Wednesday, November 28, 2018

I have hope.


We have all lost someone we've loved to the cruelty of the grave.  When this happens--we are sure to experience grief.  Death equals separation and sadness, there's just no way around it.  Whether you are a Believer or an unbeliever, mourning is part of our DNA.   It's the way God made us.

When my mother died in 1975, I grieved.  And after all these years, I still become emotional when I think about the wonderful person she was, and how much I miss her gentleness in my life.  

The scripture in I Thessalonians 4:13 (NET) says this, 


Now we do not want you to be uninformed, 
brothers and sisters, about those who are asleep, 
so that you will not grieve like the rest who have no hope.

This scripture gives me an insurmountable peace of mind.  I don't have to grieve like those who have no hope.  That phrase in Thessalonians gives me both permission to grieve and instruction in how to grieve. 

I may grieve, but I don't have to grieve as a person without hope.  

As we end the Thanksgiving season and enter the Christmas season, we often remember our loved ones who are no longer seated at the family table.  You have permission--from God--to grieve those empty seats, but in the process remember...God has given us hope.

Today, I am thankful for this amazing gift from the Lord--the hope of being reunited.  

I have hope.  








Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Given and Received

I've heard my husband use this phrase in sermons many times.  "We often remember what we should forget and forget what we should remember." 

As I get older, I can honestly say, I've got that forget part down to perfection.  It's the remembering part I struggle with of late.  

Yet, there is one thing I hope I never forget.  It's the power I have to forgive.  

Through Jesus, I have an amazing example of forgiveness given and through my salvation I received that forgiveness, yet I often forget what Christ did for me when it's my turn to extend forgiveness to another.  

I forget, there was nothing in me, that He should even care for my wreathed life, yet He did.

I am thankful today for forgiveness given and forgiveness received.  There is much power, truth and liberation in these two words given and received.  

Today, you may be carrying the pain of unforgiveness.  Not fun!  Let it go.  Forgive as you have been forgiven.  Give forgiveness to those who have hurt you with no strings attached.  That will allow another to receive the pure joy of that forgiveness.  

Never forget what Christ did for you when His forgiveness was given.  Remember how you felt when you received that forgiveness.

Make allowance for each other’s faults, 
and forgive anyone who offends you. 
Remember, the Lord forgave you, 
so you must forgive others.  
Colossians 3:13 (NLT)

God's forgiveness--Given and Received--is something to truly be thankful for!


Now, it’s your turn to forgive!




Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Mistakes

There is no pride in my tone when I say that I'm a repeat offender.  It's true.  I rarely learn my lessons the first time around.  

When I look back at my life-education, and by 'life-education' I'm not talking about book learning.  I'm taking about--the school of LIFE.  

At this institution of higher learning, I am a scholar.  Some of the painful lessons I've learned could also be called mistakes.  And we all know that past mistakes have a way of pressing in on a person to the point of physical agony.    
  
I know that sounds painful, and it is.  Remember, I'm a scholar when it comes to mistakes.  

The one good thing to say about past mistakes is that during these agonizing times,  we often learn our best lessons--over time of course--never right away.  

When I read the Bible, I discover that I'm in excellent company when it comes to people who have made mistakes and didn't give-up.  In some of these Bible stories you could say that these people push the 'mistake card' all the way to utter failure.

Moses messed up when he killed the Egyptian guard, and still, God used him to delivered the children of Israel.  Gideon didn't start out a brave solider.  He was fearful, but later he was called a great warrior.  Peter was afraid when he was asked if he knew Jesus--by a little girl.  He denied Christ...three times...but after the upper room experience in Act 2, he preached the name of Jesus to thousands.  

I'm thankful that despite my weakness, failures and mistakes--God will still use me.

In 1 Corinthians 1:27-30 the Message Bible says this:

"Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don’t see many of “the brightest and the best” among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these “nobodies” to expose the hollow pretensions of the “somebodies”? That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God. Everything that we have—right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start—comes from God by way of Jesus Christ.”

Today, I'm thankful even for the mistakes I've made in my life because God uses flawed people--people who don't always learn the first, second or even third time around.  

My past with all the mistakes I've made and all the future mistakes I'm sure are coming--are all a part of the amazing me--that God deliberately chose.  







Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Giving Back

November is officially the month of thankfulness.  More than any other time of the year, right now, we hear this question, what are you thankful for?

Soooo, What am I thankful for? 

What's the first thing that pops into your mind when you hear that question?

Of course, we are all thankful for the Lord and His great sacrifice, but what comes next?  What get's the #2 spot?  Family?  Good health?  Church?  Job?  Friends?  Godly upbringing?  Shelter?

I decided over the next few weeks to pick things that aren't usually in the top ten of most people's thankful list--yet--they are things to be thankful for, so here goes.

I'm thankful for the opportunity to give back.  Over the course of my life, I've had my fair share of both receiving and giving.  The career path my husband and I chose for our lives has given us ample opportunities to give back over the years.

There are many ways to give back, such as, giving back with our finances, our time, our energy, and our talents.

I remember times in my life when I was called on to do things that I was grossly unqualified to do, but the need was present and not going away because I didn't feel confident--no one else was stepping up, so I did.  Sometimes I fell flat on my face, and sometimes I soared.  Looking back, I have no regrets and only thankfulness in my heart for the opportunities I’ve had to give back.

In Acts 20:35 (NET) I believer the writer of this book got it right when he said, "...It is more blessed to give than to receive."

So what's keeping you from giving back?






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