Leave a comment

Expectations

awardExpectations

It was time for vacation bible school. I got off the bus from work, walked around the corner and got on the church bus to start picking up kids to take to church. I didn’t stop at home and change clothes or eat dinner before, there wasn’t time. That could wait. We were running about 70 on my bus and over 40 on the small bus, so we were bringing in over 100 kids from poor neighborhoods that probably would never have been in church if it wasn’t for our bus ministry.

The one evening we got to the church a little earlier than usual so while the kids were upstairs having a snack, I went in to see if the sanctuary needed any picking up before it was full of kids. I passed by the Pastors office as he was printing something out.

He was printing out appreciation awards for those who had volunteered this year. He had just run out of the forms and told me he didn’t get one printed for me so he would when he got more forms in and I told him, I wasn’t doing this for some kind of reward, I was doing it for the kids and Jesus. He smiled and said he already had that feeling about me. I guess some of the people who volunteered needed to know that they did something good, they wanted some form of recognition, no, in fact, some of them expected some form of recognition.

It kind of reminds me of 9th grade. The school I went too handed out awards for Merit Roll, Citizenship, Honor Roll, and a few other things at every six week grading period. They were handed out in home room because a ceremony would take up too much of the day. They were in the form of Ribbons and you were given a safety pin and expected to wear them on your clothes for the rest of the day.

I usually had them all and I was embarrassed to walk around like that. First, because I was doing what I was expected to do. I was learning and behaving myself, and second, I felt that some students felt bad because I got all these ribbons and they got few or none. Yes, I was nerdy and I loved learning but I did not expect any kind of reward for doing what I was supposed to do.

I don’t have expectations of being recognized for doing what I am supposed to do. Sadly there are people who expect that pat on the back, that mention in the Newspaper or that special gift of appreciation, even some Christians who don’t seem to remember that we are do what we are supposed to do to help other without expectations of some kind of recognition or reward.

The bible states in 1 Corinthians 16:14 Everything you do should be done lovingly. (ISV)

I’ve been poor most of life and it’s been no big deal to me. I’ve learned how to make do with what I have. I’ve also been comfortable part of my life and when I did have money, it seems that everyone else needed it more than I did. I’d rather be poor than rich. If we have to go through the tribulation before Christ comes back “as some people believe”, it will be the poor who survive because that is what they have had to do all of their lives.

So, if you see someone in need or hear that small quiet voice urging you to help someone, do it out of their necessity, out of kindness, out of your love for you fellow man and out of love for Jesus. Don’t have any expectations of reward or recognition, just be satisfied that you are doing what Jesus said we are to do and be happy that you were able to help someone.

Luke 6:34-35And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.

Advertisements
Leave a comment

Discombobulation

discombobulateDiscombobulation

Yes, it is actually a word. I didn’t think it was, I thought it was something that someone made up, but the online dictionary defines it as “to confuse or disconcert; upset; frustrate”. I think this pretty much describes what has been going for quite awhile.

This is the reason I haven’t written for awhile. Don’t get me wrong, I have a whole list sitting in front of me of subjects that I feel I should write about, but for the last few weeks it seems that when I decide to write, things start getting discombobulated.

So, is it an outright attack from Satan? That is possible or it could just be one of those levels we all have to go through from time to time when things seem to get out of hand. I have to say, at the least, the last few weeks have worn me out. It seems that even on a “free day” (ones that wouldn’t normally have a run to the store, no doctors appointments and “thank God” no ER visits) something interferes with being able to sit down and write.

It’s almost like time has been slipping away. I finally think I have a few moments to write and take a look at clock and it’s time for bed because we have an early morning appointment the next day and I cannot function unless I get at least 6 hours of sleep.

Just when I would think things were calming down, we would have to run to the store because we were out of something, or we were up late the night before and end up sleeping later than usual, or our medical and/or physical problems start acting up. I have sat down, I don’t know how many times to write and the computer would freeze up and I couldn’t get anything done. That is so frustrating.

Other times I seem to have a plethora of calls to make concerning the ordering of medications, setting up appointments, checking on people or I have to look up a bunch of information on new conditions, medications and such. Then there is the weather. With the rain and humidity we have been having “Arthur” has been acting up and the “migraines have returned”.

I’m not making excuses, I am simply stating facts. God did not promise that life would be perfect down here. The only promise of perfection is when we get our glorified bodies in heaven and come back to rule with Jesus and even then, during the 1000 year reign, sin will creep back in and Satan will make another appearance. It will be short lived and we will then go to live permanently in heaven, oh how I look forward to that.

We are supposed to be thankful for the trials and tribulations we go through for they are often a test of faith. We are also to learn lessons from all the bad we go through. I’ve heard people over the year say that when Satan attacks it’s because God is getting ready to do something in your life or Satan is angry because you are doing what God wants you do.

I will admit that I have learned a lot in my life. Not only have I acquired patience, I have learned, for the most part to curb any feelings of hatred or anger and I have learned how to survive. After some of things that I have gone through, I don’t think there is much more that can be thrown at me that I couldn’t get through.

I thank God for my discombobulated days because they alert me to the facts that I need to do some things, like organize better, be prepared for the unexpected and it also tells me that God considers me worth testing. He’s always here with me, this I know.

How we react to this crazy life tells others a lot of what type of person we are. I want to be the type of person that God can use whether it is to show kindness, help someone or be an example to someone. If he can use me in some way to bring someone to repentance and acceptance of Jesus, then I am all for it, no matter how long or how bumpy the ride might be

Isaiah 40:28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. 

Isaiah 40:31 But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

 

Leave a comment

Evil Imaginings

anger faceEvil Imaginings

Sometimes I abhor being human. I want so very badly to be the child of God that he wants me to be, but he made me human. He gave me free will and he gave me emotions and we live in a world of hatred, violence, immorality, and every evil device under the constant influence of Satan.

When Satan was thrown from Heaven, he was tossed down to earth, the very place that had been given to him to watch over before he rebelled against God. Along with him one third of the angels were also thrown down here and working with their master have devised so many traps and snares for man.

Not only are we at odds with other countries that could declare nuclear war on us as we could on them, but we are pitted against each other. So many innocent people are being hurt and killed in our society today that many are afraid to walk down the streets of their neighborhoods.

In the news, on a daily basis, you read about shootings, murders, robberies, abuse, innocent children being abused and killed, people disappearing, sometimes their bodies never found. We are an evil race. It has been so since the beginning of time.

We are a defensive race. We feel we must retaliate if someone betrays our trusts, hurts us or those we love physically, emotionally verbally or mentally. There are even those who think about harming others for no apparent reason other than they just dislike them.

When we argue with someone, or want revenge upon someone who has wronged us, we tend to have “Evil Imaginations”. We see in our minds eye how we can ruin someone just by gossip, how we could “get even” with them, how we could plan to physically hurt someone who hurt us, how we might turn others away from this person and yes some, actually, many think about how they could torture, abuse or kill someone.

I’m human,and I am defensive when it comes to myself and the people I love. I have participated in gossip. In the past I have had thoughts of hurting others that have hurt me. I have opened my mouth and allowed angry and bitter words to escape.

God not only sees everything we do, but he knows our very thoughts. Maybe if more people worked at following his guidelines, we could all get rid of the “Evil Imaginations” we have. Then and only then is there a chance for this world to start healing.

You may ask “what about the evil imaginations” of others? God is in control, we can only work on ourselves and pray that when we learn to forgive and love, others will follow our lead.

Psalm 64:5-6 They hold fast to themselves an evil purpose; They talk of laying snares secretly; They say, “Who can see them?” They devise injustices, saying, “We are ready with a well-conceived plot”; For the inward thought and the heart of a man are deep.

Matthew 15: 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:

Leave a comment

Reason for the Season

the four seasonsA Reason for the Season

There are basically four seasons on this earth, Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter, each one supposedly lasting for 3 months. It’s hard to separate them anymore with the way the weather has been changing over the last few decades. Lately it seems as if there are two, Winter and Summer.

One of the definitions for season is “an indefinite period of time.” I believe we can go through many seasons in our lives. Some are described as childhood, adolescent, young adult, middle age and old age, but there are many other seasons we go through, each one a different length of time and different from the seasons that others go through.

Some are mild and comfortable while some are can be difficult. Some are great and some may even be dangerous. We go through a myriad of emotions in each season depending on the circumstances and events involved. We may experience a sort of euphoria or joy when everything is going good. We may experience hurt, sorrow and anger when a season is not so good.

Reason is defined as “a rational ground or motive” and many believe that there is always a reason for everything that happens in our lives. Sometimes we search for that reason, even after that season is done with. We may search for it the rest of our lives and never fully understand the reason why things happen as they do.

For example, I still think about why God allowed my son to die in the horrible fashion that he did and at such a young age. While I can reason in my mind why God took him, I still ask myself questions over and over again about God’s purpose for this. The same with my sisters death a little over a year ago.

I have to believe that we are to learn something from the seasons we go through. There is always a reason that God allows certain events to happen in our lives. We have to be open to the reasoning that there is a God given purpose to everything, we have to accept that he can turn these events into something good for someone, maybe not always ourselves, but possible someone else who needs to take a lesson from what happened.

I know, for all I have gone through in my life, all the seasons that have come and gone that I have gained a lot of knowledge and I have gained a lot of strength and most importantly, my faith in God has increased one hundred fold.

I’m in a season now that is good. I know that could change quickly because of my age, my health and the changes happening in our governments, economies and world conditions. I also know that no matter what comes my way, I will stand firm in my faith and rely on my God, my strength and knowledge to get me through

Romans 5: 1-5 1. Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2. through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4. perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Psalm 107:43 Who is wise? Let him heed to these things and consider the loving kindness of the Lord

Leave a comment

Cleaning Out the Closet

closetCleaning Out the Closet

Twice a year I try to clean out my closet. Unfortunately I am a bit of a hoarder. I spent so much of my early life without many clothes that I sometimes tend to go overboard, especially when I go to the thrift stores, especially the one down the street where clothes are very rarely over .25 a piece.

Usually thrift stores do not have a dressing room, so you can’t try anything on before you buy it. I have to estimate if something will fit. I will buy a few blouses, a pair of shoes, maybe a coat or two or some pants, wash them and put them in the closet. More than half the time I end up re-donating over half the items.

I haven’t been as determined to clean the closets and drawers as I used to be. I have diseases and medications that cause a lot of fatigue so I don’t always have as much energy as I want to. Besides that our schedule is mostly wrapped around visits to the doctor, infusions every other day, emergency room visits, stopping at the grocery store and then coming home to eat and lay down.

Our minds are like a closet. They can become cluttered at times with things that we just need to throw out. Events that have been disturbing, upsetting, hurtful or sad can stay up there for a very long time, until we decide it’s time to give them to God and move on.

I don’t have to tell you how hard it is to let go, especially of things that have hurt us, physically, mentally or emotionally in the past. They tend to play over and over again in our minds. Maybe a song, a smell, a sound, or something someone says brings those memories back to life. Stressful situations that may resemble something we went through in the past can bring it all to the fore front again.

Before I was a Christian, I used to practice an exercise in my mind so I could get to sleep and not keep replaying problems and situations over and over again in my mind, looking for answers and solutions that just wouldn’t come and going through a bunch of scenarios that could be the outcome of these problems.

I would picture my mind as this big, huge room with all this stuff thrown around. I would methodically go to each item and pick it up. If it was something I couldn’t take care of on my own, I would put in a file cabinet in the room to be attended to later. If it was something that was already solved, but not the way I wanted, and was still hanging around, I would throw it in the trash. If it was something that I needed to attend to soon, I would put in a to-do box.

Then I would take a broom and sweep up the scraps and take down the cobwebs off the walls. Long before I was finished, I had fallen asleep. After I became a Christian and came to understand that we are not responsible for taking care of everyone’s problem and that certain ones needed to be resolved by God, cleaning the room in my mind became much easier.

We have to evaluate everything that comes to us. Is it our problem, do we have a solution, can we actually be of help, or is this something God needs to take care of? Sometimes we need to clean out our closets and throw away the junk.

Philippians 4:6-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Psalm 55:22 Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.

Matthew 7: 7-8 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.

Leave a comment

Just As You Are

jesus doorJust as You Are

I’ve mentioned before about the bells that are rung by the Baptist Church in town, a few times a day. They aren’t actually rung, it is a computerized system. I don’t know exactly what time they are scheduled to play, but I have heard them several times in the early morning when I step out to say my morning prayer. Each one is a hymn done with bells and it’s beautiful to hear them. When I stepped out the other morning, the hymn they were playing brought tears to my eyes, happy tears because of the wonderful memory they brought back.

It made me take a look back at my life, what it had been, what it is now, and the promise of what it will be tomorrow. The first verse and the third mean a lot to me. “Just as I am, without one plea, but that thy blood was shed for me and that thou bidst me come to thee, O Lamb of God, I come, I come.” “ Just as I am , though tossed about, with many a conflict and many a doubt, fightings an fears within, without O Lamb of God, I come, I come”

All through life we run into people who would try to change us. Some are acting under good intentions and others are just controlling, hateful and using people. I’ve known both kinds. Simple remarks like “you should fix your hair differently or try a new style of dress” can be hurtful but none the less are meant in a harmless way. When a person tries to change you, completely change you, it is not in your best interest. I had one who forcefully tried to change everything about me, from the way I looked to the way I acted and talked.

There are many people, who say that they accept you as you are, but secretly they are looking at you and saying in their minds what they would change if they were you. Unfortunately there are so many that are kind but think they know what is best for everyone else. Don’t let yourself fall into that category. Learn to accept people “just as they are”.

It was a cold February evening in 1993 that I first heard that song, and as it kept playing I found myself walking to the altar with tears streaming down my face as I knelt and asked Jesus into my heart. It is one of the most cherished memories that I have. He accepted me “Just as I am”. He didn’t tell me I had to go through a bunch of classes, training or change my mannerisms or the way I dressed or talked. No He simple said “Just as you are, come to me”. He didn’t say I had to change my style of dress, where I lived, where I worked, no he said “Just as you are”

Isn’t it wonderful to know that there is that one who will accept you “just as you are”, with all your sins, all of your past, all your hurt, your anger, your regrets, he accepts you. With all that you are and all that you aren’t, all that you want to be and all that you can’t be, he accepts you.

Whether you are rich or poor, depressed, angry, and addict, an alcoholic, a hateful person, a lost person he wants you to come to him “just as you are”. He accepts you “just as you are” and wants to love you “just as you are” and when you accept him and feel that love, you will know what needs to change and you will do it without anyone else telling you to do so. You will do it because it is what you have wanted to do all along. So, today come to the Lamb of God “Just as you are”. He wants to love you “Just as you are”.

 

Leave a comment

It’s a Wonderful Life

Its-A-Wonderful-Life-3It’s a Wonderful Life

I’ve spent a lot of my life living in large, cold, unhealthy cities. I can remember that most of the places I lived, the neighbors hardly spoke to you. Even back then people were starting to keep to themselves because they didn’t trust anyone, crime had already started to escalate.

For example; when Ken and I first got married, we lived in a downstairs apartment, in a not so safe neighborhood because we couldn’t afford anything else. The people upstairs had some teenage boys who were known for stealing and causing trouble. Ken called me one day and said he was standing in the living room watching out the window as the guy in the upstairs apartment across the street was shooting at the boys in our building as they were running after breaking in and stealing a gold chain. Apparently he was a gang member, that disappeared before the police showed up.

There are some communities across America in the larger cities that do their best to stay closed, get to know each other and work together to keep it clean of crime and intruders. Not many though, and even those closed communities can often be standoffish to their neighbors, not willing to get to know them and not wanting them to nose into their lives.

There is a classic film that is played on at least one channel every year around Christmas time. “It’s a Wonderful Life” is about a small town business man that almost loses his bank because of a run on it, and then his uncle loses an 800.00 payment to the rich guy in town. He is threatened with legal action and becomes so depressed he thinks about suicide. An angel is sent to rescue him and take him back, to show him how much he had done for the people in that town.

Since I have lived in this rural town, I have seen the community come together when someone had a need. I’ve seen them collect and donate food, furniture and clothing to those who lost their home in a fire. I have seen them run boot drives to collect money for medical bills for those who could not pay for their cancer treatment and I’ve seen them hold garage sales, sidewalk sales and special events to help others who lost loved ones and couldn’t pay for funeral costs.

A community caring about it’s people, wanting to help those in need, reaching out to those who live there is a wonderful site to behold, is a wonderful experience to have. Just the way everyone knows everyone, most everyone reaches out a helping hand reminds of the way that the town came together to help George Bailey in the Movie. When I stop to think about all the things that have happened in my life and compare it to where I am now, the people who are my neighbors and friends, I too am blessed with a “Wonderful Life”.

Hebrews 13:16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

Isaiah 58:10-11 If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.