Thursday, February 28, 2013

Spontaneous Encouragement

                I got an email from a friend today. She saw an ad for a Boot Camp and it reminded her of me because I have done these a couple of times. Her emails are always encouraging and make me smile. I thought about the emails I randomly get from her and realized that while she is spontaneous, she uses that as an encouragement to others. When something reminds her of someone, she acts on that thought and lets them know. Whether she realizes it or not, she is an encouragement to others.
                How many times a day does something remind me of someone else, and then it becomes a fleeting thought as I let it go and move on to something else. How many times have I thought someone looked extra nice but not taken the time to tell them? How many times has someone looked upset or concerned, yet I just passed on by because I really didn’t have time to listen?
                In Acts, Peter and John stopped to talk to a lame man begging alms at the temple gate. They had no money to give, but they offered him hope and healing in the name of Jesus. The parable of the Good Samaritan shows a man taking care of another regardless of their differences when he probably didn’t really have time. He could have passed by without condemnation as others did who should have stopped.
                Who has come to your mind this week that you could have encouraged? Make it a point to slow down and encourage one another.
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up” (I Thess 5:11, ESV).

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

I Know You

I know you. You live next door to me. I heard you yelling at your children this weekend.
You don’t really know me. That isn’t who I am. I had a bad day, and they weren’t cooperating.
I know you. I saw the way you treated your co-worker at the office today.
You don’t really know me. That isn’t who I am. You don’t understand how irritating that person can be and how they have treated me in the past.

I know you. I heard how you spoke to the clerk at the grocery store today.
You don’t really know me. That isn’t who I am. I know it wasn’t her fault that the lines were long, but you don’t know what I have been through recently. I was exhausted.

I know you. I saw you driving on the freeway today.
You don’t really know me. That isn’t who I am. I was late for work and everyone else was driving crazy.

I know you. I saw your check register when you dropped your purse.
You don’t really know me. That isn’t who I am. I’ve been stressed lately. I know our money is tight, but I needed those things I bought to make me feel better.

I know you. I saw you with your friends at a restaurant last night.
You don’t really know me. That isn’t who I am. I just needed a night out to unwind and forget my troubles.

I know you. I saw you in the car with your husband before you walked into church on Sunday.
You don’t really know me. That isn’t who I am. I woke up late and everything went wrong after that. My husband doesn’t understand. He doesn’t seem to know me either.

“But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person” (Matt. 15:18 ESV).

I know you. Do you really know yourself?

“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!” (Psalm 139:23).


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Correction Tape

You may have seen this before. I’ve seen it posted on Facebook. Can you read this?
I cnduo't bvleiee taht I culod aulaclty uesdtannrd waht I was rdnaieg. Unisg the icndeblire pweor of the hmuan mnid, aocdcrnig to rseecrah at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mttaer in waht oderr the lterets in a wrod are. The olny irpoamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rhgit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whoutit a pboerlm. Tihs is bucseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey ltteer by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Aaznmig, huh? Yaeh and I awlyas tghhuot slelinpg was ipmorantt! See if yuor fdreins can raed tihs too.

You could probably read the above paragraph once you became accustomed to it which shows how amazing our brains are. The first and last letter of each word is correct, but the letters in the middle are jumbled.

Can you read this?
Zyjod od s yrdy yp drr og upi vsm trsf yjodz

I doubt you can.  If you place your hands on the keyboard and move your fingers one key to the right, nothing makes sense. Our brains can’t immediately figure this one out.

The same thing is true in our lives when the fingers of our heart are not set on the right keys. We all make typos or mistakes in life, but nothing makes sense when our fingers don’t start out in the right place to begin with.

Starting your day with God places your hands on the right keys of life each day. You may still make mistakes, but God provides the correction tape to erase them.

What are you typing up in your life? Is it gibberish or clear? Do you need some correction tape? Ask God to step in and give you a clean slate.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9).

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Before You

 Who or What Goes Before You?
·         In a funeral procession, a police car goes before the family.
·         A police officer might go before a man rushing his wife to the hospital to have a baby.
·         If you hear a scary sound at night, your husband might go before you to check it out.
·         When roads are icy in Texas, sand trucks go out before traffic gets heavy to sand the bridges and keep the drivers safe.
In each case, someone or something goes before you to protect and keep you safe.
                The Bible gives story after story of how God went before His people. In the Old Testament God went before Abraham, He sent Joseph to go before his brothers, God went before the Israelites in the wilderness and in battles, God’s angel went before His people in battle, and He placed a Star in the heavens to go before the wise men seeking the newborn King.
                God has also gone before us. Ephesians 2:10 says we were created for good works that God prepared beforehand for us to do. God has gone before you and has a plan for your life. He has a plan for your day. Why not start each day with the Master Planner asking Him to go before you in each step you take.
“And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed” (Deuteronomy 31:8).

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Wise Man and the Stranger

Outside the air was chilly, and the wind was blowing strong.
To travel through the storm, the wise man knew was wrong.
Then he saw a man traveling down the snow piled road afar.
The sky was dark and cloudy with no sign of moon or stars.

This man didn’t seem to mind the storm or realize the threat of danger.
It seemed to be quite normal to this man who was a stranger.
He was born amidst the storm and had lived there all his life.
He didn’t know what peace was. He knew only pain and strife.
This man was always searching, for what he couldn’t say.
He thought the storm was normal, and in it he did stay.

The wise man took a coat to warm the man’s cold heart.
He built a blazing fire, but the stranger took no part.
The wise man offered shelter to this stranger in the night.
But the stranger passed on by. He didn’t see the light.

This man seemed very foolish to pass up such a chance
To find what he was searching for without a parting glance.
Many are like this stranger. They live life in the dark.
They don’t believe a fire can begin with just a spark.

We’re all born into this storm--the storm which God calls sin.
But Christ will be our shelter if to our heart we let Him in.
Jesus Christ is a coat of warmth, and on the cross He lit the spark.
His resurrection brought the fire that lights what once was dark.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Pizza for Dinner

                Every Friday night we order pizza. We get the same kind from the same place every week. There are so many types of pizza we could order from so many different places, but we have our favorite and order the sure thing.
                I have a pair of diamond earring studs that I love. I wear them almost every day because they go with any outfit. I have to remind myself that I have other earrings I could wear that match different outfits.
                How many of us wear the same things over and over? I have a closet full of clothes, but probably only half get worn regularly. These are the clothes that I am comfortable in.
                Everyone has their own comfort zones. In fact I bet you even have your own comfort zone when it comes to reading the Bible. We have our favorite verses and like to read what we already understand and what makes us feel comfortable.
                Today I wore a different pair of earrings, and tonight we almost tried a different pizza. At least I researched the options before ordering our comfortable regular. I’m considering going through my closet this weekend to see what treasures might be hiding that I have forgotten about.
                Why not join me and make a change? Try reading a book of the Bible that you are the least familiar with – like Nahum. Any idea what it’s about? Let me know if you read it and what you discover. Step out of your comfort zone and see what new jewels you can find for your spiritual jewelry box.