You Invited Me In

 

 

 

 

A few days ago, I stopped at a dollar store after work to get a few items.

As I parked my car in the lot, I noticed a very elderly woman on the sidewalk in front of the store.

She was obviously having a difficult time as she tried to maneuver a multi-footed cane.

Taking tiny steps near the entrance door, she looked as if she needed help.

For a few seconds I began to think of how I could go to her and assist her.

Before I could leave my car, though, an employee of the store came outside to her aid.

As he was opening the door and helping her enter the store, all was well.

I don’t know if the man who came to help this woman was a Christian or not, but he was displaying Christ-like behavior.

Jesus said,

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne.  All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,  I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’”

Matthew 25:31-36

Those on his right ask Jesus to tell them when it was that they helped him in these ways.

His answer?

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”

Matthew 25:40

 

When we care for others–even if it is helping an elderly lady enter a store–Jesus knows.

When we give food to people who are hungry–Jesus knows.

When we show love to other people in need, it matters.

It matters a lot….

 

 

invited

 

 

From Those To Whom It Is Due

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What does it mean to give?

In most churches, there are opportunities to give a monetary tithe or gift in order to maintain the building and its ministries.

There is more to giving, however, than placing money in an offering plate or an offering box at the back of a sanctuary.

If I look back over my week, what are some ways that I gave to others?

Did I help anyone who had a need?

Did I call or text a friend who was hurting?

When I saw the troubled countenance of a coworker, did I say a silent prayer for them?

Did I bring a dessert to a neighbor, just to brighten their day?

Did I suggest that the elderly woman behind me in line at the grocery store go ahead of me?

What about the man across the street? When his dog broke from his leash, did I help to find him?

Did I offer to pray with a sick friend?

Did I take the time to talk about Jesus to someone?

When I bring a monetary gift on Sunday, I am giving a portion of my earnings back to God.

When I leave the church on Sunday, am I faithful to give to others in His Name for the rest of the week?

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Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.

—Proverbs 3:27

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Let Us Love

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I received three gifts this week from my sons.

They were gifts of love, and I will cherish that love, because my heart is filled with love for them.

In thinking about these recent gifts, something deep inside of me realizes that the gifts were not just from them.

God was loving me through my sons and their thoughfulness.

When I think of the love shown to me this week, my heart will smile.

God loves me…

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1 John 4:7-8

 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.  Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

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Love Is

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In the last day or so, I seem to be really focusing on the lyrics of songs I am hearing on the radio.

Words that I have heard before somehow seem to be coming to rest in my mind in a way they hadn’t previously.

Here are some of the words I was listening to more closely this afternoon while driving home from work:

Love, take these words that I’m speaking
Love, take these thoughts that I’m thinking
Love, take me over
Love, fill up all of my space and
Love, stand right here in my place
Love, hear this prayer that I’m praying
Love, take me, love, take me over
Love, take me over

—Love Take Me Over by Steven Curtis Chapman

Specifically, the idea of love standing right here in my place was of particular interest to me.

When I am confronted with unkind words spoken to me, what would it be like if I stepped out of the way and “love” stepped in and took my place?

How would personified “love” respond?

If someone is angry with me, what would happen if “love” stepped in again?

What if I just stepped out of my little circle and love took my place?

When I am faced with a choice to minister to another’s needs, what would happen if “love” stepped in?

What if “love” always stepped in?

Would my life be vastly different?

Would yours?

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Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

—1 Corinthians 13:4-7

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Evident to All

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What does it mean to be gentle?

The dictionary I checked described it in these words:

Kind.

Tender.

Sympathetic.

Considerate.

Understanding.

Compassionate.

Benevolent.

Good-natured.

Humane.

Lenient.

Merciful.

Clement.

Mild.

Placid.

Serene.

Sweet-tempered.

The scripture passage below encourages me to let my gentleness be evident to all.

If I insert the words in the list above into that sentence, replacing gentleness, would anyone who knows me describe me in that way?

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Rejoice in the Lord always.

I will say it again: Rejoice!

Let your gentleness be evident to all.

The Lord is near.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

—Philippians 4:4-7

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Love is Kind

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Am I patient?

Am I kind?

Or am I envious, boastful and proud?

Do I honor others?

Or am I self-seeking and easily angered?

Do I keep a record of wrongs?

Do I delight in evil or do I rejoice in the truth?

Do I always protect?

Do I always trust?

Do I always hope?

Do I always persevere?

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Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

—1 Corinthians 13:4-7

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love is

Love Does Not Give Up

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Thinking of today—

Did I give up?

Was I kind?

Was I jealous?

Did I put myself up as being important?

Was I prideful?

Did I do the wrong thing?

Did I think of myself?

Did I get angry?

Did I remember how I suffered because of someone hurting me?

1 Corinthians 13:4-5 reads:

Love does not give up. Love is kind. Love is not jealous. Love does not put itself up as being important. Love has no pride.  Love does not do the wrong thing. Love never thinks of itself. Love does not get angry. Love does not remember the suffering that comes from being hurt by someone.

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Exactly how loving was I today?

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love does

Sweetness to the Soul

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Driving along the highway, I couldn’t help but notice the sunflowers.

THOUSANDS of sunflowers!

On and on they went as I passed the green and yellow carpet of blooms that reached confidently toward the sky.

Each flower, giant and golden, began with a planted seed.

 

What if every time I said a kind or thoughtful word to someone a sunflower would be planted on an acre of land?

What if one could be planted every time I spoke to someone about God?

Within one year, what would that acre of ground look like?

If I were allowed to see it, would I cry tears of joy at a beautiful crop of yellow petals?

Or would I cry tears of sadness and regret because there were so few plants in the field?

God can use the seeds of our speech to touch an infinite number of hearts.

Truly, I want to say gracious words that convey love, concern and peace to others around me.

Isn’t that what you want, also?

 

 

Proverbs 16:24

Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.

 

 

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