Do Me a Favor

Looking for Speaking Hope Ministry's blog? For the moment, it has combined with Miscellaneous Ramblings. Please click here and be sure to sign up for e-mail notices. Thanks. Carol

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


I am reading the book of Mark, and one thing I have noticed right away is his sense of urgency.

“At once” and “immediately” appear repeatedly throughout the book, but especially in the first chapter.  In other chapters, Mark tells of Jesus warning His disciples to be ready for His return.   
The people of Jesus’ time thought the end of the world was just around the corner.  They believed that one day they would literally look up and see their Christ in the clouds, coming to get them.  There was much to be done and not a whole lot of time to do it.

We don’t have that urgency, do we?  Obviously, the second coming did not occur 2,000 years ago.  And just as obviously, it hasn’t occurred anytime since.
We know how to hurry, though.  Hurry to work, hurry to shop, hurry to church, hurry, hurry, hurry!  And sometimes, at the end of the day, it seems like nothing has really been done.  We’re kind of on automatic.  Especially this time of year with all the details of getting Thanksgiving and Christmas locked into our calendars.

The Second Coming feels far, far away.
So why even have a sense of urgency?  Why hurry to do God’s will? 

Because Jesus said so. 
 “Be on your guard, constantly alert,” Jesus warns us.  “Watch and pray,” He says to us now.

Because if we believe that the Word of God is a living thing, that the Word of God is Christ Himself, then it naturally follows that we believe that our Savior is speaking to us now.
Will we stop our hurrying around long enough to even realize the need to watch and pray?

I hope so.  It seems to me that almost any problem appears to be less of a problem when we turn our eyes to Jesus and keep them there.  For there we will find comfort, wisdom, and fulfillment. 
Wouldn’t it be great to look up and see Him coming for us?  The way the world is going, I’m thinking He’s at least packing his bags and getting ready. 

We need to be ready, too.  We need to feel that urgency that keeps us going, the motivation that comes from the forewarning we have received.  We need to spread the Gospel as much as we can and keep at it until the Second Coming or until we return to our Creator.
A word to the wise is sufficient…

But of that day or that hour not a [single] person knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on your guard [constantly alert], and watch and pray; for you do not know when the time will come.                    Mark 13:32-33 (AMP)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Oh How He Loves You and Me

Many years ago, I was on the team of a fabulously spiritual weekend retreat at a church camp out in the boonies.  There were approximately 30 women participants, and 5 of us on the team were assigned to shepherd the participants around. 

One participant did not want to be there.  She had a pretty hefty scowl and used it all the time. 
Whatever was going on, she didn’t want to be a part of it.  No matter how much we smiled at her and encouraged her, she refused to take part in anything.  No singing, no clapping, definitely no happy face.  She would literally twist around in her chair so that her back was to the front of the room. 

Early on, we decided that we were going to love her to death.  We made a vow that nothing she asked for would be beyond our reach.
The room was too hot?  We opened a window.

The room was too cold?  We closed a window.
She had to go to the bathroom in the middle of a presentation not ten minutes after a bathroom break?  No problem.

Before going to bed that first night, she complained that her back was hurting because of the folding chair she had to sit in.  She wanted to go home.
We asked her to stay just one night and the next day before making the final decision to leave.  She reluctantly agreed.  We knew there were many blessings to be had if she would just hang on a little longer.

After the participants were all snug in their beds, we borrowed a team member’s pickup truck, went to another part of the camp and liberated a recliner from one of the rooms.  We wrestled that thing into the pickup and then wrestled it out of the pickup and into place at the table where the unhappy lady was sitting.
She begrudgingly thanked us the next morning and reclined the rest of the day.  But the thing that got to her the most was when she went to her room during a break that day.  One of the team members had put a heating pad on her bed and turned it on.  When she laid down and realized what had been done, she burst into tears and finally felt the Holy Spirit give her a hug through an ordinary heating pad.  She knew she wasn’t lovable and yet she had been loved by the body of Christ.

I have never seen a woman’s face change so dramatically.  I almost didn’t recognize her.  Without the scowl, she looked completely different.  No, not just different; she looked radiant.    

If anyone belongs to Christ, there is a new creation.
The old things have gone; everything is made new!   
2 Corinthians 5:17

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

All I Need

God’s love really is all I need.  Everything else springs from that.

~ God’s love teaches me to be a better wife.
             The heart of her husband trusts in her,

    and he will have no lack of gain.

She does him good, and not harm,

    all the days of her life.

 Proverbs 31:11-12
~ God’s love teaches me to be a better mother.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.  Always remember these commands I give you today.  Teach them to your children, and talk about them when you sit at home and walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.                                          Deuteronomy 6:5-7
~ God’s love teaches me to be a better neighbor.

Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.                                 Romans 13:10
~ God’s love teaches me to be a better driver.

You have commanded your precepts

    to be kept diligently.

Oh that my ways may be steadfast

    in keeping your statutes! 

Psalm 119:4-5
~ God’s love teaches me to be a better grandmother.

I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.             2 Timothy 1:5
~ God’s love teaches me to be a better customer or client.

Do to others what you would want them to do to you.
                                        Luke 6:31

~ God’s loves teaches me to be a better patient.
            Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions.                    Romans 6:12

~ God’s love teaches me to be a better friend.
            The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense.
                                Proverbs 27:9

~ God’s love teaches me to be a better church member.
I recommend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a helper in the church in Cenchrea.  I ask you to accept her in the Lord in the way God’s people should. Help her with anything she needs, because she has helped me and many other people also.
                                Roman’s 16:1-2

Yep, I think that’s right – God’s love is really all I need.  Everything else springs from that…

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


A lot of times, articles start with the definition of the subject.  So here’s the best definition of “peacemaker” that I have found:

“Show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight.”  This is part of a bigger definition.  It wasn’t in a lexicon or dictionary.  I discovered it in the Bible.

“You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.”   Matthew 5:9 (MSG)

I knew this verse long before I attended a 20-hour seminar on mediation.  But it took me awhile to realize the significance of it.

Of course, it’s always better if people can get along.  No fighting or “nah-nahing” back and forth.  Unfortunately, conflict has been with us since Adam and Eve were thrown out of Eden. 

Since peace is such a prized commodity, you’d think the world would be filled with peacemakers.  Sadly, it is not.

There are more people than ever in conflict every day, sometimes every moment of every day.  What’s the deal?  Where is all this anger and righteous indignation coming from?

I can tell you where it’s not coming from.  Our Heavenly Father is always good, cannot be anything but good.  So it’s not coming from him.

That’s something to think about right there.  Even though we often see the line blur between right and wrong, God doesn’t see it that way.  To Him, it’s either good or bad.

Peacemakers are good.  Peace destroyers are bad.

You have probably seen enough shows along the lines of Judge Judy to know how this works.  Let’s say that Gracie files suit against Misty over money that Gracie says Misty owes her. 

They both agree to mediation to see if they can settle their case instead of going before the judge.

Gracie says that Misty agreed to help pay the rent if Gracie let her stay there for a few months.

Misty says that Gracie knew that she would not have the money to help pay the rent since she was still unemployed after months of looking for a job.

There’s all manner of anger going on here.  Each is righteously indignant at where they find themselves. 

Somebody is lying.  Maybe both are lying.  The truth is in there somewhere, too.  It gets right confusing.

Both women are afraid.  They fear being labeled weak or unreasonable.  There is fear of the unknown.  Fear that the outcome will be contrary to their position.

One way to peace is for one side to cave completely and abandon their position.

Another way is for each side to give a little until an agreement can be reached that everyone can live with.

The “give a little” part is the hard part.  No one wants to appear weak or throw away a chance to get even with the other party.

In my mind, the one who agrees to change her position first is the bravest person in the room.

It’s an act of faith, really.  Faith that she will not appear weak.  Faith that, even though the other side may not agree, she is trying to find a resolution.

Jesus called people to be at peace with one another. Because He proclaimed this reference to those who make peace, we know it is important to us as Christians.

And it’s important to see that Jesus’ definition of peacemaking requires forgiveness. 

Oh, how we yearn for revenge!  Our culture tells us that there is always someone somewhere who is to blame for our misfortunes.  We have been wronged and revenge will solve the whole thing.

But how can we forgive if we’re constantly seeking retribution?

I love this quote of Gandhi:  "An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind."

Consider what would happen in our court scenario if forgiveness was part of the picture.  Gracie could have forgiven Misty and never brought the suit in the first place.  Misty could have forgiven Gracie for dragging her to court.

That’s not to say that Gracie should continue to let Misty stay.  Forgiveness never involves becoming a door mat. 

No, what forgiveness involves is a heart that is able to forgive and go on, not constantly reviewing the wrong done to it.

Forgiveness involves Christ our Savior each and every time.