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Was Doubting Thomas Really Doubting?

The Incredulity of Saint Thomas' by Caravaggio.

Imagine going through a really amazing and fulfilling 3 years.  And finally finding a leader you can admire as your role model. You love being with Him every day.

Then, one day, it all changes. He is arrested, beaten, killed and you are devastated. You need time alone to process what has happened. You simply don’t know what to believe. And now, 3 days later, some of your friends say they actually saw your leader alive and well. IMPOSSIBLE, you think.

That is exactly what happened to the Apostle Thomas.

He, like the other Apostles adored their leader, Jesus. He was smart and kind and Thomas never had to worry about anything because Jesus would take care of it. Always! Even the couple times when Jesus was preaching all day and tons of hungry people were there listening to Him. Jesus cared about everyone. They were far away from any place where they could get food. So, what did Jesus do? He prayed and thanked God for what God was about to do and then…the IMPOSSIBLE happened. There was enough food for EVERYONE to eat, with a bunch left over besides.

But, to Thomas, this time is different.

It really does seem IMPOSSIBLE. Thomas knew without a doubt that Jesus had died a brutal death on a cross and was put in a tomb. A huge stone was rolled across the opening and there is no way a lone person could move that stone from across the entry, let alone walk out of there alive.

Yet, the apostles and the women said they saw Him. Alive. He came to them in the room where they were hiding.

“Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord!’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the nail marks in his hands, and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.’”

John 20:24

When people refer to Thomas, they usually speak negatively.

He is called “Doubting Thomas”. Did he doubt, or was Thomas a Beaver personality? (LFYS)

Here’s some characteristics about Beaver personalities. Let’s see if Thomas fits the profile…

  • Tells things like they are
  • Careful attention to the facts
  • Notices details
  • Tendency towards perfectionism
  • Asks a lot of questions
  • Likes things done the same way

Beavers are Task people more than People people.

Notice the other disciples were all together, but Thomas had gone off by himself to sort things out. To THINK.

People with a Beaver personality’s  greatest fear is making mistakes.

They are normally slow at decision making. They ask a lot of questions, which makes them APPEAR to be disagreeable or argumentative. They want to know WHY. They NEED to “verify”, because they truly want to be a team player. They actually desire to agree and work together. But they need more facts than others might need. They are critical thinkers, calm, logical, and vigilant. They have high standards. They don’t like to settle for less.

They are good at asking the right questions to get to the heart of an issue. But for some, that could feel like they don’t trust the others. It is vitally important that we each one learn our God-given strengths AND recognize and respect the strengths of others. That is how teams function best.

Jesus SHOWED them to respect Thomas’ questions

The rest of this Bible passage illustrates how thoroughly Jesus understands each of His “children”. (You and me, too.) He understood Thomas was not merely difficult. He understood exactly what Thomas needed in order to enjoy fellowship again. And He demonstrated how to honor one another’s differences. (It’s been said a definition for fellowship is “two fellows in the same ship, going the same direction.” And that is exactly what is going on here. Thomas wants to be convinced.)

“A week later His disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus suddenly stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ Then He said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.’”

John 20:26-28

Do you see the beauty of fellowship with the Lord? In true fellowship, we are honest with what we need and He hears every word. He KNEW what Thomas needed to see and feel in order to believe; and Jesus encouraged Him to receive what He needed from Him.

Picky people can be annoying

What do we often do when someone is so “picky” and “pessimistic” and “worrisome” like Thomas was? We might say something like “WHAT is your problem? Why can’t you just believe what we tell you? Stop being so negative.” But,those kinds of attitudes merely makes a Beaver MORE Beaver-like. They feel rejected and feel like they must justify their feelings. It just turns into a mess.

But…What did Jesus do? He met Thomas at his point of need. He KNEW his heart wanted desperately to believe, but He simply needed more facts. He needed to VERIFY. When he was treated with dignity and kindness and acceptance, what was his response?

“Thomas said to Him, “My Lord and my God!’”

John 20:28

Jesus added one more thing.

Of course Jesus knows not everyone is needing the depth of verification that Thomas needed, so Jesus reassured the others…

Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’”

John 20:29

So, the lesson here is, to HONOR ONE ANOTHER. We must understand our own strengths and also value others’ strengths. When we take the time to study the characteristics of each of the strengths and learn each person’s differences in communication, true fellowship happens.

Let’s do it!

ENJOY ONE ANOTHER and ENCOURAGE ONE ANOTHER!

That day when we shall see Jesus face-to-face draws nearer every day…

My specialty is Mentor Coaching around Personality Strengths. Contact me if you would like to know more…

Jimmy Learns about Life

Join Jimmy and his mama in this lighthearted book of character traits for kids. Jimmy is your average 7-year-old. He is going through life, having fun, and learning a lot along the way. Through mishaps, ministry, and more, Jimmy learns that there’s more to life than first impressions. Each chapter of this book contains a character trait Jimmy learns during teachable moments of life.

Jimmy Learns about Life by Pamela A. Taylor

Let's Connect!Until next time,
Awaiting His shout,
pam_signature-c49a6c

Christian Life Coach
Leading from Your Strengths Mentor
www.loavesandfishescoaching.com


How’s That Workin’ For Ya?

Loaves and Fishes Coaching logo

 

Ahhhhh…that favorite question of a well-known TV personality: “How’s that workin’ for ya?” Actually, it really is a pretty good question, isn’t it? Just how is your life working for you? Are you thinking, “This is just not what I signed up for!”? You are probably correct. Chances are, you have gotten a bit off-course.

“Busy!”

It seems like that is a frequent response to, “How are you?” (Not a good busy, but a frustrated busy!) Many are just plain worn out most of the time, with relationships suffering for lack of care. Deep down inside of ourselves, we know there has to be more than this!

Where do you want to be in a year

Or…in ten years.  Or…at the end of your life? Each year, more people that are meaningful in my life, are making their journey HOME to their ETERNAL HOME, crossing over to the REAL world. I wonder: What do you want your legacy to be?

Questions

Questions are good because questions can lead to the answers we are looking for…hoping for. And when we have hope, we feel like we can scale Mount Everest in a single bound! I want to help you get to that place! That’s how I spend my “busy” days! Helping people like you discover the beauty around you and in you.

How does life coaching work?

After spending some time on the phone, working together to identify the financial, spiritual, and energy drainers that suck the life out of you; then we will find ways to eliminate or redirect them…until you discover that your energy level is rising to new heights. And you catch yourself smiling for no reason. Because you are content! Finally! You will know you have found “yourself”. Your God-intended self.

God has a plan for your life

No matter who you are. No matter what you’ve done. He will confirm it along the way with illustrations that will be unique and meaningful to you. After all, it was His idea to create you and then to have a unique purpose for your life on this planet. He wants you to find fulfillment in your life. That fulfillment begins with a relationship with Him. I can help you connect with Him in a personal way.

I can help you find your purpose.

We will start with where you are right now and explore what the options are to fill that gap that separates where you are to where you were meant to be. Your problems are not unique, but your solutions are. Contact me and we will set up an appointment to talk about your options. That first call is free! With no obligation. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain!

Talk to you soon? I hope so!

Jimmy Learns about Life

Join Jimmy and his mama in this lighthearted book of character traits for kids. Jimmy is your average 7-year-old. He is going through life, having fun, and learning a lot along the way. Through mishaps, ministry, and more, Jimmy learns that there’s more to life than first impressions. Each chapter of this book contains a character trait Jimmy learns during teachable moments of life.

Jimmy Learns about Life by Pamela A. Taylor

Let's Connect!Until next time,
Awaiting His shout,
pam_signature-c49a6c

Christian Life Coach
Leading from Your Strengths Mentor
www.loavesandfishescoaching.com


When Your Dreams Die. Memories

San Bernardino Mountains

“As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds His people both now and forever.”

Psalm 125:1

Suffering is a real part of the Christian experience

It was more than 30 years ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday. Tozer said something about God not using a “man” until he has suffered greatly. I think of Jesus learning obedience through what He had suffered. So, it should not have taken me surprise…

The day my dreams died, I was in California with my family for further training before we were formally commissioned for the mission field.

My husband and I had an argument.

The kids and I had gone to bed. My husband stayed up watching TV. I had a nightmare. It seemed very real. So real, I decided to ask my husband about it. What followed was actually more than an argument…I had hoped he would tell me it was a silly dream. He did NOT.  Rather, he explained in detail, and I left the mission apartment in tears. It was dark and I was alone. I cried and cried. And walked and walked. And prayed and prayed.

Here’s how I remember what happened next

As I walked outside alone, reciting over and over again, Psalm 125:1, I looked at the massive mountains of California,

My conversation with God went something like this: “Lord, I can’t survive! I guess I always kinda KNEW, but why NOW? Why is this happening NOW? The confession was forced out of him, but why is all this happening NOW?”

Those STRONG. STEADY FOREVER MOUNTAINS almost mocked the sham of our marriage. I experienced the weight of what felt like the hypocrisy of our mission “call”. Would I ever recover? How can this be happening?

I asked:  NOW, what, God? Now what?

My answer:  “Those who trust in the LORD are like mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds His people both now and forevermore.”
– Psalm 125:1, 2

“Father, I am shaken to the core! BE my strong unshakeable foundation. I KNEW and yet I did NOT know all these years. What a fool I’ve been! NOW what? My kids are sleeping, unaware their hearts are about to be broken…”

God reminded me: The scepter of the wicked will not remain over the land allotted to the righteous, for then the righteous might use their hands to do evil. LORD, do good to those who are good, to those who are upright in heart. But those who turn to crooked ways the LORD will banish with the evildoers…”
– Psalm 125:3-5

That day was ONE of the most devastating days of my life. And yet, it was actually a good thing in that it was the true beginning of my growing up in my faith walk. I began to trust God in a much deeper level. Yes, we got counseling. Yes, we went on to the mission field, and Yes, God continued to teach all 4 of us lessons we never signed up for.  It was a wonderful time in the sense of learning to trust God on a deeper level; but sadly there were too many obstacles; and trust was never restored. The inevitable happened.

There were some difficult days before and after that day.

But, the purpose of this post is NOT to make you sad. But to share a bit of one person’s story.

And to remind you that we ALL have tough assignments in this EARTHBOUND life. But it doesn’t have to be the end. It can actually be a beginning of something new and glorious in your walk with the Lord. And like the potter, with the clay, the sunshine can bake you hard and rigid, if you do not allow the LORD to mold you and form you into a yielded vessel, fit for the MASTER’S use.

Life is hard, but God is good. ALL the time. Even in the midst of horrible news about marriage, health, finances or whatever.

“Lord, keep me from a complaining spirit.”  Is part of my morning prayer time each day.  Often, I have to remind myself during the day again! 😉

Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus!

Until next time…

 

My Father: Experiencing God's Love A-Z

Pamela Taylor invites you to join her in this interactive acrostic devotional journal designed to draw you into the extremely personal and abundant love God has waiting for you. Experience the "Just ask..." of His love for you!

My Father: Experiencing God's Love from A-Z by Pamela A. Taylor

Let's Connect!Awaiting His shout,
pam_signature-c49a6c

Christian Life Coach
Leading from Your Strengths Mentor
www.loavesandfishescoaching.com


Are You Suffering from “Virus” Fatigue?

Bored child
It’s like a fatigue that comes from long days of isolation. A general all over blah feeling, Like we’re missing out on life in general. We can be especially vulnerable to negative thinking. Especially with the unknowns that swirls around because of the China virus. We don’t just feel like we are missing out. We truly are. The fear level is high. We don’t know who to trust. And the laws and government decrees are forcing us to keep a distance from one another. Are you feeling Isolated? Lonely? Have you been hungry for a spiritual retreat with your church friends?

This is not the first time for me

I too, have felt that way a few times in my life. God recently reminded me of a specific time many years ago when He spoke very clearly to me about this very topic.

Children are a gift

After the miracle of my first child being born (after 12 years of barrenness), it didn’t take me long to forget she was a GIFT, and begin to complain to God about all that I was missing out on. All I had given up to be home with my child. I’d lost sight of what I had been GIVEN, and was concentrating on what I was LACKING. Have you ever felt that way?

Spiritually “barren”

I remember complaining to God that I felt “barren” spiritually because I was not able to go to Bible studies and fun get togethers with other women like I had before my child was born. I was getting little sleep and my husband traveled a lot. A LOT!!! I was in the mid-west and my family was all back east. I was kinda like Jonah under the Juniper tree. Loving the shade, but when the tree shriveled from the heat, he grumbled. *sigh* That was me, all right!

The Lord clearly spoke to me

My Dad used to say I was stubborn like an old mule sometimes, needing a 2 x 4 to get my attention. (Don’t be dismayed. It was only an expression. My Dad never ever abused me in any way at all. He was a wonderful father. But those of you who know me, know that he was correct in his analysis.)

So, the Lord clearly lovingly but firmly reminded me, as only a loving Father can do: “You’re not even true to what I already taught you.” WOW! TRUTH spoken to my heart and soul. (There goes that 2 x 4 to get my attention!) But, it actually felt like LOVE! Only one who loves you deeply will risk telling you exactly what you need to hear.

I had lots of notes to review

So that is what I did. I began to review and study those Scriptures and lessons I had already been taught. And this refresher course helped solidify what I had already been taught! It was exactly what “the doctor ordered”.

Reality check

You don’t “gotta” go to another retreat. You don’t “gotta” have another spiritual high. God doesn’t want you riding on emotional highs. It is a moment by moment walk with your BEST FRIEND in fellowship in daily conversation and consultation.

“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they walk and not faint.”

Isaiah 40:31 (KJV)

The Christian life is like a long walk

Moment by moment. And only just this moment! Right now! Just this step! Right now! Not thinking about the last one. Not thinking about the next one. But being fully present in THIS one. THIS STEP! Here and now.

Our destination is Heaven,

but until we get there, the way is long and sometimes a bit crooked. But as long as we keep trudging away with our eyes on Jesus, checking in with Him for directions… so that when we feel fatigued by life’s current trial and testing, we will indeed be OK.

Beginning to end

It doesn’t matter how good you think your BEGINNING with GOD was. It doesn’t matter how good or bad you think you WALK with GOD has been up to now. What matters is that you FINISH well. And we none know if today is our “finish” date or not.

So, keep on keeping on with your eyes on the goal and trust God to remind You of the Truths you need to hear along the way whenever you veer off course a bit.

And rejoice that He is involved with your day-to-day life…even if sometimes it feels a bit like a 2 x 4 reminder. Because THAT is LOVE! Getting you back on course in fellowship with the One who loves you no matter what! Forever and ever!

Marantha! Come Lord Jesus!

My Father: Experiencing God's Love A-Z

Pamela Taylor invites you to join her in this interactive acrostic devotional journal designed to draw you into the extremely personal and abundant love God has waiting for you. Experience the "Just ask..." of His love for you!

My Father: Experiencing God's Love from A-Z by Pamela A. Taylor

Let's Connect!Awaiting His shout,
pam_signature-c49a6c

Christian Life Coach
Leading from Your Strengths Mentor
www.loavesandfishescoaching.com


Take Off Your Shoes

Man removing shoes

“We look upon Jesus Christ as the best Example of the Christian life; we do not conceive of Him as Almighty God Incarnate, with all power in heaven and on earth…we do not take off the shoes from our feet when He speaks. Jesus Christ is Savior, and He saves us into His own absolute and holy lordship.”

Oswald Chambers

When we pray…

We are on Holy Ground. One of my favorite ways of thinking of Jesus is that He is my Friend. But I must never forget that He is my Savior and my Lord. Yes, Jesus is truly a wonderful Friend of sinners, but He NOT our “buddy”. When we enter into His presence, it must be with awe that we are in the presence of the Most High God, Creator, and we must take every thought captive to believing that He is THE MOST HIGH GOD. He is above all other gods that have been made with human hands and imaginations. HE is the ONLY Way, the ONLY Truth, and the ONLY Life.” Other religions of the world do not believe those basic facts. He is Lord of lords and King of kings. From the beginning to now and forever.

Jesus’ authority is not partial, but absolute! He says…

He did not TAKE it. God GAVE Him that authority. “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth…” (Matthew 28:18a)

Prayer

Prayer is not passive. It is actively and expectantly talking with God and listening and waiting for God’s answers. Waiting (in the prayer sense) has been described as actively enduring until the answer comes.

David Wilkerson writes…

in the book The Cross and The Switchblade: In the early 1960’s, in the inner city, Wilkerson was hosting a rally in New York City for inner city kids. Most of the kids were deeply involved in dangerous gangs. He’d rallied 65 churches to join him in the planning and counseling training for after the rally. They were enthusiastic and expectant about what God could and would do. Things didn’t go as hoped…

He was discouraged

“On the 4th night, 100 people showed up. The arena would hold 1,000 people. The ones that did show up were disruptive and loud and rude. They made lewd remarks.”

What about you?

Have you ever felt like God wanted you to do something and when you obeyed, it flopped and you felt mad at God? Or maybe you felt like a failure? Did you quit?

David was ready to quit

That 4th night, David broke up the meeting early and went home, brokenhearted and angry at God. He was ready to quit. He felt lower than a snake’s belly, as my Dad used to say. David spoke plainly with God about his feelings.

Wilkerson’s brokenhearted prayer

“Lord, we’re not even beginning to reach these boys and girls. What am I supposed to do?”

Here’s what I want to focus on…

David Wilkerson wrote in His book, The Cross and the Switchblade: “And as always—why is it I have to learn this again every time?—“

When I REALLY asked

I was REALLY answered

David Wilkerson

What about you?

Have YOU experienced the difference between asking and REALLY asking (out of desperation or fear)? If not, isn’t it about time you do? If you have, what happened?

What about David Wilkerson? What happened?

If you haven’t read his book, isn’t it about time you do? His story is one of my all time favorites. Biographies are faith-builders!

Daddy, Daddy! Guess What I Saw Today?

From a flock of geese to a dog on a leash, the pages of this winsome little book are filled with things we see around us every day. Pamela A. Taylor takes those everyday items and looks at them through the eyes of a child; making them seem exciting and new while also teaching children how to be grateful for the God who created them. Take a walk with Pamela through the pages of this book and help your little ones see God’s hand in the beauty of life.

Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus!

Let's Connect!Awaiting His shout,
pam_signature-c49a6c

Christian Life Coach
Leading from Your Strengths Mentor
www.loavesandfishescoaching.com


Benefits of Positive Persuasion

Three women talking and laughing
I am learning about persuasion and perspective from Scott Adams, author and podcaster. In one podcast, I remember that he shared in an interview about one of his pivotal memories. Here is of what I heard him say…

Dale Carnegie

Scott was in a Dale Carnegie training event. They were all strangers to each other and only knew what had been spoken during the training. And yet, the facilitator gave them an “impossible” assignment to write a compliment on separate pieces of paper, for each member of the class. One person complained that they simply didn’t know enough to compliment each other. Nevertheless, the assignment was required.

It seemed dumb

The compliments could not possibly be sincere, because there was no real knowledge about each other.

The next day

So, they each turned in their packet of compliments (one for each person in the class). Then one day, in the mail, each received the pile of “compliments” from their classmates. He was skeptical, and yet imagine Scott’s surprise that with each one he read (even the surface-y ones), he felt his confidence growing. They each had an impact for good, even though he KNEW they couldn’t be heartfelt because they simply did not even really KNOW anything about each other.

Imagine with me

If all that is possible in a secular setting, imagine with me what is possible with God at the center…

Strengths Coaching

I’m a strengths coach. As a coach, I don’t try to FIX you. And we don’t blame others for how things turned out for you in your life. Rather, we look realistically at today. The past is past. You can never have a better past, so NOW WHAT? Let’s work on what you can do today.

Forward Thinking

I help you discover, through a Ministry Insights, Leading From Your Strengths, assessment, what your God-given strengths are. Then, I help you learn to recognize others’ strengths, (like when Scott’s classmates were looking for things to compliment about each other).

The world wants to beat you down and point out what is wrong with you. The world wants to have you concentrate on strengthening your weaknesses. That is like looking at the world through someone else’s glasses. That just makes us a bunch of unfocused, ineffective, partially successful people. God has a better plan. He wants you to look at what is right and good and noteworthy in yourself. And in others. Through coaching, you can learn how it all fits together like the pieces in a puzzle.

It seemed dumb

In my coach training, and my previous training in counseling, we too did exercises similar to what Scott speaks of in his Dale Carnegie course. I can remember an assignment that seemed dumb. We broke down into twos and we asked each other what was called “the powerful question”. It’s used when people are STUCK and can’t move forward. It seemed dumb because we all knew what the question was, so I remember thinking, it would not work on me. I know others felt the same way. Both in counseling and then in my coaching classes, too. And yet, it worked! What about you?

Are you struggling in an area?

Maybe you just don’t know what to do about something in your life!

The powerful question is:

“So…If you DID know what to do, what would it be?”

That question, should not work, and yet it does! EVERY TIME! It worked when I was being coached and it works now. It works when you don’t know it is coming and it works when you do know it is coming. Just like the “compliments assignment’’ in the Dale Carnegie courses. It should not work, and yet it does! EVERY TIME!

It unlocks the brain

Questions like that actually unlock your brain from what has impacted it negatively by life and disasters and relationships. Your brain has believed it must be different than God’s design. A brain impacted by a kinda scary world gone nutty lately. So, these assignments in positive persuasion have amazing potential to unlock your brain, and to open you up to possibilities.  To inner joy and peace. To embracing who God created you to be.

Because God says in the Bible…

Philippians 4:13 (KJV) “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.”

Mark 10:27b (KJV) “… for with God all things are possible.”

Mark 9:23 (JV) “Jesus said unto him, if thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.”

Let me know when you want to find out more about your own possibilities.

Maranatha!
Come Lord Jesus!

God bless you bunches!

Let's Connect!Awaiting His shout,
pam_signature-c49a6c

Christian Life Coach
Leading from Your Strengths Mentor
www.loavesandfishescoaching.com


Touching the Hem of His Garment

A Woman Praying to God
In Matthew 14, the people brought to Jesus all who were sick. They begged to just be able to touch the hem of His garment. We are told that those who touched the hem of His garment were “made perfectly well”. That is a powerful statement.

I want to be made perfectly well. Don’t you?

What does it mean to be made perfectly well?

I don’t think this story is so much about physical healing as it is about being made perfectly well. Our earth-bound bodies and minds are puny and can’t comprehend the greater picture. We want what we want and we want it now. We want NO problems. We want physical healing, but there is so much more to desire than physical healing.

A courageous woman desperately in need

In Mark 5, A woman who had been ill for 12 years had spent all her money on doctors, yet she was worse than when she started. She was in need. She was desperate. She was brave. She did the unthinkable. In the midst of a crowd, she reached out and touched the hem of Jesus’ garment. INSTANTLY she was healed. Instantly she KNEW she was healed. “And Jesus, IMMEDIATELY KNOWING in HIMSELF that the power had gone out of Him, turned around in the crowd and said “who touched my clothes?”

She knew and she worshiped

The woman was afraid. She was trembling. But she also knew what had happened to her. And she knew how it happened. So, she worshiped. She “came and fell down before Him.” She “told Him the whole truth.” (Of course He knew it anyway, but this woman who had been bleeding for 12 years and was considered unclean and could have no human contact for 12 years. THAT woman knew immediately that she was “made perfectly well”. MORE than physical healing. She was made perfectly well. That is powerful.

The safest place to be

Jesus cares. The safest place is to be bowed down, reaching out to the hem of His garment, pleading with Him to give the healing that is needed. The soul healing is the greatest need of all…the soul—mind, will and emotions. This woman was desperate enough from the failure of human intervention to reach out to Jesus. Jesus was her last resort. And He made her “clean” and “whole”. Her shame was gone. I don’t think she probably ever forgot the compassion shown her that day.

Yes, Jesus heals. Some of us are healed here and some on the other side. It is a mystery.

Pray with me?

Lord, may I stay that close to you today—that I continually touch the hem of your garment—that my soul may be made perfectly well. That I may have full strength to bless—MAKE me a blessing, Lord…Help me keep my eyes on you and my hands on the hem of your garment—bowed down (in order to touch it). When I start to sink because I have taken my eyes off you, help me remember to cry out to You and reach out to You, so You can pull me out and “catch me” as you did Peter when he began to sink that day he stepped out of the boat toward You!

Please share your thoughts and experiences. Either here on the blog or privately. How can I pray for you?

Until Next Time,

Let's Connect!
Awaiting His shout,
pam_signature-c49a6c

Christian Life Coach
Leading from Your Strengths Mentor
www.loavesandfishescoaching.com


A Willing Heart

A Willing Heart

Mary, Mother of Jesus

“We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts.”

–1 Thessalonians 2:4

Mary’s life never robbed Jesus of His glory.

Her mission was to witness the Glory of the Son of God. She was a woman of courage and character. A poor girl in an insignificant town, from a humble family with little expectation her life would be different than most. Then, angel Gabriel came to Mary. (see Luke 1:38)

Why did God choose Mary?

I’ve been studying the Scriptures about Mary the last few days. And with my knowledge of the Leading From Your Strengths characteristic & personality strengths, I think I know WHY God deliberately chose this Golden Retriever type of personality, because of the particular situations she would need to endure in her adventure as the mother of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Seeking approval

Mary sought approval from the One that matters most. Seeking God’s approval means turning FROM the desire for the applause of others. She went against social and cultural norms. She trusted God would not let her down. As she yielded to the purposes of God in and through her, she was able to anticipate the approval of the One who matters most without fear of public outcry or condemnation.

Mary surrendered to God’s plan

She was able through the power of the Spirit, by CHOOSING to be willing to lose all that defined her,  in order to become who God had CHOSEN her to be. He wants that for all of us.

What can we learn from Mary?

I’m not a scholar, and I’m not Jewish, but, I believe that when Mary, an innocent VIRGIN, courageously told Joseph, her beloved betrothed love of her life, that she was pregnant,  she knew that he KNEW it was not HIS baby she was carrying. The penalty for adulterous betrayal was death by stoning. BOTH their lives actually were in peril in that culture.

She gave her life & reputation to God

When angel Gabriel gave Mary God’s message, Mary answered, “May it be to me as you have said” (See Luke 1).  She had responded with a willing heart, ready to do whatever the Lord asked of her. Praise God for her response, which played a part in the blessing you and I have in Jesus.” (Anchor Devo December 2019)

The angel called her highly favored

He said to her, “Do not be afraid.” Angels aren’t sweet & pretty with flowing robes that flutter into your life to bless you. Rather, they are fierce looking warriors. Why else would their first words (whenever they appear to people) are some variation of FEAR NOT.

So you might think Mary was different than you or me

You might think you could never do what she did, yet I’m pretty certain that you would obey whatever an angel told you YOU to do, too. Her first response was a question, asking how it could be that she would bear the Christ Child, since she was a virgin. (Luke 1:34) And she most certainly had intended to stay that way before her marriage with Joseph. He also told her that her barren Aunt Elizabeth was now “with child”. Her next response was one of surrender and trust.  With a willing heart, accepting the consequences. “I am your servant. May it be to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38) The angel left her.

Aunt Elizabeth is 6 months along

Mary went to see her aunt Elizabeth. Upon hearing Mary’s greeting, baby John leaped in Elizabeth’s womb. And Elizabeth gave Mary an important affirmation. Any Golden Retriever personality’s indecision or concern would have melted away when Elizabeth said, “Why am I so favored that the mother of my Lord should come to me.” (Luke 1:43) Mary stayed 3 months, until John was about to be born. Golden Retrievers are people people. They are loyal. They are “let’s do this together” people.

Fear

Goldens greatest fear is loss of security and they don’t like change. From others, they want sincere appreciation and harmony. When stressed, Goldens can be indecisive and unenthusiastic, so you can see why God gave her so many clear affirmations. God knew she would need them in all the future trials and testings she would endure.

So, as each affirmation came,

“Mary treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19)

  • The Angel Gabriel’s visitation to Mary to tell her of God’s plan and to tell her not to fear
  • The Angel also spoke to Joseph to tell him that Mary was still a virgin and that he also was chosen to marry Mary and to care for her and Jesus
  • The Shepherds in the stable immediately after His birth
  • Both Simeon and Anna affirmed who He was, when Jesus was taken to the temple for his purification
  • The Wise Men when he was a bit older and in the house with his parents

Courage

She had been told that she was the woman with whom God entrusted His Son. Her heart had responded with praise and joyous song (see the Magnificat in Luke 2).

As we think about her courage, let’s think about the the time she rebuked her 12 year old son (JESUS) for staying behind in the temple. Think about the wedding in Cana where adult JESUS did his first (and non-public) miracle. She had courageously pressed Him to make water into wine. Think of the time that Mary took her other children to try to get JESUS to come home because there was so much demand on Him. She was concerned about him. Because she truly cared about the people in her sphere of influence. Let’s look at some general Golden Retriever characteristics and see if they fit Mary’s personality characteristics based on what we know from Scripture about this amazing woman:

  • Patient & Willing
  • Caring & Thoughtful
  • Steadiness
  • People person
  • Let’s do this together
  • Loyal & Nurturing
  • Tolerant
  • Slower Starting
  • Quiet & Reserved
  • Other-centered

Golden Retriever personality types deal in the PRESENT.

Their focus is on what is happening right now in front of them. You can definitely see that in Mary. When someone is hurting and needing a friend, or water made into wine at a wedding, the Golden Retriever is joyfully there! They have a caring heart and listen carefully and attentively to others (including angels 🙂 ). They are always loyal and faithful to friends and family. However, if there is tension, they want to withdraw.

Mary’s willing heart

Mary was a person of discipleship, with a willing heart, and great faith. The first true follower of Jesus. Her calling was great joy in motherhood, but required tremendous suffering. The worst was watching her son on the Cross in such unspeakable agony–knowing He had come to do just that. For you. For me. And for Mary. She knew how costly her submission would be, yet she CHOSE to SUBMIT to GOD’S plan. For that, we can ALL be grateful!

God bless you bunches!

Until Next Time,

Let's Connect!
Awaiting His shout,
pam_signature-c49a6c

Christian Life Coach
Leading from Your Strengths Mentor
www.loavesandfishescoaching.com


The Blessing of Encouragers

An encourager can help you find your voice.

What does that mean?

Each of us has a unique way of expressing ourselves. We are not created to be a carbon copy of another. What we believe that we “ought” to be able to do can sometimes cause a type of emotional or spiritual paralysis and/or an inability to move forward. Finding your voice comes from discovering your strengths. And then using them to grow stronger and more confident each day. It is YOU being YOU. The God-given you. The you that Creator God chose for you to be.

Encouragement is a two-sided coin

It actually is the Spiritual Gift of Exhortation. It is more than encouraging the discouraged or afflicted. The other side of that coin is afflicting the comfortable. Think of the many prophets that displayed that second side of the coin: Afflicting of the comfortable. Think of King David and the Prophet Nathan: “YOU are that man!”

The King’s Speech movie

“When England’s throne is suddenly thrust upon him, amidst royal family scandal and impending world war, King George VI must overcome a lifelong, debilitating speech impediment to lead his nation.”
– from the back of the DVD cover

King George VI’s wife

Elizabeth adored her husband and was an absolute rock of support and encouragement to him. She believed with all her heart that her husband could overcome his speech impediment. He was a stutterer. She had great compassion and continually tried to find someone to help her husband to find his voice and move forward. She was like the first side of the coin (encouraging the discouraged and afflicted king, her husband). He trusted and adored her.

The Speech Therapist

The King’s wife found and enlisted the help of an eccentric man, who had been highly effective with soldiers returning from war, helping them to recover and rehabilitate. But, this speech therapist was the other side of the coin type of encourager. He was a true exhorter. He afflicted the comfortable King. He challenged him. He was absolutely devoted to the king. But, he refused to “baby” him or make excuses for him. He absolutely believed the king could overcome his affliction.

True friends help you overcome your fears

The king (Bertie) and his speech coach (Lionel) learned to trust each other and became great and loyal friends to each other. “…the two men forge an unlikely friendship that will ultimately empower the monarch to find his voice, inspire his people and rally the world.”
– from the back of the DVD cover

Sometimes pain precedes the healing

The King had resigned himself that no one could truly help him. He was thoroughly discouraged. He felt inadequate to lead the nation. And yet, we see it took both sides of the coin to help someone so deeply damaged by his past care-takers and father. People who should have helped him, actually shamed him! And that made him go deeper into the fear of failure.

Who has helped you find YOUR voice?

A Christian life coach is a lot like the speech coach that helped the king find his voice. Sometimes we will be one side of that coin. Sometimes, the other side of the coin, but ALWAYS with the goal of challenging you to achieve the greatness God had in mind when He created you. We work alongside God to help you find your strength…you wholeness. All for the purpose of greater peace and joy.

God bless you bunches!
Let's Connect!
Awaiting His shout,
pam_signature-c49a6c

Christian Life Coach
Leading from Your Strengths Mentor
www.loavesandfishescoaching.com


Increase Your Energy

This is a busy time of year coming up. Summer is drawing to a close and highly scheduled lives begin again. We know that with God, anything is possible. Faith, Hope, Love and Laughter are all part of God’s energy plan.

Learn from the past

But, don’t LIVE there in the past. What did you do last year that you want to do the same?

Life is full of lessons

Maybe you have disappointments, failures, and things you wish you had done differently. You know that no re-do is possible. You can’t un-do what has happened. But you can learn from it and choose a new path. Rehashing the past is energy-draining! You can move into an amazing fresh new start. Here’s how…

Learning from the Apostle Paul

“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended, but one thing I do; forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this in mind…
Philippians 3:13-15a

In summary, the Apostle Paul’s 3-part plan was actually a goal toward maturity. And you and I need to follow the same plan in order to be effective in the Kingdom work He has called us to do.

  • Forgetting what’s behind
  • Reaching toward what’s ahead
  • Pressing on with the goal in mind

You can’t change the past. But you can reach out toward what is ahead of you, and with the energy of the Holy Spirit in you, believing God, you can press forward toward the goal always in your mind. What are you working toward? In the Lord, you have the energy/the power/the ability to do what He has called you to do. Remember…

A definition of energy:

the power and ability to be physically and mentally active. Sometimes, you can sabotage the plan, so…

Here’s some ideas to increase your energy so you can reach toward accomplishing your goals

  • Don’t skip a good protein breakfast
  • Drink lots of water
  • Walk whenever you can, rather than jumping in the car
  • Take 3 deep breaths whenever you feel like you can’t cope
  • The Psalms can be helpful in times of great pain and sorrow
  • BELIEVE GOD. “Act as if…” you have it all together. When you are faithful with this, the FEELINGS will soon follow and you will be surprised at your coping ability!
  • REMEMBER: You and God can do this together. Believe that! He is only a prayer away!

Listen to Classical Music* every chance you get (to minimize energy-drainers)

  • Decreases the stress hormones causing overeating and excess belly fat
  • Decreases depression, anxiety and physical pain
  • Improves sleep and decreases nightmares
  • Encourages faster healing after surgery
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Increases energy and endurance while exercising by 10-12 percent

*(The benefits of music list is from: 700 Club’s “Increase Your Energy. You can get the energy you need to live a full life.”)

Until next time,

God bless you bunches!
Let's Connect!
Awaiting His shout,
pam_signature-c49a6c

Christian Life Coach
Leading from Your Strengths Mentor
www.loavesandfishescoaching.com


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