Thursday, March 27, 2008

Roses and Encouragment

Encouragement. What is it that is so difficult about encouragement? When there are so many hurting people around us, why is it so much easier to just look the other way? Scripture says that we are to "encourage one another and build one another up" and "encourage the fainthearted" (1 Thessalonians 5:11,14).

One time when I was standing in the checkout line of the store with some roses in my hand, I noticed a little elderly lady in front of me. She looked so lonely and sad. I felt as if God were telling me, "Give her a rose." "But Lord, I don't even know her!" I thought. "It doesn't matter. Just give her a rose." I suddenly thought of Matthew 35:40, " you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me." After I had finished checking out, I walked quickly, catching up with her on my way to the door. As I passed her, I reached out and laid a rose in the top of her cart. Her smile stayed with me for the rest of the day. I have rarely given a gift that felt as rewarding as that simple rose.

As I began to think about it all later that day, I realized, I want my life to be about giving roses. I want to be known as a woman who serves others unconditionally. Just the other day I was talking to a friend of mine about serving others, he mentioned the servant heart that one of our friend's has. He said, "She is so amazing! She is always giving to others. That is what her whole life is about--giving to others!" I thought that was probably the biggest complement that anyone could receive. A life given to serving others is a beautiful gift.

Scripture says that Christians are known by their love for one another. So often, God has revealed Himself to me through the small things. I wish that I listened to His promptings more often. Sometimes, I think that it's really the little things in life that make the biggest impact.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


This heart of mine is opened wide
I'm torn apart and weak inside
What went wrong? what should I do?
Thought I was strong, thought I knew

From nowhere came...emptiness
I only saw its great abyss
It overwhelmed my coward's heart
Destroying peace and bringing dark

Yet as I cry, I feel His arms;
He's holding me, and whispering,
"Trust in Me; My plan's not through;
Just wait and see what's planned for you."

Suddenly, His peace surrounds
It's in my heart and all around
Joy within a barren soul
My Savior comes and makes me whole.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Hindrance of Distraction

I thought I would share some of my reflections from my Bible study today:

Matthew 16:21--From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” 23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance [or in some translations, stumbling block] to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

I can't tell you how many times I have heard this passage read, but it really impacted me when I sat down and just thought about it for a while. I've never reallly considered the fact that I can actually be a hidrance to Christ and His work, just by not focusing on the things of God. There are so many times when I take my eyes off of God and get caught up with the busyness of life around me. This life, even ministry and trying to do all of the "good things" can be such a distraction from what we should really be focused on. I wonder if Jesus could ever say to me that I have been a hindrance to His work? I pray not, and I pray that He will never be able to say that!! Lord, help me focus on You and the things of God.

These are the very next verses:
24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done."