Category Archives: Inspiratioal

Tipping Percentages ~ now a vehicle for shaming

tipA recent report stated millennial are the “worst tippers.” I’d heard this before and I’ve also read a large number of articles extolling raising the tipping percentage from the traditional 15% to the new 20%. The result being that some groups of people aren’t tipping at all, but they are being shamed. Even traditional 15% tippers are being shamed, which is ridiculous.

Why is tipping important? Well, how we handle money shows character. Does tipping 20% show better character than tipping 15%? Not in my opinion. However, in our culture where we all know service employees depend on tips, not tipping at all does show a lack of character. It’s common knowledge that in many cases your server might be a single mother supporting her children, or a student over-burdened with college debt.

Deuteronomy 15:7 ~ New American Standard Bible [NASB]  

If there is a poor man with you, one of your brothers, in any of your towns in your land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand from your poor brother;

Younger adults starting out in their careers as well as retirees have a lower income than middle-aged adults and so ‘have always’ tended to be on the lower end of the tipping spectrum. This should not be surprising and I can’t understand why a study was needed. What I don’t like is the shaming element in reporting this study to the public. It seems, in today’s accusatory environment, many perfectly understandable things get twisted and  reported in the media in a shaming manner. Then they go viral on social media…or vice-versa. Sometimes the shaming gets to be a fevered pitch. This is so unhealthy, so unnecessary, so unproductive.

Tipping is a perfect symbol. How we tip shows how we treat others, how we value their lives. It’s  not ‘they should do something about that’ or ‘there should be a program to fix that’. Tipping comes out of our pockets. It’s personal to us. It’s what are ‘we’ doing to show we value the other person? We have some skin in the game.

Contrary to unfounded popular belief, shaming doesn’t make the shamer feel super-duper. Quite the contrary, shaming others often leaves the shamer let down and in a state of anger, which is mentally and physically damaging.

And, of course, it goes without saying, shaming is extremely damaging to the one being shamed. Interestingly enough, both the shamer and the shamed are so preoccupied with their own behavior and feelings, they have little empathy for others. There is no win here. It’s a lose-lose.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 ~ New American Standard Bible [NASB]

Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.

 

 

 


Singleness ~ a most valuable season

woman dancing

In American culture we’ve treated the state of singleness as a state of me-ism, freedom from other’s needs and desires, carefree liberation, interspersed with times of mutual body disrobing. One nonfic writer admits, fueled by several glasses of wine, she started her list of things to do for her-single-self in prep for this body disrobing with another adult. The list included exercise class, clean apartment, spiff up her appearance and style, etc.. Doesn’t sound that liberating to me.

woman with violyn

As Christians, God should always be Number-One in our lives. We should seek God’s will for this single life-season. Actually, singlehood is one of the most valuable seasons. It’s a time to develop into whole, fully functioning human beings. A shalom time. In Hebrew, shalom means nothing lost, nothing broken. Whether we will marry, or stay single, singleness is a time for personal growth, healing, and developing of God given talents.

man and woman 1

I’m now single, again…a widow. However, when I was single the first time, it was commonly said, “two will make a whole.” That’s not true. Two half-people do not make one wonderful whole. Two half-people are two broken people floundering in a marriage. Many of us went into marriage that way. With God’s help, fifty percent of the marriages survived. Can I suggest, that mate-seeking model is flawed. It’s also a horrible model for eventual parenting. Jesus gave the best advise for relationships.

29 Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; 30 and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” ~ Mark 12: 29-31

In my belief system, Jesus is telling me at the bottom of this, I should have appropriate self-love, but certainly not the puffed up kind. As a Christian, I believe all life on the planet, as created by God, is amazing, and all human life is sacred. That includes my life. As a born again believer, I realize the Spirit of God dwells within me. That’s something incredibly awesome and valuable.

I was born into singlehood. Although I didn’t always recognizance this, from day one until the day I married, was a time of preparation. Ideally, it was a time to get to know God intimately, and a time to know myself. It was a time of intense personal growth…a time to discover my talents and my purpose on the earth.

Forgiveness

In order to live intimately with another human being of the opposite sex, from a different cultural background, heritage, and ancestry…these years of singleness were a time to learn about forgiveness. In marriage you will have to forgive. You will have to forgive yourself perhaps even more than you forgive your mate.

These are things in our culture we don’t talk about much. We make game shows and reality TV out of marriage. We talk about buying the perfect wedding gown, taking an amazing honeymoon that will be the envy of our friends and coworkers. The wedding gown gets packed away and eventually might be given to the Salvation Army Store. We come back from the honeymoon and have to live together…actually communicate and relate to a human being totally different from ourselves.

Why not take this time of singleness as a time to know that God loves us. We can then love Him, appropriately love ourselves, and more deeply love others. Not just love a marriage partner, but our families (even if they’re flawed and they’re all flawed), and our friends. We can learn how to love the unlovable — in Christ, and not get stepped on, manipulated, and used because we know we have worth and purpose. Yes, singlehood is a very important and wonderful season of life.


Don’t Despise What You Have ~ craving more

Child, photographer

Your Superpower

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. ~ Romans 5:8 [New American Standard Bible]

If God, looking at us, started with what He had…that might not be such a bad plan of action.

We live in a disposable culture. We all know people who live their lives constantly craving the next, newer, better thing.  They have a smart phone that’s working just fine, but there are smarter ones coming out. So, they discard the one they have and get the new one. Or it’s a wide screen TV, and they get a wider screen. Or, whatever.

Many of us have been in situations where someone at work had a close friend. Then they aspire to and are in the running for a promotion to a higher position. So, they drop their old work buddy. We’ve all seen or heard of scenarios like this. I know I have.

So many seem to fall short in the appreciation department, in the areas of gratitude, reliability. I try to be kind, honorable, but of courses, like you, I’ve fallen short.

pigeon-943273_640

Your Superpower

It really gets insidious when someone looks down upon one of his/her own talents or abilities because it’s not enough, not cool, not in demand, not of high standing, doesn’t command attention. They’re looking at whoever they think are the movers and shakers, belittling themselves by comparison. This is so sad.

When young people, or even not so young people, look at reality TV stars and devalue themselves while they crave the lives and lifestyle they are watching…this is soul killing.

Fixing, hammer

Your Superpower

This is not how the Creator made us to be. It seems cliche, yet it’s still true, we are each unique. There will never be another your or me. We’ll never be replicated. We were all born with innate abilities and talents. Maybe someone made fun of yours or put yours down. So, you thought they weren’t enough…you weren’t enough.

What were your God given talents? They could be small things. Do you always fix your bed exactly so? Do you have a green thumb and the ability to grow things? Do you love color, or music, or dance…or all of those? Are you a planner? Do you make list?

Coaching

Your Superpower

These things that are innate to you and I are precious. They are part of a whole that makes up the authentic human being we are. These traits/talents/quirks can be clues to our purpose. Or they can be a vehicle to fulfilling our purpose.

I used to sometimes think, I can’t hear from God. He’s not directing my steps, so how can I know what I’m supposed to do, what my purpose or direction in this situation is supposed to be? But then I learned, a lot of the time I was making it too complicated. The answer was often in what I had in my hand. What had I already been blessed with? I needed to take care of that and value it…maybe share some of it. What was I able to do? What felt right to do? Yeah, ask that question. What’s the right thing to do? Doing that will most certainly leave me with authentic self-esteem.

I needn’t make the situation grandiose. Perhaps making a fuss wouldn’t be the best idea. Whatever I had peace about…walk into that. Just take the next step.

 

 


Palm Sunday ~ begins Holy Week

Palm Sunday, Triumphal Entry

 

 

Commemorating Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem with palms is entirely a Christian thing. Our forefathers and mothers in the church, even children lauded King Jesus in this way. Ordinary people. Though they most likely didn’t know what kind of King He was.

Then they hurried and each man took his garment and placed it under him on the bare steps, and blew the trumpet, saying, “Jehu is king!” ~ 2 Kings 9:13 [New American Standard Bible]

This is a very important day in human history. It is the day that Jesus began his last journey…His journey to the cross. This is not the event that would change everything, but it’s the event that points to the cross and resurrection.

Palm Sunday is a day of great hope. We are reminded that hope sometimes must endure a dark night, dark season. But God is glorious. His grace is perfect and He loves us. He will bring us through.

The story of Palm Sunday and the events of the last Passover are told in the Gospel of Matthew, starting in Chapter 21, and in the Gospel of Mark, starting in Chapter 11.

Palm Sunday, palms


Bunnies ~ in my bookcase

1980-01-01 00.01.17-1

I’ve got my plush bunnies, a little lamb, candle eggs, as well as a few Easter mugs I’d received as gifts…all arranged in my bookcase. There are a few more Eastery items placed here and there around the house. They make me feel happy.

“Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.” ~ Abraham Lincoln.

“These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.”  ~  John 15:11 [New American Standard Bible]

A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones. ~ Proverbs 17:22 [New Kind James Version]


WHAT PRAYER CAN DO by Ada Brownell ~ a showcase

What Prayer Can DoPrayer is a practice in my life and a topic dear to my heart. I believe in the power of prayer, the comfort of prayer. I’m so excited…and it’s my privilege to showcase Ada Nicholson Brownell’s work WHAT PRAYER CAN DO. Ada is one of those dear people, I’d love to reach out to through the internet and hug. (((hug)))

WHAT PRAYER CAN DO

A Collection of articles and testimonies written by Ada Nicholson Brownell, published by The Pentecostal Evangel.

MOTHER’S SEARCH

By Ada Nicholson Brownell

An excerpt from What Prayer Can Do

Irene Hoselton suddenly awoke and sat up in her bed, cloaked by terror. Hot panic shot down her neck.

“My children! My children!” she cried in anguish. “O God, help me find my children.”

This was not an isolated experience for Irene, an acquaintance of mine. She was age 30 when her husband took the children to their grandparents’ house for the weekend—and never returned. He and his parents packed their belongings and moved to another state where Irene couldn’t find them.

Weeks, months, and years passed with no trace of her missing children. Although she searched throughout the western states, even with help from authorities, they seemed lost forever.

But the mother never gave up. Often she awoke in the night as anguish nearly ripped her emotions apart. She worried about her two boys, Waldo and Wendell who were 11 and 7 years of age when they disappeared, and her little daughter, Jessie, age 9.

She prayed. She asked God to take care of them. She prayed she would find them.

False hope would be raised at times, only to be dashed and to deepen her anguish. She became so emotional she couldn’t work or do anything but sit and brood.

Only a mother can understand how she felt. To think one might never see her children again is a distressing thought.

Only bereavement itself could be worse. Being separated from loved ones when one knows it is final is perhaps the most terrible earthly experience.

But some day a worse terror will come when those who have rejected Christ as Savior will be separated eternally from God! They will never again taste His joy, peace, and love (Revelation 20:12-15).

Fortunately Irene Hoselton’s story had a happier ending. She was miraculously united with her children in May 1972, after searching for them 38 years.

A phone call did it. After Irene’s children were old enough to have homes of their own, she would call long distance to cities all over the U.S., asking the operator if her boys’ names were listed. The calls were fruitless until one day, after a particularly fervent prayer session, she seemed to hear a voice say, “Call Kansas City, Kansas.”

With trembling fingers she dialed Kansas City, Kansas, and asked if a number were listed for Waldo. In a few minutes she was talking to Waldo’s wife! They were shocked to find their mother was still living, as her husband told the children their mother was dead.

In only a few weeks she saw all her children and grandchildren. What joy to be in each other’s arms again! Now her home is filled with pictures of her family, and her heart is bursting with joy.

The separation of 38 years was a painful ordeal—but what if the separation were eternal? How tragic when families not united in Christ are divided between heaven and hell. That final separation will be the most awful of all.

If you are one of God’s lost children, He is seeking you. Like the mother who sought her children, the Lord will never give up the search while life remains.

Jesus indicated this when He told about the search for the lost coin, and the prodigal son. He summed it by saying, “There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth (Luke15:10).

Repent and follow Christ now so that you will not be lost. Call on the Lord and let Him save you today.

THE PENTECOSTAL EVANGEL, August 11, 1974.

Testimonial:

WHAT PRAYER CAN DO

By Ada Nicholson Brownell

One family’s baby, born with hydrocephalus where the child’s head grows faster than the body, was said to not have a fully developed brain until she was prayed for by their pastor. A few weeks later, the parents received a call from the special center where the child was kept.

 “Your child is completely normal. Come and get her.

 New X-rays showed the brain fully developed, and this amazing woman has lived a normal life for nearly sixty years.

The doctor wrote “Absolute miracle” across her records.

Hebrews 11:26 says to please God we must believe that He exists and that He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

What Prayer Can Do has true testimonies from people the author knows that God rewarded.

Bio:

ada brownell

Ada Brownell has been writing for Christian publications since age 15 and spent much of her life as a daily newspaper reporter. She has a B.S. degree in Mass Communications and worked most of her career at The Pueblo Chieftain in Colorado where she spent the last seven years as a medical writer. After moving to Springfield, MO in her retirement, she continues to freelance for Christian publications and write non-fiction and fiction books. She occasionally writes op-ed pieces for newspapers.

WHAT PRAYER CAN DO Purchase on Amazon

­Amazon Ada Brownell author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001KJ2C06

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/AdaBrownellWritingMinistries

Twitter: @adabrownell

Blog: http://inkfromanearthenvessel.blogspot.com Stick to Your Soul Encouragement


Our Closest Relationships ~ how we damage them

Friends 3RELATIONSHIP, perhaps one of the most important and powerful words ever.

I’m a firm believer that my relationship with God is the most important relationship I have. It’s the one that upholds everything else in my life.

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” ~ Genesis 2:18 [New American Standard Bible]

We were created to have relationships. In our society today we seem to be so isolated, lonely, even desperate. Depression seems to be epidemic. I know that in my life, building relationships with other people has been the key to happier days.

Yet, relationships are so easily damaged. Here is a list of five things (done to me, done to others, or I’ve done) that I’ve learned, from painful experience are huge NO-Nos. We could each make up our own list, and in fact, that’s a great idea. Make your personal list. Here’s mine.

1. Don’t take loved ones for granted and stop putting in effort. Don’t think they’ll always be there. For one reason or another, one day they won’t. Don’t stop treating them like they’re special. Don’t forget birthdays, anniversaries, school events and other occasions, family celebrations.

2. Don’t demean your loved one/friend in public. Don’t show greater respect to someone of higher status, of greater wealth, or who is just plain flashy…when that person will mean nothing to you in the long term and will have little impact on your life. Don’t constantly correct your loved one in public (or in private, for that matter).

3. Don’t constantly show you can do things better than your loved one. When your spouse, child, sibling, parent, friend washes the dishes, don’t pick up the water glasses, inspecting for spots and then begin to wash them over. This is an example. Anything in this vein is an insult.

horse laughing

4. Don’t engage in negative joking and banter, as a practice, with the ones you love. Have you noticed on reality TV these days the couples and/or family members are constantly belittling each other in the form of a joke? This is not good. This is hurtful. Because we are bombarded by this type of behavior on TV, doesn’t make is a healthy thing to do in our relationships. Habitual put-down jokes are very destructive.

5. Don’t lie…don’t sneak…and don’t cheat. Self-explanatory. Self-evident.

Treat others the same way you want them to treat you. ~ Luke 6:31 [New American Standard Bible]

 

 


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