HEADS UP

The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!”

1 Corinthians 12:21  (NIV)

 

It’s time for another fitness blog. Just as the opening scripture tells us, we can’t tell one body part it’s more or less useful than the other parts. Everything must work together to make the whole body function as it’s supposed to.

In a previous blog post, https://mvarga.com/fitness-wellness/tuck-your-tail/, I spoke of our HIPS (and ankles!) being the most important element in proper balance and stability. Important…yes…but it must work together with our head and shoulders to MAINTAIN that balance.

I give my classes constant cues to keep their heads and shoulders where they should be during movements…and when standing still! I know I sound like a broken record! I do it as much for me as I do it for them!

Make a long neck… chin and nose forward… nostrils up.

Ears pulled back over the shoulders… Pull your chin into your throat…Make a double chin. (Those last two cues came straight from my physical therapist, Denny.) 

When I was in grade school, my best pal and neighbor, Mary Ann, used to teasingly call me WingWong because my eyes were so small that when I smiled, I looked almost oriental. Gravity has taken its’ toll in the last 50 years. I no longer look like WingWong when I smile, but I keep her picture in my living room to remind me to keep a long neck…even when just sitting to watch TV.

I have to admit, I’m a tad neurotic about holding my body in the right posture. That includes my head. Some people have visual memories. Others are auditory. As a fitness instructor, I also know about muscle memory.

When it comes to my head, I have a ‘feeling’ memory. I try to imagine someone behind me…holding my neck in a strangle hold. They have their hands under my jaw. That will get the head up fast!

The mental image that causes me to hold my head up properly the most is imagining a book balanced on my head. I’ve tried doing that more than once. It’s harder than it looks! It’s impossible to balance the book if leaning forward, sideways or back.

Even though it’s difficult to actually do…IMAGINING a book balanced on the head will get us holding our head properly…even if it’s just a little off. 

When we try to balance a book on our head, immediately our ears pull back over our shoulders and our neck naturally gets longer.

So just like the opening scripture verse alludes, our body parts were not meant to work individually but together as a whole for the benefit of the whole body…in this case, to keep our heads up taller!

 

Dear Lord,

Why is multi-tasking so challenging? It sure is easier to think (and do) just one thing at a time. But just like the rest of our lives, we need to learn to have all things working together for our good and the good of others.

Help us to hold our bodies in the right alignment so we can walk without tripping and hold our heads up high….SIMULTANEOUSLY!

 

Yay!!! 

A friend showed me how to eliminate robo comments and still allow my subscribers to comment on my blog posts. So you can once again comment directly on my website!

Once you are on mvarga.com, you can subscribe to receive future blog posts, read through past blogs and find more about my books & fitness tips!

FRUIT OF CHOICE

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

John 15:5  (NIV)

When we want to discover what another is truly like,…we look at their commitments, their actions…and we listen to their words! We’re looking at the FRUIT of their life. What kind of fruit are we bearing?

Our fruit is many times a byproduct of things that have happened in our life. Have we had a perfect, unspotted life? Most would say a resounding “NO!”

We’ve all faced challenges…been treated unfairly…not had life turn out as we wanted. It’s simply the Human experience.

It’s also the result of how we were raised. If we grew up in a home that emphasized hard work to attain goals…we will be hard workers. If truth and honesty have been instilled in us, we will act in truth and be honest with others. If others have shown compassion for our plight, we will also hopefully show mercy to others. However, upbringing is not always a sure sign of fruit in our lives.

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8  (NIV)

Are we following God’s requirement for our life? Do we treat others as we’ve like to be treated? If God is always placed in the center of our lives, we will instinctively look to Him for guidance as we make our decisions.

This is always the hardest of God’s commandments for me to follow! I want to do things myself! If I’m not hurting anyone or doing something illegal what’s the big deal?

Are we bearing any fruit by our actions? It’s for God’s glory that we do so. If we dwell only on what will be good and beneficial for us, we’ve sort of missed the point. We’re supposed to be living our lives for God…not men. So I guess doing things only for myself IS a big deal to God.

Of course we want our families to be happy and well-cared for…but so does God. We have to ask Him to show us how He wants us to spend our days. Especially in difficult times, our trust needs to be in God first! We need to EXPECT Him to answer our prayers. It may come in ways we don’t expect, but it WILL come.

Those who put their trust in God…

They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.

Jeremiah 17:8 (NIV)

 

Our fruit will show up in what kind of character our children display, how we treat others, the impression we leave with our clients and associates and most importantly,…how we honor our heavenly Father. Honoring God will be manifest in how we respond to whatever life is handing us.

Are we kind and gracious only when life is going our way? How do we respond when life isn’t going as we planned? Our real character seems to show up not in good times…but in how we handle interruptions, setbacks and difficulty. This is when the fruit of God the Holy Spirit is most evidenced in our lives.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Galations 5:22 (NIV)

Talent, success, intelligence, attractiveness and lots of influence are the fruits our world seems to prefer. They are indeed fruits! Is that how we want to be remembered though? What about kindness, compassion, generosity, humility and service? If we add ‘self-control’ we have the fruits of the Holy Spirit.

Let’s ask the Holy Spirit to guide us towards what God desires for our lives. The Holy Spirit gives us the power to DESIRE new things in our life. Our job is simply to cooperate with Him in our thinking to accomplish His plans.

Then we will be showing God’s fruit of choice.

Dear Lord,

Help us to mold our character and accomplishments to be a reflection of You. We want our fruit to reveal that we are your children.

Give us the desire to produce fruit that pleases both You…and others.

 

Yay!!! 

A friend showed me how to eliminate robo comments and still allow my subscribers to comment on my blog posts. So you can once again comment directly on my website!

Once you are on mvarga.com, you can also subscribe to receive future blog posts, read through past blogs and find more about my books & fitness tips!

BE A PALM TREE

The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God.

Psalm 92: 12-13 (NIV)

 

When life starts to go south, or things aren’t happening as we anticipated…we could all take a lesson from the PALM TREE. Just like the mighty oak or cedar tree, the palm tree has roots that grow deep into the ground. During hurricanes though, the palm tree will actually strengthen its roots while the branches are bent over to withstand the forces of the wind.

Just like the palm tree, we need to learn how to bounce back when circumstances aren’t going as we expected. Remember that the rain will fall on the just and the unjust. We all need to learn how to bend when it’s necessary to seize the right outcome, because God also promises…

He will also send you rain for the seed your sow in the ground, and the food that comes from the land will be rich and plentiful. In that day your cattle will graze in broad meadows.

Isaiah 30:23 (NIV)

So what can we do in our bent-over position to ensure that we will receive rain and plentiful seed? Hurricane forces are not what we envisioned when we prayed for nourishing rain. Why are God’s ways often times different from our own?

Sometimes we just need to think outside the box. We’ve already concluded that this would be advantageous for us. Will it do anything to help others with their mission? The Lord wants us to work together to fulfill His plans for us here on earth.

Sometimes I need to continuously remind myself it’s NOT ALL ABOUT ME! Others’ dreams and plans are just as valuable and important as mine. Dare I try to learn some new truth from their plans? Might God’s plan be to bring nourishment to all of us?

Here is a personal example of how this played out in my life…

After my traumatic brain injury in 1997, I wanted so much to be a person that could offer help to others. I needed to feel like my life was still of some use.

At one time, I was a aerobic dance instructor. Now I had years of prompts from my physical therapists to get my muscles and joints moving correctly. Could I possibly put those skills together to assist others in their fitness routine?

God gave me the perfect cliental with seniors who needed to keep their muscles working at optimal levels. It seems they needed to be doing the same exercises I need to do to regain my strength and mobility. So now I’m able to use my fitness training and my physical therapy instruction AND combine it with some fun music to make it feel like one continuous dance routine. We all have fun and we ALL benefit from the aerobic dance routine!

So just like a palm tree, from my bent-over position I’m still able to offer assistance to others by demonstrating how they can keep their bodies strong, supple and stable. I lost my natural stability with my brain injury, but by simply touching the arm of a chair for balance, I’m able to show others how to hang onto their own stability.

Is there something that has you bent-over in life? This is where prayer becomes indispensible! I’ve learned (sometimes the hard way) to run things by God first, BEFORE taking any action.

Is there some way we can use our circumstances to help others? That will leave us feeling pretty darn good about ourselves! Take a lesson from the palm tree.

Then when we get to the place that we’re standing tall again, we can give all the glory to God.

 

Dear Lord,

You always knew we would face obstacles and challenges in life. You’ve also put in each of us the desire to turn those lemons into lemonade. It’s how You made us!

Thank You for the lesson of the palm tree. Help us to always remember that You can work best in us from a bent-over position.

 

Due to an abundance of robo comments, I no longer allow comments on the official blog website. I do love reading your remarks though! So please comment on the original email I sent you. If you no longer wish to receive my blog, you can also unsubscribe on that same email.

However, once you are on mvarga.com, you can subscribe to receive future blog posts, read through past blogs and find more about my books & fitness tips!

Leaving the Nest

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the desert.

Isaiah 43:19 (NIV)

 

College-bound students are starting their fall semester. This is a good time for me to start blogging again. I’ve missed writing to you these last few weeks.

I have a niece and 2 nephews beginning their college adventure. Their parents have been preparing their children for this day since they were infants. As they head off to universities in the south and Midwest, mom and dad are praying they retain what they have taught them about how to navigate life… personal safety, nutrition, cleanliness, kindness, personal responsibility AND good study habits!

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

Proverbs 22:6 (NIV)

This is a striking example of what we refer to as “leaving the nest”. Will all the years of love, discipline and training transfer over to life on their own? The students are elated to finally be making daily decisions for themselves. With that elation comes a little fear of whether or not they can do it.

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.

1 Corinthians 13:11 (NIV)

 

I’ve had some personal experience with nest as mama birds love to build them over my terrace door. They are very diligent in their nest building. It goes very quickly. Once the nest is built, mama sits on her eggs until they hatch. Then she brings worms to nourish her little ones.

As they begin to grow, the mama bird begins to take away the padding that protected and kept them safe. The baby birds learn that their claws will allow them to stand on the once-padded floor of the nest. As their wings begin to grow, the baby birds discover if they flap them, they can go up and down in the nest. This process can take several weeks. Eventually they are confident enough to fly away from the nest. Then I can finally clean my terrace!

Just like baby birds (and college students) God wants us all to grow into the best version of ourselves. That means growing SPIRITUALLY.

In his world-renown book, The Purpose Drive Life, pastor, author, and teacher, Rick Warren tells us “Your heavenly Father’s goal is for you to mature and develop the characteristics of Jesus Christ.”

That’s a tall order! That means we have to stop thinking like baby birds and start thinking like mature Christians.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Philippians 4:8 (NIV)

This will often take a real heart transformation. It will take a change in the way we think about life and what’s important to us. It will take a change in how we think about ourselves and others.

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

 Proverbs 4:23 ( NIV)

We can’t change the way we think overnight! We’ve been taught to think in certain ways since we were born. Even our Christian values were at some point learning something new. We need to surround ourselves with others whose values we want to emulate. That’s what parents are hoping their children will do as they head off to college.

The very heart of Christianity is thinking of others’ needs instead of our own. That’s what Jesus did. Can we do that? This is a constant challenge for me.

I’m afraid my TBI and subsequent balance difficulty gives me a baby bird outlook in some situations. Is this safe? Can I do this on my own? Do I need to have someone help me AGAIN?

Then I try to remember that others LIKE to feel helpful. Doesn’t it make them feel needed? God wants us to live in harmony with others as one big family.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.

Philippians 2:5 (NIV)

Are we in a safe, comfy nest that we need to break out of to be all that God wants us to be? Just like going to college, it may be scary.

Just remember our opening scripture:

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?

 

Dear Lord,

Why does change need to be so scary? Help us remember that You are on the journey with us. And You want Your best for us.

Help us let go of what is no longer necessary as we lean into You.

 

Due to continuous robo comments, I no longer allow comments on the official blog website. I do love reading your remarks though! So please comment on the original email I sent you. If you no longer wish to receive my blog, you can also unsubscribe on that same email.

However, once you are on mvarga.com, you can subscribe to receive future blog posts, read through past blogs and find more about my books & fitness tips!

A BETTER VERSION

‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.

Revelation 21:4  (NIV)

 

My son Andrew and I were having a ‘heavy’ conversation one day about life and death. I told him I believed we would all receive glorified bodies in heaven, and mine was going to have the balance/agility of an Olympic figure skater. Andrew then said, ‘Now let me get this straight. You want to be a figure skater when you get to heaven?’ I explained that I wanted the balance and agility that figure skaters show. His response was, ‘But think about it Mom. If you already have a glorified body…wouldn’t it be cool to be able to do a Triple Axel?’

I do believe we will have glorified bodies in eternity. Like the opening scripture promises, suffering will be no more!

We don’t have to wait for eternity to become a better version of ourselves though. We can start right now!

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,

Colossians 3:23  (NIV)

We can use the mundane, boring or even irritating things in life to bring glory to God. Life is not a continuous ‘mountain top’ moment. We need to show excellence in the everyday routines and hassles that bombard us.

We can show excellence and integrity anytime things don’t go as we had hoped or planned. We can show patience when dealing with traffic, long lines, unexpected delays. We can show compassion and understanding when others aren’t behaving as we want them to. Don’t we expect the same from them?

 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Galations 6:2  (NIV)

God smiles when He sees us showing kindness and patience with each other. He’s elated when He sees us step up to assist another soul on their journey. When we pray for God’s help, remember that He will usually use others to show us how we should go. Let’s let God use us as part of His plan for others!

When we do these things, we’re becoming a better version of ourselves. We are all a part of God’s family…regardless of our profession, political affiliation, talents or life experience. Let’s use our own life experience to help others become a better version of themselves.

Others will remember how we showed our care and concern for them. Did we notice them and their actions? Give them a thumbs up? Give them a hand? Encourage them? Others won’t generally remember all of our accomplishments. They WILL remember how we treated them…. how we made them feel about their life.

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

John 13:34  (NIV)

When we reach the pearly gates, God’s not going to ask us about our talents or intelligence. He’ll want to know how we made others feel about themselves. He’ll ask us how we brought Him glory.

We’ll have to wait until eternity to receive our glorified bodies. We can start right now working on our glorified spirit… using our plain old human body and mind!

 

Dear Lord,

Someday we will all stand before You. Suffering and pain will be no more! We’ve all spent a long life working hard and overcoming obstacles.

Remind us that ‘no pain’ does not mean we won’t be working in eternity. We’ll be using our God-given talents to accomplish things for You. We won’t be working alone either! All of us will have the same mission of bringing You continuous glory.

 

Once you are on mvarga.com, you can subscribe to receive future blog posts, read through past blogs and find more about my books & fitness tips!

HAVING A BAD FACE DAY!

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Romans 12:12  (NIV)

In this blog post, I’m going describe the lessons God showed me in the middle of a mini trauma I experienced a couple of weeks ago. He has shown up countless times in the 25 years since I had my traumatic brain injury. I see Him in the faces and hands of family, friends and total strangers who step up to help me. So you might say I was kind of expecting it.

Lesson 1: Life is fragile. It can change without warning.

After my TBI, I of all people should know this. Perhaps the Lord was giving me a little reminder.

I rode my bike over to my hair stylist for a cut one morning. My balance will not allow me to ride a regular bicycle, so I ride an adult-size tricycle (trike). I was being extra-careful as I exited the shopping center because of uneven pavement. I wasn’t pedaling, but slowly gliding over the uneven terrain. When my wheels rolled over it, down I went!

 My bike is very stable, so when it falls over on its side, it does it in slow motion. I hit with my helmet first…then rolled to my unprotected face. Ouch! My lack of balance would not allow me to correct the falling bike. I sat there for a minute trying to regroup.

Lesson 2: Despite the evil in our world, others want to be kind and helpful.

A kind lady who was just parking her car asked if she could help me up. We got me…and the bike up. As I pedaled the mile ½ home, I could feel that I had scraped my face, but hadn’t seen it yet.

 

Lesson 3: Lean on loved ones who’ve been there for you throughout life.

I didn’t think it looked too bad, but immediately sent a text picture to John…my brother and primary care doctor. He told me to clean my face with alcohol, Neosporin the scrape on my eye and keep ice on my face for 24 hours. He also told me it would get worse before it got better. Boy, he was not kidding!

I inundated John, my sister Julie and my son Andrew with text pictures as the swelling & bruising continued. I won’t disturb you with the images! After waking from a nap, I caught an image of my face in the mirror. I freaked out! Please Lord! Help me find the good You’re showing me in this!

 I wished my mom was still alive to tell me how terrible my face looked and listen to the whole sordid story. Instead my dad called to hear the same story. Sometimes that’s all we need to feel better is someone to listen to us!

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Lesson 4: Do not be afraid to live your life.

Don’t you be afraid, for I am with you; don’t be dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you; yes, I will help you; yes, I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness.

Isaiah 41:10

I love riding my bike to my hair stylist through all the picturesque upper Highlands neighborhoods. My first thought was “Better call Uber from now on.” When I was calmer, I decided to keep riding my bike, but get off and walk it over the uneven pavement. I could hold onto the bike like a rolling walker. Now that was something I was used to!

My hair Stylist swears by Arnaca cream, a topical pain reliever to stop bruising. It was drizzling outside and I was scared to get back on the bike again…but improving the appearance of my face took precedence over my fear. So I rode up to the health food store with my mind repeating “Do not be afraid, for I am with you” over and over again. So my journey was most surely covered in prayer!

 

Lesson 5: Lean into God. He will show you what to do.

I cancelled my early morning class for fear of what my face would look like. My brother Andrew encouraged me NOT to cancel my afternoon class if I truly did feel as fine as I said I did. “Who cares what your face looks like? Show them how courageous you are!” I felt so much better after the class workout! And no one was put off by how my face looked. I was able to make their muscles burn, bruises, or no bruises!

I’m so glad I didn’t cancel the class. I was reminded again of how much I love coaching others. I forgot all about my face while teaching!

Lesson 6: Always find the humor in tough situations.

I received a text from my sister Julie asking for a picture of my improvement three days after my mishap. I sent her what I thought was pretty good evidence of my improvement. Her return text read…Still looks pretty brutal…and painful! I replied that I had no pain at all unless I pushed on it. Her reply was…

Cut me Mick! Cut me!  

I immediately thought…If Rocky Balboa could endure the swelling, then so can I!

 

Lesson 7:  Especially in affliction, you are never alone.

I’ve been able to live on my own for over 10 years now. My days are active enough that I really enjoy the quiet when I get home. On holidays and special occasions I feel driven to be with others though. This was one of those special occasions!

Once I got over the initial trauma of my bike spill, I just felt lonely and stupid for letting it happen in the first place. I knew uneven pavement was dangerous, but I did it anyway!

Ever since my TBI though, I’ve never felt truly alone. I feel like Jesus is right there with me all the time. Sometimes I can actually feel Him.

That’s the comfort I think we can all hang onto when we go through hard times. So next time we have a ‘bad face day’, cling to the One who will listen compassionately and help us to learn and keep moving forward.

The Lord DID bring something good out of my affliction. He gave me a new topic for my blog! 

 

Dear Lord,

Life happens to all of us…. The good AND the bad!

Sometimes we have to learn the lessons the hard way. You sure had me leaning into You during this ‘mini trauma’. Please remind us to do that especially during our difficult times.

Instead of focusing only on the current challenge, help us to see the lessons You’re trying to teach us through them.

Thank You for reminding us that You always love us…sometimes in spite of what’s happening in our life.

Once you are on mvarga.com, you can subscribe to receive future blog posts, read through past blogs and find more about my books & fitness tips!

REBOOT

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

Isaiah 43:18-19  (NIV)

I’m going to stay with the cyber theme that I used in my last blog post.  https://mvarga.com/life-inspiration/let-go-of-the-mouse/ Many times when our computer starts behaving in ways we can’t understand. “Why won’t it do what I’m asking? This is how I’ve always done it!” Many times we just need to reboot to get everything working properly again. Time to hit the restart button.

Our lives end up like that occasionally. We need a reset to get everything back on track. Are we spending all of our time and energy on an issue we can’t resolve ourselves? Are we racking our brain for a solution to a problem that’s beyond our control?

We do have a heavenly Father who loves us and wants the best for our life. Why not start with Him first? Ask Him for a reset in our career..our relationship..our body..our confidence..our mindset. It’s okay to ask. Just be sure to let go of the mouse as we wait for His direction.

He may be leading us to a different AND better way of doing things. We shouldn’t get stuck in the way we’ve ALWAYS done it!

 

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Romans 12:2  ( NIV)

Remember, it’s His perfect will…not ours. It’s also His perfect timing…not right now please!

We spend most of our lives waiting for something. We wait daily for traffic signals, cooking times, dinner reservations, friends to arrive… We relinquish our control of the timing, or it can drive us batty!

But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

Romans 8:25  (NIV)

We also wait for finances to change, relationships to change, circumstances to change. In order for those changes to happen, sometimes we need to reboot. We need to look at our situation with new eyes.

Just like a computer reboot, we need to approach our situation with a different outlook. What can we personally change to get the outcome we’re hoping for? Has our life become so routine that we don’t even look for ways to improve it?

In my blog post about being uncomfortable, https://mvarga.com/lifeinspiration/uncomfortable/ I talk about all change being uncomfortable, but also the only way to actually grow. We need to step outside of our comfort zone to see what the Lord has in store for us.

Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
    
and he will establish your plans.

Proverbs 16:3  (NIV)

 

Like everything that happens in our life, take it first to God in prayer. Maybe He wants to show us a different way we haven’t tried before. Or perhaps He’s just telling us to wait with hope and with our eyes on Him!

Many times that calls for a change in our perspective…a REBOOT!

 

Dear Lord,

We are all creatures of habit. Sometimes the way we do things isn’t working anymore. Give us the wisdom to look for ways we could change our routine (and thinking).

 Just because life isn’t happening to our specific needs and desires DOESN’T mean it’s no longer doing as it’s supposed to.

Give us the courage to try different ways to arrive at our designated finish line.

 

Once you are on mvarga.com, you can subscribe to receive future blog posts, read through past blogs and find more about my books & fitness tips!

LET GO OF THE MOUSE!

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.

2 Corinthians 3:5  (NIV)

 

I have to tell you a story about my friend, Joe. I call him my computer pro! Over 10 years ago, a thunderstorm caused my computer to crash. A friend recommended Joe to save the day and rebuild all the computer files I thought I had lost. Computer work is often a long, laborious task. In the process of saving all my data, Joe and I became fast friends.

At that time, I was very computer illiterate. I sent and responded to emails. That was it. I’m assuming Joe felt bad for me that I had this wonderful machine that I was using only 10% of its’ ability. Joe gave me his phone and email encouraging me to call whenever I had questions.

Over the years, Joe has spent countless hours at my PC in an attempt to make things easier for me. Then a few years ago, he & his wife moved to Nashville, TN. That’s when he introduced me to Team Viewer. By using this program, Joe could get on my computer remotely and use my mouse to navigate wherever he needed to go.

The computer mouse controls any actions on the computer. While Joe was on my PC, I was always grabbing the mouse to show him what I had done. It actually became kind of comical! I’m trying to help you Mary. LET GO OF THE MOUSE!

How many times have we done the same thing with God? We plead for help, as we continue doing what we’ve always done. We expect the Lord to magically step in to make it all better for us. Like the opening scripture alludes, our competence comes from the Lord. Many times that requires a change in our own behavior and outlook.

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.  Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror  and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

James 1:22 -25  (NIV)

We say we want God to show us a better way but are we willing to make a change in our attitude or our actual lifestyle? It may be uncomfortable for awhile. See my blog post https://mvarga.com/life-inspiration/uncomfortable/.

 

Uncomfortable does not mean bad. We need to embrace what the Lord is trying to show us. Ask Him how He wants to make it comfortable and routine in our life.

 

Maybe the life change we want will NOT make us uncomfortable. We’re just not sure how to go about it. Talk to the experts. Do some investigative reading. Then be sure to cover both those plans with prayer.

 

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  (NIV)

God usually asks us to let go of our control (or lack there-of!) in situations we encounter. He wants to show us a better way. Whether it’s a relationship, a career goal or a physical issue, give it to God first. Pray! Pray! Pray!

Then be sure to praise Him for putting people in our lives that will help us to let go of the mouse!

 

Dear Lord,

Here we go again…trying to control everything ourselves! Thank You for Your infinite patience as we turn away from You, trying to do it all on our own.

Help us to trust Your love for us. You may take us down an uncomfortable path. Remind us that You know what we do not know… Thank You for leading us to the right path by placing people in our lives to help us.

 

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WASHING FEET

When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them.

John 13:12  (NIV)

We are still right in the midst of the Easter season, so I will continue my blog post on serving others. Before His death and resurrection, Jesus shared a final meal with His disciples. And the last lesson He taught them was how they could serve others in simple, day-to-day actions.

Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 

John 13:14-15  (NIV)

Jesus was certainly in a position of power in the eyes of His apostles. Showing that humble act of serving others was certainly not expected, but gave all His apostles a perfect example of how He wanted them to serve others.

Washing feet is something odd to us in the 21st century. However, in the days that Jesus lived, there were no automobiles. People got around by walking on the very dusty roads, and had to wash their feet before they entered someone’s home. Washing your feet was an expected courtesy.

Why don’t we try to imitate Jesus by washing each others’ feet? Just how are we supposed to do that?…by doing simple acts of kindness that can make their life a little easier!

Think simple! Open the door for someone. Let someone in front of you in traffic. Let them in front of you at the grocery store. That would be washing their feet.

Don’t we appreciate that when someone does it for us? Now we can “pay it forward.” It feels good to help someone…doesn’t it?

If we take that a step further… volunteer to accompany someone somewhere. Bring them something they can use…and show them how to use it! It doesn’t have to be a friend…but we may make one!

In my last blog post, https://mvarga.com/life-inspiration/how-can-we-serve/, I talked about NOTICING and PAYING ATTENTION to others. Isn’t that the same as washing their feet?

We all want to be noticed for the good things we do. So pay attention! When we see someone helping another…let them know we noticed. They’ll be more inclined to do it again for someone else. Isn’t that the way we’re all built?

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Colossians 3:12  (NIV)

 

 Dear Lord,

We live in a confusing and conflicted world.

Help us to renew our pledge for showing love and compassion for all human beings. May we all strive to find ways we can help those around us.

There is no longer the need to wash our feet after walking outdoors. Help us to look for ways to assist those around us with simple daily tasks.

May they see You as we try to simply lighten their daily load.

 

 

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How Can We Serve?

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.

John 14:12 (NIV)

 

Can we really do the works of the Lord in the 21st century? We may not be able to perform miracles, but we can, like Jesus, be kind and compassionate and helpful to others.

He smiles on all the ways that we offer help to others. The Lord asks us to use our time and our talent for the service of others. Of course that includes our financial talent, but if we’re lacking in those resources, what other talents do we have that could be of assistance?

Writing a check is one thing (and certainly needed!), but giving of our own personal time and using our abilities to help someone else gives a warm feeling all over!

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

1Peter 4:10  (NIV)

Not sure what to offer…or to whom? Think of the abilities we have that could be used to help others free of charge. Who do we see struggling to manage affairs with just their own resources & abilities? Do we have a talent that we usually get paid for or that comes very easily to us that we could just offer to someone in need? That’s surely a way to serve!

I keep remembering a song that we often sang in church when I was growing up. I can’t remember the name of it, but the chorus was…

Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers…That you do unto me.

 

Perhaps we don’t have the funds or extraordinary capabilities to share with others. That needn’t stop us from serving in the way Jesus did when He was here on earth.

Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people

Ephesians 6:7

We all have busy lives filled with appointments and tasks we need to complete. Try to take some time everyday just to NOTICE someone. It doesn’t have to include a lengthy conversation. (They’re probably just as busy as we are.) Did they get a new haircut? Lose a few pounds? Or better yet, comment on how well they’re handling something. “I don’t know how you do it!”

Others like to be noticed. Don’t you? In that way, we are serving them by making them feel good about themselves and inspiring them to use their gift. Try paying attention and commenting to someone who’s a stranger. What were they doing that you wish you were better at…that you admire? That’s what Jesus did. He just paid attention to people.

We can ask the Lord to give us a servant’s heart. Unlike my physical disabilities, we can’t always perceive what others are struggling with. Many times they don’t want us to know.

Unfortunately, as human beings we have a natural tendency toward selfishness…so we need God’s help to put others’ needs ahead of our own. Contemplate every day what we could do to make someone else’s life a little easier…or make them feel a little better about themselves.

The ultimate gift we can give to serve others is to pray for them! As the survivor of a traumatic brain injury, I’ve seen the outcome of others’ prayers in the last 20+ years. I believe these prayers have truly increased my faith & trust in how God is working in my life. No…I have not received a miraculous healing. Instead I’ve been given a faith that keeps me always hopeful that God will use the circumstances of my life in a positive way…so that I may always be able and ready to serve others.

 

Dear Lord,

Please give us a heart to serve others. It’s so easy to focus just on our own needs and those of our family.

Help us to use our gifts and resources to serve the good of all the souls You’ve put in our path. Give us the wisdom to know where You’re calling us to help others.

 

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