By Candace McQuain –
I am by no means a novelist, journalist or any other kind of literary “ist.” I have issues with comma usage, dangling modifiers and I still misuse “their” and “there” from time to time. So when God gently tugged at my heart and asked to me write on His behalf, I thought He had dialed the wrong number and I hung up the phone. Although, I do have a passion for words and stringing them together, to do so for real was beyond scary.
I continued to hang up the phone every time God called.
Lucky for me, His gentle tugs turned into jarring yanks and the next thing I knew I was writing for Him and I absolutely love it.
Imagine a world where everyone hung up on God.
There would be no beautiful architecture, no breathtaking paintings and no inspiring songs and words. Even more so, there would be no crops being harvested, no children being taught, no food being served and so on and so on.
God delights in us when He sees us at work for Him. He is beyond pleased when we recognize the gifts He has preprogrammed us with and we use them for His glory.
“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully” (Romans 12:6-8 NIV).
Each and every talent, skill or unique ability we possess was put there by our Heavenly Father to not just possess, but to utilize.
What good is our gift if we only keep it to ourselves? What good is our gift if we throw it away or feel we have something different or something bigger to offer?
Beloved, there are no abilities larger or more important than any others. We are all equal in the eyes of God. So whether we are at home caring for children or running a multi-billion dollar company we are equal in His eyes. When we perform our tasks with honor, respect and a joyful heart we are bringing God glory, day after day, hour after hour.
He has got big plans for each and every one of us and a very hefty part of that plan depends on us being obedient and respectful of what He has gifted us and focusing on how we can do those things for His glory.
So again, no matter where we are in life, no matter our trade, training or ability, we were created by God to specifically do these things in His name. To bring glory to Him and to display the beautiful work He has done in us.
Let’s shine for Him! We should approach every day, as if we are working for God Himself, after all, we truly are.
By Julie Morris –
Tommy’s parents were so relieved.
This sweet, red-headed fourth-grader was doing terribly in school. His teacher said he wasn’t trying. Some of the kids in his class called him “stupid.” His parents were beginning to fear he was slow. That is, until they tested him and found that he has dyslexia. Tommy has a learning disability. It’s not that he won’t ever be able to read, he just has to be taught in a different way. It’s not his fault. It’s just a fact. Tommy is different, but with extra work, he’ll be fine. What a relief!
You may have an eating disability
Just as it was a blessing for Tommy to find out why he was having problems reading, so it is for us to find out why we’ve had problems losing weight and keeping it off. No one likes to have a problem, but when we have one, we are relieved to find out what it is and what we can do about it.
Do you think that you might have an eating disability? Here’s my definition:
Anyone who can’t lose weight and keep it off has an eating disability.
Eating disabilities get more pronounced as time goes by. If they are ignored, they may turn into eating disorders.
Here’s my definition of an eating disorder:
Anyone who experiences serious health or emotional problems as a result of eating in a harmful way, yet continues that behavior, has an eating disorder.
When I found out that I had an eating disorder, I was relieved. (Since I alternated between bingeing and starving myself, I was classified as bulimic.) Now I could quit asking myself this question:
“Why can’t I, a well-educated, in-control sort of person, quit overeating?”
No matter how hard I tried not to, I found myself eating too much. I constantly beat myself up for my lack of self-control. But when I finally began to understand the reasons for my actions, I was able to discard the “stupid” label–like Tommy did–and start doing what needed to be done to get better.
Take this little quiz to see if you have an eating disability or disorder:
(Circle the answer that more accurately describes you.)
1. I have trouble sticking to a healthy food plan…
A. Even though I know I need to.
B. Even though my doctor or my medical symptoms say I need to.
2. Often I find myself overeating…
A. Though I feel guilty when I do.
B. Though I feel so ashamed of myself I don’t know what to do.
3. If certain foods are around, I…
A. Eat more of them than I intend to.
B. Eat them until they are gone or until I feel too uncomfortable to continue eating.
4. I overeat…
A. Two or three times a week when I’m busy or under stress.
B. Almost daily, no matter what’s going on in my life.
5. My health…
A. May someday be affected by my eating.
B. Is affected by my eating.
6. I am ashamed of the way I look…
A. But that doesn’t interfere with my activities much.
B. So I frequently don’t do things I’d do if I were thinner.
7. If I were thinner…
A. I would look more attractive.
B. I would be happier.
8. When something is wrong…
A. I concentrate on fixing the problem, but I may be more tempted to overeat.
B. I am usually not able to face the problem without overeating.
Count the number of “A” responses and then count “B” responses. If you had more “A” responses, you have an eating disability that has not progressed to an eating disorder yet. If you have more “B” responses, you have an eating disorder–according to our definition–since eating has brought disorder to your life.
Don’t get upset if you recognize that you have an eating disability or disorder. It may be harder for you to lose weight, but you can do it! Reach out for help today!
By Peter Lundell –
“You’ll miss your flight,” the agent said. If she were comatose, she would have been just as helpful. Because of airlines buying other airlines, I was at the wrong terminal. I got mad at the airline, mad at the unhelpful personnel, mad that every shuttle was going to Car Rental, instead of the terminal where I needed to be.
So I selfishly asked God to delay the flight. A sympathetic driver took me to the other terminal, after a quick stop at Car Rental. I clenched my teeth through the Transportation Safety Administration lines, where of course they had only one screening line open.
The flight was delayed.
As I calmed down before boarding, the Holy Spirit prompted me. I had been tested. And I had failed the test. Still, God had been gracious to me by delaying the flight until I could arrive, but I had not lived up to my character as a follower of Jesus.
Then my connecting flight was canceled. “You’ll have to stay here overnight,” another not-so helpful agent said. I made up my mind not to fail this second test.
I smiled. “You can do better than that.” At Customer Service, another agent put me on standby for the next flight and said, “You still won’t get on. It’s a small regional jet, and we have too many people waiting. Come back afterwards.” So I selfishly asked God to let me on the flight. But this time calmly, with faith, and the added request that no one else suffer because of me.
One passenger had not shown up, but I was impossibly low—eleventh—on the standby list. I calmly waited. Even if I didn’t get on, it was okay because I was passing this character test, which had become more important to me than the flight.
Problems are temporary; character is lifelong. And little victories add up to big differences.
And as it turned out, I got on the plane, filling the one remaining spot created just for me.
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, You are always with me. And my being with you is more important than anything I do or that happens to me. Lead me to always trust you put my character first.
BIBLE VERSE: “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you” (Isaiah 26:3 NIV).
By Cheri Cowell –
With the temperatures climbing like they have been lately, I was reminded of a group of people from an area church who decided to take bottles of ice-cold water to people who were working outside. They thought this simple gift of love and compassion might be a chance to witness and would also be something “Jesus would do.” Two team members set out on a Saturday with four bottles of water to give away. They were very discouraged after several hours. No one was mowing their lawn, walking their dog, or washing their cars. It was too hot.
Just when they were about to give up they drove by a laundromat and saw two women who looked a little weary from the heat. When they gave them the bottled water they discovered the women were living with their families out of a van parked out back. The two water-bottle-missionaries were able to help this family find shelter and a meal in addition to giving them water. Not the opportunity they thought their day would provide, but it would be what Jesus would do. God desires us to extend grace to the weary.
In the book of Romans, Paul encountered a lot of people who thought they were safe and secure because of their lineage, their wealth, their position in life, their deeds of charity, or their allegiance to Paul. Paul wanted to make it very clear that although the Jews were the chosen people, it wasn’t their heritage that saved them. It was God’s grace. And His grace is given freely to those who deserve it and to those who don’t. If we are to do as Jesus would do, we need to look on the needs of others as an opportunity for us to share grace, especially when those who need it don’t really deserve it.
PRAYER: Thank You, God, for the opportunities You give to share Your grace and love with those around me. Help me broaden my view of those who are in need so that all Your children might come to know Your incredible grace.
BIBLE VERSE: “’I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.’ So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace” (Romans 11:4-6 NIV).
By Lynn Rebuck –
Last week I had a wisdom tooth extracted. I am aware that there are many of you out there who have had four wisdom teeth removed at once, or two taken out together, and so you may scoff at my surrender of only a solitary tooth. Let me explain the wisdom of this choice.
The oral surgeon wanted to take out both of my lower wisdom teeth. In dental circles they are known as teeth numbers 17 and 32. As I sat in the chair awaiting the procedure, he entered the room and in a rather cavalier way announced he wanted “number 17 and number 32.” Apparently he thought that he was playing the lottery. He had confused my mouth with the “Pick 6.”
I declined the dual extraction, and my final offer was for him to remove tooth number 17, which had recently broken. Up until that time 17 was my lucky number. Not anymore. Tooth number 17 stubbornly refused to come out. You know a medical procedure is not going well when they call in additional personnel to help (I was wondering how four people would all fit their hands in my mouth). I think he started calling in people from the waiting room. “You, put the magazine down and get in here.”
At one point I heard him say (since I was fully awake and partially numb for the procedure), “Come in here. Take this arm off,” which scared me since I thought he was referring to my arm. I know dental work can cost an arm and a leg, but I thought they’d at least wait until the procedure was over. Luckily he was referring to the arm of the chair. I think he put his foot up on it for leverage when he pulled.
What should have been a quick procedure turned into an extended tugfest. Worse yet, with a mouth full of hands and dental tools, I couldn’t express my opinion about what was going on. And believe me, it was a strong opinion.
When he finally got the tooth out, I was relieved. That was until he said he wasn’t sure if he got all of it. An x-ray showed that he did. After he was done, he announced his decision to not remove tooth number 32. You know it was bad if a guy who removes teeth for a living doesn’t want to remove any more of yours.
After it was over, I was angry and I felt like he owed me something. It was a barbaric procedure, second only to bikini waxing. As I wrote out the check, I eyed the promotional pen I was holding. “I’m taking this pen,” I silently decided. “He took my tooth. In fact, I want the whole container of pens,” I silently reasoned. “I want every pen from the supply closet. I want a fair exchange for what he took from me.” Suddenly the “tooth for a tooth” scripture made a whole lot more sense to me. According to Mosaic law, I think the oral surgeon owes me a tooth. Number 17, to be exact.
Almost a week after the procedure I am left with a giant hole in my mouth where the tooth used to be. It feels like it goes all the way down to my shoulder. The hole is so deep that when I talk there’s an echo. I’m thinking of turning it into a tourist attraction. Who knows, maybe it’ll be one of the seven dental wonders of the world along with the Panama Root Canal, the Hoover Dental Dam and the Golden Gate Dental Bridge.
© 2011 Lynn Rebuck