Archive for January, 2014

Poem “Should You Go First”

Should You Go First

Should you go first and I remain
To walk the road alone,
I’ll live in memory’s garden, dear,
With happy days we’ve known.
In Spring I’ll wait for roses red,
When fades the lilac blue,
In early Fall, when brown leaves call
I’ll catch a gimpse of you.

Should you go first and I remain
For battles to be fought,
Each thing you’ve touched along the way
Will be a hallowed spot.
I’ll hear your voice, I’ll see your smile,
Though blindly I may grope,
The memory of your helping hand
Will buoy me on with hope.

Should you go first and I remain
To finish with the scroll,
No lenght’ning shadows shall creep in
To make this life seem droll,
We’ve known so much of happiness,
We’ve had our cup of joy,
And memory is one gift of God
That death cannot destroy.

Should you go first and I remain,
One thing I’d have you do:
Walk slowly down that long, long path,
For soon I’ll follow you.
I’ll want to know each step you take
That I may walk the same,
For some day down that long, long road
You’ll hear me call your name.

 A.K. Rowswell

When I receive a thank-you note from a child, it makes me respect his parents even more for taking the time to teach that child to be thankful.   It is never too early to teach  a child to write a thank-you note.

For many years, my mother sent each of her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren a small monetary gift  in cards for their birthdays and in Christmas cards. Because the amounts were very small, none of the children bothered to send her thank-you notes. In my mother’s later years, she lost her sight, and she could no longer send those cards. I  recently was visiting with my mother,  and she shared with me that my granddaughter had sent her a Christmas card, and in that Christmas card, my granddaughter thanked my mother for all those years that she had sent her birthday and Christmas cards. That small expression of thankfulness from my my granddaughter was a real encouragement to my mother.

I read an illustration of a woman who received a sweater from her aunt. This woman failed to send her aunt a quick thank-you note as soon as she received the sweater. Since the woman was somewhat of a perfectionist and wanted to write a perfect note, she postponed writing it. As the weeks passed, she began to worry about how to word her late thank-you. She began to think, “What will my aunt think of me for not writing sooner?” By  postponing writing the thank-you note to her aunt, she felt guilty and dreaded writing it.

Writing thank-you notes  does not have to be difficult. Sometimes we put off writing them, because we do not know what to say. Our words do not need to sound formal,  but they should express our feelings of thankfulness.  Here are a few tips to remember when writing  a quick thank-you note.

• Keep a supply of paper, cards, postcards, and envelopes near your desk.

• Hand write thank-you notes unless your handwriting is illegible.

•  Send a thank-you to someone who does something nice for you such as treating you to a meal or taking you to the airport.

• Send thank-you notes within two weeks. Even if the note is late, always attempt to send one.

• Thank-you notes do not have to be long but they should be sincere, specific, concise, clear, and positive.

• Always mention the gift and your plan to use it.

• Teach children as soon as they can write to send thank-you notes for gifts.

Always send thank-you notes for wedding gifts. (Try to send within three months)

• If someone mails you a gift, mail a thank-you within two to three days. The sender will want to know that their gift arrived safely.

• If you receive flowers of condolences after a death, always send a thank-you.

• If you receive a birthday, Christmas, or shower gift, send a thank-you within two or three days.

• Send a thank-you to someone who helps, provides food, or gives you a gift during an illness.

• When you stay overnight in a home or a mission’s apartment, leave a thank-you note in the home or apartment before you leave.

• To thank good friends or close family members after you have stayed in their home or enjoyed a nice meal, you can give a thank-you phone call or email, but it is always good to send a card.

• Leave a small gift with a thank-you note if you stay with family or friends more than one night.

• Consider sending informal cyber thank-you cards with personal notes. Although if you receive a beautiful gift with a hand-written letter, do not send a quick e-mail; respond with a nice handwritten thank-you.

What is True Beauty?

Have you ever listened to the complaints of women around you?  “I wish my stomach was smaller-my arms are flabby-my skin is blotchy-I hate my hair-look how wide my thighs are.” Many women today focus more on what is on the outside, than they focus on what is on the inside.

True beauty of a woman is not seen in her clothes, her figure, her make-up, or her hair. True beauty is reflected through her eyes and her smiles by the Holy Spirit.   Nate Dircks said, “Beauty is when you look into a woman’s eyes and see what is in her heart.”

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross said, “People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.”

If you want that inner beauty to shine through your life, here are a few tips to remember:

  • Don’t entertain negative thoughts. Practice taking those thoughts captive. (II Corinthians 10:5) If a shameful memory from the past enters your mind, realize that it was placed there by the devil.  Mentally think, “You are not welcome here in my mind.” Take that thought and escort it out the back door of your mind.  Accept the fact that you are forgiven and refuse to allow your mind to dwell on that shameful thought again.
  • Take time during the day for quiet reflection on God’s Word.  Just five minutes a day of meditating and reflecting on God’s precepts will be enough to keep you feeling refreshed and spiritually alive.
  • Stop feeding your fears. Don’t let your inner voice tell you that the worst case scenario is just around the corner.  When you are placed in uncertain and uncomfortable situations, silence those inner voices that tell you to be fearful.
  • Surround yourself with things that help you think good thoughts.  Read inspirational books written by victorious Christians who share stories of hope, miracles, and victory.
  • Listen to uplifting Christian music.
  • Spend more time communicating with spiritual friends who encourage and support you.
  • Be a person who smiles and says hello to strangers. Brighten someone’s day with a card or flowers. The world has enough angry, bitter people in it.
  • Let someone else in front of you in line at the grocery store.
  • Do periodical random acts of kindness.
  • If you’re holding a grudge or grievance against someone, let it go. Write them a letter that expresses your hurt and frustration and then tear it up. It’s a way of physically releasing someone from their crime and spiritually freeing yourself from the burden of being angry at the same time. Take a moment afterwards to reflect on that person as a fallible human being just like you are— prone to make mistakes and in need of your grace. It will help you see him or her through the eyes of God.

 

What Is the Purpose of Your Women’s Ministry?

Every women’s ministry should have a purpose.  Purpose means to have a determination or to have a commitment to a goal.  Our purpose (goal) as leaders should be to see the lives of women in our churches and in our communities changed.

Helen Keller said, “True happiness is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose (goal).”

What are some ways to accomplish this goal?

Host a weekly women’s Bible study.  This is a great way to help women grow spiritually. Gather 6 to 12   friends or women in your church. Have a clear goal for your study,  or it could turn into a gossip session.  As women begin to share their lives together and get to know one another, they will begin to develop close friendships and to trust  each other.  My granddaughter just finished a thirteen week Bible study with a group of women in her church.  This Bible study not only transformed her thinking, but it helped her build some new friendships.

Help each woman find her gifts.  God wants each woman to discover her gifts and use those gifts to minister for Him.  As women discover their spiritual gifts, it opens their eyes to new opportunities to serve in the church.

Begin a new outreach or Sunday school class. Lucinda Williams moved to Dallas, Texas, in the mid 1800’s. She asked her landlady if there was a Baptist church in the area. There was not one. She and her husband and 9 other people organized the First Baptist Church of Dallas. They had no building-no money-and little support. Lucinda started their first Sunday school.

Encourage older Christian women to mentor younger women.  There is a great need today for this type of ministry. Younger women need the experience and example of older women. Christian mentoring does not mean that you must only do church activities. Mentoring is about building relationships.

Mentoring can be as simple as:

  • Inviting a new convert to breakfast, taking her to lunch, or inviting her to your home for afternoon tea.
  • Inviting a struggling new mother for coffee and fellowship. Share insights that helped you when you were a new mother. Give her encouragement and hope.
  • Befriending a discouraged wife and listening to her struggles. Do not get preachy at first. Once you have gained her trust, you can lovingly give her sound Biblical counsel.    (Be sure to share your own failures, as well as your successes)