Don’t Let Anyone Steal Your Joy!

Greetings from the Inspiration Cafe! Today’s blog post: Don’t Let Anyone Steal Your Joy! https://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...

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...

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...

Endurance, Perseverance & Patience

Endurance. Endurance and perseverance are so central to finishing any race. When blended with patience, these qualities often propel people to successfully complete the journey they embark on. These qualities make possible what God has asked them to endure. Endurance and perseverance, when blended with patience, are necessary to complete any task one sets out to complete—even and especially, healing. Two Brave Friends I have two friends who are fighting breast cancer bravely right now, with all their strength. The sheer courage these two have shown to all who know them is nothing short of miraculous. Even in this time of suffering, these women are faith-filled witnesses, shining examples of what happens when one serves God with all their strength despite adversity. The poise and grace they present to all who know them is clearly a testimony to the love of God, as they forge ahead with major surgery and cancer treatments that would challenge even the strongest among us. What makes them so special is the fact that they give God all of the credit for helping them and being by their side through every bend in the road. They lean heavily on His mercy and compassion. Perhaps more heavily than if they did not have such a need for healing. Cancer treatment is not for the faint of heart, but they credit God with the strength they embody, and the progress they make, in fighting their cancer. I’m sure they have asked “Why me?” at times, but their focus has stayed squarely on the healing power of the mighty God we serve. Surely these good women have...

PART II: The New York Travesty: The Reproductive Health Act

One can only wonder if proponents of The Reproductive Health Act abortion bill that was passed by the New York legislature on January 22nd, 2019 understand the dire physical, emotional, mental, and most importantly, spiritual ramifications of their actions. Have they actually witnessed first-hand, personally, or experientially through others, what they just voted in? It is doubtful, as some find it is easy to stand tall for what they ideologically believe, avoiding the harsh realities of what they consider to be truth. In this case, it is a common strategy many legislators are using to circumvent this simple scientific/ DNA truth: Life and motherhood begin at conception rather than what some mistakenly believe, at birth.   Birth: The First Civil Right At this juncture, it would be folly to underestimate the everyday workings of the lucrative abortion industry at-large, and the resulting fallout from their ending lives before they even get started. It is critically important not to confuse ignorance with evil in all of this. There is a huge difference, and it seems that the latter prevails in this calculated legislative decision, The Reproductive Health Act,  voted in by New York law makers. This legislation denies the unborn their first and most basic civil right: The right to be born. The right to be born is a universal, God-given right, and life and motherhood begin at conception.   Abortion, PTSD and Depression I have met too many women who have aborted their babies, then went on to suffer with unrelenting, untreated PTSD, depression and unresolved, vague medical issues for the rest of their lives as a result of...

Seeking God’s Light

http:www.theinspirationcafeblog.net ‘When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”’  John 8:12 Light. God’s light. Light is vitally important in both the spiritual sense, and the practical sense. The Bible talks a lot about Light. In fact, it is so central to Judeo-Christian teachings, that it is referenced 263 times in the Old and New Testament. Probably one of the most poignant of all usages of the word light is found in the above scripture when Jesus made His seven ‘I Am’ statements found in the Book of John. A Light Illuminating the Darkness We think about light allowing us to see the path ahead of us with confidence. When we speak about light, we think about warmth and comfort and about it illuminating the way, leading us where we are going, as in a lamp for our feet. A light illuminating the darkness. A light at the end of the tunnel. All things eventually come into the light. Some even say there is something wrong if you can’t shine a light on it. For without God’s light, we are lost and living in darkness. The Light of the World In today’s reading, Jesus says, “I am the Light of the world.” In God’s light, there is no darkness at all. Those who follow Him will never walk in darkness, as He shines His light on every aspect of our lives. God knows everything about us, and His people understand the concept of His abiding Light and Love, despite our short comings....