Thursday, May 28, 2015

Life Jacket

Life Jacket

I will lift my eyes to the hills – From where comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2

This past Memorial Day weekend was a busy time on the waters. Boaters know to take extra care and special precautions to ready their boat to be sure it is seaworthy and equipped with everything needed to ensure a great experience. Life jackets are required to be on board. No ifs, ands or buts. It is a must. It is the ultimate backup plan to protect those on the boat if there is trouble aboard or on the water. I like the idea of a life jacket. It makes me feel secure, safe and gives me confidence to venture to places I’ve never been. It is nice knowing there is something to help me if I need it.

Spiritually, this is a good question to ask, “Where do you turn to for help when you need it?” I know for certain that we can find help in the Bible. The Bible is filled with love, direction, wisdom and guidance. We can ask for help and it will be revealed on the pages. While God may send help we don’t have to be powerless while we wait for it though. We can seek it and find it. It is the greatest source. I bought a little book recently and it contains all of God’s Promises. For anyone needing help and wisdom in what to do, how to react, what to believe, we can find His Promises in His Word.  It is like clothing ourselves in a spiritual life jacket!

This week I have heard of several people that are hurting whether emotionally, physically or spiritually. Life isn’t easy. Things happen. Each circumstance has been an occasion for calling out to God for help. And He hasn’t failed. Whatever your need is, whatever your concern, take it to God. Is there anyone that can go it alone? No. Would you walk by yourself in an unfamiliar place, in the dark not telling anyone where you going? Of course not. It is too risky, it is unsafe. But there are so many that will travel the roads of life without anyone to help them, guide them or light the path. They try to do it by themselves. Our help comes from Him. So does our strength and our ability to keep going. Cast your cares upon Him, for He cares for you. -1 Peter 5:7


Reach out to someone that has crossed your path that needs to lean on you a little bit. Help to make their time of trouble a little easier. Share a prayer, a scripture or just a simple smile. Offer them a life jacket of hope and help. Let God show through you to them. God will finish what you have started. And when you shift your focus from your own problems over to helping someone else through their trials, you may find that your own burdens and worries don’t seem quite as heavy anymore. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. - 2 Corinthians 1:3-4.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Helping

Helping

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. John 15:12

This week on a trip to the grocery store, my grandson helped me to unload the cart at the register.  When we played baseball he would volunteer to get the ball after he batted it. Learning to golf, at the driving range he likes to tee up the ball for both of us. He is learning to put others first before himself. This week, I fell off of a ladder to the pavement. In a quick moment, a kind gentlemen came to my rescue and helped me. Only a sore ankle remains and I count myself blessed.  In a world where it is so easy to become self-absorbed and look the other way, it is refreshing to see people helping people. But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? 1 John 3:17

How many times do we reach out to God and our faith tells us He is there for us? We depend on Him. Count on Him. We surrender to Him.  Yet, what if He turned away from us? We couldn’t bear it. We don’t have to. Because we know that He knows all our needs and burdens and He provides in His own timing, in His own way.  He is our example to follow. I want to be the person that has a keen eye and notices those in need and then does something about it. Let us open our hearts and our eyes and resources to a ministry to be God’s helpers. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. Hebrews 13:16



Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Obedience



Obedience

Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us. 1 John 3:24

Well I should have invested in obedience training for my pup. It’s probably too late now. He has trained us in his ways and we are obedient to him!! Obedience is a big word with big meaning. We are meant to follow the rules for a reason. It puts things in order and without order there is chaos. Another way of saying it is “to submit to authority”. Ouch! Not so easy to do at times. Just ask a teenager! The end result of obedience and the willingness to conform is respect. It has been said that the fruit of faith is obedience.  But the greatest test of obedience is to God. There is no way around it. You cannot comply just a little bit. It is all or nothing at all. If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land;” Isaiah 1:19

What does it mean to be obedient to God? It means we can live in freedom through Him. Our life can be joyful and we can live under His Authority knowing He will bless us and reward our obedience. What does our obedience prove to God? That we are being faithful and that we love Him. And those two things are giving praise to Him. Well, how would you start to obey God? Get a Bible and start to read the Ten Commandments found in Exodus 20. Let the words fill your heart and begin to put them into practice with every thought and action.  If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” John 13:17

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

First Mother's Day

First Mother’s Day

Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you. – Exodus 20:12 NIV

I have been reminiscing this week about Mother’s Day and the memories have come flooding back.  I told my daughter this story and she said I should share it as we laughed together. The very first recollection of Mother’s Day was when I was five years old. It was memorable for several occasions: not only was it Mother’s Day, but my mother was in the hospital, and had just given me a new baby sister. While my grandmother was taking care of us in my mothers’ absence, I asked her if I could pick a few buttercups for my mother and the new baby to arrange in the nicest jelly glass we had. She smiled and said it was a splendid idea. It took no time at all to fill up that jelly glass. Yet, it seemed such a shame to let our entire front yard that was overflowing with buttercups go to waste. So, after setting the jelly glass aside and getting a big brown grocery bag instead, I began to work feverishly in the hot May sun to fill it up. Handful after handful. My grandmother kept an eye on me and offered me popsicles under the gumball tree. At first, I tried to lay all the buttercups in the same direction, but halfway through I gave up and decided quantity would override beauty and began to fill the bag to the top. Realizing that I could fill up another bag with all the remaining buttercups, my grandmother said with reassurance that one bag would do nicely. I taped up that special grocery bag and decorated the outside with crayon drawings and stickers. I presented it to my dad who said he would hand deliver it to the hospital to my mother and our new baby! I was so excited when she called to say it was the most beautiful bag of buttercups she had ever received and it made her so happy.  Buttercups still makes me smile!

Many years later, when I became a mother, my most treasured gifts were those that were from the heart or homemade.  I still have a soft place in my heart today for a brassy gold circle pin (circa 1960’s) that was missing a pearl the day I received it, about 25 years ago. Most of my Mother’s Day gifts from my young son came from the rounds he made on his bicycle to various yard sales in our neighborhood, using his allowance. My daughter preferred to give coupons for her services, like setting the table for dinner, dusting and watering plants. Time goes by so quickly, yet thankfully some memories never fade.

I equate Mother’s Day with love. Both giving and receiving it. Being doubly blessed to have wonderful relationships with both my adult children, Elizabeth and Marty and being richly blessed to have my mother, Helen to talk to each day, to laugh and pray together. Everyone is just a phone call away.  

No doubt that we all want to excel in this role of motherhood. As a mother, many times we are sought out for our wisdom, yet where do we go when we need wisdom or someone to listen to us!  I know when I need to talk, God is always listening. There is much written about how to be a good Mother. The best words I know to share are these:  follow the examples of the godly mothers in the Bible, which are always based on purity of heart, peace and much love.


I heard it said once that when a mother reaches Heaven, she must face God with her record of accomplishments. If she's done a good job of caring for her children, she'll get the most sought-after position in heaven, that of rocking baby angels on soft white clouds and wiping their celestial tears with the corner of her apron. Let today not end without reaching out to all mothers, to honor their role in our lives, either by phone, card, email or in person. And if she has crossed that doorway into heaven, lift up a word of praise and thanksgiving in her memory. To honor our parents is godly and God promises to notice. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

May

May

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. -James 1:17

This month of May seems be filled with many wonderful things.  Graduations and weddings are on the calendar. The long awaited vacation is coming soon and beaches are becoming dotted with colorful umbrellas more and more each day.  Winter has lifted its veil and given way to the light and freshness of spring. Vegetable gardens are being prepared and flower beds are freshly weeded and mulched just in time for vivid annuals to be planted. New starts, new beginnings, and new things awaits us this month.

God is the giver of life. Appreciate His Gifts to us. The tiny birds that show up to my feeder with their parents reminds me how great God is. The wonder of a little child splashing in the waves with his shovel and bucket brings a smile for the innocence we are born with. Picking buttercups and filling a grocery bag full for a homemade Mother’s Day bouquet evokes sweet childhood memories.  A friend battling a serious illness just celebrated his birthday. He is an inspiration to everyone for his laughter, joy and appreciation of each day. Some of us dread birthdays but we must realize they are a gift. Meaning, God has gifted us with another year of precious life.


Let burdens and worry go like the outgoing tide. Awake and be refreshed in what God brings today. See the beauty from the ashes. Start making new memories and take a picture with your heart. Embrace the new. Bask in the wonder of God and His Goodness. Try something new. Start something new. Refresh with a deep abiding love and appreciation for God like never before.  It is said that every day is a chance to begin again. What will you do with this new beginning God gives you today? I can do all things through him who strengthens me.  -Philippians 4:13

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Release

Release

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. -Ephesians 4:31-32

To release something suggests that we “let it go”.  Catching a fish, only to let it go back to the water. Setting the lines free so the boat can leave the dock. Releasing the anchor so one can reset it in another spot. The word, “release” applies to so many other things too. 

Spiritually speaking, we are told that offering forgiveness gives us freedom from the hurt and pain. Letting things go is healthy to our mind, body and spirit. God keeps score so we don’t have to. Severing toxic relationships sets us free. I was thinking about what things I have had to let go of. Letting adult children find their place in the world without my interference has been hard for me but freeing for them. Finding my place in things and not feeling as though I have to weigh in on everyone’s choices. Teaching myself to remain quiet and release the tendency to thrust my opinion until it is asked for. (Still working on that one!!) A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back. –Proverbs 29:11  

Think about what you want or need to release. It might be letting go of a perfectionist attitude, or judging another with a critical spirit. There may be a burden weighing heavy that needs to be dealt with and forgiven. We should try to release the hardness of life that consumes many of us. It robs us of our joy and childlike wonder that pleases God so much.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Sowing

Sowing

And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”  Luke 10:27
 
I love playing ball with my puppy. He can catch it in mid-air and then he quickly returns it to me so we can do it all over again, again and again!! It is his favorite game to play and admittedly, he is good at it.  And he never tires of this play. The principle of “getting back what you send out” is certainly in play. 

Have you noticed that giving out kindness and generosity to people in our path has a way of returning back to us? By extending our hand to others, God is working through us to do His Work.  God commands us to love one another. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.  Galatians 6:9


But likewise, when we wrong someone, it bounces off them, and comes back to us.  The trouble they cause recoils on them, their violence comes down on their own heads. Psalm 7:16.  Reflect on which way we want to treat others as it will come back to us, good or bad.  The righteous walk is the one God ordains for us. Our steps, actions, deeds and thoughts should reflect Him. We will reap what we sow. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Spring

Spring

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 
-2 Corinthians 5:17

New life is springing up everywhere. Daffodils, crocus, trees are budding new leaves, azaleas are getting ready for their annual spectacular show in a few weeks. The harshness of the cold winter is fading, making way for the breath of spring.  With Easter barely behind us, we were reminded that death brought new life. New beginnings. And as this new season unfolds, we can appreciate the meaning of it while enjoying the display of colors that Mother Nature yields.

If you are a new Believer in Christ, then you know it is just the beginning of a new life for you and the journey will be awesome with God at the helm. If you surrendered  your life to God years ago, why not use this time to renew and refresh your spirit? Get excited about Him. One of the great things about letting God direct your steps is that you can trust Him with everything. You don’t have to wonder about what path to take. God does lead us but we must be willing to follow. Trust your life with Him and let Him walk with you every step of the way.


Last week I asked my mother what does she ask God for. She looked at me and without hesitating, she said, “I don’t ask for anything, I just walk with God”. I understood what she was saying. She is not worrying or fretting. She hands it to Him and together they walk out her life each day.  Words of wisdom for all of us. Spring is a growing season. Let’s build up our seeds of faith and trust God for what He can do.