Do What You Can!

11 02 2019

small gift bag 

I was standing with my friends around me.  They had gathered to pray for me and my family as we were to depart for a trip to do some mission work in a foreign country.  I was excited but also a little fearful.

A friend handed me a small gift bag and said take it with you to enjoy.  Then I was given a hug. When I looked in it later it was packed full of the things I so enjoy: colorful book marks, refrigerator magnets with cute sayings, pretty pen, etc.  I was so happy and blessed. I felt so loved and cared for.

We don’t need to do big things to be a blessing in the Kingdom of God.  Small things matter so much! We must do what we can as we trust God to lead us to make a difference in other people’s lives. We might not be a born leader, a rich benefactor, a skilled musician, etc.  But we can do what we can to meet the need of someone.

See what a widow did for Elijah.  She did what she could and God blessed her.

1 Kings 17:7-16 The Message (MSG)

violet cooking rice

 

Eventually the brook dried up because of the drought. Then God spoke to him (Elijah)

:“Get up and go to Zarephath in Sidon and live there. I’ve instructed a woman who lives there, a widow, to feed you.”

So he got up and went to Zarephath. As he came to the entrance of the village he met a woman, a widow, gathering firewood. He asked her, “Please, would you bring me a little water in a jug? I need a drink.” As she went to get it, he called out, “And while you’re at it, would you bring me something to eat?”

 She said, “I swear, as surely as your God lives, I don’t have so much as a biscuit. I have a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a bottle; you found me scratching together just enough firewood to make a last meal for my son and me. After we eat it, we’ll die.”

Elijah said to her, “Don’t worry about a thing. Go ahead and do what you’ve said. But first make a small biscuit for me and bring it back here. Then go ahead and make a meal from what’s left for you and your son. This is the word of the God of Israel: ‘The jar of flour will not run out and the bottle of oil will not become empty before God sends rain on the land and ends this drought.’”

And she went right off and did it, did just as Elijah asked. And it turned out as he said—daily food for her and her family. The jar of meal didn’t run out and the bottle of oil didn’t become empty: God’s promise fulfilled to the letter, exactly as Elijah had delivered it!

We don’t all need to be amazing to make a difference because the cumulative effect of a lot of us doing what we can adds up!

I need to remind myself of this!

 

 

 





What can I do?

6 02 2019

KEVIN 001 (39)

Elisha Provides Olive Oil for a Widow

          The wife of a man from the group of the prophets cried out to Elisha. She said, “My husband is dead. You know how much respect he had for the Lord. But he owed money to someone. And now that person is coming to take my two boys away. They will become his slaves.”

          Elisha replied to her, “How can I help you? Tell me. What do you have in your house?”

“I don’t have anything there at all,” she said. “All I have is a small jar of olive oil.”

        Elisha said, “Go around to all your neighbors. Ask them for empty jars. Get as many as you can. Then go inside your house. Shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars. As each jar is filled, put it over to one side.”

       The woman left him. Then she shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her. And she kept pouring.   When all the jars were full, she spoke to one of her sons. She said, “Bring me another jar.” But he replied, “There aren’t any more left.” Then the oil stopped flowing.

         She went and told the man of God about it. He said, “Go and sell the oil. Pay what you owe. You and your sons can live on what is left.”

2 Kings 4:1-7 New International Reader’s Version (NIRV)

Clay pots are interesting. I saw many of them in Sri Lanka. Vendors would sell them along the side of the major roads. They are still used in some places, but more for ornamental pieces.

Frequently when we look around at the world needing the knowledge of God’s love, we think we can’t do anything about it. Maybe we think it is for the ministers, missionaries, Bible teachers, and others who are trained to do the work. Because we are not of that group of people we think we can’t do much of anything. And if we don’t have much money to donate to those who are trained we think we can’t do anything.
But I think that the call from Jesus to reach the world with the message of God’s love and the story of Jesus comes to all of us. None of us are exempt.
I would ask you to read the above story and ask God to show you what you can do. He will show you! It might seem insignificant or small or unnoticed, but He can use you to be involved in spreading the message of His love.
I started praying for African a few years ago. I have a map and a list of the countries. I pray for one country a day.

Praying for africa2

What can I do?





Don’t give up!

5 02 2019

I am writing today for a couple of reasons.  I want to find out if anyone is still connected to our blog.  And I want to encourage both you and myself in not becoming complacent in the task of telling God’s story around the world.  Not just complacent in activity but in attitude.  Sometimes we are weary and lose heart.  I know I do get that way at times.  And I start thinking that the task is too great for many reasons.   I think it is better to just “hole up” in a safe and comfortable attitude or mental state.  But you and I must shake this off and continue pursuing Christ’s directive He gave before he left the earth.  So we must encourage one another to press on.  “Let us not become weary in doing good, …” Galatians 6:9.  So let us encourage one another.





Cease Fire for Christmas!

1 12 2018

This is Linda writing:I have decided to try something. From this 1st day of December until Christmas I am going to call a “Cease Fire” or truce or suspension of aggressive or hostile behavior (passive or active) towards others or thinking such thoughts in my mind. I am not sure exactly how this will play out, but no more political snippets, religious down plays, social snides, etc. Plus I am going to add an element of thinking and talking good positive things about people regardless of their status. And possibly try to encourage people I normally wouldn’t. I will keep you posted of this journey. If you want to join me just say, “I’m in”.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind…and Love your neighbor as yourself.”

 





Jesus said, “Mary” … “Rabboni” …!

19 07 2018

Jesus and Mary at the empty tombJesus was on the cross, giving his life for his friends and for you and for me!  He was having the “worst day of His life”!  I am sure that He was grateful that His friends were there to be part of the ‘worst day of his life’!  Isn’t that what friends are for?

And now we find ourselves on the “best day of Jesus’ life”!  It is the third day, and Jesus has risen from the dead!  It is His best day!  He wants His friends to be there to celebrate with Him.  And at the tomb, the women had been there, and they had gone and got Peter and John to see the Empty Tomb!  They are puzzled and are gone back to town, but Mary Magdalene, one of Jesus’ friends who was at the cross, is also at the tomb, and lingers, as she expresses her grief and tries to make sense of the Empty Tomb!

This is when friends meet!  From the ‘worst day of their lives’ to the ‘best day of their lives’, when friends are supposed to stick together …!  In grief and through the blurring tears, Mary thinking that the person talking to her was the gardener, expresses her dilemma.  Then Jesus says, “Mary”!  Just one word … HER NAME!  The most powerful word in communication … Your Name!

Jesus said in John’s Gospel chapter 10: 3, “The gatekeeper opens the door for the shepherd, and he goes in through it.  The shepherd calls his own sheep by name and he leads them out.”  (The sheep know His voice).  Jesus calls us each by our name!  He knows us, and He wants us to follow him.

In the busyness of our lives today, and in all of the distractions, Jesus wants us to listen to his voice! So many other pictures come into our minds, many children playing outside and yet a mother will recognize their son or daughters cry in a moment of distress!  And the children will recognize when a mother says, “Time for supper, come on in!”  Not all the kids will run in the house!

How about a couple at a busy party, and yet each spouse is aware of where the other is and every nuance of a look or the tender words of compliments!  We know and hear our friends voices!

Are you listening to Jesus, calling you by name as He wants to share ‘your best day in your life’ or the ‘worst day in your life’, or even the mediocre days in your life.  He is whispering your name TODAY!





Jesus says to Peter, “Look At Me!”

25 06 2018

Jesus 2 - Bruce

(Picture is from the video of “Gospel of Matthew”, where Bruce Marchiano plays Jesus.  Highly recommend it! )

 

 

So, last night I wake up at 3.00 in the morning with a real bad dream!  This is a man who hardly has any dreams for months!  I am going to try to get back to sleep and I remember this Facebook post which said,

“When you can’t sleep at night, have you ever thought maybe it is God saying, “We need to talk and you now have the time.”

So I decided to just do exactly that, and God reminded me of my friend Peter, some call him, “Saint Peter”, but I see he is very much like me with many unsaintly qualities, and I am just going to highlight only three of the stories that I was reminded of.

  1. Peter walking on water- (Read full story at Matthew 14: 22- 33)

Here is Peter doing what Jesus had told him to do and he is taking the other disciples and going to the other side of the lake, when a great storm comes and rocks the boat so badly that they were all fearing for their lives.  They are wishing Jesus was there to help them in this situation, but no, they are alone to deal with this situation

Then we see Jesus comes walking on the water and they think he is a ghost, but finally they realize it is Jesus and Peter, my friend, says, “Lord if it is you, ask me to come to you.”  We next see Peter walking on the water, but he all of a sudden looks away from Jesus, and starts to sink.  So Jesus reaches out with his hand to Peter, giving us the first indication of Jesus saying to Peter “Look at ME”!

  1. Jesus transfigured before Peter – (Read full story in Luke 9: 28-36)

Jesus on this occasion takes Peter, James and John and goes up to a high mountain to be apart for a little while. So Jesus is praying and the disciples are sleeping!  (Seems like a common occurrence!)

So then Jesus is speaking to Moses and Elijah, and He is totally glowing with radiance!  Jesus then comes and wakes the three up and seems to say, “Look at Me”!  They are just startled by what they see, and my friend, Peter blurts out, let’s build three tabernacles here!  But Jesus hushes them and wants them, not to repeat anything that happened!

  1. Peter’s great confession – ( Read the full story in Matthew 16: 13-28)

So Jesus is with his disciples and says, “Who do people say that I am?”  And they answer, “Elijah, John the Baptist, Jeremiah, one of the prophets!”  But then Jesus says, “But who do you think that I am?”

So Peter answers, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”

Jesus then said to Peter, “I am going to build My Church on this rock …!”

But then, He starts to talk about how he was going to suffer and die, and my friend Peter jumps in and says, “No way, Jesus!  That is not going to happen!”  And so Jesus takes Peter aside and says, “Look at Me, Peter, you are not thinking the way that my Kingdom works.  This is how it has to happen.”  (This is my personal paraphrase)

  1. Peter is given the look – (Read the full story at Luke 22: 54- 62)

This story is the culmination of Jesus’ trying to get Peter’s attention to “Look at Jesus”!  We can see many other instances which can be read and studied, but that will be for another time and another day!

Jesus has been betrayed and is led to be tried, and Peter follows afar off and is warming himself by a fire in the cool morning hours, while he is watching what is happening to his friend Jesus.  And we see three times people come and confront Peter, “You are one of Christ’s followers aren’t you?”  And he vehemently protests that he is not.

The third time, a cock crows, and he remembers the words of Jesus, you will deny me three times and then the cock will crow.  At that moment, He looks at Jesus in the distance, and Jesus looks at Peter.  Their eyes lock and it is as if Jesus says to Peter, “Look at Me”!  Peter sees the love that Jesus expresses even the moment of denial, and he goes away and weeps bitterly!

Peter the impulsive, in the moment, “let’s go”, “let’s do”, “let’s try this” follower of Christ, whom Jesus was constantly trying to help him to focus on what Jesus was trying to say and do has heard Jesus say … “Look at Me”!  Did he learn the lesson?  We want to look at another story to learn what Peter really understood when Jesus was saying, “Look at Me”.

So Jesus had been crucified, was raised from the dead, spent time with the disciples and gone back to Heaven … Pentecost had happened and Peter and John are on their way to the Temple for Prayer Time, when they see this man who had been a beggar and they had seen him many times.  This day as usual, he asks Peter and John for money, but Peter today is a different man.  A Man who had looked at Jesus!  See what Peter says to the man,  “Look at me!  I don’t have any money to give you, but what I have, I will give to you.  In the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.”

Peter had looked at Jesus, Peter had bought into the currency of the Kingdom of God, he had been transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit, as we saw in his message on the Day of Pentecost, and Peter boldly says like Jesus did to him, “Look at Me”.  When the storms are raging around and winds threatening to swallow you, when the trials of life make us so weary, that we cannot keep our eyes open, when it is time to pray, when our motives are questioned, as to why we really follow Jesus … we see that Jesus does not push us aside, but says, “Look at Me, I am here for you.  I am on your side.  I will help you!”

Jesus says, “Look at Me _________!” (Insert your name)

 

 

 





Checklists!

27 03 2018

CHECKLISTSMy wife is very meticulous in making a “To Do” List for her day, and very studiously checks it off as she completes each task.  I admire her for doing it, even though I tease her about it.  The checklists I make are few and far between, and only when I have some small boring (?) tasks that I might keep forgetting.  My life must be boring, because I just keep to my routine!

I was thinking of checklists this morning, because I was reminded of the verse in Philippians 1:6 where God says that, ” … He will COMPLETE the Good Work that He has begun in me …”!  That means He is working in me and is not done with me.

This is a comforting thought to know that the God who is the creator of the Universe, and who put me together in my mothers womb (Psalm 139), is continuing to do a work that will bring honor and glory to Him. Because we see that in Genesis chapter 1 he steps back and looks at the work that He has done at the end of each day, and says, ” … this is very good…”!

And as Mahalia Jackson, the gospel singer is supposed to have said, “God, He makes no junk!”  So when God steps back after He is done with me, He is going to say, “Yes, what I did with Ted (_________insert your name___) is good, it is very good!  He brings me glory!

The other thing is that whatever, I might be going through as God is working on me, I know that God is very close to me.  I might not feel His nearness, but He is there!  He is just a whisper away, and He is there to love me and provide for me and heal my hurts and …!

So, as you look at your list today, remember that you are on God’s checklist to work a good work in you!  Allow Him to love you and to make a masterpiece out of your life!

Ephesians 2: 10 says: (New Living Translation)

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”