What do people need? We live in a broken generation. Billy Graham has said that people attend his crusades for one or more of four unmet needs: loneliness, emptiness, guilt, and a fear of death. People are hurting, and they need a message from God. People need healing, encouragement, hope, salvation, and truth. They need someone who has been in contact with God and they need Christian role models. Is your life an example? FIVE AREAS IN LIFE TO BE AN EXAMPLE 1. in word - speech; what you say and how you say it. (do you curse or is your speech always negative?) 2. in conduct - behavior, how you live. This is your walk. Let your walk match your talk. 3. in love - agape love, the greatest Christian virtue. Christian love never allows itself to hate. Christian love never refuses to forgive. Christian love never holds grudges. 1 Corinthians 13:13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is love.(NIV) John 13:34-35 A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (NIV) 4. in spirit - describes the inner enthusiasm and excitement of a child of God; enthusiasm in knowing God and in serving God. 5. in faith - faithfulness, loyalty, consistency Too many people have roller coaster Christianity. Always up and down, up and down. Many people have “Revival Religion.” They get all excited about living for Jesus at revival, but lose it before they get back to church the following Sunday.
The candles we hold up for others to see ought to be extensions of the light within ourselves. What we are shines more brightly than anything we say or do.
It all started in Sausalito, California, restaurant in 1982 when Anne Herbert scrawled the words “practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty" on a place mat. From there it spread to bumper stickers, quietly at first, but with all the powerful momentum of something important-calling us to lives of caring and compassion. Random Acts of Kindness, true stories of acts of kindness, was published in February 1993 and set off a chain reaction. Toward the end of 1993,a Bakersfield, California, professor gave a class assignment to do a random act of kindness unleashing yet another flood of stories. The concept continues to spread, and I hope it will carry on until the beauty of simple kindness touches us all. Information from: www.auscharity.org
What does the Bible say about Kindness?
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness. Galatians 5:22 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32 You gave me life and showed me kindness, and in your providence watched over my spirit. Job 10:12 But when all goes well with you, remember me and show me kindness….. Genesis 40:14 I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love; I lifted the yoke from their neck and bent down to feed them. Hosea 11:4 The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness. Jeremiah 31:3
What random of act of kindness can you do today?
— Give up your place in line at a fast food restaurant or in the grocery. — In the drive-through, pay for the order of the car behind you. — Send someone a card to let them know you are thinking of them. — When God brings someone to your mind, pray for them, right then and there. — Pick up something from the grocery store for someone that doesn’t drive. — Prepare a dessert and take it to your neighbor.
Today we had a small birthday party for my grandmother. She is 93 and suffers from dementia.
It is difficult being a caregiver for a family member with Alzheimer’s or dementia. It has been said that the moral heart of a society can be judged by how well it provides for those in the shadows of life, and those in the twilight of life. Rejoice that you have the opportunity to be a caregiver. And you can put your trust in God that he will never leave you and will comfort you in your darkest hour.
Did you know that an eagle knows when a storm is approaching long before it breaks? The eagle will fly to a high spot and then wait for the winds to come. When the storm finally hits, the eagle sets its wings so that the wind will pick it up and lift it above the storm. While the storm rages below, the eagle soars above it. The eagle does not escape the storm. It simply uses the storm to lift it higher. It rises on the winds that bring the storm. When we feel that the storms of life have come upon us when we are dealing with the dementia of our loved one --we can rise above them by setting our minds and our belief toward God. The storms will not overcome us. We can allow God's power to lift us above them. We can soar above the storm. Remember, it is not the burdens of care giving that weigh us down; it is how we handle our duties as a caregiver. The Bible says, But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31 (King James Version)
So the next time you are having a difficult time with your loved one, remember God’s promise and allow him to renew your strength.
At times it may not seem fair that so much of your life is spent as a caregiver. But the purpose of our lives lies in Him, not in us. We are each caregivers because that is the purpose that God has for us. In the book of Jeremiah he says: For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 (New International Version)
Frances cares for her 72-year-old husband who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease two years ago. She spends practically every waking moment watching over him and their home. What gives her the strength to go on? She will smile and tell you that when it's too hard for her it's just right for God.
Although God will renew your strength you need help and support as a caregiver. The key to your success is communicating with family members, employers and friends. Much of your energy is focused on meeting the needs of the person you are caring for, and focusing on your own needs may seem selfish. But preserving your health and having time for yourself is important. It's important that caregivers don't try to do everything themselves. Asking for help may be difficult or even seem embarrassing, but you may discover that friends and family and even church members are not only willing, but also eager to help. And remember, asking for help means less stress for you, which almost always means you'll be a better caregiver for your loved one. Sit down with family members or friends and discuss specific areas in which you think they could help.
Clearly explain what would help you the most. It could be something as simple at a short trip to the grocery store or a trip to the pharmacy.
Always remember you are not alone and when you start to feel overwhelmed look to God for strength and soar above the storm.
This morning I looked out my bedroom window and saw this fox waiting for a chance to snatch away one of my free range chickens. Everyone says that I should shoot it. So I did...with my camera. I thought it would be interesting to see what the bible had to say about foxes.
In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for fox is (pronounced) shoo-awl ; it means burrower , from the fox trait of living in dug-out burrows. In the New Testament, the Greek word for fox is (pronounced) al-oh-pakes and means cunning. The so-called Syrian fox is the only fox native to the land of Israel. Found in deserts. Ezekiel 13:4 O Israel, thy prophets are like the foxes in the deserts. Abounded in Palestine. Judges 15:4 And Samson went and caught three hundred foxes, and took firebrands, and turned tail to tail, and put a firebrand in the midst between two tails. Lamentations 5:18 Because of the mountain of Zion, which is desolate, the foxes walk upon it.
Active. Nehemiah 4:3 Now Tobiah the Ammonite was by him, and he said, Even that which they build, if a fox go up, he shall even break down their stone wall. Crafty. Luke 13:32 And he said unto them, Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected. Carnivorous. Psalms 63:10 They shall fall by the sword: they shall be a portion for foxes. Destructive to vines. Song of Solomon 2:15 Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes. Dwells in holes. Matthew 8:20 And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. Luke 9:58 And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.
False prophets. Ezekiel 13:4 O Israel, thy prophets are like the foxes in the deserts. Cunning and deceitful persons. Luke 13:32 And he said unto them, Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected. Enemies of the church. Song of Solomon 2:15 Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.
It is surprising to find Jesus advising the disciples to buy a sword in Luke 22:36: "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one." Did Jesus in this verse advocate the use of a sword for self-defense purposes?
Prior to His crucifixion, Jesus revealed to His disciples the future hostility they would face and encouraged them to sell their outer garments in order to buy a sword. (Luke 22:36-38; cf. 2 Corinthians 11:26-27) Here the "sword" (Greek: maxairan) is a dagger or short sword that belonged to the Jewish traveler's equipment as protection against robbers and wild animals. A plain reading of the passage indicates that Jesus approved of self-defense.
Self-defense may actually result in one of the greatest examples of human love. Christ Himself said, "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:14) When protecting one's family or neighbor, a Christian is unselfishly risking his or her life for the sake of others.
He said, in sending His followers out into the world like sheep among wolves: “Be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16 NRSV) The Greek word for “wise,” phronimos , can likewise be translated as “cunning” or “shrewd.” Jesus wants followers who are streetwise, who are on constant alert, looking for angles, surviving by their wits. I want you to be smart in the same way—but for what is right —using every adversity to stimulate you to creative survival, to concentrate your attention on the bare essentials, so you’ll live, really live, and not complacently just get by on good behavior.(Luke 16:9)
But this dependence on the Shepherd is not the only way God wants us to live as his followers. We are to be "shrewd as snakes." Here Matthew records the same word used in Greek translations of the Old Testament in Genesis 3:1 , "Now the serpent was cunning." Jesus urged the disciples to be cunning, resourceful, and use every gift they had at their disposal. Human reason, for example, is a useful tool God has given us, but we must remember that reason is only a tool, and does not supplant faith in God’s revealed truth in the Bible.
Jesus also urges his disciples to be "innocent as doves." "Innocent" here is the Greek word meaning "unmixed." It is the same word used in Romans 16:19 "be innocent about what is evil," and Philippians 2:15 "so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God…" We are not to be mixed with sin. But with the help of the Holy Spirit, we strive to lead lives that are blameless and pure in the eyes of God.
That's a lot to live up to: have a pure life, be cunning and shrewd about the world and about spreading the gospel, yet be sheep among wolves. How can we do it? Only with the help of Jesus, who has sent the Holy Spirit into our hearts, and who enables us to daily put to death the sinful nature with which we were born, and to be "eager to do what is good." (Titus 2:14 )