Saturday, December 26, 2020

Caring For Others

Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. Philippians 2:4

 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.

Philippians 2:4

I just found out that I have been exposed to COVID. It may not be the first time, but it's the first time I've been aware of an exposure. Last Wednesday, I had my hair done. My hairdresser is amazing and I've gone to her for years. I always leave my hair appointments feeling like a new person.

Safety Protocols In Place

With the pandemic, she's been very careful to follow CDC guidelines, always wearing a mask, disinfecting all surfaces between clients and scheduling clients so there is only one person in her work space at a time.

The closest thing to being cared for is to care for someone else. Carson McCullers
I was surprised, then, when I got a text from her today, saying she'd tested positive. I know she feels horrible that she has exposed others to the virus, but I don't think she could have been any more careful.

And she's been following safety procedures for herself as well. As a breast cancer survivor, she's at a higher risk and so she's been avoiding most enclosed places and large gatherings.

And that's the awful truth about this insidious virus. It can make its way in, even with the strictest adherence to safety protocol.  



Should I Be Worried That I Have COVID?

I'm thankful that she notified me as soon as she knew so I can be mindful of my behavior as well. The last thing I want to do is unknowingly spread it to someone else.

I am absolutely not worried about the possibility of contracting the virus. Not because I think it won't happen, but because I've taken all reasonable precautions. If I do end up with it, I'll look to God for healing. I think very few people are actually fearful of getting the virus and their resolve to wear masks and take other precautions is showing respect for others rather than fear for themselves.

Respect for Others

Love each other with genuine affection,[a] and take delight in honoring each other. Romans 12:10
As Christians, we should always be mindful of how are actions affect others. I'm not saying that we should roll over and let others do whatever they want (even though Jesus did tell us to turn the other cheek), but we should always be respectful.

Likewise, I feel that wearing a mask in public and limiting groups of people that I'm with to 10 or less is more a sign of respect for others than protection for myself. I would feel horrible if I unknowingly passed the virus on to someone else and so I have modified those little things to help protect them.

I mean, really, what other simple actions can show more love than that?

Without a sense of caring there can be no sense of community

Sense of Community

I am really tired of hearing "we're all in this together", but it's true. None of us live in a vacuum and our actions, no matter how big or small, affect others in some way.

It reminds me of an illustration that was used years ago in a training I attended. The trainer had a mobile - the kind that hangs over a baby's crib. She showed that, no matter how gently she pulled on one item hanging from the mobile, the other parts of the mobile moved as well.

And so it is with each of us. We are all part of a community, whether it be at work or church or our neighborhood or even just our family. Jesus wants us to care for the members of our community. Wearing a mask or isolating if exposed to the virus (as I will be for the next several days) is one way we can care for the members of our community.

I pray that you all stay safe from any harm and continue to grow in God's grace. 

As always, the graphics created by Dances in the Light are free to use by churches and non-profits.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Lead a Life Worthy of Your Calling

lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Ephesians 4:1


Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, 
for you have been called by God. Ephesians 4:1

A few years ago, a friend gave me one of those Jesus Fish decals for my car. I love it and display it proudly for all to see. I have a feeling that Jesus slyly put the idea of creating such a car decal into someone's head - and probably prodded my friend to buy it for me - because He knew that it would affect my behavior. My driving behavior, to be specific.

I don't think I'm a bad driver (don't ask my husband, though) and I have never experienced road rage, but I do get annoyed with other drivers. Especially those who go too slow. Nothing drives me more crazy than having to follow behind Mr. Poke-a-long. I have been known to tailgate and honk at drivers going the speed limit or less. Come on already! Yes, I know we're supposed to embrace the journey, not the destination, but when I'm just going to the grocery store, there's not much of a journey to embrace!

But that decal has changed things. Because I truly don't want other drivers seeing that decal and thinking "So that's how Christians behave!" I have to be a good example for all Christians everywhere. It's like Jesus is sitting in my backseat and I have to behave All. The. Time.

So, what does that look like? Paul gives us some good guidance in Ephesians 4: Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. (Ephesians 4:2-3)

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.


And Ephesians 4:25-29 tells us So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil. If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.


Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.
 

These are all good words of advice. If I just keep them in mind at all times, I shouldn't have to worry too much about Jesus sitting there in the back seat.


 

Friday, December 18, 2020

His Mercy Flows in Waves - Luke 1:50

His mercy flows in wave after wave on those who are in awe before him. Luke 1:50

 His mercy flows in wave after wave on those who are in awe before him.
Luke 1:50

I love going to the Gulf beaches that are so close to our home. Even on the hottest summer days, the breeze that comes off the water is refreshing. The sights, sounds and smells are a symphony of senses that rejuvenate the soul. I can be lulled to sleep by the waves that come, one after another, onto the white sand beach. An afternoon at water's edge always calms me while giving me energy, if that is possible.

So it is with God's mercy. Just as the waves flow onto the beach, again and again unending, God's mercy flows over us continuously. And, oh boy, do I need it! Like All. The. Time! Honestly, I try to always do my best but I am human. I am flawed with weaknesses that sometimes are too hard to overcome. 

But His mercy is like a day on the beach. It calms me, knowing that, even though I don't deserve it, I have God's love and forgiveness. It also energizes me to work harder to be a better person and to use my talents to further His kingdom.

Do you think you're beyond help? That your past choices have pushed you too far away from God's mercy and grace? Don't believe those lies. Nobody is too far away from God that He won't hear even a whispered prayer and come rushing to your side. You may be too far gone for people, but God is always close by, just waiting for you to open your heart. Do it today. It's not too late. πŸ’–



Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Fail Forward Into Success

 


Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement.
One fails forward toward success.

C.S. Lewis

I am trying to learn Spanish using an app on my phone. It's definitely a challenge for me, especially because the app tries to mimic how you would learn through immersion. When it first introduces a concept or vocabulary, it doesn't give a lot of information about grammar or when you use usted instead of tΓΊ, for example. As a result, I make a lot of mistakes and it can get very frustrating.

Sometimes I feel like I'm not learning anything as I repeat the same mistakes again and again. But then, the lightbulb finally comes on and I get it! And, when reviewing what I've learned, I feel a sense of pride in my progress. 

Those points of former frustration are like finger posts on my road to achievement. I can look back on them and smile and how far I've come.

So it is with just about everything in life. Most things don't come easily to us and so we are bound to fail at first. That's not cause for quitting or browbeating ourselves. Think about how we react when a baby first stands on its own. The baby is standing on wobbly little legs and will inevitably fall down at first. Do we berate the baby for its failure? Of course not! We applaud and exclaim with glee over the astounding feat.

So it should be with our own failed attempts. Sometimes we just need to practice to learn a new skill (like me trying to roll my r's!) and sometimes we need to try different approaches to gain new knowledge. We learn something new with each attempt. And if we're learning, how can that be a failure?

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

The Best Is Yet To Come

The manger dares us to believe the best is yet to come. Max Lucado

For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

And by "the world", John means you. Yes, YOU! God loves YOU so much that He sent Jesus to earth to show you how to live, both on earth and in heaven. All you have to do is believe and trust it to be true.

John doesn't say that only those who are rich will get into heaven. He doesn't say that you have to do lots of good works to have eternal life. There's no mention that you even have to go to church. All you have to do is believe that Jesus came to earth to give you eternal life.

So, just come as you are and receive the love that God so wants to give you!

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Hope in Jesus

Come, Lord Jesus. My hope is in you.

 Use this Advent season as a time to renew and strengthen your relationship with Jesus. He truly is our only hope.

I had several ideas for graphics for this text and so I did a few. Take your pick! πŸ˜„






Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Don't Quit!

 

The process may be slow, but quitting won't speed it up.

I have little patience for just about anything. It's that one thing that's a constant on my prayer list for myself. Yes, I've even said, "Lord, please give me patience and give it to me RIGHT NOW!" So I have to admit that I have quit endeavors because it just takes too long to master... or even reach a point of "so-so"ness.

I used to work at a university that offered free tuition to its employees. I used that wonderful benefit to earn my graduate degree and I often encouraged my employees to further their education. Almost every time, the employee balked at the idea of going to school part time for two or five or ten years because that would be too long of time to devote. My response was always, "the time is going to pass anyway, why not use it to gain something that can never be taken away?"

So, when you are facing a long-term challenge - earning a degree, mastering a skill, losing weight, or whatever - just put one foot in front of the other and take one day at a time. It won't make the time go any faster, but neither will quitting.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

December Observances

 


Here's another month-full of daily observances that you can use to increase engagement on your social media. Feel free to download any or all from here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/Y1V8imioJ7ax6mpf7 

If you use any, I'd love it if you tagged me on your post. Thank you!

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Psalm 104:24-25

O Lord, what a variety of things you have made! In wisdom you have made them all. The earth is full of your creatures. Here is the ocean, vast and wide, teeming with life of every kind, both large and small.

 

Lord, what a variety of things you have made!
    In wisdom you have made them all.
    The earth is full of your creatures.
25 
Here is the ocean, vast and wide,
    teeming with life of every kind,
    both large and small.
Psalm 104:24-25

I learned something that still baffles me and makes me more in awe of God's infinite wisdom. Did you know that trees communicate with each other and create a complex community that includes different species? When a tree is cut down, the surrounding trees send life-sustaining nourishment that keeps it alive for years. When an old tree is nearing death, it releases its resources to the other trees.

What can we learn from this little bit of incredible information about trees? 

  1. Community is important to our survival. God designed us with a desire for companionship. We need others to learn and grow, for our happiness and security. Researchers have found that those with strong networks of family and friends live longer and are happier than those with few friends or who live in isolation.
  2. We are all in this together. ALL of us. Men, women. Old, young. No matter what race or ethnicity. No matter what beliefs or religion or abilities. Instead of competing with others, we should be supporting each other.
  3. God has created such intricate systems that we can only begin to comprehend. We tend to think we have all of the answers, but how can we have answers without all of the information? Instead, we should always turn to the one who does have all of the information and answers instead of trying to solve problems on our own.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Be A Safe Haven

Find strength in the Lord so you can be someone's safe haven.


One of the most important things we can do as Christians is to be the hands and feet of Jesus. So many people are hurting, frightened, lonely. You can make a difference in their lives. Pray for guidance and strength to best meet those needs.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

1 Corinthians 11:11

But among the Lord’s people, women are not independent of men, and men are not independent of women.

But among the Lord’s people, women are not independent of men,
and men are not independent of women. 1 Corinthians 11:11


Friday, November 13, 2020

Matthew 11:29

Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:29


Thursday, November 12, 2020

Are You Tired? Matthew 11:28

Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.

Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.
Matthew 11:28

I was about at my breaking point. I was working 60+ hours a week in a demanding job, raising a teenager, and going to graduate school part time. I had a very supportive husband, but, I grew up in the era of women's liberation and the common belief was that women could have and do it all. I was trying to live up to that belief and I was failing. I was tired - exhausted, really - from trying to be everything to everyone. 

During one pity party I was having for myself, I cried out "I can't do it all!" It wasn't really a prayer, but God heard and responded, "I never expected you to." I heard it very clearly, as if Jesus was sitting right next to me. And so He and I had a little heart to heart conversation right then and there. I spent a long time with Him that night, reevaluating priorities, understanding that I didn't have to do everything perfectly, and - most importantly - being convinced that I COULDN'T do it all on my own. I needed to lean on Him more.

I slept better that night than I had in a long time. Oh, I still worked too many hours and juggled studying with spending time with my daughter, but I slowly learned to turn all of my worries and burdens over to Jesus. 


 

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Philippians 4:4

Rejoice in the Lord always

Rejoice in the Lord always. Philippians 4:4

I was sure by now, God you would have reached down
And wiped our tears away,
Stepped in and saved the day.
But once again, I say amen
That it's still raining
As the thunder rolls
I barely hear your whisper through the rain
I'm with you
And as your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise
The God who gives and takes away
And I'll praise you in this storm
And I will lift my hands
That you are who you are
No matter where I am
And every tear I've cried
You hold in your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise you in this storm
Praise You In This Storm by Mark Hall/Bernie Herms

I think sometimes that non-believers look at Christians and think we lead perfect lives. They don't see the hard times that we go through, just like everyone does. What they really don't see is that we turn to God during those times for strength and comfort. As Christians, we aren't promised an easy life, but we are promised that He will never leave our side.


 

Faith Over Fear

Let your faith be greater than your fears.

 Let your faith be greater than your fears.

I have a little "teacup" Maltese that was already an adult when we got her. Maddie wasn't socialized until she came to live with us and when we have company, she wants me to hold her. It's taken years for her to allow strangers to come close to her and that's only when I'm holding her. She trusts that I will protect her and keep her safe so, even though she's afraid, she has courage when she's in my arms.

I feel the same way about God when I'm facing something scary. I trust that he will keep me safe and that gives me the courage to "step out in faith". 

Sunday, November 1, 2020

November Observances

 


Another month's worth of engagement posts based on established days of observance! Find those perfect posts for your social media at https://photos.app.goo.gl/i2QJrHTrgL4F8NyS9.

Observances in this group include
National Brush Day
National Bison Day





Wednesday, October 28, 2020

God Sees Our Hearts


the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7


First Impressions

It is said that it takes a split second to form an opinion about a person. The formation of those opinions is aided by stereotypes that we've learned or developed over the years.

Stereotypes Can Help

When applied judiciously, stereotypes can serve us well, saving time and, perhaps in some situations, helping us to survive. A child learns, either through experience or being taught, that a growling dog should be avoided. Not all growling dogs will bite, but it's better to keep one's distance.

Stereotypes Can Hurt

Sometimes, the stereotypes are applied too broadly. If you are taught, or decide after an experience or two, that all dogs will bite, you will have a false impression of that friendly, tail-wagging pup that just wants to play fetch.

That is often the problem with stereotypes applied to people. As soon as we start lumping people together because of some visible trait, we have false impressions of a good number of them.

How Can We Be More Like Jesus?

If we had the ability to see what's in a person's heart, it would be easy to make judgments about them. But we can't, so we have to rely on other things. What can we do to be more like Jesus?

  1. Use stereotypes judiciously. Understand that they are useful in probably only the most dire situations. Everyone is a unique individual who deserves to be judged on their own merits.
  2. Look for the best in everyone. We are all loved by God because He sees the best in us. Our best may be hidden by prison garb, unkempt hair and clothes, or a snarly face, but He is able to look past those superficial things to see the treasures that we are.
  3. Forgive failings. None of us is perfect. All of us make mistakes, commit sins, and have weaknesses. Jesus sees all of those failings and is still able to love us. We can do the same.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Matthew 5:6


 God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied.
Matthew 5:6

Monday, October 26, 2020

Ecclesiastes 2:26

God gives wisdom, knowledge and joy to those who please him.



 God gives wisdom, knowledge, and joy to those who please him.
Ecclesiastes 2:26

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Matthew 22:9

Now go out to the street corners and invite everyone you see. Matthew 22:9

 Now go out to the street corners and invite everyone you see.
Matthew 22:9

Saturday, October 24, 2020

1 Thessalonians 5:18

 

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 

1 Thessalonians 5:18










Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Say Their Names

Losing a child, no matter what age, makes your heart break in places that you never knew existed.

He will wipe every tear from their eyes,
and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain.
All these things are gone forever.

The death of a child is unimaginably difficult. I mean, really unimaginable. And with over 20,000 child deaths each year and over 20% of pregnancies ending in miscarriage, there are a lot of parents who have to experience the unimaginable.

I have experienced that loss three times. First was a miscarriage early in my pregnancy - at about 12 weeks. I'd just found out that I was pregnant and I was already in love with the tiny life growing inside me. I was already dreaming about that child's life and how he or she would fit into our growing family. I was picturing my first daughter was a big sister. And then it was over barely before it began. A boy or girl? I never knew. There was no funeral, no grave to visit. My mother cried with me. My friends didn't know what to say. 

Less than a year later, I was pregnant again. I held my breath until the 13th week and then I allowed myself to begin dreaming again. The pregnancy was actually quite uneventful and, by the time the due date came, I was allowing myself to relax. When the labor pains began, I looked forward to meeting this new life that I'd come to know over the past nine months. By the time we got to the hospital, she was already gone. We named her Kimberly.

My friends still didn't know what to say. Even my pastor was at a loss for comforting words, resorting to the trite "you can always have another."

Two years later, Nicole was born six weeks early. Mercifully, we'd been spared the knowledge of her genetic issues while I was pregnant, only learning upon her birth. Abortion would not have been an option and I don't know how I would have managed if I'd known earlier. We spent the next 39 days making the NICU our second home. We pretended that we had all of the time in the world while knowing our time with Nicole would be too short. 

I think of those three children very often. Probably every day. And I talk about Kimberly and Nicole often. I remind people that they were - and still are - a part of my life. I use their names and it's music to my ears when others do as well. Of all of the facets of grief, I regret that people outside of my immediate family will forget about these two precious girls that they never met. And so it's important to me to continue to talk about them and to say their names.

Today is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Take a minute to say a prayer for those parents who have had to experience the unimaginable. If you know someone who has experienced the loss of a child, talk about the child. Use his or her name. You will be giving that parent a precious gift.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Engagement Posts - Daily Observance Style


Today is Bring Your Bible to School Day. It's also International Coffee Day and probably a dozen other observances. I've created a month's worth of daily observances graphics for social media engagement. You can find them at https://photos.app.goo.gl/jV7mQXGcyQSnC9Ju5

Monday, September 28, 2020

Brand New Possibilities

Open up my eyes, Lord, to brand new possibilities. Toby Mac

You are opening my eyes
You're opening my eyes, Lord
To brand new possibilities
You are opening my eyes
You're opening my eyes, Lord
To brand new possibilities
Edge of My Seat by tobyMac

I found myself singing the bridge to Edge of My Seat this morning as I was cleaning the horses' stalls. Just kept mindlessly singing the same words, over and over: You-are-o-pen-ing-my-eyes-Lord-you're-o-pen-ing-my-eyes-Lord-to-brand-new-pos-si-bil-i-ties!

Now, I do tend to sing while performing the mindless task of mucking stalls. It's a boring, tedious job and singing helps make it more interesting. Plus, I am absolutely convinced that the horses love to hear those dulcet tones waft from my lips. πŸ˜‚ But I haven't sung that song for a long time. And, honestly, I probably don't even know the words to the rest of the song.

So, it's a wonder why that refrain became my earworm this morning. When I realized what I was singing, I immediately and excitedly thought "Oh! I wonder if God has something new in store for me!"

Open up my eyes, Lord, to brand new possibilities.

Since I stopped creating the online worship videos for my church, I've kind of been bumbling along, figuring out how I want to spend my days. I've taken on a few things - learning Spanish, learning how to finger play my guitar, learning how to draw (yep, lots of learning going on here!). But not much in terms of serving Jesus.
So, I was really excited at the prospect of a new challenge from God. (I realize that the song has a broader meaning, which you can hear about here; but for me at that moment, it meant something more specific.) 

That excitement over some unknown plan from above was definitely a new feeling for me. In the past, I've been hesitant to ask God to use me. I always imagine He's going to send me to live in a hut in some third world country where I'll have to haul drinking water from a murky pond and eat ants for protein. Honey, I wouldn't even seriously consider glamping for the weekend, so living in a hut is out of the question!

I am so thankful that He knows me so well because He has never asked me to do anything so extreme. Has He pushed me, kicking and screaming, out of my comfort zone? You bet! Has He expected me to eat ants? No way!

I've always gotten a lot of fulfillment out of the things He's asked me to do. And I've definitely grown from those experiences. So, instead of fearing whatever is next, I'm really looking forward to a new challenge! And that change in attitude is exciting as well!

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10

So, I don't know what He has in mind, but I'm running toward Him with open arms and open eyes! Use me, Lord!


Friday, September 25, 2020

Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you. 1 Peter 5:7

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

 
One time, someone who reported to me confided in me that she was unable to move forward with a project I'd assigned because she was so worried about what might go wrong. I knew that the assignment would be a challenge for her, but I'd assured her that I was there to help, if needed. So, I had been frustrated with her lack of progress. My immediate reaction to her confession was "Why didn't you talk to me before now? I can help!" 

I can just hear God saying the same thing to me when I fret over details. "Talk to me, Nancy! I can help!"

Do you remember, as a child, being afraid of the dark? Thinking about things unseen can really rev up a child's imagination! And we never seem to imagine unicorns and puppy dogs are lurking in the dark corners of the room - it's always monsters! But do you also remember how much better you felt when you told your mom or dad about your fears and they assured you that they would keep you safe?

That's exactly how it is when you talk to God about your worries. Knowing that you don't have to face those dark corners by yourself brings such relief and comfort! And it makes God happy, too. He doesn't want you to waste energy on worrying. He is more than capable of taking over those cares!

Don't try to handle everything yourself. God is much more capable of dealing with your worries than you are. 
 

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Anything is Possible - Mark 9:23

Anything is possible when we believe.



A father took his son to see Jesus. He'd heard that this prophet could perform healing miracles and his son needed a big miracle. He was disappointed when Jesus wasn't there when he arrived. He was even more disappointed when a few of Jesus' disciples attempted and failed to exorcize the demon that possessed his son. Had the stories he'd heard about the healings been untrue? Certainly, the religious teachers thought so.

The father awkwardly carried his son, trying to keep up with the crowd that ran to Jesus when he returned. He explained his son's affliction and asked Jesus to heal him, if he could. The man so wanted to believe that Jesus could heal the boy, but the disciples had failed so maybe it was beyond the prophet's capabilities as well.

When Jesus said "anything is possible when you believe", hope made the father's heart somersault in his chest. He did believe. The prophet's calm and confident voice made it easy to believe. But he feared that his faith might not be enough to heal his son. He cried out "I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!"

Jesus destroyed the demon that had held the boy captive and then helped him to his feet. 

Do you ever feel as though your faith isn't strong enough to ask God for the impossible? Jesus said in Matthew 17 that you only need the faith the size of a mustard seed to move mountains. A mustard seed is tiny and so it's a good illustration of how little faith you need.

I think the problem is that, once we have that little bit of faith, we are keenly aware of those doubts that creep into our minds. It makes us feel that we don't have enough faith - we aren't worthy to ask God for anything.

If you still feel your faith is lacking, then ask God to help you with your unbelief. Ask Him to help you grow as a Christian.
 

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear. Psalm 46:1-2

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear.

When I was 20, I discovered a lump on my neck. I ignored it, as most young people probably would, for a handful of reasons - I was in college and too busy to worry about it, I was young and invincible, and I was too experienced to know about worst case scenarios. When I went home for Christmas, my mom insisted I get it checked out. After much eye-rolling and whining, I finally went to the family doctor.

That started a month of tests and doctor appointments and nervousness. I couldn't ignore the possibilities any more and I was scared. But when I met the surgeon, I was instantly reassured. I didn't know him before I entered his office, but not more than five minutes later I was confident that everything would be OK. I trusted him immediately, even though I knew little about him.

In looking back (and knowing more now than I did then), I am amazed that I felt so comfortable and trusting of the surgeon. I was putting my life into his hands, but I wasn't worried.

There have been times in my life that I should have trusted God that completely, but I haven't. Looking back on those times, I wonder why it was so easy to trust the surgeon and, in contrast so hard to trust God. I know that God has my best at heart, just as the surgeon did, but I have questioned and doubted God.

Psalm 46:1-2 is so matter-of-fact - God is always with us to help and comfort us so there's no reason to fear. It sounds so simple. And, honestly, we can trust Him because He has proven that He is faithful. He does what He says and He says what He does. Nothing that God does should surprise us. 

 

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

2 Corinthians 13:14

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. 2 Corinthians 13:14

 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. 2 Corinthians 13:14

This benediction always makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. The pastor at a church I went to in college always used it as his benediction. It seemed to me to be the perfect framework for the coming week. With the grace, love and fellowship of the Trinity, I just knew that the week would be outstanding.

And I love the adjectives used in the Message version of this verse:

The amazing grace of the Master, Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit, be with all of you.

Amazing grace, extravagant love, intimate friendship. Sometimes it's hard to imagine that the creator of all things could love me extravagantly, give me things I don't deserve, or call me friend, but that's what it's all about! God didn't just create us and then leave to fend for ourselves. He created us because He wants a close relationship with us. Think about that as you face the challenges of this week.

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