Redeeming Points

#God, #Jesus, #inspirationDo you collect any type of loyalty points? I have a few cards that reward me for my commitment. The one I’ve had the longest is an Air Miles card. Over the years I’ve accumulated quite a number of points.

This type of loyalty now has an expiry date. Unused points will start disappearing as of December 31st this year, so I need to redeem them soon. We’ve gone to their website a few times, trying to decide what merchandise we’d like to exchange them for. I don’t like to feel rushed to make a decision but we are approaching a use it or lose it deadline.

Recently I spent several hours going through an online catalogue of merchandise and deciding what to spend our points on. Should I choose some spa visits or more practical items like a new heavy duty blender? There are enough points to get several things but I need to plan carefully to maximize my rewards.

As I chose the items I would redeem my points for I thought of another type of redemption. This one is available at any time. The offer has no expiry date.

God has redeemed me and forgiven my sins thanks to the sacrifice made by Jesus. I didn’t have to spend years collecting points to qualify for this reward. In fact, nothing I could do would be enough to earn this kind of compensation. Instead, it was freely given. All I needed to do was to come to God in repentance and invite him into my life. The benefits are far greater than a fancy small appliance. I am able to have a close personal relationship with God and the assurance of eternity with him. Now that’s the kind of loyalty that has my full commitment.

I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.” Isaiah 44:22 NIV

Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them. Luke 1:68 NIV

My Father’s Chair

#God, #inspiration, In the living room of my childhood home sat a burgundy coloured Lazy Boy chair. The chair was upholstered in Naugahyde, a vinyl coated fabric that looked like leather. It was unlike any other piece of furniture in the room.

This special chair belonged to my father. As a child, I enjoyed the smooth texture and imposing size of this chair. I felt very grown up sitting in it. I knew, however, that it was not my chair and would vacate it in a hurry if I heard my father drawing near.

As I was reminiscing about this an even more important chair came to mind. It was the chair or throne of my heavenly father. I know this is not my place to sit but sometimes I can’t resist the urge to picture myself there. From this lofty perch, I attempt to rule my life. After all, don’t I know what’s best for me?

The simple answer to that question is, “No.” God is the one who knows the beginning from the end. He knows the plans that have been laid out for my life and the best way to achieve them. I tend to make a mess of things when I think I can handle life on my own. Fortunately, God can turn my mistakes into good – but only if I hand control back to him. These times serve as a good reminder that I am not God and shouldn’t be climbing up into his chair.

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 hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

Got a Minute?

#inspiration, encouragementIsn’t it amazing how sixty seconds can seem like forever sometimes? Other times that minute attaches to others and they fly by so quickly we wonder where the time went.

In a seminar setting, I asked a question and then gave one minute for the response. This was timed and most people were surprised by how long a minute seemed to take.

It reminded me of the time I told my young granddaughter, “I’ll be there in a minute.” She looked at me and said, “Is it going to be a long minute or a short minute?”

I guess it all depends on what we are doing in that minute. When I am engrossed in a project or doing something I enjoy, the minutes fly by all too quickly. If I’m waiting in a lineup they seem to take much longer.

The best use of my time is to spend it on someone else. I took a minute and sent a text message to a friend to say I appreciated her. The response I received said my message had encouraged her when she was feeling down. That was time well spent.

This was a reminder to invest my time wisely rather than squander it. Sometimes it only takes a minute to make a difference in someone’s life. Got a minute?

The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is. C.S. Lewis

The key is in not spending time, but in investing it. Stephen R. Covey

Is Your Life Good?

#inspiration, gratitudeOur young granddaughters were coming for a sleepover so we bought a breakfast cereal with them in mind. We are not fans of high sugar cereals but still wanted a treat so settled on Life cereal with cinnamon.

At breakfast, the girls looked skeptically at the box and two decided to try it. The other one watched and then asked, “Is your Life good?” Their approval for the Life they’d received helped her decide to try it, too.

The question made me wonder how I’d respond if asked how my life was. Some days I’m filled with energy and passion for life. Other days are more challenging.  No matter what a day may bring, I need to be content with the life I’ve been given.

Each new experience brings me closer to who I was meant to be. I saw a quote that resonated with me.  It said, “What will you do with this one precious life you’ve been given?”

My answer is to live life to the fullest and with gratitude. How about you?

“Above all we must realize that each of us makes a difference with our life. Each of us impacts the world around us every single day. We have a choice to use the gift of our life to make the world a better place – or not to bother.”
Jane Goodall

Who Sent You?

#God, #inspiration, #Holy Spirit, restorationMy friend told me about a strange occurrence at her home. At various times of the day and night different young women came to her door. When she answered they would say they had the wrong address and back away to be picked up by a vehicle waiting a few houses away.

After three such visits in a twenty-four hour period, she’d had enough, and said to the young woman, “Who sent you here?” The surprise on this person’s face was obvious as she heard of the others who had been there before her. She hurried to the waiting vehicle. Since this confrontation, no more unexpected visitors have arrived.

We discussed these occurrences and decided it must have been the question, “Who sent you?” that caused the unwanted visits to stop.

As I thought about this I realized this is a very good question. At the time I was experiencing an unsettled time in a previously good relationship. I was hurt and confused by the change in behaviour. The feeling of conflict was examined and I asked, “Who sent you?”

It wasn’t of God because he doesn’t send unrest. Therefore, it was what I refer to as a spiritual attack. This was something unwanted and uninvited. I had the choice to play host to it or to send it away. My choice was obvious. I prayed, asking the Holy Spirit to fill me, leaving no room for the unrest.

The situation became resolved and the relationship restored. The next time I find myself in this kind of situation I need to ask, “Who sent you?” and respond accordingly.

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)

Remembering the Sacrifice

gratitude, honour, heroesNovember 11 is known as Remembrance Day in Canada. This date marks the anniversary of the official end of World War 1in 1918. The day is set aside to honour the brave men and women who serve in the military. Ceremonies are held to commemorate the sacrifices made in armed conflict.

Wearing a poppy and observing two minutes of silence on the eleventh hour of the eleventh month is not enough. They deserve much more than one minute or one day of our thanks. Countless numbers have given their lives and many more have suffered serious injuries and great emotional scars.

These men and women know the risks when they sign up. Out of love for their country and for mankind, they put their lives on the line for us.

Many of us would risk our lives for a family member. Few would do this for people they do not know. Others, like the members of the military, take this on to give us the freedoms that we so often take for granted.
They run into the dangerous situations that the rest of us are fleeing from.

We owe them a debt greater than we can repay. Let us never take our freedom for granted.

My deepest appreciation goes to these true heroes.

“True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.” Arthur Ash

Carry Me

#God, #inspiration, supportI don’t want to walk.” the little girl said. “Carry me.”

“I’ll carry you this time, but next time you need to walk.” replied the grandma.

The little girl looked into her grandma’s eyes and said, “But I like it when you carry me.”

The grandma lovingly replied, “I like it when I carry you, too, but you’re a big girl now and have to learn to walk on your own.”

As I watched this scene unfold, my relationship with God came to mind. When I am weary he carries me until I can regain my strength. In his loving arms, I feel safe and cared for.

Then comes the time he encourages me to walk on my own. I don’t feel ready; can’t you just keep carrying me? He lovingly tells me, “You’re a big girl now. You can do this.”

It can be scary but the support and guidance of God will give me strength and confidence. It’s time to trust him and take those steps. I am confident he will be there to pick me up if need be. How can I be certain of this? That’s the way God treats all of his precious children.

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! (1 John 3:1 NIV)

My Messy Life

#inspiration, response, helping othersAt our local pool shoes are removed and put on racks outside of the changing room. This simple act helps to keep the floor of the changing room clean.

I’ve seen what happens when this rule is not followed so no matter the rush I’m in, my footwear is always placed on one of these shelves.
One day I exited the changing room and found it difficult to get to my shoes for the footwear hastily left scattered on the floor. Some shoes weren’t anywhere near their mate!

Instead of being upset by the obstacle course in front of me, I stopped and took a picture! I’m sure the intention was not to cause problems when the shoes were hastily removed.

The scene before me was a good illustration of how messy my life can become. When in a hurry or distracted, my thoughts and actions are scattered.

It may seem like this only affects me but that’s where I’m wrong. My messy response to responsibilities can cause problems for those who need to get past the disaster I’ve left in order to move to where they need to be.

The debris I’ve left behind may slow them down or it may cause them to stumble. Either way, the result is not pleasing. By making sure my life doesn’t get scattered and messy I not only help others but am set free to accomplish my own goals.

“It is one of the beautiful compensations of this life that no one can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.” Charles Dudley

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