Don’t Let Anyone Steal Your Joy!

Greetings from the Inspiration Cafe! Today’s blog post: Don’t Let Anyone Steal Your Joy! http://theinspirationcafeblog.net/blog/    Then Jesus said: “…I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy…Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.”  John 16:22-24 NIV (New International Version)   Trying to win the Approval of Others Don’t let anyone steal your joy! At times, so many of us are people pleasers. That is, we try to please other people through what we say and do. Certainly there are times when we need to try to please others, as is the case at work with one’s employer. That is important to do to succeed in the workplace and keep your job—it impacts your livelihood. But here I am talking about how we deal with personal relationships with family, friends, business associates, acquaintances, communities, and even, at times, strangers. It is in these areas that we spend way too much time and energy trying to conform to and live up to the standards of other people to get their stamp of approval, prestige, affection, respect, and admiration, to our own detriment. By so doing, we are usually frustrated by our own efforts to win the approval of other people as we try to guess what they expect from us, and live accordingly. These approval seeking efforts can be exhausting, even producing self-loathing and resentment, as we often unsuccessfully try to please...

How to Have Your Plans Succeed

“Entrust your works to the Lord, and your plans will succeed.”          Proverbs 16:3 (NABRE: New American Bible Revised Edition) http://www.theinspirationcafeblog.net Hoping Your Plans Will Succeed? Hoping your plans will succeed? Every plan needs goals, and a firm foundation to grow on, to build on. Sure, you can go about doing all the planning and implementation and hope for the best outcome. The world tells us that hard work is all that is needed to succeed in this life. True, hard work is necessary for anything we embark on to succeed. But that is just part of the story.   A Team Approach Certainly, we also need to depend on funding and finding the materials and resources to do the job. Often times our plans include other people, as well, so you will want to identify and surround yourself with honest, skilled people to help. Depending on the job at hand, many plans include building a team approach to tackle and implement all the details that you have laid out for the goals you have set. You’ll likely try to find the brightest minds, those with the highest skills, and backers with the appropriate financial assets. With all that in place, the stage is set for success as you stand at the helm of every project or job that comes along. There is nothing else you could possibly need…Or is there?   Learning to Depend on God The above scripture from Proverbs 16:3 tells us simply to, “Entrust your works to the Lord, and your plans will succeed.” It does not say we have all the answers and everything we...

The 7 Promises of God

                                     THE INSPIRATION CAFÉ BLOG                                        http://theinspirationcafeblog.net  ************************************************* The 7 Promises of God Chaplain Adele M. Gill “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go…                             I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”   Genesis 28:15    The 7 Promises of God. It really is such a blessing to know that God, Our Creator, is with us wherever we go; that we are not on our own! We are never beyond his view, and he is there with us to love, comfort, guide, and protect us in our daily lives. No one could ever know us better than God, and His love for each of us is unmatched, unconditional, and never ending! Sometimes when we pray, it seems like no one is listening. It feels like a futile attempt to reach out to a God who is not listening. Yet, other times, it seems that the heavens open up and we are profoundly blessed with answers to our prayer. However, we must not lose heart when our prayers are not answered straight away, as God continues to work out all of details  we are unaware of. It is important to pray with great anticipation and trust that God will do what He has promised according to Holy Scripture. No, that does not mean life will be perfect, but...

How to Be Content in Any Circumstance

Adele M. Gill “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation,              whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”  Philippians 4:12 When Things Go Awry It is easy to walk in fear and dread when things go awry. When things go wrong, we too often focus squarely on the issue at hand, whether health problems, job insecurity, broken relationships, financial challenges, or some other unwelcome situation, that befalls us, leaving us feeling vulnerable. But our perspective and bringing God into it as much as is humanly possible, regardless of situation, can and does, make a huge difference. That is not to say that God causes these things. Actually, many times it is bad decisions that we make that are the culprit causing mishaps and mayhem in our daily lives. Poor nutrition, high risk behavior, a poor work ethic, selfishness in relationships, over spending are just a few examples of using our free will poorly and getting in over our heads. And sometimes it just ‘is what it is;’ there is no one to blame. But consider this… Easy to Blame  It is easy to blame others or even God for what befalls us. And tough circumstances can and often do provoke questions that can rarely be answered: “Why did God do this to me?” “Why is God punishing me?” These questions are sometimes asked by people who are angry when they have serious physical illnesses or...

Prayerful Encouragement

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”    Matthew 5:3 Prayerful Encouragement. Recently, I was approached at the local soup kitchen by three homeless men. Two of them I know quite well. They were eager to tell me about the third man, Vinny, who was newly homeless, and really struggling. It turns out they were very concerned about him. For three weeks he had been drinking heavily and sleeping on the pavement in front of a popular local pub. He was sorely in need of help in every way. He said he hadn’t eaten in four days, and hadn’t bathed or changed his clothes in a month, and I had reason to believe what he said was true on both counts. Never Beyond Help As I listened to Vinny sobbing and talking about his plight, I couldn’t help but notice he continually told me he was beyond help. Certainly to the naked eye, that appeared to be the case, as even his friends who were trying to help him soon agreed with him that he was beyond help.  Vinny presented excuse after excuse as to why he could not be helped. He sobbed all the harder as he picked at his lunch as after going a few days without food, his appetite was greatly diminished.    “Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.” Matthew 25:45   God’s Holy Intervention As Vinny spoke, I prayed asking for God’s holy intervention in his life. I prayed that God would somehow give me the words to comfort, and help...

Not Just Passing Through

Not Just Passing Through Chaplain Adele M. Gill 20 “But our citizenship is in heaven.  And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” Philippians 3:20-21 As Christians, our citizenship is really in Heaven. Our passport? Love of God and others, and how we use our God-given free-will. Could that be why we as believing Christians, sojourners even, we are set apart to some degree; often uncomfortable here as the world is spinning out of control and away from God’s commands? Could it be that in actuality, we are just passing through this life on our way (by the grace of God) to Eternal Life. Citizens of Heaven Could it be this life is just the audition, the waiting room, if you will, for living the afterlife with God?  We are here on earth for such a short time, and we need to make the most of each day as we are not just passing through this life. We are need to be preparing for Eternal Life. As believing Christians, we are actually citizens of Heaven in process. It is very important not to forfeit ones heavenly passport! Through God’s grace and mercy, and our own free will to love God and others–or not–the choices we make about what we believe and how live our lives set the stage for where we spend eternity. Recently, the topic of Eternal Life has come up in discussion, as has the topic of Hell....

Are You a Child of God?

Chaplain Adele M. Gill   14 “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God… 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” Romans 8:14 Recently a friend asked me “Who are the Children of God?” Certainly there are many diverse answers and perspectives for that question. This is a poignant question posed by both believers and non-believers over the ages. It is my considered personal opinion that we are all children of God by birth—both people of every faith, and those who follow no religion, alike. Yet, we all have the choice to choose to follow God’s commands and ways.   Since I am a student of the Bible rather than a Bible scholar, I turned to the greatest source of wisdom I know to answer this timeless question: Holy Scripture. Though I was quite surprised by what I found, I consider Holy Scripture to be the true and ultimate authority. According to Scripture, God physically created all of humanity through His divine grace. However, the actual identity of the children of God, His heirs by adoption through Jesus, appears to hinge, according to Holy Scripture, on one’s belief, choice and free will—our believing (or not believing) in, and following, Jesus Christ, the Greatest Hope the world has ever known:   Scriptures about the Children of God 26 “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you...

How God Blesses His People

The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.   Psalm 29:11 Strength and peace. Today’s scripture tells us these are the blessings bestowed upon us by God when we seek Him with all our hearts, and follow Him and His ways. No One Could Convince Him For 9 years, I have been working weekly with a man, I’ll call him George for anonymity, at a local soup kitchen. Each week he has made a point of telling me, convincingly, with a booming voice, “God hates me!” Despite the fact that my best efforts to convince him otherwise have fallen on deaf ears, he has had no peace, but his mantra has been unchanging, “God hates me! If He cared about me, He would not have let me have 3 back surgeries, live at an emergency homeless shelter, and all the other awful things that have happened to me in my life. I’m a good person. But my life has been really hard, and no one can convince me that God loves me. What has He ever done for me?” Then one day recently, something changed… The Awakening One day, as George came into the soup kitchen, he seemed different than he had over the 9 years I had known him. “I have something to tell you,” he said. “I had a bad car accident last week and my vintage Mustang was totaled. Here’s the picture of my wrecked car. I’m Ok. Walked away without a scratch. But there’s more. When I went to get a new car, I was really upset because I knew I...

God’s Compassion & Mercy for You

“11As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.” James 5:10-11 Recently, I had an exacerbation of myasthenic syndrome causing neuromuscular weakness that affected my respiratory muscles making it hard to breathe, and subsequently, garbled, slurred, raspy speech for a week and a half. I have experienced this many times over the past 36 years that I have had this condition. The doctor ordered the usual outpatient IV treatments—3 days in a row, 5 hours per day. The treatments were eventually helpful for returning my breathing and speech, but there was a week long delay before my condition improved. Yes, this scenario has occurred dozens of times in my life, but this time seemed different. What happened next was anything but the usual recovery from a neuromuscular exacerbation… Healing Happens Several days after going for the IV treatments, I attended a healing service at my church, St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church. My speech had not yet returned and as usual, I was walking with my walker for distance due to poor balance. The healing service was quite an experience to say the least. However, about 3 days after the healing service, my speech and breathing returned. 5 days later, I went to the Mall to walk. Normally I walk there with my walker, but this time I forgot my walker and only had my cane! So I went in the Mall anticipating not being able to walk any distance without my walker as has been...

A Better Way

“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” JOHN 15:5 NASB We Are the Branches A better way. In today’s holy scripture, Jesus tells us that we are the branches that emanate from Him, The Vine. One need only prune a spindly vine to see that new life follows masterful pruning. Pruning removes dead debris that is no longer useful or needed. The vine is the foundation of the plant and subsequent growth. It is the very source of its sustenance, bringing much-needed nutrients into every branch, every leaf, into each and every fruit. Without pruning The Vine, there is no fresh new growth. The plant simply remains dormant or withers and dies and does not bear fruit. Pruning is necessary to rejuvenate the branches, and it is important for the production of abundant fruit.   Spiritual Pruning In real life, times of spiritual ‘pruning’ can be difficult. Figuratively, this pruning occurs whenever we ask God to take the reins, to help us conform to His Divine Will for us. Whenever we give him control over our circumstances. It occurs whenever we put aside our own desires in search of the ‘better way,’ the ‘greater plan’ God has for each of us. It comes every time we deny our own desires for the greater good, or reach out selflessly to others in need. But the challenges pruning presents are short-lived, making way for full, unencumbered new growth upon completion. Conduits of Love And so it goes, we as...