Tuesday, March 10, 2015

International Women’s Day – How to Give Clout!

Galatians 3:26-29 (NKJV) ~~ For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Earlier this week was International Women’s Day (IWD).  IWD is the day when we celebrate women everywhere.  By doing this we celebrate our accomplishments, make our past an important part of where we stand today, and bring awareness to those who still need us.  We have come a long way over the centuries from where we used to be.  We can dream and know that we can make those dreams become a reality.

You are Blessed to Be Where You Are

This day each year always gets me thinking about how blessed I feel to be a woman in the 21st Century in North America where I have rights and freedoms that many others don’t have.  There are women who are still struggling, suffering, searching, and longing to be heard, loved, and to become independent.  They are women that need all of our attention immediately.  Their stories need to be told.

There are so many women, and groups of women in history that have affected us and who we, as modern women, have become.  Most of these women, most of us don’t even know or have never heard of.  These brave ladies and their actions, which in most cases were definitely ‘against the grain’ of what society said was OK for women to do or say, influenced us just as much as those women that are around us every day.  However, the women in our history can be a story for another blog, or a book even, or a series of books. 

There are Women that have Shaped Your Life

The most drastic changes to who we are today, have resulted from the women that are immediately around us; those that love us, or not (in some cases), each day.  Some of these women, like our Mom’s, have been there every day for our whole lives (for those of us who are blessed to have our mothers).  Others have come into our lives for a season, and then in the blink of an eye they are gone again, often leaving almost as big of a footprint on our lives. 

All this got me thinking: who are those women that have influenced me the most?  The more I thought about it, the more I realized that it is indeed quite a list. 

  • First, there’s my Mom, who is no doubt the biggest impact.  She’s taught me everything from how to cook and do housework, how to treat and get along with others, to how to be a loving, strong and independent woman like her.  She helped me laugh, and cry.  She listened when I need it and didn’t judge me.  She was a great example and teacher. 
  • Then there was my maternal Grandmother – she loved Jesus with all her heart and soul – a wonderful example.
  • Next were my Aunts, Phyllis and Florence – I spent many sleepover nights at their houses.  I learned that sometimes extended family isn’t so extent.  You can live, laugh, and love with them like they were your immediate family. 
  • In a very special place in my heart is my Aunt Sadie.  We only got to see her every 4 or 5 years growing up, because her and her family didn’t live near us.  However, she taught me something very important that had big effect on my life.  Aunt Sadie taught me about peanut butter.  Seriously.  See one summer when she was visiting us, she was making herself a slice of bread with peanut butter spread very thick.  My Mom said “Ewww, how can you eat that like that?”.  Her response was “Hey, if you’re gonna do peanut butter you have to do it right.”  This got me thinking about how important it was to to “do it right” for other things in my life  I figured out that I had to try my best at what I was trying to do, and not to necessarily just accept things the way they appear to be sometimes.
  • I could go on and on with this list.  There was Charlene, Daphne, Suzanne, Francine, several cousins, and a long list of women from the church I now attend; each with their own importance to me. 

There is One Perfect Example Above All Others

There are so many women that have left lasting imprints on my life.  They’ve helped mould me, they’ve helped make my life what it is today.  Many of these women were in the past.  Many are still in my life.  The one person who has shown me just how valuable I am though is Jesus.  I know what you’re thinking – Jesus isn’t a woman!  Yes, I realize that, but I also know how He viewed women, how He treated them, and how they responded.  The bible has many examples showing Jesus being sensitive, accepting, and affirming of women.  This is who Jesus was with women, with everyone.  It’s how all of us are to be with everyone. 

Scripture is clear on what kind of people we are to be; how we are to think, act, speak, and our overall character.  We are all children of God, equal with each other, heirs to the throne with Jesus.  There is no good reason for women to be thought of as inferior, treated as a lower life form, abused, or discarded as not important.  We, as modern day women, need to be examples for others, especially the younger generation.  It’s equally as vital that we reach out and do our parts to help the other women around the world who need us so desperately. 

So, go and share the gospel that we are all called to share, and be the example that you would want to see.  Do it everyday, not just on International Women’s Day.  Who were the women who have influenced your life?  Who will you be an example for?

Let’s Pray

Dear God ~~ You have given me so many wonderful examples of women that have helped shape me into who I am today.  They are the perfect women that have influenced me at the perfect times in my life.  I admit that I haven’t been the best example that I could be to other women, or the best example that You need me to be to show Jesus to others.  Thank You for International Women’s Day that is helping to bring awareness to so many important women’s issues.  Please use it to show Your glory.  Thank You for the wonderful women in my life, and those in the past that have shaped history for all women.  Please let me be a strong, independent, wonderful example for other women that they need me to be.  Help me show Jesus to them.  In His name, AMEN.

Other Reading about International Women’s Day

My past blogs:

Facebook feed #InternationalWomensDay (many stories, articles, videos, and conversations shared by Facebook users about International Women’s Day)

ARTICLE: Jesus and Women 

Now It’s Your Turn

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Truth About What Matters in the End

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 (ESV) - The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.  For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.

by Carley Cooper

Smiling Buddha

I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed the other day when I saw a photo with this quote on it:

In the end only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.” ~~Buddha

I really got to thinking about this a lot.  I started to wonder about it.  Really?  These are the things that matter?  How do we know this for certain?

Sounds Very Warm and Fuzzy, Doesn’t It?

The truth is that it’s a very relative statement.  What does real ‘love’ mean in human terms?  It will not mean the same thing to everyone.  How graceful is graceful enough?  Without these things defined there is no real meaning to Buddha’s statement.  And, who are the people who get the privilege of defining these things for the whole human race; for all time?  No matter who that would be (Buddha or otherwise) it’s not fair to everyone else to leave us out of the decision making. 

The truth about "In the end" is that only God can define true love, because God is love.  The rest of us are just striving daily to get there.  Only God has shown true gracefulness.  In the end what matters is that you:

  • love Jesus
  • love others as you love yourself

These first two points are greatest commandments that Jesus gave us.  Jesus told us “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  On these two commandments hang all the Law  and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:37–40 (NKJV)).  We just need to look toward Jesus’ example of love.  He loves us as He loves His Father.  So must we do the same.  But, you also must love yourself like God loves you, and see yourself as His child, because without that you can not love others. 

That’s Not All.  There’s More!

What’s important in the end, though, doesn’t end there.  We must also:   

  • confess and repent of your sins and follow Him -   “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”  (1 John 1:9 (NKJV)In addition, Luke 13:3 (NKJV) tells us “I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”  To repent means to turn 180 degrees.  We have to turn away from our sinful ways and follow Jesus.
  • help spread the gospel – ‘And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.  He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.”’ (Mark 16:15-16 (NKJV))
  • forgive and don't judge othersJudge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” (Luke 6:37 (NKJV))
  • show Jesus to others from within yourself, by loving others and showing them that you are His disciple - "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.'" (John 13:34-35 (NKJV))

In the End He is All that Matters

Do you have a relationship with Him today?  Do you show Him to others in  your actions, attitude, and daily life?  Do you forgive easily?  Do you judge others quickly?  Do you love your enemies as yourself?  Do you share the Good News with others, and be excited about doing it?  Are you a disciple of Jesus?  These things are so important in the end. 

So when you’re looking for that something that will fill your soul and satisfy, and you’re tempted to go in search of worldly spirituality, think about this: those chubby little Buddha statues that some people have sitting in their gardens or on a table in their home; he can’t even get himself across the room without some help.  How is he going to love you in the way you need, or save your eternal soul? 

The only one to love you truly and perfectly is God.  Our purpose on Earth is to follow God’s laws to bring Him glory.  The bottom line; in the end; after all is said and done… Jesus is what really matters because without Him we won’t get to spend eternity with Him in Heaven.  

Let’s Pray

Dear God ~~  Wonderful, merciful, graceful, perfect-loving Lord, so often I get lost on my journey.  I go looking for things to fill my needs and heart that are made from human-designed concepts.  Thank You for Jesus and all that He has done for me and given me.  Help me to always turn to Him for everything I need and to be my perfect example of love.  Help me to show my thanks by following Your commandments and letting Christ be seen in me by others.  Open the eyes, ears, minds, and hearts of all that I meet and let them be drawn to Jesus; because in the end, that’s all that matters.  In Jesus name, AMEN.

Now It’s Your Turn

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Patience is a Virtue

James 5:8 (NKJV) – “You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.

by Carley Cooper

This is my first blog post in a long
time.  My health has not been good, and I was not able to focus on writing.  Things are starting to look better, thanks to God and my wonderful doctors.  However, all is not great as of yet.  This could be an ongoing Bipolar Disorder problem, or it could be something else. 

Many of you have been waiting for my return to the blogosphere.  I thank you for being patient with me. 

Waiting with Your Head Under the Gate

I’ve been doing some thinking as of late about how much time we put into waiting in our lives.  We wait in long line-ups at the grocery store, for a package to come in the mail, for ‘the’ phone call from a certain someone, for a great promotion at work, and even to collect enough money in our savings to buy that special item or go on that vacation we’ve dreamed of.

Last fall our hearts went out the the Cirillo family of Hamilton, Ontario after Corporal Nathan Cirillo was gunned down buy a senseless madman in the Canadian capitol of Ottawa.  One of the many sad scenes we saw surrounding this incident was the photo of Cirillo's dogs waiting at the gate for him to return home.  My heart went out to those dogs when I saw their little noses under the gate. 

I know how deeply dogs can feel, how much they love their families, and how much emotion they can show; I’ve seen it.  I’m a pet-parent myself to a cute little shih-tzu named Maggie (who will be 2 in April 2015).  However, there are some things that animals just can’t comprehend.  I wish it was possible to help Cirillo’s dogs understand what had happened. 

Jesus IS Coming

When I saw those sad dogs, I couldn’t help but think that they are just like Christians.  As children of God, we wait, and wait for Jesus’ return.  Every generation has hoped that they would see His return in their lifetime.  One cannot help but wonder “How much longer will it be, Lord?”.  We long to be with Him, to see His face.  “What’s taking so long?”, “Where is He?” we ask.  Just like those dogs waiting for their Daddy by the gate, we wait and wait, to no avail it seems sometimes. 

As Christians, though, we know that He will be here one day.  All things come in God’s time, not ours.  However, my blog followers, Cirillo’s dogs, and Christians aren’t the only ones who wait and wait.  God is also waiting.  He’s waiting on those people He loves that have gone astray.  He’s waiting on those that don’t know Him, and who are searching for something to fill their hearts, searching for true happiness somewhere in the world.  God wants them to come home to Him. 

We have a Purpose While We Wait

We can help in the waiting time by telling others about what Jesus did for them on the cross; by spreading the gospel.  So many people in the world haven’t heard about the Messiah who came and saved the world from our sins.  Matthew 24:14 (NKJV) says “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.”  We must do our parts to teach the world, to get the gospel heard in all corners of the earth.  In Matthew 28:19 (NKJV) Jesus told us “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”. 

Keeping busy doing this while we wait is a good thing.  Psalm 27:14 (NKJV) tells us to “Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!”.  The benefits of waiting patiently on the Lord are astronomical.  “The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who seeks Him.” (Lamentations 3:25 (NKJV)). “But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31 (NKJV)).

So blog followers, wait no more.  Thank you again for sticking with me.  Cirillo’s dogs?  I believe that they will be reunited in Heaven one day with their Daddy.  And Jesus return?  Well, “Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Matthew 24:44 (NKJV)).  It’s closer than you think! 

Let’s Pray

Dear God ~~ Graceful, merciful, loving and patient Father: We try so hard sometimes to take your lead and be patient as we wait, but it never seems to be enough.  In the end we come out feeling drained, frustrated, angry, sad, depressed, at our wits end.  Thank You for giving us Jesus as our perfect example of how to wait and how to be patient.  Jesus accepted His fate and lived His life knowing that He was the Lamb.  Please help us to be like Him more and more every day.  Give us the the words to say to plant seeds in others as we do our parts to spread the gospel, open our eyes to to new opportunities to share, and give us the courage to do so when we need it.  In Jesus name, AMEN.

PS:  Please pray that I will be well soon.  Thank you, Carley.

Now It’s Your Turn

Thoughts about this post?  Questions?  Want to share your story?  Ask for prayer?  Please share in the comments box below(If you don’t see the comments box below, you are on the homepage, click on the post headline, & scroll down to find the comments section.)

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