Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Random Acts of Kindness

This week’s devotional will be my last devotional until June 3, 2020.  I will be taking a break for 6-weeks (or possibly longer). 

At this time, much is available on Facebook, Twitter, and the internet from our local churches to encourage people that I thought I would step back for these few weeks.  

Thanks for following my devotionals...and remember, I'll be back.  

I trust you will be blessed and encouraged by all that your local church is offering you online.  

See you in June. (or maybe later) 

It often takes a crisis to bring out the best in people.  When there is a crisis, this can be the Christian's opportunity to show the love of the Lord by ministering outside the box.  

Recently, I heard a few stories of people who choose to minister outside the box even amidst the social distancing. 

One person told me of a child in line at the grocery store who was looking at a small toy near the checkout line.  The three-year-old was looking at this toy with great interest.  This person in line in front of the child turned and asked the mother if it would be okay for them to buy the toy for her child.  

The mom was shocked at the kind request and agreed to the act of kindness by the stranger.  As this person paid for the toy then handed it to the mother, the cashier became moved with emotion and said that was the kindest thing she had seen in the grocery store that week.

Another story I heard was from a person who watched the man in front of him in line at the store realize as his grocery order was totaled that he didn't have enough money to buy his baby diapers.  The man said to put the diapers back.  That's when the person behind him stepped up and asked if he could buy the diapers.  

Another person told me of a wrong number she dialed and the young mom of four who answered the phone identified that the caller had definitely dialed the wrong number.  But the person felt prompted to ask the young mom if she needed prayer and the young mom said that she did.  The caller was able to pray with her and told the young mom to call if she had a need since she now had the caller's phone number.
Was that call a mistake?  Was it a mistake to buy the child a toy?  Was it a mistake to buy the diapers for the father who didn't have money or were each of these a moment surrendered to the Lord? 

When the world is going a little bit crazy,  it's the Christian's chance to remember we can’t turn a blind eye to the suffering nor the injustice of others.  Whatever small acts of kindness we can find to do, let us do them as unto the Lords.

We are called to be in relationship with Jesus, but we are also called to be in relationships with others.  The book of Amos helps us to focus on both the physical and the spiritual needs of people. 

Amos 5:24 says, But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream.

In the weeks to come, I challenge you to be God’s arms extended to others as we roll on like a river and a never-failing stream in our acts of kindness to those around us.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Back to the Basics

We have all had to get back to the basics this past month; like handwashing.  I was shocked by how little I thought about washing my hands until my health hung in the balance.

New terminology and practices have become the norm like; shelter in place, social distancing, self-quarantine, keeping a six-foot distance from everyone,  less than ten person gatherings, no face touching, no handshaking, detoxing groceries before bringing them into the house and wiping down surfaces more often.

I have disinfected my light switches, countertops, doorknobs, banishers, remotes, cell phone, iPad, and computer keyboard more in the last month than I had in my entire life proceeding this pandemic.  I've even wiped down my car steering wheel and all the places in the car that I touch.  I don't think I ever thought to disinfect my car before.  Clean yes, but disinfect--never.  But, I do now.

For the past few weeks, my new ritual of bringing groceries into my house is to empty all the groceries into the back of the van, throw away the contaminated plastic bags crawling with Covid-19 germs.  Then I sprayed the daylights out of all the items with Lysol spray and let it sit for 20 minutes before bringing them into the house where I then wiped each item down with a Clorox wipe.

I wonder if we will ever go back to our old ways.  In my many hours of quarantine, I have watched some movies, and I'm shocked to see people hugging and shaking hands, eating together in restaurants setting hip to hip in a booth, touching the table and then putting food in their mouths.

It's horrifying.

This Covid-19 virus has affected us to our very core.

I'm ready to get back to my life before the pandemic.  I'm ready for simple and uncomplicated living, and I'm ready for some good news.

In Joel 2:32 (NLT), there is a verse that takes us back to our core. It takes us back to the basics.  It's simple, uncomplicated, and excellent news.

It's the foundation that the Christian's life is built on.

But everyone who calls 
on the name of the Lord 
will be saved...

There ya go, simple, basic, uncomplicated and the best news ever!

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

...And Yet His Love Endures

The book of Hosea is an enigma when it comes to faithfulness.  After all, this book of the Bible begins with a story about a wife who is unfaithful and a husband who is longsuffering.  

Most of us without a counseling degree or maybe even with one would be telling this husband, Hosea, to kick that girl, Gomer, to the curb and move on because we would tell Hosea that he deserves to be loved, respected and have all his wife's attention, and he did give her plenty of chances to behavior.

In the book of Hosea, when we look at this story as a living parable, it is easier to see the truth God is driving home to our hearts.  When we grasp the truth of this book, it will give us more compassion for Gomer and give us a new thankfulness for the ever-enduring Hosea.

Parables have long been a means that both God the Father and Jesus, His Son have used to teach us.  The best description I've heard to describe a parable is this; words become a paintbrush to create a portrait of truth.  

The book of Hosea can be broken into two parts.  In chapters 1-3, we see Gomer’s unfaithfulness to her husband, Hosea.  And God continually telling him to return to his wife.  Then in chapters 4-14, the tables are turned and God shows us through the story of Hosea and Gomer; Israel’s unfaithfulness to God and God's willingness to accept back this nation that continually rejected the Father love.   

Looking closely at the brush strokes of this story, we will see the enduring love relationship between God and his wayward people.

Through all the beauty and raw truth of this Old Testament living parable, I landed on this verse in Hosea 6:6 to ponder this week. 

 “For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, 
the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.”   

Here God is telling his people, Israel what he wants from them.  He wants them to desire Him and love Him more than anything this world has to offer.  He's not looking for self-sacrifice in the things we do, but He is calling for our hearts--our love.   

It's time to really love the One who chose us warts and all, just like Hosea chose Gomer and repeatedly took her back.  Jesus' enduring love for us is the same.  It's time to give God what He desires; our steadfast love.  

When we were unfaithful, undeserving, and behaving badly,  Jesus loved us and gave His life for us. 

Here's the message from the book of Hosea to us,  love Him because He desires our love more than anything else, and in the end, our actions will show our true love.

Book Release

    The Journals of Tori Drake Click on the book cover to order on Amazon. Book Review: I consumed this book in three days. Although it was ...