Monday, December 28, 2015

Have I Turned Into the Grinch????

I have never liked the story "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas", but this Christmas I found myself saying "bah humbug" one too many times.  It started with me getting excited about having a new kitchen that is the perfect kitchen to bake goodies!  I had this plan of "blessing" people with those goodies.  My first endeavor went off great.  I had so much fun until I gave out those goodies.  I heard remarks like "oh we don't do sugar any more", or this one (nervous laugh from a mom) "oh no my kids don't need these", and those were just a few of several more.  Bah Humbug - that black cloud that you can see and feel above the Grinch descended upon me.  So after one baking session, I stopped!  Yep, no more baking.  I put away all those ingredients and all that pretty packaging I bought and I sat there so discouraged.  I so needed to be ENCOURAGED.

Then I thought, baking failed, so I will invite people over for dinner.  Just to enjoy visiting with friends.  As soon as I started talking about it I got responses like "I'm gluten free now", "just turned vegetarian", "it's grain free for us", or "only eat grain fed beef"!  Gee people lighten up,  can for one night just come over and eat a little without putting restrictions on your host?  What happen to enjoying the company?  I have a restrictive diet, but I never say to anyone inviting me over that they have to change their agenda for me.  Unless it's life threatening we need to loosen up.

Do you see and hear the Grinch in me???  UGH!  So I didn't have anyone over - nope not a one.

And then the big finale - gift giving.  After the baking and dinner fiascos I was real hesitant in this area.  You give someone a gift and here it comes...."Oh I won't use it", or like a remark a dear friend made as I handed her a wrapped bottle of some very good OLIVE OIL, she commented "oh I don't drink" - she thought it was wine, as if I would have given her a bottle of wine when I knew they don't enjoy a glass every now and then.  All those gift receivers should have done was take the gift and say thank you.  In fact thats what all those anti-sugar people should've said "thank you".  Emily Post would have been proud of all those people.  Simple manners.

I don't want to be the Grinch, so how can I have an attitude of gratitude?  I went to the Father and asked him to change my heart towards those who didn't realize I need encouragement too.  He said, the fields are filled with those who need a goody, a dinner or a gift.  It doesn't have to be the same ones all the time.  Hmmm, that makes sense.  So I am praying, opening my eyes and asking Him to put those who need a special gift, some fellowship or even something sweet.  Be on the look out - it may be you!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Are You Listening

"And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you.  I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart". Ezekiel 36:26

I just finished having a 7 week Bible study at my home.  The topic was The Armor of God.  During one of our discussion sessions, a young woman shared the above scripture.  As she read the words, I knew God was reminding me of how He took my heart and transformed it!  Its been just a little over 4 months since a surgeon was trying to fix my sick heart.  He was putting in two new arteries so I would have a stronger heart.  A heart that would beat without interruption.  A heart that would sustain my life.  While the surgeon physically fixed my heart, God had a total different plan for those stony, stubborn parts that had rooted itself in my heart.  God began flooding my heart with a new love for His people.  It was during my second stay in the hospital that I finally said "I surrender, show me what You want me to do. I want to glorify You".  As I prayed and sought counsel through His Word, HE began to show me and lead me to those He had chosen.  One by one they would come into my hospital room.  A nurse, an aide, housekeeping, the food staff and oh yes, doctors.  God told me to tell each one that He wanted them to use the gifts He had blessed them with, and that He was pleased when He saw them using those gifts to help the people He created.  Tell them of my love for them, tell them of all the gifts I have available for them - forgiveness, mercy, kindness, goodness, salvation.  It was exhilarating to see how responsive and open people were to kind words and how thrilled they were that God was pleased with them.  Out of everyone I shared with, only two were not believers.  Those two got the gospel.

It it was on my last day at the hospital that I was tired, and those stony, stubborn parts were taking root again!  I wanted to be released but there was one person I had been avoiding sharing God's message with.  She was a doctor, very professional, not much of a talker.  I could feel the prompting of the Holy Spirit to share God's message.  I knew God wasn't going to let me go,so I swallowed hard, and when she came into the room I asked her if she went to church.  She said she hadn't been to church in a while because she worked on Sunday but she missed going.  I told her I was sorry she didn't get to fellowship with other believers.  That God wanted her to know that He was pleased that she used the gifts He blessed her with to help bring comfort to His people in this hospital.  Tears welled up in her eyes, she thanked me for sharing and reminding her how much God loved her.  She allowed me to pray over her and when we were done, she cried.

A few words of encouragement meant so much to each of the people I came in contact with.  Had I not listened to God I would have missed the blessing. Isn't God gracious that He used me to encourage some of His people and in return it encouraged me during a trying time?  Are you listening to HIM?  Is He telling you something but perhaps you are running away, or digging your heels in and being stubborn?  Surrender, listen and obey.  You'll be surprised how much joy it brings!