Give From the Inside Out

Generosity comes in all sizes from a large financial gift to an unexpected smile from a stranger. Throughout scripture we read account after account of people giving both out of their abundance and their need.

Red tartan had made a comeback once again and I was glad I had kept my jacket. There was a slight chill in the air making it a perfect day to wear it. Updated jeans and top and who would know the jacket was from the eighties…no shoulder pads for this girl!

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38NIV

I stopped at the Welcome Center in the church foyer to say hi to a dear friend, she too was sporting red tartan only hers was on her purse. I told you it was fashionable.

We talked for awhile, red tartan being part of the conversation, she asked me if I liked her purse?

I did.

As we talked she emptied the contents onto the Welcome Center table. I thought it a little strange but kept on with our conversation thinking she must be looking for something hidden deep in the recesses of her purse.

All of the contents lay on the table and I mean ALL. my friend picked up her purse looked me straight in the eye and told me she would like me to have her red tartan bag. There wasn’t any hesitation on her part, no waiting to get home and change purses before offering. It was straight up lets do it now.

I hesitated to accept.

What was she going to do with the contents from her purse? How was she going to get them home? Here they lay spread out on the table. She on the other hand did not see it as an issue. I wasn’t looking for a purse, though, you know we can always use another one. I accepted because she wanted to bless me and I was not going to deny her the privilege of being a blessing.

This lady, my friend Joelda ,has blessed many people over the years. Sometimes it has been with a particular gift, other times a word of encouragement or a scripture verse. She is the lady you go to if needing to be covered in prayer. The wisdom the Lord has given her is beyond her years, she would be first to say that she is not that wise but really she is. She is humble, she always gives God the glory for what He has done in and through her life.

Giving Joelda Style

Being generous has nothing to do with our bank account or our possessions, it is an attitude of the heart. I think we all could learn from Joelda:

Give without hesitation

Give from the inside out.

Always be thankful for what we have no matter how much or little it is.

Own our possessions but don’t let them own us.

Be generous and bless someone today whether it is with a material or financial gift, a word of encouragement or scripture verse. Be available to cover someone in prayer and always give God all the praise.

My dear friend is leaving Arkansas to live in New Mexico, she will be greatly missed not only by me but by all her have known her. Albuquerque is getting a gem, she has certainly been a treasure to us in Central Arkansas.

To the saints in New Mexico concerning Joelda; “I ask you to receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of his people and to give her any help she may need from you, for she has been the benefactor of many people, including me.” Romans 16:2NIV

Do you know someone like Joelda, someone who gives from the inside out? Would love to hear about your friend, leave a comment on this site or on my Facebook page Grace Lace and Polkadots.

Until Next Week

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance

More Than a Diaper Changer

Getting along with people can be a challenge, whether it is in the workplace or in a social setting. It causes unspoken tension which can lead to verbal explosion. The good news is, you get to walk away from the person and go home, shut your door and leave the world outside.

But what if….

…the tension is in the home?

I have been reading about Leah, Rachel and Jacob. Talk about family dynamics! This family had issues to put it mildly.

Leah according to Genesis 29:17A NIV had weak eyes, or as the NLT version puts it “There was no sparkle in Leah’s eyes.” I wonder if she not only had poor physical vision but also a poor self imagine?. Jacob however was not attracted to her, he had eyes for her younger sister Rachel who had a beautiful figure and a lovely face (Genesis 29:17B NLT).

Long story short Jacob worked for their father, Laban, for seven years as payment to marry Rachel. On the wedding night he was tricked and ended up marrying Leah. When he realized what had happened he and Laban exchanged a few words. Laban explained the custom was for the older daughter to marry first. I can’t help but wonder why no one in the seven years Jacob was there didn’t mention this custom to him.

At the end of Leah’s bridal week, Laban gave Rachel to Jacob in exchange for another seven years work. Think about that; Leah gets married to a man who had no intention of marrying her, then one week later she has to share him with the woman he does love, who just happens to be her sister.

Leah give birth to two sons and each time she hoped her husband would now love her (Genesis 29:30 & 31). On the third son she hoped he would feel affection for her (Genesis 29:34), sounds like a downgrade to me. After the fourth child, Judah, she stopped having children, at least for awhile.

In the mean time Rachel was not getting pregnant and became jealous of her sister, so she gave her maid Bilhah to her husband for the sole purpose of producing children. Bilhah and Jacob had two children together and Rachel was delighted. After the second son Rachel declares, “I have struggled hard with my sister, and I am winning!” Talk about sibling rivalry!

Leah then gives her maid Zilpah to Jacob, they have two children together. The sibling rivalry continues, in Genesis 30:15 we read, But Leah angrily replied, “Wasn’t it enough that you stole mu husband? Now will you steal my son’s mandrakes, too?”

Don’t know about you, but I kind of think it was Leah who stole Rachel’s husband. I’m telling you TV soap operas have nothing on this family.

Leah gives birth to another two sons, Genesis 30:20b “God has given me a good reward. Now my husband will treat me with respect, for I have given him six sons.” She has gone from wanting to be loved, to a show of affection, to settling for respect. After six sons Leah gives birth to the only girl in the family; Dinah. Who by the way was raped by a prince who then fell in love with her, but Dinah’s two full brothers, Simeon and Levi revenge slaughtered every male in the town, read for yourself in Genesis 34.

Rachel gives birth to two sons, Joseph and Benjamin but she had a hard delivery with Benjamin and dies just after she named him. Joseph goes on to save Egypt during a seven year famine but that’s another story.

I find the old testament fascinating it is filled with flawed people, yet the Lord chose to use them. Matthew 1 records the genealogy of Jesus and guess who is there? Jacob and his son Judah (vs 2), the same Jacob who married two sisters Leah and Rachel.

Leah and Rachel’s lives revolved around having babies. They did not perform heroic exploits or ruled as judge over a nation but without Leah, Judah would not have been born, remember he is mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus. Without Rachel, Joseph would not have been born and so would not have been able to save not only Egypt but his whole family from starvation, so persevering the family line.

We may long to do great exploits, to be remembered for a special accomplishment and for some that may happen. But the greatest accomplishment as mothers/grandmothers whether we are the biological parent or not is to teach our children about Jesus and to cover them in prayer. Our children are the workers and leaders of tomorrow, only the Lord knows their future and how that will affect generations to come. You are more than a diaper changer!

Family life can be rough on times and raising children is not for the faint of heart, but you can do it. The Lord does not require us to be perfect parents, rather parents who ask Him for wisdom.

To all my friends in the UK, Happy Mother’s Day for March 26th.

Until next week

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance

Do you have a piece of advice to share on parenting or something the Lord has shown you from studying Leah and Rachel? Feel free to share in the comment box.

 

 

Help Me Lord!

March 11th we moved our clocks forward by one hour. I know March 12th is the official date but who stays up until 2am just to change the time? I don’t and I’m guessing you don’t either. Though as a night nurse I have changed a clock or two at 2am over the years.

Before my UK readers go into a panic, daylight savings time for you is March 26th (I hear sighs of relief).

I enjoy the warmer weather and lighter nights of spring. I like seeing the trees in bud, and I get excited to see green stems pushing their way up through the dirt on their journey to become beautiful flowers. Spring just oozes with new life, don’t you agree?

Though the new life of spring is all around us, we can still be living in our own never ending winter, convinced that spring for us just isn’t going to happen.

The ever present negative thoughts. The muffled tears in the middle of the night. Dread of the future because there is no future. No signs of life, no sign of spring, just more freezing cold winter.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Ps 34:18

I was there myself a few years back and I longed for my winter to pass, but I couldn’t see how it could. I was stuck emotionally, feeling rejected and living the blame game. Sadness was my companion and my spirit felt crushed.

I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Ps 34:4

My prayers were not eloquent or even spiritual sounding. The were simple cries from the heart. “Help me Lord!” “Do something, don’t leave me here.” They were honest, raw and to the point. He heard my cry and He delivered me from the hold the enemy had on my thought life.

Romans 12:2 Paul talks about being transformed by the renewing of your mind. My mind had been set free but it needed to be renewed. Years of listening and repeating the lies of the enemy needed to be replace by God’s truth. Slowly, one day at a time. One God truth at a time winter passed and spring arrived. I became like the green shoots free from the weight of the dirt that held me down.

If you are going through your own winter, I pray my openness has shown you there is hope in the Lord. Talk to him, be honest with him and yourself. Receive his deliverance and renew your mind with His truth.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

Ooze with new life dear friend, His plans for you is good.

Until next week

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance.

If this post has helped you, encouraged you or inspired you feel free to share with a friend.

Comments are always welcome, look forward to talking with you.

 

 

Out of the Mouth of Babes

“10 back 3 in. Crowded today girl!!!” That was the text I received from my friend Tammy. She was right church was busier than usual, and as I was slightly running behind my normal schedule I appreciated her saving me a seat even if it was not our usual 7 rows back, end seats…anybody else sit about the same place every week?

Holding the hands of both my grandsons I quickly made my way to the church side entrance. You would think that I would have parked my car on the Children’s Church side of the building. Not me. I’m a creature of habit and so parked on the office side entrance. This meant I would have to cross through the foyer to get to the children’s area, not my brightest idea.

As we walked among the crowd my four year grandson declared, “Look at all the customers Nana.”

In many way he was right. We all come at first just to look, to browse, to see what is on offer. All hoping to find that something special that will add purpose to our lives.

Some find their special something on the first visit while others return many times before they find theirs. Each realizing special is not a something but a person. Jesus. He is the special in our lives.

Unlike going to the store with credit card at the ready, we cannot buy Jesus. He is not for sale! No amount of tithing or giving will pay our way into His presence. We cannot earn our way in through regular attendance, or working our fingers to the bone as volunteers. He is not for sale and cannot be earned.

This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. Romans 3:22 NIV

The only way into God’s presence is through Jesus, He has already paid the price for our salvation when He bled and died on the cross for us. Just as when we first believed and accepted His gift of salvation so we need to continue in His gift of grace. We could not save ourselves before we asked Jesus to be lord of our lives, so why do we sometimes think we can fix ourselves without Him after salvation?

For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the spirit of son-ship. And by him we cry, “Abba Father.”  Romans 8:15 NIV

So, dear Sister-in-Christ lets stop struggling to free ourselves from what only God can free us. Rest in His salvation, know He has us and is for us. The battle has been won. Truth is waiting for us to receive just as we did when we first believed.

Until next week

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance

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