Ants in My Pants

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This is a great illustration as to why some people do not do politics.
This was my friend’s article in his church’s newsletter.

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” ~ Philippians 4:8

As children, we played outside all the time. I am sure it was because we did not have air conditioning and the house was hotter than outside. Getting tangled up with “red ants” was a common occurrence.

Now it should not be a surprise to anyone that I was a very hyper child. So one day I was riding my bike and came across a huge red ant pile. Do you remember the phrase, “I got ants in my pants and I need to dance”? Well, I decided to see what that was like and I sat right down in the middle of that ant pile. You can guess what happens next… I got covered with ants. I ran home screaming and crying. I do not know what my mom said, but I do remember her pouring alcohol all over the bites.

You may be wondering what this has to do with the verse in Philippians. We are living in a time with information overload. We are filling our time watching and consuming information that we have no control over. I have quite a few friends who have become angry, and cynical because all they do is watch the news and then feel like they have to change the world by posting and talking and trashing the headlines.

Mostly it is about politics.
It is just like those ants that I stirred up and paid the price for becoming part of their world. I would have been far better off ignoring them and chasing butterflies. But I gave my attention to the wrong thing.

When we are told to “think about things” that are noble and true, pure and right, lovely etc. it is because that is what is best. We are stressing ourselves out because we are paying attention to the wrong things. God’s word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. It gives light to our soul. It leads us beside still waters and comforts us. These are the things we need to be concentrating on.

I do not think we need to be ignorant of things going on in our world, but posting, commenting and constantly talking about it is like stirring up an ant bed and sitting on it. It makes us miserable and drives friends and families away. And, like it or not, if we disagree with the person it does effect how we feel about them, even if for a short moment. Plus, it does not change one little thing in the world other than “getting it off our chest”

We need to choose to be happy. If we are going to be posting things that are going to change the world, then we need to be posting about Jesus and what He is doing for us.

Let’s all make a commitment to read God’s word and put Philippians 4:8 into practice. Let’s choose to be trustworthy, pure, lovely, commendable, and excellent.

~ Pastor Greg

Know the Value of Your Life

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Your life is precious. Your life is valuable. Your life is priceless. Your life has worth. There are times in everyone’s life that we tend to question the value of our lives. Sometimes it is a result of the kind of people that we spend our time with during our working day or our free time. There are occasions when some people feel depressed unhappy with themselves because of a situation that they are in.

How can we remember how to keep the value of our lives in perspective? Perhaps the following little story will help strengthen the belief and confidence that you may have in yourself and the value of your life.

There was once a father who became very ill and just before he died, he took out an old watch and said to his son, “This is a watch that your grandfather gave me, and it is more than 200 years old. But before I give it to you, go to the watch shop on the first street and tell him that you want to sell it, and see how much he offers you.”

The son left then soon came back to his father and said, “The watchmaker offered five dollars because, he said, it was too old.”

The father then said to his son, “Go to the coffee shop and see what they say.”

Again, the boy went out and soon returned. He said to his dad, “They offered me five dollars for the watch as well.”

Finally, the father said, “Go to the museum and show them the watch.”

A short while later, the boy excitedly reported to his father, “They offered me a million dollars for this piece!”

The dying patriarch said to his son, “I wanted to let you know that the right place values you in the right way.”

Don’t find yourself in the wrong place and get angry if you are not valued.

Those that know your value are those who appreciate you,..don’t stay in a place where nobody sees your value.”

Know your worth.

 

 

Wisdom to Make Life Happier

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I have always found it encouraging and edifying to find “words of wisdom” that I can think about and, hopefully, try to apply to my everyday life. I think that for an individual to become a wise person, they are smart to find things such as quotes, anecdotes, learn from experiences from other people, etc.

I have always found it interesting how much better life seems to be when you look at the world through a lens of positive thinking and with the heart of helping and showing acts of kindness towards others.

A little while ago, I came across the following collection of wise sayings that I hope you find as encouraging and inspirational as I did!

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  1. It hurts to love someone and not be loved in return. But what is more painful is to love someone and never find the courage to let that person know how you feel.

 

  1. A sad thing in life is when you meet someone who means a lot to you, only to find out in the end that it was never meant to be and you just have to let go.

 

  1. The best kind of friend is the kind you can sit on a porch swing with, never say a word, and then walk away feeling like it was the best conversation you’ve ever had.

 

  1. It’s true that we don’t know what we’ve got until we lose it, but it’s also true that we don’t know what we’ve been missing until it arrives.

 

  1. It takes only a minute to get a crush on someone, an hour to like someone, and a day to love someone but it takes a lifetime to forget someone.

 

  1. Don’t go for looks, they can deceive. Don’t go for wealth, even that fades away. Go for someone who makes you smile because it takes only a smile to make a dark day seem bright.

 

  1. Dream what you want to dream, go where you want to go, be what you want to be. Because you have only one life and one chance to do all the things you want to do.

 

  1. Always put yourself in the other person’s shoes. If you feel that it hurts you, it probably hurts the person too.

 

  1. A careless word may kindle strife. A cruel word may wreck a life. A timely word may level stress. But a loving word may heal and bless.

 

  1. The happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything they just make the most of everything that comes along their way.

 

  1. Love begins with a smile, grows with a kiss, ends with a tear. When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling. Live your life so that when you die, you’re the one smiling and everyone around you is crying.

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“True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us.” ~ Socrates

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Source:  http://relationshipsinlife.wordpress.com

What to Give Up…

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There are times throughout our lives when we get so discouraged or frustrated that we really want to give up? Have you ever felt like that? Most people think that if you give something up, it makes them feel like a loser or insignificant…but that is not always the case. An alcoholic can give up drinking and that is wonderful. A smoker can give up smoking and add years to their life…the same goes for a drug user.

Well, I have good news! There are many more things that, if you give them up, you will gain positive and optimistic traits that may affect you for the rest of your life!! The following list is a compilation of some of these characteristics of what you may attain…if you know…What to Give Up!

 

Give up complaining. . . focus on gratitude.

 

Give up pessimism. . . become an optimist.

 

Give up harsh judgements . . .think kind thoughts.

 

Give up worry. . . trust Divine Providence.

 

Give up discouragement. . . be full of hope.

 

Give up bitterness. . . turn to forgiveness.

 

Give up hatred. . . return good for evil.

 

Give up negativism . . .be positive.

 

Give up anger. . .be more patient.

 

Give up pettiness. . . become mature.

 

Give up gloom. . . enjoy the beauty that is all around you.

 

Give up jealousy. . . pray for trust.

 

Give up gossiping. . . control your tongue.

 

Give up sin. . .turn to virtue.

 

Give up giving up. . . and hang in there!

Surprises in Heaven

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It is so foolish to believe that anyone is better than someone else. Sometimes our pride gets in the way so much, that we don’t realize what other people are really like. There are times individuals put themselves on such a high pedestal, that I believe that some people may be very surprised one day when they get to heaven.

The following poem is a good reminder of the foolishness of judging others. Let it serve as a reminder to us all.

Judge Not

I was shocked, confused, bewildered
As I entered Heaven’s door,
Not by the beauty of it all,
Nor the lights or its decor.

But it was the folks in Heaven
Who made me sputter and gasp–
The thieves, the liars, the sinners,
The alcoholics and the trash.

There stood the kid from seventh grade..
Who swiped my lunch money twice.
Next to him was my old neighbor
Who never said anything nice.

Herb, who I always thought
Was rotting away in hell,
Was sitting pretty on cloud nine,
Looking incredibly well.

I nudged Jesus, ‘What’s the deal?
I would love to hear Your take.
How’d all these sinners get up here?
God must’ve made a mistake.

‘And why’s everyone so quiet,
So somber – give me a clue.’
‘Hush, child,’ He said, ‘they’re all in shock.
No one thought they’d be seeing you.’

Have a wonderful and rewarding day!

I Went to See A Friend Today

backlit dawn foggy friendship

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I recently came across a poem about friends and friendship the other day that is, in some ways, related to a previous post of mine, “Do It All the Way”. Friendships and the passing of time, are things that we need to consider more and more each day. The following poem was posted on May 6, 2016 by oldmainer It serves as a great reminder to us all!

 I Went to See A Friend Today

I went to see a friend today
A friend I had not seen
Since he was in his twenties
And I was still a teen

We were both inseparable then
See one, you’d see the other
Sharing everything we did. 
He was like a brother

But as so often happens
Too soon there came the day
When he decided to remain
And I to move away

We wished each other good luck
Recalled good times we’d shared
Said that we would keep in touch
See how each other fared

But of course that didn’t happen
The days just came and went
No phone calls were ever made
No greetings ever sent

How quickly the time passes
And friendships start to dim
Although we went our separate ways
I often thought of him

I wondered how he looked today
How he had weathered life
Did he still live in our old home town
Did he ever take a wife

One day I got a letter
And when I looked inside
I read I regret to inform you
That your friend has died

I went to see a friend today
As I’ve often said I would
To visit for a little while
My promise to make good

I wish that I could tell him
How bad I feel that I
Never took the time to say hello
Before I said goodbye

Friendships are precious. Be sure to take some time to visit the people that are special in your life. Enjoy the time you spend together and remember the good memories from the past.

 

“There is nothing on this earth more prized than true friendship.” ~ Thomas Aquinas

Do It All the Way

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Time really does fly and unfortunately, this thing called “life” really does become busy and gets into our way from allowing us to do the things that we love to do. Whether it be enjoying our favorite hobbies, visiting the eatery of our choice, going on a date with our special loved one, or simply spending time with our friends, we all need to carve out some time throughout our lives, to make sure that we are fully enjoying the fullness and blessings of life.

A little while ago, I received the unfortunate and sad news that one of my childhood buddies had suddenly passed away. I felt horrible. We always told each other how much we wanted to get together, hang out, have some good laughs, and reminisce about our “glory days.” We had gotten together sporadically over the years and had recently decided to make plans for a get-together. It never happened. He passed away suddenly after a simple procedure went horribly wrong and he was gone. I felt saddened and dismayed about the whole situation, but it made me realize, even more so than ever, how precious our life is and how much we need to spend as much time doing the things we enjoy…even if it means that we sacrifice some of the “busy things” in our life.

You never know how much time you have left with the ones you love. I thought that I had more time. I didn’t know that so many moments were the lasts. I have learned this: instead of living with the fear of the lasts, live with love for all the moments. Even the ones you are pulling your hair out and screaming…don’t do it halfway. Do it all the way, and don’t let those moments escape you.

Dive in fully.

Soak them up.

Live.

Love.

Savor it all.

Giving Someone A Push

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Have you ever had a want, desire, or dram that you have always wanted to accomplish in your life and just never saw it come to fruition? Or, how many of us have a job or project that we would like to do but just haven’t gotten around to get it done? If you are like most people, all they need is that little motivation or push to get them going…once they get going…they finish well. We need someone to give us that extra push.

Such is the case in a story that I discovered a while ago written by Irene Sax in Newsday which demonstrates this thought in a great way.

Jean Nidetch, a 214-pound homemaker desperate to lose weight, went to the New York City Department of Health, where she was given a diet devised by Dr. Norman Jolliffe.

Two months later, discouraged about the 50 plus pounds still to go, she invited six overweight friends home to share the diet and talk about how to stay on it.

Today, 28 years later, one million members attend 250,000 Weight Watchers meetings in 24 countries every week.

Why was Nidetch able to help people take control of their lives?

To answer that, she tells a story.

When she was a teen-ager, she used to cross a park where she saw mothers gossiping while the toddlers sat on their swings, with no one to push them. “I’d give them a push,” says Nidetch. “And you know what happens when you push a kid on a swing? Pretty soon he’s pumping, doing it himself. That’s what my role in life is–I’m there to give others a push.”

Who will be the person or group of people that you will help “push” today?

 

Three Short Stories of Wisdom

night-photograph-starry-sky-night-sky-star-957917.jpegThere is no question, that in today’s modern world, time is flying! My grandmother used to always say, “the older you get, the days get longer and the years get shorter.” Man, if that isn’t the truth! The sad thing is this, that sometimes we get so caught up in the business of life, that we forget to take a moment and think about the really nice thing. In life and we forget to remember the “unseen things.”

The following three short stories serve as quick reminders of the simple concepts of wisdom that we sometimes forget. It is my hope that you will be able to remember them each day!

Story #1

Once upon a time, a village decided to get together and pray for rain. On the day of the prayer, all the people gather…only a small boy brought an umbrella.

THAT’S FAITH!

 

Story #2

Consider the feeling of a one-year-old baby. When you throw it up in the air, it laughs because it knows that you are going to catch it.

THAT’S TRUST!

 

Story #3

Every night we go to sleep, we have no assurances that we will wake up alive the next morning but we still set the alarm for the next day.

THAT’S HOPE!

Just P.U.S.H.!

Jameson Fink

Photo Credit: Jameson Fink via CC Flickr

Have you ever experienced situations in your life in which seem impossible to solve and there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel? Are the obstacles that have gotten in your way and have stopped you from achieving a life dream or a personal goal? Then I have an inspiring and motivational story you!  This is an encouraging illustration of obedience, perseverance, faith and long-suffering. It will demonstrate to you the importance of maintaining your faith and patience with adversities that may come into your life.

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A man was sleeping at night in his cabin when suddenly his room filled with light, and God appeared. The Lord told the man he had work for him to do and showed him a large rock in front of his cabin. The Lord explained that the man was to push against the rock with all his might.

So, this the man did, day after day

For many years he toiled from sun up to sun down, his shoulders set squarely against the cold, massive surface of the unmoving rock, pushing with all of his might. Each night the man returned to his cabin sore and worn out, feeling that his whole day had been spent in vain.

Since the man was showing discouragement, the Adversary (Satan) decided to enter the picture by placing thoughts into the weary mind: “You have been pushing against that rock for a long time, and it hasn’t moved.”

Thus, he gave the man the impression that the task was impossible and that he was a failure. These thoughts discouraged and disheartened the man.

Satan said, “Why kill yourself over this? Just put in your time, giving just the minimum effort; and that will be good enough.”

That’s what the weary man planned to do but decided to make it a matter of prayer and to take his troubled thoughts to the Lord. “Lord,” he said, “I have labored long and hard in your service, putting all my strength to do that which you have asked. Yet, after all this time, I have not even budged that rock by half a millimeter. What is wrong? Why am I failing?”

The Lord responded compassionately, “My friend when I asked, you to serve Me and you accepted, I told you that your task was to push against the rock with all of your strength, which you have done. Never once did I mention to you that I expected you to move it. Your task was to push.

And now you come to Me with your strength spent, thinking that you have failed. But, is that really so? Look at yourself. Your arms are strong and muscled, your back sinewy and brown; your hands are callused from constant pressure, your legs have become massive and hard. Through opposition, you have grown much, and your abilities now surpass that which you used to have. True, you haven’t moved the rock. But your calling was to be obedient and to push and to exercise your faith and trust in My wisdom. That you have done. Now I, my friend, will move the rock.”

At times, when we hear a word from God, we tend to use our own intellect to decipher what He wants, when what God wants is just a simple obedience and faith in Him. By all means, exercise the faith that moves mountains, but know that it is still God who moves mountains.

When everything seems to go wrong… just P.U.S.H.!

When the job gets you down … just P.U.S.H.!

When people don’t react the way you think they should … just P.U.S.H!

When your money is “gone” and the bills are due…just P.U.S.H!

When people just don’t understand you, just P.U.S.H.

P= Pray

U= Until

S= Something

H= Happens

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Source: gatewaytojesus.co

Homelessness and the Tyranny of Urgency

unnamed

Photo Credit: Author Unknown

A day or so ago, a friend of mine, who works and ministers to the homeless, sent me the following newsletter that I thought would be a good thing to share with you. Let’s all take a little time each day to consider how fortunate we really are…and how many individuals struggle for food, shelter, and clothes every day! Maybe you can help the unfortunate in your own way.

Here is the story, written by my friend, Paul…

It’s Super Bowl Sunday! Are you running around trying to get everything ready for the party you’re hosting or attending? Have you decided who you’re rooting for? Is the DVR set? Did you add extra time so you can record “This Is Us” after the game? Are you going in late to work tomorrow? Do the kids get to stay up?

If you haven’t got things figured out by now, “time’s a wasting” and you better get to it! The game starts at 6:30PM EST whether you’re ready or not and you might feel stressed because of this. However, I hope we can all agree this is probably not the most important thing happening in your life right now.

The more we get caught up in what is urgent, the more we lose sight of what’s most important. It’s easy to get confused between important and urgent. Urgent is always right in front of us. Urgent is obvious. While urgent can be important, it’s not usually the case.

I believe most days we find ourselves not doing the most important thing but the most urgent thing. Many times it’s because we don’t want to miss out. Experts call it, “FOMO” or Fear Of Missing Out. We’re consumed with social media. No longer do we have to wait for a letter for an update from a friend or the next morning’s newspaper to get details about world news. Almost everything is only a click away and slow download speeds are considered intolerable.

When we get caught up in what seems urgent, we lose sight of what is important. Even worse, we stifle imagination and basically deny ourselves permission to dream about the future. We unconsciously tell our brains there’s no need to create because every moment and thought is being filled in for us. The result is instead of truly living, we’re just existing.

Our friends that are homeless are also plagued with urgency. It’s not usually because of FOMO, but rather because of instability and insecurity. They ask questions most of us don’t give much thought to, but for our friends who are homeless these are questions connected to incredible stress:

“When am I going to eat again?”
“When am I going to sleep again?”
“Where am I going to sleep?”
“Will someone take my things if I sleep?”
“Will I be able to stay warm?”
“How am I my going to get back on my feet?”
“Who is going to hire me?”
“What can I even do?”
“When am I going to shower again?”

All these items are important, but because they are unanswered questions their urgency becomes a roadblock to moving forward. When we’re always being led by urgency, the things that are truly important, or should I say, should be truly important get lost and now the urgent things are the most important because they’re the only things.

If the previous questions can be answered with certainty and consistency people will be able to think and plan for tomorrow and beyond again instead just the next hour. However, if the previous questions don’t get answered, then these questions start to be asked:

“Will people even come near me?”
“Does anyone even see me?”
“Do I matter at all?”
“Who even loves me anymore?”

So, what do we do?

HELP, HOPE, HOME

HELP
We need to HELP relieve people of these urgencies. We need to remove these stressors out of their lives and give them permission to dream again. It’s obvious one should have a job and save money, but if you’re plagued with urgency, it seems nearly impossible to plan for a future you’re not sure you’re even going to have.

HOPE
Once a person has stability and security then HOPE can grow and when hope grows, all things are possible! My favorite verse in the Bible is Philippians 4:13. “I can do all things through him (Christ) who gives me strength.” However, for anything to grow the conditions must be right. I’m reminded of “The Parable of the Sower” in Matthew 13. Seeds need the right soil to flourish. For seeds of hope to grow in people, other people with hope need to be the “soil” surrounding the people who need it most.

HOME
With a foundation of stability offered through relief help and a restoration of hope in Christ, a person can genuinely focus on HOME. Home is not just any shelter, but a place where a person has the peace of knowing they are loved beyond all measure by God….because they are!

For you and I, we may need to be reminded of Psalm 121:

Psalm 121 English Standard Version (ESV)
1 I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.

3 He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
4 Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

5 The Lord is your keeper;
the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
6 The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.

7 The Lord will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
8 The Lord will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forevermore.

The world continues to spin whether we know every detail or not. We don’t need to have FOMO. It’s OK if we let go of or miss certain things because God sees and knows everything and doesn’t miss anything. Stepping away from time to time is a great way to honor God and show Him you trust him with everything!

If you want to help our friends experiencing homelessness, here four ways you can make an impact in your community and the world around you RIGHT NOW!

1.) Be a Good Neighbor!
When you are kind to those around you, someone in crisis may have the courage to open up to you. (Matthew 22:36-40, Luke 6:31, Luke 10:25-37)

2.) Bow Your Head!
Prayer is powerful and effective. It is our greatest weapon in spiritual warfare. Please pray for wisdom, discernment, and favor. (Matthew 6:5-14, Philippians, 4:6, James 5:13-16, 1 Thessalonians 5:17)

3.) Get Involved!
Volunteer with us, one of our partners, or in your community. Time is the one thing we never get back. When you choose to spend time with someone, it speaks volumes about both you and the person your with. If you’re willing to spend time with someone often overlooked by society, there’s a good chance someone else will take notice and realize that person’s life matters. (Isaiah 58:9b-10, Matthew 25:40, Hebrews 13:16)

4.) Cheerfully Give!
Donating your money is a great way to have an impact even when you can’t be physically present. $10 PER MONTH or MORE can make a significant difference in an individual’s life, my family’s well being, and the way the world views homelessness. PLEASE GIVE GENEROUSLY TODAY! (Proverbs 19:17, Malachi 3:10, Luke 10:2, 2 Corinthians 9:7,12)

BE THE HANDS AND FEET OF CHRIST!

 

 

EMMANUEL LABOR is God working through us…

Do It Anyway

Christina W

Photo Credit: Christina W. via CC Flickr

Have you ever tried to help other people and do something thoughtful and kind, yet become discouraged, disheartened, or upset when the outcome didn’t turn out the way you expected? There are times throughout our lives, when may t to accomplish certain goals, overcome negative or hurtful situations, and fall short. It can become very dispiriting, demoralizing, or down-right depressing.

There are two things that a can do when they face a difficult circumstance: 1) dwell on the negative, become bitter, lose focus, and quit the things that they were trying to accomplish, or, 2) maintain a single-mindedness desire to accomplish a goal, dream, or to help others. What decision would you make?

A few days ago, I came the following little sonnet (Author Unknown) which I found to be a good source of encouragement to me. It is my wish that it will motivate you to stay positive and focused in your quest to make others happy and when you chase your dreams.

“Do It Anyway”

People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered:

FORGIVE THEM ANYWAY.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish and ulterior motives:

BE KIND ANYWAY.

If you are successful, you will win false friends:

SUCCEED ANYWAY.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you:

BE HONEST AND FRANK ANYWAY.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight:

BUILD ANYWAY.

If you find serenity and happiness, others may be jealous:

BE HAPPY ANYWAY.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow:

DO GOOD ANYWAY.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough:

GIVE THE WORLD THE BEST YOU HAVE ANYWAY.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God:

IT WAS NEVER BETWEEN YOU AND THEM…ANYWAY.