The Heart and Power of the Gospel

Periodically, I receive flyers and coupons in the mail from Life Way Christian Book Stores.  In their most recent flyer that I received, they advertised this book Gay Girl, Good God by Jackie Hill Perry on sale at their store.  The title of the book immediately caught my eye and stimulated my interest.  So, I decided to do a google search on it.  In my search, I was inspired by what I read about it.  So much so, that I decided to purchase the book at the book store.  And literally read it in one day’s setting.  And, I’m so glad I did! 🙂

At it’s core, this book speaks to the heart and power of the Gospel.  Although I haven’t personally struggled with same-sex attraction, I can still identify with this author’s story in so many, many ways.

For one, I am a sinner.  For thirty-one years of my life, I lived according only to my sinful nature and it’s desires.  What wanted.  What I found pleasure in.  What loved.  That’s what I pursued.  It didn’t matter what God or anyone else thought, it was my life and I was going to live it according to my beliefs and standards.

I did believe there was a God, and during those thirty-one years, there were times here and there in my life where I did allow myself to be open to listen to what He had to say.  Whether it was attending a rare church service, having a discussion with a professed believer, or actually picking up the bible myself and choosing to read it.  It was in these rare moments that stuck with me the most no matter how far my life was from Him.  It was as if God were consistently pursuing me not allowing me to be free from these moments.

A time did finally come when I hit a cross road and needed to make a choice.  Was I going to continue to live my life my way or was I going to embrace the Gospel and give my life over to God and live it according his waythe way it was meant to be lived?  Like the author, I chose God and His way.  The reason was that I finally came to terms with the fact that His love for me was far greater than my love for myself.  His way was for my good.  My way was leading me towards destruction.  I felt so fragmented.  I felt so empty.  I had no other purpose than my own happiness and selfish ambitions.  And, while I pursued these things, I was loosing everything that mattered to me most.  I felt completely lost.  This is what happens when we choose a life of loving ourselves, instead of loving our creator.

I’ve been a Christian for 25+ years now.  My life has been forever changed.  Yet, I am still a sinner with the capacity to sin.  This book helped bring me back to the very beginning. The heart and power of the Gospel.  It is the Gospel that saves.  Not someone’s opinion, not someone’s conviction, not someone’s chastisement, not someone’s advice.

If someone is in need of saving, they don’t need our criticism, judgments, or words of wisdom, THEY NEED THE GOSPEL!!! The power to save does not come from us, but from the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Only the Gospel can open the eyes of a sinner to their sinful ways.

Thank you dear Lord for using this dear sister-in-Christ, Jackie, to bring me back in time to remind me once again of the heart and power of the Gospel.  I pray that this book will reach many and that many lives will come to know you, repent and be saved.  May you get the glory, honor and praise!  Amen. ❤

Matthew 8: 34-38

34 Then he (Jesus) called his disciples and the crowds to come over and listen. “If any of you wants to be my follower,” he told them, “you must put aside your own pleasures and shoulder your cross, and follow me closely.35 If you insist on saving your life, you will lose it. Only those who throw away their lives for my sake and for the sake of the Good News (The Gospel) will ever know what it means to really live.

36 “And how does a man benefit if he gains the whole world and loses his soul in the process? 37 For is anything worth more than his soul? 38 And anyone who is ashamed of me and my message in these days of unbelief and sin, I, the Messiah, will be ashamed of him when I return in the glory of my Father, with the holy angels.”

Romans 1:16

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.

 

 

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New Normal

My daughter’s life has now transitioned from childhood to adulthood.  This has become her new normal.  Day to day life without her here at home has now become my new normal.

When you’ve spent 19 years of your life raising a child, it’s a very strange feeling and experience when that time comes to an end.  I’m excited and have great anticipation of what God is going to do in her life, but at the same time, there’s a kind of sadness knowing that my role in her life from here on out will be forever changed.  It’s the way it needs to be and has to be, but it still feels weird all the same.  It’s a new normal for the both of us.

Life brings many changes that produce “new normal’s” throughout our lives.  Some we welcome with great joy and happiness, such as a wedding or the birth of a child.  While others are thrust upon us with great sorrow and pain, such as a divorce, an illness and especially, death.  These are the new normal’s that are the hardest to bare.

I have experienced all kinds of new normal’s in my lifetime, and here are a few or so words of wisdom that I’ve gleaned along the way.

  1.  Accept and don’t fight your new normal.  This is one of the hardest things to do, especially when the new normal is difficult to embrace.  But, it is also so very necessary in order to properly function in your new normal.  Whether you want it or not, this new normal is now your reality.  To fight it is to live in a lie, striving after something that no longer exists.  And it will completely wear you out!  As difficult as it may be to accept, the struggles will lesson as time goes by and it will get easier.  On the other hand, if you choose to fight it, the struggles will only increase and drag on and on and on until finally, you surrender and accept what truly is.
  2.  View it through a different lens.  Even if you didn’t want it, see it as a fresh start, a clean slate, an opportunity to do something different, a new beginning.  It’s common to look back at what was and wish it were still here.  It’s the natural thing to do.  Even for the new normal’s that we embrace and welcome.  Because let’s face it, any change has it’s challenges!  Unfortunately, to stay focused on the past and “what once was” only drags us down and causes us to become dormant.  We loose life and energy when we do this.  On the other hand, when we choose to view this new normal through a different lens–as an opportunity, a new beginning, a new start– we then can receive new energy.  This will provide us the means to move forward, allowing ourselves to live more fully once again.  This new normal has the capacity to grow us in ways we never could have before.  It can also take us places we’ve never dreamed of going.
  3.  Be patient and give yourself some grace.  Any kind of change will take some adjusting to, even changes we welcome.  It takes time and patience to settle into a new normal.  Change rarely comes easy and adjusting to it, rarely happens overnight.  So, be patient with yourself and most importantly, don’t give up!  When you’re having a hard day, don’t beat yourself up, but give yourself some grace.  Sometimes, it takes a whole lot of baby steps, and even some tumbles along the way, to get to where we want or need to be.
  4.  Try to find a reasonable balance.  As you face your new normal, you will more than likely be stretched in ways that you’ve never been before.  Be realistic with yourself and find a healthy balance.  Accepting your new normal does not mean completely wearing yourself out in order to adjust to it!  Don’t be a lone ranger, but seek help from others.  I know, it can be hard at times to reach out.  We don’t want to feel like we’re someone else’s burden.  But, the reality is that we do need help from time to time, sometimes more often than others.  Don’t allow fear or pride to get in the way of soliciting help.  You are no good for yourself or others if you completely burn yourself out!  Trust me, this was a hard lesson for me to learn.

As I adjust to my new normal, and my daughter adjusts to hers, may we both embrace these words of wisdom.  May they also bring wisdom, help, and guidance to those who read this blog when facing your new normal’s. 🙂

I thank you Lord for the wisdom you have taught me throughout the years as I’ve faced my new normal’s. May I apply it in my life today, as well as help my daughter, and others, apply it in their lives as well. ❤

James 1:5

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 

Simplicity

Today, my daughter and I went to see the movie Christopher Robin.  If you haven’t yet seen it, I highly recommend that you do.

For those of us who grew up with Winnie the Pooh, and read the stories to our children, the movie stayed true to it’s original characters.  Even though Christopher Robin is an adult for the most part of the movie, his friends in the hundred acre woods do not change.  They stay true to who they are.  What they say is what you would expect them to say.  And, what they do is what you would expect them to do.  It’s actually so very refreshing to witness a story that has been loved by the millions not be corrupted by the film industry.  Therefore, I strongly applaud everyone who was involved in the writing and making of this film!

This movie actually touched me in a way that I haven’t experienced in a while.  It’s message is profound, yet simple.  Slow down, don’t forget who you are, and live for today.  Better yet, live in the moment.

The hardness of life–the daily challenges we face–sometimes steal our ability to slow down and enjoy what’s around us.  And, even forget who we really are.  We become more serious, more rigid and hurry our way through life.  Forgetting what’s most important, and instead, holding on to things that are not.  It reminds me of a bible story that many of us are familiar with.

At the Home of Martha and Mary

38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[f]Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

When Martha made the decision to open her home to Jesus and his disciples, her focus immediately turned to all the preparations that had to be made.  Which in turn, caused her to be too distracted to be able to see clearly what was most important.  She even became angry with her sister Mary for not joining in with her by assisting her with the preparations.

The minute Jesus and his disciples arrived, Martha got busy.  She didn’t slow down enough to smell-the-coffee and truly witness her surroundings.  She didn’t stop to be in the moment to see clearly what was truly important.  Instead, she left the simplicity of life behind and trudged towards the complicated.  Which in the end caused her to be distracted, angry and bitter, missing the simple quiet joy that her sister Mary was experiencing.

Sometimes life is complicated.  It’s not something we can control.  Yet, at other times, we invite complication into our lives.  It’s a choice we make.  This is what happened to Christopher Robin, as well as Martha.  But thankfully, both Christopher Robin and Martha had a trusted friend to help bring them back to where they needed to be; where they were supposed to be.

Christopher Robin and Martha are not alone, this is what happens to us at times as well.  But thankfully, like Christopher Robin and Martha, we also have a trusted friend who can help bring us back to where we need to be; where we’re supposed to be.  All we need to do is look to him and his word.  All we need to do is change the name “Martha” and simply insert our own.

41 “_______, _______,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[f]Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

If you and I find ourselves hurrying our way through life; that we’re getting too serious and too rigid, maybe it’s time for us to slow down and smell-the-coffee.  Possibly, it’s time to stop and consider what’s truly important.  To recall the words of our trusted friend.  When we do, may we find our way back to where we need to be; where we’re supposed to be.  Whom we are.  May we experience, once again, the simplicity and joy that we once had.  The joy that our friend Jesus desires for us to share with him.

Thank you dear Lord for this movie Christopher Robin and for using it to touch my heart in such a way that it needed to be touched.  You are so faithful and so good to me!  ❤

 

Anger

 

Do you ever struggle with anger?  I know that I do.  Does it ever consume you?

As I was contemplating writing about anger, I came across the above two pics that I think provide some great insight into the root of anger, as well as some useful skills on how to manage it and not allow it to get completely out-of-control.

Let’s be honest, we all struggle with anger from time to time.  Some of us more often than others, but we all face it.  In fact, I came face to face with it yesterday, and it felt miserable.  I hate anger.  It simply sucks the life out of you.

So, what can we do when anger surfaces it’s ugly self?  Well, I think the best thing we can do is look to the source of all wisdom, the Bible.

Here are some Bible verses on anger that, hopefully, will provide some wisdom, insight and guidance for both you and I.  Even though you and I may, or may not, have already heard or read these verses over and over again, we still need to be reminded of them each and every day.  Why?  Because sadly enough, we are so quick to forget them! 😉

 

Psalm 37:8

Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper— it only leads to harm.

Proverbs 15:1

A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire.

Proverbs 30:33

For as churning cream produces butter, and as twisting the nose produces blood, so stirring up anger produces strife.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Ephesians 4:26-27; 31-32

26 In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold.

31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Colossians 3:7-8

You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander,and filthy language from your lips.

James 1: 19-21

19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

 

A whole lot to swallow in these verses.  The main concept is that most anger is not healthy for us or our relationships.  Therefore, when it surfaces, we need to get rid of it!  Instead, we need to deal with whatever the anger is masking.  Like the wheel picture above, anger is usually masking an underlined feeling/s, such as, fear, insecurity, sadness, guilt, shame and hurt.  My anger yesterday was masking both fear and hurt.

We also need to realize that anger in itself is not bad.  God’s anger can be seen throughout the Bible.  Therefore, there is such a thing as righteous anger.  Unfortunately, God knows all-to-well that most human anger is usually far from righteous.  Therefore, when it surfaces, we need to be willing to let it go.  And, the underlining feeling that anger is usually masking must be dealt with.  Otherwise, anger will find it’s way back to the surface once again.

These scriptures also state that anger has a way of being defused, or prevented altogether, through the loving, kind, gentle and compassionate actions of others.  When we, or others, react to anger in a negative way, we only fuel the fire of anger that is already there.  Therefore, when someone is displaying signs of anger, the worst thing we can do is display those same kinds of signs back in return.  Instead, responding to them in a loving, gentle and compassionate way, is the best way to help defuse and possibly, get to the root of what is causing the anger in the first place.

We will struggle with anger from time to time.  It’s in our DNA!  May this blog, and especially the scriptures it contains, be of help when those times come to pass. May it also be a tool in helping to defuse, or even prevent some anger altogether! 🙂

Lord, you know how I hate anger.  But, I thank you for reminding me through your word that I don’t have to hold onto it, and there are ways to defuse it when I see it in others.  You are such a loving, gentle and compassionate God. ❤

 

Prepared?

For the past couple of months or so, my hubby and I have been helping our daughter to prepare for college.  In the mist of this, we’ve also been making some final precious memories as this chapter of Our Daughter’s Childhood comes to an end.

Preparing for a new chapter in our daughter’s life has been both exciting and scary.  She is our first to go away to college, and we couldn’t be more proud of her and excited for her!  At the same time, she will no longer be under our guidance and protection.  Now that’s a scary thought!  Keep in mind that she is our only princess. 😉

As we’ve been going through the checklist of things to help our daughter get ready for college, it has felt overwhelming at times, especially for our daughter.  There’s so much to know, so much to prepare for, so much to do.  And don’t forget all the unknowns as well.  Will she get along with her roommate?  Will she like her classes?  Will she know how to work the wash machine and dryer?  Will she remember to take her vitamins?  The list goes on and on and on. 🙂

Just as we parent’s do our best to help our children to prepare for the next chapter in their lives, God is also helping His children to prepare for the next chapter in their lives.  Our heavenly home with Him.  There’s work to be done; things we need to prepare for.  Things we need to already be prepared for in the here and now.  These things will not only impact our todays, but also our tomorrows.  Just as there’s been a whole lot of work that my daughter has invested in preparation for this very moment in her life.

So, what should we, God’s children, already be prepared for in the here and now?  And, are we prepared?  Here are a couple of bible passages that speak to these very questions.

Here’s the first passage:

2 Timothy 4: 1-3

In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 

To be prepared in season and out of season, this simply means to preach the word whether the times are favorable or unfavorable.  Paul knew, as he states in verse 3, that there would come a time when people would no longer want to listen to sound doctrine, but instead, whatever their itching ears want to hear.  Kind of sounds like the times we live in, doesn’t it? 

Here’s the second passage:

1 Peter 3: 14-16

But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” 15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 

In the meantime, what does Jesus promise to prepare for us?

John 14: 1-3

Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

I’m so thankful that Jesus is working hard preparing a place for me in heaven!  In the meantime, may I be faithful, as well as prepared, to share God’s word.  His sound doctrine, with whomever He brings along my path.  Both in season and out of season.  And, may I do so with great patience and carefulness.  And with great gentleness and respect, may I also be prepared to give an answer to anyone who asks me to give a reason for the hope that I have in Christ Jesus.

Just as my hubby and I have been helping our daughter to get prepared for college.  I thank you Lord for lovingly reminding me that I also need to be prepared for the here and now, while I patiently wait for my home in heaven. ❤

 

 

A New Beginning

My daughter just graduated from High School this past week and will be heading off to college in the fall.  A big chapter has come to an end in her life, basically her childhood, but I’m very excited for the new chapter that lies ahead!  The world is her oasis now.  It’s a new beginning.   Very exciting times, indeed!  🙂

When God closes one chapter in our lives and opens another, it is exciting, but at the same time it can also be kind of terrifying, too.  Are we ready for this new adventure?  Will it be what we expect it to be or will it be something completely different?  Will it change us?  And if so, will we like those changes?  So many questions, so many unknowns to ponder.

I can remember when I was engaged and getting ready to marry my husband.  I was a single mom with two young sons at the time.  And, we had our own rhythm; we had our own routine; we had our own way of life that we were comfortable with.  But, that chapter was about to come to a close; a new beginning was about to enter our world.  Were we ready for this?  Will it be what we expect it to be or will it be something completely different?  Will it change us?  And if so, will we like those changes?  So many questions, so many unknowns to ponder.  It was an exciting time, but it also was kind of terrifying, too.

What about you?  Are you facing a new chapter in your life?  Is a new beginning upon your horizon?

During times like this, this is when we turn to our Lord and Savior and place our complete trust in him.  He is the only one who knows the answers to all our questions.  He’s the only one who can see beyond our unknowns!  He can give us the peace we need to calm our fears and face what lies ahead with confidence, because we know that he will be right there with us.

As my daughter will soon be leaving the comforts of our home; as she will be leaving what’s most familiar to her, I trust and have confidence that God will be with her as she enters this new chapter of her life.  It’s a new beginning that’s both exciting and kind terrifying, but I have peace knowing that God will be right by her side. ❤

Until then, I’m going to savor, treasure and enjoy each and every moment she’s still with us! 🙂

Thank you God for the peace in knowing that when our Sweetcake leaves this nest, you will be with her guiding and protecting her with your loving and caring arms. ❤

Psalm 91: 1-2

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

Proverbs 3: 5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 16: 3

Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
    and he will establish your plans.

Hebrews 13: 5

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,

“Never will I leave you;
    never will I forsake you.”

 

 

Fight the Good Fight (Update)

Since last Thursday, our public schools here in AZ have been closed.  The closing is due to a state-wide teacher walk-out.  The main reason for the walk-out is due to the lack of funding for our schools, which obviously includes our teachers salaries.

From what I’ve heard and read, AZ ranks near the bottom nationally for teacher pay.  In fact, according to a a May 2017 analysis by Arizona State University’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy, it ranks 50th in the nation for elementary teacher salaries, and 49th for high school teacher salaries. According to this analysis, Oklahoma ranks 50th for high school teachers.

These are sad statistics to hear and thankfully, it appears that a budget deal may have been finally reached.  Today, I received the following message from my son and daughter’s school.  “School District will reopen schools on Thursday, May 3, 2018 and resume all normal services and activities.  We are counting on all our staff to report to work and resume classes for our students on Thursday.”

During and prior to this walk-out, I have seen teachers in front of schools and on the streets, wearing their “Red for Ed” shirts and holding their signs to demonstrate their disapproval of the funding for education in our state to the public.  They have been passionate about this cause.  They believe that they are fighting the good fight for education statewide.

Not everyone has been on board with this walk-out though.  Having students home, when they otherwise would be in school, has been a hardship for several families. Especially, single parents who are already financially stretched themselves.  That is completely understandable.

Although it has not been a financial burden for my family, I have had my own concerns as to how this walk-out might affect my daughter’s up-coming graduation and commitments she’s made immediately following.  For one, she’s part of a team from our church who will be helping with hurricane relief in Puerto Rico shortly following her graduation.

Even so, I think we can all agree that teachers, and schools in general, should be properly funded.  Therefore, I believe that they are fighting a good fight.

As I’m writing this, I just got notification that our school district will not be resuming classes tomorrow.  Apparently, the budget deal that was reached has not actually been signed.  That is, as of yet.  Therefore, it appears that the majority of the teachers do not have the confidence that they need to return back to the classroom.  Of course, this is disappointing both to myself and my kids.  And, I’m positive it’s disappointing to many other families as well.  Here’s hoping that the budget deal gets signed by tomorrow!

When I thought about this teacher walk-out this past week, it reminded me of Apostle Paul’s words in 1 & 2 Timothy in regards to fighting a good fight.

“Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”

1 Timothy 6:12

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

2 Timothy 4:7

As Christians, God calls us to fight.  Fight the good fight of the faith.  Don’t give up on it, but keep persevering through it!  We will receive hurdles along the way.  There will be ups and downs.  And sometimes, people won’t understand or even like us for it.  But in the end, there will be no greater joy than to be able to say, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith!”

Also, to hear these words spoken by our Heavenly Father…

“Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” 

Matthew 25:21

As these teachers are fighting the good fight of education, let us Christians not give up fighting the good fight of the faith.  Keep persevering!  Keep on keeping on!

Thank you Lord for the reminder that we Christians, too, are fighting a good fight.  Help me to continue to persevere through and not give up hope.  Help me to finish the race and finish it well.  ❤

UPDATE:

A budget deal has passed and has been signed by our governor this morning.  The kids will be back in school tomorrow (Friday)! 🙂

Fight the Good Fight

Since last Thursday, our public schools here in AZ have been closed.  The closing is due to a state-wide teacher walk-out.  The main reason for the walk-out is due to the lack of funding for our schools, which obviously includes our teachers salaries.

From what I’ve heard and read, AZ ranks near the bottom nationally for teacher pay.  In fact, according to a a May 2017 analysis by Arizona State University’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy, it ranks 50th in the nation for elementary teacher salaries, and 49th for high school teacher salaries. According to this analysis, Oklahoma ranks 50th for high school teachers.

These are sad statistics to hear and thankfully, it appears that a budget deal may have been finally reached.  Today, I received the following message from my son and daughter’s school.  “School District will reopen schools on Thursday, May 3, 2018 and resume all normal services and activities.  We are counting on all our staff to report to work and resume classes for our students on Thursday.”

During and prior to this walk-out, I have seen teachers in front of schools and on the streets, wearing their “Red for Ed” shirts and holding their signs to demonstrate their disapproval of the funding for education in our state to the public.  They have been passionate about this cause.  They believe that they are fighting the good fight for education statewide.

Not everyone has been on board with this walk-out though.  Having students home, when they otherwise would be in school, has been a hardship for several families. Especially, single parents who are already financially stretched themselves.  That is completely understandable.

Although it has not been a financial burden for my family, I have had my own concerns as to how this walk-out might affect my daughter’s up-coming graduation and commitments she’s made immediately following.  For one, she’s part of a team from our church who will be helping with hurricane relief in Puerto Rico shortly following her graduation.

Even so, I think we can all agree that teachers, and schools in general, should be properly funded.  Therefore, I believe that they are fighting a good fight.

As I’m writing this, I just got notification that our school district will not be resuming classes tomorrow.  Apparently, the budget deal that was reached has not actually been signed.  That is, as of yet.  Therefore, it appears that the majority of the teachers do not have the confidence that they need to return back to the classroom.  Of course, this is disappointing both to myself and my kids.  And, I’m positive it’s disappointing to many other families as well.  Here’s hoping that the budget deal gets signed by tomorrow!

When I thought about this teacher walk-out this past week, it reminded me of Apostle Paul’s words in 1 & 2 Timothy in regards to fighting a good fight.

“Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”

1 Timothy 6:12

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

2 Timothy 4:7

As Christians, God calls us to fight.  Fight the good fight of the faith.  Don’t give up on it, but keep persevering through it!  We will receive hurdles along the way.  There will be ups and downs.  And sometimes, people won’t understand or even like us for it.  But in the end, there will be no greater joy than to be able to say, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith!”

Also, to hear these words spoken by our Heavenly Father…

“Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” 

Matthew 25:21

As these teachers are fighting the good fight of education, let us Christians not give up fighting the good fight of the faith.  Keep persevering!  Keep on keeping on!

Thank you Lord for the reminder that we Christians, too, are fighting a good fight.  Help me to continue to persevere through and not give up hope.  Help me to finish the race and finish it well.  ❤

 

 

CHILL

I can remember years back receiving great words of wisdom from a Christian counselor that I was seeing during a very dark chapter in my life.  At that time stress, fear and panic were becoming my best friends.  And, these were his words of wisdom…

“Lisa, I want you to take a large piece of paper and on that paper, I want you to write in big bold letters this word, “CHILL!”  From there, I want you to take that same paper and tape it to the front of your refrigerator.  May it be a reminder to you to stop panicking and chill out.  God’s in control, even of this.”

Great words of wisdom, indeed.

Today, I asked my husband to pray for me.  I asked him to pray for a new perspective towards an on-going trial that our family has been going through for quite some time now.  It has been one of the most challenging trials I have ever faced and continue to face.

Shortly after my request for prayer, this word chill came loud and clear to the forefront of my mind.   It felt as if God were whispering directly into my ear, “Lisa, remember what that counselor said?  It’s time for you to chill out now.  I’ve got this.”

Stress, fear, and panic can do a real number on us, can’t they?  When we invite them as friends into our every day lives, they can completely strip us of the peace that God so desperately wants us to have.  Instead, we find ourselves reacting to life rather than living it.

This makes me think of a biblical time when Jesus calmed a great storm.

35 As evening fell, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” 36 So they took him just as he was and started out, leaving the crowds behind (though other boats followed). 37 But soon a terrible storm arose. High waves began to break into the boat until it was nearly full of water and about to sink. 38 Jesus was asleep at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. Frantically they wakened him, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you even care that we are all about to drown?”

39 Then he rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Quiet down!” And the wind fell, and there was a great calm!

40 And he asked them, “Why were you so fearful? Don’t you even yet have confidence in me?”

41 And they were filled with awe and said among themselves, “Who is this man, that even the winds and seas obey him?”

Mark 4: 35 – 41

What was Jesus doing during this terrible storm?  Sleeping.  What were his disciples doing during this terrible storm?  Panicking.  And, who in the end calmed the storm? Jesus. 

All the disciples needed to do was to stop stressing, stop fearing, stop panicking and chill out!  Placing their entire faith, trust, hope and confidence in Jesus; the only one who could calm their storm.

Like the disciples, this is what I believe the Lord was trying to tell me today.  I don’t have to invite stress, fear and panic into my storm, but instead, I can turn to Jesus who is the calmer of all storms.

I thank you Lord for reminding me that it’s time for me to chill out and daily place my complete faith, trust, hope and confidence in you, even in this.  Only you can give me the peace that I need today.  Only you can calm the storm. ❤

Nothing Like a Good Laugh

 

 

 

My husband has been sick this week, and there have been some stresses at home that can easily bring the tone of our house down.

Yesterday, my husband and I decided to watch a comedian on Netflix that came recommended by a co-worker.  And boy, did this comedian get us to laugh!  And, you know what?  It felt really good. 🙂

Laughter has a way of bringing joy to the heart and of connecting people like nothing else can.  In fact, it is the very thing that connects my youngest son and I in a very special way. We so enjoy laughing together.

You’ve probably heard this phrase, “Laughter is the best medicine.” Well, I decided to do some research on the benefits of laughter, and I came across an article titled, 8 Reasons Why Laughter Really Is The Best Medicine.  And, these are the reasons that were listed.

  1. Laughter is a Natural Pain Killer
  2. Laughter Strengthens Your Heart
  3. Laugh to Ward Off Disease
  4. Laughter Tones Your Abs
  5. Laughing Boosts Immunity
  6. Laughter Decreases Blood Pressure
  7. Laughter Banishes Stress
  8. Laughter Helps Those Suffering From Depression

If you’d like to read this article in it’s entirety, you can do so at: https://www.activebeat.com/your-health/8-reasons-why-laughter-really-is-the-best-medicine/8/.

I think these 8 reasons alone are reason enough for all of us to begin finding ways to laugh more often.  Lets face it.  Life is hard.  Life really stinks at times.  Life can stretch us beyond measure.  So, let’s take some time off every now and then, and find some ways to laugh.

As the good book says:

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. 

Proverbs 17:22

It also says:

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,

Ecclesiastes 3: 1 & 4

I think for me, now is the time to laugh. 😉

Thank you Lord for the gift of laughter. ❤