"Then after the battle you will still be standing firm." (Ephesians 6:13b NLT)
How are you doing at "standing firm"? I have recently gotten a much better thought process on it. I have had balance issues, because of ankle problems, for several years. I discovered, this summer, what I thought was arthritis is actually ligament damage and can be fixed. This has meant ankle surgery, more balance issues while it heals, but when finished my prayer is to be able to "stand firm."
There is also the "stand firm" Paul is talking about in this letter to the Ephesians. Here Paul is pointing out the need for the "full armor of God." (Ephesians 6:13a) The Message reads "Truth, rightesousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than just words. Learn how to apply them." A good reminder we can "stand firm" in what we believe, and talk about, while living in the PEACE of God's love. Jesus tells us in John 14:27 "My peace I give to you not as the world gives." (Emphsis mine)
There are times, especially as Caregivers, when we have to stand firm about what is happening or will happen. There are times when we struggle with balance - physically and with self care. Through all of these things, however, we can put on the "full armor of God" (Ephesians 6:13a) "so that when its all over but the shouting you'll still be on your feet." (The Message Ephesians 6:13b) After ankle surgery, pandemics and what ever else we face - we can be "standing firm."
"Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom." (James 3:13)
Have you thought about how you learn something - especially something new? I know most of us are old enough we have been out of school for quite a while. We do, however, at least occasionally learn (or want to learn) new things. We get a new appliance, a new phone or we want o actually try a new thing - for a favorite hobby or passtime or something really new. So how are you at learning? I was in my 50s, in Seminary, when I found out I'm what is called a kinesthetic learner. I need to be doing something - either what I'm trying to learn, like cooking, or my needlework, so my hands are busy.
The readings, today, are about living what we have learned but also about teaching or sharing. Proverbs 31 is a message from the king to his son but it is actually a lesson from the king's mother. The lesson is about living life. The first verses, of this chapter, about about speaking up for others. (31: 8-9) Then this chapter goes into how households can take care of each other and others. (31:20) James is telling us to show, live a life of, works but with "gentleness born of wisdom." (James 3:13) And Jesus, in our Gospel reading, is pointing out how we treat others - especially the littlest and most vulnerable - is how we treat not just Jesus "but the one who sent me." (Mark 9:37) Living, actually doing, what we believe is also how we teach. I saw a couple quotes, this week I want you to think about...... The first one I saw on a sign - "The life you lead is the lesson you teach." The secon one was a story on Facebook - "a person is asked if they are a Christian. The response given is "ask my neighbor.""
Yes, we are Caregivers but we still have lives and we can still think about how, and what, we are teaching. How are we leading our lives? What would our neighbor's response be? Something to think about.....
"He asked them, "But who do you say that I am?" Peter answered him, "You are the Messiah." (Mark 8:29)
Have you ever stopped to think about how many people are tellingus something in one day? We have TV, radio, social networks, friends, family and those are the ones we think of first right? We, at least most of us, also have cell phones connecting us to even more people telling us something. Not only that we can also get the "news" 24 hours a day from any number of sources and perspectives. Add to these are the "voices" we hear of family or teachers -- "stand up straight" or "don't wear white after Labor Day."
Of all the voices are we paying attention to God's voice? The Scriptures, today, are pointing out both paying attention God's voice - "Give heed to my reproof; I will pour out my thoughts to you; I will make my words known to you." (Proverbs 1:23) And how we talk - "From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this ought not to be so." (James 3:10) To Jesus asking us, now today, "But who do you say I am?" (Mark 8:29 emphasis mine) All of which gives us something to be thinking about - how do we talk about God and what God is calling us to do?
Voices, all these voices, talking to (at?) us!! Some, as Caregivers, we have to pay attention to and listen. Some we can "tune out" - especially as Caregivers. So the questions are, as above, how are we talking about God? Is both "blessing and cursing" coming from us? When are we talking about what God is asking us to do - like "love our neighbor"?
"What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you?" (James 2:14)
What is faith? One definition is "complete trust in someone or something." Another definition is belief in God - which for me is "complete trust in." We've been talking, a lot, about what we believe this year. We have also looked at a number of books aimed to strengthen our relationship (faith) with (in) God.
The readings, today, are asking us what we are doing with the faith, belief, we claim we have. Proverbs is reminding us "the Lord is the maker" of all of us. (Proverbs 22:2b) James is pointing out how saying "go in peace" when people are in need of the basics isn't "good faith." (James 2:16) The Gospel reading, in Mark, is pointing out Jesus healing so "ears were opened." (Mark 7:35) Ears "open" listening for what God is asking us to do - love and take care of each other.
As "care"givers we are already giving "care" but are we really listening for what God is calling us to do? Are we loving neighbor? Do we really have faith - believe in Christ? Do other people see we LIVE our faith? Something to think about........
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.