74th – Children with disabilities

I was a hearing-impaired teaching assistant in public school. My knowledge of sign language gave me this opportunity to work with children who struggled with a variety of disabilities in an educational setting. Their primary disability was deafness. Some were completely deaf while others could hear garbled words like I did with hearing aids.

One of my tasks was to wait with them after school for the bus that took them to their homes all over our county. In getting to know their cheery bus driver, I told her I was praying for an interpreter for me at church. She said she was an interpreter and praying for a church. We put our hearts and heads together on the mission God revealed to us and co-taught a Sunday School class for deaf children. We each picked them up on Sunday morning and took them back home. This gospel outreach touched students from my public school as well as a few from the deaf school in the city.

Look what God can do with you! He can use you to reach others and add souls to his kingdom. Pray for opportunities to serve!

Scripture: Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Colossians 3:16 ESV

Prayer: Gracious Father, thank you for building my skills and leading me to serve you. You planned each step of my path and had it cross with people at just the right time in my life. You are an all-knowing God, and I trust you with my future. I pray today for opportunities to teach others about your love and forgiveness. Amen.

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72nd – The Sweeper

At the grocery store, the sweeper passed me three times. It is one of the newer superstores with a lot of floor to clean. The first time I passed him was in the produce section, and I smiled and said, “You can do that sweeping at my house.” I didn’t understand what he replied. Then I passed him a second time down one of the aisles, and we just nodded a greeting.

Toward the end of my shopping trip, I was at the far end of the store in the pharmacy area. I told him he ought to wear a Fitbit because he was really getting a lot of walking on his job, and it’s good for us to walk. He said something about you can walk too much. Or maybe commented you can’t walk too much. His accent and my hearing impairment had a little difficulty. We chatted a moment, and I said that I don’t realize I’ve walked too much until I sit down for a few minutes and then try to stand back up. That’s when he said in his broken English, “I pray for you before you go.” He stopped sweeping and closed his eyes to pray silently for me and then said amen. We fist bumped, and I thanked the humble man who prayed for me in the grocery store that day.

Scripture: The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. 1 Timothy 2:1 (MSG, The Message Bible)

Prayer: Loving Father, Bless the sweepers of this world who listen to you with their hearts and take advantage of every opportunity you send their way. Opportunities to speak of your mercy and grace. Opportunities to pray intercessory prayers guided by your Holy Spirit for others in need. I want to be a sweeper in this life, an humble, praying sweeper. Let others see Jesus in me. Serving you gives my earthly existence more meaning than fortune or fame could ever do. Amen.

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60 – Train your brain

I have always admired people who seem to have it all together. You have probably met them, too. I am drawn to someone who has a positive outlook on life regardless of their circumstances. I visited a dear friend on her death bed, and I asked if she was afraid. Her face lit up as she softly smiled, “No, I am not afraid.” Those were the last words she spoke to me, and I want to think and speak fearless, positive words to others, too.

Talking with positive people, reading encouraging stories and watching movies that inspire me have trained my brain to think more positively. A Bible verse or a prayer to recite when a negative, worrisome thought arises also helps. You and I can change our thoughts. Fill your brain with good thoughts leaving no room for clutter.

Scripture: Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8 ESV

Prayer: Gracious Father, thank you for loving us with all our faults and negativity. You alone are worthy to be praised. Cleanse our minds of worry and criticism today. Show us the path to a pure heart and positive mind. We want to speak words of affirmation about our lives and comfort others in their time of need. May we always have a smile and kind word for everyone we meet. Amen.

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59 – Who is leading who?

Am I following Jesus or walking in front of him? I want to be his faithful follower in my daily life. I imagine him walking ahead to guide my path and choices. Sometimes I imagine us walking side by side as friends do who have heart to heart talks. Many times through my life I have walked ahead of him thinking only of myself and what I need. Where was he then? He was walking behind me ready to catch my fall. I would rather walk with Jesus and feel his presence in my heart and mind. He lifts me up and keeps me going. He is all I need. Christ is all I need.

Scripture: Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him. Colossians 2:6 ESV

Prayer: Loving Father, thank you for walking day by day with me in everything I do. I am encouraged by your presence that calms my spirit when I listen to you. Forgive me for being impatient and frustrated which causes me to walk ahead of you. I truly want to be a follower of Christ all of my life. You strengthen my steps. Amen.

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58 – What are you wearing today?

As I dress after breakfast, I tell myself that I belong to God. I am loved and know He watches over my coming and going everyday. I put on my shirt and ask for a compassionate heart. I pull on my blue jeans and ask for help being kind to others. I pull up my socks with a desire to be humble and meek as those blessed in the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:2-11). As I tie my walking shoes, I pray for patience which is not one of my virtues.

I know in praying for this positive attitude that God hears and honors my sincere requests. There may be lessons to get me to each point, but it will come. He wants me to learn His ways to show love and mirror His son’s ministry on earth. Now it’s time to go for that walk and smile and wave and pray for each person I see.

Scripture: Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Colossians 3:12 ESV

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for the trials and temptations that come my way. I know I have many lessons yet to learn in my lifetime. I truly want to have compassion, be kind and humble and meek. Help me to pray for guidance and patience first and not react or get anxious in anticipation of a situation I dread. Help me to wear these virtues everyday with a smile and a heart full of gratitude. Amen.

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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

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