Friday, July 21, 2017

Do You Know A Mrs. Wallace?


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

Her name was Mrs. Wallace. Just saying the name – Mrs. Wallace – and immediately I picture that little lady with extremely short naturally curly and seldom washed hair. A tiny lady with jack-in-the-box teeth that needed no prompting to pop in and out of her mouth at a moment’s notice.

I can almost smell the talcum powder that did little to mask the scent of one who seldom bathes that we kids always knew would be there – and almost always was – when our mother picked her up on Saturday mornings to take her to town with us.

I admit that we complained every time Mother told us we would be picking up Mrs. Wallace. “Why does she have to go with us?” “She smells funny.” “Her socks are always down around her ankles.” “Doesn’t she have someone in her family who can take her to town?” “What if our friends see us with her?”

My mother would always respond to our questions with the same answers. “She is going with us because she has no one close by to take her. How will she get groceries? This is a good opportunity for you to get to know Mrs. Wallace. She is a very sweet lady. How can I tell her that my children don’t want her to go with them? Imagine how hurt she would be!”

And so for one more trip to town, we would sit in the back seat and watch her and wonder . . . why she didn’t bathe more often, why her socks continued to rest around her ankles, what kept her teeth from separating completely from her mouth and falling on the floor of the car.

But something happened during one of those car rides: we began to realize what our mother was doing. She was putting God’s love into action. She was taking care of Mrs. Wallace the widow lady as if she was HER mother!  We saw that our mother was living what she believed. The teaching that Jesus was sharing in Matthew 25:34-40 was not something she took lightly.

In that Scripture Jesus was speaking to the righteous and blessing them for giving Him food and drink, for clothing Him, for taking care of Him when He was sick and for visiting Him in prison.

When they question Him as to exactly when they did those acts specifically for Jesus, He replies in verse 40: “…I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” (NIV)

My mother was showing us that when “the least of these” needed help, we should be willing to step in and show our Father’s love without complaining and without asking anything in return. Her unselfishness in being willing to put Christ’s love into action was a lesson we never forgot.

What are we doing to show our children how to be Jesus to those around us? Could it be that there is a Mrs. Wallace in our neighborhoods or where we work?

The best way for our children to learn Christ’s unselfish love for others is to see it reflected in our acts of kindness toward “the least of these” around us.

Father, please help me to never cease to look around me for those who need your loving touch in the very simple everyday things. Help me to always remember that people will learn about you by watching me. May I be a mirror of your love and compassion. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


R.A.P. it up

Reflect
  • Is there a Mrs. Wallace in your family or neighborhood?
  • Do you need a “vision check” so that you see them through the eyes of Jesus?
  • What lessons are you conveying to your children when it comes to taking care of widows and others in need?

Application
  • Find out the birthdays of the older neighbors in your community or at church who may not have any family living close by. Help your children to design coupons for (a) “a meal brought to your home;” (b) “a shopping trip;” (c) “a tea party time” (and you provide the tea and cookies). Pass out the coupons to each person and check back every couple of days to see if a date has been decided on to use the coupon.
  • Pray with your children concerning the salvation of each person who accepted a coupon. Have them write a note of encouragement to each person.

Power Verses

  • Matthew 25:40 (NIV) “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’”
  • Philippians 2:4 (NIV) “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
  • Proverbs 22:6 (NIV) “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”
  • I John 3:17 (NIV) “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?”
  • James 2:15-16 (NIV) “Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?” 

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Best Bargain of All

“The poor will eat and be satisfied; they who seek the Lord will praise him – may your hearts live forever!” Psalm 22:26 (NIV)

My husband loved to shop for groceries. The only problem was that he almost always shopped on his way home from work in the evening. Translation: he walked down each aisle with an empty stomach and came home with an empty wallet.

And if that wasn’t enough, a strange phenomenon occurred. During those shopping trips, an otherwise poor memory (“Huh? You asked me to take out the trash? I don’t seem to recall . . .”) came alive and suddenly was able to remember every name brand food item ever seen on television! And THAT translated into a huge grocery bill made up of items that we absolutely did not need.

Another big part of that phenomenon included so-called bargains. If it appeared to be a good deal, the bargain found a resting place in my husband’s grocery cart. For example, he was very excited about the twelve jars of baby food advertised at $3.00 off but we didn’t have a baby. And yes, the sack of cat food on sale for $6.00 off WAS a steal . . . IF you owned a cat!

Walking in a grocery store with an empty stomach can be costly. But even more costly is walking through life without a relationship with Jesus.  

Please hear my heart on this one: we can shop around to find something else to fill our “shopping carts.” In our hunger to fill the void inside each of us, we can look for bargains that we don’t really need, like a bigger home or a more expensive vehicle. We may even try filling our carts with drugs or alcohol or time spent in chat rooms on the internet.

In our emptiness, we may search for the perfect bargain and overlook the Perfect One who meets all our needs and satisfies our hunger as nothing else can.

My husband came home with grocery “bargains” that he would never have bought if his physical hunger had been satisfied.

In the same way, when our spiritual hunger is filled with a relationship with Jesus, we will avoid falling into the trap of filling our hearts with “bargains” we do not need.  

Satisfy your spiritual hunger with a “shopping cart” filled with mercy, love and forgiveness from the Lord and you will never need to shop for “bargains” again.  

Father, I am so grateful that You desire a relationship with me and that I only need to come to you empty and You will fill me up. My soul hungers for more of You and Your Word. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.



R.A.P. it up

Reflect
  • Have you ever tried to fill the emptiness of your life with “bargains” that did not satisfy?

Application
  • Journal each “bargain” that you have ever considered to fill the hunger in your heart. Beside each one, journal whether or not your hunger was satisfied. Then look up a Scripture that shows how Jesus can fill that hunger, write it down and praise Him for His faithfulness.

Power Verses
  • Psalm 22:26 (NIV) “The poor will eat and be satisfied; they who seek the Lord will praise him – may your hearts live forever!”

  • Romans 15:13 (NIV) “May the God of hope fill you with joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
  
  • Matthew 5:6 (NIV) “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”

  • Psalm 63:1 (NIV) “O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.”
  
  • Psalm 143:8 (NIV) “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.”

 Are you a bargain shopper? I would love to know how Jesus has filled your "grocery cart!"



Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Best You That You Can Be

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Colossians 3:23-24 (NIV)

            My husband never could sing on key. Not. One. Single. Note. It wasn’t that he didn’t try. My goodness, he tried and tried and tried. But it never happened.

            The sad part to me was that he never knew if he was on or off key. His only clue would be the reaction of people around him when he sang.

For example, people in the row in front of us at church would turn around and stare during worship. He would see them frowning, lean over to me and whisper “Way off?” to which I would always, quietly respond “Yes. Yes you are. Totally.”

            But that never seemed to keep him from singing and singing loudly.

            I felt so badly for him that I convinced our family to start a new tradition: singing “happy birthday” as off key as possible.  I thought it would make him happy to “blend in” with the crowd. But I was wrong.

            “Why did you change the way we sing happy birthday?” my husband asked me. In my mind I thought “Are you nuts? I did it because you sing so badly!” but I responded “I thought you might like to sing it differently for a change.”

            He smiled. “I know why you did it. You think I feel out of place with my singing and you don’t want me to feel bad, right?” I nodded as he went on. “Honestly, honey, it doesn’t bother me at all!” Enter my “seriously?” face.

But he continued. “This is the way I look at it. God made songbirds and He made crows. I just happen to be a crow. And I decided a long time ago that I would be the best crow I could be.”

What a lesson for me! My husband didn’t complain about being a crow. He never asked God to change him to a songbird. He didn’t even question his plight in life of always singing off key.

He simply worked his hardest to be the best crow that God created. And he praised the Lord in his best crow voice every time he sang.

My husband had learned an important lesson from Colossians 3:23-24. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” That’s a lesson I need to learn as well.

How about you? What has God gifted you with? The voice of a songbird or that of a crow? In other words, what are you doing with what you have been given by the Creator?

Not everyone is an opera singer. Some may be a grand ole opry singer. Some people hand out fast food at work and others work at eating fast food. Is one better than the other? More loved by God?

Absolutely not! No matter what I am and what I do, I long to be the best at it and to work at it because I truly am working for the Lord who loves me just the way I am.

. Are you a songbird? Great! Are you a crow? Super! All that God asks you to do is to work at being the best “you” that you can be!

Father, you tell me that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Thank you for creating me to live for you. I pray I will serve you with my whole heart. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

R.A.P. it up

Reflect
·        Have you ever thought that you needed to be the same as everyone else in order to be loved by God?

Application
·        In your journal, write this at the top of your page “God has created me to be.” Under that write down all that you are: truck driver, nurse, mother, custodian, teacher, wife.
·        Begin each morning by asking the Lord to help you work hard to be the best that you can be. He is faithful.

Power Verses
·        Colossians 3:23-24 (NIV) “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
·        Ephesians 2:10 (NIV) “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
·        Isaiah 64:8 (NIV) “Yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.”
·        Colossians 3:17 (NIV) “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

·        I Corinthians 10:31 (NIV) “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”  

I would love to read your comments below! Are you the best songbird or crow you can be?

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Except for One

“Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.”
James 4:17 (NIV)

Not even a broken hand could keep my daughter from playing basketball in middle school. After just a few weeks of wearing a cast, she was cleared by the physician to play ball again with one stipulation: her hand had to be wrapped and cushioned during every game. It was healing perfectly and he didn’t want to take the chance that it might get pulled or twisted and re-injured.

The injury did nothing to keep her from scoring points – and a lot of them – almost every game. At one particular contest with a major basketball rival, she had scored 20 points by halftime, even with a broken hand.

But something strange happened during the third and fourth quarters: the girls on the other team switched from trying to steal the ball from our daughter and instead concentrated on grabbing and twisting her hand. Except for one girl.

At first my husband and I thought it was just coincidence but then we quickly realized that the opposing team had one focus and that was to hurt her hand to the point that she couldn’t continue playing. Except for one girl.

We could hardly contain our disbelief and anger as we saw the look of pain on our daughter’s face as girl after girl tried to twist and pull her hand and she struggled to get away from them and continue to play. Except for one girl.

When the game finally ended, our team had won by 10 points. All the girls on the opposing team went through the congratulations line and high fived my daughter’s wrapped hand extra hard as they mumbled “good game.” Except for one girl.

As the girls came out of the locker room, our daughter walked over to us, holding her hand against her chest. It was obviously hurting her. But something else happened.

The one girl on the team who never tried to grab her hand or hit it extra hard after the game also walked toward us.

“I just wanted to tell you how sorry I am for what just happened,” she told our daughter. “At halftime, our coach told all of us on the team to try to grab your broken hand and hurt it so you would not be able to play the rest of the game.” She continued. “I just couldn’t do it. It was wrong. I just wanted you to know.” My daughter gave her a hug and said “thank you.”  

            I find it hard to believe that there were no other girls on that team who also believed that what their coach had told them to do was wrong. There had to have been more than just one. And there might have been.

And yet, only one had the courage to stand up for what was right and take the chance that her coach might punish her for not obeying what he told her and the other team members to do.

I cannot help but apply the details of this ball game to my life. Have there been times when I ignored “the good” that I knew I should be doing? The person in front of me in the checkout line who didn’t have enough to pay for her groceries? The elderly neighbor I knew was longing for company? The tithe that I should have given to a missionary but I spent on yet another item of clothing that I didn’t need? I hate to tell you but my answer is “yes.”

What about you? Can you relate? Today’s Scripture from James 4:17 quietly but firmly speaks to our hearts. “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.” Period.

My encouragement to each of you – and to me – is to keep this Scripture before us every single day. The Lord Himself will give us courage as He shows us many opportunities to do “acts of good” everywhere we go.

Father, you are very clear in your Word that when I do not do what I know is good in your eyes, I am sinning. Please help me to be bold and to be a positive influence in the lives around me. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.  

R.A.P. it up

Reflect
  • Can you think of a situation where you knew the positive action – the “good” - you should do but you did not speak up?


Application
  • Look over situations over the last week when you should have spoken or acted as the Lord commands. How did you react?

  • Journal each situation and the response that the Lord wants you to have. Ask Him to nudge you the next time you have an opportunity to “do good.” And do it.





Power Verses
  • James 4:17 (NIV) “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.”

  • Romans 12:21 (NIV) “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

  • James 1:22 (NIV) “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”

  • I Corinthians 16:13-14 (NIV) “Be on guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love.” 

  • I Peter 3:14 (NIV) “But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.”  


Thursday, June 29, 2017

Angels Ride the Subway

“See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and
to bring you to the place I have prepared.”
Exodus 23:20 (NIV)

He didn’t look like an angel to me, at least not like any angel I had pictured. He had long dark dreadlocks curling almost to his waist and a red and black bandana tied at the back of his head. His sleeveless jacket was woven with what appeared to be strands of yarn in purple, red, yellow and green. His jeans were thin denim, frayed at the bottom.

I hadn’t even noticed him at first, sitting right next to me. My stress level was a 12 on a 10 scale as I watched the young woman in the next row alternate between leaning back in her seat and then slumping forward, her arms hugging her chest, her eyes closed.

We had been at the Passion Conference in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta when she became quite ill and since I was the nurse with the group, I volunteered to get her back to the hotel. There was only one problem and it was a huge one.

I was not blessed with any sense of direction when I was created. None. I get lost in closets and small bathrooms. Every way I turn is north. Always. And she and I were on the MARTA – the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority – trying to get back to the airport to catch a shuttle to our hotel.

Directionally challenged. On the subway. In a strange city. Mercy.

She motioned for me to lean over and I heard her whisper “You know how to get us back, right Nurse Nancy?” I smiled confidently and said “Of course I do. We are going to be fine.” She leaned back and closed her eyes and I leaned back to find the young man next to me half-smiling. “You don’t know where you’re going, do you.” he stated quietly, not as a question, but as fact. 

“Uh, no. No I don’t. But she is really sick and I have to get her back to our hotel” I told him as I silently prayed “Lord, help us! You know I have no sense of direction! Please get us back!” 

Two minutes later the subway slowed to a stop and I felt panic begin to take over. Do we get off here? Do we ride further? What are we going to do? Suddenly I noticed that the young man had gotten up from his seat and was standing at the door, ready to leave.

But two other things also caught my eye: one, that he was very tall and two that he was motioning with his head that we were at our first stop. I grabbed the young lady with me and put my arm around her as I whispered “Come on. This is where we get off” with a confidence that I absolutely did not feel. We stepped out of the subway and into swarms of people trying to get around us to the seats we had just exited.

For a second time I felt panic begin to creep into my body when I noticed the young man glance back at me and once again nod his head as he walked around a corner. “This way,” I told her but stopped as I rounded the corner and realized there were four possible directions to go in and I had no idea which was the one for us.  

“Lord!” I cried out in my heart and looked to my left. There at the top of a flight of stairs was a beautiful sight: a very tall young man with dark dreadlocks standing still on the first step, as the rush of people flowed around either side of him. And he was looking at me. 

One more nod and I could not help the grin as I mouthed “Thank you” and helped the young woman with me as we followed him down the stairs to the next level in the subway. 

“Wait right here,” I told her. “I want to thank that man who helped us.” But as I turned around, he was nowhere to be seen. Nowhere. A very tall young man with dark dreadlocks, a red and black bandana on his head and a colorful jacket had completely disappeared in a matter of seconds. 

I turned back to the young woman and said “He’s gone! How could he have disappeared like that? He was so tall. I couldn’t have missed him!” We both looked at each other. “An angel. He must have been an angel,” I told her. She nodded. “God took care of us.” But we were not home yet. 

This new level in the subway posed new problems. Which way to go now? The crowd of just a few minutes earlier was gone and we were left standing with only a woman and her baby in a stroller.

“You got us this far, Lord. Which way now? Which way?” I prayed. My answer came in the form of a very tiny lady in a blue shirt and slacks who suddenly appeared in front of me. “Where you goin’ Honey?” she asked. “We are trying to get back to the airport,” I told her. “My friend here is sick and I need to find the right subway car to get her there.”

Her smile was huge as she instructed me “You stay right here, facin’ this way,” she replied. “Don’t move ‘cause this car that’s comin’ is gonna take you to the airport. You stand in this spot you are in now and the doors will open right in front of you.”

            “We are almost there!” I smiled excitedly at the young woman as I turned with an “Oh, thank….” But the tiny lady in the blue shirt who had helped us was gone. We looked around everywhere for her but she, too, had disappeared in seconds.

Would you believe that the subway car opened its doors directly in front of us? Yes, it did. And we were able to get back to the airport, to a shuttle and to the hotel to begin healing about 15 minutes later.

I have no plans to go back to Atlanta and the Georgia Dome any time in the future. But one thing I do know: if I ever ride the MARTA again, God will provide angels on the subway to get me home.

            Father, you are amazing. Being lost in an unfamiliar place may not be hard for some people but it is for me. Thank you for sending help just when I needed it. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

R.A.P. it up

            Reflect
  • Have you ever been in a situation where you panicked because you were “lost” as to what to do and received help from a stranger?

Application
  • The next time you are confronted with a problem with seemingly no solution, ask the Lord to send help to you and watch as He is faithful.

Power Verses
  • Exodus 23:20 (NIV) “See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared.”
  • Psalm 91:11-12 (NIV) “For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”
  • Luke 4:10 (NIV) “For it is written: ‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully;”
  • Hebrews 1:14 (NIV) “Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?”
  • Hebrews 13:2 (NIV) “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.”



Monday, June 26, 2017

More Than Tracking My Journey

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV)

            My daughters and I recently took a vacation together outside the United States. As someone who does not travel anywhere, I thought it was quite interesting – and a bit scary.

            I asked several questions. “What if we get lost? If our first flight is late, who do we tell so we can get to the connecting flight? And if that happens, how will we reach our family to let them know what is going on? Won’t they worry where we are?”

            Questions and worries. Worries and questions. All unnecessary.

            Because just seconds before we were to get on our flight, my daughter’s husband texted “I see you are set to board your plane in the next few minutes.” What??!!

            “He has GPS, Mom,” she smiled at me. “He knows when we are boarding and he will know when we land. He knows exactly where we are.” Seriously? Yes. And, just a few minutes after our plane landed, another text came through. “I see you are on the ground. Have fun!”

            Now, while I find it fascinating that GPS can track our every movement, that’s where the fascination ends.

            Because if I am sick on the flight, GPS can do nothing. If I am sad or discouraged or anxious as I land, GPS cannot calm me or encourage me. It can only track me on my journey.

            I think that is why I love Deuteronomy 31:8 so much. It says “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you or forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

            God Himself has already gone before me on my journey through life. He knows all the ups and downs and every detour in my path. And He will not leave me but instead will calm my fears and encourage me as He stays by my side.

            I need to ask – what journey are you on today? Are you struggling in a marriage with no hope in sight? Do you have a child who knows the right thing to do but always chooses the wrong thing? Have you lost a loved one and find it hard to even breathe?

            With everything in my heart I encourage you to turn your eyes toward the One who is beside you on your journey and who has the answers. He understands. He has been on the path before you and He stands ready to guide you through every minute of every day.

            Call Him by name. Dig into His Word. Again and again God reminds us that we are not just someone to be “tracked” but rather, a child dearly loved by a Father who stays with us and guides us every single day of our lives.

            Father, I thank you so much for never leaving my side and for guiding me each day. Thank you for caring about every single detail of my life. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

R.A.P. it up

          Reflect
·        Have you ever felt alone in a situation in your life and unsure if anyone cares or if God is even with you?

Application
·        Copy Deuteronomy 31:8 on an index card and keep it in your purse or pocket to remind you of God’s care over you no matter what is going on. This is a great Scripture to memorize.

Power Verses
·        Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV) “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
·        Joshua 1:9 (NIV) “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
·        Psalm 139:8-10 (NIV) “If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.”
·        John 14:18 (NIV) “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”
·        Psalm 121:3-4 (NIV) “He will not let your foot slip – he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.”

           

             

           


Friday, June 16, 2017

Never Have I . . .

“Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”
Romans 13:10 (NIV)

My grand kids love to play the game “Never Have I” when they go swimming. It’s simple really. One person stands on the diving board, back to the pool. Then he says “Never have I” and states something that he has never done.

For example, “Never have I kicked a dog.” Then the swimmers left in the water who HAVE done that very thing try to swim from one side of the pool to the other as the person on the diving board jumps in and tries to tag them. If he is successful, the person he tags is next on the diving board. If he doesn’t tag anyone, he has to say another “never have I.”

On one hot summer afternoon, eight year old Jude was the person on the diving board. The other grand kids were holding on to the side of the pool, hoping that he would say something they had not done so they wouldn’t have to race to the other side.

Jude, in a sweet little voice, called out “Never have I made someone’s heart feel down.” I smiled as every person in the water swam frantically for the other side. And, yes, Jude tagged one to take his place on the board.

But as they continued their game, it occurred to me that if I were playing the specific “Never Have I” that Jude called out, I would be one of those swimming for the other side of the pool. One of those who has made someone’s “heart feel down.”

Jude has always been very careful to never hurt someone’s feelings. It has happened to him before and he doesn’t like the feeling but he also doesn’t want anyone else to have their “heart feel down.”

 I wish that I could tell you that I, too, am very careful to never cause heartache with my words. But I can’t. I have spoken without thinking or NOT spoken when I should have more times than I would like to admit. Instead of encouraging and building someone up, I’ve done the exact opposite either by my words or my silence.

Today’s Scripture burns my heart. “Love does no harm to its neighbor.” And who is my neighbor? Everyone. Paul is confirming what Jesus said to all of us.

If we love someone, we are going to do everything we can to keep their heart from feeling down. It starts with what comes out of our mouths. And the words we speak from our lips come straight from our hearts.

If I am hiding anger or pride, jealousy or hate in my heart, then my words will reflect that. And instead of trying hard not to make someone’s heart feel down, I will be pushing it down myself!

Can you relate? I imagine that we all can. Either by what we have spoken or when we should have spoken up but didn’t.

My encouragement to you today is to not only stop and think before you speak, but to do that twice before uttering a single word. If we truly love, as Jesus tells us to, we will do everything we can to keep from making anyone’s “heart feel down.”

Lord, my heart longs to be in tune with yours. I know that I don’t always love people like You do. Please help me to love them and to build up rather than tear down. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

R.A.P it up

            Reflect
·                          Look over conversations you have had this last week. How many times have your words been critical instead of loving?

Application
·                          Begin each morning by praying “Lord, help me to love like You do. Silence me when I am thinking of speaking unloving comments.” Practice that every day.

Power Verses
·                          Romans 13:10 (NIV) “Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”

·                          Matthew 7:12 (NIV) “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”

·                          Matthew 12:36 (NIV) “But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.”

·                          Proverbs 12:18 (NIV) “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”

·                          Proverbs 17:28 (NIV) “Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue.”  


Do You Know A Mrs. Wallace?

“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’” Matth...