We all have the opportunity to make an eternal impact in our world. I'm not talking about the world out there across ocean or across the continent. I'm talking about the world in the next cubicle or across the street or sitting in the bleachers next to you. God has placed you where you are so that you can impact the people in that place. Your life experiences are to be used as a witness of God's grace and love to co-workers, classmates and neighbors. As you do life with the people in your world they get to know you and how important God is in your life. They see whether your relationship with Christ is real or just a Sunday tradition. They hear you speak and get to know the real you.
As you take a stand for what you believe in are you doing it in such a way to alienate others? Are you loud, arrogant and obnoxious when expressing your viewpoint? Do you demean others who disagree with you? What must the world think when they hear Christian brothers and sisters using such hateful tones towards one another. How can we claim to be a follower of Christ and speak with such disdain and hatred about a fellow Christ follower?
What if we changed the way we shared our viewpoints and beliefs? Instead of screaming to be heard, we need to take the time to listen and have real conversations. We also need to do more than just talk. It's like that old saying. "Actions speak louder than words". But how do we take the action?
We can tell people that we are against abortion because we believe that it's murder. We're not wrong in that statement but we can make a bigger impact by taking action. We volunteer at a crisis pregnancy center or pray outside of abortion clinics. We donate to women's centers that help women who choose not to abort their unborn child. We need to reach out and encourage young women instead of showing judgement or disapproval. We need to be supportive of young teen moms and offer to help them as they complete their education.
We can believe that homosexuality is a sin and have Scripture verses to back us up. We can damn homosexuals to hell and feel justified in our self-righteousness. As business owners we can refuse to provide goods and services to the gay community. But does our hate represent Christ's love?
Instead of spending time searching the Bible for verses on how to condemn others, we should study the life of Christ and follow his example. He did not alienate people because of their sexual lifestyle. He showed compassion and built relationships with them. That's what we need to do. We need to take time to build relationships. We don't have to agree with someone's lifestyle to show them the love of Christ.
When we watch the news we can become discouraged by all of the shootings, drug overdoses, kidnappings and brokenness in the world. We tend to want to wrap our family in a nice comfortable Christian bubble. We want to spend our time doing Christian activities with our Christian friends in hopes that our families won't be affected by the world. We can't make an impact on the world if we don't interact with the world. And Christ has commanded us to Go into the world....To be salt and light.....to be His hands and feet.
There is a generation of broken, hurting teenagers and young adults who need someone to come along side of them and show them how to reach their potential. They need you and me to encourage them when they feel like giving up or giving in to peer pressure. They need us to celebrate their victories in the classroom and on the field or court. They need men and women to teach them how to respect authority and to control their tempers. They need adults to listen to them and really hear what they're saying. They need to know that someone is in their corner.
Instead of withdrawing from the troubled kids, we need to reach out to them and show them that they are worthy of love. That there is a God who loves them more than they could ever comprehend. Instead of labeling them as punks or thugs, we need to meet them where they are....in the messiness of their life...and show them the love of Christ. We can't wait for them to walk through the doors of our churches.
We have to leave the four walls of our churches and be the church. We have to host tailgate parties at the Friday night football games or take dozens of tacos into the schools at lunchtime. We need to tutor kids who are struggling so they don't give up and quit school.
We build these relationships so that when a young girl is faced with an unplanned pregnancy we can connect her with the women's center. Or when there's not enough money for a holiday meal, we can gather items for the family. Or when someone loses a family member to gun violence we can console and comfort them.
As you go about your everyday life, I challenge you to start truly seeing the people that cross your path. Don't just look at their actions or attitudes. Look at them with the eyes of Christ. Ask God to show you ways that you can be His hands and His feet.
As you speak to others, I challenge you to consider your words and your tone. Are your words exemplifying the love of Christ? Do you speak the truth in love? Are you justifying hate speech because you think you are right? Remember 1 Corinthians 13 tells us that it doesn't matter what we say, without love we're just a clanging cymbal.
"No matter what I say, no matter what I believe, no matter what I do, I'm bankrupt without love."
Each day we make an impact on this world. My prayer is that we will not make just a good impact, but an eternal one. Go. Show the love of Christ to someone today.
In our crazy, broken world life can become confusing and overwhelming. We are bombarded daily by viewpoints, expert opinions and expectations. Even in our Christian communities there is no shortage of theological experts and expectations. You can go crazy trying to sort through all of the chaos that swirls around us. You can become weighted down by fear of what the future will bring. The "what ifs" can invade your mind and keep you up at night. You may be worrying about making the right parenting or financial decisions. Or maybe you're worried about your career or education direction. I know many of us are concerned about the election and the future of our country. But there is good news amidst the chaos.
Ephesians 1:11 says God works all things according to the counsel of his will. God is ultimately in control. No matter what happens in our world or in our families or in our personal lives, God is in control. That means we don't have to live in fear or doubt. James MacDonald explains it this way: "God rules the universe, and He orders the events of our lives. He is God no matter what we might think or what our opinions might be about Him. He is larger than our limited definitions of Him. God is so in control that He rules the universe with His feet up. He's not stressed or strained in any way. He's not pacing back and forth. He doesn't wipe sweat from His brow. There is no world problem that stretches Him. He is God, and He is sovereign."
Read the last 2 sentences again. "There is NO world problem that stretches Him. He IS God, and He IS sovereign." I don't know about you but that gives me so much peace and confidence. There is no problem too big for God. There is no situation that takes Him by surprise. There is no disaster so devastating that God doesn't use it to bring about His ultimate plan. We may not live long enough on this earth to see a plan fulfilled, but that doesn't negate God's purpose or plan.
Right now our country is in turmoil over who will be the next president. It saddens me that so many Christians seem to have forgotten that God is in control. And He will still be in control no matter who wins the election. Even if the worst candidate is elected and enacts policies that take away our religious freedoms, God is still in control. No person can ever thwart God's plan. No circumstances can thwart God's plan. No policies can ever thwart God's plan.
If you fear the future then your view of God is too small. God's power is unlimited. Our human minds cannot begin to comprehend how big and mighty God truly is. I'm reminded of a children's song. It says, "My God is so big, so strong and so mighty. There's nothing my God cannot do." It's just s simple song but the words are so powerful. There is NOTHING that MY God cannot do.
I can stand firm on the promise that no matter what happens in this world, God is ALWAYS in control. I don't have to worry or fret about what changes may be around the corner. All I have to do is seek after God and rest in the knowledge that He is ultimately in control.
The holidays are right around the corner!!! Yay!! That means many people will be traveling to be with the ones they love. It can be a stressful time, especially if you're travelling by air. There can be weather issues or maintenance delays that can impact your trip.
There are a few important things that you can do to reduce airline travel stress.
1. The number one most important thing is to be on time!!! We see it everyday at the airport. People rushing in at the last minute begging us to get them on their flight because they just have to be at their destination today. You cannot arrive at the airport at 12:15 expecting to get on a 12:30 flight. As agents there is nothing that we can do to check your bag in after the cutoff time. There is not a magic button to override the system. So don't ask us to do it. Please contact the airline that you are flying to find out their cut off times for check in. Many airports are dealing with long TSA lines so you also need to consider that when deciding when to arrive at the airport.
2. Know the baggage rules and fees for the airline you are flying. Most airlines charge baggage fees. Once again we as agents have policies to follow. There are weight limits to ensure the proper weight and balance of the plane. Please do not ask us to allow excess weight for free. Also please understand that the FAA regulates how many bags we allow you to carry on the plane. We're not being mean or picking on you if we tell you that you have too many bags or that your carry-on is too big. We're just following the policies of our company. Also new FAA regulations limit the size and weight of the stroller that you can take with you to check at the gate. Being a mom of four who has travelled with 4 kids ages 10 and under, I really dislike this policy. But once again it is a weight and balance and space issue.
3. Listen to announcements in the boarding area and on the plane. It's amazing to me at how many people miss flights or important information because they were not listening. When an agent or crew member is making an announcement, they are giving you valuable information for your trip. So listen....even if you fly all the time and know everything....listen. Take the headphones out of your ears, hang up the cellphone and listen.
4. In the event of delays or cancellations realize that we have no magic wands. We hate delays and cancellations as much and maybe more than you do. They make lots of extra work and frustrations for us. We search for the best alternate option to get you to your destination. When we tell you that a flight is full and we can't put you on it, please don't show us the app on your phone that says there is 1 seat left. We have no reason to lie to you. Believe me if there is a plane with an empty seat, you will be on it. We can't predict the weather and we can't change the weather. We don't know how to fix planes and we can't make planes just magically appear.
5. Remember that airline employees are people too. We strive to give our best customer service to each and every passenger. But understand that we are human and we get tired and frustrated. Sometimes we have bad days and don't give our best. Sometimes the passenger in front of you in line has pushed every one of our buttons and we're barely keeping it together. Sometimes we have chaos going on at home that we have to put aside when we come to work. Sometimes we spend a few minutes laughing and joking with our coworkers while we're waiting on a delayed plane. Don't take it personal. It's how we release stress and build our team. The team that comes together day in and day out to make sure that you get to see that new grandbaby or walk your daughter down the aisle or say a final goodbye to a loved one.
I hope these will be some helpful tips as you travel this holiday season.
I am a Christian, a wife, a mom, a VBS crafter, a coupon clipper, a thrift store shopper, a football fan, a cook, a student of the Bible and an avid reader.