Monday, October 26, 2009

Positive Changes

Several weeks ago I met a wonderful woman named Avis Lafrance ( She is a professional image consultant and more importantly a godly woman who desires to serve God through her life, her words and her career. She consulted with me several times to help give me a bit of an update look – new hairstyle and makeup. She even helped me refresh my wardrobe. When it comes to physical appearance, a positive change now and then is not a bad idea.

There are many things we can change about ourselves. We can change the way we look. We can change the way we take care of our bodies. We can change the way we think. We can change our attitude, actions and words. We may not be able to change our circumstances, and we may not be able to change the people around us, but we can change the way we respond to situations and people.

We can choose to think about what is good in our lives and dwell on our blessings, or we can continue to rehash the same old things that make us angry and bitter. We can choose to pray and seek God’s help through difficult circumstances or we can become overwhelmed with fear and anxiety.

Changing the way we think has a monumental effect on what we say and how we act. If I dwell on what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable, then my grumbling tends to change to gratitude. If I think about other people as beautiful creations of God, then it changes the way I treat them and talk to them (and talk about them).
What changes do you need to make? Perhaps you need to make a change in the way you are looking at your situation at work or at home. Perhaps you need to make a change in the way you eat or the way you spend your money. You may need to make a change in the area of forgiveness and release the right to hold something over another person. This week I want to encourage you to prayerfully consider some of the changes you need to make.
Positive change usually begins in your thinking and pours out from there into our actions and words. In the Autumn season we see many changes taking place in the foliage around us. Why not allow the beauty of Fall to serve as a reminder that we can always make positive changes in our lives.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Life Lessons Learned By the Sea

This weekend I had the blessing and privilege to be in Destin, Florida with my family. It is absolutely beautiful here! A little cold, but wonderful white sand beaches and an amazing view of the vast ocean make up for that. There are several life principles which come to mind as I look out into the great blue abyss and I want to share them with you today. Three words describe the life lessons learned by the sea: vast, deep, changing.

Vast - The vastness of the ocean makes me think of the abundance of God’s love for us. His unfailing love cannot be measured. He is gracious and kind, abounding in love. His resources are vast. We can come to Him through prayer and our gracious Lord is able to meet our needs. Oh how great the love of the Father! How amazing is his love! How abundant are His blessings!

Deep – When I think about all the life and activity that is going on under the surface of the ocean I am reminded of the depth of God’s justice. Psalm 36 reminds us that “His justice is like the great deep.” Often I can’t understand why the wicked go unpunished or why the Lord allows the evil to prosper, but God is at work. His justice is like the great deep. I cannot begin to know His ways or His workings. And so I trust Him, that He knows what He is doing. I may not be able to see it, but I can trust His faithfulness and His justice.

Changing – Just as the tide ebbs and flows, so the circumstances in our lives are ever changing. We have happy situations and we have loss, we have joy and we have sorrow. This weekend we celebrated our daughter Joy’s engagement to a wonderful young man. Such a great, great blessing! Yet this morning I am in continual prayer for a dear friend of mine who is undergoing major back surgery. The ebb and flow of life. Life brings a variety of joys and sorrow, but God is constant. His love can be trusted.

As we reflect on these principles, let us continually turn our hearts and mind toward God and seek His strength through the changes, trust His justice beyond what we can see and praise Him for His vast love and care for us.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Glorious Differences

This weekend my husband and I went to the State Fair of Texas. Yes, I talked him into going. He doesn’t necessarily like to go to the fair, but I love it! I’m not exactly sure why I love it so much. Maybe it’s the corny dogs and funnel cakes. It could be the exhibits and the animals, but I’m pretty sure what I love the most is watching all the people.

Honestly, the State Fair is truly a bouillabaisse of humanity. The people converge from all different walks of life, ethnic backgrounds, occupations and ages. It is a joy to me to be observe God’s creative handiwork in the variety he has designed within the human species. Variety is the spice of life, don’t you agree?

Because we are quite varied and different, it is sometimes difficult to appreciate the personalities or ideas of the people in our lives. One person’s way of doing things may look different than ours, and so we become annoyed. A person does something that we don’t like or we don’t think is fair, and we become angry. Another person’s viewpoint differs from our own, and we bicker and argue with them. Let’s face it, it’s difficult to get along with people who are not exactly like us. If only everyone else were exactly like me, then I would get along perfectly well with everyone. Right?

Thank the Lord for the differences He has created! We don’t need a world full of a billion people just like me (Heaven help us). We need variety to get things done, to make businesses run, to grow and mature, to bring in a new perspective. This week I want to challenge you to appreciate the differences in the people around you. Take time to thank the Lord for the way each of your family members is different from you because they bring a variety of strengths to your family. Do the same for the people in your workplace. Build on each other’s strengths, manage around the weaknesses, and appreciate the differences instead of allowing them to frustrate you.

My dear friend, author Jody Capehart says, “God makes us different from one another so that we can rightly fulfill our own distinctive function. God consistently demonstrates to us that He creates us to be the garden variety, not canned green beans.”

We are continually reminded in scripture to “bear with each other.” In I Thessalonians 5 we read, “And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else. Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.”

To be quite honest, it is not always easy to encourage the timid and help the weak and be patient with everyone. It takes perseverance and it certainly takes a God-sized love. Maybe that’s why Paul adds that we are to pray continually and give thanks in all circumstances! Look to the God of Love to give you what you need in loving those who are different from you.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Press On

We did it! We showed up for the race, we ran and we finished. Of course my daughter finished quite a bit earlier than I did, but we both experienced the joy of accomplishing the race and had a great time in the process.
Here’s a picture of us before we began.

And here’s our picture right after we finished the race.

Just kidding! Really here’s a picture of us after the race.

Now I’m not saying the race was easy. In fact I was really hurting on some of those hills. Personally I wish the organizers of the race could have made the route only on flat terrain. Why hills? To tell you honestly I’d like for life to be on an even path as well. No difficulties, no mountains to climb, no valleys to crawl through. I wish life was one smooth sailing journey.

Hebrews reminds u s to keep our eyes on Christ through the challenging journey of life. Here’s what Hebrews 12:1 – 3 says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

Don’t lose heart. Press on. Whatever your race looks like, run with perseverance with your eyes on Christ. Get rid of the sin that so easily gets you off course and remember you have a Savior who loves you and is with you through your struggles.

This past week I had the privilege of hearing Dr. John Townsend ( speak on the topic of leadership. In his talk he mentioned some of the life lessons he taught his kids. He said it was important for them to learn that things will get harder before they get easier and to take one day at a time. Yes, life is tough, and we must persevere at times, even when the going gets tough. One day at a time with our eyes on Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.