PHILIPPIANS 4:13 ON 4/13

PHILIPPIANS 4 13 ON 4 13

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  – Philippians 4:13

We lose fear and gain faith every time we say this verse because of one little inclusive word – all.  Does it say we can do things only on Tuesdays and Thursdays through Christ who strengthens us?  Are there any limits whatsoever in this verse?  Does it say only men can do all things through Christ who strengthens them?  No – there are absolutely no restrictions of any kind in this verse.

When this passage says I CAN DO, it’s not necessarily talking about doing things, rather it means that Christ will give us the strength to handle the speed bumps in life.  If, however, the things you need to handle with His help involve you doing things, then that’s part of it.  Got that?  LOL…  Tim will explain.

There is a catch though.  You’re thinking, “I knew there would be a catch.”   Yeah, but it’s okay.  You have to make sure you stay connected with the source, Christ Jesus.  It’s a total deal breaker if you don’t do that.  Keep reading your Bible and praying.

Every character has an inward spring; let Christ be that spring.  Every action has a keynote; let Christ be that note, to which your whole life is attuned.   – Henry Drummond

If you feel like maybe your strength quotient is not where it needs to be, check the plug.  If you are unplugged, you will not have power – strength.  The outlet is always good, but sometimes the plug wiggles loose – and sometimes the cord frays and that’s a really bad problem to have.

 We faintly hear, we dimly see,
In differing phrase we pray;
But dim or clear, we own in Him
The life, the truth, the way.
– John Greenleaf Whittier

Have you ever been afraid you’d mess something up if you jumped in and tried to lend a hand?  Well, I am a complete klutz in the kitchen.  When we joined a local Southern Baptist congregation a few years ago, they were in need of help in the kitchen on Wednesday nights, preparing the mid-week meals.  I can’t slice a tomato without cutting my finger!  My husband and I reluctantly agreed to help – and it wasn’t too bad.  I am happy to report I still have all ten of those digits (which is good because I need all of them to play the piano).

My no-nonsense mother used to say, “Make yourself useful.”  It referred to clearing the table or taking out the trash.  But as my ability to be useful expanded, so did the opportunities.  Add something to a meeting, a party, or a project.  Being useful is so widely applicable and enormously satisfying.  – Kelly Corrigan

We really cannot accomplish anything without Christ – the source – providing the strength and wisdom to us.  His ways are not only higher than our ways, but most of the time they leave me saying, “Wow, Lord – I never would have thought to do it THAT way!”  He comes up with the most creative solutions for life’s speed bumps!  Thank You, Jesus!  🙂

 

Advertisements

THE ELIMINATION OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

TL 11-25 INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR THE ELIMINATION OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

THE WINDOWS OF THE SOUL

Violence is such a buzz word in our society.  There is violence all around us.  Times are tough right now.  People don’t have jobs (or more than likely they have a couple of part-time jobs and still can’t skate by).  The stresses of life can build up and if you don’t have an outlet (the gym or some other release), you might strike out at the ones you supposedly love the most.  But abuse is NEVER right – NEVER. 

Let me tell you about a woman who experiences violence behind closed doors.  Behind lead-glass French doors, I might add.

It’s the heaviest burden she will ever bear.  It’s the darkest secret she will ever hide.  She will go to great lengths to make it look as though everything is perfect to outsiders – neighbors and friends.  She will make every excuse in the book to “cover” for her abuser, saying, “He just had a bad day” – or “Wow am I stupid, why did I make him angry like that?”   She turns the fault on herself – every single time.

After a while, she begins to believe that lie.  She has internalized the blame for so long that eventually – everything that goes wrong is somehow her fault.  It doesn’t matter if it does not make logical sense – it is still her fault.  Her abuser has her right where he wants her…  frightened and vulnerable.  She’s afraid of her own shadow and unable to make simple decisions anymore.  She is completely paralyzed and spends time over thinking things that the rest of us don’t think twice about.  She questions her own sanity at times.

She’s lost every ounce of self-esteem and beats herself up and may even cut herself because she “deserves” nothing less in her mind.  Her abuser has convinced her that she is less than in every respect.  She is not as pretty, as smart, as skinny, as understanding, as – anything.  She thinks if only she was all those things, then finally she would be good enough and her abuser would stop verbally  and/or physically abusing her.

If she has children she feels especially trapped.  If she does not have children there is a chance she can get away, but she knows she needs a plan.  It’s frightening to plan her escape because up to this point she does not believe she has done one single thing right.  She asks herself why this plan would be any better than anything else she’s done.

She keeps replaying the conversation she had with her sister before the wedding.  Her sister expressed concern about specific times when his temper flared or he seemed too controlling.    The blushing bride patted her sister’s hand and assured her that it was nothing, but thanked her for being concerned.  She recalls quickly changing the subject at that point.

But now she knows her sister was right about him.  Those moments were red flags – signs.  She ignored them.  Why did she choose to ignore them?  She thought she loved him.  A nervous  laugh becomes audible as that thought passes through her mind.  She quietly said under her breath, ” What a cliche’!”  Now she knows that the only One who ever loved her gave His life for her.  Love was never a part of her marriage.  It’s always been about survival.

*************************************************************************************************

She has a best friend who stays closer than a brother – His name is Jesus.  He knows her name – he knows what she is thinking and how she is feeling about herself.  He will help her through this.  She prays for her abuser as she scratches and claws her way out of this pit.  She listens to teaching that helps her hold on to threads of self-esteem.  She spends time alone with God to gain strength.  She found a loving circle of support from good Christian folks who  encourage her to take another step.  She just needs the courage to leave.  She needs a plan.  She prays that one in her circle can be trusted to help her.  She asks God who she should confide in and ask for help.

*************************************************************************************************

If you are a man who abuses a woman – know this…  God is watching.  You may control your woman through violent behavior or verbal vomit, but when you have to stand before God one day (and oh yeah – you will) – you won’t have enough honey-covered words to get you out of that situation.  GET HELP – get it now.  Stopping is a process but it has to begin TODAY.  Find a good reputable Christian counselor and begin sessions.  Abusing a woman (or anyone else) does not make you more of a man.  If you have anger management issues – it is YOUR problem – don’t make it hers too. 

That woman you have – she is a bright, brilliant, fragile and loving soul that God entrusted you with!  Treat her with all the tenderness you possibly can.  If you will do that, you will be AMAZED at the love you receive in return!  Get on your knees and thank God for her every day.  Instead of belittling her, lift her up – it really does not take much to make a woman smile.  You know what, Mr. abuser?  God counts that woman’s tears – every one of them.  On judgment day He will show you that bottle of tears and ask for an explanation.  But the smiles you put on her face – now wouldn’t you rather see images of the smiles from God and hear the words WELL DONE, THOU GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT…  ???  😀

 

 

WORLD KINDNESS DAY

TL 11-13 WORLD KINDNESS DAY

11-13 DON'T GET BEHIND ON KIND

Kindness Kounts (obviously spelling doesn’t, however).  The Bible makes it clear from cover to cover that kindness matters to God.  My favorite verse is:

Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.  – Ephesians 4:32

Today is WORLD KINDNESS DAY!  How many ways are there to be kind?  We express kindness to others in response to the kindness Christ extended to us.  When God’s Holy Spirit speaks to our hearts and impresses on us to extend kindness to someone, it’s imperative we take action.  Somebody in your realm of influence needs a blessing from God, and maybe God is using you to deliver it.

It’s so terribly sad that the whole world cannot (or rather will not) adopt the policy of politeness to others.  Such hate is so wicked and evil.  It’s beyond my realm of understanding why people who want to kill for any reason.  We just have to be the people God wants us to be no matter what – to everyone.  It’s not a suggestion, it’s a command.  We must be kind – to everyone.

Last week I ate at my local restaurant and saw a Muslim mother with her two small children.  I looked into the eyes of those children – their big, round, brown eyes looked so sweet and innocent.  I told their mother how beautiful I thought her children were and she seemed very pleased and a little proud by my comment.

We see images on television and become frightened of certain races based on others who happen to be radical in their actions.  This woman and her children were not radicals.  It was only a few seconds out of my day, but I wanted to show kindness.  It doesn’t take long to lift another person’s spirit.  We are on this earth to help each other.  Sometimes it means helping someone move from one state to another.  That may take days.  But sometimes it means telling two little children who look very different from you just how beautiful they are.  Be ye kind one to another.  It isn’t that difficult.  ❤

CHAOS NEVER DIES DAY

TL 11-9 CHAOS NEVER DIES DAY

11-9 CALM IN THE CHAOS

As I look for documentation, I see no solid evidence of when this wacky holiday started or who started it.  Today we celebrate (I say that tongue in cheek) CHAOS NEVER DIES DAY!!!

What are we afraid of, as humans?  Chaos.  The outsider…  We’re terrified of disruption.  We’re afraid that somebody’s going to steal our mushrooms in the checkout line.  – Stephen King

There’s no doubt that life in general is messy and busy, but I suppose that keeps us from getting bored with it.  Chaos has a purpose – to make us stronger.  There’s not much control over the degree of chaos outside your own home to be sure, but within the walls of your home, you most definitely have some control (even though you may not believe you do).

With the Thanksgiving and Christmas season fast approaching, we should use this day to practice for even more hectic days to come.  There is definitely a fair amount of chaos in the world and every time we walk out the door of the sanctuary of our home we should pray that God will help us navigate it with some clarity of thought.  Let’s not forget – God is NOT the author of confusion.

 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.  – 1 Corinthians 14:33

Chaos and confusion does not need to rule the day in our own homes.  With God’s help we can have a calm and peaceful oasis.  It’s a choice we make as a family, just as love in a family is a choice.

Here’s a little refresher course about the color wheel:

Of course, choosing the right colors to invoke a sense of calm in your living space is only part of the solution.  The bulk of the work is done psychologically and spiritually.  Invite God into your plans and watch how He will work in your family.

The most difficult circumstance is when a couple is unequally yoked.  In other words, one partner has accepted Christ as their personal Savior and the other partner has not.  That is the kind of chaos that really does seem to never end.  Keep praying for your spouse and don’t give up.  My girlfriend actually printed off the Sinner’s Prayer and framed it (beautifully) and hung it in the entryway of her house.  I’m not suggesting you do that, but eventually her husband of over twenty years asked her about the prayer, she was able to share her faith, and her husband came to a saving knowledge of Christ.  They have enjoyed a lovely, chaos-free home ever since.

Lord Jesus, I want to know You personally. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life to You and ask You to come in as my Saviour and Lord. Take control of my life. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be.  In Your Name I pray, Amen.

God has given each of us free will.  That means we have a choice in what we accept and what we reject in life.  If something (or dare I say it – someone) is causing you enormous stress, pray about it and let it (or them) go if you need to.   ❤

NATIONAL SUNDAY SCHOOL TEACHER APPRECIATION DAY

TL 10-19 NATIONAL SUNDAY SCHOOL TEACHER APPRECIATION DAY

USE YOUR GIFTS(1) HAPPY SUNDAYSHOW THEM JESUSGOD CHOSE YOU3

Today is NATIONAL SUNDAY SCHOOL TEACHER APPRECIATION DAY!  I started teaching Sunday School when I was only 12 years old, about the same time I began playing piano for church.  Believe me when I tell you it’s not for wimps!  God gives us what we need, and most of the time we need a sense of humor!

I appreciate those times when you have worked all day Friday, come home to fix supper for your family, get your Sunday School packet out and begin to organize the lesson in your mind – and put together all the fun games included in the lesson packet.  Hey, we do laundry and cook-ahead on Saturday, so the lesson plan has to be done on Friday night.

I appreciate the moments when you realize that there’s no way you’re going to teach this lesson on a level that is going to be understood by your kids.  Sometimes you literally have to take the words used in the lesson book and re-write them.  It’s a definite waste of time for you, but the kids will benefit from it  because at least they will get something out of it.

I appreciate the days when you smile even though you walk into your Sunday School class and Tommy has already spit gum into Suzie’s pretty brown hair.  See what I mean about praying for a sense of humor?  You handle this rather sticky situation with grace and finesse – you send Suzie to her mom and set Tommy in the corner for a time out.  Yep – all better now.  Of course, the first bell has now rung and you haven’t gotten around to doing any teaching, but hey…  stuff happens.

I appreciate the dedication you have for your kids.  They are a charge given to you.  When you walk in ready to evangelize to them and let them know they are loved not only by their Savior, Jesus Christ, but by you as well, it’s a very good and productive day.  Well done!

I appreciate the time you take to teach children.  In our church we had a lot of bus kids – kids whose parents didn’t think it was important to bring their kids to church, but they could ride our bus.  One little girl will be in my mind forever – Virginia.  For some reason, Virginia decided I was her favorite person on the planet.  She never wanted to go to Children’s Church after Sunday School.  She wanted to go into BIG CHURCH with me.  I think she would have come home with me if she could get away with it.  I’ll tell you a little secret – I would have let her!  That little girl is not so little anymore.  She’s probably a mother herself now.  I pray for her every day.  I pray that the words she heard in Sunday School (and in BIG CHURCH) stayed with her and that somewhere along the way, she accepted Jesus into her heart and life.  ❤

NATIONAL FACE YOUR FEARS DAY

TL 10-14 FACE YOUR FEARS DAY

10-14 WHICH WILL YOU CHOOSE TODAY

Coincidence is when God chooses to remain anonymous. Did you know that the phrase FEAR NOT, or the equivalent, is in the Bible 365 times? That is one reminder per day for an entire year! Coincidence? I think not. God wants us to overcome our fears with faith!

Don’t let the fear of striking out hold you back.  – Babe Ruth

There is plenty of serious stuff to fear these days. Our large government is out of control and not being held accountable for any wrongdoing. Our southern border is not secure and terrorists and anyone else can just come on in and do whatever. Now Ebola has reached our country. There are at least two confirmed cases. With cold and flu season fast approaching, I wonder how many cases will be misdiagnosed.

We have good reason to be fearful. If you are not, you are being foolish. As Christians it’s okay for us to be concerned and act on information with wisdom. We don’t need to stick our heads in the sand and act as though nothing bad is going on – pleeeeze don’t do that. It’s not wrong to be informed. It’s wrong to let fear take the place of our faith in God. We know we have a great God and He will take good care of us no matter what.

On this NATIONAL FACE YOUR FEARS DAY, let’s put faith in the God of the universe instead of letting fear rise up in our spirits. Faith can bring peace to a soul where fear has paralyzed it.

Faith is like radar that sees through the fog.  – Corrie Ten Boom, Tramp for the Lord

We all know someone who has what we would consider an irrational fear. I have a friend who will not cross a bridge of any kind. She lives a very lonely and isolated life because of this fear. I can’t make her stop fearing bridges but I can remind her that God will take care of her.

Another friend will not wear the color red because she believes it is an evil color. Again, I can’t change her mind about red, but I can remind her that God made the color red and if He thought it was alright to make strawberries, apples, cherries and many other fruits and vegetables red, it must be just a color – nothing more, nothing less.

Some fears can be faced and conquered while other ones – the ones we cannot change – need to be prayed about and left with our Lord. When there is so much fear that has the potential to paralyze us, we just have to give it to God in prayer and keep living our lives.

Yes – there are terrorists, an open southern border and Ebola is in the United States. Wow, there is much to fear. But Christian, take heart because our God is in control and He will take care of us. ❤

NO SALT DAY

TL 10-8 NATIONAL NO SALT DAY

10-8 TEMPER SALT WITH SUGAR

The week of October third through the tenth is NO SALT WEEK. The emphasis, of course, is to make us think before we pick up the salt shaker and begin mindlessly pouring salt on our eggs in the morning before even tasting them. We all know someone who does that – maybe you do that. But the idea of no salt made me think of a familiar Bible verse on the subject.

You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.
– Matthew 5:13

To have a salty personality is to be bold and strong. My dad was in the Navy with a guy who earned the nickname “Salty”. He wears it as a badge of honor that his buddies gave him. Salty people influence others the most. They are the ones that leave a lasting impression, whether good or bad. They stand by their principles and won’t back down. A stubborn streak runs through them and no amount of debate will change their minds. They are admired and followed by people because they are usually so sure of themselves and their belief system. They attract others – and that’s a good thing.

I used to put a salt lick out for Grandpa Frank’s horses, goats and cattle. If you’ve ever tried to move a salt lick, you know how solid, strong and secure the block is. Salt in large doses is very heavy and very solid. There is a place for salt in large doses, but that one block can take care of a lot of animals at the same time.

It just takes one LULU THE PIG to bust up the goat party! LOL!!!

From a distance I watched as the horses and cattle enjoyed the salt lick. They walked up to it as expected, but once in a while, a wild deer or other critter would find it too! Salt is attractive but must be tempered with sugar to be effective and helpful to others. If the salty people of God are going to reach out to the lost with the good news of Christ, we must sprinkle some sincere compassion and understanding – some sugar, in with the boldness of the salt. The cornerstone of our message is Christ and He loved everyone.

Besides, I am more attracted to a salty-sweet friendship than a salty one, aren’t you? I’m not suggesting that we let go of the salt, but I hope we never let it overpower the sugar.

I think I made myself hungry for a salty-sweet snack! 😉