Do You Have Enough to Go the Distance? Part 4

Untenable Circumstances

There has certainly been a time in each of our lives when we have found ourselves in a seemingly untenable situation when the effort to continue just didn’t seem worth the energy needed to complete the task. Maybe you were training for a marathon or a local charity run and by mile 5 every muscle in your legs was screaming so loudly you just didn’t feel you could push any harder. Perhaps your newborn was waging a marathon crying session while your two-year-old screamed angry protests at all the attention his new little sister received. Maybe it’s an addiction that claimed your existence and you just couldn’t wait for another hit. Maybe dinner was left cold on the table because your spouse didn’t come home or even call.
Imagine yourself a soldier training for elite forces. You have just run several miles up a mountain and down the other side in full gear including a loaded backpack. You meet the angry scowl of the drill instructor and he tells you your time was too slow. Your ride back to camp is pulling away and you are told you will retrace your steps and do it faster this time. A short way up the hill, when your body is betraying you, the DI calls “STOP”. He says you can go back to camp now, but the exercise has taught him who is willing to go the distance.
Or what if you’ve been sentenced to prison time and been transported to your new residence. You finish processing and a guard leads you through a series of gates that clang shut behind you. Imagine the helplessness and then imagine that you are innocent of the crime for which you were convicted.

What if you are the last soldier in a chain of protocol designed to prevent accidental detonation and you are standing watch over a simple button which, if activated, would change the course of history?

What if you take your seat on a plane in the midst of an epic storm. Three storms, actually, have converged in the middle of the country causing killer wind gusts, heavy cloud to ground lightning, and torrential rainfall. I can answer that question because I was that person in April of 1997.
I had joined my husband on a training seminar in Colorado so we could enjoy a little vacation time in the Rockies between classes. At the conclusion of his meetings, we headed back to the Denver airport with dark clouds looming overhead and light rain falling. 

By the time we were processed and ready to board, neither of us wanted to make that flight. The rain was much heavier, lightning was flashing constantly and winds were howling. Our captain tried to put us at ease but failed miserably when he said that he couldn’t return to Denver because they had closed the airport as soon as we departed. Our flight attendants were buckled into their seats, white-knuckled and terrified as we galloped through the clouds like a bucking bronco. Dropping thousands of feet in an instant and then rising back to a greater height than before was the pattern for this flight and it seemed it would never end.
 
My grace is sufficient in you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. II Corinthians 12:9
You’ll remember that I am the “worrywart” of our family, but this time something changed. While my rock of a husband, the guy who is always my support in troubled times, sat next to me explaining about the inability of those wings outside to withstand the beating they were taking and how the fuselage was bound to split open from the pressure, I sat quietly reading a book. A calm came over me as soon as we ascended. It could only have come from God. A voice inside my head told me that I was either going to land safely in Springfield, MO as planned or I was not. And I couldn’t do one thing about it…my future was not in my hands.
I have often recalled that night…we did make it home to our own comfy bed…and that experience has since given me strength and patience to get through any number of large and small emergencies. Oh, I often falter and become a worrier again. I’m human after all and I am still the family worrywart, but I have the unwavering knowledge that when God wants me to come home, I’ll be ready because everything is best in His good time.
Each morning we all wake up to a brand new sparkling day and have another opportunity to make the most important choice of our lives. Do you choose God or do you choose self?
 It is for us to make the effort; the result is always in God’s hands. Mahatma Gandhi
Do you have enough faith to go the distance?
One more week…

Read more...

How We Pray

By: Ed Vigneaux

How many of us say the Lord’s prayer every day, week, or month?  In the 8:30 service, we almost always recited the Lord’s prayer every Sunday; not sure about the other services.

But how many of us pray the Lord’s prayer?

Below is an explanation of how to pray the Lord’s prayer that I find very helpful.

I. “Our Father who art in heaven”
Spend 3 minutes focused solely on God as:
“Our Father” – imminent: provider and protector.
“In heaven” – transcendent: omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient.

II. “hallowed be thy name”
Spend 3 minutes praising and thanking God.”
Think about the things you love about God and praise God for them.
Think of the way God has blessed you, specifically for the things in your life that are bringing you love, joy, and peace. Thank God for these things.

III. “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
Spend 3 minutes sitting with the question, “Lord, I’m reporting for duty. What would you have me do?” Just listen, then do what you are led to do—provided you know the voice you hear is not guilt or people-pleasing. The cumulative effect of listening like this on a daily basis is powerful.

IV. “Give us this day our daily bread”
Spend 3 minutes praying about daily needs.
Identify what you need to survive the day and ask God for it–your basic needs, not your wants. Then ask God to give to your family and friends what they need to stay on their feet today. If other people or things are on your heart, this is the time to pray about them.

V. “forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us”
Spend 3 minutes confessing, receiving forgiveness, and forgiving. First, confess your sins to God and asking for forgiveness. Be specific. Then pray this prayer: “Lord, forgive me as I forgive ________.” Put a name or names in the blank. Turn this person/persons over to God and surrender a right to get even with them. Pray for God to bless them.

VI. “lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
Spend 3 minutes reflecting on the things that are depleting love, joy, and peace from your life, and the ways you are stuck in destructive behavioral patterns. Pray the “Serenity Prayer”: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.” Ask God to reveal what things you need to change and what things you must accept, at least for now. Ask God to disinfect your brain, to intervene throughout the day to make you aware of vulnerabilities, and to give you the strength to break patterns where destructive muscle memory has taken over.

VII. “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever  and ever.”
Spend 2 minutes reflecting on the things around you that appear to be great, powerful, and important but are actually transitory, trivial, and tinsel.

VIII. “Amen.”
“Amen” is the Hebrew word for “So be it.” Conclude your prayer time by asking God to bring fulfillment to your prayers.

I hope you find it helpful as well.

We are blessed to be a blessing.


Read more...

Do You Have Enough to Go the Distance? Part Two

How Much Is Too Much?
By: Marcy Barthelette
Last week I shared a hard-won lesson about toilet paper and I wondered where this week would take me. I like
to talk with God before I write and ask Him to give me the words He wants you to hear. Sometimes a message
is loud and clear but sometimes it is very subtle and requires a little interpretation on my part. The message
this time smacked me right in the face.
A couple of weeks ago I stood looking out my back door at the lawn that Ken had just manicured expecting to
be greeted by a vision of lush springtime green. But I wasn’t! All I could see was an ocean of white fluffy balls
waving in the breeze, just waiting to thrust thousands of seeds in
an all-out assault on our unsuspecting lawn! Before we knew it,
they would sprout everywhere. Soil that seems useless for
anything else will always support dandelions. And don’t you know
they find the tiniest crack in the pavement to sprout and grow like
there’s no tomorrow. It seems they are always in an eager rush to
bloom and seed and drop to sprout again in their vicious cycle of
aggression. I have even watched a bloom cut from the plant or
sprayed with insecticide continue the process of reproduction.
Because it lies helpless on the ground, the wind can’t disperse the
seed so it all drops in the same spot and tries to sprout, sibling
fighting sibling for space and water and sunshine.
Ken often tells me that the dandelion flower is beautiful and, in truth, it is. When you take the time to study one
bloom at a time, they are intricate and quite lovely. Even the seed head has its own unique qualities and I have
to admit that I have spent some amount of time photographing both the bloom and the fluffy white seed head.
They are truly mesmerizing when backed by sunlight.
The more I study nature, the more I stand amazed at the work of the creator. Louis Pasteur, French Chemist
Nature has many lessons to teach us if we keep our senses attuned to our surroundings. Dandelions, like the
ants in a former article, display a persistence that defies human imagination. Their instinct to survive and
reproduce is so strong they let nothing get in their way, not even mowers or chemicals. Imagine our world if we
could muster a fraction of that persistent endurance.
Flowers grow out of dark moments. Sister Mary Corita Kent, Artist and Educator
You’ve undoubtedly heard the phrase, “bloom where you are planted”. Like the dandelion, we should look for
whatever good we can find in the place or situation in which we are planted. There is a reason for everything
that happens in this life. Sometimes we wish we could see the bigger plan; we think life would be easier if we
knew what was coming. But if life were always easy, how would we learn endurance. Remember that diversity
defines personal character.
…because we know that trouble produces endurance; endurance, character;
and character, hope. Romans 5:3-4 ESV
Do you have enough endurance to go the distance?
More next week….
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Read more...

Do You Have Enough to Go the Distance?

Part One: Why Worry?
By: Marcy Barthelette
You may ask, enough of what? A few weeks ago the answer might have been enough clothing and toiletries packed for a vacation or business trip? Perhaps it would have been, do I have enough food for the dinner party we are hosting tomorrow evening? Or maybe, have we set aside enough for the kids’ college fund and for our own retirement.
Today, it seems our biggest worry is where the next roll of toilet paper will come from. Americans have been issued a wake-up call! It’s time to start seeing toilet paper in a new light.

On March 11…I am sure of the date because I took it from my COVID 19 journal…Ken and I decided that it might be best to give credence to the chatter we were hearing regarding a possible epidemic. It still seemed remote, after all, it began in China and seemed unlikely to affect us too much. We embarked on an epic shopping trip to stock up on needed items just in case. You can’t imagine our surprise when we found shelves in the paper supply section at Wal Mart stripped completely bare of stock. We shook our heads in disbelief, Ken took a picture as proof, we grumbled a bit with other customers and went on about the rest of our shopping.

At the self-check register, I asked the monitor when she thought they would restock toilet paper and she said they couldn’t keep it on the shelves and she didn’t know if they would get any more on their truck. Shortly after that, she received a message on her headphone that TP was being stocked. Ken went back to check it out while I continued at the register. He returned shortly, hands held high, clutching a 6 pack of Charmin Ultra Soft, our favorite brand! We were ecstatic! Who could have known that two fully grown adults could get so excited about a package of toilet paper? 
Before we left the store, I had a breaking news announcement on my phone. The World Health Organization had declared a global pandemic.

In the blink of an eye, a scary new word had become a trigger for everyone to fly into full panic mode, rushing to the stores to grab anything deemed necessary during a time of crisis. We didn’t really know what this crisis would ultimately look like but we wanted to be ready. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t choose wisely in the beginning. I’ve been a pretty fast learner but in those early days, I operated on gut reaction. They say there is a worrier in every family and it’s widely known that I am the designated “worrywart” in ours. I have to say I was edging toward paranoia worrying about what to do if we did, in fact, run out of toilet paper. Those of us whose memories include outhouses stocked with Sears catalog pages have long since scrubbed those memories from our daily lives. Anything less than plenty of Charmin in the cabinet was unthinkable!
After a couple of weeks of this new insanity, I was able to get a grip on my emotions and learn to shop with safety precautions in place. Eventually, I even found toilet paper. It wasn’t Charmin, or even very soft, but I finally had a small stock of paper. And that package of Charmin Ultra Soft that we scored on March 11, well, it is April 26 as I write and that package is still unopened. It seems that by being a little thriftier in our usage, we already had enough in our home…enough toilet paper, at least.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Matthew 6:34a NIV
 
Look at the birds in the sky! They don’t plant or harvest. They don’t even store grain in barns. Yet your Father in heaven takes care of them. Aren’t you worth much more than birds? Matthew 6:26 CEV
 
Do you have enough trust to go the distance?
To be continued……

Read more...