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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

What Can I Offer?

     Sometimes, life experiences can jade a person.  They can discourage a soul.  I know, because it has happened to me.
     When things happen, that are difficult, it has been my observation and experience, that a person changes; even if for a brief moment in time.  Without turning to the Lord to make what sense can be made out of it, and trusting in Him to continue being the type of person He wants you to be, a person can become:  bitter, despondent, downtrodden, angry, and so on.
     For me, one of my struggles, was finding my worth.  After some serious hardships, I had forgotten that it was in Christ, and no one could take that from me.  I became bitter, despondent, worthless (in my own mind), downtrodden, angry, skeptical, and so on.

"Her Eyes Are With Thoughts And They Are Far Away"
Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema

     The Lord is so good, though!  He did not want me functioning in that manner.  He wanted me to look to Him:  to see my worth; to find my abilities; to keep my trust in Him.
     Yet now, many times, I feel as though I have not much of anything, in which to offer someone.  I see myself lacking in funds, creativity, certain abilities, functionality...Oh, I can show you many ways I am incapable.
     Yet, the Lord does not allow me to be of that mindset.  Sure, I may not be capable of some things, in which He has enabled another.  That is okay.  It does not negate my abilities in Him!

So, what are some things that I can offer?

     Prayer is an invaluable gift I can offer someone.  I so delight, and am honored, when I get to pray for and with a sister in Christ!  I do not believe they understand the gift they give me, when they allow me to minister to them, in that way.  And, the Lord tells us to:  

"Pray without ceasing."  1 Thessalonians 5:17

"The Difference"

     How often has a burden been lifted off of my shoulders, when someone prays with and/or for me?  How often have I been blessed, because someone cared enough to bring me into their conversation with our Saviour?  Can I not, too, offer the same blessing?
     I know it may seem trite, to say that I can pray.  Yet, all throughout the scriptures, we see the necessity, and blessings, of prayer.  I have yet to fully avail myself of this opportunity, but as I write, the desire to do so increases!

"Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;"
Ephesians 6:18

     I can listen.  Oh, how sweet it is, to have a tender, listening ear!  How I desire to return in kind!  Of course, that needs to be done in wisdom.  It is all too easy to become a place of gossip, unholy venting, a crutch for someone who needs to lean upon the Saviour, and the like.  
     Yet, to have someone to whom you know you can discuss matters; someone whom you know has your best interest in heart; someone who wants to hear you, rather than themselves; someone who gives you freedom to speak; a safe place in which to confide...Someone who cares.  
     I have been blessed, in my short lifetime, to have been given folks with those kind of hearts.  I am eternally grateful for them.  I, too, have desired to give back to the Lord, as He has given to me, in this way.  I am still a work in progress, though.  Yet, seeing that I have two ears and one mouth, I am practicing keeping the one closed, and the two open. :)  I want to be a soul who puts others before myself, and so I see listening as a great gift I can give!

"Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers."
Ephesians 4:29

     I can encourage.  To be edified, in truth, is such a rare blessing.  I constantly see flattery abounding.  Flattery is just fluffy nonsense.  It carries no real substance.  It is only a means of ingratiating oneself to another, and puffing up the one receiving the flattery.  Both are selfish.  
     Encouragement, on the other hand, can do wonders!  First, it points the soul to the beautiful Saviour:  His might, His love, Him.  It releases the burden from the person, and reminds them that whatever the burden was that they were carrying, is in the hands of the Saviour.  Sure, they might need to do some things, or not do some things.  Nevertheless, edification will remind the person, of the greatness of God, and how He carries the saints' burdens!  They will then be reminded that all they have to do, is trust Him.
     It also gives them the strength they need, to keep trusting Him.  We are always being shot at with fiery darts, and sometimes we succumb, (more times than we probably care to admit).  Oh, how many times the Lord sends an encouraging, edifying sister my way, when I have been overwhelmed!  Getting me to turn my eyes back to my Saviour, and off of myself (or others), immediately starts rejuvenating me!  Reminding me of what the Lord says in His holy word, brings more nourishment.  Can I not do the same?

"Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do." 
1 Thessalonians 5:11

"Two Women Leaning On A Fence Rail"
Edgar Degas

     I can assist.  Granted, I still have duties, as a keeper at home.  Yet, I do have opportunities, whilst waiting upon li'l blessings.  
     Just recently, I was blessed with the opportunity to be support for a friend, who was delivering her family's eighth child at home!  I was free to be on call, when she needed me.  Dear was glad to let me help, and he was more than capable of holding down our small fort, while I was away.  It was a beautiful gift that they gave me:  in asking me to be there for them, to support in this most crucial of life events.  I was glad to be of assistance!
     Sometimes, helping is watching a mother's children, as she gets groceries.  Sometimes, it is tidying up a room/home, because she is ill/unable.  Sometimes, it is just giving her a "breath of fresh air:"  watching the children, whilst she and her husband go on an anniversary date.
     Other forms of assistance, can be found in the church body.  Do they need help setting up, or tearing down, for an event?  Do they need some cleaning done?  Is there a need amongst the group, that God is clearly showing I can fulfill?  
     I clearly remember many times in my life, when a church group of which I was a part, came to me in my time of need. One such group, met my needs in the following ways:  a home in which to live, until I was capable to live on my own; driver's education; a car; assistance in a job search (I was in a situation, wherein I needed to care for my own needs); a family; endless rides to wherever I needed to go, until I was able to drive on my own; endless meals...Oh, how I will never forget their love!  
     Later on, in my early married years, a church we attended helped us in the following ways:  giving us a vehicle, when we were in need of one; repair helps; endless rides and meals; prayers; counseling; friendships; family; food, when we were low; bus ticket to the airport, when I needed to go to Ohio to see my dying father...Oh, again, the list continues; and, I will never forget their love, too!
     Our current group of believers, with whom we meet, have blessed us.  Because of the Lord using them:  Dear has a job; we have an abode in which to dwell; we have some much needed furnishings; we have friendships; when his vehicle broke down, and we needed help, they were right there, ready to assist; we have been given wise counsel...The list continues.  The love they have shown us, is a precious gift!
     Can I not return in kind?  I may be stunted, in some ways, at this time.  But, whatever the Lord shows me to do, can I not do it?  In His strength, I can!  Helping folks can be manifested in various ways, and I just need to look to the Lord, so that I do the right kind of helping.

"Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ."  Galatians 6:2

"The Gleaners"
Frederick Morgan

"Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.  Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others."
Philippians 2:3, 4


     I can offer love.  I can love by being affectionate:  a hug, a smile, a handshake.  I can offer love by how I pray, encourage, listen, and help.  I can love others, by loving God as He desires.  I can love, by trudging on when the going gets tough.  I can love, by keeping on doing what God wants me to do, in spite of others' behaviours (so much easier to say, than to do, at times!).  Yes, I can love.

"For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this:  Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."  Galatians 5:14

     These are some things, that He has been showing me, wherein I may minister.  I may have been in the ditches, for a while.  I will probably fall into them again.  Yet, as I recall having listened to Jackie Kenaston, I am reminded that I can:  stand up, dust myself off, straighten up my clothing, and start walking out of that ditch; until I get back on the road, again.   
     In Christ, I have something to offer.  Maybe to others, it is not much.  Maybe to others, it is much, but I just do not see its worth, in their eyes.  
     Maybe you, too, have forgotten that God can use you.  He can use your experiences, to help others.  As you listen to them, you can encourage them in the Lord.  As you help them along their life's journey, you can pray for them.  Always, loving others by loving Christ, is the best gift I have found to give.

"Jesus said unto them, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."  Matthew 22:37-40

"Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep."
Romans 12:15
     
"The Farmhouse At Lieu-Bailly 1871"
Jean-Baptiste-Camille-Corot

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"Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man." Colossians 4:6

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