Sunday, November 21, 2010

What Has He Done For You?

‎"Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done. Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts."
Psalm 105:1-2 

One thing I am thankful for this year is a group called Roaring Lambs ministries that actively exemplifies this passage. Their ministry is taking the Lord's Word into the marketplace. They support and encourage several home and community Bible Studies, sending the Word into senior living centers and thru Christian organizations such as Positive Women's Connection Bible study, Women in Christian Media, the DFW Christian Chamber of Commerce and Fellowship of Professional Christian Women. The founder, Gary Kinder, teaches a dynamic Bible study each Sunday at Prestonwood Country club in a non-denominational setting.

I first became acquainted with them at their annual Writer's Conference. The enthusiasm and witness that I experienced there was contagious. I started with Carol Ladd's monthly Bible Study at Prestonwood Country Club and from there was introduced to all the other connections, as well as their annual banquet that honors outstanding Christian leaders in the Dallas business community and the annual "Amplify Your Faith" seminar. The executive director, Donna Skell is a dynamo with seemingly unlimited energy to share the Gospel. It's worth taking time to meet her and hear her amazing testimony and why sharing Christ in the marketplace is her passion.

 When we hear the news, both from America and across the world, it is evident that we need to be actively making known to all what He has done. The world is not following Christ's teaching, not because they haven't heard, but they do not believe and practice it. Christians have a tremendous challenge today, not only in praising His name and giving thanks. We must focus time and attention in sharing Truth with everyone we meet, any place any time.

We start with our own families and friends. The workplace is a huge field needing to be harvested. We are not evangelists. We are ordinary people who have experienced the Lord's blessings in our own lives. We don't share this by preaching. We share it in the example we set in our own lives through walking in a close relationship with Christ, obedience to the scriptures, and treating others as Christ has taught us by his example. 

The revival this country needs begins with individuals. What are you doing to let others know what he has done for you? He can do as much for them and even more. But how will they know that unless you step up in the confidence he will equip you to tell your story and set an example?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

How Does Your Gratitude List Grow?

“Thou that has given so much to me, Give one thing more–a grateful heart;

Not thankful when it pleaseth me, As if thy blessings had spare days;
But such a heart, whose pulse may be Thy praise.”
– George Herbert

As we begin our annual Thanksgiving season, it's time to revise our gratitude list for this year. What are you thankful for? Health, prosperity, family and friends, a home, a job? I'm sure your list goes on and on.

Do you write down all the things you are grateful for, both large and small? What about the reprimand given you by your boss that totally changed your work life from  isolation to being part of the team, a sense of belonging and effectiveness? What about the comment from your husband complaining about your use of time that stimulated developing time management skills that allow you to do more, yet have more time for things you enjoy?

Sometimes we forget that negative situations can be turned into positive blessings that need to be added to our list.  Think about those situations or thoughts this past year that have helped you to grow and become more of the person God created you to be, those things that made you see with a positve heart and brought you peace and joy. 

Write them down on your gratitude list, lest you forget.  Reviewing this list may bring fresh ideas for solving both old and new problems. We actually have so much to be thankful for that we just can't keep it all inside until this special day set aside to give thanks.  Spend time each day in reflection and thanks giving. Your gratitude list is never complete. It grows one day at a time.

Friday, November 12, 2010

When to Say Grace

"You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink."
 --G.K. Chesterton

I was taught to say grace before meals, but never before events I attended or work that I was going to perform. However, I have always asked for God's help before taking a test, speaking or writing. Asking for God's help on my work gives me a warm fuzzy and confidence to begin the task. With God's help, I know I can accomplish a lot more than I possibly could being on my own.

I thought I knew the Bible fairly well, but it seems that I've missed a few verses along the way, or at least the interpretation of how to use them in my every day life. In Colossians 3:17 Paul tells us, "And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him." It doesn't specify when to give thanks, so it could be at the beginning or end of the undertaking.

Again, in I Thessalonians 5:16-18 we are told to "Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing.
In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God." If I am giving thanks in everything and praying without ceasing, then I am certainly praying before and after what I do.

But I believe Christ's example during the Passover Meal before his betrayal is undisputed. He gave thanks before and after the distribution of the bread and wine. "Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, "Take, eat; this is my body." And He took the cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, saying, "Drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins." (Matthew 26:26-28)

My lesson for today is to give thanks for God's blessing on my work as well as events I participate in before I begin, instead of just asking for the blessing. Then at the end, give Him gratitude. We can never give Him too much praise or thanksgiving. After all, He has given us our lives and gifts to use to His glory.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Lord Upholds Me

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

Isaiah 41:10

Have you ever been disappointed by a friend or family member who promised to do something with or for you? How did you handle the situation? Did you complain? Did you swear? Did you mark the friend off your friend list?

It happened to me today.  A friend called me at the last minute to annouce she was experiencing stomach problems. As a result, I was unable to attend a function I had been looking forward to for several weeks.  I was able to handle the situation without the resentment I would usually experience because I knew God was with me. Perhaps it was his plan that I not attend, but instead stay home and finish working on my desk and filing. After all I've been praying that he would help me get organized. Is He using this opportunity to strengthen me and help me?

As I focus on finding His will, I am accepting disappointing situations with a much better attitude. Instead of complaining or becoming angry, I look for how it is pointing me toward the Lord. I'm discovering that He definitely upholds me with His righteous right hand.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Anchored, Drifting or Sailing?

"To reach a port, we must sail—Sail, not tie at anchor—Sail, not drift."

Franklin Roosevelt

Last month we went to San Francisco to attend the 20th annual reunion of the destroyer Jim served on, the Lyman K. Swenson DD729. The group sailed San Francisco Bay aboard the USS Potomac, Franklin D. Roosevelt's yacht.

FDR served this country following the Greeat Depression and during WWII, very tough times for all Americans. He was a victim of the disease Polio and walked with the aid of crutches or rode in a wheelchair. His "floating White House" was a reconditioned Coast Guard cutter, with handicap accessibility as was available in 1936.

While aboard, I was reminded of his accomplishments. Regardless of my political leaning, I admire this man's courage and leadership skills during the time he served and his refusal to accept his handicap as limiting his creativity and ability. He maintained a conservative life style reflective of the American people's big family vacations, lavish entertaining or fashion statements. He worked steadily with a goal of getting the country back on it's feet.

I would definitely say that this quote fit his personality. In spite of his physical handicap, he was never anchored to shore. He sailed into uncharted seas, first creating jobs that built a better infrastructure and created jobs for millions of broke Americans, then building the nation's defense against enemy world powers, working with other world leaders to protect their countries and to end a war with the goal of peace between all nations.

The impressive Golden Gate Bridge, built in 1937 during his administration, links the city of San Francisco to the Pacific Ocean and has been a symbol of the greatness of our country. As we sailed beneath it, I realized how important it is for the citizens of this country to stay connected.

True Peace comes only from our Heavenly Father, through his son, Jesus Christ. It is because of our connection with Him that we connect with others in peace. He showed us how to sail into peaceful waters when he guided the disciples ship through the storm. Peter gave us the example of the importance of staying focused on Christ when he tried to walk on the water but was only successful by holding on to Christ.

We can truly let go of what ever anchors us and sail into uncharted waters if Christ is at the helm, holding our hand and our focus stays on him, whether we are the President of the United States or a poor fisherman lost in the storms of life or a single parent who has just lost his/her job or a college student with mounting loans and dismal prospects in a sparse job market. Like the Disciples, give Christ the opportunity to Captain the sailing ship.