“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago” (Ephesians 2:10).
Day 21 and time to focus on one of the ways my faith has affected me:
I’ve become more outward-looking.
Previously I had been happy to absorb myself in the music I listened to, TV or writing for pleasure, but the first thing I wanted to do as a Christian was to help other people. That’s played out in several different ways, but one that comes to mind is the children I sponsor through Compassion. Compassion works in Asia, Africa, Central and South America. At school I had no interest in geography whatsoever. It was one of my worst subjects and I dropped it as soon as I could. Had I been a Compassion-sponsor back then, things might have been different. Now I love to read about Compassion Bloggers travelling to far-off places, or I find myself wondering: “What’s the weather like in India?” or “What’s the capital of Ecuador?” (it’s Quito, by the way). I can only thank God for this positive change in me.
As we’ve talked about Compassion in this post, there’s a book I’d like to give away to one of my readers. The author is Compassion’s former president, Wess Stafford (if you’ve read his autobiography you’ll love him). This book is “Just a Minute”, and it’s about the impact our words can have when we spend just a minute with a child. If you want to leave a comment, to do with children or impacting those around you, I’ll announce a winner on October 31st. Don’t forget there’s also the Dayspring.com $500 giveaway if you want to enter that one.
With commands in Scripture like: “Be joyful always”, it’s easy to believe God’s pleased when we’re on-top of things, but from the passage above, we see that He also values very highly our feelings of sadness. I used to collect memorabilia for a rock group when I was a teenager and had a bookcase in my room dedicated to them, but why would God want to keep a bottle specifically for my tears? I prayed this as I read the verse, and have the feeling it’s to do with when we get to heaven. In Ephesians 2:6-7, Paul talks about God raising us from spiritual death so that in the future, He can point to us as examples of His grace and kindness. Can you imagine it – God holding out the bottle and saying, “Look, these are her tears. See how My grace got her through that … and that … and that”? It makes me smile to think about it.
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.