“That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;” Colossians 1:10-11 KJV
Isn’t it great to wake up and realize it’s Friday! I woke up today dancing a jig right out the door. Yes, I have a lot of work to do at home and the office. Yet, there is a little bit of happiness knowing a break is ahead for some fun and relaxation. This weekend I have my list of things to do, but plan to go outside a bit and breathe in the air, while I admire my surroundings. If you haven’t tried it before, even five minutes outside can improve your mood and outlook. Bring a friend and spread the love.
This morning as I was thinking about how wonderful Fridays are, I realized that I was letting events decide my perspective. How many times have I started the day happy, and something kind of spoiled the rest of the day? Of course, I know the old saying that “it’s not what happens but how you react” that’s important. However, today I was reminded of Colossians 1:10-11.
Colossae was a City located about 100 miles from Ephesus and near Laodicea. In Paul’s letter to the early Christians in the church of Colossae, they instructed them to be strengthened in God’s word. We can look to scripture for every occasion, but today I would like to encourage you to instead of letting what happens around you affect your attitude, pause and think of what God’s word says. Find your strength there. Joy is an action and choice we all have regardless of what’s happening around us. When we express joy we are also able to be more patient, kind and loving.
Have a wonderful Friday! May God continue to bless you!
“For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:” Matthew 6:14 KJV
Happy Thursday. The week is flying by and Christmas is almost here.
Starting early this morning, I have seen one upset person after another. It sometimes seems that no one is happy. Like you, I listened and empathized and made my way through the endless line of individuals. Then, the day was over. You might think this is good, but my work was not completed and my mood suffered slightly.
It is a burden when others are constantly complaining. However, providing a good ear for listening and understanding goes a long way towards relationship building and anger calming. It often saves time down the road too. Jesus taught to forgive others as God has forgiven us. When we are able to follow this simple guideline, we reap benefits beyond measure.
“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
Colossians 3:13 NIV
Happy Thursday! It’s a rainy day, but the sun is shining within me.
Have you ever felt like your heart was hard from bad circumstances and rumors? In my line of work I have to take an unpopular position more often than not. After 20 years of hearing people say that I wanted to destroy the City that I love very much, I felt very bitter toward many people. I had seen their ugly side. I would hear others speak wonderfully about different people I had seen behave with disrespect and insolence. I couldn’t understand. I wanted to warn my friends, but you and I both know that never works. Plus, my friends didn’t have the same experiences for obvious reasons. So, guess who looked even worse. One night I hit the bottom and went to our church after a late City Commission public meeting where someone I called a friend spoke horribly about me. I cried and prayed for understanding.
God works in mysterious ways. As I grew closer to God, studying His word and taking theology classes, he opened opportunities for me. It’s funny how we think it’s our idea, but it is Him working in our lives. While many adventures were and still are awaiting, one of the opportunities was to write articles for a local newspaper about businesses in our city. I would be interviewing some of the same people who had spoken to me with strong language, contempt and anger. These were the same people who had spread untrue rumors in the community.
When God opens a door, we need to take advantage of the opportunity. Not long after I began writing weekly articles about local businesses, another newspaper requested my articles. I even had an opportunity to submit an article to two larger city newspapers. With my position of not working for the newspaper as a paid writer, I was able to take a different perspective. My articles are about the people owning and managing the businesses.
As each person shared their story, my hardened heart understood and felt what they were sharing. Be careful what you pray for, because some of the stories you simply can’t forget. I sometimes want to share the stories that are not confidential, but I realize that it might drag down someone else’s heart. This was my request and I am so thankful. However, there is another side to understanding and it can be painful. I also realized I’m really not that much different. I sin too.
The good news is Paul explains to the people in Phillipi in Phillipians 4:7 that “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” How did Paul know this? Paul knew from personal experience of persecuting Christians and having an encounter with Christ.
The same holds true today. We need to forgive ourselves and others. Ask God to forgive you. His peace is amazing!
“You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.”
James 4:4 NIV
Happy Wednesday! It seems a little more like hectic Wednesday here. We have the hustle and bustle of Christmas combined with people frantic to build roofs on their homes with more rain in the forecast. Nearly every building still standing in our town is without a roof or has a huge blue tarp.
Last week a friend and I went to see Natalie Grant and Danny Gokey in concert. We had VIP tickets, which made the event even more special. In the Q&A session, the two told of how they hadn’t realized how severe the destruction and damage associated with Hurricane Michael had been. It’s almost like we’ve been swept under the rug due to all the political events taking place. The concert was absolutely amazing! The singers collected gifts for children and visited an elementary school while in the area. I was surprised to learn yesterday that a friend of mine, who is from Milwaukee, went to school with Danny Gokey. It really is a small world if you think about it.
Have you ever felt like your life was spinning out-of-control? I felt that way recently. Sin is a slippery slope. Satan takes advantage of our weaknesses, which are always changing. Once we allow him to influence us, we grow further and further away from God. One of the most painful things a married couple can experience is an affair outside the marriage relationship. When we grow away from God, it’s like an affair with Satan. It’s amazing how quickly he can slip into our lives and turn us upside down. I couldn’t see it in my own life at first. Then, I heard the song below by Natalie Grant. “It’s hard to stand on shifting sand. It’s hard to shine in the shadows of the night.” For me the night was darkness. Darkness can be so overwhelming. Yet, before I allowed Satan to influence me, I was so happy. Now, once again I feel “like my soul is flying when my feet are on the ground.”
Have you ever felt this way? David struggled with darkness. Yet, he always sought to make God happy in everything he did. This is opposite of what the world teaches. We are taught to fight for positions, titles, awards and jobs, when the most important thing for us to strive for is God’s love and making God happy. You never have to be in the darkness. The battle has already been won. Just ask Christ to forgive you. If you haven’t accepted him as your Lord and Savior, it’s never too late.
When we are in the light with God, we can help more people. We can share the light, instead of the shadows of darkness. When you use your gifts to change the world today, share them in the light. God bless you.
“Blessed [gratefully praised and adored] be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, who comforts and encourages us in every trouble so that we will be able to comfort and encourage those who are in any kind of trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as Christ’s sufferings are ours in abundance [as they overflow to His followers], so also our comfort [our reassurance, our encouragement, our consolation] is abundant through Christ [it is truly more than enough to endure what we must]. But if we are troubled and distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted and encouraged, it is for your comfort, which works [in you] when you patiently endure the same sufferings which we experience. And our hope for you [our confident expectation of good for you] is firmly grounded [assured and unshaken], since we know that just as you share as partners in our sufferings, so also you share as partners in our comfort.”
2 CORINTHIANS 1:3-7 AMP
Happy Thursday! It’s a great time to seek forgiveness and to forgive others.
The older I grow, the more funerals I attend. This week two funerals are on my agenda. The hardest funerals for me are the ones where a child has died, and ones where intense grief is expressed. I also, out of selfishness, sometimes have trouble getting through funerals where I think the person was not a Christian, or that remind me of a something similar. Finally, I have a difficult time with funerals where sad music is played.
In Genesis 5:22-24 we learn that Enoch was taken to heaven without dying. Second Kings 2:11 tells us that Elijah was taken up to heaven in a whirlwind. There maybe others, but the majority of us are not getting out of this life without dying. It’s something we all have to do. That doesn’t really take away fear related to death.
As Christians we know that when our earthly life is over, we will continue on a spiritual journey. This brings me great comfort, because I’m looking forward to serving God in a new capacity. That provides personal comfort, but what about when someone we know passes? The emotional pain can be more than any physical pain we have ever known. I’ve heard people say that they lost a piece of their heart. It’s a pain that doesn’t go away quickly. In my own life, I’ve found myself looking for the one who passed, knowing good and well they aren’t here anymore. I miss them so much. That’s when we have to be comforted by knowing that through Christ’s sufferings we will see our loved ones again. It’s like, as Billy Graham said, “changing addresses”. So, if our loved ones are Christians, we will see them and rejoice in heaven. That’s nice to know. We still have to go through the grieving process, which can be very difficult. We still miss our loved ones. Yet, there is hope around the corner that we will be reunited.
Over time I have found myself struggling with loss of adult family and friends who I feel certain were not Christians. As much as we may sometimes want to force people to make the right choice, we can’t. Everyone has a choice. Yet, sometimes people accept Christ as their personal savior in their last moments. There are other people who might not want you to be aware of their decisions. At the end of the day, it is their choice. Always remember that none of us are promised tomorrow. Make the most of your time in the best ways possible. Be the best Christian you can be. Then, when a family member passes, celebrate their life. Don’t mourn their death. Remember the good times and their contributions.
If you have lost a loved one, give yourself time to grieve. It’s normal. Let people help you. Read the scriptures and celebrate the passing of your loved one. Praise God with your every breath and know that your spiritual life will be unbelievable! God bless you!
“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.”
James 3:9-10 NIV
Happy Tuesday! It’s a great time to try something new. What will you do? Today, I’m going to be mindful of my tongue.
Have you ever found yourself aggravated and talking about someone? Did you feel like you were venting? Many of us consider this type of chat venting because we are trying to deal with something within ourselves. It’s important to remember that we are all God’s children, even the people that aggravate and make us angry. We never know what someone else has been through or what’s behind their words. Also, I heard a smart woman say that often this type of talk is due to insecurities, worry and fear.
James is saying that as Christians gossip, spreading rumors and anything in general that is bad that comes out of our mouths, pollutes Christianity as a whole. It also reflects what is in our hearts, especially when we are angry or under stress. How can you say that you love your neighbor, if you are tearing them down with your tongue? This is something that we all deal with and need to work on.
There are also people in our lives that have the same problem, sometimes worse. I’m sure you can think of someone who lives for drama and creates it. We can help them, but we must be careful not to get sucked in. These types of people can be very manipulative. Try redirecting their talk to helping the person they are talking about. Be thoughtful and have some ideas ready before the strife, gossip and drama begin. If it’s a close Christian friend you might be able to work out a plan together to remind your friend when he or she falls victim to this behavior.
Satan is alive and knows our weaknesses. He is ready to step in at anytime and lead Christians astray at a moment’s notice.
Minding our tongues is a great way to change the world one day at a time. God bless you.
“The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.”
Proverbs 15:4 NIV
Happy Wednesday! It’s the day before a holiday and everyone has their minds on family, cooking, cleaning, traveling and similar things. Don’t forget to be thankful. It’s not just about being thankful at mealtime, but remembering all things big and small in your life that are truly a blessing. We all have them, even in bad times.
The current trend is to find friends and dates on social media. From what I have seen, it leads many to heartache and depression. Most people have a few friends in their lives that would stop everything to help them. These are the people who are there when you are sick, have a loss or celebration. They are not jealous or gossipy about you. They don’t just show up for the food or to be seen. They love you for who you are and would give up everything they have to help you. Friendship is not about the number of likes you have on a post or the number of people who follow your social media site. It is certainly not about the number of people who call you friend on Facebook.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Michael, I have seen many negative posts and some that were downright nasty. I urge you to remember that there are two sides to every story, and usually the one posting something controversial is trying to sway your thinking. The Bible addresses the tongue many times. Although posts are typed and the tongue isn’t used, the outcome is the similar. Evil words posted, just like evil words said, crush the spirit. I encourage you, when on Facebook and other social media, to use soothing and lighthearted posts. Lift people up, instead of bringing them down.
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
Ephesians 4:32 NIV
Happy Thursday! I’m so glad we made it through Wednesday. We all have challenging days from time-to-time, and yesterday qualified for me. Today is a new day and it feels great to start over.
Has anyone ever crossed the lines in a situation that involved your children? It doesn’t have to be anything major. I heard someone in authority once say “you can say anything you want about me, but leave my family alone”. It’s true. As a mother and grandmother, I am particularly sensitive to words and actions involving my children and grandchildren. You don’t play with a bear cub, because you know the mother bear will be somewhere close ready to take care of you. The same holds true of most mothers.
This morning I recall a particularly painful situation involving my daughter where I held a grudge. I have crossed paths with the woman over time, but I have managed to avoid her. Today, I found myself face-to-face with the lady. I know God was with me, because I handled the situation like a professional. I was kind, caring and helpful. After she left I reflected at how she is also a child of God, now suffering due to the Hurricane. How could I not forgive her, when God forgives me?
So today, join me in placing forgiveness at the top of your priorities. God bless you.
“Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord, my soul.”
Psalm 146:1 NIV
Happy Friday! It’s a great day to spread God’s love.
Have you ever considered the pureness of your heart? Most of us can fake kindness or put on a good attitude around people, when things are going well. However, when things get tough on the outside, the real person shines through. This morning I’m mindful of David pouring his heart out to God in praise, despite the fact that King Saul was trying to kill him. Even when his son Absalom tried to overthrow him, David refused to fight or even allow someone to speak badly about Absalom. He just wanted to praise God.
It’s difficult to put David’s actions into a modern perspective. The world tells us to look out for ourselves first and fight for our rights regardless of who are what is in the way. It’s a dog eat dog world. Yet, we know that we are to seek pleasing God first and foremost. I think it is probably something we all need to work on every day. Yet, what better way to spread the love of God. If you are stressed, angry, sick or in pain and your pure heart shines through, everyone sees it.
Today, spread God’s love through a pure heart. God bless you.
“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:”
James 1:19 KJV
Good morning! It’s day 15 and still no electricity. I’m excited to say that I’ve been able to find peace in the routine I have developed within the chaos. For years I’ve heard people refer to their favorite vacation spot as “God’s Country”. My mother is among those. She loves visiting Tennessee and North Caroline. I can’t count the times she has said “that’s God’s country”. I few years ago, I started thinking that our home town is “God’s Country”. Lately, those thoughts have been reinforced for me. Our town has been devastated by disaster. Yet, everywhere you go, people are thankful. Maybe sometimes disasters bring communities closer together, or maybe they bring out the best in people. Maybe opportunities abound among the rubble.
This morning in the quietness of my home, I listened. For many years I known about contemplative prayer. Essentially, you quiet your thoughts and listen. Does this take practice? Yes, but man is it ever worth it! Just trying to listen to God without making petitions is so rewarding.
It’s equally rewarding to listen to others. I mean really listen, and watch their body language while trying to understand what they are saying. I’m referring to the part of what they are saying that isn’t so obvious. I don’t know how Jesus made time for every person during his three-year ministry, but it was definitely a priority for Him. I usually have to cut off the chit-chat at some point in order to get my work done. I often think of how Jesus valued each person and accomplished so much in so little time.
So, today use your gift of listening and make the world a better place. God bless you.