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A daily dose of encouragement from Pastor David Chadwick. 

  • Writer's pictureDavid Chadwick

by David Chadwick This is Memorial Day weekend. A time to enjoy family, fun, food, and friends. But don’t forget the true meaning of this upcoming Monday: freedom. May we never forget the price so many have paid for us to be free. Freedom has a cost. Throughout the years, countless people have actually given or have been willing to risk their lives for our freedom. Freedom to worship. To speak freely. To assemble freely. And many other rights that many in other parts of the world don’t have. God constantly admonished Israel to “remember.” Mostly, he wanted them to remember that they were once slaves and God, by his might and grace, freed them from Egyptian slavery (Deuteronomy 6:12). This memory is now deeply engraved in the Jewish culture through Shabbat practices, feasts, and festivals – especially Passover. They make a habit of going back and remembering the provision and power of God in their lives throughout generations. Though flawed, America is still the brightest display of freedom in the world. Many still want to come here to find freedom. As you celebrate this American holiday, may you remember the sacrifice made for you and for your freedom. May you also remember the sacrifice Jesus made for your eternal freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:17 says, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” May you learn to cultivate a life that is close to the Holy Spirit. That leans on him and allows him to work in and through you. It is there that true freedom is found regardless of external circumstances!

  • Writer's pictureDavid Chadwick

by Marilynn Chadwick After I made the leap from unbeliever to believer in college, I began to catch glimpses of God’s work all around me. The Bible calls these “signs.” The word literally means “evidence, working, or even fingerprints.” Signs reassure us that God has our life—including our problems—in His hands. This is especially comforting when we’re fearful or anxious. Nowadays, smartphones make it easy to capture a photo when we notice a sign of God at work. A printed photo can easily become a reminder, or an “Ebenezer stone.” A few special photos have made their way into my Ebenezer Box. One reminds me of a time years ago when I was feeling particularly worried about our youngest child. Michael had gotten his driver’s license—that makes most moms worry. He was moving up to an elite division of his swim team to train with the older, more experienced swimmers. He had to drive across town every afternoon on our city’s busiest interstate to a local university for team practice. He was young and an inexperienced driver. The afternoon traffic hour in our city was busy, and he would have to make the half-hour drive there from school each day, with an even longer drive home during rush-hour traffic. I prayed for the Lord to keep Michael safe. To keep him alert on the drive home each evening—especially when he was exhausted after a tough practice. I had let my imagination run wild with "what if'" scenarios. What if he had a wreck, or ran out of gas, or got lost? I worried all that day and must have carried my anxieties to bed with me because I had a fitful night sleep—still wrestling. An audible voice interrupted my sleep with these words: “I can be trusted.” First person, singular. Who was that? I wondered, now half-awake. I drifted back to sleep but the next morning, I distinctly remembered the voice. During my morning Bible study, I happened to be reading in John's gospel. I was struck by Jesus' words to His disciples: "Trust in God. Trust also in Me" (John 14:1). There it was again. Trust in Me—first person singular. Suddenly, an inner voice interrupted my anxiety: "When are you going to trust Me?” It was a gentle, but stern, rebuke—the same tone of voice I've used with my kids. That evening, I went out for a grocery store run. I was still having the ongoing conversation. Lord, I need to know that I can really trust you with our son. Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, like a beacon of light, a brightly lit sign flashed in front of a small chapel. I had to smile. The sign simply said: Trust Me - God. I stopped to snap a photo as a reminder. God must have a sense of humor. But His message was clear. It’s very important to the Lord that I learn to trust Him with every aspect of my life—especially our kids. Such reminders help me hold onto my faith when answers to prayer are slow in coming. They remind me that nothing is impossible with God. You see, it’s not enough to simply witness God’s miracles. We also have to remember them. No wonder the word remember occurs about 400 times in the Bible! Maybe an Ebenezer Box will help you remember God’s work in your life, too.

  • Writer's pictureDavid Chadwick

Today’s Daily Moment of Hope is adapted from Sometimes He Whispers Sometimes He Roars by Marilynn Chadwick. To receive a copy of this book, please go here. An ordinary penny taped to a greeting card in my Ebenezer Box reminds me of the time God answered my prayer in a way that left me in awe. For months I had been noticing pennies in the strangest places. Sometimes I would discover one at my feet—just as I was praying about something. Funny, I thought. It’s as if God wants to let me know that He hears my prayers. I was going through a spiritually dry season in my life. I can’t remember the details. What I do remember is that I desperately wanted to believe God was still at work and that He cared about me. Could these pennies be little messages of encouragement from God? Perhaps it was wishful thinking. Still, I hoped. And there it was. Another penny. Found in the heel of my shoe. The last penny had been under a glass on the kitchen shelf. The one before that, right in the middle of my bed! I began saving these little reminders—pennies from heaven—I called them. I dropped each one in a jar in my kitchen. One day, I shared my “penny story” with my friend Kenna. I told her how these crazy pennies kept showing up. Pretty soon, she began finding her own pennies. A few days later, I happened to be reading in John’s Gospel about the man we know as “Doubting Thomas.” Jesus’ disciples suffered terribly after the death of their beloved savior. But miracle of miracles—He appeared to them—alive! All the disciples saw Him. Except for Thomas, that is. Thomas had wandered away and missed the first showing. I could imagine how his face fell as the disciples excitedly told him, “We have seen the Lord!” Discouraged, Thomas vowed, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were…I will not believe.” Jesus appeared again eight days later. This time, He singled Thomas out. “Put your finger here,” He told Thomas. “See my hands.” “Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas gasped and cried out, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:24-29). Could it be that God cares enough to encourage sincere doubters like Thomas, or even like me? If so, maybe all those pennies I’d been finding were truly God’s way of speaking to me. Lord, I prayed silently, I do believe you’re sending those pennies to strengthen my faith. Then, as an afterthought, I added, Lord, you showed your nail-scarred hands to Thomas. I want to see your nail marks, too! How could God answer such an impossible request? A few days later, I received a card in the mail from Kenna. “Dear Marilynn,” she wrote, “I found this penny in my dryer. Perhaps the Lord sent this penny as an encouragement to us both.” I caught my breath. Taped to her card was an ordinary penny. But as I looked closer, I saw that right through the center of the penny was a nail hole! And suddenly I knew. God had sent me my own nail mark, just as I’d prayed. As I touched that penny, I felt like Thomas touching the nail hole in Jesus’ hand. It all became clear. God is powerful enough to rule the universe. But He’s also personal enough to send a nail-pierced penny to another “Doubting Thomas” like me, in need of encouragement. Maybe you feel like a “Doubting Thomas” today. If you start paying attention, you might be surprised like I was when I started to find all those pennies! Start to watch for signs of God at work. They’re everywhere. You just have to look for them.

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