Saturday, October 21, 2017

Inspired, Encouraged, Motivated

This week I have been inspired, encouraged, and motivated by a sign, quotes, stories, and the Sunday Comics.

“Don’t shine so others can see you.  Shine so through you others can see him (God).” – C. S. Lewis

“Let the light inside of you shine brighter than the light that shines on you.” -  Dabo Swinney, Clemson Head Football Coach to his players

Braden Baker is a 10 year old from Fort Worth, Texas.  He was born with a bi-lateral hearing loss, is 75% deaf, and has worn two hearing aids since he was about seven months old.  Recently, his dog “Chewy” ate a second pair of his hearing aids.  Braden’s mother was not pleased and talked to him about responsibility.  She explained that they were fortunate that they could afford to buy another pair of hearing aids, but there are many people who are deaf that cannot afford any hearing aids at all.  That made an impression on Braden and he asked his mother to set up a Go Fund Me account so he could raise money, in order to give the gift of hearing to people who could not afford it.  As of today, Braden has raised more than $43,000.00.  For his 11th birthday, in November, he will fly to Guatemala to help give away hearing aids to children and adults who would not have them otherwise.

“I am only one, but I am one.  I cannot do everything, but I can do something.  And what I can do, I ought to do.  And what I ought to do, by the grace of God I shall do.”Edward Everett Hale

Steve Kelly and Jeff Parker team up for the comic “Dustin.”  In Sunday’s posting the daughter is telling her dad and brother all the work she has to complete along with some of the problems she is encountering. 
Father:  I’m so sorry that happened sweetheart.
Daughter:  Thanks, Dad.  That means a lot to me.
Brother:  Did you understand a word she said?
Father:  One thing I’ve learned Dustin…you don’t have to understand to be understanding.

With all that is happening in our world, country, city, and neighborhoods, it seems like a good time to let Jesus’ light shine through us, to help those who are in need, and to do our part in understanding and encouraging others.

For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.
2 Corinthians 4:5

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
Matthew 5:16

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
Galatians 6:2

For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
Proverbs 2:6

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
I Thessalonians 5:11

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Teachable Moments

Being with our grandchildren, I have been reminded once again of the importance of taking advantage of golden opportunities to be intentional about lessons on the go.  Whether it’s teaching something new, reinforcing a lesson that has already been taught, or encouraging right choices, these teachable moments are times to treasure and not waste.  Even though it may take extra time, energy, or patience, it will be well worth the investment. 

This week I read about and was encouraged by stories of teachable moments.  Bill Shields reported a story about a youth football team in Pembroke, Massachusetts.  Last Saturday, 10-year-old Chris McNamara’s great grandfather, Bill McNamara, a 94-year old World War II veteran, came to watch him and his teammates play football.  The coaches found out about McNamara’s attendance and before the game had each of the players go up in the stands and shake hands with Mr. McNamara.  Chris said he knew the coaches were teaching more than just football.  “I feel like they are trying to make football players be able to be like good kids.”  Not only did a World War II veteran feel respected and appreciated, but as Sharon McNamara said, “It’s just really nice to see them teaching them not only how to make the tackle safely or how to get to the end zone but how to respect your elders, how to respect World War II vets.”

Recently, a woman, her son, and daughter were on their way to an appointment.  As they were walking down the sidewalk, they passed a man using a walker.  The daughter commented to her mother that the man was wearing, “one of those hats.”  Puzzled the mom asked what kind of hat and the girl replied, “You know, he’s not a veterinarian, he’s…”  The mother filled in “A veteran?”  “Yeah” the daughter agreed.  As they talked, the children wanted to speak to him and thank him for serving our country.  The mother started to decline the request, knowing the additional time might make them a few minutes late for their appointment, but decided the gift of expressing gratitude was more important to teach her children at the moment.

I’m grateful that God doesn’t limit teachable moments to just little children, but includes us big kids as well.

Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.
Deuteronomy 4:9

Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
Deuteronomy 11:19

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
Matthew 7:12

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
I Corinthians 10:31

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Two Sides to Help

Independence is now being expressed by our younger grandchildren as they are learning and wanting to do things, “by myself.”  But occasionally there comes a time when guidance and a little additional help are needed along the way.  It reminded me of lessons I am still in the process of learning, too. 

One of the things I had to come to grips with as my Multiple Sclerosis progressed was that there were times I needed additional help with some activities.  Whether it was pride or stubbornness, or both, I had to get to the point where I accepted help graciously or asked for it when needed.  It was helpful when I was specific about how and what I needed at the moment so the one helping didn’t have to guess.  I also needed to be sensitive about having help when it was most convenient for the one offering aid.  Through the years, I have thoroughly enjoyed doing things for people, but I did not want to be on the flip side where I needed others to help me.  God had to teach and remind me that just as I was blessed when I helped others that they should also have the opportunity to be blessed when they helped me.  It also meant that I needed to be creative in finding additional ways that I could continue to be helpful when some of the previous ways were no longer an option.

When the boys were younger, the children’s choirs at church did a musical about “Hur the Hand Holder,” based on the Biblical account in Exodus 17:8-13.   It was a musical that expressed the willingness of people to help others.  Aaron and Hur were able to help Moses complete a task when he no longer had strength to do so on his own.

The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.”

So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning.  When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up - one on one side, one on the other – so that his hands remained steady till sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sward.

These days the need for help has been magnified after deaths in families, the destruction of Hurricane Harvey, other hurricanes, earthquakes, the shootings in Las Vegas, and other tragedies.  Sometimes the solutions are obvious while other times we need them voiced or expressed in order to know how to best meet the needs for the current situation.  With God as our Helper, may we be willing to have His eyes, ears, feet, and heart to see the needs around us and respond in love, encouragement, prayer, and help.  And when it’s our time to receive help may it be with much gratitude.

But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; you consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless.
Psalm 10:14

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Psalm 46:1

Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.
Psalm 54:4

My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
Psalm 121:2

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever –
John 14:16

In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.
Acts 20:35

And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.
I Thessalonians 5:14