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How to be humble without being a push over

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Most of us tend to get a little more humble as we get older. Maturity and understanding along with some hard knocks in life bring that about in our character.

Yet, as always God’s word brings a challenge. This verse is no different as it instructs us to be completely humble and gentle. That makes it a little harder because, honestly, how can we be anything one hundred percent of the time?

Some think humility means being timid. It does not. Nor does it mean one must be a door mat and let people run all over you.

True humility is simply honoring God and others

Think of someone you know that you consider to be a humble person. Chances are you see them showing kindness and respect to everyone they come in contact with on a daily basis.

According to Jeff Boss, a former contributor at Forbes magazine, humble people retain relationships longer because they are more likely to help out their friends and are better listeners. They are curious, eager learners always realizing that although they may be smart, there is much they don’t know. They aren’t afraid to ask for help. Humble people always take the time to say “Thank you” to whomever is serving them and start sentences with “You” instead of “I.”

The humble are not weak, they are actually confident because they know their self worth. They don’t feel the need to boast about themselves because they believe their actions speak for them.

None of us will be humble one hundred percent of the time, but it’s something we can practice at each day by simply putting others ahead of ourselves – and that will make life more pleasant for everyone.

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The value of Christian community

Let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works; not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another and so much the more as you see the day approaching. Hebrews 10:24

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We are commanded by God to assemble together as believers; but many Christians today are being forbidden to attend church by their government, are afraid to go because of the pandemic or have just got out of the habit over the 2020 shutdown.

The Bible instructs us to assemble more as the day approaches. The day is approaching my fellow believers. Christian persecution has already began even in our beloved America.

The warp speed at which were now experiencing censorship of conservative Christian ideas is alarming.

By gathering together we gain strength and encouragement from each other. We help each other draw closer to God and live out His commandments.

If you’ve not been getting together with other believers, start this week even if it’s just a small group Bible study. We’re going to need each other more than ever in the coming days.

How to have peace in turbulent times

It was our bi-weekly Wednesday night Bible study the day after the 2020 presidential election. Naturally, the conversation turned to the election results which were, of course, still being tallied. But it was looking grim for our candidate – the man that we thought would be best to lead our country over the next four years. We were all speculating on what would happen to our country if the other candidate won. There was concern about the kind of nation we would leave to our children and grandchildren. We were undoubtedly anxious.

We ended our session with prayer and someone asked for God to give us peace.

Peace

We haven’t seen a lot of that in 2020. With Covid-19 ravaging the nation causing much sickness, numerous deaths and widespread fear, as well as prompting shutdowns, cancelled events, mandatory. business closures, illegal church services and an incident of police brutality leading to riots, chaos, attacks on police, violence and burning cities, peace has been in short supply to say the least.

How can we possibly have peace in our hearts with so much going on, especially now with the uncertainty of what a new administration might bring.

Then I was immediately reminded of this verse.

You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he trust in you. Isaiah 26:3

What a beautiful promise this is for us. We can’t control everything in our world, in fact we can’t control most things, but we can choose to dwell on the Lord and if we do, he promises to bring us peace.

What can we control?

We can control our thoughts and choose to lean into Jesus, thanking him for all the goodness and blessings in our life. This will bring peace and contentment to our soul.

We can read his word to learn his ways and the promises it holds for those who love him. This will bring peace and encouragement to us.

We can fellowship with other believers in order to help each other stay focused on God during tough times. This will bring us joy and peace to each other.

And we can attend church and worship even though we may have to do it virtually for now. Worshiping God and hearing the Word of God motivates us to become more devoted to him which ultimately brings us peace.

All these things will help us keep our mind on the Lord.

Even if we get through this 2020 crisis unscathed, more turbulent times are coming. But God’s promises still hold true. He will never leave us or forsake us. (Joshua 1:5) and that’s a good verse to dwell on for sure.

Cast all your cares on Him, for He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

How to Start your day in a happy place

The birds sing to me each morning as I sit on my back deck having devotions. How do I know they are singing to me? Because I’m the only one out there!

Okay, I get it. They would be singing even if I wasn’t there because they’re actually singing to God. But I do get to enjoy listening in on their melodious tunes. A since God made the birds and He knew I’d be there, just maybe He’s allowing them to sing for me too! Nevertheless, they remind me to be as cheerful and happy as they are, inspiring me to welcome the day by offering my own praise and thanksgiving to the God who created it all.

Depending on the time of year, it’s often dark when I sleepily trek out to the deck with a cup of coffee in hand in one hand and my Bible (which is now on my phone) in the other. I don’t mind the dark because I love looking at the stars. Yet I can always tell when the dawn is about to break as the birds will start singing. It’s the first sign that the eastern sky is about to ever so slowly get increasingly lighter reminding me that God is not yet finished with mankind. He’s allowing us yet one more day.

Granted there is much to be concerned about in our world as it moans and groans from the sin that we’ve brought into it. But the birds are always happy and they faithfully keep singing their tunes. They still have something to sing about and are always excited to see the sun. Maybe they know something we don’t! They lift my spirits and encourage me to look for the things I can sing about, too. If they can be thrilled to see the dawn of a new day then so can I.

I know all the birds on the hill and all that moves in the fields is mine. Psalm 50:11

How Excited is Jesus about You?

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I was there when He set the heavens in place,

When He marked out the horizon on the face of the deep,

When He established the clouds above and fixed securely the fountains of the deep,

When He gave the sea it’s boundary so it’s waters would not overstep it’s command and when He marked out the foundations of the earth.

Then I was constantly at His side. I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in His presence.

Rejoicing in His whole world and delighting in Mankind. Proverbs 8:27-31

This beautiful passage is speaking about wisdom, but I think it’s also referring to Jesus. The Bible tells us that in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. (John1:1). That Word was Jesus.

“I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in His presence. Rejoicing In His whole world and delighting in mankind.” Proverbs 8:30-31

Think about it! Jesus was there and was thrilled to watch God create this world and even more excited about mankind. That’s us!

Did Jesus know then how evil we would become? How we would abuse the incredible gift of free will that God was imparting to us? Did He know that one day he would have to come and horribly suffer and die to redeem us?

Yes he did indeed! Yet he was still excited to see us come into being.

At one point man became so evil that God had to practically wipe us off the face of the earth and start over. The Bible says that he even regretted making man. But thankfully, God is not a quitter, and he saved a remnant and started over, giving us one more chance at life.

His patience with us throughout our days has been remarkable and His overwhelming mercy and grace has spared us from extinction for thousands of years.

Presently, Jesus is anxiously waiting for God to give Him the nod to come and get everyone who has accepted his sacrifice of love and made him Lord over their life. We can all look forward to that soon coming day when He will take us home to the place he has been preparing for us to live forever with him!

Now that’s exciting!

It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed because His compassions never fail. They are new every morning: Great is thy faithfulness. – Lamentations 3:22-23

What happened to Trust?

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We recently witnessed an alleged scandal at the top level of the FBI. This once highly respected government agency that was created to keep America safe by going after the toughest criminals, supposedly became the criminals themselves in an attempt to overthrow our elected president.

Under the previous administration we heard stories of the IRS discriminating against conservative organizations by trying to deny them non-profit status – just because they were conservative.

Every day we’re witnessing some of our elected officials side with mobs and terrorist who burn down buildings, kill innocent people, and threaten our constitution and our safety. They pander to a few radical activist whose only desire is to overthrow the very government to which these officials were elected.

These are just a few examples of corruption in our government, It seems like we hear of a new scheme every day. Sadly, we are no longer surprised and instead we’ve grown to expect it.

Media Mistrust

The lies and propaganda put out by most mainstream news organizations are extremely obvious. We hear half-truths, important facts are omitted, and every story has a spin to reflect the agenda of that particular news outlet. Unfortunately, America’s main stream media just isn’t interested in telling us the truth any longer. Former New York Times editor, Bari Weiss, recently resigned from his job because he couldn’t take the bias any longer. He explains it well in his compelling resignation letter.

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Health Care Mistrust

We all thought that we can trust our healthcare system. After all, one would think the Center for Disease Control would have our best interest at heart. Until we learned that many health care workers signed a declaration that protest were a civil right and should be allowed, even though these same people were against the public going to work, church, a wedding, or even a funeral for a deceased family member.

The handling of the Corona Virus has all of our heads in a spin. First it was don’t wear masks because they don’t work, then it became mandatory for everyone to wear one. At first we needed a 15 day shelter in place to flatten the curve, now four months later, we still have many businesses completely shut down. Initially, we were told the virus could live on surfaces for days, now they are saying it’s only airborne. We’ve heard about numbers being inflated by health care facilities who have counted an entire family positive if one family member is positive, counted COVID deaths from persons that died from another reason and even claiming people are positive that haven’t even been tested! Instead of telling us the truth, the CDC and news outlets are consistently making statements based on how they want us to act or think. Thus, the bias of even our health care system has been exposed and as a result it has lost credibility.

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The Truth

Please, just tell us the truth! The American people can handle it! We no longer have trust in our nation and we need it badly. When trust is lost, it’s almost impossible to get back and there is no way we can’t begin to solve our nation’s problems as long as the waters are muddled by so much deliberate misinformation.

So is there anything in this messed up world that we can still trust?

Thankfully, Yes! We can trust in God and His Word. Lee Strobel, a reporter for the Chicago Tribune, didn’t believe the Bible was true and set out to prove his Christian wife wrong. The result was that he instead proved that Jesus Christ was indeed the son of God and published his findings in a best-selling book entitled The Case for Christ.

God never lies! There are over 3,000 promises in the Bible and you can take anyone of them to the bank. They are all true. Most don’t take the time to read them, much less act on them, but for those that do, they are an incredible, life-changing blessing. The Bible is a treasure full of comforting verses, challenging ideas, and examples on how to handle life’s toughest problems. It helps us grow into better people and ultimately live a happier, more productive life while showing us the way to eternal life.

God’s word never changes. In our world things can change in an instant. One day we have a thriving business and the next we’re bankrupt because of a stay-at-home order resulting from a virus. The Word of God is one rock we can go to anytime and know that God hasn’t changed His mind about anything. What was true in the beginning is true for the present and will be for the future also.

God put a lot of trust in mankind when He gave us a free will and dominion over His creation. We have failed Him miserably. But He has never failed us. One of His promises is that He will never forsake us, no matter what happens. (Deuteronomy 31:6) That’s one promise we can certainly cling to during these uncertain times.

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How to Cope with an Unfair Advantage

When my children were little, often they’d come screaming to me, that’s not fair, whenever they had a conflict with a teacher, sibling or friend. My first answer without fail was always Life’s not fair. Why did I say that? Because life isn’t fair and I didn’t want to raise my children with a sense of entitlement. Life doesn’t owe us anything. It’s a gift — a precious gift from God. None of us had one thing to do with bringing our existence into this world.

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Even thought we are all created equal in that we are all human, we are not all created the same. God created each of us differently with our own set of gifts, talents, physical characteristics, intelligence, athletic ability, strengths and weaknesses. There has never been nor will there ever be any other person on earth exactly like you or I, unless, of course, you have an identical twin and even then their personalities are unique.

No two people are the same in their upbringing either. Our families are different. We are exposed to different environments and are offered different opportunities. Likewise, we all face different challenges. No matter how privileged we are, we will face trouble in this life. No one gets a pass. Jesus promised it. (John 16:33)

Recently, the world watched in horror as a man was slowly and deliberately killed by a police officer. It was a senseless act of violence that never should have happened. Unfair is an understatement. George Floyd should have been given his day in court for his accused crime instead of an immediate death sentence. That’s the way our system of justice works.

We then watched in horror again as angry mobs burned businesses, looted stores and mercilessly beat innocent people to the death. Instead of just the perpetrator paying for his crime, at least seventeen innocent people had to pay with their life and hundreds of others had to pay with the loss of their business or property to the tune of millions of dollars. Again, totally unfair and most unfortunate.

What’s even more shocking was to listen to a major news commentators actually condone these acts of terror as “Sometimes necessary in order for change to happen.”

Seriously? Is this the way we now handle our grievances in America? Pro-life advocates have been marching on Washington for over 40 years for laws to be enacted to stop the killing of our unborn sons and daughters. Are they supposed to start burning down abortion clinics now and murdering people in order to bring attention to the matter and get the results they want?

Of course not. The Bible instructs us not to return evil for evil. (Romans 12:17) Jesus never did. He went so far as to pray for the forgiveness of those who were nailing him to a cross.

One thing that is equal in each of us, however, is our free will. God will never impose His will on us. It’s a part of being human. We’ve all been give control over our attitudes and our actions. It’s how we choose those attitudes and actions that makes the most difference in our life.

God hasn’t invited us into a disorderly, unkempt life but into something holy and beautiful – as beautiful on the inside as the outside. – 1 Thessalonians 4:7 – The Message

Covid Comes Home

Covid -19 has taken a lot from me. The loss of my brother, most of my income from my work, my freedom to go to church, visit my favorite restaurants, travel or simply get a massage or pedicure. At one point I was even afraid to hug my grand kids! But I’m not alone. We’ve all suffered loss from this pandemic.

But Covid has given me some things as well. It’s given me the gift of time. Time to slow down and reflect on what’s really important in life. Time to grow closer to God and seek more clearly His direction. More time to spend with my husband and plan the awesome trips we’re going to take when we’re set free to do so.

Four Important Lessons

Coronavirus is a serious illness. After all, it took the life of my brother. However, I can’t blame Covid entirely. He had many underlying conditions that are common in most of the Covid deaths. His death has reiterated in me the importance of taking care of my body by eating right and getting exercise. Our bodies need to be strong and healthy to fight off diseases.

It has also taught me that you can get people to do just about anything if you put enough fear in them. We all willingly shut down our businesses and locked ourselves in our homes for weeks. “If you don’t, millions of you will die” we were told. Shutting down for a few of weeks may have been the right thing to do; After all, millions of us didn’t die, but I’m sensing that there may be more fear at play now than facts now that the curve has been flattened.

I’ve learned that some people just can’t handle power. State governors were given power to oversee the proper shutting down according to the specifics of their region, and rightly so. Yet to see governors telling people which items they can buy in the store and how to walk on the beach or fining churches for having services has been very eye opening. Thank God we have a system of government that doesn’t give all the power to one branch.

Finally, I’ve learned that circumstances can turn on a dime. Just because we have a thriving business and are healthy and alive today is no guarantee that everything will be the same tomorrow.

The Bible tells us in Thessalonians to be thankful in every situation. It doesn’t say we have to be thankful for every situation, but in every situation. Frankly, there is a lot going on in America and around the world today that I’m not thankful for, but I can still find plenty for which to be grateful. Gratitude is a choice. And as tough as things are right now, the good still outweighs the bad by a long shot!

I’d love to have my brother back, but I know he is at peace and in a much better place. I’d love to have my business back, but as a Christian, I know that God has a plan for my life and I have to accept the situation He has now placed me and simply trust Him for what he has next. (Lord, help me here.) I know whatever it is, though, it will be good for He has never failed me yet.

Times of loss, struggle and trials always bring a lessons if we look for them. Our plans and desires may have been disrupted, but God’s has not been.

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps. – Proverbs 16:9

Things I’m thankful for during coronavirus outbreak

We’re living in a very scary time right now. Everyday life that we took for granted just a few weeks ago, such as going to work or school, the gym or even the grocery store can now prove fatal. We wake up every day to a new Coronavirus death toll and the leaders are warning us that it’s not over yet.

I’ve always coped with loss, uncertainty, or depression by practicing gratitude. I find it lifts my spirits even when circumstances don’t change. Here’s a list of just a few of the things I’ve made a point to be grateful for today.

A Safe Place

I’m thankful for my beautiful home. It’s not a mansion but it’s plenty big enough for my husband and I. It’s a safe place to retreat, refresh and renew, and now to even work. It’s decorated to my taste and I love just being here. Working full time and being on the go the way many of us normally are, we sometimes don’t have enough time to enjoy the homes that we’ve worked so hard to build. During this time of isolation I’m thankful to have time to enjoy it. Some people lost their home just recently in tornadoes that swept through our city. Mine is still standing. I am blessed.

A Venue to the outside

I’m thankful for the internet. Up until this crisis hit, we were all feeling guilty for spending so much time on our screens. Now this technology has become our best friend. It’s allowed all of us to stay in touch with our family and friends, allowed students to continue their education, and many people to keep working and even have church! Through this medium we can shop and have our purchases delivered to our front door. The internet has been a total game changer for all of us during this outbreak and I’m grateful for the opportunities it has offered.

Able Bodies

The Lord has kept my husband and I, our children and grandchildren safe so far. We done our part by practicing social distancing and while I miss being with my family terribly, I have some assurance that those times will return soon. Unfortunately, not everyone can say this. The thought of thousands of people dying alone is almost too much to bear. Today, I’m not alone, I’m not in the hospital and I’m not dying. How can I not be thankful for that?

Unity

I’m thankful for the spirit of the America people that I see on display during this time. Although we are physically apart we are more united than we have been in a long time. Oh, there are a few small people with big microphones still trying to divide us by somehow trying to place blame on this horrible virus on one person or another, or by sitting on the sidelines and pointing out every small mistake or miscalculation made by our leaders during this crisis, but by enlarge the real patriots, the common everyday people, are giving and doing what they can with whatever they have available to serve their fellow citizens.

Everyone in sacrificing something to help bring this crisis to a halt. Our health care workers are putting their lives on the line every day to take care of the sick, business are shutting their doors to the very public that provide them their livelihood, parents are teaching their children at home while keeping up with their own work responsibilities, government leaders are working overtime to gain information, make critical decisions and keep us informed on best practices. Pastors have willingly relinquished their church services even though the gathering together of the saints is the strength of their church. People are praying for each other more than in a very long time. It’s heartwarming and I’m extremely grateful.

While at times I’m fearful and extremely sad, and never want this to happen again, I refuse to live in fear and sadness alone. A little gratitude goes a long way in helping me to keep perspective and bring joy into my life.

Take a moment to thank God for the good you still have in your life. Then feel your spirit soar.

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Not Why but What ? – The Coronavirus question we should all be asking

I felt such an unexplainable peace sitting in the silence of my home while at work and looking out on my back deck where the rain was slowly drizzling down. I noticed the empty patio chairs and table and my mind goes back to the time last spring when my family was reclining in those chairs, my children and their spouses each eating dessert and drinking coffee, laughing, talking and enjoying each other’s company. The grandchildren were playing in the yard. I can see them all there and my heart years to go back to that day and to experience that again.

Everything seems so peaceful with the drizzling rain against the newly budded green trees. A robin occasionally comes and perches in the deck and a squirrel scurries around in the trees. It’s as if nature doesn’t know the silent war that’s going on in the world. Did someone forget to tell spring? Why are the trees budding and turning green the way they do every year?

Of course nature knows. God controls the seasons and He decided that spring should come this year anyway. Perhaps to tell us that the world isn’t ending just yet.

We’re in the third week of isolation because of the Coronavirus pandemic and while I’m enjoying a bit of a slowdown and working from home, I’m starting to miss my loved ones and their hugs and the simple things like getting in the car and going where I’d like to go and doing what I want to do.

Naturally, this pandemic didn’t catch God by surprise. He’s aware of those who are quarantined at home, those who have lost their jobs, those who are sick and especially the hurting and the dying.

Perhaps the question we should be asking God isn’t why is this happening, but what do you want me to learn from this? Have you forced the entire world into this isolation and slowdown for a much needed rest? Is this just a way to somehow cleanse the earth and decrease pollution? Are you wanting families to connect more? Or are you longing for the world to turn back to you?

I can’t pretend to know what God is thinking, but what I can do is ask Him what He wants me to do during this time and what does He want me to learn. Whether it’s being isolated at home or working on the front lines in our hospitals combating the virus head on God has put us each in this place.

I love these words from the late Zig Ziglar. “Expect the best. Plan for the worst. Capitalize on what comes.” I don’t believe he’s talking about capitalizing with money here, but rather maximizing the most of the opportunities we are presented with, even though we may not initially view them as positive.

What have you been given during this time that is unique? Is it time with family like never before, more time to reflect, to read, exercise, pursue that hobby or deepen your relationship with the Lord? Glean from it whatever you can and learn it’s lessons for this too shall one day pass.

Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth.

Psalm 46:10