Determine your year ahead

train-motion

One writer described the year 2016 as the year of disruption. I dare say he’s correct in many ways, speaking as he is from an American perspective. Disruption was true around the world as well, with Brexit, Fidel Castro’s death, China’s growth, Venezuela’s continued death spiral, and a host of other sad tendencies.

Brazil was no exception. President Dilma was impeached and removed from office. The economy slowed and joblessness grew. Corruption went beserk. Continue reading

#corollaries, #encouragement, #intention, #new-year, #planning

My brother is dying with bladder cancer We…

My brother is dying with bladder cancer. We visited him yesterday probably for the last time this side of eternity. My heart has been heavy since that visit, and today I wrote this poem as I thought of him and what he would say to me, his little sister.

When I become a memory
Think of me with a smile.
Tears may fill your eyes,
But only let it be for a little while.

Remember all the good things we did.
Remember when I was at my best.
Remember only the good times
And let go of all the rest.

Remember when I was healthy
And so full of life,
Remember me young and happy,
With a life free of strife.

When I become a memory
And am no longer here with you,
Smile and be happy and remember
My love for you is true.

-Glenda Williams 3-05-2015

#death, #encouragement

Illinois native Army Specialist Gabriel Garriga suffered from…

Illinois native Army Specialist Gabriel Garriga suffered from the severe burns he suffered when his Humvee exploded in a raging fireball in Iraq. Medics gave him a one in one hundred chance of survival. But in spite of the odds and after 29 surgeries, Gabe, as his family and friends call him, traveled the long road of recovery. For a long time he went through the process of rehabilitation in San Antonio at the Brook Army Medical Center. At the time he was just happy to be alive. Now he spends a lot of his time encouraging other soldiers recovering from their injuries. When I last read of him he was 20 and he was looking to the day when he could return to his Illinois home and resume a normal life. In my book Gab is a hero and is owed a great debt of gratitude from America. This is Just A Minute

#army, #encouragement, #gratitude, #just-a-minute

Mama said, "Everybody needs a church home…"

Mama didn’t have a high school diploma, but she was wise beyond her years. I’ve often thought had she been allowed to go to college, she would have been a great success at whatever she chose to do. With 17 brothers and sisters, she had to stay home after finishing the ninth grade to help out with things around home. She and I went to the same country school.

One of the things mama taught me as a teenager was the importance of having a church home. I recall we were in the kitchen of our small country home when she said, “Everybody needs to be a member of a church. Then if they have a death or some trouble, they will have people who will help and support them. People that don’t have a church family don’t have people to help when they have trouble.”

She had already taught me the distinctiveness of the church of Christ. She said, “Jesus built one church. There’s just one.” I knew early on the church He built was the One that wore His name, and the only one we can read about in the Bible. Denominations hadn’t come into the picture when Jesus established His church, the first church. She taught me this long before we started going to worship regularly. That’s a long story, and for another time.

It’s true. Everybody needs a church home and for multiple reasons. Let’s consider some for a minute.

1. We need a church home for salvation. Jesus gave His life as a sinless sacrifice for us that we might live with Him eternally in heaven one day. We can’t separate Christ and the church (Acts 5:23).

2. We need a church home for fellowship. Christians are like family members. They laugh with us when we laugh, and they cry with us when we cry. They will stand beside us all the way. People seldom get into trouble when fellowshipping with followers of Jesus (John 17:12; 1 John 1:3).

3. We need a church home for spiritual growth, to learn more of God’s word. Preachers and teachers spend endless hours preparing Bible lessons to teach others about the Lord, to increase the listener’s knowledge. We need a church home to be built up in the faith (Acts 2:42-47).

4. We need a church home to obey the command to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together (Hebrews 10:25). David said, “I was glad when they said unto me, let us go into the house of the Lord” (Psalm 122:1).

5. We need a church home for comfort in difficult times (2 Corinthians 1:3-5; 1 Thessalonians 4:18; 5:11).

The Lord intended the local church to provide much of the support and encouragement we need as His disciples.

#church, #death, #encouragement, #heaven

You May Never See Your Effect Here

I had a chance to actually sit down yesterday after all the family-to-do things were over, and while doing so I caught about the last half of “It’s a Wonderful Life” on TV. I don’t believe there are very many movies out there that capture the point that the movie makes – that being, you just never know how much of an effect you may be having on others for the better!

Sometimes it’s easy to get down when it comes to our outlook on life and the effectiveness that we may think we’re having on others as we work within and without of the church. A snail’s pace sometimes sounds like an improvement! Things can feel woefully mundane and monotonous. Our world can feel too small and our grasp on things too weak. And it seems like there are two hills to climb for every one to walk down…you know, the old “up hill both ways” story that all of a sudden feels like non-fiction.

But the truth of the matter is that the light is being seen and the salt is being tasted as long as we’re out there mixing it up and leaving off the basket, bushel and shade. Small things do make big differences, and there are people who love us, care for us, appreciate us, and need us. It may not always feel like it but feelings aren’t the deciding factor – actions are! Yes life will always go on, but on to what is the question.

Also keep in mind that the things that we do may not have an effect on the person we’re directly dealing with as much as it may the next person that they’ll be dealing with. Think of it like dominoes with a positive spin. Domino number three needs domino number one as much they needed domino number two! So just because you don’t see how you’re making a difference doesn’t mean that you’re not.

when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also.” (2 Timothy 1:5)

#effectiveness, #encouragement, #faith, #influence

Encouragement for cold feet

Psychologists conducted an experiment to determine the capacity of people to endure pain. They measured how long a person could stand barefooted in a bucket of cold water. They discovered one factor that enabled some people to stay in the water twice as long as others.

If someone offered encouragement and support, the person could endure the pain twice as long as the one who received no encouragement.

1 Thess 5:11 – “Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.

Thoughts For Today to Brighten Your Day” by Glenn, Mercedes and Lauren Hitchcock

#encouragement

Let’s Help Someone Else Finish Their Race

There’s a wonderful story coming out of Minnesota about a 9-year-old little boy who was running in a 5K race but he began to run out of a little steam toward the end. The boy finished, but the way he finished is what makes the story so great.

As the boy found himself starting to run alone and getting discouraged he spotted someone who he thought might help him – Lance Cpl. Myles Kerr of the United States Marine Corps. The boy asked Mr. Kerr if he would run with him, and Mr. Kerr refused to turn him down and helped the young boy, Boden Fuchs, finish the race even when he wanted to give up.

What a story!

There are so many spiritual applications, the least of them being that we all need someone to run our race of faith with; we all need a little encouragement every now and then, and God’s word can provide the support and encouragement we need if we’re willing to listen to those who know what it’s like to be in our shoes: “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [think Hebrews 11 here], let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,” (Hebrews 12:1). And this thought goes without leaving out the very next verse which says, “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)

There is no shame in asking for help while we run our race here on earth; there are days when we all run better than others and days when we run worse, and we should know how far a little bit of encouragement can go. The real shame comes from us having the ability to help others but leaving them behind to fail in their race. So let’s be the encourager that God wants us to be and helps others finish their race.

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,” (Hebrews 10:23-24)

#bible-applications, #christian-living, #current-events, #encouragement, #news, #spiritual-applications, #spiritual-race, #united-states-marine-corps