Saying What you Love

Jill over at Compassion Family wrote a post this week about encouraging sponsored kids to praise and adore God – to tell Him what they like about Him.

 

She explained that she sometimes used Bible-verses to do this.  I’ll choose one of my favourites as an example:  “Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family.  So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters” (Hebrews 2:11).  Jesus, I love You because You’re not ashamed to call me Your sister (that’s praise).

 

And a passage from Luke 6 that’s been on my heart this week:  “Give to everyone who asks you, and when someone takes something that is yours, don’t ask for it back. …  If you love only the people who love you, what praise should you get?  Even sinners love the people who love them. …  But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without hoping to get anything back.  Then you will have a great reward, and you will be children of the Most High God, because he is kind even to people who are ungrateful and full of sin.”  Father, I love You because You’re kind to ungrateful people.

 

But we don’t only have to praise using Bible-verses; it can be prompted by everyday life as well.  I’ve been counting calories to try to lose a bit of weight, and sometimes when I’ve reached my limit and really fancy chocolate or biscuits, it can be frustrating not to have those nice foods, but I can praise God for giving me enough to eat.  There are plenty of people in the world who don’t have that luxury.

 

Have you told God what you love about Him lately?

Beware Your Words

“Spoken words can be like deep water, but wisdom is like a flowing stream” (Proverbs 18:4).  What we say can be as dangerous as being thrown in to the deep end of a swimming-pool, but a flowing stream?  A flowing stream’s not dangerous at all.  It’s pleasant to listen to, and you can spend hours being soothed by it.

 

“The words of fools start quarrels” (Proverbs 18:6).

 

“The words of a gossip are like tasty bits of food” (Proverbs 18:8).  If I’ve eaten smoked bacon in a sandwich, or some nice potato dauphinoise (sliced potatoes baked with cream and garlic), the flavour tantalises me long after I’ve finished eating.  A sobering thought, but gossip can be just as lasting.

 

“The wise person listens to learn more. …  The person who tells one side of a story seems right, until someone else comes and asks questions” (Proverbs 18:15, 17).  Words are important – other people’s, and the way you use yours.

 

“A brother who has been insulted is harder to win back than a walled city” (Proverbs 18:19).  I know the truth of this one.  I’m not very likely to want to spend time with someone if I know they think badly of me.

 

So, remember the longevity of your words, and be careful what you say.

Food Poverty?

I had the radio on yesterday and they were talking about an increasing number of people in the UK living in ‘Food poverty’.  If I remember rightly, they said 14% of people had no choice but to spend 10% of their income on food bills, and the poorest households spent more than that!  Is this what they call poverty?

 

I’ll usually spend more than 10% of my income on food bills, and I would never categorise myself as someone living in poverty.  I always have enough to eat, and enough to share.  Perhaps our media need to visit places like the Philippines, where a boiled egg is divided between 7 people, before filling our news with such rubbish.

Giving Is … How we Respond

I’d like you to think about the story, the true story, of ten men who had leprosy.  In Jesus’ time, this was a very serious disease; there was no treatment for it.  People with leprosy were declared ‘Unclean’ and sort of quarantined – put in an area away from everyone else.  Just before Jesus entered a village, He came to the place on its outskirts where the lepers were, and He told them to show themselves to the priests.  People with any form of skin disease would do this, and the priest would decide whether their condition had improved, but this time was different.  On their way to see the priests, all ten men were completely healed, but only one of them came back to Jesus.  The Bible tells us he shouted praises to God, bowed down at the feet of Jesus and thanked Him (Luke 17:15-16).  And Jesus asked:  “Why was this foreigner the only one who came back to thank God?”

 

Do you see?  Our response to what we’ve received can be a gift.  When you think of Jesus leaving all the glory of heaven to come into this world, knowing His purpose was to die on a cross to take our punishment for the things we’d done wrong, how do you react?  He didn’t hold onto selfishness; He didn’t hold onto what He could have been; He put all of that down – for us; He gave His everything for us.  In response, will we give Him full control of our lives – of all that we are?

 

And let’s come back to finances again:  I don’t know where you live this Christmas season, but maybe you’re like me.  Maybe you have a roof over your head; clean water at your fingertips; enough food to eat; the clothes you need to keep warm; a church where you can meet together to read the Bible and worship God.  So when you see others who don’t have those things, what’s your response?  Well, here’s how you could respond.  As you read that little list, which of those things were you most grateful for:  Was it the house you live in?  Then why not consider providing emergency shelter for a child and family ($50)?  If it was clean water, you could help build water reservoirs for children and their families ($23).

 

As I’ve said before, I know Christmas can be a difficult time of year.  Compassion want to use their gift catalogue this month to raise money for children in poverty, and I want to help them.  They tell me nobody knows my audience like I do, but to be honest, I don’t know every one of my readers.  (I’d love to get to know you better, so please, always feel free to comment.)  I don’t know who’s going to stumble across this post, and I don’t know what their financial circumstances are, so I’ll just leave you with a question.

 

Giving is how we respond.  Remembering what we’ve already said this month about giving cheerfully and using what you’ve got, will you search your heart and think what you want to do about Compassion’s gift catalogue?  Are you happy to pass it by, or will you bless somebody else, as a thank-You to God for all that He gives?

Prayers and Sweets

I just wanted to tell you about this lovely idea someone had for church today.  They gave out different-coloured sweets, and each colour represented something:  Orange was family; yellow was friends; silver was food etc.  We weren’t allowed to eat our sweet until we’d thanked God out-loud for that particular thing.  It’s a great way of prompting praise.  It could become very stilted if you let it, or you could just use it as a starting-point.

 

How about saying thank You and then, as you eat your orange sweet, praying for members of your family – the ones who don’t yet know that God loves them and don’t tell their problems to Him?  As you chew on your yellow sweet, why not list the things you love about your friends (I love that I have friends of different ages and different races), or bring a friend to God who’s going through an especially rough time?  And as you savour your silver sweet, think about the food you have.  We celebrated harvest this morning, so there were tins and packets of food decorating the church, as well as plenty of lunch afterwards.  Someone said at the end we must’ve had about 30 baked potatoes left-over – we had more than enough!  Surely that’s something to thank God for, and how about asking Him if there’s a way you could provide for someone who doesn’t have enough?

 

What do you think of this idea?  Could you try it at home?  What would you have the colours represent?

A Bit Special

I met someone a bit special today.  Not in person, but through the blogasphere.  I don’t know how many people read my blog, but to some of you this might be old news, because the person I met seems to be very popular!

 

Her name is Veg.  That’s not her real name, but it’s a good nickname.  She’s from Scotland and wanted to show us her healthy(?) school dinners, so she went into her primary school (yes, you did read that right; she’s 9 years old), with a camera, and took photos.  She was criticised by some commenters for complaining about her food when other children went without, but instead of letting that deter her, she started using the blog to help those children.  I really admire her parents too for sharing the project with her.  It sounds like they have fun and she’s learning a lot.

 

After about a month or so, the council tried to ban her photography, but with over 2,000,000 readers from all over the world, that wasn’t going to last long!  She’s a great blogger, and I’ve enjoyed seeing the tremendous support she’s getting.  Why not have a read for yourself, and post a comment to encourage her?

 

Well done Veg!