Tag: faith

Use your Panic Button

panic-button-1375953_640Wouldn’t it be great if we all came equipped with a “Panic Button”?

We could press our buttons to send out a message that says, “Please come quickly, I need help.”

 

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I remember when cars first came out with built-in car alarms and that button on the key fob that said “Panic.”  A small, black piece of plastic housed the advanced ability to lock and unlock your car doors from a distance, and set or set off  the alarm.

If you pressed the button a loud, fairly high-pitched sound came from the car that people all around could hear.

There have been times when I sounded the “Panic” button just for fun, and times when I needed help in locating my car in a large parking lot.  Thankfully though, I have never had a real emergency where I needed to use it to summon police or other assistance.

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But it started me thinking . . . What a wonderful gift it would be to have the assistance we need at the push of a button.

How many times have you really needed some help, but didn’t ask someone?

 Do you keep piling on responsibilities until you are at your breaking point?  A lot of us do.

Do you try and make it look like you have it all together and are in control, when nothing could be further from the truth?

Do you just collapse in a heap feeling overwhelmed and hopeless?

The truth is, we all DO have amazing resources we can use as “panic buttons.”

call-us-1817506_640More often than not, people you have met and connected with are ready and willing to help you when they can.  And it is totally OK to ask for help.

You may need practice saying the words “I really need some help.”  Or “Can you help me?”

Practice by saying it to your children. It will teach them that it’s ok to ask for help, and will also give them the joy of being able to help you.

superhero-2503808_640Practice by saying it to your husband or wife. The truth is, they WANT to help you; to be your Superman, your Wonder Woman, your hero.

Practice by saying it to a friend.  You’ll be surprised how willing people are to help you if you ask.

But your best resource is God.  In the Psalms, the Bible tells us He is our ever-present help in trouble, our refuge, our strength.  Psalm 46:1

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We need only call out to Him.   Romans 10:13 tells us For everyone who calls upon the name of the LORD will be saved. 

If you don’t have a personal relationship with God, know that He loves you, and He is waiting to hear from you.  He will not force His way into your life, but will wait for you to ask Him to come in.

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You can do that in a simple prayer.  Prayer is just talking to God.  Sometimes out loud, sometimes silently in your heart.  You can do it on your own, any time, and He will respond.  You can also talk to a pastor or Christian if you want to know more or have questions.

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As our Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ knows what we need, and is waiting to be asked for His help.  We are also told that He grants wisdom to all who ask in faith for it, and that when we call on Him, He will answer us and tell us great and marvelous things which we do not know.

He has resources that we can’t even imagine.  And He wants to give us good things.  He has a plan for our lives, to prosper us and not to harm us; to give us a hope and a future.

It’s OK to call for help. Ask friends, they will respond to you.

Push your button.

Call on the Lord.

He will answer.

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A “Wake-Up Call”

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I have received a “wake up call,” have you?

In a hotel, it’s literally a phone call made to your room to wake you up for whatever you have to do for the day. It’s a call that you preschedule according to your own needs of the day.

When it comes, you simply answer it and it’s over. Unless you arrange it, they do not call again, and would never come to the room and insist you get out of bed and begin your day’s business or requirements. It is a courtesy.

Your choices are to stay in bed and sleep some more, or to get up and begin your day. Your choice.

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Sometimes a wake up call is created by circumstances. It could be an opportunity you thought you had that passes you by. In business. Or in a relationship. Maybe a person moves out of your life who you thought you would have lots of time with.  Or a health issue.

Some wake up calls are humorous. Like your first gray hair. Or your first wrinkle. Or your child starts kindergarten. Or college.

However, a wake up call from God is different.

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You do not prearrange it. It comes when it comes – often when you least expect it.

Things may have been going along smoothly, when something happens that makes you acutely aware that your time and energy are not unlimited.

God will never insist that you get up.  A wake up call from God is a blessing.  Dealing with the call is still your choice. Go back to sleep, or get up and go.  If you choose to get up and go, here are three suggestions:

1 – Thank God for the opportunity to be woken up and for the assurance that all your days are in His hands

Without the call you could have wasted much time and energy doing things that don’t really matter. Ask God to help you “fix your eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18

And be reassured that “all the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139:16  That is a promise.

 

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2 – Spend time in prayer

Ask God to show you where you are wasting time and energy: in activities and in relationships. Ask Him to clarify and adjust your perceptions and priorities

Make a list, and be willing to give up those things that are not beneficial. And spend your time and energy on those things that He shows you are important.

 

3 – Ask God to grow your faith to meet whatever challenges this wake up call has raised. And to give you the encouragement you need to persevere

Paul made this statement about his circumstances and the difficulties he had been through: “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”  2 Corinthians 4:8-9 It seems this is true for me and most other believers as well.

I am encouraged to know that God is “able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine according to His power” Ephesians 3:20 And that He is sovereign over the broad strokes and the details of my life. I believe that He will not let one thing be wasted if we ask for Him to be at work in us. And that whatever we experience, “our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” 2 Corinthians 4:17

My wake up call last week was a diagnosis of a very treatable form of breast cancer.  I am very grateful for this reminder to be busy about the things that are eternal and that God would have me do.  And for the assurance that nothing can take away a single minute of life God has ordained for me.

I have been very encouraged in this challenge through prayer and scripture.  If you could use some encouragement, here are two places I go every day:

31 Days of Praise by Ruth Myers free download website

my Daily Bible Prayer blog

I pray for each of us: Father, when we are hard-pressed, make us stronger. When perplexed, light our way with Your truth. When we are persecuted or struck down, raise us up in Your strength.

Do not let us be overwhelmed or discouraged by what is temporary. But renew us day by day as we come to You in prayer.

Thank You for Your grace and help. Thank You that You will never leave us. That You will always love us. And that we will always be Yours. Amen

 

 

Are your Blessings running low?

When I got to the lake to take my walk today, the most noticeable thing was the water level. It had dropped to an extremely low point. Very few birds could be seen on the water. Rocks lay exposed. At first glance, the water looked shallow and scummy, the banks muddy and messy. It was as if the blessing of the beauty of the water had been taken away.

rock-328783_640            Could this be like our lives? What would they look like with God’s blessing withdrawn like the water in the lake? We immerse ourselves in God’s blessing when we have it. We revel in it! It surrounds us and holds us up as we float on it. My first thought was that to lose even a little of it would not be a good thing.

But where the trail came near the water, I stepped off to have a closer look. I saw hundreds, perhaps a thousand tiny fish! Fish not usually see because the regular depth of the water obscures them from view. This blessing of these fish had been there all along but had gone unnoticed.

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From there I could also see that the ducks and geese had gathered in a small inlet to feast on the algae that had grown on the underwater rocks which now lay uncovered. What a blessing they were enjoying!

Many bottles and cans stuck in the sandy lake bottom were also now exposed, and a couple of kids had made their way down to the rocks’ edge to pull them out. So, this ‘clean up’ effort was made possible by the lowered water level.

If these benefits were occurring when water was withdrawn from the lake, could there be benefits in our lives when God seems to withhold His bounty for a time? Would our examined lives reveal hidden blessings?

If we take the time to look, the answer is probably “Yes”.

Would we discover blessings we often don’t notice, or take for granted? Probably yes. God blesses us with every new day, each breath we take, every friend, every sunset. There is even blessing in times of hardship. We just need to take the time to look and notice, like the tiny fish in the lake.

Could we feast on the growth of our faith that has grown in the depth of God’s blessings? Yes. Perhaps it is not fully exposed and realized until the level drops, like the algae covered rocks.

Have we allowed things to creep into our lives that we need to remove? Undoubtedly, yes. But like the garbage on the lake, we may ignore them until we see their trashy presence in full view. Then it’s an opportunity to clean things up.

Ecclesiastes says, “There is a time to every purpose under heaven.” And if you’re feeling like God’s blessing is somewhat lower than usual in your life, don’t be discouraged. You have a wonderful opportunity for discovery, feasting, and clean up before you.

And before long, the depths will return.

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Spring

Today is my first day of yard work. What a mess! Spring brings new life, and life is messy!

It must be Spring. The calendar says it. The occasional warm day bears it out.

Winter lays down a coat of snow and keeps things covered up until Spring’s warmth melts the frostiness into a nourishing drink of water that encourages and promotes new growth.

crocus-2072985_640When new shoots and tiny blossoms poke their heads up, we begin to see crocus, grape hyacinth and the green leaves of iris, tulips and daffodils. A gentle raking removes the dead tree leaves that have blown into the yard throughout the winter and reveals even more new growth underneath. But for the new growth to continue, the old, dead brown parts from each plant must be removed. During winter, they cover the plants to protect from extremes in temperature and frozen snow.

But if left now, they would block the needed moisture and sunlight. So, one at a time, they must be selected and gently but firmly pulled from the emerging plants to make room for healthy new growth. Once sunlight and water have access, we need to provide fertilizer to feed the newly reborn plants, since over time, the ground’s nutrients are depleted and need to be restored.

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Some of the newly exposed growth is weeds. They have sprung up in the dark and taken root, looking just as green and eager to grow as the flowers. But they too, must be removed, as they compete for moisture, sunlight and space and would crowd out the desired plants.

 

Spring brings work with its new life. And it’s time we roll up our sleeves and get to work in our spiritual lives as well!

In the winter, we often pull back, almost hibernate. With the cold weather, and fewer hours of sunlight, we take our activities indoors. Much of what we do is hidden. We layer activities like we layer our clothes, so people don’t see what’s underneath our busyness. Even though we are growing in our faith, in our relationship with God, it may not be evident. Are we growing? Are we making and taking time to study God’s Word, listen to His voice of direction?                          crocus-590738_640

In Spring we need to uncover and let in the sun, water and nutrients that help us grow again. Has a weed sprung up in a mistaken belief that we don’t need to study God’s Word? Has the lie entangled our roots that we don’t need a small group of Christians to fellowship with – made us think that we can sustain obedience to God and spiritual growth on our own? Has a past hurt or unmet need become a dead leaf that needs to be gently but firmly pulled loose? Have we wrapped ourselves in layers of busyness and old excuses for not serving with our time as well as our pocketbook? These ‘dead leaves’ and ‘weeds’ will kill our growth. They block the sunlight and absorb the moisture we need to have life. They insulate us from the revitalizing ‘fertilizer’ we need to live, and our faith can slowly die, rotting away in our dark, suffocating, isolated, spot.

Life takes work. When we strip away the dead leaves, what will be left? Our faith. Our trust in God. Our saving knowledge that He loves us, has a plan for us and desires to know us better. We need to feed that faith. For it to grow, we need to ‘renew our minds’ and so be transformed into a blossoming, thriving Christian. We renew our minds by reading God’s Word, speaking and listening to Him in prayer, fellowshipping with other believers, thinking on things that are godly. We grow by stretching our faith by giving our money, our talents, and our time in service to our church body and to those outside the body who are physically and spiritually in need.

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God shows us so much through His creation. Let’s be sure we are gleaning all He has to say in every season of life.

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1 KJV