the importance of respect

My daughters and I went on a 15-mile bike ride today. During our ride, I noticed someone had spray-painted graffiti on the underside of a bridge.

We don’t have a lot graffiti in our small rural town, and when it does appear, it is usually covered up quickly (an excellent way, according to experts, to help prevent more graffiti).

The graffiti by the spray-paint “artists” brought to mind the destruction of property we are seeing on a daily basis in our country. Homes and businesses destroyed. Looters, people burning the property of others, and the list goes on.

When did we get to the point that it was all right to destroy the property, livelihoods, and lives of others?

When did it become all right to, just because we disagree with someone, their beliefs, or their actions, to outright deface, damage, destroy, or demolish their personal property? When did it become acceptable to ruin government property?

Property isn’t the only thing at risk. More disturbing is the general lack of disrespect for parents, other authority, older people, the handicapped, police officers, and people in general. If someone disagrees with someone, it no longer is enough to state your opinion calmly or courteously; there are now more damaging ways to make sure an opinion is heard. Injuring, harming, and even killing people no longer shocks us as much as it once did. We’ve become jaded to the horrific antics of those seeking revenge or acting in pettiness because something is not the way they want it.

Disrespect can stem from bad parenting, learned behavior, hatefulness, anger issues, etc. However, it is ultimately the perpetrator’s fault for their actions. No blame should be placed on others for evil behavior.

How can we teach our children to respect others?

Set a good example. If you are disrespectful to others, from the grocery store clerk to your employer, your children are bound to follow that example, no matter how many times you “tell” them to do the opposite.

From an early age, teach your children the importance of manners. “Please” and “thank you” are far too sparse in conversations these days.

Teach them to be generous and avoid selfishness. Putting others first is a critical component of avoiding self-centeredness.

Set an example for them on how to interact with those with whom you disagree. Role play ideas and encourage them to humbly and kindly state their position when it differs from yours.

Impress upon them the importance of honesty. Honesty and respect go hand in hand. Not too long ago, a friend of ours had her mailbox run over by the neighbor’s visitor to the neighborhood. Rather than admit to backing over the mailbox, the visitor denied it and lied to the police, even though there were witnesses. An easy solution would have been for honesty from the one who ran over the mailbox, a plan to have it repaired, and forgiveness. Instead, dishonesty got the crook off the hook.

Reiterate the importance of treating others how we would like to be treated. A good habit for all of us to remember is to ask ourselves before each action, “Would I like that done to me?” If the answer is “no”, then we shouldn’t be taking that action against others.

Remind them that not everyone is worthy of their respect. However, even so, we must remember that lashing out with destruction on someone’s person or personal property is never the answer.

Above all else, teach them to love and honor God. Respecting and revering our Lord is paramount to loving and honoring others.

Even if your children are no longer young, it is never to late to teach them the importance of respect. And as adults, it’s never too late for us to remember – and exemplify – that importance as well.

Other posts on this blog you may be interested in reading:

the importance of life

the importance of honesty

the importance of priorities

14 things for girls to consider before dating

Movie Monday: Signed, Sealed & Delivered Home Again (movie review)

Movie Monday: Invincible (movie review)

6 suggestions for getting through the rough times in life

6 suggestions for getting through

There is no problem God can’t solve.
There is no promise God can’t keep.
There is no prayer God can’t answer.
There is no person God can’t save.  ~ author unknown

I have no idea who wrote the above quote, but it’s a truthful statement that applies to anything life throws at us:

There is no problem God can’t solve – The husband who just lost his job and has no idea how he’ll support his family.  God can solve the problem of unemployment.

There is no promise God can’t keep – The teen who’s all alone and depressed with nowhere to turn. When God says He’ll never leave her nor forsake her, is that a promise she can trust? His promises in His Word are trustworthy.

There is no prayer God can’t answer – The bad news he just received that he has cancer. Does God hear the prayer that’s being sent for courage to endure and for the healing of an illness? He hears our every prayer.

sick man

There is no person God can’t save – The spiritually single woman who longs for her husband to know the saving grace of  Jesus Christ. No one is beyond God’s saving grace.

So what can we do when faced with the difficulties of life?

Here are some suggestions for getting through those particularly rough times.

1. Spend an abundant amount of time in prayer. I have found in my own life that the times when I’m going through difficulties are the times when I grow in my relationship with the Lord. I am reminded anew to surrender to Him, lean on Him, and put my hope in Him, in every situation.

2. Draw upon God’s Word. During a particularly rough time in 2007, I drew great comfort from Psalm 91.

Psalm 91 4To this day, it remains my favorite chapter in the Bible. Here are some other verses to lean on during the troubles of life.

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. ~ 1 Peter 5:7

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. ~ Matthew 11:28

Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you. ~ Psalm 55:22

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. ~ Psalm 46:1

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. ~ Proverbs 3:5-6

I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. ~ Psalm 121:1Psalm 121 1For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. ~ Isaiah 41:10

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. ~ Isaiah 40:29-31

3. Reach out to and rely on a friend, someone who’s faith is strong and someone who will be there for you for the duration of your situation. It’s true that you find out who your true friends are when you’re going through a difficult situation. That type of friend will be there for you through the good times…and the bad.friends4. Seek assistance from your pastor, one of the elders, or your Bible study leader. Many churches now have Biblical counselors who apply the Word of God to the hardships of life.

5. Ask for prayer support. One of the biggest blessings is our church’s prayer chain. Ask for prayer support from those you trust and who are committed to interceding for you.

6. Think of a way to bless someone else. The quote that states “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle” is definitely a good one to put into practice.kindness2Sometimes life’s challenges seem overwhelming. You wonder if God is really there and if He truly cares about what you’re experiencing. He does care. Very much. And He loves you so much that He sent His own Son to die for you.

Don’t give up hope. Reach out to Jesus. Cry out to Him. Trust in Him. And depend on Him.

Friend, He loves you so much.

Other posts you may enjoy:

the importance of relying on God

12 verses to encourage the burdened heart

10 suggestions for dealing with the corona virus situation

Movie Monday: Where Love Found Me

Movie Monday: Indivisible

12 verses to encourage the burdened heart

12 verses to encourage the burdened heart

Life is hard. Things don’t always go as we’d like. Discouragement, disappointment, fear, and anxiety can overtake us at a moment’s notice. Everyday we are faced with trials, hardships, and frightening news about the world around us. What should we do when faced with these feelings?

Everyone, at one time or another, needs to be reminded of God’s love and that He never leaves us.

God’s Word has much encouragement for the burdened heart. Here are 12 inspiring verses of God’s promises to be with us and give us comfort no matter what life tosses our way.

Isaiah 66 13

Jeremiah 29 11

1 Peter 5 7

Psalm 91 4

Philippians 4 13

Psalm 29 11

Psalm 46 1

Psalm 147 3a

Psalm 46 10a

Psalm 23 2-3a

Psalm 55 22

Isaiah 41 10

 

Other posts in The Scripture Series you may enjoy:

11 verses about God’s unfailing love

scriptural antidotes for fear

10 Bible verses to start off your day

Should we cancel 2020?

should we cancel 2020

I recently printed off our camping list. As I gazed at the things we would need (some I can’t even find in stores anymore) a thought struck me. I already miss the “olden days.”

Olden days as in the era I grew up in? Olden days as in the 1800s where I like to place my characters for my historical books?

No. Olden days as in last year. 2019.

A friend of mine said he wished we could erase 2020 from the history books. His comment gave me pause. What if what we are facing at the present lasted forever?

Should we just cancel 2020 altogether? Maybe start over?

One thing 2020 has taught us is that life can change on a dime.

One minute we were going about our days waiting for spring and the next minute we faced the news of a dangerous virus, sheltering at home, businesses closed for the foreseeable future, unemployment, isolation, and a toilet paper shortage. Simple freedoms we took for granted slipped away before we even had a chance to notice. Social distancing replaced hugs and handshakes and masks became the new great divider.

Fast forward to riots, violence in the streets, cities burning, the taking of innocent lives (including children), civil unrest, and unparalleled division. Personal safety threatened.

The issues that struck fear to our very core struck us in ways that escalated heart rates, blood pressure, and the peace we longed for.

For those of us in Christ, we know this is not our permanent home. We have an enduring hope, knowing this craziness we are experiencing is but a blip on the radar of history.

When all history – and not just 2020 – fades away into the distant past, one thing will remain.

Take His hand. Revel in His peace. Cling to the One who gave you life and who gave His life for you. Our hope is in Him.

So while we can’t, and shouldn’t, delete 2020 from the history books, we can look to the One who will never change. Whose love endures forever.

Isaiah 40 8

the importance of living out your faith

the importance of living out your faith

A friend recently told me a very inspiring story. When she first moved across the country for a new job, Lynn wasn’t sure what to expect in her new town. Her first Sunday there, she headed to a church, hoping to fellowship with like-minded believers and find a church home in the process.

No one welcomed her. No one said “hi.” No one even acknowledged her presence. And this was a small church.

Throughout the week, Lynn visited a local business. A woman who worked there invited Lynn to her church. “And I’ll be waiting by the front door for you so I can show you around,” she told Lynn.

Sure enough the woman was there. She showed Lynn around the church, introduced her to others, and encouraged her to come back the following week.

Lynn did.

When Lynn was diagnosed with breast cancer a short time later, the congregants of her new church drove her to her chemo appointments 95 miles each way, brought her meals, mowed her yard, and prayed with and for her. All with only knowing her a short amount of time.

She told me with tears in her eyes that these precious brothers and sisters in Christ had become her family.

Another friend, Sarah, in another town recently went through a nasty and unwanted divorce. Betrayed, broken, and hurt by the man she still loved, she stumbled into the church she had attended with her husband for the past year, sobbing and asking if someone would please pray with her. The secretary looked perplexed and called for one of the elders in the building. Rather than praying for her, he suggested she find a divorce support group, then ushered her out of the church.

Sarah has yet to find a new church home.

A blog post on how churches should welcome and support fellow believers?

On the contrary. Rather, my blog post is one about how important it is to live out our faith.

We, as Christians, have been given an important responsibility. To love Jesus and to love His church and to share the Gospel with nonbelievers.

Here are some suggestions on how we might better live out our faith.

Be the light. Sure, we hear this phrase often. But what does it mean to be the light? Consider the following verses:

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” ~ Matthew 5:14-16

“For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.” ~ Ephesians 5:8

Ephesians 5 8

We are to stand out from the rest of the crowd. We are to show our light and be able to give an answer for the hope that lies within us (1 Peter 3:15). We aren’t to blend in and look like the world, but to look like one of His. Yes, there truly is a difference between us and someone who doesn’t proclaim Christ.

Definitely a tall order in a world that puts a high emphasis on things that are anti-Christian.

Be a doer, not just a talker. When we say we will pray for someone, we need to take that promise seriously and not just say it, but follow through and do so. Prayer is important and effective. People are hurting and struggling with a multitude of issues, from grief to serious illness; from job loss to homelessness; from addiction to the difficult road to recovery.

Reach out to those around you. Our world moves at a dizzying pace. We are ever consumed with busyness and a focus on our ourselves. What if we instead took the time to care for those less fortunate? To help someone in need of help? To lend a listening ear? To ask someone how we can serve them, and then offer to follow through with their request? To be a giver rather than a taker? Jesus consistently reached out to the less fortunate. He loved others with genuine passion. When we serve others, we serve Him. (Matthew 25:40-45).

In today’s world, it’s not always “popular” to be a Christian. We are encouraged to dim our lights or even put them out completely. Rather than follow the world’s demands, let’s  vow to live out our faith daily with the confidence that we are called to a higher purpose and live for Someone greater than anyone on earth.

As someone once said, “You may be the only Jesus some people see.”

it is impossible to

 

Check out these other blog posts:

the importance of perseverance

the importance of authenticity

Movie Monday: Signed, Sealed, Delivered: The Road Less Traveled

surviving shingles – part 1

surviving shingles – part 2

surviving shingles pt2

Thank you for joining me for part two of my experience with shingles. To read Part One, please go here.

Today is Day 20. My rash is nearly gone in some places and scabbing over and fading in others. The shingles journey is definitely not for an impatient person (the average length is 3-5 weeks). Every day, I rush to the mirror to see the progress God is making in healing my body. He has brought me so far. Just a quick glance at the pictures from those first days is evidence.

I still have intermittent pain and now my scabbed-over rash has started to itch. But I am doing so, so much better.

There are several things I’ve learned about this illness. Again, I am not a medical professional, so please be sure to check with your doctor before trying any of the listed items.

Use a cold compress. Placing a cool (not frozen) compress on the rash several times a day has worked well for me for pain management, especially in most recent days.

Wear loose and comfortable clothing. After this journey is over, I will definitely never again take for granted being able to wear whatever I want.

Make an appearance. Since shingles can make you feel so lousy, an important thing I have found to do is to be sure to get dressed, fix my hair, and put on some makeup each morning. This can do wonders for your esteem when you already feel crummy.

Do things to take your mind off the pain. As a writer, more than anything, I have been yearning to work on my current novel. Unfortunately, due to the location of my polka-dots (as I call my shingles) it’s difficult (but getting easier!) to sit in one position for long. However, writing takes my mind off the shingles, as does reading, watching a movie with my family, listening to my favorite Christian music playlist, and spending time sitting outside in the fresh air, surrounded by my flower pots (added bonus).

Continue to gradually build up to where you were before that fateful day. In my first post, I mentioned that I was walking each day and doing minimal stretches. I have worked my way up to walking further and to twice a day with plenty of rest in between.

Today, for the first time in three weeks, I actually took this one step further. As a group fitness instructor, I was on the schedule to teach my cycling class today. With my doctor’s permission, I taught class – low impact for me and the usual high impact for my class. For the rest of the week, I will take it easy and continue with my walking. Next Monday and Wednesday, I again teach. I am hoping by gently easing into teaching again, I will be able to progress and not regress.

Keep clinging to God. The odd thing that I have discovered about shingles is that you can feel better for a portion of the day and then zing! The pain reminds you it’s not yet gone for good. My pain has definitely been alleviating and I find myself taking less Tylenol than when I first started, but at times (especially at night) it rears its ugly head again. It’s a good reminder to me to continue to cling to God for comfort and strength as He continues to heal me. And just to humbly add – I have had a few tearful moments through all this, so if you’ve had some of those moments too, you’re not alone.

Psalm 145 18a

Be careful about what you allow into your mind. Trust me on this one, as I’m also talking to myself when I say this. There are some nasty things that can happen with shingles. Don’t be an internet warrior and go looking for them. Instead, at your doctor’s visit (or subsequent phone call with a nurse or other medical professional), ask what things would necessitate an emergency or, at the very least, a return visit to their office.  They will temper their response so its helpful, but not scary. By Googling things on our own, sometimes we can find the worst of the worst. This doesn’t help. It only causes anxiety and fear, something we need to avoid, especially since stress makes shingles worse. Curious about something? Have a trusted family member look it up for you and see if it even applies to your situation.

Continue to get lots of rest. Oh, but there are so many things I need to be doing right now! Yes, I’m definitely behind on many things, but my family graciously reminds me that I’m not going to get better if I don’t rest (very hard for this active girl!). Even if we’re feeling better, we need to continue to take it easy. Our bodies will thank us for it.

Have a good support system. I am so grateful to have a family who cares about and for me. Not only do I have an amazing immediate family, but my extended family reaches out to me daily to check on and encourage me. They all, in addition to my church family, have been praying for me. We can never collect too many prayers.

So what do you do if you live alone? I would encourage you to connect with family members, friends, and/or your church. No one should have to go through shingles alone.

Pray fervently. I have prayed for four things consistently during my shingles journey. They are that no one else in my family would get this (especially my parents and other older relatives), that I would heal completely and not have the permanent pain that can affect some shingles sufferers, that God would change me through this for the better so that I may be used mightily for His Kingdom, and that He would be glorified through this (sometimes) frightening trial. Prayer is effective and it works.

Shingles are just bizarre. The burning, tingling, zapping, throbbing, intense pain is like nothing else. Big thanks (not!) to the reactivation of the varicella-voster virus, the one that gave us chickenpox when we were kids. It makes the top 10 lists of the most painful conditions, gives us several weeks of grief, and then, in some cases, can re-emerge (ummm, no thanks!).

So as I conclude the almost three-week mark, thank you again for joining me. Continue to hang in there. We will get through this!

 

Other posts on this blog that you may enjoy:

surviving shingles – part 1

outside-the-box homeschool ideas

Movie Monday: Beautifully Broken

the importance of new beginnings

 

 

proud to be an American

proud to be an american

Our country is definitely in turmoil.

Things have changed radically in a short amount of time. But as we celebrate the Fourth of July – Independence Day – it gives me pause to remember that no matter what has happened, no matter how divisive our country has become, I am still – and will always be – proud to be an American.

I’m still proud to wave Old Glory in its permanent place on the front of my house. I’m still honored to say that I am a resident of a country that was founded on principles of freedom that has a history of patriots giving their all for a noble cause. Some of those patriots paid the ultimate price. I’m still filled with gratitude when I remember that some who sacrificed are my own relatives who came back with scars and permanent disabilities after fighting to keep us free. May their sacrifices never be in vain.

Yes, we live in challenging times. My girls are growing up in a country that is substantially different from the one in which I grew up in. But there is still so much good in our nation if we are willing to look for it, instead of listening to those who would seek to destroy our country both from within and from the outside. There is still so much to fight for. So much worth uniting for and preserving. So much worth praying for.

This is truly the land that I love.

When my great-great grandparents arrived at Ellis Island from Sweden in the early 1900s, they made the right choice to take a chance on this new land of freedom and opportunity.

“My country ‘tis of thee, sweet land of liberty”…may God continue to “shed His grace on thee”.

Happy Fourth of July. Have a blessed and safe weekend!

4th of July 1

 

Other posts on this blog you may enjoy:

every life is valuable

tiny miracles

Why I’m proud to be an American

16 must-haves for your next camping adventure

surviving shingles – part 1

surviving shingles pt1

The most unexpected thing happened to me recently.

Totally unforeseen, unanticipated, and totally not on my radar.

As a matter of fact, I thought the soreness I felt a day before the onset was due to overdoing it while lifting weights or spending too much time at the gun range with my husband.

My diagnosis begged an answer to  the question: aren’t I too young for shingles?

Apparently not.

If you’ve ever had shingles, you know that it can be some of the worst pain you will ever experience. It’s a burning, searing, stabbing and unrelenting pain that gets a grip on you and doesn’t let go.

For those of you who have had shingles or are perhaps going through them right now, I hope this blog post offers you some comfort.

2 Corinthians 1 3-4

I am not a health care provider or a medical professional; the following items are merely things that have worked for me as I continue down this trek of surviving the shingles virus. Please check with your doctor before trying any of the following suggestions to be sure they are right for you.

Cling to God.

My first night with shingles was a nightmare. I still wasn’t sure of my diagnosis, only that instead of sleep, a pain like I’d never known invaded the left and back sides of my neck and my collar bone. Tears streamed down my face in the middle of the night, as I sought peace while calling upon comforting Scripture verses. I prayed that God would help me with whatever was going on, as my sweet husband clutched my hand and prayed over me. I’m not sure how people make it without the Lord during times of trial.

Get diagnosed.

My oldest daughter and I Googled rashes (by Friday morning, I had four blisters) and came to the conclusion I had shingles. My chiropractor confirmed it when I headed to his office for an adjustment in hopes of helping the unrelenting pain. By Friday afternoon, my blisters had multiplied from my left upper chest up around my neck, my jawline, my upper arm, and around the back of my neck and into my hairline. The fatigue and flu-like symptoms, including a sore throat, ear pain, and fever, added to my discomfort.

A few hours later, I was in my primary care doctor’s office with a prescription for Valtrex. While I am one who tends more toward natural therapies, taking the Valtrex soon after being diagnosed was a very wise decision. I have also been taking Tylenol and Ibuprofen for the pain.

Realize shingles affect everyone differently.

Some I have spoken to have said their shingles weren’t too severe, but for the majority I have talked with, their shingles were a horrific nightmare they don’t soon want to remember. And no, it doesn’t just attack the elderly. Three people I know shared with me that they had succumbed to the shingles virus while in their 20s.

Get rest.

There is no way around this one. You have to rest when you have shingles. Even if you have a mild case, get lots of rest and take time to heal so there are no complications. It’s said that this virus can last 3-5 weeks, and for some people even longer.

Do an assessment.

As I mentioned previously, shingles were not on my radar. How on earth could a healthy girl like myself get it?

Well…apparently stress can contribute. So I decided to do an assessment. Besides the many hats I wear: wife, mom, homeschool mom, author, volunteer, group fitness instructor, blogger, etc., I had also had some pretty serious stress in the past six months. In mid-January, my oldest daughter and I came down with the worst flu we’d ever experienced that lasted a month with lingering fatigue continuing an additional two weeks. Job furloughs and unemployment, a dental procedure that included an allergic reaction, a huge door swinging shut on me for a book project I had poured my heart into, and my youngest being rushed to the ER for what appeared to be a stroke added to my list of stressors. (Turns out she was having a horrific complex migraine – her first ever – and hopefully her last).

So do an assessment of where you’re at with stress. Covid-19 and all the upheavals currently taking place in our world are enough to cause anyone a sleepless night.

Be healthy.

In an effort to fight this virus, I adopted and continued with a list of healthy things I would be doing in the coming weeks. Some that have helped me are the following:

Supplements. Multi, C, E, D, zinc, B complex, and a good probiotic can be super helpful. For Optimal Daily Amounts, my personal go-to book is The Real Vitamin and Mineral Book by Shari Lieberman and Nancy Bruning.

Foods. Vegetables and fruits, such as sweet potatoes, spinach, broccoli, red/black grapes, watermelon, cantaloupe, pumpkin and pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, berries, avocados etc. are all good choices. Avoid anything inflammatory, such as junk food, refined foods, and sugar.

Water. Stay well-hydrated.

Time with God. Spending time in His Word and a vibrant prayer life is a must for me. I am so dependent on His mercy and grace.

Prayers. I put myself on my church’s prayer chain and collected those prayers along with the faithful prayers of my immediate and extended family. Prayer works.

Sunshine. Plan on getting 10-15 minutes a day, preferably surrounded by nature.

Exercise. Gentle stretches and a short walk are a good start to building up to where you were before shingles.

Hugs. Studies have shown that hugs boost the immune system. My family is awesome about helping me fill my hug “quota” for the day.

Chiropractic care. It’s a good way to strengthen the immune system, and if you are fortunate to have a good chiropractor, he/she can be a wealth of information.

Just say no to stress. That includes taking a break from social media and the toxic news that currently surrounds us.

Sleep. A full night’s rest can be a challenge with the pain, so be sure to give yourself permission to take naps as necessary.

Don’t get discouraged.

I will humbly tell you that discouragement has knocked on my door a couple of times during this trial. As an active person not accustomed to not being busy, it has been difficult to not have the energy to do anything. And the pain? There is something called neuralgia that can stick with you long after the shingles are over. The thought scares me to death since my own sweet mom has severe chronic pain and is wheelchair-bound.

All this to say, discouragement will find you if you allow it. The second you take your eyes off Jesus, despair is there ready to accompany you through the day. Don’t let it.

discouragement - mom

Return your focus on our Lord and His promises. Remember Peter when he took his eyes off Jesus that day during the storm? He sank. We sink when we take our focus from the One who loves us so much He gave His Son for us.

To be continued…

I am officially on Day 13 of my shingles journey. I wish I could say I am completely healed. That I have no more neck, shoulder, and ear pain. No more fatigue.

But that’s not the case. While it has relented somewhat and I continue to get stronger everyday, I still have a ways to go. The pain and fatigue are ever present. But I’m hanging in there and am relying on God’s faithfulness to see me through this ordeal.

So all this to say that if you are going through shingles right now, hang in there. We will get through this!

 

 

 

 

6 things to do in these crazy times

6 crazy times

It’s definitely a crazy (and scary!) world we live in at present.

Everywhere we turn, there’s footage and news of horrific violence. Innocent lives taken. Businesses ruined. Cities destroyed. Some of it is even happening in our own towns and cities. The America we love is no longer the same. What can we do?

Pray fervently that God will heal our nation. Pray for wisdom for our leaders. Pray  that they will make godly choices in the governing roles to which they were elected or appointed.
Reach others with the love of Christ. The world is watching and is desperate for hope. Let’s not waste the opportunity to show people that the hope they yearn for can only be found in Jesus. We need to be an example of Christ and be the light in an increasingly bleak world.

Reach out and help someone in need. Whenever we take the focus off ourselves and our stress, and place our focus on another, it benefits everyone.

Strive for unity. No, we aren’t always going to agree on everything, and frankly, it would be pretty boring if we did. However, when we disagree, we can do it respectfully. Satan loves division among Believers. Don’t give him a foothold.

Take a break from the media. It can be toxic, and who needs the elevated blood pressure? However, we should not be ostriches with our heads in the sand either. We do need to be aware of what is going on in the world around us. Just in a balanced dose.

Remember that God is sovereign. As I mentioned during the height of the corona virus, this unrest we are seeing in our nation did not catch our Lord unaware. He is our refuge. Our strength. Through Him, we can have peace. And it’s not just a superficial peace, but a real and abiding peace.

Most of all, keep our eyes on Jesus. I am reminded of the time Peter took his eyes off of Jesus and he sank. When we turn our focal point on the Lord and with His help keep it there, we will never sink.

Hebrews 12 2a

scriptural antidotes for fear

antedotes for fear

Fear. A common struggle for many people. Dictionary.com defines it as a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.

We, as Believers, know from God’s Word that we can trust, rather than fear. God knew, however, that His precious children would struggle with this at times. I read somewhere that “fear not” is mentioned in the Bible at least 365 times.

I love that God knew we would worry. That He knew we would fear. That He knew we would need an antidote for angst, panic, and anxiety. Indeed, there is much to fear in today’s crazy world.

Yet, we know that God loves us so much that He sent His Son for us, that we are invaluable to Him, and that He goes before us in those stressful situations. In Matthew 10:31, He talks of us being more valuable than the sparrows, whom He cares and provides for.

The next time fear comes to knock on your door, take some time to dive into God’s Word and let these verses comfort your soul.

Psalm 9 10And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you. ~ Psalm 9:10

 

Isaiah 41 10So do not fear, for I am with you…for I am your God. ~ Isaiah 41:10

 

Psalm 34 4I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. ~ Psalm 34:4

 

Philippians 4 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 4:7

 

Psalm 16 8I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. ~ Psalm 16:8

 

JOhn 14 17Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. ~ John 14:27

 

Isaiah 41 13For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.” ~ Isaiah 41:13

 

Psalm 56 3When I am afraid, I put my trust in You. ~ Psalm 56:3

 

Isaiah 26 3

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in You. ~ Isaiah 26:3

 

Psalm 23 4Even 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

 

1 John 4 18There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. ~ 1 John 4:18

 

Psalm 27 1The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? ~ Psalm 27:1

 

Isaiah 12 2aSurely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. ~ Isaiah 12:2A

 

Matthew 6 34Therefore, do not be anxious about tomorrow for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. ~ Matthew 6:34

 

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

 

 

Fear Verses real

 

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