The Time and Weather is for Hua Hin, Thailand where we currently live

Daily Bible Verse

Friday, November 25, 2011

So, How Do You Pray?

Have you ever had someone come up to you and say “I know you are going to say No, but I want to ask you the question anyhow”?

I have had that happen, and I always feel funny when someone starts with the phrase “I know you are going to say No, but. . .”

In the span of one week, I have counseled 2 different women, in regard to their marriages.  Each of them came to me with pain showing in their eyes and tears rolling down their cheeks, telling me that their marriage was over and that they had no choice but to leave their husband.

In each case, I let the woman tell me her story as I sat in silence and listened.  Then I prayed and asked the Lord to guide me as I gave them Biblical counsel.  The Lord brought verse after verse to my mind and I shared the Bible verses with them, explaining to them how these verses applied to their marriages and to their lives.

On both occasions, each of the women seemed to listen intently.  I talked with each woman and then asked them if they would like me to pray with them.  In both instances the woman said “Yes” she would like me to pray with her.

Before I prayed with them, I wanted to make sure that they truly had faith that the Lord could heal their marriages.  I wanted to be sure that as we prayed, that we would be two people gathered together of one mind.  The Bible says, "I also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you."  Matthew 18:19

As soon as I finished praying with the first woman, she said “My husband will never change.  Our marriage is definitely over.”  And I knew that even as I had pleaded with the Lord on behalf of her marriage that in her heart doubts had lurked, and she had not believed that the Lord would intervene and restore her marriage.

"But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do."  James 1:6-8

A week later I met with and prayed with the second woman.  The very next morning I received a text from her.  She was praising the Lord and thanking me for counseling her and praying with her.  She proceeded to tell me that as soon as she had gotten home God had worked a miracle in her marriage. 

This woman had trusted that the Lord could and would work in her marriage, and He did.

Later that afternoon I got a call from her and she told me that God had also answered the prayers we had lifted up about a second issue.  She was so thankful to the Lord for answering her prayers, and truly filled to overflowing with joy. 

"And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith." Matthew 21:22

"Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours."  Mark 11:24

So, how do you pray?



Friday, November 18, 2011

I am So Excited to Hear From. . .

The other day in Bible Study we started talking about how we come before the Lord.

“Do we come before the Lord, like some children come to their parents?” I asked.  The parents in the group all smiled, when I asked that.  They had all ‘been there’, feeling like they were just a wallet to be tapped, or a shoulder to cry on during a hard day.

The parents all said how nice it would be, if their kids:

  • Didn’t want something every time they came to them.
  • Wanted to spend time with them.
  • Actually wanted to have a conversation with them.
  • Believed that their parents had some wisdom to give them.
  • Were as excited about seeing their parents as they were about seeing their friends.
  • Loved and cared about their parents.

So how are we when we come before our Heavenly Father?  Do we. . .

  • Always have our hand out, asking for something?
  • Talk at God, not waiting to hear what He wants to tell us?
  • Try to make our interaction with Him, as quick as possible so we can get on with life?
  • Tell God and show God that we love Him?
After this conversation, I challenged all of them (and myself), to go before the Lord with new hearts from now on.  Everytime!

Instead of reading God’s Word, having morning devotion time, or praying. . .

  • Because we should, or
  • Because it is something we can mark off of our To Do list, or
  • Because as Christians, that is what we are supposed to do.
Instead. . .

  • Really being excited, as we go to read God’s Word, or to pray.

    • In awe, just knowing that The Creator of the world wants to talk to us.
    • Feeling the privilege that we have in having God’s Word available at our fingertips whenever we want to draw near, and knowing that the Lord is always available to us.

    • Excited to hear what the Lord wants to say to us today.

    • Hungry for the encouragement that He wants to give us.

o       Or even, to be admonished.  Yes, I have learned that it is even good for the Lord to tell us about something we need to change in our lives.  Maybe it is something that we need to change in our hearts, or maybe it is something we are doing (or not doing) that needs changing.  "So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin." James 4:17 Whatever it is, isn’t it always better to take care of an issue right away, rather than letting it fester and become a habit in our lives, or rather than letting it lead us further off the path that the Lord has laid out for us.  "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2:10 

Wow!  It is so exciting for me to think about the fact that God prepared in advance for me to do good works.  Just like a parent whose child says they want to paint a picture, and then the parent goes and prepares everything for the child.  They gather up all of the supplies, and then they set out the paints, paint brushes, paper and sponges, so that their child has everything they need to succeed in creating their project.  The parent even covers the table and the floor area with plastic and newspapers so they won’t make a mess, so that it will be a good experience for the child.  Hmmmm.  God wants us to succeed in doing good works, and He goes before us and makes preparations so that we can succeed.  He even tries to keep us from making a mess out of our efforts.  As I think about the love the Lord shows through His tender care and thoughtfulness, my heart is just overflowing with joy and gratitude.

o       Joy in having the confidence, in knowing without a doubt, that we can trust His wisdom.  Knowing that He is the source for wisdom.  Sometimes in our dealings with people, we hear them say what seems like the right things, but something just feels off. . .and we wonder, do they really have our best interest in mind as they give us advice?  With the Lord, we do not have to wonder.  We know that He says "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  Jeremiah 29:11

I am praying that each of us will have excitement, love and joy as we have the honor of having a daily relationship with the Lord.



Thursday, November 17, 2011

Wedding Bells. . .

On Saturday evening Bill conducted another wedding ceremony.  It is such a blessing for me to see the time and care that Bill puts into each wedding he participates in, to personalize it and make it special just for that couple.

Right after the ceremony ended, the Uncle of the Bride came up to Bill and told him that he should give each person a copy of the wedding ceremony because the words he spoke were great advice for every couple.  We do not know if he is a Christian or Buddhist, but how wonderful that he could see the wisdom of the words.

It was a beautiful day, in a gorgeous setting on the beach with the people looking at the Bride and Groom and Bill with the sparkling waters of the Gulf of Thailand as the background.

Lord, please bless this couple.

Mark 10:9 "What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate."



Thursday, November 3, 2011

Everyday Lessons. . .

Usually the Lord speaks to me in one of two ways, either through reading His Word or by teaching me through everyday life situations.

Take yesterday for instance, it was a nice sunny day here in our area of Thailand, so I did laundry.  I had the laundry hanging out on the clothes line, blowing in the wind.  Generally things dry quickly in the Thailand heat, so several hours later I went out to see if the clothes were dry. 

Some of the clothes were dry so I started to take them off the line, and that’s when I saw it. . .gecko poop.  Ewwww!  There on the collar of two of my husband’s shirts, and on a bed cover.  Yuck!

I immediately thought, I just cleaned these clothes and here they are dirty already!  And that is when the Lord spoke to my heart. . .”Just like when you come to Me asking for forgiveness, asking Me to cleanse you; and then, a short time later you are back again asking for forgiveness and cleansing for the very same thing.”

I stopped my indignant march to the washer to rewash the three items.  Oh, wow!  How true.  Well, of course, it is the Lord addressing this issue with me.   

I immediately thought of how I had gone to the Lord about letting other people’s anger or negative actions toward me lead me to become angry as well.  I know that returning anger for anger is not how the Lord wants me to react, and yet, I find myself returning to the Lord for forgiveness for that very thing.

The Lord then put Paul’s words on my heart.  In Romans 7:15 Paul says "For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate."

I have been there!  I want to be fast to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger, and then I falter.  Thankfully the Lord is doing a work in me on this, and I am getting better at not returning anger for anger.

Don’t get me wrong, I do not walk around angry (my normal disposition is joyful), but I do sometimes let other people’s anger make me react in a way I don’t want too.

James 1:19 says "Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;"

Here is, Shoey, a gecko we took a picture of when we first moved to Thailand.  We called him that to remind us to look in our shoes, because you never know what might crawl into your shoe in Thailand.  J

Thank you Lord for the daily lessons you teach me, and thank you for always welcoming me when I come back again and again asking for forgiveness.”



Monday, October 31, 2011

Serving The Lord in Thailand

Hello my name is April and I have been married to my wonderful husband Bill for 23 years, and we are missionaries in Thailand.

Four years ago Bill and I were living in Pennsylvania, where Bill worked as an attorney and I worked for a municipal government in the Finance Department.  We were busy with work and serving in many different capacities at our church.

Back in 2005 God had placed it on our hearts to sell our large home (we were thinking Christian Bed and Breakfast, but God had a different plan.)  So we sold our home and started to rent a small bungalow.

Bill and I both felt that the Lord wanted us to serve as fulltime missionaries, but we did not know where or when.  So, we just kept praying.  We started to feel that the field had been narrowed to Australia or Thailand.  (Let me just stop and tell you that our claim to ‘world travel’ up to this point had been that we had traveled into Canada, several times.)  J  We really wanted to serve where the Lord wanted us to serve, so I kept praying that God would make it SO obvious that even I would get it.  And He did!

One day Bill and I were in New Jersey.  We had just gone to church down in Ocean City, and we decided to go for a drive.  We were driving in our Prius, when all of a sudden the GPS started talking.  It said “Your destination has been set!”  We were truly startled when the GPS started to talk.  We had not programmed it, and to be honest, we really had not used the GPS other than to look at the screen that shows where we are currently driving. 

We both turned to look at each other, and Bill tried not to drive off of the road.  Bill looked at my hands to see if I had pushed a button or something, and I looked at his.  But, neither of us had touched the GPS or any controls for that matter.  Just then, the GPS started to speak again.  This time it said “The Point of Interest will now show all Thai Restaurants.”

The screen did not show anything, but from that moment on we knew without a doubt that Thailand was where He wanted us to serve.  We had such a peace in our hearts from that time on.

So, we left our jobs, our families and our friends, got rid of our stuff, and moved halfway around the world to Thailand.  From the time we landed in Thailand, we have felt at home.  Okay so there were things that we had to adjust too: Like not being able to speak with most people, because we did not know the language; Not having the luxury of going to a bookstore to buy a book written in English; Dealing with the fact that a simple Thai Bible costs nearly $30.00, which puts it way out of the reach of the average Thai person; Geckos crawling on the walls inside and out; Washing dishes and clothes in room temp water; and Hot weather all year long.  The list could go on.  J

God has really given us a heart and a love for the people here in Thailand.  I really like the Brandon Heath song “Give Me Your Eyes”, and that is what I pray daily, that God will give me His heart shaped eyes to see people the way He does.

When we came to Thailand we did not know exactly what the Lord wanted to do through us, but in the two years that we have been here He has used us.  Praise God!  We have helped start two churches.  We opened a Youth Center and where we have Bible studies, games and dinner for youth between the ages of 10 and 18.  I teach Ladies Bible study every week.  I started to teach Ballet and Praise Dance about a month and a half ago, and the girls have danced in two churches and for church gathering of 200 people.  We have taught English at church and at an orphanage. . .

Everyday is a new opportunity for us to reach out, serve and love like Jesus.  We are so humbled that He would use us in this way.

People here ask me about my joy, which is a wonderful segue for me to tell them about Jesus.

When people ask me how I am, I always say “I am blessed!”  This too leads into conversations about the Lord.  Yes, there are potholes in the road of life.  There are challenges and hurts, but I know through everything that I am blessed because the Lord is always with me.  Loving me, and loving through me.  Guiding me, and helping me guide others.  Giving me wisdom, discernment, and encouragement, and helping me to teach and encourage others.    

So with a grateful heart I serve the Lord with my husband, here in Thailand.  I feel blessed and honored to serve the people of Thailand.

Giving all the credit, all the praise and glory and honor where it belongs, to the Lord of Lords, and King of Kings, Jesus, my God and my Savior!



Sunday, October 30, 2011

Shall We Dance. . .

Since we have returned to Thailand from America, God has just been so incredible in my life.  In fact, sometimes, I have felt as if I am running just to keep up.  Sadly, one area in my life that has gotten set aside during this time is my blogging.  I say sadly, because I truly enjoy blogging.  I love to share what God puts on my heart, in hopes that it will speak to and encourage someone else.

Here in Thailand I have offered to share my knowledge about ballet and Praise Dance with the girls in the area.  The girls have been so dedicated and enthusiastic!  They have picked up the basics of ballet so quickly.  Okay, okay, I know I sound like a proud teacher, but listen to how the Lord has worked through this ministry. . .

A friend popped into in Youth Group one Saturday, and chatted with Bill and I briefly, while the youth ate dinner.  I talked about how well the girls had done in their first ballet class.  He immediately jumped in and said, “Oh by the way, would the girls be available to perform at an all church gathering the last Friday in September?”

I laughed and told him that they had only had 1 class so far.  He said that was fine, and that he was sure that they would do a great job.  Some of the girls were at Youth Group and I called them aside and told them that they had been asked to dance in two weeks for a gathering of hundreds.  They all started to laugh.  I told them it was true, and they laughed all the harder, saying that they had only had 1 class so far.

I went back and told our friend that 2 weeks was just too soon.  Not to miss an opportunity, he said “Okay, how about if they dance at the following gathering on the last Friday in October?”  I told him I would let him know.

At the next ballet class I discussed with the girls the possibility of dancing at the end of October.  They kept asking me if I thought they could do it.  I really felt like the Lord was saying “Yes, they can do this.”, and I told them I thought they could do it.

And they did!  Two nights ago, they danced in front of about 200 people from Thai churches and from English speaking churches, and they did an amazing job.

In fact, as soon as the worship service was over, the coordinator came over and pleaded with me to have the girls dance at the November gathering.  Not just one dance, but two.  She said she wanted the girls to open the worship service with a dance and close the service with another dance.

We (the girls and I) decided that it would be too much for me to choreograph two dances, teach them the dances and rehearse enough that they would feel that they had done their very best.  So, we are looking at maybe December.

So far, the girls have danced at two churches and the all church gathering of our town.  They are dancing at another church in December, and. . .

Well, we are still working out details about other dancing opportunities.

I have seen this group of girls draw closer to each other, encourage each other and seek to Honor the Lord with their dancing.

Praise God!

"Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe!"  Psalm 150:4



Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Gifts and God ‘incidences. . .

We are back in America for a month and God has blessed us with many gifts while we have been here.

The gift of wonderful hugs from family and friends, warm my heart and soul.  As I joyfully enfold myself with people I treasure, I know I will cherish each and every hug, and remember those hugs when we return to Thailand.

In coming back to America, we choose to enjoy foods that we have missed during our time in Thailand.  One day we decided to go to Cracker Barrel to enjoy some of those foods.  As we stood waiting to be seated, up walked a dear friend with 3 of her granddaughters.  When we locked eyes neither of us could believe it.  With a startled shout, we grinned and hugged.  We stopped by their table and enjoyed talking with her husband, finding out that they now live about 6 miles from where we were staying.  We are staying with Bill’s brother, and he lives about an hour from where most of our friends live, so to run into a friend out near where we are staying is really surprising.  What a joy!  This was definitely a God ‘incidence.

I know that some people would think of this as a coincidence, but I can definitely see the hand of God in the situation.  I think of a God ‘incidence as being an occurrence or divine appointment that God orchestrates, rather than what many may call “a coincidence.”

While we are here, I have been running around trying to get all of my paperwork together to get my Visa for our return to Thailand.  One of those items meant that I had to go to the doctor to have him complete a form.  As Bill and I sat in the waiting room, I looked up and to my amazement there was a wonderful friend looking at me in the same stunned way that I looked at her.  We hugged and laughed, and then I was called in for my appointment.  Bill continued to chat with our friend, and she left as I was paying my bill.

Bill and I chatted as we walked outside and were surprised to see our friend still there, talking on her cell phone.  She waved when she saw us, saying that her husband wanted to make sure that we got together with them soon.  We said we would definitely have to get together, and then we drove off.  Several minutes later we got a call from our friend, asking if we were available to come over right away.  We were available. . .  In fact, we had dinner with them; stayed overnight at their house; went to church with them at 4:00 am to see and pray for the youth as they left on a mission trip; and then we had breakfast with them and another couple.  What a gift from the Lord; another blessing of a God ‘incidence.

With a grateful heart I awaken each day, looking forward to seeing God’s hand in my day.



Thursday, July 14, 2011

Let’s Make a Deal. . .

In order to teach the Youth Group the importance of decision making, sometimes we play 'Let’s Make a Deal'.  We have been teaching from Proverbs and about how to make wise decisions.  We play the game at a fairly quick pace, so the youth have to make some snap decisions.  They will often turn around to the group looking for help as to what bag or bucket to choose from.

We start by asking for a volunteer and then we invite that youth to come forward and choose Bag #1 or Bag #2.  Once they decide which bag they want to choose something from, we have them look away from the bag and reach in and grab something.

It could be something ‘good’ like a new toy or some candy or it could be a ‘not so good’ item like a broken chewed pencil, a toothpick or a crumpled paper towel.  Once they have taken their item out of the bag, we then offer them the option of keeping their item or trading it in for what is in one of three bowls.  We do not give them a lot of time to think about it, forcing them to make a quick decision.

If they decide to keep the item then they go back and sit down with their item, however, if they decide to trade it in they return the item they picked and then they reach in the bucket they have chosen.  At this point there is either a lot of laughing, because they traded a new toy for a used toothbrush or there are oohs and ahh’s because the new item definitely was better than the first.

Then, we challenge them by offering them one more choice, to keep what they have or trade it in on an unknown item in one of two buckets.  After either keeping the item in their hand or trading in their item for another ‘treasure’, they return to their seat.

One of the true blessings for us is to see the youth when they reach in and pull out a brand new Bible.  Every time it has happened the youth has looked delighted.  One time one of the Thai youth reached in and got an English Bible.  I explained that the Bible was in English and that he could trade it in for something else, he hugged the Bible to his chest and said he wanted to keep it.  He went and sat down and held the Bible like it was a priceless treasure. . .and that it is!  What a wise young man.

We have been blessed with seeing the youth that ‘won’ Bibles carry them to and from Bible study faithfully.

We have also been blessed to hear how God has spoken to their hearts as we have challenged the youth to read a chapter of Proverbs every day.  We explained to the youth that sometimes when you have to make a decision you have plenty of time to pray, or to ask for counsel from someone you trust.  But, sometimes circumstances require us to make on-the-spot decisions; and that is where Proverbs comes in.

The Book of Proverbs in the Bible is replete with words of wisdom for us to live by.  We explained to the youth that when they have to make snap decisions it will be helpful to them to have words of wisdom from the Bible in their hearts and minds, so that they can call on them as they try to make wise decisions. 

Proverbs 22:17-21  “Incline your ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply your heart to my knowledge, for it will be pleasant if you keep them within you, if all of them are ready on your lips. That your trust may be in the LORD, I have made them known to you today, even to you. Have I not written for you thirty sayings of counsel and knowledge, to make you know what is right and true, that you may give a true answer to those who sent you?”

1 Timothy 4:11-13  “Command and teach these things. Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.”

Deuteronomy 11:18-19  "So commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.”

Psalm 119:11, 105  “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. ...  Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”

So, my challenge to each of us is to read a chapter of Proverbs every day.  The youth have been reading from Proverbs for over a month now, and with 31 Proverbs it works out really well to read one a day completing all of them in a month.  As the youth had read through all 31 Proverbs, they started at Proverbs 1 again and they found that they now comprehend some things that they did not understand the first time through.  Praise God! 

I know that I am finding the same thing as I read through Proverbs and the rest of the Bible.  God’s living Word is continually opening up to us in new and refreshing ways.

You can do this!. . .And I believe you will be blessed for doing this as you find yourself making decision after decision, day after day; using wisdom from Proverbs as your guide to making wise decisions and living a life that honors the Lord.

A chapter of Proverbs a day. . .


Bill and the youth waiting to start playing 'Let's Make a Deal'.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

A Heart Checkup. . .

So the other day after I had been up for a while, I had a mental list of what I was going to do, and then. . .I got a phone call.

I answered the call, and a Thai friend said that some people needed help.  She said that two people needed a place to stay for two weeks.  Hmmm, we were to leave for America in two weeks.  So, I trashed my mental To-do list, and Bill and I went to meet with her to find out more.

She explained that there was a Thai mother and daughter that were going through a crisis, and they needed a place to stay.  My immediate thought as we sat and talked with our friend was, ‘What would the Lord want us to do?’  As soon as I thought it, I knew the answer.  Of course the Lord would want us to open our home to them.

I looked to Bill and our eyes met, and I knew that we were both thinking the same thing.  I turned to our friend and told her that we would be happy to welcome the mother and daughter into our home.  Our friend explained that they only needed a place to stay for 3 days, and that she had arranged for another place about an hour away for them to stay after that.

We asked when they would be arriving at our home, and she said that she would bring them by our house around 10:00 pm.

So we got things ready at home; cleaned, prepared beds and put out towels to welcome them.  At 7:15 our doorbell rang.  (Our ‘doorbell’ is mounted to our gate outside.)  Bill went out to see who it was, and then he called to me.  I had been upstairs, and hurried outside.  I was surprised to see 8 to 10 people standing at our gate.  I scanned the faces from left to right looking for a clue as to who they were; as I reached the last face I saw that it was our friend.  I quickly, said hello in Thai and invited them in.  (I was thinking, ‘Wow, they are early’ and ‘Who are all of these other people?’.)  No one moved, so I asked what was going on.

Our friend explained that the situation had changed and they no longer needed to stay with us, but that they all came in person to thank us for offering to let the mother and daughter stay with us.  I was stunned!

How many times over the years had someone changed their mind, and I had gotten a text or a quick call to say ‘Sorry’ and that was it.

Here all of these people had come in person, to say thank you.  Wow!

Our day had turned out so differently from what we had planned, and yet I was grateful for the heart checkup that I felt I had received.  I know the Lord knows our hearts, but it is good for us to have spontaneous opportunities to really live out our faith and for us to check our hearts. 

Thank you Lord, for giving us opportunities to have heart checkup’s, to share Your love and to encourage our faith walk.  Thank you Lord, for occasions where You give us chances to re-evaluate our priorities and to do the right thing.

I pray that each of us would look to the Lord, when He puts a heart checkup in our path.  I pray that we would honor and glorify our Lord and Savior with our response, putting aside our plans for His plans.  Putting aside our hearts to show His heart.  And I pray that we would always say “Yes”, even before we know the question, when the Lord asks us to do something.

Deuteronomy 8:2 - And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart. . .

Deuteronomy 13:3 - . . .For the LORD your God is testing you, to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.



Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Clean Sweep. . .

Sometimes as I sweep up the floors of our house, or sweep the tiled outdoor area that surrounds our house, I get frustrated.

“Frustrated from sweeping?  Huh?!”  It is true.

You see, in America I always had long handled brooms with stiff bristles to sweep with, and here in Thailand I have a broom with a handle half the length that I am used too and the bristles are wispy.  In other words, the harder I try to sweep the less effective I am.

As a missionary living in Thailand I have learned to watch how the local Thai people do things, and this is what I learned about sweeping:  It is almost like a dance. 

Ah, like a dance. . .I used to be a ballet dancer, now that is a language I understand!

So, as I watched the Thai’s sweep with the short handled brooms, I noticed that they held the broom lightly in their hand as they took a step and gently with a fluid motion brought the broom forward.  The dust was encouraged forward as it softly wafted into the air and settled to the ground in a location in front of the brooms arc.  The dirt just seemed to obey the gentle prodding of the broom, and continued to move along.

Never have I seen a Thai using a Thai broom in a harsh or rough manner.  Which I can tell you, from experience, is a good thing – because it does not work.  Lol!  I have tried to wield my short broom in short, staccato type motions to hurry my sweeping along, all to no avail as the dust basically refuses to obey.

So, I have figured out that I can fight the dirt and dust by trying to make it comply to my way of sweeping, (pushing, brushing fast, with the bristles pressing and scraping against the floor), or I can sweep in a light, encouraging, arcing dance like motion and finish my sweeping without frustration.

Fortunately, I have chosen the wise way of working with the broom the way it works best, and I have found my level of frustration with sweeping completely diminished.

When I think about how the Lord works through the Holy Spirit with me, I see that He gently encourages me and gently admonishes me if I need it.  I am so grateful that the Lord teaches with love and encouragement. The Lord does not usually use the “2 x 4 method” (hitting me on the head with a piece of wood) unless I am stubborn, like a sticky spot on the floor that a gentle sweeping motion just won’t get.

As we work with youth of varying ages at the Youth Center, we nearly always find that encouragement, and a gentle word works best in teaching them.  They are always more inclined to obey and to act in-kind to each other.  So rather than forcing lessons or speaking unkind words, we use the balm of gentleness and encouragement to help them grow into the young people that God wants them to be.  (I actually find this approach works with people of all ages.)

Most people thrive when taught and helped with soft, encouraging words and actions.

I pray that each of us would speak wise words that uplift and encourage, not words that injure and teardown.

Proverbs 31:26 –She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.”

1 Thessalonians 5:11 – Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”

John 14:26 – “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”

Psalm 143:10 “Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground!”