For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. —Romans 15:4

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Just Be Held

Deuteronomy 31:8
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

Have you had someone who loves you give you a hug? A parent, grandparent, spouse, or friend? What comfort the warmth of a precious hug holds. Or how about the days when you are barely able to hold on? Discouragement whispers in your ear, stress knocks on the door, frustration drags you down. How about the times decisions weigh on your heart? What then?

Mark Hall the lead singer of Casting Crowns wrote the song, Just Be Held. At the time he didn't know why God gave him the powerful words about letting go and letting God hold him. A few years later he went through cancer and it hit him. He had to let go of the fear, the pain, the future and let God wrap his arms around him and just be held. In my big imagination, I sometimes picture myself crawling into my Father's lap. He wraps his arms around me and whispers in my ear, "Don't be afraid. I've got you, and I've got the situation." God walks before me. He knows my future and He will not leave me. I love and praise God for the hope he promises.  

Here is a link to Mark's story about Just Be Held.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

He's My Strength

Isaiah 40:28-29
Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.

Riding up 71, I noticed a weathered lighthouse statue. The once new white yard ornament had withstood storms, the sun beating down, wind, and snow. Yet it stood in the yard and still shined as a lighthouse should. I found beauty in the weathering.

As a wife, mom, grandma, and coworker I've been around awhile and feel weathered at times. Stress in life wears me down. But I have God who lifts me up. He increases my strength and I depend on him to give me energy to keep moving. I love that I have the power of the Creator who lifts me up. Praise God for his strength.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Life is Good...

Galatians 5:16-23
So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Jack in the Pulpit
The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;  idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions  and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 

As a woodsy, nature loving person, I enjoy looking at the Life is Good t-shirts and hats. I even have one with my orange Jeep on it. Much of the time life is good. But too often life is just plain hard. I struggle with decisions, whether to speak up or keep quiet. Whether to be angry or let it go. Whether to stand up for Jesus or hide in the shadows. Sin bombards our world. Satan runs around pushing temptation at people.  Where do I go for protection?

We sing a song at church about welcoming the Holy Spirit in. As a follower of Jesus, the Holy Spirit dwells in me. He grieves when I sin, and rejoices when I bear His fruit. God gives everyone who accepts Jesus as Savior the gift of the Holy Spirit. I love that the Spirit is a gift. He's given out of love from the Father. I rely on the Spirit to make decisions, to encourage my faith, and to help me produce the fruit Jesus longs for me to bear. Praise the Lord for the Holy Spirit!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

What Am I Wearing Today?

Colossians 3:12
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Working at a public college, I see all kinds of people. Every day I cross paths with folks I don't know; young people just starting their adult lives, weary parents taking classes and working, veterans of the military and veterans of life. I receive many smiles, but I also see sadness and a lot of stress. As I walk my path I'm reminded that everyone of these people has a story.

I read a quote recently that went something like this, If we could look into everyone's eyes, we'd see that each person is wrestling with a challenge. Everyone has their own experience with life and may be facing a battle this very day. I love Paul's reminder to the Colossians and to me. As I get dressed every morning I want to put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.

Sometimes I'm the one in the battle, but even so, I still need to gather these weapons of beauty and make the day better for those I meet. It's a challenge, but with the Holy Spirit's help, it can be done. Will you help me spread kindness? Praise God for the  loving and caring spirits who've ministered to me.

Friday, January 1, 2016

The Value of People

Philippians 2:3-4
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.
 Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

A young man in our tri-state area worked hard to make a difference this holiday season. Noah wanted to help people who have no home. He knew they were cold and needed comfort. On Facebook I saw his challenge. He asked everyone to gather socks and blankets to give to folks who are homeless. In his challenge, I saw an opportunity to share with my granddaughter. We went shopping for items the homeless shelter near me might use. I explained to her that there may be children who have nowhere to live. She carefully chose a beautiful scarf and gloves for a child her age.

After we paid for the items, we drove to the shelter and delivered the bags. The people staying at the shelter were so appreciative. I'm so glad Noah set the wheels in motion. Jesus wants me to see the needs of others before mine. I've been blessed at times in my life with help when I needed it. I want to pass that on. Paul's words in Philippians speak to the church, God's people. As I enter this new year I pray I can keep these words close to my heart. Value others above myself and look to their interests. Praise God for people who care.