The Most Excellent Way

Have you ever prayed and asked, “What do you want me to do”?

This has long been a tradition in our church family; a way to begin each New Year. This morning, I was reminded to read 1 Corinthians 13; the Love Chapter. I realize we often hear this message at weddings, and sometimes on Valentine’s Day, but have you ever put the words into practice?

The writer, Paul, included this instruction in a letter to a body of believers. In Chapter 12, he began by reminding the church, “you are the body of Christ”. He listed areas of ministry, job appointments which were handed down by God: ” first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those who help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in other tongues”. But then, he said, “And now I will show you the most excellent way.”

Love was the answer. But Paul continued to explain what Christian love should look like, how we should carry out this “most excellent” job of the church.

After reading it, I find I have fallen short. I pray for forgiveness, and the strength to do better in the coming year. To all those who God has placed in my life, I hope to remember: “God is love.” (1 John 4:7)

Be Blessed, Donna

The Puzzle

How many of you begin the new year with a desire to press forward? Since January 1st. is often celebrated with resolutions, and hope for a fresh beginning, I think many of us share in this attitude of change.

So, what are your present hopes? If you don’t like your present job, you may search for something with a higher income. If you long for a happy relationship, you may begin methods of self-improvement. But for many of us who belong to the Lord, we pray for answers of his perfect will. We anxiously wait for direction in how we may better serve him.

This morning, I discovered an answer to one of my prayerful questions. And to my surprise, it came at a time when I was distracted by a complicated Jigsaw Puzzle. My table was covered by 500 brightly colored puzzle pieces. It was then the Lord reminded me that each section is unique in its design. Some may share the same colors, and often the shapes appear very similar. But the picture will never be perfect, unless each puzzle piece is placed where it belongs. And so, I understood the Lord’s message: “It’s right in front of you. But you can’t see the answer. God has to put the pieces together before you are able to see the picture.” It seems too simple to be a message from God, but I needed simple.

It reminded me of my favorite scripture: “Be still and know that I am God.”(Psalms 46:10) I hope to remember this lesson. Waiting on the Lord will create a perfect picture; what He has planned for my life.

I pray you find your answer. In God’s good time, I know you will.

Be blessed, Donna

Christmas Time

It’s that time of  year, again, when many people celebrate by giving gifts. We decorate the house with brightly lit trees, go shopping (whether it’s in a store, or online), and spend time thinking about festive food. 

Of course, during this time we also focus on relationships. We long to spend time with family and friends; wishing them “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays”. 

Unfortunately, some of us grieve about lost relationships: lost loved ones, or an unrequited love which we cannot forget. But there is one relationship I have failed to mention; our relationship with God through His Son, Jesus. 

 Of course, some people still celebrate and retell the story  of Mary, Joseph, and the Christ child. We should remember:  it was God’s love  which caused a virgin to give birth. It was His love which sent the angel, telling Joseph: “do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what was conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and your are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” ( Matthew 1:20-21)

It is God’s desire to have  relationship with all mankind; especially YOU. So, when  you celebrate, and ponder the many relationships of your lifetime, I pray you think on your relationship with God, the creator of all things. 

Be Blessed, and Merry Christmas, Donna

Holiday Traditions

Have you ever wondered how our holiday traditions began? Since we will soon celebrate our National Day of Thanksgiving,  I wanted to take a moment to research its beginning.

Of course, since my days in Elementary School, I related this holiday event to the Pilgrims, in Plymouth. But after reading the true history, I see things in a different light. It seems our early settlers were accustomed to give thanks on many occasions. History tells us several accounts: ” a day of Thanksgiving and prayer was observed in 1619, in Jamestown, Virginia; after an Indian massacre.”

There also seems to be a disagreement on when the Pilgrims celebrated their famous day of “Thanksgiving” . One historical account by William DeLoss Love states: “Thanksgiving was observed on July 30, 1623, before fall harvest and following a fast and a 14 day rain.” The rain was considered an answer to prayer, after a “Catastrophic drought”. Other  writings refer to different dates, ranging from September 21st-November 11th.

Our national day of Thanksgiving was established on the 4th Thursday in November, by President Abraham Lincoln, in 1863.  But giving thanks to God began much earlier. In our Bible, we read: “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercession, and giving thanks for all men” (1 Timothy 2:1)

No matter when we decide to meet for Thanksgiving, it is good to give thanks to the Lord. So, take time to remember the one who provides for all our daily needs.

Be Blessed, Donna

 

 

“Stir up the gift of God”

Do you ever consider your life is a gift from God? Perhaps I should go a step further and ask a second question. Do you ever consider your life is a gift for someone else?

I recently returned from a trip to Benin, West Africa. Before I began the journey, I asked God, “What do you want me to do? How can I be of help?” His answer was brief and to the point: “Love them.”

I am a nurse, which means I have a strong desire to help people during illness. But the first lesson I was forced to accept was, I can’t heal anyone. On the first day of our mission trip, a young mother walked up to my work station. She didn’t raise her eyes to look at me, and she spoke in a whisper. In her arms, she carried a frail, two-year-old child; her daughter. She explained to my interpreter: “my baby was born early, she is blind, she can’t walk or even stand.” Then she looked down at her rounded abdomen and whispered, “Now, I carry another child.”

My heart ached for this mother. There was nothing I could do to help her; to give her hope. I simply asked, “May I pray for you and your children?” So, I called on our Lord to give her a miracle of healing. I asked him to bless her with hope, to bring healing to her daughter, and to protect her unborn child.

Afterwards, the Lord reminded me of another child…my first foster-child. He was also born from African descent. He was also born prematurely. He suffered with cerebral palsy, which meant he couldn’t even raise his head, or roll over as a 7 month old child is expected do. He couldn’t even cry, due to the trach-tube in his throat.  Once again, I felt helpless. I cried out to God, for help and for healing. There was no immediate evidence, but I knew… God heard my prayer. It was the first time I had ever witnessed a true miracle of divine healing.

That precious child was adopted by a wonderful family. It was difficult to say, “good-bye”, but the Lord gave me strength to let go. He also used that experience to lead me into Nursing School. He told me: “Take my Word to the hospitals, to the sick and dying.” As I followed his Word, he allowed me to receive news about my foster son. I was given a photo of a smiling two-year old boy. The trach-tube was gone, and he was riding a tricycle! God had answered my prayer.

So, here I was, in West Africa. And once again, I was calling on the Lord to do the impossible. I do not know how long I must wait to see the answer. Perhaps, I’ll never hear the outcome. But His Word reminds me: “For this reason, I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:6-7) Amen.

I pray you will realize your gift in this life. Wait on the Lord to see the answer. Until next time, have a blessed day, Donna

 

“In the Beginning…”

How often do you look back on your life, only to ask the question: “what happened”?

For many of us, we tend to revisit fond images of our youth. But there may be other memories of regret. I believe God, our creator, has planned it so. It gives us the opportunity to ask His forgiveness. It gives us a moment to ask for a second chance.

I was recently asked to teach a class for new believers. There are some students who have made the decision to rededicate their lives to Christ. This is all a glorious thing, and I rejoice in their commitment to a new way of life. Unfortunately, in order to lead them through this journey, God has caused me to revisit mental images of my past. As a woman who was saved many years ago, the experience is very challenging.

My Pastor has taught us a spiritual truth: “whenever you preach the Word, you must walk in  it”. And I must confess, I have never sympathized with that statement, until now.

For the past few weeks, God has forced me to remember what it is like to walk through life without His divine guidance; without His mercy and grace. He wants me to understand what it is like to be lost; controlled by “things of the flesh”. He wants me to recall those days; so many years ago, when I was a new babe in Christ.

Unlike my Pastor, I cannot testify about: “never tasting alcohol”. I know, and understand, some of the forbidden fruits which Satan uses to makes us stumble. The knowledge makes me all the more grateful, when I read: “For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son…” (John 3:16).

So, no matter how uncomfortable the experience, I understand I should walk this path, if only to point out the pitfalls along the way.

For those of you are still struggling, I hope you remember the boundless love of our creator.

Be Blessed, Donna

Healing the Hurt

I recently explored the definition of the word, “minister”. I discovered several options: “care for, take care of, look after, nurse, treat, attend to”.

Since I am a Registered Nurse, I have spent many years caring for the sick. In all that time, the most important lesson I learned is realizing my limitations. I can treat the symptoms, but God is the only power able to bring the actual healing.

In God’s Word, I remember reading about the body of believers; the Church. We are united: “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body…If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.” (1 Corinthians 12:12,26).

If we each come together to form the body of Christ, I find it impossible to ignore when another member is hurting. Just as a small tooth ache cannot be ignored, spiritual problems affect all of us.

In class, today, I attempted to explain to my students about the origin of sin; in the garden of Eden. I had to remind them about the serpent who tempted Eve. That same spirit of deception, and temptation, is still able to attack the body of  believers.

I was reminded how much Jesus suffered to deliver us from sickness and sin. I must remind my brothers and sisters; if you yield to things which create sickness, the entire body is affected.

I pray for strength in our faith, as we remember: “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes on Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

Be Blessed, Donna