First Steps – January 14, 2019

Additional words to live by according to Francis De Sales, The Devout Life:

“Try not to complain.  Egotism always thinks the injuries are worse than they are.  Most importantly, never complain to someone who is quick-tempered and cranky.  If you absolutely must protest to someone in order to correct an offense or to recover your peace of mind, then find a calm person who really loves God.  For the hot-tempered person, instead of helping your situation, will stir up even more trouble.  Instead of pulling the thorn out of your foot, that person will drive it in even deeper.”

What would your life look like it if everyone complained less?  Often when we complain, we make things worse.  De Sales mentioned something worth remembering which is that if we do complain, then complain to someone who is not quick-tempered or cranky.  Their response might make things worst.  Non-anxiousness breeds non-anxiousness!  Cultivate a non-anxious presence.

This week’s reading:

  • Monday – John 21
  • Tuesday – 1 John 1
  • Wednesday – 1 John 2
  • Thursday – 1 John 3
  • Friday – ​1 John 4
Please Pray for:
  • The New Year 2019 and all those who will grow in Christ this year
  • St Paul’s upcoming Marriage Retreat
  • Our Nation and Leaders

First Steps – January 7, 2019

Words to live by according to Francis De Sales from his book, The Devout Life:

“If you are caught in a fault you must certainly humble yourself and admit your responsibility. If you are the target of an unjust accusation, politely deny your guilt. You owe it to both truth and your neighbor. If you continue to be accused after you have made a true and legitimate explanation, don’t let that bother you. There is no need to try to force anyone to agree with your explanation. After you discharge your duty to truth, then discharge your duty to humility. Try not to complain.”

I think De Sales is correct in his encouragement to humble oneself and admit one’s responsibility when there is fault. Learn to not blame shift or make excuses. However, if another continues to accuse unjustly, there might not be anything else one can do but move on after you discharge your duty to truth.  Behind his teaching is authenticity.  Be real—Don’t fake it.

This week’s reading:

  • Monday – John 16
  • Tuesday – John 17
  • Wednesday – John 18
  • Thursday – John 19
  • ​Friday – John 20

Please Pray for:

  • The New Year 2019 and all those who will grow in Christ this year
  • St Paul’s upcoming Marriage Retreat
  • Our Nation and Leaders

First Steps – December 31, 2018

The Scottish phrase “for auld lang syne” is loosely translated as “for old times’ sake.”  The speaker in this poem is hoping to preserve the oldest, most important relationships in his/her life.  In our day, we sing this reflective poem normally as one year is ending and another is beginning.  As time moves forward, we want to value the things in our life that bring the most joy and fulfillment.

As one year folds into another, what are those things that bring you the most joy?  My guess is that it isn’t things but people.  Maybe the better question is who are those people that bring you the most joy? At the same time, when is the last time you expressed your appreciation to them?  When is the last time you told them that you loved them?

Don’t let another year pass without expressing the joy you receive from them.  It doesn’t take much to share those thoughts; and yet, it can have a profound impact on their life and your relationship.

 

This week’s reading:

  • Monday – John 11
  • Tuesday – John 12
  • Wednesday – John 13
  • Thursday – John 14
  • ​Friday – John 15

 

Please Pray for:
Ukraine Mission Team as they travel – They return home the week of January 4, 2019.
You might know I serve at a church that has a long-standing ministry in Ukraine. I’m delighted my church serves in this capacity. Some of you constantly ask what one can do to help this ministry. First, please pray for Ukraine, their citizenry—especially their orphans. Second, if you would like to financially aid this ministry, below is a link that lists some of the needs for the orphans we support.

St. Paul Ukraine Mission Ministry