Demo of Julie's Bible Reference Library

Friday, May 18, 2012

For Widows ... Wonderful Resources

As you know, occasionally I locate exceptional resources online that I pass along to you. This is one of those times ...

My friend and colleague Miriam Neff has created a line of resources especially for widows at Here you'll find lots of first-person stories, links to two books by Miriam on the subject, a DVD series, and more. She also includes resources on the site for churches to create ministries for widows.

Miriam was widowed at a young age, and she's created a community for those facing the same challenges she's facing -- younger and older -- a place of sharing, learning, and carving out new missions for life. She has a passion for missions among women in Africa -- and she's one who lives what she teaches.

If the mom you care for is widowed (or if you are), visit Miriam's site, glean wisdom and encouragement from her materials, and find a comforting place to express both grief and hope.

Blessings and prayers,


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Canes and Crutches

Treasured friend,
Your faith is nothing but a crutch! If you’re so weak that you need a crutch, well, good for you. But I’m strong, I’m tough, and I don’t need a crutch.

Have you ever felt belittled by a friend or colleague who exuded that sentiment, if not those exact words? I’ve heard it many times from unbelievers--and it always makes me feel at least a little bit dejected.

It’s popular in our culture to consider ourselves independent, self-assured, absolutely sufficient without need of resources outside ourselves. But if we buy into that notion, we’ll be disappointed. Because it’s utterly erroneous, false, misguided—in short, wrong, with a capital W.

How do I know that?

Because no servant is greater than his or her master, and our Master made this unequivocal statement in John 5:30:

I can do nothing on my own. ... I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me. John 5:30 (ESV)

That’s Jesus Christ, talking. The Way. The Truth. The Life. The one and only Son of the Father in Heaven. The Mighty King. Everlasting Father. Prince of Peace. Lion of Judah. Morningstar. The King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

You can’t get any stronger than He is. And yet, He—He!—says, “I can do nothing on my own.”

So, if you and I need a crutch, we’re in the best of company.

Now, then, once we can acknowledge that fact, we can go shopping for a crutch. I remember shopping for a cane for my gram several years ago. I found quite a few flimsy little sticks that were prettified, colorful, even flamboyant ... but weak. I discarded those immediately. I couldn't trust her to these -- they were insufficient to carry her weight.

Then I found one, finally, that would fit the bill. It was strong, gripped the ground without slipping, had a firm handle she could clutch—in short, a crutch that could hold her weight. That's the one I put into her weakening hands. That's the one I was willing to let her rest her weight upon.

If that’s what we need physically, how much more do we need a strong, firmly grounded, easy-to-hold-onto support in spiritual terms?

Listen to the strength in the words of our Master, whose authority from our Father in heaven is absolute:

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. … All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” John 6:35-40 (ESV)

Here’s the news flash. We all need a crutch—or at least strength from outside ourselves. Our bodies are weak and tire more quickly today than they did yesterday. We may never be more aware of that than in the moments when we’ve exhausted all our strength, wisdom, and resources in caring for our aging loved ones. It's then, though, that we are welcomed to receive Christ’s invitation to dump all our burdens on Him. He can take it. He has the authority. And He has the inclination to come alongside us. He is the bread, so we won’t starve in our weakness. He is the water of life, so we will be refreshed in a parched land. He is the strength to save us from being lost in the fretful waves of an uncertain present. He is the offer of an assured future of eternal life with Him.

Suddenly, I’m feeling pretty good about acknowledging my need for Christ’s brand of crutch. I hope and pray you are, too. As a book title by Joyce Rogers several years ago put it, "Lean Hard on Jesus." What a great invitation to take this crutch and see how well it supports the heavy weight you're shouldering.

Blessings and prayers on your work in His name today!


© 2012, Julie-Allyson Ieron. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, email:

Tuesday, May 8, 2012