Step 12

Do You Want to Be Enriched?Premium Content

Proverbs 11:25-26
A generous person will be enriched,
and one who gives water will get water.
The people curse those who hold back grain,
but a blessing is on the head of those who sell it.

A generous person will be enriched . . .

We are living in a times of great need. Government leaders from all over the world are scrambling, doing what they think they should to stop imminent economic collapse. Unemployment is soaring. Housing prices are plummeting.

A generous person will be enriched . . .

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Our Perceptions Govern Our LivesPremium Content

"It is all about how you look at things." Ever hear that expression? We're often advised to think positively, to believe in ourselves and to have faith in God. All of these things speak to our perspective on any life issue. All of these pieces of advice can feel like they're easier to say than be lived, right?

When I was a little girl, living on the farm, come late summer and early autumn, our farmstead was besieged with grasshoppers. I tell you, it was a tiny snapshot of what any locust plague must have looked like. It was hard to walk anywhere without there being a grasshopper right there, almost crunched by my foot.

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Do You Have Tenacious Resolve?Premium Content

A dear friend and brother gave me a medallion to remind me of "tenacious resolve". It has the words "finish strong" inscribed on it. I keep it in a place where I will see it often. I don't know about you, but I need reminders. God is great about giving us sign-posts and reminders. There are always little, and even big reminders along life's path---they are there to show us that he is still our strongest encourager.

Here is one of my favorite "tenacious resolve" Scriptures:

Therefore, we do not lose heart. So we are not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There's far more than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can't see will last forever. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 Msg

We are prone to loosing heart and giving up without this level of regular encouragement. It's bad enough without negative reporters, naysayers, critics, and discouragers. They seem to abound the harder circumstances become. Which am I-a spiritual cheerleader or "frump grump"? Never heard of a "frump grump"? They only prognosticate on how much worse it's going to get.

So, what do we do with all the evidence of things seeming to fall apart around us? First, resolve not to ever give up! It's just not an option. With that "tenacious resolve" you will not lose heart. Once you lose heart-it is easy to become overwhelmed to the point of seeing only the negative and missing all the positive signs around you.

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How Much do you REALLY Trust the Lord?Premium Content

Trust. What does it mean? According to www.Dictionary.com
it has 8 different meanings. We will only focus on those which apply to us as Christian believers.

trust noun.

1. Firm reliance on the integrity, ability, or character of a person or thing.
2. Custody; care.
3. Something committed into the care of another; charge.
4.
       a.The condition and resulting obligation of having confidence placed in one: violated a public trust.
       b.One in which confidence is placed.
5. Reliance on something in the future; hope.

verb. trust·ed, trust·ing, trusts verb. intr.

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When Your Church Disappoints You

Recently someone commented, “Church causes more problems than it solves.”

It’s not a new notion. Churches have had issues since they were established more than two thousand years ago. Many of Paul’s letters specifically address some dysfunctional church activity.

The basic problem with church is it consists of people, and we tend to be fairly messed up. Church would be a great place if it weren’t for all those people.

I’ll bet Jesus had a similar thought. This world would be a cool place if it weren’t for all these messed-up people.

Learning to Live From Your New HeartPremium Content

Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts…For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. Hebrews 4:7, 12, 13, The Message


One thing is for sure for the follower of Jesus -- God gives us a new heart! The significance of this gift is immeasurable. Our heart of birth had been broken, bruised, battered, used, diseased, rejected, hardened, and corrupted. In short; it is unfixable. That's why we are candidates for nothing less than a 'heart transplant'. Anything else would fall woefully short. Prior to the new birth our old heart is as the Prophet Jeremiah proclaimed: "sick, desperately wicked…Who can know it?"

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Tree Pose: Heart and Mind BalancePremium Content

I admit it; I've tried yoga. (This is not the point in which you laugh yet).

Although, my yoga odyssey is humorous to watch (both my husband and my cats cock their heads to the side in bewilderment), it has helped me to at least address, if not practice, the concept of balance. And one pose, in particular, seems to concentrate on that goal: the tree pose. Here's a quick rundown of that pose for those of you out there who are not bewildering your significant others and pets:

First, you stand still, while slightly shifting your weight onto your left foot. Next, take your right leg, bending your right knee, all while grabbing your right and positioning it on your inner left leg. Anyone fall down yet? Balance! Yes, wonderful, beautiful balance!

But wait, there's more.

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Understanding and Living our Relationships According to GodPremium Content

... diligently seek him. Hebrews 11:6

Who do we have relationships with? What are our most important relationships? How should we handle our relationships with others? Is our interaction with others pleasing to God?

Who do we have relationships with?

    1. God/Christ
    2. Spouse
    3. Children
    4. Extended family (parents, grandparents, uncles, nieces -- etc)
    5. Friends
    6. Co-workers and acquaintances

What are our most important relationships? (In this order)

    1. God / Jesus Christ
    2. Spouse
    3. Children
    4. Family
    5. Friends/Others

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Do You Want to Be Righteous or Right?Premium Content

Do we want to be righteous... or do we want to be right? It seems, these days, that many people have difficulties taking constructive criticism. The fact is, our egos are so sensitive (so self-centered) that we want everyone to approve of us all the time, rather than accepting the kind of sacrificial love that comes from a friend who wants us to be right with God. And, oh my goodness, what turmoil wells up inside us when we are rebuked! We take it as a personal offense, rather than quietly wondering if perhaps it's really true and we should do something about it.

    A rebuke strikes deeper into a discerning person than a hundred blows into a fool.Proverbs 17:10 NRSV

Friends don't let friends sin. That's the simple fact about Christianity. If we are true to our faith, we understand that everything here is temporal and our focus should be on the eternal. And the eternal is concerned with pleasing God.

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Avoid Burn-out by Practicing Good Self-carePremium Content

Urban mission work and recovery outreach are certainly unique. The rewards can be tremendous, as well as the discouragements. So, here are a few of my thoughts on how to avoid burn-out by practicing good self-care:

A. Keep a life for yourself -- I often struggle to find the balance between personal priorities and ministry opportunities. It's easy to get caught up in ministry and put my own needs on the "back burner." Because urban missions can be a very stressful place to work good self-care practices are essential. One of the most important of them is to cultivate a life that is separate from the mission and its staff and clients. We need to leave work stress behind and pursue our own interests and relationships. For people who live in the mission facilities, failing to develop meaningful outside relationships and activities is a sure path to "burn-out."

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