Dear Melania Trump

Dear Melania Trump:
Some have accused you of plagiarism. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be the wife of the man who could be our nation’s next president. I don’t know if you stole some lines from Mrs. Obama’s speech. Some say you did. Some say you didn’t.

I wish I could ask you about this, but since I can’t, I give you the grace that I need. I choose not to side with accusers, slanderers, or with those who feed on the adrenaline of controversy and conflict.

If you plagiarized, you need what we all need, forgiveness for sin. I will pray for you and Donald, just as I pray for our current president and first lady, the Clintons, and others entrusted with the responsibility of leading the United States of America.

By the way, your speech was filled with a sincere love of country and passion for our nation’s well being. I admire how you demonstrated a heart for Americans, and a sincere belief that your husband, if elected, has solutions for some of our nation’s most complex issues. Your words impacted me. Thank you.

However, I have not heard yet how he will influence the American heart. In general, morality–a lifestyle of choosing what’s right before God–has spiraled downward, and what my parents and grandparents would never dream of as possible in our country has now been set into motion. Many of the serious problems that we’re seeing today are a result of this.

A nation’s success is determined by more than it’s financial stability and progress. And to truly lead the nations, we must first be led by a higher law than what can be legislated.

God bless you,

Pamela Koefoed

 

Look Who I Found in My Chair!

DSCN3522I’m remaking the Ignite School of Ministry website, a project that I complete in increments due to repetitive motion injuries to both hands. I stepped away from the computer for a short break. When I returned, look who I found in my chair.

Max always has “important” input. He wants whatever I’m doing to include fun. I know this by a certain sparkle in his eyes and by the way he perks up his ears. Several times a day, Max tells me “play, play, play!”

My baby doberman reminds me that our Heavenly Father wants us to live today while we keep our eyes on the goal ahead of us.

From Max, I’ve learned the following:

  • Find joy in little things. Even something as unimpressive as a slipper can turn into a game of “Stop Thief!”
  • Welcome friends and family with enthusiasm and heart, they’ll know that they’re loved.
  • Motivate yourself to learn with treats (healthy of course).
  • Don’t work so hard. Play! Play! Play!

Wishing you joy in your journey,

Pamela Koefoed

 

 

 

 

Copyright 2016 Pamela Koefoed

The Culture of Honor

loveletterI’m fascinated by the way some nations honor those who are worthy of honor. For instance, when my friends ministered in Pakistan, the sponsoring pastors placed several white flowery wreaths around their necks. Then as they entered the sanctuary, the congregation sprinkled rose pedals on the floor before their feet.

And I know of a minister who serves a congregation on the African continent whose wife went out of country for several weeks to receive cancer treatments. Upon her return, a large company of people greeted her at the airport and ushered she and her husband to a party held to praise the Lord for bringing her safely home–that party was a grand celebration of her return with food, music and joyous dancing.

I’m not suggesting that we Americans make a rose pedal walkway for visiting ministers or drape leas around the necks of guest preachers, nor am I intimating that elaborate parties be held for ministers of the Gospel upon their return to us from long absences.

But here’s what i think…

We can learn much from other cultures about honor, respect and appreciation.

Yes, it may seem like the examples I used here are over the top, but can you imagine how my friends and that pastor’s wife felt? The point of honoring is to demonstrate esteem in a way that greatly blesses the recipient. The Pakistani pastors and the African congregation did a great job of doing just that.

Quite some time ago, it came to my attention that in the United States we show honor to certain members of society whom we deem especially worthy, but in many other scenarios we are poorly lacking.

As Gods children, we should be golden in this whole area of esteeming one another. It’s one of the values of God’s Kingdom. But I’m not so sure that we do this very well.

Furthermore, the Bible instructs, “Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching” (1 Timothy 5:17).

What does “double honor” look like in the American Church culture? And how can we in the Body of Christ improve the way that we esteem one another?

Honoring one another and giving “double honor” to preachers and teachers is important to the Lord. This is a big deal in the Kingdom. Therefore, for several months I’ve sought for greater understanding and an application of these truths.

Last week, an answer to my questions concerning this came through a total contradiction to 1 Timothy 5:17. What happened to me, an experience which was the complete opposite of honor, shocked me clear out of the water. It came from left field and caught me off guard. It rattled my senses and brought me to tears.

But a blessing came from that heartbreak; I gained greater understanding and a stronger determination to honor and esteem those worthy of respect.

Tonight, as I share this with you, I hope that you will glean from my words. The vocabulary I used here isn’t especially creative and this note to you isn’t polished, but it’s from my heart.

Let’s esteem one another and give “double honor” to those who serve among us. Let’s get really good at this and make it something for which we’re known. As we do so, we will impact our culture in a transformative and wonderful way.

Blessings to you,

Pamela Koefoed

Something That’s Been on My Heart

clipart-medical-pulse-512x512-a71aTonight, I won’t be talking about exercise. Don’t worry! I’m not slacking; each time I rise from my chair, for the first ten steps or so I walk as though my legs are strapped to boards. My sore thigh and abdominal muscles testify that I’ve worked them pretty hard.

Neither Vern nor I stretched out enough after Faithful Workout’s killer leg and abdominal routine that we whole-heartedly participated in Saturday evening. And now, we’re paying the price for our oversight and learning a good lesson–after putting them through their paces, muscles need some T.L.C.

There’s something of greater importance on my heart than exercise and nutrition that I want to talk with you about.

Many years ago, I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, possibly the result of the Epstein Barr virus of which I tested positive.

For five years, my energy level was so low that a simple activity like brushing my teeth drained the little strength that I had. During that season, I visited doctors, a nutritionist, and I spent hundreds of dollars on health products.

Eventually, I found a nutritional supplement that alleviated my suffering. But if I stopped taking it, my energy level did a nosedive into a dark and scary pit.

I wish I could describe the intense joy that I experienced on the day when the Chronic Fatigue suddenly vanished. It was as if someone gave me a second chance at living.

Nutrition, lots of good water, exercise, some sunshine, and rest were beneficial, but these things didn’t cure me.

How did I get well? My miracle came from the Lord as a direct answer to prayer.

If you have chronic poor health and have done all that you can to find a cure, I want you to be encouraged. Miracles happen for other people, and they can happen to you.

Put your trust in the Lord and pray. A person who learns how to pray and to rest in the knowledge that God hears prayer is a person who has learned to be without fear.

Fear, anxiety, and worry–typical conditions of modern society–contribute to disease. At the opposite end of the spectrum is faith. Trusting in God contributes to improved quality of living, and is beneficial for this life and for the one to come (1 Timothy 4:8).

So, as we each pursue better health, let’s remember to keep going after God.

Wishing you all the best,

Pamela

Muffin Top

bu-chi-dessert-publicdomainpicturesWe had to go to the city today. To remodel homes older than 1980, Vern was required by the state of Oregon to take a lead-based paint certification course. I went along to keep him company on the hundred-mile drive.

Sticking to a “diet” while traveling is tough at best. How do you find something on a restaurant menu that isn’t fried, baked, or sautéed in unhealthy oil or drenched in cheese, seasoned with bacon, or blended with cream?

Knowing this, we opted to take our own lunches. Vern made avocado and cheese sandwiches on healthy bread for himself. But he had no idea of where to begin with a lunch for me. I didn’t want the mayo, or the cheese, or the bread.

Until this morning, the idea of brown bagging a lunch sounded adventurous. We could park anywhere, choose a spot with a view of the snow dusted mountains, and enjoy our meal without restaurant noise. It would be just the two of us and our food, just the way we like it.

All I could come up with, however, was a salad. A plain, ordinary green salad. I threw lettuce, spinach and tomatoes together, plopped the mixture into a quart sized mason jar, and hurried out the door.

After finding a view spot, we parked the car, and we pulled out our lunches. The very second that Vern bit into his sandwich, the aroma from the cheese–it’s one of my favorites with little bits of spicy peppers throughout it–filed our car’s interior with a mouth watering, tanginess. My poor salad, lay limp at the bottom of the jar; the romaine and spinach leaves had wilted and shrunk to half their original size. I ate it without complaint.

Having an afternoon without demands on my attention was a gift from God. I could do anything–shop, visit interesting sights, anything. I left Vern at the college and headed for a newly opened coffee house. For the next two-hours, I lost myself in writing, The experience, a tonic for my soul, produced a rush of deep contentment and euphoria. It was pure bliss.

Every now and then, I paused and rested my hand, and searched my mind for a particular verb or for a better way to express a concept. Across from me, a bakery window with three shelves of pastries caught my glance. After wondering what sort of goodies were available, I pulled my eyes back to my project and resumed writing.

Then I paused, stared at the “forbidden fruit,” and pondered my latest sentence. Could a strong verb replace the adjective? Could my latest concept be made more concise?

“Can I get you something?” A young waitress said, breaking my concentration. “Would you like something else?” She smiled down at my empty tea glass.

For the next few moments, I learned about each of the sweet delicacies on those shelves. The owner made everything from scratch, the waitress told me. There were donuts filled with cream, donuts with a sprinkling of crisp bacon, fritters the size of dinner plates, and freshly baked muffins.

“These are muffin tops,” she pointed at the little cakes. “They aren’t deep fat fried,” she said. (Less cholesterol, I reasoned.) And since they’re only one-fourth the size of the average muffin, they have only one-fourth the calories of the average muffin. (I rationalized some more.) They’re apple cinnamon. Apples are good for just about everything. And cinnamon will even out my blood sugar.

I rolled it around and around in my mind until I knew what I must do. The waitress, an excellent salesperson, obviously wanted me to buy something from the window, and how could I disappoint her?

She and the muffin top won.

Late Night Stretch

backbend free publicdomainpicturesI’m determined to keep to my commitment of exercising six-days per week. Today has been one of those days when everything runs behind schedule.

The first meeting of the day ran a little later than expected. The next meeting began fifteen-minutes later than it should’ve (due to the other meeting).

Vern and I made chicken-vegetable soup and the soup made dinner an hour later than usual. (Well, the soup’s cook was running a little slow tonight.) Then there was the phone. A family emergency. And now I finally have time to exercise when I should be in bed. Oh yeah, that’s where Vern is. My exercise partner gave up while I was on the phone with his mom. I found him under the covers, lights out.

Just in case you’re following along with us, here’s the link to tonight’s exercise work out, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNtz_wphlgM

I’ve picked a six-minute stretch video with Faithful Workouts for the ideal way to slow down at the end of a busy day. Since I really need to be in bed where my wise husband is soundly sleeping, tonight’s exercise routine will be short and sweet. I’ll make up for it tomorrow.

Happy Stretching,

Pamela