Compliments, Daggers & Reactions

The holidays are fun, festive and bring a sense of warmth to our lives, at least they do that for some of us.  While for others, the holidays are a time of debating, scheduling, conflict and well I might as well say it, arguing.  As I’ve spent time talking to friends and relatives I’ve found so many commenting about how they love the holidays but there is always something dreadful about a get together, an office party, a gathering etc.  It usually involves a specific person, a past spat or exchange of words that leaves them uneasy and slightly dreading their upcoming events.

I’ve been guilty of this too.  Might I suggest we take two pieces of advice I’ve used over the last year that have actually worked and have really helped me just, get over it!  One, I read in the bible study “What Happens When Women Say Yes To God” by Lysa Terkeurst, “Never let others compliments go to your head or their criticisms go to your heart”.  I have a tendency to take things personally if you catch me in the wrong mood.  I’ll replay something in my head and think, “did they mean for that to sound that way?”  Lets face it, some people are just mean, period.  They are out to hurt us, even at Christmas!  I know, big shocker, right???  Let’s not take the flattery too serious or the daggers that come our way.  Lets also realize sometimes we take things too personal.  Things get worded wrong or just come out wrong, no ill harm meant.  Same goes for compliments.  I once heard from a very wise pastor that compliments and flattery were like great smelling cologne, they smell magnificent but you don’t want to drink them!

Second piece of advice is this, “we are not responsible for others actions but we ARE responsible for our reactions.”  This probably isn’t the most grammatically correct way of putting this but some folks just don’t act right, that don’t mean you got to act up too!  Lets put out there what we want to receive from others in return but with a twist, let’s NOT expect it in return.  Uh huh, you read it right, let’s not expect others to act so graciously in return.  How about lets just be responsible for ourselves and know that there is a loving father watching over ALL of His children.  The good, bad and yes, even the ugly.

Go to your parties, your gatherings and your events!  Have fun, be merry, spread cheer and lets not forget THE most important thing, let your light shine for JESUS!

Merry Christmas!

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Published in: on December 21, 2009 at 1:44 pm  Comments (1)  

Angels In Disguise

I was trolling Facebook this morning and I happened upon an update left by a friend who was upset because she went Christmas shopping at a large, well known chain.  The experience left her hum-bugged to say the least.  Her friends began to comment about how they hated shopping at this particular place too, how the experience was “taxing” and a shopping trip to this place was more like a shopping trip to hell.  One person commented this…”But would it be christmas without the toothless gutter rats? I was lucky enough to be behind someone who paid IN CHANGE!!!  As in actual pennies and dimes! I half felt bad- then was just annoyed. There was more, but I won’t bore you!!  Enjoy ur trip.  Wash ur hands and just try not to kill.”

I read the above, shook my and felt really sad.  Not really sad for the person who paid IN CHANGE but for the person who left the comment.

I believe there are angels masquerading as people all around us.  I believe God sets up appointments for each of us to come across these angels in certain scenarios to test us and see how we respond.  In Hebrews Chapter 13, verse 2 it says “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.” How divine!  What if those gutter rats are angels?  I know that’s not what we picture in our minds when we think of angels, we think of them in beautiful gowns, with halos and gorgeous Pantene hair!  But picture in your mind for a moment, all that stripped away and God says “I’ve got a job for you today.”

Ponder this…this season is busy and stressful and hectic because WE’VE made it that way.  How about lets not blame innocent bystanders?  What would you have done, had that person been in front of you paying with change?  Would you have been patient, compassionate and understanding?  Or been put off by it?

As Christ followers, this faith of ours only works when its exercised and put into practice.  With the season and celebration of our Saviors birth at hand, I see no better time than the present to begin.

Lord, as we follow you and come across what may or may not be divine appointments, I pray we will exercise this faith you perfected for us.  That we will show mercy, kindness and compassion to others.  I pray that we will turn our hearts towards you this Christmas and remember the “gift”.  In Jesus Name, Amen.

Published in: on December 17, 2009 at 1:05 pm  Comments (3)  

Finding Jesus In A Slum…

A few weeks before Thanksgiving I received an email from Pastor Diwakar Wankhede from Mumbai, India.  He had stumbled upon my blog through the blogspot website.  He saw that I had a heart for the people of India and the oppression in which they suffer there and asked if I along with my husband would consider taking a short term missions trip to Mumbai and visiting the slums there in which he ministers.  Pastor Diwakar and I have emailed back and forth several times over the past couple of weeks and I’ve been delighted and burdened all at the same time.  While I rejoice in the work that is taking place there in the slums and praise God over those that are meeting Jesus through the various ministries that Pastor Diwakar is part of there, my heart is greatly burdened for the people of India.

The extreme poverty and struggle for survival are a large problem for the major cities in southeast Asia.  Almost 25% of the population of these areas live in slums.  Open sewage, polluted water, lack of health care, poorly educated or no education at all, famine and diseases such as AIDS are just some of the battles these unreached people face daily.  The unemployment rates are soaring!  Most have to resort to begging, stealing and prostitution to be able to eat.  There are no social agencies in place to help these people like there is here in the United States.  Aren’t we blessed?

I told Pastor Diwakar today through email that I would post his prayer requests on my blog today.  Would you join me in knee bending for these people?  These are God’s people.  We might look at them as some far off, distant problem, someone else’s problem in a 3rd world country, but these people ARE OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS. These people are God’s people.

Do you recall what Jesus said in Matthew Chapter 25?  When he was speaking to the disciples about seeing those in need and passing them by?  Starting in verse 35 he says, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.  Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’  “The King will reply, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ end verse 40.

These people need Jesus.  They need Jesus just like you and I need Him.  Please join me in prayer for Pastor Diwakar and his ministry by praying for the following.

-Pray for the Tailoring School that provides education for the women in the slums where they learn new skills like sewing and also teach them how to save money from the little earning they make.

-Pray for the Nutrition Program that currently helps feed malnourished children and pregnant women.

-Pray for the Kindergarten program and the children who attend school there.

-Pray for the Revolve Fund Program which gives small loans to the slum people so they can start small businesses on their own and earn a living and live life with dignity.

-Please pray for the JESUS film ministry that is present in this slum.

-Please pray for the country of India as a whole.  There are several hundred other slums throughout Mumbai that have no such ministries taking place presently.  Pray that the Gospel of JESUS would spread rapidly throughout India.

Starting today, I am taking up monetary donations for Pastor Diwakar’s ministry in Mumbai.  If you would like to donate, please contact me at 252-937-7956 or email me at renae.williford@gmail.com Would you open your heart and give to these indigenous people?  Would you help share Jesus with a child by supporting the ministries taking place in this slum?

Heavenly Father, we lift up Pastor Diwakar and the ministry that is taking place in the slums of Mumbai to you today.  I ask LORD, that you would touch each life there in a special way.  Please relieve their suffering, show us how we can use the resources you’ve so richly blessed us with to help them.  I pray that in whatever we give, whatever we send, that you would bless it and use it to build up your kingdom.  Most importantly I pray that souls would come to know you as Lord and Savior.  I pray that you would touch their bodies and heal their sicknesses.  Keep them safe, somehow provide food for them.  Lord, forgive us of our greedy ways.  I pray that we will humble ourselves before you and with willing hearts submit all we have to be used in your service.  We ask these things in your name, Jesus.  Amen.


Published in: on December 3, 2009 at 4:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Heart Of Compassion

I was overcome with bitterness, anger and resentment.  I’ve tried my hardest to love this person, to deal with them in the best christian manner that I know how.  I’ve reached out at times when most people would have slammed the door, then other times I’ve been the one to slam the door, admittingly.  Over the past year, I’ve prayed fervently for God to do a great work in this persons life.  They have so much to live for.  But it seems as though my prayers have just not quite made it passed the ceiling.  While I know thats not true, God has heard them, it’s just not time yet.  For whatever reason, it’s just not His time yet.

As I said above, I’ve recently found myself at my wits end with this person, I’ve been hurt and stressed out over situations involving them.  I’ve found myself asking the Lord “Why?  Why do you let this person live their life this way?  Why don’t you do something to get their attention?  They get to live and do and act however they want and with what seems to be without any consequences whatsoever!?”  With a huff, I went on about my housework and about ten minutes later I felt a strong urge to sit down and open God’s word.  As I sat down on the sofa, I asked the Lord what He wanted me to read.  I immediately felt a small voice say to me “compassion”.

I went to the general index of my bible and looked up compassion and wrote down all the scriptures that it referenced.  I went to each of those scriptures.  The first scripture was Psalms 86:15 says “But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, Longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth”.  The second scripture was Matthew 9:36 which says “But when He (Jesus) saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd”.

I must admit after reading these two verses alone, I was convicted.  While yes, this person has hurt me, they’ve hurt my family and done us wrong but I’m guilty too because I’ve not been as compassionate as I should be.  Compassion is something that must be practiced.  It must be perfected.  Forgiveness and Compassion go hand in hand. 

I’ll be the first to admit, it’s one of the hardest things in the world to do!  To have compassion on folks who’ve done you wrong, to forgive those who’ve hurt you, who’ve hurt your children.  Jesus tell us in Luke Chapter 6 starting in verse 32 to love our enemies, do good to those that hate us and to do it and EXPECT NOTHING IN RETURN and our reward will be great and we will be sons and (daughters) of the Most High.  Jesus goes on to tell us that He is kind and merciful to the evil and unthankful.

I so long to be just like Jesus, period.  In pursuing this I know I must press on in forgiveness and loving those who wrong me, even those that I don’t think are so deserving of it.  Bottomline is, it doesn’t matter what Renae thinks, what matters is what God thinks and he thought enough of mankind to send a Shepherd to herd the sheep (us).  That shepherd could be described as having a heart full of compassion, forgiveness, mercy, those are just a few, a very few of the things that I can list when I begin to describe my Lord.  What word comes to mind when you think of Him?  I encourage you to praise Him for his compassion and mercy on you today.

Heavenly Father, you are my Shepherd.  Thank you for leading me out of a life of darkness and into a life thats filled with your love and compassion.  Thank you for your never ending mercy.  Forgive me for falling short in showing others this compassion and forgiveness.  In Jesus Name, Amen.

 

Published in: on November 4, 2009 at 5:21 pm  Comments (3)  

The High Road

The High Road is unfortunately the road less traveled.  Don’t believe me?  Take a long look at the world around you.  Take a look at your relationships within your family, your friends, your ex-friends, co-workers, the unity or lack thereof in churches, communities, etc.  The list goes on and on.  What is the High Road you ask?  The High Road could be defined as The Golden Rule.  The Golden Rule is found in Matthew Chapter 7 Verse 12 “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” The High Road could also be a willingness to forgive, forget and move on.  The word forgive means to cease to feel resentment against an offender : pardon.

Doesn’t that pretty much sum it all up?  If you want to be treated with kindness, then be kind to others.  Want people to be honest with you, then be honest with others.  Want to be loved, then show love to others.  It sounds pretty simple, right?  Then why do we struggle with the details?  Why is it then, when loved ones and friends forsake us and pierce us with their words that we want to strike back and cut them as deep as they have cut us?  Why is that when someone steals from us we are angered to the point of physical violence?  Why is that when we are driving down the highway and someone doesn’t merge for us, we are overcome with rage?  We immediately have a knee-jerk reaction and before we know it our mouths, hearts, minds and bodies have spun out of control and things are done and said that unfortunately can’t be taken back.  When the smoke clears and there is some sort of resolve, all that is left to turn to is forgiveness.  Sort of makes you wish you’d take that High Road now, doesn’t it?

I can think of so many times I should have taken the High Road that I should be the chief expert on NOT taking the High Road!  So sad, but oh so true!  You learn from your mistakes.  I realize, especially since having children that time is so short and we aren’t promised tomorrow, next week or next month.  Friend, we aren’t even promised the blessing of the next hour!  Make it a point to take the High Road!  It is the road less traveled, but a road full of blessing, wisdom and an opportunity to grow more spiritually and connect with our Heavenly Father on a much more personal level.  I promise, you won’t be sorry! 😀

Final Thought- Is there someone you need to forgive?  Is there someone you need to say “I’m sorry” to?  If so, do it TODAY!  Bridge the gap, move forward and BE BLESSED!  Let’s do unto others, BEFORE we want others to do unto us!  Always remember, ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS.

Published in: on October 12, 2009 at 4:05 pm  Comments (1)  

Open mouth, Insert Spoon

There’s nothing like a nice, heaping spoonful of your own advice; I had to take several spoonfuls of my own just yesterday. I found that my advice rolled off my tongue a little sweeter when giving it to someone else who needed it but was a little more difficult to swallow in my situation. While it was equally truthful and most certainly effective, I wanted to do just as I had seen my friends do…sit and sulk and throw a pity party, instead I threw a praise party this morning!

God never promised us that this life would be easy nor did he say that when we followed HIM that we wouldn’t go through trials. Trials test our faith. 1 Peter 1:6-9 says “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”

I don’t know about you but I want to be proven genuine in my faith. Genuine means “real”, “pure”, “free from hypocrisy”. We’ve got to go through the refinement process meaning the fire aka the trials in order to develop more spiritually and grow closer to HIM. Yes, it’s tough, it’s difficult…but instead of throwing a pity party and asking God “Why me LORD?” Let’s throw a praise party and make HIM the honored guest! Praise HIM for what HE is going to do with this storm in your life! Praise HIM for the spiritual growth that will take place because of it!

Frankly, it’s all about choices. I’ve spent the last twenty four hours evaluating my circumstances and here is what I’ve found. One, I’ve got so many blessings that I can’t begin to count them all. Two, takes me back to number one. Need I say more? Just like the verse from 1 Peter says the result of the trials proves us genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor.

Final thought: Will you chose to praise, give glory and honor HIM regardless of your circumstances? There’s a plaque hanging on my kitchen wall that states this ‘There is always, always, always something to be thankful for – My THANKS and PRAISE goes to the LORD. HOW GREAT IS OUR GOD? Take a few moments today and talk to HIM, thank HIM for his blessings and his goodness; praise HIM regardless of your circumstances.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the greatest gift you gave us, your Son Jesus. We could never begin to count all the blessings you have showered upon us. Forgive us for the times that we have ran away from you in the midst of the storms in our lives instead of running to you. May we always have a heart that seeks hard after you. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Published in: on September 15, 2009 at 7:27 am  Leave a Comment  
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