Saturday, March 15, 2014

Rest in Peace Mary Emma

I stopped in at the church office to get some room numbers of people who were in the hospital. Alice, the secretary on duty, asked if my friend Martha had talked to me in the previous hour. I replied she hadn’t.

Alice then told me the news, “Mary Emma Taylor had passed away.”

On my drive home, I thought about how old she was. “Ninety-one years old.” Later, I would look at the picture we have of her and her husband. He stood up with a friend when that friend got remarried. They were dressed up and smiling. I will remember them both that way.

When I arrived home, Hubby looked at me and I knew someone had told him. Martha had called; Loretta had also called. When I checked our caller ID, I saw that Vicki had called. I returned Martha’s and Loretta’s calls. When I tried Vicki’s number, I got her voicemail and left a message.

She and Bernard were married for 65 years. Her husband had predeceased her. Both of them had helped each other through several serious health crises and always had a great attitude. They helped those around them. Sometimes all she would do was listen. When she gave guidance, it was from her heart.

Those who knew and loved her will miss her. But, I see her standing by her house in heaven smiling her sweet smile and talking to all who pass by. I know that when any of us who knew her, worked with her, loved her will enter into heaven, she will be there waiting for us. In the meantime, she is in our cloud of witnesses, urging us on to do what God has planned for us.


Friday, March 14, 2014

In Humility


“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit,
but in humility consider others better than yourself.”
Philippians 2:3 (NIV)

           Paul tells the Philippian believers to forget self and remember they were not number one. He tells them to put others and their needs before their own needs. This flies in the face of the “me” generation. Also, Paul’s guidance would cause people to deal with the mindset of recent years that ‘it’s all about me.’

           Over 25 years ago, I started worshipping at a small church about a half mile from where we live. One of the older ladies of the church once told a group of us a way to handle ministering to others and basically how to live our lives; she used the word JOY. She said it meant *J*esus, *O*thers, *Y*ourself.

            As we travel through this season of Lent, let us all prayerfully reflect on what it means to follow and to emulate Jesus as we walk in this world.

Dear God:

            Please show us how to show Jesus’ love to those we meet as we walk this earth. Help us to put others before ourselves in our daily business. Let us worship and follow You as we prepare ourselves for the time we will be with YopPu in Your home. In the name of Jesus, we pray. AMEN

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

One in Spirit and Purpose

“. . . then make my joy complete by being like-minded,
 having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.”
 Philippians 2:2 (NIV)

           Paul tells the Philippians to be of similar minds. This thought could be understood to have two meanings. 1. Every one who works for the Lord should understand the thinking of those with whom they minister. 2. All who minister in the name of Christ should have His mind.

           To have the same heart that of Jesus Charles Sheldon wrote a classic, In His Steps-What Would Jesus Do? The story told of a church that had an unusual visitor one Sunday. Something happened that caused the pastor to re-evaluate his walk with the Lord. The entire congregation was invited to enter into this project of asking themselves, “What would Jesus do?” before they made any decisions. Asking that one question changed the lives of a lot of the people.

           Paul challenges us to be “one in spirit and purpose”. Here he speaks of unity. Again our souls should be melded into one with each other and with Jesus Christ. A hymn written by Peter Scholtes in the 1960’s speaks of this concept. “They’ll Know We Are Christians By Our Love” The first verse starts out, “We are one in the Spirit, we are
one in the Lord. . .” That verse ends with the line, “And we pray that all unity may one day be restored.” The writer has some wonderful thoughts in the verses that follow.

            Periodically, God’s children should ask if we are of the same mind as Jesus. When we do this exercise, we should go back to the basics of our faith and search our hearts for the way God wants us to live. If anything that displeases God comes to our hearts and minds, we need to make things right with Him.


Monday, March 10, 2014

“Make My Joy Complete. . .”


If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ,
 if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Holy Spirit,
 if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete
 by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.
Philippians 2:1 (NIV)

           Paul writes to the Philippians; he encourages them to look into their hearts and consider their stance with Christ. He points out that they should receive a building up, an empowerment, from being in His presence. The apostle then spells out what he means by the Lord strengthening them.

           Did they receive “any comfort from his love”? Do we receive any consolation from His grace? If any of us have gone through the loss of a loved one, we have benefited from that great love He has for us.

           For those of us who have dealt with depression, Jesus has stayed by our side and comforted us. Maybe Christ guided us through a deep valley by showing us how He helped in times past. He could have sent someone to us who had experienced similar feelings or circumstances.

           What about “fellowship with the Spirit”? Jesus promised us a comforter to help us through this life after He ascended into heaven. By doing this for us, He remains close to us, especially when we face difficulties or even events we don’t understand in our lives.

           Were the Philippians filled with “tenderness and compassion”? Do we possess these traits? Do we respond to people who hurt or those in grief as though we are led by the Lord or by the thoughts of society? As I write this, a thought comes to mind. It goes like this, “Always use tender words because sometime (we) might have to eat them.”

           The word compassion comes from two Latin words, cum-meaning ‘with’ and pathos-meaning ‘suffering’. Have we needed to ‘suffer with’ a friend recently? When we display compassion, sometimes it’s as simple as listening to another person as they talk. Other times, we sit with them in a hospital. Or we carry in food to their home.

Fear, Courage: God Is With Us  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD ...