Always Enough

Infinite:  limitless or endless in space, extent of size, impossible to measure or calculate.

(According to The Oxford Dictionary)

Have you ever really thought about that word—infinite?  Whatever it describes means there is always enough, never ending, never depleting.  Like numbers, you can count forever and ever, always able to continue adding more to the sum total. 

Think about if each of us had infinite resources.  No one would go hungry, no one would be homeless.  Even if only one person had infinite resources, that person could give and give to help anyone who was lacking and still always have enough for themselves and for one more person in need.

The world is big, with billions of people, but it is not infinite.  The total population is measurable.  A Google search says there are 7.53 Billion people in the world based on a 2017 measurement.  There are 327.2 million people in the U.S. based on a 2018 estimate.  Infinite resources would always be enough for each and every one of us on the planet.

In the physical world, an infinite amount of anything cannot be realized. 

Luckily though, our God is infinite—without limits!  Think about that!  God helps one person, than the next and the next, never restricted from being able to help many more.  Sometimes people avoid bringing their troubles to God.  They think, “My troubles are small compared to those of others.  God has bigger things to do instead of helping me.”  That’s where their thinking is wrong.  Our infinite God always has enough for all people, for all worries big or small, God doesn’t run out of solutions.  God doesn’t operate in a realm of time the way we do.  God has infinite power over the flow of time.  Therefore, there is always time for listening to each one of us.  God will not run out of resources, never depleting the storehouses, rather controlling physical things. 

There are several events recorded in Biblical times when physical supplies are multiplied to meet the needs of the people.  Elijah asks a widow to use her meager amounts of ingredients to cook her last loaf of bread, but when she does, she finds she still has enough to make more.  She is told there will be enough until such time that the famine in the area has ended (1 Kings 17: 9-16).  Elisha tells a widow to gather empty jars.  She pours from her container of olive oil and she is able to fill jar after jar, the oil runs out when she runs out of jars.  She is now able to sell the oil and earn money to pay the creditors back who wanted to take her sons away as slaves in payment for her debts (2 Kings 4: 1-7).  There is the time remembered and celebrated by Hanukkah when the lamp oil lasted eight days when it should have only been enough to last for one day.  There was enough to fill the need.  Or the time when Jesus broke 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish and had enough to fill the bellies of five thousand hungry people with 12 baskets left over (John 6: 1-15).  They ended with more than they started with.  In Luke 6:38 the advice is to “Give and you will receive.”  The gifts we give will be returned to us in full measure, overflowing, with the amount we give determining what we get back. 

Let’s give praise and thanks that with God there is always enough to sustain us in our time of need. Through God’s infinite power, He is able.  Let’s also remember that when we give, God sees our generous hearts and will be gracious to reward us with peace, love and just what He knows we need.  The infinite supply from which God draws from will never run low.  Whenever we have gaps, God can fill us up.  With God, there is always enough.  Amen to that!

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Getting Along With Family Members

It’s hard enough when people are mean to you, but it’s especially hard when those people are your own family.  Unfortunately you may never get family members to treat you fairly or even care.  The good news, however, is that you don’t have to put up with being mistreated.  But to you who want to take action and are listening, follow the advice of Jesus who said love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.  Bless those who curse you.  Pray for those who mistreat you.  If someone slaps you on your cheek, turn to them, the other also.  If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them.  Give to everyone who asks you.  And if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.  Do to others as you would have them do to you.  The only fighting your family should be doing is the good fight of faith.  Behaving badly is not only disrespectful, it is just plain stupid.  Forgiving this person for whatever he or she has done to you will free up your mental space.  It takes a huge load off your shoulders.

Good things happen when families are in harmony.  We are here on the earth as one big family and harmony begins within.  When families work, it’s because someone takes the time for getting along.  You can be the person who brings peace to your family or tries to.  If not, then don’t hate them and you don’t have to talk or hang out, just love them from a distance.

Lord, let your love take control of our thoughts, actions and words as we interact with each other.  Heavenly Father, I bring our family before your throne.  Please help us to value each other the same way you value us and give us the grace to treat each other right.  In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen. 

Guest blogger… 

Minister D. G. LeVanseler

2-7-2020 

Minister D. G. LeVanseler (2)
Minister ULC (2)

Lives Intertwined

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We make thousands and thousands of connections with others over the course of our lives. We met at school. We are neighbors. We were coworkers. We hit it off while waiting in a long line together. We were introduced by a friend of a friend. We know each other because our kids are friends. He is my great aunt’s step son. She is the girlfriend of my second cousin. She cuts my hair. He coached our team. We started talking at a restaurant and had a lot in common. We served our church and community together.

Each meeting might just bring a smile to the moment or may forever change the lives of the two people who make a connection and for the many other lives that are then touched. Like vines growing, stretching, twisting, intertwining through a forest, there are many touch points with separate vines crossing one another. Do you think the crossing of lives is random? Or could you dare to believe that some or many are orchestrated by God Almighty.

Fruit may come from the connections made by two lives coming together, creating new life, so unique, each so special. Is it all random, simply by chance, a roll of the dice what becomes of the crossing of lives? Or how amazing to think that all the connections made, and what is created, is according to a divine design. Imagine the complex map of relationships that exists with many paths turning and crossing, lives intertwined. And not just on Earth are we following these vines but past, present, future and into eternity, the soul connections remain with new intersections continually being made.

Next time you are tempted to say “Hello” to a stranger or accept an invitation to a party, or go on a date, just do it. You might meet a new friend, a soul mate or the love of your life. You never know what might blossom, a critical connection could be made that changes the world. With God’s divine desires, designs and guidance, there will be beauty in lives intertwining.

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The End is Just the Beginning

The pregnancy starts, life has been conceived with up to nine months of nurturing the precious little one as it grows in the womb.  God has breathed life into His uniquely special creation.  There is excitement and anticipation mixed with anxiety, aches and pains.  The time of birth approaches, the end of being pregnant.  This is the awaited moment, to see and hold the infant child.  The end is just the beginning.

School days, classes, studying and exams, getting an education is hard work.  It will take years to complete and along the way there are decisions to be made.  Time is needed to determine where strengths lie, to figure out the direction to take to chart the future.  God has bestowed gifts to everyone, it is important to discover these gifts and to ensure they are put into use.  The work pays off, finally graduation day is reached.  The end is just the beginning.

An awkward introduction, a chance meeting, or a long-time friendship becomes something more.  A relationship gets serious.  God plays the role as the match maker, aligning lives to intersect.  Two individuals begin to form a bond of love.  Goals and dreams are formed.  Maybe the two are on track for marriage and a life lived together.  The planning, the rings, the clothes, food and flowers and more details occupy their minds.  The wedding day arrives and ends with a legal document to say it is official, the couple is in this together.  They made it to the alter to tie the knot.  The end is just the beginning.

The day of death comes by surprise or slowly but surely, as the physical body can no longer hang on.  Breathing becomes shallow and ineffective.  The heartbeat grows weak.  The light in the person’s eyes and the strength in their voice begins to fade or are lost.  Those that are close to one another feel their hearts breaking as they will be pulled apart.  It hurts to lose our loved ones.  Will their souls live on without their bodies?  God has told us that He has conquered death, and we will live eternally with Him in mansions built in Heaven.  He has prepared a place for us where there is no suffering and pain.  We can be certain that God keeps His promises.  On Earth, we must say “goodbye” as loved ones pass on.  They will be welcomed into God’s Kingdom with open arms by Jesus and by those who have gone ahead.  The end is just the beginning.

Trust that it is not over, even when it seems over.  God knows the end from the beginning.  God is with us from start to finish and on into the next thing.  Like a circle, there is not a point where we stop.  He has plans for us and whenever we reach an ending, we can know that God will provide a new beginning.  Stay close to God through it all and be amazed at what His love does, to infinity and beyond.  The end is just the beginning.

Thank You for My Troubles

There are benefits to being a grateful person, it is good for our souls. Being thankful helps us get through tough times and tends to bring to mind thoughts of empathy for others. Christians may have heard that God wants us to give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18) and to count it all joy when we meet trials of various kinds (James 1:2).  In Islam, believers should be thankful throughout the day. For Taoists, gratitude will automatically move you toward positive power, with some commenting that they can feel grateful for the influence trouble had on them, but not thankful for the pain they suffered. There is a Buddhist prayer “May I be given the appropriate difficulties so that my heart can truly open with compassion.” When the troubles come, can we find a reason to be thankful and find the good when things are going so bad?  Let’s challenge ourselves to do it:  fight fear with trust, battle despair with hope, conquer weakness with strength, crush doubt with faith, repel hate with kindness, replace anger with peace, honoring God with praise in our struggles.  Never stop praying and always find a reason to be thankful.

Thank you God for my sadness, feeling down is not where you want me to stay, so recognizing this encourages me to seek joy.

Thank you for the problems I have to face at work, at least I am being paid to deal with them and find solutions and make improvements, and you so often provide ideas to help.

Thank you for the times when I feel lonely so that I may find comfort in knowing that you, God, are always there and will never leave my side.

Thank you for the housework and laundry that never goes away, if I had no home, clothes or possessions, my “to-do” list would be different but by no means better.

Thank you for my losses and heartaches. If I hadn’t loved so much, it wouldn’t hurt this bad.

Thank you for my health troubles, these physical ailments remind me to listen and to take care of my body, where your Holy Spirit resides throughout my life.

Thank you for transportation challenges, because I need a ride, friends and family have been there for me to get me where I need to go, or perhaps some days you use car trouble as a way to protect me.

Thank you for disagreements, confusion, only with differences of opinions and times of questioning can we have an open mind for what is new and the desire to learn and understand.

Thank you for my weariness and fatigue, this is a signal that I need to find ways to rest and rejuvenate.  By letting go and letting you carry my burdens, you will renew my strength.

Thank you for the pressure and stress that comes my way, this discomfort may be your way of pushing me onto the path that you, God, want me to follow.  This test may be critical for my spiritual growth.

Thank you for putting us into situations that seem impossible, only then will we be able to experience the miracles that you have stored up for me and my loved ones.  When our hope is all but lost, divine authority can prevail and we can trust that nothing is impossible for you God.

God, thank you for my troubles.  You are in control.  You are good.  You are able to bring me through.

Facing Your Fears

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When I was a teenager, I had a reoccurring dream.  My brothers and I were going to cross an expansive arched pedestrian bridge over a large body of water.  It was a gorgeous, warm summer day.  The sky was blue and the sun was shining.  We were laughing and having fun.  We would decide is was a great day for crossing over the lake.  Once we made it to the middle of the bridge, everything would change.  A storm would come in with dark clouds, heavy rain and fierce winds.  Soon the metal side rails of the bridge would bend and break with large sections of the bridge crashing into the water.  My brothers and I would hang on as long as we could but eventually we would each fall to our deaths.  That was how it seemed to me as I awoke shaken, scared and glad that this was just a dream.   It all happened the same way in my dreams, many times, over a period of several months.  My brothers and I would be fearful about going on the bridge but with the fine weather, we thought we’d be able to make it across without trouble.  I never quite knew why we were so eager to get to the other side of the bridge.

One night, the dream was different.  It was the same bridge and I was with my brothers again, but this time the weather was terrible.  It was winter, we were in a snow squall, the skies were dark and the winds were wicked.  The lake below the bridge was frozen solid.  We were afraid but we encouraged each other and thought that at least this time the weather wasn’t going to take us by surprise, we already knew it was awful.  We would hold tight to the rails the whole time we were making our way along the bridge.  We’d be prepared for the worst.  Just like before, as we made it to the middle zone of the bridge, the storm worsened and the bridge started to rip apart.  We hung on.  A couple sections of the bridge broke apart crashing down, this time breaking through the ice.  We tried our best not to fall but our best wasn’t enough, we lost our grip and went down, one by one.  We each broke through the ice, but instead of death or waking up out of the dream, we lived.  At the time of impact, it was like a protective bubble formed around our bodies.  We went through the ice into the water and the bubble allowed us to breathe underwater.  We could swim and move whichever way we wanted without any pain or discomfort.  We could easily see where we would need to go up through the ice if we wanted to return to the surface.  Soon we were doing flips and having a great time.  We couldn’t wait to tell our parents about the exciting adventure we had.  After that, I never had the dream of the bridge again.

Have you found that your walk with God is sometimes like my dream?  We may be asked to go somewhere that scares us.  There are risks.  We could get hurt or die.  The amazing thing is that if we can trust God to be there as we face danger, He will provide a hedge of protection.  We may fall, but God has us in His hands.  Should we stay on the side where it is safe?  Or should we take the chance to face our fears and perhaps experience something amazing and exhilarating that God has in store for us?  Trust God when you are fearful.  He will never let you down.

Isaiah 41:10   Fear not, for I am with you, be not dismayed for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

God is…

God is…

God is infinite, boundless love, yet is in an intimate, close relationship with each of us.

God is timeless and eternal, yet present in every moment.

God is architect and creator of everything in the world and cosmos, yet works supernatural miracles on our behalf.

God is universal and vast, yet focused on each one of us as individuals, hearing our every thought.

God is omnipotent and has ultimate control, yet He allows us to exercise free will.

God is able to see the end from the beginning, yet He grants freedom so that we live with the consequences of our choices.

God is filled with justice and fairness, yet He gives us mercy and forgiveness over and over again.

God is wise, the holder of all knowledge and yet is able to share an inside joke to bring a smile to our face.

God is a great ruler, king, a leader like no other, righteous, yet comforts us gently when we are struggling or anxious.

God is the author of human destiny, yet is willing to co-write the story of our life with us.

God is bold, full of surprises and yet gives us subtle winks that only we can understand.

God is all-powerful and yet He shares that strength with each of us, bearing our burdens and carrying us when we cannot make it on our own.

God is a friend and father to us all, wanting nothing but the best for us and always there, day or night.

God is our provider and when we face lack, He provides abundance.

God is our light, when the darkness surrounds us, His guidance shows us a brighter way.

God is what fills the void when we are empty, only He can sustain us and help us thrive.

God is so many things, more than we can fully express and yet God is everything we will ever need, every day.

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When I Pray…

When I Pray…

Let my prayers be full of praise to our great God who holds our lives in His tender loving hands.  When I pray, let my heart be ever-thankful for the blessings, beauty and bounty that God has created.  In my mind, let God remind me to see the positive side of any situation.  Let no seeds of negativity or hate planted by the devil take root.  Dwell on the best, those ideas sowed by God for our benefit.

When I pray, let my words express my love for God and others.  May my conversations with God be laced with amazement and faith that the ruler of the universe is always there for me 24/7.  That’s incredible!

When I pray, I should try not to run through a list of needs for myself or even for others.  Let me ask what I should give much more often than telling God what I want.  Let me praise more than I plead.  Let me give compliments much more often than airing complaints.  Instead of ticking off names and problems, let my prayers demonstrate the trust I have in the Lord.  He knows our needs better than we do and His plans are for our good.  Praying for His will to be done shows that we are dependent on His Love and that we are standing on His promises. 

Let my prayers speak of my appreciation for the strength we are given to overcome our challenges, for the hope that God gives for our future.  Let me recognize and see the miracles that take place all around.  God puts people in our lives to fulfill His purpose, for this, let me be grateful.  May I follow the example that Jesus taught by showing compassion and reflecting His good in my interactions with those around me. 

Let my prayer time involve listening for God’s voice and understanding the actions He asks me to take.  Let me freely surrender my control to God.  When I pray, may my words be with appreciation and honor for the love, joy, mercy, peace and forgiveness that God has generously poured onto me.  Let me be forever filled with awe for the powerful, wondrous ways of God.

Hallelujah & Amen!!!

Will You Blossom?

We all have seeds planted in us.  There may be dreams, gifts, even sorrows and hurts that are sowed in our souls that hold the potential for growth.  Many of the seeds may lie dormant.  Most seeds have a hard time growing unless they receive the attention, water, sunshine and nourishment they need to germinate.  The seed may be trapped in a hard shell which resists the initial steps in a long process.  Is it worth it even to try?  Getting to the point of blossoming will take a lot of time, often years pass where nothing beautiful is showing.  At times, the growth that has started may look barren and dead like a dried branch.  Yet, sticking with it, the next season may bring an improvement.  The roots may need time to develop.  Are you growing on the inside, establishing a strong foundation for how you will reach the heights that are in your future? 

There will always be obstacles in the way.  Years of progress and expansion may be followed by pruning and being cut short.  Don’t give up.  The end result is something spectacular.  God has place these special seeds in you.  He will give all the nourishment needed to get to your time of blossoming.  There will be challenges which have a purpose to make you strong.  Your blossoming will not be “one and done”.  Your growth and blooming will be a repeat performance.  The difference and meaning God puts into you to let you bloom can propagate as you plant seeds into others.  The world may be fighting you and doesn’t mind seeing you whither.  That cannot be an excuse.  God will be there to provide what you need in all seasons.  He can remove the weeds that may try to choke you out.  God and all the Heavens are rooting for you and are thrilled to see you blossom abundantly.  Give them an awesome show!!!  

New Neural Networks to Fix Our Brains

Think about it!  Think about anything.  We’ll need our brains to do it—our incredible mobile supercomputers that never sleep and control all the physical and mental processes of our bodies.  Scientists say that our brains, like our muscles, need to be used often to stay strong and function well.   Some talk about neural plasticity.  This is the property of our brain that allows it to create new neural networks which help us to process our emotions, to think in certain ways, and to understand and learn new things; it is how our brains work.  Children have the most brain flexibility.  Isn’t it amazing how little kids soak up information to learn about their world and build their language and communication capabilities?  It’s a good thing that most people go to school when they are young, our older brains may struggle to take in all the new ideas at a rapid-fire pace.  As our brains age, it becomes more and more important to keep exercising our neurons.  For example, doing math problems and mental calculations, make us better at doing math problems and mental calculations.  Practice makes perfect!  At any age, what we focus our thoughts on has a big impact on the quality and direction of our lives. 

What are you fixing your brain on?  Do you have a goal that you are working to achieve?  Is your mind doing its part to give you the discipline to make the daily choices and take the actions to reach that milestone?  If you are working on a change, like losing weight or breaking an addiction, is your brain helping or hindering your progress?  Does your brain focus on your physical desires and temptations?  Or are you able to create new patterns of thinking which bring new and improved behaviors?  You have to get your “head in the game” if you want the best chance of winning.  Sports professionals are told to envision themselves performing at top form.  This helps prepare them for success during the actual competition. 

Reading, listening, repeating words, songs and facts allows the brain to memorize and be able to recall them later.  Our brains love to dwell and to get stuck on a circular loop.  Repetition is essential for strengthening neural connections.  These may be good brain networks to build.  Sometimes your mind might get in a rut thinking about all the things you must do or latching on to worry or anxiety.  What can you do to stop the cycle of negative thoughts?  Many can find help and hope in mindfulness and meditation.  That’s wonderful when relief can be found to your mental anguish by achieving control over the thoughts entering your brain.  But it can be very difficult to clear thoughts from your mind and quiet your brain.  Feelings of guilt, anger, loneliness, sadness, distress and other ideas fight hard for your attention.  So rather than empty your brain, why not fill it?  Fix your thoughts on God instead.  Ask Him to replace old patterns of thinking with something new.  What consumes your mind, will control your life.  Fix your brain on praise, gratefulness, joy and love. 

Let’s pray for one another that we can fix our brains on God and be filled with His perfect peace.