“and let us consider [thoughtfully] how we may encourage one another to love and to do good deeds,” Hebrews 10:24 AMP
Happy Tuesday! When everything starts getting routine in our lives, it’s a great time to try something new. What will you try?
One thing I have noticed that is important to everyone is to have encouragement during our trials, and when we feel especially weak. How long does it take for you to be worn down after a long day of work when the house is mess and the kids are begging? How about when your grown kids need help, but so do your parents?
Everyone is going through different struggles in their lives all the time. At the end of the day there are two things that matter: God and people. Things are not what is most important. Sometimes it is difficult to find a balance between work and caring for family. That’s when we need to ask God for help and truly depend on Him to help us.
A friend of mine recently lost her mother. It has been difficult for her. Not only does she need encouragement, she needs help with housework and her kids. As a Christian family this is when we need to pitch in to make a difference. Together we can help one another without wearing ourselves too thin.
Recently I have been humbled by my friends and how much support they have shown me with my new book. People I never expected have come out to help. It is wonderful to help and receive help.
“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.
“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.
The blessing of the LORD brings [true] riches, And He adds no sorrow to it [for it comes as a blessing from God].
PROVERBS 10:22 AMP
Good morning! The sun is out and Landon is excited. If it doesn’t rain today, he will be able to go swimming. After a long dry period, we have experienced a couple of weeks of daily rainfall. When you are three and want to go swimming, this isn’t good news. Unfortunately, there are children with larger concerns than rain affecting their fun time.
At work I’ve started writing newspaper articles to help new businesses. Yesterday, I hit the jackpot. I interviewed a young man who was continuing a family business after his father had died. I interviewed a Chinese couple who had traveled from China to chase their dream of starting a Japanese restaurant. Finally, I interviewed a young man from Nigeria starting a used car business. Did I mention all of these entrepreneurs are under the age of 30?
The stories were so interesting and heart warming. I felt blessed to meet with each person. I worked four hours late to make sure their stories would make the newspaper deadline. This morning as I watch Landon racing through the house and playing with his toys, my mind reflects on the last interview of yesterday, the young man from Nigeria.
In his interview yesterday, he shared how Christians are murdered in his homeland. He spoke about extreme poverty and physicians leaving college to resort to a life a crime, because of their inability to earn enough money to feed their families. He also shared his story of attending a summer basketball camp, where he was selected by a coach for the NBA. Did I mention this young man is 6’11”? I’m a mere 5’2” (when I stretch) and I was so glad when he sat down.
His parents allowed him to go to North Carolina at the age of 16 hoping to provide him a better future. They must have loved him so much to let him go. Plus, he relayed that promises were made to his parents about his care that did not take place. Once in the United States, he shared a dorm room without heat and air conditioning with three roommates. He had one outfit to wear and he looked forward to going to Golden Corral to eat, because he was not provided food on a regular basis. His Christian beliefs were what helped him obtain a degree and play in the NBA. He has also been instrumental in helping other young men get noticed by coaches too. I felt his pain as he shared his story, which included his mother not being able to attend his college graduation due to a hardship in obtaining a VISA from the US embassy in Nigeria at age 52. He talked as if this is an old age, which surprised this 52 year old mother.
His sad story was laced with hope for the future, which included his Christian beliefs. As I explained yesterday, sometimes when we go through tough times, we can appreciate our blessings more. God seems to use those of us who are the most broken.
I pray your blessings overflow today. God bless you.
Listen and hear my voice; Listen carefully and hear my words.
Someone once told me that God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason. Yet, listening is something that is difficult to do. Is it because we are so selfishly caught up in ourselves or maybe it’s because we want someone’s attention? Could it be because we want someone to care or understand our perspective? Is it possible that we are lonely and need human connections, or could it be that we have only been speaking Mickey Mouse and Big Bird to children and we are just excited to converse with another adult? Is it possible that there is no one at home to listen or could it be that we have short-term memory problems and we are afraid we will forget what we need to say until a time when it’s too late? Maybe we just need to be heard and feel valued.
True listening requires taking control over our thoughts and quieting our minds. This is very difficult for most of us in a world where we are constantly flooded with input and information. That is one reason scientists tells us that meditation is good for our health. Over the years I have learned that it is when I’m the most quiet and I’m able to control my thoughts, I hear God. I don’t sit around with my legs crossed mumbling mantras, but I do sit quietly and contemplate scripture. More often than that I sit quietly and tell God how much I love Him. It’s not an exercise for me, because I mean it. However, it is very therapeutic. I also try to take a short inventory of my blessings each morning. When things seem the worst, it helps to realize how many blessings we have.
Yet, listening goes beyond listening to God to the world around us. This morning I noticed my grandson stuttering trying to get my attention. He needed me to repeat what he was saying, so he would know I was listening. He needed me to hear him. This past week someone wrote an email about me not performing a task well. At first I was a little irritated because there had been no conversations concerning the request, and I didn’t realize it was a task expected of me. Then, I took time to listen. I watched and listened for an hour, calming my thoughts so that I could understand. I heard the need for validation. I heard loneliness and the plea for recognition. I heard knowledge and the request for respect. I heard wonderful ideas, and inability to physically put dreams into action. Then, I asked myself “am I all that different?”
We need to find a balance between speaking and listening. No one should feel the stress that causes stuttering or frustration that results in inappropriate correspondence. We all need to listen and we all need to be heard. If you are having difficulties with a relationship, quiet your mind and listen. Listen to God and listen to those around you. I assure you your mind will better understand. Some of the best listeners I know are also gossipers, or people who gather information to manipulate. Take the high road and don’t fall into these traps.
You need to be heard too. Find someone with whom you can share stories and confide. You can always talk to God, but we all need people who understand. If you don’t have anyone, I’m here.
Therefore, confess your sins to one another [your false steps, your offenses], and pray for one another, that you may be healed and restored. The heartfelt and persistent prayer of a righteous man (believer) can accomplish much [when put into action and made effective by God–it is dynamic and can have tremendous power].
JAMES 5:16 AMP
Hello from beautiful sunny Florida! It’s good to be back home and return to my routine. Traveling is fun, but I love my life in Florida. Today, remember to forgive others as we have been forgiven.
Do you ever feel like no one understands what you are going through? Do you feel alone and boxed in? Well, I have good news. God is always there. You are never alone. Just as you are going through trials, so are others. The best thing to do is just hang in there and trust God. If you have faith in God, you will see mountains moved and your life transformed. You won’t even know what happened, but your life will be better.
You are probably not like me, but if you are you should know what happens. Sometimes I just can’t seem to learn the lessons and have to keep going through the same struggles repeatedly. I’m not the easiest to teach, but even I see the light eventually, and so will you. Something that helps me is to remember to focus my efforts on helping others and not on myself. It is amazing how well this helps. Try it and while you’re at it, put a song in your heart!
I hope you have a wonderful Thursday. God bless you.
The man of too many friends [chosen indiscriminately] will be broken in pieces and come to ruin, But there is a [true, loving] friend who [is reliable and] sticks closer than a brother. PROVERBS 18:24 AMP
Happy Tuesday! A couple of months ago a nice lady that I’ve known for many years invited me to join in a Women’s Bible Study. She had asked me a few months before that to participate in another event at her church. She’s very kind but lives about 20 miles away. I know it doesn’t sound like that far away, but after a long day at work it might as well be 100 miles. This time I decided to take her up on the offer. Since that time I’ve grown to love her as a dear friend, and I am crazy about the women in the group.
The group meets every Monday night. Last night I was just exhausted. I had spent the weekend finishing up my BA requirements, and I just needed to rest. Plus, I felt like I had been neglecting my husband. My friend was very understanding, but sent me the cutest photos of the other ladies waving at me. The text said “[w]e are thinking of you, . . . miss you . . . [and] . . . look forward to seeing you.” The message went on to say that the group was praying for my safe travels to New Orleans this weekend. Isn’t that great! It feels so good to have friends, and to sometimes feel missed. Better yet, isn’t it great to be prayed for by friends!
God knows what we need in our lives. We just need to listen. Is it hard to go to the Bible Study? Not really. I just get tired driving home. Do I learn anything? Absolutely. Do I like the Christian friends I’ve made? You can’t imagine how much!
It’s good to have friends with the same values, who look after you and “prod” you forward in your Christian walk (Hebrews 10:24-25). So, if you are like me and don’t want to add anything else to your schedule and God keeps sending someone around, take a chance and try something new. You will be amazed how much your life will be enhanced. God bless you.