Sunday, July 18, 2010

Something can and must change!

Welcome fellow seeker,

We are studying The Revolution Devotional Workbook and Field Journal, by Joyce Meyer. My day goes best when I start with prayer: Lord, bless this time we spend with you today. I thank you for going before me and smoothing out the bumps before I get there, for giving me the strength to face any temptation in my path, and to show me in Your Word, what You know I need, today. In Jesus' name, amen.

Now, a revolution does not happen until we are no longer willing to live as we have. An upwelling of desire and determination occurs inside of us and we reach the point where change is no longer something we dream of, but something we will  have.

In The Revolution, Joyce is referring to a change in our hearts; to no longer think all day about ourselves and we we want, or don't want, or who is doing what to whom, or that we will be happy when ____ happens and not one minute before, by golly! Instead, we crave an explosion of genuine desire to see what someone else needs, and give it to them, do it for them, or point them to it.

It does not have to be someone a continent away; there are people around us right now in desperate need of an act of kindness: spouses, children, extended family, co-workers, fellow church-members, strangers in the coffee line, even those who are homeless, or hopeless, at home and abroad. When was the last time you really saw someone else, saw their pain, their secret wish, their situation, and showed them an act of love?

The last time I did something kind for someone was ______________________________________________________________________________.

How did you feel afterwards? _______________________________________________________________________________.

When I talk about kindness, I'm not talking about prayer, although prayer is good, prayer is powerful. But too often, we excuse ourselves from taking action by offering to pray, and do nothing more, nothing tangible that is a help right now.  Would it surprise you to know that Christians are seen as hypocrites by many unbelievers? Those who talk a good game but don't back it up with much. Granted, those who do not believe will not understand much of what Christians value, but how often do we act on the core of our faith?

Turn with me to Matthew 22:37. What did Jesus say are the two commandments on which our faith and values depend?
________________________________________________________________________ and


How do these commandments affect your belief about what is most important in life?

Do you think God's command to "love," means a feeling or an action? _______________

So often we turn wise words into flippant sayings with no power behind them. Take for example the phrase, "What would Jesus do?" It's on a key chain, a bumper sticker, a t-shirt and a bracelet. What does it mean? Should we make water out of wine, heal the sick, raise the dead, or turn over the tables at a church bazaar? Jesus did all those things in response to the needs of those around Him. Most of us don't have supernatural gifts to heal, and wouldn't consider replenishing the wine at someone else's wedding, much less get arrested at a church fundraiser. So, what if we instead asked, "What can I do?"

We need to stop dwelling on how much we can't do, how big the problems are, and how ineffective we think we are. Everything great was accomplished by one small act at a time. Can you think of one small gesture someone in your life made, that was nothing big to that someone, but made a tremendous difference for you?

When ___________ helped my by _____________________________________________, it made a difference in my life by _________________________________________________________.

My fifth grade teacher, Mr. Reitz, at Dry Creek Elementary in Clovis, California liked to celebrate the talents of his students. As far as he was concerned, we each were talented. George drew pictures of the rock band, "KISS" and Mr. Reitz made a huge show of hanging each piece on the wall; Shelly beat everyone in arm wrestling (including me and I was really fit) and there was a loud party to celebrate her victory that day. Me? I wrote stories. I still remember how special I felt when Mr. Reitz called me to the front of the class to read my latest thriller, "There's  a Shark in my Shower!" Like many of you, I didn't feel special at home but I sure felt special during the two grades I spent in Mr. Reitz's homeroom. Years went by before I felt the call to write again, but the encouragement I received as a child planted a seed that would blossom more than 30 years later. Little things make a difference to a lifetime.

The call of The Revolution is to "declare a war on selfishness, injustice, and oppression" - one small act at a time. A challenge I received from Joyce during her Conference in St. Paul was to find one person each day to bless. Not just with prayer, but with action. I really want to start at home, with the people I love most.

Now, like a lot of you, I grew up in a very frugal household. My family raised almost all of our food, baked our own whole wheat bread and even churned butter from our cow and goats. I never saw my mother buy herself something just because it was pretty, or treat herself in any way. Whenever we wanted to do something special, we stopped by McDonalds or Taco Bell (hence my natural tendency to cook for others to show my love) but always got something cheap on the menu. Cheap was important. We only got one set of clothes for school each year, and to show you how ingrained frugality became, it never occurred to me to ask for another pair of pants till the following August, not even when mine were up to my shins. Nope, not even when I blinked back tears of embarrassment when other kids called me "high-waters."

Now that's certainly not the worst thing to happen to a kid (nor the worst thing that ever happened to this  kid) but it gave me a mindset that has been hard to break. It's still difficult for me to spend money on anything except groceries, but I realize I am operating by a set of unconscious rules that don't always serve the best interests of our family. It hit home when I began to hear my kids refuse some offers of necessary purchases, saying, "Mom, I don't need that, it's o.k." I realized that while I still want to be frugal, I need to show my kids that they deserve more than cheap all the time.

Will this solve world hunger? No, but it goes far towards helping my kids develop of mindset of value, that I value them enough to splurge on the "Blizzard" instead of the small single cone, once in a while. It's what? A difference of a couple of bucks and a world of difference in a child feeling special. I know there are far greater ways to make a difference in a child's life, the point it doesn't have to always be dramatic to be important.

Homework: Today, do something, no matter how small, to be helpful to each person you meet. It might be a smile to a stranger passing by, helping a mom struggling to load her kids and  her groceries, or going out of your way to take a friend to the store. You will know what to do when the time is right. After you've said, "Hello." Ask yourself, "What can I do?

Let's pray: Father, thank you for the seeking hearts on this journey with me. May your Holy Spirit whisper small acts we can do for someone else today. Lord, fill us up so much with your love, that we cannot help but share it with everyone we meet! In the name of Jesus, amen. Love, Karen

Photo by Graur Razvan Ionut, courtesy of

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