In love, there is no hate

“Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs”— Proverbs 10:12 (NIV).

tennis shoes

thetalkingturtles.wordpress.com

Injustice, chaos, violence, strife, racism and fear followed by anger, retaliation and nationwide unrest have come to define our country over the past several months. Beginning with the mass shooting in a gay night club in Orlando, FL, the shooting of a black man in Minnesota and another in Louisiana, and ending with the killing of police officers in Dallas, Texas, we are seeking answers and guidance.

Why does it take a tragedy or a series of tragedies to motivate people to speak out about the problems in our world? My thoughts, however, are, “Why are we just talking about it?”

We can give lip service to these shootings, point fingers and blame others, come up with “feel-good” slogans or we can hit our knees and begin praying.

Peace doesn’t come automatically.

Christian author Rebecca Barlow Jordan wrote on Facebook, “Praying for God’s comfort, love and compassion for those who have lost loved ones, friends, and family members in Dallas, and wherever lives have so senselessly been taken. And praying for a nation gone so far away from God. Praying that we can come back to the One who holds everything in His hand, not in a moment of silence, but through deep, deep, prayerful cries on our knees, prayers of submission, prayers of surrender, and prayers of longing to be a people who shine as lights in a dark world. How we need You, Jesus! Bring us back to You!”

Isn’t that what Christmas is all about?

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”—John 3:16 (NIV).

 o-HOMELESS-VETERAN-facebook

http://images.huffingtonpost.com

Slipping a $10 bill inside the last card, I sealed the envelope and prayed my grandchildren would be as enthusiastic as I was about my new Christmas tradition. The idea to give each one $10, along with a letter telling them the cash was not to spend on themselves but for someone in need, was born out of a discussion in my Sunday school class.

Lamenting the fact their grown children bought gifts they didn’t really need, one class member said, “Tom and I have everything. We’d rather them use the money they spend on our gifts to help others.”

She added, “I’m also going to use the money I normally spend on the adults’ gifts to help others. My children don’t need anything.”

Another class member spoke up, sharing a memorable Christmas when he and his adult siblings decided not to purchase gifts for each other. Instead, using their gifts and talents, they made presents for each other that year. “It was the best Christmas ever,” he said.

Isn’t that what Christmas is all about?

At this time of year, I love reading and hearing stories of how others seek to help the needy. “Cooper’s Hope,” the headline on a recent “Tulsa World” news story grabbed my attention. Six-year-old Cooper Andrew spied a homeless veteran holding a sign, asking for help. Viewing the rain-soaked man, the first grader asked his mother, “How do people become homeless?”

After his mother explained, Cooper said, “How about we help them, instead of talking about them?”

The Best Sermons are Lived

“Day by day the Lord observes the good deeds done by godly men, and gives them eternal rewards”— Psalm 37:18 (TLB).

302f93_c11a0453390744bd967ffd77cfaa7b3a.jpg_srb_p_675_451_75_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_jpg_srbhttp://dcimin.org

Barefooted and clad in a sheet, the man shuffled across the street. With head down, his demeanor suggested someone who was lost. This photo of humanity had been captured by a Tulsa World photographer and was plastered across the top inside page of a recent Sunday newspaper.

After snapping the photo, the curious photographer wanted to know the rest of the story. Why was this man walking across the street with a sheet around his shoulders? Upon approaching him, the photographer discovered the man had just been released from a criminal justice center early that morning, wearing nothing but a pair of shorts.

There are no limits to God’s amazing grace.

The man had called an ambulance in an attempt to get a night’s hospital stay. In addition to the ambulance, the police showed up. According to the man’s story, authorities then arrived and gave him a sheet to protect him from the cold until he could eat breakfast at a local soup kitchen and food pantry when it opened.

When the photographer first spotted the sheet-clad man, he said, “(It was) incredible for me because of the religious implications, but it was unusual to see a barefoot man walking down the street wrapped in a sheet.”

Are you pursuing the American Dream or Jesus?

“Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me’”—Matthew 16:24 (NIV).

americandream-whitepicketfence

http://breakingenews.today

Area residents from diverse backgrounds were recently interviewed by a large metropolitan newspaper. They were asked how they felt about the American Dream, how had it changed over the past decades and how hard is it to achieve?

A 68-year-old pastor who was interviewed said, “One of the things that has changed dramatically since the time I was a kid is the place of God and religion in the typical family life. I would suspect that there’s not as much practice of religion…And when you take God out of the picture and religious practice—which supports belief in God—I think the family also suffers.”

The American Dream can very quickly become twisted into a self-serving vision and dominate our lives.”

The term, “American Dream,” was coined by author James Truslow Adams in 1931. Adams’ American Dream is “that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement.”

Writing in “Relevant” magazine, Seth Silvers asked this question: Can you pursue the American Dream and follow Jesus at the same time?

Are You Modeling Compassion?

“‘Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?’  He said, ‘The one who showed him mercy.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘You go, and do likewise’”—Luke 10:36-37(ESV).

compassion-4

https://blogsensebybarb.com

 

In the parable of “The Good Samaritan,” a lawyer puts Jesus to the test, asking Him, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

Jesus replies, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?”

The lawyer replies, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and your neighbors as yourself.”

Jesus then says, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.” Seeking to justify himself, the lawyer asks Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

Jesus continues the conversation with the parable of the Samaritan, the only one who stops to help a man who is attacked by robbers and left half dead on the side of the road. The victim had already been ignored by a priest and a Levite. But, the Samaritan had compassion, tended to the man’s wounds and took him to an inn, where he paid the innkeeper and promised to return and pay for any difference for the man’s stay.

When the man’s food arrived, the 5-year-old insisted on praying over it with him.

In the dictionary, compassion means “a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.” Synonyms for compassion include grace, mercy and kindness. Don’t those words describe God’s goodness to us?

5-Year-Old Begs His Mother to Feed a Homeless Man

Then he prays for him

To my readers: Sometimes, the media overlooks the positive news in our world. I found this article in a news feed on twitter and wanted to share this heartwarming story with you.

little-boy-prays-for-homeless-man-in-waffle-house

by John Callahan

Seeing a homeless man inside of a Waffle House in Alabama caused one little boy to respond with kindness.

After seeing that this man had no food, this boy quickly rushes over to his mother and asks if she can buy him a meal. The homeless man is in shock and it doesn’t end there. Josiah Duncan goes over to the man and begins to pray, and after that, there wasn’t a dry eye in the building.

This young boy has a heart of gold. His mother, Ava Faulk, was in complete shock and felt so blessed when he prayed for the man.

“He came in and sat down, and nobody really waited on him,” Faulk told a local radio station. “So Josiah jumped up and asked him if he needed a menu because you can’t order without one.”

The photo is now being shown all over the world to promote kindness, and it sure does touch your heart when you look at it.

“Watching my son touch the 11 people in that Waffle House tonight will be forever one of the greatest accomplishments as a parent I’ll ever get to witness,” Faulk said.

Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/buzzvine/a-5-year-old-begs-his-mother-to-feed-a-homeless-man-then-he-prays-for-him-139299/#fgCekbTyOsHMzy4X.99

Woman pens her own obituary: “I was born; I blinked; and it was over”

emily-cropped-internalA 69-year-old Florida grandmother knew she didn’t have long to live when she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in February. So, she decided to write her own obituary–her farewell to the world in her own words. Emily Phillips’ self-penned obituary has gone viral on the Internet since she passed away last week, and according to The Florida Times-Union, it has garnered more than 5,100 likes as of last Tuesday.

In the obituary opening, Phillips wrote, “It pains me to admit it, but apparently, I have passed away. Everyone told me it would happen one day, but that’s simply not something I wanted to hear, much less experience.”

A longtime public school teacher who loved in Orange Park, Florida, Phillips recounts her journey through life, beginning with her elementary years in North Carolina. She talks about here memories of her father calling square dances, her 4-H club skits in fifth grade, being a beauty pageant competitor and leading her high school band down King Street in the New Orleans Mardi Gras parade as a head majorette.

“I was born; I blinked; and it was over”

Shifting between humorous and sentimental, Phillips’ obituary not only reflects on those little moments of her life, but she also tries to answer some of life’s more existential questions.

“The grandmother of five grandchildren, Phillips began writing the obituary soon after she was diagnosed with the terminal illness in February, according to her daughter, Bonnie Upright. “At first,” Upright says, “the family was resistant, but listened when she insisted they hear her read it.”

Uptight added, “We laughed where we were supposed to laugh, cried where we were supposed to cry, and looking back at it now … it really was one of the most special moments in my entire life,”  adding that the warm response to the obituary has helped soothe the family’s heartbreak.

“Being able to smile through the tears on my face has been an incredible experience, and an incredible gift that mom left us,” she said.

Phillips penned the following as she wrapped up her self-written obit: