Thursday, August 7, 2014
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
( These are my notes for a Devotional I gave on my mission trip to Romania last December-Figured it was worth sharing!
6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9 As it is written:
“They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor;
their righteousness endures forever.”[a]
their righteousness endures forever.”[a]
GIFTS ARE SPECIAL! THEY ARE FREELY GIVEN OUT OF LOVE OR CELEBRATION. THEY MAY BE GIVEN TO MARK AN OCCASION, THEY MAY BE GIVEN AS A THANK YOU OR THEY MAY EVEN BE GIVEN “JUST BECAUSE”. USUALLY WHEN A GIFT HAS BEEN GIVEN BOTH THE GIVER AND RECEIVER ARE EACH BLESSED IN SOME WAY. TAKE THIS TRIP FOR INSTANCE. WE ALL HAD SUPPORTERS WHO FINANCIALLY PARTNERED WITH US. THEY FEEL BLESSED TO BE ABLE TO BE PART OF OUR TRIP IN SOME WAY. WE FEEL BLESSED BECAUSE OF THAT SUPPORT- KNOWING PEOPLE CARED AND MAKING OUR FINANCIAL BURDEN A LITTLE LESS. EACH OF US HAS BEEN GIVEN A GIFT BY GOD AS WE JOURNEY ON THIS MISSION TRIP TOGETHER. I CANNOT TELL YOU WHAT THAT GIFT IS BUT IT IS SPECIAL AND UNIQUE TO EACH PERSON HERE. AT SOME POINT DURING THIS TRIP I PRAY THAT YOU TRULY DISCOVER WHAT IT MIGHT BE. IT MAY NOT BE OBVIOUS AT FIRST- IN FACT IN MAY TAKE SOME TIME TO DISCOVER IT- YOU MAY BE AT HOME REFLECTING ON THE TRIP WHEN IT WILL APPEAR TO YOU. I CANNOT PROMISE THE WHEN BUT I CAN PROMISE YOU THE GIFT. IT WILL BE SOMETHING THAT YOU WILL HOLD DEAR TO YOUR HEART. AS AN EXAMPLE I WANT TO SHARE TWO OF MY MOST PRECIOUS MISSION TRIP GIFTS. THE FIRST WAS IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC. AT NIGHT WE ACTUALLY SLEPT OUTDOORS ON THE ROOF OF THE HOME WE WERE STAYING AT. I CAN REMEMBER LAYING THERE IN A RURAL AREA BY THE OCEAN AND JUST LOOKING UP AT THE AMAZING CANVAS OF STARS AND WATCHING HEAT LIGHTENING STREAK ACROSS THE SKY EVERY ONCE IN AWHILE. AT THAT MOMENT I HAD NEVER FELT CLOSER TO GOD. I HAD MY I-POD ON LISTENING TO MERCY ME’S SONG “HERE WITH ME” AND I FELT BROKEN, EMPOWERED AND BLESSED ALL AT THE SAME TIME. THAT WAS MY GIFT ON THAT TRIP. THE OPPORTUNITY TO GROW CLOSER TO GOD. EACH NIGHT I LAID THERE FEELING FULLY CONNECTED WITH MY LORD. THE SECOND GIFT HAPPENED IN HONDURAS ON MY FIRST SPONSOR TOUR WITH COMPASSION. THOSE THAT KNOW MY TESTIMONY KNOW AND KNOW UNDERSTAND WHY COMPASSION AND MY WORK WITH CHILDREN IS MY CALLING. IN A NUTSHELL I HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO MEET MY FIRST SPONSORED CHILD LINDA. OUR GROUP MET OUR SPONSORED CHILDREN AT A WATERPARK. WHEN THEY CALLED HER NAME I DID NOT KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT. SHE STEPPED OUT (REMEMBER THIS IS A CHILD IN POVERTY) DRESSED IN A WHITE DRESS SUCH AS YOU WOULD WEAR AT EASTER. SHE TOOK ONE LOOK AT KAREN AND I AND BURST INTO TEARS. I SAW THE LOVE THAT SHE HAD FOR US THROUGH THOSE TEARS. I ALSO SAW THE LOVE THAT JESUS MUST HAVE FOR EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US. MY HEART WAS BROKEN FOR THE LEAST OF THESE AND I HAD FOUND MY CALLING. THIS WAS THE BEST GIFT I HAVE EVER GIVEN.
NOW AS I SAID YOU WILL FIND A SPECIAL GIFT ON THIS TRIP. IT WILL BE YOURS AND YOURS ALONE. BUT THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS THAT YOU ARE GOING TO NEED TO UNWRAP IT. A GIFT GIVEN IS NICE BUT UNLESS YOU UNPACK IT OR OPEN IT THEN YOU ARE GOING TO MISS OUT. IT MAY TAKE SOME REFLECTION ON WHAT THE GIFT IS OR WHAT TO DO WITH IT BUT I GUARANTEE YOU IT WILL BE INCREDIBLE. IT MAY EMPOWER YOU, IT MAY BREAK YOU, IT MAY BLESS YOU BUT GOD GAVE IT TO YOU FOR A REASON. IT WAS PLANNED FOR THIS TRIP AND FOR YOU. DO NOT TAKE THE GIFT AND PUT IT AWAY. UNWRAP IT TO ITS FULLEST AND BE BLESSED BY WHAT GOD HAS GIVEN YOU.
FINALLY IN REFERRING BACK TO OUR BIBLE VERSE I JUST WANT TO ENCOURAGE YOU TO GIVE GIFTS OF YOURSELF TO THOSE THAT WE MEET DURING THIS TRIP. EACH OF US WAS CALLED TO THIS TRIP WITH A PURPOSE. I PRAY THAT YOU GIVE FREELY OF YOUR HEARTS AND ACTIONS SO THAT WE CAN TRULY BE THE HANDS AND FEET OF JESUS.