Only one can be last

Planning Meeting

Planning Meeting (Photo credit: Digitalnative)

Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.” – Luke 13:30

I met with a writer friend last night to discuss a workshop we will be giving at Maranatha Christian Writers Conference. We both feel so blessed to be given the opportunity to share what we’ve learned with others. We know that it’s not about us at that conference, but about what God is doing.

In being a servant, there are occasions where we strive to be last and help others, and then God will turn that around and put us at the front of the line, but it is for his glory and purpose that we obediently go there. It is always a benefit to help others … not only does it feel good, but there is a purpose in it. The cycle of serving needs to be modeled to reproduce.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for the times you allow me to serve. They are rich moments in my life. Your purpose shines through as I join you in what you are doing. Amen

Faith Tip: Race to be last. Consider first how you can serve rather than be served.

Cleaning the cup

Some people say I am obsessed with my lawn

Image by Jez Page via Flickr

Then the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? But now as for what is inside you—be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you. – Luke 11:39-41

Mr. McNara’s lawn was immaculate. Daily he would go out and work on a segment of the large lawn to make sure it looked its best. Nothing pleased him more than being in the sunshine and working with his hands to create beauty in his yard.

There were some new neighbors that moved in next door to Mr. McNara. He thought they seemed nice enough, but they didn’t take care of their yard very well. There was some trash, weeds, uneven bushes along with some bare spots in the lawn. He noticed that people would stop by there often and leave with food or clothes. Did they sell things from their home?

One morning, he saw his neighbor filling his van with a few small pieces of furniture. Mr. McNara thought he would go over and see what they do.

“Good morning!” called Mr. McNara.

“Good morning. Looks like another beautiful day.”

“Yes. Looks like you’re busy this morning.”

The neighbor smiled, “Just taking a few pieces of furniture over to woman who just moved into an apartment.”

Mr. McNara questioned, “Oh, so you sell things from your house.”

“Oh no, we just help others out as we can. My wife is a wonderful cook and has such a heart for people. God has blessed us so much, we feel it is a privilege to help others.”

Prayer: Lord, thank you for the many ways you bless me. I pray that I can be a blessing to others with all that you give. Amen

Faith Tip: Consider how you could use one way you have been blessed to bless others.

Okay, who’s really being blessed?

29 Checkouts

Image by Seuss. via Flickr

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me’” (Matthew 25:40)

Milk, bananas and beans. That’s what the mother standing in line had at the checkout. Her two lovely children, must have been 5 years and younger, were patiently waiting. The card she was using to pay wasn’t working and she didn’t have any cash on her. She was embarrassed and discouraged and apologized as she began to move out of the aisle. Another woman called out to her to wait. She paid for the items for the woman with the children. Relief washed over the face of the mother, and surprisingly, over the clerk’s face. In fact, smiles were all around by all who witnessed the King at work through one of his disciples. God showed up. Not only were the mother and children blessed, but so was everyone else.

Giving to the Lord is never about a duty to perform. It is about experiencing God in a profound way personally. Answering the call of God gives you an opportunity to shine the light of Jesus to those who are the least of these…and who are they? Take a look in the mirror.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for the call you put on my life. I pray that I will never give you a busy signal when you call. I want to experience you and shine your light in areas of darkness. Amen

Faith Tip: Be alert to the call of God today and be ready to act.

Fix it strategy

Broken heart sewn back together

Image via Wikipedia

From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”

Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns” (Matthew 16:21-23)

When a friend of mine was going through some troubled times, I wanted to fix their situation for them so that they wouldn’t have to suffer anymore. I was interpreting the situation through my human experience and not seeking God for his plan. I took on a “god complex” where I thought I could fix it for my friend.

Sometimes God says to get out of the way so that he can do the work that he has planned. We may not understand what he is doing, we may not even like it, but God knows exactly what he is doing. If we try to fix things, we are causing a barrier to what God wants to do, which is so much better than what we can do. It’s a matter of trust.

Prayer: Lord, I pray that I can trust you in every situation. You have been so faithful, and I am to seek you and your plan for direction. I praise you for your goodness. Amen

Faith Tip: Are you trying to fix a problem for someone or for yourself? Look to the Lord for his plan and be ready to let go and step aside.

No Lone Rangers

Bown Brook, NJ, September 18, 1999 -- Port Aut...

Image via Wikipedia

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)

The police are at the neighbor’s house again. It’s the third time this month, and you wonder if it is going to end. Is it the eldest son again or another child? You hear the yelling through the night. They always communicate with loud voices. There is someone being led to the police cruiser in handcuffs. The mother is crying. The smaller children stay behind in fear. You can’t imagine how people can live that way. You are thankful for your stable family. You go to church and pray and….wait…what was that? You feel something tugging at your heart and mind. Jesus is knocking. Now the choice is yours to let him in or not. If you let him in, he’s going to want you to do something out of your comfort zone…you just know it.

Fulfilling the law of Christ means to love God with your heart, soul and mind and to love others as you love yourself. This means helping each other along the journey for none of us is above the other. We all need help. None of us were meant to be Lone Rangers. Don’t be afraid to answer the door when Jesus comes knocking.

Prayer: Thank you, Jesus, for always being there for me. I pray that I will always open the door and allow you to work in me for your kingdom purpose. Amen.

Faith tip: Ask God to help you see others as he see them.