Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Am I Worthy?

We can make the mistake of thinking that prayer requires heroic efforts, a certain lifestyle or a mindset that is clear and unconfused. We can think ourselves out of praying. There are, of course, times when we pray out of some terror that has surrounded us. We know we are desperate for God’s immediate aid, if we are to continue breathing the breath of life. At times like those, our prayer is often little more than one word, Help. Yet, apart from those times of desperation, we can shy away from developing a regular and steady prayer practice because we think God has certain criteria that will either be difficult or impossible to meet. Instead, we continue chugging out our days and nights, struggling alone with our trials and temptations, our hurts and questions, our stress and anxiety, with only a casual communication with the loving Creator.

This is the surprise; there are no criteria. There are no expectations. We do not have to become perfect before we pray. We do not have to achieve holiness before heaven will stoop to hear our poor and paltry voice. It takes only a glance, an intention, a sliver of desire, a moment of acknowledgement, and suddenly, the gap that seemed as wide as a valley becomes as close as a whisper, out of a recognition that God has come near.

Lord, help me to no longer be overly concerned as to the whens or whys or hows when it comes to prayer and just simply remember that it is the Who that I am praying to that matter. You receive all of our prayers in the same way you love us—unconditionally. Thank You. Amen.

James 4:8 Come near to God and he will come near to you…

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Recognizing a Stroke

Remember the '3' steps, STR (first 3 letters of the word STROKE)

Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster. The stroke victim may suffer severe brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke.

The first 3 hours are critical to reverse the effects of a stroke. Now doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions:

1. S - Ask the individual to SMILE.
2. T - Ask the person to TALK and speak a simple sentence coherently. (i.e. It is sunny out today.)
3. R - Ask them to RAISE both arms.

New Sign of a Stroke -------- Stick out Your Tongue
NOTE: Another 'sign' of a stroke is this: Ask the person to 'stick' out his tongue. If the tongue is 'crooked', if it goes to one side or the other, that is also an indication of a stroke.

If he or she has trouble with ANY ONE of these tasks, call emergency number immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Body of Christ

As part of Christ’s body, we each have been given a special role to play. Each member of the body is important and belongs to every other member of the body. We need one another, and we each have a work to do. When every member of the body does its work, the body is healthy and grows to be all God wants it to be. Your part is needed. The Word says if you are not doing your part, you are actually missed.

Did you know that each and every member of the body has received gifts and talents to be used? Yes that’s right…you! God has gifted you. You know what? He has done so not for your benefit but for the benefit of others! Our gifts are to be used build up others and to build up His church! We were created to be in community with one another. To do life together, not as individuals, but as fellow journeyers seeking to grow closer to God and to one another, one relational opportunity at a time.

Reflect upon how you are using the gifts that God has given you. How are they being shared with others around you? Are you seeing the opportunities, the intersections along the way, where God has placed someone or something that needs what God has given you to share?

Lord, please reveal to me the gifts You have given me. Show me the special function You have for me within the Body of Christ. Please enable all believers to use their gifts for Your glory. Allow us to help build your church one relationship at a time. Amen.

Romans 12:6-8 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

Monday, March 22, 2010


Ever thought that you were strategically placed? Where you live, work, or go to school—all of it is for a purpose. God chose the exact time and place where you would be living right now! You are part of a bigger plan, His plan. You were placed here for a purpose.

Sometimes it is hard to see God’s plan when you are in the middle of the practical duties of everyday life. It can all become so routine and sometimes burdensome. Trust Him; He has a purpose for you right here. Pray and ask Him to show you. Some of us just may need a little reminder.

Lord, show me what my part is. How am I strategically placed? Use me for Your Kingdom work. Empower me to do things I never thought I could do. Amen.

Acts 17:26-28 From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Take Responsibility for Your Health - Now!

Today is an historic day. With all of the debate and voting taking place in Washington tonight, I step back and wonder how we ever got to this point - the point at which we must rely on the government to provide mandated health coverage for everyone. At what point do we, as individuals, accept responsibility for our individual choices?

My mother was a smoker - 2 packs of cigarettes a day, since the age of 16. She ate reasonably well, but was not obsessive about it. Kept her weight within reasonable range - however, she ended up having a massive stroke at the age of 41 and died from it.

We all must do a better job of eating well, exercising regularly (3x/week or more), avoid excessive alcohol consumption, don't smoke and make healthy decisions that will help you and your family live a better quality of life. It is that simple. But, it is a lifelong commitment. There are times when it will be hard. Know that now. Anyone who tells you otherwise is not being realistic and truthful. You will have chocolate cravings, ice cream cravings, sugar cravings, potato chip cravings - it is ok. Have a small portion to satisfy the craving then walk away. In fact, go for a walk to take your mind off of the food.

We have lived in a society where we allowed people to eat excessive amounts of fried or fast food, smoke cigarettes and sit around the house omitting exercise from any part of daily living. Now that we, as a country, are paying for each of our lifestyle habits and behaviors through a government run health care program, don't expect your neighbors around you to be silent observers. Get ready for the comments, suggestions and (yes) offers of help and encouragement. We all are now in this together. Especially financially. We will be paying for this coverage for generations to come.

My hope is that there will be programs in place to help with behavior change - encouraging those with chronic conditions (or close to getting a chronic condition) to learn how to eat well, select healthy food options in the grocery story, learn how to prepare foods that are low fat. This is CHANGE we all can count on. It must be learned. There must be support and encouragement from those who have the knowledge, time and resources to teach others. This behavior change is what will positively impact our generation and those that follow. Having a program to pay for our health is simply too simple. There must be more of an incentive - we must change our lifestyle to that of a healthier one. Our future,and our grand children's future, depends on it!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

21 Suggestions for Success

-By H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
1. Marry the right person. This one decision will determine 90% of your happiness or misery.
2. Work at something you enjoy and that’s worthy of your time and talent.
3. Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.
4. Become the most positive and enthusiastic person you know.
5. Be forgiving of yourself and others.
6. Be generous.
7. Have a grateful heart.
8. Persistence, persistence, persistence.
9. Discipline yourself to save money on even the most modest salary.
10. Treat everyone you meet like you want to be treated.
11. Commit yourself to constant improvement.
12. Commit yourself to quality.
13. Understand that happiness is not based on possessions, power or prestige, but on relationships with people you love and respect.
14. Be loyal.
15. Be honest.
16. Be a self-starter.
17. Be decisive even if it means you’ll sometimes be wrong.
18. Stop blaming others. Take responsibility for every area of your life.
19. Be bold and courageous. When you look back on your life, you’ll regret the things you didn’t do more than the ones you did.
20. Take good care of those you love.
21. Don’t do anything that wouldn’t make your Mom proud.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

You Say. . . God Says

“It's impossible.” ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE. (Luke 18:27)
“I'm too tired”. I WILL GIVE YOU REST. (Matthew 11:28-30)
“Nobody really loves me.” I LOVE YOU. (John 3:16, John 3:34)
“I can't go on.” MY GRACE IS SUFFICIENT. (II Corinthians 12:9 & Psalm 91:15)
“I can't figure things out.” I WILL DIRECT YOUR STEPS. (Proverbs 3:5- 6)
“I can't do it.” YOU CAN DO ALL THINGS. (Philippians 4:13)
“I'm not able.” I AM ABLE. (II Corinthians 9:8)
“It's not worth it.” IT WILL BE WORTH IT. (Roman 8:28)
“I can't forgive myself.” I FORGIVE YOU. (I John 1:9 & Romans 8:1)
“I can't manage.” I WILL SUPPLY ALL YOUR NEEDS. (Philippians 4:19)
“I'm afraid.” I HAVE NOT GIVEN YOU A SPIRIT OF FEAR. (II Timothy 1:7)
“I'm always worried & frustrated.” CAST ALL YOUR CARES ON ME. (I Peter 5:7)
“I'm not smart enough.” I GIVE YOU WISDOM. (I Corinthians 1:30)
“I feel all alone.” I WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU OR FORSAKE YOU. (Hebrews 13:5)