Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Magic Of Friends (#3) Internet Friends...

I've done a post like this before:  The Magic Of Friends (#2) - This is one about internet friendship.
*Grins* And, ha, as I'm working on this, I'm talking to a few of my friends. ^_^

This is for my internet friends - some  of you I've known since 2011, a few of you I've met face to face, and so many of you have touched my life and changed it for the better.

Thank you for...Spending hours chatting with me on Skype. Coming around especially on holidays and birthdays to celebrate with me.  Encouraging my dreams. Working through things when we've had misunderstandings. Trusting me. Sending me letters and packages. Critiquing my writing.  Making me laugh. Understanding when I cry. Praying for me through ups and downs. Reminding me of Truth. 

Thank you for... being there for me.

Like all friendships, some of our friendships have changed over time... but I want to thank every one of you for the part you've played in my life.

I'll never forget you.

A lot of goofy stuff, that's what. ;)

I'm grateful for the friends who've... pushed past the words, "I'm okay." to find the truth.

And at 2AM... well, let's just say that the word "hyper" doesn't come close to covering it.

;) But sometimes being up with friends is more fun/important.

Really badly some days...

Still, internet hugs are appreciated.

Ooooh, yes...

See... it's kinda like this sometimes.

This has a lot of truth to it:

I don't really have a problem with the term, "Internet friends", but still, I love this quote... I've had enough times explaining this to really understand the hardness of telling others that just because I haven't met some of my friends face to face,  doesn't mean I don't still love them heart to heart. 

            “I dislike the phrase “Internet friends,” because it implies that people you know online aren’t really your friends, that somehow the friendship is less real or meaningful to you because it happens through Skype or text messages. The measure of a friendship is not its physicality but its significance. Good friendships, online or off, urge us toward empathy; they give us comfort and also pull us out of the prisons of our selves.”

 I thank God often for the blessings He brought through these friendships that I never would've dreamed would become so important to me.


~Ophelia - Marie

Monday, May 19, 2014

Without Complaining

             We've been having some really great discussions in Sunday School as we've been going through the book, Philippians: Christ, the Source of Joy and Strength by John MacArthur. Yesterday, the focus was on Philippians 2:14-16:

Philippians 2:14-16

English Standard Version (ESV)
14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.

             "Modern Western society is the most prosperous culture in the history of mankind, and also arguably the most discontented society ever. As the economy has become increasingly richer, people appear more discontent and complain more with each passing generation. Fueling that enchantment is the conviction that personal happiness, though elusive and unattained, is the supreme objective of life. 

            The church is not immune to this. Believers' failure to willingly, even joyfully, submit to God's providential will is a deep-seated and serious sin. Discontentment and complaining are attitudes that can become so habitual they are hardly noticed. But those twin sins demonstrate a lack of trust in His providential will, boundless grace, and infinite wisdom and love. Consequently, those sins are especially odious in His sight and merit His discipline. To deal with the complainers in the Philippian congregation, Paul first commanded them to stop complaining, then gave them reasons for obeying that command."
 ~ Philippians: Christ, the Source of Joy and Strength by John MacArthur

       My happiness isn't to be the end objective. Being a servant of Christ to bring Him glory should be my goal. Obedient. Loving. Set apart. We are called to "shine as lights in the world". We are called to "hold fast to the word of life". What if... What if we tried to make a contentious decision to not only try to avoid saying things that are negative, but also mentally and verbally tried to focus on the positive? Ha, we should be doing this anyway, but it's easy to slip into being more negative than positive.

       Mirriam Neal recently wrote a blog post entitled: Say 'No' To Negativity. (Ha, I just remembered I wanted to read her post, and by the title *grins* I was right that it'd fit with what I'm rambling about..) .. In it, she shares a good goal - try not to say anything negative for three days. My first thought was, "Wow I don't know if I can......" but it's something I should try. I'm going to try to stop saying anything negative for three days. I'm not sure how it'll go, but I'm going to try.

       I'll admit, I'm not always good at focusing on the positive. There are days when it seems one thing after another goes wrong and I'm mentally going over all the things that should have been done differently. Last week I had one of those days, and I could feel myself getting flustered. Thank God, He helped me realize the attitude I was having, and with prayer and a redirection of my focus, the rest of the day went much better.

       *Half grin* Yeah, I've thought about the need to be positive before, but I've never really thought about trying to say nothing negative for any length of time... And there I go again, thinking of all the ways this is going to be hard. Hmm, but we'll never get anywhere in life if we don't at first try, no matter what misgivings we have. And what's the worse that can happen? I won't be as positive as I might prefer, and I'll need to pray and try again... Try again to smile, focus on God's blessings, and pray for His guidance moment by moment.

        Ha, this is going to be an interesting challenge... Would you like to join me? :) ;)

        **Update** So, trying not to say anything negative for three days was hard, and I didn't fully succeed. Still, I found that keeping this in mind made me more aware of any negative thoughts, and I caught myself several times from saying things I might've otherwise said. All in all, this has been a good reminder to be more aware of the things I say.

~Ophelia - Marie

Thursday, May 8, 2014

He Listens To The "Littlest" Things

             Sometimes, God answers the littlest things... those prayers that I pray almost off-hand while I'm busy, and a bit stressed...

Like, "God, I need someone to pray for me right now."

Or, "God, I need a little joy today."

Or, "God, I could use someone to help me, please."

            I want to go visit a friend later this summer, and because I only spend 10% of my income, it's going to take a lot of saving to be able to buy a train or plane ticket... It may even mean not spending any money for a few months or so. This morning I was thinking and prayed (kinda offhand while doing dishes) that there might be a way I could earn a little extra money since I've got a gift I want to purchase today.
         The mail came about an hour ago... My sister handed me a letter. In it was a $15 gift card to Walmart from someone from church as a thank-you gift for my help with the little kids' class at church for a few months.
       For a moment I was just shocked... I'm still shocked. *Laughed and felt tears well up* Oh, but why am I so shocked? I've seen God provide for me before when I've prayed.

     A few weeks ago I was a bit stressed out at work - things were busy, and since I'm still new there I was having trouble feeling I was being as helpful as I should be... I was praying a little, and was sinking into slight overwhelmed... when I saw someone from Church. She was coming to visit a few of the Residents (I work as a nurse aid with elderly folks) and gave me a big hug and told me she'd pray the rest of the day would go smoothly. I felt such a sense of relief seeing her - I knew God had sent her to encourage me. 

           Ah, I'm a forgetful human being. I know God can answer my prayers, but I don't always... keep that in the forefront of my mind. Praise be to Him that He is paitent with me, and listens to everything I pray, even when it's an quick prayer in the midst of everything I'm feeling and doing. 

From this summer, August 7, 2013:

          "God showed me grace last night. It was 6:30-ish and like usual we were getting ready for the program - we don't have a youth group this week, and the Chapel looked so empty. So, I asked God to bring people in to watch the program... Even before the program started we had about 20 people sitting down waiting and they /stayed/! I hadn't really expected God to answer that prayer. It had been the kind of off-hand prayer that went something like, 'It'd be really nice if You would send people to be here.' *Grins* Aaah! I'm not sure why I'm always so surprised when He answers “little” prayers like that.
      After the program I went into the upstairs apartment to pray... and cry. God listens, and in a very real sense I felt He was reminding me that if He cares enough to answer my “little” prayers, then He can answer the others. It won't be in /my/ timing, but it'll be for His glory and the /best/ in my life and the lives of those I love."

    God answers again and again, showing me He listens to all my prayers, even when I forget about them. Even the prayers I've prayed for months - years - He never forgets. Even the prayers about needing a bit of encouragement, or needing help finding something -  He never brushes them aside as unimportant. He hears me - He will do what is best, and answer in His timing. 
God listens to my prayers.
The "big" prayers.
The "little" prayers.
God hears every one.

~Ophelia - Marie