Don’t Be Afraid

Don’t Be Anxious

 

Dedicate Your Plans


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Text Added By Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Ed.D.

Hope and A Future


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Text on the photo by Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Ed.D.

Seven Thoughts to Help You Hang On

Let’s Hang On

We are hard-pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. — 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (NIV)

Seven Thoughts to Help You Hang On

Is life getting you down? Do you feel like you’re at the end of your rope? Here are seven thoughts from the Bible on how to hang on when you feel like you’re at the end of your rope.

Thought One: God Loves You

  • Don’t lose heart! – Therefore, since through God’s mercy, we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. — 2 Corinthians 4:1 (NIV)
  • I am what I am – But by the grace of God, I am what I am … — 1 Corinthians 15:10 (NIV)
  • It’s not who we are. It’s whose we are! – Remember, our performance does not give us our worth.
  • God’s grace gives us the power to start over. – Yet in all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. — Romans 8:37

Thought Two: Your Character and Integrity Matter

  • Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. — 2 Corinthians 4:2 (NIV)
  • We must have integrity.
  • We must have character.

Thought Three: It’s Not About You

  • For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. — 2 Corinthians 4:5 (NIV)
  • Your ego will only take you so far.

Thought Four: You Can’t Do It All

  • But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. — 2 Corinthians 4:7 (NIV)
  • We must pace ourselves.
  • Life is a journey, not a sprint.

Thought Five: Love, love, love.

  • All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. — 2 Corinthians 4:15 (NIV)

Thought Six: Refresh, Renew, Rest, and Revive.

  • Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. — 2 Corinthians 4:16 (NIV)
  • By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. – Genesis 2:2-3 (NIV)
  • Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. – Exodus 20:8-10
  • Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” – Mark 6:31 (NIV)

Thought Seven: Keep Your Eye on the Goal.

  • For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. — 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (NIV)
  • I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 3:14 (NIV)

Remember — You cannot create if you don’t face your troubles and hang on until you reach your goal.


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Going Out to Eat

Please enjoy my reading of the poem “Going Out to Eat.” Going Out to Eat was written in May 2013 in Estes Park, Colorado, and originally published in vox poetica Magazine on January 27, 2014. Annmarie Lockhart is the founder of vox poetica. Nathan Gunter is the current managing editor of vox poetica. I hope you enjoy listening to it as much as I did writing it.

Going Out to Eat

Sweetheart, do you have a preference for where we go out to eat?
…..No. Anywhere you want is ok with me, dear.
Great. There’s a McDonald’s. They have a senior coffee discount.
…..Oh, but look! There’s a Subway. I think that would be better.
OK. Subway it is. I’ll let you off at the door and then park the car.

Do you see anything on the menu you prefer?
…..No. Anything you want is OK with me, dear. We can share a foot-long sub.
Great. How about a foot-long Italian meatball sub?
…..Oh, but the Black Forest ham … I think that would be better.

OK. Make it a foot-long Black Forest ham on wheat bread, please.
…..Oh, get whatever you want, dear, but white bread …
Ma’am, can you change that to white bread, please. And American cheese.
…..Dear, pepper jack … I think that would be better.
OK, make it pepper jack cheese.

We’d like lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onions, green peppers, banana peppers, jalapenos …
…..Anything you want, is OK with me, dear, but maybe not the tomatoes and pickles.
Ma’am, hold the tomatoes and pickles, please.
…..What if we skipped all the peppers and just got black olives?
OK. Make it black olives and mayonnaise instead of green peppers, banana peppers, jalapenos.
…..Maybe you should go with light mayo. Remember your waistline.
Yes, dear. Ma’am, we’ll take light mayo instead, please.

“Sir, do you want to make that a combo with chips and drink?”
Sure, that sounds–
…..Dear, we’ve got water and apple slices in the car. No need to splurge, but …
OK. Just the sub, not the combo.

That was a very good lunch.
…..Yes. Thank you for taking me out to eat. Aren’t you glad I let you have whatever you wanted?

And I recalled the words of the Apostle Paul,
…..Love is patient, love is kind.

Jimmie Aaron Kepler
Written in Estes Park, Colorado
May 2013

“Going Out to Eat” was originally published in vox poetic in print and electronic form. The electronic version can be accessed at: Kepler, Jimmie A. “Going Out to Eat,” vox poetica, January 27, 2014, Retrieved January 27, 2014, from http://voxpoetica.com/eat/.


When I read the first draft of this poem to my late wife, I was shocked at how visibly upset it made her.

“You’re making fun of me and telling the whole world!” she said.

I was taken aback by her comment.

“I don’t understand,” I said with honesty.

“That’s what I did at the Subway Restaurant at Amarillo,” she said. She didn’t smile. She only lowered her head.

It was apparent the memory was fresh on her mind.

“It’s a composite of so many of the older couples we see at restaurants. It seems the wife frequently tells the husband to order what he wants. As he orders, she tweaks the order to what she wanted,” I said.

Again, she did not smile. She rolled her eyes.

“It’s not about you,” I said attempting to reassure her.

“It’s about me. Everyone will know it’s about me.”

“But it isn’t about you. Even if it were, who do you know that reads poetry?”

“So you admit you wrote it about me.”

“Sweetie, it’s a composite of so many of the older couples we see at restaurants,” I said trying to reassure her.

“And you’re going to submit it for publication?”

“Only with your permission. I don’t want it to upset you.”

“So it’s my fault if you don’t submit the poem?”

This time I rolled my eyes.

She glared at me for a minute and then sat silent for another five minutes. Finally, she started laughing and said, “I guess if I’m honest wives do that to their husbands. Go ahead and submit your silly poem.  No one publishes or reads poetry these days.”

I submitted it. It was accepted for publication. And no, it wasn’t about Miss Benita. It really is a composite of so many of the older couples I’ve seen at restaurants. It seems the wife frequently tells the husband to order what he wants. As he orders, she tweaks the order to what she wanted and then hands him a coupon to use.

 

Urban Pigeons

Please enjoy my reading of the poem “Urban Pigeons.” Urban Pigeons was written in August 2009 and originally published in vox poetica Magazine on August 26, 2012. Annmarie Lockhart is the founder of vox poetica. Nathan Gunter is the current managing editor of vox poetica. I hope you enjoy listening to it as much as I did writing it.

Urban Pigeons

White clouds
Fill the Columbia blue sky,
Like hundreds of cotton balls.
The brilliance
Of the summer sun,
Reflected even brighter
Off of the clouds.
The clouds remain
Suspended in the sky
With little movement.
A flock of pigeons,
Land on an adjacent building.
They stand on the edge
Of the ten-story structure,
Peering downward
Looking
For some crumb or morsel of food.
They also eye the sky
And the roof,
Of a neighboring building.
The birds are watchful
As a red hawk
Is perched waiting,
Waiting,
Waiting
For one of the pigeons
To let its guard down
And become his next meal.
The sounds of cars,
Trucks
And an occasional motorcycle
Fill the air
As they travel
From their point of origin
To their destination
Using the freeway
That passes
Through the building’s shadow.
A panhandler
On a nearby corner
Looks up at the sky
Shielding her eyes
From the bright sun.
She looks to see
What the airborne commotion is about.
The sun temporarily blinds her
With its brilliance
And then she sees
Dozens of feathers
Slowly descending to the ground.

August 2009

Kepler, Jimmie A. “Urban Pigeons,” vox poetica, August 26, 2012, Retrieved August 27, 2012, from http://voxpoetica.com/words_to_linger_on.html and August 29, 2012, Retrieved from http://poemblog.voxpoetica.com/2012/08/29/urban-pigeons.aspx.

True Peace

peace

How To Have True Peace of Mind

Do you want peace of mind?

Everyone wants peace of mind. All seek a life of rest, no worries, and being able to enjoy life, family, friends, work, church, hobbies, entertainment, etc. We want to be able to enjoy ourselves and not be burdened down with worries that rob us of vigor, life, and purpose.

Sometimes when we can’t find peace of mind. We get depressed. We often get angry. At times we even lash out at God or someone else near to you.

What do you do to get peace?

I mean real peace in your life. Where do you start? What do you do?

The place to start is with God.

In the Bible in the book of Philippians, chapter 4:6-9 teaches how to have true peace in your life.

Philippians 4:6-9 (NIV) tells us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, 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. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me — put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

Point one – God wants you to have true peace by having you not worry – about anything (the act of thinking)

Worry shows you are not trusting in God. God says in verse 6, “Do not be anxious about anything.”

That means don’t worry.

The word for “anxious” in the Greek here means to be troubled with cares He hasn’t given you that command without you being able to carry it out.

He said to the man with the withered hand, “Stretch forth your hand” (Mark 3:5)

But the man could not–yet He obeyed and did it!

Because the Holy Spirit is in you, you are able to live by faith, and not worry…no matter what happens. Because the Spirit empowers you to be faithful, to trust, to yield to the Lord’s will. With the Spirit, you are able to trust God beyond your ability to know what will happen in your life.

Matthew 6:25, 27, 31, 33, 34 teaches, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? … Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? … So do not worry, saying, `What shall we eat?’ or `What shall we drink?’ or `What shall we wear?’ … For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. … But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. … Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety (same word) on him because he cares for you. (NIV)

John 14:1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. (NIV)

God doesn’t want you to worry because worry means you do not trust God that you are not taking Him fully at His word. God has been providing for you all along – look at the cross. God wants you to have true peace by praying – about everything (the act of doing). v. 6 “But in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

All things in your life are of concern to God.

The big and the small: where to move, who to marry, what job to get, even your hobbies, and leisure times. The peace that God gives you will guard your minds. The peace that God gives you will strengthen you.

Because of the cross, you have access to the throne of God. We are to approach it “with thanksgiving,” because of the cross, the proof of God’s faithfulness. In the presence of God, there is peace.

Romans 15:13, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Psalm 16:11 You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Practice the presence of God – pray!

Prayer transforms you. By praying, you intern want to think about holy things. That is why…(next point)

Point Two – God wants you to have true peace by meditating on what is holy (the act of thinking)

Your minds have been set free from slavery to sin.

Romans 8:6 The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; (NIV)

God wants you to fill your heart with what is good.

Philippians 4:8, “whatever is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, excellent worthy of praise. Let your mind dwell on these things.” (NASB)

God wants you to think, to meditate on truth, purity, and excellence.

Psalm 119:78 “…I will meditate on your precepts.”

The precepts of God, the Word of God, is truth, purity, and excellence. Meditate on the Word of God so that you might be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Point Three – God wants you to have true peace by putting into practice what you have learned. (the act of doing)

He wants you to… trust Him for everything.

Philippians 4:6a, “Don’t be anxious for anything.”

Pray to Him for anything.

Philippians 4:6b “but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (NIV)

Meditate on what is holy.

Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers, 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. (NIV)

Conclusion

These things are written to you so that the God of peace will be with you. Not simply peace…but the God of peace will be with you.

Ultimately this is about God dwelling with you. He wants you to be holy, pure, and right.

Will you trust Him and not worry? Will you pray about everything in your life? Will you meditate on the Word of God? And finally, will you practice, will you do, what God calls you to do?

Seven Reminders For Developing Staying Power

Seven Reminders For Developing Staying Power

Christians today need what I call “staying power.” I define staying power as the ability and action of continuing in your walk with Jesus Christ for your lifetime.

The need for staying power exists for the average Christian. The need exists for the man or woman in full-time ministry, and yes, even for the Christian writer.

Staying power helps you continue is your daily walk with Jesus. Staying power helps you to finish the article or book where it doesn’t end up in a drawer or as a forgotten file on your computer’s hard drive. It allows you to keep submitting and writing despite the rejections or poor sales.

Here are seven reminders that will help you develop staying power. 

“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;” – 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 ESV

Reminder #1 – I Must Remember That God Loves Me

“Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart.” – 2 Corinthians 4:1 ESV

“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.” – 1 Corinthians 15:10 ESV

Remember

    • Our performance does not give us our worth.
    • God’s grace gives us the power to start over.

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” – Romans 8:37 ESV

Reminder #2 – I Must Maintain a Clear Conscience

“But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.” –  2 Corinthians 4:2 ESV

Remember

    • I must have and maintain my integrity.
    • I must have and maintain my character.

Reminder #3 – I Must Have The Right Motivation

“For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.” – 2 Corinthians 4:5 ESV

Remember

    • Our ego will only take us so far
    • We proclaim Christ Jesus.

Reminder #4 – I Must Accept My Limitations

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” – 2 Corinthians 4:7 ESV

Remember

    • We must pace ourselves.
    • We must do our part to maintain our health.

Reminder #5 – I Must Love Other People

“For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.” – 2 Corinthians 4:15 ESV

Remember

    • It’s God’s love that extends His grace to His glory.
    • As God loves me unconditionally, I need to love others.

Reminder #6 –  I Must Take Time to Recharge

“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.” – 2 Corinthians 4:16 ESV

Remember

    • Our inner self is being renewed day by day.
    • Recharging helps us to not lose heart.

 

Reminder #7 – I Must Keep My Eye On The Goal

“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” – 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

Remember

    • You cannot produce if you do not face the problems and keep on keeping on to the goal.
    • Our problems won’t last forever. Remember, God’s faithfulness that you experienced when you had past problems. He’s still here and still faithful.

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