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Listen while you read: "Praise ye the Triune God"1 (Lyrics)
Deuteronomy 11:18a – Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds. (NIV)
One morning in November, a lady brought me a lovely cyclamen plant, and it made my day. It was such an encouragement to see someone and have a chat, since I had been housebound for what seemed like forever. Days dragged by when I could not get out, and I waited and hoped that the phone would ring. Each day seemed to grow longer. So that morning, in addition to enjoying the beauty of the magenta-coloured blossoms, I was also left with a lift in my spirits.
Later that day, as I was having my coffee time with God, He put a challenging thought in my mind. While I might not be able to go out or visit, I could reach out to someone who, like me, might be waiting and hoping to hear a friendly voice, and perhaps in so doing, I could make that person's day.
It seemed in that moment of reflection that the Lord brought vividly to my mind a recent experience. I had been out walking when I noticed my neighbour sitting on her front deck, and I waved a casual greeting to her as I passed. When I was on my way back, she stood up and called out somewhat hesitantly, "Do you have time for a cup of tea?" This took me by surprise, since I didn't know her very well, but I knew by her trembling voice that she was very upset, so within a few short minutes, I found myself sitting beside her as she unloaded a heavy weight on her heart. When she asked me to pray with her, I realized that this amazing experience likely would not have happened if I had not taken the time to wave. It was a simple act on my part, but God used it to open a door to bless both of us.
As I thought further about this experience, I once again marvelled at how God will use us if we are prepared to listen and obey His voice. A smile or a simple hello to someone we meet along the way can be an encouragement to them, and I determined to put it into practice more often when I was able to get out and about again. From now on, during our early morning chats, I will be sure to ask Him if there is anyone that He wants me to call. In this way, I can make their day, and, in turn, it will also make my day.
We all want and need to be encouraged, and we have the ability to do that for others. God has given us the gift of speech, and we can use our words to bless and encourage others that He may put on our hearts.
Prayer: Teach us, heavenly Father, to turn to Your Word for encouragement in those times when we tend to forget that You have lovingly planned every experience in our lives. Then help us to commit each situation we encounter to You, and trust You for the necessary strength and guidance that we will need to deal with it. We ask this in Jesus' powerful name. Amen.
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Amen to your prayer.
Wonderful challenge, Sharon.
Thanks Sharon – good reminder for all of us.
So true. Good piece. I started a letter writing outreach when I was housebound. Such great response to it that I’ve continued! Thanks for today’s reading.
Good morning Sharon – you made my day with this devotional. What a lovely start to my day.
We never know how we touch the lives of others until we try.
Sharon – thank you for such an uplifting devotional this morning. And also a call to action for all of us. As the title says: “You Made My Day”.
Everybody needs encouragement, especially people who are cranky!
They most of all are, in a way, calling for someone to affirm them.
Thanks so much for this reminder that God can use us to help but we have to keep listening.
Thank you for your very uplifting story. I wish you were my neighbour. I can just imagine the wonderful visits we would have. I too have been in the same situation and sometimes I still need someone to talk with.
May God continue to bless you and walk with you and have tea with you.
I just got home from walking down the road to visit a neighbour, and there was your devotional – and that is exactly how we met! So I have forwarded it to her. In the country it’s difficult to walk so much in winter.
We’ve both been housebound these dark grey days. But today we lifted each other’s spirits! And so have you. Thanks for your words.
I am in a similar place, where getting out and about is painful and I am spending more time at home. As I have been praying for my family and friends and ministries I have thought of those I have not talked to in a while. And begun to write letters or to make phone calls. Last night I spent 2 hours on the phone catching up. What a Blessing! I was having a down day and we tend to isolate ourselves in a small box. I am so glad to hear your message this morning and know that this is not just me but that God wants His people to be abound HIS business: reaching people, sharing our lives of faith and praying with them. It is a double blessing: the giver and receiver. Blessings to you today!
Sharon – I LOVED the title of your devotional. In today’s so critical society, it can take so little to make someone’s day. Yesterday, in a magazine, I was reading tales of what was the kindest thing that a stranger ever did for you? While your neighbor wasn’t a complete stranger, I’m sure that she counted her blessings by having you share tea, and more importantly, her burdens with you and with our Father. I don’t believe in coincidence. God put you there to wave to your neighbor and you used the opportunity to minister to her. I wonder how many times in a day we are “too busy” or “too harried to even notice” these opportunities. God has opened your ears to “listen” for these opportunities. God Bless you for ministering to those lonely souls around you. Thank you for writing to encourage us to do the same.
So true Sharon about being alert to our Lord’s leading in reaching out to people and so sorry to hear you were feeling isolated when you were house bound.
Your message about seeking God’s leading for opportunities to interact and support people has been on my mind for a while as well.
In our condo building we have had many opportunities to interact with people. I found that because I did the gardens at the front everyday it gave me the added benefit of seeing and chatting with people as they came and went. Also when I did the Christmas decorations in both lobbies the same thing happened. I saw a lot of people and chatted. Then because I volunteered to coordinate the Christmas social I got involved with even more people.
However, we will be moving away from this condo tomorrow. Since our new home will be a house as opposed to an apartment in a condo building I have been thinking that it will be harder to find opportunities to interact with people. Here in the condo, to leave for a walk or get to my car, I often bumped into people in the elevator or hallways or on the stairs. This has been fun and I will miss having these chance meetings!
So your story today has perfectly related to the changes happening in my life right now. Thank you for your message. God will still provide opportunities to fulfill his purposes when we are open to His leading.
I hope you are doing better and up and about. I write notes of encouragement or make phone calls to others when l am housebound. Helps brighten another’s day as well as my own.
Thank you for sharing your experience of what a little wave can accomplish.
I pray that God will guide you in many such experiences, and please do not be discouraged if someone turns down your friendship. Just try again.
And keep writing.