Category: thoughts by Elfrieda Nikkel

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Walking where Jesus walked, was for me a wonderful preparation for the Easter season.   On our recent trip to the Holy Land, visiting the places mentioned in the gospels was a highlight but nothing compared to being in the place where Jesus was crucified and rose from the dead.  Beautiful churches have been built to mark the spot where these events took place and now people stand in line, sometimes for hours to visit these sacred sites where Jesus lived, walked and gave His life.  The natural setting of the garden of Gethsemane with its hundreds – maybe even a thousand year old olive trees was a somber reminder of the Lord’s struggle as He faced His death in our behalf.

Of particular significance was the area known as the Garden Tomb overlooking a mountain which has the appearance of a skull, in keeping with what the Bible said of him being crucified at the place of the Skull.  The natural beauty of the trees and flowers added to the reflective atmosphere of the garden and the tomb carved in the rock resembled so much the garden scene described in the gospels as the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea.  Walking through the garden one could see groups from all over the world remembering Christ’s death in worship, reflection, prayer and sharing of communion.

More important than knowing the exact place where it all happened is to know for certain that Jesus died and that after His resurrection He met people in a beautiful way at their point of need.  There was Mary, standing outside the tomb weeping.  We see her overcome with grief and hopelessness.  She knew that Jesus had been crucified but now she faces the reality that his body is gone. She came to spend time at the tomb but looking in she finds it empty.  Her only thought was that someone had taken Him away.  Life seemed so hopeless to her. Then Jesus meets her in her pain and grief.  Thinking it was the gardener who asked her for the reason of her tears she shared her concern that the body of Jesus had been taken away.  It was when Jesus spoke her name that she recognized Him.  What a moment of hope and joy!  Jesus is still the same and wants to meet us as well in our moments of grieving, discouragement, pain or hopelessness during this Easter season.  He calls us by name and says, ‘you are precious in My eyes and honored in My sight, and …I love you.” Isaiah 43:4

Maybe our need during this Easter season is more often like that of Thomas who struggled with doubts about the truth of Christ’s resurrection.  He boldly stated his position when he said he would not believe unless he saw Jesus hands, felt the wounds from the nails and put his hand in his side.  Jesus appears to Thomas and meets him at his point of need and says, “See the wounds and place your hand in my side” and then in tenderness encourages him to believe.  There were no words of admonishment and scolding just encouragement to believe.  Maybe we find ourselves facing doubts in some area of our life today.  The risen Lord comes to us and lovingly encourages us to believe in him and to trust him with every detail of our daily life.

On our journey during this Easter season we may also find ourselves identifying with Peter who probably experienced the greatest failure of his life when he denied Jesus three times.  We read how Peter wept bitterly after he realized what he had done.   One can only imagine that sense of defeat experienced by Peter.  But the story does not end there.  Jesus seeks him out on the shores of the Sea of Tiberius where Peter was fishing.  After pulling the fishing boat ashore with their catch of fish, Jesus singles out Peter and asks him three times if he loves Him and with each response assigns him to the task of caring for his sheep.  Not only was it a moment of forgiveness and acceptance for Peter but it was also an affirmation of his call to service.  Maybe Peter felt it was all over because of his denials but now Jesus calls him back to continue his tasks as a disciple. A second chance – overflowing with love and forgiveness. Peter’s need was great but Jesus met him just where he was at.  Jesus is still the same.  When we find ourselves facing the pain of failure, of having disappointed others and especially Jesus, then He reaches out to us with forgiveness and offers us another chance.  As with Peter there is a new hope to begin again with the assurance of God’s love and forgiveness.

Why did Jesus single out each of these three people?  Each had a special need and Jesus touched them at their particular point of need.  He had the right answer for each.  For Mary the answer was hope that her relationship with Jesus was not ended, for Thomas it was evidence that he needed to believe and for Peter forgiveness was followed by a call to service.  Today Jesus offers to meet us at our point of need as well.  We too may be struggling with grief, doubt or failure.  Or maybe our needs are entirely different but still he speaks into our life with the words from Philippians4:19

And my God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

The risen Lord waits to be invited:

Behold, I stand at the door and knock;  if anyone hears My voice and opens the  door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and He with me.” (Revelations 3:20)

And when we invite Him in He has a wonderful plan for our life.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper
you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you
will call upon me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.  
You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.”
Jeremiah 29:11-13.

As Christ the risen Lord looked for Mary, Thomas and Peter to touch them at their point of need so He looks for us during this Easter season to meet our needs as well.

By Elfrieda Nikkel
Used by Permission

Would you like to have a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ? You can start by saying this simple prayer:

Lord Jesus, I need You. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of the throne of my life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be.


If you prayed this prayer we would love to hear from you . If you would like to know God deeper we can connect you with an email mentor and/or send you some great links.


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thoughts by Elfrieda Nikkel Thoughts by Women

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When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy…. And they fell down and worshiped him.”  Matthew 2:10-11

Worship was such an important part of that first Christmas.  The wise-men worshiped Jesus in the house where they found him.  The prophetess Anna and Simeon worshiped in the temple.  The shepherds’ hearts were filled with praise as they hurried to find the child and then shared the good news with others.  The place of worship was different for all of them but their hearts were overflowing with praise and adoration.

Do we take the time to worship the Lord during this Christmas season?  It doesn’t really matter whether we worship in our home, in our church, at a Christmas concert or banquet or maybe it’s, ‘on the run,’ as we dash through the mail and hear the music, “Silent Night”.  The only thing that matters is that our hearts are lifted in praise and worship to the Lord.  Is there a song of praise on our lips at Christmas?  How easy it is to see the work, feel the burdens and be aware of the frustrations instead of seeing the glory, the gift and the Savior.

by Elfrieda Nikkel
Used by Permission

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Broken but Made Beautiful

Anne was a special person in my life. I first met her when I asked her to teach clay modeling to our group of campers at a summer Bible camp.  She told me about how she loved her work with clay and how she had just recently purchased a kiln to bake her clay creations.  When I asked her how she got started in her work of clay modeling she told me her story.

Her son, who was born mentally challenged due to brain damage at birth, had passed away at the age of 15, several months before I met her.  She told me how working with the clay had helped her to get through those difficult days of caring for him during those years.  Her life had been broken through this difficulty but God had made something beautiful out of her brokenness.  While working with the clay God had been at work molding her life and now I was seeing the beauty created by God the master potter.

I was delighted when Anne consented to come several times during the camp session to teach the campers the art of clay modeling.  On her first day she gave each camper a lump of soft gray colored clay and after a few instructions let them mold their little clay vessels.  At the end of the craft session we had an assortment of vases, pots and dishes of various shapes and sizes.  Anne instructed me to put them in a warm, dry place until she would return for the next lesson.  I chose what I thought would be a good place and then in the busyness of my daily schedule forgot about them until the day of her return.

A few hours before the time of her next craft session I checked my collection of clay pots.  To my dismay they were anything but beautiful – almost without exception each one had a crack.   I quickly concluded I had chosen the wrong place to store them, so when she returned I apologized for what, to me, seemed like a disaster zone.  To my surprise, Anne quietly said, “Oh, that’s okay we can easily repair them” Then mixing up her clay she began to repair each one.  As she worked she said, “You know, this is just the way God works with each one of us.  We too, often find ourselves cracked and broken and God, the master potter, fills the cracks and makes us beautiful.  We are never too broken that he cannot repair and fill the broken areas in our life.

In the Bible we read about God sending Jeremiah to visit the potter’s house (Jeremiah 18:1-6).  Jeremiah watches the potter mold a vessel from the soft clay.  As he works the vessel is marred or spoiled so he reworks it and makes something beautiful out of it.  As Jeremiah watches the potter God says that the people of Israel are like clay in his hands that he wants to shape them as he sees best.  In 2 Corinthians 4:7 people are also referred to as jars of clay in which God’s glory dwells.

It would seem to me that we are all in the potter’s house being shaped and molded.  God holds us in his hand and molds us through the different experiences in life.  Sometime he makes little changes and other times he fills the cracks and closes them up. Or maybe sometimes the cracks remain so that the glory of his presence within us can shine out through those very cracks for others to see.  The difficulties of life which to us may seem to be unfair and meaningless may well be opportunities for God, the master potter to make us into a vessel of honor and blessing.

Thinking about how God mends our brokenness, I had to think of Peter in the Bible when he denied Jesus before his crucifixion and said he didn’t even know him.  It says he wept bitterly, when he realized how he had failed the Lord.  He must have felt that his relationship with the Lord was over.  Peter experienced total brokenness.  But then Jesus meets him again at the breakfast on the seashore after his resurrection (John 21).  In his gentle and loving way he calls Peter back and touches his brokenness, giving him a new assignment to feed his sheep.  We know that Peter then became a person of influence and blessing to the early church as well as to Christians throughout the ages.  God had repaired his brokenness and made him a clay vessel that brought glory to God.

As we travel the journey of life God gives us the choice to become clay in his hands.  As we invite him into our life he lovingly begins his work of molding us and making us into a vessel of honor and blessing.  We can come with our cracks and brokenness and he will make something beautiful out of our life.  Even when we have made a mess of things, maybe by making wrong choices, God can repair and bring healing so we will display his glory.  How encouraging to think that with God we are never too spoiled, too cracked, too broken.  With him there is always hope.  With him there is always another chance.  Will you meet me at the Potter’s House?

You can meet God right now by faith through prayer. Here’s a suggested prayer:

Lord Jesus, I want to know you personally. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life to you and ask you to come in as my Savior and Lord. Take control of my life. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Mold me into the kind of person you want me to be.

He promised to begin His work of molding and making you into a vessel of honor and blessing.

by Elfrieda Nikkel
Used by Permission


If you prayed this prayer we would love to hear from you . If you would like to know God deeper we can connect you with an email mentor and/or send you some great links.


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christmas devotional

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.”  John 3:16a

The story of Christmas is the story of God’s love.  A love that was willing to give what was most precious to save a dying world.  God so loved, that he gave his Son.  Christmas gives us a glimpse into the heart of God; a heart overflowing with love; a heart longing to help the people in bondage to sin.  Here was love that was great enough to give an only Son for people who rejected him.

This Christmas we too will be faced with people that need our love.  At times it will be easy to give our love.  Sometimes it will take a lot of effort and maybe there will be times when it seems almost impossible to love.  When we face those moments, we need to remember that God is waiting to pour his love into our hearts to share with others.  As the love of God who gave his only Son, fills our hearts we will be able to love the unlovely in our world as Jesus did.

By Elfrieda Nikkel

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by Elfrieda Nikkel

This God – his way is perfect; the promise of the Lord proves true.
Psalm 18:30

The Christmas story is an announcement to the world that God keeps his promises. Over the years God made a promise to send a Savior and now it was fulfilled.  The first word of promise was given in the Garden of Eden just after man lost his place of privilege and friendship with God.  Rather than spending a lot of time scolding Adam and Eve, God reached out to help.  Again and again through the centuries he reminded the people that he had not forgotten this promise.  Along with the promise of a Savior, God gives other promises that are ours to claim.  He promises to give strength, to give wisdom, to guide, to give counsel and to walk with us.  Have we claimed these promises as our own?  May the banner over this Christmas season read, “The promises of the Lord prove true.”

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