God can be real to your child.

30 10 2014
Clinging to God as a Toddler

Clinging to God as a Toddler

Reaching out to Him as an Adult

Reaching out to Him as an Adult

“What’s wrong, Al?” I asked. The fellow teacher always seemed joyful. Normally, his love for the Lord splashed across his face. God’s peace glistened in his eyes. But not that day.

He checked his mailbox with his shoulders slumped and his head down. As if to hide pain or frustration. Something happened to smother his joy.

Every teacher has one of those days from time to time. A day full of problems. When they’re barraged with a multitude of incomplete assignments, relentless unruly behavior, and unending interruptions.

“I’ll be okay once I get my eyes back on the Lord,” was all Al replied. And he went on his way.

That single sentence was the sermon I needed. His godly advice came in handy when I experienced those kinds of days. Those words helped me adjust my focus when difficult days knocked the joy right out of me.

I’ll be okay once I get my eyes back on the Lord.

Don’t we all experience those days? Days when life gets the better of us. When we can no longer cope. When it becomes impossible to hide the hurt under a painted-on smile.

God, are You there? I need You. I need Your help. Where are You?

No answer. That silent treatment form God is unbearable. What can we do when God seems to be elusive?

We desperately need to know how to find Him. Not just for us. But so we can offer wise advice when our children go through trials.

What’s the secret? It’s no secret, really. Al’s stated it in a way even a young child could understand it. Focus on God instead of the problem. Then the challenges will shrink in light of His greatness and power.

How can we teach children to maintain an eternal focus? There are subtle ways which would instill godly thinking.

When our boys were toddlers, adults would often ask the typical question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

I taught them to reply, “More like Jesus.” They learned that God had a purpose for their lives. One they’d discover. No matter what occupation God prepared for them, the goal would always be to become more like Jesus.

Many people ask students in high school and college a similar question. “What’s your major?” A different question could help young adults shift their focus heavenward. “How and where are you going to live out your faith?”

I’m blessed to still have the opportunity to teach education majors at a Christian university (Cairn University). We discuss many scenarios they might encounter out in the field. The students offer solutions to each problem.  Their responses reveal insight into each situation.

Rarely, however, do their answers include God. Seldom do they add, “I’d pray for wisdom to handle the situation,” or, “I’d trust God to provide the resources and guidance.” It’s not that they don’t know the Lord. They’re simply responding the way many of us react to challenges. By handling things first and turning to God as a last resort.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Forgive me for not seeking You when I need You most. Thank You for being so patient with me. And for being so accessible. Help me turn to You when I’m FIRST confronted with a trial. Teach me to rely on You before going in my own strength. Help me to lean not on my own understanding, but to acknowledge You in all things. How I want to see Your hand in every area of my life. Give me lessons I can pass on to my children. For Your glory and for Your kingdom. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Here’s a challenge:

Does a drama queen live in your house? It could be a toddler who throws temper tantrums. Or a teenager with raging hormones. What could you say or do (during calm times) to help her focus more on the Lord?

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Here we go again.

15 09 2014

bus.keep.eyes.Lord.PS

Watch out! It’s coming.

What’s your it? Another school year which means a more hectic schedule, behavior issues, and assignment pressures? A reoccurring trial that brings chaos, stress, and tears? An illness that interrupts life, drains energy, and causes uncertainty?

Would it make a difference if the trial announced itself, “Look out. Here I come!”?

Probably not. When you’re in the path of a tornado, no umbrella will keep you from being swept away. When you’re headed for a car accident, bracing yourself won’t stop it from happening. Can anything be done when life’s warning system bellows, “Watch out!”

Remember, ducking won’t help. So, “Heads up!” Shift your focus to God.

I know what you’re thinking. “Yeah, right. That’s easy for you to say. You have no clue what I’m facing.”

I gotta admit, it’s not a typical reaction for me to turn my attention heavenward during a trial. That would require me taking my eyes off the problem. I usually assume full responsibility to solve or manage the situation. Shifting my focus to God would mean I’d have to relinquish MY control.

A fellow teacher helped me see just how simple it can be. When I taught in a public school, I discovered the third grade teacher was a Christian. Al’s eyes seemed to sparkle with the love of the Lord. He greeted everyone with a soft smile and a sweet, “Hello.”

We’d pass each other in the hall and whisper a quick prayer request.

“Pray for my after-school meeting.”

“Pray for one of my students who is failing math.”

“Pray for me to get my papers graded in time for me to get to my son’s game after school.”

One day Al and I stopped at the teachers’ mailboxes at the same time. Al didn’t look me in the eye. His head hung low and he mumbled a brief, “Hi.”

“What’s wrong, Al?”

“I’m having a bad day. Once I get my eyes back on the Lord I’ll be fine.”

His two-sentence response became a sermon. His message reverberates in my mind whenever things get tough.

Faced with the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS), Al’s advice helped me cope.

“What out! Here it comes. MS is headed your way.”

His godly advice taught me to have a right-focus during difficult times. It framed my thinking. I didn’t waste time dwelling on the diagnoses and details. I simply dealt with the pain, fatigue, and regular injections. All the while keeping my eyes on the Lord.

It’s getting easier to get my eyes back on the Lord. It’s no longer my last-resort strategy.

Faced with parental challenges, another friend provided much-needed Truth.

“Watch out! Here it comes. Your son has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).”

Decades ago, Chris, struggled with organizational and social skills (due to his ADHD). I shared my discouragement with a close friend at church. She told me a five-word sentence that restored my hope. During hard times, her father would reassure her by declaring, “God’s still on the throne.”

Since then, when things seem out of control or desperate I remind myself, “God’s still on the throne.”

The Creator of the universe, who spoke everything into existence, has my life under control. He’s working out His perfect plans.

What about unbearable pain or unspeakable loss?

“Watch out! Here it comes. Your son has drowned.”

That’s what Dave and Trish endured. Howie and I met them in college. The four of us shared a deep love of the Lord. So after graduation we kept in touch. The arrival of our first son came around the time of their first son, Ryan. When Ryan was two he drowned in their backyard pool.

What could make that more horrifying? Trish’s parents and Dave’s parents had both experienced the death of a toddler when they were young parents. So the grandparents were grieving the loss of their grandson while re-living their own nightmare.

In the hospital, minutes after Ryan died, Dave turned to his father for advice.

“Dad, you’ve been through this. What can you tell me?”

“You talk about your faith. Now you’re gonna live it,” was all he said.

So, if you’re hearing, “Watch out! Here it comes,” remember:

Keep your eyes on the Lord.

God’s still on the throne.

Live your faith.

Dave’s father’s advice helped him survive. Because God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. What He’s done for others, He’ll do for you.

 





Different or Special

30 05 2014

myhearthisthrone

Perhaps your life has been touched by an individual with a disability. Since I began my career in special education over 36 yrs. ago, many children with disabilities have enriched my life. They taught me many lessons. By living their lives with joyful resilience. Some of them left this earth too soon. Like Shane.

I’m grateful Shane’s life intersected mine. I knew that young man as the worship leader in our Sunday school class for children with special needs. Shane’s learning disability didn’t inhibit his singing. With a heart full of praise, he sang with enthusiasm to God. His uninhibited, joyful, and loud singing lifted everyone’s heart to heaven.

Shane’s sister wrote the following tribute for his memorial service. Through her words, Shane’s testimony lives on. His example continues to lift hearts toward heaven. That’s my prayer for you.

♥♥♥♥♥

In Celebration of Shane McGonagle

A Testimony Written by His Sister, Michelle

As a child, I enjoyed hearing people say, ‘Shane is different’ and I can say he was.  As siblings, we would fight and of course I was older and bigger so I would win.  Shane was different.   He never would hold a grudge and he would always forgive me and love me always.

As a teenager, I would hear people say, ‘Shane is different’ and I can say he was.  Most teenagers can’t imagine living a life with epilepsy.  They would think life wasn’t fair to them and that everything was difficult.  Shane was different.  He could go to school each and every day with a smile – ready to face the day…never sorry for what his life was like.

As a young adult, I would hear people say, ‘Shane is different’ and I can say he was.  When other young adults were moving on in their careers and getting married, Shane was different.  Shane had surrendered his life to the Lord.  Shane realized that only God could provide him with peace and happiness.

As an adult, I would hear people say, ‘Shane is different’ and I can say he was.  When most adults went to family functions or picnics, they would sit around and chat about their aches and pains, jobs and children.  Not Shane.  He would gather all the children together and tell them about how much he loved Jesus.  He would teach them and sing every song that he had ever sung since he was a little boy.  The kids loved him unlike any other adult there.  Shane was different.

When most people would go to church, listen to the service, and sneak out the side door to get home as quickly as possible, not Shane…He would get excited about the opportunities to serve the Lord by singing with the special needs class each Sunday.  Shane was different.

When most people would try to get a few extra hours of sleep on Saturday, Shane would get up, get dressed, and grab his stack of sports tracts.   He would head for the street to tell people that Jesus loved them.

Why was Shane so different?  Shane was different because he understood exactly what God wanted all of us to understand.  Shane understood that God loved him and gave His only Son to die for him.  Shane realized that life was not about what was here on earth.  Shane realized what mattered the most – and that was eternity.  Shane was different.  He understood what life was all about.

He had a burden to see people come to know the Lord, and he wanted to be the one to tell them.  ‘Shane is different’ I would hear people say.  When he was a little boy, I think Shane would look at Phil and me and he wanted to be just like us.  That’s what little brothers do.  But the truth is…as I stand here today missing Shane so much already…I want to be more like him.  Like Shane, I want to be different too.





Banish Negative Thinking

20 02 2014

look.up

I love ‘but.’  It’s a powerful word to declare moving day on worries and cares.

The Psalmist loved using it. It helped him focus on Someone bigger than his problems. He deliberately shifted his focus to God. No small accomplishment given his problems. I can’t begin to understand what it’s like to flee from approaching armies. I can, however, relate to the writer’s raw emotions. His difficulties: affliction, rejection, sorrow, loneliness…

Read the following list of verses from Psalms. It just might become your personal pep talk to shove out all anxieties. And fill your mind with thoughts of God’s greatness and love.

“Lord, how they have increased who trouble me! Many are they who rise up against me. Many are they who say of me, ‘There is no help for him in God.’ Selah But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, My glory and the One who lifts up my head.”  Psalm 3:1-3

“How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? How long will my enemy be exalted over me? Consider and hear me, O Lord my God; enlighten my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death; lest my enemy say, ‘I have prevailed against him’; lest those who trouble me rejoice when I am moved. But I have trusted in Your mercy; my heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me.”  Psalm 13

“They confronted me in the day of my calamity, But the Lord was my support.”  Psalm 18:18

“For my life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my iniquity, and my bones waste away. I am a reproach among all my enemies, but especially among my neighbors, and am repulsive to my acquaintances; those who see me outside flee from me, I am forgotten like a dead man, out of mind; I am like a broken vessel. For I hear the slander of many; fear is on every side; while they take counsel together against me, they scheme to take away my life. But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my God’”  Psalm 31:10-14

“Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them all.”  Psalm 34:19

“A11 who hate me whisper together against me; against me they devise my hurt. ‘An evil disease,’ they say, ‘clings to him. And now that he lies down, he will rise up no more.’ Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me. But You, O Lord, be merciful to me, and raise me up, that I may repay them.”  Psalm 41:7-10

“Deliver me from my enemies, O my God; defend me from those who rise up against me. Deliver me from the workers of iniquity, and save me from bloodthirsty men. For look, they lie in wait for my life; the mighty gather against me, not for my transgression nor for my sin, O Lord. They run and prepare themselves through no fault of mine. But I will sing of Your power; yes, I will sing aloud of Your mercy in the morning; for You have been my defense and refuge in the day of my trouble. To You, O my Strength, I will sing praises; for God is my defense, the God of my mercy.”  Psalm 59:1-4, 16

“Save me, O God!  For the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing; I have come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me. I am weary with my crying; my throat is dry; my eyes fail while I wait for my God. Those who hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head; they are mighty who would destroy me, being my enemies wrongfully; though I have stolen nothing, I still must restore it. O God, You know my foolishness; and my sins are not hidden from You. Let not those who wait for You, O Lord God of hosts be ashamed because of me; let not those who seek You be confounded because of me. O God of Israel. Because for Your sake I have borne reproach: shame has covered my face. I have become a stranger to my brothers, and an alien to my mother’s children; because zeal for Your house has eaten me up, and the reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on me.  When I wept and chastened my soul with fasting, that became my reproach. I also made sackcloth my garment; I became a byword to them.   Those who sit in the gate speak against me, and I am the song of the drunkards. But as for me, my prayer is to You, O Lord, in the acceptable time; O God, in the multitude of Your mercy, hear me in the truth of Your salvation.”  Psalm 69:1-13

“Let them be confounded and consumed who are adversaries of my life; let them be covered with reproach and dishonor who seek my hurt. But I will hope continually, and will praise You yet more and more. My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness and Your salvation all the day, for I do not know their limits. I will go in the strength of the Lord God; I will make mention of Your righteousness, of Yours only.”  Psalm 71:13-16

“My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”  Psalm 73:26

“I cried out to God with my voice – To God with my voice; and He gave ear to me. In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord; my hand was stretched out in the night without ceasing; my soul refused to be comforted. I remembered God, and was troubled; I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed. Selah. You hold my eyelids open; I am so troubled that I cannot speak. I have considered the days of old, the years of ancient times. I call to remembrance my song in the night; I meditate within my heart, and my spirit makes diligent search. Will the Lord cast off forever? And will He be favorable no more? Has His mercy ceased forever? Has His promise failed forevermore? Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has He in anger shut up His tender mercies? Selah. And I said, ‘This is my anguish; But I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High.’  I will remember the works of the Lord; surely I will remember Your wonders of old. I will also meditate on all Your work, and talk of Your deeds. Your way, O God, is in the sanctuary; who is so great a God as our God? You are the God who does wonders; You have declared Your strength among the peoples.”   Psalm 77:1-14

“O God, the proud have risen against me, and a mob of violent men have sought my life, and have not set You before them. But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth. Oh, turn to me, and have mercy on me! Give Your strength to Your servant, and save the son of Your maidservant.”  Psalm 86:14-16

“For my soul is full of trouble, and my life draws near to the grave. I am counted with those who go down to the pit; I am like a man who has no strength, But to You I have cried out, O Lord, and in the morning my prayer comes before You.”  Psalm 88:3-4, 13

“My heart is stricken and withered like grass, so that I forget to eat my bread. Because of the sound of my groaning my bones cling to my skin. My enemies reproach me all day long, and those who deride me swear an oath against me. My days are like a shadow that lengthens, and I wither away like grass. But You, O Lord, shall endure forever, and the remembrance of Your name to all generations.”  Psalm 102:4-5, 8, 11-12

“They have also surrounded me with words of hatred, and fought against me without a cause. In return for my love they are my accusers, But I give myself to prayer.”  Psalm 109:3-4

“Princes also sit and speak against me, But Your servant meditates on Your statutes. Your testimonies also are my delight and my counselors.”  Psalm 119:23-24

“The cords of the wicked have bound me, But I have not forgotten Your law. At midnight I will rise to give thanks to You,because of Your righteous judgments. I am a companion of all those who fear You, and of those who keep Your precepts. The earth, O Lord, is full of Your mercy; teach me Your statutes.”  Psalm 119:61-64

“The proud have forged a lie against me, But I will keep Your precepts with my whole heart.”  Psalm 119:69

“Their heart is as fat as grease, But I delight in Your law.”  Psalm 119:70

“Let the proud be ashamed, for they treated me wrongfully with falsehood; But I will meditate on Your precepts.”  Psalm 119:78

“My soul faints for Your salvation, But I hope in Your word.”  Psalm 119:81

“They almost made an end of me on earth, But I did not forsake Your precepts.”  Psalm 119:87

“The wicked wait for me to destroy me, But I will consider Your testimonies.”  Psalm 119:95

“I hate the double-minded, But I love Your law. You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in Your word.”  Psalm 119:113-114

“Princes persecute me without a cause, But my heart stands in awe of Your word. I rejoice at Your word as one who finds great treasure.”  Psalm 119:161-162

“I hate and abhor lying, But I love Your law, seven times a day I praise You, because of Your righteous judgments. Great peace have those who love Your law, and nothing causes them to stumble.”  Psalm 119:163-165

“Our bones are scattered at the mouth of the grave, as when one plows and breaks up the earth. But my eyes are upon You, O God the Lord; in You I take refuge; do not leave my soul destitute.”  Psalm 141:7-8





Burden Lifted

5 02 2014

Vickis.trees

Can God be found in misery? Sometimes burdens pound us so low we’re too depressed to seek Him. Thankfully, He finds us. When we’re too low to look up, He reaches down. He’ll remind us of His care. Just like what He did for me today.

Countless people are suffering due to the recent storm in the northeast. About half a million people are without electricity in my area. Thanks to the snow-ice-rain storm that struck last night.  Ice-covered roads, littered with downed live wires, have imprisoned residents in their homes.

I surveyed our trees and found only one down. Then I spotted our cluster of Leyland Cypress evergreens. They drooped under the weight of snow.

“Don’t worry; I’ll help you,” I told them. The load of snow on each branch threatened to distort their shapes.

I swatted snow off the first limb. It lifted slowly upward as if to say, “Thank you. That feels much better.”

The second branch responded similarly. Displaying its graceful relief.  The two released branches looked like a picture of praise to God.

Thank You, God, for this symbol of burdens. How I rejoice like this tree when I surrender my worries to You.

My mission continued. One branch didn’t raise its limb when struck. I peered closer to the trunk and investigated.

“What’s holding you down? Oh I see. Your neighbor is weighing you down.”

I understand, Lord. Others can pull me down. People who complain about their aliments entice me to admire my own aches. Tempting me to complain about my multiple sclerosis. I’m grateful for godly friends who, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2)”

I aimed my snow scraper brush at the adjacent branch and smacked it. Both boughs floated heavenward.

Branches close to the ground were buried in snow.

Now, Lord You’re showing me how my cares can bury me. They beat me down so low I no longer focus on You. Like days I’m tempted to encase myself in blankets and remain in bed for the day. Without trusting You to help me serve others.

The whacks each branch received restored new life.

Thank You, Jesus, for bearing my burden on the cross. And for easing my daily burdens. “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. (Psalm 68:19)”

I finished the job; grateful God provided the strength and the lesson.

Ask God to reveal His presence to you today. Then watch and listen!

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)”

Dear Father, Help me throw off everything that hinders my walk with you. Remind me of Your invitation to, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:28-29)”    In Jesus’ name, Amen

Has God surprised you with His presence? Did He speak to you during the busyness of your day?





Living for Self or Others

9 09 2013

mapleseed

Do you wish you could live life more passionately? To have enough energy to serve others. To teach your kids by example how to have a servant’s heart. So they won’t be self-centered, but yearn to help others.  This story may help you begin a discussion with your child about supporting others instead of satisfying self.

 A Good-Enough Life

Once upon a time a tiny maple seed fell from a towering maple tree.  It fell onto a leaf floating down a stream.  When the wind blew, the tiny maple seed clung to the leaf and held on tightly.  It was a good-enough life for the maple seed.

Birds called out to the maple seed, “Stop clinging to the leaf.  Let the wind blow you to good soil.  There you can grow into a tall maple tree.  We will have a place to build our nests.”

But the tiny maple seed said, “I’m struggling just to float along.  This life is good enough for me.”

A squirrel called out to the maple seed, “Stop clinging to the leaf.  Let the wind blow you to good soil.  There you can grow into a tall maple tree.  I will have a home to build my nest.  I will have branches to climb.”

But the tiny maple seed said, “I’m struggling just to float along.  This life is good enough for me.”

Some children called out to the maple seed, “Stop clinging to the leaf.  Let the wind blow you to good soil.  There you can grow into a tall maple tree.  We will have fun climbing your branches.  We can tie a swing from your branch.

But the tiny maple seed said, “I’m struggling just to float along.  This life is good enough for me.”

Some adults walked by and called out to the maple seed, “Stop clinging to the leaf.  Let the wind blow you to good soil.  There you can grow into a tall maple tree.  We will have shade for resting when we rest.”

But the tiny maple seed said, “I’m struggling just to float along.  This life is good enough for me.”

A chef went in search of a maple tree.  He spotted the maple seed and said, “Stop clinging to the leaf.  Let the wind blow you to good soil.  There you can grow into a tall maple tree.   I will have some maple syrup for the pancakes.”

But the tiny maple seed said, “I’m struggling just to float along.  This life is good enough for me.”

The tiny maple seed started to realize there could be more to his life.  He began to think he did not have a good-enough life.  It was not good enough just to float through life clinging to the leaf.  He started to think of everyone he could help by simply letting go of the leaf.  If he let the wind blow him to good soil, he could grow to be a tall maple tree.

A passion grew in him greater than any tall tree.  He was determined to grow branches for the birds, squirrel, and children.  A desire grew in him to help the adults have their shade and to help the chef get his maple syrup.  He let go of the leaf.  The wind blew him to good soil.  His dream of helping others became a reality.

*****************

Are you floating along hanging on for dear life?  Are you living a good-enough life?  Could there be more?  Could you have a greater purpose?  Could you impact the lives of others for God’s kingdom and for His glory?

We all share the passion of raising godly children.

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.  Proverbs 22:6

We all share the mission to share the gospel.

“And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.’” Mark 16:15

“To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.”   Ephesians 3:8

“Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ…”  2 Corinthians 5:20

We all share a love for the Lord.  Loving God is not only a command, but our delight.

“Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’”  Matthew 22:37   (Deuteronomy 6:5)

“Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”  Romans 5:5

“Praise the Lord!  I will praise the Lord with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright and in the congregation.”  Psalm 111:1

Our love for God spurs us on to action.

“If you love Me, keep My commandments.”  John 14:15

“Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”  1 John 4:11

“My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.”  1 John 3:18

How will you show God’s love to others?  What will be your passion, your burden, your life’s mission?  Will you be a voice for the voiceless, a support for the vulnerable, a help for the hurting?

We’ve all been given gifts which are to be used.

“For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them…”  Romans 12:4-6

In that passage of Romans (Romans 12:4-15) many examples are given.  Some include: teaching (verse7), lead (verse 8), distributing to the needs of the saints (verse 13), and being given to hospitality (verse 13).

Using your spiritual gift will equip the saints and edify other believers.

“But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift…And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ…”  Ephesians 4:7, 11-12

The gift God has given you will become your passion.

Perhaps you have a burden for others, but limited time.  You could be a faithful prayer warrior.  Moses interceded for a multitude of God’s people and God changed His mind.   (Exodus 32:9-14)  Your prayers for others can make a difference.

“For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you…” Colossians 1:9a

“.. .pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.”   James 5:16-18

Maybe like Nehemiah you have a passion to encourage others.

“And I looked, and arose and said to the nobles, to the leaders, and to the rest of the people, ‘Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses… Therefore, wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.’”   Nehemiah 4:14, 20

Perhaps you have a passion to comfort others and show compassion.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”    2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Maybe you have a passion to do good works by helping those in need (visiting the sick, helping the poor, etc.).

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”   Ephesians 2:10

“This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.”   Titus 3:8

“But someone will say, ‘You have faith, and I have works.’  Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”  James 2:18, 26

“My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.”  1 John 3:18

Have you considered sharing your talents to bring the joy of the Lord into the lives of others?

“And so it was, whenever the spirit from God was upon Saul, that David would take a harp and play it with his hand. Then Saul would become refreshed and well, and the distressing spirit would depart from him.”   1 Samuel 16:23

“For we have great joy and consolation in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed by you, brother.”   Philemon 7

You may have a heart for the unlovely, lonely, or those rejected or ignored by others (the elderly, the handicapped, the homeless, the child without parents, the student who is unmercifully teased by others).  Ministering to them could be your passion.

“Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’”   Matthew 25:37-40

If you think you have nothing to offer the Lord, think again.  Scripture tells us that weaker members have an important purpose.

“But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills. For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body – whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free – and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. For in fact the body is not one member but many. If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,’ is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear should say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,’ is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. And if they were all one member, where would the body be? But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you’; nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’  No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty.”  1 Corinthians 12:11-23

What legacy will you leave to your children?  You can teach your children a powerful lesson simply by living your passion.   





Doing Your Best

11 07 2012

Writing is my passion. It’s also a ministry. That’s why I write devotionals for Rest Ministries.

I started a memoire for mothers who have children with special needs. With a desire to come alongside those traveling a similar journey. To share mutual hurts, challenges, and joys. And celebrate the constant care we receive from our loving Father.

Lately I’ve been going through a period of discouragement.

Spending more time in prayer seeking direction, rather than writing.

Soon I’ll be attending a local writers’ conference. With the Greater Philadelphia Writers Conference quickly approaching, I started working on a one-page proposal for my memoire.

Shaky confidence prevented me from giving it my all.

My husband did his best to encourage me. Hugging me he said, “Don’t leave anything on the field.”

Loving advice given by a former football coach.

Except, I’m not a former football player. So I asked, “What does that mean?”

“Do your best.”

Then he added, “You do your best. Then this weekend I’ll take you out so we can celebrate your best. The results are in God’s hands.”

He was keeping up the family tradition. Celebrate the effort of doing our best before the Lord. The results are up to Him.

Our motto: “Do your best and trust God for the rest.”

Isn’t it nice to know God doesn’t expect us to do the impossible? That’s up to Him.

A little pep talk works wonders. I’m back to writing. With renewed determination to do my best.

How do you encourage your children when they’re discouraged?