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

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Opening the present of peace

Opening the present of peace
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie
December 2016

Christmas 2016
Tears were streaming down the face of the woman that sat across from me. She was exhausted from trying to figure out how to care for her mom that was in the hospital, her children and financial issues that plagued her. “I’m so stressed  out,” she stated. 

This was the third person this week I’ve heard use those words as they have visited with me looking for prayer, answers and encouragement. Tension, stress, busyness, financial problems are just some of the robbers of the peace and rest for our hearts not only at Christmas time but other times in our lives.

Gifts, shopping, celebration are all a part of the holiday season but often times we miss the best present that has already been given to us - the peace that Jesus brings. Many years ago, God looked down and saw the distress  of mankind and wanted to provide a better way of life for the people He dearly loved. 

As I have read the Christmas story recorded in the Bible, I have seen one common thread-Jesus was sent to bring us peace. 

Luke 2:14 records the excitement of the birth of Jesus by stating, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” The angels proclaimed that the heart of God was to bring us peace in the gift of Jesus.

Isaiah 9:6 is my favorite passage and says, “For to us a child is born, to us a so is given, and the government will be upon his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace, there will be no end.”

God knew that in this fallen world, we would encounter trials, difficult situations and distress and he gave us a precious gift to enjoy and use to make our lives better. For many years, I did not open the gift of peace in my life. What I mean is I did not use the gift God had provided for me. God began to teach me about peace years ago and since that time, I have had many opportunities to open the gift and practice my peace. 

My mom and dad
Four year ago around Christmas, my father was hospitalized. It was discovered that he had bone cancer and had a short time to live. As I walked the halls of the hospital, I pictured myself being escorted my the Prince of Peace. A settling came over my heart and my heart was at rest knowing God would help me if I let him. Changing the way I looked at my situation took away the stress I was battling. I dearly loved my dad and was trying to wrap my head around the news I had just received when I received a call from my mother’s caregiver. 

“Kathleen, you need to get over here quick,” she stated with panic in her voice. My mom had been battling a debilitating disease for years. When I arrived at my parent’s home, mom was gone. I had to go tell my father, his sweet wife of over 50 years was gone. Again, I opened the gift of peace and used it as I delivered the news.

Just two weeks after burying mom and arranging care for my father, we had a fire in our home only a few days before Christmas. I was grateful our home wasn’t destroyed but we had extensive damage and I was already worn out from the grief of losing mom and dad’s diagnoses. Again, God was faithful in providing peace, I just had to unwrap it and use it.

I remembered what Jesus said in John 14:27 and depended on it. It says, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you. I do not give you as the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled and do not let it be afraid.” Each of us has a choice to let our heart be troubled and most of the time, stress is an inside job; how we look at our situations.

I have some beautiful presents under my Christmas tree. Hopefully, my friends and family will open them, use them and enjoy them. Gifts can be unwrapped and enjoyed or never opened and used. We each get to choose.

This Christmas, open the gift of peace and then use it through out 2017. God sent Jesus to give us a better way to handle life, heal our broken hearts and be our provision in any situation we face. I am forever grateful for the gift of peace and pray you will open it and use it every time you need it.


May the Lord richly bless you, keep you and give you peace.




Monday, December 12, 2016

Crisis at Christmas in not new

Crisis at Christmas is Not New
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie
December 2016

   Have you ever made plans and things just didn’t turn out the way you expected? I will have to say that there have been many things that haven’t turned out the way I had expected or planned. 2000 years ago things were not going the way Mary and Joseph had planned either. They were in love and engaged. I am sure like most couples they had held hands and chatted about their dreams together.
     Suddenly an angel appeared to Mary and told her of another plan. This plan was one that actually put her in danger of much judgment and even possible death. It was not o.k. for a girl to be expecting without being married. From Joseph’s point of view, he had to really decide how much he loved and trusted Mary. Seriously, this story is a little out there; however, I believe it is true. God is not always predictable and doesn’t always do things the way we expect. I guess that is why it is called a walk of faith. God sent Jesus to be Immanuel, which is translated, “God with us.”  Matthew 1:23
      When you think about it, what more could we really want in life other than for God to be with us in every situation in life? What an incredible gift! I found myself the other day in an unexpected situation that could have been quite intense but I had been singing earlier that morning, “Come let us adore Him.” That song kept ringing in my ears in the midst of the situation. I was at perfect peace. The focus of my day was adoring Him. I think the problem is that most of us don’t remember to use the gift that has been given in Jesus. We can be at perfect peace in any situation if we choose and hold His hand and make Him our focus. 
     Let’s go back to the Christmas story. There was crisis in Bethlehem. Mary was expecting and was not  married. There was no place for them to stay when they arrived in Bethlehem to give birth. Joseph had to trust that Mary was being honest with him and then there is an order to kill all the babies under two in the neighborhood. Can you imagine if Obama declared to kill all the baby boys under two! It would certainly be a national crisis. We really don’t have anything to complain about.  
     Maybe your crisis is different. Maybe it is a divorce you didn’t want. Perhaps it is the death of a loved one or someone you love is very sick. It could be a  financial crisis you are looking at. It might be that you have someone you love caught in an addiction and it is destroying your relationship. Crisis sometimes barges in unannounced and makes itself at home.
      Mary chose to focus on God and the precious gift she was given that I am sure she did not understand. This is a good lesson for us. Focus on God in the midst of crisis is what will keep us moving through the crisis and give us peace. The alternative is to be overwhelmed by our circumstances. She did not have to understand. She just loved God and focused on Him and loved Joseph. 

 Isaiah 9:6 and 7 tells about the gift of Jesus given in a crisis situation“Wonderful counselor, Mighty God, Prince of Peace.” Wonderful counselor means that Jesus is our go between. He goes between us and any problem we have. Mighty God means that He is bigger than any problem we face. Prince of peace says that we have a God given right to walk in peace in any situation. Jesus came to be our Prince of Peace. That means we have an escort for us in any
situation. A prince rules and escorts. For me personally, I often picture myself being escorted by Him and overwhelming peace comes over me.
     Luke 1:37 Mary replied to God in the midst of her crisis, “Be it unto me, according to your word.” She said yes to God. She trusted God. She embraced her trial and let God escort her thru the situation; then she discovered the most incredible gift. Can you follow Mary’s example? Can I? Have you accepted the gift of Jesus? It is a question we must all ask ourselves. If we do, we just might discover the most incredible gifts of life and a new joy this holiday season..

Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie is a native of the Hill Country, writer and speaker. She is passionate about helping others discover the joy of walking with God and their value. You can contact her at kathleenmaxwell1@gmail.com and on her blog www.themaxwellminutes.blogspot.com    81,400

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Fear is tormenting-do you struggle with it?


Walking through my neighborhood recently, I noticed decorations for Halloween at various home. At one home, there were all these scary looking creatures. I began to think of how God wants us to be filled with faith and confidence, not fear as we walk through this world. 
     Fear is defined as: an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain or a threat. The feeling of anxiety about the outcome of something or the safety and well being of someone.  
     One thing is for sure, fear is tormenting. Fear is a thief and a robber of peace, joy and tranquility. I speak from experience and am thankful God has set me free from various fears and the bondage fear brings.
       There are many different kinds of fear. A few that I have struggled with in the past were a fear of death, fear of germs, fear of failure, and fear of the dark. I have found that many people struggle with the same fears that held me captive for years. I was good at justifying my fear, telling my self that one could never be too cautious. 
     One day I heard the words, “Fear is doubt  and unbelief and doubt and unbelief is not trusting God - that is sin.” At that moment, I knew I could no longer justify my fears. Whenever I was afraid, I began to acknowledge them as sin. God graciously began to set me free as I was faithful to repent and resist the temptation to walk in fear. Repentance is always our friend and is found on the path to freedom. 
     II Timothy 1:7 states, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.” We can conclude from this passage that fear is a spirit and it is not from God; therefore, it is not our friend. There are times when I have simply said the words, “Fear go, you are not my friend.” As long as we coddle our fears, they will hang around. We must deal ruthlessly with them if we want to  get free. 
     I love Isaiah 41:10 which 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." Many times I have pictured myself holding God’s hand and that gives me great courage. Dismayed means feelings of anxiety and consternation, usually by something unexpected. Have you ever had something unexpected happen? I have. 
     Proverbs 3:25 tells us, “Be not afraid of sudden fear....” Satan loves to make us feel scared because then we are intimidated. Intimidation has one goal; to scare us from even engaging in the battle. Goliath used intimidation on David but David did not bow to fear. He quickly strengthened himself by remembering how God helped him slay a bear and a lion. I love David’s faith in response to intimidation. He told the bellowing giant he would strike him down, cut off his head and give his carcasses to the birds! 
Now those are some faith filled words!
     Prior to a personal relationship with God I was terrified of dying. I had trouble sleeping at night for fear I might die. Once I accepted Jesus into my heart and repented of the fear, I was no longer afraid of dying. Knowing God personally, is the beginning of overcoming fear. Tell God you want a personal relationship with him. He will be delighted!

     The US Navy has a slogan that I think is a motto against any fears. “Life liberty and the pursuit of all who threaten it.” God wants us to enjoy life, our freedom and get rid of any fear that would threaten us. Fear is an enemy, not our friend. Do not let fear rob you anymore. There is power in your words, so tell fear to go.
     Freedom is waiting...what are you afraid of?


Kathleen Maxwell is a native of the Hill Country, educator, writer and speaker. She is passionate about helping others discover the joy of walking with God and their value. You can contact her at kathleenmaxwell1@gmail.com and on her blog www.themaxwellminutes.blogspot.c

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Love, Patience and gentleness brings restoration

Choosing love, patience, and gentleness,brings restoration
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie
Copyright
October 2016

I sat on my back porch watching a roadrunner zip by and baby bunnies hop across the field. I pondered my problem and began talking to God about it. I am so glad he is never too busy to visit with me and is my helper in times of trouble. Psalms 46:1 says, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (NIV) Running to him is always the best thing to do to to find safe place to access the situation and find strength.

 I usually let things roll off my back and do not get my feelings hurt very often, but a recent event with someone in the family,  left me a little bruised and  upset.  “Lord you saw what happened,” I softly said to God. “And it hurt my feelings too God,” I continued. 

Just as I uttered the words, I remembered a statement  I heard years ago, “you don’t have a right to be hurt, you have a right to be healed.” I took a deep breath and closed my eyes. I felt like I was right in this situation and felt misunderstood. I wanted to nurse my hurt a little before I really turned it over to Jesus for healing. Years ago in my life, I thought it was ok to hang on to hurt and offenses for a little while but as I’ve matured in life and my walk with the Lord, I know that is not the best thing for me or the situation.

I have been studying Galatians 5 and what God looks like in situations or otherwise known as the fruit of the Spirit. “For the fruit of the Spirit, is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. Against such there is no law.” Galatians 5:22 (NIV). We put ourselves in a win-win situation when we practice these attribute and give the attributes to people. And let me just say, it takes lots of practice! 

The fruit of the Spirit is how God wants us to live. He has given them to us to govern our lives and when we live in them, we stay in step with Him. Most of all, I feel God wants us to give them away to others to touch their lives. Most situations are about us being changed to be more like Jesus and God then using us to touch others he loves.

I felt God ask me, “Kathleen, what fruit do you need to serve in this situation?” Once again, I took a deep sigh… I wasn’t sure I wanted to serve anything to anybody but I quickly let go of that thought as I thought of God’s patience with me and his kindness and love.

  “Well God, it needs love, I can be loving like you.” I muttered still struggling. “ I can serve patience because you have been patient with me and I can give self control even though I do not feel like it,” I continued to pray. “Change my heart God,” I asked.

I began to ask God to help me to love like he does, pour patience over the situation and to exercise self control instead of doing what I felt like or wanted to do. Everything in our lives is about us being conformed and changed into the image of God. He uses everything in our lives, the good things and the hard things. I also realized I could serve some gentleness in my approach to this person and that could defuse defensiveness and create a pathway for communication and restoration.

Step one in tough and difficult situations is always to get my heart right in situations. When I lay down my right to be right and ask God to help me see things from his perspective, forward steps toward restoration are always made. What about you? Do you examine your heart in situations and ask God where it needs to change?

Not long after my conversation with God, I arranged to meet this person as it is usually better to address situations  soon so walls do not build between the two of you. 

“God give me your heart and give me your grace and power to serve the fruit of your spirit well and say healing words,” I prayed. 

As we met, I gently stated my love for the person, my desire for restoration, and wanted to hear their perspective, I saw the situation begin to change. I saw where I needed to be more patient and let God work on the situation instead of me. As I served, self control, kindness and love, things changed and there was a beautiful restoration.

What fruit do you need to serve to others around you? Do you need to lay down your right to be right? Which fruit do you need to practice? God is right there to help you, to change you and your conflict or tough situation. Pick a fruit and get busy practicing and serving. You will be glad you did and so will those around you…

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Letting go of disappointments leads to new life

Letting Go of Disappointments
by Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie
October 2016

letting go leads to new life
Have you ever been disappointed in life? I believe all of us face disappointments of varying degrees quite frequently. Some are huge and life altering and others may be small. As we embrace the letting go process in a godly way we can find jewels that will make us rich in life.

There are many different kinds of disappointments we face. Perhaps someone we expected to spend the rest of our life with is gone due to death or divorce. Maybe cut backs at work cause you to loose your job. That is not only a financial disappointment but an ending of how you spent your days.

 Perhaps you’ve been praying for someone to be healed and that has not happened yet or does not happen and you are disappointed in God.

 What about a relationship coming to an end?

Have you ever depended on someone to do something or had an expectation of them and they disappointed you?

Another big disappointment is abuse, either verbal or physical.  People that were suppose to love and care for you do not for whatever reason; usually because of their own hurt and disappointments that have never been dealt with.

Sometimes we make mistakes and we disappoint ourselves by how we act or words we say. Then there are disappointments when someone says something insensitive or ugly.  Perhaps someone you love makes a wrong choice and it costs us personally.

Unfilled expectations of people can lead to disappointments. We expect someone to have God’s heart for us. We expect godly people to treat us with love and compassion. 

People are people and they will disappoint us. I know I have probably disappointed many throughout my life and I am very sorry. My heart is to always walk in a way that pleases God; nevertheless I am human and I fail at times. I admit I sometimes ask God for “five minutes in the flesh” but He never  gives me permission to respond that way!

which road will you choose-look for the rainbow
The big question we are confronted with when we face disappointments is what road will we take when we face the crossroads of disappointments? I feel there are three major roads we can take when we arrive at the crossroads of disappointments. Which path do we choose? I’ve discovered three major choices and have been down all of them.
1. Blaming Drive
2. Questioning Lane
3. Acceptance Road

On Blaming Drive, I have found the opportunity to blame others, get mad and angry, become bitter, loose hope. Often times we blame God, get mad at him and accuse him for something He never did. We simply live in a fallen world and will have disappointments in this life. The Pharisees were disappointed in God and they missed Jesus.  They expected God to send the Savior one way and God sent him in a manger.  Disappointments can cause us to miss Jesus in our circumstances.

The Questioning Road I have found keeps me stuck. This road is often characterized by paralysis of analysis. It frequently says, Why would God do this to me? Why is this happening to me?  Why have I prayed for healing and it hasn’t happened?  Where is God? 

When my mother became ill with a debilitating disease I camped here for a while. Finally I realized that Jesus asks God, “why have you forsaken me,” and God didn’t answer Him; so why would I think He owes me an explanation?

The best choice is The Acceptance Road and it says, “It is what it Is” and declares “God, you are big enough to fix it. You are big enough to heal my disappointment.” I love a quote by author Graham Cooke. He says, “God allows in His wisdom, what he could easily prevent in his power.” When I remember that quote, it quiets my soul. Romans 8:28 promises that our disappointments will work together for my good. This is the faith road. This is the road that allows us to let go of our disappointments. Often times God is at work in our lives and we simply do not see it unless we accept disappointments.

Price and Kathleen dove hunting-now that is new life!
Letting go is not a one time event and is often times a process. The greater the disappointment, the longer the process. The great news is God always supplies us with the grace we need to let go. Letting go declares our trust in God. Also, in the process, when we seek God in our pain, the process makes us rich. 

Psalms 84 is a passage that has brought me great comfort and direction in times of disappointment. It reminds me of the benefits of dealing with our disappointments. Psalms 84:5 says, “Blessed are those whose strength is in you,  whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of Baka, (tears)
they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
They go from strength to strength,
 till each appears before God in Zion.”

As we depend on God for the strength we need to let go of disappointing situations, He will supply. He says in II Corinthians 12:9  states, “His grace is sufficient.”  As we set our hearts on embracing the journey,surrendering and accepting we must focus on the fact that it is a season and will pass. We will pass through the valley of tears. It is not the destination. In this, we establish our faith and grow stronger;therefore, challenges can actually be a catalyst to help us grow when we see them from God’s perspective.

Another benefit of letting go is we can become a source of encouragement for others. Not only do springs bubble up but also scripture tells us we will be a constant supply for others. We must extract all we can from our challenges. 

Letting go in life is simply a part of a healthy life. What do you need to let go of today? What pricked your heart? I pray God’s rich blessings on you as you let go of disappointments and move forward into new life.

Kathleen Maxwell is a native of the Texas, writer and speaker. She is passionate about helping people discover the joy of walking with God and their value and worth. You can contact her at kathleenmaxwell1@gmail.com and follow her blog at www.themaxwellminutes.blogspot.com

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Abundant, sufficient, surpassing grace

Do you need help? Abundant, sufficient, surpassing grace is here!
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie
Copyright September 2016


Ellis Elizabeth, my grand baby,  turns one
I was working out at the gym the other day and was trying hard to keep up with the rest of the class. I think I’m the oldest one in the bootcamp I have been attending but I’m happy to just be there and be moving. About half way through the class, I wondered if I could finish as the things we were doing were very hard. In an effort to shift my focus from “I can’t” to “I can” I began to focus on the exercises and I began to thank God for different things. Thanksgiving always helps me adjust my attitude and get it positive.

“Thank you God that your grace is sufficient for this class- thank you for abundant grace-thank you for amazing grace,” I continued as I took another breath and jogged a little slower.

God’s grace is something that enables us to do things that we ourselves cannot do on our own. His grace is also his presence in our lives that is always available to us to access at any given time in our lives. The problem I face and see others face, is we often try to do things in our own strength instead of depending on Him.

When Jesus came, a new season of grace was available to all. As I began to study the word grace, I discovered that it is frequently referred to with some incredible adjectives. Abundant grace, sufficient grace, riches of grace, confident grace, much grace and surpassing grace were just some of the things I found about this power packed word. 

Romans 5:17 says, “…how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.” (NIV) When we simply say, “God help me” in our everyday task at work or at home, His grace helps us rule over life’s circumstances. 

One of my favorite scriptures of grace is II Corinthians 2:9  and has helped me through many dark days. “My grace is sufficient for you, my strength is made perfect in weakness.” (NIV) I’ve had days where I have thought I just can not do something or just cannot go another step. It is in those times, I’ve heard God say, “you can do this, my grace is sufficient.”

Tammy, a dear friend 
Grace is not earned, it is given as a gift. I’ve received lots of gifts in my life and with each one, I had the choice to open the present and use it or leave it unwrapped and unused. I love what II Corinthians 9:14 says about surpassing grace. “…because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” Surpassing means incomparable or outstanding. That is the kind of gift God gives to each of us every day.

Hebrews 4:16 says, “ Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” This scripture tells us that grace is not earned by good works, it is something God gives to us even when we really do not deserve it. We can always approach God with confidence because his character is rooted in love and forgiveness. God loves to help us. Do you need to open the gift of grace to help you? It is ready to be opened.

II Corinthians 9:8-9 says,” And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” His power is right here for you and me in family situations, at work, in relationships, with our kids, in health battles, being kind when others are not and even at a workout at the gym.

i have had to call on God’s grace for all the above mentioned things in the recent months. God is right beside you and me waiting to give what  need to face where we are in life. Call on Him. Grace does not depend on how good you have or have not been, It is an amazing gift you open right now.

I finished the bootcamp class that day and smiled as I walked out the door. God’s grace had helped me to finish the exercise class. I am so thankful I serve a God that cares about the little things in life as well as the big things we face. I challenge you to join me in  thanking God for grace, opening the gift of grace and using it at work, the gym, at home and wherever you are. If God describes grace as abundant, surpassing, and sufficient, I think we should take note and enjoy this wonderful gift.

sunset on a weekend get-a-way
80,134


Abundant, sufficient, surpassing grace

Do you need help? Abundant, sufficient, surpassing grace is here!
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie
Copyright September 2016


Ellis Elizabeth, my grand baby,  turns one
I was working out at the gym the other day and was trying hard to keep up with the rest of the class. I think I’m the oldest one in the bootcamp I have been attending but I’m happy to just be there and be moving. About half way through the class, I wondered if I could finish as the things we were doing were very hard. In an effort to shift my focus from “I can’t” to “I can” I began to focus on the exercises and I began to thank God for different things. Thanksgiving always helps me adjust my attitude and get it positive.

“Thank you God that your grace is sufficient for this class- thank you for abundant grace-thank you for amazing grace,” I continued as I took another breath and jogged a little slower.

God’s grace is something that enables us to do things that we ourselves cannot do on our own. His grace is also his presence in our lives that is always available to us to access at any given time in our lives. The problem I face and see others face, is we often try to do things in our own strength instead of depending on Him.

When Jesus came, a new season of grace was available to all. As I began to study the word grace, I discovered that it is frequently referred to with some incredible adjectives. Abundant grace, sufficient grace, riches of grace, confident grace, much grace and surpassing grace were just some of the things I found about this power packed word. 

Romans 5:17 says, “…how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.” (NIV) When we simply say, “God help me” in our everyday task at work or at home, His grace helps us rule over life’s circumstances. 

One of my favorite scriptures of grace is II Corinthians 2:9  and has helped me through many dark days. “My grace is sufficient for you, my strength is made perfect in weakness.” (NIV) I’ve had days where I have thought I just can not do something or just cannot go another step. It is in those times, I’ve heard God say, “you can do this, my grace is sufficient.”

Tammy, a dear friend 
Grace is not earned, it is given as a gift. I’ve received lots of gifts in my life and with each one, I had the choice to open the present and use it or leave it unwrapped and unused. I love what II Corinthians 9:14 says about surpassing grace. “…because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” Surpassing means incomparable or outstanding. That is the kind of gift God gives to each of us every day.

Hebrews 4:16 says, “ Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” This scripture tells us that grace is not earned by good works, it is something God gives to us even when we really do not deserve it. We can always approach God with confidence because his character is rooted in love and forgiveness. God loves to help us. Do you need to open the gift of grace to help you? It is ready to be opened.

II Corinthians 9:8-9 says,” And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” His power is right here for you and me in family situations, at work, in relationships, with our kids, in health battles, being kind when others are not and even at a workout at the gym.

i have had to call on God’s grace for all the above mentioned things in the recent months. God is right beside you and me waiting to give what  need to face where we are in life. Call on Him. Grace does not depend on how good you have or have not been, It is an amazing gift you open right now.

I finished the bootcamp class that day and smiled as I walked out the door. God’s grace had helped me to finish the exercise class. I am so thankful I serve a God that cares about the little things in life as well as the big things we face. I challenge you to join me in  thanking God for grace, opening the gift of grace and using it at work, the gym, at home and wherever you are. If God describes grace as abundant, surpassing, and sufficient, I think we should take note and enjoy this wonderful gift.

sunset on a weekend get-a-way


Thursday, September 8, 2016

Who are you listening to?

Who are you listening to?
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie
September 2016 copyright

Too many times in life, we listen to other people, popular opinion, the voice of fear, our own insecurities instead of listening to what God says. When we listen to anyone but God, we shoot ourselves in the foot. Isaiah 43:1 and 14 tells us of who we are to listen to. “But now, this is what the Lord says...” This is a powerful statement. In any situation or circumstances, we need to stop long enough to hear and investigate what God’s perspective is, what God says about our situation.

     “But now, this is what the Lord says, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel; “Fear not, for I have redeemed you;I have summoned you by name; you are mine.”(NIV)  God reminds us in this passage that he knows everything about us and He knows our potential. He even knows our capability in our current circumstances. It is his way of saying to not give Him excuses for our fear. Then kindly, he commands us to not fear, reminding us that he has redeemed us.

 Redeem means to compensate for the faults or bad aspects of something. I feel the Lord is instructing us to not look at our ability or inability but to look to Him and His greatness. Even in our weaknesses, He has us covered. The Father goes on to say, “I have summoned you and called you by name, you are mine. Often times in life, we can feel insignificant and we must remember God Almighty has hand picked us and chosen us for a particular task and loves us enough to identify with us and call us part of his family. All of us have a need to belong, and He claims us.

This passage is rich and verse two of Isaiah 43 is packed with more promises for us from God. “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.” (NIV) All of us encounter difficult waters in life. Tough situations at work, illnesses, loss of someone we love, financial trouble, marital problems are just a few that come to mind. God is gently telling us difficulty is part of life here on earth and when it happens, He will walk beside us. As I read this passage, I reflected on a time recently I had been wading  through water. As I stepped into the lake, the sediment swirled and I could not see very well. I continued walking in the unknown waters slowly, as we all do in life, and suddenly hit a spot that was slippery. I reached to grab my husband’s arm to steady me. Do you reach for God to steady you when you encounter the unknown waters of life? He is always there to hang on to.

There have been times in my life that I have felt like the river of life was rising around me and I might not make it. I thought I might drown.  My mom was an very ill for nine years and I over saw her care. Balancing work, my family, her doctor visits, caregivers,  medication, and the emotional loss was challenging. I became the parent and she became the child. Six years into her illness, my late husband developed cancer and passed away. I was struggling to overcome the heart ache of the loss, when my father became ill. In these days, I was not sure I would make it. Being the only sibling in town, put the major responsibility of both of them on my plate. All I could do was take one step at a time and hang on the fact that I was not alone, God was with me. He was faithful to sustain me, walk with me, help me, give me strength and comfort. It was a long and challenging season. Although it felt like the waters of life would sweep me away, God was greater than all my circumstances and those difficulties shaped me and forever changed me in a positive way. 


 When life gives you circumstances you do not want, what you do get is experience. And the experience of walking with God in unknown waters or rushing rivers makes you rich. Will you join me in listening to what God says instead of the negative voices around you? 
Rambie Family Weekend

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Your encouragement can make a difference in someone's day or life

Encouragement
copyright 2016
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie


I love how God is good at being a genius! He always sees our hearts and is attentive to our needs. He is the best friend I have ever had, because he is always around and always listening to me. He does not always answer my prayers in my timing or the way I want him to; however, I have learned to rest and trust and simply walk with him. He is really awesome at encouraging me, especially when I ask and need it the most.
Back in early 2016, it was a cold and cloudy day. I had experienced some difficult weeks with back to back meetings, living out of a suitcase and very long hours. The cloud of adversity loomed over these particular weeks and nothing seemed easy to accomplish, even simple ordinary tasks. 
I continued to find my joy in the fact that God was with me and I had overcome many other obstacles in my life; however, I was physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted and personally needed some encouragement. 
As I walked into a local meeting, I whispered a simple prayer, “Lord, you know me and know my heart. Encourage me today.” I ate my lunch, visited with a few colleagues and decided I really needed to get back to the office so after about 30 minutes, I left the meeting a little early, briskly walking back to my car.
“Excuse me,” said a deep voice from a man doing some landscaping. “Are you Kathleen Maxwell that writes for the paper?” the voice continued. “This is David (not his real name). Our sons played ball together years ago and your husband, Joe, coached,” he said.
“Oh yes, I recognize you now, but that has been 15 years ago!” I said. “ A lot has changed, how is your son?” I asked. We chatted a few minutes about our boys, where they were and what they are doing now.
“I have been wanting to talk to you and told God if I ever saw you, I would share with you what a difference you made in my life,” the bright eyed African-American gentleman shared. “I made some wrong choices in life and found myself in jail, and while I was locked up, I began to read your articles,” he continued. “I saved every one of them and shared them with other inmates. They changed my heart and I gave my heart to God and He gave me hope. They showed me that God really loved me and had forgiven me and had a plan for my life,” David continued. “I even shared them with the chaplain and he began to use them in chapel. Now, I want to share with others what God has done for me and I want to thank you,” he shared. “I just wanted you to know how you help me and that your writing makes a difference.” 
By this time, I was a puddle of tears! God normally doesn’t answer my prayers in 30 minutes but he did that day, just when I needed it the most. 
I shared with David that I had just prayed, less than an hour ago, asking God to encourage my heart, and of all the people in the world, God chose him to answer.
“Do not ever doubt God’s hand on your life, David.” I encouraged him. “God used you today to encourage me and answer my prayer.” We visited a little longer and I was able to pray with him about a few things he shared. I headed to my car with a big smile on my face, reflecting on the goodness of God and how He touched my heart that day. I also thought of how short life really is  and think about the call God has on my life.
Hebrews 3:13 says, “But encourage one another daily…” and I Thessalonians 5:11 says, “Encourage one another and build each other up…” Everyone needs encouragement and all of us need someone cheering us on. God may want to use you today to encourage someone in your family, your workplace, or in our community. Our words, written or spoken, either speak life or death to others. 

Who can you encourage today? I challenge you to look around and ask God who you can encourage. Someone you are around today needs encouragement. God does not look at our qualifications or our past mistakes. He looks for willing vessels he can use to touch others.
If you need encouragement, ask God to encourage you. He is the one we always need to turn to when we have a need. It will be exciting to see how he chooses to answer your prayer and the person he uses.
That encounter with David not only encouraged me on a dreary day, but boosted my faith and put a spring in my step. God is never too busy to hear the simplest prayer. He cares for you and me and loves walking with us through each and every day.