Carefully Staying Within The Safety Net
of God's Grace
article firmly established the crucifixion and the resurrection of Christ are the fulfillment of multiple
prophecies that lead us heavenward. However, that prize is not automatically ours, but is attainable only due to, and through
the grace of God. It remains in our control to accept or refuse His offer of salvation. God's grace
could be compared to a life preserver He is extending to mankind that must be gratefully grasped through obedience
and “hung onto” with faith until death. The Devil cannot snatch us from God's lovingly outstretched hand that
holds the life preserver, but he lures and deceives us as he has mankind throughout the ages. My sheep listen to my voice;
I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out
of My hand. My Father who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's
hand. I and my Father are one. John 10:27-29.
The Devil desires to have us so he is offering the
world and its evil temptations to us in exchange for heaven. Christ was tempted as we are, but wisely chose to decline the
Devil's offers. We can also reject the Devil's plan to destroy our present happiness, and even more devastating,
our future eternal happiness. God freely gives us the right to choose a peaceful eternity with Him or a
painful eternity in the Devil's hell, suffering, while regretting the bad choices we made that put us there. Remember the
rich man. He was lifting up his eyes in hell where he was in torment because of the bad choices he had made in his life while
on this earth. Luke 16:22-24.
Since heaven is our goal, as we look at this in black and white, doesn't
it look like our choices would always be easy to make? Then why do we so often allow ourselves to fall from grace knowing
we are putting Satan in charge? We cannot claim that God forsook us so we must accept the consequences of our thoughtless,
poor decisions. You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward
God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. James 4:4.
This month, I am addressing a subject
I fervently wish I had no need to discuss, but sadly this is not the case. A very precious sister in Christ who is deeply
concerned about the immodesty that is being flaunted in the name of fashion (the devil's workshop) has requested the following
study. This post is directed toward no one, but is meant to stir up ALL of our pure minds so that we can make enlightened
decisions and more carefully assess what we can do to improve this blight on the Lord's name. Immodesty is
a blatant problem, not only on the streets and beaches, but has also become a blight in our places of worship. There is no
doubt the Devil is making progress in this area, causing multitudes of souls, young and old alike, to lose sight of the goal
of heaven. We are rightfully disturbed and embarrassed by what the Devil has managed to place on our televisions, computers,
movies and electronic devices that our young people are being continuously exposed to. But let's think seriously about it.
Are we becoming callous to the point of ignoring this problem that is spreading like a virus?
Giving diligent thought to the
following may help us avoid allowing the Devil to deceive us as he did Eve. First let us consider; if we are saved through
repentance, confession and baptism, (Acts 2:38, Romans 10:9-10) then we are clothed with Christ.
You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed
yourself with Christ. Gal:3:27. Flee
from sexual immorality. All other sins man commits are outside the body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.
Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you received from God?
You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. 1
Are we quenching the Spirit by ignoring immodesty? Do not put out
the Spirit's fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold onto the good. Avoid
every kind of evil. 1Thessalonians 5:19-22. Knowing this, how ought we to dress?
I also want women to dress modestly, (not extreme) with decency (proper and fitting)
and propriety (correct, suitable, respectable) not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive
clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.
1 Timothy 2:9-10. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry
and fine clothes. Instead it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is
of great worth in God's sight. 1 Peter 3:3-4.
Since we are to honor God with our bodies we must dress as we believe God
would dress us. This would automatically take the focus from fashion and expensive clothing to our hearts. Are we willing
to forgo the desire to be pleasing to men, but rather desire to be pleasing to our creator? When we dress ourselves are we
choosing clothing that we would want to wear before God in Judgment? If we were standing before God would we be grabbing the
front of our dress or blouse to pull it up higher to cover the cleavage that we bared to please men? And why else would we
choose the low cut necklines? And may I say, not all men are pleased to see that part of our body. Women's breasts create
sexual desire in men. One Bible class teacher made this statement; “Ladies please cover that part of your body UP.”
And he is no longer a young man. Both young and older men are tempted alike. Godly men do not want to be caused to lust.
If you think your
blouse, pants or dress might just be alright, stand before a mirror and bend over to see what is showing. You may want to
change your mind about that piece of clothing. Is your skirt too tight, too short? Again, bend over in front of a mirror to
see what you look like from the back. What do we show when we sit down? Do we as women sometimes inaccurately believe that
modesty is a choice for us alone, and think the way we dress affects us alone? Caution; that is a worldly view that Satan
has created and is a lie just like the one he invented to deceive Eve. Men's minds can go from seeing a woman in tight clothing
such as jeans or yoga pants to undressing her. This is being very blunt, but we desperately need to understand that we are
causing a huge problem for the male Christians we come in contact with. And now we can ask ourselves if we want to be responsible
for causing men to sin. Consider the following:
In a world where camisoles
are worn as outerwear, the subjects of modesty, propriety, shamefastness, discretion, and chastity all sound kind of old-fashioned.
Many have forgotten that the original and primary function of clothing is to cover one's nakedness (Gen. 3:7-11, 21), not
to accentuate it. Yet much of the clothing being produced, pushed, and purchased for public viewing is designed to emphasize,
enhance, and increase one's sex appeal.
Clothing is a means of communication. Garments
which expose the breasts show more than mammary glands. The wearing of these garments reveals attitudes that range
from naive to flaunting to seductive, regarding a part of the body whose erogenous (sexually stimulating) nature is well attested
to in Scripture (Prov. 5:19; Song of Sol. 1:13, 4:5, 7:3,7,8; Ezek. 23:3,21; Hos. 2:2). Conversely, the modestly adorned woman
communicates meekness, respect, and good works (1 Tim. 2:9,10; 1 Pet. 3:2-4) and will be noticed and appreciated by honorable
Come on, ladies and sisters in Christ, teach the younger women (your daughters
first and foremost) to be discreet and chaste (Titus 2:5); and lead them by example. Communicate propriety, godliness, and
purity in your adornment. Your brothers in Christ would appreciate the help in the battle between flesh and spirit. ANDY DIESTELKAMP (preacher of the gospel).
And another: "As a Christian guy, modesty is SO attractive. I do not mean attractive in a lustful way,
but that to see a girl living out God's standards in her life is really beautiful. And you have no idea how much you would
be helping your Christian brothers by being modest" (Age 16)
Is it possible for me to leave
you with an exact standard as to what is too short, too tight, too low cut, too showy, too expensive or too sexually alluring?
Such information is not possible as some of this depends on women's bodies. What might not be too tight on a small
frame might be sinfully tight on someone with a fuller figure. However, the fitting answer to what is and
what is not appropriate is to let our hearts make that decision according to the knowledge and wisdom found in God's word.
If in doubt, we should choose the safe decision and wear something we can be sure God is pleased with. Therefore, I urge you brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your
bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship. Romans 12:1
And this is
my prayer; that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you
may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit
of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the honor and praise of God. Philippians 1:9-11.
Please use any
or all of the above article to accomplish the following:
Older women are to train the young women to be self-controlled
and pure. Titus 2:4-5. The American Standard uses the word chaste and
the NIV uses pure. Chaste in the Greek is hagnos which means, according to Strong's, "properly clean, that is, (figuratively)
innocent, modest, perfect - chaste, clean, pure."
Parents and Immodesty
She went into
the streets one night,
Her jeans were OH! so very tight.
She felt no shame, her spirits high.
But she didn't see the man nearby.
But he saw her
with lustful eyes,
And then he took her by surprise!
Another virgin is no more,
Resulting from the clothes she wore.
But when our daughters dress that way
Do we just turn
our heads and say,
It's fashion! Surely it is not a sin!
But are we the guardians we should have been?
Within The Network of God's Grace" (continued)
But the wisdom from above
is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable (easy to be entreated ASV), full of mercy and good
fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. (James 3:17, NASV).
As we consider the wisdom from above, as
older women, are we allowing the Devil to whisper in our ears that we are too old to be of meaningful service to our Master?
That our memory is not as good as it used to be; we have become too slow; we have done our job so let the younger ones take
over, etc? As we recall 1 Peter 5:8, The Devil is like a roaring lion, seeking those he may devour, we also
remember Genesis 4:7, Sin is couching at your door;it desires to have you, but you must master it. We must master
temptations, such as the temptation to neglect doing what is still within our capability to do. Ecclesiastes 9:10, Whatever
your hands find to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where we are going,
there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.
II Samuel 22:33, It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. If our God
provides us with strength, then it follows that He expects us to use it as His servants. What an honor it is to
serve our all powerful, all knowing God! As older women we serve, while also remembering the widow's two mites, worth
a fraction of a penny. Mark 14:42. Jesus praised her highly for giving all that she had, even though it was such a tiny
bit. May we continue to serve our God even though we may not have as much to give as we formerly had. God expects the best
we have to offer, but no more. He is a loving and just God.
The following quote is from Joann Thomas: "Sometimes
the best helping hand you can get is a good firm push." This may come in the form of an example, a sermon,
a scripture or scriptures, a kind reminder, or even an unkind criticism. However it comes, it can be helpful in saving our
souls from being lost, and we can and should be most grateful for it. Proverbs 15:31, He who listens to a life-giving
rebuke will be at home among the wise.
So now that we have determined there is still valuable work left for us
to do as long as God grants us life and capability, let us evaluate our remaining God-given talents. Of course, evaluating
is very personal and varies from person to person, according to our abilities and our situation, since that is how we will
be judged. And, let us pause here to say that God warns us to not try to help with His judging. Matthew 7:1-2, Do not
judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use,
it will be measured to you. He judged his servants righteously in the parable of the talents. Matthew 25:14-30.
Since judging belongs to the one and only righteous judge we must continuously remind ourselves that it is
so easy for us to quickly judge others' decisions and circumstances when we need to be more carefully watching our own. I
am reminded of Rom 14:13, Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put
a stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way.
Since God has not yet asked us for our talents they
are still worthy of gain, are they not? But only, of course, if we are willing to use them. We might consider being good examples
to those younger than ourselves as a talent (something of value to them), thus not putting an obstacle in our brother's way.
That may sound easy enough to do, when in reality it can become very difficult when we are in pain or feeling unloved or unappreciated.
Something we need to keep in mind is that as we age, if we are required to suffer, pain naturally causes us to focus on ourselves.
This means, at some point, we can become very self-centered (not a good example) unless we continually guard against it. To
quote Jason Moore, "Self-pity brings God no profit." I might add that it is a debit to our love account.
We must also be understanding that there may be a time when someone reaches a point in their suffering when they can no longer
think of anyone but themselves and their intense suffering. And then it is our job to see that they are properly cared for,
spiritually and bodily, without criticism or neglect.
If we ourselves are ill, focusing our thoughts and attention on others
can help eliminate the problem of self-pity. I once helped care for a sister in Christ who lived with great physical pain,
however she continually focused her thoughts on the needs of others. She was a nurse and even as she was dying in a hospital
emergency room she asked to be able to go to the patient in the cubicle next to her to comfort her
in her pain. We, too, need to be that kind of example to others who are watching to see if our faith sustains us
as our health declines and trials arise. This kind of service reminds me of the song, "None of self, and all of Thee".
We CAN do it because we are God's children, just as Christ suffered to please His Father.
This very special time in our life will require continual renewal of our spiritual strength.
God has granted us the privilege of direct communication with Him. Just as Christ prayed to Him and was heard, we can also
pray knowing He hears us. We can also depend on scriptures to lead us to better see the "light at the end of this tunnel
of suffering." We have the privilege of listening to the scriptures from a CD or we may need to ask someone to read them
to us. Please do not hesitate to have someone read them to you if the that need arises. We do not want to rob a brother or
sister of that privilege of serving God by serving us.
Special consideration of a scripture that will
comfort us and keep us from becoming self-centered could be Isaiah 46:4. Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He who
will sustain you. I have made you; I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. Comforting scriptures
are legion but personally, when I find I am becoming stressed my mind automatically takes me to Psalms 23. There
I feel the wonderful consolation of God melt away the stress as I picture myself being led by the quiet waters
by my Master, the loving Shepherd! Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear
no evil, for You are with me;your rod and your staff they comfort me, Psalm 23:4. Can our minds grasp the meaning and
the magnitude of this gift? What comforting and blessed assurance. God's gift of love. My cup runneth over!
There are many other considerations for us to pursue in the coming months, but may I leave you with the following
scriptures: Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the
Lord. As you know we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the
Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy. James 5:10-11.
I observe the tides as they come and go
In her Christian life as she struggles so.
And I've watched her gait beome Oh, so slow,
And the pain she endures we cannot know.
Though suffering, a smile adorns her face,
cry or complain would be "out of place."
chair that holds her, as though in chains
Does little to
help assuage her pain.
Yet, her prayers are only of thankfulness,
And petitions for others who are in distress.
Her God, her Maker will sustain,
And His will for her, she sees as plain;
others, an example be!
Of a Christian woman for all to
Not a haughty person, filled with pride,
But a gentle woman in whom God abides!
This was written
while caring for a former patient,
Smith was a true servant of God.
Staying Within the Network of God's Grace
~ Serving While Accepting Care
From Others ~
Continuing the thought of being
useful "OLDER" servants...
While this is not wholly a happy, "feel-good" article, if we can help ourselves or some loved one to receive
better care or accept care in a better way by showing patience and gratitude, we will have served well. The time will probably
come when I will need to be reading this every day!
If we are disabled to the point of requiring the help of others, family or otherwise, we can strive to be good examples
of selflessness. Even when we feel we have become prisoners in our own home because
of our frailties, we still need to be prudent, considerate and unselfish in our expectations of others. And, perhaps one of
the first things we need to acknowledge is that we should not criticize others or be angry with them if we feel they are failing
in their responsibility toward us. A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.
Proverbs 19:11. If we have not yet learned patience, frailties of old age are great teachers, but only if we allow them
to be. I have been a slow learner!
Being considerate and unselfish may
be very hard at times, but let us think of ourselves as having a resilient spirit that is indomitable and cannot be conquered
by our Satan or our pain. What,then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?
He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all--how will He not also, along with Him, graciously
give us all things? Romans 8:31. By remaining resilient and relying on God we can remain active and self-sufficient much
longer than the patient who gives in to their pain and weakness and their desire to be served.
Love for our family and friends should cause us to want
to do all we can for ourselves by ourselves, and their love for us can motivate them to be sure we receive all the care we
need. This is God's way, and His ways are perfect.
Another attribute of love is that it keeps no record of wrongs. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy,
it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always
perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. (Now, keeping no record of wrongs is a BIG one, but that is exactly
what we would like for Christ to do for us, isn't it? We would choose for Him to keep no record of our wrongs.) May we always
cling to forgiving others as we should, and persevere in our service to our God and Master.
Although it may be very hard for us
to accept, there may be a time when we will have no choice but to receive total care from others and we will
need to be gracefully and gratefully accepting of those who administer that care. We can certainly tell them
very kindly if they are hurting us in some way, physically or emotional, that can be avoided or made less painful, while we
recall the loving attitude Jesus maintained during the time He suffered. Following that with a word of gratitude for their
tender care would be most appropriate. Having been a nurse, I have observed that the patients who maintain "Christ-like"
attitudes receive the most ungrudging care. Paul's admonishment in Colossians 3:12, Therefore, as God's chosen people,
holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. If
we clothe ourselves with compassion and kindness we will be CLAD in it; fully covered! We will find it very hard to be unkind
to our caregivers if we are clothed in kindness. As someone has said, we can either become bitter or better. Gary Henry offers
this thought: "If suffering bathes our heart in humility and reminds us to lean on God it has done us a significant favor."
Leaning on God is our answer to suffering! "I can do everything through Him who gives me strength."
If we are well enough to find ourselves taking on the role of caregiver, we can be seen as good examples in that
role. My first thought, when I hear the word caregiver, is of Jesus lovingly leaving His precious mother in the care of the
apostle, John. What a blessing for both Mary and for John! We too, are blessed if we are also given that duty. May we ever
keep that in mind as we lovingly administer care as much as we are able. If our patient is home-bound, we have a great opportunity
to sit and quietly listen to them tell us their concerns, their needs, and their desires. They may have a problem with someone
that they feel needs to be worked out. This can prove to be very comforting to our patient if we can facilitate that happening.
As God's older servants we can offer loving,
helpful assistance to others if we are still able to do so. But we must first make that call to them to let them know
we are available and desire to help in whatever way we can.
be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through
the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade ˗̶ kept in heaven for you,
who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last
time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds
of trials. These have come so that your faith ˗̶ of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire ˗̶ may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and
honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 1Peter 1:3-7. (Though
the Holy Spirit, through the apostle Peter, may not be speaking to us here of physical illness, we can rejoice in the testing
of our faith that may be proved genuine)!
Here in the maddening maze of times when tossed by storm and flood, to one fixed ground my spirit clings, I KNOW
that God is good.・ Louis O. Caldwell
Our GOD of LOVE
The rustling of brilliant, sunlit leaves,
lovely gifts of birds and bees,
nodding of tree and flower;
Are all reminders
of God's great power.
Sunlight streams from heaven above,
A daily reminder of God's precious love.
A bank of clouds build in the west,
And soon with rain, the earth He'll bless!
fathom the love of God
Who gave us the beauty
The soothing patter of gentle
And birds that warble a sweet refrain?
His love unselfishly mingles down,
Overcoming all barriers in which men drown.
JOY and PEACE are borne of Him,
source of comfort, when hope grows dim.
And when the valley of death we near,
If saved, a reassuring voice we'll hear,
"Oh, come to Me, you who are so blessed!
And find 'MY HOUSE' a place of rest!"
Growing Old Gracefully
we continue the thought of caring for others as God would have us to do, there may be especially troubling issues we are faced
with. To cover all these facets of continuous care is an impossible task. However, it is my hope that we can attempt to apply
Biblical principles to these areas and gain the peace through that insight that is needed to carry on, remembering God is
our helper. The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside
quiet waters, He restores my soul. Psalm 23:1-2
If the person we are caring for is not a
believer in God, our task may be doubly difficult. Keeping in mind that we are not responsible for their actions or their
happiness just because we are responsible for their care will allow us to make better decisions about their care. It is not
in our power to control their emotions, so happiness, sadness, bitterness, ingratitude or anger is their choice. We just have
to be careful that OUR choices are acceptable to God as we deal with these problems. Problems such as anger caused by dementia
may rightly cause you to seek medical help or place the patient in a home that is designed to care for this type of patient.
loving, Bible-based boundaries is a tool that can help prevent many problems. Doing this at the outset of any unacceptable
behavior is probably the best time to do it, if possible. However, it may be better late than not at all.
boundaries should allow us to protect ourselves with acceptable limits as we also allow others to apply the same rules for
themselves. God has never asked us to “control others”. To counsel others? Definitely, Yes! I will praise
the Lord who counsels me, even at night my heart instructs me. Ps 16:7, But the counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father
will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. John 14:26, Let
the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another. Col 3:16 The mouth of the righteous
brings forth wisdom, but a perverse tongue will be cut off. Proverbs 10:31.
our boundaries should not allow us to seek to “control” others. they do allow us to say NO! If our patient, sister
in Christ, a friend or others are demanding more time than they really need, or whatever is unreasonable or unacceptable,
our boundary is set when we gently, but firmly say, “NO.” This does not mean that we should neglect personal time
with our patient, such as reading the Bible to them if they are unable to do that. But God,
who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus..." 2 Cor 7:6 (You
don't necessarily have to SAY anything to bring comfort to someone. Job's friends sat down with him for seven days
before they even spoke a word (Job 2:13). Sometimes our presence is the best comfort we can offer.) It does
mean we have the right to protect ourselves from being “overspent” physically and/or emotionally so that we become
resentful of the one we are trying to help. This means patient, friend or otherwise. Jesus counsels us in Matthew 5:17
to let our “Yes” be “Yes” and our “No”,
“No”. Anything beyond this comes from the evil one. Have we not heard
arguments led by young and old, after being told “no” concerning something they want, that have led to a hurtful
exchange of words and ended with hard feelings? God expects His “no” to always mean “NO”, and the
earlier we learn boundaries from Him the easier and better our lives will be. And so it is with our patient
and others. NO is not negotiable unless we find we are in the wrong for having said it. Only then do we need to apologize.
What belongs to us is our responsibility, but if we assume the responsibility for someone else in ways that are harmful
to them or to us, we are making a huge mistake. This might be in the form of doing things for them they can and should
be doing for themselves. It is good for all of us to remain as independent as possible. As
God's servants, we should be doing for others as long as we are able, but we must be careful to remain true to God as we protect
our boundaries. When we get up in the morning we can consciously dedicate our day to God and avoid many of the pitfalls the
Devil places in our paths.
I like Herman Cain's philosophy; “negatives always go up,”
meaning if we are negative it can cause others to follow in our footsteps. (This is one reason gossip can be so deadly in
congregations of the Lord's church. Most of the time, gossip carries a negative aspect with it in one form or another. It
takes discipline to control our tongues, but doing so avoids polluting our soul.) If our boundaries put another person in
a “negative” frame of mind, it becomes their problem, but we may have to work to keep from falling into their
same unacceptable frame of mind. But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God;may they be happy and joyful. Psalm
68:3 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that
you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13
is a behavior that flows from God's love. It is behavior that is gentle, pure and totally rooted in good, and for the good
of another person... kindness is a loving behavior that is gentle and mellow.
Kindness, however, is not weak or wimpish.
It does not compromise with truth or back down during time of spiritual warfare. It never gives in to evil, nor stops speaking
about the goodness of God. Kindness is a manner of speaking and acting ... an attitude and quality of behavior Anonymous
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith, goodness, and to goodness, knowledge,
and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance, and to perseverance, godliness;and to godliness, brotherly
kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they
will keep you from being unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
And for each of you that is bearing
the burden of caring for someone, and for you who are carrying a heavy load, emotionally, my prayer for you is: Eph 3:14-20
~ For this reason I kneel before the Father…I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power
through His Spirit … that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints,
to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge that you
may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we
ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus…
God Gives Us Strength
God gives us strength from day unto day,
Perhaps through a friend we pass
on the way,
Or a brother or sister who sees our need,
And brightens our day with some kind deed.
God sends His sunshine, perhaps
through a smile,
Or a friend who comes to visit awhile.
Yes! God gives us strength from day unto day,
So let's be “that friend”
others pass on the way!
by Margaret Head
"But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted
us by the coming of Titus..." 2 Cor 7:6 You don't necessarily have to SAY anything to bring comfort to someone. Job's
friends sat down with him for seven days before they even spoke a word (Job 2:13). Sometimes our presence is the best comfort
we can offer.
Serving Others Who Have Lost a Loved One
by Margaret Head
have been considering our roles as older servants and what we may still be able to accomplish in keeping with God's Holy commands.
thought concerning continuing to serve, even though we may have a disability or have experienced a deep emotional loss, is
of the apostle Paul. Although God chose not to remove his “thorn in the flesh” 2 Corinthians 12:7-9,
telling him, “My grace is sufficient for you,” we continue to see Paul diligently carrying on the
Lord's work. His love for God did not diminish, nor did his thorn cause him to grumble or complain about it, but instead his
dedication to God continued to flourish and cause him to finish the laborious, life sacrificing service he had set out to
do. His life speaks volumes to us in this regard. Even though we may have been given our own “thorn in the flesh,”
we can can continue to reflect the “living sacrifice” we are admonished to live (Romans 12:1), as Paul
so lovingly and courageously did.
Paul was beaten seven times and was often hungry and thirsty (2 Corinthians 11:24-27).
Paul was called to be an apostle (Romans 1:1) and we are called to be saints (Romans 1:6-7). That
call gives us the privilege of also serving God even when the going is TOUGH! Christ was beaten, His flesh torn,
His life slowly drained from Him as he hung on the cruel cross of Calvary. Yet. His desire was sharply focused on pleasing
God, His Father and OURS. I love the Father and I do exactly what my Father has commanded me, John 14:31.
How can we ever consider blaming our God for any suffering we are called upon to do? Instead, we should thank Him that we
are found worthy to suffer. The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering
disgrace for the Name, Acts 5:41.
Perhaps we do not fully understand what suffering does
for us. In answer to that we can consider: Therefore since Christ
suffered in His body, arm yourselves with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. As
a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God, 1Peter
4:1. Now if we are children, then we are HEIRS -heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His
sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory, Romans 8:17. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight
in weakness, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong, 2
Corinthians 12:10. The
times I have suffered have proved to be invaluable teachers, causing me to grow spiritually, so that I am a more humble and
productive servant. May God be praised!
Perhaps our “thorn” is, or will be, picking
ourselves up and serving God faithfully after the death of our husband or our wife, the loving, helpful companion God gave
us to enjoy during our time on earth (Genesis 2:18 -24). We cannot expect anyone to fully understand widowhood except those who have experienced it. Are we able to understand
what eternal life is like? Or do we understand what marriage is like before the ceremony? The answer is, no! And, we cannot
understand the impact of widowhood as it is just as foreign to the human mind as eternity. Nevertheless, if we try to consider
the depth of pain related to this kind of loss our brother, sister or friend is experiencing, we can be better prepared to
comfort and console. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted, Matthew 5:4. God expects US
to be part of that comforting process. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the father of compassion
and the God of all comfort; Who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with
the comfort we ourselves have received from God, 2 Corinthians 1:3-4.
When we are given the opportunity
to help comfort someone who is grieving we may first want to ask ourselves what steps we would be taking if this person that
needs our comfort was a fleshly brother or sister. Then, should not our efforts be just as great or greater for our brother
or sister in Christ? That thought process will guide us so that we are not negligent about giving our time to make the calls,
write the sympathy cards, invite them for a meal or take food to them. Staying to eat with them may be one of the most comforting
things we could do. It is always best to ask permission to eat with them as they may have other plans or needs. Consider calling
ahead to ask if bringing food and staying to eat with them would be comforting to them, and if so, what food restrictions
they have, if any. Also, they may appreciate help with thank you notes or helping secure copies of the death certificate,
or changing beneficiaries on insurance policies, etc. These things are better handled by family members in most cases, but
there are those who do not have that blessing.
We must remember, the grieving is not over in a week, or a month or even
a year. The widow is missing the one who helped make the difficult decisions, the one she enjoyed meals with, the one who
comforted and consoled her. For men it may be an even bigger problem if they have not learned to cook, etc.. There
is a great need for support under these circumstances. Freezing food for him to eat later is often very much appreciated.
Evenings are lonely.
May we remember our obligation to make those calls, to offer our time and our comfort. However, true happiness will eventually
be regained by the grieving only by serving others as God requires, and just as Paul did. Blessed is the man who perseveres
under trial, because when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, James 1:12. Looking outward
and not inward is healing. We can do volunteer work at a hospital or nursing
home, etc. that will renew our strength so we can “soar as eagles.”
Young women who have become widows may
require even more help, especially if they have young children. At this point in the childrens' lives they
are probably needing support both spiritually and physically. Their mother is hurting so much emotionally it may be impossible
for her to provide the support they need. What a blessing we could be if we are able to help a child see Christ in us as we
help him/her toward reaching sound spiritual maturity. We can read Bible stories to them or help them with their Bible lessons
and of great value also, we can take them for a day or just for a walk, allowing them the opportunity to talk. These commandments
that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and
when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up, Deuteronomy 6:6-7. Following is a quote from an
unknown source: "A child is a blank page upon which we write with a permanent marker." Grandparents and friends
It is my prayer that as we consider these thoughts and search the scriptures together we can more clearly see our
roles as servants of the most Holy God who loves and serves His children. And may we delight in the law of the LORD as we
serve Him. Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in
the seat of mockers. But his DELIGHT is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night, Psalm 1:1-2.
REJOICE in following Your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. I will meditate on your precepts and consider your ways.
I DELIGHT in your decrees;I will not neglect Your Word, Psalm 119:14.
The following was written by the father of a young
son who has inoperable brain cancer. This family's trust in God is of value far above rubies or gold! Praise God for their
example of complete faith in Him. “It's sad to see the hopelessness of the people of the world. But we have HOPE through
our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We have plenty of work to do. So let's get busy......”
Dear Lord, we think we can't survive
Without some "loved one" in our lives.
Please be so kind as to help us see,
We are trying to plan our lives, not Thee!
Help us accept your firm advice
To let Your peace dwell in our lives,
And may we accept our burdens here
By knowing You are ever near.
Our bodies are not ours, but Thine!
So we ask for strength for each trying time,
And when we present our lives to Thee,
Dear God, may we have lived acceptably!