As we start out in the year 2022, a word for this year was not very apparent to us. I had one that seems to be it but then my husband gave me his list of words. After scanning the list and thinking it over one word really stuck out to me. Reflection was the choice. It really did embody the message we wanted for the year 2022.
Reflection is thinking over your past and seeing where we might have missed the mark but also learning from those times and moving on. We do not want to stay in our past but we don’t want to repeat the same mistakes. God is truly a God of new starts and second chances. Looking over our spiritual life and making sure we are growing and changing things that God has brought to our mind is a very good practice. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! “ 2 Corinthians 5:17
Reflection can also be reflecting on God’s word. When we read the Bible we need to consider what He is trying to tell us and how that can fit in our lives. We learn what we can do to have a stronger faith and share more of God’s love with others. Life can be full of challenges but can we trust God in it all? Reading God’s word and reflecting on it can help hold us up in tough times when we can’t see clearly. “Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.” 1 Corinthians 13:12
One of our main goals in this life should be the act of reflecting God in our lives to others. Reflection of God in us is the best witness to a lost world that we can have. Showing our true faith and heart to others who are in need can be life changing. Many of us know people who had a strong faith and gave us a living example of Christ. People who asked you to church the first time and you could see they had something different. People who lived in a Christ like way, even during stressful times when compromise could have been so easy. People who are real and show their true selves so it might help someone else to not make the same mistake. Caring for the individuals above all else and giving God the glory for it all. “Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.” 1 John 3:18
So as we start off this new year of 2022, let us remember to reflect on these things:
Reflect on the past and learn from it. Move forward with confidence.
Reflect on God’s word daily and apply it to our life.
Be a reflection of God so others will come to know our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” Colossians 3:17
Thankfulness is a word we hear a lot during this time of year. Another word was gratitude or grateful, which kept appearing to me on items and books around me. I wanted to find out the difference in the meaning of these two words. Thankful means to be pleased and being conscious of a benefit received. Grateful means feeling or showing appreciation for something done or received. They both share a very close meaning and can be used in similar ways. Looking for things to be thankful for is the key to being grateful.
My mother was a good example of someone with a gratitude attitude. She had many reasons to despair due to illness and heart problems. She decided to take the high road and be a blessing to others. Her name was Joy and she was always joyful even through all her trials. When depression and worry would sometimes come, she would continue to read her Bible, pray and look for reasons to be thankful even then. She loved the Lord and knew He had all her days in His hands. She showed an attitude of gratitude because of what Jesus Christ did for her. Many people in my life had that grateful attitude and it made a difference in how they saw their situation and what they found to be important. They looked to God for their strength and even when the answers were not what they hoped for, they still thanked Him. The real answer was that thankfulness had allowed them to trust Him no matter what the outcome.
“give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Look for things to be thankful for not only during this Thanksgiving season but every day. Write at least one thing you are thankful for each day and before long you will find you have a good size list. When you feel down look at that list and you will find you are truly blessed. Take it a step further and help someone else who needs to be lifted up. Reach out to others and let them know they are not alone. Use your gratitude to bless others. Being thankful and practicing gratitude can transform your life. It leads to a new outlook and creates happiness in us that overflows to others. Choose gratitude and you choose happiness.
“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” Psalms 100:4
Worship can also be another way of expressing gratitude. We show our Lord respect and honor as our creator. Giving Him thanks in the form of praise and worship. Coming to Him humbly and without hesitation to show our thankfulness. Letting our souls soak up the awesome presence of our savior. Nothing can compare to this type of worship and will most definitely make your heart more grateful. As Christ followers we need to show gratitude to Christ for the amazing gift of salvation, He has offered us all. We are first thankful to Him for giving us this gift but later we show gratitude with our actions by following Him. By being thankful we are responding to God’s graciousness and goodness. Gratitude is living out our thankfulness.
My heart has been troubled lately. So much pain and loss around us right now and personally here at Finding His Purpose we have lost some very special people. Jesus speaking to his disciples tells them to not let their hearts be troubled and gives them comfort about what was to come. We must take comfort too. When we have no answers, we must put our trust in Him for what the future holds. “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.” John 14:1
I want to honor these special people that made a difference in my life and many others. The first one is my brother, Randy Reed. Even though he was nine years older than me it really never seemed that way. Especially when we got older and had families of our own it wasn’t even a noticeable difference. We always kept in touch through all the changes in our lives. He would come visit us in Florida over Christmas time for about a month. We did lots of fun things with the family and had that old fashioned Christmas that he really enjoyed. He liked going with us to Finding His Purpose when he visited and attending the services at Calvary Chapel Melbourne. We always made a trip to the beach and his favorite spots to eat. One year all the family went on an air boat ride together and that sure is a great memory. Randy was a very positive person and always was just “fine”maybe even when he wasn’t, but I like to think that he got that trait from our mother Joy as she was the same through all her trials. He was always polite, kind, and respectful. He had a great laugh and could talk to you for hours about his past career or things he really enjoyed. He got pretty good at sending a text and we did communicate a lot that way. We spoke on the phone often too. My brother had a gift for sending cards for many occasions and never forgot your birthday! It was another way of keeping in touch in this busy world. I will miss these special things. Randy Reed went to be with the Lord on June 27, 2021 and he will be so missed by his family, friends and his church family in Texas. Thank you Randy for being a great brother.
Another person I want to remember is Gerry Lachapelle. We met Susan and Gerry about eight years ago at Calvary Chapel Melbourne. I met his wife Susan first while serving at the women’s information table. When we met Gerry it became a friendship right away for all of us. We all had a great time together and knew God had plans for our future. We were starting Finding His Purpose in 2014 and talked them into being our first co-leaders. Susan became ill and was in and out of the hospital and rehab for most of the next year. Gerry was always there to help and be her advocate for her care. It was a tough time for them but a good example of their strong love for each other and their love for the Lord. They both took every opportunity to talk with someone about Christ. We all remained friends all these years and through all these seasons. Gerry always had a wonderful sense of humor and a joke to tell. He was a great guy and a good friend especially to John. Always praying for others even while facing trials of their own. He showed great courage during his final battle here on earth and always thinking of his wife Susan through it all. He told John when he first got diagnosed with cancer that “ guess what I get to see Jesus first!” He was always looking on the bright side of situations. Yes Gerry you did win, you got to meet Jesus on July 3, 2021. We miss you. Thank you Gerry for being such a good friend and servant of God.
Yet another person I want to remember is Heide Olseen. Heide was always a kind and giving person. She was constantly praying for others and made a priority to ask how they were doing even when she was fighting her very own health battles. She always would light up the room when she entered and left no doubt that she was filled with the Holy Spirit. She had great concern for people who did not know Christ and was always looking for ways to plant seeds leading to salvation in their lives. Heide was a loving wife to Bruce, who would come with her to Finding His Purpose. We so enjoyed getting to know them. Their love for each other was very evident and only became stronger as her health became worse. Heide loved her family, her son and daughter-in -law and especially her two precious granddaughters. She was a proud grandma and longed to spend as much time with them as possible. Her little dog was her constant companion and gave her comfort. I got to know Heide on a much deeper level during the beginning of the Covid pandemic. We started texting each other and found we had so much in common. We talked about our families and shared prayer requests for all. We shared scripture and sermons that we thought each other would like. She had a positive outlook even when things were very challenging. So many thoughts were sent back and forth between us it took me almost an hour to go through just a portion of them. I will really miss the deep level of friendship we had. Heide went to be with the Lord on August 3, 2021. We will miss you my friend. Thank you for being such a great example of a Christ follower and a true prayer warrior.
We will truly miss these wonderful people who were part of our lives. As Christians we know they are safe in the arms of Jesus and seeing the most incredible things. We will love and care for the loved ones they left behind to the best of our ability. Do not have a troubled heart for Jesus tells us we will have trouble but He has overcome the world. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
We started Finding His Purpose about seven years ago to help others with disabilities, chronic pain and illness. My husband knew these challenges well. After an accident left him with a broken back in multiple places and the inability to walk, he also suffered with debilitating pain that never went away. This started in 2003. A lot has happened since 2003. I was not there when the accident occurred. We remarried in 2009 after being divorced for 20 years. John was a changed man by then, not physically walking but it was more important that he was walking with God. He knew God had called him to start Finding His Purpose support group. Our life verse was Romans 8:28 and we stood on the promise it held for us. Everything would work out for the best.
Since last October John started having some procedures on his back to hopefully help his back pain that was getting worse. It was not unusual for him to have an 8 or 9 on the scale for pain! The first procedures on the lower back and the right side seemed to work so we were encouraged. The last one was much more complicated, on his left side and included some neck area. The arthritis also set in making it more difficult. We checked with the doctor to make sure it was normal that even after weeks he still was in pain. I know John hoped that this would be the end of his pain journey and was disappointed that it was not turning out that way.
Well on May 27th he was so surprised when the pain was just gone! Praise God! He is pain free for the first time in 18 years. We thank God for healing him and giving him freedom from pain.
We know that each of us are unique and our circumstances are also. There is also other pain we experience that is not physical that can be as challenging. Pain of losing a loved one, loss of a job or a dream, emotional & relationship pain, ongoing illness and mental issues. All pain is seen by God and He can strengthen you to go through whatever you are dealing with. Keep praying and trusting Him for answers and direction. We know that all pain will not be relieved on this side of heaven. Our hope must always be placed only on Jesus. Pray for others and help support them through tough times. If you do get a miracle, like John did, do not waste it! Use it to encourage others and point them to Jesus. True freedom only comes from a personal relationship with Him.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Hope is such an important thing for us to have. It makes the difference in how we can see events and how we picture our future. Have you ever been in such a dark place that it was hard to even have a little hope of better days? You are not alone in feeling this way. Many people have had these feelings of despair. How do we get past this? How do we move forward when our feet feel like they are stuck in cement?
While reading the Easter story I found some insight about hope. After Jesus was arrested, the disciples and his followers were afraid and confused. Nothing looked like it was going to work out. Jesus was going to be crucified. They forgot all the things that Jesus had said and promised them for the future. In just a few days everything totally changed and hope that was buried deep in their hearts was revealed once again at his glorious resurrection! His promises were true and their Savior was alive!
Remember that not everything is always as appears. God is working behind the scenes and sometimes we need to wait until his work comes to light. Keep praying, keep trusting that hope will be revealed again in your life. Surround yourself with friends who will support you and uplift you. Stay in God’s word so you will be encouraged as you move forward into what God has planned for you and your future.
This Easter thank Jesus for his sacrifice on the cross, so we can be forgiven of our sins and have eternal life. Hold on, hope is coming. Our hope is in you Jesus Christ.
“May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you.” Psalms 33:22
This year our word is focus. Our desire at Finding His Purpose is that we Focus on Jesus. During these uncertain times we need to go back to our foundation. We must have a firm foundation in Christ so that we are not swayed by every test that comes our way. We need to get back to basics.
As we all Focus on Jesus this year, may we renew our relationship with Him and with His word, the Bible. Strength for our trials can come by the encouragement we get from His word. Let us all continue to grow and learn. Love one another and support others in their struggles.
Remember the main thing- Jesus
“and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:11
Here we are at Christmas time in the year 2020. Yes even in this crazy year Christmas can still shine brightly for all of us. Jesus came to earth to save us from our sins and give us new life and that has not changed. For some it might be the first time they have heard about this wonderful gift. For others it is something that we celebrate every year. Let us not ever take for granted the wonderful gift of Jesus in our lives. Let us worship Him today and everyday! This year might look different for many but Christ is forever.
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever,” Hebrews 13:8
Thankfulness is on our minds right now during this time of Thanksgiving. We can always come up with a long list of things we are thankful for. Family and friends probably top the list, just like mine. This year we especially have a lot to be thankful for, since just making it through a day seemed to be a challenge at times. We have made it to the end of November 2020 and that seems like a great achievement.
As I was thinking of my thankful list. I actually thought about the people in my past who made an impact on my life. Friends I made at school, work and church. People who I made memories with that I still remember fondly. They were part of a puzzle that brought me to who I am today. A music teacher who believed in me and pushed me to be better. A boss at my first job who was tough but who really taught me to expect more of myself. A ballet instructor who gave me confidence when I had none. Two special aunts who listened and gave advice that was God directed and reflected the wisdom they learned through trials in life. A Sunday school teacher who presented a story about giving in such a vivid way that I can still remember the feeling I had the first time I heard it. New friends I made when first coming to Florida who opened up their home to me during the holidays and helped me feel comfortable in my new town.
These are just a few of the people who helped me along the way. There are so many more. I am thankful this year for all the times God has put that right person with the right message for me during a trying time.
I hope that I will be able to give back to others and lend support like I have been blessed to receive. As you think of your thankful list this year, think back and thank God for those who crossed your path and made a lasting impression on you.
Happy Thanksgiving to all.
“I thank my God every time I rememberyou.” Philippians 1:3
We all have been in the midst of some really tough times for the last few months. There are many voices out there and lots of information that can be confusing. Who are you listening for? Do you listen for direction from God for your everyday life? Do you recognize His voice? Jesus said “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me.” John 10:27
We know the voice of those we love and have a relationship with. Ask a Mom or Dad if they can hear their child over other voices as they cry for them. Bet they say yes! I know my grandchildren can recognize my voice in a crowded room or store. They have told me so many times. Why, because we have a relationship and we talk often( also I have a loud voice but that’s another story) The same thing happens when we know God, spend time with Him and have a personal relationship with Him.
The Holy Spirit who lives in us will speak and direct us in our daily lives, if we just listen. “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” John 14:26
In this time of uncertainty it is even more important to listen to God and follow Him. Remember to “follow the Shepherd and not the sheep.” Listen for Him. Obey His instructions and He will listen to your prayers and hear your voice when you call.
Our word for 2020 was perseverance. Little did we know then how much that word would be confirmed as important. Covid 19 virus has seemed to change our lives daily. We have just had to persevere!
Seems like where ever we look that word persevere is being used. What does persevere mean? In the dictionary the meaning goes something like this, to continue on even when it is hard and success is not guaranteed.
We are all trying to continue on during this time and we certainly can’t see the future. Sure glad it was not something I would have known beforehand. There is certainly a reason we are not told the future. God knows our future and He wants us to trust Him with it. We are to persevere, taking one day at a time.
So how do we continue to persevere even when it gets hard? Look to God for strength to carry on. Ask Him to keep you hopeful even when others around you may not be. Pray for others and offer help where you can. Stay safe, stay well, and stay strong! Focus on God and persevere.
“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12