Reflecting on the Goodness of Life

It seems as of recent, I have had more than the usual work related critical incidents involving untimely deaths. Granted, this is the nature of my work, but to have so many back to back really struck me. In speaking with the individuals impacted, from various walks of life, I found a common thread: “it is appointed for men to die” Hebrews 9:27.

For the non-believer, this can be a scary thought that can cause many to avoid the subject and even to the point of fearing death itself. For the believer, we may find ourselves outwardly showing that we are okay with death, but inside, still fearing it or at least thinking of the many things we would like to do in our lifetime before this life comes to an end.

Having had to face death in my family at an early age, I believe that the Lord truly drove this scripture home for me. My mother taught me to face death as a part of living and she led by example. One of the dearest memories I have was when she faced her own mortality and she told us kids, “I am ready. I have done what God set me out to do here on this earth and when He calls me, I will go freely.” My prayer from that point almost 11 years ago has been to truly embrace life and make sure that I live it fulfilling God’s calling for me.

I am encouraged to focus on my current mortality, knowing that it will come to an end, but (Ephesians 5:20) always giving thanks for all things and making every effort at living life how God intended us to. I am encouraged to give thanks and praise for what God has allowed me to experience thus far and to remember to let those who have blessed me to know that they have, to remind those around me about His love and to be sure to focus on living my life for Christ. We should give thanks in every situation (1Thessolonians 5:18) and to remember where our blessings come from (Psalms 103:2).

I feel compelled to encourage my sisters to look around, count your blessings and give Him thanks and glory for the blessings in your life. Don’t wait until a special day to do this, do it every day. For tomorrow is not promised. Death is not the end (John 11:25): “I am the resurrection and the life…” But it is the end of our being able to share His love with those He has placed before us here and now.

-Alex B.

What Is My Calling?

Throughout the years of my Christian walk, I have always asked “what is my calling?” or “ what am I supposed to do for You, Lord?” So many times during my Christian walk many sisters in the Lord have said “I see the how you have grown, taken steps of faith,” etc. But what I see is failure, a sense of being lost and not knowing exactly what my calling is. Have you ever felt this way?

In the Old Testament we read about Jeremiah being called into ministry: Jeremiah 1:5-6, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations. Then I said: Ah, Lord God! Behold I cannot speak, for I am a youth.”

You see my sisters, our Father knows the calling He has for us. He called us before we were even formed in our mother’s womb. He sanctified us. Sanctified means “to consecrate, prepare, dedicate, be holy, be separate.” He has set us apart for this calling in our life. Next He ordains us. Ordain means “to give, put, set.” Therefore he gives us that calling and He puts us in that calling.

Jeremiah responded by informing the Lord he is not capable of this calling because of his age. He was young, so too some of us are young, middle aged and seniors. Well I can honestly say I am like Jeremiah. “I can’t” comes out of my mouth when He reveals that calling. But praise God! Just as He empowered Jeremiah for this calling (Jeremiah 1:9), He has empowered us for our calling through the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8).

Jeremiah’s calling for 40 years was to speak God’s words to a rebellious Judah. Ray Steadman said, “During these 40 years, not one person was converted, his ministry is described as a ministry of failure, he suffered persecution, mocking, scorn, contempt, loneliness, dumped into a dungeon and he died in Egypt. Jeremiah at times felt lonely, depressed and didn’t feel God’s presence.” My dear sisters have you ever felt this way in ministry, or life? Jeremiah sought the Lord through prayer and His word. We are to do the same when we have questions, have doubts, when the ministry we are in is a failure and we wonder why.

Take heart, He gives us our calling, he separates us for this calling, He empowers us for this calling and when you question where is this calling because you don’t see results, call out to Him for He will answer you.

Elsa D.

Refuel

The day is half way over and I still have a million and one things left to do. Between work, kids and home life sometimes I feel I barely have enough time to breathe. There are so many errands to run and places to be. But am I doing the one thing that is needed? The most important thing? Am I spending time with Jesus? Am I spending time in prayer, reading the bible and listening to the Lord? I need to stop my busyness and refuel often, because I know how important it is for me to spend time with my Lord.

We don’t go without food for very long and when we do, we don’t do too well. Without food I tend to get grumpy and lack energy, just like when we don’t feed upon God’s Word. Without God’s strength I’m not ready for the devils attacks or worldly obstacles. It’s even worse when I think I’m just fine and trying to finish things on my own strength. We need to know and believe the Word of God so when the enemy comes to attack us, like he did Jesus, we can have his word to strengthen and encourage us. Matthew 4:4 says, Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

With all the hustle and bustle of the day, not to mention the fiery darts from the enemy, spending time with God is a necessity. When I put it off for any reason or excuse I tend to be more discouraged and prone to be led astray. But when I set aside that much needed time with Jesus, I’m blessed and refreshed and ready for what the Lord has for me that day.

I can hear in my mind His sweet peaceful voice calling to sit at His feet, to rest in His promises, and to dwell in His word. Will I listen, will you listen? Spend time with your Maker daily, know how much He loves you and longs to spend time with you.

Matthew 11:28-30 “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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

-Jeanine B.

Falling Apart

The month of July was a difficult month for me. I was battling with my emotions, being really depressed, feeling like I couldn’t go anywhere for help, and I felt like crawling into a corner and going home to be with the Lord.  I felt like I was falling apart. Unfortunately these are the things we deal with as women and especially as we get older and face menopause. Our emotions can take hold of us if we allow them to. Or we can give them over to God and allow Him to help us, and to find encouragement in His promises. I was reminded that God holds everything together including my emotions.

Colossians 1:17, He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together. NLT

When we confess to God and others what we are going through, we find help in time of need. God meets us right where we are at, we just have to call out to Him. As we have been reading Isaiah there were a few chapters that really spoke to me at this time when I was going through these things.

Isaiah 40:29, He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. NLT

Isaiah 40:31, But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. NLT

To wait entails confident expectation and active hope in the Lord, never passive resignation. Mount up, run, and walk: depict the spiritual transformation that faith brings to a person. The Lord gives power to those who trust in Him. Eagles: The eagle depicts the strength that comes from the Lord.  NSB

Isaiah 41:10, Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.  Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you.  I will hold you with my victorious right hand. NLT

Isaiah 41:13, For I hold you by your right hand-I, the Lord your God.  And I say to you, Don’t be afraid.  I am here to help you. NLT

I was reminded through these verses that God is right here with me and he holds me up with his victorious right hand and never lets me go. I can trust in God. He has never let me down. These are reminders that we all need at times. We tend to forget so easily, especially when we are going through things that are tough.

So when tough times come, let us hold on to the promises of God who tells us not to be afraid or discouraged. He is right there with me I just need to call out to Him and He will come to my aid.

-Cherie

Timely Words

It is said that women use 13,000 more words than men use every day. It is no wonder that we often find ourselves in difficult situations because of our words. The more words we use the more opportunity to offend, to say too much, to be misunderstood or to simply say the wrong thing at the wrong time. So what do we do? Sew our mouths shut so that we never speak an ill word again? Well, Psalms 141:3, tells us to as the Lord to “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.”

It tells us here that our mouths are to be guarded and watched over. There is danger in our words but that doesn’t mean we should stay silent. There is so much good that can be done when we allow our words to bring honor and glory to The Lord by speaking His word and allowing the Holy Spirit to fill us and speak through us. Here are three examples of timely words.

  • Timely advice- Proverbs 25:11, A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold In settings of silver.
    The New Living Translation says it this way: “timely advice is lovely”. This is like when you read something or are talking to a friend and they say just the thing that you needed to hear. It’s a sweet word to you because the advice came at just the right time.
  • A Timely response- Proverbs 15:23, A man has joy by the answer of his mouth, And a word spoken in due season, how good it is!
    In Jerry’s bible this verse is underlined and he wrote in the margins, “6/22/02 at 2:25pm Kim told me she loves me for the first time!” There is joy in an answer or response that is given at the appropriate time.
  • Timely word of comfort- Isaiah 50:4, The Lord God has given Me The tongue of the learned, That I should know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary
    There are two ways that we can comfort the weary: with the comfort we have received (2 Corinthians 1:4). And with wise words God gives us to speak (like Isaiah in Isaiah 50:4). We receive this kind of wisdom through His word, prayer and even worship.

We’ve seen how timeliness plays a big role in how we are to use our words. When I think of timing or timeliness I think of the double Dutch jump rope game. The timing has to be right or you’ll end up in a tangled mess. It’s the same with our words.
Whether its advice,  a response, or a word of comfort, our words can bring honor and glory to The Lord if we allow Him to rule not only our hearts but our mouths as well ;)

-Kim S