Serve one another humbly in love. Galatians 5:13
This story is taken from Daily Guideposts.
“Shortly after the end of the first Gulf War, Gen. Colin Powell was at a large gathering where he was to be honored for teaching his troops the values that had produced a successful military campaign. Also on the program was Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, then in his nineties, with whom I was traveling. With his keen eye for detail, General Powell noticed that one of Dr. Peale’s shoes had become untied. Without a word, he stepped forward, knelt down and tied the errant lace. Dr. Peale was flustered for a moment, but General Powell eased his embarrassment with a joke. One of the general’s aides leaned over to me and whispered, ‘Now you know why he wins battles. We’d all go through the fire for a man like that.’
Lord, help me to follow Your example and serve someone today.-ERIC FELLMAN”
Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13
To fulfill a requirement to earn a middle school endorsement for teaching, I decided to take a necessary class entitled “Middle School Psychology.” It was a sixteen week class packed into eight weeks and strictly on-line. The first week we had three assignments. The first task was to introduce ourselves and post the information. The second job was to think back on our own junior high experience and write in depth what we were experiencing with regards to the social, familial, cognitive/intellectual, personal, and biological/physical domains for 6th, 7th, and 8th grade.
That first week I reflected on that time in my life, and many old memories resurfaced. As I pondered about my 6th grade year, I remembered how awful that year was. I wrote, “Intellectual/Cognitive- This was the worst school year. I struggled every night with my math class. I cried almost every night as my parents tried to help me. Their way of doing the homework did not line up with what my teacher was teaching even though they came up with the right answers, and I was caught in the middle. The reprieve came when the teacher had a baby, and the substitute taught in a way I could understand.” On Thursday of that week, I had written my reflections and relived many of the joys and pains of junior high.
On Friday morning, I checked the postings of the other students before going to breakfast with some friends. Shock overcame me when I read the name of another student who was THAT SAME 6th grade math teacher! This person was the one I was writing about, and the one who had caused a year of tears and pain. I immediately called one of my closest friends who knew me then. As we chatted about the unbelievable coincidence, I stated, “I have no idea what God is trying to teach me, but I know it must be something.”
That night I called my mom and said, “You are never going to believe who is also taking the same psych class.”
I repeated the statement to her that I stated to my friend, “I have no idea what God is trying to teach me, but I know it must be something.”
On Saturday morning I finished up the third assignment and began to work around the house before heading to my church’s ten year anniversary celebration. As I walked into my laundry room, I heard two words: “Forgive her.” I immediately knew what they meant. Forgive my 6th grade teacher for the year of pain her poor teaching caused me. In my mind a battle raged.
“I don’t have a problem with her. I have used this hurt for the good. I have used this hurt to be the best teacher I can be to my middle school students.”
I felt God say, “You DO still have a problem with her. This is obvious because you have a problem with her being in the same class as you.”
Then, I felt as though God said to me, “Have you changed in the past twenty eight years?”
I thought, “Yes. I have changed so much.”
God said, “Regardless of whether she has changed or not, you need to forgive her. However, do not put her in the box of your 6th grade wounded view. I have been working in her life these past twenty eight years as I have been working in your life.” I walked down my stairs promising the Lord that I would work on forgiving her.
Before leaving for church, I read the updated postings. One of the postings was from my former teacher:
You had wonderful literary references in your Discussion, and I always enjoy a Mark Twain quote.”
Had I not admitted my hurt, and my need to forgive her, I doubt I would have been able to freely accept her genuine compliment. I am so thankful for our God, a God, who uses an assignment to bring to the surface the hidden hurts from twenty eight years ago on a Thursday, brings the teacher who caused that hurt back into my life on Friday, and encourages me to forgive her on Saturday. That is a powerful God!
Gracious God, help us forgive. Amen.
Blessed is the one who is kind to the needy. Proverbs 14:21
Recently, I received an email from my friend, Diane, who with her husband spend their winters in India. When I read her story about praying and the Lord answering, I thought of Proverbs 14:21. Here is one example of how God and His people are working together. But first a brief summary of what brought them to India:
The Lord told Diane and Evon to go to India in 1997, and they first went in 1999. For the next five years, they were able to travel there. Then, they weren’t able to go for ten years. When they retired, they came for the winter months (they are only allowed to be there a maximum of six months). They have supported 15-20 pastors all of these years (now 20). They will be going to Hyderabad rural villages the first two weeks of March for ministry in the field and also to have pastors’ conferences.
Before I left for church, I prayed the Lord would lead me to someone who could really use the food I had to give. As I left the church, I saw a poor widow walking by with a stick and a bag over her shoulder. I knew that she was whom I was to bless. I got her attention, and she wanted prayer and never did ask for money. I prayed for her and then gave her rice, lentils, turmeric, sauce packet, two bananas and a package of golden raisins which she was so thankful for. Next, I checked if she had teeth before giving her peanuts, and she did. She very grateful; she would bend down and touch my feet. I hugged her and gave her two medicinal lozenges. She came to tears of happiness. Now, that’s how I want to bless them not with a few rupees but something I know will be used to advantage not disadvantage!
Thank you, Lord, we can partner with you to bless others. Amen.
We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19
When my son Dan was four years old, he tackled me to the ground and gave me a big squeeze as I was folding laundry on the living room floor.
Tickled by this strong display of affection, I questioned him, “Why do you love me so much?”
Without hesitation, he stated confidently,“Because you love me first!”
Touched by this statement, I thought, “How true!”
Dan’s words reminded me of 1 John 4:19.
We love others, and we love God, but we need to recognize that our love for God began with His love for us. God’s love for His people is the source of love that they have for Him and for each other. He invites us to love Him and others as He has loved us. We are able to share God’s love with others because we have experienced it firsthand. When we experience the love of God and love of Christ, we then can love our brothers and sisters with the love God has lavishly shared with us.
God, thank you that you loved us first so that we can love you and others. Amen.
Welcome back! We are on the final part of a four part series on the blog entitled, “Health and Wellness 2016.” Each Monday I have been focusing on a different area of our lives and asking a few thought provoking questions to consider. My intention for all of us (myself included) is to see if one of the questions applies to our lives and needs to be looked at a bit more closely. Hopefully, we all can use these questions to start a new habit or tweak a habit that is already in place.
Wishing you a happy and healthy new year!
This week we will be focusing on our emotional/relational lives.
My emotional/ relational life- Am I
• Daily repenting to God of my mistakes and my sins? (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.
• Sincerely apologizing to those whom I have hurt? (James 5:16)- Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
• Fully accepting the apologies of others? (Ephesians 4:31-32)- Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
• Completely letting go of hurt or confronting privately in love when someone has hurt me? (Matthew 18:15)- If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.
• Truly keeping confidences? (Proverbs 13:3)- Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin.
• Being trustworthy? (Proverbs 11:13)- A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret.
• Cultivating a God-centered and others-centered life? (Philippians 2:3-5)-Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.
• Speaking and writing wholesome words? (Ephesians 4:29)-Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
• Completing my work without grumbling and complaining? (Philippians 2:14) Do everything without grumbling or arguing
Lord, thank you that you care about every area of our lives. Amen.