Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
John 15:13 NIV
Happy Tuesday! Have ever just wanted to avoid other people and be by yourself all the time. From what I have observed people who elect to remain alone with little interaction with others fail to meet the happiness that is available to them. It could be argued that they also have less aggravation. However, when we work and play together we grow.
Jesus taught that we should love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 19:19). We all have different groups of people with which we associate. For example, I have my family, my church family, my friends, my Bible Study sisters, my colleagues at work, and the list goes on and on. If you attend church and immediately leave after the service on Sunday morning, you are missing a big part of worshipping God. You are missing the fellowship that comes from working and enjoying the friendship of other Christians. I have found our church family to be much like my own family. We are there to lift each other up and reach out to others. We enjoy preparing meals and eating together. We learn together and work in different ministries together. While we may not always agree and sometimes have disagreements, we grow closer through our relationships.
The same is true of our work and other relationships. As a group we can accomplish more than alone. At the end of the day, the ties that bind us are stronger than the issues that we face from time to time. When one person is missing, we are unable to function in the same manner. I heard one minister use a net to explain this concept. When there is one section of the net missing, it doesn’t work as well. While there can be some frustrations with relationships with others, it is like the familiar Alfred Lord Tennyson quote “Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all”.
Today, take a chance on other people. God bless you.
Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me. Psalm 119:133
Happy Monday! I hope you have as many good things to share as I do and I look forward to reading your stories. My good news started on Friday. I didn’t receive the votes I needed to accept a post I was seeking. You may ask what is so good about that. The good news is the lady who was elected has reached out to me and is going to include me on a committee. After the fact I feel this is a better solution for me with my hectic schedule. I’m happy and excited. I have been studying 1st and 2nd Chronicles. In my studies I have come to realize that God loves people and names are important. I also noticed that order and organization are important. So, this past weekend my husband and I began cleaning and organizing. He has taken on the outside and I’m organizing the inside of our home. I’m embarrassed to admit that it was overdue on both accounts. Our efforts gave me satisfaction and will probably save us both time, energy and stress.
Have you ever realized days, months or even years after an action, that it was wrong? I would guess this is common. As we grow as Christians our knowledge grows. So, what should we do? We have to trust God and try to make amends, even if making amends could be detrimental to our future. Where it is sometimes difficult to trust people, God will never let you down. That doesn’t mean that there will not be hard times. However, when you trust Him, He will never forsake you. What makes this decision difficult is the fact that when we make amends we are vulnerable. Don’t let this stop you. Do the right thing and rest in your faith!
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
Hebrews 11:1 NIV
Happy Friday! This morning I’m reflecting on all the ways God has worked in my life this week. I’m suddenly aware of how our faith can be at different levels. When I was younger, I read the Bible and questioned whether the stories were true. I felt something, but my faith was very low. I only had enough faith to want to believe. Later, I accepted Christ. I believed what I read and knew God was working in my life, but I justified actions that were not acceptable. I was like a baby Christian Learning how to walk in faith, still crawling most of the time. Over time, I turned more and more to prayer, but I didn’t see my own faults. I just couldn’t figure out what was wrong in my life. I began studying the Bible more and listening to ministers. I was walking in faith and seeing my faults more clearly. I strived to be better and began taking classes. The more I studied, the more God showed me.
Now, don’t misunderstand me. I’m still growing in faith. If I had to guess, I’d say all Christians are learning at one level or another. We’re not in the same place. So, we must be patient with others and ourselves. As we walk closer with God, we will see and understand more clearly. It is important to study and listen, but also be open to the gifts of the Spirit. This has led me to seeing transformations in certain areas of my life.
Last night I listened to two ministers. One spoke about sins in our bloodline affecting us, and the other spoke about our emotions being a way to feel God. I prayed with the ministers. The Holy Spirit spoke to me with both sermons. How often have I cried and felt someone else’s pain? This is a blessing God has bestowed on me. He allows me to empathize by feeling the pain another person is going through. For years I’ve tried to avoid this blessing, but I realize now it is a gift. Then, I thought of some of the sins in my family bloodline that could have been affecting me. I don’t feel hard hearted or unforgiving about their sin, but I feel free from the burden today. This is a burden I didn’t realize was dragging me down.
How deep is your faith? Are you willing to trust God and grow? What’s holding you back? As you study, and pray, be patient for God’s answers come in His perfect timing. God bless you!
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”
Colossians 3:15 NIV
Good morning and happy Wednesday! Today is a special day for my family. It’s my husband’s birthday. I know most of you do not know Britt, but he is the rock of our family. He holds us together and has always been willing to do whatever it takes to make sure we have everything we want. I met him during a time when I was struggling in life, and I’m so glad God sent him to me. He’s my best friend and the spiritual head of our home. Every Sunday he helps me prepare for Sunday School, gathering up supplies and doing whatever is needed. For many years Britt worked two jobs to make sure our children and I had everything we needed. So, today I hope Britt has a relaxing day at home. Happy Birthday Britt!
Have you ever prayed repeatedly only to feel like the answer is no? Sometimes the answer is no. Sometimes to grow spiritually, we need to go through lessons in life. I know in my life there have been some situations that lasted years before I had a breakthrough. The problem wasn’t with God, but me. The breakthrough came when I was able to stay devoted and learn the lesson. I might be a little stubborn, because it usually takes a while for me to learn the lesson. However, once I understand, I make the necessary changes.
If you are going through challenges, don’t give up on God. Keep the faith. Study His word and pray regularly. The answer may be no now, but the result is probably good down the road.
“Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.”
James 1:26 NIV
Happy Tuesday! It’s a great time to try something new!
This morning I am very mindful of the events of September 11th, 2001. Most Americans remember what they were doing when targets in the United States came under attack by 19 militants associated with the Islamic extremist group known as al-Qaeda hijacked four airplanes and carried out a suicide mission. It is estimated that 2,996 people were killed that day. I remember watching in shock and horror. Last year I had the opportunity to visit the 9-11 Memorial in New York City. It was an experience I will never forget. The day was real again for me and many others. I sat near a lady who was crying uncontrollably. While it is never good to dwell heavily on these types of events, it is important to remember.
This morning I am also conscious of how many wars and fights have been fought brother against brother. Is it really worth it? Do we need to see bloodshed to prove a point? Most of the time we find out that it was just a simple misunderstanding that led to loss of life. How many times have you been upset or upset someone else over a simple misunderstanding?
James 1:26 warns us about keeping a rein on our tongues. When we think of bridles with horses, steering and stopping comes to mind. Pausing before speaking is a good habit to have. Yet, I think there is much more here. We should be gentle in our language. I’m referring to words and tones. Even in correction of subordinates and children, we can use language that is loving. Every person is different which complicates the matter, so try to consider individual personalities and speak gentleness with all you meet. Of course, none of us are perfect. Whenever you make a mistake, be quick to ask for forgiveness. However, some things cannot be undone easily. I heard a lady say that when you squeeze the toothpaste out of the tube, it’s not as easy to put it back in. The damage is done. So, try to learn from your mistakes and avoid repeating them as much as possible. Change begins with individuals. Each person makes a difference.
“For the sake of my family and friends, I will say, ‘Peace be within you.’” Psalm 122:8 NIV
Happy Thursday! It is a beautiful day and my heart is full of joy after spending time with Anna and Landon yesterday. Although it had not been long since I last saw them, it seemed like much longer. There is nothing quite like hugs from your children and grandchildren. Landon and I went to the yogurt shop, where he decorated his chocolate yogurt with candied frogs and worms. Then, we played superheroes. So much fun!
Do you surround yourself with other Christians? This is one area of my life that I neglected for a while. Looking back on that time, I was miserable. I have learned during the last year that there is nothing like Christian friends. One of my Christian friend applied for a job today, and I was able to send her a note of encouragement. A couple of weeks ago, she did the same for me.
You might be thinking, people don’t have to be Christians to encourage one another. I agree. However, Christians usually encourage with messages from or related to the Bible, which are much more uplifting. Christian friends tend to give good advice, because they are also trying to follow Biblical teachings. Christians don’t usually try to encourage their friends to things they shouldn’t do. Instead they are more interested in seeking out God’s will. Christian friends have integrity and strong ethical values. You can trust them. Of course, none of us are perfect, but Christian friends want to be good people. It’s really hard to describe the warmth of being around Christian friends. It’s wonderful.
Since I have been writing articles for the two local newspapers, I have been able to become acquainted on a personal level with many business owners. God has truly blessed me with this opportunity. Yesterday, I sat down with two sets of Christian business owners. My heart is full from the experiences. The first set have been blessed by God to work in many different areas. The exciting part is God keeps expanding their opportunities. I could have talked to them all night. I plan on just stopping by their store to visit. The second set owned and managed two mechanic shops. They are so kind and helpful. The young man had three children and over the years had provided a home to more than 20 foster children. Wow! What a heart! He told me many widow women like to visit his shop. Well, I guess so. If you don’t know much about mechanics, where would you want to go? I think I would go see this business man, because he seemed like the type of person who would be more interested in helping you than earning a quick buck.
If you don’t have or surround yourself with Christian friends, you are missing out. Take time today to change that trend. Also remember to forgive others and yourself as God has forgiven you. God bless you.
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1 NIV
Happy Wednesday! It’s a wonderful week!
Have you ever had to wait for something for more than a couple of days? It can be unnerving! Two weeks ago an associate and I took an exam without taking the related classes to go with the test. Why? Well, the exam is usually unavailable in the area, and if we passed the exam we could help the citizens of our city with insurance rates. So, I was already waiting for the results of that exam, when I had a chest x-ray that caused some concern. I had a couple of spots on my right lung, and I’ve had an ongoing cough for months. My doctor took me off some of my RA medication until we could figure out what was going on. So, last Friday I had a chest CT Scan with contrast, another test with results I’d be waiting to hear. On top of all that, I put my hat in the race for chair of a national city planning division a few months ago. Those results will be in Friday. Lots of waiting and anxiety.
Well, usually it would be that way for me, but this time I had a different attitude. I decided to do the best I could and leave it in God’s hands. Yesterday, my colleague and I received our scores., We didn’t pass. You might think I was upset, but not really. I felt like I had learned quite a bit during the process and was thankful for the opportunity to learn. I may or may not try again. Today my CT scan results came in. Nothing bad at all. Yay! I am truly thankful! I just need to do some follow-up testing to adjust my medication. So, now I am waiting for the results of an election that took place a month ago. I will be glad to put that one behind me, but I’m not at all worried. I know God is in control. If the other lady would be better in the position, I will not be unhappy. I’m glad I tried. Another opportunity.
I share these stories because in the past I would have been paralyzed with fear and worry. Have you ever been worried? It’s hard to do anything when you are worried. All you can think of is the problem that is causing the stress. You are in control of your body and mind. Don’t let worry control you. You might say that the things I’ve been waiting for are not that serious. I mean what if someone is dying? I certainly am not making light of these types of situations. Death is difficult to handle. It’s not as sad if we know the person is going to heaven. We will miss them, but it is more like they are going on a trip and we will be joining them soon. In cases like this, you may need to seek out spiritual guidance.
When we have faith we trust God and turn what bothers us over to him. The assurance that He knows what’s best is all we need. He knows what we need and when we need it. Turn your problems over to the Lord today. It’s freeing!
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV
It’s Try Something New Tuesday and fall is in the air. I love this time of year. It’s a great time to wear God’s love!
So, you might wonder how to wear the love of God. It’s simple. Everywhere you go love the people around you. Give them support and cheer them on to excellence. Be there to help whenever you can without expecting anything in return. Love those you don’t really like, and do it because you love God. Make good decisions, but don’t judge. Show respect for those in authority, and know that God put them there. Often there are details you may not know prompting their decisions. Spend your time trying to brighten the day of those around you, and be willing to give more than you take. Wake up in the morning determined to spread God’s love everywhere you go. When in doubt look to the Holy Scriptures for further guidance.