An Honest Account of Love, Grief and Walking With God
Finding God's Goodness in Life's Disappointments

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Loving One Another Like Jesus


One Another
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie
Kerrville Daily Times and Community Journal
May 2013

“This week, we are going to start a study on the “one anothers” found in the Bible,” the pastor said. “I really feel there are things God wants to show us in how to relate to one another,” he continued.  At the time, my family was attending a small church of no more than 50 people. We were a diverse group of individuals, much like a  family and all had a strong desire for more of God.

Months later, George was still preaching the “one anothers” to us. Every week we learned another lesson on how to interrelate, love, forgive and treat one another. The lessons we learned in that season, became a foundation that I will never forget and greatly impacted my life. I recently came across several of the “one another” scriptures and it made me think and dive into the subject of one anothers again.

Romans 12:10 states, “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” (NIV) When I read this passage, it made me stop and take inventory of how loyal and committed I was to those around me.  As Christians, we are called to show others real commitment. Jesus is always kind and devoted to us, therefore, we need to be to one another. Many in our society walk away from relationships, jobs, churches, etc. when things get tough or we get hurt. I have been tempted at times, when things get difficult or I have been hurt to simply walk away, but loving others, regardless of how they treat us, is like a good workout- it makes us stronger in character. I have a statement that I personally live by. It is, “I am what I love, not what loves me.” Loving and being devoted to those around us develops character in us. 

What about honoring others above ourselves? We live in a pretty self centered society and it is much easier to be consumed with our problems, our accomplishments, our family and jobs instead of those around us. I know I have been self centered in my life and haven’t displayed honor for others above myself but I am working on correcting that in my life. I love how The Message Bible translates the Romans 12passage. It says, “Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.”  Let others take the leading role or help them come into that role. When we genuinely love, we even step down to let others shine.

Romans 12:16 says, “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.” (NIV) Living with others in our work environment and our personal lives in a way that is good for all concerned is living in harmony. Too many times, I think we make decisions that are good for us personally instead of what is good for all concerned. When we do that, we often hurt those around us. Each of us is important to God and taking time to value what each person brings to the table is so important. It does not matter if your job is cleaning the bathrooms or you are an executive, each job is vital to the success of the work place. Live in a way that lifts others up around you, that’s living in harmony. 


There have been times in my life I have lost respect for someone. When people wound us, make crazy choices that cost us, aren’t fair, or let us down, it is easy to loose respect. The Bible states several times that we are to respect one another. We must at least respect them as someone God created and loves and their position.  God never asked us to do something that we cannot do without supplying for us what we need. He is a good father.  At times, I have had to asked God to change my heart and help me to respect someone. Ephesians 5:21 gives us a reason to treat one another with respect, simply because we respect God.  “Out of respect for Christ, be courteously reverent to one another. (MSG) Out of respect  for Christ and because He said so, we should be respectful to those around us. Being courteous means being polite and kind. When we look hard enough, we can find something to respect others for and we can focus on that   aspect in their lives, simply because He said so.

Years ago, my late husband made a choice that cost me dearly. I remember having a conversation with God  that went something like this. “God, you said in your word for wives to respect their husbands. I need your help to respect him like you want me to.” As I consistently confessed my inadequacy and need for God’s help, he began to change my heart. Before I knew it, I had a deep admiration for the man I loved.

God has much to say about how we treat one another because he has designed us to be a family to those around us. He is committed to helping us love, honor, respect and be kind to one another, in every situation, when we call on Him.

Learning the one anothers greatly impacted my life and my prayer is that they will impact yours. The small church that taught me the one anothers, has grown exponentially since its humble beginnings but those of us that were there in the beginning still talk about how grateful we are for the months of learning the one anothers.  Will you join me in learning and living out what Jesus says about how we are to relate to one another? (to be continued)

Kathleen is a native of the Hill Country and is a writer and speaker. She is passionate about helping people discover their value and worth. She can be heard on Sunday mornings from 8:00 am to 9:00 am on The REV FM, 94.3. Contact her at kathleenmaxwell1@gmail.com or visit her blog on www.themaxwellminutes.blogspot.com



Monday, May 20, 2013

Do You Have A Heart for the Needy?


Do You Have A Heart for the Poor and Needy?
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie
Kerrville Daily Times and Community Journal

I will never forget the day ten years ago that I was driving my vehicle down Junction Hwy. At the time, I was the Executive Director of the Christian Women’s Job Corps of Kerr County. I had a client that was absent from class and had missed numerous days. Others in the class told me they had seen her the night before having a “good time”. I was upset that she had an incredible opportunity to change her life and advance her education and seemed to me to be throwing it away by her immaturity.
     As I drove, I began to rehearse the lecture I was going to give her. After I did that, I began to pray for God to give me the words to speak and that they would be words that would penetrate her heart and change it. All of a sudden, I felt God’s presence in a strong way in my car. I felt Him speak to me and say, “Never give up on people Kathleen, because I don’t.” I was so moved by what I heard that I had to pull the car over to the side of the road and I began to weep. 
     “I’m sorry Lord,” I whispered. “Give me a heart like yours to always see the treasure in people,” I continued. “Let me be moved by your compassion and love.” I concluded.
     When I arrived at her home, our conversation was different than what I rehearsed. I decided to tell her the truth and be transparent, something I think many in ministry have gotten away from. I shared with her I was coming over to tell her she was being removed from the program but God spoke something different to my heart. I showed her my humanity.  I looked at her blue eyes and her pretty blonde hair and said, “I am not giving up on you because God is not giving up on you. I am committed to loving you.” She was shocked and I could see her surprise in her eyes. Her heart was touched and the unconditional loved extended to her began to change her heart but I think my heart is the one that began to change.
     I began to ask God to show me His heart for the poor and needy. Do you know that the poor and needy are mentioned 119 times in scripture? That shows me those that are    poor  and needy in some capacity are near and dear to His heart; therefore, they should be to mine.
    Proverbs 31:8 states “Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.” (NIV) Those that are dealing with simply trying to stay alive and overcome adversity need others in their life that will speak up on their behalf. They need compassion and someone to believe in them. Often times if we are not careful, we can have a self righteous attitude of, “they made their bed, they can lie in it.”
      Psalms 82:3 says,  “Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy.” There are so many youth in our own community that are fatherless. Good fathers protect and provide for their children and yet there are kids right here in our churches and schools that need our help and mentoring. They need someone to protect and provide for their needs. They need someone to give them hope for their future. They need someone dependable in their lives. 

     
Another good scripture that shows us God’s heart for those struggling is Jeremiah 22:16. It says, “He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?” declares the Lord.” This is an admonishment with a promise. There are blessings when we follow God’s ways and treat others with the compassion he would.
     I have been asked several times if I am worried about being taken advantage of by those in need. I will have to confess, at first I was concerned about that until one day, God showed me that if I was pouring out His goodness to others and they were taking advantage of the situation, they were taking advantage of His goodness, not mine. Yes, I need to be wise but he has plenty to give and it is His problem, not mine. My job is to love as He would and give.
    Being poor does not necessarily have to do with money. David, who wrote many of the Psalms, poured out his heart to God and said in  Psalm 109:22,”For I am poor and needy, and my heart is wounded within me.” (NIV) I love David’s gut level honesty. He is being open about how others have hurt him. He is not pretending the hurt didn’t happen. He is asking for help and admitting his need for others and healing in his heart.  God did not design us to live life alone but with others. Over and over again, we are instructed to comfort one another, love one another, and be patient with one another. Do you care and extend love when someone around you is struggling or has been hurt or do you just judge them? Unless you have walked in their shoes, you better be careful. 
     Now back to the rest of the story about the young woman I was talking about at the beginning of the article. She did complete the program at CWJC and seeds were planted in her heart. For several years after that, I would frequently run into her at local stores. Each time I would greet her with a hug, encourage her in her education and other things in her life. I would always remind her of her value and worth. Today, she has her GED, has finished college courses and graduated, is a good mother, serving God and her father-in-law told me recently how proud of her he was and thanked me. 
     I learned a powerful lesson that has stuck with me from this experience. Never give up on people. Always extend love and help to the poor and needy as Jesus would. I challenge you to look around you today for those you can help. Maybe you can help with prayer, your time or maybe your money. The great thing with God, when you give, you always get more back. Will you join me in being a blessing to the poor and needy in our community?



Kathleen is a native of the Hill Country and is a writer and speaker. She is passionate about helping people discover their value and worth. She can be heard on Sunday mornings from 8:00 am to 9:00 am on The REV FM, 94.3. Contact her at kathleenmaxwell1@gmail.com or visit her blog at www.themaxwellminutes.blogspot.com



Thursday, May 9, 2013

Expecting New Life

     I cannot wait to be a grandmother. August will bring new life to our family as Austin and Laura and Mallory and Rob will bring new additions to our family. I love how God has sent new life into our lives. and  love how God redeems things in our lives.
      Life is about holding on to the hand of God as we walk through life. There are highs and there are low points but God is faithful. He walks with us through it all and I am forever  grateful.

Stephen and me at the Hill Country Charity Ball 2013
Fishing at Lake Amsted...Can't say I've caught anything but I try!


Austin and Laura on a Babymoon in Germany

My sweet daughter and carrying my grandson
Two wonderful women carrying my grand babies!


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Heart Check


Heart Check
April 2013
Kerrville Daily Times and Hill Country Community Journal



     As I walked into the Emergency Room to see my father, I was greeted by the physician that had been treating my dad. “Kathleen, your dad is in serious condition and his heart is failing. I am afraid he could code at any moment. Do you have his advanced directives?”  “I have them at home.” I replied, still trying to wrap my mind around what I heard. “You need to go and get them as soon as possible,” the tall doctor continued.

     I knew my father had bone cancer and congestive heart failure.  He was tough as a boot and had already used up his nine lives but I guess I expected he would have ten. He exercised, watched his weight and took medication to take care of his heart and to help beat the odds of his condition. He was a fighter and he had always been a part of my life.
    Pondering the events of recent months made me think about how the heart is a vital organ. It is imperative that each of us take care of our heart, otherwise, we will not live long. But what about your spiritual heart? What condition is your heart in? And how  can we take care of our spiritual heart?
     Proverbs 4:23 admonishes us to guard our heart. It says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” (NIV) Our heart is the core of who we are and we must examine it all the time to keep it in good shape and in proper condition. When our heart is settled, peace  is in  our life even though circumstances might be a bit crazy. It is our heart that is the doorway to life with God.
     The first and  best ways we can take care of our spiritual heart is to give our hearts to Jesus. God sent Jesus so we could have a new heart. Ezekiel 36:26 talks about this great exchange and what God’s heart is for us when we accept Christ into our lives. “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” (NIV) 
     When we ask Jesus into our heart and lives, he gives us a new heart. Basically, we get a spiritual heart transplant and our new life in Christ begins. It is simple to get a new spiritual heart. Romans 10:9 &10 shows us how. “That if you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord,: and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your your heart that you believe and are justified and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” Have you accepted Christ into your heart? If not, what are you waiting for? Your new heart is available.
      Numerous people give their hearts to Christ but then do not take care of their hearts. Reading the Bible, talking to God, also known as prayer, confessing sins to him and receiving His forgiveness are all things that strengthen our heart. All of these things keep our hearts in good shape. God’s word is like a road map. It keeps us going the right way, shows us how to live, speak, work, get along with others, have peace and joy.
     Prayer is nothing more than conversation with God. You do not have to kneel to pray and can visit with God anytime, any place. God loves being a part of our everyday life and created us to have relationship with Him. Telling God how we feel, what concerns us, how something hurt us are all ways of pouring out our heart to God. The great news is He is always available to listen. I frequently say to God during my prayer time, “Lord, I love you and open my heart to you.” I always want to be sensitive to God and His heart and ways.
     Just like hardening of the arteries will keep blood from flowing properly through our bodies, our heart can get hard and calloused by difficulties in life, hurt, disappointments, and  betrayal. Forgiveness is essential to keeping our heart soft. Forgiveness is a two way street. We are instructed throughout scripture to forgive others that have hurt and disappointed us and we are also told to ask God for forgiveness of the things we have done wrong.
     Confessing and repenting of our sins, wrong attitudes, selfish actions or unkind words are essential to keeping our heart soft. All of us have done wrong. Sometimes one of the hardest things to do is forgive ourselves. Most people hate to make mistakes but don’t be afraid to admit your faults to God. He loves you unconditionally and He wants your heart tender towards Him and others.
      If we want to be forgiven of our failures, we must be willing to forgive. Matthew 6:14 states, “ For if you forgive men when they sin, your heavenly father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (NIV) Sometime when the hurt is great, all we can do is ask God to help us to be willing to forgive. Unforgiveness is not your friend. It hurts you more than the other person. It can also create a cold and hard heart if we are not careful.
       Do yourself a favor and choose to forgive those that have hurt you, abandoned you or misunderstood you. Forgiveness doesn’t make the hurt go away but it begins the process of healing and keeps our heart tender. What a great example Jesus set for us in forgiving as he hung dying and forgave those that totally misunderstood him, judged him wrongfully, and dishonored him.
     My sweet father’s natural heart stopped beating shortly after my conversation with the physician. He loved God with all his heart and loved others around him well. He was a man that also took care of his spiritual heart and set a good example for his children and grandchildren.
     You and I have a lot of life to live. I do not want to miss one second of the things God has for me and I always want my heart to be soft and tender to Him and sensitive to those around me. Life flows from the heart in the natural and in our spiritual lives. Will you join me in giving your spiritual heart a checkup and take care of your heart? Our families and community will all benefit when we examine our spiritual hearts.

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Kathleen is a native of the Hill Country and is a writer and speaker. She is passionate about helping people discover their value and worth. She can be heard on Sunday mornings from 8:00 am to 9:00 am on The REV FM, 94.3. Contact her at kathleenmaxwell1@gmail.com or visit her blog on www.themaxwellminutes.blogspot.com