Monday, September 08, 2008
Proverbs 28: 1 The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.
There have been times when I wake up feeling bold as a lion, ready to pounce on my problems and devour challenges with catlike grace and queenly glory. An then there are those days when I don't wake up feeling like that. To tell the truth, there are some days when I feel like I am the lion's prey than the lion. I have to ask myself if I am a lion or a lamb when I am looking at danger in the eye and feel my knees knock together . It is during those times I beat myself up for my lack of courage, thinking that if I were a true spiritual woman I wouldn't be afraid.
Wow, whoever wrote that sure knew me. That truly describes my days at times. As I went on to read this lesson for today, I learned more about courage. I learned that true courage doesn't come from physical prowess or a confident attitude. The lesson went on to say that God is my source of courage. Through prayer I allow the Spirit to replenish my courage. I learn to claim the promise of Scripture, believing that God will provide the courage I need at the time I need it. By gathering with other believers I find encouragement and help to go on through difficult times.
True courage resides in the trembling heart that is afraid to try, but tries anyway. The one who faces a disaster and digs in, even though the mess seems hopeless, is the real hero with the heart of a lion. It takes courage to stand for your convictions when the crowd urges you to compromise. Think of Daniel in the lion's den. He knew that God would be with him, and his faith shut the mouth of the hungry lion. Courage is willing to take the first step down a path of righteousness even though you don't know where the path will lead.
The lesson suggests that we look around us. If we watch carefully we'll see everyday heroes facing the challenges of life courageously. For instance, an alcoholic goes one more day without a drink. A single mother gets up, takes her children to school, goes to work, comes home,again at night with mouths to feed and a house to clean. A couple must choose a nursing home for a parent with Alzheimer's disease A parent got a call her teen is in trouble again. A working woman gets laid off --yet she does her best to pay her bills on time while looking for her next job.
Now I look at my own life. I look to see if I I really do have courage, even when I am fearful. I ask myself that question every day. The lesson said that I too may be an everyday hero. I may feel like a lamb, but God can give me the heart of a lion!
Some Thing I will Do:
1. Remember that God gives me courage and strength when I am afraid.
2. Overcome my fears with Faith.
3, Believe God can take care of me when I am frightened.
4. Appreciate the courage of others.
5. Face my problems with a positive attitude.
6. Look before I leap, but still have the courage to leap.
7, Remember what it felt like when I acted Courageously.
Things To Do:
1. Personalize a Bible promise for a challenging situation. Example: "God will keep me i n perfect peace in---because my mind is stayed o n him.
2. Sign up to volunteer at a Hospice, a homeless shelter, or ao hospital.
3. Try something you've been afraid to try.
4. Confront someone you've been avoiding.
5. Take a class in self-defense.
Thought to Ponder:
Courage is doing what you are afraid to do. There can be bo courage unless you are scared.---Eddie Rickenbacker
Courage faces fear and thereby masters it. Cowardice represses fear and us thereby mastered by it.---Martin Luther King
Dear God, Thank you for the opportunity to be like a lion today rather than a lamb. Let me not be afraid to take risks, and help me to not lose sight of you being here with me through everything i go through. You are e my partner. A-Men
Friday, September 05, 2008
--Psalm 91:11 NLT---For he orders his angels to protect you wherever you go.
Providence is an old-fashioned word with a timeless meaning. St. John of Damascus said, "Providence is the care God takes of all existing things." Providence refers to the divine care of God and to His perfect timing in our life.
God wants to help us and provide for us. But when difficulties come, we struggle to believe that providence is working in our life. I know I have struggled with this at times. For instance, a sick baby, a husband out of a job, a crisis in the family--our equilibrium is upset by crisis and you and I both have wrestled with the questions of "Why me?"" Why this?" or "Why now?"
Sometimes we have to step back and take a deep breath, and focus on God instead of our problem. I know for me this is difficult more often than not. However, we all must remember that God promised to take care of us--you and me, and he doesn't ever break his promise. Providence is God's provision for us and the outworking of His intentions for our ultimate good. Now, we can choose to trust God or be paralyzed by fear. I have found that when I choose faith over my fear, and I trust that God can make a way where there doesn't seem to be a way, I can persevere through life's ups and downs. I can get through those peaks and valleys of my life.
In our every day life, when we are not sure what decision to make, which path to take, or where to invest our life's energies, I find that if I ask God for his provision and guidance, I can then step out in faith. God is in control of all things and all things work together got the good, even tragedies that seem terrible and senseless. The Bible tells us so.
Keep in mind that God is our provider..yours and mine. When life seems overwhelming, know that God guides us one step at a time. His angels are watching over us, all day and all night. John Newton, author of the hymn "Amazing Grace" once wrote, " We serve a gracious Master who knows how to overrule even our mistakes to His glory and our own advantage." Know that providence is at work in our lives in unseen, mysterious and wonderful ways.
1. Trust in God as my provider.
2. Believe that God's timing is perfect; that He is never too early or too late, but always on time.
3. Have a positive attitude toward life because I trust in God's guidance and provision.
4. Make wise choices for my health and well-being, as well as for the health and well-being of others.
5. Be aware that good can come out of a bad situation when God is in control.
Things To Do:
1. Do one positive thing a day to reach a cherished goal.
2. Be an answer to someone else's prayer with a generous gift of help.
3. Write in your journal about a difficult problem in mmy life that was resolved in an unexpected way.
4. Memorize a promise from the Bible (perhaps Hebrews 13:6) and say it out loud when you are afraid.
5. Go for a walk in nature and bring home an interesting rock or leaf to remind you that God has many creative and beautiful ways to accomplish His purposes for your life.
Scripture: Hebrews 13:16 (NLT) Don't forget to do good and to share what you have with those in need, for such sacrifices are very pleasing to God.
Thoughts to Remember :
"By going a few minutes sooner or later, by stopping to speak with a friend on the corner, by meeting this man or that, or by turning down this street instead of the other, we may slip some impending evil, by which the whole current of our lives would have been changed. There is no possible solution in the dark enigma, but the one word....PROVIDENCE."--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
( I am reminded of the stories of 9/11 where some were late going to work, taking the plane or getting on the subway. So many lives were saved that day because of Providence.)
"Sometimes providences, like Hebrew letters, must be read backward."--John Flavel
Dear God, Thank you for sending your angels to watch over us and for caring for us so much. May we never forget your promise that you will take care of us no matter what and that your timing is always perfect. A-Men
Now a report on my walking progress this week. My walking companion, Mz Norma V and I walked 1.47 miles on Monday. We didn't walk Tuesday. Wednesday we walked 1.62 miles. Thursday we did 2.42 miles,and today, Friday, we walked 2.73 miles in an hour. Walk, baby, walk! My 4 wheeled walker with a seat and I are hitting the sidewalks almost daily now! The great news is that my back is not hurting nearly as much now.
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you he desires of your heart.--Psalm 37:4
If You Could Have Three Wishes
In many fairy and fold tales, the heroine is offered the opportunity to wish for her heart's desire. What would you do with three wishes? The psalmist tells us that if we delight in the Lord, He will grant us the desires of our heart. What hopes, dreams and wishes do you wish God would grant you?
We know God isn't a genie in a bottle, carelessly granting wishes with no concern for the well-being and character of the person making the wish. God wants us to partner with Him to make our dreams and wishes come true. He gives us the desire and we grow into the dream. God has plans for us that are bigger and more wonderful than we can ever imagine. We may wish to be more beautiful, or have a bigger house. But God may desire that we have more beautiful aspirations, more genuine hearts, and greater awareness of the blessings we already have received.
If you have a desire in your heart, a dream that you wish would become a reality, here are some ways we can partner with God to make the dreams come true.
First, know what you want. Speak it and clarify it. Visualize the end result. Set specific goals to turn your dreams into reality.
Second, take the dream to God and let Him show you whether it's worthy. Continue to come to Him in prayer as you work toward the goals that you have set. Any worthwhile dream grows and as it grows, you grow it. Like a seed planted in rich soil, plant your dreams in the soil of God's love and guidance.
Do the work. realize that it may take longer than you had planned. Remember that every detour and delay is an opportunity to learn something--often a lesson that is necessary for making your dreams come true.
Finally, trust God to bring the dream to fruition in must the right time, just the right way. Delight in His ways, and He will give you the desires of your heart. You can always trust God with your hopes, your wishes, and your dreams. Life may disappoint you, but God will never let you down.
1. Dare to dream big dreams because I have a Big God.
2. Be willing to work hard.
3. Commit myself wholeheartedly to achieving a goal that is dear to my heart.
4. Trust God to guide me.
5, Trust in God's perfect timing in my life.
6. Be thankful for the blessings and hope that I receive.
Thing To Do:
1. Answer this question in my journal. "If I had three wishes, what would I wish for?
2. Write down a cherished goal and break it down into steps to accomplish it.
3. Take the goal and steps you wrote down and pray about what God would have you do.
4. Do the first item on your list of steps to accomplish.
5. Make a collage that represents your goals and dreams. 6. Call some friends and set up a time to get together for mutual encouragement.
Thoughts to Remember:
Proverbs 13:19--The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul.
" Man finds it hard to get what he wants because he does not want the best. God finds it hard to give, because he would give the best, and man will not take it. "--George MacDonald
" What can be hoped for which is not believed?" --Saint Augustine
Elayne's Personal Reflection: When I wanted to become a professional saxophonist and accomplish my goal weigh in my new healthy life-style, I made a collage as if it had already happened. They were two very inspiring, uplifting collages. It was so nice to visualize the outcome on paper. When I did that my dreams were realized. I did it! You can to. Never give up.
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Yes, we all deserve a break today, but not at McDonald's! Today is a day to play...Monday too since it's a holiday for a lot of you that work outside of the home these days. I had my share of those days, but they are over for me. I am grateful there is such a holiday to honor our working people.
The scripture that goes with what I want to talk about today comes from Psalm 126: 2-3 NLT---We were filled with laughter, and we sang for joy. And the other nations said, "What amazing things the Lord has done for them." Yes, the Lord has done amazing things for us! What joy!
How many times have we heard "Child's play" when people want to say that a task is too easy for we adults? But, "child's play" is not as easy at it looks. Fun and play are treated with ambivalence; play is thought of as unimportant or insignificant --certainly not promoted as being productive.
How many times have we told ourselves that we have to work now so we can play later ? Does "later" ever come? Play is a reflection of God's ways just as much as the most serious prayer or good work. Our whole being needs the alternating rhythms of rest, work and play.
Did you know that God is playful? The Lord spoke to Job about hoe He delights in the mourning stars singing for joy and the leviathan playing in the waters. Imagine God in Genesis creating all the different animals! Can you look at a cow, a giraffe, a turtle, a monkey or a dog or cat without seeing the joy of creative play in their very being? St. Gregory Nazianzen said, " For the Logos on High plays, stirring the whole cosmos back and forth, as he wills, into shapes of every kind." We who are made in God's image are meant to play--not just when we were children., but now as an adult. We are meant to bring child-like wonder to our games as well as to our daily work. Jesus enjoyed fellowship and relaxed into the rhythms of Sabbath rest. The legalistic Pharisees even accused Jesus of being the first-century equivalent of being a party animal--the kind of man who hung around with sinners and drank too much!
We are missing out on so much if we don't allow our adult selves to play. Play refreshes and renews the spirit even as it engages the body and mind. Fun is allowed. Did you know that play releases our most creative thinking? Yep, it does. It helps us break out of the box and think in unexpected ways. If any of us has lost play in our lives, it's time to now revive that lost art. We need to allow ourselves to fully enjoy the moment and enjoy both physical pleasure and mental challenge of play like children do. Let your inner child out to play. You'll love the experience!
Things I Am Willing To Do:
1. Be open to playful moments.
2. Remember that play is as important as work.
3. Value play as a way to renew my body, mind and spirit.
4. Look for ways to move my body in joyous praise to God.
5. Laugh more.
6. See God at play in nature.
7. Enjoy life with all of my senses.
8. Use play to release my creativity.
Some Other Things To Do:
1. Sing a happy song in the shower.
2. Go out for "tea" with a good friend.
3. Put on my favorite music the next time I feel down.
4. Start a new project or finish a neglected one.
5. Sleep in and have breakfast in bed.
6. Sign up for a class that emphasizes moving and experiencing creativity in my body.
Thoughts to ponder:
It is the heart that is not yet sure of its God that is afraid to laugh in His presence.--George MacDonald
Humor is a prelude to faith and laughter is the beginning of prayer.--Reinhold Niebuhr
P. S. All went well in church today. I didn't spill any grape juice, nor did I drop the offering plate with the money in it! It was a wonderful experience serving my Lord.
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