Monday, April 27, 2015


It was 1985 when I walked into my 7th grade Bible class. I sat down at my desk to find seven words written in pencil in the top left corner. Those seven, cruel words were written about me and deeply and permanently seared themselves into my mind and heart. I immediately got out my eraser and wiped them from my desk, but I have never been able to erase them from my memory. Being an insecure, lonely, friend-starved, and hurting junior higher, those carelessly written words solidified what I felt about myself and had a profound impact on my ability to “get” the concept of the adoring love of Jesus, even into adulthood.

Not until five years ago did my belief begin to change. It was year two of Art Prize (a local art festival that I have fallen in love with and that draws worldwide visitors to the Grand Rapids area for several weeks each September and October). That Friday evening was one of those nearly unheard of times when my house was completely silent. My kids were all in bed, my husband was working and I had some time to just be.

Instead of turning on tunes or the TV, I decided to check out the Art Prize website and plan my adventure for the following weeks. As I was silent and perusing, I heard from my right side and slightly behind me, the words “You are my Art Prize”.  WHAT?!?!?  Did I just hear what I think I heard??? I responded by saying out loud, “God, was that YOU?”  I was in complete and utter awe as I sat there- stunned.

We are Saturday nighters at Ada Bible and so the following evening we headed to church for part three of the series “People of the Way”. The teaching was about who we are in Christ.  Jeff closed the message by putting a picture of a previous Art Prize entry on the screen and said…

“Remember, you are His masterpiece. You are His Art Prize”


Needless to say, the floodgates opened and my heart broke. Yes, the Artist had indeed spoken those words to me. The Potter gently reminded this broken vessel that I was His art work, His creation and His masterpiece and that I was not what those seven words had echoed in my heart for all those years.

What I have come to realize was that the Artist spoke when I was quiet and still. He spoke when my heart was at rest. He spoke when (nearly) all other distractions were gone.

He spoke and I heard when we were alone…together.

“My soul is quiet and waits for God alone.” Psalm 62:5 NLV

~Sarah Bennor

Monday, April 20, 2015

Compassion While Spent

When life is going along good, it feels easy sometimes to take time to show compassion towards someone else.  We can feel joy and are ready to bless those around us.  

But how about when things are not going along smoothly?  You are experiencing your own difficulty or loss, and you feel spent and the need to be alone.  

Is it possible to still show love to others during such a time?

Jesus experiences this very thing.  In Matthew chapter 14 it shares how when Jesus heard that John the Baptist was beheaded, he withdrew on a boat privately to go to a remote place.  I’m sure he had planned to go there to sit at His Father’s feet to mourn the loss of his friend, but when he got to his destination he found a large crowd waiting for him.  He did not get angry or feel sorry for himself.  When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.  Matthew 14: 14  He set aside his own needs for the moment and poured himself into caring for those that sought him out.  He even met their needs for nourishment by providing enough food for them to all be satisfied before he sent them on their way.

Only then, did he do what he originally set out to do.  He went up on a mountain to pray.  He spent time with his Father to mourn, to pray, to be renewed.  Through the Father, Jesus received the strength and power to continue on his journey.  Which just so happened to be powerful steps on water! 

Father God, let me reflect you in this way.  That even when I am spent and my soul is mourning, when I see other’s needs, give me compassion so that I can set aside my needs and care for others.  Yet still may I find the time to sit at your feet and be refilled by you so I can continue in my life’s journey.  Thank you for your example in Jesus, and thank you that through you, I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.  In the power of Jesus’ name, Amen.

- Sue Parrott

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Lamb of God

 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!  John 1:29

The Powerful God of the Universe came to earth, as a lamb.  Not as a mighty warrior, powerful and standing tall, as we in our human minds would picture.

He came as a humble lamb to be slaughtered.

He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.  Isaiah 53:7

And He was slain, and death was overcome!  He was worthy!

And He stands in the center of the throne room of God, not as a mighty warrior, powerful and standing tall, as we in our human minds would picture.

He stands as a lamb, looking as if it has been slaughtered.

 And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it.  I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.”

Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders.

Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying:

“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
    be praise and honor and glory and power,
for ever and ever!”
Revelations 5: 1-6, 13

Father, may my voice join in as we shout, “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!”  How beautiful You are to show us your love for us in the exquisite form of a slain lamb!  How mysterious are your ways, beyond our comprehension!  Thank you, we praise You!  Amen

- Sue Parrott