Gift of Knowledge

In John 3:11 Jesus was talking to a Pharisee named Nicodemus and says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen but you do not receive our testimony.” Nicodemus was having a hard time understanding everything Jesus was talking about. He was curious, but was having difficulty understanding what Jesus was saying because of his deep rooted teaching. Nicodemus had heard something so unbelievable that he was not able to reconcile this new teaching with his past teaching.

This is very similar to the first time Nick witnessed a Cirque du Soleil show. Cirque du Soleil is a circus that travels around the world and performs some of the most amazing feats of acrobatics that you can imagine. You almost need to see it first hand to truly understand the magnitude of giftedness of the performers. Nicodemus had his own “Cirque du Soleil” moment, when he hears what Jesus told him. He heard the words, but could not grasp the depth of their meaning.

Jesus was sharing the knowledge of Himself, via His testimony. Nicodemus heard Jesus’s testimony first hand. The Bible is the best way to read about Jesus. However, there are many good books that also reveal God in new ways. Mike loves to read. He’s always on the lookout for new revelation and great stories about his Lord and King. Whenever Mike finds a book that moves him, he wants to share it with those around him. When “The Shack” by Wm. Paul Young was first published, Mike met the author at a conference and picked up his book. After reading it, he proceeded to buy cases of the book to give out to everyone he met. It had such an impact on Mike, and millions of others, that he just could not keep it to himself. He freely gave the new revelation to others so they could share in his amazement. He spread the knowledge of Jesus beyond his closest friends and had a positive impact on dozens of people through sharing the book.

Action for the day

Think about a book or music CD that had a profound impact on your life. Pick up a few extra copies and pray about who you should give one to. Let them know why it had such an impact on you and why you thought of them. Let them know how special they are and how you pray the book or CD will have the same impact in their life.

Prayer for the day

Jesus, I am glad you revealed Yourself through many different ways. You do it through the bible, through books, through music and directly to us. I ask that You put a name on my heart to share what I have learned through a book or through music that has moved my soul. I long to share it with others so they too can have the knowledge of You. Thank you for the work You will do in that person’s heart through the gift I am to share. It’s in your name I pray. Amen.

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DNA Test

In John 2:18-19, Jesus has just cleared the temple of the money lenders by releasing His righteous anger. In disbelief, the crowd at the temple look at each other and a brave person asks, “What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?” The people are asking Jesus who he was. It would be like asking a man if he was really the daddy to his children. Of course, the man could show them a DNA test or just look at the facial features and see the similarities.

When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are a new creation. Paul says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV). In essence, we get new DNA from God. This new DNA transforms us into sons and daughters, as God did not want to leave us as orphans (John 14:18). Because we are new creations with different DNA, we look like Jesus. People begin to expect us to act like Him as well. The DNA inside us start to shine, the more we allow Holy Spirit to shine through us. This in turns draws people to you as they are attracted to Jesus, even if they do not realize why.

Nick was approached by a person who needed a ride home. The man was attracted to Jesus in Nick. Nick could have made an excuse not to help. He could have said he was already late or he was going in an opposite direction. Instead, Nick traveled down a road less travelled and help the man. Because Nick had agreed to help, it was much easier for him to share Jesus with the man and gave him tangible evidence that Jesus was real.

Jeremy had just moved for his fourth time during high school. As the new kid, he was not known by anyone. While the other students did not know Jeremy, they saw the image of Christ in him. Jake had met Jeremy and was in a couple of his classes, but really did not know him. When Jake needed someone to listen and pray with him, he sought out Jeremy. He didn’t know why, except he was drawn to Jesus and felt like Jeremy would be a safe place to get council and advice. We can all let our new DNA shine through to those around us. When we do, just watch how others are drawn to you, which opens the door for you to share the love of Jesus.

Action for the day

Today, choose to live like Jesus. Ask Holy Spirit to be evident in your life. Wherever you go, be sure to have the mind of Christ and interact with others the way Jesus would. Make sure the Fruit of the Spirit are evident today. The fruit are: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Let these be the guide as you go about your day.

Prayer for the day

Today Lord allow me to reveal Your fruit of my life. Let me live out love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control in a tangible way that draws others to you. Let me join You in the work You are doing and draw others to me. Reveal what actions I should take to demonstrate Your love. Let Your DNA in me be evident to anyone who is in need of You. Let me be your hands, feet and voice. Thank you for being my daddy. I love you and ask for these things in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Share your testimony

If I am being honest with myself, I had been overconfident in my career. I had pedigree companies that I had worked for and excelled. I went around and shared my motto, “what is the worst thing they can do?” The answer, of course is fire me. My overconfidence led me to think that would never happen. Until it did. The saving grace is God had already informed me that change was in the air. He had even told my wife and I to sell our house. As we prepared to put the house on the market, I was called into the CEO’s office and we agreed I would leave the company. This is where my testimony of the single most disruptive season of my life begins.

Even as I was leaving the office for the last time, I believed it would be weeks before I found a new role. I would not have conceived that it would take over eight months and hundreds of hours of networking. My arrogance prevented me from seeing that God will open the right door at the right time. However, He was faithful throughout the process to guide us through the season. I knew He wanted us to sell our house, but did not know where He wanted us to move. He proceeded to tell me the city and He gave my wife the date we would buy the new house. When we found the house in the new city, there were 17 other offers. We were not the highest offer. Yet, God had other plans. We were selected, even though we had put in a lower offer and it was accepted on the date God had given my wife.

Throughout the whole season of unemployment, God kept closing doors with perfectly good jobs. The reason is He wanted me to write a book. During this season, I was able to finish the book and God brought a publisher that wanted to publish the book. He also had me work on my overreliance on a company to find my security. I now know that Jesus is my only security and He will provide all of my needs. It is a tough lesson to learn, but we have a good God that loves us and gently corrects us.

What I also found during this season is my testimony of what God was doing in the midst of a season of trial was encouraging to others facing the same thing. It was amazing to see how many people I ran across that were also looking for a job. My testimony was a help in growing faith in the other person. My testimony was highlighting what God was doing in my life in the middle of a trial and how He is always there. My role was to build up the body because of what I was going through. We can choose to have a “woe is me” attitude or come in a different spirit. I love how Paul talks about the process of going through trials in Romans 5:2-5, “We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!: (MSG). Our hope and joy, especially during trials, is infectious to others who are facing the same trail. So rejoice and share your testimony to beat back the enemy and encourage others to push on.

Action for the day

Today, share your testimony with one other person. Even if you don’t have a sensational God story, sharing what God is doing or has done in your life will encourage and help others see your faith. Maybe it is a family member, a friend or co-worker who doesn’t know Jesus. You can plant that seed because it is not your opinion, rather it is your experience. Watch how God uses your testimony to do something great!

Prayer for the day

Jesus, I thank you for always being present in my life. Even when the world seems to be crashing in, You are there with me. You are giving me strength and raising me up on wings like an eagle. You want good for me and will never leave me. I ask that you show me what testimony I should share and who I should share it with. I want to bring glory to the work You are doing in my life. Open the ears and heart of the person I share it with so they too can be encouraged and will see how You are working in their life as well. It is in Your powerful name, Jesus, that I pray these things. Amen.

A Relevant Word

The idea of witnessing is often an intimidating notion to many Christians. Lacking the spiritual gift of evangelism makes it even more daunting to many, adding to feelings of failure in this area of witnessing to unbelievers. The truth is, so much of evangelism is written from the standpoint of those who are naturally gifted, and thus who are quite at ease of introducing the gospel. Having said this, evangelism can often come across as a contrived plan for those who are not so naturally gifted, leaving one feeling pretty awkward.

One of the keys to evangelism that Les has found is finding ways to introduce the relevancy of the gospel and what real Christianity is about. He connects the gospel with a subject that he is interested in and relates it to his daily life. One of the areas he is passionate about is finances and the economy.

As Les meets people, the conversations often flows in a number of directions, most notably what’s going on in politics and how our everyday life is being impacted. This usually leads to a discussion about finances and the state of our economy. Because of Les’ interest, he has seen doors open up to talk about morality, integrity, the state of our family in today’s society. Without a moral compass, standard and foundation, we will drift as a people and a nation. It’s also easy to see how crazy our world is getting with global debt and outright conspicuous consumption spiraling out of control.

Most people intuitively know that there is something desperately wrong with our society and our world; at least those who are not blindly and wantonly rushing forward without a sense of conscience. They are looking for real answers and solutions in a world that is becoming more unstable and unsafe. Thank God for a gospel which offers peace that the world cannot give.

What’s your area of passion/interest? Marriage? Family and Child Raising? Business? Politics? Education? Each of these spheres represent an arena into which the gospel can enter and to bring transformation. We desperately need evangelism in every one of these aspects of society. It is about bringing the gospel into every area of society. God has uniquely made you and anointed you to be a light and salt in your sphere of influence. You are His ambassador. Today, be intentional to seek one person where you can start a conversation and share the gospel.

Action for the day

  1. Select one topic you love learning and talking about: Family, Church, Government, Education, Business & Technology, Media, Entertainment and the Arts.
  2. Spend a few minutes asking God how your passion for this topic can be used to open doors to share the gospel.
  3. Make a point to have at least one conversation today on the topic you selected. Watch how God opens the door to simply share God’s love with that person

 

Prayer for the day

Father, I ask you to take the things I am interested in and open a door to share Your love. May you give me time for a divine interruption to share the gospel with someone who does not know You. Bring to mind ways the conversation can relate to Your truth and Your love for the world. Holy Spirit, join me today as I look for that person I should share the gospel. I ask this in the powerful name of Jesus.  Amen.

Invest in a life

Cindy came from a Buddhist background and Confucius culture in East Asia until her second year at a graduate school in a Midwest college town.  There she first met Dr. Bill and Clarice. Dr. Bill was a retired school doctor for a large public university.  He found Jesus later in his life and felt commissioned to tell young people about Jesus so that, “they could start early”.

Cindy first met their daughter and her husband a week after her arrived in the U.S. She had a chance meeting at a local corn festival where they were distributing flyers for their church’s week-long revival meetings.  Cindy saw the word “church” on the flyer, and immediately told them, “thank you, but no thank you. I’m a Buddhist. I’m all set in my religion.”  Yet, they knew Cindy was new to the school, town, and country, had no transportation, no family, and probably would need some help at some point.  They gave Cindy their phone number and told her to call them any time if she needed any help.  Cindy left thinking she would never have anything to do with church or any of these overt Christians.

Dr. Bill and Clarice also hosted international students through the university’s international student’s office.  That night after they heard about their daughter’s encounter with Cindy at the fair, the family knelt down and ask God to send Cindy to their family so they could host her while in school.  Imagine Cindy’s surprise a couple of weeks later when she got a phone call from Dr. Bill asking her if she remember meeting a couple at the corn festival! Cindy had and they invited her over for a nice dinner.

Dr. Bill and his family had lived in Asia when he was in the Air Force. So they shared their travel stories and memories of that time. They also spoke about other topics and eventually the topic of faith came up. It was a pleasant conversation. At the end of the evening they invited Cindy over for dinner again and offered to take her grocery shopping each week since Cindy did not own a car.  Like many, Cindy had some negative encounters with Christians, but recognized Dr. Bill and Clarice were different. There was something special about them that continued to draw her to them.  While she wanted to be around them, her previous encounters had tainted her perspective. She suspected their hidden agenda to convert her to their cultish religion. She did not want to have anything to do with this thing called Christianity.

Yet, Cindy was touched by their hospitality and care, so she continued to engage with them. Her curiosity grew because she could see something different and that their faith played an important role in their life. Eventually, Cindy began attending church with Dr. Bill and Clarice. They gave me Cindy her first bilingual Bible, and three months later on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, Cindy was baptized, died to her old self, and resurrected with a new life with Jesus.

Being the first Christian in a Buddhist family that had a deep ancestor and idol worshipping tradition proved to be a real challenge.  While Cindy and her family fought over her new faith, Dr. Bill and Clarice prayed for her and her family. When Cindy was graduating, her non-believing family came to attend her graduation, and the two sets of parents (her parents and Dr. Bill and Clarice) finally met.  Cindy’s parents were not Christians, but they were deeply appreciative of Dr. Bill and Clarice’s love and care for me.  They were also grateful for them for being the surrogate parents to me while she was so far away from home.

Twelve years later, in God’s timing, Cindy’s mother decided to give her life to Jesus.  Since then, salvation came to her extended and immediate family like domino dropping; her cousins, aunts, uncles, her only living grandparent, her sister, niece, and most recently her father.  They abandoned the idols they used to worship. Now they worship the living God, not any idols. It all started with a family who decided to take the action to love a stranger from a foreign land.

 

Action for the day

Today be on the look-out for someone you are able to invest in their life. Maybe it is someone younger who could use a mentor. Maybe it is someone who is older and needs companionship. Maybe it is someone you meet in the fast food line. Ask Holy Spirit who He would like you to invest your life with. Imagine the domino effect when one life is changed, a whole family and generation can be changed.

 

Prayer for the day

Jesus, thank you that you see us. Thank you that you want us to invest in each other’s lives. Today, Father, point me to the person I should be investing my life with. Let my live be a living sacrifice to You and bring Your love to the earth. Let your love shine through me and touch those around me. Let me have an impact on families, not just individuals. I pray this in the name above all names. The name of Jesus. Amen.

A Good Name

What is your reputation? What would someone say about you and your name? Do you know? Most of us probably don’t know for sure. We can hope others would say nice things about us. Too often we get so busy with life that we forget to step back and look at ourselves. Maybe it is time to ask yourself, “what is my life saying to other peoples?”

I spent six years in Asia. Over that time, I had the honor of meeting so many wonderful people. While we were all culturally diverse, there was an openness to learn about each other. I met great folks from India, Philippines, China, Malaysia, Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong. All were different and all had great stories. Each person had built a reputation and a name for themselves in the company. I knew who I should talk to about different topics, who could help me in others and who would be a sympathetic ear. I found out who had a heart for orphans, who had a love of travel and who was just plain fun to hang out with. It was a great time in my career and life.

Of course, all of these folks were able to get to know me as well. Because of the relationships I had built, I had the honor to share the gospel with many of them. One even accepted Jesus to be their Lord and Savior. It was a fruitful time of relationships and ministry. But it wasn’t until I was leaving Asia where I found out what my reputation really was. I found out what my name meant to those who I built relationships with for six years.

For my farewell party, I was given a word picture of the words that they felt best described me and my reputation. It was humbling to read words like trust-worth, empathic, creative, enthusiastic, kind, dynamic, genuine and passionate. It was insightful to read words like slapstick, fun, warm, poetry, jolly, sing, quiet and different. But it was honoring to read words like principled, committed, generous and Christian. Without this word picture, I would never have known what my name meant to others. It is not something you can fake. People will see through it.

So I ask again, what would others say about you? What is your reputation? Would they see Jesus in you? Is your day in, day out behavior consistently shining the light of God? Does your daily interaction with others reveal the heart of the Father who loves them? It can if you want it to. Let Jesus open your heart to a good name and a great reputation as a follower of Christ.

Action for the day

Today ask a few trusted friends or family to write down 5-7 words that best describe you. When you get them back do the following actions:

  • Before you get any words back, write down what you think the best 5-7 words that describe you.
  • Ask God to tell you how He sees you and write those words down.
  • Read through all the words from the three lists. Are there similarities or differences?
  • Are you surprised by the words your friends and family shared? If so why?
  • Ask yourself, “are these the words I want to be known by?”

If you need to make any changes in your life so you can be known as a wholly devoted follower of Christ, go ahead and decide to make the changes. Ask God to help you and start being that person today. You can change your reputation!

Prayer for the day

Jesus, You see me as Your bride. I know you love me and desire the best for me. You tell us we are son’s and daughter’s to God the Father. You tell us that we are a holy nation and a royal priesthood. Help me live like a son or daughter. Help me to understand what it means to be a royal priest. Help me to believe this and act like a prince or princess. Show me where I need to change so I can shine Your light more brightly. Let my actions today and everyday reflect You. In Jesus name I pray.  Amen.

Journey of Influence – Idea 7

Well, today is the last day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I am amazed that I have been able to keep up a daily routine of publishing a blog. That in itself is an accomplishment. Before I get to the next idea, I wanted to share a bit of why I took the journey. I had been writing a book for the past 5 years and finally finished it and was picked up by a publisher. It is in the final processes of publication and should be available for pre-release by early December. Everything I have written this month has been tied to the book. I plan on continuing the blog and building out a community to share ideas about having more positive influence in the world. Thank you to everyone who has liked or posted so far. It has been a fun month. Now onto todays blog.

We have all heard it. A cliché that rings true but is sometimes difficult to live out. Actions speak louder than words. Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms defines this phrase as “what you do is more important than what you say, because the things you do show your true intentions and feelings.” We see this concept lived out every day in every aspect of our life. How many of us have sat through a meeting at the office or someplace else and all people wanted to do was talk. Talk, talk, talk. But nothing would get done.

Earlier in my career, I was responsible for building a succession plan for the leaders of the organization. I was to identify the right people who could step into a role if the leader were to expectantly leave their position. It seems like a simple enough task. You get into a room, talk through everyone who has the right skills and capabilities to assume a bigger role at some point in the future. You then put the name(s) on a list and work with them to continue to develop. Inevitably the next year would roll around and the same names would be on the list with the same areas for improvement. Nothing would get done, even after talking about it.

We also see this concept of all talk and no action in our political environment. How many politicians promise the world and when they are up for re-election nothing they promised got accomplished? Relationships also have this issue. You can tell someone you love them all day long. However, if your actions don’t reflect what you are saying then the relationship will be doomed. The thing is, actions are what people see. You don’t have to say a word if you are showing people the love of Christ.

When I lived in Moscow, Russia, I had a friend who was moving apartment. They needed some help, since their company was not going to move them. I had a driver at the time, named Andre. I asked him to drive me, not to do any moving. It was my friend and didn’t want to abuse the relationship. My friend did not have that much to move, so I only needed to take one car load to his new place. My driver was quiet the Saturday we moved, but I didn’t think anything about it. The next Monday, Andre thanked me. I asked him, “what for?” He proceeded to tell me that he had never seen anyone freely serve someone else like I did when I helped his friend move. That was not something he had ever seen in Russia. It made a big impression on him and my action was impactful to him. So much so that he began asking questions about my faith and even ended up getting a bible.

Our actions are noticed. When we profess a faith and belief in Jesus Christ, we get put under the microscope. Our actions must match the words people hear from us. Even if we don’t say a word, our actions should point others to Jesus. Others will notice and eventually ask you about your actions. The door will open to share your faith!

Action for the day

Today, make sure your actions reflect the gospel of Jesus. Be kind to someone who is sad, give to someone who is in need, help someone who is in trouble, console someone who is hurting. It doesn’t have to be a big thing. Bring your neighbors garbage can in, take a friend to coffee, offer to pick someone up for work, encourage someone who is down, drop school supplies off at a school. The actions are endless.

Prayer for the day

Jesus, thank you that you are the role model of action. You willingly chose to die for my sin, the ultimate action, the ultimate sacrifice. Your whole life on earth was full of both words and actions. Today, Father I ask that my actions would mirror my words. Let my actions bring glory to You. Show me opportunities where I can be your hands and feet. I am ready to put my words into action. Thank you for the strength and ability to share your love with the world. Amen.

Journey of Influence – Idea 6

Jeff is a Director at his company and had an opportunity to take on a leadership role at at new location. He jumped at the opportunity even though the commute almost doubled for him. Having recommitted his life to Jesus, he decided he would live out Romans 1:16 and not be ashamed of the gospel.

Routinely, he would arrive at the office early in order to beat the traffic. On those days, he would sit in his car and spend a little quite time with Jesus, praying and reading the bible. One morning a long time employee who had also recently transferred to the new location pulled in next to him. When he looked over, he saw Jeff reading his bible. A man of faith himself, saw Jeff’s devotion to God and decided that morning he was going to like working at the new location.

Everyone that Jeff works with is aware of his faith, even though he does not go around beating people over the head with his bible. His quiet countenance and care for people is what others first notice. One day at the end of the shift, a young employee walked into his office and asked if Jeff would take a few minutes to have a talk. This young man was known to live a fast life, partying and having a good time. Jeff asked, “you are giving notice are you?” The young man told him that he had no plans on leaving and he loved his job. What he wanted to talk about was God. He was tired of the fast lane and wanted Jeff’s help to understand what he could do to make a change in his life.

They spent over an hour and talked well past closing time. The young man left and didn’t bring the topic up again, even though Jeff made a point to check in on him over the course of the next week. About three week later, Jeff gets a text on Sunday with a short video attached. It turns out the young man had accepted Christ and the video showed him being baptized. Because Jeff was not afraid to read his bible at work and let others know he is a follower of Christ, it opened the door for a lost young man to come into a personal relationship with the Lord.

Action for the day

Today is the day for you to make sure others know you are a Christian. You don’t need to yell it from the rooftop, but make sure you are not hiding your faith. Some ways to do that are:

  • Bring your bible of a devotion to work and read it at a break or lunch
  • If you have a whiteboard, write your favorite bible verse or pin it on a cork board
  • Get an armband with a bible verse or an encouraging word
  • Share an encouraging bible verse with someone who is having a difficult day

Prayer for the day

Father, give me an opportunity to show others who you are. Let my obedience be noticed by others and open that door for a conversation about You. Let me be a example of Your glory to those around me. Let them see You in my actions and behaviors. I ask this in the holy name of Jesus, Amen.

Journey of Influence – Idea 3

Most of us need reminders to do something. If it is not on our calendar, the chances we will forget goes up exponentially in proportion to how busy we are. While busyness is an epidemic and a key factor for Christians saying they don’t have time to pray, there is another option.

Out pastor had a real burden for the next generation. At the end of a series of messages he asked the congregation to join him in praying for the next generation for the next 30 days. He asked everyone to get out their cell phones and smart phones and set a recurring alarm at 4:12pm. When the alarm went off, everyone should stop what they are doing and pray.

My wife and I loved the idea and set the alarm right there in the service. Each day it would go off and we would stop where we were and say a prayer. It was right in the middle of the work day, so I had it going off during meetings and other inconvenient times. That did not daunt my resolve to stop and pray each day for the next generation. I knew, I was always going to spend a few minutes with God, even when the rest of the day was hectic. We enjoyed this practices and went well beyond the 30 days our pastor has asked us to join him in prayer.

One day, a few months later, my wife and I were refinancing our home. We were at the closing signing all of the documents when both of our alarms went off. We promptly silenced them and proceeded to finish up our task. The lawyer who was helping us asked us if we needed to get it, believing it was our phone. We told him it was just an alarm and it was fine. Since he had heard both of our phones go off, he was curious and asked “an alarm for what.” We proceeded to tell him it is a reminder for us to pray for the next generation. He asked us if we wanted to stop right then and pray. We jumped at the opportunity and proceeded to pray out loud.

That was not the last time I had an opportunity to share what the alarm was about. Eventually those at work began to ask once they repeatedly heard the alarm go off at the same time. What was meant to remind me to pray for a specific item opened up doors to share the gospel with others. I was surprised how many doors it opened for a conversation about God and His goodness.

Action for the day

Today decide to pray for something. It could be a friend, a child, your child’s class or school, your city, state or the country.

  • Get out your cell phone or smart phone
  • Set an alarm to go off at 3:17pm every day
  • Commit to pray at that time ever day for a month
  • Share how God shows up during the month on that specific topic.

Prayer for the day

Heavenly Father, you never forget us. We are always in your thoughts and long to spend time with us. I thank you for that kind of love. Holy Spirit I ask you to let me know what I should pray for over the next thirty days. I commit to spend a few minutes with you and ask you will use this to open up doors of conversations with those around me. It is for your glory and honor that I pray. Amen

Journey of Influence – Idea 2

Sandi’s boss gave her a $100 Visa Card for Christmas.   She began to think of the things that “I” wanted.  Then while driving past a McDonald’s she felt an urge to go in an purchase 20 – $5 gift cards.  She wasn’t sure what she was going to do with them, but she knew that’s what she was supposed to do.  She stuck them in her purse and each time she went out she asked Jesus, “show me what to do with these.”   Since it was during the holidays, Sandi ran into people who were busy and frantic. While we all desire Christmas time to be full of joy, too many people feel hurried and short on time. The result is some people can be short tempered and not as nice as they would be the rest of the year. Unfortunately, the workers in retail and restaurants tend to bear the brunt of peoples’ weariness. Sandi would make sure she handed the $5 gift card to the cashier, and say, “Here you go, a hamburger and Coke on me.”  About 80% of the time the cashier would smile and say, “wow, thank you”.  But one time she gave one to a cashier at a large hobby retailer.  When Sandi gave her the card the cashier just stood there with a baffled look. The cahier asked, “why are you giving me this?”  Sandi told her it was a small gift.  The cashier asked again, “but why are you giving this to me?”  Sandi said, “the Lord placed it on my heart to share this with you for your kindness that you show others at this time of year.”  The cashier asked a third time, “but why me?”  Sandi knew at that point it was to tell her, “it’s because Jesus loves you more than you know, and as you enjoy your hamburger and Coke, I hope that you will think of Him.”  The cashier tucked the card in her pocket, and almost started crying.  She looked at Sandi and said, “this means more than you know – thank you!”

From that day on Sandi tries to remember to keep gift cards in her purse.  A $5 gift card isn’t much to give someone, but she is finding more and more people are affected by just the thought.

Action for the day

Decide what small item you want to keep with you where you can remind others that Jesus loves them. Depending on where you live, in the city or country, you may want to think about items that will bless your community. While there are three ideas below, use your imagination to bless someone else.

  • Buy a few small dollar gift card to share with those who are serving people.
  • Make up a bag (or two) with water, granola bar, tissue pack, can of tuna and a bible verse and keep it in your car. When you pass a beggar on the side of the road or someone who is homeless, give it to them.
  • Write cards of encouragement and hand them out to people who look like they could use a positive word for the day.

 

Prayer for the day

Jesus, I want to thank you for the gift you gave with the shedding of your blood. I am in awe how much you love me. May I love people the way you love me. As I go about my day, please show me who needs a reminder of Your love. Give me the opportunity to share a little bit of You today. Amen.