Posts Tagged praise

A Firm Foundation

This is the second of the devotionals published by First Baptist Church of Charleston for Say Something Nice Sunday. The month of June is Effective Communication Month.
Scripture Focus:
“… I know in whom I have believed and am persuaded He is able
to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.”
— 2 Timothy 1:12
I grew up in a small mill village church surrounded by people
who loved me and wanted the very best for me. I participated
in every phase of church life. As a teenager, I sometimes was
the speaker. Over the years since I have visited churches and
cathedrals grand and small both in America and Europe. I have
experienced interpretations of the Bible that in my youth would
have been unthinkable and certainly unacceptable. These
experiences have provided richness to the Text and nuances
to its meaning; however, the basic tenants of the faith were so
soundly taught and lived before me that I am forever grateful to
that small congregation.
Those wonderful people encouraged my every faltering step.
They were quick to praise. They nourished their young people
in ways I have not experienced since. Questions didn’t seem to
bother them. These folks worked hard in the cotton mill every
day, but when Sunday came, they were in church praising God.
They certainly did not have much money, but they had generous
spirits. They loved to sing the old hymns and never grew tired of
their favorites. They did not allow the workplace relationships
with bosses to intrude on Sunday worship. At church every one
was equal. It was such a wonderful experience in my young life
that it has grounded me for all the years that followed.
The instruction and inspiration that I gained here has sustained
me through the shattering times in my life. I can still feel the
collective protective arms of that small church around me. They
taught me what love is and what Jesus loves means.
Prayer Focus:
Dear God, I am thankful to you for the church of my youth and
for those who set my feet on solid ground. Amen.

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Random Acts of Kindness – 16

Someone needs to hear your praise. Praise her or him. You will be glad that you did.

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52 Keys for Living, Loving and Working

            What are the keys that unlock the door to a fuller, richer, happier, more fulfilling life? What are those ingredients that foster mental, physical and spiritual well being? These questions are as old as time. No one has all of the answers, but centuries of human struggles and triumphs have revealed the ones that seem to be most effective when cultivated and exercised over a long period of time. There may be others that work well for you.  Add them to the ones presented here. All of humanity constantly strives to uncover the secrets that lead to a sense of well being and fulfillment. Although we all strive for happiness, the wisdom of the ages argues that happiness seems to be a byproduct of how we live our lives rather than a strategy to be mastered. The direction of all life is toward growth. Each experience, each encounter, each revelation prepares us for the next.  Each new insight opens even more vistas to us. Life continues to unfold before us if we are open to receive the lessons and if we are willing to push our boundaries beyond what we already know and what feels safe. The abundant life we crave does not reside in safety. Unless we are willing to step out in unknown territory and make ourselves vulnerable to pain and uncertainty our lives will remain unfulfilled and dim shadows of what could be. Life is meant to be an adventure into discovering who we are and our relationship to one another. Life is made up of a series of ever changing, ever evolving relationships that touch and create other relationships.

The Centrality of Faith

Faith is the foundation of all relationships, with God, with our self, and with others. We establish and develop relationships through faith. We decide whether or not we want to establish or maintain a relationship based on a mutual understanding that states, I believe that this will be good for each of us. We also decide whether or not to enter into a faith relationship with God and at what level. According to the Holy Bible only a minute measure of faith is required – our faith only needs to be as great as a mustard seed which is the smallest seed known. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” We must also have some measure of faith toward ourselves. This requires that we know who we are and what we are about – not an easy task. Establishing relationships demonstrates a basic faith that there is a tomorrow – a reason to live, love and hope.

The Keys

Be present                  

            Be present is by far the most important key. Be in the moment with your whole being not thinking of what will come next or what has happened in the past. Be in this moment fully committed to it. We need to glean from each moment what it has to reveal to us. This is the now. What is happening this very instant? We cannot detain the moment, or recall it, but we can easily miss it.

            When we are at work, we spend much of our time thinking about what we would like to be doing at home. Sometimes we are planning our vacation, thinking about our daughter’s impending wedding, thinking about our grandchildren or perhaps retirement. Our mind has temporarily taken flight. We are not present with the current project or with the other people in the room. We miss what is taking place in the moment.

            When we are at home, we think about what awaits at work again missing the now. We miss the smiles, sparkling eyes, sighs, stiffened body language and the lilt in the voice. We are focused on another place and time.

            Liza Minnelli, the fabulous Oscar, Emmy, Tony, and Grammy winner, has it right when she says, “If you’ve got one foot in yesterday and one foot in tomorrow, you’re missing today.”[1]

[1] Liz Smith. Parade Magazine. March 01, 2009

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