Keep the Faith

The troubles of my heart are enlarged; Bring me out of my distresses.
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭25:17‬ 

Tomorrow, one of our Sunday School readings is Psalm 25.  As I read the verses, I was reminded of a friend,  who shared a family divorce issue.  Her anxiety levels were high and all she could see were negative results.

Whether you are going through a divorce, a tough week of college exams, or a family member with serious medical issues, worry will not help.  As a matter of fact stress and worry take a toll on your body over time, and allow the Devil an opportunity to win.  When we worry, we aren’t trusting God.  Many times what we have fear and worry about never happens anyway.  It’s a learned habit that is hard to break. The psalmist who wrote Psalm 25 had concerns, but chose unwavering faith in God, which also takes time to develop.

If you are going through tough times and you have a pattern of worrying, take advantage of this opportunity to develop your steadfast and unwavering faith.  Often that is all it takes for the Devil to give up.  God bless you,

Spread the Love Friday – What Will You Do?

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.          Psalm 19:14

Happy Friday!  Take a few minutes today to celebrate all you have accomplished this week.  Then, start your renewed plan of how you will make a difference in the world.  Share it with everyone.  You’ll be surprised how fast the word will spread and how many people will be on board joining you.

Do you consider yourself to be a person of integrity? I did until I started taking a quiz in Dr. William Greenman’s book Purpose, Destiny, Achievement:  Proven Strategies for a Productive God-Centered Life! (119-122).  Dr. Greenman asserts that integrity is something you develop, not something with which you are born.  Some of the questions in the book are included below.

Are your stories embellished for effect?  Do you exceed the speed limit instead of obeying traffic laws?  Would you feel comfortable sitting next to Jesus while you watch television shows and movies?  Would you want Jesus to know what you are reading?  When you tithe is it based on your net salary? Is cheating on taxes something you might consider or do?  Do you keep your promises and commitments?  Would you be embarrassed for Jesus to hear you speak?  Ouch!  Tough test.  However, it is true that Jesus knows everything we do and say, and one day we will stand in judgement.  I will be embarrassed at some of the things I’ve done in my life.  I’m so thankful for grace!  No one is perfect, but if we want to lead change in the world, we  need to be a people of integrity.  Others need to know that they can depend on us, and believe what we say.  When leaders lack integrity, they aren’t respected.  When Christians lack integrity, it turns others away from God.

As you go out in the world today, examine yourself and start developing your integrity!  God bless you.

 

Greenman, W., Purpose, Destiny, Achievement:  proven Strategies for a Productive God-Centereed Life!   Purpose International, 2005.

Forgiveness Thursday – Humility

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭2:3‬ ‭NASB‬‬


It’s Forgiveness Thursday and there is always something to ask forgiveness for and someone to forgive.  Take a few minutes out of your day to address forgiveness!

 

Have you ever thought about what it means to be humble?  Do you associate humility with weakness?  Do you know anyone who lives with humility?

Someone who walks in humility gives their life away to help others.  They sincerely place the needs of others above their own.  They leave their pride behind to build up and serve.  Humble people honor God above all, and illuminate his glory.  They trust and follow God’s plan instead of what they want.   They ignore Satan and their own pride, and understand the need for grace.    I know a few people who walk with humility, but Jesus is the best example.  Jesus wasn’t weak, but he led his life to help others and died for the sins of people past, then present, and future.  Humility is a character trait that we should all strive to perfect.  When we use our lives to lift up others, we don’t have time to focus on our troubles or see their weaknesses.  That means we are happier and less depressed.  Isn’t that great!  What better way to live than in humility!

Take time to practice humility today!  God bless you.

Use Your Gifts to Change the World Wednesday – Joy and Cheer

A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.  Proverbs 15:13

It’s be nice to camels day!  I hope you are having a wonderful week.  How will you use your gifts to make a difference in the world around you?

Have you ever been invited to church by a Christian that is all gloom, doom and worry?  Do you sometimes get overcome by the stress of the world so that you appear to be the same way?  Do you ever wonder how you can keep a smile on your face when all that is around you is depressing?  It is difficult sometimes to be happy when we let the stress of this world get to us.  The important thing to do is turn our problems over to Jesus and trust him.  Quit worrying!  Live in the moment with a smile on your face, and plan for tomorrow.  I have found that just sitting quietly thinking about how much I love Jesus makes me happy.  Remember, we can’t change the world when we don’t have a cheerful heart.  How could we ever convince anyone that being a Christian is great, if we are miserable?  Often when I smile my spirits are immediately lifted, as are those around me.  A cheerful heart and joyful attitude might the spark it takes to make a difference in your life and the world.

 

So today, put the joy of Jesus in your heart and a smile on your face, because you are a child of the one true God!  Now, that is something to smile about!  God bless you.

Try Something New Tuesday – Be Still

But the Lord stood with me and gave me strength.    2 Timothy 4:17

Praise God it’s Tuesday!  I hope today is a wonderful day for you!

How many times during the day do you sit quietly and rest your mind?  Do you find that by the time you sit down to rest and listen to God, you are so exhausted that you fall asleep? Do you laugh when people talk about scheduled quiet time, because you have no idea when you would fit it in?  I wish I could say that I haven’t been there, but I have.  I have every moment in the day scheduled out, and I’m usually behind schedule in at least one place, if not many.

Today, I was rushing through my morning routine racing the clock, when I received a message loud and clear “just be still”.  It was then that I realized sometimes I might be busy for the wrong reasons.  Even when I’m busy for the right reasons, I still need to sit quietly and listen to God.

Several years ago I was introduced to the concept of contemplative prayer. Simply stated, it’s a way to listen to God without bringing a long list of requests. Many books have been written on the subject and I encourage you to explore contemplative prayer.  I highly recommend it for quiet moments, because sometimes we need to be still to hear what God has to say.  Being anxious or busy does not get prayers answered any sooner.  We need to take time to restfully listen throughout the day, even if we need to schedule it in.

Today, I encourage you to try five minutes of contemplative prayer every day.  God bless you.

Tell Me Something Good Monday – Amazing Grace

By His amazing grace I am saved.  Ephesians 2:8

Happy Monday!  I apologize for not having a post yesterday.  Our Internet is out again and has been since Saturday.  Here’s the good news, you can live without it.  We spent a good portion of the day at church, came home, did a few chores, and enjoyed an evening reading.  It was nice.

Yesterday, our church readings were on Jonah and the parable of the worker in the vineyard, which is found in the Book of Matthew.  As one of my Sunday School class members said “this spells GRACE anyway you look at it.”  When I read about Jonah, I could relate to how he felt about the Assyrians in the capital city of Nineveh.  He thought they shouldn’t be saved, because they had taken over Israel and were holding the Israelites in bondage.  I could also relate to the first workers in the vineyard parable.  How often have I seen similar stories play out in life.  So, my question in Sunday School was would you rather have justice or generosity?  God’s love is forgiving and gracious.  The rules that people have come up with to be fair, will never make it.

My Sunday School Class is awesome!  They teach me more than I teach them and my life has been blessed beyond belief by each one.  One member said he saw the parable as talking about salvation at the end our life.  I hadn’t thought of it that way, but that is true.  How many people are saved on their death-bed?  It is good that God loves us either way, but don’t wait.  You never know when your time on earth will end.

The best part of Sunday School yesterday was hearing stories from each person about the miracles God has worked in their lives.  God’s timing is always perfect and I see it with each story I hear.   Sometimes as Christians we need to take time to share.  It makes a difference.

Have a wonderful day and remember that God’s grace is always enough!  God bless you.

 

Big Bold Saturday

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.  Hebrews‬ ‭4:16‬ 

I hope you are having a wonderful Saturday!  Today is Dominic’s six month Birthday.  Does this little guy look six months old?

Do you ever feel like you are doing all you can, and you keep getting knocked down?  Are you running a race where unexpected obstacles are thrown into your path?  How about unexpected bills?  Are you trying to avoid drama, but it keeps finding you? Are you striving for excellence but still making mistakes?  Do you finally make it to the weekend to find that you have more to do than time will allow?  I feel that way too sometimes.

God calls us to live a bold life.  We are made strong in his image.  Yet we are imperfect in our ways.  That’s okay.  We don’t have to be perfect.  Isn’t that great!  Are you are working hard to obtain “things”?  Paul told Timothy in his letter of encouragement that we came into this world with nothing, and that is the way we will leave (1 Timothy 6:6-8).  That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t plan for the future, because we know that Joseph helped the Pharoah by planning for years of famine ( Genesis 41).  Also, Proverbs 6:6 and 30:25 references people should behave like ants, who work hard and store up for the winter.  God doesn’t want us to be foolish and try to keep up with what others are doing.  He doesn’t want us to compare ourselves with others.  It leads to bitterness and we will never gain understanding about what appears to be unfair if we are constantly comparing.  Instead, work hard in the moment and plan for the future.  Take one day at a time, and remember what is most important in your life.  Love God first and foremost.  Then, love those around you.  When you become too stressed, take a break.  Take a walk and enjoy our beautiful world.  If you can’t get out, spend time with a faithful pet, like Dominic. Talk to your Heavenly Father.  He understands and will bless you beyond measure.

I hope you have a wonderful Saturday.  Live boldly and trust God.  God bless you!

 

Spread the Word Friday – Count Your Blessings

When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, LORD, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.   Psalm 94:18-19

It’s Friday!  God has been helping you all week.  What will you do for him to improve the world?  The smallest of gestures can make a huge difference!  My friend Jeanne buys the office breakfast, and then pays for the customer’s breakfast behind her in the drive-thru line every other Friday.  She says it’s about $14 for everything.  Isn’t that awesome!  Imagine their surprise.  What’s even better is some of those folks probably pass the gesture on.

Have you ever just closed your eyes for a few moments and thought about everything that went right all week?  It’s easy to get hung up on the negative, and that is a hard habit to break.  I asked my Sunday School class last Sunday to think back to their childhood, teen years, and young adult life.  Then, I asked them to tell me how they felt.  Everyone had positive thoughts.  It was refreshing!  My own thoughts of my youth are often negative, and when I’m asked to look back, I don’t remember too many good times.  I think this is reflective of my environment and negativity that I learned at an early age.  I decided to break this pattern about a year ago, and I think I’ve made great strides.  Occasionally, the old me peeks in, but not as much.  It has really helped me to count my blessings at least once a week, or better yet, daily.  I have found that I usually have 2-6 bad things and hundreds of wonderful things to count.

Today, I challenge you to count your blessings and do something special for at least one person!  I can’t wait to hear your stories.  God  bless you!

Forgiveness Thursday – Forgive and Find Rest

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.   Matthew 11:28-29

Good Morning. This morning I have some good news to share.  I received my Advanced Diploma in Theology in the mail yesterday!  One thing I have learned from working and going to school is to never belittle a class someone is taking to improve themself, especially if they have a family and work.  Just the effort is worth positive acknowledgement.  Learning and growing is difficult and rewarding.  It requires us to step out of our comfort zones and routines, and stretch ourselves in ways we never knew possible.  When we do this with God by our side, he guides our steps and path. That’s good for all of us!  Also, I have learned that there are people in our lives that can make self-improvement easier or more difficult.  My husband is very supportive and has stepped up to make my tasks easier.  If you have someone in your life who is trying to do better, help them if you can.

Obtaining this degree was pure joy!

Have you ever been short-tempered?  Have you found yourself tired, but pushed to meet deadlines?  Have you ever taken out your bad day or frustrations on some undeserving person?  Do you feel like others don’t understand sometimes?  Do you find that certain behaviors send your tired mind into a tailspin of suspicion?  Do you ever go to work  with high expectations for yourself, only to go home wondering “what just happened?”  Well, I’d like to say I have never done any of this, but I have been there many times.  It is wonderful that we can ask for forgiveness and rest knowing that God understands, but what about the people around us.  They have expectations too.  I try to ask others for forgiveness, but is that enough?  Most of us try to improve. I know I do, but sometimes the simple act of trying sometimes makes things worse.

One thing we all need to do is rest and turn to God.  In Isaiah 41:19 God tells us to fear not because He is with us.  He understands and is there to help us.  Then, we need to follow the instructions of Jesus in  Matthew 11:28, “come to me all who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”  When we ask for forgiveness, we should also ask for help in controlling our behavior.  The next step is REST.  Sometimes we just need to slow down and rest.

Today I encourage you to turn to Jesus and rest.  God bless you.

Use Your Gifts to Change the World Wednesday – On Temptation

Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.    James‬ ‭1‬:‭12‬

It’s a wonderful Wednesday to rejoice in the Lord.

Have you ever been tempted?  What’s your weakness?  Tobacco?Alcohol? Sex? Prescription Drugs? Food?  Illegal Drugs? Hurting Others? Lust?  Thrills?  Shopping?  Pride?  Recognition?  Power?  Satan?  Do you have more than one weakness?  Well, you are not alone.  Everyone, including me, has many weaknesses.

Romans 12:1-3 says that we can counter temptations by filling our minds with good thoughts of Christ and refusing to comprise.  God sees us with perfect eyes just the way we are and we should remember that is who we are.  We are no more and no less.  The enemy knows our weaknesses, and uses them against us as often as we will let him.  As a matter of fact, we usually leave a door open for him to come in.  Remember “[g]reater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4).  God will always be greater than Satan.  He will bless us, when we don’t give up.

Today, join me in staying strong through temptation.  God bless you.