Changing Seasons – a Warm Heart

Kneemail 41J – A Warm Heart

If you’ve taken any road trips lately, you’ve noticed seasons are changing and our landscape is putting on its fall jacket.  From my front porch, Autumn leaves are turning yellow and orange just before they tumble to the ground on the wings of more serious winds.  The squirrels that frequent my yard are scurrying back and forth storing up the abundance of nuts to sustain them through the winter months.  And me?  I’m looking for a good deal on a bushel of apples to replenish the apple butter my grandchildren love so well.  The fall harvest is only one more reflection of God’s blessing to mankind.  My heart has already begun the season of thanksgiving.

Frankly, I’m looking forward to cooler temperatures, slower schedules and more time for reading the love letters God has reserved for us in His Bible.  We have all been appalled at the horrific trauma and loss of lives recently in Las Vegas; pause for a moment and consider the lives lost in the defense of our written Word.  What a shame we treat it so casually.  These moments spent reading His word are meant to be savored, stored in the chambers of our hearts and minds, protected and available to aide us in times of discouragement or trouble.

Hubby and I have the privilege of ministering to a group of believers in a local worship center.  I’m so thankful for the opportunity to stand before witnesses and testify to the sustaining grace and mercy of God!  How about you?  Where have you taken your stand to testify for the Lord?  Maybe you end your conversations with the phrase, ‘have a blessed day’, or perhaps you serve by helping children understand the gospel stories.  If you are somewhat shy, how about stopping by your local nursing home or residential care facility, ask the staff for the name of someone who has no one visiting them.  What a way to show God your thankful heart for your own family.  Your smile and friendly voice may be a lonely person’s greatest blessing.

Take a few moments this week to read some verses of thanksgiving.  The mother of Jesus, Mary, speaks beautiful words of praise and thanksgiving in Luke 1:46-55.  The fifteenth chapter of Exodus records Moses’ prayer/song of thanksgiving after seeing the Egyptian army destroyed in the depths of the Red Sea.  Zacchaeus was so thankful for Jesus bringing salvation to him, he promised to give his goods to the poor and to pay back anything he had taken wrongfully by four times! (Luke 19)  The Bible has many such examples.

For me today, I shall borrow Psalm 66, “Make a joyful shout to God, all the earth! Sing out the honor of His name; make His praise glorious.  Say to God, ‘How awesome are Your works! Through the greatness of your power Your enemies shall submit themselves to You.  All the earth shall worship You and sing praises to You.  They shall sing praises to Your name.” (1-4)

Don’t wait until November to be thankful.  Begin today to find new ways to express a thankful heart.  You may not have everything you want, but those of us living in America certainly have more than most people in the world.  Join me on the front porch this morning and be thankful to God!

What’s Contentment??

I enjoy watching children day-dream about the latest toy or gadget as seen on TV.  Their eyes light up and often they cannot contain their excitement jumping for joy over the sheer possibility of owning it.  Grandson #2, Noah, celebrates a birthday this month and he has several things on his list.  Of course, he knows he can’t have it all, but that doesn’t keep him from asking.  Truth is, there isn’t much difference between Noah and myself.  I too, have a wish list.  Are we violating some unwritten dictate from God when we day-dream and desire bigger and better?

Let’s face it – God created a marvelous thing when he designed our brain.  He created within us the capability of desiring nice things, of day-dreaming ways to acquire such things.  The least popular way to achieve these items seems to be ‘to work for it’.  The credit card mentality of obtaining items before we can pay for them has moved us into the biggest ticket of debt ever associated to America.  Therefore, the problem doesn’t seem to be desiring better and bigger; the problem seems to be getting it before we can pay for it.  That all boils down to one thing – learning to be content with what we have (until we can pay for it).

Paul gave us a lesson in being content.  When the little church in Philippi sent offerings, he was thankful, yes, but added, “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound.  Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need for I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:11-13) He certainly did not have a lifestyle of financial wealth, but he found the secret of contentment.

I would love to reveal a shortcut to this lifestyle of contentment, but there isn’t one.  Hubby and I have worked hard almost all our adult lives.  We both started working early in teen years and I am counting those years of raising children as real ‘working’ years.  But all these facts have contributed to our state of contentment today.  God’s blessings upon our work effort are clear indeed.  His protection and provision were especially evident in our early years of providing for a family while investing time in our children.  Both are equally important.  We have prayed for and received the ability to be content with what we have.

For sure, things wear out and break, but until they do, I’m content in the state I am in.  So the truth is – – I really like my home.  I feel safe, secure and satisfied when spending a day at home.  And I like my car.  Its four years old, but it still takes me where I want to go and the air conditioning cools just find.  My clothes feel good on me!  (even my 2nd hand items) They let me be who I really am, not smaller, like most advertisers want me to be.  I strive to reduce my waistline, but can enjoy being the size I am today!

Issues that determine our moral code (issues like debt) will come and go.  Yet God’s word has not changed.  God used the hard working ant and the lazy grasshopper for good example in Proverbs.  When we saddle ourselves with unnecessary debt, we become slaves to the work-world and often bring doom and gloom to our households.  Let’s learn from Paul and reassess our needs.  “Let your conduct be without covetousness, be content with such things as you have,” (Hebrews 13:5) That may be one of the greatest abilities we could pass on to our children.

THE POWER OF LOVE

     The Japanese garden appeared magical in the nighttime glow of twinkle lights while the mystical sounds of water bubbling over smooth stones added to the chemistry.  An inviting bench strategically placed in the shadow of a Willow tree tempted the young couple to stop and enjoy the moment.  They seemed perfectly content holding hands as her head rested upon his shoulder.  They knew at the end of the path a bungalow awaited where they would spend their first night together.  Sounds perfect, right?  And it was just that.  Fifty-one years ago tonight, we sat on that bench together.  So, what ‘super glue’ worked to cement this union?  No, it wasn’t love at first sight; it wasn’t finding a soul mate.  It was the strong commitment we made to God to love and honor until death would bring separation.

I suppose this old-school commitment is out-of-date and out of style today, but God’s word has not changed and His idea of marriage hasn’t either.  Society says, ‘do what feels good and follow your heart’.  That does not work for me.  My heart follows God’s word and my desire is to do what makes the Lord feel good.  Marriage is not about what makes me happy or what makes me feel good; marriage is all about two people becoming one, two career paths joining, and two people bringing glory to God by the way they love and relate to each other.

In the beginning, God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” (Genesis 2:18)  God did not make a woman to be just a companion to man, He made and joined two halves that would melt and form one compatible union.  The man is no longer complete on his own and neither is the woman.  Only together do they become ‘one’; one heart, one destiny, one testimony to God’s ability to form a new and living creation.

This perfection can only happen with two willing hearts set on pleasing God.  It can be a finely tuned creation that operates at maximum potential, or it can be a misfiring, grating, rattle-trap that struggles to make it from one stage to the next.  These two individuals will choose for themselves what kind of union they will have.  They will either be a blessing to each other, to their children, to their community, or they will be a needy sponge that soaks up energy and squeezes the life out of each other.  We are watching the number of unhappy couples increase at a rapid pace.  What is the key to perfect union?

God’s word says love is the key.  There have been times I have said with my mouth, ‘I love you,’ but my actions have said, ‘I disrespect you.’  1 Corinthians 13 says I can speak with the tongue of an angel, but have no love and I will only sound like a clanging cymbal.  It says love suffers long (I’m often impatient) – it says love will not envy, or parade itself, or behave rudely, and does not seek its own.  I’m afraid I am often tempted to seek my own, to have it my way.  Truth is, I am no longer a child – I no longer can act like one.  Neither can you.

It doesn’t happen overnight, nor is it easy.  But it is possible!  If you find yourself married, read again 1 Corinthians 13.  Ask God to help you find the right balance in your relationship.  If marriage has failed for you, don’t linger in guilt of past mistakes.  God stands ready to forgive and move on to future possibilities.  Concentrate on LOVE.  The love of God is our constant example and model to prove to us the strength of love, the stability of love, and the purpose of love.  Godly love is the theme of a well-balanced life.  Find your happiness in love.

Complex Love

awesome-american-flag_603993I made my way to the mailbox to take our American flag out of its holder all the while sensing a growing sadness rising in my chest.  Veteran’s Day has come and gone and I’m stuck with the image cemented in my brain of a young college student setting fire to a similar flag.  What a tragedy that the very same symbol of freedom, the fabric chosen to lead us in parades, in color guards and public gatherings would be destroyed just to register political frustration.  If it hurts me, what does it do to our veterans?  And if destruction of our flag brings pain to the heart of our veterans, what does flagrant disregard of faith do to the heart of God?

Let me tell you of one veteran.  At ninety-one, he still recalls his service in WWII, rounding up German resistance from the hills and caves after the end of that period of wartime.  He stores pictures in a box of rescued prisoners in their stripped pajamas, frames so thin the fabric reveals shoulder bones and rib cages.  I wish he could talk to children who have trouble believing such a holocaust could have even happened.  He relives nightmares while our history books have chosen to delete much of history.  However, that does not negate the reality of such atrocities.

There are those who say Noah never built an ark that carried animals two by two.  Others declare the Bible a fairytale book designed for weak people who need a crutch to get them through reality.  But these opinions do not change reality; the reality of God’s love for mankind instead changes opinions when people seek the truth.  The truth that has stood the test of time remains strong within the hearts of true believers regardless of public doubt.  If this book of faith, our Holy Bible, is to be received and believed by another generation, it will have to be lived out in the lives of believers.  The proof will be in the life of love lived by a believer.

Living a life of love is no easy thing.  Love means I must love the burner of our flag.  I may not understand his frustration and dislike his actions, but I must care about his need for salvation.  Love means I must care for the woman who felt the need to abort her baby.  Love gives me patience and a smile to give to the driver who cut me off.  As I said, it’s no easy thing.

Paul wrote to his young mentee Timothy that love was the secret to leading others to faith.  “Now the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith.”  (1 Timothy 1:5)  This lifestyle, one of love and prayer for others, pleases God.  “This is good, and it pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (2:3-4)

I want the college student who burns our flag to be saved and come to the knowledge of truth.  I want him to know God’s love and he may never see it demonstrated if I don’t show it to him.  I’ll be honest – I don’t really know how to do that, but I’m sure God can show me.  I seek the secret of love!  I pray God will lead me to a deeper walk with Him and a love beyond my own human understanding.  Won’t you join me?

Vote Your Faith!

awesome-american-flag_603993People who consider themselves ‘baby-boomers’ will remember a popular T.V. show where a pretty lady would rub a bronze container and presto!  Out would pop her personal genie.  His question usually involved what he could do to grant her greatest wish.  As make-believe goes, it was an entertaining show.  There have been days I wished God would do that for me, make possible my greatest breakthrough, but His timing is often different than mine.  A period of ‘waiting’ seems to follow most requests, yet He has always been faithful to meet my needs.  Right now I need wisdom as I sort through the choices for Election Day.

I am reminded of a favorite Bible story of Israel’s leader as he also searched for wisdom.  King Solomon, the son of King David, after leading his people in a moving worship service, had the privilege of hearing God’s voice.  God spoke these words, “Ask.  What should I give you?” (2 Chronicles 1:7) Listen to Solomon’s response

     “You have shown great faithful love to my father David, and You have made me king in his place.  Lord God, let Your promise to my father David now come true.  For You have made me king over a people as numerous as the dust of the earth.  Now, grant me wisdom and knowledge so that I may lead these people, for who can judge this great people of Yours?” (verse 8-10)

     Proverbs tells us how important this matter of wisdom is – “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom!  And in all your getting, get understanding.” (Prov. 4:7)  Also, where to look for wisdom, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10)

     Imagine it!  Solomon could have asked for anything, but he chose wisdom to lead his kingdom correctly.  Don’t you wish the leaders of our nation would do the same?  Well, that is out of our control – but we certainly can ask for ourselves!  We can ask for wisdom while we gain knowledge about the candidates.  Check out their platform (what their party stands for).  If you are seeking a reliable source, try Franklin Graham’s (Billy Graham’s son) website.  There you will find an informative comparison and once armed with that knowledge, you can make an informed decision.

I hope you are doing the same – praying for wisdom not just for voting, but for all of life.  If you listen to the expensive ads on today’s media, you will find conflicting information that will leave you more confused than ever.  Prayer and reliable sources of information will equip you to vote in a manner consistent with God’s word.  Christians may disagree as to the people best equipped to lead our country, but we should be able to agree on God’s principles that should be a part of our leader’s foundation.  Do your research and I’ll see you at the voting booth on Tuesday!awesome-american-flag_603993

Hear the Call to Yoke Up With Jesus Christ

Image result for yoke of oxen picture

The older I get, the less I hear voices.  It could be the ringing in my ears or too many years of enjoying loud music, but truth be known, I’m getting somewhat hard of hearing.  It doesn’t bother me all the time – if the sounds are isolated and no background noise, I can hear fine, but add the buzzing of a fan or the roar of highway traffic and I’m reduced to asking for a repeat of the conversation.  Yet, I have NO trouble hearing from God.  He actually speaks louder and clearer than ever before and I am so thankful for His voice of direction and guidance.  Perhaps it’s because I WANT to hear His voice!

God speaks to me in the strangest places and through the most unusual objects.  A recent trip to Heritage Days (a throwback to pioneer days) found me staring at a large wooden yoke propped up on a chair beside two massive bovine.  Their breed specializes in pulling large loads and the yoke pairs them together to pull even more efficiently.  Though they stood beside a stall grazing, I could easily picture them pulling a wagon across the prairies of Kansas or up the steep grades of Colorado.  They would also pull old fashioned plows through hard and crusty ground in preparation for seed that would flourish once the spring rains came.  Yes, the wooden yoke spoke to me.  It reminded me of the words of Jesus in Matthew.

     “Come to Me all you who are weary and burdened down and I will give you rest.  All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me because I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for yourselves.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matt 11:28-30-HCSB)  Often I have run to my Savior when plumb worn out by the burdens I attempted to carry on my own.  I have no trouble picturing the Savior yoking Himself with me as I pull the weight resting on my shoulders of responsibilities.

Examples of Old Testament followers of God are plentiful.  Job carried heavy burdens as did Noah.  Moses nearly collapsed under the weight of caring for the Hebrew people.  They turned to the God Jehovah to aid them.  Today, I think of my friend who struggles as she cares for her husband dying with cancer.  Another friend tries desperately to save a marriage that teeters near the edge of divorce.  Runaway teenagers, sick children, and jobs that push to the limit, all these situations weigh heavy upon us.  Jesus holds His arms open wide wanting to bring us rest and peace in the middle of our struggles.

If you find yourself in a peaceful valley of tranquility today, won’t you seek someone out who struggles to find their way?  You can be the hands of Jesus as you shoulder a portion of their load.  You can be the feet of Jesus as you walk beside a friend who needs some encouragement.  Whether for yourself or a friend take Jesus at His word and find His rest.imagesoxen

A Place of Worship

cropped-img1949004-1.jpg     According to song, Love is a Many Splendored Thing, and so is worship of God Almighty-a many-splendored thing – as varied in application as the denominations we have to choose from.  Last week, I chose to return to my spiritual roots, to a small whitewashed country church nestled on the side of a dusty gravel road.  This church was obviously loved by its members and that love reflected in the freshly cut grass, the swept sidewalk and the yellow mums blooming by the door.  Pulling my car onto the grassy parking strip (no asphalt here) and climbing the steps to the front door, I felt at home.  Surrounded by noise of friendly greetings, I felt loved.  I knew in an instant, I was welcome here, and so was God.

I’m not so sure God is welcome in all churches today, not the magnificent God of the Holy Bible.  Many of the recognized churches of today do not welcome ALL the scripture recorded in our Bible and some journey down a path that seems to be detouring from righteousness.  I do not wish to judge; I do not want to ruffle feathers, but deviation from traditional faith is becoming the normal and I’m fearful God does not feel welcome in such places.

So what makes God feel welcome?  What lifts Him up and surrounds Him with well-deserved honor?  I know what makes me feel welcome; smiling faces and genuine greetings, hugs from old friends, and music!  Music pleases the heart of God, too.  The Psalms are filled with words of musical instruments and praise choruses.  Psalm 150 is a good example, “Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet; Praise Him with the lute and harp! Praise Him with the timbrel and dance, Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes! Praise Him with loud cymbals, with clashing cymbals!  Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!” (vs. 3-6).

I’m partial to musical harmony, but the lady sitting behind me did not know that kind of music.  Her voice surrounded me, loud and strong, and you know what?  There was no offense.  Somehow, I sensed her sincerity of praise and I could join with her in song for the good things God had showered upon us.  This is true worship!  This is holy ground as my heart bows before our Creator God in worship!

The Bible shows how God feels when we honor Him with our lips, but denies Him with our actions.  A church family reveals their love for God in the way they accept visitors.  Are they greeted and welcomed regardless of their dress or appearance?  Do we serve the needy and help meet their needs?  Jesus revealed our target audience in Luke 14.  “When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also invite you back and you are repaid.  When you give a feast invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind.  And you will be blessed because they cannot repay you.” (vs.12-14)  This is the feast that honors God.

Prosperity is a good thing, but riches and fine things can take our focus off the importance of loving people regardless of their worth.  Take a close look at your worship.  Does it honor the values dear to the heart of God?  My visit to the little church in the wildwood gave me the perfect place to honor God in joint worship with the family of God.  Oh, how blessed it was!

FOLLOW THE LEADER

It’s not unusual to see wildlife during my morning walk, but the beautiful black and cobalt blue butterfly I caught in my peripheral vision this morning seemed intent on following me.  Butterflies are a frequent sight on morning walks, but this one stayed with me, following at a safe Papilio_troilus_Linne_(1)distance, darting in front of me and then off to the side.  Gazing toward other attractions of nature, my focus shifted from her, but a few seconds later she reappeared and followed me the quarter of a mile to my driveway.  As if I was the pied piper of butterflies, she stayed with me all the way to my door.  Never think where you’re headed only matters to you; once someone starts following you, they may never stop.

I shall call her the Spicebush Swallowtail and a little later when I turned on the garden hose to water the flowers, there she was again.  As I admired her beauty perched on the Passion plant by the back door, God seemed to say, ‘she’s watching you.  Be careful where you lead her.”  Immediately I had to leave the hose, retrieve my Bible and head for the porch for a little porch sitting with God.  Just how careful have I been to lead others on this path of life?  How many detours have I caused someone to take?  Have I led them to safety and security?  Or have some stumbled on the path I have chosen?

I suppose children are the most naive when it comes to blindly following people they trust.   I remember following my dad to the barn once, so quietly he did not know I followed.  He picked up a shovel and swung around nearly striking me (accidently) because I followed so quietly.  And more than once a child has followed me home from church (I lived next door) without me being aware of their presence.  Where we are headed makes a great deal of difference to those who trust us enough to follow.

Peter seems to be telling me to follow Christ so that those who follow me will be headed in the right direction.  “For you were called to this, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an EXAMPLE, so that you should follow in His steps.  He did not commit sin, and no deceit was found in His mouth; when reviled, He did not revile in return; when suffering, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to the ONE who judges justly.”  (1 Peter 2:21-23)

     When someone attacks us or criticizes us, what is our first reaction?  To strike back!  But it seems Jesus Christ did not submit to that temptation.  When He suffered at the hands (or words) of someone else, He did not threaten but trusted His Father to judge accordingly.  How hard it is to trust God and not take matters into our own hands!  No deceit was found in the mouth or life of Jesus so if we want to lead people in the right direction, our steps, our words, and our actions must follow the example Jesus left for us.

We all played follow the leader as children and found it easy and fun.  Well, guess what?  We are still playing that game but now in real life.  Be careful who you follow and where their path takes you.  Be careful the direction you are headed when others are following you on your pathway of life.

Heavenly Facelift

mirrorI ran into a friend yesterday, one I had not seen in a long time.  At first I thought him the brother of my friend; the resemblance was striking, yet the difference caused me to doubt.  Then he spoke to me and all doubts disappeared; it was my friend.  His appearance had changed because of weight loss which radically changed his physical appearance.  Could weight loss or coloring of hair cause a person’s appearance to change so drastically that friends would be fooled?  Better yet, could an encounter with God change behavior, outward actions, and friends would know it – not because they were told in words, but because it showed!

Shortly after I met my friend, I witnessed a toddler throwing a tantrum while walking beside her Dad at a flea market.  Blond hair fell away from her pretty little face as she looked up with admiring eyes toward her father.  “Daddy, I want that dolly!”  She had caught sight of a china doll sitting atop an antique display.  “No, Honey, that dolly would break and we would both be sad.”  Wise man, I thought to myself.  She did not see the wisdom in his advice.  Immediately the beautiful face contorted to an ugly copy of herself and she screamed, “I want that dolly!!”

For the next few minutes I watched him explain the fragile condition of the doll and why it wouldn’t be a proper toy for her.  Obviously, he was spending time with a child who was not under his guardianship 24/7.  The temper tantrum normally worked with whomever she spent time with, but now he had no choice but to pick her up bodily and leave with her screaming all the more.  She proved my point; her actions revealed her heart.  Sometimes we reveal what influences us by our actions.  What influences your reaction to life’s incidents?  Do your actions reveal your time spent with the Father?

If we look into my favorite BOOK would we find any good examples of character shining forth in every walk of life?  How about Job – who lost everything, yet praised the name of the Lord?  “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return.  The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job 1:21) Or Daniel –who was told NOT TO PRAY to his God. “Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home, in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.” (Daniel 6:10) Their actions revealed their faith, their time spent with God.

Faith is a mysterious thing.  The longer practiced the stronger and more obvious it becomes.  Why don’t you put my point to the test?  Spend more time with our Heavenly Father and see if it doesn’t change your appearance, internal and external.  You will help your friends see the difference in the way you look, the way you speak, and the way you act.

Mirror, mirror on the Wall

mirror    There’s a Bible verse in a prominent place above my desk so that not a single time of sitting down, I don’t see and read it.  “Humble yourself (Sharon) under God’s mighty hand that He may lift you up in due time.  Cast all your cares on Him because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6,7)  The obvious reason for its location is the constant need for me to remember the danger of pride.  No one likes to spend time with someone consumed with their own importance.  Have you conversed with friends who often interrupt you just to insert their own advice, experience, or bragging rights?  I don’t want to be that person.  How about you?

This danger not only involves your attitude regarding yourself, but stretches to your opinion of family members and friends.  Pride swells within me when someone asks about my children or grandchildren!  My mouth gushes with praise of their accomplishments and personally speaking, we should be able to share those feelings, but at the same time restraint should act as the reins to pull back our enthusiasm.   Paul advised us to remember, “I can do ALL THINGS through Christ who gives me strength.” (Phil. 4:13)  We (nor our loved ones) can do anything without God granting us breath, ability, and strength.

Our Bible has SO MUCH to say about the dangers of pride.  My favorite admonition against being prideful comes from Proverbs 16 where pride shows itself just before destruction, right before a great fall.  And to be humble with those who humble themselves is much better than to split the profit with others who are full of pride in their accomplishments.  (Prov 16:18,19) What a picture of the attitude of criminals leading other gang members!  Their initiation often involves crime and cruelty while the leaders brag of their superior evil deeds.

John advised that we not get attached to the world’s view, those things popular today.  “Do not love the world or the things in the world.  If anyone loves the world (like that) the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life is not of the Father but is of this world.  The world is passing away with its lust but he who does the will of God abides forever.” (1 John 2:15-17)

     So, brag on your family!  Share positive praise of others, but remember the danger of pride and the advantages of staying humble.  God wants us to influence our world for kingdom purposes, but not by becoming prideful or arrogant.  He will use those who humble themselves in the effort to lift up others.   If you need the praise of someone else, let the Lord take care of that.  If concerned that you are not getting the credit deserved, put yourself in the mighty hand of God and He will lift you up at the perfect time!  “Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth, a stranger and not your own lips.” (Prov. 27:2)