He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Psalm 40:3a

Monday, June 26, 2017

God Is The Supreme Power

         Some years ago we received a surprise phone call from a relative, states away, who needed us to come to her aid.  It took some re-scheduling, but we were able to see to the needs of this young woman.  Another time a neighbor in our community, needed their newly acquired lot to be cleared of trees, so their next home could be placed on the foundation. My husband, along with other members of the church, came to their aid.  Another time a neighbor needed a tow, while another needed meals delivered after a crisis in the family.

            It is our Christian duty to assist, support and encourage one another.  While one person may need help financially, another may need physical help (like knowledge and ability to cut down trees) or even have the lawn mowed; another may require consolation, comfort and encouragement, and someone else may need clothing, shoes or coats.

            Not everyone can do everything well.  While my husband is very capable of offering assistance with car repair, lawn and tree service, I am more likely to be able to help with cooking, sewing, or even house cleaning.  Other people are trained to be experts in the law, medicine, electronics or engineering, to name a few!

            What’s amazing, is knowing our God is capable in all things!  He has power that way exceeds anything we can comprehend.  It is His nature to want to help us, but how often do we fail to ask?  We plow through the problem, murmuring because we hit bad times again, but forget we can have comfort with just a few words: “Lord, help me!" 

            People are quick to think asking for help reveals weakness, but the opposite is true.  To admit we have a problem often takes more strength than being silent.  This is probably more true for men, because our society has taught our men and boys to “be strong,” or “crying is for sissy’s.”  Emotions and feelings are as real for one gender as another. 

            I have one male friend who remains adamant about “doing it myself” even when the job requires help.  Oh, he’ll get it done, but not without a lot of time, and physical pains that follow! We are designed, as mentioned before, to “need one another.”  And we are also designed to need God. 

            I’m not suggesting just because we say, “Lord, I need help,” all our problems will end.  However, by admitting we need help, we’ve begun a process that allows our thought progression to look beyond ourselves for answers.  Life is challenging for everyone.  When we can rely on a friend or neighbor, and certainly a God who loves us; our life, regardless of challenges, will be manageable.

            I encourage you to reflect on the problems you are now facing, no matter what level or area.  Whether it’s physical, emotional or spiritual, there are answers.  Admit to not knowing all, or being able to handle everything alone and allow those who love you to help, including the Greatest Power of all: God.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Connecting Women With Women

            I was reading an article recently about a woman who accepted Christ as her Savior while a child, and as most children and teens, found herself up and down with her faith.  She married and had a child, but was frustrated with her spiritual life.  Her inconsistency was leaving her exasperated and discouraged.  She finally took her situation to the Lord.

            God placed her in a Bible Study with another woman, who was widowed and experienced much pain in her life, but strong in her faith, and led the group.  This woman took an interest in the younger woman, mentored her, advised, expressed compassion and love.  Over time the older woman asked the younger to also lead a Bible study.  While completely uncertain of her abilities, she agreed to at least try.   

            Once the younger woman began leading, she found she had to stay in the Word to be able to teach someone else, and herein strengthened her relationship with the Lord.  She now has the confidence, experience and the right relationship with God, so she too, is able to extend compassion and love to others…  even to large groups of women, as a speaker. 

A friend of mine, recently found herself in a new congregation.  Before her move, she was active in teaching an adult class, and now is frustrated as she searches for her “place.”  She’s attended all the adult classes at her new church, but isn’t feeling satisfaction with the depth she had been forced to obtain, as when she had a class. She admitted she “needed” to teach, to learn! 

I can identify with that; perhaps you can, too.  There’s a maxim about how if you ever want to learn something, teach it!  I’ve found this true even in writing; whether it’s the children’s disability books I author (www.paxtonseries.com), or blogs, where in essence, there is a degree of “teaching.”

There are churches who encourage the older women to mentor younger ones.  It’s even a Biblical principle. I’m not talking about the Sunday School leader who teaches many, although this is very important.  Many of us need a strong, spirit filled woman to come beside us and help us maintain stability, not only in our lives, but specifically in our spiritual lives.  It creates accountability.  She serves as a role model, and is willing to meet with us once or twice a week (sometimes only monthly or bi-monthly) but discusses, not the world news, the latest gossip in town, or the latest clothing trend, but the things of God; our Bible questions, our searches in scriptures and where they have led us. 

Women need women.  We need each other because we are women! We have a unique way of seeing the world and even our faith, that is different than men.  That truth is by design—God’s design.  We need to be uplifted, accepted and sometimes even corrected---by other women because there is a distinctive and unique level of understanding!  I encourage you to ask God to send you a mentor, or be a mentor. If your church doesn’t have such a program available, ask…..  and watch God change lives---even yours!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Finding Common Ground

    “You are just plain wrong,” said my friend, as I joined she and another friend having a heated conversation.  “The guy is an idiot and can’t do anything right.”

            “I disagree,” said my other friend.  “I’d rather think we should agree to disagree, rather than argue about it.”

            “But you’re wrong,” countered my first friend, her ire growing.

            “It doesn’t matter.  I think differently than you.  This is just one of those times, we’re not going to agree.”

            “Fine!” she answered, walking away.  “You think like you want to think.  That’s not going to make you right,” she added hotly.

            “Josie,” I said.  “C’mon.  Don’t be like that.”

            “Not now,” she said.  “I’m done and the best thing for me to do is walk away, before I say something I really regret.”

            Anyone who knows me well, knows I am not much of a political person.  While I have my opinions, I usually tend to not share them, because I hate confrontation.  Not being a “great” debater, it’s easier to not say anything at all!  In fact, I remember a debate I was required to participate in, in college and the instructor put me on the opposite side I believed in!  I was mortified!  It was so difficult to comment.  I was grateful there were others on the team, who were able to take the ‘facts’ found and comment, even though, they were not likely familiar with a true life experience with the debate question, for which they were fighting.  For most of them, it was no more than an assignment.

            Yet, I know as a Believer, it is my duty, as commanded by God, to stand my ground when there are those who would disagree with Bible doctrine.  Still, even here, I find when I disagree with someone I try really hard, to be as kind as possible, without ‘ruffling’ the feathers with the person I am having conversation.  ……Unless….I can do it in writing. 

            Recently there was a major issue with someone where we seriously disagreed.  While I didn’t want a face to face battle, I was able to put my words on paper, and ‘discuss’ the matter in a way that enabled me to share my feelings and why.

            Even when we disagree with each other, it is again our ‘duty’ to attempt to find unity.  Paul was really good at this when he faced his opposition in the Bible.  He had the education and ability to draw those who disagreed with him to listen to his views, because he once stood right where they were now standing.  He could identify with their thought process.  In this way, he was able to gain their trust, at least long enough to justify their time listening to him explaining his views.  He was what many today would call, ‘politically correct,’ and therefore, searched for a friendly and familiar position with his would be adversaries.  He had the wonderful ability of finding common ground without compromising his values or beliefs!

            I encourage you to reflect on your last disagreement with someone.  Is there a way of continuing the discussion by finding common ground without compromising your values or beliefs?  It might be the best way of reclaiming a friendship, while making your point quietly.