Midday Connection

A safe place to process your story.

Archive for the month “June, 2013”

Listener blog: Just Say “Thank You”

I’m going out on a limb here. This won’t sit well with some of you, but it needs to be said.

Sometimes we need to respond to others with a simple “thank you.”

I have cringed so many times when trying to encourage someone. Perhaps they sang a song. They recited a poem. Whatever.  I’d approach them and try handing them my gift. A compliment wrapped in beautiful paper with a shiny bow.

I just wanted to bless them with my gift, like they blessed me with theirs. But instead, they refused my gift.  No, they weren’t obvious, putting their hands up in protest. They just quietly handed it back, stating four words I’ve heard over and over: “It was the Lord.”

Now before you pick up proverbial stones to throw at me, hear me out.  I am NOT opposed to giving God glory. It is one of my favorite things to do. I know that without him we can do nothing. God tells us that in John 15:5.  Everything we are is from him. Every good gift is from above. James 1:17.  It’s just that sometimes people stand behind their insecurities thinking they are wearing humility.

A Bible teacher once told me, “Humility isn’t crouching down, trying to look humble. It’s standing to your fullest height next to someone mighty.”  God does give us gifts. But we still decide whether to display those gifts, or hide them.

Let me challenge you. Next time someone approaches you after you perform in any way. And they tell you how it blessed them. Smile and just say, “Thank you.”

Just take the gift.

pic of Anne PetersonAnne Peterson is a poet, speaker, an author of 42 Bible Studies and 25 articles with Christianbiblestudies.com. In addition, she has written devotions for Trochia.org. Anne recently published her book, Real Love: Guaranteed to Last and is presently working on a book about her sister, a victim of domestic violence. Anne resides in Peoria, Illinois with her husband of 37 years, Michael. If you see Anne smiling it’s probably because she’s spending time with her two grandson’s Jude and Charlie or maybe she’s holding her new granddaughter, Ruthie. To find out more information about Anne, go to www.annepeterson.com.

Midday blog: A Fast from Negative Thinking

“Fast from negative thinking.”

That’s what my new Doctor advised as she ran down my new list of medical “do’s and don’t’s.” I understood the part about eating right and exercising, but fasting from negative thinking?  She sent a follow up letter, and there it was again, “Fast from negative thinking.” Seriously? Is that even medical?

My mom used to call out Philippians 4:8 before we left for school. After a while it was so predictable that my attitude became, “Yeah, yeah, mom.” But with a lot of stress this year and a slip toward the blues, I’ve searched out that verse again. How can it help me to fast from negative thoughts that occupy so much of my day? There’s a lot I want to curse these days. The early Christians in Philippi struggled too.

“Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to                curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you     into his most excellent harmonies.” (Philippians 4:8, 9 MSG)

Fasting asks us to refrain from something that gives pleasure in order to open up space for some other goodness.  Giving up sugar and keeping up with exercising sounds easier than monitoring my mind for negative thoughts.  But how will I be able to more fully know that God loves me and is caring for my troubles out of His grace-filled character, when my mind is teeming with all that is maddening, unjust, irritating, unfair, disappointing?  The Doctor says…it’s time to make room for something else.

“Fasting reveals the things that control us.”
— Richard Foster

Melinda SchmidtMelinda Schmidt is a graduate of Moody Bible Institute and holds a Broadcasting/Bible degree from Calvary Bible College. She has served with Moody Radio since 1980 in various hosting capacities. Married with two young adult children, Melinda lives outside Chicago, loves reading, developing her creative interests and hopes to be a life-long learner.

Listener blog: I Deserve It!

We live in a culture of entitlement. Whether it’s being healthy, having nice clothes, not having to wait too long in line-ups, taking  holidays to exotic places, living a stress-free life,  having a marriage where we always get what we want… it seems that nowadays people not only want these things, they almost demand them. I think there’s an epidemic of me-itis going around. And I’ve been infected.

What if we lived like every day was a gift? Nothing we deserved  but truly a gift. Every simple thing. Waking up in a warm bed with a roof over my head. I’m alive. Waking up next to my husband – he’s alive and he loves me. A fridge that has food in it, even though the fridge seems too small.  A washing machine that works (even though it’s probably over 20 years old and it’s not a fancy schmancy front loader). Carrying around extra weight (hey, I get to eat more than I need!). An imperfect life reminds me that  I need God.

I really believe the most unhappy people are those who only think of themselves and what they want.  It really is more blessed to give than to receive, even though it seems backwards. People who get everything they want  and spend their life acquiring it are not really the most satisfied people. These are truths I must regularly remind myself of.

When I start feeling a ‘winter of discontent’ coming on, I need to remind myself of this prayer:

Lord,

Give me enough food to live on,
neither too much nor too little.
If I’m too full, I might get independent,
saying, ‘God? Who needs him?’
If I’m poor, I might steal
and dishonor the name of my God.”

Lord, thanks for all you give me.

aneta coulterAneta Coulter has been married almost 31 years and has 4 young adult children and one wonderful daughter in law. She works as an online support teacher  in Kamloops, BC and has enjoyed blogging in one place or another since August 2005.  She enjoys reading, writing, knitting, dragonboating (a new sport for her!),  time spent with her family, coffee with girlfriends,  and being involved in her church and the local Pregnancy Care Centre. She is  thankful to God for the big and little blessings around her and is learning to trust Him with her cares, living one day at a time.  She has a blog called Maybe It’s Just Me…

Midday blog: OK with Ordinary

We’re in the part of the church calendar that’s referred to as “Ordinary Time.” This is the time of year where we primarily live the ordinary Christian life. I’ve been thinking about ordinariness a lot lately. With books like Radical and Crazy Love calling us to live lives that are different, I’ve wondered what the Christian life looks like for the “average” Christian. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m ok with ordinary. Ordinary for the Christian will look different than for the non-Christian, yet I believe that there are some similarities. The extraordinary aspects of our lives, I believe, is demonstrated in our love for one another and how that love is exhibited.

Paul provides encouragement towards this kind of life in 1 Thessalonians where he says “Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you brothers, to do this more and more, and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.” (4:9-12)

Josh Klos is a graduate of Moody Bible Institute with a degree in Radio Communications, he has served as the engineer for Midday Connection since 2010. He is also a part of the volunteer College & 20’s group staff at his church and enjoys spending time outside, as well as at libraries, bookstores and various coffee shops. He’s busy these days with graduate school, where he studying communication and culture.

To learn more about Josh and read his blog, please visit his website.

Guest blog: My Mess, His Message

This week we’re bringing you an encore Midday blog post from Marla Taviano:

I took an extra-deep breath and walked into the restaurant, my husband and our three daughters trailing behind me.

“How many in your party?” the hostess asked, her kind smile tinged with pity. There was no hiding my red-rimmed eyes and tear-streaked cheeks.

I half-smiled back. “Our party is waiting for us.”

“Oh, yes! Follow me!” She led us to the back of the restaurant where four women (and one lone dude) were already seated.

My sweet Aunt Vicki, wife of my radio station CEO uncle, gave me a huge hug, and whispered “I love you” in my ear. I had texted her en route, so she knew we had just come from a rough counseling session and that I had cried the entire hour-long ride to the restaurant.

She introduced me to a gal named Shelly Lopez, sound engineer Josh, and the darling co-hosts of Midday Connection, Melinda Schmidt and Anita Lustrea. The purpose of our meeting? A pre-interview of sorts for the next day’s live taping of the show.

Shelly had to leave early to teach a class, so Melinda and Anita chatted with her first while I worked on my salad and prayed I’d be able to hold it together when it was my turn.

Well. So much for that.

I decided it wasn’t worth trying to fool Anita and Melinda into thinking everything in my life was hunky-dory and that I’d be a perfect guest on their show. I just laid it all out there, tears and all.

And if they were worried about me ruining the broadcast with my instability, they didn’t show it. They empathized and encouraged me and said things like, “This is good. We don’t need people who have everything all together. That’s not real. Let’s be real. Just share your heart, sweetie.”

I could’ve kissed them.

So, that’s what the interview was. Me, in all my mess, being real, sharing my heart. And praying like crazy that God, in all his awesomeness, would work out a way to get a whole bunch of glory through my junk.

(You can hear the October 10, 2012 program with Marla on the Midday Connection website.)


Marla Taviano is a published author, speaker and blogger. Her biggest passion is loving the poor, seeking justice, and sharing the hope of the gospel–in her city and around the globe. She and her husband and their three young daughters recently returned from a 5-week trip to Cambodia where they loved on orphans, helped fight human trafficking, and experienced God in amazing ways. Marla and her husband, Gabe, live in Columbus, Ohio and have three daughters—eleven-year-old Olivia Joy, ten-year-old Ava Marie, and six-year-old Nina Gabriel.  For more information, please visit her website.

Midday blog: Otherwise

I’ve had this poem rolling around in my mind for the past few days… so, I thought I’d share it.

~~

“Otherwise”
by Jane Kenyon

I got out of bed on two strong legs.
It might have been otherwise.

I ate cereal, sweet milk, ripe, flawless peach.
It might have been otherwise.

I took the dog uphill to the birch wood.
All morning I did the work I love.
At noon I lay down with my mate.
It might have been otherwise.

We ate dinner together at a table with silver candlesticks.
It might have been otherwise.

I slept in a bed in a room with paintings on the walls,
And planned another day just like this day.
But one day, I know, it will be otherwise.

~~

What are your thoughts after reading the poem?  I feel like my eyes are opened to the seemingly small gifts I receive every day.

Lori NeffLori Neff is the senior producer of Midday Connection and editor/contributor for Daily Seeds: From Women Who Walk in Faith and Tending the Soul (Moody Publishers). She grew up in a small town in Ohio, spending more time outside in nature than inside. Lori is a graduate of Moody Bible Institute. Her interests include art, humanitarian aid efforts, cooking, gardening, coffee, thinking, learning and spending time with her husband, John (and their three fiesty cats). For more information and her blog please visit Lori’s website.

Guest blog: Astonished By the Lengths God Will Go To Reveal Jesus

 Midday Connection is re-airing a series on Pursuing God’s Beauty from June 6-July 18 where you can join Anita Lustrea and a small group as they go through the Gospel of John.  This week you’re invited to dive into John 1-3 and the stories of those who encountered Jesus in the Bible.  Psst… It’s not too late to join us! Click here to learn more. 

I don’t remember the first time I went forward to the altar to commit my life to Jesus, but I do remember going forward many, many times. Sometimes the invitation to follow Jesus was issued in the context of the goodness and love of God, and I’d run for the altar. Other times the invitation to follow Jesus was issued in the context that if we didn’t become followers of Jesus, we’d have the consequences of hell. And I’d also run for the altar—but those times faster!

In fact, I went forward so many times, I remember one day a loving teaching put her hand on my shoulder and pulled me aside. “Margaret, do you know that you only need to forward once to become a follower of Jesus?”

I had no idea.

She began to explain the truths that my parents had discovered years before, namely, that salvation is a gift given to us through the death and resurrection of Jesus. She helped me understand that salvation is not just being saved from the consequences of sin but being saved for relationship with Jesus. That it was not something I had to keep running to the altar for every week. This gentle teacher opened my eyes to the person of Jesus and helped me to encounter him in a more meaningful way.

As I grew older, Jesus began revealing Himself to me as I’d read through the Scripture. My faith was sparked through stories of other people who shared how they met and encountered Jesus and the transformational miracles he’d done in their lives.

We all have different stories, unique portraits of the ways we first encountered Jesus. Each of us is a mini-portrait of the beautiful work of God. Our stories are not meant to be tucked away but put on display for the world to see.

How did you first encounter the person of Jesus?

Margaret FeinbergMargaret Feinberg is a popular Bible teacher and speaker at churches and leading conferences such as Catalyst, Thrive and Extraordinary Women. Her books and Bible studies have sold over 600,000 copies and received critical acclaim and extensive national media coverage from CNN, the Associated Press, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post and more. Margaret currently lives in Morrison, Colorado, with her husband, Leif and their superpup, Hershey. Follow her on Facebook (Margaret Feinberg) and Twitter (@MaFeinberg).

Midday blog: Walking the Labyrinth

When I saw a labyrinth for the first time, it reminded me of the corn mazes created in the corn fields of Iowa or Central Illinois.  The difference, though, is a maze purposely makes it hard to find your way.  A labyrinth has only one path so there are no tricks to it and no dead ends.  It is a way to be purposeful about what is happening in our spiritual lives.

I suppose one could walk a labyrinth mindlessly, but the purpose is to walk it in a mindful way and with an open heart.

labryinth

Google labyrinths and I’m sure you’ll find one in your area.  I own a finger labyrinth and it serves a similar purpose. As I take my finger through the circular diagram, I pray a simple prayer. Something from scripture like, “Be Still and Know that I Am God,” or “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want,” or “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.”  It is a way to focus my heart and mind on Jesus in a very loud world that wo
Engaging in new spiritual practices can help us reframe our relationship with God in a fresh new way so that we can connect at a deeper level. As our spiritual walk is transformed, so is our influence in the world. uld have me turn my focus many other places.  As I either walk the labyrinth, or do the finger labyrinth, I find the focus I need, the discipline I need to move forward in a deeper time with God.

Anita LustreaAnita Lustrea is a graduate of Moody Bible Institute and has worked for Moody Radio since 1984. She is a sought-after conference and retreat speaker and loves to connect with Midday Connection listeners face-to-face. Anita lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband, Mike, and her son, John. To learn more about Anita, her speaking schedule and her blog, please visit her website.

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