Monday, November 30, 2015
Thanksgiving day I gave away 2 $20 bills. I am telling you this to make a point.
The first one was afternoon Thanksgiving, when Bill and I went out to eat.
We are on the road, far away from home, away from our loved ones, and it was Thanksgiving. We had been given a gift card for Cracker Barrel and they were open and serving turkey dinner. So that is where we went.
We waited until 2pm thinking it would be less busy. But when we got there, we noticed the line was out the door.
We went inside to give our name and prepared to wait. However, we were seated right away. The tables for two were readily available.
Our waitress came. Her name was Linda. She took our order for the turkey dinner and brought our coffee. She was rushing around from table to table. I told her not to rush for us that we weren't in any hurry. I asked her what time she had come to work and she told me 1 o'clock. Then we talked about her getting off work at 5pm to go shopping with her daughter.
Many of the stores were opening for huge sales that evening.
I then asked if she was shopping for anything in particular and she named a few things. Then she told me that she really wanted to get to Sears. They had women's boots on sale for $20 and she really wanted a pair.
We enjoyed our meal that included, turkey and ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, stuffing, 2 corn muffins, pie and coffee, all on special for $11.99.
Our bill was brought to us when we were nearly finished. As I said we had a gift card. It was for $25, our Bill total was $25.60.
It was a very nice meal.
Our waitress passed as we were leaving and I handed her a $20 bill. I told her to buy herself a pair of boots on us. She hugged me and thanked us.
It felt great. God has truly blessed us and we wanted to bless someone else.
Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:7 NASB)
Later, we did some shopping of our own, walked 3 miles for exercise then relaxed the evening away.
During the night I awoke. I was restless and couldn't fall back to sleep for some reason. So I got up and quietly made myself a cup of tea. I sat in the driver's seat and sipped my tea as I read a book on my Kindle. It was 4:30am.
I saw a police officer drive a circle around the rest area and then leave.
Someone knocked on my door. There was a man standing outside. I lowered the window. He told me a story of locking his keys in his car. He called the police who came to help but wanted his car towed, a locksmith called, or a breakage of a window to get into the car. He went on to tell me that he only had $22 on him which he showed me. He told me the tow truck driver wanted $140, the locksmith wanted $40 and he didn't want to break his own window. He asked if I could spare him the $18 he still needed to pay the locksmith.
So, I gave him a $20 bill. He promised that once inside his car, he would drive up to the next exit to an atm, get some cash and come back to pay me back.
Now I know that he was probably feeding me a line of untruth, but I also reasoned that maybe God had woken me up to help this man regardless.
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it. (Hebrews 13:2 NASB)
Of course that man never returned.
The wicked borrows and does not pay back, But the righteous is gracious and gives. (Psalms 37:21 NASB)
No ones likes to be taken advantage of. Way too often human beings will prey on the generosity of others.
I knew when I handed that man that $20 that I would never see him again. And I believe that he knew in his heart that he was never going to return. God will deal with him. And God also will bless me.
Saturday, November 14, 2015
What SHOULD I do if my family fights?
I cannot stand it. I cannot understand the behavior. I don't want to divide or take sides. It seems that the closer I get to God, the further away my family is. Why can't we all just love each other?
Even your own family has turned against you. They act friendly, but don't trust them. They're out to get you, and so is everyone else. (Jeremiah 12:6 CEVUS06)
Unfortunately, there is truth in this verse from Jeremiah chapter 12.
Jeremiah, the prophet is questioning God. He wants to know why it seems that sinful people seem to prosper and have a good living while he, Jeremiah, is trying to live the best he can live as a godly man, and never seems to get ahead.
Jeremiah cries out in v.3 of Jer. 12, "I am faithful to You, even in my thoughts and my heart, they aren't even real in their worship, yet they prosper and I don't." Paraphrase
God goes on to answer Jeremiah. He tells him that ungodly people will not "win" in the end. Only the faithful will.
We all know and cling to this hope in God.
Lord, my heart is so black sometimes when I feel wronged by others. I despise myself when I have bitterness toward people that don't act the way I think they should. And yes, very often, I would like to see a quick justice brought to those that are mean and selfish. Lord, I wonder about the same things as Jeremiah, why do You allow bad people to seem to be prospering? Where are your lightening bolts? Why doesn't the ground open up and swallow them? Why are the generous hearts wounded by the selfish? Why do good people get walked over?
God told Jeremiah, Continue to live godly. Continue to do what you know to be right. Strengthen your own faith. The time is coming, and you must still be found to be godly.
God expects the same from us. We cannot be distracted by the troubles and distractions that Satan brings to our lives, even when, especially when, he plops them into our lap.
Even in our daily struggles, people need to see Jesus when they see us. Believe me, I understand the struggle, (see the above paragraph about the black heart? That was part of my conversation with God last night.)
Pray for me, pray for each other. Encourage each other in faithful living. I love you all. Hold the faith.
Thursday, November 5, 2015
Recently a friend told me how she was searching for something that she knew she had but couldn't remember where she had placed it. Then when I asked her about it later she said she found it. That it had been in the wide open, she was just not seeing it.
That reminded me of a bedroom in a house that I used to live in. The people that lived there before us had put an old fashioned wallpaper up. It had a pattern of big, ugly flowers. But at the time, we couldn't afford to change it out, so we learned to live with it. And to be honest, after awhile, we didn't even pay attention to it.
Romans 12:2 says: And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Sometimes Christians struggle in this world because our culture tolerates every person's ideals and feelings. And anyone who doesn't is intolerant, and unloving. The big, ugly pattern of this world is shoved upon us and if we stop paying attention, we will find ourselves getting so used to it that we won't even see it anymore. We will find ourselves conforming to the world. We just won't notice the big, ugliness of it anymore.
It takes other Christians, sound teaching, and the Holy Spirit to renew our minds and transform (change) us.
The rest of that chapter goes on to tell us the character of those that are transformed. It's the kind of person that I would like to be.
Lord, I pray that You keep me from being content. Keep me searching your word and seeking Your will. I know I must be diligently hungering and thirsting for Your righteousness. Because, Lord, Without You, I am nothing. Transform me into what You want me to be.
Wednesday, November 4, 2015
King David is known as a man after God's own heart. Wow! What a distinction! Can you imagine if you were remembered for thousands of years by that title? What a wonderful man he must of been.
And then I compare myself with people that I know in the church and I find myself falling flat. How can I ever be pleasing to God? How can He even care about me, let alone, love me?
Well, take a look at a story, just one chapter in the Bible, 2 Samuel 11:2-27. Take a moment and read that account of King David.
Now when evening came David arose from his bed and walked around on the roof of the king's house, and from the roof he saw a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful in appearance. So David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, "Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?" David sent messengers and took her, and when she came to him, he lay with her; and when she had purified herself from her uncleanness, she returned to her house. The woman conceived; and she sent and told David, and said, "I am pregnant." Then David sent to Joab, saying, "Send me Uriah the Hittite." So Joab sent Uriah to David. When Uriah came to him, David asked concerning the welfare of Joab and the people and the state of the war. Then David said to Uriah, "Go down to your house, and wash your feet." And Uriah went out of the king's house, and a present from the king was sent out after him. But Uriah slept at the door of the king's house with all the servants of his lord, and did not go down to his house. Now when they told David, saying, "Uriah did not go down to his house," David said to Uriah, "Have you not come from a journey? Why did you not go down to your house?" Uriah said to David, "The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in temporary shelters, and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are camping in the open field. Shall I then go to my house to eat and to drink and to lie with my wife? By your life and the life of your soul, I will not do this thing." Then David said to Uriah, "Stay here today also, and tomorrow I will let you go." So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day and the next. Now David called him, and he ate and drank before him, and he made him drunk; and in the evening he went out to lie on his bed with his lord's servants, but he did not go down to his house. Now in the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it by the hand of Uriah. He had written in the letter, saying, "Place Uriah in the front line of the fiercest battle and withdraw from him, so that he may be struck down and die." So it was as Joab kept watch on the city, that he put Uriah at the place where he knew there were valiant men. The men of the city went out and fought against Joab, and some of the people among David's servants fell; and Uriah the Hittite also died. Then Joab sent and reported to David all the events of the war. He charged the messenger, saying, "When you have finished telling all the events of the war to the king, and if it happens that the king's wrath rises and he says to you, 'Why did you go so near to the city to fight? Did you not know that they would shoot from the wall? Who struck down Abimelech the son of Jerubbesheth? Did not a woman throw an upper millstone on him from the wall so that he died at Thebez? Why did you go so near the wall?'-then you shall say, 'Your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.'" So the messenger departed and came and reported to David all that Joab had sent him to tell. The messenger said to David, "The men prevailed against us and came out against us in the field, but we pressed them as far as the entrance of the gate. Moreover, the archers shot at your servants from the wall; so some of the king's servants are dead, and your servant Uriah the Hittite is also dead." Then David said to the messenger, "Thus you shall say to Joab, 'Do not let this thing displease you, for the sword devours one as well as another; make your battle against the city stronger and overthrow it'; and so encourage him." Now when the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she mourned for her husband. When the time of mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house and she became his wife; then she bore him a son. But the thing that David had done was evil in the sight of the LORD. (2 Samuel 11:2-27 NASB)
Now scripture says that we are not to compare ourselves with others. No, God created us as individuals, unique. 2 Corinthians 10:12
But David's sins are recorded in scripture so that we can see that God really does love us and that He forgives a repentant heart.
David was speaking to his right hand man and counselor, Nathan. David said, "I've sinned against the Lord."
Nathan replied to David, "The Lord has put away your sins."
God can and will forgive. We are never too far away. If we make one step toward Him, He will run to us.