Investing wisely

A Kids Hope mentor and student

A man reaps what he sows.Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. – Galatians 6:7-10

Today, I have the pleasure of meeting with my new student as a mentor through Kids Hope USA. I have been mentoring for 17 years now and love it. God has done amazing things through these mentoring relationships. I have had opportunity to reconnect with the first student I mentored, which was wonderful. And just last night as I was leaving the Wednesday night activities at church, I heard, “Hi!” I looked and it was the student I mentored this past year who just graduated from the program. He was riding his bike when he saw me. He got off his bike and gave me a big hug and told me all about his summer. As you can see, I am truly blessed by the experience and anything I offer to the students is paid back multiple times. God has blessed my offering in doing good.

There are choices we have to make every day as God’s people in how we are going to spend our time and energy. It may be tempting to sit in front of the TV and snack, but all that happens there is an unhealthy lifestyle. We reap what we sow and every moment counts. Don’t waste the opportunities that come to you from a God who wants to give you a harvest of blessings.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for the opportunities to sow your love that you have given me.  I pray that I not neglect the call and miss the harvest. Amen

Faith Tip: Focus today on how you can sow seeds for the kingdom of God. It is an investment well made.

Grace, love and fellowship

"Writing", 22 November 2008

“Writing”, 22 November 2008 (Photo credit: ed_needs_a_bicycle)

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. – 2 Corinthians 13:14

Where does the time go? The weeks seem to go faster and faster and I wonder what I got accomplished. Each day comes with a list of “to do’s” that I check off as I finish them. Most of the things I need to get done on the list are connected to some kind of interaction with somebody. Many think that being a writer means being alone in work, but not true. I have connections daily with many people through email, phone calls, meetings, coffee and more. I truly enjoy this although I also like the quiet times when I can write. It’s all good.

As we journey through life, none of us is really alone. There are people everywhere that we can have a relationship with at different levels. What makes some relationships more precious to us is the bond we have in Christ. There is an understanding, or there should be, of whose we are and how we are related to others in Christ. This includes a knowledge about grace, love and fellowship that we share. It is a powerful circle to be a part of and I am thankful.

Prayer: Lord, you are at the center of my circle and I thank you for that truth. I pray that I display your grace and love in the fellowship of those who call you Lord. May the same be true with those who do not know you. May they sense something different in me that draws them to you. Amen

Faith Tip: Be intentional in showing grace and love as you fellowship.

Give what you can … he does the rest

A powerful light shines in the dark.

A powerful light shines in the dark. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. – 2 Corinthians 12: 9-10.

As I sit here trying to think of a good illustration of when I am weak, I realize that I am weak all the time. That’s right … morning, noon and night I fall short. I am always amazed when God decides to use even me in his work.

Last night, we presented the first drama of the Wednesday night season. The five to seven minute sketch was enough to touch hearts. Newer actors on the team were surprised by that fact that something short that they did that we practiced over and over would have such reaction. Before we presented the drama, we presented the drama back to God in prayer for his use. God takes our offering and brings it to a new level. His power is shown in our weakness … and it is beautiful.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for the fact that I am weak and you are strong. Your glory shines brightly through anything I can offer … I love that. Amen

Faith Tip: In all you do today, present it to God in prayer and watch with wonder his magnificence.

Wisdom may bring sorrow

English: Cute coffee.

English: Cute coffee. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For with much wisdom comes much sorrow;
the more knowledge, the more grief. – Ecclesiastes 1:18

Ahhhh … the comforts of life. We all know what gives us peace and makes us happy. For me, and this will come as a big surprise to many of you, is a fresh-brewed cup of coffee. I love the smell, the warmth in my hands, the taste and the bit of alertness it gives me. It paints a wonderful picture of relaxing and enjoying life to me.

If I look closer, I see there is a lot more behind the coffee that brings me pleasure. There is someone who is picking it. Are they hired or a slave? I have no idea. To tell you the truth, if I find out that the pleasure I am enjoying came as the cost of someone being enslaved and perhaps abused, that brings me grief. In learning the possibility, I have a choice to make. Do I ignore the learning given or do I bring it to light and make a change to my comforts?

God grants wisdom if we ask for it. He wants us to be enlightened … to see what he sees … for our hearts to break when his does.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for the pleasures you give us in life. I pray that what brings me pleasure does not come at a cost for someone else. May the grief of wisdom bring me closer to following you in doing the right thing. Amen

Faith Tip: Ignorance is not bliss. Seek wisdom from God who is so faithful.

Let us say “Enough!”

There are those whose teeth are swords, whose fangs are knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, the needy from among mankind. The leech has two daughters: Give and Give. Three things are never satisfied; four never say, “Enough” – Proverbs 30:14-15

I recently made a discovery in researching an article on the horror of human trafficking in West Michigan. It is a huge problem that I really knew nothing about. Now that I know it’s there, now what do I do? That’s always the hard part isn’t it … our response.

The term “leech” in the Scripture means a horse leech which was the belief of a vampire-type creature in biblical times. We all know what vampires do … suck the blood out of a person until they die. That’s exactly was human trafficking does … it sucks the life out of a person until they are no more. It is never satisfied and wants more and more.

The victims are men, women and children … what can we do to rescue, care for and prevent this evil from devouring people? It’s time to take the blinders off and put on the armor … if God is for us, who can be against us?

To read more on this, please go to my article at West Michigan Christian News.

Prayer: Lord God, I cannot fathom the depth of hurt victims of human trafficking experience. I pray that I can be a safe place for them to go … your sanctuary. Amen

Faith Tip: Do you know of someone suffering from abuse. How should you care for them? How would you care for a family member? Applying the same principles is a great start.

 

May I have this dance?

A frame from the famous "Beauty and the B...

A frame from the famous “Beauty and the Beast” ballroom dance sequence. Using Disney’s CAPS software, the traditionally animated characters of Belle and the Beast are combined with a rendered computer-generated background to give the illusion of a dollying film camera. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As water reflects the face,
so one’s life reflects the heart. – Proverbs 27:19

There’s a scene from Beauty and the Beast where Belle and the beast are dancing in the great hall. It’s amazing how the production specialists made the floor reflective … it’s a beautiful scene. Plus the looks on their faces as they dance show the love they have for one another … their hearts are bared.

As we dance through life, what is the reflection seen on our faces … what does it show of our hearts? Is there an expression of God’s love for those who waltz into our daily routine?

It’s important to me to do what God wants me to do. I figure that the people he puts in my life and the situations are all for a purpose … most likely to change my heart to reflect his. It’s like being asked to dance by Jesus. If I accept, he will lead me across the dance floor securely in his arms with great love being shown on his face.

Prayer: You are the Lord of the Dance of life and I thank you for the invitation to join you on the dance floor. I pray my steps will be pleasing to you and not an obstacle to people who need you. Amen

Faith Tip: Are you ready to dance? Accept God’s invitation and have the time of your life.

 

Who is the offender?

order up

order up (Photo credit: circulating)

A person’s wisdom yields patience;
it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense. – Proverbs 19:11

My husband and I were dining with another couple at a nice restaurant. When our food was brought out, my entrée was cold and the meat somewhat raw. I called the server over and explained the problem, but was polite and understanding. The couple with us was amazed that I didn’t get all upset and demand satisfaction. I wish I could say that I was always this understanding, but the truth is … sometimes my impatience shows through.

Allowing God’s Spirit to guide us in words and actions will be noticed. It is almost considered normal to demand our rights in this country with no consideration for anyone else. Revenge is on our hearts when we have been offended. We forget for that time span how we have been offensive. The grace of God shown through us says that we know who died for our sin and who put him on the cross. While yet offensive, Christ died for us.

Prayer: Father, forgive me for the times that I forget what you have done for me. There is no offense against me that measures up to the offense I had against you. You have taken the sting of death away by your grace and mercy. Amen

Faith Tip: If you have been offended or are offended today, look upon the offender as Christ looked at us from the cross.