Wednesday, June 29, 2016

At a Loss for Words

Have you ever been so down or so upset you just couldn’t find the words to pray? I have. I felt really bad about it too.

A few years when I found out I had cancer it was such a shock. I remember when when my doctor told me, he was felt so bad about telling me the news that I felt sorry for him. I was in shock. We never are really prepared for such news.

There were so many times I would sit down to pray and there was nothing – my mind was blank. I would get my Bible, turn off all outside noises like phone, TV, radio, dish washer, washer and dryer, sit in my favorite comfortable chair then try and pray. Nothing would come to mind. There were just no words I could find to say to God. I was at a loss for words.

I wasn’t made at God and never asked why me Lord. I was just empty. Like an empty cup of coffee. 

Romans 8:26
“… We do not know how to pray or what we should pray for, but the Holy Spirit prays to God for us with sounds that cannot be put into words.” 

Never before did this problem plague me. There were times in my life that I was angry with God and would question Him, but never empty. This emptiness was so new to me. My faith remained strong. I knew He was in control and I went through the motions of doing the good Christian thing going to Bible classes and services. I didn't break down in tears all the time. On the outside no one could see the difference, but inside nothing was happening.

Finally after several weeks of going through this numb feeling, I confided in a friend of mine. She just looked at me and said “that’s what your sisters in Christ are for, to pray for you when you can’t”. It was so simple, yet so profound. It took such a load off my mind and heart when she said those words to me. It was a light bulb moment for me. 

This is why it is so important for us Christians to stay connected with each other. Not only when we see each other at services, but getting together in each other’s homes and outside the building. When was the last time you had lunch with some of your girl friends or enjoyed a cup of coffee with a friend at your kitchen table?

Ladies I beg you to share your life with your sisters in Christ. You will benefit from opening up and sharing your thoughts and concerns.

Prayer on behalf of another person is a heart well tended.

May God Bless

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

He Knocked and I Answered

The devil knocked on my door today. As I walked to the door I was asking God to stop me. Not answering the door was the “out” that God was giving me. Being weak and not having confidence in myself that I could walk away from this temptation. My hand clenched the knob and I swung the door open. He was in.

I am talking about the proverbial door. It could be a literal door, or a temptation of any kind. 

God tells us to flee from evil.

1 Peter 3:11
Let him turn away from evil and do good; Let him seek peace and pursue it.

Turning from evil is never easy. We can see it coming toward us like a freight train and stand there frozen in its way and never make a move. God knew that Satan was going to be tempting us daily.

Some days it is so easy to turn from sin and other days every step you take is difficult. You struggle with everything you try and accomplish or every decision you make. I sure don’t have the answer for that life problem. Not sure anyone does.

So how do we handle those days when that roaring lion is stalking you and clawing at your heels? The only answer I know is prayer. Deep heavy prayer – often along with quick flash prayers. Flash prayers are fast and furious. “Help me now Lord.”

God is with us always every minute of every day. All we need to do is reach out to Him. Grab your Bible and just flip it open and read till the urge leaves you. Open your phone and your Bible app and read a few verses. Satan will know you are seriously trying to overcome his temptations. 

James 4:7
Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

May God Bless

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Teach the Older Women

Titus 2:3-5
Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

Like many of us, I have read these verses before. Today when I read them something different popped out at me.

Paul was writing to Titus about how Christians should act older men, younger men, older women and younger women. I have used these verses before to write about how older women should teach the younger women, and that is true. What I never noticed was the verse before that one.

“Teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but teach what is good…”

What. . . I’m supposed to be taught to be reverent in the way I live? It made me stop and think about a couple of things. What is reverent really mean and who should be teaching me?

Webster’s Dictionary says:
Reverent – an adjective – showing a lot of respect; being very respectful

The first thing that came to mind is the Elders at my congregation. Yes, I can say I am very respectful of them. I respect our preacher and our elderly brothers and sisters. Then why do I think I might be falling short on this trait that I should have as an older woman.

My personality is to kid around a lot. I enjoy laughing and making others laugh. I know there have been times that I’ve been joking around with someone and said something that just may not be as respectful as it should be. At least after it was said I felt awkward about it. Sometimes these things can be a form of disrespect. I might not have meant it that way, but it could have sounded like disrespect, especially if someone was just walking by and only heard part of the conversation.

Conclusion – I need to work on this. Maybe not be so quick witted to try and entertain someone with a smart remark that could be construed as disrespectful. Also, be respectful of all persons, not just those that I think deserve it.

Now who is supposed to be teaching me this? Well since Paul was writing the letter to Titus about the Christians he was working with, then I suppose it could be anyone of my Christian friends. I am assuming this could be some of the women that are older than me. But I would hope that even if a younger woman thought I was not being reverent they would come and talk to me about it.

“not to be slanders…”

Not talking badly about others or situations. I think this applies to talking negatively also. Not just gossip or bad mouthing someone, but to just be negative in my attitude. That can be a difficult subject sometimes. Life gets hard and we all get down or depressed, but I think this is talking about the bigger picture. I’m sure we all have met those people that you just want to cross the street when you see them coming in your direction. They don’t have anything good to say about anything and they are normally hard to get away from. I do pray that I never become one of those people. I call them a “Negative Nelly” or “Debbie Downer”. These people never like change and always feel like someone is out to get them by something that has been done. 

I believe this may have been linked in with the “older women” here because it is easy for the elderly to become negative. The older you become, the smaller your circle of friends becomes also, if you let it. During your child rearing days you are so busy running around with the kids and meeting new people that after your family has grown and left the empty nest hits. For awhile this can be wonderful, but the older you get you don’t have as many opportunities to make new friends. With age comes the reality that more people you know are passing on in life.

“addicted to much wine…”  I think we all understand this part.

“but to teach what is good” So I am to be teaching. It doesn’t say to teach school or teach Bible class, it just says teach. Does that mean we shouldn’t be teaching Bible classes to the young? Absolutely not! Is being older and teaching young kids hard work, YES. But how are these young souls going to learn about God and His salvation without us “older women” teaching them? I believe we must teach (it’s right there in the Bible ladies), teach something. Some can cook well, some can sew well, and some can decorate well. We all have talents that we can teach to someone else. Use the talent God gave you and teach someone something.

May God Bless.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Cleaning Out the Closets

I asked my husband to build me some shelves in the closet so I can turn one of the rooms into the office/craft/sewing room. He was sweet to do that for me.

It is a small room so I need to make use of all the space I can. So that meant cleaning that closet out so he could add shelves. Well in moving all of that stuff out I was going to move it all to another closet. Which meant moving the stuff from that closet into another closet. Which meant I had to straighten out that closet first.

Got the picture. I have “stuff” everywhere right now – all over the house. 

So as I put things back into their correct place, which I will forget where I put everything now, I need to look at each thing and decide if I am keeping it or not. Who needs 12 vases, or 15 different types of candle holders? I like pretty things and I collect them from auctions and yard sales. But I don’t use them, so I am getting rid of them. Just keeping 2 or 3 and the rest are going out. This has really been hard work. Much more emotional than I thought it would be. Some of it was my mom’s, so that stuff I am keeping for my girls. All in all, it has been a lot of work and I have 3 big boxes of stuff to go out the door. But now I have straightened out closets, at least some of them.

This makes me think about the “stuff” we keep in our hearts. Don’t you wish we could just box up some of the stuff we carry around with us day to day? Then we could have boxes of Hurts, Broken Promises, Lost Dreams and Dumb Decisions. Pack them up and discard them. Put them out with the trash or sell them at a yard sale. That would be so easy.

Ephesians 3:19
To know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

If we were empty like my closets, we could fill them back up again with good stuff, like God’s word and His love.

In Paul’s letter to the Philippians he prayed for them to be filled with all the fruits of righteousness.

Philippians 1:9-11
9-And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, 10-that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, 11-being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

It makes sense to me that by living in this world, we need to empty some of the stuff that we collect daily in our hearts and minds. Since I can’t just take it out and put it in a box, I figure the best way to do this is to study God’s word and pray it out.

So take some time today, dump some stuff and fill back up on God’s word.

May God Bless

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Shining Stars

You know what is wrong with the world – nothing. You know what is wrong with the people in the world – everything. God created this world we live in so it is perfect. However, what man does to the pure creation of God is a whole different subject – one we are not going to talk about today.

Google tells me that the word “Millennials” means the generation that was born from the early 1980’s to around 2000. The generation after 2000 is referred to as Generation Z or Gen Z. Now that you are up to date on who I am talking about let’s move forward.

Gen Z is getting a bad rap. So are Gen X and the Millennials. Probably every generation that is up and coming gets hit pretty hard by the generation that has gone before them.

I’m a Baby Boomer. According to an article on we are spoiled. We are the generation that spends every penny we make and have mastered the art of consumerism. I agree with most of that for myself. I do not think all Baby Boomers are that way, so making general assumptions about a group of people does not set well with me. 

So why am I talking about all this? Recently I attended an Awards Program at a Middle School (Jr. High for us old people), what I saw inspired me. A stage full of shinning stars. Children in 6th, 7th and 8th grades (Gen Z) that had their lives ahead of them and they were full of excitement, high hopes and energy. At one point in the program there were about 20 kids on stage holding their awards. As looked at them I saw the future of America.

This is what I saw. Boys and girls from all different walks of life and better yet, all different nationalities. I saw White, Black, Brown, Asian, and Hispanic, children that were of mixed races all smiling and beaming with hope and proud of their accomplishments. There was a blending of cultures that looked promising. Each child was a shining star.

When I think of a star, I think of a shining light, brightness, and a twinkling, almost a sparkling image. People we have got to start looking at the bright stars around us. Turn off the news that capitalizes on the negative in the world. Yes there will always be a dark side in life it has always been there and will always be there as God tells us.

1 Peter 5:8-9
Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.

Remember, these children are the future. We must encourage them, help them become good citizens. Lead them in the way of the Lord. Help them understand where they have come from and the wonderful future that waits them. 

It is our duty if we see a child on the wrong path to give them a helping hand. You may not see the results today or tomorrow, but with prayer and continued guidance we can help the ones that go astray.

I have seen the future dentists, doctors, and scientist and our upcoming world leaders and am impressed with their abilities and determination.

May God Bless