If One Person Smiles Then I Won’t…

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Just recently I’ve heard of a couple of stories that have bothered me. I hope they bother you too.
 
The first story was told to me by a friend. I may not have all the details exactly right, but it’s close enough to make you think. He told me of a gentleman who walked to the Golden Gate Bridge to commit suicide. When the police found his body, they went to his apartment to see if he had left a letter. I believe the story went that they found a letter. The letter written by the man stated he was going to commit suicide. If on the way one person talked to him or smiled at him, he would not do it. Apparently, no one smiled or talked to him. I found this on the internet:
 
“The story of a man who took his own life, attributed to Dr. Jerome Motto, a psychiatrist from UCSF, and dated only as being in the 1970s, is particularly haunting. “‘The guy was in his 30s,’ Motto related, ‘lived alone. Pretty bare apartment. He’d written a note and left it on his bureau. It said, ‘I’m going to walk to the bridge. If one person smiles at me on the way, I won’t jump.'”
 
My heart sank as I heard this story. If only one person had smiled at this man. If only one person had taken the time to say, “Hello” as they passed. If only….
 
We often wonder if, in this life, we will ever make an impact on someone’s life. Here is an example of one way that we could have, but no one did. He wasn’t asking for a handout, he wasn’t asking for food or alcohol; all he wanted was a smile. I think what he really wanted was to know someone cared for him. People won’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. A life could have been saved or changed if only one person he passed smiled.
 
I was told another story by a lady in a church where I shared God’s message recently. She said she was in Walmart. I believe she was getting medicine. The lady in front of her needed medicine. She only had enough money to cover half of the prescription. She asked the pharmacist if she could only get half of it because of lack of funds. The pharmacist gave her just what she could afford. After leaving the store the lady that was telling me the story told me she instantly felt God tell her she should have stepped up and paid for the other half but she ignored the thoughts and went on her way. That was a while back and it has bothered her ever since. She has not been given another opportunity to step up and help anyone else. God puts people in our midst that we are to help. He puts those people in front of us so that we can be his hands, his feet, his ears, and his mouth. It’s up to us to move forward and be the body of Christ.
 
I am reminded of the Good Samaritan story found in the Bible. Turn to Luke 10:25-37. We all know the story really well. A priest and a Levite come upon a traveler that has been stripped of his clothing, beaten and left for dead alongside the road. They both turn and walk away, even crossing the road so as to not even be on the same side of the road as the Levite. It takes a third man, a Samaritan, to come to his rescue. This traveler was lucky the Samaritan came to his aid; the other two people I mentioned before – no one came to their aid.
 
So, what’s going on in the world today that prevents us from coming to the aid of someone who is in need of our help? What is keeping others from knowing God loves them and cares for them?
 
I think we are so preoccupied and so busy when we are out and about that the only things we seem to focus on are getting the jobs done that needs to be done. It could be a grocery trip. We are so busy focusing on getting those items we need so we can get back home and continue whatever it is that we think is so important. It amazes me how many people are shopping and talking on their phones at the same time…multi-tasking they call it. What if the man who was going to commit suicide walked through Walmart? That’s kind of sad to think that could happen, but it can. I have been in the store when very few people have smiled at me or even looked my way unless it was to inform me I was in their way.
 
I have told the story before, but it’s worth repeating. I had a clerk that was not very pleasant to me. I was in the back picking up photos. I mentioned to her that she looked tired. She went on to tell me she had to take her husband to the hospital the day before. She had been with him in the emergency room. They were there for twenty-four hours. After getting him settled, she then had to come straight to work with little or no sleep. I offered to pray for her and her husband. Her whole attitude changed. She knew someone cared. I cared. God cares. But the only way people are only going to know God cares is if we share that with them.
 
I think also we are so afraid of who the people are we are helping. This world has us paranoid that everyone we meet is out to get us and do us harm. We see the way they are dressed or the color of their hair or their hairstyle. We see tats on their bodies or rings where rings should not be and the fear factor sets in. We see people who are outside our box and we don’t want to communicate or have anything to do with them.
 
I have to make an admission here. I was that way before I worked at an organization that helps with those who are struggling. Some of them come in with different hairstyles, tats, rings or whatever and my first response was to be uncomfortable with them. Some have different lifestyles that I am not used to or come from a country that I have been made to fear. As I sat and talked with them in their situation I found out in their heart they are really no different than we are. I found out they have the same fears we do. I found out that God loves them just as they are as much as he loves me.
 
Hebrews 13:2 tells us, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” What if either one of these two people mentioned earlier were God’s angels checking up on this world? I think he’d see we failed. He may not have sent these folks as angels, but I think we still failed. We fail every time we walk past someone and don’t share God’s smile. We are God’s smile. We are God’s hands that are to reach out and touch others.
 
Both of these stories have been a reminder that I am to make myself more aware of those people I come in contact with every day. They need to know God is still in the caring business. I need to make sure people know God’s still in the loving business. It’s them he loves.
 
I hope these stories have shaken you up a bit. I hope you will become more aware of those around you that need to know God still cares and still loves. Let’s pass the love of God on through a smile.
 
Dear God: Thank you for reminding me to not put blinders on when I am out and about, but to see your people that you have put in my path. Help me to know when that one special person needs a smile or a helping hand. Allow me to be your hands, feet, mouth, and ears; allow me to serve others as a disciple of Christ. Amen
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Diversity…God Ordained

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I am so amazed at how God works things out for our own good. I belong to an organization I am not or was not crazy about. I belong because a friend asked me to join her. I thought I would be a good friend and help her out. So, for two years I have belonged to this organization. It seemed I just didn’t fit in. The ladies were much older than I was and they seemed to be a bit standoffish. I was thinking about resigning as a member.

Recently, this same organization was having their statewide meeting in the area I live in. Some of the ladies in my group were involved in the organizing and planning of this meeting. Also, our past President is now the Statewide President. It was important to her to have her group represented. When it came to signing up I insisted I did not have the extra money to attend this weekend event. That was going to be my excuse for not going. Well, that did not work. This group had set aside scholarship money for many of us to attend. That included me. I no longer had an excuse. So, begrudgingly I went with them. I can honestly say my heart was not in it.

As I was picked up Friday all I could think of was “well, let’s get this weekend over with.” I was excited about being with the two friends I was going to spend the weekend with.

We were not staying in the hotel, but we were staying in a home close by. As we arrived to drop our belongings off in the home we would be staying at I was surprised to find the owners would be gone most of the weekend. They just turned the home over to us with a full refrigerator, snacks, and drinks.

When we got to the hotel I immediately helped with setting up Silent Auction items and doing other last minute details. The women coming in were excited. I wasn’t able to share in their excitement. That evening we were to dress in our ethnic attire or that one that we were aware of. I had bought a dress while in Jamaica that I wore this evening. As I walked into the room I began to see all the different outfits that were being worn by the women. The excitement began to rise.

As the evening went on I became more interested in what this group was actually about. I finally figured out their goals and purposes. One of the topics that evening was inequality in education and poverty in education. There was a panel of women who were prominent in their fields discussing the needs of education and poverty. I became interested and really started listening. The evening was enjoyable.

I had been asked to participate in a skit about one of the many ways they collect their money. It is called the Least Coin Fund. These women collect pennies and change to send off to help with many causes that are needed around the world. I have never really understood this fund. With me participating in this skit my eyes were opened to the understanding and realization of how important these pennies are to the areas they fund.

The one thing I have not mentioned is these women are from all walks of life, they are from all denominations and it is a very diverse group of ladies. The race of these women varied in several degrees. I began to meet women I had never come in contact with before. I soon realized I was meeting women who were totally different from me. I was really enjoying the weekend. I began to realize I enjoy meeting women of different color, creed, and religion. I love diversity!

God was opening my eyes to a whole new world. God soon reminded me of the scripture found in Galatians 3:28, “There is neither Jew or Gentile, neither slave or free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ.” It didn’t matter how they worshipped, where they came from, or their skin color we were all sisters in Christ. We love the same God, we are concerned about the same issues and we all are willing to pitch in and help where we can. We all want to leave a legacy and make a difference in the world.

By Sunday I was beginning to feel more and more like a part of this group and this organization. I have figured out it wasn’t the women; it was me. My not understanding or taking the time to understand this organization left me out in the dark, but once I understood what this organization was about, once I saw the women excited about these causes and once I began to participate with a willing heart everything changed for me.

That’s what God calls each of us to do. We are called to participate with a willing heart. We are called to be open to his leading us and we are to understand those things he gives us to understand. We will never fully understand everything. I have found out I understand more things now since I have been on this journey for several years than when I first started out. I am sure there is more about this organization that I have to learn about and come to understand, but it will be a more enjoyable journey now.

I also challenge you to look at the groups and organizations you belong in. Are they diverse? Are you with those who think like you or look like you or worship like you? I am excited to be part of such a diverse group where I can begin to see God has plans for all of us. That he loves all of us no matter how different we really are. I am excited to be a part of a group of ladies that worship differently than I do so I can be open to what they may have to teach me and what I can share with them.

God knows what I needed in order for me to be more accepting of others and he provided. I love meeting people. I always have. I am now excited to be on a new journey where I will get the opportunity to get to know so much more. God is good all the time.

I challenge you to look at what you belong to and if there is no diversity, if you do not have the chance to get to know others who are totally different from you, if you are not afraid to open your mind and step outside the box then join a group where diversity is the key component. I can hook you up if you’d like.

As we look at others who are different from us we should not see skin color, different denominations or anything that makes us different. Instead, as we look at them we should see them as brothers and sisters in Christ; we should see them as the family we haven’t met yet.

Dear God: I realize now this organization was ordained and approved by you. You have joined these women together so we may become family; sisters in Christ sharing the work load you have given us to do. May we join hand in hand and become one in You. Bless the work we do and let us do it in love and gratitude for all you have given us. Amen

A Lesson To Be Learned Again!

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One week I was preparing to go to assembly with one of the groups I am affiliated with. As I was preparing to go I began to fret. I began to worry that I didn’t have the right clothes or that I would not fit in. I was worried that my clothes would not be fine enough. I had all kinds of worries.
 
As I was trying to figure out what I was going to take and wondering if it would be dressy enough God began what to do what he does best. He began to talk with me. He reminded me I was more concerned about what people thought instead of being concerned about what I was going to learn at this assembly. I was more concerned about fitting in than I was about spending a weekend with other Christian women and with him.
 
Proverbs 29:25 tells us, “It is dangerous to be concerned with what others think of you, but if you trust in the Lord, you are safe.”  God does not want us to spend our time worrying about what others think. If we are spending all our time worrying about what others think we don’t have time to praise him or worship him.
 
I had to remember, this was not about what we wear it was about who we are and what we are doing. God does not concern himself with what we wear. He is more concerned about our relationship with him and our time spent with him.
 
If I go to Assembly and while studying His words, I am concerned about my clothing I am not going to get anything out of the classes I am taking. I will be meeting new women and making new friends. I can’t greet women warmly if all I am concerned about is making the right impression on them. The impression I should be concerned about is am I reflecting God’s love? Do they see Christ in me or do they see a woman worrying about fitting in?
 
We all know while on earth Christ did not try to fit in. He did his own thing. That is what we are called to do. We are called to not necessarily do our own thing, but to follow in Christ’s footsteps.
 
God reminded me once again I am not to be in this world.1 John 2:15-17 “Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.”

So I went back to packing with a different attitude. This time while packing I was not concerned so much with what I was taking to wear. Instead, I began to pray for the right attitude as I went to Assembly. I started asking God to help me hear the things I needed to hear. I started praying for a blessing.
 
I have gone through this lesson many times. We, as women, often worry about what other women think about us. What amazes me those same women often are worried about what we think of them. I suggest we start a new movement among women. Let’s all start being more concerned about reflecting God’s love and light and worry less about what we are wearing. If we do that then God’s love and light will shine through us and the world will begin to change.
 
My husband watches a show that talks about the Celebrities. I despise the show. I often leave the room. One night as I was walking through they were talking apparel. I heard them say these are the “must haves” for the fall and winter season. They were trying to convince women these are the things we must have in our wardrobe to fit in. No, I don’t think so. The only “must have” items I need in my wardrobe is a Godly attitude and a clean heart with a right Spirit.
 
Men, I hope you have not dropped out of this conversation. I know some men who are just as concerned about what they wear as women are. There are children who are being impressed upon to wear certain brands or dress a certain way in order to fit in. It’s not about fitting in, in this world. We need to create a new style…an armor of God style. Umm…just saying.
 
I know this won’t be the last time I am consumed with what I am wearing or if I fit in. God knows this is the one area I haven’t gotten accomplished yet, but I am better than I was. I am just not there yet. If you are like me, be better than me; stop worrying about what’s on the outside and start working on reflecting God’s love and light on the inside. That’s all that matters.
 
If people judge us for what we wear or what we can bring to the table then do we really want to spend our time in a relationship with them? That relationship will only last as long as we are in compliance with them. The only relationship that should matter is the only one that REALLY matters and that my friend, is God.
 
 
Dear God, it amazes me how you teach me through everyday events and circumstances in my life. I know there are some lessons I just don’t get or it takes me forever to get it. This is one of them. For me, it’s about acceptance. I have been accepted into the greatest relationship known to man; it’s no longer about being accepted, it’s about knowing I have been accepted and then living that way. Thank you for loving me for who I am. May I reflect God’s love and light as I meet, study and fellowship with others. Amen
 

Following In My Husband’s Footsteps

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My husband and I have limited time together. He is working six days a week. When we get a chance, we do things together. I make sacrifices and he does too. One of the things he loves to do is hunt. I have gone with him on numerous trips.
 
This weekend, we spent a day together in the country at a friend’s place. We did multiple tasks on the farm and in the evening we went pig hunting from a stand. In order to get to this stand, we walked a mile or so to get back to it. My husband asked me to stay behind him as we walked to the stand. He wanted me to do this so he could see any danger that was ahead and keep me from harm. He knew the area. We would go left and then right. We went straight a few times, but we were constantly moving. We had to avoid the ruts in the field and the other many things that kept us from going in a straight line.
 
As I was walking, I was reminded that this is exactly what God wants us to do. He wants us to follow him. He knows the dangers we face and wants to protect us. We can’t see what is ahead of us; only God can do that. Proverbs 3:6 says this, “God will direct your steps.” If we follow him, he will direct us on the route we should take. Now as we were walking, I noticed we still had it rough sometimes. It wasn’t the smoothest path. I was reminded that even in life when we follow Jesus, we will still have some rough spots that we will have to walk through.
 
There were times as we were walking that I walked a little faster and found myself walking next to my husband. Even though he enjoyed me walking beside him he really wanted me to follow. Not because he was egotistical, but he couldn’t protect me. We’d be walking into danger together and he’d not be able to protect me. That’s the way it is with Christ. We are to follow him and allow him to lead us. We are not on his level. We can’t see what is ahead of us. It’s best if we follow.
 
When we first started the walk back to the stand, I was excited and walked ahead of my husband. What I didn’t know was exactly where I was going. I had a general direction but wasn’t exactly sure where I was to end up at. That is when he suggested I follow him. There have been times in my life I have jumped out ahead of Christ and decided to go my own way. I was reminded that I don’t always know the way and don’t know what is ahead of me. If I want the same destination that Christ wants for me, it’s best to follow him.
 
We got to the tree stand and opened the windows. Now, since I am a country girl, the view was breathtaking; some might not think so. It was so peaceful. All that we heard was nature’s singing from whatever creature was out there. I heard my first armadillo! I didn’t get to see him, but I heard him. When we reach our destination, after following Christ, I am told it will be breathtaking. It will be worth the wait. “But it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him…” 1 Corinthians 2:9 I can’t begin to describe the peace I experienced or felt while looking out on God’s creation. I can’t even imagine what heaven will be like.
 
After pig hunting, we had to walk back the mile or so to camp. It was dark; pitch black. I was a little fearful about walking back in the dark. My husband who is prepared for everything, had his light with him. Again, I walked in the back; following him with his light shining so we both could see through the darkness. Again, God came to me and reminded me he is my light in the darkness when I experience it. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not over come it.” John 1:5 The light brightened the darkness and the darkness was not so scary. The darkness did not overtake us. That’s the way it is with Christ and the light he gives us. Even in our darkest times, his light brightens our path and we are able to see again. We made it safely back to our vehicles for the long ride home.
 
It had been a long day and I was so ready to rest for the night. I was sweaty and smelly. I knew I needed a shower before hitting the bed. While in the shower, God reminded me we are to come to him when we are weary and he will give us rest. (Matthew 11:28-30) He provides rest for us along the way on this journey. We just need to rest in him.
 
The shower felt so good as the dirt ran off. I again was reminded how wonderful it is when we go to Christ and he cleans us with his grace and love. (Ezekiel 36:25). When we come to Christ and confess our sins, he is so good to clean us and make us pure again. We can feel good about ourselves again.
 
After a good hot shower and yes, I had to have a good cup of hot tea, I went in and fell asleep. It was a peaceful night of rest after being reminded of God’s goodness and his love. I was reminded of following him, his light lighting the darkness and how good it feels to confess and be clean once more. I was able to rest in Him and know everything’s all right when I follow the one who wants to lead.
 
It’s always a good day when I am able to be with my husband. It’s even better when God uses those times to speak and share with me. God is good all the time. God speaks often; we just don’t listen often.
 
 
Dear God: Thank you for the times spent with loved ones and the experiences you provide for us. Thank you for taking those experiences and sprinkling them with little reminders and messages. It’s good to hear from you. Thank you for taking the lead and allowing me to follow you. You know what is ahead of me and your better prepared to handle those things. Thank you for the light that you provide in those times of darkness. You are a good and loving Father and I praise you always. Amen
 

Surprise!

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Just over four years ago today, my daughter called me quite upset. She had received some unexpected news. She was pregnant again! Most people would be excited, except she already had her hands full with three boys; the youngest being under 2. Her husband had the procedure most men had, but apparently, God was not done with them just yet. When she went for her sonogram and saw the face of this newborn child that God had blessed her with! She was the perfect mom and soon became excited and started planning for this surprising adventure. Turns out this child was to be another boy. My daughter and son-in-law now have four very active little boys ranging in age from 4 (today) to 10.
 
As I was thinking about his birthday and what a surprise he was, I began to think about all the little-unexpected surprises God gives us. They are all around us; some we see and some we miss. Some we are disappointed at the surprise and then look back and see what a joy it was.
 
For instance, one of the surprises is a rainbow after the rain. I am always disappointed when it rains for days on end. If it’s not raining then it’s cloudy. There are times after a rain shower the sun comes out and we step outside to see a beautiful rainbow. I know it can be explained by the weatherman, but I think to think it is an unexpected surprise from God. God reminds us in Genesis 9:13, “I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.”
 
I think about the surprise of forgiveness and his lack of memory. We mess up and hold on to it for what seems like forever, but once we confess it to God it’s gone. He has wiped the slate clean and doesn’t even remember we did it. It’s no longer in his memory. It may still be in ours, but in his mind, it’s gone. 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
 
There are times I can’t even love myself. For whatever reason, I get in a funk and think I am unlovable. Maybe it’s because I messed up or maybe it’s because I am lonely or for whatever reason, it just doesn’t matter. Those times God comes along and shares this secret with me, “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[b] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39.
 
One day I was in the hospital with another daughter in Indiana. She delivered her baby and was in stress. She had a seizure right before my eyes. Now I had not seen anyone have a seizure before and it scared me to death. As the doctors and nurses were working with her, I was out in the hall praying for peace. My husband was still in Texas and I was alone. A few seconds passed and I received a phone call from a dear friend in Indiana. She called me because God had placed it in her heart to call and ask if I was okay. When I told her no, she immediately went into prayer. By the time we finished I was calm and at peace. God gives us surprises through friends calling just when we need them. What a surprise this call was. I had not planned on calling anyone. I couldn’t even think, but God knew what I needed and surprised me. This isn’t the only time I have received a phone call that I wasn’t expecting and needed it.
 
Just recently I went on a fishing trip early in the morning. I wasn’t expecting anything special. What God surprised me with was more than I expected. The beautiful sunrise, the fellowship of my husband and the witness of God has given the guide was an unexpected surprise.
 
If we look at things from a different perspective we can see God surprises us all the time. I was not happy about coming to Texas and leaving family behind, but God surprised me and this has been one of the most exciting adventures I have been on.
 
Some surprises are not what we expected or wanted. Like the death of a child or a spouse. Those are unexpected surprises we can do without. In those times, we can find God sprinkling surprises around us all the time. It may be a friend who comes without asking and stays by our side doing those things we aren’t capable of. It may be the surprise of peace and calm for those first few days. I am always surprised by the amount of food that comes to our homes when a loved one has died. You don’t always think about cooking or fixing a meal. Then the door bell rings and you are surprised by all the food that shows up at your door. I am always surprised by all the kindness and love that God surrounds you with during those difficult times. They are not the surprises we like, but God makes sure we can get through those unexpected surprises.
 
Surprises are things that happen that you didn’t plan on. God’s grace is one of them. God offers us grace when we least expect it. God’s strength is given when we least expect it. God’s peace comes to us just when we think we can’t go on anymore.
 
When is the last time you’ve received an unexpected surprise? I know all of us have at one time or another. Can you see how God was involved in your surprise either by offering it or helping you get through it?
 
We have been blessed by Luke’s birth even though he was a surprise. He has been and is a handful; all boy – full of energy. He is never still. My son-in-law once joked if they had Luke first he would have been the last. God’s hand was in this little package and he has turned out to be nothing but a joy to all his little life has touched. God touches our lives with surprises. How we deal with them is what makes them a blessing.
 
I challenge you to journal the next surprise. What did God teach you through these unexpected surprises?
 
Dear God: I thank you for all the little ones that came unexpected and for their parents. May you bless each unexpected surprise. Give us grace when we least expect it, bring us a shower of love when we feel unloveable and bring us peace when life throws us those surprises that are not needed or wanted. Thank you for the surprise of a rainbow after the rain. May it remind us of the covenant you have with your people. Amen.
 

I Am Not A Morning Person, But This May Change My Mind

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One more fishing story before I move on. This one will find some of you chuckling and others will nod in agreement.
 
I am not a morning person. I love the lights of the night and seeing the stars. I am a night person. That being said, when my husband told me we had to get up at 4 a.m. to go on a fishing trip, I was a bit disturbed. However, since it was a gift and fishing trip, I was willing to do it. Against what I am used to doing, I went to bed at 8 p.m. I wanted to be fresh and wide awake the following day. I didn’t want to have to fight sleepiness.
 
We made it to our destination on time. It was still pretty dark. The day was getting brighter. As I stood on the edge of the water waiting for us to board the boat, I noticed the sun peeking up over the water. It was something rare for me to see. I suddenly realized how beautiful it was! I was fascinated by this new phenomenon. I was mesmerized by the sun and its beauty.
 
We soon got on the boat before the sun was completely up. I kept watching the sun. Finally, the sun was up over the water enough to be able to see the reflection of it on the water. It was beautiful! I realized how much I have missed by not getting up and seeing the sunrise. The reflection on the water sparkled. I was taken back by all of the beauty and the brightness of the reflection from the sun. I hold that memory dear in my heart.
 
As I sat there I could very clearly hear God say, “That is what you are to do. You are to reflect my glory in you.” I felt God’s love in a new and fresh way.
 
2 Corinthians 3:18 reminds us, “So, all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord who is the Spirit makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.” Once we become Christians, the veil is removed and we can see clearly the glory of the Lord. As we see God’s glory, we are to reflect that so others can see his glory in us. Just as I looked upon the water and saw the reflection of the sun, we are to be a reflection of God’s glory so others may see the beauty of God in us.
 
We are called as Christians to reflect not only God’s glory but his love as well. “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 God is a God that loves. We know that God is love. If we have turned our lives over to God, then we can be assured God loves us. If God loved us so much that he allowed his only Son to die for us, what right do we have not to reflect his love for others?
 
As I was thinking about this and trying to remember all that I took in, one thing I don’t remember is seeing the reflection on the water after the sun was completely up. Maybe it was still there and I missed it or I was too busy catching fish. I just don’t remember seeing it later in the day. As I thought about this, I was reminded there are times in our lives we lose the reflection of God in our lives. It may be because of busyness, or raising children, or careers, or whatever. We just get to the point where we have lost God’s glory in our lives. It’s in those times we need to get off by ourselves and watch a beautiful sunrise and be reminded of His glory. I would love to get up every morning and watch a beautiful sunrise, but even if I did, where I live it wouldn’t be as impressive. I live in a neighborhood and it’s not always easy to see the sun rise. But this adventure has made me realize there are times I need to get away and find a place where I can watch the sunrise so I can be reminded of God’s glory and my calling.
 
I cannot put into words the beauty of that morning. I cannot put into words the love I felt from God during those brief few minutes. All I can do is encourage you to get up one morning, drive to a place where you can see the sun rise and allow God’s glory to flow through you. Let that time be a reminder of how we are to be reflectors of God’s glory and his love.
 
I told our guide this would not be the last fishing trip we took and it certainly won’t be the last sunrise I see. There is something peaceful in seeing a beautiful sunrise. I am just sorry it took me all these years to realize it. The great thing about God is he is always waiting for us to step into his glory; no matter how long we take to do it.
 
I challenge you to get up and watch the sunrise one morning. Better yet, find a lake or a body of water and watch the reflection on the water as the sun rises. Allow God to speak to you and allow God’s peace and his glory flow through you. Close your eyes and feel the love he has for you. But, don’t leave it there. Go out into the world and reflect God’s glory so others may see him through you.
 
 
Dear God: I am so grateful for the opportunity to see the sunrise on the water. To see the reflection of the sun on the water and watch as it sparkled and danced about. Thank you for the reminder that I too am to be a reflection of the Son’s light. I am to reflect your glory and share your love with others. Remind me to catch a sunrise when the glow of the God’s glory begins to dim in my life. Thank you for loving me just as I am. Amen

Ministry in a Fishing Boat?

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“Come, follow me, Jesus said, and I will make you fishers of men. “ Mark 1:17
 
In one of my past blogs, I mentioned how God will use us wherever we are. He doesn’t always call us to go to foreign lands or places that might be a challenge for us. He doesn’t always call us out of our comfort zone and challenge us. Sometimes he takes the things we are most interested in and he will help us use them for his glory. Let me give you a perfect example.
 
For my anniversary gift, my husband decided to do something special for me. He knows I love to fish and I haven’t fished since leaving Indiana twelve years ago. He has become acquainted with and become friends with a fishing guide. He uses his boat to take people out to fish. He doesn’t guarantee they will catch fish, but this man does everything he can to make sure you do. We did. In fact, the limit was fifty fish and we caught fifty fish. He did everything he could to make sure our day was wonderful and exciting; it was. He even cleaned and washed the fish.
 
In the first few minutes of this trip, he got a phone call that he needed to take. He apologized even though we told him he was fine. After all, he owns a business. I tried not to eavesdrop, but you are on a boat and there are not many places to go and take a personal phone call. A few minutes into the phone call this friend started praying for the person on the other end. It was an amazing prayer. It was a heartfelt and tender prayer. We realized afterward he was talking to his seventeen -year -old daughter who was going through some things. He told us he prayed with her often. He and I began to share our faith. We talked about how important prayer was among some other things. He shared with me how he used to take guides on Sunday, but God spoke to him through a friend and he soon quit taking people out on Sundays. God blessed his business. He has made more since he quit taking groups out on Sunday.
 
As we were finishing up that morning he shared with me that each time before he takes the boat out he prays over the boat and he prays for the people who he will be taking out on the boat. His prayer is if they don’t know Christ somehow let him be able to share Christ with them and open a door. If they knew Christ then may his words encourage or inspire them. He shared with me this is not only a business but a ministry; his mission. We talked about how we can use the gifts God gives us no matter what they are for his glory and his work. This was more than a fishing trip it was an inspiration.
 
As I came home I thought about the day and how wonderful it really was. I also was inspired by this man. It reminded me that God often takes our gifts that he gives us and helps us use them for his glory. We don’t have to do anything special or be anything special. All we have to do is be willing to give him ourselves and allow him to work through us.
 
This man took something that he loved to do and turned it into a mission and a ministry. All of us have a something that we are passionate about. All of us enjoy doing that one thing. We take that one thing turn it over to God and allow God to use that one thing for his glory. When we do that we all become missionaries and ministers to the world. The people he touches may never step their foot in the door of a church or they may never be given the opportunity to hear God’s words, but through his business, as a fishing guide, he just may be able to touch a life and open a closed door. He plants a seed.
 
I was thinking about how many stories there are in the Bible of Christ being in a boat or on the water. How Christ taught us to be fishers of men. How he taught Peter to fish on the right side of the boat. This man is doing the very thing that Christ taught his disciples: to be fishers of men.
 
So, that brings me to you. What are you passionate about? What is it you like to do? What is your hobby? I challenge you to think this through. Ask friends or family if you aren’t sure. Once you find it I challenge you to ask Christ to show you how you can take that one thing you are good at and make it into a ministry or a mission for His glory.
Sometimes I think we are afraid to ask God about our mission or ministry because we think God will call us out of our comfort zone or call us to go to some foreign land or move half way across the states. This man is a perfect example of what we can do if we give God all we have and all our being. More times than not God will take what we have to offer him and turn that into a ministry or mission. It’s not always about getting out of our comfort zone or moving thousand of miles away.
 
It’s all about surrendering our lives and the letting go of those things we hold so dear and dedicate them back to him. Once we do that he will bless us in whatever we do.
 
This guide feeds the souls of men and women. Whose soul can you touch by you doing what you are passionate about?
 
 
Dear God I thank you for this lesson, this experience and this new brother in Christ. May I learn from him and find my passion in life. May I take what I am passionate about dedicating it back to you and allow you to use it to feed the souls of those around me. Amen