October 23 – God IS Watching

Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs it down, but an encouraging word makes it glad. Proverbs 12:25 AMP

Susan, affectionately known as Grandma Susan to the Dunford Clan, was one of my visitation buddies back when I worked at a church in Oklahoma City. Her mother was in assisted living and we checked on her pretty regularly.

One day, while we were visiting, I noticed this sweet elderly lady sitting at a table with some other ladies that seemed to be deliberating over all the cares of the world. I was so drawn to the twinkle in the darling lady’s eyes, so I moseyed on over to her table and introduced myself. I said, “Ma’am, I just had to meet you…there is so much joy around you!”

And she looked at me like she had known me all her life and broke into song;

Why should I feel discouraged
And why should the shadows come
Why should my heart feel lonely
And long for heaven and home

I couldn’t help myself, so I joined in and we sang on;

When Jesus is my portion
A constant friend is He
His Eye is on the Sparrow
And I know He watches Me

Oh, did we sing! And before we could get into the chorus, the rest of the table had left their “deliberating” and joined in the celebration. I witnessed the power of encouraging words through song over an otherwise gloomy, anxiety-riddled atmosphere. I didn’t stay to take a survey, but I doubt the conversations prior to the singing were regained after the fact.

When the pressure’s on, sing if you have to. I have found if I will start singing a positive or even a downright goofy song, my mood shifts to encouraged rather than discouraged. Don’t let the “weight of the world” rest on your shoulders. And definitely don’t let the “gloom monster” get your tongue…God can bring light though the dark clouds in record time.

October 16 – Can I Get a Witness?

Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety. Proverbs 11:14 NKJV

I am a talker and I married a talker. That seems to be pretty unusual. However, we differ in our styles of communication. To describe our styles using traveling terms, I would be more of a world traveler and Jenny is the direct flight type.

But over the years and in the process of raising a few children, we have become aware of the fact that even though we communicate very differently, often we are saying the same thing. And that provides a more balanced counseling approach when assisting friends, family, and loved ones (and ourselves) in decision making endeavors.

As the Proverb states, multi-counsel has an element of safety woven throughout, because, when you have more than one view point, you’ve got more than ONE point of view. And time and testimonies galore shout out, “Get a second opinion!”

A perfect example is studying what Jesus said by way of the Gospels…Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. For the sake of time here’s one account when Jesus made a statement about the price and benefit of following Him (discipleship):

“He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward. And he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.” Matthew 10:40-42

For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in My name, because you belong to Christ, assuredly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward. Mark 9:41

He who hears you hears Me, he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me.” Luke 10:16

Most assuredly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.” John 13:20

I think Matthew was kind of like me and the rest of the guys were like my wife (she’s straight to the point). Nevertheless, when you listen to the four points of view, you come away with a more balanced foundation on what Jesus was truly saying. Then, application, if any is necessary, can be approached with a bit more confidence and assurance.

The Lone Ranger is a classic western story, but, in my estimation, not one to be emulated in real life. None of us have it all together or are without need of outside direction and encouragement from time to time. Let the wisdom of the wise provide you direction and guidance. There is safety to be had!