Category Archives: Faith

Cheerful Work

Ah Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! There is nothing too difficult or too wonderful for You–
‭‭JEREMIAH‬ ‭32:17‬ ‭AMP‬‬

Good Morning!  Every day we are one day closer to Christmas.  Are you beginning to feel anxious about commitments, money, time, and gifts?  You are not alone.  One answer is to do everything for God.

This morning I woke up, looked around and wanted to go back to bed.  Every night this week I came home late, and our home is a mess.  I have a stack of presents to wrap.  I have yet to decorate the house, and oh boy do my joints hurt.  I know you must be  thinking, well, this post is a little different.  I can tell you that all my grumbling didn’t make me feel any better. 7B390ED0-DC39-4E5A-8AB5-D6D6447D6B5F So, my plan is to put on some Christmas music to lift my spirit, and get busy.  It’s amazing what I can accomplish when I stop complaining and feeling sorry for myself.  Let me add one more point.  Talk to God while you work.  If you are having fun dancing, singing and talking to God, the time will fly.  You won’t feel like you worked on your day off either.  Most of all, remember why we celebrate Christmas.

I challenge you today to take on all the dreaded tasks with a cheerful heart.  God bless you.

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Forgiveness Thursday – Parables and Dominic

Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.  Luke 15:3-32

Good Morning.

Have you ever lost a pet, or worse, a child?  Years ago, I had the cutest black Shih Tzu.  I loved him.  We opened the door on the Fourth of July to let him relieve himself, when suddenly the local fireworks show started.  In seconds he was gone and we never saw him again.  Whenever my youngest child was in Middle School, she decided to go home with a friend without telling me.  I was so relieved and angry when I found her.

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Something similar happened last night.  I’ve had quite a few long days lately, and yesterday was no different.  I left for work before 7 am.  At lunch I went to Bible Study.   I worked late and at 6 pm went to handbell practice for our Christmas Eve midnight service.  It was when I was driving home that I received a call from my husband.  He’d forgotten that I had practice after work, but wait there was more.  He said our 8 1/2 month old kitten, Dominic was missing.  I prayed with a friend on the way home.  I wasn’t shaken yet, because I know cats can hide sometimes.

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When I arrived home, I began calling him shaking his cat treats.  He always comes running when I do that, but this time no Dominic.  I looked in all his inside hiding places.  My husband had been putting up Christmas decorations, and he’d been in the attic.  So, we searched the attic.  Then, I walked around the yard looking up in the trees and calling him.  At this point I noticed my husband’s parents were also searching.  He’s never been outside, so I left my husband and my two dogs and set off walking the neighborhood with a flashlight calling him.  At this point I was cold and felt helpless.  I prayed for his safety with tears flowing.  I returned home and looked some more.  It was after 9 pm.  I was tired, hadn’t started studying yet, and our kitten was gone.  My friend and her children joined the search.  My husband felt terrible at this point, because Dominic went missing while I was away and he was home.  We both sat down in dispair.  Then, my husband saw his fluffy tail around the corner.  As it turns out, Dominic was under the recliner.  He always runs with his tail up.  When we found him, he was slinking through the house.  We don’t know what happened, but he seems good this morning.  Thanks be to God!

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This morning I am reminded of the Parable of the Lost Sheep.  I left everyone in search of my kitten.  When I found Dominic, I notified everyone, rejoicing.  Can you imagine how happy our Heavenly Father is when someone who has lost their way finally decides to turn their life around?  If you are lost this morning, turn to God.  He’s waiting.

God bless you.

Use Your Gifts to Change the World Wednesday – Invite Others

I sought the Lord, and he delivered me from all my fears.            Psalm 34:4

Good Morning.  It is a cold Wednesday in northwest Florida this morning.  I am so blessed to have a warm coat, gloves, and heated seats in my car.  As you go out today, remember there are others who are not as fortunate.  Maybe they have lost sight of where they need to be, or maybe they have given up all hope.  Do what you can to help them.

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This morning while I was getting ready for work, I was planning our Sunday School Christmas Party!  I’m so excited. I have prayed that God will send me more people, and I am optimistic that maybe I will see some of them on Sunday.  As I was praying, I felt like God was telling me to invite people I wouldn’t normally invite.  You don’t have to be homeless to need help.  There are people who have money, but are misguided.  Then, it occurred to me that you could do the same at your church.

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So, if you are in my area, join us for Sunday School. If not, be sure to go this week and invite some folks to join you.  This time of year is a wonderful time to worship God and fellowship with others.  Trust me when I say, it will enrich your life beyond measure. I plan to invite everyone I see.  If you take on the challenge, let me know what happens.   God bless you!

Try Something New Tuesday – When Is It Important To Be Right?

We must keep our eyes on Jesus.  Hebrews 12:2

Happy Tuesday! I don’t know about your life, but mine has been busy during the holidays this year.  I was thinking this morning about all the Christmas seasons I’ve seen come and go.  Some years I was meeting myself coming and going, and others were too quiet.  Neither is good. When our lives are too slow during the holidays, we tend to become depressed.  When we are too busy, we become overwhelmed.  It’s really difficult to enjoy this time of year in either state.  An alternative choice is to be moderately busy with life’s tasks, but take time to enjoy Christmas.

Have you ever been in a meeting and been engaged in an argument?  You probably haven’t, but I certainly have.  As a matter of fact, it happened to me last night.  This morning I find myself pondering the question, when it is important to be right.  What do you think?

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I was reading an article from Psychology Today  where Schwartz, the author, explained that from an early age we are rewarded for being right (Schwartz, March 7, 2011).  I found this to certainly be true in my life.  When I was in grade school, I was rewarded for good grades and punished for bad.  The competitiveness of our society encourages people to continue in this pattern.  Schwartz asked couples in counseling if they would rather be right or happy. He goes on to say that while everyone says happiness, the couples continue to fight.  So, when is it important to be right?

I have found while teaching Sunday School that there are many ideas thrown on the table.  Each person thinks his or her idea is right.  I want to encourage discussion, and gently guide members to what the Bible says.  Often to avoid conflict, I say “there’s no right or wrong answer.”  But, wait a minute, there clearly is a right answer.  When is it important to be right?  In this case, proving a point could steer others away from Christ.  So, what I try to do is ask questions that lead the class to seeking the information where they can find the right answer.

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So, is being right even important?  Being right in the right manner earns respect.  Being right aggressively is sometimes seen as bullying. Conversely, being wrong is just embarrassing, and we all want to save face.  In my situation, I’m not sure who was right, but I just let it go.  I laughed it off.  However, it is still in the back of my mind and I know sometime today, that I will find out who was right.  Will I bring it up again?  No. There’s no point.  If I was wrong, I don’t want it to happen again.  Oops.  What did I just say?  The only answer I have is to pray about the question and trust God. However, when you know the answer ask yourself, is it important to tell anyone.  If you were right, let the other person save face.  If you were wrong, be kind to yourself.

So, today I encourage you to let go of arguments.  No one really wins.  I look forward to reading your comments.  God Bless you.

 

 

Schwartz, Mel LCSW.  Why Is It Important To Be Right, March 7, 2011, https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/shift-mind/201103/why-is-it-so-important-be-right.

 

Follow up:  I was the one wrong.

The Rest of the Story

The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.  Proverbs 11:25

After posting yesterday, I quickly set about cleaning up our thermos. At that moment it occurred to me that we didn’t have any milk.  I had spoken to my husband the evening before about needing to pick up milk for Our grandson.  How would I make hot cocoa without milk? I searched the pantry for dry hot cocoa packets. Having found none, I paused for a moment to make a cup of coffee.  That’s when I saw  some k-cups of hot cocoa pushed to the back of the shelf.  So, I began filling the thermos.  Then, I packed up my car and headed out.

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In my type of work it’s easy to know where to find those in need of assistance.  I’ve seen people living in deplorable conditions, and every year at Christmas I’m reminded of how blessed I truly am.  I’ve done the best I could to eliminate the worst dilapidated buildings in town and provide opportunities for affordable housing, but realize at the same time some of the worst buildings provide shelter from the elements for people who are down and out.  So, I figure it won’t be so difficult to help someone.  I found the opposite to be true.

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There was little traffic.  I drove from one place to another, and didn’t see as much as a construction worker or police officer to warm up.  I drove by the churches and other locations where the down-trodden go for assistance.  I drove behind shopping centers and grocery stores, but I couldn’t find anyone to help.  Then, I drove up on an area of town where a group of men hang out.  There were two or three out there smoking, huddled by a fire.  I stopped, rolled down my window and reached for the thermos, which had rolled under the passenger seat in my car.  One of the men came over to me.  He called me by name.  I didn’t know him personally, but had driven by many times.  I handed him thermos and simply said, “I see ya’ll out here when I drive by, and thought you might enjoy some hot cocoa this morning.”  He replied, “yes we could” as he leaned in the window and checked out my car.  With those words I was stunned by the stench of alcohol from his breath at 7:30 in the morning.   I wished him a good day and drove away.  Then, when I turned the corner, I saw a homeless person walking on the sidewalk.

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So, what can be learned from my experience?  Trust God, but use common sense and don’t put your life in unnecessary danger.  Was I in danger?  I don’t think so, but I feel like I need to remind you to be cautious.  As I reached down to pickup the thermos in the car, I realized that one action could have been confused with reaching for a weapon, which wasn’t very smart.  Second, trust God.  When I saw the homeless person, I questioned whether I helped the right one.  Remember, I said I couldn’t find anyone to help.  God clearly led me there.  I think the homeless person was just a reminder that there are many who need different types of assistance.  Which brings me to number three.  Helping others isn’t for just one day in your life.  Finally, be careful not to complain or brag about your actions.  Jesus taught in Matthew 6:3, to keep the amount of your giving between you and God.

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I hope you have a wonderful Saturday. Please share your experiences and keep blessing those around you.  God bless you.

 

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.

 

 

Forgiveness Thursday – Grudges

He reached down from heaven and rescued me; He drew me out of deep waters.  Psalm 18:16

Happy Thursday!  I’m posting at lunch today.  It’s a little later than usual because for some reason, I just can’t get my act together. Ever been there?  In Florida it is getting colder by the minute.  It was raining and 56 degrees when I took my dogs out this morning.  Now, it is still drizzling rain and the temperature is dropping.  There is a chance for snow on Saturday.  We actually get a few flurries once in a while in Florida, believe it or not.  However, it is the exception, not the rule.  I was wearing shorts and flip flops just a couple of days ago.

Have you ever gone somewhere and everyone was talking wonderfully about a person that has been especially mean to you publicly on more than one occasion?  Have you ever found out that your friends all like someone you don’t?  Did you feel angry at them?  Have you ever been around people who just get on your nerves.  I’m talking about their hygiene, mannerisms, style, etc.?  Hmmm.  I’ve got some good news and some bad news.  First, the bad news is the problem is with you.  Ouch!  Don’t feel bad, because I was enjoying this bitter tea earlier this week.  I had to stop what I was doing, go somewhere quiet, and get right with God.  Why?  Well, first we know Jesus taught that loving our neighbors as ourselves is the second most important commandment (Matthew 22:39). It doesn’t matter what they do or say.  You are responsible for you, not them.  Everyone has different gifts to bring to the table.  We need to love them for who they are and avoid judging.  Do you remember what Jesus says about casting stones (John 8:7)?  As the story goes, the scribes and Pharisees brought a woman before Jesus who had committed adultery.  Under the Old Covenant, the punishment for adultery was stoning.  Jesus explained that only people who had never done anything wrong (sinned) should cast stones.  The ending is good.  All the accusers left her and Jesus told her to “go and sin no more” (John  8:11).  How many times have I gotten caught up in this type of behavior?  Too many to count! Sound familiar?  Jesus taught that we are to forgive others just like God forgives us (Matthew 6:14).

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The good news is we can start right now.  Just bow your head and get right with God.  You can do it anywhere, and usually without anyone knowing.  Forgive those who have done you wrong, and let go of grudges.  While you are forgiving others, ask for forgiveness.  Dismiss bitter talk and gossip.  It makes matters worse.  Don’t wish bad on someone who has done you wrong.  That makes you wrong.  Forgiveness is one of the best gifts you can give yourself.  It frees your heart from bitterness.  One of my favorite and most comforting verses says “and the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians‬ ‭4:7‬).  Every time I hear or read these words, I feel tremendous comfort.  It’s peace beyond our understanding that we receive when we forgive.  Isn’t that great!

Today and every day, join me in letting go of grudges and asking God for forgiveness.  God bless you!