Monday, November 29, 2010

The Christmas Jar

Recently, we were driving down the road, and we passed a casino. Emily read the sign and asked me to explain a casino. She wondered why we didn't go to them and she wondered why there were so many cars there. I explained a casino to her. Her response?

Wouldn't it be amazing, Mom, if people took all that change and filled Christmas jars instead? Any of us convicted in the Lord's command to care for widows and orphans, any of us seeking to do His will here on earth, any of us who truly want to serve Him would agree with Emily's innocent, yet remarkably insightful suggestion to take all that change and serve with it.

"Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves." Romans 12:10

Two years ago, our family began a new tradition. In the days leading up to Christmas, we place a jar on the kitchen counter. Every lick of spare change gets dropped into our jar and we commit to pray for the family God wants to have this extra bit of encouragement. It is a tangible, do-able way for our family to bless another family at the most joyful time of the year.

Last year, God literally showed us a miracle in our Christmas jar.

We had visited the city for the day. Our train was not scheduled to leave for some time, so we sat on a bench at the top of the steps leading to our track. Hannah quickly fell asleep, leaving Rob, Emily and myself to a rather interesting conversation. As we sat chatting, Emily asked who would receive our jar. I had a specific family in mind and felt convicted that they were to receive the gift. I had absolutely no idea if they "needed" the jar, but during my quiet moments with God, as I prayed, I sensed an urging to bless this family specifically. As we chatted about our prayers and who God had revealed to receive the jar, I watched, stunned as the very family God had laid on my heart came up the steps and walked past us in the station. There was no mistaking our confirmation to bless them. You see, they were not there to take in the sights and sounds of Christmas, they were there because they had no other way to get to the city to visit a family member who had just had a very serious surgery.

"This is the confidence we have in approaching God; that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us." 1 John 5:14

Hannah napped on Daddy while we chatted on the bench

"And this is love: that we walk in obedience to His commands." 2John 1:6

It is always a humbling experience when the Lord shows us unequivocally His will and leaves us to be obedient. Our lack of understanding, especially at these times, opens our minds and our hearts to the true meaning of "faith". In our humbled state, our family returned home, joyful and hearts filled to bursting at the promise of living out His command and sharing His bounty readily.

Late, late, late Christmas Eve, we pulled up to their home and my kind husband, shimmied up the ice laden drive to leave the jar, with just a bow and warm wishes for God to bless them beyond measure.

We don't share our experience for any sort of accolade; this was not our idea. Somewhere along the line, this beautiful ministry was shared with us and we answered the call. Truly, this is God's plan...We share it now with you, that others might do the same, pay it forward, extend the body of Christ past our own doorways and driveways.

Go ahead, run out to the recycling bin...I am sure there must be a jar in there somewhere! :)

Blessings to you as you enter the season of Christmas. Be in prayer this advent that you might see the ways God will use you. Just as we find Him in our daily lives, He desires greatly a relationship with us, that we might know Him more intimately.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Are you a Seeker?

I am a seeker. A seeker of God and a desperate seeker of His Word. I absolutely love to read the Word of God. I love to study it and let God show me new and amazing things nestled deep in the scriptures. He shows me familiar verses with new eyes. He reveals treasure in obscure passages and floods my heart with enlightened understanding.

"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth" (2 Timothy 2:15)

God's Holy Word. From His mighty lips to our hearts. Our needy and seeking hearts.

God-breathed. Holy Ghost-inspired. Living Truth.

I love the way everything in the scriptures just fits together so perfectly and proves itself true over and over. We see the prophecy of the Old Testament fulfilled many times in the New Testament. We see the perfection of the Word proved accurate and true time after time. Never contradicting. Never lacking in power. 

The Old Testament is full of such rich reading and is very important to our spiritual growth and to our Christian walk.  It is full of examples of God's power and sovereignty. Full of evidences of His wisdom and His might. Full of wonders for us to seek.

As we read the bible, both the Old  and New testament, we see God's people time after time, choosing to NOT follow God and His ways.  Choosing NOT to seek after God. And we see the evidence of God's punishment and chastisement that follows. Whether under the law or under grace, God's reaction to our disobedience is the same.

Jeremiah 10:10 says, "But the Lord is the true God, He is the living God, and an everlasting King. At His wrath the earth shall tremble and the nations shall not be able to abide His indignation"

Wow. That is some pretty rough stuff. So many times we read passages like this and we think that they were only applicable for those times. Old Testament. Before Jesus. Before grace.

Not so. God's Truth then is the same as God's Truth now. Is the earth not trembling with the wrath of God today? Is God not certainly full of indignation with the state of our world and with those who profess to be His children at this present time?

See, the beauty of God's Word is that it is timeless. His Word is as pertinent now as it was then. It speaks just as loudly and distinctly to our hearts in this generation as it did back in the days of Jeremiah.

God's Word is powerful. True. Eternal. Holy. Immutable. Inerrant.

It is full of wonder and full of mystery. Brimming over with marvelous passages of rich history and generous grace. Overflowing with everlasting Truth. Treasure waiting to be found by our seeking souls and hearts.

Oh, Father, help us to open your Word each time with new and eager expectation of meeting with You. As we pour over the scriptures, help us to see the wonder of Your Word and fill us with new understanding. Open our eyes and our hearts and fill us with the desire and longing to obtain deep knowledge of who You are. Grant us an encounter with You that will blow us away and change us forever. Show us your Glory!

Seeking Him Higher,


Monday, November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving Memory

Thanksgiving Memory

Thanksgiving 1970 holds a memory for me. I was eleven years old. Hunting season was in full swing. Dad was off from work. This was my first year to deer hunt with dad.

Thanksgiving was usually cold and snowy in northern Vermont, and this day proved no exception. Dad took me to the edge of a wooded-area that faced an open field. "Sit here," he said. "A deer could possibly walk out into the open. I’ll take a stand further down the edge of the field."

My first deer stand. I was excited. But I was also cold and tired. I drew my arms in tight to my body for extra warmth. I pulled my hat as far over my forehead as I could to still allow my eyes some sight. I shivered. I closed my eyes. I dozed off.

How long I remained a tight bundle of shivering nerves I don’t know. I just remember the sensation that I was being watched. I opened my eyes and saw something, no someone, in the field watching me. It was dad.

For a moment I forgot being cold and tired. My racing heart revived me. How long had he watched me? Would he be mad that I feel asleep on a stand? Why was he just standing there?

He smiled, waived his hand, and said, "Let’s go home."

Grace covered me. And we’ve talked about it a lot through the years. With smiles. "Do you remember the time you fell asleep?" "Yes, I do."

Any Thanksgiving memory of your dad that stands out for you?

Warren Baldwin

Friday, November 19, 2010

"Lead Me"

"For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, His body, of which He is the Savior."  Ephesians 5:23

My husband, Jim, called me on my cell phone recently and told me he had driven to work in tears listening to the song "Lead Me" by Sanctus Real.  He told me he made it a prayer to God for himself and that he wants to be the kind of husband and dad that is reflected in this moving song.  That touched my heart and brought me to tears.  As I drove the children to school, I put my cell phone on speaker as Jim played the song for us over the phone.  It was a tender moment for our family.  We are thankful to have a husband and daddy who are devoted to God and our family. 

The cry of the Christian wife's heart is that her husband would lead her with strength and gentleness, lead their family, lead their children.  "Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them."  Col. 3:19  As this song says, from the outside, things may always look picture perfect in a marriage.  And while a woman's life may be indeed wonderful, still a deep desire of her heart for their marriage and family is for her husband to lead. 

Wives, pray this for your husband.  Share this song with him of the Lord leads you to do that.  Allow your husband to lead.  If he is leading and is spiritually grounded, give thanks to the Lord, build him up in encouragement and never stop praying for him.  

God desires to transform husbands into great leaders and a tender warriors for Him.  Remember that WITHOUT WORDS you can win your husband over and spur them on in their relationship with Him.  They can be won over by your pure and reverent behavior. "Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives."  1 Peter 3:1-2  (Note that God felt the need to tell us wives that this could be done "without words".  Smile.  He is indeed wise!)

Husbands, may you be blessed, encouraged and spurred on by this song.  

Lyrics to "Lead Me" by Sanctus Real
I look around and see my wonderful life
Almost perfect from the outside
In picture frames I see my beautiful wife
Always smiling
But on the inside, I can hear her saying...

“Lead me with strong hands
Stand up when I can't
Don't leave me hungry for love
Chasing dreams, what about us?
Show me you're willing to fight
That I'm still the love of your life
I know we call this our home
But I still feel alone”

I see their faces, look in their innocent eyes
They're just children from the outside
I'm working hard, I tell myself they'll be fine
They're independent
But on the inside, I can hear them saying...

“Lead me with strong hands
Stand up when I can't
Don't leave me hungry for love
Chasing dreams, but what about us?
Show me you're willing to fight
That I'm still the love of your life
I know we call this our home
But I still feel alone”

So Father, give me the strength
To be everything I'm called to be
Oh, Father, show me the way
To lead them
Won't You lead me?

To lead them with strong hands
To stand up when they can't
Don't want to leave them hungry for love,
Chasing things that I could give up

I'll show them I'm willing to fight
And give them the best of my life
So we can call this our home
Lead me, 'cause I can't do this alone
Father, lead me, 'cause I can't do this alone

The song ends with the husband asking our Heavenly Father to lead him so he can lead his family.  Perfect order.  God's perfect plan. 

Click HERE to read the "Lead Me Prayers" for husbands.  Next time, we will share "Lead Me" for wives.   

 "This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: 'In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength'..."  Isaiah 30:15


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

See or PhariSee?

I tend to be good about seeing a situation and sizing it up appropriately. I can read body language and gestures, tone and inflection, attitudes and appearances. Some would call that being astute.

Police officers are trained to check out situations and size them up appropriately as well. By reading body language, gestures, tones, attitudes and appearances, they try to determine what illegal activity may be going on. That is called profiling.

But at what point does sizing up, or inference, become judgment? When do we go from seeing to “PhariSeeing.” That is, being like a Pharisee in the Bible. Pharisees were the religious leaders in Jesus' day. They were considered to be self-righteous rule-followers. They were more concerned with following the letter of the law, than the spirit of the law.

The internet encyclopedia Wikipedia states “An important binary in the New Testament is the opposition between law and love. Accordingly, the New Testament presents the Pharisees as obsessed with man-made rules (especially concerning purity) whereas Jesus is more concerned with God’s love; the Pharisees scorn sinners whereas Jesus seeks them out.”

Matthew 13:15 says, “For this people’s heart have become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes.” The Pharisees had great knowledge about God’s word, but they closed their eyes to those around them

I have to admit, sometimes my "seeing" becomes "Phariseeing." Sometimes it's more important to me to be on time, than to stop and lend a helping hand. Sometimes I "size someone up" and think we could never be friends, without getting to know them first.

What friendships have I missed out on because of my "Phariseeing?" What witnessing opportunities have I lost by judging instead of ministering?

It's important to be able to have eyes to see the truth. To do that I need to make sure I'm measuring what I see through God's eyes, not mine. Then I may see things justly and fairly. Then my view will not be phariseeing, but fairly seeing.


Monday, November 15, 2010

The Value of "I'm Sorry"

"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9

Our younger daughter was playing. She happily settled at the couch where our cockapoo puppy was blissfully sleeping. Without much warning, in a sweep of her little hand, our daughter shocked the puppy as she pushed her from the couch to make more room. My husband and I looked on in disbelief. Just as grown ups are sinners, desperately in need of the mercy of a loving and forgiving father, so now was our daughter in need of forgiveness from her Heavenly Father, her parents and from her trusted pet, who looked up at her quite surprised by her actions.

A quote from a famous movie says, "Love means never having to say you are sorry." WRONG! Quite the contrary, love means accepting accountability and also offering to one we have offended a verbal demonstration of a heavy heart, burdened by our sin. My husband and I showed our disapproval for our daughter's actions and she was none too happy about it either! And then we required she apologize. We also prayed with her to teach her the value of taking the burdens of our sin to our Father. Her feeling bad was part of the process and I am most thankful she felt remorse and sadness. However, as she executed her request for thanksgiving, it was obvious her whole heart was not in it. Looking for our affirmation that she was done her penitence, we shook our heads and advised, "You have to mean it!" At four, I am not surprised by her reluctance, but it speaks to our own childlike behavior in our own reluctance to bear our sin nature to the people we love. There have probably been a time or two when we missed the opportunity to humbly offer regret for our words or actions.

"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." Ephesians 4:32

When we confess, it is not for God's sake. It is for our hearts. God knows already the depths and breadth of our hearts. Moreover, He has paid dearly for our sins. He knows when our hearts are not in it. Fortunately, like my husband and I in that moment, God offers grace and mercy for our repentant hearts. Hopefully, when we approach loved ones with genuine repentance, they too will want to forgive quickly and in love. Our responsibility as Christians in repentance is to take our transgressions to the feet of our forgiver and also to offer our sincere apologies to friends or loved ones. "I'm sorry" is a powerful phrase, that heals many wounds. The goal of any act of repentance is true change or "turning away" from that which seperates us from God.

"Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed." James 5:16

Perhaps God is calling you to utter an "I'm sorry." to someone. Perhaps the four year old in all of us wants to run from the necessity of humbling ourselves before Him and others. But it is as it was designed...heed His truth and allow Him to help you profess your sins, to God and to others.

Be blessed,

Friday, November 12, 2010

Give Thanks

The signs of autumn are everywhere. The crisp cool mornings, brightly colored leaves, and the smell of apple cider lets me know that Thanksgiving is approaching quickly. What are you thankful for?

We give thanks 2 Pictures, Images and Photos

Each year we try to thank God for His many blessings in our lives. Have you thanked Him for your spouse lately?

I recently heard someone speaking on the topic of marriage. She said, "A thankful couple, is a healthy couple." Next she asked us to each list 10 qualities in our spouse we were thankful for. She suggested we keep the lists and refer to them whenever things are challenging in our marriages. After all, it's important to focus on our strengths.

My date idea for the latter part of November is to plan a time when you and your spouse can be alone. Bring two sheets of paper and two pens (no excuses for not doing this!). Next each of you take some time to write down your own thankful list. Write down 10 good qualities you see in your mate. Next, take turns reading them to each other. Finally, exchange your lists and be sure to keep them for a rainy day.

Marriage is a relationship filled with ups and downs, highs and lows, we need to be constantly working to improve these relationships so they will stand the test of time.

Bubble Bath Pictures, Images and PhotosPS. For a fun twist on this date idea, get two hand-held mirrors and two tubes of inexpensive lipstick. Next prepare a hot steamy bubble bath and drinks of your choice (I love sparkling cider). Invite your spouse to join you, and then write your thankful list with lipstick on the mirrors. Of course, you'll want to transfer those thankful thoughts to paper or computer later on. Have fun with it!


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Are we prepared to seek?

"And he did evil because he did not prepare his heart to seek the LORD"
(2 Chronicles 12:14)
Are we preparing our hearts? Do we truly have a desire to seek the Lord?

Are we hungering after the deeper things of Christ in a way that propels us to make our hearts ready?  Are we actively seeking to go higher in our knowledge of Him?

In today's busy whirlwind of life, we find ourselves seeking after many things. Things that occupy our time and our money. Things that occupy our thoughts. Things of the world that keep us focused in the wrong direction. There is too much 'stuff' vying for our attention.

We have too many toys. Too many gadgets. Too many activities. Too many choices. Too many. Too much.

Therefore our minds are flooded with earthly pleasures and worldly thoughts and we haven't left any room for Jesus. We've left no space in our minds or lives for our Lord to reside. We've made no preparation in our hearts to truly seek after Him. Just as there was no room in the inn for our precious Lord, there is no room in our busy lives.

We have left out the most important person. The One who should be first and foremost in our thoughts and actions. So, how do we rectify this? How do we begin to prepare our hearts to seek after Him?

1. Fall out of bed and fall on your face. Begin each day at the feet of Jesus. Cry out, pour out and receive a blessing! Prayer is the key to intense communication with God.

2. Get in His Word first thing every morning. After you have met with Him in prayer, meet with Him in the Word. Inhale the scriptures deeply and let Him speak.

3. Memorize His Word. Even if you only learn one memory verse a month, it will be one of the greatest blessings you will receive. Hide God's precious Word deep in your heart.

4. Commune with Him all through the day. Small prayers of praise. Little talks with Him. Keep your eyes and ears tuned to Him and you will be surprised what He will reveal to you. Maintain an attitude of prayer at all times.

Oh friends, if we are to keep ourselves from doing evil, we have to make preparation ahead of time. We have to be fully determined and purposed in our walk. We have to keep ourselves armed with the Word through prayer and study.

We must be actively seeking the abundant and effective Spirit filled life that Christ
desires for us.

Prepare our hearts! Seek after Him. Make room for Him in the inn of our lives.

I am so blessed to be joining the group here at Titus 2 In Action. I am looking forward to being part of a team whose purpose is to encourage one another and spur others on in their journey to go higher with God.

I chose 'Seeking Higher' as the name for my column, because that is my hearts desire for my own life. I am seeking to know Him deeper and striving to go to a higher place with my Savior. I pray that God will use what I write to minister to hearts and encourage spirits.

I count it a privilege to be a servant of Christ. May all I do and say always bring glory to Him.

Seeking Higher,

Monday, November 8, 2010

Marion & Violet

Marion & Violet

On Friday Cheryl and I made a quick trip to Wyoming to visit with an old friend. The trip was short and had a specific focus: to visit with an old friend who has recently been placed in hospice. Our friend is Marion.

Marion and his wife Violet were older members in the congregation in Cody, Wyoming when we moved there to preach in 1990. Cheryl and I were both 30, had two kids, and were a long way from our homes. My parents lived in Tennessee and Cheryl’s in Florida. With two little kids, another one arriving two years later, and living over 40 hours away from family support, we welcomed the nuturing care provided by this couple.

Marion and Violet’s home became our home as well. We were welcomed there at any time for visits and meals. My kids knew where Violet kept the candy.

Marion was an avid hunter, and he taught me some of the skills needed to successfully navigate (and survive) the Rocky Mountains of Wyoming. Many times we returned to his home after spending hours in below zero weather to a hot pot of stew and coffee that Violet had prepared for us.

But we shared more than just simple fun times. Marion and Violet had decades of wisdom about marriage, surviving health crises, raising children, figuring out problems, and working with churches that they shared with us over the years. And Marion, an old Arkansas boy transplanted to Wyoming, was a storehouse of old-time southern wisdom.

Marion was very big on living with honor and integrity. You did the right thing simply because it was the right thing, not because you hoped for any reward. He shared with me that one of his greatest accomplishments in life was living with integrity in a situation that was stressful to him.

Truth was a big part of his honor and integrity system. He told me, "I used to have employees steal my construction equipment and materials. I didn’t like it, but I understood it. They may have been low on money and needed the tools or wood to work a job on the side. It was wrong to steal from me, but there was a rationale to it. But lying? There is no rationale to lying. It is the same as stealing, except you really don’t get anything for it. If you steal from me and get caught, you can give back what you stole. But if you lie to me or about me, how does that benefit you? And if you are caught, what can you return to make restitution or repair the relationship? Lying is just stupid and wrong. You can understand a thief; but a liar you can never trust again."

One more thing: Marion honored Violet. They had been married for 40 years or more when I first met them. Together they had raised two children and had four grandchildren. They survived health problems, financial stresses, church leadership pressures, and two major moves. In their 60s they moved miles from their home to spend their later years enjoying the mountains together and helping a small church. And through it all, they remained best friends. During our long drives over mountains and through valleys exploring the wonders of the Rocky Mountains, Marion and I would talk about life. And when the subject of marriage or wives came up, Marion always talked about Violet in appreciative terms, and praised her. Violet went to be with the Lord on Nov. 7, 2008. To the end, after 60+ years of marriage, they remained best friends.

Cheryl and I drove to Wyoming on Friday to visit with Marion. Gathered around him was his daughter, her son and daughter-in-law, his son and his wife, and numerous friends from his church. He was receiving the honor due a man who spent his life living with Christian character and living for his family, friends and church.

Our trip was short. We had to leave on Saturday. But I drove off thinking, "I hope my life counts for something worthwhile, like Marion’s has." We pay tribute to a good person when we sit by his/her side and ask, "Do you remember when ...?" But we pay even greater tribute when we try to emulate their lives.

Warren Baldwin

Friday, November 5, 2010

Mirror Messages

"I write this greeting in my own hand...
Grace be with you."
Colossians 4:18
I was recently inspired by my girlfriend's daughter when we were invited to their home for a family dinner.  She used dry erase markers to write scripture on all the mirrors in her bedroom (and being a teenager...there were lots of mirrors!).  Each time she looks in her mirror, God's love letter is kissing her cheeks and piercing her heart with His truth.   

A few weeks ago, I was travelling for four nights away from my husband and children.  While I was thankful to go on the Girl's Get-Away Weekend hosted by Karen Kingsbury, my heart was aching in preparation of leaving my precious family and my favorite place on earth...home.  I was up most of the night before I left spending time in prayer for my husband and my children. 

After praying, while Jim and the kids were sound asleep, I went to every mirror and wrote love notes to my family.  As I wrote my note to Jim on his mirror in our master bathroom, I was very aware that our children would see the note.  So, it needed to be not-so-intimate and yet meaningful to him.  I also prayed that my note to Jim would be impressionable on our children's hearts, that they knew it represented the truth of my heart and that it was always authenticated by my actions in our home.  Here's a little of what my note said to my hubby:

"Dear Jim:  You are the best husband, brother in Christ and best friend I could ever have.  I love you with my entire heart.  I can't wait to be home in your arms again!  With all my respect, Sharon"  (The "with all my respect" closing was completely inspired by Emerson Eggerich of Love & Respect Ministries.)

I prayed that as Jim and our children looked in the mirrors, they would feel kissed by the love of their wife and mother. 

Write some love notes on the mirrors in your home today!  Wives, if you are an empty-nester or the parents of babies/toddlers who can't read yet, go ahead and write your note to your hubby in lipstick instead of dry erase markers! 

Song of Solomon (Chapter One)
 15 How beautiful you are, my darling!
   Oh, how beautiful!
   Your eyes are doves.
 16 How handsome you are, my beloved!
   Oh, how charming!

If your children are going to see what you write to your spouse, (be discrete and...) know that your words of love to one another are breeding security and confidence in your children's hearts, too!!!

Reflecting His image in our marriages requires sincere love, humility and the complete yielding of our hearts to the Holy Spirit.  Demonstrating our love can be done in creative and memorable ways.  Writing reflections of His image in your home will pour lavish grace into your family's hearts and kiss their cheeks with His love!  

Stop back here at T2, leave a comment and let us know what Mirror Messages you are writing today!     

"As water reflects the face,
so one’s life reflects the heart."
Proverbs 27:19


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Sock Stealer

As I sat on the bottom steps to put on my shoes and socks, as I often do, I noticed one of my socks "disappeared." "ANNIE!" I shouted. Annie is our golden retriever...and chief sock stealer. She pulls socks out of clothes baskets, gym bags, and from unsuspected folks putting on shoes and socks on the stairwell.

As I stood up to go after her, I noticed my missing sock. I had some how managed to sit on it, and I had it all the time! "You blamed Annie, and she didn't even do it," my daughter and Annie's #1 fan exclaimed. She was right. But it offered a chance for a teaching moment.

When you are characterized by a certain behavior, whether good or bad, people will assume it from you. When people know you for having good character, they don't believe otherwise. However, once you become known for a bad behavior (sock stealing, for instance), when socks turn up missing you get the blame, even if you didn't do it! You only get one chance to build your character, and once it's built badly even when you "re-build" it, it takes a long time for folks to see the new you.

This isn't a "life sentence" for those who have started out on the wrong sock foot. The great thing about God is that even bad characters can receive grace and forgiveness if they truly repent. You'll have to be patient, however, as mere mortals will need more time to trust in the new you. But time can and will show your true character.

Let your good behavior shine so that people can see God through you. Then people will no longer consider you a sock stealer, and when it comes to good character, you'll be a shoe shoo-in.

Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” 1 Corinthians 15:33

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16


Monday, November 1, 2010

Blessings from a Friend

"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up..."
1 Thessalonians 5:11

Until I had my first child, I had never experienced the true gift of a homecooked meal.


To my home.

For me.

Just because.

But as my life changed forever and I assumed the title, "Mom" several special and wonderful people did this very thing for me. And I was blessed. With a new baby and a husband who went back to work quickly, it was such a delight to see five o' clock roll around and know that a delicious and nutritious meal awaited us. I felt like a good mother, allowing another's generosity of spirit feed my body and nourish my soul. I felt like an obedient and trusted wife, placing on our table the culmination of another's energy and love. I felt the body of Christ surround me and nurture our family, in the way that only the body can nurture.

When we experienced the death of our son, two of our dear and cherished friends were first on our doorstep, pasta and sauce in hand, apple cake, still warm, ready to provide comfort. And comfort us it did. Our lovely, lovely friends left an indelible embrace in the form of a homecooked meal.

One of my nearest and dearest friends is a tremendous cook. God has given her the gift of whipping up memories. Recently, for no specific reason at all, she blessed our family with a chicken pot pie. This lip smacking, belly pleasing, pie plate of joy brought squeals of delight from every family member. Far and beyond the temporary euphoria of a great meal was the lasting impression that we were important enough to warrant a gift of this magnitude during a busy and hectic week. As I prayed for her family that evening, I also prayed that God would reveal to me practical ways to express His love to others.

"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2:10

I hope that I am "that friend". Whether it comes in the form of a cup of tea, a phone call with a bright and cheery message, or a simple note of encouragement and prayer...blessings from a friend are always necessary. They strengthen us. God calls us to share His love willingly and openly, in word and in action. May our relationships always include our pouring out His love graciously and with great zeal, in all circumstances.

"Freely you have received, freely give." Matthew 10:8

In His love,