Help Others Find Strength in God

Jonathan went to David . . . and helped him find strength in God.” 1 Samuel 23:16 NIV

We all have times in our faith and life journeys when we need someone to help us find strength in God. Someone who can come alongside and remind us or show us that God is the source of the truest and best strength we can find. Without help like that at a time of great difficulty, we may falter and lose our way.

In the Bible we read how Jonathan did this for David. David and Jonathan were dear friends, but Jonathan’s father, King Saul, began to see David as a threat because the people praised him so highly. When Saul made plans to kill him, David had to flee. During his time on the run, Jonathan came to him to encourage him and help him find strength in God. We don’t know all the specifics of how he did this, but scripture does tell us they made a covenant together before the Lord.

How might we help someone find their strength in God today? We may go to friends to give them hugs and let them know we’re praying for them. Or we might join hands with a family in a hospital room and pray over their loved one. We may offer to meet someone weekly for coffee and Bible study or send daily text reminders that we’re praying. We could post inspirational memes or scriptures on social media. After all, God’s word does not go out without result (Isaiah 55:11). And these are just a few ideas.

Who do we know right now who may need help finding strength in God? Will we be a Jonathan in their lives? Will we take action to help them? And if we’re the one in need of help, let’s pray that someone comes alongside us so that we don’t lose our way. Let’s help one another.

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 NIV

*How has someone helped you find your strength in God?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early November. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a $15 gift card to Starbucks and a signed copy of my book to use personally, give as a gift, or donate to a library. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by marmunia, Creative Commons License

Walk Worthy of the Lord—Whatever Happens

“Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” Philippians 1:27 NIV

A friend’s quick status update on Facebook a few years ago reminded me of her family’s need for prayer that morning. They were dealing with some folks who had not only waged a legal war against them but had lied about them as well. As I began praying for my friends, the Lord brought the above verse to mind, and I immediately prayed it for them.

“Lord, no matter what happens, no matter what they face, help my friends conduct themselves in a manner worthy of you. Help them react to all that happens with calmness and grace.”

As I continued to pray, I felt led to share this wisdom from the Word with them. I went back to the status update and left a comment, assuring them of my prayers and then shared the scripture with them. A few minutes later, I saw a reply—they were trying their best to do the very thing the verse exhorts us to do.

And yes, this verse is for all of us. Whatever happens, we are to walk worthy. Worthy of our Lord and Savior.

When times are good and we are rejoicing, we need to walk worthy. In other words, when good things happen or we succeed, who gets the praise? And are we careful not to lose our heads and do something unwise in the thrill of an exciting moment? Do we follow the admonition in 2 Timothy 4:5 (NIV)—“But you, keep your head in all situations . . .”

Of course, the more difficult times to walk worthy are when times are bad. When a friend or loved one betrays us . . . when someone hurts our kids . . . when our husbands or wives lose their tempers with us . . . when someone gossips about us . . . and yes, even when a devastating crisis knocks us to our knees. What do we do then? Do we walk worthy?

How are we able to do this? How can we conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel no matter what happens? Only by his grace. Only by his power.

 “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:8 NIV

*When do you find it most challenging to walk worthy?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, will come out in early November. Sign-up is FREE and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*I hope this slightly revised post from Sept. 2011 blessed you today!

*Flickr photo by peasapCreative Commons License

Making Our Lives Count: Laura Bush’s Words Still True Today

Several years ago when the tenth anniversary of 9/11 drew near, we heard, saw, and read many reminders of that horrific time. I came across one that year that I think bears repeating here. I hope you will agree.

Woman’s Day Editor-In-Chief (at that time) Elizabeth Mayhew introduced their September issue with a quote from an essay former First Lady Laura Bush wrote for their magazine on the first anniversary of the attacks. I love what Mrs. Bush had to say:

“You don’t have to walk into a burning building or wear a badge to rescue someone. You don’t have to go to medical school to help a person feel better, or walk on the moon to change this earth. You simply have to care about what happens in our country. To me, we can all honor the lives lost on September 11 by making our lives count even more.”

What great perspective Mrs. Bush offered back in 2002—and it’s still true today. Instead of feeling hopeless and helpless in the face of overwhelming times, we can make a difference. We can make our lives count. Sometimes we just need to think about it a bit and then become more intentional in our efforts.

So what can we do to make things better for our nation? We can vote regularly in elections and pray for our leaders. We can treat others with kindness and respect. We can volunteer through our churches and civic organizations when crises come or to help with ongoing projects. We can support our military and their families and volunteer at our communities’ schools. We can also recycle and try to incorporate other earth friendly practices in our lives. The possibilities abound.

In like fashion, we as Christians should be making our lives count for the Lord as well. We can grow closer to him each day, becoming a beacon of hope and good news for those around us. We can live our faith in front of our families and friends in good times and bad, setting an example for our children and grandchildren. We can pray for and encourage others. We can get involved in mission projects and actively support missionaries. We can be ready to share the good news of a Savior as the Lord gives opportunity. Yes, we can make a difference eternally.

Let’s heed the wisdom Mrs. Bush offered on that first anniversary of 9/11. Let’s make our lives count even more.

“And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.” Matthew 10:42 NIV

*What else can we do to make a difference in our nation or for Christ?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, will come out in early November. Sign-up is FREE and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*I hope this slightly revised post from Sept. 2011 blessed you today!

*Flickr photo by włodiCreative Commons License

Behind the Clouds the Sun Still Shines

One day when I stepped out my back door to enjoy an early morning drink of nature and to worship its Creator, a welcome sight caught my attention. I spotted a glimmer of light and hope for a brighter sky as the day progressed. I saw the sun shining behind the clouds.

On most dark and gloomy days, I don’t think of the sun at all, except for missing the light, the beauty, and the lifted spirits it brings to our world. On this day, however, the Lord parted the clouds at just the right moment and penetrated their melancholy presence with a reminder that no matter what the sky looks like from my vantage point, the sun still shines. The light is always there.

My thoughts soon went to friends and loved ones faced with dark and gloomy days of a different sort, far more serious than temporary cloud-covered skies. Several have been enduring life problems that hold no quick fix, and I wonder how long it’s been since they’ve spotted a glimmer of light and hope for brighter days. I wonder if they remember the sun is shining behind the clouds.

My prayers go up for them and others like them today—that even though all they may see right now are clouds of despair, disappointment, or discouragement, I pray the Lord will penetrate their darkness and allow them to see that he is there. I pray that they will be reminded that the Son always shines behind the clouds.

“…the LORD turns my darkness into light.” 2 Samuel 22:29 NIV

*How does the Lord make his presence known to you?

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, came out earlier this month. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by Vince Alongi, Creative Commons License

*I pray that this revised encore post from Sept. 2009 blesses you today!

7 August Stress Busters

Believe it or not, friends, the stress busters I offer you today are the last in the series. That’s right, this August installment will complete a full year of month-appropriate stress busters designed to bring you refreshment and relief from whatever stresses you may be facing. I hope each month’s ideas have been a blessing to you!

And now, as summer winds down and the back-to-school season sweeps in, may the following stress busters help you relax and enjoy both seasons. May your August be blessed with the last of the lazy days of summer and the fresh energy and excitement of new beginnings as well!

7 August Stress Busters

  1. Spend some time indulging in a super laid-back, relaxing activity. For some that might mean going fishing. For others, it may mean a round of golf or an afternoon poolside with a refreshing drink and a good book. The choice itself is not important. The goal instead is the slowed-down pace and pure relaxation. Ahhh!
  2. Enjoy a frozen treat you don’t usually buy or make. While the heat of summer is still hanging around, frozen treats continue to carry medicinal value—that’s right, for stress headaches, knotted shoulders, and internal tension and the like. Add the extra bonus of a treat that is a rarity for you, and stress is certain to disappear while you focus on enjoying every yummy bite.
  3. Spend a few minutes outside listening to the birds sing. Block out thoughts of to-do lists and various worries and focus completely on the calls and melodies of the feathered friends around you. Hands down, this is one of the most soothing and uplifting activities to be found. And it’s free!
  4. Grab a friend—or better yet a sibling—and indulge in a favorite pastime from your childhood. Play a game of jacks, catch lightning bugs, or go exploring. As you enjoy the activity, share memories from your childhood days. Let nostalgia and laughter send stressful feelings packing.
  5. While back-to-school sales are in full swing, treat yourself to a school supply you always loved getting. Were notebooks your thing? Find a journal and have fun choosing a topic for it. Did you like new boxes of crayons or colored pencils? Get one this year and buy one of those popular adult coloring books to go with it. Let creativity fill your senses and watch stress get crowded out.
  6. Take time for one last spontaneous summertime travel-hurrah. Whether for a half-day or a weekend, take off on an impromptu adventure. Do that thing you were thinking about doing all summer but never got around to doing. Or follow that urge to visit a place you just recently heard about. Let the thrill of the adventure replace stress with excitement instead.
  7. Make a list of the highlights of your summer and thank God for each one. Your highlights may include big things like a vacation or family reunion, but smaller things may have been what really brightened your summer or made things easier for you—things like early morning walks through a park, a working air conditioner in your car, or a new devotional or book that really encouraged or inspired you. As you thank God for each blessing, you’ll experience its joy afresh. And joy will dissolve stress every time!

So there you go, friends—you now have an entire year of stress busters, served up to bless and refresh you month by month. May God continue to bless you all with fun respites as you bust the stress in your lives!

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 NIV

*Which of these stress busters is calling to you this month?

(*If you’re just now getting in on this blog series, simply type stress busters in my site’s search bar to find the posts for the previous eleven months.)

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, came out last week. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

Flickr photo by ΠάνοςΤ, Creative Commons License