Gentleness Matters

standard January 17, 2018 2 responses

Philippians 4:5

I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but something was off at our home.

The kids were constantly bickering with each other. My husband and I were short with our words. No one was being outright rude, but no one was being gentle either. And my spirit had had enough!

I realized that a change first needed to start in my heart, so I prayed that the Lord would help me change this spirit of dissension in my home. He led me to the book of Philippians where it seems that there were two women in the church that were not getting along so well.

Paul gave these words of advice to them when he said:

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.

I let that sink in for a minute. Had I been gentle with my husband and with my children? No, I had not, so how could I expect them to be gentle with each other??

First I had to change the tone in which I spoke to them and then ask that they do the same. And guess what? As I changed the way that I approached them, I started to see a positive change in them as well.

But my ultimate motivation for treating my family with gentleness is because I believe that the Lord is near and I certainly don’t want to disappoint Him. I can’t be short with my kids or husband and expect the Lord to be gentle with me.

If I truly want the Lord’s favor and blessing to fall on me, then I have to be willing to extend the same to others…

in the grocery store checkout line

in the committee meeting with the abrasive member

in my home as we rush out the door each morning

in my everyday life.

Gentleness matters. If by chance you find yourself in my shoes, remember Paul’s words and let your gentleness be evident to those you interact with because the Lord is near!


A Life of Thanksgiving

standard November 15, 2017 Leave a response

We were sitting around my parent’s kitchen table with tears in our eyes but a smile on our lips, reading through a list that my brother had made named “Things to be Thankful for (Blessings).”

We found this list in Jeremy’s room after he had passed away in a tragic car accident at the age of 17. Topping the list was his relationship with God and his family members, but as the list progressed there were humorous entries such as, “cool personallity” and “fairly intelligent.” (Thank goodness he spelled that last one correctly!)

We couldn’t help but laugh through the pain.

I’ve often thought of this list and the positive impact that it has had on me. I was inspired to make my own list because I too wanted God and others to know just how thankful I am for each of them in my life.

Paul instructs us in Colossians 2:
You know your way around the faith. Now do what you’ve been taught. Quit studying the subject and start living it! And let your living spill over into thanksgiving.

Jeremy certainly did let his thanksgiving overflow within his short life and because he took the time to make his list of blessings, we can look back today and see how very much we meant to him.

I also loved that he was thankful for JOY because that is exactly what we all remember about Jeremy: his overwhelming joy.

If you knew Jeremy’s joy in a personal way, the Jeremy Barnhill Foundation for Christian Teens​ would like to invite you to share a memory that you have of him on our page. It would be a true blessing.

As you get ready to celebrate this season, I encourage you to make your own list of blessings. Let your daily living spill over into a life of thanksgiving.

Serving Up YOUR Gift

standard February 1, 2017 6 responses

If anyone serves, she should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. ~ 1 Peter 4:10

This past week I was blessed to use my gift of speaking seven individual times and it was truly one of the most fun weeks of my life. I woke up Monday thinking I would be exhausted, but instead I was invigorated.  It felt so good knowing that I had used my gift to glorify God.

One of my presentations was a devotional for the leadership team of the retreat where I was speaking. Prior to the event we walked through the verses of 1 Peter 4:7-11, establishing our purpose to “Feed His Sheep” because the “end of all things is near.”  When we serve with the gospel in mind, it creates a sense of urgency that Peter intended for us to have. It’s all for the sake of the Gospel!

However, the BEAUTY of serving lies in the various gifts that each of us possesses.  

Peter makes the point that we all have our own unique gift. “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” And aren’t we so thankful for that? Because who would really want to attend a retreat where the same thing was being done over and over again? No thank you.

But here’s where the trap comes into play.  Sometimes we start comparing our gift against our sister’s gift and we believe the enemy’s lies when he tells us, “Your gift isn’t special. It’s not nearly as good as hers is. You don’t have anything to offer so you might as well stay home.”  Don’t believe that for a single second! Without you faithfully administering YOUR gift, the blessing for those present will never be as great as it could be.  Remember that Comparison is the Thief of Joy.  Step up to the plate and play your position.  You are essential to the successful administration of God’s grace!

I witnessed true beauty this past weekend. Each woman came with her own gift and she served it up faithfully.  One had the gift of leadership.  Another brought her gift of painting.  There was an interpretive dance to “King of My Heart” that brought tears to my eyes.  The women on the cook team brought their A-game (talk about “feeding the sheep”)! And so many more gifts contributed to this wonderful day of worship.

The women also accepted the challenge to take their gift of service to the next level when they resolved to do it in the “strength that God provides.”  I think that’s the biggest difference maker in how a Christian woman serves. No matter what the venue (a Christian event or not), we always have the opportunity to serve in His strength and not our own.  I can always tell when I’m trying to serve in my own strength because I will start to feel overwhelmed and little things will begin to irritate me.  But when I hand those reigns back over to the Lord, my strength is renewed.

Lastly, in order to serve effectively, we must be willing to give the glory to God.  When the retreat is over and the last of the decorations are put away, offer your praise to the One who made it all happen.  Scripture says, “so that in ALL THINGS God may be praised through Jesus Christ.” I am not suggesting that every single thing will go smoothly (it won’t!), but praise Him anyway and ask Him to reveal any necessary changes that need to be made for next time. He deserves our praise in ALL THINGS.  Praise is always the appropriate response!

And that’s how you serve up your gift, my friend.  It’s not rocket science, but it’s not elementary either. Service requires preparation, but the cost is always worth it. Bring your unique gift and serve it up in the strength that He provides so that His saving grace may be administered to others and then give Him all the glory.

To Him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

Be a Blessing

standard January 14, 2015 6 responses

Ever since our children were young, anytime we dropped them off at school, dance class, or even to stay with their grandparents, my husband and I would kiss their soft cheeks and tell them to “be a blessing.” Sometimes our little darlings would heed our advice and do as we told them to, and other times they could use some improvement as their conduct marks would suggest, but nevertheless they were sent out into the world each day told to be a blessing to their teachers and friends.

The word “blessing” has received a bad reputation these days. It has been misconstrued to mean that because I follow Christ, I am entitled to a life of blessings with no hardships. That is an incorrect way of thinking and it is not what we are talking about here.

We are talking about the fact that because we feel blessed by the Almighty, we in turn become a blessing to others.

A friend of mine was telling of the time she and her family were in the fast food car line and the car in front of them paid for their entire meal. That’s being a blessing!

Or how about when a new mom is stuck indoors caring for her newborn on these cold winter days and she gets a visit and a container of warm soup from a friend? Can’t you just imagine her thankfulness for an hour of adult conversation?

And think of a time when you needed that boost of encouragement and your phone dinged with a text from your loved one just at the right time. Didn’t it feel like a blessing?

You see we are created to be a blessing because we are blessed by God with the gift of salvation. Galatians 3:14 says, “The purpose was that the blessing of Abraham would come to the Gentiles by Christ Jesus, so that we could receive the promised Spirit through faith.”

Since we are recipients of Abraham’s blessing, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we in turn desire to bless others. Jesus tells us, “A good man produces good out of the good storeroom of his heart. An evil man produces evil out of the evil storeroom, for his mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart.” (Luke 6:45). I love how the Message spells it out: It’s who you are, not what you say and do, that counts. Your true being brims over into true words and deeds.

Out of the overflow of our hearts…we become a blessing.

Remember how I told you that we encourage our kids to be a blessing? Well, this past year I was unpacking my backpack to begin my day of seminary classes and this note from my oldest daughter fell out.


Her precious, overflowing heart made my eyes spring with tears. What a blessing!