Be a “Behind the Scenes” Blessing

As serving as a Minister through the years, I have a great appreciation for those who do good things to help others behind the scenes. God often does His most amazing work, not just on the big stages of life, but often in the background. That is something we all can do each day… things like taking time to talk and listen with a friend who is going through a difficult time. Also, sending someone who needs some encouragement a note or text to cheer them up can make their day. It may be a random act of kindness, such as letting someone go in front of you at the check out line at the grocery store. There are so many simple things we can do to make our own little world and community a better place. Mother Teresa echoed that idea when she said “Not all of us can do great things, but we all can do small things with great love.” We should not be discouraged by what we can not do, but rather focus on what we can do in helping others.

As we help others, we discover that it ends up blessing us too. I can not even count the many times that has happened to me. That is not my expectation or motivation in helping others, but it is something I am humbled by and thankful to the Lord for when that happens. It is interesting that years ago; Booker T. Washington, an accomplished American educator, author and world changer made this statement: “If you want to lift yourself up, lift someone else up.” This is still true today, and is good advice for all of us to follow.

We all can be a “behind the scenes” blessing to the people around us. You may not be able to preach, teach, or sing… but you can have a positive impact in some way in people’s lives just by being kind. Be kind, and be a blessing to someone today.

Getting Rid of the Garbage in our Lives

As I was working my way through school, I worked as a “minister of maintenance” at a church and at other places. People would often ask me, “How are things going?” I would reply “Things are really picking up, I filled up the dumpster today.” Even nowadays, my wife will say to me at our house “Somebody needs to take the garbage out”…Well, I am “Somebody” at our home, so guess what, I get to take the garbage out.

The fact is, it is even important to get rid of the trash and garbage in our mind and soul on a regular basis. The apostle Paul said we are to “get rid of all bitterness, rage, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”(Ephesians 4:31-32). Another similar reference to this, is found in James 1: 21 “ Get rid of the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has power to save your souls.” God tells what to do with the garbage in our mind ,heart, bad attitude and actions, that is to get rid of it, throw it away. He also can give us the strength and ability to do this by simply trusting in Him. We can overcome these reoccurring bad habits by turning to God, praying for His help, and staying closely connected with Him. Praying Lord, I can’t to this by myself, but I am trusting in you to do this through me.

Don’t go back digging in the old garbage, instead refocus your thoughts on God’s love and forgiveness for you. Corrie Ten Boom said that “God casts our sin into the sea and puts up a NO FISHING sign.” Nothing is as important for us as Christians, than to keep free of the clutter that hinders our relationship with the Lord.

How to Grin and Bear it

There are so many distractions in our world today that drain our energy and disturb our peace of mind. We need to be more intentional in staying steady on our personal path for inner strength and peace. Dr. John Ortberg has said : ”I and no one else is responsible for the condition of my soul.” Part of that responsibility, is that we need carve out pockets of time in our daily routine to recover and recharge our spiritual energy. During these important mini breaks in our day, take a few moments to be quiet and be still. Talk to God about the things that are bothering you. Tell Him the things you are thankful for in your life. Read a short devotional, meditate on a Bible verse that encourages you with where you right now. Here are a few Bible verses and other quotes that have been a big help for me:

“My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” – Exodus 33:14 (ESV)

“ I will fully satisfy the needs of those who are weary and fully refresh the souls of those who are faint.”- Jeremiah 31:25 (NET)

“God’s Word is a Living Water that detoxifies our soul. The more we drink it, the more it cleanses, refreshes, and renews us.” – Caroline Naorgji

“It’s not the load that breaks you down. It is the way you carry it.” – C.S. Lewis

“Your soul is like a battery that discharges each time you give life away, and it needs to be recharged regularly.’ – Wayne Cordero

“You having a rested soul, is the best gift you can give to others.”

“If you don’t take a Sabbath, something is wrong. You’re doing too much, you’re being too much in charge. You’ve got to quit, one day a week, and just watch what God is doing when you’re not doing anything.” – Eugene Peterson

“When we get too caught up in the busyness of the world, we lose connection with one another and ourselves.” – Jack Kornfield

“Rest is medicine for your soul.” – Christine Caine

“Boundaries are what keep us from judging what others are doing, staying in th lane God has for us, and never passing up the best for everything else that crosses our paths. Within godly boundaries, we find rest. We also discover that we can leave to God all that we can’t do.”

“He will keep in perfect peace; all those who trust in Him, whose thoughts turn often to the Lord.” – Isaiah 26:3 (TLB)

True lasting Peace is found in Jesus.The Peace of God is not the absence of problems but the very Presence of God in our lives. It is more than a feeling, it is the fact of trusting in the Lord, and keeping our focus on Him. May our thoughts turn often to the Lord each day. In doing this it will be a source of strength, peace, and confidence that we all need; regardless of what is going on in our life at the present time. Finding and experiencing God’s peace is the best way that I have found to grin and bear it…

You are not a Taco… You can’t please Everybody

I saw this saying at a restaurant: “You are not a Taco, You can’t please Everybody.” Think about how many types of Tacos there are today. There are Steak Tacos, Fish Tacos, Chicken Tacos, Breakfast Tacos, BBQ Brisket Tacos, Taco Salad, Taco Pizza, Taco Soup etc…Even with all these choices, there are some people who do not like Tacos. The truth is that no matter how hard we try; just like a Taco, you and I are not going to be able please everyone all the time. We are human and we are not flawless. Ed Sheehan, popular singer and song writer has said, “I can’t tell you the key to success, but the sure way to failure is trying to please everyone.”

We should strive to do our best and be kind and treat others with respect regardless of how others respond to us. In spite of this, problems can arise when we take “people pleasing” to an unhealthy level and tie it to our self esteem. This is what counselors describe as living by Performance-Based Acceptance. This is where we are driven to please everybody; no matter what, to have their approval in order to feel good about ourselves. As a result, we can develop the bad habit of constantly looking to others for validation for who we are as a person. If we don’t get positive feedback or compliments from others, we can feel disappointed and dejected. Or, it also can be that we tend to automatically say “yes” too quickly because we want people to like us. To say yes, without taking adequate time to think about it or even look at our calendar to see if we really have the time to fulfill their request can cause us unnecessary stress and regret. Christine Cane has stated that… “It is equally important what we say ‘No’ to as what we say ‘Yes’ to.”

Showing no restraint and say yes to everyone works okay for a while, until we find ourselves, overcommitted to more things ( even good things) than we adequately can get done in our schedule. When this occurs, we have a tendency to either explode in anger and frustration or implode with anxiety, self pity and worry. What is interesting, Is that the underlying issue really may be an embedded sense of low self-esteem and inferiority. It’s that deep down feeling that we are never quite good enough. That is why we can’t earn our salvation or way to Heaven. Jesus did for us what we could not do on our own. Receiving His grace and forgiveness is the basis for our faith and confidence. We should turn our focus to pleasing God as our main priority. Rick Warren has staled that “If God is pleased…then stop worrying about who isn’t.”Realizing that with God’s help and guidance, we can release the pressure from trying to find our confidence from trying to impress other people. I particularly like Colossians 3:23 on this subject, which states “In all the work you are doing, work the best you can. Work as if you were doing it for the Lord, and not for people.”

Beth Moore, noted Bible Study teacher puts it this way, “Let your light shine today, and let your personality blossom too. You don’t have to be a people pleaser, just a people lover.”

Let us rejoice in the Lord and in His grace in our lives, that frees us from being a compulsive people pleaser and to be a people lover.

And It is also good to know…we don’t have to be like a Taco.