Loving One Another

Posts tagged ‘giving’

The Cost of Christmas


Sermon notes – Dec. 16, 2017 – Rev. Jean Johnson – Madison Valley Presbyterian, Ennis, MT

Recorded by Jan Beekman – in poetry (as is my habit) – while listening intently today.

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The Cost of Christmas

Ebenezer Scrooge was transformed.
He hated Christmas and all
That talk of love and peace.
His dream helped him hear God’s call.

He bought a goose and invited
All to come to his feast.
He had love and joy to spread
To rich and poor, the most and the least.

It cost Scrooge a fortune
To pay for all that food.
What does Christmas cost you?
Does the cost put you in a Scrooge mood?

paper bags near wall

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John the Baptist warned us that
Christmas will cost a lot.
But it’s not the money he referred to;
It’s the deliverance we may not have sought.

Purifying fire and judgement wait
For those who fail to believe.
The fire is a punishment for those
Who are stingy and cause others to grieve.

If you have two shirts or coats,
Be ready to give one away.
If someone owes you money,
Don’t overcharge them any day.

Jesus taught people to love and forgive.
“Get ready for the Christ Child.
Give from your surplus,” John preached.
He didn’t ask us to do anything wild.

Jesus’ message was a tough one
For many who held hate in their heart.
John asked folks to prepare for Christ
By repenting, turning, making a clean start.

Be on the true path, headed right
As you prepare for Jesus Christ’s birth.
You’re on the right road in church today.
Let’s be God’s witnesses on earth.

Are you?
Am I?
Let your life preach His message,
And as Mother Theresa is quoted as saying,
“Only use words when you have to!”

(Isn’t that a heck of a message for a blogger?)

 

Bay Area Rapid Transit


Riding the BART

That is our son there

Leaning endearingly on

His wife, Monika.
.

Not a simple ride –

It is a happy BART train

Headed for ‘Frisco

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Doesn’t it look like

A day in San Francisco

Would be quite a blast?

people standing on road beside market and high rise buildings

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Wait for me, dear ones.

I just want to come along –

Oh, for this one day.

 

Christmas shopping in

That beautiful place

Sounds like Paradise.

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But maybe I should

Spend my money locally.

That’s what merchants say.

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Is your shopping done?

I have barely just begun.

What gift do you want?

Purple “Ladies” Volunteer


Do you enjoy volunteering? I do!

“Whenever you’re giving, it’s like a gift to yourself.” This is a quote from Sanaa Latham, actress, as quoted in my December Guideposts devotional on The Upside page.

At our local medical center, the “Candy Stripers” are not young high schoolers dressed in red and white stripes or pink tunics  (as they were back in CA) who greet you from the reception desk. They are mature women with a heart for helping who wear purple jackets.

Look carefully at the last picture. I am third from the left in the back row. Notice the donation we made to the hospital. We gave $31,700 !! The money went to help pay for that diagnostic scanning machine that I used yesterday! Our big fund raiser each year is an Open House tour of six different homes (our house was on tour about 10 years ago shortly after we moved here to Ennis, MT). The fund raiser also includes a collection of silent auction items and donated events. God bless those dedicated workers and donors who make it all happen every year!

As I indicated, yesterday I had a scan … a CT scan… (a follow-up on the irregularities found in Wednesday’s ultrasound).

Yesterday also was my day to be a “Purple Lady” volunteering at the reception desk. So, since I couldn’t be two places at once, I needed a substitute for about an hour and a half.

But, Friday afternoons are not a good time to try to find subs … especially with that snowy, cold weather going on out there.

So, what did I do? I conned my husband, Bob, and grandson, Chris,
into covering for me. (Actually they volunteered – what nice guys!)

I wish you could have seen the expressions of staff and visitors
when they came in and saw these “Purple Ladies!”
Priceless!!

I don’t believe what I’m seeing!!

Hey, why not?

We take volunteers of all kinds! Come on over, guys!

Thanks, guys! Get off your ATVs and out of your fishing boats,
and perform a little community service!
It’s not just the Lion’s Club that needs you.

We’d be happy to add some men to
our Madison Valley Medical Center Auxiliary!

Remember, especially during this gift-giving time of year,
Whenever you’re giving, it’s like a gift to yourself.”

birthday bow box card

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Happy December! Where are you called give?

How Open Are You?


How Open Are You?

Not just Open House

But open YOU to the world

How Open Are you?

Was your home so full

At your Thanksgiving dinner

You added more chairs?

Is your spare bedroom

Filled with a loved relative?

If not, then why not?

We were gifted to

Give of our many blessings

Open up and give!

T = Trust


Day #20 – T = Trust

It’s been quite a ride! My A-Z series on “What Makes Me Happy?” Is drawing near an end, but today I TRUST you’ll continue reading, and I’ll continue to be inspired with new, pertinent topics. Thank you for being here. The ability to TRUST makes me happy 😃

T rusting brings

R espect and

U nderstanding and

S afety to vulnerability

T rusting is essential

In a world where parents feel a need to teach their children NOT to trust, we must be the models of trustworthiness. We must exude the love 💕 and safety we wish covered the earth.

The opposite of trusting is mistrusting, of course, and that creates worry and anxiety. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could feel free as a people to just trust? To just teach trust?

It’s probably Pollyanna thinking… unrealistic, you say. But, can’t we teach caution without teaching fear? Without causing worry and anxiety?

My go-to guide is Scripture. Jesus shows us the way. He talks about the birds being clothed so splendidly, so why worry about what we’ll wear. He showed us how He fed the multitudes, and told us not to worry about where our next meal is coming from. “Do not fear,” He taught us.

Philippians 4:6-7 is Paul’s message to the people of Philippi in which he cautioned them about worry. “Don’t worry about anything;” he wrote, “instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

So, the way to live in TRUST is to read, study, and apply the TRUTH of Scripture. Trust in God. Trust in what Jesus taught us. Sounds simple, huh? No, it’s not.

In today’s world we worry about safety. We hear of innocent people being murdered all the time.

In today’s world we worry about international affairs, divisiveness, wars, prejudice, and how it’s tearing us apart. We feel helpless to create that peace Paul wrote about. God’s Peace. Where is it? How can we exude it? How can we be the change we want to see in this world? How can we trust those people and situations that seem so untrustworthy?

My only solution is to remember the words of Paul, “Pray about everything.”

And remember/think about the words that remind us of how our simplest acts can make a difference to those we touch… and to those whose lives are affected by what we do.

R. Buckminster Fuller wrote, “Never forget that you are one of a kind. Never forget that if there weren’t any need for you in all your uniqueness to be on this earth, you wouldn’t be here in the first place. And never forget, no matter how overwhelming life’s challenges and problems seem to be, that one person can make a difference in the world. In fact, it is always because of one person that all the changes that matter in the world come about. So be that one person.

Like tomorrow, if you’re in the USA, we can each make a difference. Go vote (if you haven’t cast an absentee ballot already). Every vote DOES matter!

Reach out to your neighbor in love. Reach out with help to a friend in need. Reach out to a fellow blogger with affirmation. Tell them that the words you just read made a difference for you. They resonated. Trust that your small acts add up to big differences.

Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. In your shared weakness, you exhibit trust and you strengthen others.

Just TRUST!

He’s gotcha in the palm of His hand. Here’s my mantle in this season of Thanksgiving.  Remember to thank God for all the ways He loves and protects you. Trust Him!

May the peace of Christ that surpasses all human understanding be yours today.

O = Opportunities


Day #15 in my A – Z series of “What Makes Me Happy?”

OPPORTUNITIES

Opportunities

Should not ever be wasted

Grab onto one now

.

What opportunity might you take advantage of today?

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Share with me an “O” word that makes YOU happy.

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Oh, and Happy Halloween!

K = Kindness


Day #11 in the A-Z series of “What Makes Me Happy?”

KINDNESS

 

woman holding heart cut out

This picture tells all. Notice the word on her shirt behind the heart. It says, “Volunteer.” A big heart full of love reaches out to help others, exudes kindness, and makes the world a better place.

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When you’re tempted to be surley
In response to evil – speak your mind –
Remember you were taught quite early
Always to be kind.

When you’re tempted to lash back
At some person mean and rude,
Remember repercussions of attack
Return for whatever you exude.

Kindness is the only way
To be happy in your soul;
So in everything you do and say,
Let only kindness be your goal.

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group of person phoot

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People around the world are happier
when they reach out to help others.
Whatever motivates you to be kinder, gentler,
more compassionate…
think on these things.

For me, my daily devotional time upstairs in my sanctuary
sets my heart on the right path as I study His Word
and learn of His Ways.

man holding sheep statuette

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Isaiah 63:7a – “I will tell of the kindnesses of the Lord…”
and let His examples lead me.

 

What “K” word makes you happy? And what act of kindness are you planning today? Think about it!

 

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