Thursday, March 06, 2014


The more aware we become of the range of human need that surrounds us, the more overwhelmed we can become to the point that we end up doing nothing. The secret of the compassionate life is to focus our care on a few things that we can do something about, including in our intercessions those concerns that are beyond our reach. I know of one person who chose to focus all of his energy on dealing with the problem of Vietnamese refugees. He stayed with this until he felt he had made some genuine contribution, resisting the sometimes angry entreaties of friends to take on things which, to them, were more urgent. The ability to bring into focus the energy we expend is of critical importance to the Christian journey. It allows us to give to others without losing touch with ourselves. It reminds us that we are finite, with the freedom to say no as well as yes in the recognition that our particular gifts can be used in some ways better than others.

—From Mutual Ministry by James C. Fenhagen

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

What to give up for Lent

GIVE UP grumbling! Instead, "In everything give thanks." Constructive criticism is OK, but "moaning, groaning, and complaining" are not Christian disciplines.

GIVE UP 10 to 15 minutes in bed! Instead, use that time in prayer, Bible study and personal devotion.

GIVE UP looking at other people's worst points. Instead concentrate on their best points. We all have faults. It is a lot easier to have people overlook our shortcomings when we overlook theirs first.

GIVE UP speaking unkindly. Instead, let your speech be generous and understanding. It costs so little to say something kind and uplifting. Why not check that sharp tongue at the door?

GIVE UP your hatred of anyone or anything! Instead, learn the discipline of love. "Love covers a multitude of sins."

GIVE UP your worries and anxieties! Instead, trust God with them. Anxiety is spending emotional energy on something we can do nothing about: like tomorrow! Live today and let God's grace be sufficient.

GIVE UP TV one evening a week! Instead, visit some lonely or sick person. There are those who are isolated by illness or age. Why isolate yourself in front of the "tube?" Give someone a precious gift: your time!

GIVE UP buying anything but essentials for yourself! Instead, give the money to God. The money you would spend on the luxuries could help someone meet basic needs. We are called to be stewards of God's riches, not consumers.

GIVE UP judging by appearances and by the standard of the world! Instead, learn to give up yourself to God. There is only one who has the right to judge, Jesus Christ.

by Rev. Craig Gates, Jackson, MS