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REDUCE STRESS DURING A PANDEMIC

Our upcoming virtual seminar on the stress and affects COVID-19 is having on our nation will be on December 12th from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm (EST).


FIVE medical and mental health professionals will offer tips and techniques to de-escalate tension in the home and identify stress in children due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Two professionals have Ph.Ds. in Psychiatry and Psychology; one is a counselor; another is a pediatrician; and one is an emergency M.D.


There will be a One-Hour Q&A after the lecture, so prepare your questions in advance.


Come hear these professionals for FREE on December 12th from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm (EST).


To access the seminar on December 12th, go to: https://www.facebook.com/greatestcommand/


Support us by sharing this opportunity with your family and friends. It’s not often we get to experience such good quality professional help on this level. The death toll in the United States is rising, and will only get worse, right in the middle of the holidays.


Join us for this virtual seminar and take advantage of these services for FREE.

If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Donna B. Comeaux

Living the Word Through the Living Word

“Perseverance must finish its work so that you may

be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

James 1:4 (NIV)

 

If you prefer to listen to this lesson, click on this link:

https://fccdl.in/RW9tS7AFRJ

 

To one degree or another, we’ll remember 2020 as the year of tribulation. Each of us can name several instances where we’ve been tested during this pandemic. People are experiencing food shortages. Money is low. And many have lost their jobs, and may never get them back. People have fallen ill. Too many have died. Everyone has been affected in one way or another. All of us are physically, emotionally, and spiritually separated from family and friends. Day by day, we’re growing weary and anxious to come together.

In our walk with Christ Jesus, we sometimes fail to recognize he feels our pain … he’s walked our walk … and he knows exactly what it’s like to be alone and abandoned. Whether we feel it or not, God is with us, just as he was with Christ as Christ hung on the cross. That’s a spiritual fact. A fact we affirm with “Amen” when it’s preached from the pulpit on Sunday mornings. We affirm it by tapping our feet when it’s echoed from a songbook. We affirm this spiritual fact by nodding our heads when someone speaks these words in our Bible class. But when it comes to living out the word through the living word, our faith waivers. Hardships come and we doubt. We forget our hurt is only solved through Christ. We forget that in spite of how we feel or what we’re going through, we are called to stand firm and to Live the Word through the Living Word.

Why do cares of the world easily overtake us and cause us to waver from God?

Could it be we’re sometimes treating God’s word as an insurance policy? Leaving it neatly inside a drawer, hidden away in some special place, easily accessible in times of need? Let me remind you:  God’s Word is a love story—a story of reconciliation. His love letters should be read daily, diligently, prayerfully. Occasionally, we spend too much time from the loving words of the Father, forgetting how much he loves us, letting too much time come between us and the Holy One, unaware that the longer we go without reading his love letters, the farther we drift away. It’s like going through the day without eating. When we finally sit down for a meal, we gorge it because we’re so famished.

In the midst of desperation, we divulge God’s word in large quantities like a famished person who hasn’t eaten for days—looking for a quick fix—failing to discern the word, failing to allow his word to marinate. When our lives finally calm down, we realize how exhausted we’ve become. We pull away and rest, unaware weeks have passed … months … apart from the Word until the next crisis.

And there begins the cycle of our lives.

This is not what God calls us to do. He does not call you to live in desperation.

God calls us to meditate on his word. Not gorge it like animals. He wants us to think on it … apply it … be thankful for it … be in prayer about it … ask for ways to share it with others … to live out the word through the living word. To be specific, we are to mimic Jesus … mimic our forefathers who lived by faith … to wait upon the Lord with patience and diligence.

With my husband’s permission, I want to share his story so you can better understand what I mean.

Not too long ago, my husband’s duties changed at work. He’s not a man of words, and he almost hates the English language. English was never his favorite subject in high school. He was more of a math whiz; now a project engineer by trade. In his new duties at work, he has been asked to write large amounts of narratives to summarize the status of on-going government projects.

Because he clearly understands his dilemma, he began spending more time in deep prayer. Shortly after his prayer time, he goes in our second bedroom which we’ve transformed into an office. He works on one side of the room, and I work on the other. After one of his conference calls, I noticed his heightened frustration with people who wouldn’t do their jobs properly. Within days, he became visibly stressed, was restless in his sleep, if he slept at all. He’d often tell me, “I don’t know if I can do this. I’m not a good writer. There’s too much to learn in too short of time.” I asked him, “Have you prayed about it?” His reply was, “All the time.”

Ladies, “What’s wrong with this picture?” Did God not say,

“But when (you) ask, (you) must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.” (James 1:6-8)

I looked at my husband in the eyes and recalled the story of Noah … how Noah spent much time physically laboring to build the ark.

I recalled the story of Joseph – how a young seventeen-year-old was sold into slavery by his own family and plunged into a foreign culture; cast among a people who spoke a different language. I stressed to my husband how Joseph served his masters as if serving God Almighty, served prisoners in the same way he wanted to be served … doing all this regardless of his circumstances. And, I would be at fault here, if I did not highlight Joseph’s closeness with God during his time of trials and tribulations. Though he was hurt and alone, he didn’t feed his anger. He didn’t whine over lost possessions or for what he perceived as the “good life.” And let me also say this:  Joseph followed God’s lead without ever understanding why God allowed this to happen to him. Joseph didn’t piece it together until later … much later.

If you think your heartaches and pain will come from the world, you might need to rethink this. Your family (or whomever you consider family) can devastate you if you let them.

Joseph is you—devastated by your brothers and sisters. Joseph is me—abandoned, but not alone. And like all of us, he faced hardships, he faced loneliness, he faced false accusations (Potiphar’s wife), he faced people forgetting about him (the cupbearer – Genesis 40:23).

By the time I recited this biblical history to my husband, he shook his head and said, “I got it.”

But … I sat and wondered … did he really understand?

Later that same day, the truth was revealed. My husband’s co-worker telephoned and asked how he was doing. My husband replied, “I don’t know, man. I wish these people …”

I quickly interrupted the call by grunting, loudly. I spoke just as loud, by saying, “God is near. He hears. He will help you. Speak positively. Believe in the one who is able to save.”

After my husband’s call, I thought he would be angry that I interrupted him. But he stopped in front of my desk and said, “Thank you. I needed you to remind me and I appreciate it.”

Ladies, we are praying and reading our Bibles, hiding away in our closets, but sometimes we are “not” Living the Word Through the Living Word. Reading the word of God is of no benefit if we do not do what it says. “We’re like a man who looks himself in the mirror, and walks away and forgets what he looks like.” (James 1:23-24) You and I must not be lazy, but be students of God’s Word. Under pressure, against our will, during hardships, in the middle of family strife, when demands on our time are high, we must still be obedient servants and submit to God’s commands.

What does submission to God look like?

Do you remember Abraham’s faith? Good! Now, you must mimic his faith. Although the odds are against you, you must climb that treacherous mountain in faith, JUST LIKE ABRAHAM. Abraham remembered God’s promise to make him a father of nations, and he believed God would bring his son, Isaac, up from the dead. JUST LIKE ABRAHAM, you must BELIEVE.

Again, I ask: What does submission to God look like?

A change of attitude — by “… counting it all joy … when we face trials and tribulations.” (James 1:2-3) This passage of scripture is calling you to look at your trials from a different perspective. Trials exist to perfect your faith. They don’t exist to sop up your tears. Neither should your trials pull up a chair so the two of you can have coffee to devise a plan to manipulate yourself out of your situation. Trials exist to make you wail. And in your wailing, you are to stand firm, cry out to God, hold tight to God’s word, BELIEVING God is able to help you withstand the forces against you. And once you have persevered through your trials, you become a stronger, more faithful, more steadfast child of God, who is in a better position to be an example to those around you.

You see,

“Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, and not lacking anything.” (James 1:4)

Let me ask you something: Have you ever met a strong Christian whose faith hasn’t been perfected by hardship?

Aren’t trials in our lives so perseverance can work its good work in you, so you can become mature, spiritual, and godly?

Without trials, there is no perfection of your faith. Without our faith being made perfect, we are no closer to God than the ungodly.

I understand … I get it. Some of us don’t want to be uncomfortable. You might be thinking: “Donna, you don’t understand what I’m going through. My husband won’t get up and go to church with me. It’s better I leave things alone. You see, Donna, my child is rebellious, and I’m doing good just to get him or her out of the door to school … to work. My mother … My family … none of them get along and they lean on me way too much.”

Is it not a fact that there’s always something aggravating and testing our faith, and causing us to stumble? Is it not better to be uncomfortable in our struggles and remain obedient in Christ Jesus who can save us, rather than be comfortable in our wickedness and die in our sins? Who wants an eternal death?

Be reminded—

Perseverance produces Maturity, Completeness – James 1:4

Don’t doubt – James 1:6

“Blessed is the man who perseveres … because he will receive a crown of life.” (James 1:12)

God’s mighty hand will raise us up and set us high on the mountaintops even though there is a calamity all around us. Psalm 91:7-10 reads:

“A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. If you say, ‘The Lord is my refuge,’ and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent.”

If this is too hard to believe, I want you to sit still for a moment and remember the last tragedy you experienced … the last debacle you encountered … the trouble with your job … the empty refrigerator … the last time you struggled to pay utilities … the last time you were abandoned by family and friends.

Remember that pain?

Now, as you think back, can you relate to Psalm 91:7-10? Let’s read it again,

“A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. If you say, ‘The Lord is my refuge,’ and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent.”

You believe it now? Can you also see our relationship with God is hinged on belief and faith? If you lack belief … pray to God for your unbelief. If you lack faith … pray God strengthens your faith.

In closing, please remember to act out what you hear and see in the living Word of God. Mimic the life of Christ, the examples of the apostles, the faith of our forefathers, your grandmother’s struggles, your momma’s faith. Change your attitude and learn to look forward to opportunities to persevere in your faith so it can be made perfect.

I have highlighted eight things to do and remember, but I’m out of time. You can find this list on my blog page at: www.awriterfirst.wordpress.com.

Very quickly, here are eight things to do and remember:

  1. Carve out 30 minutes a day to read the word of God. There are 24 hours in a day. Thirty minutes is exactly eight-tenths of a day. Is it really too much to ask to spend eight-tenths of your day with God?
  2. Each and every time you become panicky or afraid, read Psalm 91 over and over again until you have it memorized. Read it aloud. When your mind wanders, start over and read louder.
  3. Don’t let the world impose their wickedness on you. Remember, “…you are in the world, but not of the world.” (Romans 12:2)
  4. Pray without ceasing. (I Thessalonians 5:17)
  5. You must develop a sincere love for one another. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. (Romans 12:10)
  6. Stop engaging in foolish talk.
  7. Pray for those who don’t know the truth, for their end is near and it will be horrible to hear the wailing and gnashing of teeth. Their end cannot be UNdone.
  8. Don’t be hardheaded. LISTEN to the Holy Spirit and FOLLOW his lead.

Amen.

Thank you for allowing me this opportunity to share God’s word. May God continue to open your hearts to the truth and help you overcome the flesh so you can Live the Word Through the Living Word of God.

 

An encouraging video is below.

Donna B. Comeaux

 

Note: This is a Bible lesson I presented on the 8:00 p.m. Thursday Ladies Prayer Line on July 23, 2020.

If you would like to hear my lesson by telephone, dial:  (515) 604-9300; Access Code – 635154; Lesson #229

 

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel (Piano/Cello)

O Come, O Come Emmanuel

by The Piano Guys

 

A Sacrifice With A Purpose

At the beginning of each year, we have the good intention to achieve new and important goals.  But I can’t recall a time when I’ve intentionally given up anything to the point of death.  I’m not referring to the giving of my time, or putting extra money in a collection plate, or filling someone’s gas tank.  All of those things are within my power.  The type of sacrifice I’m speaking of is one that hurts through the marrow of your bones; a sacrifice you’ve chosen to perform that causes great spiritual and emotional anguish.

The one real life example that comes to mind is a situation one of our brothers is in today.  He’s been accused of stealing money from the church, but unbeknown to his accusers he and another brother are the ones who donated money to make needed repairs to the church building when the church didn’t have enough funds to pay for the repairs.  The accuser is threatening to take one of the brothers to court, claiming he’s been threatened with bodily harm.  Of course, there’s no basis for this accusation, but the accusation embellishes the accuser’s point so he can acquire sympathy and support from others.

 

The question is this:  Who will back down?  Who will deny themselves?  And how did things escalate to this point?

 

Testosterone is high and each man’s pride is at stake.  One saying:  “You better pray because I’m not backing down for anybody.”  The other saying:  “I’ve been at this church forever and there’s no way an outsider is gonna come in here and take over my church.”

 

Is it possible to clamp down on your pride and fall to your knees before the Lord and give him your burden?  What happens to us when we face encounters like this?  Are we so bent on getting our way that we lose focus on the Word of God?  Does it no longer matter what we’ve been taught by the scriptures?  As I await your comments to these questions, and perhaps the sharing of your own stories in similar situations in the church, read about another sacrifice that was made, one that, despite all the noise, was given out of a unimpeded freewill to save others.

 

John Griffith, the Bridge Operator

(Originally posted on CRI at http://www.equip.org/hank_speaks_out/john-griffith-the-bridge-operator/ )

This is a story that takes place in the roaring 20’s in Oklahoma:

 

John Griffith was in his early twenties. He was newly married and full of optimism. Along with his lovely wife, he had been blessed with a beautiful baby. He was living the American dream. But then came 1929—the Great Stock Market Crash—the shattering of the American economy that devastated John’s dreams. The winds that howled through Oklahoma were strangely symbolic of the gale force that was sweeping away his hopes and his dreams. And so, brokenhearted, John packed up his few possessions, and with his wife and his little son, headed East in an old Ford Model A. They made their way to the edge of the mighty Mississippi River and found a job tending one of the great railroad bridges there.

 

Day after day, John would sit in the control room and direct the enormous gears of the immense bridge over the mighty river. He would look out wistfully as bulky barges and splendid ships glided gracefully under his elevated bridge. Each day, he looked on sadly as those ships carried with them his shattered dreams and his visions of far-off places and exotic destinations.

 

It wasn’t until 1937 that a new dream began to be birthed in John’s heart. His young son was now eight years old and John had begun to catch a vision for a new life, a life in which Greg, his little son, would work shoulder to shoulder with him. The first day of this new life dawned and brought with it new hope and fresh purpose. Excitedly, they packed their lunches and headed off towards the immense bridge.

 

Greg looked on in wide-eyed amazement as his Dad pressed down the huge lever that raised and lowered the vast bridge. As he watched, he thought that his father must surely be the greatest man alive. He marveled that his Dad could singlehandedly control the movements of such a stupendous structure.

 

Before they knew it, Noon time had arrived. John had just elevated the bridge and allowed some scheduled ships to pass through. And then taking his son by the hand, they headed off towards lunch.

 

As they ate, John told his son in vivid detail stories about the marvelous destinations of the ships that glided below them. Enveloped in a world of thought, he related story after story, his son hanging on his every word.

 

Then, suddenly, in the midst of telling a tale about the time that the river had overflowed its banks, he and his son were startled back to reality by the shrieking whistle of a distant train. Looking at his watch in disbelief, John saw that it was already 1:07. Immediately he remembered that the bridge was still raised and that the Memphis Express would be by in just minutes.

 

In the calmest tone he could muster he instructed his son “Stay put.” Quickly, he leaped to his feet, he jumped onto the catwalk. As the precious seconds flew by, he ran at full-tilt to the steer ladder leading into the control house.

 

Once in, he searched the river to make sure that no ships were in sight. And then, as he had been trained to do, he looked straight down beneath the bridge to make certain nothing was below. As his eyes moved downward, he saw something so horrifying that his heart froze in his chest. For there, below him in the massive gearbox that housed the colossal gears that moved the gigantic bridge, was his beloved son.

 

Apparently Greg had tried to follow his dad but had fallen off the catwalk. Even now he was wedged between the teeth of two main cogs in the gear box. Although he appeared to be conscious, John could see that his son’s leg had already begun to bleed. Then an even more horrifying thought flashed through his mind. Lowering the bridge would mean killing the apple of his eye.

 

Panicked, his mind probed in every direction, frantically searching for solutions. In his mind’s eye, he saw himself grabbing a coiled rope, climbing down the ladder, running down the catwalk, securing the rope, sliding down towards his son, pulling him back to safety. Then in an instant, he would move back down towards the control lever and thrust it down just in time for the oncoming train.

 

As soon as these thoughts appeared, he realized the futility of his plan. Instantly he knew there just wouldn’t be enough time. Frustration began to beat on John’s brow, terror written over every inch of his face. His mind darted here and there, vainly searching for yet another solution.

 

His agonized mind considered the four hundred people that were moving inextricably closer and closer to the bridge. Soon the train would come roaring out of the trees with tremendous speed, but this was his son…his only son…his pride…his joy.

 

He knew in a moment there was only one thing he could do. He knew he would have to do it. And so, burying his face under his left arm, he plunged down the lever. The cries of his son were quickly drowned out by the relentless sound of the bridge as it ground slowly into position. With only seconds to spare, the Memphis Express—with its 400 passengers—roared out of the trees and across the mighty bridge.

 

John Griffith lifted his tear-stained face and looked into the windows of the passing train. A businessman was reading the morning newspaper. A uniformed conductor was glancing nonchalantly as his large vest pocket watch. Ladies were already sipping their afternoon tea in the dining cars. A small boy, looking strangely like his own son, pushed a long thin spoon into a large dish of ice cream. Many of the passengers seemed to be engaged in idle conversation or careless laughter.

 

No one even looked his way. No one even cast a glance at the giant gear box that housed the mangled remains of his hopes and his dreams.

 

In anguish he pounded the glass in the control room. He cried out “What’s the matter with you people? Don’t you know? Don’t you care? Don’t you know I’ve sacrificed my son for you? What’s wrong with you?”

 

No one answered. No one heard. No one even looked. Not one of them seemed to care. And then, as suddenly as it had happened, it was over. The train disappeared moving rapidly across the bridge and out over the horizon.

 

Even now as I retell this story, I’m moved by emotion. For this is but a faint glimpse of what the Father did in sacrificing his Son to atone for the sins of the world. Unlike the Memphis Express, however, an express that caught John Griffith by surprise, God in His great love and according to His sovereign will and purpose, determined to sacrifice his Son so that we might live. Not only so, but the consummate love of Christ is demonstrated in that He was not accidentally caught as was John’s son. Rather, He willingly sacrificed his life for the sins of mankind.

 

Well, the story of course doesn’t end there. Three days later, Jesus arose from the grave. For this reason, we celebrate throughout the year and particularly during Easter, the broken body, the shed blood, the mangled remains of our Savior with joy, because Jesus overcame death and the grave through His resurrection. Moreover, like Jesus, we too shall rise. You, I, John Griffith, his son, and those who believe, we will live forever with our resurrected Lord in Paradise Restored.

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This story was taken from The Christian Research Institute and can be found at:  http://www.equip.org/hank_speaks_out/john-griffith-the-bridge-operator/

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Keeping in mind God’s sacrifice for us, is it really so hard to give of yourself in order to serve or save others?  Is it not godly for us to suffer for what is right rather than escalating a situation and making it worse?  (I Peter 3:8-22)  And isn’t it moments like these that reveal who we really are in Christ Jesus?

 

What’s your agenda?  Are you willing to deny yourself for the cause of Christ Jesus?

 

by Donna B. Comeaux

 

Need another nudge toward forgiveness?

 

 

 

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