Friends and Caregivers Archives 2012
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  • The Eyes of My Regret (poem)
  • Overcoming Bitterness by Lawrence Kelley 
  • What I Wish Others Knew About Caregiving: "I know what's best," and "I hate being a caregiver to my abusive husband."
  • Nathan, Lorraine, and Daniel by Pat Gates
  • The Man Lost Something More Valuable Than His Legs by Pat Gates
  • Scriptures on Friendship 
  • Good Heart - Good Work by Warren Berkley
  • 10 Ways to Love
  • Letting Go (poem)
  • And She Waited on Them by Hal Hammons
  • Rise Above Criticism
  • I Don't Go To Funerals or Nursing Homes by Phil Morgan
  • Gifts Ideas for Those in Nursing Homes

                             

 

The Eyes of My Regret 

Always at dusk, the same tearless experience,
The same dragging of feet up the same well-worn path
To the same well-worn rock;
The same crimson or gold dropping away of the sun
The same tints, – rose, saffron, violet, lavender, grey
Meeting, mingling, mixing mistily;
Before me the same blue black cedar rising jaggedly to a point;
Over it, the same slow unlidding of twin stars,
Two eyes, unfathomable, soul-searing,
Watching, watching, watching me;
The same two eyes that draw me forth, against my will dusk after dusk;
The same two eyes that keep me sitting late into the night, chin on knees
Keep me there lonely, rigid, tearless, numbly miserable –
The eyes of my Regret.

by Angelina Weld Grimke

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Overcoming Bitterness

by Lawrence Kelley 

"So Moses brought Israel from the Red Sea; then they went out into the Wilderness of Shur. And they went three days in the wilderness and found no water. Now when they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter. Therefore the name of it was called Marah And the people complained against Moses, saying, "What shall we drink?" So he cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a tree. When he cast it into the waters, the waters were made sweet" (Exodus 15:22-25).

God knows the hearts of His people better than they know their hearts themselves. Because our hearts are frequently not in the right place, He puts us in circumstances that reveal our shortcomings to us. When the new nation of Israel came out of Egypt their hearts were bitter and one of the first things God did for them was show them their fault. He did this by leading them for three days through a searing desert with no water only to bring them at last to an oasis with bitter water. God brought bitter people face to face with bitter water. This hard circumstance revealed the hearts of the people. After the people complained, God directed Moses to take a particular tree and cast it into the water which made the waters sweet.

We tend to think that circumstances cause us to become bitter, but this is not the case. Bitterness is not something that happens to us, it is a characteristic we develop. This can be seen easy enough in the lives of two different people faced with similar circumstances. I've known people to go through a lot of trials and hardships and maintain a grateful and gracious spirit throughout. I've seen others face similar trials only to become angry and embittered souls. In both cases the hardship revealed the heart more than it formed the heart. If we are filled with sweetness and something jostles us, then sweetness spills out. If we are filled with bitterness and we get jostled then battery acid goes everywhere.

Sometimes when bitterness spills out, we still don't see it for what it is. So, it may be helpful to point out some of its identifying characteristics.

First, bitterness differs from guilt in that guilt is how we feel when we realize we have wronged others, but bitterness is how we feel when we believe others have wronged us. Israel believed God and Moses had done them wrong by leading them out into the wilderness to die of thirst. This means our bitter feelings can result from incorrect perceptions as well as real offenses. It also shows us that bitterness can be directed at God as well as man and frequently when we think it is all directed at man it is really directed at God. We need to recognize that God often leads us into very difficult circumstances, as He did with Israel, and that He does so for our good whether we can see the good in it or not.

Second, bitterness is personal. Great sins committed against humanity in Iraq or some other place might appall us but they do not make us bitter. However, small offenses, "he doesn't pick his socks up off the floor," make us bitter. It is the nearness not the enormity of the sin that makes us bitter. This is why bitterness is usually felt toward fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, children, roommates, coworkers, business partners, neighbors and brothers and sisters in the Lord.

Third, bitterness is into details and it remembers everything. You have had thousands of conversations in your life, most of which you have forgotten. But this one took place years ago, and you remember every single word, his intonation the inflection of his voice. You know exactly what happened, which means, you are bitter. Why can we remember the details so vividly? Because repetition is the mother of learning. We Review, Review, Review. Then he said "..." so I said to him "...".

These things stay with us because bitterness doesn't want to go away. It wants to hang around and dominate our thinking till it chokes the life out of us.

The only thing to be done with bitterness is to put it away (
Ephesians 4:31). This is because bitterness festers over time. We may be able to suppress it for a while, but sooner or latter an opportunity to bring up the past will arise and it will return with renewed vigor. Therefore, the Hebrew writer warns us to be aware lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble (Hebrews 12:5).

When once we recognize that bitterness has crept into our hearts, how can we go about getting rid of it? The first thing is to acknowledge that my bitterness is my sin. I own it. The other person's sin isn't the issue. We may not say, "I'll stop being bitter, when they say their sorry." My repentance cannot be contingent upon the repentance of others.

I've known people who were so bitter, that when the other person apologized they still couldn't let it go. I've known people who remained bitter at people who were dead. The prisons are full of people who murdered the person at whom they were bitter and they are more bitter now than ever. A bitter person will stop being bitter, only when they confess it to God, repent of it and accept His pardon. When this happens it is often surprising how quickly the other person asks your forgiveness and, how easily you will be able to accept them.

The power to put away bitterness is just like the power to eliminate any other sin - it is a power that comes to us by the grace of God. "And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you" (
Ephesians 4:32). Here we are told to take what we have been given and extend it to others. We serve a God who doesn't ladle out forgiveness in a teaspoon, but pours it out in buckets. The true test of our standing in His grace is the measure of grace we extend to those who have wronged us. We don't ever want to be in the position of the unmerciful servant who having been forgiven an immense debt, couldn't forgive a trifle.

This means that if we get hit by a hard circumstance and bile begins to bubble up, the first thing we need to do is stop and thank God for revealing to us a reality that had previously escaped our notice. The next thing is to ask Him to cast a tree into our bitter water that will make it sweet. Of course, He has done just that. In the middle of history God placed a tree in the middle of the world and gave His Son to die on that tree in order to take away our bitterness and replace it with the sweetness of Christ who pled that His enemies might be pardoned.

http://lavistachurchofchrist.org

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 WHAT I WISH OTHERS KNEW ABOUT CAREGIVING:
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(1)"That I cannot control the thoughts, choices, and actions of my care recipient widowed elderly parent.  Also, as her only-child adult middle-aged caregiver, with my own physical chronic health issues and full-time job, I am doing the best I can--so please, when you think you know why I am or am not doing or not doing something for my mom, please do not assume you know the answers, the reasons, or what the situation is.  At day's end, you can leave and "go home" with your Monday-morning-caregiving-quarterback advice and input--I cannot."
 .
Response from Pat:
I can not emphasize enough that if you have not been a full time caregiver you don't know how difficult it is, even with loved ones that you love and admire and are the closest with. I don't know the person who wrote this note. I don't know if she does everything right or not... probably not as there isn't any of us who gets it right all the time. However, I do know what this person is going through. I have had judgments made by others who didn't understand the situation surrounding decisions I made when I was caring for my mother and my son. And, like the writer, as I lived with chronic illness and being a caregiver at the same time, I do understand just how difficult this kind of lifis and it isn't the ideal situation for caregiver or care-receiver as both parties may go lacking at times. 
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We need to be careful about our judgments and opinions we place on others because we really don't know what happens in their home and on a daily basis.  Try not to be  judgmental on everything you see as, I know from experience, we don't always know the circumstance surrounding actions that have been taken. It will happen with all of us. Care-giving and care-receiving are both very difficult situations most of us will be a part in sometime in our lives. If you want to be a help, then offer to sit with the one needing care. Offer yourself as a sounding board but only if you will be a trustworthy listener. And most of all, pray humbly for the caregiver and the care-receiver knowing, most likely, you don't know the real situation.

(2) I hate being a caregiver. I was on the verge of leaving an abusive husband three years ago and before I could leave, he had a disabling stroke. I stayed on because I didn't have it in me to leave a person - any person - in that condition. My life is over. He is still abusive and I plan to get out ASAP. What's hard is that people see me with a smile on my face and think everything is okay. That's the fake mask I wear so people won't worry about me. I wonder, why don't I want them to worry about me? I think it's because I have always been capable in every area of my life. People will be shocked that such a devoted wife would leave her husband, but I can't wait for the day when I have enough money. (He doesn't support me financially. I had to quit my job to take care of him. This has affected my retirement savings and what I might have been able to do for myself, like get outside help, which he doesn't think we need as long as I will do everything.) Anyway, just wanted to list one caregiver's story. I am still angry that I couldn't find an out before giving three more years of my life to my abusive husband, who seems so wonderful to people who don't live with him. Doctors, social workers, rehab folks all just assumed I would take care of him. So I did. My stupid.

Dear writer,

I am so sorry for the difficult situation you and your husband find yourselves in. Caregiving, in itself, has its difficulties even in the best of circumstances and having to be cared for is also difficult. I am going to try and respond to you the best way I know how, by God's word. I pray I remain within His will. While it would be easy to tell you to get out of the situation as fast as you can, I don't believe it would be the proper advice to give. The world may give the advice to put yourself first but as priest of God we need to think and live above the world, according to the Lord's will.

There are a few separate issues in your email I would like to talk about.

1) Leaving an abusive husband.

To be frank I don't know all the answers to this especially if one is in fear of her life. I've always been such a protective mom, I know I would get my kids out of harm's way and if I was afraid of being harmed I would probably run to my family, temporarily. I do believe there needs to be continual effort on husband and wife to resolve this problem. Without question, we have no scripture to divorce one's mate for abuse. The only reason the Lord gave us for divorce is if our spouse commits adultery (Matt. 5:31-32). If the abused woman (or man) leaves, and no adultery was committed by the spouse, she/he must remain single.

Because you didn't mention physical abuse I'm going to take your situation as emotional abuse, especially now in that he is disabled, I would conclude the abuse is emotional.

What does God expect a wife to do in this case?

A) To remain married as mentioned above. Many women and men have discovered their mate wasn't what they thought he or she was as well (couldn't see it in dating) as well as the fact some chose to ignore their traits while dating. Either way a choice was made and a promise to remain faithful "for better or for worse." This promise is sealed by God and one that He expects to be fulfilled. So much harm is done when divorces are made easy. There is no accounting for wrong-doing, no working on love and changing for the better, no personal growth, much less growth as two becoming one, nor is there keeping of a promise before God and man.
 
God wants your husband to see his error and be able to change and this may be the opportunity where he will wake up spiritually. Some people say, "God wants me to be happy, so He would want me to remarry and not be alone." No---God wants us to be holy, even if that means we're not always happy. Usually if we live holy lives, then we are happy knowing we are at peace with God. Our heavenly Father knows perseverance is for our good and the good of others. We, as children of God, are looking and eargerly awaiting our hope which will far outweigh our trials on earth. "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us," 1 Cor. 8:18.

B) To be an example of a godly wife.  "Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. Do not let your adornment be merely outward arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel - rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God,"  1 Pet. 3:1-4. When we are sinned against, we must never allow ourselves to seek revenge or to harbor hate in our hearts. Life is unfair to all of us at one time or another and to some of us, life can indeed be a continual burden but, thanks be to God, we can find peace in living a life pleasing to Him.

C) Pray for strength. Pray with thankfulness. Pray for strength to give mercy and forgiveness to others. Forgiveness brings peace even if others aren't willing to forgive. Love, even when other don't love as " love covers a multitude of sins," and brings peace to our heart.

D) Pray for husband and tell him you are praying. Let him know you care about him. When he suffers, give him compassion.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.  Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.

Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 Therefore, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Rom 12:14-15, 17-21 

E) Soft answer turns away wrath. A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Prov. 15:1 Even in the best of caregiving circumstances, the one who is ill can act ungrateful and take our frustrations on their spouse, child, mother, or other family member or friend. I've been a caregiving and a care-receiver and I've seen this from those I was caring for as well as seeing it in myself. We feel free to complain and take our frustrations out on those we are the closest to. It's unfair but unfortunately that seems to be the norm for many of us. While the one who is ill should not act cruelly towards his/her caregiver (if they have their mental faculties), when the caregiver answers softly it gives the best results.

(F) Look to Jesus as your example:

Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh. For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God.  For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps “Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth”; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.  For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel—  rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. 1 Peter 2:18-3:2

Jesus loved the unlovable and died for them. That means all of us and we continually give grateful, prayerful thanks. Your caregiving is offering the same love Jesus did for us. If we can look on our service in this way, we can change our attitude toward that service.

2) Seeking outside physical help.

 You need to be upfront with the doctors, therapists, etc and let them know you need help. Check with your healthcare providers, or the internet, or local organizations and see if there is any help you can receive that is low cost or free. Be upfront with friends, family, and your local congregation. You are in a critical point in your life and if you need help then you need help, it is something that is outside your control. If my husband was disabled I know I would have to seek outside help as I would not be able to handle everything that would need to get done.

3) Seeking outside emotional/spiritual help. Is pride stopping you or fear?

If pride is stopping you, closing yourself off from others is self-defeating. All of us need to live open and honest lives. Not to wear our troubles on our sleeves, but to get help! Let go of your pride. You and your husband need outside help in many different ways, both physically and mentally. Truly it makes no sense to remain in a situation without seeking helpful support.

If it is fear of more abuse from your husband, pray, explain the situation to others, and seek help from those you trust. Perhaps if your husband knows others understand the situation he will be more careful how he reacts. Whether he does or not, you will wear yourself down physical, mentally, and especially spiritually if you don't seek help.

God expects us to share our trials with one another: "But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. 1 Cor. 12:24-25

Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Rom 12:15

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms.  Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Jam 5:13-16

4) Keep hope ever before you.

Answers may be hard to come by but if the Lord does not remove the “thorn” you endure then His grace may be all you have and that will be sufficient. A thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

You will be rewarded greatly if you perform your role as his wife to the best of your ability, as to the Lord. Nothing else matters in this life except to please God. In this we have our peace. Endurance and perseverance will be rewarded.

And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. Heb 6:11-12, 19-20

Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed. Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel. See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.” Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire. heb. 12:12-15, 22-27

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Nathan, Lorraine, and Daniel

by Pat Gates

They were brothers and best friends, confidants; each knowing what the other was thinking without a word being spoken. They were of one mind, having the same political views and many of the same interests and talents.  They depended on each other when they needed a listening, understanding ear or if something funny happened they knew the other would get a kick out of it and a text would be sent or a phone call made, sharing their mutual sense of humor. More importantly, they shared the same faith and were brothers in Christ. 

And now, one is left alone. Nathan must face each morning with the knowledge his brother, Daniel, is no longer in the world. Throughout the day, he keeps his brother close in his heart,  filling himself up with good memories of their time together and he is determined to live in such a way as to be with his brother again, throughout eternity.

Much has been said about my husband and myself in the way we cared for Daniel during his hospitalizations and sympathy has been given to us for all the difficult times when he was so very ill, but there was one caregiver who rarely received praise or recognition but was important for Daniel's well-being and that was Nathan. From a little boy he loved his baby brother and would do all he could to bring joy to his life. In later years, Chuck worked hard and allowed me to be a full time wife and mom and I was free to give my time to Daniel's care and the two of us saw to his physical needs, but Nathan was the one that was depended upon for the friendship and emotional care that was so very needed.

"A friend loveth at all times; And a brother is born for adversity." Nathan was such a friend and brother. He was his brother's protector, even from a young age. Daniel received much more attention due to his illness and hospitalizations and it was true for Nathan as it often is for siblings of chronically ill children, he was sometimes ignored and left on his own with others who would take care of him while I was away from home caring for Daniel. Even with this, along with his own fears for Daniel's life, Nathan never was bitter towards his brother; he watched over him, loving him and desiring to be a good buddy.

Daniel's life without Nathan would have been much bleaker. The two shared such a special relationship throughout their life and their love and friendship grew and much of this was possible due to Nathan's unselfish love he had for his brother. He gave much of himself and allowed himself to be pushed in the background while Daniel stood out forefront. Even now, as he continues on without his brother, Nathan is directing everyone's thoughts to his brother and away from himself.

In later years, Nathan gave Daniel a sister when he married Lorraine. Daniel couldn't have asked for a better sister. From the beginning, she gave him love and attention and freely shared Nathan with him. During her first year of marriage she offered her home to Daniel whenever he needed a place to stay as he was seeing doctors in the northeast, where she and Nathan were living at the time. Her unselfishness lasted throughout the past years and she was always willing to see to her brother's needs, whether it was her own time and energy or allowing Nathan to spend time with him, never complaining, but unselfishly helping in any way she could.

When Nathan and Lorraine were in college in NYC and having all the stress of not only studying but living in a very stressful environment they would make the time and use their energy and take the train to Philadelphia where Daniel was hospitalized. How they both were able to complete their schooling and doing a good job with it, I'll  never know. In these last months of hospitalization Daniel was fortunate to be just over an hour away from Nathan and Lorraine, and true to their dedication, he was often blessed with their presence.

Daniel depended on their medical knowledge and their support with what he was going through. He trusted them and he knew they only wanted what was best for him. He knew when he was down, they would not only cheer him up, but cheer him on. They were a source of spiritual strength and their presence during the worship service in his hospital room always made the day better.

Nathan was the best friend and best caregiver of his brother from Daniel's birth to his last breath. It was Nathan who sat by him in the last hours, holding his hand, keeping watch over him, reassuring him with a smile and a nod that all was well even as his own heart was breaking from the depths of sorrow. Lorraine, standing by Nathan's side, ever caring, always supporting her husband and brother, with cries rushing out as Daniel's heart was, at last, giving out. She was my strength in those last hours and I'll never forget her warm hugs and tears as her own heart was breaking.

I love my children; my sons and my daughter. I love how they loved and cared for each other. Daniel was blessed by his two friends and caregivers, Nathan and Lorraine. Their bond will ever hold tightly even while they are separated for a time, until that great day when we're all reunited once again in eternal life with God's family, never to say good-bye again.

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The Man Lost Something More Valuable Than His Legs...

Pat Gates

I saw a documentary about people with spinal cord injuries. One man was paralyzed form the waist down and had to work hard to regain the use of his upper body. As he was discussing the emotional ups and downs of the first weeks after his injury, his eyes filled with tears and he said, "I wish I had my friends. some called and told me they couldn't bear to see me like this, others never call or visit. It would have helped me so much if they would have come to see me and told me they loved me."

Desertion of friends occurs often when chronic illness or injury strikes and it happens among God's people. Friends become so afraid they'll say the wrong thing or not know what to say they decide it's best if they say or do nothing. This is hurtful to the ill/disabled as it causes feelings of neglect and feeling unloved, not to mention loneliness. It would be much better if a friend would visit and say, "I don't know what to say, but I love you and am here for you." This doesn't cause offense, rather it is a statement that their friendship is not based on the external.

If the injured man's friend would have realized that a loss of legs does not mean a loss of the individual, they would have gained an even closer relationship as the they all now have more understanding of the value of friendship. Little did the friends know how much they needed this man. Their separation caused anxiety in their friend and he could identity with David's feelings in Psalm 142:4: "Look on my right hand and see, for there is no one who acknowledges me; refuge has failed me; no one cares for my soul."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

True Friendship

"A friend loves at all times and a brother is born for adversity." Proverbs 17:17

"Ointment and perfume delight the heart, and the sweetness of a man's friend does so by heart counsel. Do not forsake your own friend or your father's friend, nor go to your father's house in the day of your calamity; for better is a neighbor nearby than a brother far away." Proverbs 27:9-10

"As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend." Proverbs 27:4

"To him who is afflicted, kindness should be shown by his friend." Job 6:14

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Good Heart – Good Work

Warren E. Berkley

“Do all things without complaining and disputing,” Phil. 2:14.

When grandchildren visit us, we often urge them to spend some time in a playroom we have set up for them. Their toys are located in this room, and it is minimally child-proofed. During their visit they can take all the toys out of the toy box and spread them over the floor for proper use. At the end of day’s activities, house rules require they put all the toys away. They do this, because we give them no choice. Often, if not always, the work is accompanied by complaining. They do the work but complain.

This is understood behavior with children 5 and under. We do all we can to teach them better attitudes and patiently wait for those to appear. Yet there remains a degree of acceptance when a little child behaves in this manner.

Adults enjoy no such excuse or exemption. To perform duty but complain about it is not becoming Christians. Further, when work is accompanied by a complaining attitude, the product is usually inferior. Not to mention the irritation imposed on your co-workers.

Good work should be done with a good heart. First, this is pleasing to God (see the passage above expressing His will). Second, it is easier to work and produce good results when your heart is right. Third, it is more pleasant for your coworkers.

“Do all things without complaining and disputing.”

By Warren E. Berkley
Final Page
From Expository Files 10.6; June 2003

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Ten Ways to Love.

As a caregiver, you are often experiencing a myriad of emotions at any given time. Try to remember to always walk and act in love. The following list references thoughts to keep in mind as you continue on this journey.

1. Listen without interrupting. (Proverbs 18)

2. Speak without accusing. (James 1:19)

3. Give without sparing. (Proverbs 21:26)

4. Pray without ceasing. (Colossians 1:9)

5. Answer without arguing. (Proverbs 17:1)

6. Share without pretending. (Ephesians 4:15)

7. Enjoy without complaint. (Philippians 2:14)

8. Trust without wavering. (1 Corinthians 13:7)

9. Forgive without punishing. (Colossians 3:13)

10. Promise without forgetting. (Proverbs 13:12)

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Letting Go

author unknown 

To "let go" does not mean to stop caring,
it means I can't do it for someone else.

To "let go" is not to cut myself off,
it's the realization I can't control another.

To "let go" is not to enable,
but to allow learning from natural consequences.

To "let go" is to admit powerlessness,
which means the outcome is not in my hands.

To "let go" is not to try to change or blame another,
it's to make the most of myself.

To "let go" is not to care for,
but to care about.

To "let go" is not to fix,
but to be supportive.

To "let go" is not to judge,
but to allow another to be a human being.

To "let go" is not to be in the middle arranging the outcomes,
but to allow others to affect their own destinies.

To "let go" is not to be protective,
it's to permit another to face reality.

To "let go" is not to deny,
but to accept.

To "let go" it not to nag, scold or argue,
but instead to search out my own shortcomings, and correct them.

To "let go" is not to adjust everything to my desires
but to take each day as it comes,
and cherish myself in it.

To "let go" is not to criticize and regulate anybody
but to try to become what I dream I can be.

To "let go" is not to regret the past,
but to grow and live for the future.

To "let go" is to fear less,
and love more.

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"And She Waited On Them"

 Hal Hammons

Aren't women amazing? Scientists tell us women are more capable of enduring physical and mental strain than men, but didn't we already know that? It takes a remarkable set of circumstances to "keep a good woman down." The fever afflicting Simon Peter's mother-in-law in Mark 1:29-31 obviously was in that category. It was not only enough to keep her home from Sabbath services in the synagogue, but also enough to confine her to her bed (a good lesson for all of us with "headaches" on Sunday morning).

The text tells us that Jesus healed her of her malady. But the lesson I would like to draw is not one relating to the power of the Lord, but rather the power of service. As soon as she was healed, the text tells us, "she waited on them". Obviously she was healed sufficiently to work around the house, but no "healing" appears to have been necessary in her work ethic. She jumped at the first opportunity to care for her family, friends, and Lord.

If we get in the habit of waiting for the excuses for non-action to be removed before we act in God's service, we soon will find we need no excuses at all. How refreshing it is to see good sisters in Christ, often beset with infirmities, exerting themselves as much as possible to care for those even more afflicted than themselves. What an encouragement they are to us - and what an example as well. Many of us "big strong men" look spiritually scrawny next to some of these ladies. Remember this unnamed woman's example, and the admonition of our Lord - "We must work the works of Him who sent Me, as long as it is day; night is coming, when no man can work." (John 9:4)


From Expository Files 7.10; October 2000

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 Rise Above Criticism

Former U.S. President John F. Kennedy received endless advice and criticism from the media concerning how he should run the country. Much of it he took good-naturedly. In fact, he often used a favorite story in response to the media’s comments about how they thought he could do a better job.

He told about a legendary baseball player who always played flawlessly. He consistently hit when at bat and was never thrown out at first. When on base he never failed to score. As a fielder, he never dropped a ball and he threw with unerring accuracy. He ran swiftly and played gracefully.

In fact, he would have been one of the all-time greats except for one thing–no one could ever persuade him to put down his beer and hotdog and come out of the press box to play!

Most of us can empathize, for we all have people in our lives who criticize and second-guess. They are quick to point out flaws and quicker yet to offer advice.

When it comes to receiving criticism, I believe it helps to remember first that not all criticism is invalid. Wisdom listens for the kernel of truth and saves it for future growth. But when criticism seems unfair, I believe it helps to remember the hawk. When attacked by crows, it does not counterattack. Instead, the hawk soars higher and higher in ever- widening circles until the pests leave it alone.

When there is nothing to learn from criticism, can you rise above it and soar?

Steve Goodier

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I Don’t Go To Funerals Or Nursing Homes
By Phil Morgan

I have met a surprising number of adults who have strong feelings against going to funerals or visiting in nursing homes. Frequently, children are also insulated from these realities of life when mom and dad don’t visit during these times of need.

Admittedly, these are difficult choices for everyone. To some, a visit to a nursing home is so depressing that recovery takes weeks. Funerals can be horrifying experiences, leading to nightmares and scenes which we cannot get out of our minds. Others fear not knowing what to say, or the embarrassment caused by an uncontrollable display of emotion.

But how sad to let such things keep us (and our children) from comforting the suffering or consoling the grieved. How sad to live a life of vague denial, only to one day reach its end and be unable to do anything more than feel cheated.

We live in a society that prefers to ignore painful, unfavorable realities. Sickness, disability, and death are viewed as unwelcome intruders who come to steal away a loved one or the happy, healthy, carefree life we are "supposed to have." It is unfortunate, and unnecessary, to develop such negative feelings toward the inevitable. A 17th century preacher named Increase Mather received from a friend a letter asking if he was "still in the land of the living." "No," he replied, "I am in the land of the dying. I am going to the land of the living."

Please read Ecclesiastes 7:2-4. God is not recommending a morbid preoccupation with sorrow and death, but He is asking us to be wise and embrace such things as the realities of life. When we come to understand "that death is the end of every man," we have made a giant step toward right living in this life, and toward proper preparation for the life to come.

As a preacher, I understand well the difficulty of going to such places. Yet, consider for a moment how much more difficult it is for the person in the home, or the family, who has lost a loved one, if you are not there. Just being there says more than a thousand words!

http://www.knollwoodchurch.org

Better to go to the house of mourning
Than to go to the house of feasting,
For that is the end of all men;
And the living will take it to heart.
Sorrow is better than laughter,
For by a sad countenance the heart is made better.
The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,
But the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.
Ecclesiates 7:2-4

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 Gift Ideas for Those in Nursing Homes

* (If you bring food be sure it doesn't interfere with any special diet they may be on.)

Home cooked meals and desserts.

Food from a favorite restaurant or A hamburger from their favorite fast food restaurant.

Candy.

Fresh fruit.

Milkshake, coke, or a favorite drink they can't get in the nursing home.

A padded sheepskin cover for their wheelchair, chair, or bed to make them more comfortable.

Check out their pillow. If it is a standard nursing home pillow, hard and flat, then bring them a nice pillow that fits their needs (some may need more height, others don't).

Note cards and stamps.

Box of various cards (birthday, sympathy, thank you) and stamps.

Something to do with their hands.

Books, magazines.

CD of songs, hymns, sermons.

Children's drawings.

Photo album filled with pictures and comments from friends, family, or local congregation.

Church bulletin as well as news of the local congregation.

Well behaved children and babies.

Well behaved small dogs with permission if the one you are visiting is a dog lover.

Hymn book.

Decorate their rooms for the holidays.

A magnifying glass.

Crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, word games. Don't forget a pencil with a pencil sharpener.