Friday, May 20, 2011

The Greatest of These Is Love...

We all have those times in our lives that we are feeling a little bit down. It could be due to circumstances, a broken relationship, our health or some other obstacle we face. As a busy mom, it is sometimes hard to look outside of that feeling because of the hurried and often frazzled life that I live (usually by my own doing of course).

When I begin to feel down, I try not to dwell on my problems, but take the opportunity to reach out and lift someone else up. There is no greater joy than helping another! A kind word, a small gesture, or an act of love can make all the difference in someone else's life. In turn, I am encouraged and God allows my heart to swell with His gratitude. The Word tells us in Galations 6:2:

"By helping each other with your troubles, you truly obey the law of Christ."

With this in mind,I ran across this story not too long ago and it really spoke to me. Please enjoy the following story written by Nanette Thorsen-Snipes. It is truly touching. For me, this story helped open my eyes to see the big picture in less than perfect situations. I think tha the key to a lifestyle of gratitude is not just being aware of these situations, but relishing in being a part of them.


My day began on a sour note when I saw my six-year old wrestling with a limb of my azalea bush. By the time I got outside, he'd broken it.

"Can I take this to school today?" he asked.

With a wave of my hand I sent him on. I turned my back so he wouldn't see the tears. I touched the limb of my favorite bush as if to say, I'm sorry.

I wished I could have said that to my husband earlier, but I'd been angry. The washing machine had leaked on my lineoleum. If Jim had just taken the time to fix it the night before...I tossed my husband's dishes in the sudsy water. Later, I lugged wet clothes to the Laundromat. Thinking of how the love had gone out of my life, I stared at wall graffiti, feeling as wrung out as the clothes in a washer. I hung up shirts, then left for school to pick up my son.

I knocked on the classroom door and his teacher motioned for me to wait. She whispered something to Johnathan and gave him crayons.

"I want to talk to you about Johnathan,"she said when she walked over to me.

I steeled myself for the worst. I had had a fight with Jim, my son had broken a limb off my favorite bush, and now this.

"Did you know that Johnathan brought flowers to school today?"

I nodded, trying to keep tears in check. I glanced at my son coloring the picture. His hair flopped beneath his brow. He brushed it away and grinned at his handiwork.

"See that little girl?" the teacher asked.

Watching a bright-eyed child laugh out-loud I nodded.

"Yesterday she was hysterical. Her parents are going through a divorce. She said she wished she could die. I watched her bury her face in her hands and say,'Nobody loves me.' I did all I could to console her, but-"

"I thought you wanted to talk to me about Jonathan."

"I do." She touched my arm lightly. "Today your son walked over to that child, and handed her some pretty pink flowers. Then he whispered, 'I love you.' "

My heart swelled with pride for what Johnathan did.

I reached for his hand and said to his teacher,"You've made my day!"

Later that evening, I pulled weeds from around my lopsided azalea bush. My mind wandered back to the love Johnathan showed to the little girl and the biblical verse came to mind: "Now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest is love." My son practiced love but all day I had only thought of how angry I was at Jim.

I heard the familiar squeak of Jim's truck breaks as he pulled into the drive, and I snapped a small limb bristling with hot pink azaleas. I felt the seed of love God had planted in my family begin to bloom once again in me.

My husband's eyes widened in surprise as I handed him the flowers. "I love you." I said.

A Little Maya for This Friday...

I'M A CHRISTIAN By Maya Angelou

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not shouting "I'm clean livin."
I'm whispering "I was lost,"
Now I'm found and forgiven.

When I say..."I am a Christian"
I don't speak of this with pride.
I'm confessing that I stumble
and need CHRIST to be my guide.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not trying to be strong.
I'm professing that I'm weak
and need HIS strength to carry on.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not bragging of success.
I'm admitting I have failed
and need God to clean my mess.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not claiming to be perfect,
My flaws are far too visible
but, God believes I am worth it.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I still feel the sting of pain,
I have my share of heartaches
So I call upon His name.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not holier than thou,
I'm just a simple sinner
who received God's good grace, somehow.

Monday, May 2, 2011

I knew it the moment I watched the first images of the crowds in front of the White House and in Times Square boisterously celebrating the death of Osama Bin Laden. The joy, the sheer joy on the faces of Americans. I knew it this morning when the news programs showed image after image of young men and women waving flags and singing songs on their city streets and campus squares. I knew it when I drove to work and listened to the talk show hosts discuss what they would have done to Bin Laden’s body had they been in charge. And I realized it when I started seeing the forwarded emails. From Christians...

I’ve known all day today that this is not how Christians behave. We do not celebrate the death of a human being made in the image of God and loved by our Father. Didn't our Lord create Osama Bin Laden in his mother's womb? Did he also know the number of hairs on his head. Our God who we love and serve created this man as He did us... a sobering thought. No matter how ruthless and vile Bin Laden may be, we love our enemies. NO MATTER WHAT. Our God DEMANDS it. We pray for our enemies and their families. NO MATTER WHAT. Our God DEMANDS it. We do good things for our enemies. NO MATTER WHAT. Our God DEMANDS it.

The Bible we study reads "But I tell you love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.” ~Matthew 5:43-45

God’s children do not dance and rejoice in the death of anyone. To join in the worldly celebration of the death of a man who did not know Christ is to deny our Savior and his Gospel. After all, our Lord died for us (Bin Laden included) while we were his enemies. That’s the part I’ve not been able to understand today: doesn’t the excitement and taking great joy and pleasure in the death of another human being deny just about everything Scripture teaches us about the nature and the will of our Father in heaven? Does it not oppose the clear commands from our Lord?

“Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” ~Luke 6:27-28

I know that this will probably offend some, but I believe strongly that God is expecting more out of the people he’s blessed with his good gifts and matchless grace. I pray for our Christ family that this can be a time when we can show the world matchless grace, compassion and humility.