Foundation of Praise • P.O. Box 2518 • Escondido, CA 92033-2518 • 760.741.2755 • www.foundationofpraise.org
If you made an investment in the stock market and it suddenly shrank in value, you would want to know why it happened and what you should do. It happened because you made the decision to invest, and now you should decide what to do next.
Investments sometimes do go wrong and this can make us unhappy. Life often goes wrong and can cause great unhappiness. If you and I are unhappy it often means we chose to invest in something that could make us unhappy.
People do wrong. Businesses go bad. Health crashes. If we invested our happiness in those things, we can end up “broke.” So, we need to invest in something which cannot go bad or go broke. That is the only safe way to invest.
Regarding those who chose to follow Him, Jesus said, I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly (John 10:10). His disciples tried to understand what He meant but found it very difficult. You and I may find His words difficult to apply to our lives, but we can learn how if we pay close attention to His words.
Jesus did not invest His happiness in what people did or in what might happen to Him. He invested everything in trusting God to take care of everything that might happen. Too often we invest in what people will or will not do. If they should deny that they ever knew us or be unwilling to help us when we were in trouble, our happiness would probably crash.
We can choose to invest our faith in God! We can choose to believe that nothing and no one can separate us from the abundant life that Jesus promised us. Then, no matter what happens to us we can remain convinced that our “investment” is secure. It cannot be taken from us and is always increasing in value. God is always in complete charge of everything we invest into His care. The longer I live the more clearly I see how abundant His rewards are.
Many of us have tried investing in what we hoped would produce happiness for us. But later we became emotionally and spiritually bankrupt. Jesus invested in His Father. Even though He appeared to be losing everything, He won everything! He taught us how we can be positive that everything we have, and everything we are, is perfectly secure in God’s love for us. (Reprint from March, 2007)
by Mary Carothers
When I asked Jesus to be my Savior and to forgive all my sins, I expected Him to help with the problems in my life and then take me to Heaven when I died. I never thought that perhaps I was supposed to do anything. As far as I was concerned it was all about what He could do for me.
Years later I read in Matthew 10 where Jesus tells us if we want to be His followers, His disciples, we have to deny ourselves and pick up our cross and follow Him. What in the world was He talking about? What does taking up our cross mean? Who wants to carry around a heavy, old cross?
First let me tell you what it does not mean. When I was a young child my mother would sometimes take me to see my great Aunt Ruby. She liked to talk and talk about her problems and then I remember she would always say, “I guess that’s my cross to bear.”. She said that so often that I remember it although nobody else I knew talked like that. I believe this was the way many Church-goers understood that scripture all those years ago.
Today we have many new Bible translations that are much easier to understand. We read where Jesus gives us the opportunity to choose whether we will accept and pick up the cross He has for us or not. No one forces it on us. Each day as we walk with Jesus we choose whether or not we will carry our cross. Do you want to know something amazing about carrying our cross and following Jesus? When we do this joyfully, one day we will discover that rather than plodding along all alone, suddenly we realize that Jesus is walking beside us. He always has been. We just never realized it. It’s not lonely, it’s joyful.
In Matthew 10 Jesus also calls us to love Him more than we love anyone else. In addition to that I believe He is also asking us to love Him more than all the other things in our lives. More than our popularity, more than our careers and more than our bank accounts. The list of things we may care too much about is endless. We can ask ourselves: “If the Lord wanted me to give up ______ would I be able to do it?” At this point many of us would need to pray “Lord, help me to love You more. Help me to understand that I need You more than I need anyone or anything else.” Many of the prayer requests we receive at the Foundation of Praise are asking us to pray for them to find the “love of their life” or “soul mate”. No human being can meet all of our needs, only Jesus can. If we will make Him the center of our lives we can experience great joy and much fulfillment.
We can learn to love Jesus more today than we did yesterday. How? Let me ask you a question. Did you think I meant that we would FEEL like we loved Him more than before? Real love, Agape love, has almost nothing to do with feelings. It is a determination to obey the Lord. Jesus said in John 14: If you love me you will obey what I command. And what He commands us to do is found in John 13:34 where He says: A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, you must love one another. But how can we do this? Remember when I said earlier that to love someone is more obedience rather than feelings and we learn what Jesus’ commands are by reading the Bible, particularly the Gospels. Remember this has almost nothing to do with our feelings – it requires our actions.
Lord help me to act as well as react to others, especially in my family, in the same way that You would.
Thank you for the many blessings I receive reading Praise News. Sylvia, MO
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Keep printing Merlin’s articles – they never get old – and we need to be refreshed. Roman, MN
Merlin was one of my favorite people. His “Praise Ministry” is life changing. Lenore, MI
Thank you for all you do to encourage and help ‘grow’ your far-flung flock. It is lovely to continually re-visit Merlin’s Praise News articles and be enriched by Mary’s thoughts!
Thank you for what you do. I enjoy Praise News each month. Merlin is still making a difference in the lives of many. Praise God! Cheryl, NY
We are blessed to be a part of your ministry – we always rejoice to receive your Praise News and what God is doing through your faithfulness! Dan & Maggie, CA
Bless each one of you for ‘carrying the torch’! Gini, NC
I thank the Lord for you and your staff. How wonderful that you have carried on since Merlin has gone to be with the Lord. I pray for the Lord’s anointing and blessings. Betty, VA
Thank you for continuing Merlin’s work, for caring enough for all of us who need you. Each month you remind me to be thankful and to praise our God for everything in my life. You are a blessing to all. Jacqueline, AZ
Your message about praising God for EVERYTHING has changed my life. Thank you. Judith, CO
Thank you for the Praise News. It has always been a big blessing to me. Mary’s articles are very encouraging. I know now to keep my thoughts and mind on the Lord. Joy, TX
Year after year I have been blessed with your thoughts and inspiration in Praise News. I save the articles to read and re-read. God’s blessing and wishes for many more years of teaching and encouragement. Carol, IL
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For where two or more are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them (Matt.18:20 KJV).
Please agree with me in prayer for everyone who receives Praise News. We receive so many requests for prayer. Some of these
requests are about:
Loss of a loved one
Our military personnel
Family hardships and conflicts
Salvation and healing of loved ones
In 1968 I believed that the Holy Spirit was telling me that all things work together for good to them that love God (Romans 8:28). I sought the advice of my seminary Greek teacher. He studied the verse and agreed that the Greek text is exactly the same as our English translation.
God doesn’t promise to work everything for good for those who do not love Him. Jesus taught us that our first goal is to love God. I want to love Him and demonstrate that I do believe Him.
I can show my love for and faith in God hundreds of times, every day, by deciding that each event is working for my good. Years ago as I practiced this I became increasingly aware that my love for God kept growing! And the joy in my heart kept mounting.
God responds and in His own time He helps us to see the good He is working for us. Please note these words – in His own time.
I urge you to believe Him. Romans 8:28 is as clear a promise as John 3:16 is!