God Is In Control

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Today is an important day in US history. Today Donald Trump becomes President.

Some people are happy. Others are not.

Accusations and rumors abound.

Fake news runs rampant through social media and often appears on major new outlets.

How can we know the truth?

We can’t. Only God knows all of the truths, and that should give us hope as Christians.

So, what are we to do?

Remember the following from Romans 8:31-39:

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? 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?  Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;
    we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

If you skimmed over those verses, then please go back and read the last few, the ones I underlined. We may disagree on what is right and good for this country. We may not know which sources to believe. We definitely do not know the future. BUT, we do know that God is in control.

And remember as you go throughout your days that we live in a very different world than the one when these words of encouragement were first written. Persecution was an every day fact, but even then, Paul reminded them of the power of God.

May you find peace from these words and may it follow you through this day and the year to come. And remember, we are commanded to pray for our leaders. Prayer  can move mountains!

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Prayer of Humility and Selflessness

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In 2011, I attended the very first Christian Communicator’s Conference (CCC).  This conference assists Christian women in developing and expanding their speaking ministries.  The conference propelled my life of faith into new levels of discovery as I sat at the feet of founders, Vonda Skelton and Carolyn Knefely. As an added bonus, I met several like-minded women with the same goal:  enhance our speaking careers to serve God.

In 2013 and 2014, I attended Advanced Conferences offered by Christian Communicators.  Over the years, I’ve forged friendships and come to admire so many of these women.  Their personal stories of faith amaze and inspire me. Even though I haven’t met all of them, many of them have touched my life in ways I never anticipated.

The most recent conference ended just a few weeks ago. This year, Vonda and Carolyn passed the baton to three new women to run the organization.  I’m excited to see what’s in store for this community of women.

The Prayer

As I’ve heard reports from the latest group of alumni, I’ve been reminded of the prayer Vonda and Carolyn use to send the participants back into the world. This prayer moves me each time I hear it. Written by Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val (1865-1930), it perfectly expresses a servant of Christ’s humility and selflessness.

O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being loved, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being extolled, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being honored, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being praised, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being preferred to others, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being consulted, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being approved, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being humiliated, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being despised, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of suffering rebukes, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being calumniated, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being forgotten, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being ridiculed, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being wronged, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being suspected, Deliver me, Jesus.

That others may be loved more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That, in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be praised and I unnoticed, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be preferred to me in everything, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

The Appeal

Speakers and writers start serving others because they feel compelled to share and to help. It takes a certain level of ego to believe you have something to say, so they must fight the urge to be prideful about their service. It’s easy to forget why they started serving and to focus more on self rather than the ones served.

This prayer refocuses me.

I’ve highlighted in bold the parts that are hardest for me. (You have no idea how hard it is to admit this!)

Which parts of the prayer are hardest for you?

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The Helping Hands of Sisters in Christ

Image courtesy of Sommai at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This summer, I took a break from telling the story of my journey to faith. School is back in session, so I guess it’s time for me to return to this story.

Yesterday, I called and spoke with a wise, older woman in our church.  She had come to me on her own a week ago and offered help in a current situation.  She reminded me that the Bible teaches us that:

Older women likewise are to be… teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women …” Titus 2:3

This lovely sister of mine told me she felt like the church didn’t do enough of this anymore, and she wanted to be there for me in a current situation I’m dealing with.  You have no idea how thankful I was for her offer!

This conversation, and another conversation later in the week, got me to thinking about how older women stepped up and assisted me in the first year of my separation and divorce. There were three women specifically that reached out to me. I didn’t have to reach out to them, just like I didn’t have to find the woman who came to me a week ago.  They sought me, first.

One was a family member that I didn’t know very well until my separation.  She had a lot on her plate, but still, she made herself available to me at all hours.  Another wasn’t a family member by blood, but she had been involved with my family for most of her life, so much that I often forgot she wasn’t really a relative.  Then, the youngest of the three was related to my sister through marriage. I knew her probably the least of the three, but divorced herself, she could relate to my experience more than the other two.

Most importantly, each one of these ladies helped me in specific, yet very different ways.  I didn’t have to go begging for their help.  They came to me. They extended the hand.

Do the women of the church still do this?  If not, I challenge you to find someone younger than you that you can guide. We need to be there for each other.

Image courtesy of Sommai at FreeDigitalPhotos.net