“Jesus said to them, ‘You are truly my disciples if you live as I tell you to, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free’”—John 8:31-32 (TLB).
Five vehicles rolled away from Restore Hope Ministries in Tulsa on Friday, June 19. Filling three church buses and two large SUVs, almost 60 children and nine adults spent the morning learning about the ministry as well as helping to unload canned goods and stock shelves for the following week. The children were part of my church’s VBS program with fifth and sixth graders dedicated to mission work during the five-day program.
Pastor Jeff Jaynes with Restore Hope shared the mission’s goal to help restore families in financial crisis to economic and spiritual vitality. As he shared about their ministry, he gave statistics and facts about hunger in Oklahoma, our country and the world. Worldwide, one billion people don’t know IF they are going to get another meal while 300,000 million Americans, or one in seven, don’t know WHEN they are going to eat again. The same is true in Oklahoma with one in seven people not knowing when they will get their next meal. Almost half of those in Oklahoma who are hungry include households with children under age 18.
Maybe what we did today can help them in the future.
As Pastor Jaynes shared with the children about the plight of those who go hungry, he said, “People who have enough food don’t realize how many are going hungry.”
Referencing tithing in the Bible, Pastor Jaynes added, “If just the Christians in America put 10 percent in the offering plate each month, we could solve hunger today. If every one of us did what we are supposed to do, we could eradicate hunger.”
11 Ways to Stay Young
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit”–Romans 15:13 (NIV).
I found the following list, “How to Stay Young,” in a weekly Oklahoma newspaper. No one was given credit for the list but I wanted to share it with my readers because I thought they were a good reminder for all of us.
- Try everything twice. On one woman’s tombstone she said she wanted this epitaph: “Tried everything twice. Loved it both times.!”
- Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down.
- Surround yourself with what you love: whether it’s family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever. Your home is your refuge.
- Enjoy the simple things!
- Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath. And if you have a friend who makes you laugh, spend lots and lots of time with him/her.
- The tears happen: Endure, grieve, and move on. The only person who is with us our entire life, is ourselves. Live while you are alive.
- Cherish your health: If it is good, preserve it. If it is unstable, improve it. If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.
- Keep learning: Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening or whatever suits your fancy.
- Don’t take guilt trips. Take a trip to the mall, even to the next city, state, to a foreign country, but not to where the guilt is.
- Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity.
- Forgive now those who made you cry. You might not get a second chance.
What would you add to this list?
Please feel free to let me know in the comment section below.
“…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God”—Hebrews 12:2(NASB).
At a recent women’s event where I was the guest speaker, I sat in the audience listening to a husband and wife on stage as they provided the music for the luncheon. Playing the piano and singing hymns, the wife shared her musical gifts from God with us. However, I was stunned as I watched her husband play the guitar with equal skill. What made his gift even more amazing was he played one-handed. While he had two arms, he had suffered a stroke, leaving his right side paralyzed. Many might have given up, but this man had not. Through the encouragement of his wife, he had been able to regain part of his ability to share with others his amazing gift of music. What a testimony!
The topic of my presentation that day was “God is the Author.” As I shared my testimony, recapping the journey of my walk with God and how He had led me to my current writing and speaking ministry, I was reminded once again how easy it can be to just give up when we hit speed bumps in life.
Dare ya! Double Dog Dare you to give one more degree!
There have been times I wanted to tell God, “I quit. I can’t do this anymore.” Then, I’m reminded of Philippians 3:14. “… for I can do everything God asks me to with the help of Christ who gives me the strength and power” (TLB). Through His strength, through His power, we can accomplish what He has called us to do.
“As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him”—Psalm 103:13(NIV).
Shortly before her death in 1989, actress and comedian Lucille Ball did a remarkable TV interview with Merv Griffin. He asked her a very serious and pointed question: “Lucille, you’ve lived a long time on this earth and you are a wise person. What’s happened to our country? What’s wrong with our children? Why are our families falling apart? What’s missing?”
The red-headed actress answered without hesitation: “Papa’s missing. Things are falling apart because Papa’s gone. If Papa were here he would fix it.”
According to data from the 2010 Census, the number of children living in single-parent homes has doubled since 1960. A January 2013 article on LifeSiteNews.com shared a “Washington Times” analysis of the most recent census data which revealed that even as the total number of American households with children increased by 160,000, the number of two-parent households decreased by 1.2 million.
The article further denoted that today one-third of American children, or a total of 15 million, are being raised without a father.
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank him for his answers”—Philippians4:6 (TLB).
Praying aloud in a group setting wasn’t easy for me before I made Jesus the Lord of my life. If the group leader asked for a volunteer to lead the prayer, I remained silent, waiting for someone else to speak out.
My thoughts raced with the following: What if I don’t know what to say? What if my words are jumbled? I don’t even know how to use eloquent, “religious-sounding” words. I’m just plain scared! What if I just sound stupid?
As my walk with God has deepened, so has my prayer life. I’ve learned to pray from the heart. I’ve learned formulas don’t matter as long as your heart is in tune with His. This doesn’t mean I ignore praying as Jesus taught His disciples. (The Lord’s Prayer is recorded in two of the gospels: Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:1-4.)
There is no formula to prayer—it is simply conversing with God.
Evangelist Billy Graham says, “There is no formula to prayer—it is simply conversing with God. It is essentially talking with God as you would talk with an earthly parent who loves you and wants the best for you. God is your Heavenly Father who loves you perfectly.”
“‘Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?’ He said, ‘The one who showed him mercy.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘You go, and do likewise’”—Luke 10:36-37(ESV).
In the parable of “The Good Samaritan,” a lawyer puts Jesus to the test, asking Him, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus replies, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?”
The lawyer replies, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and your neighbors as yourself.”
Jesus then says, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.” Seeking to justify himself, the lawyer asks Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
Jesus continues the conversation with the parable of the Samaritan, the only one who stops to help a man who is attacked by robbers and left half dead on the side of the road. The victim had already been ignored by a priest and a Levite. But, the Samaritan had compassion, tended to the man’s wounds and took him to an inn, where he paid the innkeeper and promised to return and pay for any difference for the man’s stay.
When the man’s food arrived, the 5-year-old insisted on praying over it with him.
In the dictionary, compassion means “a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.” Synonyms for compassion include grace, mercy and kindness. Don’t those words describe God’s goodness to us?
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”—Romans 3:23 (HCSB).
If you’ve ever seen a wisteria vine, especially in bloom, you know its charms are almost impossible to resist. That’s what drew me to purchase one about four years ago. When I first saw the beautiful lavender flowers on the vines wrapped around an arbor in a neighbor’s yard, I knew I had to have one.
I succumbed to the beauty of the blooms dangling from the vines. Mesmerized, I couldn’t wait to have one growing over the arbor in my own backyard. After purchasing one at a local garden center, I hurried home to plant the woody, climbing vine. However, I soon discovered this invasive plant has a mind of its own.
In an article by Jeanne Rostaing called, “Wisteria: A Dangerous Beauty (Are You Tempted?),” she says, “You are not the first to succumb. Marco Polo was an early conquest. He brought wisteria seeds out of China in the 13th century. But you would be wise to take the time to get to know this beauty before you commit to her. Like a Jezebel, she will steal your heart and then, after you are weakened and besotted with love, she will set about to dominate your garden and, if possible, your house. Take this caveat to heart: she is fully capable of attempting to murder your other plants.”
Does God need to do some pruning in your life?
While the wisteria has not taken over my house, it dominates my arbor and the corner of the backyard where it is planted. Even if I had known how much work this plant takes to maintain, I would still have planted it because I love working in my yard. The resulting beauty of my labor is worth the efforts I expend.