Sunday, October 29, 2006

Listen--Sensing Need

"Stand before the Lord in awe, and do not sin against him. Lie quietly upon your bed in silent meditation." Psalms 4:4 (TLB)

The word listen contains the same letters as the word silent. ~ Anonymous

At a conference this weekend, a speaker had a power point presentation displaying inspirational people and interspersing motivational/inspirational quotes along with them. The quote above about listen and silent was displayed in association with a picture of Helen Keller. At first, I thought he attributed the quote to her but my research did not verified that. It did make me wonder though how in her world of silence, Helen Keller listened.

As listeners go, I imagine her to be a great one. She didn't have the distractions that the hearing/seeing world has. Her power of concentration had to be sharpened and honed by learning to percieve her world through her other senses. Did she listen through a touch? The grasp of a desparate hand asking for help? Through smell? Knowing someone was depressed because they weren't taking care of hygiene? What about taste? Did she listen by tasting the wonderful flavors of fresh bakery made to celebrate happiness?

How do you reach out to your world to listen? If you can see and hear, don't let distractions keep you from sensing someone's need for encouragement.

©2006 Karen Robbins

Friday, October 27, 2006

Initiate--Contact with God

"I am leaving you with a gift--peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn't like the peace the world gives. So don't be troubled or afraid." John 14:27 (NLT)

Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake. ~ Victor Hugo

Devotional time (time spent reading my Bible) escapes me faster than Houdini in handcuffs. If I do not sit down immediately and open my Bible in the morning, I will, despite all good intentions, not get to it. It's sad really because that's where I feel most in contact with God.

This morning I read chapter 14 of John. I must admit, I wasn't paying a whole lot of attention until the word gift hit me (see v. 27). It was as if God were standing there holding out a package wrapped in pretty paper with a bow on top. I stopped, thought for a moment and then proceeded to unwrap the gift by reading on. Wow. What a gift it was: peace of mind and heart. But, wait. There was more.

As if there were a gift within a gift, when I got to the end of the chapter, I found this: "Come, let's be going." An invitation. Jesus wanted me to walk with him today--to be by his side. A gift of companionship: contact with Him.

©2006 Karen Robbins

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Make Time--to practice what I preach

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven. . ." Ecclesiates 3:1 (NIV)

Nothing is as far away as one minute ago. ~ Jim Bishop

My mother always used to question, "Where does all the time go?" As a child, I thought it was kind of silly. After all, there were seconds and minutes and they made up hours and hours made up a day. The hands on the watch went around and around. That's where time went--or so I rationalized.

Now, as an adult with grown children, I wonder the same thing. It goes, but where? It gets used up, but for what? And the worst part, once it's gone you can't get it back. I like to "preach" that you need to make time for the important things. Don't just take time out, but plan ahead. I've tried to do that--make time, but it's a slippery critter and often slides stealthily through the cracks of life never to be recovered. I find myself needing to practice what I preach.

The nice thing about time is that you usually get a chance to face a new day and start fresh. I'm planning to take advantage of my new fresh day and get those encouragement cards in the mail, make a phone call, and remember to greet my husband warmly when he steps through the door tonight to let him know he's appreciated.

©2006 Karen Robbins

Monday, October 09, 2006

Smile Power

"And work with a smile on your face. . ." Ephesians 6:7a (MSG)

Smile, it is the key that fits the lock of everybody's heart. ~ Anthony J. D'Angelo

It's difficult to stand in front of a group of people and speak. On the list of fears, it's near the top. I belong to a Toastmasters group and watch many work to overcome that fear.

One of our group has the most contagious smile. Whenever she is called on to speak, before she says the first word, she smiles. That does two things for her. First it helps to calm her nerves--gives her confidence. Second, there is hardly a person in the group that could resist smiling back. Before she has even begun, people are feeling a connection to her just because of her smile.

There is such power in a smile. It breaks down barriers, calms anxiety, encourages without a word. Have you smiled today?

Friday, October 06, 2006

Extol--Praise God

"I will extol the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips." Psalms 34:1 (NIV)

God be prais'd, that to believing souls, Gives light in darkness, comfort in despair. ~ William Shakespeare

There was a time when I found it difficult to praise God. My mother had died. Three days later after the funeral, my infant niece began her battle for life, finally succumbing to a liver disease three months later. I struggled to see anything of God in those months of anguish.

When I felt myself hitting bottom, I sat down, paper and pencil in hand to prove that God had deserted us. To my amazement, I found He'd been there all along. One of the most profound examples was that my brother needed exactly $140,000 to secure a place for his daughter on a waiting list for transplants (insurance could not guarantee payment). It had to be cash or something readily converted to cash.

As we struggled through settling my mother's estate, we found two CD's that Dad had invested in. They were easily able to convert to cash and totaled exactly $140,000.

There were other things on my list, great and small. When I was done, in the midst of heartbreak, I was still able to say, "Thank you, Lord, for carrying me through the sand. I see now that lone set of footprints are yours."

(©2006 Karen Robbins)

Monday, October 02, 2006

Listen--Lend an ear, give a hug

"If you have ears, listen!" Mark 4:23 (TLB)

“We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” ~ Epictetus

Out for my morning walk, I heard someone call out a greeting. I turned and saw a neighbor who had recently lost her mother. I stopped and offered my sympathy for her loss. She is the same age I was when I lost my mother and has young children.

As she talked about the details of her illness, I remembered how it felt to be able to share the story--the grief with another. The more you shared the lighter the burden of grief seemed. So, I listened.

Then she casually mentioned the death of her brother a few months before. I was shocked. I hadn't heard that he had been killed in an auto accident. I truly felt akin then as I had lost an infant niece shortly after my mother died. Two deaths so close together are so difficult to overcome. I listened again. It wasn't easy. You see, I wanted to share as well. Even so many years after our tragedies, the grief still surfaces. I wanted to give her words that would comfort, would erase the pain, but I knew that was impossible. So, I listened.

When the story was done, I hugged her. I remembered
a hug given to me from someone who looked like my mother. She's my son's age. I hoped she felt her mother's love in that hug.

(©2006 Karen Robbins)

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