“Be strong and finish the task” Zachariah 8:9a
"Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don't be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” I Chronicles 28:20a
When I was growing up with three older brothers, one brother in particular seemed to always leave the bathroom a mess. For some reason, I seemed to be the one who always followed him in using that room and I would clean it up as it drove me nuts. The rest of the family always seemed to wait to use the room until after I was done.
I miss our daughter living at home, for many reasons, but one reason oft comes to mind. When she was bored, she cleaned, deep cleaned, and she was bored often. Rarely through her teen years did I ever have to do much cleaning.
My husband has determined that our marriage has endured because of the fairies, his fairies. As long as he does not mention them very often (they are a little temperamental- too much talk about them and they tend to disappear for a while), but acknowledges that they are beneficial to him, they quietly go about their way making his life a little bit easier. Now for me, these fairies have very rarely done much of anything.
There are definite times that I would love to have his fairies, but really, what I would prefer is to have some different fairies. For the next eight months, I would like a work fairy; one that would go to my job and work so that I could stay home and use that time to concentrate on my dissertation. Another useful fairy would be a menu fairy; this job includes creating menus every two weeks and see that the necessary ingredients are in the cabinets to make the selected dishes. One other fairy I would like is one who saw to the vehicle needs, such as gassing the vehicle up, washing and vacuuming it regularly, and seeing to its many needs (such as oil changes, new battery, brake work, and such).
However, as much as I would like these different fairies, I am thankful that I am able to do most of these jobs. As I watch other folks struggle with some of these things, my heart is grateful for all I have and can do. I am employed and my job is interesting; I work with terrific folk. I have a cupboard and refrigerator full of food for which it only takes me a little effort to put together different meals. Plus, I admit to enjoying grocery shopping. Our vehicle may have some issues, but it is running and is so fun to drive (and I do love driving), so putting forth a little effort to enjoy it is so minor is the vast scheme of life.
So, in the absence of fairies, I am giving thanks for what I can do, am able to do, and for what I am given to do. And, I am going to be looking for ways that I can be a fairy for someone else, a way to make someone’s life just a little easier.
Digging deeper: James 2:14; Philippians 2:4; Hebrews 13:16
Monday, February 20, 2012
“O LORD my God, you have performed many wonders for us. Your plans for us are too numerous to list. You have no equal. If I tried to recite all your wonderful deeds, I would never come to the end of them.” Psalm 40:5 (NIV)
The old favored hymn refrain, Count Your Blessings, by Johnson Oatman goes
“Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.”
Have you ever tried to count the many blessings you have received in your life? For me, the list is never-ending. I am blessed. Blessed means fortunate, favored; it does not mean that everything in my life is perfect, nor am I perfect. Life has not been and is not a smooth road without potholes and in need of major repairs. Yet, I am so blessed.
Sometimes the blessings are so hard to see. It oft seems that what I pray for, what I think I want or need is ignored by God. Does He not want me to pay my bills? For good health of loved ones? Endurance to continue the journey He has set before us? To paraphrase Laura Story, sometimes the blessing comes in the absence of what I am praying for.
Blessings are not earned; they are given. Malachi 3:10b says that the Lord will (has and is) “open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won't have enough room to take it in!” (NIV). He has surely done just that! How can I not declare His praises, give Him the glory. “Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name goes all the glory for unfailing love and faithfulness” Psalm 115:1 (NIV).
Today, I am counting my blessings and giving Him the praise. You are one of those blessings.
Digging further: Psalm 13:6; Psalm 10:6; Ephesians 1:3
Friday, February 10, 2012
“And on some have compassion, making a difference” (Jude 1:22 KJV)
One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed a boy picking something up and gently throwing it into the ocean.Approaching the boy, he asked, "What are you doing?"
The youth replied, "Throwing starfish back into the ocean. The surf is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them back they'll die."
"Son," the man said, "don't you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish?You can't make a difference!"
After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it into the surf. Then, smiling at the man, he said, "I made a difference to that one."
- attributed to Loren Eisley
The problems of poverty, sweatshops, child labor, human trafficking, illness, and heartache are overwhelming. They are overwhelming in scope, in complexity, and in emotion. All across the world, even in our own neighborhoods, under our city bridges, and in the alleyways people are in need of someone to reach out to them. When we see such need are we moved to compassion? “And when He saw the multitudes, He was moved to compassion for them” (Matthew 9:36a)
What would our world be like if Christians got serious about being a servant, about showing compassion towards others? Making a difference to/ for just one? Jesus did more than just being moved to compassion for the multitudes, He took action. He reached out to those in need, both spiritually and physically.
Sometimes all that is needed is for one to take action, to speak a few words of kindness, to give of time, of yourself to make all the difference in a life that joins the kingdom of God instead of turns away. Am I willing to take action, make a difference? Are you? It is about eternity and what we do today makes a difference, both for ourselves and for others.
Philippians 2:4 (NAS) “do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”