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Tag Archives: Loving Others

The Sparkle Box

sparkle box picWith the busyness of the Christmas season, I was determined to read The Sparkle Box book to two of our grandchildren last night. I’ve read it to all our grands the past few years and each time it helps me to stay focused on the true meaning of Christmas—the birth of Christ and sharing the love of Jesus with others.

The story depicts a little boy, Sam, who anxiously wants to open the sparkle box that sits on the fireplace mantle. His mother tells him that they must first fill the box up before opening it on Christmas day.

Unknowingly to Sam, his mom begins writing down acts of love their family offers throughout the Christmas season and puts the slips of paper into the sparkle box. There are several, but not to give the whole story away, here’s the one that touches my heart (and the heart of our grandchildren) the most.

“Mittens and candy bar given to a man in need.”

While driving back home from dropping off some blankets and other items at the homeless shelter, Sam noticed a man curled up and lying on a park bench. Sam’s mom said, “That’s someone who might get one of our blankets.” A few days later, while shopping with his mother, Sam bought some mittens for the “mitten tree” at his school and a candy bar for himself. But as they were leaving the store, the man they had seen lying on the park bench entered the store. Immediately drawn to the tired-looking man, Sam ran by him sticking the gloves and the candy bar into the man’s hands as he and his mom left the store.

To read The Sparkle book online, you may go to this website https://www.thesparklebox.com/ It is free to read through December 31. 2018.

After finishing the book, our grandkids said that they would like to go by and visit their friends at the nursing care facility and take them some Christmas gifts. Emy recalled that her friend enjoys ceramics, so she said she’d like to buy her a paint set. And Max said he’d like to take his friend some sugar packets because his friend loves lots of sugar in his coffee.

lights shine brightOur grandchildren’s ministry, Lights Shine Bright, makes routine visits to a local nursing care facility. Each grandchild has been assigned a special friend who doesn’t receive many visitors. They (Lights Shine Bright) will present the Tale of Three Trees at the nursing care facility during the Christmas season.

I am thankful for the time God gifts to me, to intentionally spend time with our grandchildren, as we live out a love for Jesus and others.

Reading books to children and grandchildren can be a cherished memory. Our daughter started a Christmas tradition of reading 25 Christmas books with her children throughout the Advent season. One-a-day!

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Starfish Moment

Starfish Pic“Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work. One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up. As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean. He came closer still and called out “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?” The young man paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean.” “I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” asked the somewhat startled wise man. To this, the young man replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.” Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, “But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!” At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, “It made a difference for that one.” ― Loren Eiseley

This story was retold by our mission team director during our recent mission trip to the Dominican Republic. Sheila challenged us to look for our “starfish moment.”

While at the mission work site, Scot approached me and asked if I would go with him to visit a teen’s home.  Esmeralda proudly led us to her humble, yet lovely home. I was overcome with awe as we entered the home and greeted by four women, Esmeralda’s mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and great-aunt. Three of the women sat in beautifully hand-crafted rocking Rocker 1chairs. I quickly noticed a Bible lying on a shelf and asked Scot to hand it to me.  I had hoped to read Scripture until Scot said, “Isn’t that a Spanish Bible?”  Everyone smiled, and then the ladies all began singing hymns. After basking in the Lord’s presence for several moments, the women took us back outside to see their beautiful tropical garden. They were all extremely proud of a starfish-shaped blossom that had recently bloomed. This was definitely my starfish moment! With a simple invitation to visit her home, Esmeralda made a difference in my life. And out of all the other team members Scot could have asked to join him, he invited me.

This mission trip memory along with so many others will forever remind me of God’s amazing love for me and for each person He has created.

   Bench picRocker 2

Four generations

Intentionally Passing Down Your Faith in Christ –

Parents, grandparents, take time to challenge your children/grandchildren to look for God in the everyday moments of life. God makes Himself known to us. “They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God” (Romans 1:19-20 NLT).

Encourage your children to tell about their God-moments (starfish moments) at the end of each day. This will help build their faith in the One True God.

 

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Building a Legacy of Faith ~ Boots…Am I in Style?

Boots…Am I in Style?

“3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others”  Philippians 2:3-4.

boot picPersonal Reflection:  Boots…..Everyone seems to have a stylish pair of boots, but me. Who doesn’t want to stay in style? Why have I even noticed that so many women are wearing fashionable boots? Is it because I am feeling a little envious of what others have, or is it because I just don’t want to be considered unfashionable? I’ve been searching my heart lately as these thoughts popped into my mind. I’ve come to the realization that I must not be alone in these thoughts. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be so many women wearing boots, right?  Then I think about the recent disaster that hit the Philippines, leaving potentially thousands dead and so many more missing and homeless. Why am I not much more concerned for those who are going through such horrific pain and suffering, than simply wasting my thoughts on boots, of all things!

*Note: About a year after writing this, my husband (Pappy) gave me a pair of brown boots for Christmas. My first internal thought,”Oh, I had hoped to go without getting a fashionable pair of boots.” Then I quickly felt delighted that Jeff had given me such a thoughtful gift. The following Christmas I bought myself a black pair.

While making a few edits of my original Covenant Heirs blog (to prepare for publishing a legacy book for my family), I re-read this blog. Personal conviction once again resonated. “Help me Lord, to set aside those things that deter me from pleasing you and make me look more like the world rather than my Jesus.” I don’t intend to be legalistic, but desire God’s wisdom in making eternal choices that reflect Jesus.

This brief personal reflection is a good place to contemplate what type of messages we are sending to our kids and grandkids. Consider these options.

Messages that reflect Christ and His love for others:

–   Praying for those who are hurting.

–   Donating nice or even better yet, new clothing to the Salvation Army or other compassionate ministry/organization.

–   Volunteering time serving those who are less fortunate.

–    Praising God and giving Him thanks for all the “things” we do have.

–    Sacrificially giving up something that I want, so that I can provide a need for someone else.

–    Spending time with someone who may be overlooked by others.

–     Inviting someone who is going through a difficult time over for a meal and conversation.

–     Replacing TV/computer time with family projects that will bless others.  Suggestions:

       + Call someone who you haven’t talked to for a while, just to let them know you care about them.  And, or: Write notes of encouragement and mail them to that special someone.

       + Bake some goodies for someone who needs cheering up.

       + Invite a neighbor(s) over to play table games.

        + Mow, rake, shovel snow, for someone who is physically unable to accomplish these tasks.

        + Visit an elderly care facility, and provide conversation, prayer, Bible reading, or whatever else, to brighten the hearts of those who are often overlooked. (I am reminded of a family who enjoys playing their instruments and singing for the elderly who are in nursing homes.)

So whether I choose to conform to the stylish pattern of this world and purchase a pair of fashionable boots or not is really not the real question.  The truer question I must answer: Am I willing to love others by giving up something that I “want” just because I wish to be in style? This isn’t even much of a sacrifice, is it? I really need to give up things that cost me something, such as my time. See below for a list of organizations where you and your family can volunteer time and resources.

Fill-a-Boot with Love  (Family Care Project)

Take an empty boot and begin filling it with loose change. Sacrifice money that would have been spent on a family pizza or family activity like bowling, and instead, add it to the boot collection.

In advance, designate a family care project such as: Purchase a new winter coat to donate to a homeless shelter, or purchase food for a Thanksgiving meal, to be given to a person or family who would not be able to purchase their own meal. When the boot is full, use this money to accomplish your family care project. Repeat the Fill-a-Boot with Love by designating a new family care project.

Organizations to donate time and resources to:

–  Salvation Army: https://donate.salvationarmyusa.org

–  Compassion International:  http://www.compassion.com/

–  Samaritans Purse: http://www.samaritanspurse.org/

–  Nazserve (Church of the Nazarene organization): https://serve.nazarene.org/serve/secure/Index.xhtml

Kansas City:

–  Kansas City Rescue Mission:  http://www.kcrm.org/

–  City Union Mission:  http://www.cityunionmission.org/

– Hope Faith Ministries:  http://www.hopefaithministries.org/

 

 

 
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Posted by on November 14, 2013 10: 51 am - in Building a Legacy of Faith, Serving Jesus

 

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