“Trip Around the Sun”

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Yesterday marked another trip around the sun for me. The Lord blessed me with this beautiful sunrise yesterday morning. I have seen several of these lately as the temperatures cool down and the air is crisp and clear. But I felt like He sent this one just for me. Arrogant? No. Just a way of letting myself feel especially loved by my Creator on my birthday and especially blessed by all that He continues to bring into my life.

I find that birthdays, much like the end of the year, are a chance to reflect on what the past twelve months have brought. I was thinking earlier about friends who have come and gone, new ones being made and old ones who have become close once again. New family members and ones who seem more distant. I suppose the old saying is true that some are here for a reason and some for a season.

God brings people into our lives for a purpose. Some are here to teach us a lesson. Maybe about who we are or what we need to change. Some come to help us over a hurdle or bring us to a realization and then are never heard from again. There are those who shape us into a better person so that when someone else comes along we are able to be all that that person needs and are allowed to give them our very best.

We are all a catalyst in someone else’s journey. While it’s good to remember that others are part of our lives for our purpose, we must also remember that we are doing the same for others. Reach out. Be kind, comforting and compassionate. Show others what the love of God looks like through you. You never know where God will place you and how your presence can change someone.

“For we are God’s masterpiece.
He has created us anew in Christ Jesus,
so we can do the good things
He planned for us long ago.”
(Ephesians 2:10
)

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“A Heart For God”

For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure – Philippians 2:13

Compassion, forgiveness, respect, courtesy, patience…do you practice these on a daily basis? If we are to have a true heart for God, then these are the things He asks of us. Throughout the last few months, God has been working in me and through me. There is still so much I need to work on but I try, throughout my days and weeks to use those things that He would have me to use when I am out and about. Your conscience will speak to you during a particular moment when you know what you should say, do, or not say and not do. This is God speaking to you. There are so many times in the course of a day that you can put these things to work. Think about this when:

  • You get angry with the slow cashier at the supermarket/department store or the waitress at the restaurant. Maybe he/she is doing the best they can. Maybe it’s their first day or week. Maybe their burden is so heavy that they can’t concentrate on the task at hand. Be patient.
  • You get upset with a spouse/significant other/family member. Put yourself in their shoes. Try to figure out why they may have said what they said or did what they did. Imagine yourself in the same situation. Be forgiving.
  • You see an elderly person ahead of you in the check-out line struggling with a credit card machine or in slow-mode going down the highway. Life can be so fast-paced for people who have lived most of their life during a time when the days were simpler and life wasn’t so complicated and technology-driven. Don’t be rude. Be respectful.
  • You spot that person by the road asking for a handout. It seems easy to judge them. You might ask “why don’t they just get a job?” But do you know their circumstances? Are there mental health issues? Are they illiterate? Disabled? Maybe they have a job but it’s not enough to make ends meet. Obviously, there are those who ask for handouts and use them in less than appropriate ways (alcohol, drugs) but what if that person on the street is God’s way of allowing you to show compassion? Be compassionate.
  • Someone starts a conversation with you in the store aisle. This happened to me a couple weeks ago. I was trying to get a few things and get out as quickly as I could. I was rushed and this elderly man started a conversation with me. He was very kind and I tried to be kind in return, despite my rush. When I left the parking lot, he drove by me, honked, waved and smiled. Yes I was in a hurry but I took the time to speak with him. Maybe I was the only person he would speak to that day. Maybe he had no one else. If that conversation made him smile then it was worth it. Maybe God put me in his path that day. You just never know. Be courteous.
  • You feel the need to gossip. Ask yourself what you are gaining by passing on information (that may or may not be true) about someone else’s struggles or issues. Is it for the reaction that you will get from the person you are telling it to? Is it to make you feel better by speaking about someone else’s problems? If it is hurtful, it shouldn’t be said or repeated. We are all guilty, even me from time to time but I am really working on that.

I want to have a heart for God. A heart that will make Him proud. Think about the true “contents” of your heart. Does it contain things to be proud of? If not, consider making changes so that everything that comes from your mouth and every step you make comes from that place inside you where God wants to live and longs to stay.

“Be Merciful”

We all have families who aren’t so perfect. We sometimes agree, disagree or just agree to disagree. We have family members who make mistakes and who sometimes let us down. But the thing to remember is this: they are still your family. Seek first God’s will in our family and the other things will come as He desires…..Matt. 6:33

Do you turn your back on them or do you continue to support them?

I spent some time with someone recently who has made some mistakes, has paid for them and is now starting a new life. He is a gentle soul. I can see that through all that he has done, even though I have known him for only a short amount of time. Live in harmony with one another; love, be sympathetic, compassionate and humble…bless one another so that you may inherit a blessing…..1 Peter 3:8-9

He speaks softly and honestly about how his demons took control of his life. He is someone’s family. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ has forgiven you…..Ephesians 4:32. He deserves to be forgiven, treated with respect and given love in the way that God forgives each one of us for our sins and thankfully he is being shown that by his family. Two are better than one. If one falls down, the other can help him up. A cord of three strands is not easily broken…Ecclesiastes 4:9-10,12b.

I have witnessed these demons take hold of someone in my own family. I admit I have become frustrated at times, wondering what possesses someone to do this. Show mercy to others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives…Jude 23
 I have tried to be more understanding and helpful. I am not the person to be judging anyone. That is God’s responsibility. All I can do is reach out to someone who needs it and hope that even something small I say or do, can make a difference. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful….Luke 6:36. I encourage everyone to do the same. Look beyond that person’s wrong doings and see that they are still a child of God, in need of love and compassion.

In this week before Easter, forgiveness and mercy are big words to bear in mind. As Jesus said, even as he was to be crucified,

Father forgive them for they know not what they do…Luke 23:34.

Have a forgiving attitude today and show mercy on those who need it and you too will be blessed.