Loving One Another

Posts tagged ‘Lord’

Why Practice Giving?


Why practice giving? What’s in it for me?

Many Ways

There are many ways to “give.” My mailbox is overflowing everyday this time of year for requests to give – donate to St. Judes or St. Joseph’s Indian School; donate to Foot and Mouth Painters or Salvation Army; make an extra donation to Guideposts or my church or the Food Bank. And don’t even ask me how many text messages and e-mails I receive each day from political candidates! Yes, giving money is one way to practice giving… and if you have dough to spare, there are needy, worthy causes out there.

But do you know for sure what percentage of your hard-earned bucks are going to the intended cause? Can you see the light in the eyes of the recipient?

Face-to-Face

Giving face-to-face changes your life as well as the recipient’s. Pay it forward in the grocery line. Give a hug. Share your talent at a nursing home … maybe it’s a visit and a hug or a half hour of your time to read a little from your favorite poems. Maybe it’s a meal in your home with friends you’d like to have a chance to know better. And you’d like them to know each other. Maybe it’s transportation to an appointment for someone without a car. Perhaps it is time with a child (yours or someone else’s… doesn’t matter… just be there!).

Think of giving in non-monetary terms. Give of yourself. Give joyfully! Why?

Give as the Lord’s Example

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Generosity Encouraged

2 Corinthians 9:6-9
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written: “They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.”

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God Bless You, dear Friends.
Have you decided on
an answer to “What’s in it for me?”

I hope you’re having a “good” day.
Thank you for being such generous givers!
Tell me about the last time you “gave” – what was it?

Merry Christmas!
See you tomorrow.

You Are Mine


As this day – a day in the USA to remember and honor our veterans – draws to an end, I am encouraged by the ways God reassures us of our destiny… and theirs.

My heart goes out to the parents, spouses, children, and loved ones of our fallen heroes. God bless those who made the ultimate sacrifice to defend our country and our freedom.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

But my greatest gratitude goes to my Lord who assures us that He will bring us home … and He will be our strength, our light, our hope.

In 1991 David Haas, inspired by Ps. 46:10, Isaiah 43:1 and John 14:27 wrote “You Are Mine,” a song that speaks to my soul.

“I will come to you in the silence,

I will lift you from all your fear.

You will hear my voice,

I claim you as my choice,

Be still and know I am here.

I am hope for all who are hopeless,

I am sight for all who long to see.

In the shadows of the night,

I will be your light,

Come and rest in me.

Do not be afraid, I am with you.

I have called you each by name.

Come and follow me,

I will bring you home;

I love you and you are mine.

I am the strength for all the despairing,

Healing for the ones who dwell in shame.

All the blind will see, the lame will all run free,

And all will know my name.

I am the word that leads to all freedom,

I am the peace the world cannot give.

I will call your name,

Embracing all your pain,

Stand up now, walk and live!

Do not be afraid, I am with you.

I have called you each by name.

Come and follow me, I will bring you home;

I love you and you are mine.


Our loved ones who sacrificed their lives
For our freedom and for our safety
Are home in the arms of our Lord.

He said, “You are mine.”

And He meant it for Eternity.

In His Promises there is peace and assurance.

God bless you. Believe! You belong to Him.

And He has your loved ones in His Hand.

See ya tomorrow.

In the Same Boat


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SERMON NOTES

Bible Reference

Rev. Steve Hundley’s sermon topic today at the Madison Valley Presbyterian Church in Ennis, MT was “We’re All in the Same Boat.” It was inspired by the story in Matthew 14:22-36. Jesus commanded the disciples to get in the boat and sail out to sea while He went off to be alone for awhile. Then – in the darkness of a stormy night – He walked on the water to go out to them. Seeing Jesus walking on water toward them, Peter asked to be able to do likewise. The Lord told him to come ahead – and he did. All went well until he looked down at the growing waves, became fearful, and started to sink. “Why did you doubt?” Jesus asked him as he helped Peter back onto the boat.

Ah, courage and faith – that’s what it takes.
But only God can walk on water.

Sermon notes taken while Steve shared his message:

We’re All in the Same Boat

Jesus is the Loving Shepherd
But He is also our Commander.
He is gentle and kind, we know,
But we realize He’s a Great Demander.

Why did Jesus order His disciples
To go and get in the boat?
It was midnight, afterall!
Was that a good time to go for a float?

The earliest idea of the church
Was the image of a boat’s belly.
We’re all in this boat together.
It’s dark, stormy, and chilly.

We’re rowing as hard as we can –
And don’t seem to make any headway.
We’re busy trying to make it on our own,
Too busy to hear what God has to say.

But God comes walking on the water,
And He says, “Fear not, it is I.”
We look and doubt and test Him saying,
If it is You, save me!” Oh my!

Only God/Jesus can walk on water.
Sometimes our job is just to cling
To the boat and don’t presume
We can go it alone. Just trust and sing!

Following the sermon, we sang this song,
“We All Are One in Mission.”
See the song’s words below the sermon notes.

First we gotta get in the boat.
Then we gotta stay in it.
We gotta trust God is here with us.
We gotta gather and pray in it!

Help me, Lord, to remember
You will draw near to me – no fuss-
If we stay and pray and know
You’re here in the boat with us.

“We All Are One in Mission”

“We all are one in mission; we all are one in call,
our varied gifts united by Christ, the Lord of all.
A single great commission compels us from above
to plan and work together that all may know Christ’s love.

We all are called for service, to witness in God’s name.
Our ministries are different; our purpose is the same:
To touch the lives of others by God’s surprising grace,
so every folk and nation may feel God’s warm embrace.

Now let us be united, and let our song be heard.
Now let us be a vessel for God’s redeeming Word.
We all are one in mission; we all are one in call,
our varied gifts united by Christ, the Lord of all.”

Words: Rusty Edwards (Matthew 28:19-20; i Cor. 12:4-6
Music: Finnish folk melody

I am with you.
I’m praying you have a blessed Sunday.
..
and a week filled with God’s grace.

See ya later

Why Can’t We Just LOVE?


Why can’t we JUST LOVE ONE ANOTHER?

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LOVING ONE ANOTHER IS A PERSONAL ISSUE IN MY FAMILY – AND YOURS, TOO.

My grandson fell in love with Dahlia (not her real name … time to protect the innocent). They produced this darling baby. Now Dahlia has kicked him out.

Why can’t we just love one another?

Why do we tug at each other and take sides
and try to pull one another over to our side?
Why can’t we try harder to understand
before we try to be understood?

Why can’t we just LOVE ONE ANOTHER?

action active activity adult

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Why do we wage war against one another?

Why can’t we JUST LOVE ONE ANOTHER?

I had an ah-hah moment this morning as I was doing my Bible Study and reading the devotionals. In Touch magazine’s topic yesterday was “God’s Perspective on War.”

Charles Stanley wrote, “War is a very controversial subject in both the world and the church…” and then he asked the question, “What does the Lord think about war?” 
He continued by trying to answer his own question, using Romans 13:1-4 as a springboard.

Here is Romans 13: 1-2a –  “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those who exist have been instructed by God. Therefore, whoever resists the authorites resists what God has appointed…”

He said wars are waged to protect citizens against evil.

 

But, is every ruler appointed and instructed by God? I would question that. If they are, in fact, instructed by God, are they listening? Are they following God’s instruction?

Do wars over land rights have anything to do with protecting citizens’ lives? The governments send its citizens into battle knowing many will be killed!

God bless our veterans! I guess it was July 4th and its festivities – honoring our war veterans that got me thinking on this subject.

IMMIGRATION AND CIVIL RIGHTS

Pediatricians shared pictures drawn by migrant children after being released from ⁦US custody

A drawing by children recently released depicting their time spent in US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody.

A drawing by children recently released depicting their time spent in US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody. Photograph: Handout ./Reuters

Is God instructing Donald Trump to take chidren from their parents, lock them in cages, give them aluminum blankets, make them sleep on a cold floor,  and provide inadequate medical care for them? It’s heart-breaking!!!

Yes, I know – this is a controversial, multi-faceted problem.  But, it just can’t be right!

Governments were established as a means of promoting good and restraining (stopping, if possible) evil. I am convinced that God’s goal is the destruction of wickedness, NOT THE DESTRUCION OF PEOPLE.

Why can’t we JUST LOVE ONE ANOTHER?

When governments condone immorality, fuel the rich, and oppress the poor, then God allows war for the sake of the innocent.

In Luke 6:27-31, the Bible teaches us to love our enemies, do good to those who hate us, and bless those who curse us. BUT, as Charles Stanley pointed out in today’s devotional in In Touch magazine, “Jesus was speaking about personal conflicts, not national wars.” He continued by reminding us we need to “distinquish between commands issued to nations and instructions given to individuals.”

God allows governments to wage wars for the protection of those being harmed. The job of the government is to protect people.

What would have happened if no government had stepped in to stop Hitler?

Where in our world today do we see people being harmed by the government? Caged? Scorned? Marginalized? We don’t have to look very far!

When I put the word “abuse” in the free photo library search, look what I got:

 

When I put the word “protect” in, this image popped up:

abstract barbed wire black white black and white

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Immigration Policy

Is this what the immigration policy has boiled down to? A wall?

Is this how we step forward to protect people in the world who are forced out of their homes and risking their lives to seek asylum in a safer place?

No, we can’t take in thousands of people who need protection from other countries. We need to limit immigration/ asylum seekers and enforce our limits. But, what is the root cause? What are the conditions that are forcing these families out of their native lands?

How can we look for ways to protect our own people and treat others with love?

There is no easy solution to the abuse and marginalization, the hunger and the threats to life in this world. JUST LOVE ONE ANOTHER sounds like pie in the sky – Pollyanna thinking.

But LOVE is the answer! Right and Truth must ultimately prevail.

We must stand up/ speak up/work for/pray for/hope for/ and believe in PEACE.

It is not ours individually to take our own revenge. We will never experience inner peace if we battle individuals who wrong us. Our job is to forgive, to love, and to work together to make our own government more responsive to the needs of its citizens and the right to a peaceful life for us all.

I do dream of a world with no more war. Don’t you?

LET’S JUST LOVE ONE ANOTHER!

SEE YOU TOMORROW!

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Thrill to the Quest


Thank you for continuing with me
on the quest to
Add greater meaning to
and
Find larger purpose in
Life

Today’s letter in this A-Z series is “Q”

In their book, Spiritual Literacy, Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat wrote,
Savor questions and thrill to the quest.
See your life as a journey
that quickens your faith
and deepens your soul.”

Be a Seeker

The cover page to the Brussat’s book says, “A book that belongs in every seeker’s home…”

That’s me! A seeker! How about you?

seek for adventure

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A seeker always is looking for:

  • adventure
  • a better way
  • a new way
  • a “funner” path
  • a creative hobby
  • a clearer direction or purpose for life
  • a way to improve a skill
  • ideas for improving his/her diet
  • motivation for a healthier life
  • other bloggers who can help him/her remain inspired or learn new skills or just laugh a little

Do any of those resonate with you?

What would you add to the list?

Don’t be Afraid to Improvise

I recently had an abundance of carrots that needed to be used. I googled “Carrot Soup” and discovered this wonderful new (to me) site called “Eating Well.” The carrot soup recipe is simple and easy.

food healthy cooking fresh

Photo by mali maeder on Pexels.com

 

Check it out at http://www.eatingwell.com/recipe/249990/carrot-soup/

I followed the recipe, but when I was finished, I decided it needed some enhancement. I went back to the site on a quest for enhancement ideas. Right next to that recipe was one that added curry to the soup. We love curry. Also, I wanted it to be a bit creamy. I had some half and half on hand. I added that.

You know, when you are on a quest for improved flavors, improved health or attitudes, improved life-styles … you name it … you have to be adventuresome! Mix it up.  Improvise. Think outside the box!

photo of white and brown cardboard box toy figure

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Think Outside the Box

Recently I have been on a quest for ideas to enhance the birthday party for my great-grandson. It’ll be at our house this Saturday. He’ll be two on Sunday. We have about 25 friends and in-law-family of my granddaughter coming to join us. What can we do besides eat and socialize?

I asked Siri. She led me to fatherly.com, a website with an article titled, “20 Original Ideas for a Second Birthday Party.” From a rainbow party to a fairytale fete, these birthday themes are touted to be perfect fits for two-year-olds.

The article on fatherly.com said,
“They have simple tastes.
They want cake,
shiny things to wave about,
and to run free…
Second birthdays should be glorious play dates.”

I pray for good weather, and I pray that my granddaughter will have other two-year-olds here for my great-grandson to play with. But, whether she does or not, the ideas I discovered on this site satisfied my quest for answers to “What can we do besides eat and socialize?”

Balloons sounded like a great idea to me. If our unpredictable Montana weather is bad that day, balloons can hit furniture and not put dents in it!

toddler girl sitting on ground surrounded by balloons

Photo by Amponsah Nii Davidson on Pexels.com

Now, we need to choose a theme –  and get busy. Thinking outside the box can sometimes result in extra work. Don’t be afraid of it!

Let Your Quest Quicken Your Faith and Deepen Your Soul

If one of your quests is like mine: to look for clearer direction or purpose for life, what questions do you ask? Where do you go for answers?

My go-to source for such answers is clear to you if you have read any of my other posts. Rarely do I leave you without a reference to God, to the Living Lord who walked on earth and showed us the Way, or a reference to Scripture. I will not disappoint you this time either.

It’s not just Google or Siri to whom I turn when I have questions. They are a great help when it comes to history, places, recipes, party ideas… but when it comes to matters of the heart and soul, nothing beats the Good Book!

person holding opened book

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Use the Bible’s Concordance

My NIV (New International Version) Study Bible has a great concordance. I can look to the back of the Book for words that reference my questions. It will list all the places in the Bible where the idea I am seeking is mentioned.

For instance, when I was concerned about a friend who was excessively worrying, I went to the word “Worry” in the Concordance. I found the perfect scripture to add to the card I was sending to my friend.

Phil.4:6-7 “Don’t worry about anything, instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done.Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Jesus Christ.”

Thrill to the Quest

Let the references from Siri, the links you find on Google, and the assurance of Scripture never fail to thrill you! Technology is amazing. But so is our Certain Help in times of trouble. Don’t forget to call on the Lord. Pray!! When all else fails, He will never fail you!

Keep your quests alive!
God Bless You, my Seeking Friends…

See you tomorrow!

 

Add a Tsp. of Kindness


Welcome to Day #11 in the A-Z series,
“Add Meaning and Purpose to Life”

Today’s letter is “K”
The word is
Kindness

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Here is my prayer for today,

“Lord, teach me to love
with compassion.
Let me pass no one
without a KIND word,
thought, or deed.”

I have that poem inside my kitchen cabinet door.
Prayer in cabinet

Nothing sweetens life like a teaspoon of kindness.

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Photo by Toa Heftiba Şinca on Pexels.com

Nothing settles ruffled feathers faster than an act of kindness.

close up of eagle

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Nothing is more powerful than returning anger with a kind response.

man and woman wearing brown leather jackets

Photo by Vera Arsic on Pexels.com

These truths were drummed into me by my mom when I was a child growing up. On the inside of her kitchen cabinet door, she had a cardboard tacked up. It was covered with poems she had cut out of the local newspaper back in the late 30’s. That was back in the days when it was typical for newspapers to post poetry on a daily or at least weekly basis.

I have that cardboard inside another cabinet door in my kitchen now. The words are faded and hard to read, but they remind me of my mom – her love of poetry, her positive philosophy of life, and the lessons she taught me. With a magnifying glass I can read some of them still.

Mom's poetry

One of my favorites is this one titled

Friends of Mine

Good morning, Brother Sunshine!
Good morning, Sister Song!
I beg your humble pardon
If you’ve waited very long.
I thought I heard you rapping,
To shut you out were sin.
My heart is standing open –
Won’t you walk right in?

Good morning, Brother Gladness!
Good morning, Sister Smile!
They told me you were coming,
So I waited on a while.
I’m lonesome here without you.
A weary while it’s been.
My heart is standing open –
Won’t you walk right in?

Good morning, Brother Kindness!
Good morning, Sister Cheer!
I heard you were out calling,
So I waited for you here.
Some days I keep forgetting
I have toil or spin
When you are my companions.
Won’t you walk right in?

The poet’s name is obliterated – all I can see is a “Ja”
But,  love the idea that

  • sunshine,
  • song,
  • gladness and
  • smiles,
  • kindness and
  • cheer

are right there waiting to be invited in.

opened brown wooden french door

Photo by Dmitry Zvolskiy on Pexels.com

What a better world we’d have,
what a better life we’d live,
if we invited them in each day…

beating-heart

Open your heart’s door to them –
And then spread that kindness
wherever you go today.

 

3 Ways to Live in Hope & Happiness


Thank you for joining me for
Day #8 in the A-Z series
Adding Meaning and Purpose to Life

H = Hope & Happiness

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In the search for meaning and purpose,
and in an effort to live
more intentionally to fulfill my purpose,
I have discovered
that living with a spirit of Hope
is the key to Happiness.

Let’s focus on three ways to bring more Happiness to our lives through the inclusion of HOPE as a key factor.

Step One: Eliminate Fear

Is there an area of your life where fear abides? Perhaps a health scare or a relational difficulty? Maybe it’s just fear of tomorrow – the unknown.

Author Maya Angelou said,
“Hope and fear
cannot occupy the same space
at the same time.
Invite one to stay.”

By inviting HOPE to occupy the space fear might have taken, we can find greater peace.

In so doing, as Sandy C. Newbigging wrote, we can have a more positive impact on others.

living in peace
Impacting the lives of others in a positive way is a sure key to happiness.

 

Step Two: Place your Hope in the Lord

In 1Peter 3:15, we are reminded to “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”

Biblical hope is marked by confident expectation based on the promises given to us by God. God gives us promises of His care today and in our future. With trust in the Lord, we can live knowing our purpose and God’s plan for us extend beyond this physical life. We can take joy in His promises.

belief bible book business

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Check out how God’s – By Grace Alone  – helps us go forth!

The Maranatha Singers (I love ’em!)

 

Step Three: Release Expectations of Perfection

Hope does not exist in an atmosphere of perfection, so we need to let go of perfection as a goal. Rather, HOPE walks us through the imperfect times. HOPE accompanies us as we navigate the difficult circumstances of life. HOPE picks us up and helps us learn from our errors.

Our errors are not stop signs in our lives. Instead, they are opportunities. We need to lay them at our feet and use them as stepping stones to guide us to a happier, more fulfilling path.

adult adventure beautiful climb

Photo by Nina Uhlíková on Pexels.com

With HOPE in place of fear,
TRUST in the Lord, and
FREEDOM from the tyranny of perfection,
our lives will radiate more JOY.

two women walking

Photo by Quang Nguyen Vinh on Pexels.com

We’ll go a long way on the path
of living out our purpose
with PEACE and HAPPINESS.

Thanks for joining me on this journey!

 

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