Pastor Stephen Dedman

A Joyous Perspective

A Joyous Perspective

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.
‭‭James‬ ‭1:2-3

Dealing With Difficulties

When was the last time you had a smile on your face when you were dealing with the difficulties of life?  Never!

Of course it’s easy to praise the Lord when things are going well.  It’s actually a very nice situation to be in.  But what about when God tests our faith and trust with the things that are near and dear to us?

We can experience joy when we endure trials and suffering as long as we have the right perspective. Praising the Lord for the suffering and trials we face reflects how we view God.  God uses our trials to purify and perfect us. We must always remember that God does not delight in seeing His children suffer.

I once heard a talk radio show host say that he called his brother on the phone to pray for him after he had recently lost his job and then seriously injured his back.  He said he was praying for God to remove the pain and suffering from his life.  But the brother replied and said, “I don’t want the pain and suffering to be removed until I have learned what God wants me to learn from it.”  Now that is a joyous perspective.


Wouldn’t you love for God to tell you why you go through certain trials?  Well, you can and you need to. Pray for God to reveal his plans and purposes to you.  Pray for the ones you know who are going through some difficult times.

The Blessing of Forgiveness

‍The Blessing of Forgiveness

And he (prodigal son) arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.
‭‭Luke‬ ‭15:20‬

The Prodigal Son’s Father

Isn’t the response of the prodigal son’s father truly amazing?  He had so much compassion for his son and was so happy when he finally returned home.  Although, this joyous occasion was not what the son had expected to receive.  According to jewish customs the son knew that he would never be accepted back as part of the family but could return as a hired servant. Boy was he surprised!

As Jesus spoke this parable to the religious leaders (the Pharisees and Scribes), an intriguing aspect would have to be considered for the fact that the father ran to meet his son.  A first-century Middle Eastern man would never run.  Running would have caused him to pull up his tunic (so he wouldn’t trip and fall) and expose his bare legs.  This would have been embarrassing and degrading to a mature man.  However, the Scripture says, he ran!

The motivation behind the father’s shameful demonstration reveals an important truth.  The father ran to meet his son before anyone else could reject or insult him for his disgraceful sins.  Also because the father ran, it would have caused a disturbing scene.  The people watching would have noticed the emotional reunion and accepted the son back as well.  Only the father could restore the son back into a right relationship with the family.

God, the Father, accepted the shame of our sins through His Son, Jesus.  As Jesus endured the cross, the wages of sin was satisfied through His death.  As a result, we are restored and reunited with God in an eternal relationship.  No matter what we do or how far we stray, God runs to embrace His children with loving arms.  We are forgiven!  Isn’t God’s forgiveness a blessing?


Pray and confess your sins so that you will experience the blessing of forgiveness just as the prodigal son did.

Out On A Limb

Out On A Limb

“And he (Zacchaeus) was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭19:3

Zacchaeus and Jesus

I love reading the story of Zacchaeus because it never gets old.  The theme of this passage of Scripture is salvation and how any person from any background can seek and find Jesus.  You probably remember Zacchaeus because he was “a wee little man, and a wee little man was he!” I’m sure everyone who hears the jingle remembers the gist.

Zacchaeus was a rich tax collector and was hated by everyone.  To say the least he didn’t have a very good reputation among the people for being honest.  But the day he met Jesus everything changed.  He became a new person.  And everyone witnessed it and benefitted from it.

Because of the large crowd, Zacchaeus literally went out on a limb to see Jesus.  He risked everything.  What he didn’t know was Jesus had seen him from the beginning.  As the sycamore tree was the divine meeting place for Zacchaeus, the wooden cross is ours.

Jesus does not look at your past or failures like the world does. Jesus sees you for the person you can become through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Just think of the potential you have as a Child of God.  The world means nothing when Jesus is on your side.

The good news is we don’t have to look very far to find Jesus, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke‬ ‭19:10‬)


Pray for the Holy Spirit to empower you with strength, courage and wisdom as you strive to become the perfect person God created you to be.