When You Lose Sight of Your Calling

I wanted to purchase a pair of wide legged linen pants, so why was I trying on not one but two pairs of skinny jeans? It was the colors that caught my eye; a cool shade of aqua and a happy red to be precise. The jeans felt comfortable, but looking in the mirror I could see they were not a good fit at all.

I continued my search. I found a pretty summer dress in green and navy with a tad of white and oh, a cute floral blouse. Back to the dressing room I went, decided I didn’t like the blouse after all, but I did say yes to the dress and a pair of leggings.

I can get distracted by pretty things especially anything with small Polkadots and, yes I did pull a few items of clothing with Polkadots off the rack.

Stay focused! I told myself. Linen pants, linen pants I repeated to bring my mission back into view.

It took me three hours to buy one pair of linen pants. Plus another hour to visit a new children’s store in town where I purchased some clothes for my three grandchildren…going to that store was not part of the day’s plan. Can you say DISTRACTIONS.

Losing focus when shopping can lead to impulse buying i.e. dress, leggings and kids clothes. Losing focus on God’s plan for our lives can cause us to run impulsively in many directions other than the path we are called to walk.

Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Proverbs 4:25 NIV

Stay Focused!

Focused on Jesus and focused on what He has placed in our hands to do. It’s so easy to be distracted, to lose sight of a goal especially when it is seems far off.

We get involved in too many things and neglect the one thing the Lord has asked us to do. Whatever it is stay focused. Spend time in His word and in prayer. Listen and be alert to His direction. If you get distracted, refocus! We don’t always realize the significance of what the Lord has placed in our heart’s to do and, we may never know until we are home with Him.

Proverbs 4:27 tells us “Do not look to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.”

 

What distracts you and what helps you to refocus? Share your thoughts in the comment box.

Until next week

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance

 

When the Greet and Meet Time at Church Freaks you Out

“Turn and greet your neighbor.” A simple request heard in churches every weekend.

For some this request is greeted with dread.

Not everyone in a church meeting wants to acknowledge, let alone shake hands with the stranger next to them. The very thought can send them running to hide in the restroom.

Most times I am happy to greet those around me with a simple hand shake, just don’t ask me to high-five or fist-bump…not happening!

Then there’s hugging. Did you just squirm in your seat? Did the very thought of hugging someone you hardly know cause you discomfort? Me too.

Last Sunday I sat in a different seat to my norm finding myself next to a lady I have never met. I said hello and gave a friendly smile when she first sat next to me. Then came the time in the service when we were encouraged to turn to our neighbor and greet them. I extended my hand in friendship and she graciously responded.

Then it happened!

Holy embraces all around! Romans 16:16 msg

She pulled me a little closer wrapping her arms around me as she informed me ” I’m a hugger.” Honestly I didn’t have time to pull away. There I was, embraced in a hug with a total stranger…are you cringing?

If that had taken place a few years ago I would have stiffened like cardboard, held my breath as I endured the torture and made sure I avoided her in the future. I no longer respond to that degree, though I still have a little hesitancy, a little awkwardness, a little embarrassment but a lot more grace.

It is only as I have responded to God’s love for me, accepting His warm welcoming embrace have I slowly become more comfortable with accepting and showing affection to others.

Whatever church gathering you attend I’m sure the leadership would want you to feel safe. It’s okay not to shake hands, high-five, fist-bump or hug. It would be sad to stop attending church all because you dread the “greet and meet” time.

How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings. Psalm 36:7

Set your own boundaries, you know what you are comfortable with. In the meantime allow the One who loves you unconditionally to draw you into His warm embrace. Let the Lord melt away your fears and break down your walls. Let Him fill you with His presence and grow you in His grace.

Maybe you will never be a hugger, and that’s okay. A warm friendly smile and a welcoming hand-shake can say “I’m glad to have met you today.”

I was glad to have met the lady next to me even if she was a hugger. We spoke after the meeting (not about hugging). I found out she was visiting from out of state and this was her first time at my church. She had shed a tear during the service and told me how she wished she had a church like this one in her home state. I’m glad I didn’t push her away.

To those who are comfortable with the “greet and meet” time. Let us be mindful of the people around us, may we respect their boundaries…you can usual tell from their body language. One last thing, I do not allow men (other than my husband) to hug me full on no matter how long I have know them and definitely not a male stranger.

Are you a hand shaker, high-fiver, fist-bumper, hugger or a hide in the restroom woman? Share in the comments, you may be surprised to find you are not alone.

Until next week

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance

 

 

She Desired to be a Great-Grandmother

Photo Credit: Helena Davies

I live 4,269 miles away from my mother (I googled it). A large pond A.K.A the North Atlantic Ocean separates us, so jumping in the car and popping over to Mam’s house on a whimsy is out of the question. Trips to see mam and dad take planning, airplane tickets and time off work.

It has been 26 years since I last celebrated Mother’s Day in the flesh so to speak, with my mother. I’m not saying it has been 26 years since I last saw her, just that we have not shared that day in person for a long time. We talk on the telephone every Friday with extra calls on birthdays, Christmas and Mother’s Day. I know the day will come when I will miss those calls…assuming she passes on before I do.

Late August 2016 I had the pleasure of spending eight days on vacation with my mother, who was then 86 years old, on Jersey, a British island just off the coast of Normandy, France. We had a wonderful time sightseeing the island and learning its history. This was the first vacation we had gone on together in 39 years and one I will always cherish.

Time flies so quickly and is gone before we know it. My mother turns 88 in November (my father 91 in September). Her hair use to be golden, now it is a shimmering white. Her walk use to be fast, steady and sure, now she walks slow and careful with the aid of a walking stick. This woman, my mother is made of grit, she may have slowed down but it has not stopped her sense of adventure.

At age 83 she made the long and tiring journey on her own from Wales to Arkansas to see her two month old first great-grandchild. While here I remember her sharing with my Pastor’s wife her desire to see her first great-grandchild before she died and, now that was accomplished she was ready to go.

Summer Williams   Photography

Since then she has seen him at 15 months and 4 years. Not only did she see her great-grandson this April she also met his sister, her great-granddaughter for the first time when my daughter and family visited Wales.

Wherever we come in the order of family, great-grandmother, grandmother, mother or child it is good for us to take time for each other. To cultivate relationships, something my daughter is very intentional and good at. Family is a priority to her even though she has a full time job and other interests she still reaches out to all the generations in the family.

Honor your father and mother so that you’ll live a long time in the land that God, your God, is giving you”.       Exodus 20:12

Maybe physical distance separates you from your mother, maybe it is emotional distance. Find a way to reach out and bridge the gap this Mother’s Day. We are all getting older flying second by flying second, that is not only true for your mother but true for you also. Bridge the gap today.

Until next week

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance.

What is the one thing that stands out to you about your mother? Share in the comments, look forward to reading about your mother.

 

 

 

 

Nurses: A Peculiar Breed/Celebrating Nurses Week

Hey everyone just incase you are not aware May 8-12th is a special week in the health care industry. It’s Nurses Week!So I write this post in honor of nurses here in the US and worldwide

Nurses are a peculiar breed, we eat and sleep at odd times of the day and night (depending on the shift). We talk about body parts and things excreted from the body while we eat our lunch, the grosser the better. Our sense of humor is a little different to most people and friends and family shouldn’t expect sympathy from us when they complain about aches and pains (we have seen far worse)….like the doctor said, ” Take two Tylenol and call me in the morning.”

We get excited over a juicy vein; I was at a July 4th celebration a few years back, a band that my neighbor knew from her younger days was playing and she wanted to get closer to see her old idol. We moved right in front of the stage, I don’t know the name of the band but I do know the lead guitarist played exceptional well. While my neighbor swooned over her idol, I couldn’t help but notice the awesome veins in his arms as he skillfully played. You would have to have poor eye sight not to stick those veins in one go.

Nurses learn to hide their emotions. When a patient is suffering they don’t need a nurse falling apart sobbing over them. They need a nurse who is level headed and takes action. I use to think I lacked compassion until I learned that compassion is not a feeling (empathy). Compassion is seeing a need and taking action to help that need.

That is exactly what nurses do. They see a need related to their patient, whether it be a physical, mental, emotional or spiritual and they find a way to help them. They are the patient’s advocate, they speak up for the patient and help connect them with the appropriate team member.

The Good Samaritan (read Luke 10:30-35) was compassionate, he saw a need and did what was in his power to help. He gave first aid to the victim on the side of the road, then took him to the Inn where he paid the Innkeeper to take care of the man until his return. My guess is the Innkeeper was too busy looking after his customers to tend to a sick person, so I wonder who he would of hired to nurse the gentleman back to health? Someone with nursing skills?

If you know a nurse (other than me), please take a moment out of your busy schedule to send them a note expressing your appreciation of their service.

Do you have a LPN or RN as a family member or friend? Perhaps you have been a patient and a particular nurse stood out to you? Would love to hear from you in the comments.

We can all be compassionate, see a need and go into action.

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance

 

 

 

 

 

The Day the Wall Fell

I’m not one to run to people with my issues. Ask me how I’m doing and I will probably give you my default answer, “Good, yeah I’m good.” It’s not that I want to be false, I’m just not one to lightly bare my soul.

Maybe you can relate?

I remember several years ago hearing Joyce Meyer on the television telling us to “Run to the throne not the phone.” I know she wasn’t suggesting we never talk with a trusted friend or counsellor. It was just that some people either run to the phone only, or they run to the phone first, putting Christ as a last resort.

Are you a phone first or throne first kind of girl?

A few years back I was having some issues. I had gone to the throne and talked about them with my heavenly Father almost on a daily basis. He told me to go talk with one particular lady at church. I thought it odd that the creator of mankind would pass me off to one of His creations. What in the world was a mere mortal going to do that the great I AM couldn’t do?

I didn’t want to take my concerns to that particular lady, so I shelved the idea.

Have you been down that road?

The Lord instructed you to do something and it wasn’t what you had in mind so you either put it off or conveniently forgot about it?

The issue continued and I continued to bring it to the Lord. He reminded me to talk with that particular lady. “Not her Lord. Please not her.” Now let me make something clear, It wasn’t that she was mean, oh no quite the opposite. She was a sweet southern soul, kind and considerate. Gentleness and love poured out of her every word and action. She loved everyone and everyone loved her. But I did not want to talk with her, at least not in a counselling situation.

I brought up several other names before the Lord, each time He brought me back to the sweet southern soul. It was way past time to obey.

Picking up the phone I dialed her number, half hoping she would not answer. At least I could tell the Lord I tried and perhaps then He would say I could talk with someone else.

Have you ever given the Lord alternatives to His plan for you?

When she answered I felt embarrassed and stumbled over my words. I apologized over and over again for bothering her. It was a difficult conversation for me but, she was gracious and we arranged a date to meet.

I didn’t want to bare my issues to anyone, not even the other names I had mentioned to the Lord. Pride kept them locked inside, walled up in their own prison. I didn’t know it was pride that shackled me. I told myself, my issues were just that, My Issues and nobody’s business other than the Lord’s.

My sweet, southern soul lady listened and only spoke to prompt questions. She didn’t give me a five step plan, or pretend to have all the answers. Instead she gave her ear, her heart and her time.

It was a humbling experience for me to ask for help, but one that I will always cherish.

A wall called Pride, cracked and crashed the day I obeyed the Lord and asked for help.

No matter the name of your wall it can come crashing down too. Seek the Lord and follow His instructions and watch your wall or walls fall.

“God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6

Until next week

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance.

Free feel to share and comment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Radical Love: Part 2

I am so thankful for Jesus. Thankful for His willingness and obedience to pay for my sin on the cross. Thankful also that the story does not end with a battered and bruised bloody corpse, laying lifeless wrapped in linen on a cold tomb slab.

It was early in the morning, when Mary and several other women came with spices and perfumes to use on Jesus’ dead body.  They wondered how they were going to roll away the stone? Think heavy stone, not a small boulder. Oh what a shock they had when they got there!

There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. Matthew 28:2-4

If I had been with these women I too would of been surprised to see the stone rolled away. But oh my gosh! An angel! Really! Scripture tells us we sometimes entertain angels unaware, but these ladies were very much aware of what/who was sitting on the rolled away stone before their eyes. No mistaking his appearance, this being was glowing! Looks like the guards who was on duty to ensure no one stole Jesus’ body were pretty shocked too.

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just like he said. Come see the place where he lay. Matthew 28:5,6

In Matthew 28:7 The angel goes on to tell them to go quickly and tell the disciples that Jesus is risen from the dead. Afraid but filled with joy they ran (vs 8) Yep! think I would be running with the wonderful news too. They were instructed to tell the disciples to meet in Galilee where they would see Jesus.

Oh my gosh, look what I found in vs 9 & 10. Seriously I must have read this scripture many times over the years but only now is it popping off the page. Jesus meets with the women as they were on the way to the disciples.

Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

When the eleven disciples met with Jesus on the mountain in Galilee they too worshiped Him (see vs 16,17). He told them in vs 18 “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me…

…He then goes on to give them the great commission.

But wait! What happened between Friday’s crucifixion and Sunday’s resurrection? Well, He had keys to take back. Keys that Adam and Eve had unknowingly handed over to Satan. The keys that allowed death to enter. Jesus had paid the price and the keys now belonged to Him.

The Ever-Living One [living in and beyond all time and space]. I died, but see, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of [absolute control and victory  over] death and Hades (the realm of the dead) Revelation 1:18

Get this He not only took the keys back but He made a spectacle of the spiritual forces.

He stripped all the spiritual tyrants in the universe of their sham authority at the Cross and marched them naked through the streets. Colossians 2:15

A victory parade indeed!

In Acts 1 Paul tells us that Jesus (after His resurrection) appeared to the disciples over a forty day period teaching them about the kingdom of God. I imagine they were ready to listen and believe more so than in the previous three years. But time came when Jesus needed to leave earth and return to heaven.

After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. vs9

The awesome news is He is coming back!

They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. Men of Galilee, they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

Meanwhile, as we wait for His return we can be assured that nothing and no-one can separate us from the love that God has for us. Jesus paid the price, the deal was closed. Anyone who excepts His gift of salvation becomes family, His family. Sealed with His blood.

In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:37-39 NIV

We, you and I are radically loved. Live in His love!

From my family to yours

Have a wonderful Easter Sunday

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance.

As always feel free to share, like and comment

Radical Love: Part 1

As a child, Good Friday meant eating hot cross buns loaded with butter and topped with strawberry jam…Delicious!

For me, hot cross buns was the only good thing about Good Friday. Why on earth would anyone think it was a good day was beyond my comprehension. A man had died. No, not just a man. God’s son had died and, people called it a good. Did they not like him? Were they glad to get rid of him? I didn’t see the good, except for the Hot Cross buns.

Even though I accepted Jesus as my savior as a teenage, it would still be many years before I would remotely begin to understand the good in Good Friday…yes, I am still learning, still discovering, still realizing the good.

JESUS KNEW THE PLAN

“I came from the Father and entered the world;

now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.”

John 16:28

His death and method of death was not a surprise to Him. I don’t think it was physical death that bothered Him so much as it was the spiritual death (separation from the presence of God) that He would go through.

Luke 22:37 NIV ” It is written:  ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’, and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.”

His life was not taken from Him, but rather He gave himself for us.

He was the sacrificial lamb to be slaughtered for our sins. He was willing but the reality of actually going through with it hit home and He prayed. “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” He knew what to expect and He still went through with the plan to rescue us from eternal separation from God. Now that is Love!

“He stayed there, not because the nails held Him, but because His love for you and me did.”

As Jesus hung nailed to the cross, people in the crowd shouted “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.” Luke 23:35b. Of course He could of saved Himself, He could of left the cross whenever He chose.

But, He didn’t!

He stayed there not because the nails held him, but because love for you and me did.

Abandoned

From noon to three, the whole earth was dark. Around midafternoon Jesus groaned out of the depths, crying loudly, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” Matthew 27:45,46 Message Bible

It blows my mind that Jesus willingly went to the cross knowing that when the sin of the world was place solely on Him, it would cause Him to be separated from His Father. The Father that He had been one with before the world was ever created. Now that is radical love!

I don’t think it could of been easy for God either, seeing His son bearing the sin of this world. God is Holy and there isn’t any darkness in Him, so to see Jesus full of darkness must of been really hard. Some say that God turned away from Jesus at this time, that would explain why Jesus asked why He had abandoned Him.

Salvation through Jesus was His plan, His idea because He too loves us.

“For God so [greatly]loved and dearly prized the world, that He [even] gave His [One and] only begotten Son, so that whoever believes and trusts in Him [as Savior] shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:6 Amp

The price was paid, the transaction was done and salvation had been secured…

…Sunday is coming!

If you have not accepted God’s gift of salvation, please don’t hesitate. He loves you so much and is eager to forgive you of sin and restore you to a personal relationship with Himself.

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance

Share and encourage a friend.

What does Good Friday mean to you? Look forward to hearing from you in the comment box.