O is for One


Hi everyone, and welcome to week 15 of the ABC’s of Contentment. Today we’re on the letter O. O stands for One, which actually means One Body in the Bible. The verse that goes with that is 1 Corinthians 12:21 and 22. The Apostle Paul gives a humorous illustration here, and he says, “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’ The head cannot say to the foot, ‘I don’t need you!’” Hey, get out of here! In case you’re wondering, I can’t lift my feet that high, so that was my friend Jessica’s foot. Thank you, Jessica, for your help there. O is fun. Anyway, the verse goes on and it says, “In fact, some parts of the body that are thought of as weakest and least important are actually the most necessary.” So true. I’ve seen this so many times in my life. I help out in Awana, as you know, and one year we did the shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. If you’re curious what that is, you can Google it. When we did the shoe boxes, we made handmade bracelets with beads. Well, because of my limited hand dexterity, I couldn’t string the beads through, so we worked in pairs at our tables. I picked out the colors and handed the beads to the girl next to me, and then she would string the beads through. That’s an example of how we were one in the body of Christ. Yet we were serving the Lord and having fun. If you have someone who has a disability at your church and they want to serve, go ahead and let them. It could be as simple as handing out programs or greeting people at the door. I know a lot of my special needs friends like to give hugs; there’s something that everyone can do. If you really make an effort, there’s always a way to make everyone a part of the body of Christ. I believe one of the reasons I serve in Awana is because the leaders make me feel like a part of the body of Christ. How? Well, one of the major ways they do that is the way leaders find ways to adapt games. Some of the games; there’s a lot I can’t do physically, so by finding ways to adapt some of the games and letting me play, that speaks volumes to me. That speaks very loudly. That makes me feel loved and important. As I’ve continued on in Awana, meditating on those verses and memorizing many more, I realize that our society is spiritually disabled on the inside. There’s a major heart issue. Even with my disability, God has given me a heart to serve Him and a heart to help others; that’s why I make these videos and that’s why I write; with a purpose. Today’s song is “One Body” by Matt Osgood and Cathy Summers. Here we go. This one is going to be fun.

“One Body, one Lord,
one Father over all.
One Spirit in our hearts,
one body, many parts.”
(This is a fun one. Can you tell?)
“Male and female, different backgrounds,
young and old of equal worth,
called together to become
Christ’s body here on earth,
Christ’s body here on earth.”
One Body. I could continue that one forever. Can you tell I was having a great time? Well, that’s it everyone and I hope you really enjoyed it. I know I did and so did my friend Jessica; this is probably our most fun video. I’ll see you next week when we talk about the letter P and P will be for Perseverance. Okay? Bye everyone. Thanks for watching. God Bless.
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N is for New

Hi everyone, and welcome to week 14 of The ABC’S of Contentment. I know I said it last week, but can you believe how time has flown by? It’s amazing isn’t it? It seems like just yesterday we started with the letter A for Amazing and now we’re on the letter N for New. How did we get here?So like I said, the word today is New and the verse that goes with that is 2 Corinthians 5:17 where it says, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; what is old has passed away— look, the new has come!” That’s exciting right? Yes, it is. So what does that mean anyway? Being a new creation; does that make me a new person? Well kind of. Not in the way people often think of as new. What that means is being new on the inside spiritually and emotionally. Once you come to Christ, you don’t want the same things that you wanted before. You don’t want to be around the same kind of people. You don’t want to do the same kinds of things you did before because, well, that was before and part of your old life and now you have a new life.My friend Jessica shared this with me when we talked about today’s concept. It’s kind of like when we throw our trash away and the trash man picks up the trash and takes it to the dumpster. I know it sounds kind of silly, but stay with me for a minute, okay? It’s as if God goes to the dumpster, and instead of just throwing it away to be discarded, He takes those pieces that the world has discarded. We all know about the concept of recycling, right? So He recycles. He makes new.My friend Jessica showed me a concept of what is called upcycled art. I never heard of it until today. What it means is like if you have bottle caps, God takes those bottle caps and makes them into something new; say a lamp, a light switch; I don’t know. What is your favorite fixture or what is something you really like? Think of that and that’s what God makes the piece of trash into. That’s how we become a new creation.

Let me tell you like I said last week; when God makes a new creation, He does beautiful work. The question is, will we let him? My friend Jessica also told me about today’s song by Lincoln Brewster. It’s called “Made New” and there’s two lines in there that I really like. It says, “I am made new I am new, because of You.” Amen. I think that says it all.
Are you ready to be made into something new, and to see what God can do in your life? He is ready whenever you are. Well, that’s it for the letter N everyone, and I’ll see you next time when we talk about the letter O and O stands for One. Okay? See you next time Bye. God Bless.
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M is for Masterpiece

Hi everyone, and welcome to week 13 of the ABCs of Contentment. Can you believe how time has flown by? We’re on week 13 already. We’ll be at the end of the alphabet before you know it; and then I’ll have to come up with a new series. Anyway, today’s letter is M and M stands for Masterpiece. We’re actually going to talk about two words: Masterpiece and Potter because it takes a potter to create a masterpiece. So that means we’re going to talk about two verses.

The first verse is Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

The second verse has become a favorite of mine over the years. It’s Romans 9:20 and 21 where it says, “Who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘why did you make me like this?’” Good question. Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?

Since we’re talking about Masterpiece, here’s two masterpieces I made. The one I’m holding is wheelchair tracks made with my power wheelchair. When I went to The Joni Friends Family Retreat in 2012, there was a guy there by the name of Tommy Hollenstein and he was a wheelchair artist. He taught us how to make art with our wheelchair.

The second painting my friend Jessica is holding. That’s me out of my wheelchair going into heaven. That’s when I have my new body. That’s what’s going to happen someday; but that day is not today and that’s okay. I have plenty of work to do down here. Just like the verse in Romans says, I have a purpose here; a special purpose.

Anyone that knows me really well, knows that knows that I like the Hallmark store. I go in there and I love all the little trinkets; especially at this time of year when they have the ornaments out already. I love looking at them. Sometimes I look at the shelves and go, “Oh boy, I wish I could do stuff like that. If I could do that kind of stuff, I wouldn’t be at the computer so much.” Maybe that’s true, but then, I wouldn’t be writing all these great stories and I wouldn’t be sharing the gospel with you in the same way because I wouldn’t have endured the hardships I’ve endured.

We live in a world where people and media are pushing the perfect image. Skinny legs, perfect hair, you get the idea. But you know what my idea of perfect is? My idea of perfect would be me being able to dress myself. My idea of perfect would be me being able to walk on my own without my walker.

Then again, there’s a purpose for me needing help with the simple things in life. I think it keeps me humble and makes me lean on the Lord more just like my special needs friends. I’ve never actually said it out loud, but in frustration I have thought, “Lord, why did you make me like this?” Especially when me and my friend Jessica made vases when I was learning how to play with play-doh and do a lesson for my Awana kids on how becoming a Christian is like becoming a vase. That was fun, but at times, that can be frustrating. Sometimes she’d tell me, “Breathe.” You’ll get to see the vases later when we talk about how the letter V is for Vase and I share the gospel.

So how about you? Are you going to let the Lord use you and become that beautiful masterpiece that the Potter wants you to be? Because let me tell you, I’ve seen it my whole lifetime; the Lord does beautiful work.

Lord, please help me and my friends to focus on your purpose for our lives. Help us to use our hardships and say, “How can I use this for my God, my Creator as we’re being crafted by You, the Master Potter, day by day? Take me, mold me, use me, fill me. I give my life to the Potter’s hand. Call me, guide me, lead me, walk beside me. I give my life to the Potter’s hand.”

Will you give your life to the Potter’s hand? I hope you will. Well, that’s it for the letter M everyone. I’ll see you next week when we talk about the letter N for New. We’re going to talk about how when we accept the Lord into our lives, the Master Potter helps us become a new creation. See you next time. Bye, thank you for watching.

 

Watch these video to see how the art was done. What a fun year that was!
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L is for Lift

Hi everyone, and welcome to week 12 of the ABC’s of Contentment. Today’s letter is L and L stands for Lift. Another definition for Lift is to look up. Today’s verse is Psalm 121, 1-2. “I lift up my eyes to the mountain, where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the maker of heaven and earth.” I’ve seen this so many times when I meet with my special needs friends. They really know how to worship. When we sing worship songs, there’s one person in the group who is deaf. During the chorus of “Lord I Lift Your Name On High,” he starts doing sign language and the next thing you know we’re all doing it.  My special needs friends aren’t afraid to lift their hands, to dance, or to sing (even if is a little bit off-key!) because they’re just there praising the Lord. They are giving Him their whole hearts because they constantly have to lean on Him for strength; yet they’re very content with what He has provided. For many of them, music is what makes them come alive. My friend Traci told me about today’s song, “With Lifted Hands” by Ryan Stevenson, and I think this song describes a worship scene with my special needs friends well.

It goes:

 

“With every heartbeat in my chest

Lord, I surrender all that I have

The days yet to come, the days in the past

I’m giving You all that I am

With lifted hands, with lifted hands.”

 

Amen. Another song that I just heard about from Joni on her website is “Lionheart” by David Francisco and it was so good I thought I’d share it with you. First, let me give you a little background on David. He was paralyzed a from an accident in which he was hit by a distracted driver. Despite that, he still writes music and sings songs, but because he’s been paralyzed, his lyrics are a lot deeper and he’s able help those who are hurting. It was hard to pick my favorite part of that song because the whole thing is so good, so since I don’t have it memorized, I’m just gonna read it, okay? Again, this is called “Lionheart”. It goes:

 

“I have the heart of a lion

There’s a spirit inside of my bones

that makes me alive

 

I have a fighting desire

when the darkness is closing in

I’ll be the light

 

somehow when everything’s wrong

I know I’ll be alright

Just when my faith is gone

hope will arise

Somehow when I can’t move on

I find the strength to survive

Deep within me

is a Lion Heart.”

(And here’s my favorite part of the song, the chorus goes:)

“I may seem weak to the world

I may never be fast or as strong I wanna be

 

But I am a runner on the inside

and no one can stop me now,

I’m on fire, on fire

 

You can do more than you know

You can do anything, anything is possible

Do you believe it?

 

You have the heart of the lion

There’s courage inside of your bones

Don’t you believe?”

 

Amen. Does that say “Danger,” or what?  Perfect song. I can make that my life theme song, right? Anyway, whenever I get discouraged about some of the things that come on with my disability, my mom reminds me to look up by saying, “Focus on what you can do not what you can’t do.” Thanks mom. If I didn’t lift my eyes to the Lord, I would easily get bitter. Lord help me surrender my life to you and give you all that I am because you’re the one who gave me life in the first place. I pray for those who have an ongoing disability that they would learn to embrace it and show the world how easy it is to accept your gift of salvation – like a child. Thank you for my special needs friends who remind me to have the faith of a child. And thank you that my daily hardships cause me to lift my eyes to You. Amen. Well, that’s it for the letter L, everyone and I’ll see you next time when we talk about the letter M. M is for Masterpiece. Bye and God Bless

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K is for Kindness


Hi everyone, and welcome to week 11 of the ABCs of Contentment Today’s letter is K and K stands for Kindness. 1 Samuel16:7b. “People look at the outer appearance but the LORD looks at the heart.” This is so true. I’ve seen that so many times in my life. But today, we’re not gonna talk about an example in my life we’re gonna talk about an example I’ve heard from somebody else at my church who is also in a wheelchair. He told me this story yesterday when I went to the hospital. He was at the store with his wife and he was waiting because she does the shopping. While he was waiting somebody came up to him because he is in a wheelchair, and they gave him change. They said,”Here’s some change I hope you feel better.” He smiled and said,”Thank you.” Now that person was trying to be kind. And to them they were. But was change was money what that man really needed? Many times, people fail to think about the many things that have been accomplished by people with disabilities in the world. For instance, look at the church hymns. One of my favorites is “To God Be The Glory,” by Fanny Crosby.

My favorite stanza says: “Great things He has taught us, great things He has done, and great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son; But purer, and higher, and greater will be, our wonder, our transport, when Jesus we see.”

See how focused on heaven the author is? I don’t think that would happen if she didn’t have to lean so hard on the Lord for strength
Fanny Crosby became blind at six weeks old due to a doctor’s error. If you wanna know what the error was you can look it up. Later on in life she said: “I believe the good Lord, in all his infinite mercy, has
through my blindness consecrated me to the work I am to do.” Amen! Amen!

I appreciate people’s heart of compassion for someone in a wheelchair. However, I wish they would have the right kind of compassion. And by the way everyone, compassion is another word for kindness. Like my friends at my church, instead just giving someone change, why don’t you ask them, “How can I help you?” Is there anything I can do for you?” instead of just assuming you know what they need.

Again, like Fanny Crosby and what she said about her blindness, I don’t think that the church would have as many hymns as they do today if it weren’t for people who endured hardship. There’s something to be said for having to endure hardship.

Lord, please help the person who has to face an ongoing
physical hardship to embrace it as a gift. Show them how your power is made perfect in weakness. And as a Christian community, show us how to embrace that gift and shine for Jesus. And help us to minister to that person and their family. Amen. Well that’s it for the letter K and I’ll see you next time when we talk about the letter L for lift. And if you like my videos, I’d sure love to know.

You know as we talk about as we talk about kindness and what I just said, what are some of your ideas about Kindness? How have you seen this? What are some of your thoughts? I’f love for you to leave a comment on my videos.Thanks for watching everyone I’ll see you next week. Bye.  God Bless.
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God Bless.