Category Archives: Challenge

Spread the Love Friday – Warm them up!

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭12:9‬ 

Good morning!  It’s still cold and raining in Florida.

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I woke up early today to take my grandson, Landon to school only to learn I had mixed up the days.  Add to that, my cold now includes a sore throat.  So, as I was sitting here aggravated with myself, I received a clear message from God.  “Take them warm hot chocolate.  They are working in the cold and rain.”  At first I thought . . . What?  I’m sick.  I told myself that I would work on my blog post since I had extra time.  Then I heard it again. “Take them something warm.  They are cold.”  Okay, this time I hear and understand clearly, but who?  Who is cold?  So, I said “no problem God, but show me who.”  I began pulling up my blog and I heard it again.  I know this sounds a little nuts to some of you, but I feel like I’m supposed to share this.  If it is cold this morning where you are, join me in taking a thermos of hot chocolate or coffee with you when you go out.  Someone will need it today, and we will know who it is when we see them.  Hmmm.  Maybe it wasn’t a mistake that I woke up early.  As I have been typing this post, my sore throat has eased up.

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Today, I challenge you to take something to warm to at least one person who is out in the cold. I can’t wait to hear what you have to share about this experience.  I will share as well.   Stay blessed.

 

 

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Try Something New Tuesday – Make It Fun

Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the Lord.  ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭144:15‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Happy Tuesday!  It’s hard to believe that it’s two days before Thanksgiving.

Since the beginning of the school year, two or three days a week I take my grandson to preschool. He’s three and it’s a good time to get him acquainted with going to school, playing, learning and making friends. Of course, he doesn’t want to go.  At first, I thought he was afraid.  I stayed with him an hour, before I left him.  Big mistake!  Then, I realized he didn’t want to go, because he’d rather stay with me or his parents.  That’s sweet and I can understand.  Wouldn’t we all like to stay home with our loved ones rather than go to school or work.  Unfortunately, that’s not reality for most of us.  A very nice friend suggested I try something that was working with her great-granddaughter.  On the way to the classroom, they picked up rocks to give to the teacher.  So, I made a slight variation, we picked flowers in the yard to give to the teacher.  That worked a little, I guess.  After a while it became a game of how to delay the dreaded trip to school.  Last week, I decided to try something a little different, which I knew was a big mistake when I started it.  It’s funny what you will resort to when you are desperate.  I bribed Landon with a toy.  The promise was if he was good at school, he would receive a surprise. He didn’t quite understand the delayed gratification, but he was a little better.  He still pouted as he walked in slowly.  This morning I did the same thing.  As you can imagine, it didn’t work as well.  So, I started playing games and singing songs with him while driving to school.  Then, when we arrived, we raced to the door.  He looked a little disappointed when he realized he was at the door to his school.  He went in a little sad, but a little better than last week.    I’ve been through all of this with my own children, but it seems a little worse with my grandson.  Maybe because I want him to love me and not think of me as the one who drops him off every day.

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As I sit here I realize that whenever we don’t want to go to school or work, we can also play games and do something fun.  In fact, many of us already do this regularly.  There’s nothing wrong with turning dreaded tasks into fun games and rewarding ourselves from time-to-time.  Most things I dread, I really like after I get started.

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One thing many people dread is reading and studying their Bible. I have heard people say that they don’t understand it, and it puts them to sleep.  Once you develop a habit of reading, you will be amazed at the stories in the Bible!  So, why not make a game out of reading the Bible.  There are trivia apps on the Internet that you play to test your knowledge.  You can memorize a Bible verse a week or a day.  You can challenge others to participate in games.  Before you know it, reading the Bible will be fun for you too.

God bless you.

 

 

 

 

Praise the Lord Sunday – What’s Your Gift?

For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money. After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.        Matthew‬ ‭25:14-30‬ ‭KJV‬‬

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Happy Sunday!  Today in Sunday School and Church we discussed the Parable of the Talents.  The Talents discussed here are your gifts that God has given you.  Have you ever thought of what your gifts are?  Do you use them for God?  You are entrusted with gifts.  Everyone has gifts, and the gifts are not all the same.  When we use our God-given gifts to profit God, he will reward us with more and better opportunities.

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Sometimes we wander around for years trying to figure out what gifts are?  Sometimes we know and our fear prevents us from using our gifts.  I’m a good example.  I have known for years that I need to teach and preach, but couldn’t accept it.  I tried everything to move in a different direction.  I had a fear of public speaking.  Fear doesn’t come from God.  Whenever I trusted him, he gave me the courage and the students.  Every week we have more people.  I have fun and my heart is filled with joy.

Are you using your gifts to serve God?  I encourage you to start today.  God bless you.

Forgiveness Thursday – Where to Go for Answers

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
‭‭John‬ ‭1:1‬ ‭

Good Morning.  We live in a beautiful small town in Northwest Florida.  In the early mornings before it gets so busy, I notice the beauty of this quiet little town.  This morning I’m enjoying the stillness.  It’s so quiet I can hear God talking to me.

Now, there are good and bad things to all cities, small and large.  One of the bad things in our small town is everyone knows everyone.  The people are closely connected.  Everyone knows your business.  There are no secrets.  Whereas, if you live in a big city, you can go unnoticed.  The bad is also a good thing.  Since everyone knows everyone, where ever you go you will see someone you know.  We look out for each other, and are quick to notice strangers.  We are kind to strangers, but not so quick to include them into our small town family.  It takes a little while for them to assimilate.    You see, the good and bad in our town are like a double-edged sword.  Looking out for everyone is great, but when you want to run to the store unnoticed, it’s not going to happen.

I was thinking this morning that this double-edged sword thinking is common in many things.  I’m the Municipal Development Director for our City.  People come to me and complain about the laws.  They get really worked up and upset.  They think the laws are too strict for a small town.  The same people come and complain when their neighbor is doing something and the law allows it.  Hmmm.  There is no easy answer, because you can’t make everyone happy.

Often these same situations happen in families.  My friend is a new mother.  At first her family was upset because she wasn’t working.  Now, they are upset because she’s a working mother.  Imagine her frustration.   She can’t make her family happy, and she wants her children to enjoy close family bonds.   I remember similar dilemmas when my children were little.  I was asked, will you let your baby cry and learn to calm himself, or are you going to be one who quickly picks your baby up when he cries?  I remember thinking, this is a trick question, because the answer is somewhere in the middle.

Have you ever felt like you just don’t fit it, or maybe like you are being smothered?  Do you feel like there are no right answers and you can’t find real happiness?  The best thing to do is study the Bible and talk to God.  It’s amazing how similar the issues were in Bible times.  No matter how many times I read the Bible, I learn something new.  God doesn’t want you to be unhappy no matter where you are. For example, Jesus instructs in Matthew 22:38 -39, that we are to love God with all our hearts, and love our neighbors like we love ourselves.  We are taught about acceptance of others in Romans 15:7 “[w]herefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.” The stories in the Bible are relevant as well.  Read the story of Ruth and how she took care of her mother-in-law.  She was rewarded by God.

Today, I encourage you to first, forgive yourself and others.  Then, read God’s word and ask him to guide you through life’s problems.  God bless.

Use Your Gifts to Change the World Wednesday – Embrace the Adventure

The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence.
‭‭2 Samuel‬ ‭22:3‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Happy Wednesday!  It’s a great time to use your gifts to change the world!

Have you ever had a challenging day?  I mean one of those days when people search you out to pick a fight.  I have enjoyed a string of those days lately.  It’s quite frustrating to know that you are minding your own business and folks are letting loose on you.  Wow!  I know God must be teaching us lessons or using us to teach others lessons during these trying moments, but I sometimes lose my temper.  Growing emotionally and spiritually is tough sometimes!  As I study my Bible, I realize that I’m not alone.  The people in the Bible were constantly having trouble with others.  So, I have concluded that life is an adventure.  Everyone goes through trying times.  It’s the attitude you take with you that makes the difference.  You can wake up and say “I’m going to climb this mountain and enjoy the scenery”, or you can say “oh no, I’ ve got another mountain to climb.”  You have to climb it anyway. Why not enjoy the trip!  With the right attitude you can enjoy the trip and influence those around you in a positive way.  That’s what changing the world is all about.

I challenge you to change the world by facing mountains with a positive outlook and a smile.  God bless you.

 

 

Try Something New Tuesday – Lift Others Up

WE WHO are strong [in our convictions and of robust faith] ought to bear with the failings and the frailties and the tender scruples of the weak; [we ought to help carry the doubts and qualms of others] and not to please ourselves.    Romans 15:1

Happy Tuesday!  It’s a glorious day in  northwest Florida.  There is crisp fall chill in the air, but the sun is shining bright.  Every Tuesday we try something new.  Today, I encourage you to help someone.  There are people around us all day long who need help.  The smallest gestures can make the biggest difference.  So throughout the day, look for someone you can help and follow through.

Are you a gossip?  Do you find it hard to keep your mouth shut?  Have you ever felt the effects of gossip?  Did you know that gossip is a sin?  Yes,  gossip is a sin.  How could we believe otherwise, when we know Jesus taught that the second most important commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 19:19).  That means love others as much as you love yourself.  Treat others how you would like to be treated, and zip your lip.  Leviticus 19:16 tells us that we “shall not go up and down as a dispenser of gossip and scandal among” . . . [our] “people, nor shall” . . . [we secure ourself by false testimony or by silence and] “endanger the life” of our neighbors.  The phrase “dispenser of gossip” makes me laugh a little, but it’s true.  We have all done it, at least once, and we have all experienced it.  Gossiping is very hurtful.  I don’t know why it’s so hard to tame the tongue.  Often, I think no harm is intended.  We are just talking to each other and trying to sort things out.  Yesterday, I heard a story about someone at work that made me want to warn and protect the others around me.  Fortunately, before I said anything, I stopped.  The ones I wanted to protect heard the same information.  There was no need for me to say more.

Gossip occurs in families too.  It is much easier to promote yourself in the eyes of a loved one, if you are making someone else look bad.  Don’t stoop to these levels out of jealousy or any other motive.  You are a child of God who is loved.  The smallest talk can cause the most pain and disfunction in families.  When you stand before God, do you want to see how you hurt people or how you lifted them up with your words?

Join me in lifting others up with words of love and helping the needy.  God bless you.

Tell Me Something Good Monday – Peace of the Lord

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ.  Philippians 4:7

Happy Monday!  The weather is changing here.  The last couple of days have been cooler and damper than usual.  Like TobyMac’s song, I feel it!  However, what I feel is in my bones.  The good news for me is I made it to work today!  Some people dread Monday, but every Monday I work is check on my list.

I’m in the final days before receiving my B.A. in Theology. One of my last classes is on the Blood Covenant.  Funny, on the way to work this morning I listened to Billy Graham preaching on the Blood of Christ.  He told a story about a young college girl who had received a Guinness World Record for taking the longest shower.  I don’t remember what the exact amount of the time was, but it was more than 100 hours, and that was many years ago.  He went on to explain that you don’t have to shower for hours for Jesus.  His blood washes all the dirt, we see and don’t see, away.  That is so true.

Philippians 4:7 is one of my favorite Bible verses.  Our church had a supply priest a few years ago who would finish his service with this verse.  I could just feel the peace when he said it.  It almost felt like my heart melted a little.  When you think about a peace that goes beyond anything anyone can understand . . . Well, that’s something good!  A couple of weeks ago there was some talk that the end of the world would be that week.  Someone asked me about it.  I really don’t worry about the end of days as we know it.  First, I believe what the Bible says in Matthew 25:13.  We won’t know the day or hour when Christ returns.  Second,  why should I worry.  I have a pardon for all my sins through Jesus, and I have peace in knowing he’s with me.

As you go through your day, enjoy the Peace of the Lord.  God bless you.