There are many ways to “give.” My mailbox is overflowing everyday this time of year for requests to give – donate to St. Judes or St. Joseph’s Indian School; donate to Foot and Mouth Painters or Salvation Army; make an extra donation to Guideposts or my church or the Food Bank. And don’t even ask me how many text messages and e-mails I receive each day from political candidates! Yes, giving money is one way to practice giving… and if you have dough to spare, there are needy, worthy causes out there.
But do you know for sure what percentage of your hard-earned bucks are going to the intended cause? Can you see the light in the eyes of the recipient?
Giving face-to-face changes your life as well as the recipient’s. Pay it forward in the grocery line. Give a hug. Share your talent at a nursing home … maybe it’s a visit and a hug or a half hour of your time to read a little from your favorite poems. Maybe it’s a meal in your home with friends you’d like to have a chance to know better. And you’d like them to know each other. Maybe it’s transportation to an appointment for someone without a car. Perhaps it is time with a child (yours or someone else’s… doesn’t matter… just be there!).
Think of giving in non-monetary terms. Give of yourself. Give joyfully! Why?
Give as the Lord’s Example
2 Corinthians 9:6-9 6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9 As it is written: “They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.”
God Bless You, dear Friends. Have you decided on an answer to “What’s in it for me?” I hope you’re having a “good” day. Thank you for being such generous givers! Tell me about the last time you “gave” – what was it?
Rev. Steve Hundley’s sermon topic today at the Madison Valley Presbyterian Church in Ennis, MT was “We’re All in the Same Boat.” It was inspired by the story in Matthew 14:22-36. Jesus commanded the disciples to get in the boat and sail out to sea while He went off to be alone for awhile. Then – in the darkness of a stormy night – He walked on the water to go out to them. Seeing Jesus walking on water toward them, Peter asked to be able to do likewise. The Lord told him to come ahead – and he did. All went well until he looked down at the growing waves, became fearful, and started to sink. “Why did you doubt?” Jesus asked him as he helped Peter back onto the boat.
Ah, courage and faith – that’s what it takes. But only God can walk on water.
Sermon notes taken while Steve shared his message:
We’re All in the Same Boat
Jesus is the Loving Shepherd But He is also our Commander. He is gentle and kind, we know, But we realize He’s a Great Demander.
Why did Jesus order His disciples To go and get in the boat? It was midnight, afterall! Was that a good time to go for a float?
The earliest idea of the church Was the image of a boat’s belly. We’re all in this boat together. It’s dark, stormy, and chilly.
We’re rowing as hard as we can – And don’t seem to make any headway. We’re busy trying to make it on our own, Too busy to hear what God has to say.
But God comes walking on the water, And He says, “Fear not, it is I.” We look and doubt and test Him saying, “If it is You, save me!” Oh my!
Only God/Jesus can walk on water. Sometimes our job is just to cling To the boat and don’t presume We can go it alone. Just trust and sing!
Following the sermon, we sang this song, “We All Are One in Mission.” See the song’s words below the sermon notes.
First we gotta get in the boat. Then we gotta stay in it. We gotta trust God is here with us. We gotta gather and pray in it!
Help me, Lord, to remember You will draw near to me – no fuss- If we stay and pray and know You’re here in the boat with us.
“We All Are One in Mission”
“We all are one in mission; we all are one in call, our varied gifts united by Christ, the Lord of all. A single great commission compels us from above to plan and work together that all may know Christ’s love.
We all are called for service, to witness in God’s name. Our ministries are different; our purpose is the same: To touch the lives of others by God’s surprising grace, so every folk and nation may feel God’s warm embrace.
Now let us be united, and let our song be heard. Now let us be a vessel for God’s redeeming Word. We all are one in mission; we all are one in call, our varied gifts united by Christ, the Lord of all.”
Words: Rusty Edwards (Matthew 28:19-20; i Cor. 12:4-6 Music: Finnish folk melody
I had an ah-hah moment this morning as I was doing my Bible Study and reading the devotionals. In Touch magazine’s topic yesterday was “God’s Perspective on War.”
Charles Stanley wrote, “War is a very controversial subject in both the world and the church…” and then he asked the question, “What does the Lord think about war?”
He continued by trying to answer his own question, using Romans 13:1-4 as a springboard.
Here is Romans 13: 1-2a – “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those who exist have been instructed by God. Therefore, whoever resists the authorites resists what God has appointed…”
He said wars are waged to protect citizens against evil.
But, is every ruler appointed and instructed by God? I would question that. If they are, in fact, instructed by God, are they listening? Are they following God’s instruction?
Do wars over land rights have anything to do with protecting citizens’ lives? The governments send its citizens into battle knowing many will be killed!
God bless our veterans! I guess it was July 4th and its festivities – honoring our war veterans that got me thinking on this subject.
IMMIGRATION AND CIVIL RIGHTS
Pediatricians shared pictures drawn by migrant children after being released from US custody
A drawing by children recently released depicting their time spent in US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody. Photograph: Handout ./Reuters
Is God instructing Donald Trump to take chidren from their parents, lock them in cages, give them aluminum blankets, make them sleep on a cold floor, and provide inadequate medical care for them? It’s heart-breaking!!!
Yes, I know – this is a controversial, multi-faceted problem. But, it just can’t be right!
Governments were established as a means of promoting good and restraining (stopping, if possible) evil. I am convinced that God’s goal is the destruction of wickedness, NOT THE DESTRUCION OF PEOPLE.
Why can’t we JUST LOVE ONE ANOTHER?
When governments condone immorality, fuel the rich, and oppress the poor, then God allows war for the sake of the innocent.
In Luke 6:27-31, the Bible teaches us to love our enemies, do good to those who hate us, and bless those who curse us. BUT, as Charles Stanley pointed out in today’s devotional in In Touch magazine, “Jesus was speaking about personal conflicts, not national wars.” He continued by reminding us we need to “distinquish between commands issued to nations and instructions given to individuals.”
God allows governments to wage wars for the protection of those being harmed. The job of the government is to protect people.
What would have happened if no government had stepped in to stop Hitler?
Where in our world today do we see people being harmed by the government? Caged? Scorned? Marginalized? We don’t have to look very far!
When I put the word “abuse” in the free photo library search, look what I got:
Is this what the immigration policy has boiled down to? A wall?
Is this how we step forward to protect people in the world who are forced out of their homes and risking their lives to seek asylum in a safer place?
No, we can’t take in thousands of people who need protection from other countries. We need to limit immigration/ asylum seekers and enforce our limits. But, what is the root cause? What are the conditions that are forcing these families out of their native lands?
How can we look for ways to protect our own people and treat others with love?
There is no easy solution to the abuse and marginalization, the hunger and the threats to life in this world. JUST LOVE ONE ANOTHER sounds like pie in the sky – Pollyanna thinking.
But LOVE is the answer! Right and Truth must ultimately prevail.
We must stand up/ speak up/work for/pray for/hope for/ and believe in PEACE.
It is not ours individually to take our own revenge. We will never experience inner peace if we battle individuals who wrong us. Our job is to forgive, to love, and to work together to make our own government more responsive to the needs of its citizens and the right to a peaceful life for us all.
I do dream of a world with no more war. Don’t you?
I followed the recipe, but when I was finished, I decided it needed some enhancement. I went back to the site on a quest for enhancement ideas. Right next to that recipe was one that added curry to the soup. We love curry. Also, I wanted it to be a bit creamy. I had some half and half on hand. I added that.
You know, when you are on a quest for improved flavors, improved health or attitudes, improved life-styles … you name it … you have to be adventuresome! Mix it up. Improvise. Think outside the box!
Recently I have been on a quest for ideas to enhance the birthday party for my great-grandson. It’ll be at our house this Saturday. He’ll be two on Sunday. We have about 25 friends and in-law-family of my granddaughter coming to join us. What can we do besides eat and socialize?
I asked Siri. She led me to fatherly.com, a website with an article titled, “20 Original Ideas for a Second Birthday Party.” From a rainbow party to a fairytale fete, these birthday themes are touted to be perfect fits for two-year-olds.
The article on fatherly.com said,
“They have simple tastes.
They want cake,
shiny things to wave about,
and to run free…
Second birthdays should be glorious play dates.”
I pray for good weather, and I pray that my granddaughter will have other two-year-olds here for my great-grandson to play with. But, whether she does or not, the ideas I discovered on this site satisfied my quest for answers to “What can we do besides eat and socialize?”
Balloons sounded like a great idea to me. If our unpredictable Montana weather is bad that day, balloons can hit furniture and not put dents in it!
Now, we need to choose a theme – and get busy. Thinking outside the box can sometimes result in extra work. Don’t be afraid of it!
Let Your Quest Quicken Your Faith and Deepen Your Soul
If one of your quests is like mine: to look for clearer direction or purpose for life, what questions do you ask? Where do you go for answers?
My go-to source for such answers is clear to you if you have read any of my other posts. Rarely do I leave you without a reference to God, to the Living Lord who walked on earth and showed us the Way, or a reference to Scripture. I will not disappoint you this time either.
It’s not just Google or Siri to whom I turn when I have questions. They are a great help when it comes to history, places, recipes, party ideas… but when it comes to matters of the heart and soul, nothing beats the Good Book!
My NIV (New International Version) Study Bible has a great concordance. I can look to the back of the Book for words that reference my questions. It will list all the places in the Bible where the idea I am seeking is mentioned.
For instance, when I was concerned about a friend who was excessively worrying, I went to the word “Worry” in the Concordance. I found the perfect scripture to add to the card I was sending to my friend.
Phil.4:6-7 “Don’t worry about anything, instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done.Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Jesus Christ.”
Thrill to the Quest
Let the references from Siri, the links you find on Google, and the assurance of Scripture never fail to thrill you! Technology is amazing. But so is our Certain Help in times of trouble. Don’t forget to call on the Lord. Pray!! When all else fails, He will never fail you!
Keep your quests alive!
God Bless You, my Seeking Friends…
These truths were drummed into me by my mom when I was a child growing up. On the inside of her kitchen cabinet door, she had a cardboard tacked up. It was covered with poems she had cut out of the local newspaper back in the late 30’s. That was back in the days when it was typical for newspapers to post poetry on a daily or at least weekly basis.
I have that cardboard inside another cabinet door in my kitchen now. The words are faded and hard to read, but they remind me of my mom – her love of poetry, her positive philosophy of life, and the lessons she taught me. With a magnifying glass I can read some of them still.
One of my favorites is this one titled
Friends of Mine
Good morning, Brother Sunshine!
Good morning, Sister Song!
I beg your humble pardon
If you’ve waited very long.
I thought I heard you rapping,
To shut you out were sin.
My heart is standing open –
Won’t you walk right in?
Good morning, Brother Gladness!
Good morning, Sister Smile!
They told me you were coming,
So I waited on a while.
I’m lonesome here without you.
A weary while it’s been.
My heart is standing open –
Won’t you walk right in?
Good morning, Brother Kindness!
Good morning, Sister Cheer!
I heard you were out calling,
So I waited for you here.
Some days I keep forgetting
I have toil or spin
When you are my companions.
Won’t you walk right in?
The poet’s name is obliterated – all I can see is a “Ja”
But, love the idea that
Thank you for joining me for
Day #8 in the A-Z series Adding Meaning and Purpose to Life
H = Hope & Happiness
In the search for meaning and purpose,
and in an effort to live
more intentionally to fulfill my purpose,
I have discovered
that living with a spirit of Hope
is the key to Happiness.
Let’s focus on three ways to bring more Happiness to our lives through the inclusion of HOPE as a key factor.
Step One: Eliminate Fear
Is there an area of your life where fear abides? Perhaps a health scare or a relational difficulty? Maybe it’s just fear of tomorrow – the unknown.
Author Maya Angelou said,
“Hope and fear
cannot occupy the same space
at the same time.
Invite one to stay.”
By inviting HOPE to occupy the space fear might have taken, we can find greater peace.
In so doing, as Sandy C. Newbigging wrote, we can have a more positive impact on others.
Impacting the lives of others in a positive way is a sure key to happiness.
Step Two: Place your Hope in the Lord
In 1Peter 3:15, we are reminded to “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”
Biblical hope is marked by confident expectation based on the promises given to us by God. God gives us promises of His care today and in our future. With trust in the Lord, we can live knowing our purpose and God’s plan for us extend beyond this physical life. We can take joy in His promises.
Check out how God’s – By Grace Alone – helps us go forth!
The Maranatha Singers (I love ’em!)
Step Three: Release Expectations of Perfection
Hope does not exist in an atmosphere of perfection, so we need to let go of perfection as a goal. Rather, HOPE walks us through the imperfect times. HOPE accompanies us as we navigate the difficult circumstances of life. HOPE picks us up and helps us learn from our errors.
Our errors are not stop signs in our lives. Instead, they are opportunities. We need to lay them at our feet and use them as stepping stones to guide us to a happier, more fulfilling path.