Words of Encouragement

Posts tagged “1 Corinthians 15:58

IN THE TRENCHES

Cyndi den OtterI was recently on a social media site and I was surprised to see a very well known Christian speaker publically complaining that the venue she was speaking at did not have a dressing room prepared for her.  She later posted to grump that they had finally come up with a room but that it was not very nice and somewhat untidy.  I was alternating between being annoyed and amused.  Did it not occur to her that the venue that she was speaking at may be following her rant?

Jeff and I speak together on occasion.  We are not famous and there is no glamour in it.  It often means dozens of hours of prep, missing fun gatherings to research, study, and memorize, and rewriting the same material over and over again because it has gone out of date.
Sometimes Kingdom building means you change out of our travel clothes in the church washroom or even the car.  Many times there is a little humble pie in the trenches, but it’s just what you do when it’s where God wants you to be. 

Our church sent a team to the Dominican to help build a church.  There are long flights, sleeping in airports, eating unique food, and a language barrier. Some go back year after year.  There is not much glamour in shovelling, pushing a wheel barrow, and hand mixing cement in the heat.
Sometimes Kingdom building is done in a sweaty T-Shirt with work boots on.  Often it doesn’t smell great in the trenches, but that’s okay when it’s where God wants you to be.

Have you ever worked in the church nursery – rocking babies, keeping anxious toddlers occupied when they want mama, encouraging two year olds to share, and reading the same story 287 times?  It’s a blessing to parents when they enjoy their only quiet hour of the week so they can participate in a worship service.
Sometimes Kingdom building is wiping noses and changing diapers. Occasionally there is a little poo in the trenches, but you never give it a second thought when it’s where God wants you to be.

All four of our children have worked in summer camp ministry for years.  It is loads of fun but it is also 24 hour responsibility, late night washroom trips, bad dream comforting, homesick moment diverting, sad story hearing, band aids for boo boos, living away from home, and very little sleep.
Sometimes Kingdom building means washing wet sleeping bags.  Yes, there are little “accidents” in the trenches, but it is the least of your worries when it is where God wants you to be.

Do you work in children’s ministry?  It is a very fast pace, high energy, bouncing off the walls ministry … when you just got home from work, and you are tired, and supper was a granola bar, and you are short handed that night.
Sometimes Kingdom building means you suck it up and depend on His strength when you have nothing to give.  Often there is fatigue in the trenches but you can be content in knowing it is where God wants you to be.

Philippians 4:13  I can do all this through him who gives me strength. NIV

God’s work is not always glamorous.  In fact, a great deal of God’s work is done in the trenches.  Often there is failure, moments of defeat, false starts,  rare thank yous, and repetitive duties.  Sometimes in those trenches dirt falls on us and occasionally there is a cave in.  Sweet are the moments when we  get to celebrate the joy of seeing the immediate results of our labour – church walls going up and participating in that first service, seeing someone turning their life over to God, salvation, lives changed!  However, when we don’t see these things right away, are we content in planting the seeds for future benefit that we many never see or know this side of heaven? Are we okay with being obedient to where He has called us to be?  Is being faithful enough?
Galatians 6:9  Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.  NIV

When dirt falls on you don’t give up!  When the walls cave in, hang on!  God is pleased with you.  He is in the trench with you matching you in every difficult task, holding you up in your fatigue, and loving you in it all.  1 Corinthians 15:58  Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.    NIV

By Cyndi den Otter (C)

Copyright 2013 March 29 Cyndi den Otter – All Rights Reserved May be used with author’s permission


PULLING WEEDS

I am an amateur flower gardener.  I do not know proper perennial etiquette but if colourful flowers catch my eye then into my garden they go.  I spend many hours in there, pruning, weeding, fertilizing, and talking to my pretty plants.  My flower patch is my mental health break where I go to declutter my mind as well as my garden.  If Wendy or Sheila comes across the path they know they need to announce their arrival to prevent a clump of weeds hitting them in the side of the head.

So how did my flower garden get to be such a wreck!?  I pulled and pulled weeds and grass and as I sat and looked at the mound of weeds I wondered where it all came from?  My flowers were in danger of being totally overtaken.  I was able to pinpoint my garden’s demise to two summers of neglect.  One season I had knee surgery in June and although the surgery corrected my problem, I still was not able to crouch to attend my flowers that year.  Last June Jeff had a heart attack, and my summer schedule got a bit full so another season went by with only dong the bare essentials.  The results were my property quickly returned to the wild and all of the nasties frolicked happily.  There are no easy solutions or quick fixes other than to pull the weeds, one by one … and keep pulling them … and be on the lookout for more.

I sat in my flower bed thinking of all the times in my life when I allowed the weeds to take over,  weeds like anger, fear, discontentment, unforgiveness, and discouragement.  I could add a long list.  Do you have a list?  Once those little seeds settle in and take root they are hard to get rid of.  They call all their relatives and set up residence in your life.  If you don’t pluck them out they can choke the life out of everything good until there is no sign of the previous beauty. Those are the times when the enemy of our souls takes the opportunity to make all things ugly.

During the “weedy” times in my life I have found that I have not been as diligent in the things I ought to such as:

Reading my Bible (a guaranteed weed zapper).

Studying His word (yes, don’t forget to fertilize).

My prayer life (the perfect mulch, keeps the good things in and the bad things out).

Worshipping and studying with other believers (better than any Roundup).

Relying on God instead of myself (the nourishing sunshine and rain).

Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.   1 Corinthians 15:58  NLT

With God’s help I am working on keeping the weeds pulled.  It is a battle and at times I want to give up and wonder if I can do it, but God has promised to be with us in this battle.  He did not promise that it would be easy but only that He would help us and fight for us. So keep watching for weeds and keep pulling them … one by one.  The results are beautiful.    

So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.   Galations 6:9 NLT

By Cyndi den Otter ©

Copyright 2012 June 9 Cyndi den Otter – All Rights Reserved May be used with author’s permission