{ Paraphrased from Peter }

Surprised by suffering? 

Unless you caused it,

Fear not and be glad.

Fiery Trials? 

Embrace.

Rejoice.  Share

In Christ’s suffering.

Named as one of His followers, longing for heaven —

Glorifying God in it all.

—-

Easy to scrawl the words, harder to live out. All by God’s grace.” ~ Me

“Nobody likes 1 Peter 4:12-19!” — Pastor Troy Dobbs

“The real problem is not why some pious, humble, believing people suffer, but why some do not.” ~ C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

“When suffering, rise to the occasion. Do what the trial demands of you.” ~ Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

“Why do you always have to cry?” ~ what my 12-year old son said to me after I listened to an uplifting sermon about suffering

12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And

“If the righteous is scarcely saved,

    what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”

19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good. — 1 Peter 4:12-19 ESV

Photo by Photo by Illiya Vjestica on Unsplash

{ Thank You, God }

[ this was written by my son and reposted from his blog ]

Dear Father,

It seems an odd thing to miss someone who you’ve never met in person. However, recently I have felt an intense urge to be with you. I long for the day that I can stand in your presence and look you in the face. I cannot wait for the day that this mirage of a life no longer separates us. In the meantime, I know I have my instructions. I am to run around this darkening world giving light to those who will receive it. Please allow me to be used by you in the way that brings you the most glory. Give me the ability to love others the way you do father. To think, you came to this desolate place so many years ago to save me from my sin! Father, it’s almost too much to comprehend.

You reached out your hand to me. The thing that breaks my heart is that while you sought me, I ran as fast as I could away from you. I wanted nothing to do with you. Nobody on this earth seeks you. God, but you are the only one who offers life and true happiness. I am here on my knees tonight, Lord. I am a broken soul that comes to you for mending. You are the author of the entire book, and even though the book has countless pages and numerous characters I was among those you picked to spread your message of hope. Every day I wonder how you could even use me for such an important mission.

Give me your strength Lord! Help me do all I can to spread your message of love to the world. You have given your sons and daughters the responsibility of getting people ready. One day you will be back. And it won’t be like the last time you were here. When you make your return Lord, everyone will know it. The sky will open with the sound of trumpets, you will descend ready to greet your children. Help me to have done all I can till that day father. Cause me to remember that everyone I encounter is an eternal soul. Everyone is in the same boat before you. Nobody deserves anything good, yet you offer the best thing to the worst of sinners. Thank you, God.

(c) G. Luciano 2021

{ 3 Things About 3 Things }

shumilov-ludmila-59388One.

I am writing weekly, short spotlights on amazing missionaries, composers and church leaders. Here’s what I *taught myself* as I wrote this week:

  1. Be brave and fearless like Mary Slessor. Care more about loving people than what people think of you.
  2. Have faith like John G. Paton. Press on in your work, even though people around you doubt that God can answer prayer and do miracles. Faith, combined with sweat, dirt and hard work, will be worth it.
  3. What you have been doesn’t mean that’s what you will be.  With God’s touch, people can move from being purposeless jokers to daring, adventurous life-changers, like Brother Andrew. 

Two.

If I had to choose a keyword for 2017, it would be “Listen.” Reading a few books about better listening skills has improved me and ruined me at the same time.  I now have goals when I sit down at a gathering to talk to someone.  The talker doesn’t even have to be interesting.  They will become interesting when I give them the gift of my time and attention; when I immerse myself in what they are saying and see the soul behind it.

But, reading these listening books has opened my eyes. It bothers me now when I make the “listening mistakes”, or…when I feel people aren’t listening to me.

I’ve learned that most people don’t really listen. They often just wait as they get ready to talk at you. It takes self-control and self-denial to listen to someone.

Here are three things I want to remember about being a good listener:

  1. Don’t disengage while someone is talking to you.  Don’t ask someone a question, then drift off or look around. That hurts.
  2. Ask thoughtful questions. It lets people know you are listening, keeps you engaged, and actually makes their spiel more interesting.
  3. When you listen, you learn — about everything. “Everyone is an expert on something.” And, when you actively listen to people, you learn something you never knew before.

jessica-ruscello-173775

Three.

This is the most difficult. After years of calling myself a Christian, I realized I don’t have enough of the one thing that is supposed to mark a Jesus-follower. Yes, I have the quiet time, the doctrine and the lingo. But I want to love people like Jesus showed me from the Bible. Hating sin is the easy part (when it’s someone else’s sin.) And Christians are good at hating the sin, but sometimes not-so-good at loving the sinner…

  1. Look at people (all made in God’s image) with a Godlike, eternal, loving perspective.
  2. Love God and love people. Show I love God by loving people. Show people I love God by loving them.
  3. Expect God to show up every day in my life.

So…thanks for listening.

Lisa 🙂

Three books that have prompted me to write parts of this post:

  1. The Lost Art of Listening 
  2. We Need to Talk
  3. Why Nobody Wants to Be Around Christians Anymore: How 4 Acts of Love Will Make Your Faith Magnetic.

Photo credits:

Pears — Shumilov Ludmila

Hearts —Jessica Ruscello

{ Focused }

peter-nguyen-251778

Hebrews 12:2 urges us to “fix our eyes” on Jesus while journeying through the Christian life.

The Greek word for this phrase is apharao: to consider attentively; to turn the eyes away from other things and fix them on something.  Picture an infant fixing her eyes on her mother. She is absorbed with mom and completely delighted with her presence.

Temptation, sin and even ordinary things coax us to turn our eyes away from Jesus. Jesus looked beyond the pain and shame of the cross and stared at the joy ahead of Him. As we fix our gaze upon Jesus, we can endure the distractions and trials that come our way. Someday we will share Heaven with Him, where He is victoriously seated at the right hand of the Father.

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face.  And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.” – Helen Lemmel

“…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/planet

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/focused

Planet“> /Focused“>

{ Tailor-Made Training }

hamburger-494706__340Cooking isn’t my strength, favorite pastime or talent. I have friends that embrace and enjoy cooking like it’s fun. If they could choose an afternoon of creativity, it would be laboring in the kitchen, creating edibles that would be devoured and disappear within one hour.

Our creative bents twist uniquely–not everyone likes to slave over a sewing machine or work barefoot in the garden as I do.

If you are in earshot of my kitchen at 5:00 p.m., you can hear me start reluctantly and noisily pulling out pans and sighing into the refrigerator.

Part of what makes cooking a challenge is that I have raised daughters who seem to delight in cooking and culinary education. They read blogs and books by chef wanna-be’s.  They follow and save recipes. They place themselves on voluntary food restrictions, ie: “I’m cutting out sugar for the summer”; “I’m giving up dairy”; “I’m going plant-based.”

Me? I just eat. 🙂

We have resorted to a serious amount of tailor-made meals.  For a family of thirteen, this gets pretty crazy.

For a woman like me that prefers cooking briskly, solo, and tidying as I go, a busy kitchen is challenging.  And refining.

So, you might feel God speaking to you in your prayer closet, or convicting your heart while you’re sitting in a pew.

But God does a lot of His work on me… in the kitchen.

Word prompt of the day:  tailor

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