Sunday, September 1, 2013

Let Your Life Be A Light

Hebrews 10:24
Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.
Have you ever had one of those days when you feel sad or discouraged?  We all have.  Now, think about what made you come out of that feeling.  It's very likely that your mood was lightened because someone said a kind word to you, or took the time to see how they could help you and followed through with it.  We, as Christ followers, are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus.  We should be encouragers.  When we encourage others, we are speaking words of love.  We are allowing ourselves to be used by God for His purpose in the world.
The world needs to see and hear love through the actions and words of Christians.    Paul says in Hebrews that this is a way to grow in faith and live in obedience to God.  While doing good works is not required for salvation, helping others is a good witness.  When we motivate each other to do good things, not only are we encouraging the person to whom we are speaking, but we are also encouraging them to continue the good that they are doing.  We will never know how far doing something good for someone will affect other things in the world.    I’ve seen people post many times on Facebook about the person ahead of them in line paying for their coffee and that prompted them to do the same for the person behind them.  That is such a simple act that means a lot to someone, because it’s an unexpected kindness, a bright light in what might otherwise be a really dark day.  It’s like The Butterfly Effect, which is the idea that even the flapping of a butterfly’s wings can affect a series of actions that could have cosmic effects.
It’s important to build relationships with people.  Dr. Paul Brand points out that every cell in the body has a specific job, in interdependence with every other cell.  The only cells which insist on being independent and autonomous are cancer cells.   Look for opportunities to encourage others even with the smallest things.  Telling someone that they did a great job or asking how their day was might just totally turn around someone’s outlook on life. Small acts of kindness, like a word of encouragement can go a long way in the lives of others.  Most people just need to know that someone cares and is on their side.
You might be thinking “I can’t do that. I can’t put myself out there and show that I care.”  Well, just think of Moses and David and Paul in the Bible.  Many of the greatest things that occurred in the Bible were done by the most unlikely people, or people who didn’t think they were capable of fulfilling what they were asked to do.
 How do we know when we are being asked?  We don’t audibly hear the voice of God as they did in the Old Testament.  Have you ever seen a situation and a thought comes to your head to help in some way, and your heart starts to beat really fast?  That could be the Holy Spirit prompting you to act, to reach out and build a relationship by helping.  Our contributor Kristy shares that she tries to operate under the assumption that whatever kind word or deed she can give to someone might be the only bright spot in their day.  She has followed through with the Holy Spirit’s prompting to call someone to just say, “Hey!”, and to let them know she was thinking about them, and they have said that it made a difference.  That spurs her to keep her ears and eyes open for other opportunities.
So come on!  What do you have to lose?  Smile at someone, ask them how they are and listen to their response!  Decide to participate in an activity that will help others and invite people along to join you.  Choose to be positive and reflect the light of Christ through your words and actions.  You never know who will be impacted…but God does.  Allow Him to use you today!
Passages to Ponder:
Philippians 4:8- And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing.  Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable,  and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
Matthew 5:14-16 You are the light of the world- like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.  No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket.  Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.
I Thessalonians 5:11- So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.
Contributors:  Karen Bromby, Tammy Holtzapfel, Jamie Leary, Kim McClure, Marla McDonald and Kristy Tolley

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