Posts Tagged inspiration
If I can help somebody as I pass along,
if I can cheer somebody with a word or song,
if I can show somebody they’re traveling wrong,
then my living will not be in vain.
If I can do my duty as a Christian ought,
if I can bring back beauty to a world up wrought,
if I can spread love’s message
that the MASTER taught,
then my living shall not be in vain. ~ Song lyrics, Alma B. Androzzo
There is something in each and every one of us
that waits and listens to the voice of the genuine in ourselves.
It will be perhaps the only guide we will ever have
and if we cannot hear it,
all of our lives our days will be spent
on the end of strings that somebody else pulls.
There is something in each of us that says,
no one will ever pull my strings again.
There is something in us that says,
I’m going to pull my own strings.
That says this is my time,
That says I have more in me to express.
This is my hour.
I’m living in a time when I know ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE. ~ Dr. Howard Thurman
“And she said, As the Lord thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse . . . that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat and die.” I Kings 17:12 (King James Version)
The barrel that was once filled with meal was now touching bottom. Only a few morsels remained. For days she stretched the crumbs as far as she could and was finally at the point of giving up.
Habitually, her son would listen to the sound of the spoon as it scraped against the sides of the barrel as she gathered enough meal for the little cake they shared each day. But today the sound of the spoon against the barrel was different. It was hollow and piercing and seemed to re-echo throughout the barrel and bounce off the walls of the house.
His mother had cried for days, but when she left the barrel this day her tears seemed more sorrowful and her cries more unsettling. He walked over to the table where she was sitting, wiped her tears and said something that you and I would do well to remember: “Mother, don’t cry because God hears the scraping” What a wonderful reminder when the faithful lose heart.
In this economy, with so many facing bankruptcy, home foreclosures, job security, mounting bills, emptying bank accounts and maxed out credit cards, it’s understandable to feel helpless and alone. But we must never forget our God is ALWAYS faithful and:
No matter how bleak things may seem.
No matter the state of our hearts, health, or heads.
No matter whether we have jobs or the jobs have us,
No matter whether we are homeless, helpless, or hopeless
No matter whether we have friends, fans, followers, or are all alone
NO MATTER WHAT WE ARE GOING THROUGH:
Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy that it cannot hear: Isaiah 59:1
GOD “KNOWS THE WAYS THAT WE TAKE” AND IS ALWAYS IN CONTROL. BEFORE WE EVER NEAR THE BOTTOMS OF OUR SITUATIONS — GOD HAS ALREADY HEARD THE SCRAPING!!
FAITH is utterly important to God and, if the truth be told, we have all experienced, are experiencing, or will experience many faith crises in our lives. Crises of faith can be momentary, seasonal, or long-lasting, but for certain they will come.
Faith Crises are those despairing moments when we navigate life’s storm-tossed seas unmindful of the Master’s presence.
They are times when we earnestly need Jesus’ Prayer that our faith will not fail us.
They are those critical instants when we can only say, “Lord, I believe, but help thou my unbelief.”
They are the crucial moments after suffering great losses, when we must know that GOD IS ALL WE NEED!!
They are times when it is good to remember our “God Moments .”
Faith Crises are TESTS. They are TESTS to trust God’s plan and God’s timing for our lives and they must be taken until passed.
As we walk our paths of faith, we soon discover that we are placed in situations to need miracles and only God can perform them. And many times, as Alicia Britt Chole submits, sometimes we are “cornered into helplessness,” where NO ONE can help us but God! When we appear down for the count, it is important for others to witness the glory of God in our deliverance.
What do you do when you do not know what to do? What do you do when you are at the proverbial “Red Sea,”the enemy is on your heels and the impossible is stretched before you? How will you navigate these critical crossroads of faith? God says, “Be still and KNOW that I AM GOD–Either you trust me or you don’t!”
Beloveds, these are challenging times that test our spirits, our sanity and most of all our faith. Times will come when we are pressed on every side, with nowhere to run and nowhere to look but up. How will the Lord respond to us: “O ye of little faith . . . ,” or “I have not seen so great a faith. . . .”
“Without faith it is impossible to please God.” We must Believe because God is faithful even when our faith waivers or wanes. And the Best News is, God has promised “NOTHING is impossible to those who believe.”
PRAYER: Father, thank you for the Grace to live past my moments of despair. “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.” Psalm 56:3
“It was the BEST of times and the WORST of times. It was the age of wisdom. It was the age of foolishness. It was the epoch of belief. It was the epoch of incredulity. It was the season of light. It was the season of darkness. It was the spring of hope. It was the winter of despair.” — Pride and Prejudice
These are the days of Elijah, Moses, Ezekiel and David. They are prophetic times. Times to make our callings sure. Times to come out of our comfort zones. Times to risk all for the Kingdom sake. Times for better or worse. Times to love for richer or poorer–in sickness and in health. Times when God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness. Times when our weaknesses are our strengths.
Times to live what we profess. Times to seek and to serve. Times to reach and to teach–to watch and to wait. Times to trust and to obey–to fast and to pray. Times to love and to lift–to speak and to witness. These are times of change, challenge and choice. Times of hope and help. THESE ARE TIMES THAT TRY OUR SOULS!!
These are the times for which I was being prepared from my mother’s womb. I am one of “the called according to His purpose,” and “I am confident that He that has begun a good work in me will perform it until the day of Christ Jesus.”
Beloveds, trust with me that our times are in God’s good Hands (even times like these). Believe with me that we need never fear what a day may bring forth. Realize that God is in control of our days and our destinies.
May these words of Charles A. Tindley, encourage and strengthen your faith in the days ahead,
Harder yet may be the fight
Right may often yield to might
Wickedness awhile may reign
Satan’s cause may seem to gain
There is a God that rules above
With a hand of power and heart of love,
And if (we) are right, He’ll fight (our) battle
(and) (we) shall have peace some day.
PRAYER: Father, sometimes it’s hard to see the rainbow through the storms. It is difficult to fathom the silver lining behind the dark clouds of this life. Saturate us with your immeasurable strength for the living of these days. Give us Holy boldness as we try to faithfully move forward. Make our feet as hind’s feet for our mountains. Help us to stand tall in our high places and give us peace through every valley. Empower us as we strive to be the salt and light you have called us to be “for such a time as this.” For thy Son’s sake we pray. AMEN
I would love to hear from you today. Let’s start a conversation. Are you concerned about the future? What comforts you when you watch or listen to today’s troubling news? What goes through your mind? How do you help those close to you during these disturbing times?
A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps. (Proverbs 16:9)
Why do we exist? Why are we here? What gives our lives meaning? What is the enigmatic reasoning for our existence? WHAT IS OUR PURPOSE?
I spent years pondering this very question, when one day, a young woman simply said to me, “Pastor, what I love most about you, is that you don’t just TALK about “IT” (referring to my life and lifestyle) — you BE about “IT.” I wasn’t sure what she was saying at first, but later the point became clear. I have been about my purpose most of my life — positively influencing the lives of others.
As I have grown older I am grateful to have grown wiser. I have learned that trying to analyze every intricate moment of life can result in what someone coined “analysis paralysis,” which can prevent you from doing anything. And so I learned early on to “Do something –lest I do nothing.“
In the past, like many of us, I believed I had to be perfect, rich, smart and beautiful, to impact the world. I waited, procrastinated, delayed and deferred even the smallest tasks. I convinced myself that I was not a “people” person and that my contribution would not be missed. But I quickly learned the value of a simple smile, a kind and honest word or a “helping” hand. It’s wonderful how God uses simple things to confound the wise. A “loving” attitude has miraculous power to the broken and hurting. Unintentionally, many times, it is the “hurting” that hurt others out of their own pain. That is why we are witnessing so much bullying, violence, abuse and rage today. These are “trying” times and the world is in intense pain. But whatever else I know, it is that we were not created nor do we exist to exacerbate its suffering.
That young woman’s words to this day, keep me humbled and focused on what I believe is important to God for us in this life–to love one another as God has loved us–unconditionally. We are not here to placate, pacify or to glorify ourselves. In fact, we have nothing to boast of. We own nothing–not even ourselves. We are merely stewards of everything we have and are. We exist to bless the lives of others and, in so doing; our Creator blesses us. No amount of pondering or planning will get the job done. It takes action–going–doing. It requires (“being” about) whatever our hands and hearts find to do to the Glory of God. And “to whom much is given, much is required.” Remember the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30).
One can make a difference, if only in the life of another one. Fulfilling our purpose needs no special preparation or discussion. Like the Nike slogan — “Just Do it!” Don’t just “talk about it”– “Be about it.” Help someone. Give to someone. Lift someone. Offer hope to someone. That’s our purpose. That’s why we’re here.
All that is necessary to fulfill one’s purpose is a sincere heart and a genuine desire to help someone. This pleases our loving God who is love. Someone once said, and it is true, “People don’t care what you know until they know that you care.” Nothing I ever learned in school or in life assured me more perfectly why I exist than that young parishioner’s words years ago. I have not just “talked about life, I have been about it– To God be the Glory!! Nothing keeps me so grounded as a smile from a child I teach. Nothing humbles me so completely as hearing from someone who has sought me out to say thank you for touching my life.
I know why I am here. What about you? My life has been and simply is my “reasonable service” to God. It is a prelude to a hoped for eternal “Well Done.”
And so beloveds, I share these favorite words a songwriter so gloriously penned:
If I can help somebody as I pass along,
If I can cheer somebody with a word or song,
If I can show somebody he is trav’ling wrong,
Then my living shall not be in vain.
If I can do my duty as a Christian ought,
If I can bring back beauty to a world up-wrought,
If I can spread love’s message that the Master taught,
Then my living shall not be in vain.
I prayed for God’s guidance in knowing my purpose. I was experiencing so much pain in my life I thought I could not be in God’s will. For years, I looked for some great mission statement or special career path to reassure me I was on the right track, but discovered my purpose was simply to: Do all the good I can, in all the ways I can, while I can. That’s it — nothing more or anything less. Of course my prayer was heard immediately, but God only spoke when I was ready to listen. He then answered in His own time and way.
I have learned through personal trials, that struggle and tribulation aid us in learning, growing, and glorifying God’s Name. And the more we endure and overcome, the more God can use us to accomplish His work. These words of Apostle Paul, taught in 2nd Corinthians 12:9, comfort me, “And he said unto me, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
It is the testing of our faith that pleases God (James 1:3) and unshakable faith comes from having our faith shaken. Our part is simply TO ASK in prayer. Whether God answers, or we feel that God answers, is irrelevant. We must pray about everything, placing all matters into God’s hands, and resting in the assurance that the Lord will handle them.
God will not move our mountains, but He will give us the strength to climb them. We may have to go through valleys, but He will walk with us every step of the way. No matter what we are going through, we can count on God. If God said He will feed you – set the table and get ready to eat. I can witness with David, “I have been young and now am old, but I have never seen the righteous forsaken nor His seed begging for bread.” What I have seen in my lifetime has enabled me trust God for all I have not seen. Our God never slumbers nor sleeps. Neither does God play games nor waste time. I may not know what’s ahead but I know that God has been better than good to me thus far, and I don’t believe He would bring me this far to leave me now.
Be careful what you pray for. You may never get what you ask for or think you want; and, what you get may not be what you expected, but one thing is certain — God will always give you what you need.
Consider this ageless (anonymous) poem:
I asked God for strength that I might achieve.
I was made weak that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked for health that I might do greater things.
I was given infirmity that I might do better things.
I asked for riches that I might be happy.
I was given poverty that I might be wise.
I asked for power that I might have the praise of men.
I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things that I might enjoy life.
I was given life that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing that I asked for, but everything I hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am, among all men, most richly blessed.
Pray without ceasing. Make your requests known to God and receive God’s peace. If you are experiencing a Divine delay, it does not always mean a denial. It very likely means God is increasing your faith or patience and maybe there is even something greater for you than your request. Praise God for what you understand and praise God even more for what you don’t understand, because God understands everything. Walk in quiet confidence knowing no matter how things appear, “. . . in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”