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Archive for the ‘Love For Our World’ Category

Author, Andy Andrews, recently altered my world with a small book, The Butterfly Effect:  How Your Life Matters. Written on the premise that every action we do makes a difference somewhere in the world, Andrews challenged me to realize that I am somebody empowered to touch the world with the love of God to change my the world.  This week of devotions has been about reaching out to love the world with God’s love to make a difference for eternity.

I would love to share the sequence of historical events Andrews relates that convicted me that we have no real clue how much our life can influence the life of another.  Suffice it to say he shared a sequence of events in the life of 8 people that were connected over time and distance, yet led to a discovery that saved 2 billion lives—his point was which individual in that chain of events over more than 50 years was really responsible and deserved the credit for saving those lives.  In other words, each individual’s life was one link in the chain that was required to obtain the results.  Another example: “Take Joshua Chamberlain, a school teacher from Maine who made one move 150 years ago that positively impacted an entire nation. By charging the enemy without ammunition–and defeating them–he set off a butterfly effect that lasts to this day.”

From the political news to the news of my neighbor’s medical crisis, my head just starts spinning as to how little ‘ole me can make any difference.  In fact, there are days when I just want to hide within the four walls of my home with no TV, no Internet, no phone and just…well just hide away from it all.  Do you ever feel that way?  But as Christ-followers we are called not to isolation but to find opportunities to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

Andrews challenge invites a level of urgency within me to make a difference that echoes the words of Jesus Christ—“You also must be ready all the time.  For the Son of Man will come when least expected.”  (Matthew 24:44).  And “See, I am coming soon, and my reward is with me, to repay all according to their deeds.” (Revelation 22:12)  Will I step out of my comfort zone to meet the need of another so as to make a difference in a life for eternity?

Recognizing the passage of time and thus the urgency to be an ambassador for God’s love might be heavy on your heart.  It isn’t meant to weigh you down but rather to provide a clarion call to make a difference in your world today; to “let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise God.” (Matthew 5:16).  We may never know how a smile we give, a hand we offer or a service we do might affect a life for Jesus.  As we prepare for Easter, over the next few weeks we will offer “tools” to support you as you love God with all your heart (Deut 6:5) and seek to love others as yourself (Lev 19:18).

Lord, I can hardly believe how time is racing–it is already the end of February 2011! I ask Lord that you lift my eyes to see where you would have me make a difference in this crazy spinning world.  Point me in the direction, Lord Jesus, where you would have me go.  I ask that you guide me to live today so on purpose and with intention that I use this window of time in my life to point others to Your Love and Grace.  Give me the courage to step out with the confidence of Your love for me and touch my world for Jesus Christ; with the mercy You extended to me on the Cross.  And when I forget Lord, remind me that everything I do matters to You.  Amen

 

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Sign posts point the way to a destination.  Sign posts are simple and provide a straight forward path toward the goal.

In Christ, we can have confidence in our destination.  God’s Word gives us specific sign posts to follow to know for certain we have a home with Him in Heaven. If you don’t have that confidence I urge you to take a moment and click on the link to the tab Beginning a Relationship with God .  John 20:31 reminds us that the Bible is “written so that you might believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life.”

The Bible also gives us sign posts to help us know how to love our world with His love.

“Do for others what you would like them to do for you.

This is a summary of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 7:12).

Jesus Christ gave us the sign post that we refer to as “The Golden Rule” and it is applicable in our homes, our work place, and our community as a sound principle to remember when we reach out to others and share the love of Christ.  John 13:34 reminds us to “love each other” just as we have been loved by Jesus Christ.

Sometimes reflecting on how to show someone God’s love can get so theoretical that we forget the practical.  The simple measures we do for others that we would appreciate someone doing for us can communicate more about God’s love than a complex grandiose plan.

When traveling we don’t have much time to study a sign post.  They are intentionally simple and something that catches our eye.  Giving another a smile, a meal, a word of encouragement, or investing time in a project or speaking out publically on an issue doesn’t have to be all-consuming or complicated.  It is enough through our application of The Golden Rule that we are a practical example of God’s love for another to see Him in our testimony.

Time is of the essence—it is passing way too quickly.  Today, Lord Jesus, help me consciously reflect on what sign posts I am creating in my life that will allow others to find their way to You, that they might share in Your destiny for each of us—that is eternity with Jesus Christ.  Amen.

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Yesterday, the devotion focused on being “somebody” who accepted responsibility for a need in our world.  Perhaps like me, you don’t mind being the “somebody” that does something as every-day as cooking a meal for a shut-in, or providing a few hours of child care for a single mom, but for most of us when called to be that “somebody” who is put in a position to share the Good News of Christ with a stranger or called to speak out for a principle, it can be an unfamiliar and uncomfortable situation.

For those occasions, I found two words in Scripture that offer wisdom and guidance—take courage.  Apostle Paul “took courage” when he saw there were believers to encourage him upon arrival in Rome. (Acts 28:15).  In the circumstances Ezra found himself in, it was he that was the “somebody” who had to tell the people how to set their lives straight before God.  (Ezra 10:4).  His supporters urged him to “take courage” for the task ahead.

Reluctance often comes because of fear.  Joshua 1:6-9 repeatedly reminds us to “be strong and courageous”…and we “will be successful in everything” we do.  The ability to be courageous to step out and speak out for the cause of Christ comes from having a relationship with Jesus that is solid because of obedience to His Word.  When we know our hearts are right with the Lord God because we have been obedient, we can be assured that He will give us the courage to step out in His name.

Take courage.  Courage comes from the Latin word “cor” which really is the same word as “heart”, so “take courage” can be said, “take heart.”  Place your heart in the hands of the Lord God and He will give you the courage You need to meet the challenges you face in your world today.

Where did you take the courage the Lord offered and step out to affect the life of another or to address an issue recently?  Perhaps you would share so others might be encouraged to do the same.  You don’t have to leave your name, but can just identify yourself by an initial or nickname.  But this is a devotional for real women and real value is added for us all when we share real life; we invite you to share your story.

Lord Jesus, I give you my heart.  I take the courage You offer.  Be with me as I reach out of my comfort zone today to share Your love with others.

 

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“Who spilled the milk?” “Who broke…?” All moms are familiar with the response, “I don’t know…” and most of us have responded, “Well, somebody did it.”

Somebody, that elusive person other than ourselves.

We all want somebody else to be responsible.  We see a task, whether taking out the trash or running an errand or standing boldly in front of the legislature or Congress to argue for a policy change—we want “somebody” else to handle the matter.

Did you know the Bible even talks about that elusive “somebody” in Gal 6:4?  “Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else.”

When it comes to changing our world—whether the world in our home or across the globe—the challenge is to be that “somebody” who will take responsibility for the matter that is put in front of us to address.

How are you being “somebody” for Christ this week? Will you share your ideas, or perhaps your questions as to how you can meet a responsibility?  We will all grow through your sharing.

Lord Jesus, today I am reminded that in You, I am “somebody”—somebody who is loved because of Your Grace and Mercy.  Show me Lord, how to be “somebody” who extends that love to another. Whether the task is simple or complex, I know you will go with me and in those moments that seem overwhelming, You will make a way where there seems no way.  Amen.

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Yesterday’s blog at Given the Time launched the week of looking at how we re-vision our responsibility to love our world based on John 3:16 and the challenge Christ calls us to in Matthew 28:18-20—the Great Commission to go, teach and share the Good News.

As a young adult, I half jokingly one Sunday morning touched my younger brother’s arm and stated I was “touching” him for Jesus.  He promptly challenged me not to do that jokingly but to really think about how I could “touch” others with the love of Christ.  Frequently over the past 35 years I have asked myself, “Am I touching someone for Jesus today?”

What does reaching out to another with the love of Christ look like?  In our home, our community, or world that can look as simple as smiling at a stranger, writing a note of encouragement to someone, or as involved as taking up a cause to address a concern.  For example, perhaps there are workers needed in your local church or with a community organization.  There may be a need for caregivers for small children to allow a young mother to attend a Bible Study or reading to a senior citizen who no longer is able to see well.  I recently learned of a ministry that packs boxes to send to our military men and women far from home.  There are local ministries that make blankets for newborns and prayer shawls for those facing serious life-threatening illnesses.  There is a gamut of opportunities.

Maybe you have ideas you would be willing to share in a comment today as to how you reach out and touch someone for Jesus as you go through your day.

Thank you Jesus for inviting me to join You as You reach out in love today.  Show me where I can “touch” someone who needs Your healing touch, Your words of courage, Your words of redemptive love. Amen.

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