Showing posts with label faithful. Show all posts
Showing posts with label faithful. Show all posts

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Called to be Faithful

1 Peter 4:8-10
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 

God has not called me to be successful. He called me to be faithful. -Mother Teresa

I have a t-shirt with a saying printed on it: God Has a Plan So I Have a Purpose. I think about that a lot. As my children grew into teenagers and then adults, I fretted over what my purpose was. I'd held onto the role of mom for years and knew at that point in my life, my focus was raising the kids to be kind and caring adults. With them rounding the corner to adulthood, I found myself at loose ends. Of course, I had purpose as Tim's wife and in my job at the school library, and I was still a mom, but something in my heart searched for more. Like many people, I read The Purpose Driven Life. I found some good information, but not enough.

I prayed and asked God for clarity, and guess what? He let me know I'd been overthinking my purpose. Yes, there are specific things God calls me to do, but the most important thing He wants me to do is to be faithful and love Him.

God calls me and anyone who believes in Him to love Him and love people. The other day the radio blared out Danny Goeke's song, Love God Love People. He talks about checking the boxes and trying to do more, but instead it comes down to caring for God and people.

Peter reminds his readers the most important thing they can do is be faithful stewards of God's grace. Show grace to everyone and be faithful to God.

In our broken world, our purpose is to remain faithful and to love.

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Constant Consistency

 Every year without fail, the double lilies, my mom gave me, burst into bloom.
I can count on them to show their pretty heads at the end of June.

Every summer as I watch the flowers bloom, 
I'm reminded of the constant consistency of Jesus. 
Regardless of the circumstances or seasons
Jesus remains the same.

He shows up for us every day, loves us every day, and longs for us 
to part of His kingdom every day.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. -Hebrews 13:8

If you're looking for someone to trust, who won't let you down, seek Jesus.

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Fiction Review: The Extraordinary Deaths of Mrs. Kip: A Novel by Sara Brunsvold

Book Description:
Aidyn Kelley is talented, ambitious, and ready for a more serious assignment than the fluff pieces she's been getting as a cub reporter for the Kansas City Star. In her eagerness, she pushes too hard, earning herself the menial task of writing an obituary for an unremarkable woman who's just entered hospice care.

But there's more to Clara Kip than meets the eye. The spirited septuagenarian may be dying, but she's not quite ready to cash it in yet. Never one to shy away from an assignment herself, she can see that God brought the young reporter into her life for a reason. And if it's a story Aidyn Kelley wants, that's just what Mrs. Kip will give her--but she's going to have to work for it.

Debut author Sara Brunsvold delights with this emotional multigenerational story that shows that the very best life is made up of thousands of little deaths to self. You'll want to be just like Mrs. Kip when you grow up!

My Thoughts:
The Extraordinary Deaths of Mrs. Kip took great talent and understanding to write. Brunsvold created a beautiful story of life and death that touched on every emotion. Clara Kip believes in God and trusts Him in everything, but only after life had tromped on her heart. Aidyn Kelley wants to succeed as the journalist she knows she can be, if only the editor would give her the chance. Through connections unknown to Aidyn, she is given an assignment that involves Mrs. Kip. The more she learns about the woman, the more fascinated she becomes. If you want to read a story that tugs at the heart-strings and leaves you with hope, this one is for you. I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Faith in the Fire

Daniel 3:16-18
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

The thermometer in the car screamed 102 degrees. 

In southwest Ohio, the temperatures are registering in the high nineties. We’ve had storms and electric out. My daughter’s family had no electric for almost twenty-four hours. So what did we do? We gathered at the pool and stayed cool. I am thankful we live in a place where I have the opportunity to swim with my kids and grands. When we left, Sara’s car registered 102.

In all of my almost 65 years, I’ve only had central air since we moved into the condo almost eight years ago. Up to then, I dealt with the heat in whatever way I could. Let’s just say, I’m not a summer person, especially in this heat. But I know as the seasons do, this will pass and before long cooler weather will grace Ohio.

During this oppressive heat, I’ve been reading the book of Daniel, and you can imagine my thoughts on the fiery furnace. Without reservation those brave young men, Shadrack, Meshach, and Abednego, did not fear the heat. They put their lives and hearts in God’s hands. That’s called faith.

We have a lot of negatives going on in our country and in the world. I can imagine the Christians in Ukraine are holding on to their faith for dear life. I love this line in Daniel: “the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know...  we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” These men believed God would deliver them, but even if He didn’t, they continued to have faith in the God they served even if He didn’t save them. They trusted God with their lives and knew He held their future in His hands.

I wonder if I have the faith they did. Can I keep the faith regardless of my circumstances? I pray the answer is yes. I want faith like the men in Daniel. A faith without doubt. I pray God strengthens my faith as I continue on my life’s path.

Have faith, God will see you through.

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Are you Available?

3 John 1:2-4
Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. It gave me great joy when some believers came and testified about your faithfulness to the truth, telling how you continue to walk in it. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

"God does not depend on our abilitiesHe depends on our availability." -Jay Henry

As a camper at Butler Springs Christian Assembly in the 1970s, I heard many missionaries speak. Then in some of the churches I attended, the same servants of God came to share their story. One I remember well, Jay Henry, has moved full circle through many years of service. On Sunday, our minister invited Jay to the stage. This wonderful, faithful servant shared that he had stepped down and turned the mission work over to his son and grandson, even though he will still be a part of it. He's blessed many lives in India for Jesus as he has shown up and done the work. The quote I posted above, that Jay shared, spoke to me.

Yes, God gifts each of us with abilities, but rather than depend on the ability itself, God depends on His people to be available. I find this in my writing. God may have blessed me with a gift for writing, but without showing up and putting in the work, where would the writing be? If I don't put my fingers on the keyboard and use the talent God gives me, the talent will die and the audience He gave me won't be blessed.

The apostle John wrote a letter to one of his friends in his third book. He thanked his friend, Gaius, for being faithful and sharing his walk with other believers. A couple of things I love about this passageJohn tells Gaius he hopes his health is good, including his spiritual well-being. Faithfulness to God results in a healthy soul because that faithfulness includes walking in the truth, the second idea I love.

As I do my best to walk in God's truth and show up as a faithful servant, I pray God blesses my availability with ability. Whatever ability God has given, whether speaking, encouraging, hospitality, or many others, show up and He'll provide.

Seek God first and be faithful.

Saturday, February 13, 2021

New Every Morning

Lamentations 3:22-24
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”

God meets me every morning.

Dad rattled around the kitchen, early in the morning. The clinking of the spoon against his cup of tea, laced with milk and sugar, greeted us with the sunrise. On Saturdays, he often made French toast for our family, while Mom filled our hungry bellies with oatmeal and other favorites the rest of the week.

I tried to do the same for my children. On winter days, I even crafted snowman pancakes. But the food wasn’t the best part. Mom and Dad’s presence in the morning added a layer of love and assurance. I was fortunate to have parents who cared about my wellbeing and shared the early hours.

Even though I’m not an early morning person anymore, I still enjoy breakfast. With my bagel or cereal, I open my Bible and read God’s word. And he meets me—right where I am.

Jeremiah, who is believed to have written the book of Lamentations, mourns the devastation and falling away of the city of Jerusalem. All five chapters are his cry for mercy. Yet in chapter three, Jeremiah reminds readers God’s compassions never fail, “they are new every morning.”

God loves us. No matter where we are or what we’re doing. He longs to gather all his children and bring them home. And he gives every one of us a chance to start over again every day.

He has his arms open to meet us and embrace us. Even as I experience him through his word, he sits with me just as I am, a person who has sinned and seeks His forgiveness; a person who desires to serve and love others.

He offers his forgiveness, grace, and unconditional love.

The Lord loves you. Will you seek him?

Saturday, July 18, 2020

They Remind Me of Hope

Romans 12:12
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Every summer, for as long as I remember, I've looked forward to the black-eyed Susan's blooms. I love how they dot the fields and ditches as if they are attending a ball and dressed in their finest array. Yet they show a humbleness by bowing their heads in a friendly wave. Their golden yellow color reminds me of the summers of my youth when we'd play in the fields, take walks or ride our bikes down the one-lane road, and these lovely flowers would dance and sway.

They also appear around my birthday. As a child I thought God planted them just for me, in time to celebrate the day I was born. (Can you keep a secret? I still feel a little bit that way.) For whatever reason He created such a delightful yet simple flower, I'll be forever grateful. When this perennial beauty returns, I am reminded of the eternal hope I have in Jesus.

The verse in Romans encourages me to remain joyful because I have hope. Hope of eternal life, hope of salvation, and hope for a life filled with joy. But in this world I will have pain and sorrow. The writer of Romans calls it affliction. I think of that word as a medical malady, but I believe he refers to the difficulties of life. It's hard to be patient when Satan attacks, when I feel hurt and stepped on, and when life just stinks. Yet I am called to be patient, to wait on the Lord. He asks me to be faithful in prayer. Jesus wants me to call on him in my affliction. His desire is for me to talk to him and seek his help.

I'm thankful I have hope that gives joy. I'm grateful for patience (I kind of cringe when I say that, but I know patience is a blessing.) I'm more than appreciative that I can talk to God about life. He listens to me and takes what I say to heart.

When you see the black-eyed Susan's nodding their heads, remember there's hope in Jesus.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

His Love

No matter what, God is faithful.
His love never ends.

I see him in the flowers of spring, the rainfall, the greening grass.
His love surrounds us every day.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

So Will I

Psalm 96:11-13
Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
    let the sea resound, and all that is in it.
Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them;
    let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.
Let all creation rejoice before the Lord, for he comes,
    he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
    and the peoples in his faithfulness.

Autumn, like spring, reminds me that nature calls to those who enjoy the beauty of the earth. This week I was privileged to hang out with grandkids on two different field trips. Two of my grandsons, both in fourth grade, went to a nature center in southwest Ohio. The instructors led them through activities focused on fossils. We hiked to a creek and searched for rocks with impressions left, from years ago. The kids learned about erosion and discovered crawdads and plant life in the water. We went home dirty, tired and happy to have been outside all day. The next day I joined my granddaughter, along with her mommy and daddy, on the preschool trip to the pumpkin farm. She played on the straw castle, we rode on a hayride and picked out pumpkins.
All this outdoor time speaks to my heart about the joy I find in God's creation.
When I am out tromping in the woods or walking in a pumpkin patch, I am amazed once again at all that God gifted us with. I stroll out my door to be greeted by zinnias and maple trees. We ambled by a field yesterday, and heard the killdeer's call and the cardinal's song. In the woods, a deer might peek out or a squirrel scamper. Even as I write these words, I feel excited about not just the beauty of the earth, but the resources. Our Father provides for us and all he asks is for us to be faithful. He hopes his children will join him in taking care of the gifts he's given and use them to his glory.

I've been called a tree-hugger before. That's not really accurate. I'm just somebody who appreciates the natural gifts God supplies. I'm thankful for all he provides and want to do what I can in my little corner of the world, to show appreciation. I thank God for all He gives.

This song says what I feel!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Be Found Faithful!

Acts 7:55-56
But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”

Jesus' disciple Stephen had preached without fear about his beloved Savior. He spoke with conviction and determination. The people who served in the Sanhedrin, a ruling body of the government, didn't like Stephen's message, so they stirred the crowd and had the young man stoned to death. Stephen wasn't afraid to die. He trusted God and he loved Jesus. He was called to be faithful and he was. Right up until the end.

Even in death, Stephen's faith made him a winner in life. He chose to follow the King, despite suffering. Because "a follower who suffers, doesn't lack faith." As our minister, Didi, preached those words about Stephen last Sunday, my husband passed me a note. The message he shared reflected Stephen's story. His note said, "Our life will never be lived in vain when we are a follower of Jesus. God has a plan for us & will use our life of faithfulness to touch & change the hearts of others."

That's right. No matter how much we hurt, how much difficulty life throws at us, or how much sadness a day may bring, faith will carry us through, because Jesus surrounds us, his Spirit fills us, and God sees us. "It's not about the pain-it's about seeking Jesus." (Didi Bacon) Replace fear with faith and go for the win. Stephen saw the King on his throne. He knew his destination, and his faith held fast, even as he was being destroyed. We're called to be faithful not perfect. Praise God for his glorious grace!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

No Matter What

Hebrews 10:23
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

Over the years my faith has grown in many ways. From learning the Ten Commandments to understanding what it means to have a deep relationship with Jesus. The growth occurs in many ways. Reading the Bible keeps me grounded in God's truth. Prayer connects me to the one who loves me. The Holy Spirit whispers in my ear (although sometimes he has to shout) and guides my path. And then there are the trials. The difficult tribulations of life. My personal life and life as a whole. Trials that drop me into a frying pan of fire and circumstances that make me so sad I cry tears of grief. No matter what life throws at me, I have one solid place to stand-- on the word of God and the hope he gives.

Life brings difficulties; decisions that challenge, acts that appall. Yet I know without a doubt, I have God in my corner, Jesus as my Savior, and the Holy Spirit as my comfort. When I'm hurting, grieving, shaking my head at life on earth, I can hold unswervingly to hope and the promise of God's faithfulness.

If you have Jesus, you're on solid ground. Keep that as a promise you can hold in your heart.