Loving One Another

Posts tagged ‘Promises’

Understanding and Umbrellas


Understanding
was the first “U” word

that popped into my mind
when searching for
the quality we ALL need
to
add more meaning
and
find greater purpose
in life.

 

man and woman holding hands on brown wooden table

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Understanding and Wisdom go Hand in Hand

What are the common roots of the two words?

I turned to scripture to find the answer to that question. This is a copy of my Bible page. As you can see, it is well marked! Look at how many times Proverbs 2 uses “wisdom” and “understanding.”

Understanding + Wisdom = Compassion

The Book of Proverbs teaches us, if we understand what is right and good, we will see what is just and fair. As a result, it will naturally follow that when we see injustice, when we witness someone being treated unfairly, we will have a heart of compassion, determined to respond.

Compassion is an Umbrella

OnahDave on HumePoets.com posted a poem today titled Drenched:

“Wrecked and broken by pain,
she drenched in the unlimited
down pour of her sorrow.”

When I read his poem, my immediate response was, “Give her your umbrella!”
When we understand another person’s pain, our compassion compels us to reach out with an umbrella of protection.

grayscale image of woman walking through the rain while holding umbrella

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Umbrellas Take Many Forms

Sometimes the umbrella is a song! Today I visited my friend, Carol, who (at the advanced age of 95) is struggling to hang on to life. Her son and two daughters were in the hospital room with her.

Carol was having a better day today than when I saw her yesterday. Her children could tell because she was being a bit cantankerous!

Hah! She reminded me of my mom during her last days. Her mind rallied to the point that she knew what she wanted and what she didn’t. Her ability to say, “No!” rallied – – – and she exerted her independence while bed-bound and hooked up to oxygen. Like my mom, Carol is a strong and courageous woman.

Her daughters and I sang some cheery songs to her and enjoyed her smiles and nods – and her ability to squeeze my hand in appreciation. Her son snapped a few pictures. These are moments to remember!

Disney’s Sing-A-Long Songs – Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah VHS

was our first song. You know, you can’t help but smile when you sing that song! It sent an umbrella of joy over the entire room!

Then we sang Frank Sinatra’s “Dream Your Troubles Away.” Do you know that one? You can change “Dreams” to “Prayers” … and sing “Pray Your Troubles Away.” That thought fits the hand-in-hand analogy of understanding and wisdom as described in the second chapter of Proverbs. Here are the song’s revised words:

When skies are cloudy and gray,
They’re only gray for a day,
So wrap your troubles in prayer
And pray your troubles away.

Until that sunshine peeps through,
There’s only one thing to do:
Just wrap your troubles in prayer
And pray your troubles away.

Your castles may tumble
That’s fate after all,
Life’s really funny that way.

No need to grumble,
Smile as they fall,
Weren’t you queen for a day?

Just remember that sunshine
Always follows the rain.
So wrap your troubles in prayer
And pray your troubles away!

 

Sometimes, We Gotta Let the Rain Fall

Max Lucado has written a book titled, Unshakable Hope.
In a message promoting his book, he wrote,

“I’ve discovered that nothing lifts the weary soul like the promises of God. This book contains some of my favorite [promises]. Picture God’s words falling like rain from heaven on you. Imagine these promises as gentle spring showers. Receive them. Allow them to land on you, to soak you. I’m trusting that God’s words will prosper in your life.”

Understand God is in the Storms of Life

Rick Hamlin in today’s Guideposts prayed,
“God, don’t let my cynical heart
prevent me from seeing
You in unexpected places.”

Sometimes our vision is blurred by the storms that smack us in the face. The unexpected difficulties can put us in dark places where vision is limited. We wonder, “God, where are You?”

Even Jesus had such moments. “My God, my God, why hast Thou Forsaken me?” From the cross, He cried to His Father. It’s understandable that we sometimes have similar thoughts.

Sometimes we need to set aside the umbrella, lift our eyes to the sky, and dance in the rain – in spite of the trauma.

Wrap your troubles in prayer – and pray your troubles away –
or not!
Sometimes the clouds are meant to stay – more than a day –
But sunshine follows the rain.
Even if that sunshine is our promise of Life Eternal.

Relish the Beauty of God’s Promises.

scenic view of mountains during dawn

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Try to understand!
And be ready to put away your umbrella
or pass it along  –
use it to protect and encourage a friend.

Keep a song alive in your heart!

God bless you.

See you tomorrow.

Naomi’s Nurturing News


Welcome to Day #14
of my A-Z series:
Adding Meaning
and
Finding Purpose
in Life

Today’s letter is “N”

The title, “Naomi’s Nurturing News” is inspired by the Biblical account of Naomi, a destitute widow. The story is told in the book of Ruth.

We all have a lot to learn from Naomi and God’s steadfastness in her life.

When a famine occurred in her home area of Bethlehem, the widow migrated with her two boys to Moab, where she intended to ride out the famine – and then eventually return with them –  where she imagined her sons would marry hometown girls. She dreamed of living a productive and happy life near them, filled with grandchildren.

However, her dreams were shattered when her sons married Moabite women, produced no grandchildren, and then both sons died. She did eventually return to Bethlehem, but she was a beaten-down woman who told her old friends who greeted her by name to call her “Bitter” instead.

With God working behind the scenes, a few chapters later, we see a transformed Naomi, filled with joy and a new zest for life. Yes, our God is an awesome God. The Good News from Naomi’s story is the power of nurturing love to bring life’s true meaning and purpose to fruition.

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Naomi’s Nurturing News

Naomi is a woman whose story
Inspires me to want to know
How to develop her nurturing spirit
And watch my family’s greatness grow.

Naomi moved from Jerusalem
To Moab with her two sons.
She dreamed that they would marry
Israelite women – but they were not the ones

The boys selected for their wives –
Instead Moabites were chosen
And when her sons both died,
Naomi’s life seemed hopelessly frozen.

She told her daughters-in-law that
Jerusalem was calling her home.
“Stay here and remarry,” she encouraged.
“Don’t come with me to roam.”

But one of those lovely ladies,
(Ruth was her name, we read),
Told Naomi she would go with her
And take care of her every need.

In spite of Naomi’s objections,
Ruth did exactly that – she went –
And stayed with Naomi faithfully;
Loving her back with every second spent.

Naomi’s nurturing spirit
Helped Ruth find Boaz, her new love,
And eventually came the baby, Obed,
A gift from God above.

Instead of dying bitter and alone,
Naomi’s life was full, not hollow.
Her nurturing spirit invited love –
Her faith is an example we can follow.

Don’t let life’s troubles stop your heart
From reaching out to others in love.
The more you give, the more you’ll get,
In blessings galore from our God above.

prayer time

Luke 17:6 teaches us, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.”

Naomi’s story reminds me that life is not always fair. Our dreams do not always come true. We will have days (maybe even months or years) of questions, wrestling, and searching for answers. But, God has room for our questions and our searching. God is with us during our periods of bitterness, our uncertainty, and our doubting. God does not give up on us.

To find more meaning and to ultimately fulfill our purpose in life, we need Naomi’s mustard seed faith. We must trust God and cling to Him. Develop consistent prayer time … regular, open, heart-felt conversation with God. He will give us what He gave to Naomi: a new zest for life.

Trust – and work with our nurturing God as He writes a new chapter in your life.

He has promised to protect and provide for you all your life. Pick up your mustard seed faith – and watch Him fulfill His promises in you!

See you tomorrow.

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

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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

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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!

 

To Give or to Give Up?


Today is Ash Wednesday.
Many Christians around the world are wondering today,
“What should I give up for Lent?”

What to Give Up?

Once you decide, you ask yourself if this is like a New Year’s resolution. Will I be able to keep my commitment? Can I keep the spark alive for 40 days? Or will I give up?

monochrome photo of person holding sparkler

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Forty days is a long time! Can I give up coffee or carbs? Dessert or just donuts? How about carrots or cabbage, broccoli or brussels sprouts?

assorted vegetable lot

Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com

 

What do you obsess about?

A promise to give up something for Lent
needs to be a promise to rid ourselves
of something that we obsess about.

We need to cleanse our bodies and souls of something that distracts us
from focusing on the meaning of this season
in preparation for the sacrifice of the “Bread of Life”
who gave His body for our salvation.


If spiritual discipline is what fasting is supposed to be about,
does giving up something you can do without
really do the trick?

 

photography of pink doughnut

Photo by Jonathan Miksanek on Pexels.com

 

Looking at Lent through the eyes of Marjorie J. Thompson,
who wrote the book “Soul Feast,”
I began to understand
the concept of fasting a little better.
She wrote, “… the discipline of fasting…
has to do with the critical dynamic
of accepting those limits that are life-restoring.”
She went on to caution us,
“Do not underestimate what God can
accomplish in you through the consistent offering
of such a discipline.”

The discipline is that of “self-emptying.”

What is Self-Emptying?

Self-emptying is “giving up something”  –
but it doesn’t have to be food!
Fasting from a particular food we crave
is NOT the ONLY way to acknowledge the onset of Lent.

Let’s decide to “self-empty” of something.

The word Lent was derived from a Saxon word meaning “spring.” In the early church, Lent was viewed as a spritual spring, a time of light and joy in the renewal of the soul’s life. James Earl Massey wrote, “Fasting is not a renunciation of life; it is a means by which new life is released within us.”

What can we give up in order to release new life in us?

More Than Food!

Fasting is about more than food. It is about hungering for the things that matter most. It is about abstaining from those activities that pull us away from what we know we OUGHT to be doing.

  • What about fasting from constantly checking your cell phone?
  • What about fasting from daily absorption in the “breaking news” – the TV?
  • What about giving up the tendency to let our minds wander when in fact we want to be meditating and entering into prayful communion with God?
  • How about a fast from negativity or criticism?Those are some of the things we can “give up” without giving up the intent of Lent.


To Give or to Give Up?

But what about GIVING instead (or in addition to) giving up? What might I GIVE to honor God during this season of Lent?

A couple of years ago, I read in a Guideposts Magazine about a woman who had spent the 40 days of Lent in what I thought was a very unique way. She created a list of 40 people who made a difference in her life. These people who positively influenced her were from every walk of life – family, work, church, childhood friends, neighbors, teachers, etc. Once she generated her list, she wrote a letter a day. In her notes, she told each of them how important they were in her life, how much she appreciated them, how grateful she was for what they meant to her.

I read that and thought, “I can do that!
I can think of 40 people who deserve a thank you
from me for what they have done in my life.”

arts and crafts cardboard close up design

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My trouble was, however, limiting the list to just 40. When you stop and think about it, I bet you can easily name 40 or more who have touched your life in a meaningful way. I had to make some of the names “couples.” Then, I was able to begin my 40 days of letter writing. It was a wonderful act of “giving” – and filled the time I might have been eating that food I crave!

Yes, you can give – and give up – at the same time.

What will you do to honor this season,
to create a time of “interior spring cleaning” 
that leads to God in the core of your being
while making your life more nourishing for others?

Think about it…
and tell me what you come up with
in the comments below,
will you?

From Fear to Awe


From Fear to Awe – An Epiphany Sunday Sermon

alone man person sadness

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Politics has a long history
Of striking fear in hearts.
In Matthew, we hear the king asking,
“Where’s the new child in these parts?”

 

The Magi responded and left
With a heavy sigh of relief;
But all of Jerusalem was frightened
As their king behaved as a thief.

 

He seemed to want to steal
The joy of this promised birth.
His fear spread throughout
This part of the Christ-child’s earth.

 

We, too, live in fear of things
Beyond our ability to control.
Fear of God is extraordinary
As we are confused by our role.

 

If we are God-fearing, it is
Not the same as fear of faith.
It’s an invitation to see
Our loving God face-to-face.

 

Fear is a cascading emotion.
Fear begets fear, you see.
A chain reaction occurs –
The fear of Herod passes down to me.

 

What if Herod’s fear had turned
To trust and awe of the Lord?
Trust and awe are emotions
We must know we CAN afford.

 

We cannot afford, in fact,
To live in fear instead of awe.
Read the stars, find the Christ Child.
Trust God and His Word – His Law.

 

Are YOU in awe of the Lord??

 

 Sermon notes by Jan Beekman based on the message:
“See and Be Radiant!” by Pastor Steven Mabry
Plymouth Congregational Church, Paso Robles, CA

R = Rainbows


Day #18 in the A-Z series on “What Makes Me Happy?”

 

RAINBOWS


Whenever I see

A sweet rainbow in the sky

I remember God

 

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Rainbows are God’s promise

To preserve us and this land

To keep us from total destruction

To hold us in His hand.

.

What could make me happier

Than sunshine after rain?

Sunshine that brings rainbows

And invites me to come out again?

.

“Come out” has brand new meaning

But it applies to one and all:

Be exactly who you’re made to be

As you live God’s rainbow call.

Sour high in love unending.

Keep the promises you make.

Let the Holy Spirit guide

Each venture that you take.

.

Be the promise of endurance.

Lift up others as you soar

To the heights set out before you.

Love your neighbors … love them more!

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Your turn:

What’s the “R” word that makes YOU happy?

Keep Your Promises


This morning was almost a disaster. My husband was going on our ATV with a friend and two float tubes to do some fishing on No Name Lake. I forgot that I told him I’d make a sandwich for his lunch. It was time for me to go to my TOPS meeting. (For those of you unfamiliar with the acronym, it stands for “Take Off Weight Sensibly.”) Anyway, a promise is a promise. I carved out the time to make him an egg salad sandwich. Bless his heart, he’d already boiled the eggs for it.

Now it’s past time for TOPS and I suddenly remembered this is the day of our Installation of Officers meeting. We’re having breakfast in the Park. It’s a once a year extravaganza. I had promised to bring the coffee. Oh no! Guess what, there wasn’t a coffee bean or can of ground coffee to be found anywhere in the house. What to do? A promise is a promise!

The grocery store is 5 to 10 minutes away. By the time I’d go there and back with a can of Folgers, and brew it, the breakfast in the Park would be nearly over. Think creatively!!

Yes, we have a Keurig coffee maker. One cup at a time. Six pods of Vanilla Biscotti by Green Mountain and six pods of Paul Newman’s French Roast. Ah yes, put it in the coffee pot and away to the Park with cups, creamer, and Sweet n Low. Just in time for the breakfast set up!

A promise is a promise. Whatever it takes, even if you’re as screwy and forgetful as I am, keep your promises!

Oh, and you might check your calendar occasionally, too. That might help!

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