57 – A little help

For a few years in my court work, I was on a judge’s team. Cases were divided among five of us for docketing pleadings and proceedings. We had paper files in the early days and each employee was responsible for placing the folders categorically in the large file room after data entry. Sometimes it was necessary to communicate with an attorney or staff over the telephone. I struggled with communication due to profound hearing loss, but I could do all tasks except answer the phone. So if a team member had to make or take a call for me, I would return the favor by filing their case folders in the file room.

When I had cochlear implant surgery, they were excited and happy for me. They joked that they were all going out to lunch and leave me to answer their phones! I asked for volunteers in our department to help me learn to hear words again. A few employees took their break time for a few weeks of hearing practice. Someone would sit with me and say words progressing over time to phrases then sentences then phone calls from a plan I wrote for my coworker tutors.

The Bible is rich with stories of people helping people in everyday life with hardship, disabilities, illness and death to name a few. We often think it is amazing when others volunteer, but we may hesitate to help. I hope my personal story will encourage others to seek Divine leadership toward lending a helping hand. Each person has something to give.

Scripture: For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 ESV

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us helping hands and generous hearts. We want to be givers and seek to do your work so others will know your loving kindness. Instill in us the desire and wisdom to volunteer when someone needs help. Let others see Christ in us. Amen

© 2021 All Rights Reserved

56 – A cheerful giver

When I was a little barefoot girl, I learned about giving from my parents and my church. We didn’t have luxury items, but we had what we needed. I remember listening to a conversation between my parents one summer night. Daddy started supper when he arrived home from work. He was a cook in the Navy during World War II and helped Mama in the kitchen. When she got home, she asked him what happened to one of the porch chairs. He said one of the neighbors had remarked how much she liked the chairs, so he gave her one. Mind you, we only had two chairs.

Another generous gesture I observed was Mama and the neighbor ladies giving food gifts to each other. I learned to never return an empty plate. At church, we were taught about missionaries, and I participated in giving my offering at an early age. The more I gave, the more I wanted to give. This is not just about money. Giving my time for charity, sharing my resources and knowledge with others in my community and church has been a blessing. Everybody can do something. I find myself thanking God for the opportunity to give. I don’t want to return an empty plate to the Lord because he gave me his Son.

Scripture: Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7 ESV

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for the grace and blessings you bestow on me daily. Every minute of the day you walk beside me. Knowing you love me and have a plan for my life makes me a cheerful giver. Show me ways I can share your love with others. Send me to someone today that I can help, and let them see Christ in me. I want to be your cheerful giver. Amen

© 2021 All Rights Reserved

55 – Find joy in your story

Instead of dwelling on my struggles and disappointments, I choose to have selective memory. I think back to a moment in time when someone spoke kindly to me, or I truly connected with a stranger who became my friend. Maybe the feel-good memory was being licked by a dog or holding a baby. It could have been an ice cream cone in my favorite flavor. Perhaps it was learning to braid my hair into pigtails. God wants us to be thankful in all things. You and I have experienced so much in life, and we are still here. We survived things we thought would break us. Look at your life and find something that makes you smile, makes you thank God.

Scripture: And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 ESV

Prayer: Father, thank you for bringing us through the tough years in our lives. Help us to remember the small moments that were good and forget the bad memories. We learn by living and desire a positive attitude for whatever happens. Trusting you and knowing you have a plan comforts us. Amen.

© 2021 All Rights Reserved

54 – A song for love and comfort

My elderly friend asked me to take her to the hospital one morning. She had diminished eyesight and left her car there the night before. She stayed too long visiting her husband and someone had to drive her home because it was dark.

I plugged in my iPod and turned up the volume since both of us have hearing impairments. I played a few songs from the 1940s, and I loved hearing her raspy voice singing the lyrics perfectly. We laughed and hugged as she exited my car to visit the love of her life who was sick.

The next day she told me that he was gravely ill, and she decided to sing ‘Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so’ to him as he slept. But she giggled into the phone and said, “he started singing it with me.”

In sickness and in health, music warms our hearts. Share a song about Jesus with someone today. Sing it together aloud. Make a joyful noise with someone you love.

Scripture: Addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart. Ephesians 5:19 ESV

Prayer: Lord, we thank you for giving us the ability to love one another. Thank you for the spiritual songs that have been written for us to sing. Our hearts love being filled with your Spirit as we sing praise and glorify you. We seek ways to comfort our loved ones when they are sick. Softly singing about Jesus tells them, “Jesus loves you and so do I.” Amen.

53 – Sunflowers

We were riding in my friend’s Mini Cooper through a rural area of winding roads. My arm extended through the open window with my hand surfing the air waves of summer. He was playing oldies loud on the radio, and we were singing and laughing.

Suddenly I squealed, “There’s a field of sunflowers!” He turned the little sports car around and drove down a dirt road. I walked, barely visible, row by row between the yellow giants. We found a farmer’s shed with buckets of cut sunflowers. A sign on the front read ‘Honor System’ so he dropped a few dollars in the cigar box, and I took home three flowers to enjoy. He explained to me how sunflowers face the sun all day and bow their heads at night.

I want to live my life facing the Son, feeling his light on my face and in my heart all of my days. Bowing my head like a sunflower at night to pray and thanking him for guiding my day.

Scripture: Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.Luke 12:27 ESV

Prayer: Loving Father, we thank you for the beauty of the earth. Thank you for all the flowers that you designed knowing we would love them. Help us to be good stewards of the soil, air, and water for nature to thrive. Remind us of the sunflower if we forget to seek your face daily and walk with you in all we do. We humble ourselves by bowing our heads to pray with gratitude for each day. Amen.

52 – Lost and desperate

Lost and desperate was the headline I read today about a hiker in his favorite forest. His cellphone battery was down to ten percent, and he sent a picture of his legs on a steep hill to a friend. He had limited supplies for what he thought was going to be a two-hour hike. The photo was shared with authorities and a viewer used his satellite mapping skills to locate the stranded man.

Have you ever felt lost and desperate? Jesus told a parable (story) to a group of tax collectors and sinners while critical teachers of the law listened nearby.

A sheep was lost and found. The one who lost it celebrated its return to him. Tell Jesus if you feel lost and desperate. He will take you in his loving arms and celebrate that you are saved. Saved by grace. Lost and desperate no more. Thanks be to God!

Scripture: My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins. James 5:19-20 ESV

Prayer: Father God, thank you for finding the lost and desperate souls that walk this earth. Thank you for teachers, preachers, missionaries, and everyday disciples. We want to share your love with others. Give us the words and opportunities so that they may be saved. We look forward to celebrating every time a lost sheep is led home to You. Amen.

51 – Scarlet sins

As the sun begins to shine brightly through my window, I thank the Lord for another day. I always walk into the living room and stand at the bird cage to softly sing a hymn to my parakeet. She tilts her head and doesn’t move as she watches my mouth and listens. I think she likes it when I hold a note. Today I sang a hymn from my choir days about your sins being scarlet, but they will become white like snow.

Imagine walking up to Calvary and pouring out your heart to Jesus Christ. Piling up your sins, all of them, at the foot of the cross. Gazing up at his agony and weeping because you love him. Feeling the blood He shed for you and watching that crimson flow cover your sins and touch your feet. His love and forgiveness will change your life.

Scripture: Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. Isaiah 1:18 ESV

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for the stories by the prophets and preserving scripture for us through the ages. It is hard to imagine the human suffering of Jesus at Calvary. No one ever loved us that much before. Because of You, we know we can be forgiven and grow our faith. Help us to live every day walking with the One who forgives our scarlet sins and makes our hearts white as snow. Amen

© 2021 All Rights Reserved

50 – Protection

I worked the early shift in the courthouse from 7:00 AM – 3:45 PM. It was perfect for me because I had a long commute from my home in the suburbs to the federal courthouse downtown. One day as I clocked out and picked up my purse to leave, I noticed the overhead lights seemed brighter. It was because outside my window a storm was brewing, and the sun was no longer in view. I pulled my spare umbrella from the bottom desk drawer and headed for the elevator.

Walking toward the loading dock exit on the lower plaza level, I saw a tall U.S. Marshal with his long arms outstretched. A group had gathered in front of him to listen to his warning. “If you are headed South, you must stay here until the tornado has passed. It is for your safety so please be patient, and I will let you know when it is safe for you to go.” Some employees left while others congregated with me in the hallway. About half an hour later, the marshal announced we were allowed to go home.

Reflecting today about that incident long ago made me think of my Savior with his arms outstretched to protect me from harm. Like the marshal that stormy day, Jesus asks us to believe his word and accept his protection from eternal damnation. I accepted, will you?

Scripture: He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken. Psalm 62:2 ESV

Prayer: My Lord, thank you for speaking to my spirit and guiding me away from harm. So many things have happened that could have been different had I listened to your quiet voice in my mind. I am listening and seeking your guidance through the storms and danger ahead. Help me trust you in all things. Amen

© 2021 All Rights Reserved

49 – Pray anyway

We tend to pray when we want something done our way. We’re impatient, it’s urgent, and we’re feeling desperate. Praying brings us closer to God so tell him what’s on your mind. He has a plan, and we need to trust his decisions. He may answer in your favor or not, but he always answers. Don’t forget to thank and praise your Heavenly Father for the answer.

Lay your burdens down and rest knowing God is with you no matter what you are going through. Trusting the Lord will cover your heart and mind with a blanket of comfort and peace.

Scripture: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 ESV

Prayer: Lord, thank you for always listening to our cries and pleas. You are always there for us, and we know your plans are best for us. We don’t always see that, but you know the future. We want to be willing to accept your Divine answers. Help us to trust you in all things, Father. Comfort us with the knowledge that your love and guidance will see us through hard times. Amen.

© 2021 All Rights Reserved

48 – The big picture

In a phone conversation with my son once, I described my jealous pity party to him. He didn’t join in. His comments set like quick cement in my memory. I was feeling sad because everyone (slightly exaggerated) I knew had a nicer home than me. He told me to look at the big picture. “You have more than most people in the world,” he spoke calmly, my peacemaker son.

That was many years ago, and I took that comment to heart. I have learned to be satisfied and make the most of what I have. I am not rich or famous, but I know God loves me as much as he loves a wealthy person. He loves us at any stage or status in our earthly lives. It’s not material wealth that matters in the end. What’s in your heart and mind is your real treasure. I hope you have God, the one who makes you spiritually wealthy.

Scripture: The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. Psalm 23:1 ESV

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I am very thankful for my home. I want to be satisfied and not envious of my family or friends. Help me stay positive and grateful for all I have. Remind me when I forget, Lord, there are many ways to be wealthy in this world. Being a child of the kingdom of God makes me one of the richest people on earth. Amen

© 2021 All Rights Reserved