life experience

Pieces of Comfort

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Empathy.  Comfort.  Care.  Concern.  All human beings need understanding.  Oftentimes, listening is the best gift you can offer.

Prayer with another is also comforting.  The words aren’t important, just sit together, pray silently, read an inspirational poem or scripture, have some tea and cookies.

Solitude makes depression and worry so much worse for people.  Email and a card in the mail do when you aren’t close in distance, but if you are – stop by with a bouquet of yellow flowers, a book your friend might enjoy, but DO stop by.

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Pieces of Discord

Our world is a suffering place right now.  Political opinions are causing rifts with friends and family members.  “Their way” is the right way.

It is not a “Christian” thing; it is a PEOPLE thing.  Praying, calling your political leaders, signing petitions, this is how to make change.

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How NOT to make change is belittling or bullying those who think differently or remain silent.

Jesus turned the other cheek on a daily basis, and yet – change came.  Centuries later there is still deep unrest in the Middle East, wars continue to kill people of all ages, terrorist attacks and school shootings are the modern version of strife during the Roman empire.

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Genesis 13:8
So Abram said to Lot, “Please let there be no strife between you and me, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen; for we are brethren.
Prayer from Gregory Coles, Penn State University
Bring an end to violence and hatred and discord. Steady the feet that rush into war and the finger poised on the trigger. Bring justice to the downtrodden, restoration to the marginalized and abused, hope to the hopeless. Guide all those in positions of power—whether that power is political or physical or social—and give them wisdom to use their power wisely. Give them, and all of us, the grace to admit when we are wrong and to seek forgiveness. Give us the grace to forgive.
Help us see your face in the faces of the people around us. Give us courage to love one another even when love seems like a risk. Give us compassion for those who are unlike us. Teach us to listen to those we disagree with, to hear stories that make us uncomfortable. Heal the hatred in the world around us by healing our own hearts first.
Give us peace by making us agents of peace.

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Pieces of Discernment

Oftentimes we are given a scripture or thought to spend time figuring out.  Maybe it was easily understandable — but other times, we can’t make heads or tails over the meaning, or if it’s even a message for US.

This is when spiritual discernment steps in.  Find a trusted advisor, someone who is spiritually sound, they do not have to be a minister, sometimes a good friend can help sort it out WITH you, not for you.

As a wise friend recently told me — it’s my seeking/understanding that matters most.  But sometimes we all need a little help!

Proverbs 2:3-5  Yes, if you want better insight and discernment, and are searching for them as you would for lost money or hidden treasure, then wisdom will be given you and knowledge of God himself; you will soon learn the importance of reverence for the Lord and of trusting him.

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Pieces of Purpose

One of my favorite Christian authors is Dr. Charles Stanley, in the March 2016 monthly devotional was this lovely paragraph on March 8th:

Whatever the circumstances, we should be evaluating what God is doing in us.  Like a gem polisher, He will work off our rough edges by running us up against tough experiences and people.  When we look for His purposes and lessons, we hasten the time when our life message reflects the hope that is available in Christ Jesus.

The lesson here is — we will experience hard times, we will deal with abrasive people, we will be wounded by words.  Circumstances will challenge and maybe even change us — but what we can’t do, is fall apart — taking a worldly view to our situation.  No!  Instead, lean in on your Heavenly Father; pray, seek wisdom and peace.

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Blessing pieces

2 Peter 3 reminds us that all happens in God’s time; not ours.

Paul was in jail during this time, he remembers people in his prayers, he thanks God for his situation (do we EVER do that???) and he encourages others.

Until recently I haven’t grasped the concept of thanking God for the hard times.  However, I see that gratitude isn’t just for the “good stuff,” if that were true, we’d only be happy when life was happy.  Even in our deepest sorrow or pain, God is there, his desire is that we lean on him.  By doing so, a small piece inside our heart grows; pushing the sorrow and pain out.  How can we possibly have room for love and happiness if our heart is stone cold and black?  We can’t.  That’s where being grateful for all of it, comes into play.

It’s not easy to be grateful for the pain. I know.  But if it brings us out of something harsh and cold into the loving arms of Jesus, what better path to love?

Be a blessing.  Be blessed.

PS “The Pieces” is not currently available, it is going through a 2nd editing.  It will be back on the shelves at Amazon by November 5, 2015.

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Pieces of Support

Oftentimes (usually) we are unaware of those who pray for us, or our loved ones – due to the many prayer circles we belong to and friendships we have (and those of the people we know and don’t know).

I received in my email today, a note from someone I don’t know – that encouraged me with this scripture:  “I have loved you, with an everlasting love and I am constant in my affection for you.” Jeremiah 31: 3

The timing of this beautiful quote couldn’t have come at a better time, the irony (although this begs to God’s timing, not ours) is that it had been sitting in my email box since September 11th.

Do not be glib when you say you will pray for someone; make an effort.  Pray with intention.  You may not know what they need (and probably you don’t!), but God does.  Let prayer become as natural to you as breathing.

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Pieces of Grace

The grace of God is always attainable, it’s nothing we have to do or say to make happen, it’s part of the many spiritual gifts available to us, “JUST” because our Father loves us.

Acts 20:24  However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.
2 Corinthians 1:12Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace.
Colossians 1:6 In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace.