Archive for: July, 2012

How to Face the Irritations of Life

Jul 30 2012 Published by under Uncategorized

 

by Michael Goldsmith

Do  you ever get irritated or frustrated?  I hate to admit it, but I do.  As pastor at First Assembly Siloam Springs, I had a habit of getting to the church early on Sundays (sometimes as early as 5:00 am) and on this particular occasion I arrived early, parked my car, walked to the front door only to discover that I had left my keys at home.  There I was at an early morning arrival in pitch-black darkness staring into a building I couldn’t get into.  Irritated at myself and the inconvenience, and with no other choice, I walked back to the car and drove home to retrieve the forgotten keys.  While this wasn’t the “crisis of the year” it certainly was a frustrating experience, something akin to getting a pebble in your shoe, or sand in your teeth from the beach, or standing in a line behind someone paying with pennies, irritating and frustrating.  The drive back home and to the church again provided me an opportunity to consider how easily any of us can get bent out of shape over insignificant things. 

Most of us hate to be bothered or inconvenienced.  Yet when we take the time to put our momentary circumstances into perspective and see the bigger picture around us, we find that what so easily raises our anger is trite in comparison. Let me suggest 5 ways to deal with irritation.

1.  Remember the bigger picture of life.  There’s an old proverb that says, “I complained about not having shoes until I met a man who had no feet.”  Chances are someone, somewhere has it a lot worse off than you.  Even in your own life, you can recall those genuinely crisis moments.  Forgetting your keys hardly compares with unemployment, the death of a spouse, major surgery, or bankruptcy.  Before you allow one minor inconvenience to rob you of an otherwise perfectly good day, put things in perspective.

2.  Resist the temptation to blow a fuse.  I love the proverb that says, “He (or she) who blows a fuse will live in the dark.”  “Fuse blowers” amuse me first because I can remember times when I’ve done that over nothing and secondly, I’ve watched so many others do that. By the way, it’s a lot more amusing to watch another fuse blower than to be a fuse blower.  You’ve seen them:  the parent that goes berserk at a children’s t-ball game, the business executive who rants and raves at the airline ticket window over a delayed/cancelled flight, the boss whose face becomes beat red and whose veins pop out on his head until he looks like a Rand McNally road map over something has meaningless as cold coffee.  We adults, in our anger, are an absolute scream of hysteria for the watching public. 

3.  Respond with appropriate behavior.  There is always an appropriate way to respond to any circumstance.  Remember your actions can lead to a series of chain reactions or the domino effect.  It looks like this:  you come home frustrated over the long commute due to the infamous orange cones marking a construction area, you yell at your spouse, who in turns unloads on the kids, who take their revenge on the family pet, who waits the opportunity to get back at you.  Before long we’ve got an entire world responding at World War levels to barely argumentative level issues. There is always an entirely appropriate way to respond.  Take a breath and think about your next action BEFORE you do it.  It may come back to haunt you.

4.  Realize that we’re all human.  Ain’t it the sad truth?  Good attitudes have a bad attitude day.  Positive personalities find themselves in a fit of negativity.  Overcomers sometimes feel like undertakers.  Your upturn can take a downswing in the shortest fraction of time.  Six billion inhabitants of this planet all whom are strangely human.  God’s greatest sense of humor was to give us all different personalities, interests, gifts, abilities, educational levels, economic earnings, desires, passions, and on it goes into infinities at the number of differences among us.  Then in His greatest pleasure, He cast all of us on one planet to figure out how to live together.

5.  Finally, refuse to let a day be ruined over something minor.  So here’s one on me.  Several years ago, I sat at the window at Braum’s ordering a gallon of milk and a half gallon of Rocky Road Ice Cream.  I wait for an eternity in the line and upon arriving at the window, it’s a millennial before I’m told they’re out of Rocky Road.  So I order chocolate as a substitute.  The clerk disappears for another 1,000 year reign and upon re-appearing again tells me they’re out of chocolate.  My first response isn’t pleasant and I ask for a refund, I’ve already paid by this time.  The window closes, and I’ve got time to think. Suddenly, I’m convicted, repentant, and shamed.  Window re-opens and I profusely apologize that “It’s not your fault.”  By this time she’s told me about a gazillion times how sorry she is.  The truth is, she really is sorry and it isn’t her fault.  So, I offer another apology and drive off to stop at the local supermarket and arrive home with Rocky Road Ice-Cream.

 While, you’re so amused about me what was your last “colossal” crisis that caused your reign of terror?

Michael Goldsmith has pastored congregations in North Little Rock, Conway, Pine Bluff and Siloam Springs, Arkansas, and Tulsa, Oklahoma.   He now serves with Global University as Director of Advancement for a project in a sensitive country.  You can reach him at mgoldsmith@globaluniversity.edu

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God is Faithful

Jul 23 2012 Published by under Uncategorized

by Edith Kaiser

Every morning in our prayer time together, my husband Otto prays that “we would have the greatest impact on the largest number of people for God’s kingdom and glory.” He has prayed for years that the Lord would be pleased to use us to touch the world for His glory. Let me share how God answered that prayer.

Over 20 years ago we were ministering in the dry, dusty desert of West Texas and came to Springfield for a Home Missions conference. The tall green trees and beautiful gardens were so delightful as we drove around that I said  to the Lord, “You know, Lord, this reminds me of my home (England). I wouldn’t mind living here, but the chances are zero!” It seemed as though the Lord replied, “Don’t be so sure about that!”

During the conference we were challenged with using ICI discipleship materials and encouraged to take a tour of ICI in Irving, Texas. My spirit quickened within me, and I persuaded Otto to go for a tour. Again I felt a quickening of my spirit as we went around, but Otto said, “I would never fit in there. I can’t use a computer.” That ought to have stopped my praying, but I just felt in my spirit that ICI was where we should be and kept praying that the Lord would open the door. We even asked our director at US Missions if we could change our ministry to ICI. The answer was a firm “No!” Only foreign missionaries could serve with ICI. But I still felt compelled to keep praying for the Lord to lead and direct us.

A few years later, Dr. Gary Seevers, who was at ICI, came to minister at the church we were pastoring in Van Horn, Texas. I asked him if there was a need for graders at ICI. He replied there was a desperate need, but there were certain academic qualifications we would need. At that moment Otto came into the room, and I asked him to share our degrees. When Dr. Gary heard our academic qualifications and that we felt God had called us to ICI, he said he would send us applications as he was in charge of the adjunct faculty.

However, he said, “I have to warn you that something happened this week that has shaken everyone at ICI. Brother Trask came and said he was going to join ICI with Berean. He and the missions department have decided to buy the old Red Cross building in Springfield and move ICI to Springfield.” As he said that, the Lord said in my heart, “Well, didn’t I tell you?” So laughingly I replied to Dr. Gary, “That would not worry me at all. We just want to be in God’s perfect will.”  But it confirmed to me that ICI/Global was where God wanted us to be and He could overrule all things.

We joined ICI during the transition to Global University and have been with Global now for 13 years. What a blessing it has been to be part of God’s move amongst the nations in these last days! We have been enabled to teach Global courses in Kenya, Africa. A year ago in November and December, I was also privileged to teach in the Mongolian Bible College. We have been a part of the historic beginning of two projects in two senstive countries, including Northern Asia. Last year the prison ministry saw over 700 prisoners accept the Lord.  Now they have 3,600 prisoners enrolled in our School for Evangelism and Discipleship (SED).

When God puts something on your heart to pray for, He will answer. Sometimes it takes a few years, but God is faithful.

 Edith Kaiser serves as a faculty member in the Undergraduate School of Bible and Theology at Global University. Learn more about Global by visiting globaluniversity.edu

 

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The Harder the Winds Blow.

Jul 16 2012 Published by under Uncategorized

by Gary Seals

 

A friend recently wrote about her travels through a particularly windy part of the country and something she said really struck a chord with me:

“Driving the whole length of the State last Tuesday or Wednesday – in that wind – I was struck by how beautiful the wheat fields moved under the influence of that power.  The wind made the grasses move like ocean waves and currents.  It ebbed and flowed and was alive with movement.  I was fascinated, and watched the fields for hours and hours as the patterns were constantly changing.  It wouldn’t have been the same with a slight breeze.  But wow – with that strong wind – it was just amazing!  I couldn’t SEE the wind, but I could sure see the effects of it!” 

 The Spirit of God is like that — His influence is most obvious when He is moving in a powerful way. As people of the Spirit, Pentecostals have seen the powerful movement of the Holy Spirit across an audience like the wind over a wheat field, bringing conviction to hearts as well as exaltation to God. Although we cannot see the Spirit Himself, we can see, hear, and feel His presence. Other times He comes as a gentle breeze, bringing times of refreshing from the Lord.

 But the wind analogy is also true concerning the winds of adversity. The slight breeze of God’s testing may not be that noticeable but — Wow! — When the strong winds of adversity are sweeping across our lives, we can certainly see and feel the effects! It was like that with Job who was guilty of nothing but being faithful to God, yet he suffered the loss of everything as those winds tore his life apart. Still, he stands as a shining example of what true faith is when faced with overwhelming circumstances.
 
Thankfully, the story of Job doesn’t end with severe testing!

“So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning …” (Job 42:12).

 God abundantly rewarded his servant for his faithfulness. We also have the words of Paul in Galatians 6:9 that go hand in hand with this — “at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

 So hold on, friends, especially when the winds are blowing hard. It is during these times that we discover just how deep our roots in God really go! I am reminded of an old song titled “The Harder the Winds Blow” by Michael James Murphy. The song’s lyrics are very encouraging. I will post them later on as follow up to this blog.  May God bless you,  especially if those winds are blowing in your life right now!

Gary Seals works at Global University in Hardware Support and Information Systems. You can learn more about Global University, by visiting globaluniversity.edu

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A Personal Paraphrase

Jul 02 2012 Published by under Uncategorized

I Corinthians 13

 by Carolyn Hittenberger

Though I speak the impressive language of earth’s learned and know the tongue in which the angels sing, if I express no love to my brothers all else I say is an annoying ringing in the ears of God.

And though I have the gift of prophecy and understand deep truths and accumulate all knowledge and have faith that displaces all obstacles, but do not show my fellow-Christians a love that the world can observe, I am NOTHING.

If I give to the needy my very last cent and die a martyr in flaming sacrifice, if I do those things with any other motive than that of love for God and for those whom He loves, my sacrifice has no value.

I will love others patiently, kindly.  I will not envy a brother who seems to advance more rapidly than I.  I will rejoice with him.  I will not boast of my successes nor be proud, but will humbly acknowledge those whose prayers and labor with me have brought God’s blessings.

I will not behave in ways that bring pain or embarrassment to others, because I love them.  I will not put my brother down to lift myself up, nor undermine another’s work or reputation to improve my own image.

I will not quickly take offense to something my brother says or does, for through eyes of love I see that he may be speaking or acting out of some unresolved issue in his own life.  I will see and remember the good in my brother.

I will rejoice in true reports of my co-laborers and feel the pain of one whose reputation is called into question.

I will seek to protect and encourage my brother, believe in him, hope with him, stand firmly with him in the love of God.

This kind of love never ends.  All these other things…prophecies, earthly and heavenly tongues and even great knowledge will one day pass.  The understanding I now have of my brothers is still lacking and imperfect. But when we are all transformed into His likeness, imperfections will vanish.

When I was a child I understood and responded to others from a childish perspective, but with maturity that must change.

For the present, though I see as though I am looking through a tinted window, I will strive to understand my brothers.  But when we see Him face to face I will know and love them perfectly-as He already knows and loves me perfectly.

There are three things that will not cease:  faith, hope and love.  But the most important and enduring thing…is love.

 Carolyn Hittenberger is Assistant for the Caribbean Regional Office at Global University and also works with University Communications. For more information about Global University, visit http://think.globaluniversity.edu.

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