2015 Oscars – What a Good Work!

2015 Oscars

I took this photo of my youngest granddaughter Haley a few months back while we were hanging out in a furniture store.  This shot of her holding a candlestick as she looked in a mirror reminded me of someone giving an acceptance speech at the Oscars.

While I think she is a star, I am not sure that is in her future.  I do know this, she is sweet and smart, she loves her family and doesn’t even mind sharing her candy.  And I know that the Lord has plans for her.  As I saw her looking in the mirror holding that candlestick which reminded me of an Oscar, I thought of Philippians 1:6 which says, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”  I know the Lord will keep His hand on Haley and her sister Avery.  They are being raised in the grace and knowledge of the Lord and I am confident that He will do a good work in them and through them.

Posted in 2015 Oscar winners, Christianity, faith, God, grandchildren, Oscars, Philippians 1:6, religion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is Your Prayer Okay?

I was looking through some old posts and ran across a poem that I had written as a prayer for a family.  I added another stanza to it as I figured that a well-rounded prayer ought to include a request for the person doing the praying too.  That got me thinking that there are no doubt many of our prayers that don’t cover all our bases, share all our needs or even come close to capturing the fears, doubts, desires or dreams of our hearts.  How could they?  I am so grateful that we don’t have to worry about our prayers having all the right words or agonize over whether or not we may have left out something by mistake.  The Bible says in Romans 8:26  “In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”

I am so grateful that we can trust God to meet all of our needs.  I don’t have to worry about lifting up the perfect prayer because I have the Perfect Prayer helping me.  The Holy Spirit intercedes on my behalf.  He lifts up my requests to God the Father, even those I may forget or have difficulty expressing.

Lord bless my family,
Be with them today;
Walk close beside them,
Lead them on their way.
Hold their hand in every valley,
Help them climb each hill;
Guide them and protect them,
Help them do Your will.

And while You’re watching over them,
Please keep Your Hand on me,
Help me be the person
That You have called me to be.
Don’t let me ever forget
That my strength comes from above,
May I ever praise You,
For Your mercy, grace and love.

Posted in Christianity, God, Holy Spirit, inspirational, religion, Romans 8:28 | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Good Friends – Should I Confront a Brother?

Good friends are like good sisters…they know when to hold you up and they know when to hold you back.

            Holding Haley Up 1  Holding Haley Back

I love my granddaughters.  The girls may be two years apart in age but they are close as can be in everything else.  They really watch out for each other and care about how the other one is doing.  Yes, they have their little squabbles from time to time like any siblings do, but for the most part they are inseparable and always have each other’s back.  If one is feeling down, the other tries to cheer her up.  Yes, they watch out for one another.  If one leaves the room the other will not let Pawpaw take goodies off the other’s plate.  Not only do they hold Pawpaw accountable but they hold one another accountable too.  If one starts to get out of line a little bit, the other will point out that the behavior in question is not how we are supposed to act in this family.  They do their best to keep the other one from going too far.  They hold each other up and they hold each other back.

I think that is what Paul was trying to convey in 1 Thessalonians 5:14 “Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.”  My granddaughters are already getting pretty good at applying some of the basic principles in that verse.  I think that sometimes in the Church it is easy for us to fall short in this area.  We don’t mind holding somebody up when they are feeling down.  It can be fairly easy for us to show compassion and comfort the fainthearted.  But sometimes we are reluctant to hold people back and keep them from going too far.  We shrink back from warning those who are unruly.

Perhaps this is because we are worried about having our own failings and flaws pointed out to us.  No one likes to be called judgmental or accused of having a “holier than thou” attitude.  That’s why we must discover whatever obstacle there is that prevents us from obeying 1 Thessalonians 5:14.  Then we can work on removing that obstacle.  If there truly is a log in our eye, then yes, we must remove it so that we can speak without fear of condemnation to our brothers or sisters (see Luke 6:41-42 and Matthew 18:15 ).  But please understand, log or not, condemnation is always likely to come when you speak to someone who is out of line.  If you try to hold someone back from continuing with a behavior that is outside of God’s will you will likely face resistance and condemnation.  You may be called judgmental.  Speak anyway.  Speak with the patience and love that only Christ can give.  You are called to do it.  You are not only to hold your brothers and sisters up, but you are to hold them back.   Remember, anything God asks you to do, He will help you to do.  Until next time, stay strong in the faith.

Posted in 1 Thessalonians 5:14, Christianity, confronting a brother about sin, faith, God, good friends, grandchildren, Minding your own business, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blessed with my Job

Our management team has been working on a special project at the office this week. We have been given a lot of closed claim files to review for certain variables in a short amount of time. We discussed the task as a group and came up with the best way to get it done given the time frame we were provided. Everybody pitched in and provided good ideas. As a result we were able to complete a huge task in a matter of days. The teamwork reminded of what the Bible says in Ecclesiastes 4:9 – 10

Ecc 4:9 “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: 10 If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.”

The Lord has blessed me in many ways. The career that He has provided me with is just one of those ways. Next week I will celebrate my 25th anniversary with Farmers Insurance. I am glad that I work with a good group of people that are always willing to help one another and who share ideas readily to make things go more smoothly. Not only does it make a difference when special projects roll around but it makes a difference even in the every day routine work load too. I know that if I am down or having a bad day, I can count on my team and coworkers to pick me up and help me. I even work with several who will pray for me and pray with me. Yes, the Lord has blessed me and I am grateful for my job and those I work with and the company I work for.

I hope that you had a good week too. I pray that those around you were encouraging and helpful. If not, well, I pray that next week will be better. Hang in there and stay strong in the faith.

Posted in Christianity, Ecclesiastes 4:9, faith, God, good coworkers, religion | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Growing Weaker But Growing Stronger

On Monday nights I have been volunteering at a local nursing with some other members of our church.  I try to make the rounds, talk to the residents and see if they have any special needs or prayer requests.  The last time I was there I talked with a dear lady who shared with me about her family and some of their needs. She told me she was tired and had not been feeling well physically.  She asked me to pray for her health so that she will have the energy to pray for her family and be able to remain strong in her faith until the Lord calls her home.  She was so genuine and so sweet.  I told her that her request reminded of Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 4:16, “Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.”

I also told her how much I enjoyed visiting with her and how I believed she was serving as a good example of a mature saint.  I promised to pray for her strength in the upcoming weeks and we prayed together before I left.

As I continue in my own journey of “maturing” as a believer, it becomes more evident to me all the time that this outer man is decaying.  I have new aches and pains every year, I get injured more easily and it takes me longer to bounce back from those injuries.  Though I am trying to take care of myself physically by eating better and working out, I still acknowledge what Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 3:11…eventually time overtakes us all.

But thankfully, even though this outer man is decaying and my body is beginning that steady process of slowly growing weaker as I age, I know I can count on God to renew my inner man and strengthen my spirit. He does so as I spend time with Him; in His word and His will, in His praise and with His people.  We serve a wonderful and merciful God.  The Lord is good and I am confident that He will honor my friend’s request.

Posted in 2 Corinthians 4:16, Christianity, Ecclesiastes 3:11, faith, God, growing older, prayer, Praying for Others, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Giving Praise

I was reading that wonderful passage again about Paul and Silas in prison in Acts (see Acts 16:16-34, you will be blessed!).  I love their praise in the midst of the prison.  They start praising and in the midst of their praise, the Lord blesses them, removes their chains and sets them free and people end up getting saved.  Oh, God is so good!  This morning I was trying to imagine what they might have been singing.  I tried to picture Paul tapping his foot, hearing the chains rustling and ringing with Silas in the background starting Paul off with a deep, southern “Welllll…” and then Paul kicks in with something a little bluesy….

I used to kick against the goads,
Until that day on the Damascus Road,
The Lord dropped me to my knees,
Said, “Why do you persecute me?”
I bowed down and hid my face,
But then the Lord forgave me by His Grace!

You see He gave His life on Calvary
To pay my debt and to set me free;
He is the life, the way and the truth,
He rose again and that’s His proof.
When I put myself into His Hand,
He made me a brand new man,

That’s my story and it’s true,
What He did for me He can do for you,
You don’t have to be on the Damascus Road,
For the Lord to come and save your soul,
Just humble yourself and seek His face,
And He’ll forgive you by His Grace!

Well, it sounds good in my head.  I hope that you know the Lord loves you!  I hope that you know you can come to Him at any time; in good times, bad times, and average times.  Go to Him any time you  need His comfort, His wisdom, His mercy, His grace…that sounds like all times to me!  Have a blessed day.  Until next time stay strong in the faith.

Posted in Acts 16:16 -34, Christianity, God, inspirational, Paul in Prison, prayer, witnessing | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Gotta Tell Somebody

Haley loves cookies  The other day my daughter and granddaughters came over.  I had an extra unopened canister of shortbread cookies left over from Christmas and I gave them to my youngest granddaughter Haley to take home with her.  Haley is 3 years old and Haley loves cookies.  She loves them so much she has earned the nickname “Cookie Monster.”  I gave the canister of cookies to Haley as soon as they walked in…mistake.  All afternoon Haley was smiling and telling everyone in the house, “We’re having cookies tonight after supper.  These are me and Avery’s cookies.  You can have some too.  You want a cookie?  We’re having cookies tonight.”  That girl was so excited about having cookies; she had plenty and she did not mind sharing them.  She even offered two cookies to her momma.  I loved listening to her talking with great joy about those cookies and the way she was willing to share them with everybody that afternoon.  Maybe it wasn’t a mistake giving them to her so soon after all.

It reminded me of the constant joy with which Christians should talk about the Lord.  We should get just as excited about Christ and our faith as a three year old gets about a big canister of cookies.  With Christ we have all the grace, all the strength, all the peace, all the power, and all the mercy we need.  What else could we want?  We have plenty to share with everybody and we should not hesitate to joyfully tell others about what we have and how they can enjoy the same sweet goodness from our Lord.  David said it like this in Psalm 40:

Psalm 40:9 “I have proclaimed glad tidings of righteousness in the great congregation; Behold, I will not restrain my lips, O LORD, Thou knowest.  10 I have not hidden Thy righteousness within my heart; I have spoken of Thy faithfulness and Thy salvation.”

Do you know how good the Lord is?  Have you tasted of His mercy, His forgiveness and His faithfulness?  Have you offered to share those things with someone else? Have you spoken of His faithfulness and salvation?  If not, this week would be a great time to get started.  Until next time, stay strong in the faith.

Posted in Christianity, faith, God, grandchildren, joy, Love the Lord, Psalm 40:9, witnessing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments