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Compassion (a Timeless Truths blog post)

black hands clasped

After a rough week, what do you most likely crave? More stress, more judgment, or more compassion? The answer is obvious – more compassion. After all, what could be better than talking to a friend who understands what you’re going through? Just having the opportunity to share with someone else what’s on your mind (and heart) can lift the heavy burden you may have been carrying. To know someone else cares about you enough to show you compassion can make all the difference in the world. Your circumstances may not have changed – but since you realize there’s someone else out there who can relate to you and who cares enough to actually show it somehow seems to make the struggles of life just a little bit easier to bear. 2 Corinthians 1: 3-4 (NIV) says, “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 receive from God.”

So, the timeless truth we would do well to remember is that – as children of God – we have something the world needs – compassion – and we would do well to show it to those around us – especially to those who are hurting. Since God has given us comfort (and compassion) when we’ve needed it, we have it available inside our hearts. We only need to let it flow through us and into the lives of others. In so doing, we will be touching other people’s lives with the very love and compassion of God – and that, in and of itself, will make all the difference!

(To read more about God’s love and how He shows it, check out a book I’ve written called “My Journey with God” available here: https://www.amazon.com/My-Journey-God-Ann-Marshall-ebook/dp/B00IKTUFW6/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8 )

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Thoughts (a Timeless Truths blog post)

Do your thoughts tend to run away from you? Do you find yourself thinking about one thing, then another thing comes to mind, then another, then another, then another … and before you know it you’re stressed out and overwhelmed trying to think of everything all at once? Well, the mind is like that … it wants to have a “mind of it’s own” and dictate what you do or do not think about. Fortunately, as children of God, we have power over our minds, over our thoughts … we don’t have to allow them to control us, but, rather, we can “take authority” and “take charge” and actually choose what we are thinking about (or not thinking about). It’s a little known fact … we do have that power. When Jesus died and then rose again, He gave us that power … power over sin, power over negative thinking, power over worry, power over anything that would try to control us. Is it easy? Of course not! But it is possible! Remember, with God all things are possible … including getting a handle on our thoughts. After all, our thoughts determine our actions. Most often, we first think about something before we actually do it. If we’re careful, we will pay attention and choose those things that are beneficial to both us and others. Want more proof that we can actually choose “right” thinking? Philippians 4:8 (NIV) says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Now, if scripture instructs us to do something, we can trust that God will enable us to do it. He won’t ever ask us to do something that He wouldn’t also give us the ability – the power – to do. 2 Peter 1:3 (ICB) tells us, “Jesus has the power of God. His power has given us everything we need to live and to serve God. We have these things because we know him …” So, the timeless truth for today is that we have the ability – the power – to choose our thoughts. With that knowledge, we can make choices that will help, rather than hinder, our walk with the Lord as well as our relationships with people, and, last but not least, our relationship with ourselves (the things we tell ourselves in our own minds that no one else is aware of). As we do this, we will notice our lives improving. After all, as we focus on things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy (all positive things, by the way), we will be focusing our thoughts on things that will build ourselves (and others) up, we will be combating all the negativity in the world, and, most importantly, we will be coming into agreement with what God has to say in his Word … a sure-fire way to be blessed, not stressed!

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Procrastinate (a Timeless Truths blog post)

Do you put off until tomorrow what can, and should, be done today? Do you find yourself dragging your feet whenever there is something you know you need to do that you just don’t want to do? Do you procrastinate? If so, you’re not alone. Everyone has things that they don’t like to do. Perhaps it’s cleaning the bathroom … or the garage … or the junk drawer. Whatever it may be, “tomorrow” seems to always be better. Unfortunately, “tomorrow” can drag on and on and on … until what once may have been a manageable task becomes harder than it originally needed to be. Then, hopefully, we learn our lesson, grit our teeth, get the job done, and resolve to keep up with it so it doesn’t have to be so hard the next time around. Usually, procrastination, if we’re honest, can be overcome. Usually, it just takes a change in our mindset. We can just choose to think differently. We can choose to see something from a different perspective. We can look at it from a different angle. What may have previously seemed like a chore (something undesirable) can turn into a learning experience. Then, once we’ve gained that knowledge, the same task can actually become something we now desire to do. (For example, have you ever thought of cleaning the bathroom as a good cardiovascular workout? Not only does the bathroom get cleaned, but you get in shape in the process!) It’s the same with spiritual matters. Maybe you’ve been procrastinating when it comes to your relationship with God. Maybe you have known for quite some time that you needed to “get right” with Him. Maybe you’ve known in your heart it really was time you got serious about accepting Jesus’ gift of salvation and making a commitment to living your life in a way that the Bible says is pleasing to Him. But maybe you’ve been procrastinating. Maybe you’ve been putting it off, thinking it was a “chore” that you didn’t really want to deal with right now so you’ve kept telling yourself, “tomorrow” I’ll do it … then “tomorrow” never comes. Well, if that’s the case, let me encourage you to rethink your perspective on what it means to accept Jesus’ gift of salvation and live for Him. Perhaps you have the mindset that it’s all about a bunch of rules and regulations that you can never measure up to. Some people really believe that’s true … however, in reality, according to the Bible, there could be nothing further from the truth. The truth is, accepting the gift of salvation Jesus offers is just that … accepting a GIFT. A free gift that you don’t have to earn, you don’t have to work for, you don’t have to deserve. It’s all about receiving what Jesus has already done for you … on your behalf … when He died on the cross to pay the penalty for your sins. You don’t have to “do” anything other than receive it by faith. Then, out of gratitude, you can make the choice to live in a way that’s pleasing to Him (with the help of the Holy Spirit that you also receive when you receive the gift of salvation). So, the timeless truth for today is that none of us should procrastinate when it comes to receiving all that God wants us to have. Salvation, freedom from the controlling power of sin, love, joy, peace, an ever-present help in times of trouble, someone who understands you completely, the hope of heaven … all this and more can be yours once you make a decision to receive Jesus’ gift of salvation. In fact, Hebrews 3:15 (NIV) tells us, “… today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts …” So, don’t procrastinate! Today is the day of salvation! Receive Jesus’ gift today!

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Competence (a Timeless Truths blog post)

“There’s no way I can do that!” “You’ve gotta be crazy if you think I can do that!” “I’m never going to be able to do that!” Have you or someone you know said these words when faced with a seemingly insurmountable task? Have you felt like, no matter how hard you tried, it just wasn’t good enough? Have you felt incompetent? Well, if you have, there’s good news. Our competence doesn’t have to come from ourselves. In fact, it shouldn’t. 2 Corinthians 3:5 (NIV) reads, “Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.” So, this timeless truth lets us know that our competence does, indeed, come from God. What a relief! God doesn’t expect us to do everything all on our own. He expects us to turn to Him in our weakness and receive strength. After all, God is our source of strength. We are not meant to do anything of lasting value apart from His enabling power at work within us. We are meant to depend upon Him. In a world of increasing independence, that may sound counter-intuitive, but, in reality, it is a safeguard for us. When we draw our power and our strength (and our competence) from God, there’s no way we can lose. As we continuously learn to live our lives this way, it won’t matter what the next seemingly insurmountable obstacle is in our path … we will be able to trust that, whatever it is, with God on our side giving us the enablement to persevere and do whatever it is He’s called or led us to do, we will be able to get through it. Since Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever, when we remember His faithfulness in helping us in the past, we can confidently trust that He will help us in the present with whatever we are facing today as well. It’s all the same concept. If we can trust Him for one thing, we can trust Him for everything. The situation and circumstances may be different, but God is the same – forever dependable, trustworthy, and true. He is who He says He is and He does what He says He will do. Isaiah 41:10 (NIV) says, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” With a promise like that, how can you lose?

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When you don’t know what to pray (a Timeless Truths blog post)

prayerHave you ever been at a loss for words? Perhaps something happened that left you utterly speechless … something so shocking, so bizarre, so devastating … or, even, so amazing. Whatever the case may be, when you are at a loss for words, what do you do? Well, if you’re like most people, you still feel a need to express yourself … somehow. You still feel like you need to somehow convey your feelings in some type of manner … even if it’s to just “get it off your chest” … somehow. Spiritually speaking, when something happens that you know you need to pray about … but can’t find the words to pray … there is an alternative. There is a way you can express exactly how you’re feeling, exactly what’s in your heart, and exactly the right words to say … even when you don’t know what to pray. Romans 8:22-28 The Message (MSG) tells us, “All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy. Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.” So, the timeless truth we can take away from these verses is that all we need to do is make an attempt to pray … and the Holy Spirit will make it into an effective prayer to God since the Holy Spirit knows exactly what we are trying to say … even when we don’t know what to pray.

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Taking out the trash (a Timeless Truths blog post)

trashHow do you know what to keep and what to throw away? Sometimes the answer is obvious. Other times it can be harder to discern. Most likely, if you have a scheduled trash pick up day, you prepare for it by taking out the trash and putting it at the designated pick-up spot – usually at the curb. Then, just like clockwork, the person comes and does the dirty work for you – often just leaving behind an empty trash can. But what happens if you accidentally threw something away that was never intended to be trash? How would you get it back? Would you even want to try? Spiritually speaking, Hebrews 10:35 (ESV) says, “do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.” What confidence you may ask. The confidence you had when you first understood what it meant to be saved. The confidence that enabled you to endure a great struggle with suffering – knowing that you had a better and enduring possession for yourselves in heaven (see Hebrews 10:32-34). So, the timeless truth in this scripture reminds us that keeping our confidence (rather than accidentally or purposefully allowing it to be taken out with other trash) has an eternal value. In fact, there is a great reward coming. Hebrews 10:36-39 (ESV) says, “For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. For, Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.” So, today, if you have unwittingly put the confidence you had in Jesus in the trash, know that all you need to do to get it back is to make a choice. Yes, simply make the choice to believe that all of God’s Word is true and all of God’s Word applies to you – yes, even to you who may have backslidden away from a close, personal relationship with Jesus. God is not as far away as you may think. He is right here, right now waiting for you to pick up the confidence you may have lost somewhere along the way. Just pick it back up, put it back in your heart, and recommit your life to Him so He becomes first in your life once again. In so doing, you can be assured, with confidence, your reward will be great for all of eternity.

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Multiplication (a Timeless Truths blog post)

red lightsWhat does the word multiplication make you think of? Perhaps you’re reminded of the days you went to school and your teacher had you practice your times tables … multiple times. Or, maybe the word makes you think of something different. Maybe you’re the mother of twins … and when you found out you were expecting not one, but two babies you knew your life was about to change forever … times two. In any case, the word multiplication usually refers to more than just one. Spiritually speaking, when one person accepts Jesus into their heart to be their Lord and Savior the positive changes that occur don’t usually affect just that one person … it usually has an impact on everyone that person comes in contact with … or at least it should. Matthew 5:16 (ICB) says, “ … you should be a light for other people. Live so that they will see the good things you do. Live so that they will praise your Father in heaven.” So, the timeless truth in this verse lets us know that our lives are meant to be lived intentionally and with a purpose. We need to live our lives in such a way that others around us are impacted in a positive way … and the result will be that they will actually praise God. For example, let’s say that someone you know who is not a Christian is going through a rough time. Perhaps they have just undergone a serious surgery and are in the hospital. Then let’s say the Holy Spirit puts it in your heart to go visit them and you chose to obey. At the hospital you walk up to the nurses station and ask what room the person is in. The nurse looks at you incredulously while giving you the information and you go on your way, not realizing why they had looked at you so strangely. Once in the person’s room you greet them and ask how they are doing. With tears in their eyes, they admit how low they had been feeling since no one has bothered to stop by to visit them … no one until you (even though their own family lives only a short distance down the road). They also admit that they were just hoping someone … anyone … would come by to see them that particular day so they would know God had heard their silent prayer … and then you showed up … and they were infinitely grateful and thankful to God and praised God in their heart … for you. Without realizing it, you became part of the multiplication process. Without realizing it, you were being a light for another person. Without realizing it they were seeing the good thing you were doing … and without realizing it, God was praised … and not one, not two, but three people’s lives were impacted … the person in the hospital, the nurse who you had spoken to whose faith unwittingly was restored in the goodness of mankind when you – the first visitor – showed up … and your life was impacted as well – because you were blessed when you saw others being blessed. So, today, will you allow yourself to be part of God’s equation? Will you allow His light to shine through you so it is multiplied? Say yes and be assured that God will be praised!

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Juggling Act (a Timeless Truths blog post)

juggling

Have you ever tried to juggle? Perhaps you went to a circus and were amazed at the objects the performer could juggle seemingly effortlessly and you went home and tried to recreate the performance yourself only to discover it wasn’t as easy as it looked.  You may have been motivated to keep trying and eventually discovered that with a lot of practice you got better … not perfect, but certainly better than your initial attempt.  As in all of life, it takes time to get good at something worthwhile.  Oftentimes, we get discouraged too soon.  However, if we continue to make an effort, most likely we will improve.  Has your life gotten really busy?  Have you felt like you were trying to perform a juggling act?  Have you made an attempt to prioritize what’s most important so that particular ball doesn’t get dropped accidentally?  Matthew 6:33 (ICB) says, “The thing you should want most is God’s kingdom and doing what God wants …”  So, this timeless truth reveals what our number one priority should be in our lives … putting God first … putting our personal relationship with Him first, making an effort to juggle our lives in such a way that this most important relationship is prioritized, nurtured, and protected from all of the other events going on that would try to distract and detract from what should be the foundation of our lives.  When we choose to put God first we are acknowledging His place in our lives; we are acknowledging He is most important; we are acknowledging our need and our desire for Him to be involved in every area of our lives.  But how do I do that? you may ask.  I work nights, or, I have to sleep when I can … I have a new baby, or, my family responsibilities make it hard if not impossible to put God ahead of everything else.  The answer lies in your heart, not the particular time of day or particular location you choose to spend time alone with God one-on-one in a personal relationship with Him.  It doesn’t have to be difficult.  Very busy people can learn the act of juggling if they put their mind to it, and, perhaps, get creative.  For example, don’t worry about the amount of time as much as the quality of time you spend with God in your personal relationship with Him.  This may mean you only have a few minutes at the beginning of the day (or ending if you so choose) to intently focus on God in prayer and tell Him whatever is on your heart as you simply talk to Him about whatever may be in your heart to say.  It could be just talking to Him about your day and getting his feedback as you stay quiet for a few minutes to listen to hear the Holy Spirit respond … perhaps by giving you the idea of what to do in that situation, perhaps by giving you a sense that He has heard you and He cares about whatever it is you’re going through (good or bad) and He’s just glad you took the time to share it with Him and get His direction of what He would like you to do in that situation.  As your life gets pulled in many different directions, and as you practice your juggling act, don’t worry if you drop the ball now and then … just keep practicing until it gets easier and easier and before you know it you will improve until you don’t even have to think about it … God will naturally be first in your life!

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Dependable (a Timeless Truths blog post)

car with fireHave you ever had a car that you thought would be a reliable, dependable vehicle only to discover later it was actually a lemon? You had invested so much money, so much time, and so much effort into trying to do the best you could into getting the best you could afford only to have your hopes crushed. What a disappointment. How about if you’re a business owner? Have you been diligent in carefully screening all prospective employees to find the right match for your company, thinking you’ve done all you could to ensure you would be hiring a dependable worker only to discover later they had lied on their resume and had actually convinced other people to lie just so they would get a positive reference when you called to check out the person’s character. Wouldn’t you be disappointed? Wouldn’t you wish there was some foolproof way to be sure the next time you hired someone you wouldn’t have to go through the same thing again? Don’t we all wish that there could be something or someone that we could trust to be absolutely, completely dependable? Lamentations 3:21-23 (NIV) says, “Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Did you catch that? The Lord’s compassions are new EVERY MORNING … every.morning. … Every Morning … every single morning. This timeless truth assures us that every day we can trust that the Lord is absolutely, completely dependable to be compassionate towards us. We can be absolutely sure He will be faithful. We can know, without a shadow of a doubt that He will always be there for us in whatever challenges we face … good or bad. Webster’s defines compassion as a “sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it.” So, when we comprehend that God Himself is compassionate towards us and that His compassion is new every single morning … no matter what we are going through, no matter what we are facing, no matter whether we bought a lemon for a car, whether we hired an undependable employee, whether we ourselves need to learn how to be more dependable ourselves … no matter what we face in life, we can trust that God will ALWAYS be there for us in a dependable, compassionate way that desires to alleviate whatever distress we may be in. So, if you need anything … anything at all: strength, help, hope, encouragement, love, peace, joy, wisdom, enablement to keep on keeping on … whatever it may be, you can trust that God will be absolutely, completely 100% dependable every single morning to compassionately be there for you to meet your need. He is faithful. He will never let you down. His desire is always for your ultimate good. His ways are higher than our ways, so sometimes His ultimate good may look different than what you may consider to be good … meaning you will most likely still have to go through some hard stuff in life … but our ultimate good always comes whenever we trust the Lord to give us the strength to get through whatever we may need to go through and when we learn whatever valuable lesson we may need to learn in the process. So, today, whatever you are facing, know that God wants to compassionately be involved in it. He compassionately wants to help you in more ways than you could ever imagine. He wants you to trust that He, alone, is absolutely, completely dependable … through it all.

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