Tuesday, May 22, 2018

A Gentle Answer

By: Melissa Baker

It seems like just about every day, I am tempted to lose my temper.  When the kids are fighting, or things aren't going my way, sometimes I just want to scream or have an attitude. It's so easy to forget to be gentle. It's easy to forget to be kind and to not have a bad attitude. How we react to something or someone, will determine the environment and attitude around us AND within us. The Bible tells us many times about the importance being gentle and kind to one another. As a parent, when I yell or get angry, that rubs off on my kids and they become angry in return. The atmosphere then becomes chaotic and stressful. But if I remain calm, they stay calm and happy. If I talk to someone at church or work with an angry attitude, they might take offense and return the attitude. But if I am kind and gentle, its very likely that they will be also.  It's very interesting how as human beings, we kind of mirror each other, even in the smallest ways. That is why it's so important to remember to be gentle in the way we speak and act to each other. In a world full of hate, we need to create a kind and gentle atmosphere so others will mirror our behavior and it will spread to everyone else.

A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare. 
Proverbs 15:1 

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23

Just imagine for a second, that the way you talk to your kids or spouse, is the way God talks to you. Would you be happy with God talking to you the way you talk to others? Or would you be saddened or upset? We should always strive to treat others the way we want to be treated. I don't want someone constantly having an attitude with me or being harsh in the words they say. So I encourage you, pay attention to the way you interact with one another. Are we causing those around us to stumble and become angry, or are we spreading the love of Jesus in our words, actions AND attitudes. Remember to be gentle today to those around you. You just might be blessed by it in return!

Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be
ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate,
and always to be gentle toward everyone.
Titus 3:1-2

Have a great day!

Monday, May 21, 2018

You Can't Run On An Empty Tank

By: Jenifer Metzger

We have all seen a car stranded on the side of the road after running out of gas. Maybe you've even been the driver of that car. A car cannot and will not run with an empty tank. It is impossible. You must fill the gas tank before moving on. Sister, you cannot run on an empty tank either.

When a car's gas tank is empty, it sputters a moment before dying. When our tank is empty, we sputter too. Our sputter comes in many forms.

When someone in our family gets sick, that is one of the first things I think of, are we overworked. When we just keep going and going and going and going, our bodies do not get the physical rest they need. Often the outward sign of that is sickness. Our physical bodies are designed for rest.

When I am overly tired I get moody. I begin to snap at people for no apparent reason and let even the smallest of things get to me. Once I have rested, I don't feel moody and I can handle what is thrown at me.

When my kids were little, I knew the time of day just by their attitudes. When it was close to naptime, they were whiny. If we had done a lot of running around with errands and such, after awhile, they were whiny. They were ready to lay down and rest their bodies and minds to refuel.

Have you ever been sitting there working on a project or watching tv and you can feel yourself shutting down? You feel sleep coming over you even though you are busy and it is not time for bed. It is your body saying, "Hey! I need to rest!" Once we've refueled, we are ready to finish.

Pulling back on relationships
Your husband wants an intimate moment with you but you refuse because you just too tired. Your kids want your help, a story, or to show you their latest creation, but you say no or give a half-hearted yes because you are exhausted. When rested, we gladly give are all. Tired, we fail.

When we feel our self starting to sputter, we need to fill our tank. You cannot be the best you, the most effective you, when you are tired.

Here are ten ways to refuel:
• Go to bed thirty minutes earlier than normal. Everything can wait until tomorrow, you need rest.
• Take a relaxing bath or long shower.
• Spend thirty minutes reading for fun.
• Sit outside in the sun and just relax.
• Do something you love.
• Go on a date and reconnect with your husband.
• Play with your kids.
• Go get coffee with a friend.
• If you have little ones, swap days with another mom of littles. Let her watch your kids for the day while you refuel and you watch her kids another day while she refuels.
• And the absolutely most important, spend time with the Father.

Come to me, all of you who are weary
and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Matthew 11:28

1) What is your body's way of telling you that you need more rest?
2) What helps you rest the best?

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Bear One Another's Burdens...

We had a girl's group in the church I grew up in and this verse about bearing one another's burdens was our theme. The need to bear the burdens of others is something important to remember, but, obviously, even more important to take action and to do. But, lately I've been thinking about the fact that you can't bear someone's burdens if they won't let you-if they refuse to share the load.

For many of us, reaching out for help when we need it is a struggle. This is especially true if you are raised in an atmosphere where self sufficiency was emphasized and weakness was discouraged.  Pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps may have then become your default setting. But, what happens when that doesn't work-when you don't have the strength to pull yourself up-when you can't even find your dog gone boots, much less pull yourself up by the bootstraps?

Of course, we know that our preeminent Burden Bearer is Christ. We can go to Him with every care, need and struggle. Yet, we also read throughout the Bible that the body of Christ is a body made up of parts that are interconnected and interdependent. Something in those of us who were raised in an atmosphere of self-sufficiency almost recoils at the thought of being dependent on someone else.  We accept that we are to be burden bearers for others and can accept that they are dependent on us, but for us to admit to ourselves that we need to depend on someone else is to us a sign of weakness. We can humble ourselves enough to admit that we are dependent on Christ, but can struggle to humble ourselves enough to ask for help from others. This is me. This is my struggle. As a ministry leader I'm used to others asking me to help bear their burdens, but I have a very hard time asking for help for myself. Part of the struggle is the result of hurts and disappointments in those I trusted to help and support me in the past. Much of the struggle is my own stubborn pride that insists I can just handle everything myself and my pride prevents me from admitting my need for help.

Obviously, trust is a big issue.  Most of us have been hurt, disappointed or betrayed by someone that we thought we could trust and depend on to be there for us in our time of need. To bare our hearts to just anyone indiscriminately is foolish. However, there comes a time when the burden is heavy enough that you feel crushed under the load. You know that you have to take that risk to trust again.  Ask God to lead you to someone with a proven track record of discretion, trustworthiness, and God-given wisdom. Ask them to be a listening ear, ask them for prayer, ask them for help and support. Let them help to bear your burden. I think that you will be glad you did. I know that I am.

still following,

Friday, May 18, 2018

Praising God for All the Good Things

Recently I made an impulse purchase. I had a coupon for Dayspring's website, and this Happy Journal with Snoopy on the cover captured my heart.
I love all things Snoopy, even though I'm 40 years old. Snoopy was my favorite cuddle toy when I was young. I still enjoy watching the seasonal Peanuts specials with my children, and the sight of Snoopy always makes me smile.

Snoopy reminds me of happiness. You may have heard the Peanuts sayings like "Happiness is a warm puppy" or "Happiness is cookies and milk." When I was a child, I had a bedspread with all kinds of "Happiness is" Peanuts sayings. Most of the happy things were small, or things that you can't touch, like friendships or sunshine.

I need this happy journal now more than ever. As my husband recently said, "Adulting is HARD!" He and I both work too much and take life too seriously. I need to intentionally focus on the lighter side of life or I'll get bogged down in the heavy. By combining Psalm 103:5a with my new happy journal, I will find the joy God wants for me.

Every Sunday in the coming weeks, I'm writing happy things in my happy journal. Here are some of the happy things I've recorded recently:

Good conversations with my literary agent
Basil seeds that sprouted on their own
Grill season
Fresh raspberries
Free books in the mail (I'm a book reviewer)

Whether they are small or large, I'm recording happy things in my journals. Even when I'm feeling tired, hormonal, or blue, I force myself to write down something good. I find joy in the process.
God has filled your life with good things.

How has God filled your life with good things, friend? Here are ways you can take stock.

Be intentional--write them down, or pray them out loud every morning or every evening.

Be specific--go beyond things like family, health, or your church. God wants to hear the details!

Be creative--take a walk, look through photos, browse your pantry, or look through your closet for inspiration.

Be generous--Know someone else who needs to find joy? Ask them to join you in the happy challenge. I do this with my children, and it even works on my teenager!

Be reflective--Each time you plan to make a new entry, review a few from the past. You'll find joy in God's faithfulness and abundance.

If you have a suggestion for thanking God for the good things, I'd love to hear from you in the comments below.

Have a wonderful week!

Blessings and God's peace to you,

Photo from Canva.com

Discussion questions:

  1. What is the best time of day or week for you to record the good things God does?
  2. How can praising God for the good things help you on a bad day?

Thursday, May 17, 2018

What's got you?

by Debi Baker

Please forgive my absence from the blog.  This month has been the absolute busiest month.  I'm normally pretty busy but this month has been overwhelming!  Of the 4 weekends in May, I will be out of town for a total of 3 of them.  This has never happened to me before.  And to be honest, I don't want it to ever again!  While I love traveling, I don't know how people do it for work...all the time!

While I am exhausted, I will say I'm also enjoying the hustle and bustle of it.  Does that make sense?  The one regret is that my hubby isn't traveling with me.  I hate being apart...especially at night!

Through all this craziness, I have been listening to the new song by MercyMe, "Grace Got You."  It seems that no matter how crazy things are when I listen to that song, I can't help but smile.  And the longer I listen to it, I begin to feel the beginnings of a smile cross my face!  And by the time it's over, I'm feeling quite joyful and relaxed!

I don't know if life has you down right now or if you're doing pretty good.  But no matter what's up with you, I challenge you to listen to this song!  I'll bet you'll be feeling better in no time.  You may even find yourself dancing around a little!

Have an absolutely wonderful day!