why this random friend is sharing this seemingly insignificant story in the middle of this very significant time in history. It’s because that lemon tree meant more to me than this article could ever portray and I want my precious friends, who listened to Jesus’ voice, to know just how thankful I am for it and for them. But, more importantly, because I wanted you to know that your heart matters to Jesus too!
Your lemon tree may be a sunset that simply takes your breath away, a bird’s song that calms your heart, a warm gentle breeze that causes you to turn your face into the wind, a friend who texts just to say they are thinking about you, or a Facebook post that causes you to remember who you are to God. Whatever your lemon tree is, see it for what it is. It’s a loving reminder that you are SEEN, you are KNOWN, your heart MATTERS to God, and you are LOVED!
Melissa’s love of people and her passion for sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ has opened doors for her to minister in eighteen different countries on three continents in all types of ministry. She has held positions of youth pastor, children’s pastor, worship pastor, evangelist, and missionary. Her unique testimony has given her the opportunity to minister to people from all walks of life and of all ages.
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