Tuesday, September 19, 2006


"Here are my directions: Pray much for others; plead for God's mercy upon them; give thanks for all he is going to do for them." 1 Tim 2:1 (TLB)

A feeling of real need is always a good enough reason to pray. ~ Hannah Whitall Smith

Last week for me was characterized by the weather--gray and dismal. The anniversary of 9/11 preyed on my mind. My daughter-in-law called with the news that her grandfather had suffered a stroke. (He died a few days later.) And it was the anniversary of my mother's death 22 years ago. (See Writer's Wanderings for more details.)

One thing just fed another leading me to feel down and depressed. I shared some of this with my writing friends and they encouraged me in my writing goals but I hadn't shared what was probably bothering me most--the memories of my mom. I hadn't shared because I didn't realize myself how much it was gnawing at me even 22 years later.

By Friday, and after a great day spent with my grandkids, I began to perk up. I set about finishing the Sunday school lesson I was to teach and watched my favorite college football team (Go Bucks!) win. The lesson went well on Sunday and worship filled my heart in the service. It was on my way out of church however, that God truly showed his love for me.

A friend stopped me and said he'd been praying for me that week. He didn't know why but he felt compelled to pray for me specifically. Through his obedience in initiating prayer for me, God worked in my life, brightened my spirit and by his sharing what he'd done, God comforted me.

Is there someone God has brought to mind who needs your prayer?

©2006 Karen Robbins

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Make Time--for comforting

"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 have received from God. " 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Do not believe that he who seeks to comfort you lives untroubled among the simple and quiet words that sometimes do you good. His life has much difficulty. . .Were it otherwise he would never have been able to find those words. ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

What draws us together in tragic circumstances such as 9/11? The need to be comforted. While some experienced a deeper loss, all of us experienced at the very least a loss of the sense of security. Never again will we feel inpenetrable as a country.

The goodness in 9/11 was the strength that people derived from each other by pulling together, by lending a helping hand, by wiping another's tears, by offering hope. Much of our country, our world, sought refuge in prayer. They turned to the Great Comforter. From Him they gained the courage to comfort another.

Be filled with His comfort and then, offer comfort where it is needed.

©2006 Karen Robbins

Monday, September 11, 2006

Smile--First steps after 9/11

"Anxious hearts are very heavy, but a word of encouragement does wonders!" Proverbs 12:25

"I would give anything to go back to the morning of Sept. 11 and tell him how much I appreciated everything he's done for me. But I think he knows that now. In my eyes he died a hero. And how much more could you ask for?" ~ Marianne Keane, 17, eulogizing her stepfather, Franco Lalama, an engineer killed at the World Trade Center.

We all remember the day. We remember where we were when we heard. Some of us were connected even more closely to the tragedy, the horror of that day. There were--there are no words to explain, to mend, to change what happened that day. But as the dust settled, as the enormity of the situation and the task before us settled in, as men and women sought refuge and peace, they found strength in a little thing. The smile behind the hand that reached out to comfort them.

Smile at those you meet today.

©2006 Karen Robbins

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Extol--Praise sandwiches

"They have cheered me greatly and have been a wonderful encouragement to me, as I am sure they were to you, too. I hope you properly appreciate the work of such men as these." I Corinthians 16:18 (TLB)

When we have positive input, we have positive output, and when we have negative input, we have negative output. ~ Zig Ziglar

While collecting a paycheck is a reward, nothing is more satisfying than to know you are appreciated. In business, this needs to work both ways. Employers should fuel the fires of enthusiasm in their employees by giving them positive feedback about their work performance. Employees that want a great work environment should not only encourage each other but look for words to encourage and show appreciation to their employers.

Of course that would all work easily in a perfect world where everyone was doing exactly what was needed when it was needed. There are times when lack of performance needs to be addressed. The best approach is the praise sandwich.

The praise sandwich is a way to point out deficient areas of performance while still looking for strengths in another. Here's an example:

I appreciate the effort you make to get here on time. Your time card shows you always checked in at 8. That would work really well if you could find some way to get started on your work for the day a little sooner--maybe get your coffee before you punch in. Once you get going, you are very efficient in handling the phone calls and taking orders.

The meat of the message is that the worker needs to stop stalling in the morning after he's punched the clock. But by putting it between the "bread" of praise, it encourages rather than berates.

©2006 Karen Robbins

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