Friday, March 30, 2012

The value of a quarter

If I gave you a quarter, what would you do with it?
Your probably thinking there isn't much a single quarter can buy and for the most part, I'd agree with you.  When I use to think of what a quarter could buy, the only thing that crossed my mind were the gum ball machines my kids run to every now and then. 

A recent experience changed all that. I learned about an organization called Feed My Starving Children that packs food to send to locations where food is scarce and children are dying of starvation.  I signed my family up to volunteer when I heard they would be in Miami.  We spent two extremely fulfilling hours packing meals that cost less than $0.25 and could feed up to six children! 

As usual, our time spent with the intention to help others became a blessing to us as well.  My kids enjoyed serving and the reality of those poverty stricken across the globe became more of a reality for them, as well as the fact that they could join in to make a difference. 

My job in the food packing line up was to pour in the cup of soy beans and the cup of rice.  I couldn't help but think of all the times I've made rice in the past. Usually it's a mundane task, but as I filled each cup of rice and poured it in the packs I knew making rice would never be the same for me again.

I'm sharing this because their only advertising is through word of mouth.  They have very creative ways to help raise funds for them on their website.  One that I found super easy and a great reminder is to set up a can in your kitchen and add a quarter every time you eat a meal.  Isn't that great? So easy and so effective.  

It doesn't take much time or money to make a difference.  So little can go such a long way!  Now when I think about a quarter, I see the faces of children who could be fed a meal instead of becoming part of the statistics of starving to death. I am more aware of the difference the change at the bottom of my purse can make and my kids are learning the value of wise decision-making... gumball or feeding starving children?

How will you spend your change?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

No Charge Pt. 2

It's easy to tell the amount of charge our cell phone has left. A big battery appears on the screen indicating the amount of energy we have. Although no images of flashing batteries go off in our life, there are warning signs that we can watch out for, to help us know when we're not plugging in to the right source.

Warning signs of a low charge are very visible if we pay close attention. 

Dried Fruit: Usually when we are lacking the fruit of the spirit in our lives, its because we are living imbalanced lives. Take inventory and ask yourself, "What does my fruit look like?" Do you see healthy, robust fruit growing or shriveled-up dried fruit?
Galatians 5:22-25  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. 

Hopelessness: I can't think of a worse feeling than hopelessness.  Where there's hopelessness, there's no way out! Yet its so opposite from the characteristic of  God, who made a way for us, through Jesus, even when we failed Him. He never gives up on us and neither should we.
Psalm 42:5
Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

Looking For Love In All the Wrong Places:  Ultimately, we'll try to find something to fill us, because we were all made to desire. Although, there's nothing wrong with many of these things in itself, out of perspective, it can lead to trying to find fulfillment in other things besides God.
Isaiah 55:1-3 
Why spend money on what is not bread,
   and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
   and you will delight in the richest of fare.

So, how do we remain connected? 

Prayer: I know, everyone's busy these days, and with good things I might add. As a pastors wife I know first hand that we can be busy doing a lot of "good", yet be disconnected from God.  How does this happen? Well, its not about what we're doing but about what we're not doing.  We should never be too busy to skimp on our personal time with God. He desires more than just a quick "Thank you," or a dry run-through of our prayer list.  He deserves our hearts as well as meaningful conversations from His creation. How long is your daily prayer with the Lord?  

I ask, because this is a big struggle for me, yet what's it worth to do good if we're not laying it before the Lord, asking for His blessing and letting Him lead the way? 
In doing things on our own, we labor in vain and end up feeling the burden of the task that was never meant for us to carry alone.

Spending Time in God's Word: When my spiritual juice in running low, it doesn't take much to make me crash and burn. I short-circuit over things that are meaningless, and let worldliness start to defeat me. On the opposite end, I find the difference in my attitude amazing when I am consistently in God's word. I'm able to make it through bad days with a spirit of perseverance and the hope I have through Christ.  I especially love that God always leads me to what I need to hear.  Reading God's word is a special time; we should treat it as so.  This is when we're stretched by seeing things in a different light and its also when God whispers His lullabies in our ears.

Have a Strong Support Group: We all need good, solid friendships to talk through our difficult moments with.  It keeps us connected with the body of Christ.  We were never meant to go through this life alone, but have others along side us. Maybe its only one close friend, but have someone who will listen and remain God-centered while offering advice.

Think Pure Thoughts: What thoughts surround you throughout the day? What are you watching, listening to, reading, catching up on? In the world of technological advancement that we live in today, there is no reason for anyone to be spiritually malnourished. Whether its through your ipod, internet, local Christian radio or television station, there is always a way to be meditating on pure thoughts.  Who needs to be waiting until Sunday for a great sermon? Catch one daily! 

Worship: Another thing that shouldn't be boxed off to just Sundays, but done daily.  When we worship, it opens up our desire to be in communion with God. You could worship in many ways.  One way is to make dishwashing more enjoyable by popping in your favorite CD or tuning into your favorite Christian station and worship while you work. Remember, whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord and not for man. Colossians 3:23


Serve Others: Focusing on others is a good way to keep connected to the bigger picture of God's plan. Follow in Jesus example and be a servant.  

Be Still and Listen: Probably the hardest one on the list! We're so used to doing that sitting still seems so difficult. And listening!? I hate to admit it, but my time with God is usually me rambling on and on... when I should be still at times and listening to what He has to tell me.  Maybe its not that God takes long to answer our prayers, maybe its that we're not listening long enough. 

The good news is that even when we've lost our connection, we can always plug in and catch a charge. If today your feeling spiritually drained, find The Source and get connected.   

Are there other ways in which you remain connected? 

Linking up to: