Monthly Archives: February 2011

Be Content / Await Your Prize In Heaven

Contentment in Sunbeam

Contentment

” Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always persevere.” (1Corinthians 13:4-7) 

In my previous post, Love Is Patient And Kind, I shared how we can demonstrate Christ-like patience and kindness. This post focuses on envy and boastfulness. First, we will look at envy and its effects on us. Then we will look at boastfulness and how it can get in the way of glorifying our God.

Love does not envy. How many times have you seen someone attain something you wished you had? What does this envy do to us as individuals? Envy can  cause financial  stress because we want what someone else has so much that we end up accumulating unnecessary debt. Not only can envy cause financial disaster, it also causes clutter because we are usually attaining things we really don’t need (or really even want).  Along with clutter and debt, envy keeps the soul stirred up instead of at peace and being thankful for the things God has provided for us. Relationships are often affected because of envy. While we are envying someone, we lose our focus of what really matters like to our family, friends, and God. My philosophy on envy is that it is better to be your original self and not try to be like someone else.  After all, you are His own original. There is no one else created in this world to be you.

Love is not boastful. Ok, we all know someone who has done something and in some way, shape, or form has said “look at what I did!”  We are God’s workmanship and what we do should be used to glorify God. We are not here to  glorify man, or glorify ourselves. Nothing should be more pleasing to the soul knowing that the only reward we need is to know we pleased God.  Thus, rewards on earth are only temporary.  They tarnish, fade and are often forgotten.

In the days ahead, when you see someone attain something new, or achieve something, don’t feel like you have to go out and get or do that very thing. Instead, be happy for that person.   If you ever do reach the point that you wished you had what they had, make a point to be content with what God has given you. As the old hymn goes, count your many blessings, name them one by one.

Also, in the days ahead, as you work toward a goal or task, ask how God can be glorified by what you are doing. If you become worried that no one is noticing your hard work and effort, remember that God knows what you are doing and that is all that matters. The greatest and best reward awaits you and I in heaven!

Blessings

Next Post: Pursuing Our Christian Journey…being slow to anger, holding no wrongs, letting go of self and trusting Christ on our journey.

 

Love Is Patient And Kind

They say bikes get in the way of traffic

Image by richardmasoner via Flickr

” Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always persevere.” (1Corinthians 13:4-7) 

This passage of scripture is often referred to as the Love Chapter. Yet, when we read this passage or hear it read, do we really get the message of its meaning and what God is teaching us about love? The next three  posts will be focused on this passage and how we can make it more of a part of our daily living.

The beginning of this passage says; Love is patient. How many times have we lost our patience with someone who just wasn’t  learning a task? There are times when our patience may be tested while in traffic, standing in a line or waiting to be served in a resturant.  Including myself, I am sure that we all have had a lack of patience at some point and time.

 Can you imagine what life would be like if God was impatient with us, learning our task, and responding to His call and plan? No matter the circumstances, God is patient with us. He loves us through our learning, our stumbles, fumbles, falls and stubbornness. 

How do we practice and/or demostrate the simple patience of God?  We simply demonstrate this action through what the passage says next; Love is kind.  You have been standing in line and you see someone who looks like they really need to be on their way and you let them in front of you. You have also waited and waited for that meal to be served and instead of getting upset and impatient, you smiled and assured the server everything will be ok. Maybe, you are having to show a child how to do a task for the tenth time and instead of losing it, you smile, encourage and show how to do the task one more time.   Now, think about how you felt when you made those allowances for others with simple acts of kindness. Then, think about how you felt when you didn’t practice patience. Which keeps the blood pressure lower, makes you feel better, and is demonstrating the patience and kindness of God?  The answer should be simple.  For me, I opt for demonstrating a little kindness and Christ-like love. 

If we practice the patience and kindness that this passage opens up with, we can only begin to imagine what it will do for envy and boastfulness. In my next post, we will focus on those two aspects of this love chapter.  In the meantime, practice a little patience and kindness.

Blessings

Connections

These days it is not unusual for someone to ask “are you on Facebook?” It is through Facebook that people are finding old friends and staying in touch with new ones. As Jim and I connect and re-connect, we have found that a couple of his friends from the past are in some way connected with my friends of past years. The world just becomes smaller and smaller.  Along with these connections, we see community within a community.

Not only are we a community within a community in  Social Media but as Christians we are a community. In this community, we have the ultimate connection with others. Our connection is through our belief in Jesus Christ.  Thus, the challenge is put before us to help others become connected and sometimes reconnected with God’s family. In Philemon 6 Paul reminds us how faith sharing is of great importance. “I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.”  The more we share our faith the more we are making connections in God’s family.

My challenge before you is the next time you see someone not only ask if they are on Facebook but ask the simple question “do you belong to God’s family?” Then, if the answer is “no” or “I once was”, extend the invitation just as you would a “friend request” for them to become part of a greater community.  There is no greater community to connect with as God’s community.

Blessings

My Dearest Megan

 

 

Dearest Megan

      One year ago today, Drew pulled off the ultimate mission of surprise. This mission was  to surprise you with a visit and to propose to you.  Needless to say, Drew had us involved to pull off this covert affair of surprise. As we helped Drew prepare for this mission, Jim and I both were so very excited and could not wait for the evening of surprise to unfold.                                             

Jim and I sat in Barnes and Noble awaiting for the “official” phone call that the mission had been completed and all was a success. When we received Drew’s call that all had gone well without problem, Jim and I were excited to know that we were getting a new addition to our family by the name of Megan. I am amazed that we didn’t jam the phone towers and signals with all of our phone calls and texts.    
 
 Megan,  I have prayed for you over many years.  My prayer was that God send Drew a Christian girl who was raised on the same value system as Drew. Along with this prayer, I prayed that this girl God would send would love Drew with all of her heart.  Needless to say, my prayer was answered when he put you into Drew’s life. Though this prayer has been answered, I continue to and always will pray for you asking God to hold you tight in His arms and giving you all that you need each and every day.
 
When I first met you, I knew you were the one for Drew.  It was the way you would smile and look at Drew that told me that you were ‘the one.’   Then, I knew you were definitely the one when I saw how you could stand toe to toe with Drew with his sarcasm and wit. Just as Drew knows how to zing, you seemed to know how to have a come back.  Only  a few can pull this off and you seem to do well at this task.                     
 
This summer you will officially become our daughter-n-law. But, Jim and I see you as becoming our daughter.  We grow to love you more and more as each day passes.  You add that special spice to our family just as special spices add to a recipe. Today, as Drew and you celebrate one year of being engaged, know that Jim and I both are very proud of the both of you. Along with your celebration of being engaged, Jim and I are both excited for you just as we were a year ago. In the words of Emeril, over the year that excitement has been “kicked up a notch!”

  

Jim and I can’t wait to not only see you and Drew at the altar beginning your journey together. But, we are looking forward to seeing you walk your journey together that God has planned before you.  As you make this journey together, always know that God is walking beside you and He loves you, too.

 We Love You,
 
April and Jim
 

 

    

   

  

  

Why Worry

 

"Don't worry! Be Happy!

Why worry? Have you ever thought about what worry does to the soul? Is there someone you know who worries too much. Or, maybe you are someone who worries. Now, think about the things you know that someone worries over or you worry over. Did or does worrying over those issues help the situation? Is there eternal peace?

What does worry do to a person? First of all, when we worry, we are allowing Satan to have a hold on our lives. Satan wants us to be anxious, worried and in turmoil. Nothing satisfies him more than to see us get ourselves tied into one big knot. Thus, this knot causes us to be unhappy, stressed, and sometimes can even make us physically ill.

By worrying, we are not only allowing Satan have control but we are also letting him steal our joy. When I hear someone is worried about future events, I remind them that if they sit there and worry about tomorrow today that they are allowing Satan steal the joy that God has planned for them in the moment. Each day, God has so many wonderful blessing for us to absorb. There is no doubt in my mind that it saddens God when we worry. His plan for us is not to worry but to enjoy life to its fullest. 

Now, you may ask how does one not worry or overcome worry?   From my own personal experience it is being conscious that God is in control and Satan would love to be in control. Thus, I have a choice of who is going to control the day and/or the situation. Along with the choice of who is going to be in control, I go to the scriptures. Among reading some of my favorite Psalms and other scriptures, Matthew 6:27 always comes to my mind. This scripture states;  Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? This scripture puts worry into clear perspective that it won’t add any more time to your life. Worry  will take an hour or maybe more away from your life.

Along with reading scripture, and making the choice NOT to worry, I will write blessings from the day.  I encourage you  to write your  blessings. We all have one blessing and that is God woke you up this morning! Praise God! He has given you another day to receive His blessings and joy.

Last but certainly not least, pray! When worry tries to take over my mind and spirit, I drop to my knees. I give it all to God.  As I am on my knees, I envision myself being embraced in God’s wonderful arms and He says to me; don’t worry, I’ve got it, you are my child, and trust My wonderful plan for you. Thus, unexplainable peace begins to surround me and I see the beauty of the day and the blessings that are meant for me.

Next time you are worried, remember you have a choice, seek the scriptures, pray, and count your blessings. Then, allow God to embrace you in His wonderful arms and love.  Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1Peter 5:7.  Just as the video says; don’t worry, be happy!  God has it all under control. So, why worry?

(Once you click the play on the video click ‘watch on Youtube’ to view the video via Youtube)

Blessings

 

My Love

Author: Bagande

Love one another.

 

My Dearest Loved One,

Today, you celebrate your love with those who mean most in your life. You will express this love with flowers, candy, cards, and special songs. Love for one another is one of the most precious gifts that I gave you to share with others.

As you go through this day, I ask that you remember the greatest love of all. I sent this love to you over two thousand years ago. This love is my Son Jesus Christ. I sent Him to show you what grace, forgiveness, and unconditional love truly means. What greater love is there than someone as my Son laying down His life so that you can be with me one day in my Kingdom?

From above, I see people who want to be loved so badly not knowing that my love for them is available anytime.  Today is Valentine’s Day. It is the day to demonstrate my love to those who are lonely, hurting and who need to experience my love for them. Can you do me a favor? As you go through your celebrations of candy, flowers and cards, could you stop for one moment and give that one  person on the street a handshake, a smile or buy them a cup of coffee? Then, over that cup of coffee would you tell them about me?  Please let them know I love them so very much. My arms are open and waiting to greet them with big hugs and kisses!

In the meantime, I send you my love today from above. I send you big hugs and kisses. Along with the hugs and kisses that I send today, remember my Son and His love lives with you every day.  May you always experience and demonstrate my great love every day to those around you.

I love you,

God

Based on:   1 John 4

‘We love because he first love us.’ 1John 4:19

Do You Belong?

So many times I hear people share how they attend church only on Sunday, but they really don’t know anyone except who sits around them on Sunday morning. They don’t feel as though they really belong to the church though they are a member.  When I hear this statement, I ask; “do you belong to a small group?’  Belonging to a small group whether your church is big or small gives a person an opportunity to get to know other people with similar interest and to grow deeper into God’s word.It is a place where relationships are built.

John Wesley, the founder of Methodism was very big about people belonging to a small group. His rationale of  a person belonging to a small group was that one grows with others spiritually, one receives support and encouragement, and, most of all, a person is held accountable in his/her Christian walk.  A small group provides a community within a community.  Wesley‘s small group principles still apply for us today in our spiritual journey.

Through the years, I have experienced the fellowship of a small group. For me, small group is where I can go to get re-charged and renewed. It has been through my small group experience that I have grown in my spiritual journey and have learned more about God’s teachings than I ever would on my own.  It has been through bible study with others that I have learned more about the beautiful weaving of the bible and how God has a wonderful plan for us all.  Also, along the way, I have learned history that has bettered my understanding when reading and studying the scriptures.

Not only has small group provided a place for spiritual growth and learning, it has provided a place of security. The group  provides this by  members listening to one another with unconditional and non-judgemental listening.  There have been times when I have gone through one of life’s storms and  the group was  there to encourage, support and pray for me. The security comes from knowing that what is shared is kept in confidence.

To me, the most wonderful thing about small group is the sense of community that is built within the group. In this community there is fellowship, reaching out to others, and a bond that you cannot not get by just attending worship on Sunday. Small group is what helps the rest of the week go smoother and keeps me focused on the things that truly matter.

To put it all in a package, small group is a place of study, prayer, encouragement, unconditional listening, and community. If you belong to such a community, I encourage you to pray for your group daily and to encourage others to find that life line of a small group. If you do not belong to a small group and long for that sense of community, of sharing, study, and praying with others, ask around your church where you can find a group. If your church does not have small group opportunities, maybe God is calling you to begin a group. All you need is a few people who are seeking to be in a community of faith where they encourage one another, pray for one another and grow together in their Christian walk.

But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.  Hebrews 3:13

 

God Speaks. I Write. He Reveals His Plan.

Is there anybody there?

"I will lift my eyes to the hills- from whence comes my help? My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth." Psalm 121:1-2

We can be confident that His desire to reveal will always be greater than our desire to know. Corrie Ann Pearce

In my post He Will Have The Last Laugh , I shared how I began writing my Faith Thoughts and started my website. It was through my son, Drew, asking me about my passion and God telling me to write. In my November post,  I shared about  God  having the last laugh with me. God had a plan and He knew I would one day share my faith in words.

As I look back on the posts that I have written, it has been revealed to me that I have not just been sharing my faith, telling how God is in control, and how we should trust Him. God has also been talking to me through my own writings. You have heard the quote physician heal thyself. In recent days, I have gone back and read some of the articles I have written.  In these, I see how  God was talking to me through these words. Talking about the advice being right there in front of one’s nose! God has reminded me that he loves me, he is my strength, I need to “Let go and let Him”, and that I need to trust Him.  I can only imagine how King David felt as he wrote the Psalms.

Through this reflection, God has revealed  to me even more how life is a great tapestry. In the last few months, I see many threads being woven into a bigger picture. These threads not only include the scriptures and thoughts I share. They include you the reader, the comments you send back to me, and the new Christian writers that I have met through the blog writing community. As a result, the tapestry becomes brighter, more colorful and all the more beautiful each time I share my thoughts with you.

Often, I share the quote God has a plan and its a good plan. I did not think that writing was part of my life’s plan.  Through these writings I not only step out in faith and share, but I learn more about myself, God’s love for me, and how God has everything under control.  I have responded to some of your comments with God speaks, I write.   Also know that not only is He speaking to me to share His light and love with you. He and I are conversing with each other. In my conversation with God, one more bright thread is being added to my tapestry.

As you go through the days ahead, reflect back on the things you have done, said, and shared with someone.  When you do reflect on these things, I know that God is going to reveal a few beautiful threads that have been woven in your tapestry. These may have been something you have shared with someone that turned out to be the very advice you needed to know now. 

God speaks. I write. Thus He reveals his purpose and plan. AMAZING and AWESOME!

Related Articles

 

What Is Your Heart Condition?

What Is Your Heart Condition?

If you ever attended Bible School or Sunday School, I am sure that you are familiar with the song “oh, be careful little ears what you hear, oh, be careful little mouth what you say, for the Father up above is looking down with love.” As I read Newsfeed, comments and status on Facebook, this song comes to mind. Along with the original lyrics, I have lyrics that run through my mind as I read and post on Facebook.  These lyrics are ‘”oh, be careful little fingers what you type.”

Our social media world is a wonderful tool for communicating, gathering information, and sharing our thoughts. However, it is also a world where verbal hurts occur. Words can be the most hurtful written or spoken.  I know that there are times when people have put a status on their Facebook or tweeted a statement to regret that they ever put those thoughts out there. Yes, you can take what you have written off of Facebook or delete what was written on twitter, but, there are times when it may be one moment too late.  One person out there has seen what was written and they are hurt and/or offended deeply.

When this type of incident happens, one may say; “Oh, I really didn’t mean it” or ” I was just kidding”, or “I was under a lot of stress.”  However, are these excusable and acceptable excuses?  Matthew 12:34 clearly says; “For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.  The scripture reminds us that our words come from the condition of our heart.

Yes, we are all human and we have all spoken or written something that may have hurt someone. The key is to seek forgiveness and to imprint the scripture from Matthew into our hearts and minds. Thus, whether it being using the social media tools to communicate or speaking directly to a person, we need to be in check with the condition of our heart.  We need to be in constant prayer asking God to put the correct words into our heart that need to be expressed.  Therefore, we all must  remember; “oh, be careful little mouth what you say.”  Furthermore when we  type a message or share a comment, remember, “oh, be careful little fingers what you type.” Our words can help, encourage and demonstrate God’s love. Or, our words can sometimes cause  damage and hurt. Unfortunately, when hurtful or offensive things are said, it can sometimes take hours, sometimes days and yes, even years to undo.

The challenge for the days ahead is to examine the heart before we speak. Let’s let our words be words of encouragement, love, hope and demonstrate God’s love. Then, if someone says something that hurts or offends, put God’s grace and forgiveness into practice.  Remember, He is looking down with love.

Blessings

Light In The Storm

"This little light of mine; I'm going to let it shine!'

As Jim and I sat watching the winter storm via the Weather Channel that was beginning to blast Chicago, Jim was on the phone with our son, Drew, who lives in Chitown.  Not only was Jim telling Drew what the weather guys were reporting but he was also  advising Drew on what to do if he were to lose power. 

As Jim, was giving Drew advice on what to do if he were to lose power, our lights began to flicker. Ok, they flickered once, then twice, and then they were out! Boy, what an ironic turn of events. Drew in Chicago enduring a historical blizzard and we’re here in Owensboro with 50 degree weather and lose power! Admittedly, we were having some very high wind which can cause a power outage. As Jim and I sat in the dark, we looked at  each other and laughed at the ironic turn of events.For a few moments, the only light we had was the light from my computer screen.

Picking up the laptop, I navigated using its light to go to the laundry room to find our battery operated lantern and some candles. Little by little, I began to light candles around the house, and locating the flash lights. As each candle was lit, the light began to glow and the room became brighter.

There are people around us that are walking around in the dark every day. No, it is not because they are deprived from having the physical light or electricity. But, it is because they do  not know the greatest love story of Jesus Christ. As believers and followers of Christ, it is our responsibility to share the light of Christ with others. 

When I began my web site, Drew encouraged me to develop a theme/purpose for my site. So, I began to think about what I was writing and why I was writing.  In my heart, I knew I wanted to touch lives and share the light of Christ via the internet. Thus, I chose Matthew 5:14You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden’  to be my purpose and scripture for “April’s Faith Thoughts.”  You can see this scripture at the top of my Home Page.

Not only were people experiencing a winter storm in Chicago and in many other areas in the United States. But, there are many people who are experiencing personal winter storms. These storms may be so bad to the point that they have a power outage feeling as though God has abandonded them. Or, maybe they have never been shown the light and love of Christ and they need to see that bright glow of hope.

God did not create any of us to sit in the dark. Just as Jim advised Drew of what to do in case the lights went out, God has given us clear instructions through His Word of how to keep our light shinning and how to share it with others.  Today, follow God’s advice and allow His light shine through you for others to see and experience.

Blessings

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