When being comforted is comforting to others…

When being comforted can be comforting to others…

It took to me a while to figure out what the subject of this post was going to be.  It started with the statement, “True faith in God brings consistency between belief on the inside and action on the outside. Believing, speaking, and acting line up.” (From Competent to Minister)

Yes, a “good works” thing.

James 2:14 “My brothers and sisters, if a person claims to have faith, but ‘does’ nothing, that faith is worth nothing. Faith like that cannot save anyone.”

Not necessarily, I was thinking, specifically because there have been many times over the past 1.5 years when I was physically incapable of “doing” anything but laying (lying?) in a hospital bed, YET God was  teaching me how this can be an active blessing to others, including my sister.

Naomi passed away in December but was one of several who told me that the positive attitude God propped up in me through my faith was inspiring their faith, and helping to prepare them for their own trials.

In those stormy circumstances, faith was my boat and I wasn’t about to stop clinging to it. Now that my physical recovery has progressed, my situational waters are calmer, so to speak, and I feel an urgency to get out of the boat and walk upon the water. (It’s a great book, and I encourage you all to read it! “If you want to walk on water, you’ve got to get out of the boat.”) I’ve learned that “doing nothing” was not doing nothing! “Being still and knowing” are actions!

And this morning, I realized that I’m about to see the other side of the caring/comforting coin: Barb, who takes such great care of me, will have surgery today for a torn rotator cuff, and Kili and I will take care of her during her recovery. I surely do know from experience how it feels to be cared for and visited. (and another ‘thank you’ to all those who visited me). I’m motivated to do the same for someone else. So, faith leads – not to “good works” – but to service, which isn’t exactly the same since it’s not concerned with getting or taking the credit.

2 Corinthians 1:4 is today’s key verse.
He comforts us when we are in trouble, so that we can share that same comfort with others.

And, we don’t even need to actually “do” anything to do this!

When being comforted BY GOD can be comforting to others AT THE SAME TIME!

Friends, if what I write is inspiring to you, please share it!  I’d also love to hear about any experiences you had that God used to teach you and others.

But they delight in doing everything God wants them to

Biblegateway.com has a cool feature that will show all the English translations of a single verse. This can deliver a wide variety of perspectives.
Today’s verse-of-the-day is Psalm 1:1-2.
Compare these versions of verse 1:
CEV
God blesses those people who refuse evil advice and won’t follow sinners or join in sneering at God.

And GNT
Happy are those who reject the advice of evil people, who do not follow the example of sinners or join those who have no use for God.
Of course, those whom God blesses are happy! It’s our concept of what constitutes a ‘blessing’ that might need more consideration. Is advice or the people giving it evil? Is sneering at God the same as having no use for Him?
Seeing these different interpretations gives me plenty to consider about my own thoughts and behaviors, feelings and actions. (See what I did right there with those last 6 words? Heheh)
Verse 2 has even more (insert your own synonym for ‘variety’ – hey, it’s 3am and I’m a little slow right now):
CEV
Instead, the Law of the Lord makes them happy, and they think about it day and night.
GNT
Instead, they find joy in obeying the Law of the Lord and they study it day and night.
‘Think about it’ implies a more passive action toward the Word vs the very active ‘study’. This prompts me to ask myself which I’m doing.
Other translations, which help me to consider how I stay in the Word:
Meditate on it
Delight and desire in the law (precepts, instructions, teachings)/meditates (ponders and studies)
These persons love/and recite [it]
His (the reader’s) will is in the Law of the Lord
You thrill to God’s Word/chew on Scripture (delicious!)
Reflect on His teachings
Finds pleasure in obeying
[it] gives them joy
The Eternal’s Word is your happiness/your focus from dusk to dawn
I really like alternatives to “Law” – that word has come to have negative associations. I like “instructions” or “teachings” or “recommendations” or “they’re more like guidelines”.
(Tomorrow, we’ll talk about the usefulness of movie quotes.)
My favorite for today is TLB:
But they delight in doing everything God wants them to, and day and night are always meditating on His Laws and thinking abut ways to follow Him more closely.
-MVP

He is the light of the world!

1 John 4:7
My dear friends, we must love each other. Love comes from God, and when we love each other, it shows we have been given NEW life. God is love, and anyone who doesn’t love others has never KNOWN HIM.
Today my Reading in the Word of God started with John 8:12 (CEV), “I am the light of the world! Follow me and you won’t be walking in the dark. You will have the light that gives life.” All translations use variations of those four words “walk, dark, light, life”, but a few phrase them in very down-to-earth ways:
ERV – never live in darkness
GW – a life filled with light
TLB – stumbling through darkness/living light will flood your path
NIRV – they will have that light/they will have life
NLT – the light that leads to life
VOICE – the nourishing light that gives life

These descriptions put in my mind how it must have been like living without electric light. I thought of times I’ve been camping, huddling around the fire surrounded by the wall of darkness of night – the firelight actually very dim with so many twisting shadows, in comparison to the bright, fully illuminating light of the sunshine that arose in the morning.
How it must have been like to live dependent on growing the food – how utterly important the sun was because it grew the crops – along with the rain that must fall. (So rain is not a tragedy- but I’ll save that for another post.)
You probably know where this is going. The light of the sun… The light of the son. How truly different our lives are when the son is really shining in/on/through/around us. He gives us a life of light and love. He offers us serenity. He drapes onto us a glowing, life-giving belief, a faith that changes the way we live – the attitude we consciously CHOOSE, with consideration IN all things (people, places, and events), and careful consideration OF ALL things, and not just our own individual, familial, familiar things.
In this imagery, hate and fear are the darkness that scared the bejesus out of our ancestors (and still can?) And hate is still ok to have – I hate the ignorance people have of/about God, the Creator, regardless if it’s by choice or by circumstances. I hate the not knowing and not caring/wanting to know, especially because it’s all right there in the Bible, one book away, just begging to be read.

weeping my endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning

Morning.
At night we may cry, but when morning comes, we will celebrate. (Psalm 30:5b CEV)
I just couldn’t get to sleep, so I finally gave up and began my time in God’s Word for this day-after-Naomi’s-passing. I searched for verses on “weeping” (at biblegateway.com), expecting to see the familiar translation “weeping my endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning,” but I was in the CEV version and it simply uses “cry” and “celebrate.”

I began reading the whole Psalm 30, and the very first line figureactively walloped me right upside my head:
:1 I will praise you, Lord!
You saved ME from the grave…
:2 I prayed to you, Lord God, and you healed ME,
:3 Saving ME from death and the grave.
Can you see where I went next? God healed ME, But He took my sister. And her struggles with ALS were much, much worse than my health issues. Imagine, trapped in a body that is losing its ability to respond to the commands you give it. Most of the time, even in the hospital, I could pick up my Bible and pen, to be comforted and thoughtfully write my prayers. How humbling to think that she could not do even this simple thing!
Seems unfair? Should we not then be angry at the loss of a loved one and what they have gone through? But, as I continued reading, I began to see that Naomi has the better end of this – God has brought her HOME. Her assignment here, behind enemy-lines in this war-torn world, is done! I celebrate for her, and for me!
I was wondering, “how do I pray my feelings about this?” And I got smacked upside the head again! Speak not MY words, but God’s Word to express myself. That’s the power of Scripture. It’s God’s all-around, complete, how-to guide for us.
:4 Your faithful people, Lord,
will praise you with songs
and honor your Holy Name.
:5 Your anger lasts a little while,
but your kindness lasts for a lifetime.
At night we may cry,
But when the morning comes, we will celebrate.
:11 You have turned my sorrow
into joyful dancing.
No longer am I sad
and wearing sackcloth.
:12 I thank you from my heart,
and I will never stop
singing your praises,
My Lord and My God.

If I were a psalmist, I would write: “Woe is me, etc”

If I were a psalmist, I would write:
Woe is me, etc
God I have so many troubles
And I worry about dumb stuff
And I’m often basically afraid
That you maybe ain’t real, after all.

BUT whenever I think of you, God,
I quickly realize how good you have made life for me.
After all, I’m alive!
That’s way better than not.
My hope is in you, and in all the things you have promised.
So, I will praise you and sing your name!
I will tell your story in and with my life,
And simply trust you to provide,
As you have been teaching me to.
I think you will like that better than my being enslaved to any thing of this world.

Hey, Facebook Family,
If you like what God inspires me to write, please share it with your Facebook Friends!

Grace Chapel’s Statement of Faith

A New Year is the perfect time to re-affirm what I believe:
I believe that the Bible is the final authority in all matters pertaining to Christian faith and practice.
I believe there is only one living and true God – perfect, infinite, and eternal.

I believe that human beings were created by God but we have alienated ourselves from him and we are in need of reconciliation.
I believe that God became man in the person of Jesus Christ and that Jesus Christ is both completely divine and completely human.
I believe that the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity and that he empowers us for life and service.
I believe that through the gift of Jesus’ death on the cross our rebellion can be forgiven, and through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ we can be reconciled to God.
I believe that the Church is universal and that it is manifested locally through companies of Christ’s followers meeting together as “the Bride of Christ”.
I believe that both baptism and the Lord’s Supper are visible signs of the realities of salvation. We are commanded to observe them, but we do not depend on them for salvation.
I believe that Christ will return at God’s appointed time.
(These are Grace Chapel’s Statement of Faith, -along with the Apostles’ Creed.)

10 things about why I “Share God’s Story In One Life”

10 things about why I “Share God’s Story In One Life”
1. It’s God’s story in a human life. The glory is God’s. He gives and does, we simply receive.
2. Psalm 66:16 Come and hear, all you who fear God. Let me tell you what he has done for me.

3. It’s participatory – please join in!
4. It’s praise and worship – lyrics speak deeply, so does all creative art and creation itself
5. It’s based right from the Bible – all scripture is divinely inspired and useful for teaching
6. It’s not me telling others what the Bible says “to all”, but how God has taught/grown me through the Bible (I shared a great read on this on 12/29 on my timeline)
7. It IS proclaiming the word of God for others to read/hear, at the least
8. It IS primarily encouragement to read the Bible for yourself, so that God can talk with you, at best
9. It’s prayer, rejoicing, and gratitude in all things
10. It’s making known Biblical resources, like biblegateway.com
11. It’s free to be shared – sharing is encouraged!
12. It costs nothing but the time it takes to read/listen and think, to be still and know that God is, and that Christ is
13. “I want to give a little hope to you” Third Day ‘Tunnel’
I share my testimony at Celebrate Recovery (celebrate recovery.com) meetings in the area. If you attend a meeting that is looking for testimonies, please let me know!