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

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Do You Need an Upgrade in Life? God has wonderful things for you!

May 2016
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie
Do You Need an Upgrade In Life?
Copyright

In my journey of walking with God, I have discovered He is always leading me to a better place in life with him or an upgrade in my relationship with him. He takes great delight in allowing opportunities to be conformed to his image. 

He is a very relational God and every circumstance, good or bad, can lead us to a closer relationship with him. We always have room to grow in any area of our lives. 

He loves us so much he wants the best for us and loves the process in our everyday lives.

About six months ago, my printer at work began to act up. It still worked, but the scanner only worked right about half of the time. It was frustrating but I put up with it’s malfunction, simply because I didn’t want to deal with packing it up and returning it. 

Finally, I had enough and took the time to return the printer. Much to my surprise, the item had been upgraded since I purchased the original one. The new upgraded version of my printer was so much better than what I had before.

In the printer situation, I saw that I was comfortable with a malfunctioning printer when there was a much better version available. 

To get the better version took some of my time and, of course, there was a little bit of adjustment time to the new one. 

Upgrade means, to move to a higher standard, improve something, or raise to a higher grade or rank. There was a much better version of what I had. It is like that in our relationship with God.

We are dealing with a God who is always joyful, kind, and loves to expand us. Often times, I’ve seen him put me in situations that are beyond what I can handle, but I find, it is because he sees my potential and wants our relationship to grow even deeper. Everything with God is relational.

When I survey a situation, I begin with thanking God for where he has me, even if I don’t like the situation. 
Overcoming, to get the better of a situation, begins with thanksgiving. II Corinthians 2:14 states, Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ.” (NIV) When I read that passage recently, I began to pray, “ Lord, I thank you for this situation and look to you to lead me to triumph. He is committed to leading us upward in life and I think thanksgiving is the key. 



As I walked with God, daily seeking him on what to say and do in this situation, I grew in walking in peace, waiting on him, trusting him and watching him work the situation out much better than I ever expected. 
“For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son,” Romans 8:29. Although He stays the same, God loves us being changed into the likeness of Jesus. 
Life presents us many opportunities to change and get an upgrade, a better version of us. Life and Jesus are not separate, and he loves to be a part of all of our life situations. He has upgrades in who you are just waiting for you! 
For years, I lived my life stressed, anxious, and fearful with situations in life and, for the most part, those days are gone. I discovered I choose the level I live on and God has provided peace for me to walk in no matter what life throws at me. Stress is not part of his plan for me, overcoming stress and walking in peace is. 
With multiple medical crisis with my late husband and parents, I got the opportunity to practice peace over and over again. I received an upgrade in crisis by choosing what level I would live on, and not just knowing scriptures on peace, but practicing peace Jesus had already provided for me. 
Even when I’ve gone down a path I did not plan, did I have fun with God? The answer is yes when I do not take things too seriously, look for what he wants to give me in the situation, my upgrade, and enjoy the journey with him.
God’s goodness and kindness leads us to upgrades in our lives when we embrace each and every situation. I challenge you to ask God to show you the upgrades he has waiting for you. Ask him to lead you to triumph because he promises he will. 
Our job is to begin with a thankful heart and follow his leading. There are unclaimed upgrades waiting for you and a much better version of you the world is waiting to see.

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.  Contact her at kathleenmaxwell1@gmail.com or visit her blog on www.themaxwellminutes.blogspot.com

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Escort of Peace-We All Need One

Escort of Peace-We All Need One
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie
Copyright May 2016

Wars, earthquakes, bombing, drama, financial distress, political climate, uncertainty in life, discord - these are just a few of the things that can steal our peace and joy in life.  I am sure you have your own list of things that keep you up at night and stress you out during   
the day.  When I was younger I often said, “When this happens things will be better or easier,” only to discover that when things got easy in one area there was often times something else to contend with.  Life is full of challenges and constant uncertainty; on this earth we will always have to contend for peace.

The definition of peace in the Old Testament is: prosper, rest, be safe in mind and body, to make restitution.  In the New Testament it means: quietness and rest.  It is good to know God’s heart for us is to live in a place of quietness and rest. 

I use to  blame God for not giving me peace or allowing the stressful things in my life until He began to teach me that I had a God given right to walk in peace all the time.  I would frequently say things like, “why is this happening to me?”  Thankfully God was very patient with me, always loving me, and I am sure he was sometimes shaking His head and smiling and wondering when I was really going to understand.  His intention for me in the difficulties of life is to access the peace and joy that is available to me as His much loved child. 

 Isaiah 9:6-7 says, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on 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.” (NIV)  God was telling his people that He was sending Jesus in the days ahead and his purpose was to bring us peace.  The peace we can find in Him will never end!  Peace is part of His name and it states that He is the Prince of Peace.

  When God first began teaching lessons about walking in the peace He had provided for me, I remember it was a very trying time.  My mom was just diagnosed with a very  unusual auto immune disease and overseeing her care was challenging as a busy wife, mother of three children.  I had just begun a new job dealing with women in crisis.  One day I felt God say, “Kathleen, I am the Prince of Peace.  Let me escort you through this day.”  I accepted the offer, and that day as I was walking through the hospital and dealing with the harsh reality of the diagnoses I constantly pictured myself being escorted by the Prince of Peace.  It was amazing how it changed my perspective on things.  I was at peace because I was accessing the peace that was available to me as a believer.  Really, I was hanging on for dear life to the Prince of Peace to just get me through the day! The good news in the midsts of the stress was that I had an escort and I was not alone.

John 14:27 say, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”  Jesus left us with peace.  It was His gift to us.  Peace is the perfect inheritance gift and it is available to each of us.  We have a choice to walk in peace that has been provided or not.  It takes discipline and self control to choose peace when life doesn’t go as planned or the unexpected happens but this is typical of life.  

Colossians 3:15 says, “ Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.(NIV) This scripture clearly states that peace is a choice.  We can let peace have the final say, be the umpire, if we choose. 

 I will never forget the day I was driving past Wal Mart, exhausted, running late, needing to be three places at once and feeling like a failure in all areas of my life.  I was overwhelmed.  I felt I heard God say, “Overwhelming feelings are not from me.”  With tears streaming down my face I quickly realized that God had a better plan for me and I told the overwhelming feelings to go.  They were not my friend.  Often times our feelings can lie to us.  One of my constant prayers is for God to reveal truth to me where I have believed a lie.  God is a God of truth and loves to show His children the truth if we just simply ask Him. He always reveals the truth.  That is one prayer I can always trust He will answer.

When we access the peace God makes available to us, it becomes a gift we can give away. One morning, I heard the words, “Walk in peace and others will follow.”  That day I wasn’t concerned about anything in particular but I wrote it down in my journal and filed the phrase in my mind.  I wasn’t at work 15 minutes and there was a crisis and I had a volunteer very stressed about a situation.  I remembered what I had heard in my quite time and reassured her God would provide.  I brought peace into the situation and she calmed down.  Within minutes, the problem was solved.

 The other day I had a woman approach me and she was so nervous ringing her hands and anxious because of a situation in her life.  I had plenty of peace that day and as I held her hand and prayed for her, her body totally relaxed.  When we walk in peace, we can help others find God in their situation.

In conclusion, peace is our God given right, our inheritance, and is a choice.  Jesus will be our Prince of Peace if we let him and when we walk in peace, access the peace available to us, we get the privilege of giving the gift to others.




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.  Contact her at kathleenmaxwell1@gmail.com or visit her blog on www.themaxwellminutes.blogspot.com






Monday, May 2, 2016

Speaking and seasoning...What they have in common


Speaking and Seasoning...What they have in common
Copyright 2016
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie

Kathleen and her dad -Landon

Have you ever said something and immediately thought to yourself, “why did I say that?” I have certainly done that too many times in my life. I remember when I was a little girl getting in trouble at school one day because I told someone in the lunch line that they smelled bad. It was the truth but unfortunately it caused more harm than good.  

When I came home from school and told my parents what happened, my dad commented in a stern voice, “You don’t have to say everything that comes to your mind Kathleen.” His words were hard to hear, however, they did make a point. 

My mother’s words were a little easier to swallow. She seasoned her words with grace and said, “Honey, I know you were trying to help the little girl but you hurt her feelings.” She understood my motive was to help, but my method of doing so was lacking. Having a verbal and expressive personality, I have had to train myself to filter my words and season them so they are easy for others to swallow. I am still in training...

Mom and Dad-50th wedding anniversary
Many people justify what they say just like I did saying what they said was truth. Yes, truth is truth and scripture says the truth will set us free but it also says a lot about mercy, grace, and compassion. Without grace and love, the truth is useless. Psalms 85:10 states, “Mercy and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” (NIV) Any truth we speak, should always be seasoned with kindness as God is always kind to us, even when we do not deserve it.

Ephesians 4:29 declares, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”Colossians 4:6 reiterates the same point to us about speaking the truth to someone. We must speak truth but always say things in a way that are easy for others to swallow.“Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.” (NIV)

The other night I was cooking dinner and simmered some fresh collard greens. We are trying to eat more vegetables so I thought I would try something a little different. I tasted them and thought how bitter they tasted. I quickly tried to make them a little more appetizing by seasoning them with garlic, smokey seasoning, a couple of pieces of bacon, a jalapeƱo and salt and pepper. They were awesome and my husband, who is not a huge vegetable eater, loved them. Truth-greens are rich in Vitamin K, Vitamin A, calcium and are known for fighting cancer and heart disease. Without seasoning, they are a little hard to swallow, however, with the right spices, they are very easy, beneficial and enjoyable to swallow.

Scripture has much to say about our tongue and we are challenged over and over agin to watch what we speak. Colossians 3:8 says, “But now you  yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouths.” You do not have to go down too many streets in town before you hear a string of curse words. It seams to be common in our society. 

2016 Truett, Ellis, Max and Pop
The first step to changing anything in our lives is to look at our heart. The Holy Spirit convicts us of wrong to show us a better way, not to condemn us.  God is in the business of changing our hearts and that is such wonderful news. I have had the joy of seeing Him change people that seemed hard as nails into some of the kindest people I know and I have seen him soften and change my heart.

Luke 6:45 is pretty straight forward in tying the heart and our mouth together.“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” (NIV) I love how the King James version puts this scripture, “ Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” (KJV)

Our mouth and our heart are linked together. God sent Jesus so we could have a new heart, a soft heart. Disappointments, hurt, offenses can all cause us to harden our hearts against God and others. God’s desire is for us to keep our hearts soft as stated in Ezekiel 11:19, “I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.” One of my continual prayers is for God to keep my heart soft and to soften my heart. Repentance is also wonderful at softening the heart. The condition of our heart directly affects what comes out of our mouth. Just as our heart is vital to our physical health, it is also vital to our spiritual and emotional health and relationships with others.

I challenge you to take note of what you say and how you say it. Do your words need a little seasoning? They can be truth but they can also be harmful. Do you need to ask God to soften your heart or ask His forgiveness for some of your words? Let’s season all our words with kindness and grace so each word builds our families, businesses and 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.  Contact her at kathleenmaxwell1@gmail.com or visit her blog on www.themaxwellminutes.blogspot.com

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